Tea Review: Bai Mudan

Name:  Bai Mudan

Type:  White

Region:  Fujian Province, China

Bought At:  Samovar

Price:  $19 for 1.5oz

First Impressions:  Large brittle leaves, sweet grassy smell

Review:

A very delicate but flavorful white tea, this tea has a really smooth sweet aftertaste. Not nearly as grassy as I would have guessed based on the smell of the dry leaves. This would be a good first white tea to try if you are used to something a little darker. It shows of white tea’s high points without suffering from the lack of flavor they sometimes can have.

My Rating:

3.5  / 5

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Tea Review: Wuyi Dark Roast

Name:  Wuyi Dark Roast

Type:  Oolong

Region: Wuyi mountains in Fujian, China

Bought At:  Samovar

Price:  $21 for 2oz

First Impressions:  Dark Leaves, Roasted, Earthy Smell

Review:

Has it ever been a while since I have tried to review tea! This is part of a large tea order I bought from Samovar a while ago, so look for some more reviews coming soon. Wuyi Dark Roast is a different kind of oolong tea than any I have had before. It is dark and has a roasted scent and flavor that is usually found in black teas. Along with that it has a sweetness that is more similar to a greener oolong. It makes for a nice combination, a light tea that still has a full flavor. Definitely worth a try.

My Rating:

4  / 5

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A TeaGeek Wedding

You may have noticed that there haven’t been too many reviews lately, like any, at all. I have a good excuse, honest!  Last October, I got engaged and started planning our wedding.  The big day was June 30th, 2012 and it went great. Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of time to write about tea, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been drinking it!

One of the things that was most important to both my new wife and myself was that our special day reflected ourselves more than any traditions or customs. We wanted it to be OUR wedding. One of the first things I thought about was trying to incorporate tea into the event.  Along those lines, Teavivre graciously agreed to help us out by providing some tea to help make our day special, and we are both very grateful.  We ended up using the tea in two places, as the wedding favor and on a special “tea table” at the reception.

Both items were a big hit.  We have received several compliments on both the favors and the tea table. It’s fun to see pictures posted to facebook six months after the wedding of people saying they enjoyed the tea,   I think the favorite of the day was the Bailin Gongfu black tea, although the Unbridled Love, Jasmine Pearl, and Iron Godess teas were all great as well. Teavivre also surprised us with some of their blooming teas which we were really excited to be able to use to decorate the tea table.  I have tried flowering teas before, but these were the first ones that actually bloomed and looked like they were supposed to.

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you very much to Teavivre, your gift of tea was awesome and Stella was a pleasure to work with.  I look forward to enjoying the leftover tea, and hopefully getting back to some more frequent review soon!

Here are some pics of the tea in action:

Prepping the tea favors

Prepping the tea favors

The tea display at the reception

The tea display at the reception

The finished product

The finished product

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Tea Review: Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess”

Name:  Tie Guan Yin “Iron Goddess”

Type:  Oolong

Region:  Anxi, Fujian, China

Bought At:  Teavivre.com

Price:  $10.50 for 3.5oz

First Impressions:  Tightly compacted, very green leaves

Review:

It has been a little while since I have had any oolong teas, so it was nice to have one again.  This “Iron Godess” tea has a bright, leafy, almost floral aroma, and brews to a very vibrant yellow color.  It has a very mellow but still pronounced green tea taste, but it has a heaviness  to it that distinguishes it from a green. A very good tea, I can see this filling the gap between wanting more flavor than a green but not the caffeine of a black.  Overall, it had everything I would look for in a oolong tea.

My Rating:

4  / 5

-brent

*Disclosure (And Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from teavivre

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Tea Review: White Peony (Bai MuDan)

Name: White Peony

Type:  White

Region:  Fuding, Fujian, China

Bought At:  Teavivre.com

Price:  $5.90 for 1.75oz

First Impressions:  Large leaves, grassy, sweet smelling dry leaves

Review:

I was anxious to try this as I have liked white peony teas in the past and was curious to see how teavivre‘s would stand up to them;  I wasn’t disappointed. It is a warm, smooth tea that has a lot of flavor. It is not quite as naturally sweet as some other white tea varieties.  That isn’t a bad thing though, as it has a buttery, grassy complexity that a lot of white teas lack.  Something you are more likely to find in a green tea then a white.  This tea is forgiving to over brewing, which is great for a forgetful person like me, and stands up well for many infusions. I have been making it when I get to work and brewing it several times throughout the morning. This one also came in a fun little one-use package, I know it’s silly, but I love it!

My Rating:
3.5  / 5

-brent

*Disclosure (And Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from teavivre

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Tea Review: Bailin Gongfu Black Tea

Name: Bailin Gongfu

Type:  Black

Region:  Fuding, Fujian, China

Bought At:  Teavivre.com

Price:  $8.90 for 3.5oz

First Impressions:  Awesome little one-use bag!

Review:

This is the first tea I have reviewed from Teavivre, and I was impressed. This black tea has a deep richness and gentle sweetness that I immediately loved. It’s a very dark black tea with a roasted nutty finish and if brewed correctly is one of the best “plain” black teas I have had. The smell when brewed is strong and delicious. Be careful to brew it as directed, below boiling.  If brewed incorrectly (too hot) it will pick up a little bitterness. Nothing horrible, but it’s a shame to waste it. Another thing I loved is that the tea came in little individual baggies.  I don’t know if this is just because it was a sample, but it was a fun little surprise that made me feel like I was in China, if just for a little bit.

My Rating:
4  / 5

-brent

*Disclosure (And Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from teavivre

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A New Year, A New Start

Seeing as this is my first post since August, you can probably guess that I missed the mark with my teageek.org resolution to blog about new teas and answering tea questions. Looking back,  I missed most of my 2011 intentions for this site by a pretty wide margin. Despite that, I think 2011 was a pretty good year for me, tea-wise.

I got to visit the Samovar Tea Lounge on a trip to San Francisco, and it was really awesome. Anyone in the San Francisco area should check it out. I love their tea and was totally geeked to get to visit them. I also started a new job, and while there were already some pretty solid tea drinkers here, I think I helped raise it’s popularity in the office a little.  Actually, judging by my co-workers yelling at me about their “tea bills” I would say it went a little too well.

One of the reasons I haven’t been posting is that it has become too much of a chore. Feeling guilty when I don’t feel like writing a post has made me never really want to post, which is ironically the opposite of what I was trying to accomplish with teageek.org. This year I am going to approach things a little differently. Rather then rapid fire reviews that I don’t really care about, I’m going to not set any goals, and just see where it goes. I want tea to be about taking a moment and enjoying life, not rushing frantically through it. I have plenty of goals and challenges planned for 2012, I don’t need to make enjoying tea one of them.

So, sit back, brew some tea, and enjoy!

-brent

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Tea Review: Hazelnut

Name: Hazelnut

Type: Black

Region: Sri Lanka

Bought At: Adagio

Price: $2 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Sweet, Nutty Smell.  Reminds me of flavored coffee.

Review:

Finally, something that tastes as good as coffee smells! I like this tea in no small part because it reminds me of the flavored coffee  that always smells so delicious, but tastes so bad. A darker black tea, it tastes very warm and nutty. It has an amazingly smooth finish for a black tea, and has just a hint of sweetness that leaves you crazing more.  I like this extra strong, a really nice way to put a hop in your step on and a smile on your face, especially on a cold winter morning.

My Rating: 4 / 5

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Tea of the Week – Caramel

Name: Caramel

Type: Black

Region: Unknown

Bought At: Adagio

Price: $2 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Sweet, sugary smell

Review:

A somewhat disappointing tea. You can definitely taste the caramel, but it isn’t the sweetness of the caramel, it’s the aftertaste.  It isn’t bad, just not sweet enough for my tastes.  It does have a fuller, roasted caramel flavor though, which is still nice. It smells delicious, and doesn’t taste bad. A decent tea, just a little bit of a tease for a sweet tooth like me.

My Rating:3 / 5

-brent

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Tea of the Week – Almond Oolong

Name: Almond Oolong

Type: Oolong

Region: Taiwan

Bought At: Adagio

Price: $2 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Sweet, Nutty smell

Review:

This tea really takes the sweetness of the almond a little too far. It’s a good tea, but the almond flavoring completely overpowers the gentler Oolong tea.  That aside, it is a very pleasant cup, smooth, not too much caffeine, and it leaves a pleasant aftertaste. Adagio hit really close to a great tea here, just made it the almond little too strong.

My Rating:

3 / 5

-brent

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