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Black Tea Review: Teavana Copper Knot Hongcha

Copper Knot Hongcha

Company/Brand Name: Teavana

Name: Copper Knot Hongcha

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Yunnan Province of China

The Leaves: A beautiful black tea with lots of golden tips, all of which are hand-curled into a spiraling knot

Additions: None

Flavor: A rich, malty and earthy black tea with notes of dark chocolate and just a touch of sweetness

Overall: I found this tea to be absolutely captivating cup after cup. The Copper Knot Hongcha has wonderful depth and complexity that makes it quite intriguing. In addition, I really enjoyed playing around with different infusions in an attempt to acquire the perfect cup. I would definitely purchase again!

Tea Review:

I’ve been drinking the Copper Knot Hongcha for about a week now and I still find each cup to be a bit of a mystery, which made drinking this tea lots of fun! However, I think I may have unlocked one or two of the secrets this tea has to tell.

For instance, when using water just under boiling, the tea reveals its chocolaty undertones and malty flavor. But, when its lovely leaves are steeped in boiling water, a rich brew is produced with some bite too it; reminding me of my coffee drinking days.

In addition to this tea’s interesting flavor profile, I found it quite entertaining to watch the leaves unfurl as they steeped. Not to mention the imagery that came to mind when sipping this tea.

I often imagined a log cabin nestled in the woods on a cool spring-like day, when the snow is just starting to melt. This imagery came to mind, I believe, because this tea has sweet-earthy taste to it, reminding me of how the ground smells when it is allowed to see the sun after several months of a snowy, cold hibernation. A perfect tea on a cold, dreary winter day when springtime seems to far away.

Washi Tea Tins from Teavana

Packaging:

I had purchased the Copper Knot Hongcha from the Teavana store at the Mall of America. Since I didn’t have any canisters at home, I decided to also purchase a Washi tea tin. I had the friendly Teavana guy place my loose leaves in the red canister for safe keeping!

Preparation Tips:

Teavana suggested using one teaspoon of tea per eight ounces of water, heated to 195F. The leaves should steep for about 2-3 minutes. I found these directions to be fairly accurate.

I used my one-serving, glass teapot to steep the leaves, which worked okay. However, I would recommend using a larger teapot to give the leaves even more room to expand, because the unfurled leaves are quite large.  Adagio’s PersonaliTEA teapot worked very well for this purpose; I took out the brewing basket, which gave the leaves plenty of room to unfold.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – You’ll want to play around with different infusion times to find your perfect cup. I personally found that I was able to get two delicious infusions from the Copper Knot Hongcha. For the first infusion, I steeped the leaves for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then, for the second infusion, I allowed the leaves to brew for a good 5 minutes.

I do like my tea on the stronger side, so if you prefer a lighter brew you may be able to get a few more infusions out of the leaves than I did.

Oh, I even forgot about my brew a couple times. When I finally remembered to check on it, the leaves had been steeping for a good ten minutes or more. Yet, this tea never got bitter.

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: 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: 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.

 

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.