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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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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