Yunomi’s Premium Shimane Sencha 2016

Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$8.50USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 is a beautiful dark green, the dry leaf has small flat pieces. There’s a slight vegetal smell to this sencha that reminds me a lot of edamame and spinach smell to it. The sample package came with plenty of tea leaves, probably enough for 4-5 servings (in a 20g packet).

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As per the Yunomi website, this is a “premium unshaded first flush sencha” that comes from the Takarabako Tea Farm. First flush means that it’s the earliest harvested leaves from the tea plant, harvested in the early spring. These leaves are often lighter in colour and more delicate, and often need cooler water to be steeped in and for a shorter duration.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 in 70°C (158°F) for 1 minute. I use my Breville IQ Kettle all the time when making tea, and it doesn’t have a 158°F setting (lowest is 175°F). What I did was heat water to the lowest setting, and once that was reached I allowed the water to cool in the kettle (with the top open) for about 5 minutes.

First Taste

After the quick 1 minute steep, I poured a cup of Premium Shimane Sencha 2016. The tea itself has a very light yellow-green colour, and the aroma that comes up from the tea is very much like the dry leaf – the tea still has an edamame and spinach aroma to it, with a slight salty smell to it. It tastes the way that it smells, with a nice vegetal taste to it. The saltiness adds to the umami flavour of the tea. There’s a slight astringency at the end of each sip, despite only having steeped it for exactly a minute. I think it could stand to be steeped for even a shorter length of time.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Premium Shimane Sencha 2016 four times (a total of five times), and started the first resteep at 60 seconds (and then increased the steep times by 30 seconds per subsequent steep). I found for the first two resteeps, the sencha had a strong vegetal aroma, with a heavier salty flavour. The third and fourth resteeps were a bit milder, the umami flavour was overall more muted, with less astringency of all the steeps.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Yunomi’s Premium Shimane Sencha 2016. This green tea has remarkably tasty with a good umami flavour profile. I found it resteeped well, despite the slight astringency (although it isn’t overwhelming). This sencha resteeps well, and maintains its flavour. I would recommend being very light on the steeping time, especially if you’re a bit sensitive to astringent teas.

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Fox Tea Club’s Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights by Fox Tea Club
Black Tea & Green Tea / Flavoured
$9.95USD for 2oz

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Fox Tea Club has provided me with Arabian Nights for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

I was eager to try Fox Tea Club’s teas after seeing some of their photos on their Instagram account, and was pleasantly surprised by the variety of teas they sent me to try! This first review is of Arabian Nights, a black and green tea blend. First off, I just want to saw how cute their packaging is. Arabian Nights came to me in a fox print cardboard cylindrical box. The name of the tea was hand written and it is sealed with red wax with a fox paw print – how adorable is that?

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The dry leaf of Arabian Nights is quite sweet smelling, and has hints of tropical fruit. There’s some floral notes as well, and I can definitely make out the smell of roses from this tea that mingle well with the fruity aromas. Arabian Nights is made up of: black tea, calendula, cornflower, green tea, mango, pineapple, rose.

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Preparation

The packaging of Arabian Nights didn’t offer any suggested steeping instructions, neither did the online product page. One thing to consider when steeping a tea blend is what tea varieties are in the blend. In the case of Arabian Nights, there’s black and green tea. While I would normally steep a black tea in 100°C (212°F) for about 4-5 minutes, a green tea should be steeped in much cooler water (80°C/185°F) for less time (1-3 minutes).

I steeped Arabian Nights with water heated to the Green Tea setting on my variable temperature kettle (80°C/175°F)

First Taste

Arabian Nights steeps to a nice golden orange. The product page for Arabian Nights suggests that the tea should smell like vanilla and cake, unfortunately I don’t get that experience. However, this tea is delicious in it’s own way. I would describe the steeped tea as having a sweet, fruity aroma. I found that the rose smell kind of mingles in with everything, but isn’t too overpowering. I can just make out the black tea base under the fruity-rose blend of aromas. On first taste, I get a touch of sweetness and can taste the mango, the black tea, and the roses. The tail end of each sip has a remarkable crisp sweetness that reminds me a lot of apples.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Arabian Nights twice (increasing steep time by 30 seconds for each additional steep). For the first resteep, I found that I was getting most black tea and rose in the flavour. That delicious tropical fruit flavour was mostly gone and it was a bit disappointing. I still cannot taste the green tea. For the second resteep, I was still getting mostly black tea and rose. I would say that the first steep is the best.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Fox Tea Club’s Arabian Nights. I think that this tea is really pretty – any tea that includes rosebuds always make me feel a touch more romantic purely because of the addition of rosebuds. For me, the initial steep was the best because it had the most complex flavour profile with the full effect of the tropical fruit, roses, and black tea base. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the ingredients overpowered the green tea leaves that were present, so I couldn’t really taste them. Because of the fruity notes, I think this tea would make an excellent iced tea, if you were so inclined, and that the tea itself was quite good by itself as the fruit flavours added plenty of sweetness by themselves.

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Yunomi’s Shimane Benifuuki Sencha

Shimane Benifuuki Sencha by Yunomi
Green Tea / Straight
$10.00USD for 20g

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Yunomi has provided me with Shimane Benifuuki Sencha for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

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Shimane Benifuuki Sencha came to me in a non-resealable packet with the necessary information on the printed label. The dry leaf consists of flat, thin, small tea leaves that are mostly dark green in colour. The dry leaf smells like a mix of grass and hay, with a bit of salty seaweed aroma from the tea. Shimane Benifuuki Sencha is an organic straight green tea.

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Preparation

Yunomi recommends steeping Shimane Benifuuki Sencha in 70°C (158°F) water for 1 minute. I followed the recommended steeping temperature and time.

First Taste

This beautiful green tea steeps to a bright light greeny yellow. There’s a slight grassy aroma that comes from the tea itself, which is a bit welcoming. When I took my first sip, I was pleasantly surprised by the complex flavour of the tea. There’s some salty notes that are mixed with grassy and vegetal flavours. The saltiness adds to the complexity, as umami flavour often does. I found that the saltiness reminded me a lot of seaweed. There’s just a hint of astringency at the tail end of each sip, but it doesn’t distract too much from the experience of drinking Shimane Benifuuki Sencha.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Shimane Benifuuki Sencha twice. I found that the flavour held up well for both resteeps and I could have probably done a third or maybe even a fourth resteep. I found that the first resteep had the most vibrant flavour – the level of saltiness was highest, and so was the vegetal flavours I found in the initial steep.

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My Overall Impression

I liked Yunomi’s Shimane Benifuuki Sencha. I found that the flavour was a delight on the tongue, and that I really enjoyed the resteep better than the initial steep. There was just something more brighter and stronger with the second steep than with the first. I wasn’t a big fan of the slight astringency I found at the end of each sip, and I do wonder if it’s possible that I should have steeped it even shorter than the recommended steeping time.

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Kailo Tea’s Wake Up

Wake Up by Kailo Tea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$15.99 for 45g (15 sachets)

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Kailo Tea has provided me with Wake Up for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

When Kailo Tea contacted me and asked if I wanted to try their teas, I was intrigued. A Canadian tea company based in Ontario, Kailo Tea pairs tea with supplemental vitamins. Their teas are available in tea bag/sachet form only at this time, as each sachet includes a capsule. Even though I had read online that their tea included vitamins, it still threw me off a little bit to see the capsule inside of the tea bag.

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The dry leaf smells strongly of citrus, mint, and ginger. The aromas remind me a lot more of an herbal infusion than of a green tea, but there is green tea in there. Wake Up consists of: organic orange peel, organic ginger root, organic peppermint, green tea, eleuthero root (Siberian Ginseng), calendula, natural and artificial flavours, vitamin D3, vitamin C, and vitamin B (B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12).

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One thing I appreciated on Kailo Tea’s packaging is that they mention consulting your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, on any medication, or if you have a medical condition. I attribute this extra warning due to the fact that the tea does come with a vitamin capsule. Some medications are poorly absorbed if taken at the same time as vitamin supplements, so it’s always a good idea to check with your physician or pharmacist prior to taking anything with supplements.

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Preparation

Kailo Tea recommends steeping Wake Up in 170-180°F (77-82°C) for 3 to 4 minutes. I steeped Wake Up in 175°F (80°C) for 3 minutes.

First Taste

Wake Up steeps to a bright greeny-yellow. The tea is slightly cloudy, which I attribute to the vitamin capsule as that’s the only thing I can think of that might cause the tea to be a bit cloudy out of the ingredients list. The tea smells sweet, and I can make out the citrus and ginger. I wish I could make out the mint, because I love the smell of mint. On first taste, Wake Up has bright flavours. The citrus and ginger combination is sublime. There’s a minty freshness at the end of each sip that I attribute to the peppermint. I can’t smell or taste the green tea base, but the flavours that I can taste are tasty.

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A Second Cup?

I did try to resteep Wake Up. I found the citrus and ginger flavours to be a lot more subdued and didn’t have the same level of natural sweetness and the flavours weren’t as bright. I would say that Wake Up is good for one steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Kailo Tea’s Wake Up. I’m not sure how the vitamins really made a difference in the flavour, but I found that the tea itself had a great flavour profile with the citrus, ginger, and peppermint. The cloudiness to the tea, once you realize it’s from the vitamin capsule, isn’t off-putting. I wish it had held out for one more steep because the flavour in the initial steep was so bright and inviting. I had this tea hot, but because of the citrus and ginger flavours, I think it would do well being iced. It has a nice natural sweetness that I think doesn’t require more sweetener.

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First Edition Tea Co.’s Toronto

Toronto by First Edition Tea Co.
Green Tea / Flavoured
$13.00USD for 100g

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First Edition Tea Co.’s Toronto came to me as part of The Sugared Teacup’s June themed subscription box.

First Impressions

Toronto came to me in a cute little sealed (and resealable) 10g sample bag – too cute! I’m a fan of nice packaging, and First Edition Tea Co. did not disappoint. Toronto is part of their Wanderlust collection which features 4 other cities from around the world (Marrakech, Paris, London, and Mumbai). Toronto is described as an “apple, peach & maple green tea”. If you’re going to make a tea inspired by a Canadian city, I think maple is kind of necessary. When I first opened up the bag, I was pleasantly surprised. The tea smells like what it described on the front. Apples? Check. Peaches? Double check. Maple? Oh yes, please.

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The ingredients in Toronto are: green tea, hibiscus petals, rosehips, apple pieces, orange pieces, calendula petals, safflower petals, real maple syrup, and natural flavours. If you’re confused by the lack of peaches in this apple, peach, and maple green tea, you’re not the only one. I’m hoping that the peach aroma that I can smell from the dry leaf is from the natural flavouring, or else I feel like I should be concerned.

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Preparation

First Edition Tea Co. recommended steeping Toronto in 100°C (212°F) water for 4 minutes. Because it is a green tea base, and I only have 10g to play with, I was a bit cautious and steeped at a lower temperature. I steeped this green tea blend at 80°C (175°F), which is the green tea setting on my Breville IQ Kettle. I did steep it for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Toronto is apparently a pink city! I think the colouring is primarily due to the hibiscus in the mix. It’s a beautiful colour. The aroma that comes up from this tea is full of apple and peaches and a hint of maple syrup. The aroma of this tea matches up so nicely with the description, I can almost forgive it for not actually containing peaches.

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On first sip, I find that this tea is tart. The maple adds a nice touch of sweetness to this tea that almost balances out the tartness from the hibiscus. I can taste a bit of apple, a bit of peach, and there’s a subtle but familiar vegetal taste in the background that could only be from the green tea base. With the mix of fruit, I’m not a huge fan of it as a hot tea. First Edition Tea Co. suggests this as an iced tea though, which is what I wound up doing after I let it cool to room temperature.

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The tartness gets a bit more subdued, but the fruitiness of the tea comes out a lot more when it’s cooled and iced. I would recommend having this tea iced.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Toronto. It was a much paler pink and it lacked the tartness from the hibiscus. I found it was primarily the green tea base shining through on this tea and not quite the same experience. While I’m a fan of green tea in general, I didn’t think this blend did a great job with a second steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked First Edition Tea Co.’s Toronto. While I didn’t like this green tea blend hot (or resteeped), I think the initial steep did an amazing job with being iced. Definitely have this tea iced, the tartness of the hibisicus and fruitiness of the apple and peach flavours lends itself well as an iced tea (and it’s refreshing to boot!). Because of the maple syrup, I don’t think that this tea needs any sweetener as it’s got a nice amount of sweetness already to it. Still, I’m curious about where the peaches are, but I think the flavours in this green tea blend are really nice (and would strongly recommend having this one iced only).

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