Sexy Chai from Steep City Teas – Tea Review

Sexy Chai is a black chai blend featuring floral elements of lavender and rose. This fun, sexy take on chai is from Steep City Teas.

Hmmm, this is the first chai for me to review here at Oolong Owl. I’ll give you tea owlets some background on my chai history. During my last year of university, I loved SPICY chais. I actually burned my tongue on too much spice once when I added multiple tea bags for one cup of tea. After university, I had a bad run in with cardamon, so I stopped getting chais, especially with cardamon in it. These days, I purchase the occasional interesting chai blend. Sexy Chai caught my eye for its floral elements, so I bought it with my last Steep City order.

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DRY LEAF: Upon opening the package, the tea smells really strong – a mix of chai spice with lavender.

Very pretty appearance, as always with Steep City Teas, with the tea a rainbow of floral over the black tea backdrop.

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Closer inspection of the dry leaf, it appears to be a blend of black tea and a CTC type tea, along with spicy bits, rose, lavender and jasmine buds.

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STEEPED: I followed the steeping instructions on the package:

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The result was a burnt amber cup of tea that smells floral and spicy – what a cool combo!

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TASTE: Without cream or sugar, Sexy Chai has a brisk, clean, bold tasting black tea that is free of bitterness, though a gentle peek of dryness – 2/10 on the Astringe-o-meter. The spice can be tasted – especially the ginger and clove, with a bit of cinnamon and cardamon too. 5/10 on the Spice-o-meter – the spice is moderate and not over the top. There is plenty of floral going on in Sexy Chai – adding romance to the tea with smooth-talking lavender and a teeny sweetness from the jasmine and rose.

LATTE: You tea peeps knew a latte was coming – chai lattes are amazing! But can they be sexy? I made my latte with soy milk and german rock sugar. Sexy Chai as a latte is really smooth, cuddly and soothing from the smooth-talking lavender, with a bit of spice adding a bit of sexy kick.

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COMMENTS: Attention Chai lovers – you will fall in love with Steep City’s Sexy Chai! If you are looking for a fun chai, check this tea out!

The combination of the floral and spice is fantastic! I really admire the use of lavender in this tea blend. The lavender in this blend is at a perfect level – I can taste the lavender, but it is not too much to overpower or make the blend taste like soap.  Even with multiple cups of this tea, the floral level was very consistent! Expertly blended from Steep City Teas!

 

Mandala Phatty Cake from Mandala Tea – Tea Review

Mandala Phatty Cake is an exclusive, ripe (shu) pu’er 2011 cake from Mandala Tea!

My tea collection is on the high side and as 2013 first flush teas are starting to be sold, I’m freaking out. All those greens and white teas I have in my stash that I need to drink now! I dislike stale tea. Then I started thinking, hey, pu’er teas get better with age! I should get some and I don’t have to worry about my teas going stale. So I researched! Mandala Tea caught my eye for having some good pu’er. After trying to figure out what to get, conversation with Mandala Tea themselves, I put in an order of a couple cakes and other goodies. Mandala Phatty Cake was on my list, but I went with another ripe cake instead – and Mandala was super cool in giving me a surprise sample of Phatty cake!

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I thought I’d start off trying this sample before I start tea knifing my cakes!

DRY CAKE: Mmmmm, the chunks of this tea smell like incense that has burned down and earth.

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Gaiwan time!

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Steeping instructions: I did a quick rinse and used boiling water for this tea. Mandala Tea also has Tea Brewing 101 on instructions how to steep their teas. I like shorter steeps, so I started at 15 seconds for the first couple steepings and added 15 seconds to each infusion.

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First Infusion: The colour seems a little light. Maybe I should of done a second rinse. The cup smells deliciously earthy and like wild mushrooms. No fishyness or funky fermentation funk! The cup of very clean tasting, like as if I’m drinking the vibrant earth from the forest where elves live (NERRRD!). A little light though.

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Second Infusion: Mandala Phatty Cake is now a deep, black brown colour of tea. It’s bold, it’s full flavored, it’s sweet! It has earthy, dark chocolate, wild mushroom and smokey notes. Very smooth and addictive texture too!

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Third Infusion: … and POW, Mandala Phatty Cake is switching into high gear! This cup is the darkest round of tea and loaded with flavor. So bold, tabaccoy and a hint of spice, but also sweet. It’s like tucking into a really rich coffee cake with raisins. Oh man, I’d love to have a slice of coffee cake with this tea! No bitterness or astringency, by the way.

I’m starting to feel invigorated!

Fourth and Fifth Infusion: Another flavor shift, despite being a touch lighter in colour than the last infusion. Much more earthy, bright and sweet – love it! I’d love to eat a cinnamon roll with this tea.

Sixth, Seventh Infusion: SUPER CHARGED TEA DRUNK! Each sip is a surge of life! I’m getting a little salty mineral notes, like dark soy sauce, mushrooms, raisins and earth. Can I make this tea into a stir fry sauce? Freaking fantastic infusions!

I am a metal music gal at heart, but I think it’s time to bust out some K-pop dance moves. I should of bought those pastel green pants at Forever 21 last month…

Eighth and Ninth Infusion: The Mandala Phatty Cake has shifted lighter, but we are still partying here at Oolong Owl! It has that crisp, saturated, earthy flavor of steamed banana leaf wrapped around sticky rice. Sweet, roasty, smokey, smooth and fresh.

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Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth Infusion: The bold, mushroom flavor is greatly stripped away and I’m left with smokey sweet earth with a kiss of spice. Since the 7th or so steeping, I’ve found this tea easy to drink, drinking each cup faster each time.

Mandala Phatty Cake - Oolong Owl Tea review (12)mmm, delicious!

Thirteenth and Fourteenth infusions: The smokey notes have disappeared now but there are still plenty of sweetness and savory woodsyness left. I think I could get a few more infusions, but I’m done for the day!

COMMENTS: Why is Mandala Phatty Cake called phatty cake? I’m guessing since it’s a chubby-shaped cake? To me, it’s all the munchies this tea took me through, without having to eat them!

My favorite infusions were the middle and last ones, though the first 3 infusions really slammed me with great boldness!

I gotta say, though I’m new to pu’er cakes, this  Mandala Phatty Cake sample was a great experience. I love the transition of the flavor and the raisin sweetness was very appealing to me. $15 for a little cake is inexpensive step into the world of ripe pu’er! For a future Mandala Tea order, I could see the entire Phatty Cake sneaking into my cart!

Now if you excuse me, me and the owls are gonna crash.

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Oolong Owl’s First Tuocha

I had met some other tea lovers in person from Steepster the other weekend and we had a tea swap. One had brought a baggie filled with pu’er tuochas. I was happy to take some off her hands!

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The problem? We weren’t sure what tuocha was what, since there was very little English on the packaging. She did inform me there was some sheng/raw pu’er in there, but not sure which ones. I’m not experienced enough to tell any of the little cakes by smell, if that is even possible to do.

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To my surprise, Tuochas are smaller than I thought they would be – the size of a Canadian Loonie.

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Sooo cute! I love mystery bags, so I grabbed one tuocha at random to try!

Unwrapping the little tea was like opening candy!

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Hmmm, this tuocha is green. I think I scored a sheng!

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Quick! To the gaiwan!

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I did a rinse, which didn’t do much to the tuocha.

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Oh well, let’s steep! It was really neat to see the tea turn from a smooth lump to develop texture.

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After the first official steeping, the tuocha.. well, it looks like a donut to me.

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From the tuocha, I got a nice golden cup of tea that tasted buttery and smokey, or in a more fun description – if I tossed a stick of butter on the grill and ate it.. if it didn’t melt.

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Second steeping the tuocha began to flake off the.. donut.

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Further steepings, the donut dissolved more and more, losing structure…

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.. and became a seaweedy lump.

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Around 5 or 6 steepings, the tuocha finally lost all its form.

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The flavor of this tuocha went from grilled butter, to grassy green smoke, to bloom a strong floral flavor and then finally astringent. Very tasty!

I quite enjoyed this little tuocha. I also got a large number of steepings, but unfortunately I didn’t keep track. I had company come over and I was refilling the gaiwan and sipping while I was chatting.

The tuocha was dirt easy to deal use – even less work than using a teabag and much better flavor! I keep some good quality teabags in my purse – I think I will smuggle a few tuochas too and try them out on the go. LOL, I’m already snooty for when I’m out, I ask for hot water and provide my own tea. I’m picturing the next time I’m stuck at Denny’s for breakfast and I toss in a tuocha in my hot water! Muuuuahahahahahaaaaa!

BONUS PIC!

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Coconut Oolong from Zen Tea – Tea Review

Today’s tea review is the lovely Coconut Oolong from ZenTeaLife.com!

I got this tea as a free sample awhile back and drank it all! It was soooo good! When I was making a  ZenTeaLife.com order, Coconut Oolong was a no brainer addition to my shopping cart.

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DRY LEAF: Very creamy coconut smell!

The leaves are quite large, and a wonderful rich green colour, oooh yum!

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STEEPED: I did a 190F steep for 3 minutes. Lovely dark gold cup of tea here!

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Uggg and I filled my cup too high! I was stuck sipping my tea cup off the kitchen counter until it was safe for me to be able to lift my cup without spilling hot tea everywhere!

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Coconut Oolong smells very creamy and coconutty!

TASTE: Lovely bao zhong oolong that is lightly floral and vegetal, with a creamy, silky sweet coconut flavor. The coconut is very natural tasting with the creamy texture making me sense the smooth young coconut flesh. YUM! The floral is around a 4/10 on the Floral-o-meter. No bitterness or astringency.

RESTEEP: Sadly, little coconut flavor remains, however the oolong is very delicious on its own. The bao zhong is light floral, sweet and bright. Still no bitterness or astringency.

COLD STEEPED: I cold steeped my Zen Tea Coconut Oolong for about 12 hours. The tea is much more sweeter and milky! The coconut and full flavored and sweet! The creamy coconut is still slightly silky, coating the tongue. The oolong is refreshing, crisp, slightly grassy with a hint of floral. The floral is moving just a tinge bitter, so I wouldn’t steep this for more than 8 hours or so.

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COMMENTS: There’s a number of coconut oolong teas out there, but this one from Zen Tea is my favorite so far. I love the combination of the bao zhong and coconut as the combination of floral grassy oolong with coconut is simple, yet complex at the same time.

Zen Tea also has a Coconut Green, which was also pretty good – it’s not floral, but more buttery (if I remember correctly). I prefer the Coconut Oolong for the wonderful floral. Mmm, very yummy! Check Coconut Oolong or Coconut Green if you are a coconut lover!

White Pu’erh: Mandarin Orange from New Mexico Tea Co – Tea Review and Experience

White Pu-erh: Mandarin Orange is an aged white tea pu-erh presented inside a real mandarin orange! This tea is from New Mexico Tea Company.

The description of making this White Pu-erh: Mandarin Orange tea: “From the careful plucking of centuries old tea bushes, to the rolling on wide wicker baskets to the natural wood fires used to flash heat the mandarin orange peel, everything is done entirely by hand. Firing the orange peel serves to kill any microorganisms that may be present.”

Okay, that is hardcore. However, I purely bought one of these oranges because it seemed really cool and crazy that there’s tea stuffed inside!

DRY LEAF: The tea is wrapped twice – once with the label,

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And another time with a shrink wrap.

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As I remove the shrink wrap, the peel of the orange is very thin and brittle, easily falling apart and making a huge mess. You are not supposed to steep the peel, which is kinda tricky at first as all those bits falling off can be mistaken for leaves, or have leaves stuck on them.

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Once I got the plastic off, the orange has a… dusty smell. Unexciting.

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The leaves kinda look like fuzzy spider legs! ewwwww!

Mandarin Pu-er white tea from New Mexico Tea Co - Oolong Owl Tea Review (5)Mr. Owly wasn’t impressed either. He went back to eating his beef jerky.

The next challenge, flaking off the tea I want to drink! Thankfully, the tea isn’t compressed too tightly, so I was able to carefully tweeze out some leaves with my fingers. Ugg, this is a mess. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come when I try out my first pu’er cake.

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It looks like you’ll get 3 or 4 servings of tea from 1 orange.

STEEPED:  I followed the steeping instructions on the website: 185F. I decided to go short steeps to get more out of this freaky tea orange. I used my glass gaiwan for this crazy orange tea!

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Brew orange tea, brew!

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A sunny yellow colour of tea! The colour kind of looks like a chamomile. The tea has a weird dry smell to it.

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WAHHH! Owly photobomb!

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First, Second and Third Infusion: (30, 40 seconds) Quite a delicate pu’erh! This tastes kinda like a Bai Mu Dan with a spike of mandarin orange in it. It’s slightly honey sweet, roasty and a bit of floral and grass going on. However, this tea was not like a Bai Mu Dan white as it seemed there was more levels of flavors going on, and not as crisp and fresh tasting. No bitterness or dryness in this tea.

Fourth Infusion: (60 seconds) This is much less like a regular white tea now. There is a linen like note coming out now. The slight floral has a chrysanthemum vibe to it. The orange note is still present, really melding together with the grassy taste.

I love the how the tea leaves looked after a bunch of steepings. The leaves got bigger and dark, looking really cool from the side of my glass gaiwan.

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Fifth and Sixth Infusion (90 , 120 seconds) The white pu’erh is getting sweeter and more crisp. The orange flavor has now vanished, The taste has turned kind a little creamy here too.

Seventh Infusion (3 minutes) I think this tea is done, this infusing is very light and just slightly flavored.

COMMENTS: I’m still picking up bits of orange peel on the floor and counter. Hmmm.. how do I package up the rest of this orange? Oh crap… well, it came in plastic so I’ll just put it back in its plastic baggie for now, maybe wrap it in tissue later.

Overall, White Pu-erh: Mandarin Orange was a neat pu’erh to try. It was very different, though seemed pricey at $4 per orange for 4 tea session. I would probably try another orange, you can get them with green or black tea. If you love pu’er and want a different spin on it, try one of these White Pu-erh: Mandarin Oranges,

Hmmm.. I wonder if they stuff tea in something bigger.. pomelo? Oh shoot yes they do! How about a melon? SCORE! Durian? …not yet apparently, someone get on that!

Liquid Jade from Art of Tea – Tea Review

Liquid Jade is an organic green and white blend with bergamont. This award winning blend is from Art of Tea.

When I saw this tea in Art of Tea‘s lineup I was intrigued. I do love “fresh” teas that add some relief to this dry, hot California weather. Let’s give this tea a try!

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DRY LEAF: Liquid Jade, from the package, smells lightly of bergamont. Yum!

The tea leaves are a mix of varying shades of green and brown.

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STEEPED: After 3 minutes of steeping at 175F I had a classic golden cup of tea that smells fresh, grassy, citrusy and a little floral.

Liquid Jade was amazingly fragrant when I poured the tea from my gravity steeper into my cup!

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TASTE: First sip, Liquid Jade has a soft sweetness that is very smooth. That sweetness is similar, and probably from the white tea. Mid sip, I get the grassy green tea – very vegetal, clean, fresh and light, like eating a raw green pepper. In that, there is a light floral drifting around my cup, along with a light citrus note that works very well with the vegetal green. End of sip, the tea hits a slight astringency, say a 1 or 2/10 on the Astringent-o-meter. Altogether, Liquid Jade together, it is like a gentle cup of earl grey.

RESTEEP: I resteeped this tea for 3 minutes at 175F. Liquid Jade got lighter in flavor with a soft hum of the vegetal flavor from the first steeping but also with a more noticeable sweetness and floral throughout the tea. Very lovely resteeping but very light – I don’t think I’ll get another steeping.

COLD STEEP: I know, this tea won Best Iced Tea, why is this crazy owl cold steeping it? Ehhh, I thought it be a good cold steep and minimize the astringency. The result of the 3 hour cold steep is pretty good. The tea isn’t as sweet as it is hot, but the steeping shows off the good vegetal and floral qualities off! The citrusy bergamont adds a nice, slightly bitter, refreshing finish.

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COMMENTS: I find Liquid Jade very different from a Lady Grey tea or other green earl greys. Liquid Jade‘s citrus/bergamont is really slight, adding interest to the tea. I also found this tea to be lighter, smooth and lightly floral from the white tea. Liquid Jade really focuses on the delicious crisp green, with the smooth, sweet and citrus giving this light tea lots of Ooomph!

I can see why Liquid Jade is an award winner! I can see this one stealing the hearts of many people, especialy tea peeps that enjoy a light, citrusy green tea.

(Tea provided for review)

Gyokuro Standard (Kurihara Tea) via Yunomi.us – Tea Review

Gyokuro Standard is a 2012 Ichibancha first flush Gyokuro from Kurihara Tea, which I recieved from Yunomi.us.

Ahhh Gyokuro. I need more of this tea in my life. I want to experiment more with steeping times, but this tea is on the pricey side as well as having a short shelf life. I’m in conflict as they seem like a tea I should save for special occasions  but gyokuro feels so full of energy that I need to have them often!

Yunomi.us pointed out to me I need to try gyokuro at a lower temperature – which is what I’ll be doing today with my sample!

Introducing: Barn Owl! Ugg, I’m bad at naming my crocheted owls. Barney?

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DRY LEAF: The gyokuro smells faintly sweet and vegetal. I’m trying to think of a similar smell. Maybe sweet cut grass? Nope, gyokuro is sweeter and doesn’t trigger my allergies!

Look it all the green! It is so bright!

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Barney is excited to try this tea out!

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STEEPED:  I followed Yunomi.us Gyokuro Steeping Technique, which was 40-50C / 100-120F for 2 minutes. My kettle doesn’t go that low, so I had to let the water sit until it cooled to that temperature.

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In the meantime, I heated up my teaware with hot water. Barney supervised.

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While I waited for my hot water to drop in temperature, I drank some oolong! Yeah. You know your love for tea is bad when you are drinking tea while making another tea.

Once steeped at a low temperature my gyokuro was a very gorgeous bright yellow green colour of tea! WOW! It looks like it is glowing! It has a melty buttery vegetal scent.

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Zoomed in, one little leaf piece escaped into my cup!

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FIRST STEEP: Ohh! The gyokuro is like syrup – its got a sensation of thick texture from the water temperature. It’s very buttery and kinda creamy with loads of spinachy fresh flavor. The savoryness is very delicious and comforting! Lovely vegetal sweetness too. End of sip the flavor goes into a high note of more veg taste with a slight echo of astringency. Like 1/10 on the astringency-o-meter – very lovely! Even with the tea being a lower temperature than what I usually drink at, the syrupyness had me sipping slowly to enjoy it! I feel very much like I’m floating on a cloud!

I love how this gyokuro came out with this lower temperature steeping method. I generally do not like astrigency, but this was actually enjoyable!

SECOND STEEP: Still following the Yunomi.us Gyokuro Steeping Technique I went with 80c/175F for 25 seconds. I was worried this was going to be ultra astringent – it wasn’t! The butteryness went into overdrive in this tea round, with the vegetal flavor becoming a little sweeter. The astringency  or from what I’m reading on yunomi.us site, shibumi, is present! It peaks right at the end of sip – as if the sun was beaming right on me or a singer hitting a high note. No syrupy texture though.

THIRD STEEP: Again, one loose leaf made it into my cup!

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I went a little higher in temperature, 185F for 30 seconds. The gyokuro has gotten sweeter and the shibumi perked up more, say 4/10 on the shibumi meter. However, the astringency hits a little different – it leaves a sensation on the teeth – really reminds me of munching on steamed spinach. Oh man, is this cup of tea a serving of veggies? Heheh!

FOURTH STEEP: For this steeping I did 185F for 35 seconds. The shibumi has softened closely to the first steeping. The flavor has greatly reduced and is just lightly buttery and vegetal. I think this gyokuro is done.

TEA LEAF SALAD: Well, its says on Yunomi.us Gyokuro Steeping Technique I can eat the leaves after the 3rd or 4th steeping, why not? It’s lunch time.

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I sprinkled some low sodium soy sauce and sesame seeds.

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Mmm, pretty good! The leaves have a teeny bit of astringency, but still savory. The flavor light and is a cross between spinach and seaweed. The gyokuro leaves are quite firm, so more chewy than spinach, but not as chewy as seaweed.

I’m happy to of eaten the leaves – sorry compost pile, no fancy green tea for you!

COLD STEEPED: While I was making a huge mess with my hot gyokuro, I began cold steeping the remainder of my sample.

As I added the water to the tea leaves, the bright green gyokuro created a leaf storm of colour!

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I let it steep in the fridge for a couple hours. As usual, Gyokuro is delicious cold steeped! This Gyokuro Standard – Kurihara Tea is quite buttery and creamy with a light sweet vegetal taste. End of sip is very refreshing, cutting through the creamy buttery flavor.

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I love the gradient of green here – it’s like a vibrant green forest in the morning fog!

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COMMENTS: The first Gyokuro I tried was Den’s Tea Gyokuro Kin. I find this Gyokuro Standard – Kurihara Tea has a stronger buttery and balanced flavor, which appeals to me more. With 2013 teas coming out, I’m going to put some more of this Gyokuro on my wish list. Yunomi.us also has 3 other Gyokuros from Kurihara listed that sound amazing as well – I only sampled the cheapest one!

I gotta say the Yunomi.us Gyokuro Steeping Technique is really good. I recommend you tea peeps to try this method of steeping gyokuro! I felt I got a lot more out of my tea compared to what I did with my sample of Den’s Tea Gyokuro Kin! I got more steepings and much less astringency, and what astringency I did get I actually enjoyed!

BONUS PICTURE:

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I am really messy with gyokuro! I’m also one of those artist types that manages to get paint all over myself, so me making a mess with tea is to be expected.

Peach Picnic from The Persimmon Tree – Tea Review

Peach Picnic is a caffeine free, fruity and citrus green rooibos blend from The Persimmon Tree.

I admit, I’m not big on rooibos, but I always am up to trying some as I need more caffeine free teas in my tea rotation. You know, so I can drink more tea at all hours! However recently I’ve been noticing green rooibos is pretty good. Unfortunately, green rooibos blends seem not as common, most likely because it is more expensive to produce. BOOO!

The Persimmon Tree does some really great teas so I am happy to give this one a try!

I invited Speedster to join in this tea tasting. Speedster really loves fruit!

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DRY LEAF: Peach Picnic smells like peach orange punch! Sweet and candy like! Yum!

Peach Picnic from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong Owl Tea Review (2)I seriously did not run this photo through a filter, however it does look like something off instagram!

Peach Picnic is a confetti of green rooibos sticks, marigold ribbons and chunks of orange!

Peach Picnic from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong Owl Tea Review (1)

STEEPED: Lovely light amber, almost peachy coloured, tea! The tea mostly smells of sweet citrus. Using a gravity steeper, I followed the steeping instructions on the tea tin, which was 200F for 4 minutes.

Peach Picnic from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong Owl Tea Review (5)

TASTE: Very summery tea! The dominate flavor for me is the sweet orange. Kinda reminds me of a cutie orange, with a little orange peel thrown in. The mid and end of sip I get an echo of peach. I get a teeny bit of strawberry flavor, mostly in the grassy stemmy part. The green rooibos can be tasted throughout, adding a little grassy taste. Quite a sweet tea blend, despite not adding sugar.

Peach Picnic from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong Owl Tea Review (4)Tiny turtle tea sips!

I then added a little german rock sugar, and found Peach Picnic a little too sweet for me. The extra sweetness pulled the fruity flavors together, melding the strawberry, orange and peach into candy. Reminded me of one of those orange peach juice blends, but lighter and with a grassy note. With that said, I should really try this tea iced…

ICED: Peach Picnic iced is really good! Refreshing, more peachy with some sweet orange and grassy strawberry! The green rooibos adds a delicious grassy crispness to this blend! I added only a teeny bit of rock sugar while I was steeping this tea – but the cold temperature really brought out the fruityness, specifically the peach, more into the open.

Peach Picnic from The Persimmon Tree - Oolong Owl Tea Review (6)

COMMENTS: Peach Picnic would be the perfect iced tea on a hot summer day! This tea would really hit the spot on you tea peeps who want a caffeine free and sweet (but no sugar added) tea! I’m personally going to enjoy Peach Picnic after my evening workout, however due to this tea’s name, maybe at a picnic. I can see kids really liking this tea too!

With Summer on its way (well, for me at least, California is already getting hot!) I’d give this refreshing, sweet and caffeine free Peach Picnic tea a try! This tea has a great price of $5.99 for 2 oz, but also as with The Persimmon Tree sample sizes, you can try it out for $1.25.

Pineberry Honeybush from 52 Teas – Tea Review

Pineberry Honeybush is a caffeine free blend featuring freeze dried pineapple, strawberry and marshmallow root. This tea is from 52 Teas, tea of the week for April 8th, 2013.

What the bleep is a pineberry? Lemmie wikipedia it for you.

800px-Pineberries

Pineberries are smaller than strawberries, but have a taste of both pineapple and strawberry. Funky! I was hoping to find some for when I reviewed this tea, but no luck. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these fruits in person, and I’ve see some weird ones like kiwi berry/grape things. I knew what a pineberry was when this tea popped up as Tea of the week at 52 Teas and was interested. I was more entranced when I found out Frank added some marshmallow root! YEAH! This tea sounds wild, sign this Tea Owl up!

My owl assistant for today is my silly Snowy Owl.

Pineberry Honeybush from 52 Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (2)

DRY LEAF: Pineberry Honeybush as a very interesting smell. It’s very mixed fruity and fluffly sugar sweet. The smells reminds me of tropical bubble gum, fruity marshmallows and flintstone vitamins.

Appearance? Lots of honeybush sticks with big rooty marshmallow root, along with lumps of fruit covered in the honeybush.

Pineberry Honeybush from 52 Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (1)

STEEPED: Pineberry Honeybush steeped is completely different of a smell! It’s like a creamy pineapple, reminding me of pina colada.

I steeped this tea at 200F for 5 minutes. The tea is a dark brown colour, similar to a black tea.

Pineberry Honeybush from 52 Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (4)

TASTE: Innnnnteresting…. Pineberry Honeybush tastes like bubblegum to me. The blend is slightly sweet on its own. The main fruit is pineapple – that delicious freeze dried natural pineapple taste (man, freeze dried fruit is great in tea) with a soft hum of strawberry. The marshmallow comes out strong and fluffy. The marshmallow softens the pineapple and melds into a bubblegum flavor to me. The honeybush adds a level of earthy twiggy flavor and some wateryness that I’ve also associated with honeybush blends. The earthyness works as it grooves with the pineapple, like accidentally eating a bit of the skin. No tart or bitterness in this tea.

Sweetened with some german rock sugar, the strawberry pops more. This tea tastes even more like bubblegum to me. If not bubblegum, those flavored mini marshmallows – just the pink ones! Wait a minute.. this is like ambrosia salad without the coconut (and piles of whipped cream)! Hmmm, do I dare make this as a latte? No, I think that be TOO weird.

ICED: I prepared Pineberry Honeybush iced, poured the strong hot tea over ice, a frozen strawberry, fresh lemon slice and honey. The pineapple (with the fresh lemon) perks up, bringing some tang back into the tea, with the marshmallow hitting mid-sip. Fresh strawberry flavor end of sip. I like Pineberry Honeybush much better iced as the fruity pops out more and the bubblegum echo is less. This iced tea just tastes like a cup of candy to me! As the tea gets colder and colder, it reminds me of a popsicle that comes in plastic sausage tubes.

Pineberry Honeybush from 52 Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (5)

COMMENTS: Pineberry Honeybush, you are a weird tea! An unusual fruit + Marshmallow = a fun tea experience reminding me of fun flavors of my childhood! This tea somewhat reminds me of DAVIDsTea’s Swampwater for a fun fruit flavor, however I don’t have any to comparison taste.

Overall, Pineberry Honeybush I can see being a big hit with kids! I’m not sure who else I’d recommend  Pineberry Honeybush to…  tea peeps who are young at heart with a sense of adventure and love for candy? Regardless, this tea is limited stock at 52 Teas – buy it soon, or wishlist it in hopes it gets reblended!

BLOOPER PIC:

Pineberry Honeybush from 52 Teas - Oolong Owl Tea Review (3)

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea – Tea Review

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha is a genmaicha blend from Verdant Tea.

This blend features Verdant’s Laoshan Black, a little Shui Jin Gui Wuyi Oolong, hand crafted wild rice from Minnesota, and organic fair trade toasted jasmine rice. Oh, and organic cacao nibs.

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (1)

I really wanted to try Laoshan Black and this blend, but I was on a budget. So I opted to get an 1 oz of this blend, as I tend to drink more blends than straight unflavored teas.

DRY LEAF: The tea smells like dark chocolate! Good dark chocolate, kinda like Lindt’s Dark Chocolate – Ohh yum, I love that chocolate!

I found the rice and chocolate nibs settled to the bottom of my bag, so I gave it a good stir to make sure I get a good mix of tasty tea bits. As always, lovely dry leaf appearance – mix of dark black tea leaves, giant dark green oolong leaves, chocolate lumps and a toasted rice.

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (2)

Get a load of this giant leaf I found in my tea!

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (3)
STEEPED: I brewed this tea as per the brewing instructions listed at Verdant Tea, so 200F for 3 minutes.

Uh oh, steeping up a Verdant Tea attracted that green owl again!

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (4)

Gah, he brought reinforcements! A little teal owl!

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (5)

I love the colour of the steeped Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha – a dusty, woodsy, dark brown. The Owls approve!

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (6)

Actually, the colour of my tea reminds me of something. Hold on….

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (8)

Yep, I colour matched my cup of Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha with my tube of Burnt Umber watercolour paint. Perfect match! (>_>) yeah, kinda random.

Lovely smell! Reminds me of a mix of burnt dark chocolate of a s’more and roasted rice cakes! OOH YEA MUST DRINK NOW!

TASTE: Super roasty! Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha has an amazing flavor of a coffee like roasty taste, mixed with chocolate, dark caramel, nutty, and with a malty hum. The aftertaste is a lovely dark chocolate that lingers. I cleared my throat and more chocolate taste came up. All those flavors go together so amazingly and make me feel warm and snuggly! Absolutely no bitterness or astringency.  This is luxury in my cup!  Annnnd, I drank it all in record time! Reflecting, I think I could steep this a little longer, I’d like a stronger taste out of this. Resteep time!

RESTEEP: I did a 4 minute resteep with 200F water. The Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha came out lighter, but with some sweetness this time. This resteep isn’t malty or nutty, but still dripping dark chocolate, roasty and with a soft toffee like sweetness. YUM!

RESTEEP #2: I had to try another resteep. Tea this good, you need to figure out how to get the most out of it without going broke. I did a 6 minute resteep. This tea is much much lighter, with a gentle wave of dark chocolate. The tea is still sweet, honey like, with a faint aftertaste of toasted rice. I think I could squeeze another desperate resteep, but it wouldn’t be that great. Oh well.

COMMENTS:

/DROOOOOL

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha is good! Really really good! I-refuse-to-share-it Good! I love how there is lots going on in this tea, something you just don’t get in a regular green genmaicha! The blend is very warm and comforting, I wanna snuggle up with a cup of this – all I need is a nice large cookie to go with it!

I found Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha perfect as is without sweetener. I didn’t want to try this with sweetener as I found the resteeps were sweet enough for me.

If you are a dark chocolate or rich roasty tea fan – this tea is for you!

BONUS PIC:

Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha from Verdant Tea - Oolong Owl Tea Review (7)Owls bonding with tea