Tea Reviews

Black Tea Review: Adagio Ceylon Sonata

Ceylon Sonata

Company/Brand Name: Adagio

Name: Ceylon Sonata

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Sri Lanka

The Leaves: Midnight black cut leaves, with patches of rusty dark-brown

Additions: None

Flavor: A balanced black tea with some astringency and an ever so slight citrusy flavor which is rounded off by a touch of toasty-smokiness

Overall: My first impression of the Ceylon Sonata was that it tasted a little weak, but after spending some quality time with this tea I found that I really started to enjoy it.

Tea Review:

At first, I was a bit perplexed by the flavor profile. There seemed to be a faint hint of fruitiness. But what really captured my attention was a tangy-bitter taste that seemed to linger on the tongue.

I noticed some astringency as well, feeling my mouth pucker slightly, as if I were eating a citrus fruit. That’s when it hit me, the tea tasted ever so slightly of lemon.

Complementing the citrusy flavor, I found a touch of toastiness. For whatever reason, that is the word that keeps coming to mind. Not malty or biscuity, but toasty.

After further examination, I had begun to realize that the toastiness I was experiencing was in fact, a subtle smokiness.

It’s not a Lapsang Souchong kind of smokiness, which conjures of images of roaring campfires with big billows of smoke rising into the air. The smoky flavor is more reminiscent of trying to cook toast with a match flame. Not that I’ve tried that lately!

An interesting image comes to mind when sipping on the Ceylon Sonata: I am sitting in a canoe out in the middle of a calm lake on a cold, brisk fall day. I can sense the chill in the air, but remain nice and toasty warm in my thermal outdoor wear. As I look across the lake, I see the vibrant colors of the turning leaves in the morning sun.

To me this imagery makes perfect sense, because the tangy-crispness of the tea is like the refreshing chilly, crisp air of fall. The vibrant colors of the trees, along with my layers of clothing, bring a sense of warmth to the picture, which captures the toasty-smoky flavor of the tea.

Adagio Sample Packaging

Packaging: 

I ordered the sample size of this tea, which came in a foil-lined bag that was re-sealable.

Preparation Tips: 

I followed the instructions on the Adagio bag: 1 teaspoon per cup for 3-5 minutes at 212F, except that I made it a “heaping teaspoon” of tea.

I went straight for my one-serving, glass teapot this time. I didn’t even bother with the stainless steel, mesh ball infuser because it’s simply too small to give the leaves room to expand.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – I was able to get two infusions from the Ceylon Sonata. For the first infusion, I steeped the leaves for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then for the second infusion, I coaxed out whatever the leaves had left to give in a five minute steeping.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, just click the link below. Enjoy!

Adagio

Vendor Provided Sample: No 

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: Adagio Assam Melody

Assam Melody

Company/Brand Name: Adagio

Name: Assam Melody

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Assam, India

The Leaves: Cut midnight black leaves with an occasional golden tip

Additions: None

Flavor:  A full-bodied and robust black tea that has a delightful earthy-maltiness

Overall: The Assam Melody makes a wonderful cup of tea suitable for daily consumption. However, it also has enough character to keep things interesting.

Tea Review:

The first thing I notice about this particular brand of Assam is that it reminded me of my coffee drinking days. The combination of earthiness and maltiness come together brilliantly, providing a well-rounded and strong-tasting cup of tea.

What also made this tea quite interesting is that I was able to get two really good infusions from it.

The first infusion tended to have a smooth, full-bodied flavor that leaned more towards malty than biscuity.

I found that the second infusion had a bit more astringency, which was rather energizing. In fact, it gave the tea a little oomph, making it stand-out slightly from the first cup.

When sipping my brew, I find myself thinking of a lush rainforest. There is something about this tea that tastes a bit lavish, yet untamed. It’s as if I have hiked miles into the depths of the jungle to pour myself a proper cup of tea using a dainty teacup with saucer.

This juxtaposition of exotic lushness and refinement keeps me quite entertained to the very last drop. At which point, I find myself wanting more.

Adagio Sample Packaging

Packaging:

I purchased the sample size of this tea. My order came in a good-sized, foil-lined bag. The name of the tea as well as brewing instructions where provided on the re-sealable pouch.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the Adagio bag: 1 teaspoon per cup for 3-5 minutes at 212F.

For my first brewing attempt, I used a stainless steel, mesh ball infuser. This worked fine because the leaves really didn’t need much room to expand since they were cut rather small.

However, I found that when doing more than one infusion, I preferred using my one-serving, glass teapot.

I actually discovered that by using this particular infusion tool the flavor of the tea was enhanced. Perhaps, because it gave the leaves more room to expand.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – As I mentioned above, I was able to get two good infusions from the Assam Melody. Here’s how I did it: I steeped the leaves for about 2 to 3 minutes for the first infusion. For the second infusion, I gave the leaves a nice long steep of about five minutes.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, just click the link below. Enjoy!

Adagio

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: Adagio Golden Monkey

Golden Monkey

Company/Brand Name: Adagio

Name: Golden Monkey

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Fujian Province, China

The Leaves: Unique looking leaves that are long and slightly twisted with golden tips. The smell of the dry leaf reminds me a bit of chocolate biscuits

Additions: None

Flavor: A smooth, medium-bodied tea with a fruity, earthy and biscuity taste. Topping it all off is a touch of sweetness.

Overall: I found that the Golden Monkey had wonderful character and plenty of depth to keep my full interest. I tend to like my black teas with a bit more body; this one seemed to be on the lighter side. Nonetheless, it makes an enjoyable cup of tea that I am considering keeping on hand long-term.

Tea Review:

I have come across many tea enthusiasts who are quite smitten with Golden Monkey, so I’ve been looking forward to trying some of this tea for a while now.

My first cup did not disappoint.

In fact, I was fascinated by each delightful sip. It was as if each mouthful had something else to reveal.

The top note for me was a stone fruit taste, which had just a hint of sweetness.

Right beneath the fruitiness is an earthiness. I’m not talking about dirt here; the taste is as if nature herself has been captured in the essence of the tea.

To bring it all together is a rather biscuity flavor, which I’ve discovered to be regularly referred to as malty by other tea lovers. But, I prefer to call it biscuity, because that is what the taste reminds me of—biscuits raising in a warm kitchen.

As the tea cools, it becomes slightly creamy. Upon reaching the bottom of my cup, I find that I desperately want more.

I stare momentarily at the empty vessel and see that a single drop of tea is still to be had, and that final taste discloses one last treasure, an ever so slight touch of chocolate.

Because of the rich-earthiness this tea provides, each sip transports me to an awe-inspiring underground cavern filled with lush green foliage, striking blossoms and exotic wildlife, much like the Genesis cave in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Adagio Sample Packaging

Packaging:

I had ordered a sample size, which came in a foil-lined pouch. Steeping instructions and the name of the tea where written on the re-sealable bag.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the Adagio bag: 1 heaping teaspoon per cup for 3-5 minutes at 212F.

First, I attempted to use a stainless steel, mesh ball infuser, but it didn’t really allow enough room for the tea leaves to fully expand. I much preferred using my one-serving glass teapot, which worked perfectly, especially for the multiple infusions.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – I was able to steep three good cups of tea from 1 teaspoon of Golden Monkey.

I steeped the leaves for about two minutes for the first infusion. Then, for the second infusion, I steeped them for about three more minutes. For the final infusion, I gave the leaves a nice long steep of about five minutes.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, just click the link below. Enjoy!

Adagio

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Rooibos Tea Review: Teavana Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos

Company/Brand Name: Teavana

Name: Zingiber Ginger Coconut

Category: Rooibos (Tisane)

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown, but rooibos is native to South Africa

The Leaves: Not Applicable

Additions: Coconut Chips, Ginger Bits, Cinnamon, Apples, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Almonds

Flavor: A spicy, slightly sweet, aromatic tea that also has a touch of creaminess

Overall: Ginger and spice and everything nice, describes this rooibos tea blend perfectly. I really enjoyed the overall experience, which was entertaining and unique. Yet, this is not a tea I would gravitate to daily. Although, it does provide a nice departure from the mundane.

Tea Review:

First off, I have to say that the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos leaves have a complex bouquet that has a fruity-spiciness that makes the smell both energizing and mesmerizing.

Quite frankly, the smell is addictive. I would find myself opening the tea canister several times per day just to take a whiff of paradise. Not only does this tea pack a punch with its sweet, exotic fragrance, it is also beautiful to admire.

It’s not the kind of tea that you look at and say, “Yeah, that’s tea.” It’s a blend that has you standing there for several inquisitive minutes trying to comprehend what you see in front of you.

Like a fine painting, where each individual brush stroke creates the resulting masterpiece, this tea cannot be understood by studying each ingredient. It needs to be appreciated for the elegant combination that creates the final product.

When I finally get around to steeping a cup, the room fills with a wonderfully warm and enchanting aroma that heightens my anticipation for the first sip.

When I finally took my first sip, I was quite disappointed. The tea seemed quite weak tasting compared to the almost overpowering fragrance of the tea blend. But then, the fieriness kicks in and I taste a hint of ginger mingling with other spices.

Way in the background, a subtle hint of fruitiness reveals itself. The coconut makes an appearance too, as an ever so slight texture of creaminess.

Based on the intriguing aroma of the tea, I was quite expecting a sweet-fruity flavor to be playing the leading role, instead it was the understudy. It was the spice that truly stole the show and became the star.

As it turns out, the flavor profile is just as interesting and intricate as the aroma; it’s just much more delicate and elusive. The taste doesn’t provide the “Wow!” factor I was anticipating. Yet, still an interesting tea that is worth a try.

Washi Tea Tins from Teavana

Packaging:

I had purchased the Zingiber Ginger Coconut Rooibos from the Teavana store at the Mall of America, where I was swept off my feet by its visual appeal and intoxicating fragrance. I decided to purchase a Washi tin to house this tea to keep it fresh.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the label given to me when I had purchased the tea, but the Teavana website also provides excellent directions: Use 1.5 teaspoons of tea per 8 ounces of water. Heat water to just boiling (208F) and steep for 5-6 minutes.

This tea blend can be a little tricky to brew because the rooibos is tiny, especially compared to the huge curls of coconut. Therefore, I highly recommend using a Finum Brewing Basket to contain all the rooibos shreds.

Additional Notes:

Iced tea – As the tea cools, it becomes less spicy and a bit more fruity and creamy. I’ve found that I much prefer this tea when it is mixed with a basic black tea and then chilled.

Dessert Tea – A delightful spicy blend, that reminded me a bit of spice cake.

Other – This tea blend is caffeine-free, making it a perfect evening treat.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea or shop for over 100 types of other healthy, gourmet teas, as well as teapots and other  accessories, then click the link below. Teavana offers free ground shipping on orders over $50.

Teavana

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Company/Brand Name: Celestial Seasonings

Name: Nutcracker Sweet

Category: Black Tea Blend (Seasonal)

Form: Tea Bag (Paper)

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Not applicable because the leaves are finely ground and hidden inside the typical tea bag exterior

Additions: Vanilla, Natural Flavors, Cinnamon

Flavor: A sweet, aromatic tea with an enchanting vanilla taste and just a hint of cinnamon spice

Overall: I always look forward to this time of year, because I know it is holiday tea season! Nutcracker Sweet has been one of my favorite holiday teas for many years now. Every time I open a box, my senses are captivated by the sweet vanilla scent. I can feel myself drift away momentarily to some magical place where anything is possible.

Tea Review:

As this tea steeps, it fills the surrounding area with a wonderful aroma, like something yummy is baking in the oven.

Once the tea is ready, the first sip never disappoints. The brew has a warm vanilla note that is delightfully creamy and rich tasting.

What makes this tea particularly interesting is the touch of cinnamon spice that lingers in the background. The spiciness is just right, not too harsh and not too subtle as to be overlooked.

I’ve found that sometimes vanilla flavored tea can taste a bit off, but I didn’t find that to be the case with this particular combination.

In fact, the vanilla is the star of this black tea blend, making it a holiday favorite.

Packaging:

Inside the colorful cardboard box is a wax-lined paper seal where all the tea bags are held. The square, flat tea bags are layered in twos and each tea bag is connected to another. To separate the two tea bags, you’ve got to tear them apart at the perforated center.

Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet

Preparation Tips:

I simply followed the directions printed on the box: “Pour freshly boiled water over one tea bag. Steep 3 to 5 minutes and remove tea bag.” Because there were no notes about how much water to use, I went with the general guideline of one cup. Then, I used a holiday mug to make things extra special!

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – The Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker box states that this is a “decadent-yet-healthy treat.” With zero calories, this tea is perfect when craving a little something sweet.

Iced Tea – This tea blend is also quite tasty when iced. Drinking it cooled seems to bring out the cinnamon flavor; it actually ends up tasting a bit spicier when chilled.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea from Amazon.com just click the link below. Enjoy!

Nutcracker Sweet

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credits: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Green Tea Review: Honest Tea Jasmine Green Energy

Honest Jasmine Green Energy

Company/Brand Name: Honest Tea

Name: Jasmine Green Energy

Category: Green and White Tea Blend, USDA Organic

Form: Bottled in a glass container

Origin of the Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: Not Applicable

Additions: Agave syrup, which adds 17 calories per serving, or 34 calories per 16 oz. bottle

Flavor: Sweet and flowery at first, then slightly grassy with a bitter aftertaste

Overall: A strongly flavored bottled tea that will surprise those who are used to a mellower tea concoction and amuse those who enjoy a little bite to their tea.

Tea Review:

I’ve had this bottle of Honest Tea hanging out in the fridge for a while; I was waiting for the right time to give it a try. Today, I wasn’t able to get to my tea kettle because the kitchen was going through a little remodeling, so it seemed like a good day to sample this particular brew.

I found this bottled tea to be quite tart tasting. Yet, I wasn’t turned off by the bitterness at all because the combination of flavors was quite interesting.

When I first take a sip, the flavor is sweet. Then the jasmine expresses itself alongside a hint of grassiness. Finally, as the brew makes its way to the back of my throat, the taste becomes bitter.  Yet, the sweetness still lingers, so a bitter-sweet flavor is my final impression.

Preparation Tips:

Twist the top off and drink!

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea from Honest Tea just click the link below. Enjoy!

Honest Tea

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Green Tea Review: English Tea Store Jasmine with Flowers

Jasmine With Flowers

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Name: Jasmine with Flowers

Category: Green Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Fujian Province, China

The Leaves: The cut, dark green leaves are splashed with pieces of dried yellow petals. The aroma of the leaves is simply intoxicating; a bouquet of sweet and fragrant jasmine flowers.

Additions: Jasmine Petals

Flavor: A sweet and flowery tasting tea

Overall: The Jasmine with Flowers is a delightful green tea that captivates the senses and brings beauty to everyday life.

Tea Review:

The flavor of the Jasmine with Flowers is representative of the exotic scent the dried leaves and petals revealed when I first opened the tea package.

A sweet-flowery taste stands-out, yet it is delicate enough to allow the green tea to reveal its refreshing essence.

Interestingly, as the liquor travels down my throat a sense of creaminess occurs leaving me feeling as if I’ve just sipped something quite remarkable.

This green tea takes me away to some exotic Asian flower garden where blossoms fill the air with a delightful perfume. The enchanting sweetness begs me to linger and enjoy the moment.

Overall, I found the jasmine in this tea both calming and uplifting; a perfect combination for meditation or simply taking a few moments in the day to relax.

Packaging:

I had ordered the Chinese Teas sampler pack and my 1-ounce samples were shipped in plain, black bags that appeared to be thick-plastic.

On the label was just the name of the tea, no steeping instructions were included. I had to go to the website for brewing tips. On the plus side, the bags are re-sealable.

As a side note: In the sampler pack I had received, the Jasmine Dragon Tears Lychee, Congou China Black and Shanghai Lychee Jasmine where all missing. Instead, I was shipped three packages of the Lapsang Souchong and a duplicate of the Jasmine with Flowers. In all fairness, the sampler pack webpage does indicate that: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Preparation Tips:

For the best flavor, the English Tea Store website recommends that the Jasmine with Flowers green tea be steeped for 1 to 4 minutes in steaming water (150-180F). I found these instructions useful, although, I did use filtered water becasue the taste of this delicate tea can be bungled by chlorinated water.

Since there were no instructions regarding the amount of tea or water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

I tried a stainless steel, mesh ball infuser and T-Sac paper tea filter; I found that they both worked quite fine for keeping the leaves separate from the drinkable brew. However, I much preferred using my little mini-teapot to allow the leaves plenty of room to unfurl.

Additional Notes:

Iced Tea – The Jasmine with Flowers makes a delicious and energizing iced-tea drink that is sure to please.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea straight away, just click the link below, it will take you directly to the English Tea Store web page. Enjoy!

English Tea Store

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Keemun Panda

ETS Keemun Panda

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Keemun Panda

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: China

The Leaves: The broken, thin leaves are dark brown, almost black in color

Additions: None

Flavor: A smooth, full-bodied tea with a touch of fruitiness that is rounded out by a woodsy-earthy note

Overall: 4.0/5

An interesting black tea, that seemed to keep changing flavor with each cup. But one constant was its smooth taste that was always satisfying.

Packaging:

The Keemun Panda is one of the selections that came in my Chinese Teas sampler pack.

Each one-ounce sample came in a thick-plastic, black bag with the tea name on the label. Unfortunately, as there were no steeping instructions included on the label, I had to go to the English Tea Store’s website for more information. However, the tea pouches are re-sealable, making them easy to use cup after cup.

As a side note, when I ordered this particular sampler package, I didn’t receive all the teas advertised. Three of the teas were not shipped, duplicates were sent instead. However, the webpage does specify that substitutions may happen.

Tea Review:

I found this tea to be difficult to pin down; each cup I brewed seemed to be somewhat different.  However, the hint of sweet-fruitiness was consistent along with the deep-woodsy flavor.

It was the other flavors that kept eluding me. For instance, at times this tea seemed malty and then at other times there was a tease of smokiness. And sometimes, it didn’t say much at all.

When drinking this tea, I am taken away to some wooded area with towering trees. Sitting in the middle of it all, there is a table covered with some lightweight, colorful fabric that is stirring in the breeze. The only thing keeping the delicate table cover from floating up towards the tree limbs is a hodge-podge of teaware.

It seems the woodsy-earthy note reminds me of a forest and the sweet-fruitiness brings colorful images to mind. Yet, the changing character of this tea brings to mind visions of chaos, much like the mélange of teapots and teacups holding the tablecloth in place.

When it comes right down to it, however, I see before me an interesting display that puts a smile on my face.

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store website recommends steeping this black tea in water that has been brought to a rolling boil for 2 to 5 minutes.

However, no instructions on how much tea or water to use were provided so, I went with the general recommendation of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

For this particular tea, I used a T-Sac paper tea filter.

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

If you’d like to purchase this tea from the English Tea Store just click the button below. Enjoy!

[button link=”http://agirlwithtea.com/english-tea-store” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] English Tea Store[/button]

Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Lapsang Souchong

ETS Lapsang Souchong

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Lapsang Souchong

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: Fujian Province, China

The Leaves: The leaves are nearly black in color and have an intense smoky smell

Additions: None

Flavor: A strong and distinctive tasting brew with an intense smokiness and just a touch of pine

Overall: 3.5/5

An interesting taste experience; it’s like drinking a campfire. I am not a huge fan of this smoky flavored black tea, but it is definitely a taste experience worth exploring.

Packaging:

I purchased this tea from the English Tea Store as part of a Chinese Teas sampler pack. My one-ounce sample of this tea was sent in a thick-plastic, black pouch that had the name of the tea on the front.

No brewing tips were included on the Lapsang Souchong sampler bag, so I had to visit the website for more information. On the plus side, the pouch is re-sealable.

As a side note, when ordering the sampler packs, be aware that not all the advertised selections may be sent.

For instance, three of the teas shown on the Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage where not included in my order. Instead, I received three packages of the Lapsang Souchong and a duplicate of the Jasmine with Flowers.

In all fairness, it does state on the website that: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Tea Review:

The aroma of the brew is just as powerful as the dried tea leaves. In fact, I could smell the brew from several feet away.

The first sip was a little overwhelming. The smokiness is intense and certainly the primary flavor. However, I did detect just a hint of pine before my allergies started to kick into high gear.

Did I mention that I am allergic to pine trees? Burning wood isn’t exactly my friend either. Although, I do love the smell of pine as well as campfires but, they just don’t like me.

Even though I found this tea intriguing in the taste department, it caused me to feel as if I was experiencing a bit of an allergic reaction. I sensed my chest and throat tighten. Then, a wave of dizziness swept over me and lingered for a while even after the last sip.

The image that comes to mind when drinking the Lapsang Souchong is that of a huge campfire burning in the middle of a pine forest. I can see the flames rise up and lick the stars in the midnight-blue sky. Huge billows of smoke encircle me and I feel trapped within the warmth of the fire.

Needless to say, after my first cup I really didn’t desire any more.

I ended up giving the remaining Lapsang Souchong to my mom. She finds this tea to be quite comforting because of the campfire like flavor. As for me, I don’t think Lapsang Souchong will be my personal tea of choice going forward, but it was fun to try this tea for the first time.

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store recommends steeping the leaves in boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes. Since there were no instructions on how much tea or water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

However, I wish I had started off with a shorter steep or less tea, because the flavor of the Lapsang Souchong was super intense.

To keep the leaves separate from the brew, I once again used a T-Sac paper filter. As I move away from tea bags to loose leaf tea, I’ve found these bags to be quite helpful in my transition!

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

If you’d like to purchase this tea from the English Tea Store just click the button below. Enjoy!

[button link=”http://agirlwithtea.com/english-tea-store” type=”big” color=”green” newwindow=”yes”] English Tea Store[/button]

Green Tea Review: English Tea Store Pinhead Gunpowder

ETS Pinhead Gunpowder

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Pinhead Gunpowder

Tea Category: Green Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: China

The Leaves: The leaves are rolled into small, shiny circular shapes

Additions: None 

Flavor: A highly-flavorful, slightly vegetal green tea that has a smooth and sweet smokiness

Overall: 4.4/5

I found the Pinhead Gunpowder to be a nice introduction to the world of green tea because it isn’t too “green tea” tasting. In fact, it has an enjoyable combination of flavors that come together to create a tasty cup.  

Packaging:

I had ordered the Chinese Teas sampler pack and Pinhead Gunpowder was one of the selections.

Each of the one-ounce samples I received in the sampler package came in a thick-plastic, black bag with the name of the tea on the front.

No brewing tips were included on the tea pouch, so I had to visit the English Tea Store’s website for more information. But, the bag is re-sealable which makes it quite convenient.

As a side note, when my samples arrived I discovered that three of the selections advertised on the webpage where not included in my order. Instead, I received three duplicate packages, two of the Lapsang Souchong and one of the Jasmine with Flowers.

In all fairness, the Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage states: “substitutions may be made according to availability.”

Tea Review:

I really enjoyed watching the leaves unfurl as they steeped, especially since I am used to only drinking tea from tea bags and not seeing the tea leaves at all.

Once the leaves were fully infused they took on an ever so slight smoky aroma, the smokiness isn’t harsh, but almost sweet smelling. Perhaps a little like fine tobacco.

The first sip is somewhat vegetal tasting, but not so much as to be a turn-off. Even this lover-of–black-tea found the flavor stimulating and pleasing.

Then there is the sweet-smokiness, which doesn’t sound that appetizing, yet it works. It actually gives my brew some complexity and robustness that I wasn’t expecting.

Lastly, there is a touch of astringency that is refreshing and left me wanting another cup of Pinhead Gunpowder.

On the whole, I liked it especially becuase it reminded me of faraway places where I have never been. It’s like getting a taste of the orient without having to leave my comfy chair! 

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store Chinese Teas sampler pack webpage states that green teas should be brewed in steaming water (150-180F) for 1 to 4 minutes.

I fiddled around with different water temperatures and steeping times, but found little difference in taste. I even poured boiling water over the leaves accidently a couple times and still had a drinkable brew. The only difference was the level of astringency, which increased along with the water temperature and/or brewing time. This tea is quite forgiving.

Because there were no recommendations on how much tea and water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water. However, as the leaves unfurl they tend to take up a lot of space, so depending upon the filter method, the amount of leaves used may need to be adjusted.

I tried both a large paper filter as well as my new mini-glass teapot (with a spring like filter in the spout) to steep the leaves. Both methods worked great. But, I do prefer using the glass teapot; especially for this tea because it allowed me to watch the leaves unfold as they steeped.

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This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea