Teatourist’s Quintessentials Tea Adventure

Quintessentials Tea Adventure (March 2018) by Teatourist
£11-15 for 1 box, plus shipping (+£3-5 per box)

Teatourist has provided me with the Quintessentials Tea Adventure for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

This was the first month where Teatourist had updated packaging! I quite like it – the bright orange goes so well with the teal, and it’s less the sleeve, so there’s less packaging to go into recycling, which I quite like as well. This monthly box came with six different teas, and four of the six are straight teas! The only way I’d be even more excited about trying this box would be if this box contained fudge

The teas in this box are: Morgans Brew Tea by Morgan’s Brew Tea Company (black tea), Ceylon Tea by Cheeky Chai (black tea), Green Tea with Jasmine by Pure Leaf (green tea), Bright Afternoon by Brighteas (black tea), Earl Grey 1833 by CHASH The Fine Tea Co (flavoured black tea), and Safari Oolong by Nothing But Tea (oolong).

Morgans Brew Tea has a strong smell to it that reminds me both of a breakfast tea (think British or Irish), while having some apricot notes in the dry leaf. This straight black tea is a blend of a few East African black teas (from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda). Ceylon Tea (Pekoe Fannings) has a mildly sweet aroma, and has a very familiar black tea aroma to it. Ceylon Tea consists of 100% small leaf ceylon tea (pekoe fannings). Green Tea with Jasmine smells exactly as expected (like green tea and jasmine) and, surprise, consists of Chinese green tea and jasmine flowers.

From left to right: Morgan’s Brew Tea, Ceylon Tea, and Green Tea with Jasmine.

Bright Afternoon has an interesting aroma that reminds me of a fresh after-rain smell, and has some mushroom-earthiness to it. The ingredients in this black tea are Chinese Keemun, Mao Feng, and Yunnan black teas. Earl Grey 1833 has a lovely bergamot/citrusy aroma to it, and smells like most Earl Grey teas that I’ve smelled in that past. Curiously, the ingredients are listed as being the finest Ceylon black tea and pure bergamot oil. However, there’s obviously flower petals in the blend that aren’t listed in the ingredients. Safari Oolong is the most intriguing to me, as it has a very light honey and floral aroma to the dry leaf. Safari Oolong is 100% oolong tea from Tumoi Teas, located in Nandi Hills, Kenya.

From left to right: Bright Afternoon, Earl Grey 1833, and Safari Oolong.

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Harney & Sons’ Paris

Paris by Harney & Sons
Black Tea & Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$8.50USD for 4oz

First Impressions

I bought Paris at Harney & Sons SoHo location in New York City during my visit back in October 2017 and I couldn’t resist getting it after one of the salespeople working in the store told me that it was one of  Harney & Sons’ best selling teas. So of course I had to give it a try. Paris came to me in a metal tin, the tea itself is loose in a tin (not like Bancha where the tea was in a foil package inside of the tin). The aroma of the dry leaf is primarily fruity with a hint of vanilla.

Paris consists of: black tea, oolong tea, black currant flavour, vanilla flavour, bergamot oil, and caramel flavour. If you asked me to pick out the oolong tea in this blend, I’d probably laugh at you. There are some leaves that appear more twisted and long than others, but the aroma of this tea is beautiful. I love the fruity aroma – I’ve actually never eaten black currant before (but I have had black currant candy so I can pick out the flavour), but it smells so good.

Preparation

Harney & Sons recommends steeping Paris in 212°F (100°C) water for 5 minutes, and then to “Remove the tea leaves. Relax and enjoy.” Well, don’t mind if I do! I steeped Paris for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Paris steeps to a beautiful golden orange, the aroma from this tea is nothing short of enticing. There’s the aromas of vanilla, citrus, and black currants. I can’t make out the fragrances of black or oolong tea in the steeped tea. On first sip, I note some sweetness to this tea. The vanilla notes make the tea have more of a cream flavouring to it, as it reminds me of baked goods. The citrus and black currants have great flavour, and there’s a robustness to this tea. It honestly reminds me a lot of an Earl Grey because of the bergamot, with an added lightness with the vanilla and fruitiness from the black currant.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Paris twice. I found that the flavours weren’t as strong as the first steep, but still palatable. I found that there’s still a sweetness to this tea, and the vanilla and bergamot was mostly still present However, the black currant is missing. The second resteep was very watery and not nearly as tasty. I would say that Paris is good for just one more steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Harney & Sons’ Paris. It’s a lovely black tea blend, and has a lovely fruity aroma and flavouring to it. I really enjoy the addition of vanilla, and the bergamot really reminds me of the classic Earl Grey – which is one of my favourites. The creaminess that the vanilla adds to this tea is a welcome change from a classic, and I can see why Paris is one of Harney & Sons’ best selling teas. I think this tea would make an excellent afternoon tea selection with the sweetness and vanilla to compliment the macarons and other desserts.

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GCY Tea’s Tie Guanyin

Tie Guanyin by GCY Tea
Oolong Tea / Straight
300g

This is a review of a tea that I received as a gift from someone who had travelled overseas to Hong Kong.

First Impressions

Tie Guanyin came to me in a long cardboard box. Inside was two cardboard boxes, which each held a sealed foil package of the tea. The extra cardboard box step just makes me think it’s too much packaging, but at least it’s something that can be recycled. Each foil package of tea holds 150g of oolong tea, which makes this whole package a whooping 300g. I love a good oolong, so I was pretty stoked about having so much oolong available to me (on top of what I already have…). That said, all the print on the packaging is in Chinese and my reading skills are minimal, so bear with me on this one!

The dry leaf is a pleasant green with some pops of bright green among the darker shades of green. The aroma from this oolong is primarily that of grass and floral notes. It’s not a very fragrant tea, the aromas are very subtle.

Preparation

The instructions on the side of the packaging suggests to steep in boiling water, up to 5-7 times. I used my Breville IQ Kettle‘s oolong tea setting (90°C/195°F) for an initial steep of 2 minutes.

First Taste

Tie Guanyin steeps to a pale yellow-green, there’s a very mild aroma that comes up from this steeped tea. I would liken it to being a bit grassy, with very light floral. It doesn’t smell like floral perfume, which is a bonus, but the overall aroma is quite light. I found that the flavour is much more vibrant than I expected, especially considering just the fragrance of the tea. There’s some light vegetal and and grassy notes, while there’s a very light sweetness to this tea that reminds me of jasmine flowers.

A Second Cup?

When a tea company suggests that their tea can be resteeped up to 7 times, I always take it as a challenge. I resteeped this oolong a total of 8 times. The colour got consistently darker and more golden yellow, until about the 5th resteep with the same leaves. The flavours did get deeper and more robust with each steep, having more of a creamy, buttery flavour to it as I continued to steep it. Even up to the 7th and 8th resteep, the flavours are strong enough that I think that I could have continued steeping even more.

My Overall Impression

I loved GCY Tea’s Tie Guanyin. It was a surprising flavourful considering how mildly aromatic the dry leaf is. I greatly enjoyed how the flavours got stronger and more complex. The change to a buttery/creamy flavour mixed with the grassy and vegetal from the initial steep were quite welcome, and tasty. I found each steep to be delicious and it’s definitely a tea that can be resteeped over and over again and would recommend having it over a weekend morning and afternoon.

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