JusTea’s Purple Mint

Purple Mint by JusTea
Purple Tea / Flavoured
$15.00 for 60g

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JusTea has provided me with Purple Mint for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

I had never had purple tea before. JusTea’s website is quite informative about purple tea. Purple tea comes from the same plant as all other teas (green, white, black oolong), but it’s a variety that produces dark purple leaves instead of green. The neat thing that I learned from JusTea’s website is that purple tea changes colour! It becomes a purpley pink with the addition of some lemon juice.

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Purple Mint came to me in a resealable paper bag that’s lined with foil. The mint aroma is very strong, there is no question that this tea includes mint in the blend! Because of the strong peppermint and spearmint combination, I wasn’t able to smell the purple tea on its own. Purple Mint consists of Kenyan Purple Tea, peppermint leaves, spearmint leaves, and rose petals.

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Preparation

JusTea recommends steeping Purple Mint in 190°F (88°C) water for 3 minutes. I steeped mine in 185°F water for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Purple Mint steeps to a lovely yellow colour. The mint flavour is strong, and I find that the purple tea taste is quite similar to green tea. There’s some vegetal notes to the tea, as well as some buttery qualities to this tea. The mint flavouring is definitely first and foremost in this minty blend though, I think mint is just such a strong flavour that it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s strong in a tea blend as well. What peeks through from the purple tea is tasty though, and reminds me a lot of green tea. I do wish that JusTea mentioned the processing type of the purple tea (I would put money on it being processed the way green tea is), since purple tea refers to the variety whereas green/white/black/oolong refers to the production process of the tea.

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I squeezed a bit of fresh lemon juice into my cup of tea and was a bit disappointed that the colour didn’t change as much as it did in the video on JusTea’s website. I think the edges are bit more pink? But it’s hard to tell. I do have another bag of tea to try from JusTea (which is the straight purple tea), so I’m hoping that will have more of an adventurous colour change. The lemon does brighten up the flavours, and actually make the mint flavour even stronger. If you’re opposed to the sourness of the lemon, a dash of sugar or a spoonful of honey will fix that right up.

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A Second Cup?

JusTea recommends resteeping their purple teas at least once. I tried twice, because I’m a rebel like that I found that the first resteep tasted very similar to the initial steep. The second steep was a lot milder, and I found that the mint flavouring wasn’t as strong as the first or second steep. I think JusTea was right on the money with the recommendation of one more steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved JusTea’s Purple Mint. I really liked the mint flavours in this tea, and found that the purple tea reminded me a lot of green tea (which I love!). I was a bit disappointed that the colour didn’t change as vividly as I was expecting it to, but it’s something that I can live with since I don’t typically put lemon into my tea. The buttery qualities of this tea are enjoyable, and I think it tastes really good with or without the lemon.

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Grand Tea’s Shi Feng Dragon Well

Shi Feng Dragon Well by Grand Tea
Green Tea / Straight
$70.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Shi Feng Dragon Well for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

I have become a huge fan of green teas over the last two years, and Dragon Well holds a place in my heart at this time. My dad drinks it a lot, and we’ve developed a better relationship since I moved out. When I go back to visit and stay with my parents, my dad always makes tea in the morning grandpa style and he usually steeps some kind of green tea (lately it’s been Dragon Well) or some type of pu-erh tea.

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What is grandpa style? Grandpa style is one of the easiest ways of steeping tea. It’s pretty much just some tea leaves in a cup, and you just keep pouring water in throughout the day. You don’t pay much attention to water temperature or how long you’re infusing the tea leaves for. It’s basically the easiest method of tea steeping because there are no rules.

Shi Feng Dragon Well is a straight, green tea. The tea leaves are flattened in the process of production, and you can definitely see that in the dry leaf. There’s a very mild aroma to the dry leaf – just a bit of saltiness that reminds me of the ocean, and a bit of floral fragrance in the dry tea leaf.

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Preparation

There were no steeping instructions on the sample packet. Grand Tea’s website suggests steeping Shi Feng Dragon Well in 80°C (176°F) water for 1-2 minutes for the initial steep. I steeped Shi Feng Dragon Well in my tea pot for 2 minutes in 80°C water.

First Taste

Shi Feng Dragon Well steeps to a pale yellow for the initial steep. There’s a light floral aroma that wafts up from the tea while I pour it into my cup. On first taste, the first thing I notice is the floral notes and some salty flavour to this green tea. The saltiness reminds me a lot of seaweed snacks, and adds a nice level of umami to the tea itself. There’s a mild sweetness to this tea, which I think comes from the floral notes. It’s enjoyable to the taste buds with good balance between the floral, sweet, and salty.

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A Second Cup?

Grand Tea’s product page for Shi Feng Dragon Well suggests that the green tea can be steeped up to four times (three resteeps) so I had to try it out. The tea gets darker and closer to a golden yellow by the last steep. I found for the first resteep, the floral sweetness was more pronounced. By the third resteep, the flavours are still well-balanced, but it does become weaker. I did try a fourth and fifth resteep – the flavours do become weaker, but the tea still has a decent amount of flavour and I think that Shi Feng Dragon Well can handle six total steeps with the same leaves.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Grand Tea’s Shi Feng Dragon Well. I love a good green tea, and this one meets all the expectations that I have for Dragon Well these days. I quite enjoyed the balance of sweet, floral, and salty in this tea. The great thing about this Dragon Well is how it does with resteeping and how well the tea leaves hold up over a steeping session. The quality of the tea leaves is high, and I think it’s a great tea to have over the course of the day – and it’d be a good tea to try grandpa style steeping if you haven’t tried it already.

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Arbor Teas’ Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane

Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane by Arbor Teas
Herbal Infusion / Flavoured
$9.95USD for 2.5oz

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Arbor Teas has provided me with Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

When I read the list of ingredients for Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane, I was thinking to myself that I needed to keep this for when I have a sore throat or an upset stomach. The ingredients that make up this herbal infusion are: organic lemongrass, organic orange peel, organic cinnamon, organic ginger root, and natural cinnamon and orange flavouring. Typically, you can find a lot of lemongrass and ginger in herbal infusions that are meant for people feeling a bit under the weather. I know that for me, growing up, my mom made a lot of batches of ginger tea that had a bit of lemon and not quite enough honey to kill the spice of the ginger that she would slice up to put into the water. That said, let’s get into it!

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The packaging is the same as the other sample that I received from Arbor Teas (Silver Needle), so I won’t be getting into about how their packaging is very cool and compostable (which I think is fantastic for the environment). This blend has a great lemongrass aroma to it as soon as I cut open the packaging. The lemongrass, orange peel, ginger root and cinnamon are all very obvious visually in this blend, with lemongrass clearly being the star. I can smell the lemongrass, orange, and ginger. It definitely reminds me of the lemon-ginger-honey ‘tea’ that my mom would make for me when I was sick, this leads to a very comforting feel the aroma of this blend.

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Preparation

Arbor Teas recommends steeping Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane in boiling (100°C/212°F) water for 5 to 7 minutes. My initial steep of Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane was for 6 minutes.

The nice thing about this being an herbal infusion is that you can’t really “oversteep” this. With tea blends that have tea leaves in them, you run the risk of ‘burning’ the leaves or oversteeping them, which can lead to very bitter or very astringent cups of tea. With herbal infusions, there are no tea leaves so you can’t really do much damage to them. That said, the longer you steep this blend, the more intense the ginger and cinnamon flavours will be, which may lead to a spicier cup.

First Taste

Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane has a very bright fragrance to it – the orange and lemongrass play nicely together in bringing forward bold citrus scents, while the ginger is in the background with just a hint of spice. I can’t really smell the cinnamon after this has been steeped, but that’s fine by me as I didn’t really smell it in the dry leaf either. This herbal infusion steeps to a nice bright yellowy-orange, I quite like it! It’s a very cheerful colour. The taste is primarily lemongrass, with hints of orange and ginger. The ginger has a bit of spice to it, which was to be expected.

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A Second Cup?

I typically don’t resteep herbal or fruit infusions, but I did try this one for a resteep. I found the flavours in the resteep to be very mild compared to the initial steep. The impact of the lemongrass wasn’t as strong, and the orange was hard to find in my cup. The ginger wasn’t as strong either, which led to it being a bit disappointing. I would say that this tisane is good for one steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I thought that Arbor Tea’s Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane was just okay. This isn’t an herbal blend that I would have picked out for myself, mostly because of the lemongrass and ginger. It definitely does make me feel like I should have an upset stomach or be feeling under the weather while having this tisane because of what my mom used to make for me when I was sick. That said, the lemongrass and ginger flavours are strong and they go very well together. The longer you steep it, the stronger the ginger flavour will be in the resulting cup. I think that Orange Spice Lemongrass Tisane would be great if you’re looking for something to tame an upset stomach, or if you’re looking for a caffeine-free alternative to tea or coffee.

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DavidsTea’s Butter Sencha

Butter Sencha by DavidsTea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$12.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

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Butter Sencha was a tea that when I first smelled it in the store, I was intrigued. I’ve really grown to love Japanese green teas, and sencha is no exception. I was curious about the butter flavouring, because green teas can be delicate at times that they don’t need extra flavouring to make an excellent cup of tea. The dry leaf of Butter Sencha is short, flat dark green pieces. The smell of this tea reminds me a lot of a mix of butter and brown sugar, there’s some of light molasses notes to this tea. I think that could be attributed to the roasting of the butter.

Butter Sencha is made up of green tea and natural roasted butter flavouring. Usually DavidsTea will mention if there are allergens involved with their teas (warnings about dairy/milk, soy, etc.) but there’s nothing mentioned for this tea. I’m not sure if the ‘flavouring’ that’s been added contains dairy products or not, but that would be something to ask in store or online if you have concerns about it.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Butter Sencha for 2-3 minutes in hot water, ‘hot water’ is defined as 75-80°C (167-176°F). I steeped Butter Sencha in my tea pot in 175°F water for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Butter Sencha steeps to a very pale yellow for the initial steep. There’s very light buttery smells to this tea as it steeps and I found it to be quite enticing once the two minutes mark is reached. On first sip, the first thing that I really notice is a buttery creamy quality to the tea. The tea itself is smooth, there’s no bitterness that I can taste and zero astringency. The butter flavours in this tea are rich and there’s a slight sweetness to the steeped tea as well. I wouldn’t say it’s overly sweet, but it’s just enough to be a hint of brown sugar on my tongue.

There was some fine particles of the tea that escaped from the stainless steel infuser that I use. If tiny bits of tea leaves bother you, I’d recommend using a filter bag to contain everything just a bit better.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Butter Sencha an extra four times, adding 30 seconds to each subsequent resteep. I found that the tea got darker as each steep went on (to a bright, golden yellow) and the buttery flavours got more pronounced for the first two resteeps, and began to get a bit weaker for the third and fourth resteeps. The brown sugar sweetness that I discovered in the initial steeped stayed relatively strong until the third resteep. The sweetness makes the tea quite enjoyable.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked DavidsTea’s Butter Sencha. There’s something really delicious about the flavour of buttery creaminess in my tea, and the brown sugar flavours are just the right touch to this green tea. I do wish that DavidsTea had a bit more information regarding the butter flavouring, since I know there are people out there that can’t have dairy products. That said, Butter Sencha resteeps well and it does get better after the initial steep and the flavours hold up. It makes for a tasty cup of tea and the buttery flavours are delicious (I almost feel like this is how Movie Night should have tasted).

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Grand Tea’s Organic GABA Oolong

Organic GABA Oolong by Grand Tea
Oolong Tea / Straight
$50.00HKD for 25g

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Grand Tea has provided me with Organic GABA Oolong for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

Another GABA tea from Grand Tea (the first one I reviewed was Organic GABA Black Tea), only this one is an oolong. Organic GABA Oolong has a very distinctive smell that comes out of the bag when I ripped it open. It reminds me of the smell of golden raisins, which I’ve always found to be brighter and more fresh smelling than the sticky dark raisins that came in those little red boxes come Halloween time. The leaves are tightly squished together. Non tea drinkers probably think it’s weird to call tea leaves pretty, but I do all the time because they are!

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Preparation

The packaging for Organic GABA Oolong didn’t have any steeping instructions, nor did the product page on Grand Tea’s website. I opted to steep my Organic GABA Oolong in 85°C (185°F) water for 2 minutes for the initial steep. As per usual, I used my Breville IQ Kettle.

First Taste

Organic GABA Oolong steeps to a bright gold colour, it’s quite cheerful and it’s very welcome in my teacup with the rather dreary weather I’ve been experiencing lately. This tea smells remarkably like golden raisins, and it tastes like golden raisins as well. There’s this honey taste to this tea that is rather nice, and the tea has a slightly thicken texture to it that coats the mouth well with flavour. Essentially, the entire first steep of this tea tastes like candy because of the level of sweetness and the fruitiness of the golden raisins.

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A Second Cup?

I steeped this tasty oolong an additional six times, I add an extra 30 seconds of steeping time for each steep. For the first resteep, I experienced a mix of golden raisins and peaches, which was really quite tasty. This fruity combination continued throughout all of the resteeps and the intensity of the honey sweetness does decrease as I continued to steep this oolong.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Grand Tea’s Organic GABA Oolong. I think that anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a huge sweet tooth, so it probably comes to a surprise to absolutely nobody that I really enjoyed this Organic GABA Oolong tea. The level of sweetness in this first tea makes me think of candy and it’s so tasty! Golden raisins are delicious, so the honeyed taste of raisins in my cup made me down the first cup relatively quickly. I really enjoyed the subsequent steeps of this oolong because the flavours changed subtly and it was enjoyable to have the taste of peaches and raisins in my cup. I found that this tea resteeped amazingly well for a total of seven resteeps.

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