Posts Tagged Tea

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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Tea of the Week – Jasmine Green Strawberry Lemonade

Name: Jasmine Green / Strawberry Lemonade Blend

Type: Green

Region: Unknown

Bought At: Teavana

Price: $12 for two ounces (25-30 cups)

First Impressions:Fruity, Strawberry and Jasmine scents really cut through

Review:

First, I want to apologize for the long wait, life has been a little crazy lately and I just haven’t had the time to go out and get any new tea.  Second, I am very excited to have a new Teavana just a few miles from my apartment, it’s expensive but usually really good. Plus, they are always good for a few free samples!

This is a blend I picked up at Teavana: Jasmine Green Strawberry Lemonade.  It’s a blend of their Jasmine Dragon Pheonix Pearls and their Strawberry Lemonade Herbal tea.  I actually really liked this despite the fact that it is a jasmine tea, which usually send my brain into a tailspin because the overpowering floral scent.  The sweetness from the strawberries and tartness from the apple and lemon really blend well with the jasmine.  The green tea gives it enough of a base that it doesn’t come off as just a fruity herbal tea, and it balances really well.  All in all, this is definitely my favorite jasmine tea so far.  The only thing I wish is that I had not had the teas blended at the store, so I could try them individually as well and blend them as needed.

My Rating:

3.5 / 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 – White Monkey

Name: White Monkey

Type: Green

Region: Fujian province, China

Bought At: Adagio

Price: $2 for a 10 cup sample

First Impressions: Looks like white tea, Sweet grassy smell

Review:

I’m surprised I haven’t reviewed this tea before as it is one of my all time favorites, ever since I received it in my first tea sampler.  It’s a green tea the shares many of the characteristics of a white tea.  A very smooth, subtle cup that is perfect in the afternoon for a gentle pick-me-up.  It has a sweetness similar to most white teas, but with a lightly stronger grassy undertone.  A great tea that I usually enjoy at least once a week! (Be especially careful not to overbrew!)

My Rating:

4.5 / 5

-brent

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Tea of the Week – Green Tea Ginger Peach

Name: Green Tea Ginger Peach

Type: Green

Region: Yunnan, China

Bought At: The Seasoned Home

Price: $2.79 per ounce

First Impressions: Smells amazing

Review:

Another tea from The Seasoned Home, this flavored green is rapidly becoming one of my all time favorites.  The smell of the unbrewed tea  is absolutely amazing, sugary sweet, fruity, and just right.  Once brewed the ginger adds a hint of spiciness that smells awesome in its own right.  As far as flavor goes, it doesn’t disappoint.  The sweetness of the peach mixes with the ginger to make a really well balanced and pleasant cup.  It also has marigold blossoms and roman chamomile, whose floral flavors add to the sweetness.  A really good, sweet green that everyone should try!

My Rating:

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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