Wize Monkey’s Minty Marvel

Minty Marvel by Wize Monkey
Herbal Tisane / Flavoured
$11.99 for 50g

Wize Monkey has provided me with Minty Marvel for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

If you’ve been reading One More Steep for a while (and I hope you have!), you know I reviewed Wize Monkey’s Minty Marvel back in May of this year. And no, I’m not reviewing the exact same product – Wize Monkey had an updated blend for their Minty Marvel flavour so of course I had to give it a try! They kindly sent me a 50g resealable bag of Minty Marvel in loose leaf format.

When I first opened the bag, the one thing I did notice is the incredibly strong and bright mint aroma. The ingredients in Minty Marvel are: arabica leaves, peppermint leaves, and natural mint flavouring.

Preparation

Wize Monkey recommends steeping Minty Marvel at 95°C (200°F) for 4 minutes. I followed the steeping recommendations for the initial steep of Minty Marvel.

First Taste

Minty Marvel steeps to this beautiful golden orange. The aroma from the dry leaf is primarily that of the coffee leaf base and the pleasant aroma of the peppermint. On first taste, I can definitely pick out the mint. It has a nice cooling quality to it, that is pleasant and refreshing. I find that the mint is quite strong in comparison to the coffee leaf base, which isn’t disconcerting considering that’s what I wanted in the original Minty Marvel recipe. I found it to be a nice cup of tea to drink.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Minty Marvel for 7 minutes, and found that the flavour was still quite minty. It wasn’t as strong as the initial steep, but I could definitely taste the mint and the tea had a nice cooling quality to it still.

My Overall Impression

I loved Wize Monkey’s Minty Marvel. I’m so glad that Wize Monkey changed up their recipe a bit for Minty Marvel because the added peppermint leaf was such a great idea – it made the coffee leaf tea significantly more minty in the initial steep and in the resteep as well. I also had a cup of this that I drank iced, and found that it made for a refreshing cup of iced tea, so I’d give that a try as well! Having Minty Marvel iced certain amplified the cooling properties of the mint.

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Yunomi’s Gyokuro Phoenix 2016

Gyokuro Phoenix 2016 by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$6.00USD for 10g

Yunomi has provided me with Gyokuro Phoenix 2016 for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Gyokuro Phoenix 2016 comes from the Hattori Tea farm, from Uji, Kyoto. Yunomi describes this tea as a “heritage grade gyokuro”, which is from Akinobu Hattori, who is a tea farmer who has been farming gyokuro for fifty years. The family that runs Hattori Tea Farm has a 400 history as tea farmers (whoa!). Gyokuro Phoenix is a handpicked green tea that was harvested in the spring of 2016. This tea was aged by Yunomi.

Gyokuro Phoenix has these beautiful dark green leaves, there’s some parts of it that almost have an emerald-like shimmer to them. The leaves have a light grassy aroma to it, and they actually look quite small. But given the fact that they were harvested in the spring (and who knows how early in the spring), that seems fairly appropriate.

Preparation

Yunomi recommends a series of steep times for this green tea. An initial steep for 60-80 seconds at 50°C (122°F), with a second steep for 15 seconds at 80°C (176°F) and a third steep for 45 seconds at 80°C (176°F).

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that while I do use a variable temperature kettle, I can’t change the temperature settings. What I did for the initial steep of Gyokuro Phoenix was heat the water at the lowest temperature setting 175°F (79°C) and allow it to cool for about 7 minutes and I steeped the tea leaves for 70 seconds.

First Taste

Gyokuro Phoenix steeps to a pale yellow. The aroma that I get from this green tea is primarily that of sweetness, with a bit of salty air to it. When I tasted it, I noted that it had a bit of sweetness and some grassy notes. There was a pleasant amount of umami with each sip, which added a great mouthfeel to this tea. The grassy flavours made it taste very fresh, and felt very summery.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Gyokuro Phoenix a total of three times – I did the 2nd and 3rd steep was per the suggested steep times and did the 4th steep at 60 seconds. It did so well with each resteep, the flavours got stronger for the second steep, and started to wane for the third and fourth, but it was still a flavourful cup of tea.

My Overall Impression

I loved Yunomi’s Gyokuro Phoenix 2016. This green tea was flavourful and just steeped well. It’s definitely one that I would say you would need to watch your water temperature and steeping times, especially with such a low recommended temperature and relatively short resteep times. There was happily no bitterness or astringency at the recommended temperature settings, so I think Yunomi was on the ball with this one.

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Aroma Tea House’s Formosa Oolong

Formosa Oolong by Aroma Tea House
Oolong Tea / Straight
$12.00 for 100g   

First Impressions

I bought Formosa Oolong from Aroma Tea House’s booth at the Vancouver Tea Festival (I can’t remember which year, isn’t that terrible?!), and it came as part of a sampler of oolongs so I could try out four different types. Each cardboard tube had a snug-fitting lid, and the tea was poured into each one.

Formosa Oolong is one of their Taiwanese oolongs, and I was pretty happy to try it out. Formosa Oolong has these lovely green to brown leaves, the leaves all squished up together. The aroma from the dry leaf was that of a light fruity aroma with a mix of freshly cut grass, which I find quite inviting.

Preparation

As part of the sampler packaging, there were no steeping instructions on the cardboard tube. On the product page online, Aroma Tea House recommended steeping Formosa Oolong in a small teapot for 15 to 30 seconds, with no suggestions for water temperature. I used my Breville IQ Kettle‘s green tea temperature setting of 175°F (79°C) and steeped it for 30 seconds.

First Taste

Formosa Oolong steeps to what seems like an impossibly pale yellow when the leaves are only steeped for 30 seconds. The aroma from the tea is light sweetness, and fresh fruit – I get a mix of melon and plum. The tea is pleasantly smooth, no bitterness or astringency. I found the sweetness noted in the aroma of the tea carried over well into the flavour. It’s a smooth, creamy tea that certainly goes down easy.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Formosa Oolong seven times (eight steeps total!) and found that the flavours changed quite a bit as I steeped it. The fruity flavours intensified at first, and when that started to wane, there was some sweet floral notes that started to come out. It made for a great tasting adventure because the same leaves just produced such a wide range of flavour.

My Overall Impression

I loved Aroma Tea House’s Formosa Oolong. I really enjoyed how this oolong tasted – from the first steep to the eighth. The flavours were so complimentary to each other and made for a beautifully balanced flavour profile regardless of which steep I was on. This is definitely a tea that I would recommend having many, many cups of because the flavour of the tea just changes so well throughout each steep.

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