Champagne Rose from Lupicia – Tea Review

Champagne Rose is a black tea flavored with strawberries. This tea comes from Lupicia.

Happy Valentines Day!

Okay, I have to admit – I don’t drink alcohol. I drink like maybe 2 or 3 times a year, and only if it’s free at a party or something. I was/am a total nerd and during university, spending my time playing video games, knitting and drinking tea instead of doing the bar scene. When I’m having a nice dinner at home, my husband and I reach for the sparkling non-alcoholic apple cider. Well, mostly him. I would have a little bit then switch to tea to save calories and eat more dessert.

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I got Champagne Rose as part of my 2012/2013 Happy Bag. There is something great about mystery grab bags that get you to try new things!

DRY LEAF: Smells like.. well.. strawberry bubble gum. Kind of scary.

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From what I can tell, there are little pieces of rock sugar in this tea. Apparently, the Japanese version of this tea has pink and silver argent in it.

STEEPED: Wow, Champagne Rose smells amazing! Very strong tangy strawberry and floral scent while this tea steeps – scenting the entire room! It really smells like Valentines day in here! I wish you tea peeps could smell this!

I steeped this tea for 2.5 minutes with boiling water, as per instructions on the package.

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TASTE: Tart yet sweet ripe strawberry flavor. Very tangy tea! Kind of reminds me of really good berry fruit gem candy with a sugar coating. The black tea is pretty mellow adding background interest – no bitterness.  Slight floral here, but it’s really mild – 2 /10 on the Floral-o-meter. The tart flavor comes from a bit of dryness, but it is pretty light and does a job creating interest in the tea – 1/10 on the Astringent-o-meter.

Sweetened with rock sugar, the tang goes down and not as interesting as a flavor – it’s like I’m just drinking strawberry tea. The unsweetened Champagne Rose is much better in my opinion.

Champange Rose from Lupicia - Oolong Owl tea review (2)Owly photobomb!

COMMENTS: You know, I would of never purchased this tea for myself, this would of been a tea I would of got for my Mother-in-Law. I’ve gifted her a couple really cool wine inspired teas. I almost gave her this package, but I was curious to try this tea. I figured since I don’t drink alcohol, I wouldn’t fully enjoy this tea.

But wow, I really dig Champagne Rose for its strong fruity candy like taste. I’m probably going to buy this tea in loose leaf when I run out.  I can see others really liking this tea for a really good strawberry tea – though I think some will not be into the tangy candy like taste.

But hey, in the end – not a drinker? Still try wine or champagne teas for something new!

Banana Coconut from The Persimmon Tree – Tea Review

Banana Coconut is a caffeine free herbal/rooibos blend of chamomile, coconut and banana. This tea comes from The Persimmon Tree, a great online loose leaf tea seller.

(FYI, this tea was previously called Banana Dulce and went through a recent name change, hence why my tin has the old name on it. It is still the same blend!)

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I need more caffeine free teas in my life. Unfortunately, I’m not huge on rooibos or chamomile – which is often used for caffeine free blends. Regardless, I still order teas with rooibos or chamomile as I’ll try about anything and I don’t want to miss out on any gems. The Persimmon Tree has never disappointed me – their teas are expertly blended and their coconut teas are amazing! I trust Banana Coconut is a safe bet to be delicious!

DRY LEAF: I made a mistake of taking a big sniff of this tea, causing lots of chamomile and rooibos bits to fly up my nose. What I did smell was chamomile. I’m not trusting my nose to smell this tea again!

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Appearance wise, Banana Coconut has whole chamomile flowers, rooibos, lemongrass, mystery brown lumps (bananas I’m guessing), coconut shreds and lavender. Lemongrass and Lavender? Weiiiiiiiird.

STEEPED: Dark golden coloured tea that smells slightly caramelly.

Beautiful steep colour here – as it steeps, it became gold, slowly transitioning to a deeper browner gold!

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I had to do the photo shoot with a slice of just-out-of-the-oven homemade banana bread! YUM!

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TASTE: Chamomile herby flavor upfront with lovely deep caramel, graham flavors with a slightly sweet banana finish. For some sips, I can pick up a little lavender which adds a nice comforting effect. Slight silky creamy texture remains after my sip. I didn’t notice I was drinking rooibos – but I’m guess it contributed to the caramel/graham flavor. I did not taste the lemongrass.

Sweetened with rock sugar, the caramel is almost brown sugar tasting now, which pulls out the banana flavor more! Still chamomilly, but more into the dessert zone.

SHOOOOOT! I just realized that I did a 4 minute steeping – following the rooibos steep times. On the website, it cites a 5-7 steep. Whoops. Oh well, mistakes happen and experimenting with tea is fun!

Round 2! FIGHT!

As a 6 minute steep at 200F, Banana Coconut is sweeter upfront, with a brush of woody chamomile, finishing off with creamy sweet caramelly banana. The balance between the chamomile and sweet is much better with the longer steep. As the tea cools, more and more banana caramel flavor, with the chamomile adding to the sweetness. Sweetened, Banana Coconut has a stronger banana taste, moreso than the 4 minute steep.

As a latte sweetened with honey, the chamomile flavor is still there, but pretty light. The chamomile is just a quick herby bite right at the beginning of sip. I can finally pick out the rooibos a bit, and lots of brown sugar taste. Banana Coconut lattes finishes with soft natural banana flavor. Banana Coconut tea latte is amazingly soothing and mellow – a perfect milky drink before bed!

banana coconut from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong owl tea reviewMr. Owly approved! 

It is decided – 6 minute steep for Banana Coconut! Sweetened or as a latte! WIN!

COMMENTS: Broken down, Banana Coconut has an interesting mix of ingredients, expertly blended by The Persimmon Tree. With the combination of flavors of Banana Coconut, it is like an indulgent comfort food plus relaxing tea, that is not at all a guilty treat!

Sweetened Banana Coconut is a bit hit with me – my plain rock sugar did fine, but the honey was even better.  I think brown rock sugar would do a great job with this tea –  The Persimmon Tree’s german rock sugar is a good deal that I plan to snag once I’m out of my rock sugar. Or maybe try amber agave syrup for a more maple flavor.

This chamomile and rooibos blend has won me over, so I think you tea peeps will dig Banana Coconut too!

Try Banana Coconut with this tasty PROMO CODE

OolongOwlBC

10% off Banana Coconut – good through February 20th, 2013.

Jasmine Blossom from Nature’s Tea Leaf – Tea Review

Jasmine Blossom is a herbal tea of naturally dried jasmine buds. This tea comes from Nature’s Tea Leaf.

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DRY LEAF: Dried flower smell – wooo creative! I mean, if you ever dried flowers, it smells floral, but also kind of flat. Bleh, hopefully I’m making sense here.

Very nice looking tea here – all mostly intact flower buds! So pretty!

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I made a bouquet!

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However… what is this?????!!!!!!

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It was the only one in my bag of tea. I’m guessing it was a dredge or something.

Kinda looks like my tea owl munched on my teas and hurled a flowery owl pellet! HURRRRRRR

Jasmine Blossom from Natures Tea Leaf - Oolong Owl tea review

STEEPED: Bright, almost neon yellow coloured tea with a strong, fresh floral scent, followed by a bit of a herbal scent. The floral here is as strong as smelling fresh flowers! I steeped this tea for 4.5 minutes with boiling water.

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This tea steeped up very beautifully!  The pale yellow flowers come alive into pretty white buds, floating in the daisy yellow tea. I’d love to do this tea in a glass pot to impress my guests.. or stare at it. The appearance for this tea would be perfect for a tea party.

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TASTE: Care to take a guess on what this tea tastes like? FLORAL FLORAL FLORAL! The floral fills my mouth with jasminey perfume and finished off slightly sweet and herby. As the tea cools, the sweetness comes out more. The floral here is not synthetic or medicinal tasting  – 8/10 on the Floral-o-meter! It’s very floral and perfumey, but not overloaded and making me breathe out petals (that would be cool though).

COMMENTS: Jasmine Blossom packs a lot of floral! Holy cow! I’m a little into Japanese Lolita fashion, and this tea makes me picture being dressed up all nice and having a cute tea party – this floral tea stealing the show from the rose candies and cutesty little tarts.
Admittedly, I’d love to have this tea to wear as perfume or essential oil for my oil diffuser. Jasmine Blossom smells really nice with no fake or chemical bits to it.

I saw other reviews on Nature’s Tea Leaf saying they use Jasmine Blossom to add to other teas, which I think is a good idea. It would be good to add to beef up other jasmine teas, or add some lovely presentation to teas in a glass tea pot!

Floral lovers, pay attention! Jasmine Blossom is what you’ve been waiting for – you are drinking like all flowers here! I don’t think it gets any more floral than this tea!

Tropical Pu’erh from Kally Tea – Tea Review

Tropical Pu’erh is a pu’erh and shou mei white tea blend with tropical flavoring. This interesting tea comes from Kally Tea, an online loose leaf tea seller.

I won this tea as part of a giveaway that was posted on Steepster. I got to choose which tea I wanted, and it was a difficult choice with all of Kally Tea’s interesting line of teas. I went with Tropical Pu’erh as it sounded very different and unique.

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DRY LEAF: Tropical fruit punch smell coming from this tea. I was expecting a more pu’erh smell, but it’s not present.

Interesting presentation with the loose pu’erh accented with large white tea leaves.

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STEEPED:  On the packaging, it cites a 3 minute steep with boiling water. However, during my email exchange with Kally’s Tea, they said they’ve been experimenting with steep times and found Tropical pu’erh had good flavor at the 1 minute mark.

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I intended to steep for 3 minutes, but I did a sip at the 1 minute mark and love the taste there and didn’t want the pu’erh any stronger. I did not do a rinse to ensure I don’t lose any tropical flavoring.

Tropical Pu’erh has a deep pu’erh smell, like I’m walking into a dark, muddy forest. A pretty dark, muddy forest.

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TASTE: Very deep, earthy, tree flavor followed up with a sweet wave of tropical flavor at end of sip. The tropical in this is kind of a mix of fruit juicy pineapple, maybe papaya and coconut. The sweetness reminds me of shou mei white tea. The after taste is more robusty pu’erh. There is no fishy or bitter taste.

I tossed in a bit of rock sugar for my first cup, and the tropical taste comes out much more. I really like the addition of the rock sugar here. At the bottom of my cup that was more sweeter, the pu’erh took on almost a caramelly taste.

I showed this tea to a friend and I sampled his cup, which he doctored with a bit of this tea with honey and milk – Tropical Pu’erh is very good with honey!

RESTEEP: No tropical taste that I can pick up. The pu’erh flavor is still there and very similar in strength. I wish I got the tropical flavoring in the resteep. I can tell I could get another steeping or two but it would be all pu’erh taste.

COMMENTS: I find Tropical Pu’erh a pretty interesting tea. You know those white or green flavored teas that the flavoring is light or pops out at the end? Tropical Pu’erh is like that, but with pu’erh. I love how the flavoring really pops with sweetener. I’m thinking this tea would be really neat to try with coconut milk and honey to pull out the tropical even more!

Tropical Pu’erh would also be a fun move for a black tea blend drinker to try pu’erh – this tea is good with sweetener and milk, the pu’erh taste is not fishy, so it would be an easy transition.

Overall, very interesting tea! If you like Pu’erh blends and want something different, try Kally Tea’s Tropical Pu’erh for something new!

Houji-genmaicha from Den’s Tea – Tea Review

Houji-genmaicha is a roasted green and rice tea from Den’s Tea, an online seller of Japanese green teas.

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DRY LEAF: Houji-genmaicha smells like roasted corn – kinda like the leftover overly brown kernels in an air popper.

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STEEPED: An interesting light brown and peachy coloured tea. It’s a little hard to see as I used a green cup verses something more functional to show the colour off. The smell of this tea is very roasted and strong.

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For the  steeping, I followed the directions on the tea package – 30 second steep in boiling water and resteep for 15 seconds in boiling water.

TASTE: Deep savory roasted rice and popcorn flavor. End of sip is a light sweetness that edges towards vegetal. Very clean, brothy and bright taste. Houji-genmaicha is light in green tea flavor, but is full flavored with the roasted ricey taste.

RESTEEP: Very similar flavor, but lighter in taste and a touch of buttery flavor. I actually like this resteeping more than the first steeping.

COMMENTS: I enjoy the roasted flavor of this tea and the resteep is delicious. I’m thinking this tea would be delicious paired with sushi or soba. Actually, I could see houji-genmaicha’s brothy, roasted rice flavor being a good dipping sauce, with some mentsuyu, for soba noodles. Maybe I’m crazy. If I try it, I promise to post it.

Genmaicha lovers who love the roasted rice taste more than the green tea should try this tea – Houji-genmaicha would be your dream tea. Houji-genmaicha

Cute Earl Grey Tea Pot Earrings!

I’ve been searching Etsy the last few weeks for some cute tea related jewelry. You know, so I can go out and show off my tea love, without always carrying a tea travel mug. I bought a couple things from different sellers, with this cute pair of earrings showing up first.

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I snagged these from The Dappy Bint on Etsy. These are the “Earl Grey” coloured earrings, however there many many more different tea pot colours available!

I also was very attracted to the “Green Tea” colour, but I settled for the grey tea pots as I figured it would match my clothes more.

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Close up, the little tea pots have little facets, making them sparkle a bit, despite being pretty light weight plastic material

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Sooo cute!

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Anyways, if ya love these earrings, check out The Dappy Bint‘s shop. Man, I can’t wait to go tea shopping while wearing these earrings!

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

EDIT: I had contacted The Dappy Bint that I did a blog post on her product, and she was happy to give me a coupon code to share!

OOLONGOWL for 20% off most things, the tea earrings etc, even multiple pairs!

Awww, now it’ll be harder for me to resist snagging those green tea pot earrings! Hmm, maybe the blueberry zinger ones…

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble from DavidsTEA – tea review

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble is a flavored bai mu dan white tea. This tea comes from DavidsTEA.

ALERT ALERT! This tea is on Last Chance legs! Snag it while you can! I had to review this tea before it disappears. 1, it be weird to review if no one could buy it anymore. 2, to hopefully direct others who love this tea to snag some before it is gone.

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DRY LEAF: Buttery, fruit, cinnamon and crumble scent! MMMmm!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble has bit bits of strawberries and rock sugar lumps. Finding the rock sugar lumps is like finding shiny treasure!

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The tea tin came to me dented and when I moved it got more dented – the only tea tin to get dented! Both a blessing and a curse, this tin is now freaking super air tight that I can barely open it. I have experienced many days of I feel like having Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble and I can’t open the tin, so I give up and move to something else. On desperate days, I run to my husband for help. Who then gets upset as he wants actual Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble, which I can’t do as rhubarb isn’t in season!

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STEEPED: As I pour this tea, strong cinnamon spice and fruityness smells blasted my face. An odd colour for a white tea – its darker than typical whites, with a brown gold twinge to it. I steeped Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble at 190F for 5 minutes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble from DavidsTEA - Oolong Owl Tea Review (5)Mr. Owly’s first appearance on Oolong Owl! He’s wearing his winter kimono!

TASTE: Warm and sweet cinnamony taste accented with leafy strawberry flavor. End of sip I get a teeny hint of tart and dryness mimicking rhubarb. Don’t worry, its a 1/10 on both tart and dry – serving a purpose. The sweetness in this tea is light and tastes more like a naturally sweet white tea  – but I’m sure the rock sugar has a presence to offset the tart. Rock sugar is magical for adding sweet without messing with flavor. I don’t find this tea overly sweet or in need of more sweetener personally, but I could see others wanting to add a bit more sugar.

COMMENTS: Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble is a neat tea – I love the concept and the flavor is good – though, I wish there was more of a buttery taste to be more like crumble.  Oddly, I served this tea to my Dad on Christmas – the spice and fruityness is a nice seasonal feel, despite rhubarb not being in season. Having a cup with my Dad is the best memory of this tea for me. I miss my Dad, who lives back in Canada.

It is always sad to see a favorite tea being discontinued or seasonal. Maybe discontinued teas don’t hit me not as hard as I prefer variety. I also can freaking horde a tea until it’s too old too drink, so the last cup will suck, so I don’t feel as sad. I also like the adventure of “questing” for similar teas.
Though, I feel for people who drink some teas as “staples” and those teas get discontinued. Hang in there, tea peeps!

If you like fruity, slightly cinnamony, light white teas – check Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble out! Snag it before it disappears!

Brazillionaire from DavidsTEA – tea review

Brazillionaire is a black tea that features brazil nuts and raisins. This tea comes from DavidsTEA.

I’ve been on more of a white and green tea kick. A couple month ago, my tea stash was mostly blacks and I started getting tired of all the black tea. I need variety! There is just so many black tea blends out there and I wish tea companies would experiment more with other teas! Anyways, I figured I should drink more black teas so I don’t get sick of all the white and greens I’ve been drinking. How about a pot of Brazillionaire?

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DRY LEAF: Smells very sweet and nutty.

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A very chunky tea with lots of huge flat raisins, wide bands of coconut and lumps of brazil nuts. Not the most pretty tea, but generous with the flavoring elements!

Brazillionaire from DavidsTEA - Oolong Owl Tea review (3)Those are brazil nuts! Whoa! I’m so eating those after I’m done my pot of tea!

STEEPED: Little bit of film on the top of this tea. Very smooth and nutty smell from the dark brown tea. I did a 4 minute steeping with boiling water. I tend to like DavidsTEA’s blacks to be steeped quicker to avoid strong black tea taste or bitterness.

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TASTE: Nutty, rich brazil nut flavor, rounded out by smooth coconut. Slightly sweet and a little raisin flavor. The whole tea is quite robust in flavor. The black tea hums along with the flavors, with no astringency or bitterness.
Sweetened, Brazillionaire becomes a dessert tea. The raisin and coconut taste pops out more with a nutty aftertaste.

COMMENTS: Brazillionaire, I recall, was marketed as a Father’s Day tea. I can see why as this tea has a pretty robust and full of flavor. My dad actually tried this tea and liked it, though he’s more of a coffee or chai kind of dad.

Overall, Brazillionaire is pretty solid and the nutty flavor is nice. Brazil nuts should be used more in teas, I think. They add a nice flavor, different than walnuts and stronger than almond. If you love nutty teas, give Brazillionaire a try.

Creamy Eggnog from Butiki Teas – Tea Review

Creamy Eggnog is a green tea with creamy eggnog flavors. This tea comes from Butiki Teas, an amazing online loose leaf tea seller!

Creamy eggnog? Yes, I’m taking about an eggnog tea. Yeah, it’s past christmas – I’m a little late on drinking this.

Creamy Eggnog - Butiki Teas - Oolong Owl Tea review

DRY LEAF: Good looking green tea, accented with a little red. Actually this tea come with more red bits, but they were mostly at the bottom of the bag, which I didn’t realized until after I took my pictures!

Creamy Eggnog - Butiki Teas - Oolong Owl Tea review

STEEPED: Gold colour tea with creamy sweet smells swirling out of my cup!

Creamy Eggnog - Butiki Teas - Oolong Owl Tea review

TASTE: WHAT KIND OF MAGIC IS THIS?! This tea tastes like eggnog! This tea is very creamy, with a creamy mouth feel that lingers in my mouth. There is delicious butteryness, sweetness, vanilla and eggy flavor in this tea. I love the base, huang mao feng, which is just nice and buttery. Not much vegetal taste in this tea, despite it being a green. No bitterness or dryness in this tea.

Butiki teas mentions to try this with a little brown sugar crystal to up the egg noggy taste (as if this tea needs more help with that). I enjoy this tea as is, but for you tea peeps, I added some of my rock sugar to see what happens. Yup, more egg nog taste – the sweetness bumps the egg flavor more.

RESTEEP: the tea is still buttery, slightly sweet and has a creamy aftertaste but not really any eggy flavor left. However, is still a good resteep to enjoy the green tea base.

COMMENTS: What I enjoy about egg nog is the creamy eggy taste and Butiki Tea’s Creamy Eggnog tea has it perfectly. Did you know this tea is vegan? Whoa! I was vegan for many years and I still do not drink dairy. I’d have this tea over soy/coconut eggnog. I was surprised this tea wasn’t spicy. I think that could be an easy fix if I really wanted more spice – steep it up with a cinnamon stick or grate a teeny bit of nutmeg – however I find the eggy taste is really good as is.

psst, Butiki Teas has Creamy Eggnog on sale until February 15th, 2013!

Artichoke Green from Adagio Teas – Tea Review

Artichoke Green is a green tea from Adagio Teas, an online tea seller.

I was thinking back to when I first ordered from Adagio and remembered I did order from them a bit before I got really into loose leaf teas. I had ordered a bunch of greens, whites and chai samplers.  I’m a fearless tea drinker – I ordered a lot of Adagio’s “weirder” teas, some being amazing, with others being the worst tea I’ve experienced /cough toasted sesame /cough.

But the teas I did like, I ordered quite a bit when sales came around. Artichoke Green being one of the teas I liked. Sadly, I have a pound of this tea. A freaking pound! I know now better to not order a pound, as I’m more of a variety person. Well, it was a pound, I’ve trimmed it down quite a bit by drinking it and giving it away as gifts and tea swaps.
DRY LEAF: Very VERY strong scent. Green Artichoke smells very sweet and veggie. It’s so strong, if you go in for a sniff, it hits you hard that you back off a bit. Interestingly, this tea is on the old side, but still smells and tastes the same since I’ve purchased it. Artichoke Green has a dark green leaf with a bit of yellow marigold accents.

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Since I ordered a pound, my tea came in a paper bag. I had quickly moved it to a tin, clipping the instructions and taping it to my tin.

Artichoke Green from Adagio Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (2)I love my IKEA tea tins. 

STEEPED: Pale yellow tea with a very vegetal smell. I’m also picking up a bit of a buttery smell as well. For this steeping, I did 175F for 3 minutes.

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TASTE: Light green tea taste, with a strong sweet and savory vegetal flavor. If you ever boiled artichokes, it tastes like that sweet smell that comes from the pot. The savory comes from a bit of buttery flavor. Artichoke green finishes with a sweet, tarty aftertaste. The sweetness in this tea almost resembles peach flavor. No bitterness in this tea though I’ve experienced this tea to get very grassy.

TIP: I found Artichoke Green can take a beating. I’ve oversteeped and overcooked this tea and it still performs well – it doesn’t become bitter, though it can get grassy. I usually keep this tea at work, where I don’t have a variable temperature kettle, or used it in tea travel glasses, leaving the tea to sit in the bottom of the glass until I finish it.

COMMENTS: Artichoke Green is on the weird side by name only – it be a tea some people would just pass on simply as it sounds too crazy, or adventurous types would be interested in trying. This is not a scary tea! Do not be afraid to try it!

This tea is pretty interesting to try for people who want more “flavoring” than tea taste as the sweet and savory flavor is quite strong.