Teakan’s Dian Hong

Dian Hong from Teakan
Black Tea / Straight
$30.00 for 66g

Dian Hong is part of Teakan’s Volume 3 Exploration Kit, a collection of five single origin teas. Dian Hong makes up 15g of the 66g kit.

First Impressions

Dian Hong comes in a kraft paper pouch that’s sealed and resealable. It has a simple white label on the front and back with some information about the tea itself. This is a black tea from Feng Qing, Yunnan, China and it was harvested in autumn 2020 – something nice that came out of the pandemic! For 15g of tea, it feels more like more because it’s just such an airy tea and takes up more space.

The leaves themselves are really quite lovely – long leaves with a great array of colours from light golden yellow to a dark brown. The leaves have some lovely feathery bits to them, and you can definitely see some leaves and buds in the mix. It very much lends itself to making me think that this is a handpicked tea, because of the delicate nature of the leaves. Dian Hong has a lovely aroma to it, quite floral and it reminds me a lot of osmanthus scented oolong.

Preparation

Teakan recommends steeping Dian Hong in 90°C (194°F) water for 2 to 3 minutes.

For the gongfu method of steeping, Teakan recommends steeping Dian Hong in 90°C (194°F) water for 10 to 15 seconds.

I opted to do the western steeping method with the recommended water temperature and did an initial steep of 2 minutes.

First Taste

Dian Hong steeps to a pretty golden yellow colour. It has a sweet floral aroma to it and it tastes basically like how it smells. Sweet, floral, with some astringency in the background that causes just a hint of dryness in the mouth at the tail end of each sip. It’s quite flavourful and I like the natural level of sweetness that is in this black tea, it reminds me a lot of honey with the floral sweetness in it. Definitely one to keep sipping on instead of taking big gulps at a time, with just that bit of astringency.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Dian Hong a total of seven times (eight steeps total!), adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that the tea got a bit darker and more orange before it lightened up again. It was quite flavourful with each steep and eventually got a more honeyed flavour to it and slightly less astringency as I continued to steep the same leaves. The leaves came out much more uniform in colour than they did when the leaves were dry.

My Overall Impression

I loved Teakan’s Dian Hong. This was a great introduction to the Volume 3 Exploration Kit from Teakan, I thought it was a lovely black tea experience and the natural sweetness and floral flavours found in the tea leaves was just a real treat. I’m always a fan of getting to try single origin teas and it’s really great to be able to do so in an affordable manner. I would recommend Dian Hong for those who like to try new black teas, especially ones that are naturally sweet and won’t require a lot of doctoring up to make a bit more palatable.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

DavidsTea’s Lychee Bellini

Lychee Bellini by DavidsTea
Black Tea / Flavoured
$8.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Lychee Bellini was one of those purchases made on a whim, and also because I was quite hopeful that it would be similar enough to another lychee flavoured black tea blend from DavidsTea that’s long been discontinued (Peachy Lychee). Lychee is a great little fruit – super sweet, floral, with such a juicy flesh to the fruit. It’s so good. But this isn’t a lychee fruit, it’s Lychee Bellini and it is a black tea blend. It comes in a very familiar silver pouch – sealed, resealable, with a navy blue label on the front with the white text. I’ve mentioned before not being a huge fan of the small print… I’m still not a fan of the small print, but what’s a girl to do?

The smell of the dry leaf is amazing. It’s fruity with some fun things that I can pick out – like the pineapple and lychee! It’s definitely fruity, reminds me of a tropical punch – very inviting, very eager to try it. A bit sad that there’s no peach in it so I can pretend it’s a Peachy Lychee dupe. Lychee Bellini consists of: apple, black tea, mango, pineapple, hibiscus, strawberries, lychee granules, natural and artificial flavouring.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Lychee Bellini in 95°C (200°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. I opted to follow the steeping directions and did a steep for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Lychee Bellini steeps to a deep pink colour thanks to the hibiscus! It has a great aroma to it – very fruit and floral, I definitely taste the lychee in it! Which is great, because that’s the part that I was most looking forward to. The mango and apple are both noticeable as well, although I’m not sure if I really taste the pineapple or not. The black tea sort of lingers in the background, but that’s where I expected it to be given the other ingredients in the mix.

I also tried it iced as well and it’s pretty darn good too!

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Lychee Bellini, but found that the fruity flavours that I enjoyed with the initial steep weren’t very present in the first resteep. I would recommend steeping Lychee Bellini just the one time.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Lychee Bellini. I think it was pleasant when I tried it hot, but the fruity flavours really shined when I had it iced. This is definitely a tea to have iced in the summer, maybe with a splash of lemonade or a squeeze of a lemon wedge in there. I think if you were to sweeten it, I would recommend honey to help accent the sweetness of the lychee. Definitely not a dupe of Peachy Lychee, but it is a lychee black tea blend that stands out on its own.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

The Easiest Way to Prepare Matcha Ever

I’ve talked about a few different methods of preparing matcha before. My personal preference is also the most traditional – having a bowl and a bamboo whisk. I also go through the process of sifting the matcha before whisking and it’s a bit methodical and calming in the process. But I also understand that this right method is not for everyone. And sometimes it’s not even the right method for me.

Some people are always on the go. Some people don’t want to go through the motions just to get a cup of matcha (but, let’s face it, knowing how to make it in a traditional fashion is also a great thing to know – and I discuss it in my post called The Basics of Preparing Matcha). But this isn’t a post about how to make it in the traditional way, or how many pieces of equipment you need. This is so dead simple, you’ll be wondering how you didn’t think of it already because you already own something that you can use for this.

Are you ready?

Find a small tight fitting jar of your choice (I used a mason jar).
Add in the matcha of your choice (I used about 1 teaspoon).
Top up with water, leaving some headspace. You don’t need to use warm water!
Put the lid on, tighten it up.
Shake!
You’ll know it’s done when you don’t see clumped up matcha on the bottom and when there’s some nice froth on top.

No sifting, no whisk, no bowls required.

You can take that jar with you or pour it out into another cup.

Matcha is a suspension, which means that the powder doesn’t dissolve into the water. So you don’t need warm or hot water. Cold water works just fine! Because it is a suspension (much like a nice miso soup), you’ll notice that after a period of time, it’ll be darker on the bottom and lighter on the top. Just make sure the lid is on tight again, and give it a good shake.