Tea Reviews

Black Tea Review: English Tea Store Darjeeling Mim

ETS Dargeeling Mim

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Darjeeling Mim (second flush)

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf:  Northern India

The Leaves: The coloring of the leaves remind me of camouflage clothing because of the variety of natural colors. Juxtaposed to this rugged-outdoorsy look the leaves smell sweet, somewhat floral and fruity.

Additions: None 

Flavor: A unique tasting black tea that has notes of sweet fruit and flower petals, with just a touch of dry-bitterness 

Overall: 3.8/5

This was my very first experience with sampling a Darjeeling tea. I’ll be honest; I was expecting something quite extraordinary because I had read that Darjeeling is considered the champagne of teas.

Even though my socks weren’t knocked off during that first cup, it was still a pleasant and interesting experience that I wouldn’t mind repeating.

Packaging:

I had ordered the Estate Teas sampler pack and one of the samples was the Darjeeling Mim.

Each one-ounce sample was shipped in a plain, black bag that appeared to be thick-plastic. All the bags had a white label with the name of the tea. However, no brewing tips where included, so I had to go the English Tea Store’s website for more information.

The tea pouches are re-sealable.

As a side note: When I received my Estate Teas sampler pack order, I discovered that two of the advertised teas were missing, both the Lover’s Leap and Margaret’s Hope. To compensate for the difference, I did receive duplicates of the Formosa Oolong and Nonsuch samples.

In all fairness, the sampler webpage does state that substitutions may occur, due to availability. Here again, I can’t complain because of the great value I received; about 8 ounces of tea for 8 bucks.

Tea Review:

The aroma of the brew is slightly sweet and flowery, similar to the fragrance of the dried leaves.

I found the taste to be rather distinctive, especially when compared to other black teas I’ve tried. The taste is a tad sweet and fruity, with just a hint of a fragrant flower like jasmine.

To counterbalance the almost perfume life quality is a touch of dry-bitterness. The tartness rounds out the cup nicely and keeps the tea from becoming too in love with itself.

The overall body is lighter than most black teas, more refined even. Nonetheless, a taste experience not to be missed.

Compared to other black teas, which can be strong and robust like prize-fighters, the Darjeeling Mim is delicate and sweet-tempered. For some reason the image of a girl dancing to classical music in a vineyard comes to mind when sipping this tea.

Preparation Tips:

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

However, based on the reading I had done about Darjeeling tea, I decided to try a lower water temperature, just to see if it would make a difference.

I found that when using water at the boiling point (212F), the brew became slightly more bitter and the leaves smelled as if they were scalded. So, I stuck with using water just under the boiling point, between 190 and 200F.

No instructions where given on the English Tea Store’s website about how much tea or water to use  so, I went with the general recommendation of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

For my filter method, I used a T-Sac in the smallest size (Size 1).

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 Kambaa

ETS Kambaa

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Kambaa

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf / CTC (Crush-Tear-Curl)

Origin of Tea Leaf: Kenya

The Leaves: The cut leaves look similar to instant coffee yet the fragrance reminds me of sweet biscuits

Additions: None 

Flavor: A earthy, malty/biscuity and strong tasting black tea that has a touch of sweetness and a slightly bitter finish 

Overall: 4.1/5

I really enjoyed this tea, so much so, that I’ve nearly finished the whole sample before writing this review.

Because of Kambaa’s rich flavor, it is a tea I wish I had tried when I first wanted to switch from coffee to tea, I think it would have made my transition a little smoother. In all, it is a great “starter” tea.

Packaging:

The Kambaa tea I ordered is part of an Estate Teas sampler pack. Each one-ounce sample is shipped in a simple, black bag that appears to be thick-plastic.

All the re-sealable tea pouches are labeled with the name of the tea, but there are no steeping instructions. Consequently, I had to go the English Tea Store’s website for more information.

As a side note: Upon receiving my Estate Teas sampler pack, I discovered that two of the advertised teas were omitted, both the Lover’s Leap and Margaret’s Hope.

To compensate for the difference, I was shipped duplicates of two that I had received. The sampler webpage does stipulate that: “substitutions may be made according to availability.” Plus, I can’t complain since I had recieved over eight ounces of tea for as little as 8.00 dollars.

Tea Review:

The first sip I took of the Kambaa estate tea reminded me of my coffee drinking days because of its robust, rich and earthy taste.

But then I notice the malty/biscuity flavor and memories of my first experience with Assam are renewed. Along with this flavor is a touch of sweetness that brings to mind images of rising dough and jam.

Then, as the tea makes it way to the back of my throat, I notice the bitterness. I personally find the bitterness pleasing; it wakes me up and makes me feel invincible for a brief moment.  

If needing a little superheroine mojo for the day, have a cup of this black tea and feel your superpowers reach their peak. Oh, and don’t forget to wear something to remind you throughout the day that you are pure awesomeness! 

Preparation Tips:

The English Tea Store suggests a steep-time of 2 to 5 minutes in water that has been brought to a boil (212F).

Kambaa brews fairly quickly, so depending upon how strong you like your tea, even a one-minute steep may be long enough to get the flavor you desire. Since I love a good strong black tea, I went for the full five minutes.

I found that a stainless-steel, mesh ball infuser works perfectly with this tea because the leaves don’t expand when steeped. I can’t say that very often!

Also, I found that a T-Sac tea filter works wonderfully too. Plus, you have the convenience factor of not having to wash out the infuser. Simply toss the used T-Sac when done. No cleanup and no fuss.

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!

 

Oolong Tea Review: English Tea Store Oolong Orange Blossom

ETS Oolong Orange Blossom

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Oolong Orange Blossom

Tea Category: Oolong Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: Unknown

The Leaves: The leaves are dark green to brown in color with bits of yellow-orange colored petals. When opening the tea pouch, a sweet and flowery fragrance escapes and entices the senses.

Additions: Orange Blossom Petals 

Flavor: A delicate fruity-flower blend that that has touch of honey-like sweetness and dry finish 

Overall: 3.9/5

I really enjoyed this tea because it was a nice departure from my usual black tea habit. Plus, the bouquet of the leaves kept me coming back for more.

Packaging:

I ordered the Estate Teas sampler pack and in this collection was the Oolong Orange Blossom. My sample came in a simple black, re-sealable bag that seemed to be constructed of thick-plastic.

On the label of my one-ounce sample, was the name of the tea. However, no steeping instructions were included so; I had to visit the English Tea Store’s website for brewing tips.

As a side note: In the sampler pack I had received, two of the advertised teas were missing. Instead, I was shipped two packages of the Nonsuch and Formosa Oolong to replace the absent items. Even though I was disappointed, I recalled that the website did specify: “substitutions may be made according to availability.” And I really can’t complain because I received about 8 ounces of tea for under 9.00 dollars.

Tea Review:

The initial flavor is fruity, like oranges and flowery, like jasmine. The combination is exotic and captivating. There is also note of honey-like sweetness that really brings it all together nicely.

Rather quickly, however, the taste becomes a bit oaky (as in oak tree) and dry, with a touch of bitterness. This second note comes too fast, because I want to revel in the sweet orange blossom flavor a bit longer. I am left feeling saddened that I couldn’t enjoy the first taste of the fruity-floral-orange a little longer.

But then, after the last drop of tea has been swallowed, I am left with a dry, but creamy-orange taste in my mouth. I am quite pleased and want to take another sip because the fragrance of the Oolong Orange Blossom tea takes me away for a brief moment to an imaginary exotic garden.

In this garden I am sitting on an old, weathered oak bench and flourishing orange blossoms surround me. The beauty of this natural space reminds me to enjoy the moment.

Preparation Tips:

According to the English Tea Store’s website the Oolong Orange Blossom tea is best when steeped in water that has been brought to a light boil (165-190F) for 1-3 minutes.

Although, I found that a water temperature of about 170F and a steep time of one-minute is all that is needed to bring out the best flavor. A higher water temperature and longer steep time destroys the delicate orange flavor and will leave you with a bitter tasting brew.

Since there were no recommendations on the website about the amount of tea to use per cup of water, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon.

I used a T-Sac to brew the leaves. I find these paper filters to be quite convenient, but a little cumbersome to use at first. On the plus side, I can just toss them away after they’ve done their job.

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 Nonsuch

ETS Nonsuch

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store  

Tea Name: Nonsuch

Tea Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: South India

The Leaves: The leaves appear dark brown to black in color. The smell of the leaf is slightly sweet, with a hint of citrus fruit

Additions: None 

Flavor: A medium-bodied tea with fruity and floral notes that are rounded out by a touch of maltiness and tartness

Overall: 4.5/5

I found this tea to be quite interesting and complex. Each cup revealed new nuances that kept me engaged cup after cup.

Packaging:

The Nonsuch was part of an Estate Teas sampler pack I had ordered. My samples were shipped in plain, black bags that appeared to be thick-plastic. Each one-ounce sample had a white label and on the label the name of the tea was included. In addition, the pouches are re-sealable.

Unfortunately, no brewing instructions were included with my order, so I ended up going to the website for steeping tips.

As a side note, I didn’t receive all the tea samples in the Estate Teas collection. Instead, I was shipped duplicates of two teas to compensate for the two that were missing. The webpage does stipulate that substitutions may happen, due to the unavailability of some types of tea. In addition, I received a great value; only eight bucks for about 8 ounces of tea!

Tea Review:

The initial flavor in my cup is fruity, almost lemony. Then there is a delicate floral note that reminds me of orange or jasmine blossoms.

Next, as the warm liquid washes over my palate, just a hint of maltiness is apparent. There is also a tobacco like quality. Not like cigarette smoke which is harsh and overpowering, but sweet and smooth like a fine cigar or high-quality pipe tobacco.

Lastly, my cup has a tart taste, an almost lemon-like finish that lingers until the next sip.

Interestingly, as I drank the Nonsuch, the image of a beautiful garden with blooming citrus trees came to mind. I am sitting on a bench and next to me is a dainty porcelain plate filled with juicy lemon slices. Then, a light breeze drifts by carrying the sweet and subtle fragrance of fine tobacco smoke. What a great escape even if only for a moment!

Preparation Tips:

For the best tasting cup, the English Tea Store recommends that the Nonsuch tea be steeped for 2 to 5 minutes in water that has been brought to a rolling boil. I usually like to steep black tea leaves for a good 4 to 5 minutes, but this tea doesn’t need it. Within 2 to 3 minutes, I found the perfect brew.

Although, it is fun to play around with different steeping times because this tea has lots to reveal. You never know when a new taste might appear.

No instructions where given on the English Tea Store’s website about how much tea or water to use therefore, I went with the general recommendation of one teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

For my filter method, I used a T-Sac, which can be a little tricky to use, but is quite convenient; no filter to rinse out. All I had to do was steep and toss.

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]

Oolong Tea Review: English Tea Store Formosa Oolong

ETS Formosa Oolong

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Formosa Oolong

Tea Category: Oolong Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: Taiwan

The Leaves: The leaves appear dark brown to black in color, with the occasional greenish-looking leaf. Upon closer inspection, I found many stick like steams among the leaves.

Additions: None

Flavor: A grassy tasting tea that has a slight roastiness to it, reminding me of how the leaves might smell as they are being heated during processing.

Overall: 3.6/5

I just couldn’t get excited about this tea; I found myself feeling bored and craving to move on to something more remarkable. On the plus side, this oolong does have a simple taste profile that could be pleasing if you’re looking for an unpretentious thirst quencher.

Packaging:

My 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 ended up going to the website for brewing instructions. The tea pouches are re-sealable, which does make them quite convenient.

The Formosa Oolong was part of an Estate Teas sampler pack I had ordered. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive all the teas in the collection. However, the web page does stipulate that substitutions may occur and I did receive duplicates of two teas to make up for the two that were missing.

Not to mention that the sampler packs are a great value; I received 8 ounces of tea for about eight bucks. So, this sampler pack was a great way to start my loose tea drinking experience without breaking the bank!

Tea Review:

The English Tea Store website describes this oolong tea as: smooth and slightly sweet, with a touch of dryness. I would agree that it is definitely smooth tasting, mellow in fact. But, I really couldn’t detect the sweetness.

When drinking the Formosa Oolong, the thought that kept coming to mind was that it’s flat tasting. The tea seems to have only one constant flavor, thereby creating a taste experience that lacks depth and character. If only there would have been a hint of any other flavor, this tea could have been quite interesting.

However, I did experience some curious imagery when sipping this tea. I found myself laying in a lawnchair on a lazy sunny afternoon. I am surrounded by the smell of lush green grass being cooked by the sun’s rays, which I find somewhat stifling rather than relaxing. And there perhaps, is my issue with this oolong tea—I find that I have a hard time relaxing!

Preparation Tips:

I ended up following the tea preparation recommendations from the English Tea Store, which included steeping the tea for 1-3 minutes in water that has reached a light boil or about 165 to 190F.

To steep the leaves, I used a T-Sac paper filter. It was a little tricky getting the leaves into the bag, but once there in, they tended to stay. I’ve also found these filters to be a nice way to transition from tea bags to loose leaf tea.

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 Assam TGFOP

ETS Assam TGFOP

Company/Brand Name: English Tea Store

Tea Name: Assam TGFOP (Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe)

Tea Category:  Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of Tea Leaf: India

The Leaves: The leaves are dark brown to black in color with a few golden colored tips

Additions: None 

Flavor: A smooth, earthy and robust black tea with a comforting biscuity/malty flavor, and just a touch of sweetness

Overall: 4.0/5

This was my first time tasting a loose leaf Assam and I really enjoyed the experience. It is one I plan to repeat a zillion times over!

Packaging:

In the Estate Teas sampler pack I had ordered, I received a one-ounce sample of the Assam TGFOP. My sample was mailed in a thick-plastic, simple black and re-sealable pouch with white label. The label indicated the name of the tea, but did not include brewing instructions.

Disappointingly, two of the teas advertised were not sent. However, I did get duplicates of two other teas to compensate for the difference.  In addition, the sampler webpage does state: “substitutions may be made according to availability.” Not to mention the incredible value I received from ordering the sample pack; I got 8 ounces of tea for eight bucks!

Tea Review:

The aroma of the brew brought to mind warmed tortillas; a pleasurable fragrance that invited me to take my first sip.

There is a nice earthy-robustness to the brew that is enhanced by a biscuity flavor that I have not experienced before. I say biscuity rather than malty because the taste reminds me of warm dough. Overall, I found this dough-like quality comforting and engaging.

Then, there is a just touch of sweetness. Lastly, the finish is smooth and leaves me wanting more.

Preparation Tips:

I could not find steeping directions for the Assam TGFOP on the English Tea Store’s website, but the Estate Teas sampler pack webpage recommends: “For the best brew, these teas should steep in water that has been brought to a rolling boil for 2 to 5 minutes.”

Because there were no tips on how much tea or water to use, I went with the general guideline of one teaspoon of tea per cup of boiling water. Next, I allowed the leaves to steep for about 4 minutes using a T-Sac paper 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]

Oolong Tea Review: Stash Coconut Mango Wuyi Oolong

Stash Coconut Mango Wuyi Oolong

Company/Brand Name: Stash

Name: Coconut Mango Wuyi Oolong

Category: Oolong Tea, Flavored

Form: Tea Bag (Paper)

Origin of the Leaf: Fujian, China

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

Additions: Orange Peel, Pineapple, Coconut Flavor, Mango Flavor

Flavor: A sweet and fruity blend with coconut leading the way

Overall: A taste of the tropics will greet you when sipping this tea. I hope you love coconut! Oh, and don’t forget to bring a flower lei with you!

Tea Review:

The aroma of this brew is simply beguiling. A delightful scent of sweet coconut breezes through the air, reminding me of tropical fruit and suntan lotion.

The first sip is a bit weak, especially after experiencing such a strong fragrance from the steeping tea leaves. But, the more sips I take, the more prominent the taste becomes.

Even though orange peel is second on the ingredients list, I really didn’t taste orange in my cup. Coconut is the primary flavor and steals the show.

To round off the overall flavor, there is a delightful creaminess to this oolong tea that creates a nearly perfect finish.

This tea is a great pick-me-up when feeling a bit tired. Visions of tall palm trees, white sandy beaches, and bare feet liberated from synthetic pantyhose, take me away for a moment to some exotic getaway.

Packaging:

This oolong tea comes in a cardboard box and each individual tea bag is encased in a foil packet.

Preparation Tips:

The brewing directions on the box state: “To savor the full flavor of our teas, bring fresh water to a rolling boil. Pour hot water directly over the tea bag in a pre-heated pot or cup. Brew 3-5 minutes or to desired taste.”

I found that I preferred to use water just under the boiling point when steeping this tea, it tended to enhance the flavor.

Additional Notes:

Dessert Tea – This tea would make a wonderful dessert tea because of its sweet-coconut flavor.

Iced Tea – The flavor seems to really to express itself as the brew cools. In fact, I tried this tea chilled and the flavor was almost as intense as the initial aroma.

I Want This Tea!

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

Coconut Mango Wuyi Oolong

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.

 

Green Tea Review: Lipton Green Tea Superfruit White Mangosteen and Peach

Lipton Green Tea Superfruit

Company/Brand Name: Lipton

Name: Green Tea Superfruit White Mangosteen and Peach

Category: Green Tea, Flavored

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: Natural Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Sunflower Lecithin, Peach Juice Solids, Concentrated Mangosteen Juice

Flavor: A sweet-fruity tea, with just a touch of bitter, vegetal taste

Overall: I have to admit, that I haven’t had the best taste experiences when it comes to Lipton tea. But, when a friend told me how much she liked this tea and gave me a sample, I thought what the heck; I’ll give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised. I actually liked the flavor of this green tea, especially when it is iced, and ended up purchasing a box for myself.

Tea Review:

Lipton Green Tea Superfruit Iced

As the tea brewed, it filled my kitchen with a fruity-sweet bouquet; this increased my expectation for a positive taste encounter.

I was not disappointed; the first sip is flavorful and sweet. I found the fruitiness to be slightly “fakey” tasting, but not so much as to ruin the overall flavor.

I wasn’t able to discern the flavors of mangosteen or peach in my cup.

Of course, I’ve never tried a mangosteen fruit, so I have nothing to compare it to. However, I do know what peach tastes like. Occasionally, a somewhat peachy flavor did make an appearance, but it was quite elusive and certainly not a strong contender in my brew.

Then, to round out the cup, there is a hint of vegetal, or “green tea” taste, which at times even takes on a slight maltiness.

Packaging:

Lipton Green Tea Superfruit Packaging

The Lipton Green Tea Superfruit comes in a colorful rectangular box which contains 20 tea bags. Each tea bag is individually wrapped in a paper envelope.

Preparation Tips:

The package directions say to: “Bring cold water to a boil and pour over tea bag. Brew 1 to 1 ½ minutes or to desired strength.” However, I found that if I let the water cool to about 170 to 180F and then steep the tea bag for about 2 minutes, I had a better tasting brew.

Additional Notes:

Iced Tea – When I sampled this tea over ice, it took on a very pleasing malty taste, like beer. I quite enjoyed the Green Tea Superfruit White Mangosteen and Peach chilled much more so than when drinking it hot.

I Want This Tea!

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

Green Tea Superfruit White Mangosteen and Peach

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.