The Chinese Tea Shop’s Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea

Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea by The Chinese Tea Shop
Green Tea / Straight
$12.95 for 25g

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First Impressions

Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea is also known as Dongting Bi Lo Chun. Bi lo chun means green snail spring, based on the shape of the tea leaves and when the tea leaves were harvested. I picked up this green tea at The Chinese Tea Shop’s vendor booth at the Vancouver Tea Festival. The tea came to me in a resealable plastic bag – clear on one side and white on the other (which isn’t terrible since I keep my tea out of light).

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This straight green tea came from a private farm, located on Dongting Mountain, Jiangsu Province, China. The tea leaves are thin, about 1-2 cm in length. The dark leaves have a slight curl to them, and are covered with feathery white down. The aroma from the dry leaf is primarily that of a light floral fragrance that comes from tea leaves.

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Preparation

While there were no steeping instructions on the packaging, The Chinese Tea Shop website has a tea brewing guide (17 page PDF). For green tea, it’s recommended 75-80°C (167-176°F). For the length of time, the guide assumes everyone is steeping gongfu style – and has times ranging from 6 seconds to 10 seconds. However, I’m not steeping that method. My first steep was for 1 minute with 175°F water (heated in my Breville IQ Kettle with the green tea setting).

First Taste

Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea steeps incredibly pale yellow after the first minute. The initial steep has a very subtle aroma. It’s a light mix of floral, sweetness, and saltiness that I smell.  The tea is smooth, and has an almost grassy flavour to it. There’s a mild saltiness that reminds me of seaweed, with just a hint of floral sweetness at the end of each sip. At the length of time I steeped it for, I noted zero astringency or bitterness.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea a total of 5 times (6 steeps total). I kept the water temperature the same and increased the steeping duration for an additional 15 seconds per subsequent steep. I found that the tea got a little bit darker in colour and became a light yellow. The flavour was the most intense by the third steep, but remained the same in terms of complexity and the overall flavour profile.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved The Chinese Tea Shop’s Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea. I wasn’t blown away by the initial steep of this tea, but I would liken it to the dress rehearsal while the subsequent steeps were opening night and there rest of the nightly performances. I found the flavours to be nicely balanced – salty and sweet, floral sweetness versus the umami of the salty seaweed. It resteeps very well, and I quite enjoyed having it again and again. Because of the balance of salty and sweet, I would suggest that this tea could be paired with either a savoury meal or sweets/desserts.

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JusTea’s Purple Jasmine

Purple Jasmine by JusTea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$10.00 for 90g

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First Impressions
Purple Jasmine was tea that I received for free from JusTea because they offer free teas to people on their birthday when they sign up for their newsletter. Luckily, Purple Jasmine is tea that I haven’t tried yet so I was pleased to receive it in the mail. It came to me in a resealable bag that is paper on the outside and foil on the inside, which is nice for tea packaging because keeps out moisture, air, and light.

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This green tea blend smells just like a jasmine green tea, which is one of my favourite types of tea blends. It has a sweet floral fragrance that is familiar. Purple Jasmine consists of jasmine green tea, Kenyan purple tea, jasmine blossoms, and cornflower blossoms.

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Preparation

JusTea recommends steeping Purple Jasmine in near boiling water for 2 minutes. Their product page for Purple Jasmine suggests a temperature of 175°F (80°C), which is lower than “near boiling” in my books.

First Taste

Purple Jasmine steeps to a light golden yellow. This green tea blend has a bright floral aroma that instantly makes me think of jasmine flowers. I found that it has a sweet jasmine/floral taste, and there’s the subtle undertones of the green tea base. I noted some grassy notes that I attributed to the green tea base since the jasmine can be a bit overpowering in comparison.

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As it is a purple tea, I opted to add a little bit of lemon juice to my cup of tea. I found that the colour turned to a very light grapefruit-esque pink. However, I found that the lemon juice didn’t do much for the taste as it muddled the jasmine flavour. I much preferred it without the lemon juice.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Purple Jasmine twice. I found that the flavours were still quite strong for the first resteep, but found for the second that the sweet floral flavours were much more dilute. I would say that Purple Jasmine is good for one more steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved JusTea’s Purple Jasmine. I really enjoyed this jasmine blend and how fragrant this tea was in both the dry leaf and the steeped tea. I wouldn’t recommend doing the colour change with the lemon juice unless you’re a fan of lemon in your tea, because I just don’t like what it does to the beautiful jasmine flavours in this tea blend. Because of the natural sweetness, I would pair this tea with a savoury breakfast to offset the heaviness in a hearty breakfast, or with any other meal to provide a contrast.

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Tea in Texas’ Prairie Green

Prairie Green by Tea in Texas
Green Tea / Flavoured
$10.00USD for 3oz

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First Impressions

I got a trio of teas blended from Tea in Texas as a birthday gift this year, and this review is of the first one that I tried – Prairie Green. What drew me most of this tea as I was smelling the aroma from the dry leaf is the bright freshness of the orange and lavender in the blend. The citrus is fresh smelling, and the lavender has a sweet floral aroma.

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Prairie Green is a blend of green tea, orange peel, and lavender. All of the three ingredients are visible in the green tea blend.

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Preparation

Tea in Texas recommends steeping Prairie Green in 180°F (82°C) water for 3-5 minutes. My initial steep of Prairie Green was for 4 minutes at 175°F (80°C).

First Taste

Prairie Green steeps to this beautiful yellow. The aroma that wafts up from the steeped tea as I poured from teapot to teacup was one of mostly citrus and lavender. The aroma is so inviting. The lavender is light and strong enough to be noticed over the orange peel. The citrus notes are fresh, bright. I can make out the green tea base – it has a vegetal undertone that is nice. When I sip this tea, I can taste the individual ingredients and yet they’re blended so well. I find that there’s a great floral taste, a sweetness to the citrus, and there’s the vegetal earthiness to the green tea base that’s so inviting. The tea lacks bitterness and astringency at the temperature and length of time I initially steeped it for.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Prairie Green twice, adding an extra 30 seconds per steep. I found the first resteep to be just as bright in citrus flavours, although the lavender wasn’t as strong. The green tea is beautiful to watch unfold, and the vegetal flavours are delicious. The second resteep is less vibrant in flavour, but still tasty.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Tea in Texas’ Prairie Green. There’s just something really inviting by this blend of green tea, orange peel, and lavender. I really enjoyed the citrus notes in the dry leaf and steeped tea, while the floral notes from the lavender carried over well to the tea. I thought the tea steeped well, and would definitely recommend a second steep of the same leaves. It would go great with savouries, but I also think it would be an excellent tea iced because of the citrus flavours.

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Aroma Tea House’s Jasmine Pearls

Jasmine Pearls by Aroma Tea House
Green Tea / Straight
$16.00 for 100g

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First Impressions

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This was a tea that I picked up from Aroma Tea House’s vendor table at the 2017 Vancouver Tea Festival. Jasmine Pearls came to me in a resealable bag with a little window to see the tea leaves. The tea leaves are tightly wound into tiny pearls, and they’re quite fragrant. These green tea pearls have a beautiful floral aroma, the tea pearls have a sweet floral aroma that is inviting.

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Preparation

There were no tea preparation notes on the packaging, or on the Aroma Tea House’s product page. I did the initial steep at 175°F (80°C) for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Jasmine Pearls steeps to a very pale yellow after the first two minutes of steeping time. I found the flavour to be very mild and noted that the pearls to be only partially opened. There’s a mild earthiness that I noted with the tea, and the tea has a very smooth texture to it. I enjoyed having the first steep.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped the Jasmine Pearls a total of four times. With the first two resteeped, the leaves opened up a bit more each time. I found that the colour got darker, and the flavour got more pronounced. I kept the steeps short (adding an additional 30 seconds with each steep), and found that there was zero bitterness or astringency with this green tea.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Aroma Tea House’s Jasmine Pearls. The pearls are beautiful to watch unfurl, and I really enjoyed the jasmine fragrance from the dry tea leaves and the steeped tea. The tea steeps well at the temperature and length of time I picked, and found the lack of bitterness or astringency to make the tea quite enjoyable. I think it’d be a nice tea with sweets because of the light floral sweetness in the tea.

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ShakTea’s Morning Dew

Morning Dew by ShakTea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$7.50 for 50g

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First Impressions

My first experience with Morning Dew was at the Vancouver Tea Festival back in November of this year, where I smelled a sample of the dry leaves and just fell in love. The best way to describe this scented green tea is it smells fresh – which makes me think that it’s an appropriately named green tea. Morning Dew came to me in this cute metal tin – the tea was in a plastic bag inside, which I emptied out into the tin.

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There’s a brightness to the aroma that smells like roses and citrus. Morning Dew consists of “Japanese sencha, sunflower bits, cornflower bits, rose petals, and fruit essence”. Now I’m not too sure what “fruit essence” is, but I imagine that some part of it must be citrus based since the aroma of citrus (primarily oranges?) is very much present in this tea.

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Preparation

There were no steeping instructions on the packaging, and I didn’t find any recommendations on the ShakTea website. I used the green tea setting on my Breville IQ Kettle (175°F/80°C) and steeped the tea for 3 minutes.

First Taste

My initial steep of 3 minutes was far too long! I found Morning Dew to be much too bitter and nearly undrinkable. So I restarted the process and steeped it for 90 seconds. I found that the green tea steeped to a nice yellow colour, while having a very bright aroma. I could smell the floral sweetness wafting up, along with the presence of citrus – so bright and refreshing smelling! My first sip of Morning Dew (the second time around) was sweet, with an underlying flavour of saltiness, which I attribute to the sencha base. There’s a mild citrus flavour that isn’t as strong as the floral flavours – I believe that to be the case because it’s fruit ‘essence’ versus the flower ‘bits’.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Morning Dew for a quick 2 minutes, and found the flavours to be quite muted in comparison to the initial steep. I found the citrus flavour to be quite dilute, but the floral and sencha base are still very much present. It’s a slightly less bright version of the initial steep. It’s still tasty, but not quite the same.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked ShakTea’s Morning Dew. I do think that this is a very delicate green tea blend, and would highly caution against using water that is too hot or steeping too long, because it just gets to be very bitter, very quickly, if you’re not careful. I really enjoyed it once I tried steeping some fresh tea leaves, because the flavours are quite nice. I found that the initial steep was the best, although the second steep allowed the sencha base to shine more on its own. The added citrus in this blend is nice, I really liked how bright it made the tea feel. ShakTea’s website suggests that this can be enjoyed hot or iced – I feel like it would be a great candidate for cold steeping so you don’t accidentally oversteep the leaves in hot water

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