Grand Tea’s Keemun Black Tea

Keemun Black Tea by Grand Tea
Black Tea / Straight
$30.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Keemun Black Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

The teas I grew up loving were all black teas, so whenever a tea company asks if I want to try black teas I’m always game. Grand Tea sent me some Keemun Black Tea and I was so curious that I just had to try it. According to Grand Tea, Keemun is a high quality black tea that is loved by the British Royal family. Keemun was exported to Europe as a “high class beverage”. Well, if it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s certainly good enough for me!

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Keemun Black Tea is a straight black tea. The tea leaves themselves are fairly uniform in colour. They’re short, dark, with light twists. There are hints of red in the tea leaves that may be a bit difficult to see in the photo. The dry leaf has a beautiful aroma – it’s a nice mix of flowery and fruity aroma that reminds me of lychee.

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Preparation

There were no preparations on the Grand Tea website at the time of writing. Because it’s a black tea, I opted to steep at 100°C (212°F) at 3 minutes.

First Taste

Keemun Black Tea steeps to a deep orange, and it has floral and fruity aromas that waft up. It has a beautiful aroma that’s quite inviting. If you’ve never had a cup of tea that just invites you in, this is the one. It felt like it took a while for the tea to cool down before I could drink in, but when I sipped at the Keemun, I was greeted with some bold flavours – there was a sweetness, the floral notes, and a touch of refreshing fruitiness. I found it to be well-balanced. This straight black tea has a great mouthfeel to it, it’s very smooth but just a touch of astringency at the tail end of each sip.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Keemun Black Tea three times, adding an additional 30 seconds per subsequent steep. I found that the flavours were not as strong as the initial steep, and got a little bit weaker with each steep. The sweetness got continually weaker. The additional steeps are still drinkable though, and I found them to be enjoyable.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Grand Tea’s Keemun Black Tea. The tea is bright and strong, I think that the tea would be a fantastic replacement for a morning cup of coffee – the initial steep is that strong. I really enjoyed it though, and found that the mixture of fruity and floral flavours was delicious. I wish it resteeped a little bit better, and it’d be a nice tea for an afternoon tea option.

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Fox Tea Club’s Chocolate Tea

Chocolate Tea by Fox Tea Club
Black Tea / Flavoured
$9.98USD for 2oz

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

First Impressions

I will be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing a Chocolate Tea in the goodies that Fox Tea Club sent me, but I’m game to try just about anything as long as it doesn’t contain coffee. Chocolate Tea actually does smell like milk chocolate, which always a good start. I found that I couldn’t smell much of the black tea base, but given the name of the tea and the fact that the smell matches the name, all is forgiven.

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Chocolate Tea is made up of black tea, cacao beans, caramel, foxberry, and sea buckthorn. One curious thing is that the sprinkles aren’t mentioned in the ingredients list at the time of writing, but are very much present in the black tea blend itself. They remind me a lot of snowflakes, so perhaps this an early winter-themed tea review for you all.

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Preparation

There were no steeping instructions on the Fox Tea Club website, but the label suggested steeped in 205°F (96°C) water for 3 minutes and that the tea could been steeped twice. I followed the steeping instructions for my initial steep of Chocolate Tea.

First Taste

Chocolate Tea steeps to a beautiful reddish-brown colour, very much like a regular black tea. There’s small flecks of oil across the top which I’m attributing to the snowflake sprinkles that melted in my tea. The steeped Chocolate Tea stills smell remarkably like milk chocolate, which I am pleasantly surprised by because usually teas that smell like chocolate prior to being steeped don’t necessarily smell like chocolate post-steep.

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I found on first sip, this tea was like a watery hot chocolate. It does taste like hot chocolate, but I can also taste the black tea base which is quite bold in comparison to the chocolate flavours. There’s a nice sweetness to it, which I think can be easily attributed to the sprinkles.

I did add some evaporated milk to this tea, and found that the taste was a lot more to my liking. Straight, I found the chocolate flavour be quite watery. With the addition of the milk, I found the tea to be more of a creamy chocolate flavour and it tasted more like hot chocolate.

A Second Cup?

I did attempt to resteep Chocolate Tea, but found the flavours were lacking compared to the first steep and I didn’t enjoy it. I would say that Chocolate Tea is good for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Fox Tea Club’s Chocolate Tea. If I were given a cup of this tea straight, I probably wouldn’t finish it because it tastes like a weak and watery hot chocolate. I would highly recommend adding some cream or evaporated milk into this tea to make it more creamy and it gets to be a lot closer to a hot chocolate flavour. It does smell a lot like chocolate both with the dry leaf and when it’s steeped, which is a nice quality about this black tea blend.

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Grand Tea’s Organic Jin Xuan White Tea

Organic Jin Xuan White Tea by Grand Tea
White Tea / Straight
$29.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Organic Jin Xuan White Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I love a good white tea, which is why I was happy when Grand Tea sent me some of their Organic Jin Xuan White Tea to try! For those that don’t know, white tea is the most minimally processed tea there is available. The extent of processing white tea is essentially picking it, letting it dry out, and applying a minimal amount of heat.

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Organic Jin Xuan White Tea is a beautiful straight white tea. The leaves aren’t rolled or squished in any way at all, and you can really see the details in the leaves when laying them out. The leaves are a mix of green and brown, which is nice to see. The dry leaves have a very light floral aroma to them, which is quite inviting.

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Preparation

Grand Tea didn’t have any steeping instructions on their product page. My initial steep of Organic Jin Xuan White Tea was in 85°C (185°F) water for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Organic Jin Xuan White Tea steeps to be quite clear, it’s barely pigmented at all after the initial steep. The fragrance from this tea is a mixture of floral and buttercream, Organic Jin Xuan White Tea definitely has some sweet notes to it. I found when I sipped it, I was pleasantly greeted with a smooth, creamy tea. Despite how clear the tea appears, it has a nice smoothness to it as I sip my cup. The floral notes are a bit milder than jasmine, I can’t quite place what the flower is. The buttercream taste to it adds to the creaminess of the tea and lends itself to the buttery flavour of this tea. Despite buttercream being a fairly ‘heavy’ flavour, I found that the white tea did have a bit of lightness to it overall.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Organic Jin Xuan White Tea seven times, adding an extra 30 seconds per additional steep. I found that the tea remained smooth and creamy throughout all of the subsequent steeps, and the the floral-buttercream taste stayed fairly true throughout. The flavours were deepest on the first resteeep, and slowly began to fade out throughout all the steeps. Overall, I found that the idea did quite well and would recommend resteeping it to get the best value from the tea leaves.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Grand Tea’s Organic Jin Xuan White Tea. I do love a white tea that can hold up to being resteeped, and thankfully this one does beautifully with being resteeped. The floral and creamy notes to this straight white tea are delicious and easily enjoyable. I’d definitely recommend resteeping this tea, and the sweetness of this tea might lend itself well to contrasting with a savoury breakfast or to amplify the sugar in a sweet dessert.

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Yunomi’s Echigo Boucha

Echigo Boucha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$8.00USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Echigo Boucha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Yunomi was very kind to send me some Echigo Boucha, which is an interesting Japanese green tea blend that I haven’t experienced before. Echigo Boucha consists of toasted brown rice and roasted tea leaf stems that are aged in a building that’s kept at lower temperatures with snow. Say what? At first sniff when I opened up the resealable bag, I thought it smelled a lot like a genmaicha (which is roasted rice with green tea leaves), but Echigo Boucha has a much deeper aroma than genmaicha, with a light smokey quality to it to the aroma of the dry leaf that highlights the toasted rice smells.

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From Yunomi, I learned that toasted rice is genmai and the Japanese for the roasted tea leaf stems is kuki hojicha. One thing I love about exploring different teas is the exposure to different cultures and languages.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Echigo Boucha in 90°C (194°F) water for 60 seconds (1 minute).

TEA TIP If you’re finding it difficult to keep track of time when you’re steeping your tea, you can always set a timer on your phone! I use my phone constantly to keep track of my tea so I don’t oversteep it. This is particularly handy if you’re doing a longer steep (5+ minutes) in case you’re easily distracted.

First Taste

Echigo Boucha steeps to a deeper colour that I’m used to from a green tea, it’s a golden colour that’s almost brown. I would describe the aroma from this tea as being a mix of nutty, rice cakes, and just a touch of smokiness. The flavour of this tea is initially a touch astringent, which gives way to a pleasant sweetness. There are some nutty qualities in the flavour profile of Echigo Boucha that plays nicely with the flavour of rice cakes. Surprisingly, the smokiness in the aroma of the tea isn’t that present in the flavour of the tea – for me this is a plus as I tend to not enjoy smoked teas as much so I was happy that it faded to the background.

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A Second Cup?

Yunomi suggests that Echigo Boucha can be resteeped three times, which of course meant that I had to push the envelope and resteep it four times. I added an additional 30 seconds per resteep, and found that the tea got sweeter as I resteeped it. The flavours of nuttiness and rice cakes became stronger in the first and second resteeps, while the astringency took a backseat as the tea became sweeter. I found that the third resteep was quite a bit weak, while the fourth was barely palatable. Yunomi knew what they were doing when they suggested three resteeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Echigo Boucha. It was a great experience to try this green tea made up of tea leaf stems! The toasted brown rice added to the flavours of nuttiness and rice cakes, which was quite pleasant. I really enjoyed how this tea resteeped and how the astringency faded into the background as the tea got sweeter. I think it’d be a great tea to be paired with a dessert, given the light sweetness of this green tea. If you like genmaicha, I think you might also like this toasted rice tea as well since it has many of the same qualities (and the smokiness doesn’t transfer over in the flavour).

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Grand Tea’s Yixing Black Tea

Yixing Black Tea by Grand Tea
Black Tea / Straight
$28.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Yixing Black Tea for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Black teas are one of my favourite teas to have in the morning before I head off to work or just to start off my day. They just tend to put a bit more pep into my step whenever I need a bit more motivation or energy to go and do things. Luckily, Grand Tea sent me a sample of Yixing Black Tea (Yixing Souchong Black Tea on their website).

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This straight black tea comes from the Jiangsu Province of China. The dry leaf has a subtle aroma to it that reminds me of dried apricots.

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Preparation

There were no steeping instructions for Yixing Black Tea on the Grand Tea website, so I followed my usual steeping time for a black tea: Steep in 100°C (212°F) water for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Yixing Black Tea steeps to a golden orange colour, it’s quite beautiful. The tea itself has a soft aroma to it, there’s a mild honey smell and a subtle fragrance that reminds me of roasted cashews. There’s a slight nutty flavour to this straight black tea. The mild honey smell lends itself well to this tea because there’s just a touch of a sweetness to the tea that makes it quite palatable.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Yixing Black Tea three additional times, and added 30 seconds per subsequent steep. I found that the cashew flavour got a bit stronger as the honeyed sweetness faded into the background. By the third resteep, I found the tea to be a bit watery so I would suggest a maximum of two resteeps for this tea before the flavours get too weak.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Grand Tea’s Yixing Black Tea. I enjoyed the different flavours in this tea – the roasted cashews/nutty flavour with the honey sweetness. I do wish that the sweetness held on better with each resteep though, as that was one of the nicest parts of the flavour profile for me. It performs well when being resteeped, which is nice if you want to have this tea again and again during the day. Due to the sweetness in the initial steep, I think this tea would do well paired with either dessert or breakfast.

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