Tea of the Week – Wuyi Dark Roast Oolong

Name: Wuyi Dark Roast Oolong

Type: Oolong

Region: Wuyi mountains, Fujian, China

Bought At: Samovar

Price: $4 for a “one pot” sample

First Impressions: Dark, very earthy smell

Review:

The first thing that was interesting to me was that the instructions said to rinse the leaves with boiling water to “awaken” them.  I had heard that some people do this, but have never seen it on the instructions of any before.  Regardless, once brewed the tea was a dark cup, with a very heavily roasted smell (hence the name I suppose…)  Given the darkness and roasted smell, I was expecting something with a fairly bitter aftertaste, not so.  It actually was quite smooth, very full, and good.  I was expecting a lot more powerful taste but it is actually very mellow. I also enjoyed that you could make multiple cups from the same leaves, I think it helps justify the higher cost. Overall very good, not really what I was expecting, but good!
My Rating:

3.5 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

Tea of the Week – Sencha Vanilla

Name: Sencha Vanilla

Type: Green

Region: Unknown, Probably Japan

Bought At: The Seasoned Home

Price: $2.49 per ounce

First Impressions: Wonderfully sweet, vanilla scent

Review:

I recently have been trying several teas from a local tea shop – The Seasoned Home, located in Holland Michigan.  I received a few of their teas as Birthday and Christmas presents and so far they have all been very good.  Sencha green is a mild green, mixed with just the right amount of vanilla to give it a nice sweet taste without overpowering the tea.  It lacks any bitterness and has all of my favorite qualities of a green tea.  It’s very smooth, very sweet, very good, and I will be buying more!

Note: If you go into the store to buy this it will be labeled Green Tea Vanilla  not Sencha Vanilla – but it’s the same tea.

My Rating:

3.5 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

New Year Resolutions

I started this blog about a year ago partially as a new year’s resolution.  Since it is another new year, I thought it fitting to set some new goals.  Originally I wasn’t sure what I would do, I thought about changing the focus of the site and stopping the weekly reviews entirely, but I really enjoy trying new tea, and it is a good way to make myself find different kinds.

Over Christmas vacation, my family learned about this blog, and I was surprised how many of them were interested in it.  Mostly they had questions about tea.   Does it have health benefits?  Which one has the most caffeine?  Do black and green tea really come from the same plant?  I realized that a lot of people are interested in tea, but don’t really know anything about it.  So, in the coming year I will be trying to answer one common question about tea a month.  If you have one you are interested in, leave it in the comments and I will try to answer it!

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

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)

Tea of the Week – Xue Ya Ballad

Name: Xue Ya Ballad

Type:  Green

Region:  Keemun, China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Gentle Grassy Smell, looks similar to a white monkey leaf but smaller

Review:

My first unflavored green in a while, Xue Ya Ballad was just okay.  It wasn’t as light as I was expecting, and reminded me more of a gunpowder green than a white monkey green.  Not really bad it lacked the smokiness that I like in darker greens.  It had a hint of nutiness, but also just a twinge of bitterness in the end.  It’s possible that I over steeped it, and will try it again, but all in all a little disapointing.  Given a name with the grandiose of “Xue Ya Ballad” I was expecting a little more.

My Rating: 2 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

Tea of the Week – Raspberry Green

Name: Raspberry Green

Type:  Green

Region:  China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Sweet and fruity, smells good!

Review:

I was really nervous about trying this week’s tea for a couple reasons.  First, the last  fruit tea I tried (Cherry Green) was absolutely terrible, and second, I love raspberries.  When I was growing up my parents owned a raspberry stand and ever since they have been one of my favorite fruits, and I was really excited about finding a good raspberry tea.  Luckily, Adagio nailed this one.  The tea is both sweet and a little tart, just like its namesake fruit.  The fruity flavors blend well with the mellow green they used as the base.  I found it interesting that they also included the raspberry leaves in the tea.  I’m not sure why they did that (If anyone at adagio reads this feel free to fill me in), but it seems to have worked.  A solid tea that nailed my personal tastes, try some!

My Rating: 4 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

Tea of the Week – Cherry Green

Name: Cherry Green

Type:  Green

Region:  China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Two Words – Cough Syrup

Review:

Wow!  I very rarely come across a tea that I have trouble finishing at least one cup, but this pushed it!  It tasted sweet, but was more like cough syrup than anything, and I HATE cherry cough syrup!  I think it really is the overpowering smell that brings it such a similarity to medicine.  I did think it interesting that they had whole dried cherries in the tea, but that was really the only think that was remotely positive about this.  It gets half a point only becasue I was able to force the rest of the cup down.  In my opinion: stay away!

Side note: If you are one who likes the flavor of cough syrup, you might really enjoy this, but you are weird.

My Rating:

.5 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

Tea of the Week – Apricot Green

Name: Apricot Green

Type:  Green

Region:  China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a ten cup sample

First Impressions: Wonderful sweet and fruity smell

Review:

My first review in a loong time, apricot green was really good.  The smell of the leaves and brewed tea are both awesome without being overpowering.  The tea itself was good, a nice sweet hint of apricots on top of a mellow green tea.  It reminded me a lot of one of my all time favorites, citron green.  The biggest difference between this and citron is the apricot flavor was much more subtle, and a little sweeter.  Overall a good tea, and hopefully a good start to blogging again!

My Rating:
3 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

Tea of the Week – White Symphony

Name: White Symphony

Type:  White

Region:  Fujian province, China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a five cup sample

First Impressions:  Large leaves, looks like white peony

Review:

Upon visiting Adagio’s website I found out why white symphony and white peony looked so much alike to me – white symphony is a type of white peony tea.  Like the other white peony, this tea is very mellow and smooth.  I actually think that it has slightly subtler flavors than the other peony, which, until now I wouldn’t have thought possible without tasting watery.  It does however manage to do this, and quite well.  I feel like I should not give this a 3 / 5 rating because that is where all the white teas I have tried landed so far, but it really is in the same category:  just above average, good, but definitely nothing  overly exciting.  Three it is!

My Rating:
3 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)

Tea of the Week – White Peony

Name: White Peony

Type:  White

Region:  Fujian province, China

Bought At:  Adagio.com

Price:  $2 for a five cup sample

First Impressions:  Large leaves, some covered in white but not all

Review:

The second white tea from my sampler, I thought this would be very similar to snowbud.  In some ways it was – light tones sweet smelling before brewed.  What surprised me is it isn’t sweet like snowbud.  Instead it has a not-quite-smoky flavor that reminded me more of green tea.  It definitely had a noticeable flavor to it, as opposed to some white teas that are so light they only hint at a flavor.  It is good, and the smokiness was a nice change up from the other white teas I have tried.

My Rating:
3 / 5

brent
(Teageek.org Founder)