Citizen Tea’s Cactus Fig Green

Cactus Fig Green by Citizen Tea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$6.50 for 50g

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Citizen Tea has provided me with Cactus Fig Green 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’ve had aloe juice before – it’s delicious and has little chunks of jelly in it (at least the brand I buy does), so when I saw that this green tea blend had aloe vera in it, I was both intrigued and confused. Mostly because I know there wouldn’t be little chunks of jelly in this tea, so I was curious about how it would taste. On first smell, I can tell you that it smells sweet, which is the first thing I would tell you about aloe juice as well. I can smell the sweetness from the aloe and the figs.

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Cactus Fig Green is made up of: green tea, fig pieces, aloe vera pieces, sandalwood, orange flower petals, and flavouring. I’m not entirely sure what sandalwood is supposed to smell like, but I can definitely see it in this blend and there’s something that reminds me a smoked wood aroma from this tea, so it might be that.

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Preparation

Citizen Tea suggests steeping Cactus Fig Green in in 80°C (176°F) water for 2-3 minutes, which I followed. My initial steep was for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Cactus Fig Green steeps to a pale yellow, there was some little bits of the tea that made it through my stainless steel infuser so I would recommend steeping with a drawstring teabag if that bothers you. The tea itself has a very fresh smell to it, which is honestly the best way that I could describe it. The aloe aroma is a very ‘clean’ smell, it’s bright and fruity. The taste of aloe vera is very much present in this green tea blend. I found the tea to be light and smooth, no bitterness to note. There was a sweetness to this tea that I attribute to the aloe and the figs. The sweet fruitiness of the figs was tasty, but I think the aloe was just a little bit more in the forefront of the flavour profile. The green tea base has a light grassy taste to it that is complimented well by the flavours of the aloe and the fig.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Cactus Fig Green once, at the same water temperature for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I found the flavour to be a lot lighter, with more grassy notes. The overall flavour felt a bit flat to me, but the green tea base was starting to reveal itself more so I think it’s worth a resteep to have a different flavour experience.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Citizen Tea’s Cactus Fig Green. As I mentioned at the beginning, I’m a huge fan of aloe and I found that the flavours of the aloe and the fig played really well together with the green tea base that Citizen Tea used. It’s quite a refreshing tea, the flavour is sweet and light with a bit of fruity goodness in it. I think this tea would do really well if cold steeped or iced, which makes it a good summer time tea. I don’t even think you’d have to add any sweetener to it because the aloe and fig provide enough sweetness to this blend.

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Pure Leaf’s Gunpowder Green Tea

Gunpowder Green Tea by Pure Leaf
Green Tea / Straight
$8.99 for 165g

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First Impressions

The thing that intrigued me the most about Pure Leaf coming out with bagged tea and loose leaf tea is that I’m used to seeing their products in the cold drinks section of convenience stores and grocery stores. I picked up the Gunpowder Green Tea at a local grocery store – from a quick online search I’ve found that Pure Leaf’s products are readily available in most major grocery retailers. Because it’s a new product, I picked up a jar that had a coupon attached to it (for an extra $2 off at the till).

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Gunpowder Green Tea comes in a plastic jar. The label states that it is a single origin tea from Indonesia. This is a straight tea, where the only ingredient is simply green tea. Oddly enough, the instructions on the back of the jar states “Store in a cool, dry and dark place.” This is easy to do, but the jar is clear. While I can understand wanting consumers to see the product (because those tea leaves look great), the clear jar does not help with their own storage instructions. I’ll be nestling this tea in the middle of my tea cart, surrounded by other tea jars and tins.

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The dry leaf of Gunpowder Green Tea has a very subtle flavour. It’s not overwhelming to the say the least. There’s a vegetal aroma to it with a mixture of what reminds me of seaweed. The tea leaves are beautifully rolled and coiled together. They are almost a dusty green-grey colour to me.

Preparation

Pure Leaf recommends using freshly boiled water and to steep for 3 minutes. My first attempt at steeping this tea was with boiling water (100°C/212°F) for 3 minutes, my second attempt was at 80°C/175°F for 3 minutes.

First Taste

When I followed the steeping instructions from Pure Leaf, this straight green tea was remarkably bitter. The tea itself has a savoury taste to it – heavy on the vegetal flavours but so incredibly bitter. It made me pull a face when I sipped it and honestly, I cannot recommend it when prepared the way that Pure Leaf recommends. Absolutely undrinkable when steeped with boiling water.

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I started over with new tea leaves, and steeped the tea leaves for the same length of time but with cooler water. The result was a savoury cup of tea, light on the vegetal flavours but not bitter. When steeped at 80°C, Gunpowder Green Tea is light and has a smooth mouthfeel to it. There’s a slight saltiness to the tea that makes me feel like it’d go well with a meal.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Gunpowder Green Tea a few times (at the lower water temperature) and found that it did well with being resteeped! The leaves open up a lot, and the flavour of this tea doesn’t change very much. I resteeped the same leaves a total of four times.

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My Overall Impression

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I thought that Pure Leaf’s Gunpowder Green Tea was just okay. If you’re going to steep this tea – please do not follow their steeping instructions, I think you’ll be sorely disappointed if you do. This tea does a lot better when steeped at a lower temperature. I think it’d even do well either cold steeped or sun steeped as the tea leaves won’t be burned like they were with boiling water. What I like about the tea is that it’s easy to find in stores, and they resteep well! It’s not going to be a green tea that I reach for on a daily basis, but it does taste okay and would do beautifully paired with a meal because the flavour profile lends itself to being savoury.

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Arbor Tea’s Emerald Spring Lung Ching

Emerald Spring Lung Ching by Arbor Teas
Green Tea / Straight
$17.95USD for 2oz

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Arbor Teas has provided me with Emerald Spring Lung Ching 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 love a good Dragon Well, so I was pleased when Arbor Teas sent me a sample of their Emerald Spring Lung Ching to try. As mentioned in my earlier reviews of teas from Arbor Teas, they pride themselves on being organic as well as being environmentally friendly. I haven’t tested how quickly the packaging can decompose, but they do have a nifty video about how they went on the hunt for environment friendly packaging, stickers, and adhesives.

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The dry leaf of Emerald Spring Lung Ching has a very mild aroma. It smells floral to me, with a light sweetness. The flat leaves are beautiful, and I’m looking forward to steeping (and resteeping!) this green tea. Emerald Spring Lung Ching consists only of organic Chinese green tea so what you see is what you get.

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Did you know? Dragon Well is the direct English translation for Lung Ching or Longjing. Long is dragon and jing is well.

Preparation

Arbor Teas recommends steeping Emerald Spring Lung Ching in 180°F (82°C) water for 2-3 minutes. I steeped mine in 175°F water for 3 minutes (my Breville IQ Kettle has temperature settings for 175°F and 185°F, but not 180°F).

First Taste

Emerald Spring Lung Ching has a very soft aroma to it, it’s not overwhelming to the senses. This green tea steeps to a very pale yellow which is lovely to look at. I found that with the initial steep, Emerald Spring Lung Ching is a very pleasant cup of green tea. There’s no bitterness or astringency to note, there’s a buttery quality to this tea that is smooth and light floral notes. Because of the floral notes, there’s some sweetness to this tea that make it enjoyable.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Emerald Spring Lung Ching a total of four times. The colour gets to be a darker, more golden yellow with the subsequent steeps. There’s an increase in the creamy butter quality that makes this tea delicious. It reminds me a lot of some oolongs as sometimes oolongs can have a great buttery quality to it. The floral sweetness gets to be the strongest by the second resteep, and starts to lessen in intensity. As per my usual, when I resteep teas I added an extra 30 seconds in steep time for each subsequent resteep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Arbor Tea’s Emerald Spring Lung Ching. I found this green tea to be delicious. It lacks the seaweed/vegetal flavours that a lot of green teas have, which I did appreciate as I think that it wouldn’t have balanced well with the natural butter and floral flavours in this straight green tea. This dragon well resteeps well, and I really enjoyed having this tea throughout the afternoon. I loved that it had a natural sweetness to it, since I tend to like sweets in general.

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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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