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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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