Tisano’s Original Cacao Tea

Original Cacao Tea by Tisano
Herbal Infusion / Straight
$14.95USD for 4oz

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Tisano has provided me with Original Cacao Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Tisano sent me a sample of their Original Cacao Tea. The sample came to me in a resealable bag (thank goodness), and the aroma of the cacao shells is one of pure chocolate. It smells and reminds me of a rich hot chocolate. Original Cacao Tea is a tisane made up of only cacao shells. I’m not sure what a cacao shell is supposed to look like, but the tisane is made up of thin, light brown flakes and smell like a chocolate bar.

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Preparation

Tisano recommends steeping Original Cacao Tea at 210°F (99°C) water for 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Original Cacao Tea steeps to a beautiful golden brown colour. Surprisingly, there’s slight bit of oils across the top that I think it comes from the cacao shells themselves (since chocolate has oils). The aroma from the steeped tisane is nothing short of hot chocolate. Sipping Original Cacao Tea has the taste of chocolate, a slightly watery version of hot chocolate. There’s a slight bitterness to the tisane, it reminds me of dark chocolate.

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I added some cream to Original Cacao Tea and I found it helped to dull the bitterness and make it taste a touch more like hot chocolate, as it allowed the natural sweetness from the cacao to come through more.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped the Original Cacao Tea, but found that the flavour was a watery compared to the initial steep. I would recommend Original Cacao Tea for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Tisano’s Original Cacao Tea. I found that it was really good with the addition of cream, it made it taste like a hot chocolate. It’s a nice alternative to the sugary commercial hot chocolate mix available out there. I wasn’t too fond of the bitter notes with the straight tisane, so I recommend adding some cream or milk to make it into a rich hot chocolate drink.

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Teazorean’s Orange Pekoe

Orange Pekoe by Teazorean
Black Tea / Straight
$15.83 for 32g

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Teazorean has provided me with Orange Pekoe for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

When Teazorean got in contact with me about trying out their teas, I was intrigued. Teazorean describes themselves as a “socially conscious” tea company, where 5% of net proceeds of their products goes towards Whale and Dolphin Conservation. Also to set them apart is the fact that their tea originates from a tea farm in Europe (the only commercial tea farm in Europe!), and can be found in part of the Azores Islands in Portugal – which is a series of volcanic islands.

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Orange Pekoe came to me in a sampler-sized tin with 10g of the classic straight black tea. The tea leaves themselves vary in size, with beautiful golden orange tips at the end of some of the leaves. The aroma from the leaves is quite subtle, but there’s a sweet mixture of floral and a robustness that reminds me of Assam.

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Preparation

Teazorean recommends steeping Orange Pekoe at 205°F (96°C) for 5 minutes. I followed the recommended steeping instructions for my initial steep of Orange Pekoe.

First Taste

Orange Pekoe steeps to a beautiful golden orange, with a very subtle aroma that wafts up from the tea. I smell a touch of honeyed floral sweetness in this black tea. On first sip, I taste a slight sweetness, floral, with a touch of astringency. I found the flavour to be complex and inviting, while being fairly similar to the orange pekoe teas that I’ve enjoyed in the past. I found the Assam-like qualities to this tea to add a bit of oomph behind this tea, and reminds me of the strength of a classic breakfast tea.

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I added a touch of honey and cream to my cup of Orange Pekoe to make it reminiscent of the milk tea of my childhood. I found that the honey helped boost the floral flavours, while the cream helped to tone down the astringency of the tea.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped the Orange Pekoe leaves a few times and managed to resteep them an extra three times. I found that the flavour of the tea stayed true to itself for the first two resteeps, while becoming considerably weaker by the third. I would say that Orange Pekoe would be good for an additional two resteeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Teazorean’s Orange Pekoe. The natural sweet, floral aroma and flavour to this volcanic island black tea is such a delight to the senses. I’m not terribly fond of the mild astringency that I found, but when I added the sweetener and cream (like I often do with some black teas), the astringency disappears. The robustness of this tea reminds me of breakfast teas, so this could do for a good coffee replacement if you’re looking to switch from coffee to tea. It takes sweeteners and cream/milk very well, so it’d also do well as a latte as well if you’re into tea lattes.

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Fox Tea Club’s Orange Cookie

Orange Cookie by Fox Tea Club
Black Tea / Flavoured
$9.95USD for 2oz

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Fox Tea Club has provided me with Orange Cookie for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I was intrigued by the idea of a tea named “Orange Cookie” mostly because I really like cookies. This black tea blend came to me in a sample packet from Fox Tea Club. I ripped opened the packaging and could smell the orange right away. The citrus aroma is rich and deep. There’s a mixture of spices in this black tea blend that mingle well with the black tea base – I can definitely make out the cinnamon in this mix and I can see the cardamom.

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The listed ingredients at the time of writing are: black tea and orange. The description of the tea on the Fox Tea Club includes the mention of cinnamon and cloves, but they’re not mentioned in the ingredients list.

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Preparation

Fox Tea Club recommends steeping Orange Cookie at 205°F (96°C) for 3 to 5 minutes, and suggests that the tea can be steeped twice. My initial steep of Orange Cookie was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Orange Cookie steeps to a beautiful golden orange colour. The smell that wafts up from the steeped tea is primarily that of the spices. I can smell the cinnamon and the cloves, and the gentle hint of the orange. On first sip, I found the black tea base to be strong with a hint of astringency. I found that the orange fragrance of the dry leaf to translate well in the steeped tea. It’s light and adds a hint of refreshing citrus flavour to the steeped tea.

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I added a touch of honey to the cup and found that the sweetness helped to boost the citrus flavour in this tea and made it taste more like orange.

A Second Cup?

As Fox Tea Club had suggested that this tea could be steeped twice, that meant I had to try a total of three steeps. The first resteep of Orange Cookie tasted quite a lot like the initial steep – the black tea based was more pronounced with the spices playing less of a strong role in the flavour profile. The amount of citrus I found to be similar to the initial steep. For the second resteep, I found that it was mostly the black tea in the flavour of the tea blend and the spices were all by forgotten. I agree with Fox Tea Club’s suggestion of two steeps for Orange Cookie.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Fox Tea Club’s Orange Cookie. I really enjoyed the flavours of this tea – from the dry leaf to the steeped tea. I do agree with Fox Tea Club’s recommendation of steeping this tea twice. The orange flavour is enjoyable, but I didn’t really find that it reminded me of cookies. I think a touch of vanilla or a vanilla simple syrup would go a long way to making me think of cookies. Additionally, I luckily do not have any food allergies (that I’m aware of), so I don’t need to scour through ingredients lists constantly, but I do wish I knew what all the different ingredients present in this black tea blend are.

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2017 Vancouver Tea Festival: Recap

This past weekend, on November 4th and 5th, it was the annual Vancouver Tea Festival – hosted and organized by the Vancouver Tea Society at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden located in the heart of Chinatown in Vancouver, British Columbia. This was also the first year that the Vancouver Tea Festival took place over two days, with presentations and tea tastings happening on both days.

Ticket prices varied from $7.95 to $24.95 depending on the number of dates (and which date), and if you opted for Exhibition Hall admission only or Exhibition Hall and Garden admission. There were children tickets available for free. Attendees also received a white sampling cup to tasting tea.

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On the first day that I attended, I focused primarily on the Exhibition Hall where the marketplace was held with all of the vendors. Here are some of the highlights of some of the things that I saw at the booths.

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Read More …

Yunomi’s Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha

Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$7.00USD for 10g

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Yunomi has provided me with Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Yunomi sent me this Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha from the Murakami Tea Garden, located in the Yoshiwara District, Shizuoka Prefecture. I was able to learn from the Yunomi website that the Murakami Tea Garden was established in the late 19th century, and they only produce 1300kg of tea each year as they only harvest the tea leaves from the spring first flush harvest.

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This sencha came to me in a beautiful golden paper covered foil packet that’s resealable. The sencha was steamed for 90 seconds after being harvested on May 4 2017. It’s kind of amazing that they can tell me exactly when it was harvested and for how long it was harvested. The smell from the dry leaf is very lightly salty, a bit of seaweed, a bit of ocean air. There’s a slight underlying sweetness to the aroma from the dry leaf that reminds me of flowers and peaches.

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Preparation

Yunomi has recommendations for the first three steeps. First steep at 60°C (140°F) for 1-2 minutes, second steep for 15 seconds for 80°C (176°F), and the third steep for 45 seconds at 80°C (176°F). I followed the instructions for the first three steeps of this Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha. Yunomi also includes that if you use a hotter temperature water, it’ll be more astringent; and a cooler temperature water, the tea will be sweeter.

First Taste

The initial steep of Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha steeped to a pale green-yellow. The aroma that wafts up from this sencha is one that reminds me of salty air by the ocean and there’s underlying honeyed sweetness to the tea. I sipped it and found it to be just a touch sweet and salty at the same time. The umami flavours are quite good, I found zero astringency and bitterness when I steeped it at such a low temperature compared to other green teas I’ve had in the past. There was a subtle flavour of floral sweetness in the tea that I find quite enjoyable.

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A Second Cup?

I followed the Yunomi steeping recommendations for the second and third steeps for this sencha. The green tea became sweeter and saltier with each steep. I found that I could steep the same leaves a fourth and fifth time, and found this Japanese green tea became a touch sweeter. The sixth steep was quite watery and unenjoyable. I would recommend a total of five steeps with this sencha.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Handpicked Mountain-Grown Shizuoka Sencha. From the dry leaf to the steeping process and the smell that comes up from the wet leaves, this sencha has a beautiful fragrance and flavour. I really enjoyed the contrasting sweet-and-salty flavours in this sencha and I’m quite happy to have tried it. I like that the tea can be resteeped a few times is a lovely quality to the sencha – especially as Yunomi included extensive steeping instructions for not only an initial steep for subsequent steeps as well.

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