Teavana’s Silver Needle

Silver Needle by Teavana
White Tea / Straight
$17.98 for 2oz

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First Impressions

This was a Starbucks/Teavana reward that my sister picked up at Teavana. Unfortunately, she had asked for a different silver needle tea and wasn’t aware that they had given her a different one until she had gotten home – disappointing, to say the least.

Silver Needle is a straight white tea, it has a very light floral scent to it that is quite subtle. It has some grassy qualities in the dry leaf – you can definitely tell by looking at the tea leaves why the tea is referred to as ‘silver needle’. The pale silver-white down on the tea leaves is soft to the touch, and the leaves are a decent size.

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Preparation

Teavana recommends steeping Silver Needle in 175°F (79°C) water for 4-5 minutes.

First Taste

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Silver Needle is an amazingly pale tea, it steeps with a light yellow colour after about 4 minutes of steeping time. The aroma is much like the dry tea – grassy, a little bit of floral notes. The taste is very subtle, but it tastes just like it smells. The mark of a true straight tea, it’s quite nice to have a tea that tastes the way it smells. There’s a lightness to this tea that is enjoyable. While the taste doesn’t bowl you over, it’s still quite good and it’s one of those teas better suited for a mellow or lazy day.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Silver Needle several times. The Teavana website states that it can be steeped for 3 to 5 times. I steeped it for a total of 5 times – adding an extra 30 seconds for each steep. It still has this amazing lightness that I enjoy, the flavour remains subtle but present the entire time. The colour of the tea gets a little bit darker with each subsequent steep – it turns into a golden yellow.

My Overall Impression

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I loved Teavana’s Silver Needle. The tea itself was good – the smell of the dry leaf matches the steeped tea, the taste doesn’t disappoint. There’s a lightness to the tea that is enjoyable, and steeping to the recommended time results in a tasty cup of tea. It really is the type of tea that you need to be able to sit down and enjoy, not rush through. I am disappointed with Teavana’s customer service, given that my sister had asked for a different silver needle tea to use her Starbucks/Teavana reward on and was given this one instead.

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Teavana’s S’mores Oolong Tea

S’mores Oolong Tea by Teavana
Oolong Tea & Yerba Mate / Flavoured
$9.98 for 2oz

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First Impressions

I am going to preface this review with the fact that I, perhaps unfairly, have high expectations for this tea. I love s’mores. I love camping, and roasting marshmallows, and the ooey-gooey marshmallows with graham crackers and slightly melted chocolate. The smell of the dry tea is interesting – the only smells that I can pick out are chocolate and cinnamon, with perhaps a touch of vanilla. There’s a whole host of other ingredients that I’m not getting.

The ingredients for S’ores Oolong are: cocoa kernals, white chocolate pieces, carob pieces, cinnamon, chocolate flakes, chicory root, marshmallow, oolong tea, roasted maté, artificial flavouring, bourbon vanilla pieces, and marigold petals. I wasn’t able to make out the tea bases at all, the aroma of the chocolate and cinnamon definitely overpower the oolong and maté

Preparation

Teavana recommends steeping S’mores Oolong in 195°F (91°C) water for 3 minutes. I steeped mine for 3 minutes.

First Taste

When S’mores Oolong is steeping, it has a heavy chicory root and cinnamon smell, surprisingly I can’t make out the chocolate at all. I would recommend that you use a filter bag instead of a stainless steel filter basket, unless the mesh of your basket is very fine – I wound up with a lot of small bits in my tea. The tea is quite cloudy, and smells strongly of chicory root and cinnamon, it smells sweet and has an oily film from the melted chocolate floating on the top.

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S’mores Oolong smells of cinnamon and chicory. It’s a cup of watery cinnamon and chicory root, with a little taste of chocolate, but it isn’t overwhelming in terms of flavour. There’s a bit of sweetness (from either the chocolate or the marshmallows), but I can’t taste either base (oolong or maté). It doesn’t taste very good to the point where I did not finish my cup because it just does not taste good (or taste like any kind of tea or beverage that I’d want to finish). I looked into the steeping basket after I had poured out a cup and realized that there was actually very little tea in the tea itself – the majority of what was left was just all the ingredients that show up before the oolong (aside from the marshmallow, that melted away).

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A Second Cup?

I did not steep S’mores Oolong a second time.

My Overall Impression

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I didn’t like Teavana’s S’mores Oolong Tea. It does not remind me of s’mores at all, the chocolate doesn’t come out as strongly as I expected from the dry tea. The overall flavour is underwhelming because the chicory root and cinnamon are strong and I can’t taste the base at all. If I were to try this tea again (and that is a very big if), I would probably add more tea to steep, in hopes of getting more flavour, but it isn’t a very promising tea at all. I wouldn’t recommend S’mores Oolong.

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Teavana’s Peach Momotaro

Peach Momotaro by Teavana
White Tea / Flavoured
$18.98 for 2oz

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First Impressions

Another tea that I got from Teavana thanks to the Starbucks rewards program, I picked up this one the same day that I picked up Blooming Pineapple as I was curious about their blooming teas. At $19 for 2oz, this is not an inexpensive tea. With the free rewards, I picked up 1oz of this tea, which wound up netting me 5 balls of the Peach Momotaro tea. What really drew me to this tea is the fact that it smells exactly like fuzzy peach candy. They’re quite well made balls, with a little peek of flower petals through the tea leaves.

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Peach Momotaro is made up of: white tea, marigold flowers, and artificial flavouring. And the smell is amazing. I can’t smell any of the white tea base though, but this really makes me want fuzzy peach candies.

Preparation

Teavana recommends using 1 ball and steeping in 82C (180F) water for 3 to 4 minutes until it blooms. It took almost the entire 4 minutes for my ball of Peach Momotaro to bloom.

First Taste

First off, the tea looks really pretty when it’s fully bloomed and it stayed pretty well intact. The tea itself steeps to a lovely pale yellow and it still smells like peaches but it’s not as strong as it was when the tea was dry. It’s not an overwhelming flavour at all – the peach taste is very light and not as strong as I expected with the great peach candy fragrance before. The tea itself is very pleasant – it’s not bitter at all and very smooth. I added a bit of sweetener to the tea and it does brighten up the taste of the peaches quite a bit and makes it more enjoyable.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped the Peach Momotaro and found that the tea did fairly well for the second steeping. The peach aroma is less pronounced, but I’d chalk that up to the fact that it’s the artificial flavouring that was added. A bit more sweetener helps to bring out that peach taste though and it tastes lovely. It resteeped well for the third and fourth time as well.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved Teavana’s Peach Momotaro. I just really enjoy blooming teas, and found this one to be really nice. I was a bit disappointed by the peach taste in the steeped tea compared to the dry tea, but that was something that could be remedied by the addition of a little sweetener. It is a very pretty tea to look at when it unfurls in the tea pot, if there was ever an argument to get a clear glass teapot, blooming teas would be it. I think it’s very enjoyable and resteeps very well – don’t forget to add more time with each resteep! Peach Momotaro is the more expensive side, especially when you consider the fact that if you were to buy 2oz, you’d get 9-10 balls only. But it does resteep, so you get quite a good number of uses per tea ball. It’s definitely a nice treat though, so if you have any Starbucks/Teavana rewards to use, this might be a good one to try out before committing to use your money to purchase a bag of it.

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Teavana’s Flowering Pineapple

Flowering Pineapple by Teavana
White Tea / Flavoured
$18.98 for 2oz

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First Impressions

Flowering Pineapple smells pretty was the first thought that went through my head when I first smelled it while at Teavana. I had yet another Starbucks/Teavana reward to use and I wanted to try one of their blooming teas. Flowering Pineapple has a beautiful delicate pineapple aroma to it, and it is quite the hefty tea. For the free reward, I get 1oz of any loose tea, and that 1oz equated to just four balls of the Flowering Pineapple tea. Considering how pricey it is per oz, it’s not very many balls. But it smells amazing and I really wanted to try it, so I got it!

Flowering Pineapple is made up of: white tea, marigold blossoms, and artificial flavouring.

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Preparation

Teavana recommends steeping Flowering Pineapple in 82°C (180°F) water for 3-4 minutes. If you noticed on the label, it also recommends using 1 ball. I opted to steep it in a tea pot so I could see the blooming action a little bit better.

First Taste

Flowering Pineapple has a very light fruity smell to it when it is steeping. It does have the pineapple aroma, but it’s not as strong as it was when it was dry. The ball opens up quite a bit, as you can see in the photo. The tea leaves really add to the overall beauty in the way it circles the flower. It is a very pretty blooming tea, and it is fun to watch the petals unfurl.

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The pineapple taste is very light, more of the natural white tea flavour comes through. Make sure you watch your water temperature and steeping time with this one. I prepared it according to the directions and had a lovely cup of tea with no bitterness or astringency. I find that the taste is very light though, compared to the white tea base. I wish more of the pineapple was present in the taste of the tea since it was there when the tea was dry.

A Second Cup?

Many white teas can be resteeped, so I was hoping that Flowering Pineapple would not be an exception. It does fairly well with the second steeping. I can barely taste the pineapple, but the natural white tea taste comes through better. It does okay with the third steeping, but it’s not exceptional, and was beginning to have a very thinned out flavour.

My Overall Impression

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I liked Teavana’s Flowering Pineapple. While the pineapple taste was gone after the first time I steeped the tea, as I was expecting since it was an artificial flavouring, I like the white tea base. I do wish that there wasn’t the pineapple flavouring at all though, because the white tea base is quite nice and will hold up to a few steepings. It’s a fun tea to steep because it is a blooming tea and it is very pretty. But I do think that there are better white teas out there at a more affordable price. Assuming you could get 8 balls of Flowering Pineapple in 2oz, that works out to be ~$2.25 per ball/cup. That’s a fairly expensive tea when you think about it and the fact that there are better and less expensive white teas out there, even if you can resteep it again. If you are interested in trying it out, it might be a nice tea to use your free Starbucks/Teavana rewards on.

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Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong

Monkey Picked Oolong by Teavana
Oolong Tea / Straight
$24.98 for 2oz

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First Impressions

The only reason why I have Monkey Picked Oolong is because I had a Starbucks/Teavana reward to use (let’s not talk about my love for overly sweet but delicious Chai lattes, okay?), because at $25 for 2oz this is a fairly expensive tea. That said, the dry leaf smells interesting – there’s a very faint floral aroma that mingles with the smell of the tea. It smells a lot like a green tea, which shouldn’t be surprising as it is a green oolong. The only ingredient in this tea is the oolong itself.

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Teavana spins a nice little story about this tea, of trained monkeys that help with the harvest. From what I read on the internet, this is meant to be one of the highest grades of oolong available. Knowing this rather raises my expectation for the tea because that means it should be really good and it should resteep fairly well (and multiple times).

Preparation

For oolong teas, Teavana recommends steeping in 90°F (195°F) water for 3 minutes. I steeped for closer to 2 minutes.

First Taste

Monkey Picked Oolong steeps to a beautiful golden colour, it’s perfectly clear and it smells amazingly floral. It’s not an overwhelming fragrance though, it’s very light but it smells nice. Taking a sip of Monkey Picked Oolong, I can almost see why it costs so much. It has a taste that is almost sweet, it has some floral notes to the tea with quite a deep vegetal taste to the tea overall. I think it’s quite nice. There are no hints of bitterness, it’s a very pleasant cup of tea. I couldn’t resist steeping the leaves again to see how it would do for one more steep.

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A Second Cup?

Monkey Picked Oolong steeps very well for a second round. The colour is still a beautiful golden yellow and it tastes a little bit different. The floral taste is a bit stronger, and there’s a bit of a nutty flavour at the end of each sip that’s new and quite interesting. Monkey Picked Oolong did well for steeps 3 and 4, and was a watery afterthought for cup 5.

My Overall Impression

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I loved Teavana’s Monkey Picked Oolong. It’s a beautiful colour, beautiful taste, and does fairly well for a few steepings – which takes a bit of the sting out from the high price. While I love it and would love to keep a stock of it in my tea stash forever, I think it’s more of a ‘treating myself’ tea given the high price. I’ll definitely get it again with the free Starbucks/Teavana rewards because that definitely takes the sting out of the price tag! I almost wish I didn’t find it really good, because then I wouldn’t be tempted to get more. If you’re unsure of giving it a try, I would definitely recommend getting it for free if you can or seeing if they’re sampling it in store.

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