Archive for category Black

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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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 – Keemun Concerto

Name: Keemun Concerto

Type: Black

Region: Anhui province of China

Bought At: Adagio

Price: $3 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Earthy, Sweet

Review:

Well, once again it seems I am apologizing for the long gap in between reviews, but I promise August will be better (no really!) I recently have tried a bunch of new teas and am really excited about reviewing them! First up is a really smooth black tea from Adagio.  It smells sweet and earthy before being brewed, and picks up just a hint of smokiness as it brews.  It brews up really nicely, the smooth warm, earthy taste of a quality black tea that I find myself preferring over the green tea I used to love so much. It has just a hint of a bitterness in the last seconds of the aftertaste, but it is hardly noticeable. A good tea, there is nothing remarkable about it, but it gets the job done when you need a good start to the day.
My Rating:

3 / 5

-brent

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Tea of the Week – Black Dragon Pearl

Name: Black Dragon Pearl

Type: Black

Region: Yunnan, China

Bought At: Teavana

Price: $15 for two ounces (25-30 cups)

First Impressions: Little tea balls!

Review:

This is hands down my new favorite black tea, I bought this a couple months ago at the Chicago Teavana on their recommendation, and I absolutely love it.  Aside from the coolness factor of the tea being in almost perfectly shaped little spheres, it makes an awesome cup of tea.  It smells wonderful, and is the smoothest black tea I have ever tried. It has the typical earthy flavors you expect from a black tea, nothing flavored.  What really sets it apart is the amazingly light smoothness that it has.  It’s kind of hard to describe, but you should definitely check this one out!

My Rating:

4.5 / 5

-brent

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Tea of the Week – Lychee Black

Name: Lychee Black

Type: Black

Region: China

Bought At: Samovar

Price: $2 for a two serving sample

First Impressions: Slightly fruity smelling, odd for a black tea

Review:My Rating:

I picked up this tea during my recent trip to Samovar in San Francisco.  This is another of the very good black teas that I have tried lately.  Lychee black is called this because of the lychee fruit it contains, and gives it an interesting flavor.  Not so much sugary sweet as very light, its very refreshing for a black tea. Another nice thing about this, like most of Samovar’s teas, is that it is great for multiple infusions, so you can make three or four cups with the same leaves.

4 / 5

-brent

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Tea of the Week – Maiden’s Ecstasy

Name: Maiden’s Ecstasy Pu-erh Tea

Type: Black (Pu-erh)

Region: Yunnan, China

Bought At: Samovar

Price: $4 for a “one pot” sample

First Impressions: Roasted, signature pungent smell Pu-Erh

Review:

I was hesitant about this tea after the only other Pu-Erh tea I have tried, due to the pungent smell.  This one did not have the smell before brewing however, so I thought  it might be better.  Once brewed, the familiar smell returned, all though it was not nearly as overpowering. The flavor was good, very smooth and mellow.  No sweetness, no bitterness, just a slight earthy tone.  It is a good “slow” morning tea, not as strong an english breakfast, but stronger than a green or white.  I had to knock it some for the smell, but the flavor is very good.
My Rating:

3 / 5

-brent

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Tea of the Week – Mambo

Name: Mambo

Type:  Black

Region:  Yunnan and Wuyi regions of China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $3 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Large leaves for Black Tea, Pleasant earthy smell

Review:

A black tea I haven’t tried before, Mambo is marketed as similar to the Mamba Dance which “originated from the fusion of Cuban and American Jazz.”  While I don’t know about being “jazz infused”, this is a decent cup of tea.  A solid black tea with a strong earthy flavor, this isn’t a tea for those who like lighter teas.  Be careful because it gets very bitter if brewed even a little too long, but when brewed correctly is a pleasant tea.  I wish I had some milk to try with it because I think it would stand up well and smooth out the flavor a little.  Overall, good but not a new favorite.

My Rating:

3 / 5

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

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Tea of the Week – Darjeeling #22

Name: Darjeeling #22

Type:  Black

Region:  Darjeeling, India

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $3 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions:  Sweet smelling, like fresh straw

Review:

Well, last week I finished up my samples from adagio, so now it is back to some tea I was going to review earlier.  I have a white tea sampler that I will be starting next week, but this week I thought I would slip in a black tea I like: Darjeeling #22.  Interesting note: I found out that a lot of tea marketed as “Darjeeling” actually doesn’t come from that region, they just use the name because it is so popular.  The tea was mellow for a black tea, with a roasted scent and flavor.  There really was no hint of bitterness in the aftertaste, something I find myself appreciating more and more.  Overall, a good cup, but nothing amazing.

My Rating:
3  / 5

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

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Tea of the Week – Yunnan Golden Pu Erh

Name: Yunnan Golden Pu Erh

Type:  Black

Region:  Yunnan, China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $29 for maestro sampler set (4 teas)

First Impressions:  Unpleasant smell!

Review:

This is an interesting tea.  While it’s listed by adagio as a black tea, it’s technically a “Pu Erh” or fermented tea.  I wasn’t even really aware of this type of tea and found a lot of interesting information about it on the Wikipedia article.  Apparently this type of tea is better aged, and you can still find some from as far back as the Qing Dynasty.  As far as the tea itself goes, while interesting, I didn’t find it overly enjoyable.  I just couldn’t get past the rather pungent smell it puts off, although it does mellow some with brewing.  The flavor itself was pleasant enough.  It was slightly different than most black teas.  It wasn’t bitter, more of a clear slightly nutty taste.  Overall I would say definitely try it for the experience, but don’t get a large amount.  It’s different enough to be interesting the first few drinks, but not good enough to want after that.

My Rating:
2.5 / 5

-brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

*Disclosure (AND Thanks!): This was part of a free sampler I got from Adagio to preview.

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