Aroma Tea House’s Ginseng Oolong

Ginseng Oolong by Aroma Tea House
Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$14.00 for 100g

First Impressions

Starting off the week with an oolong review – one of my favourite types of teas for the last little while now! Ginseng Oolong was a Vancouver Tea Festival purchase that I recently rediscovered in my tea stash as I was organizing it. Ginseng Oolong came in a cardboard tube with a bright green label telling me what it is.

The leaves of Ginseng Oolong are a dark greeny-brown, with an almost dusty appearance to the tea leaves. There’s a mild ginseng aroma to the leaves. It’s not a knock-you-over type of ginseng aroma that a lot of Chinese medicine shops have (if you’ve ever entered a shop that carries traditional medicinal ingredients, you’ll know what I’m referring to!). Ginseng Oolong consists of oolong tea and natural ginseng flavouring.

Preparation

There were no steeping instructions to be found on the packaging or on the product page. I opted to steep Ginseng Oolong in 195°F (91°C) with my Breville IQ Kettle‘s oolong tea setting for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Ginseng Oolong steeps to a light golden yellow after just the 2 minute steep. The aroma from the cup of tea was primarily that of the oolong tea – with a light ginseng aroma. The flavour of the tea is a mix of earthiness, ginseng, and a mild astringency that wasn’t off-putting, it added a bit of mouth pucker to the tea itself.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Ginseng Oolong five times, adding an extra 30 seconds for each steep. The tea became a deeper golden yellow, peaking in colour for the third resteep. The ginseng flavour was strongest for the second resteep, while the earthiness from the oolong base peaked at the third resteep. The last resteep (sixth steep overall) still had the ginseng and earthy aromas, although it was weaker.

My Overall Impression

I loved Aroma Tea House’s Ginseng Oolong. This oolong tea has a lovely flavour to it, and resteeped so well. It’s definitely a tea that I would recommend resteeping multiple times in order to fully exhaust the leaves out of all that beautiful flavour. It’s a gorgeous colour, and makes for a good cup. I think this would pair really well with something savoury.

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Tetley’s Green Tea Earl Grey

Green Tea Earl Grey by Tetley
Green Tea / Flavoured
$4.99 for 48g (24 sachets)

First Impressions

Green Tea Earl Grey was another one of my Tetley purchases recently. I picked out this one because I love me some Earl Grey, so I had to give it a try. As usual. Tetley packages their teas in a carton tube with a plastic lid – there’s a foil seal for freshness over the sachets. If you’ve never had a Tetley tea before, the sachets are all round with no strings or tags.

Green Tea Earl Grey has the aroma of bergamot with a slight green tea aroma. It’s not a very strong citrus aroma, not like I’m used to with most Earl Grey teas. There’s very fine/small tea particles inside of the tea bag with no large leaf pieces present. Green Tea Earl Grey consists of pure green tea with natural flavouring.

Preparation

Tetley recommends boiling water, allowing it to cool to 80°C (175°F), pour water over the tea bag, and to let it steep for 1-2 minutes. I steeped Green Tea Earl Grey in 175°F water for 90 seconds.

First Taste

Green Tea Earl Grey steeps to a yellow-brown, with a light bergamot aroma. I don’t really smell the green tea base in the aroma. The flavour of the tea has a light bergamot flavour, with a slight bitter aftertaste to the green tea base. I don’t really get an Earl Grey-vibe from this tea, mostly because I’m far more used to it being a black tea base for a traditional Earl Grey.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Green Tea Earl Grey, but found the flavour to be lacking in the resteep. I would keep Green Tea Earl Grey to just one steep.

My Overall Impression

I didn’t like Tetley’s Green Tea Earl Grey. I love a good Earl Grey, but there was just something about the combination of bergamot with a green tea base in this blend that just wasn’t doing it for me. I’m much more of a fan of a bold Earl Grey (see: black tea), and the green tea in this one wasn’t just up to my taste or expectations. I do appreciate the attempt at a variation of Earl Grey, but I do think it is a classic for a reason.

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Rakuzan’s Hojicha

Hojicha by Rokuzan
Green Tea / Straight
756¥ for 100g

I received Rakuzan’s Hojicha as a gift from a friend who travelled to Japan.

First Impressions

Hojicha came to me in foil packaging, it left like a very air-filled brick because it was so dense but so light at the same time. The packaging itself is not resealable, which was fine because I had spare empty tea tins to use for it. The tea itself is a mix of leaves and sticks, with a beautiful roasted aroma that has subtle rice notes to it.

Hojicha is a very light tea – this light but dense brick was a total of 100g but took up so much room! It has a smell that makes me think a bit of campfire as well.

Preparation

The recommendations on the packaging suggested to steep Hojicha in 100°C (212°F) for 30 seconds. I followed the steeping instructions.

Please note that Hojicha is a green tea, and green teas are typically steeped in lower temperature waters in case you don’t like the flavour that you end up with or think it’s too bitter.

First Taste

Hojicha steeps to a deep orange after a 30 second steep. There’s a beautiful roasted aroma from tea that reminds me a lot of the toasted rice in a genmaicha. I found that it had a very full-bodied flavour, which a lot of strength in that flavour. The tea is quite smooth, with no bitterness, and has a slight aftertaste of the roasted rice flavour. There’s a slight smokiness to the flavour, but it’s nowhere as strong as the smoke flavour in a lapsang souchong tea.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Hojicha four times, adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I found that it resteeped very well with similar flavour every time.

My Overall Impression

I liked Rakuzan’s Hojicha. From the dry leaf, to the steeped tea, the flavour and aroma remains very consistent throughout. The steeping instructions were spot-on because of the lack of bitterness from the green tea, I do admit that I was a bit considered considering it was boiling water that I was using. The flavour is delicious though, and I think it’d be a great tea to have at any time of day. I do think that having a roasted tea is a bit more of an acquired taste, and hopefully more of my guests will enjoy it as well since I have so much of it!

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