Murchie’s High Roast Ti Kuan Yin

High Roast Ti Kuan Yin by Murchie’s
Oolong Tea / Straight
$3.95 for 1oz (28g)

20170110-murchieshighroasttikuanyin1

First Impressions

I bought High Roast Ti Kuan Yin at the same time that I had bought the non-high roast Ti Kuan Yin Oolong (my review was published in November 2016). Ti Kuan Yin Oolong is also known as tie guan yin oolong or iron Buddha oolong. There’s just a lot of oolong tea going around in my home these days and I don’t mind one bit! I’ve really come to love and appreciate oolong tea.

20170110-murchieshighroasttikuanyin2

High Roast Ti Kuan Yin is one of Murchie’s “top shelf” teas, so the minimum purchase amount is 1oz rather than their standard 2oz for non-top shelf teas. The only ingredient in this tea is the oolong tea leaves. The dry leaf of High Roast Ti Kuan Yin  has this almost earthy quality that is a little bit difficult for me to describe, it’s not the same wet earthy quality that pu’erh teas often have. There is some light, subtle floral notes, and an almost nutty quality to the smell of the tea that reminds me a bit of roasted chestnuts.

Preparation

Murchie’s recommends steeping High Roast Ti Kuan Yin in 82-90°C (180-195°F) water for 2 to 3 minutes. I started off my first steep at 2 minutes.

First Taste

High Roast Ti Kuan Yin steeps to a deep golden orange. It has a nice toast smell to it. On first sip, the first thing that comes to mind is toast and bread. There’s a very light, almost missed floral taste in this tea. I really had to concentrate to pick out the floral notes though. The nutty quality in the dry leaf is still present in the steeped tea, with the roasted chestnuts taste mingling well with the taste (and smell) of freshly made toast. It’s an interesting combination, to say the least!

20170110-murchieshighroasttikuanyin3

A Second Cup?

I resteeped High Roast Ti Kuan Yin a total of seven times. I found that the flavour was the strongest for the 3rd steep, and the flavour stays fairly consistent up to the 6th steep. By the 7th, the flavour was really starting wane. I wouldn’t do much more steeps past number seven.

20170110-murchieshighroasttikuanyin4

My Overall Impression

3cups-2

I liked Murchie’s High Roast Ti Kuan Yin. I’m always a sucker for a tea that can be resteeped over and over again, and High Roast Ti Kuan Yin does deliver on that part. While the taste of roasted chestnuts and toast is an interesting flavour combination, I found myself wishing that the floral notes were more present in this tea. It’s definitely a tea that is enjoyable, but it’s not necessarily a tea that I would find myself wanting to make sure I had topped up whenever I ran low. High Roast Ti Kuan Yin is a good tea but it’s not a favourite for me.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Murchie’s Ti Kuan Yin Oolong

Ti Kuan Yin Oolong by Murchie’s
Oolong Tea / Straight
$8.95 for 1oz

20161122-murchiestikuanyin

First Impressions

Ti Kuan Yin is one of the ‘top shelf’ teas at Murchie’s, which means you can purchase 1oz at a time rather than 2oz (like the majority of their loose teas). I got this one when I popped into one of their Vancouver locations because I just wanted some more oolongs to sip and enjoy. Ti Kuan Yin has a very sweet, floral smell to the dry tea. The tea itself has this amazing green colour that I find difficult to accurately capture in photographs. As a straight oolong tea, the only ingredient in Ti Kuan Yin Oolong is oolong tea.

20161122-murchiestikuanyin1

20161122-murchiestikuanyin3

I’ve talked about Murchie’s loose tea packaging before, when I reviewed Canadian Breakfast. It hasn’t changed and is still informative with the steeping times and temperatures for each type of tea. I’m always a fan of having the information right on the packaging because it just makes life a little bit easier.

Preparation

20161122-murchiestikuanyin2

Murchie’s recommends steeping oolong teas in 180-195°F (82-90°C) water for 2-3 minutes. I used my Breville IQ Kettle, which heats water to 195°F for oolongs. I steeped Ti Kuan Yin for about 2 ½ minutes.

First Taste

Ti Kuan Yin steeps to a very pale yellow. The floral notes in this tea really pack a punch because it’s the first thing that I notice – sweet floral notes that play well together. There is almost a creamy quality to the tea that reminds me of smooth butter, but it isn’t as strong as the floral flavour to the oolong that I do need to close my eyes in order to pick it out.

At the recommended water temperature and steeping time, Ti Kuan Yin made for an enjoyable cup of tea. There was a nice smoothness, with just a little hint of astringency at the end of each sip that had a nice mouth pucker feel to it. There was no bitterness, and I feel like the tea would do very well for at least one more steep so that’s exactly what I did.

20161122-murchiestikuanyin4

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Ti Kuan Yin a few times (in total: 8 resteeps, so 9 steeps in total for the same tea leaves). Each steep I steeped for an additional 30 seconds (3 minutes, 3 ½ minutes, 4 minutes, etc.) until the last steep (6 ½ minutes). The colour of the oolong deepens to a more golden yellow with the first three resteeps, and the creamy quality of the tea gets more pronounced. I feel that the floral notes started to take a backseat to the buttery quality of the tea by around the third steep. By the ninth steep, the tea leaves were really beginning to be exhausted of most of the flavour.

20161122-murchiestikuanyin5

My Overall Impression

rating4

I loved Murchie’s Ti Kuan Yin Oolong. I am a sucker for a good tea, and while the initial price of the Ti Kuan Yin may have given me a little bit of sticker shock (since I had to double to price in my head to consider it as I usually buy my teas in 50g quantities), there is a very good value to this tea. The simplicity of the initial steep is just a hint of what’s to come, this is a tea that I would highly recommend resteeping over and over again because it gets more interesting and has a much more complex flavour profile than you might initially think if you go by the first steep only. While I love floral teas, I find that the later steeps of Ti Kuan Yin do not disappoint as the floral notes wane a bit and allow the buttery creaminess of the tea to become more and more pronounced.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Murchie’s Princess Blend

Princess Blend by Murchie’s
Black Tea / Flavoured
$5.95 for 2oz

20151125-murchiesprincessblend1

First Impressions

I asked to take a look at Princess Blend when I was at Murchie’s because of the name. I was very intrigued because it sounded like a great name for a tea that would be well suited for tea parties. While I was there, I was told that the blend was created in honour of the birth of Princess Charlotte which made me doubly interested in trying it out. The lowest amount that I could buy, as it isn’t a “top shelf” tea, is 2oz but the price wasn’t outrageous and curiosity got the better of me. Princess Blend is very pretty – it has a great floral aroma to it that mingles with fruity undertones that reminds me a lot of a mixed berry smell.

20151125-murchiesprincessblend2

Princess Blend has a great list of ingredients: Ceylon, Keemun, Darjeeling, and Himalyan teas, rose petals, pink cornflower petals, white cornflower petals, raspberry leaf, natural & artificial flavourings. Murchie’s webpage for Princess Blend also mentions bergamot in the description, but I don’t really smell it.

Preparation

As a black tea blend, Murchie’s recommends steeping in 96-100°C (205-212°F) water for 3-5 minutes.

First Taste

Princess Blend steeps to a really nice amber colour. The tea smells quite fruity and floral, that raspberry leaf definitely does the trick! When having a first sip of the tea, I’m a little taken back by the astringency. It just makes my mouth pucker when drinking this tea. The black tea blend taste almost overwhelms the fruity and floral ingredients to the tea, which is a bit of a shame since that’s what I smelled before, during, and after steeping the tea. I added a bit of white sugar to my cup of tea and found that it really helped to bring out the floral and fruity taste of the tea. Not that the sugar tempers the astringency of the tea, but the tea is far more enjoyable when the taste matches the fragrance.

20151125-murchiesprincessblend3

A Second Cup?

I found that Princess Blend did really well for the second steeping. It was beginning to wane in flavour by the third cup, so if you’re not interested in a sub par cup of tea (and who is interested in bad tea?!) I would stick to steeping it twice. The third cup just isn’t that great and was more a hint of what Princess Blend could taste like. I did use sugar in my second cup as well.

My Overall Impression

3cups-2

I liked Murchie’s Princess Blend. It’s a very tasty tea with a beautiful fragrance, and I love the name! I think it’d a great tea to have when having a tea party because it’s delicious and would probably pair well with sweet desserts or with a berry preserve. It’s not overly expensive, so it makes for a nice treat to have in the tea stash. I think it’s better that the bergamot does not stand out in the fragrance because the tea has such a beautiful floral and fruity taste to it that the bergamot would just add something to the tea that wouldn’t taste that great. My recommendation is to add sugar to really help bring out the raspberry flavours in Princess Blend.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Murchie’s Canadian Breakfast

Canadian Breakfast by Murchie’s
Black Tea / Flavoured
$4.95 for 2oz (56g)

20151109-murchiescanadianbreakfast1

First Impressions

Murchie’s is delightful, in case you ever get the chance to go into one of their shops. Small, quaint, and filled with things to delight any tea lover. I went in this autumn for the first time and bought two teas, Canadian Breakfast and Princess Blend (review coming soon!). I had a wonderful time, in part because of the great customer service that I experienced. They have a minimum order of 2oz of most teas, except from their “top shelf” teas where you can opt for only 1oz. The top shelf teas are, as one might expect, more expensive.

20151109-murchiescanadianbreakfast3

Canadian Breakfast smells of maple and black teas. The ingredients are: Ceylon and Keemun black teas, maple flavouring. The packaging is simple but informative. On the back (where the weight and name of tea is hand written) includes a general brewing guide. The two sides feature information (one side about brewing a good cup of tea, the other about Murchie’s the company). The front of the back boasts that Murchie’s uses “premium tea from select gardens around the world” and has a clear window so you can see your tea. It’s smells really good, and I like most maple things as much as the next Canadian.

20151109-murchiescanadianbreakfast2

I like their packaging because it’s generic enough and informative enough that they can use it for all of their teas. I’m not a terribly big fan of the clear window and the fact that it’s not air tight (the big things that can ruin tea is: light, air, humidity, heat and odours – remember, if tea can take on aromas to flavour the tea, it can take on other smells as well!), but it does the trick until time comes to transfer to a tea tin.

Preparation

Murchie’s recommendation for their black teas is to steep in water that is 96-100°C (205-212°F) for 3 to 5 minutes.

First Taste

20151109-murchiescanadianbreakfast4

Canadian Breakfast is bright and bold in a way that is expected from a breakfast tea. The tea part of the breakfast tea packs an amazing amount of aroma and flavour when the tea is steeping. Canadian Breakfast steeps to a dark reddish brown, a colour that remind me of orange pekoe. Most of the aroma of the steeped tea is the black tea blend, with a very subtle hint of maple. When tasting, the tea has a really bold flavour – the tea blend itself packs a bit of a punch with a flavour that reminds me a bit of grains and barley (malt flavours) with an astringent quality to it, and there’s the added sweetness of the maple that really brightens up the overall flavour. The maple isn’t very in-your-face once the tea has steeped, but it adds more flavour that makes the tea more complex than your average breakfast tea.

A Second Cup?

Canadian Breakfast does wonderfully for a second cup. The maple flavouring is slightly less pronounced, as one would expect, but it does the trick. If you’re missing the sweetness of maple, a bit of sugar or honey helps bring out what maple flavouring is in your tea quite a bit to make cup #2 closer to cup #1. Canadian Breakfast doesn’t do that well for a third steeping.

My Overall Impression

3cups-2

I liked Murchie’s Canadian Breakfast. It’s a really nice tea with bright, bold flavour with the sweetness of maple. I’m not generally one for breakfast teas (e.g. English or Irish), but I quite like Murchie’s Canadian version of a breakfast tea. For the price of the loose tea, it is decently priced. There are a lot more cheaper breakfast teas out there, but this one has an amazing quality about it that actually makes me like it – which puts its pricing solidly in the “worth it” category. I think as a tea, I’d drink it only after getting up when I’m looking for something to help wake me up rather than a tea that’s good for any time of day. If you’re looking for a breakfast tea that’s different from your usual English or Irish blends, I’d definitely recommend that you give Canadian Breakfast a try.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.