Oolong Owl’s New Mexico Tea Company giveaway – CLOSED

Hello Tea Owls!

I’m having a small giveaway with New Mexico Tea Company! $10 Gift Certificate Coupon Code! SWEET!

What I like about New Mexico Tea Co is that they have 1oz sizes, nice diverse selection of teas and free shipping in the US!

They got some neat herbals that are really fruity. Yum, Pondi Cherry!

Pondi Cherry from New Mexico Tea Company - Oolong Owl Tea Review (4)

But also some adventurous pu’er like this Mandarin Orange filled pu’er.

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My favorite so far is Plum Oolong, which is fun to share with an Owl friend.

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With cool artwork for their tea labels. I’m a sucker for their Guayusa Spice just on picture alone, hoot.

GuayusaSpiceLabel

Also some cute tea names like Bohemian Raspberry!

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Winner will be emailed the coupon code, which they can use at their next order with New Mexico Tea Company!

Enter using the nifty Rafflecopter thing below! Giveaway ends September 1st 2013. Winner will be randomly selected via Rafflecopter. Open to everyone, though you might want a US address tea mule to take advantage of New Mexico Tea Company‘s free US shipping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plum Oolong from New Mexico Tea Company – Tea Review

Plum Oolong is a fruit enhanced wuyi oolong blend. This tea is from New Mexico Tea Company.

I do love my dark oolongs and I was pleasantly surprised to see a roasty oolong used in a fruit blend. More often I see green oolong blends as the buttery and floral elements make a great base for fruit. However, I love variety!

Plum Oolong from New Mexico Tea Company - Oolong Owl Tea Review (1)

By the way, love the 2oz packaging  of New Mexico Tea Company teas. They have neat photos or artwork with each tea which I’m a sucker for.

I’m slightly worried this Plum Oolong will be tart. I’ve tried a few plum teas, but often they are tart with hibiscus use. Let’s see how New Mexico Tea Company‘s take on plum tea goes.

Dry Leaf: Without being able to smell this oolong, appearance wise Plum Oolong looks like a roasted oolong. Deep brown black leaves that are long and slightly twisted.

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Plum Oolong smells candy sweet fruit, despite its traditional oolong appearance.

Steeping Instructions: The package states 180F for 3 minutes. I used 185F water due to kettle restrictions.

My cup of Plum Oolong has a deep red colour tinted with brown. Very much reminds me of a plum! The tea lightly smells like plums with a hint of floral.

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Taste: Plum Oolong sips down smooth but with quite a bit of interest. The flavors of the tea are light to moderate in level with some nutty walnut notes with hint of roast. The sip perks into a fruity plum flavor accented with a teeny floral perfume and roastyness that all intensifies as an aftertaste. The aftertaste is fantastic, but fleeting. No tart or bitterness at all! Wow!

To expand on the plum flavoring – Plum Oolong does taste a bit flat, but still convincingly plummy and tasty. Plums do kind of range in flavor. My personal favorite plums are the pluot plum (I know, they aren’t 100% plums, but they are tasty!). The plum flavoring here is similar to these plums:

italianplum

Resteep: I resteeped the leaves for 4 minutes. This steeping’s flavor drops about 25%, so overall light in flavor. The second steeping has the same flavor notes as the first, but with a creamy silky texture to the lips, which is quite nice! End of sip has a slight astringency with the plum notes – very similar to that dry taste of eating plum skin.

Resteep #2: 7 minute steeping. The fleeting plum flavor is gone! I’m left with a light flavored, roasty, nutty, creamy oolong – very smooth and no dryness. I could probably resteep at least one more time, but I’m wanting more plum flavoring. Though, blends like this don’t typically hold onto their flavorings, so I’m happy I did get one good resteep.

Iced: Wow, the flavor changes when Plum Oolong is iced! I steeped Plum Oolong strong with a little german rock sugar. I poured the tea over ice. The plum flavor is throughout the sip with a stronger floral presence but a light 2/10 Floral-o-meter rating. The iced tea also has a honey like flavor, without honey added. I am surprised how sweet this tea tastes with adding just a little bit of sweetener. The base adds a slight earthy vibe in the background, which would appeal to a black iced tea drinker.

Comments: New Mexico Tea Company‘s  Plum Oolong is a lovely treat – good roasty oolong base with a tasty plum flavor. I highly suggest trying Plum Oolong both hot and cold!

I can see Plum Oolong being a great tea to serve for guests as it is easy to drink and flexible to serve hot or iced.

Bonus:

Purple Owl  admiring my watermelon nails!

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Yunnan Sourcing Tea order! Pu’er Cakes and an awesome gaiwan!

Usually I just post what I get in the mail on my Oolong Owl Facebook page, however this Yunnan Sourcing.com order was pretty epic. It wasn’t a huge order, but an interesting one.

By the way, if you aren’t familar with Yunnan Sourcing, they have 2 sites – the China based one,  Yunnan Sourcing.com and the US based one, Yunnan Sourcing.us. My order was with the China based one, as one of these items is only on sale there at the moment.

First off, my order took a few weeks to arrived as I cheaped out on shipping. Hey, more money for tea! I have enough tea to keep me afloat for awhile (cough, a year).

WOW THAT’S A LOTTA STAMPS!

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And lots of bubble wrap!

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Each item, including the sample, and even more excessively the teaware, was super coated in bubble wrap and packing tape.  Yunnan Sourcing always does a crazy, yet effective job in wrapping packages.

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Huge pile of bubble wrap!

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What I got:

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2012 Yunnan Sourcing “Qiu Yun” Wild Arbor Raw Pu-erh tea of Yi Wu mountain! Smells kinda like raisins.

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2012 Yunnan Sourcing “Dragon of Jing Mai” Ripe Pu-erh tea mini cake – this one smells.. oh my! Very robusty earthy!

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Bonus Sample!

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Finally, my long awaited gaiwan of my dreams! I love the colour gradient, spout and handles!

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The lid has a lip and holes, which line up with the handle/spout. The inside of the gaiwan also has some wonderful glaze texture.

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It also came with a steel filter, but the lid works without out. I’m probably not going to use the filter – I did a quick test without the filter and the gaiwan filtered out the leaves a little better than the typical gaiwan thanks to the lid design.

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Now, how does it pour? Freaking fantastic! Only one issue came up – the gaiwan is a little wide for me to hold with my small hands. My hands are pretty small, I use small MMA gloves in brazilian jiujitsu and they always fall off, so maybe this gaiwan won’t be a problem for most of you.

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I’m super happy with my Yunnan Sourcing.com order – if you are a pu’er lover or want some really nice tea ware, check them out!

Green Caramel from The Persimmon Tree – Tea Review

Green Caramel is an organic green tea accented with caramel pieces, rooibos, toasted rice and marigold petals. This fun tea blend is from The Persimmon Tree, an online tea seller.

 I had ordered this tea as a sample awhile back. It was so delicious, I horded it until I received some more from The Persimmon Tree. Let’s dig in!

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Dry Leaf: This is one of those teas you put in the front of your tea collection so it is quickly within reach. Green Caramel is on my list of “teas I open to have my friends smell” as it smells DELICIOUSLY GOOEY CARAMEL with a hint of smoke.

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The Persimmon Tree doesn’t mess around either. Nice big green tea leaves, accented with lots of bits of flowers, toasted rice things and globs of caramel.

Yes this is caramel. No, I don’t want to eat it as it’ll compromise my tea.

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It is actually pretty squishy caramel.

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For fun, I smushed mine into an owl. He has a green tea eye patch… Shiver me Tea-mbers! Hoot!

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Steeping Instructions: Following the guidelines on the back of the tea tin, I steeped this tea for 2.5 minutes with 175F water.

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I do suggest leafing a little heavier with this tea for stronger flavor – 1.5 teaspoons or 2 teaspoons of dry leaf per cup of hot water works very well!

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The caramel does melt into the tea, despite the low water temperature. My cup of Green Caramel is cloudy gold-brown.

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Taste: Delicious! Green Caramel sips in as rich, creamy, slightly sweet, and a hint of toasty-nutty, balanced with a buttery green. The match up of the sweet caramel with the sweet buttery green tea goes together very well! Green Caramel is well blended so that one can both enjoy the creamy caramel, as well as the green tea – neither element is drowned out by the other. The creaminess in this tea adds a smooth texture to the mouth and lips while sipping.

Comments: Green Caramel is a sweet treat of a tea, without being overly sweet and high in caffeine. I love the pairing of the caramel and green tea, as caramel flavoring seems more common in black tea blends.

The Persimmon Tree‘s Green Caramel is a fantastic green tea blend and is an Oolong Owl favorite!

Now, if I can only reach for Green Caramel tea instead of eating chocolate caramel candies…

(tea provided for review)

Oolong Owl Tea Experiment: The Ice Steeping Method

First of all, this is the first post of OolongOwl.com! I’m happy to of made the move to my own domain and webspace! 

Yunomi.us posted an interesting method of steeping tea – Ice Steeping. The idea of this tea steeping method is for the tea leaves to steep away as the ice melts.

I do plenty of iced teas (hot tea chilled) and cold steeping (tea steeped in cold water in the fridge) but steeping just with ice is a new idea to me! Ice Steeping apparently works best with spring harvested teas, like gyokuro. I got some fantastic gyokuro, Kurihara Tea’s Heritage Gyokuro, which I will be using today!

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Today seems like a good day to try this technique out – my kitchen isn’t totally functional at the moment. My husband assembled a new kitchen island, so my counters are so piled up with stuff that I can’t get to my electric kettle.

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I used 5 grams of the Heritage Gyokuro (or half the package of my 10g sample) and added it to my teapot. As always, lovely deep vibrant green tea leaf appearance!

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I then filled the teapot with ice. The tea will steep in the melting ice, how cool is that?

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The steeping took around 2.5 hours, I can see steep time may vary depending on the temperature of your home.

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The result: Pretty strong tea! There was a strong grassy, yet mellowness going on first sip, with a bit of buttery and sweetness.

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This cup is too strong for me though, so I topped up my cup with some filtered cold water.

With additional water, the gyokuro has a flavor similar to cold steeping, but with a little reminder of hot steeping due to the strength of the tea and plenty of unami notes. I’m picking up a great grassy flavor, loads of mellow, buttery and unami notes. The tea finishes off crisp and refreshing with a bit of a grapefruit citrus note. Very smooth texture here, leaving a buttery texture on the lips with no bitterness and lots of unami. As always, Yunomi’s gyokuro is lovely!

Reflecting on this steeping technique, I can imagine results could vary quite a bit with melting time causing the tea to steep longer or quicker depending on outside temperature, thus big potential of flavor variation. I wonder if putting the tea and ice in the fridge would effect the flavor? I wonder what would happen if I froze the tea in ice, and melted it? I do like that this steeping method is faster than cold steeping in the fridge.

Either way, if you feel like trying some tea steeping experimentation, try this Ice Steeping method out! Please share with us if you have any interesting findings!

 

Bonus!

Barney the Owl wants to pour you a cup of tea!

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Peppermint Patty Tea from Butiki Teas – Tea Review

Peppermint Patty is a herbal tea made of vegan chocolate chips, organic marshmallow leaf, organic peppermint. This caffeine free and vegan friendly tea is from Butiki Teas.

Yay, Butiki Teas! I haven’t done an order with them for awhile and with this latest order I ordered a lot! Oohhh yeah!

Mintea the Owl was excited – finally a mint tea for him to help review!

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Dry Leaf: Opening the tea package, Peppermint patty is a blast of sweet mint and chocolate!  I can sense that white smushy middle of the mint filling and melty chocolate coating! It is seriously like unwrapping the actual candy, without the sticky chocolate on the fingers.

The tea has a generous amount of chocolate chips! Wow!

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Steeping Instructions: I followed package instructions: 5 minute steep with boiling water.

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I gave the gravity steeper a good swirl to get all the chocolate to dissolve before pouring the tea into my cup. This was after I was able to pry the owl off the gravity steeper.

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The tea is a cloudy light brown tea that smells like light hot cocoa and mint. In a coloured cup, it looks quite dark.

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Taste: Peppermint Patty sips in lightly at first – like flying on a big fluffy and smooth cloud in a light minty breeze. That cloud drifts you into a drizzle of milky chocolate ending with a crunch of mint. There is a lingering aftertaste of both creamy chocolate and mint.

As I drink the Peppermint Patty tea down, it becomes more chocolately, I’m guessing the chocolate flavoring is sinking to the bottom. By the way, no bitterness or dryness in this tea.

This tea very much so tastes like a peppermint patty, but at 50% less sweetness. There is enough sweetness here for me for it to taste like a dessert! I love the sweetness level as is, but one could add some rock sugar to enhance the chocolate flavor.

Comments: Peppermint Patty? Very tasty! I do love peppermint tea and the chocolate flavoring matches perfectly to the peppermint patty candy!

If you love peppermint tea, I highly suggest trying Peppermint Patty from Butiki Teas! The blend is fantastic and well executed to make an awesome late night dessert tea!

Bonus:

“Hands off my tea! This is Mintea’s tea!! Hoot!”

 

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Jasmine Black Pearls from DAVIDsTEA – Tea Review

Jasmine Black Pearls is an organic black tea offering from DAVIDsTEA. This tea is listed in the Web Specials at DAVIDsTEA‘s online store – with that said, if you want this tea you should act quickly!!

I do like my floral teas, but most often floral is present in white, green and oolong teas rather than blacks. I was doing a tea order with a friend and he spotted Jasmine Black Pearls. I totally didn’t notice this tea when browsing around DAVIDsTEA. I don’t drink much unflavored blacks and own some regular black pearls from another tea company. My eyes just skimmed past assuming its another black pearl tea that looks like bunny nuggets. Though, the combination of jasmine and black tea made me quite curious on how this tea would turn out.

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Dry Leaf: Large black and brown striped balls of tea that are quite heavy and tight feeling. The tea smells strongly like jasmine!

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The tea attracts an orange owl, wondering who dropped their owl pellets. Eww.

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Steeping Instructions: I followed the instructions on the package – 200F for 4 minutes using 3 balls. I added 1 minute per resteep.

What is fun about black pearl teas is watching them unfold!

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The tea is a deep, yet glowy woody brown colour with the scent of jasmine.

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Taste: Okay, I took a sip right away and found this tea on the harsh bitter side. Great, I thought, this tea would be a pain to drink. I let the tea sit for 5 minutes while I prepared the resteep, as I like to chain drink my resteeps.

5 minutes later, Jasmine Black Pearls really mellowed out. The tea sips down really easy with a fantastic sweet earthy smoothness that tastes like a warm, thick treed forest. The flavor glides with sweet floral jasmine honey notes without any bitterness or dryness. The black tea base is on the lighter side here, it’s not thick or robust, but strong, silent type of black tea. Jasmine Black Pearls has an interesting balance of the strength of black tea with the delicateness of the floral. 4/10 on the Floral-o-meter by the way – the floral is present throughout sip, but is not overpowering. Also, florals do some interesting tricks to the mind – sometimes tasting like fruit. A couple sips I found the jasmine here tasted slightly like dark raisins!

Resteep: Jasmine Black Pearls‘ second steeping came out lighter in black tea earthy wood flavor, but stronger in the floral department – a 5/10. The tea finishes off slightly malty.

Pretty nice quality on the tea leaves too. After the resteep, the balls have broken apart leaving quite large leaves.

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Another Resteep: The third steeping of Jasmine Black Pearls has slightly spiced notes of pepper and cinnamon, with a light moderate jasmine floral that is nicely sweet, similar to previous infusions.

Comments: Looking for an easy black tea to drink? Jasmine Black Pearls is very smooth, lightly floral and sweet. This tea would be fantastic during mid work day when you need to relax yet have some black tea caffeine give you an energy hit!

I’m not a huge black tea fan but I quite liked Jasmine Black Pearls due to its smoothness and lack of bitterness. If you are mostly a green/white/oolong drinker wanting to move into black tea territory, Jasmine Black Pearls would be a great choice!

edit bonus:

Jasmine Black Pearls totally reminds me of this EXO-M song! Must be the name, “Black Pearl”.

Guava Cadabra from DAVIDsTEA – Tea Review

Guava Cadabra is a caffeine-free herbal fruit blend from DAVIDsTEA. This blend features mango, apple, hibiscus, elderberries, and guava crunchies. Guava Cadabra is DAVIDsTEA‘s Tea of the Month for July 2013.

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Guava seems to be an uncommon ingredient in tea. Actually, even seeing guavas in stores is uncommon, unless I go to specialty markets. Guavas remind me of a coworker I had who would often eat them like a giant apple – walking around the office with this large green fruit in his hand, taking large bites out of it.

I ordered this tea as guava is tasty, unique and I do love my fruity herbals. Many of DAVIDsTEA‘s fruity herbals are fantastic, too!

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Oh cool, nutritional facts!

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Dry Leaf: The tea is chunky. I gave the bag a good toss to ensure the ingredients are combined, however the tea is so fruity chunky that it likes to mold into shape of my teaspoon. Reaching in with fingers, some of the bits are slightly sticky (and tasty!) so I’d be sure to correctly store this tea and use quickly.

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Lots of interesting bits: sugary mango cubes, deep red hibiscus strands, itty bitty elderberries, mystery chunks and apple lumps.

The smell? OOOH MAN SO GOOD! Smells strongly sweet and fruity!

Steeping Instructions: I followed the packaging instructions and used boiling water, steeping the tea for 7.5 minutes.

Interestingly, in a gravity steeper the tea is a cute cloudy pink colour that reminds me of guava flesh.

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When poured into the cup, the hibiscus steps in and turns the blend into a deep orange red.

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Annoyingly, Guava Cadabra jams up my gravity steeper – the large, smushy chunks of fruit cover up the filter so the tea pours slowly! (FYI, no damage to the steeper, the steeped bits rinse away easily)

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Taste: First sip, slightly watery in flavor intensity with a hint of hibiscus with a little tart. Tart-o-meter? 3/10. The tart is slight and all hibiscus, that thankfully isn’t overused here. Throughout the sip, the fruityness develops into an interesting, complex and exotic combination. I get a little mango smoothness, apple sweet and a lot of guava/pear/berry notes. The tea finishes sweet, but moreso sugar sweet than natural sweet. The fruity aftertaste lingers on for awhile after drinking this tea.

Sweetened: adding some german rock sugar nuked all the tart out of Guava Cadabra making it pretty much like fruit juice and candy. There is a mystery light creamy feel to this tea that reminds me of mango and guava flesh. YUM! I do miss a little tart as it tastes more like guava. It is really easy to over sweeten this tea as there is some sugar already in the blend.

Iced: I’m pretty sure DAVIDsTEA planned this to be an iced tea. I steeped Guava Cadabra double strength and poured over a tumbler of ice.

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I decided to not add any sweetener just to see how it would taste. The flavor is pretty yummy iced! The mix of tropical mango and guava is crisp and candy-like with a little hibiscus tart. Much less tart here 1/10 on the Tart-o-meter and it is much sweeter. I could add a little sugar, but is good as is.

Mintea Owl has been lurking in a DAVIDsTEA tin since I unwrapped them, however this cup of iced tea is tempted him to leave the tin!

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Comments; The more I drink Guava Cadabra, the more it entrances me – the fun exotic flavors are very tasty! It has a great crispness and interest without being flat in flavor. It is on the sweet side however, so be careful when adding additional sweetener (if that is even needed). FYI, this tea is fairly heavy – I made 1 cup hot and 2 tumblers of iced tea and I’m easily 50% through my 50g package.

I prefer this tea cold and I like how I don’t need to add additional sweetener to it. This would be a great tea for kids and fruity herbal fans!

Mad Tea Party Blend from Disney Wonderland Tea – Tea Review

Mad Tea Party blend is an indian black tea flavored with peach, apricot, ginger, safflower and calendula petals. This tea was purchased at Disneyland, under the brand Disney Wonderland Tea.

My best friend/sister loves going to Disneyland. Of course, since I now live in Southern California, when she came to visit me, she went to Disneyland, like she does every time she’s in the area. Me? I went to Disneyland when I was 6 years old. These days I see the $90+ 1 day ticket price and pass – that’s lots of tea, yarn, nail polish, stuff owls and frozen yogurt I could buy instead. Anyways, last time she went, she surprised me with a tin of this tea. They also have a couple other flavors (Mint, Pomegranate, Mango Green, Topsy Turvy, Blueberry Green, English Breakfast, Papaya Passion Fruit, Chai, French Vanilla, Lemon Honey Chamomile, Earl Grey, and Jasmine Green) and come in bagged form as well!

If you can’t make it to Disneyland, you can also buy this tea on Amazon or try your luck on Ebay and such. I’ve given this tea out as tea swaps a few times, joking it as “my local tea”.

The tin of this tea is SUPER CUTE!

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Dry Leaf: Mad Tea Party blend has a sweet peachy smell to it. Quite nice! Attractive appearance too with thin waves of black tea with orange and yellow petals.

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Uncold Tea: I’m taking this from my previous Steepster taste log as it is too hot outside for me to want hot tea. This tea is a brisk, black tea with apricot flavoring with a zing of ginger end of sip. Mad Tea Party Blend also has a moderate amount of bitterness from the black tea. This black tea is best made with sweetener, milk or iced.

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Iced: I prepared this tea double strength, steeped 3 minutes, poured over ice and a little light agave syrup. I love having an ice machine in my fridge – no need to follow the directions to curtsey to save time!

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There’s something classic about iced black tea that has that brisk, earthy bite to it, which this tea has. Mid sip there is a vibe of spicy ginger adding an interesting warmth and added earthyness to this iced tea. The tea finishes with a tasty apricot peach aftertaste that lingers. There’s a slight bitter aftertaste, similar to the hot version, but not as strong. I’m sure if I added more sugar I could counter all the bitterness.

Comments: Mad Tea Party Blend tea flavor = fair. Ginger peach is a common tea flavoring and off the top of my head, I’ve had better peach ginger flavoring from Steep City’s Ginger Zinger and better black tea base with Teajo’s Tropical Mango black tea.

Packaging, collectible factor and tin design – awesome! These Disney teas are an irresistible of a tea buy if you love tea and Disney stuff!! If I actually do haul my crazy owl butt to Disneyland, I will get more of these tins!

All Day Oolong from Teascent – Tea Review

All Day Oolong is a fresh, light floral oolong from teascent, a UK based tea seller.

Interestingly teascent only sells oolong tea, with 4 types of oolong. The one we’ll be trying today is the All Day Oolong, which is a Ali Shan Oolong in bagged form. By the way, their website is adorable! Plus, this Troutie tote bag is awesome!

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Dry Leaf: Nice smell on the oolong! All Day Oolong has a comforting smell like fresh baked bread.

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Appearance wise is kind of smashed up, more smashed up compared to teascent‘s photos. However, this tea came in a paper envelope from the UK to California, so it can have some expected damage.

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Steeping Instructions: teascent’s brewing method for their oolongs is using boiling water for 2-4 minutes, with 4 minute resteeps.

Following that, I steeped for 3 minutes. I didn’t use the tea bag because that’s how I roll!

All day oolong from teascent - Oolong Owl tea review (6)

The result is a buttery and lightly floral cup of golden bronze tea.

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Taste: All Day Oolong has a slightly creamy texture on the lips throughout the sip. Up front, a super light floral, 1/10 on the Floral-o-meter, a little grassy notes mixed with a buttery coppery mineral flavor. End of sip goes lighter in flavor, with a bit of floral grassyness lingering. The overall flavor level is light-moderate and easy to drink.

Resteep: The 4 minute resteep of All Day Oolong is even lighter. The tea is a light, buttery flavor with a silky texture that fills my mouth. The aftertaste is sweet floral notes. Very good resteep.

Cold Steep: I cold steeped this oolong overnight. The main flavor is a lovely silky butteryness, with hints of grass and floral.

Comments:  I wish I had more to play with for steeping times or gongfu brewing to find more complexities, but overall teascent‘s All Day Oolong is a lovely starter oolong – not too floral or grassy. True to its name, it’s lightness makes it an easy to drink tea that one could sip away at all day.

(tea provided for review)