Lemon Lily’s Cherry Vanilla

Cherry Vanilla by Lemon Lily
Black Tea / Flavoured
$9.00 for 50g

Lemon Lily’s Cherry Vanilla came to me as part of The Sugared Teacup’s August themed subscription box.

First Impressions

Cherry Vanilla came to me in a matte white resealable foil bag. What I enjoy about Lemon Lily is that they do take care in selecting their ingredients for their tea blends. For example, this black tea blend contains all certified organic ingredients: black tea, cherries, vanilla bean, safflower, and natural flavour.

The dry leaf mostly smells like vanilla to me with a hint of cherry. Vanilla in teas always remind me of baking or making me want to bake, so it’s probably good that I’m having this tea as the weather starts to turn cooler since I can stand having the oven on now.

Preparation

Lemon Lily recommends steeping Cherry Vanilla in 93°C (200°F) water for 4 to 6 minutes. My initial steep was for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Cherry Vanilla steeps to a golden orange. There are hints of cherry and vanilla in the aroma of the tea. On first sip, I do note that there’s a nice sweetness to the tea, it’s very pleasant on the tongue. I find that the cherry flavour is a bit lost, I think that the vanilla is a bit stronger and so is the black tea base. At a five minute steep, there’s just a subtle hint of astringency behind the base of the tea that may be overpowering the delicate fruit flavours.

With the natural sweetness, I think this tea may fair better being had iced or even cold steeped, which may help preserve some of the more delicate cherry flavour.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Cherry Vanilla once and found that the flavour of the vanilla was mostly gone, and couldn’t find the fruity flavours. The black tea base is, however, very nice on its own and does well in being resteeped.

My Overall Impression

I liked Lemon Lily’s Cherry Vanilla. I think that the black tea base is a bit too strong for some of the more lighter flavours of the vanilla and the cherry, although I really do think the flavour concept is great. I would recommend having this tea iced or cold steeped, to help temper some of that astringency from the black tea and to also help the vanilla and cherry notes shine through a bit more.

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High Noon Tea Co.’s Volcano Flower Burst

Volcano Flower Burst by High Noon Tea Co.
Green Tea / Flavoured
$6.50 for 1

High Noon Tea Co.’s Volcano Flower Burst came to me as part of The Sugared Teacup’s June themed subscription box.

First Impressions

I was really excited to receive a blooming (flowering) tea in my June subscription box from The Sugared Teacup. I enjoy flowering teas because they’re just a lot of fun – to watch it bloom, to admire the workmanship that goes into every single one of those beautiful flowering balls of tea, and the Volcano Flower Burst is no exception to that.

The aroma is quite floral, and you can see the hibiscus on the bottom and the amaranth on the top of the tightly bound ball of leaves. Volcano Flower Burst consists of green tea, hibiscus, lavender, and amaranth flower. I can definitely smell the lavender, but I don’t see any in the dry flowering tea.

Preparation

High Noon Tea Co. recommends steeping Volcano Flower Burst in 86°C (187°F) water until it fully blooms. I used 85°C (185°F) water and it took approximately 5 minutes to fully bloom.

First Taste

Volcano Flower Burst steeps to a light peachy-pink, which I do attribute a bit to the hibiscus. There was just enough to make it pink-tinged without detracting too much from the beauty of the steeping tea. I found the aroma to be very floral, but the flavour wasn’t as perfume-y as I was expecting (which is a good thing since I don’t enjoy drinking perfume). There’s a sweetness to the tea, and it’s a very light, crisp green tea flavour – no astringency, no bitterness, no saltiness that some green teas often have. I don’t see any lavender in the open bloom, but I do smell hints of lavender in the tea itself.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Volcano Flower Burst once and found that the tea was significantly less floral, less pink, and more of the green tea base was present. If you love the floral notes, you might not like the resteep (but if you love green tea, you’ll probably want to resteep it.

My Overall Impression

I loved High Noon Tea Co.’s Volcano Flower Burst. Like I said earlier, I really enjoy flowering teas and this was really no exception. I do wish that there was either more flowers present or actual lavender tied into the flowering ball itself – I could smell hints of lavender but I didn’t see any and that was a bit disappointing. I really enjoyed the green tea base though, which is what made resteeping it worth it (in my opinion). The colour is also lovely, just enough hibiscus to keep the pink colour there in the initial steep. If you haven’t tried a flowering tea yet, I’d definitely recommend giving it a go – they’re just so much fun.

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Chai Castle’s Gunpowder

Gunpowder by Chai Castle
Green Tea / Straight
$10.00 for 100g

Chai Castle has provided me with Gunpowder for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Chai Castle’s Gunpowder came to me in a resealable black pouch, with a nice label on the front. I love an informative label. If you’ve never had a gunpowder before, it is traditionally a Chinese green tea. Chai Castle’s Gunpowder is no exception. Chai Castle describes their Gunpowder as “brisk, tart and slightly smoky”.

Gunpowder is a Chinese green tea. The leaves are dark olive green, all bunched and rolled together. There is a mild smokey aroma. If you know lapsang souchong tea, it’s nothing like that in terms of the campfire smoke. Just a gentle, mild smokey aroma – enough for you to know it’s there, not enough for you to think there’s a wildfire happening somewhere.

Preparation

Chai Castle recommends steeping Gunpowder in 79°C (175°F) water for 2 to 3 minutes. My initial steep was for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Gunpowder steeps to a lovely golden orange. On first taste, I do notice that there’s a slight astringency in the tea – but it’s not off-putting. There’s a nice smokey flavour, without making me feel like it’s over the top. It’s a very clear tasting tea though, nice blend of smoke, vegetal notes, and just that little touch of astringency at the end of each sip. If you’re not a fan of the astringency, I’d recommend steeping Gunpowder for little bit less than 2 minutes (probably start at 60 seconds and titrate up to your liking).

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Gunpowder three times, adding an extra 30 seconds for each steep. I found that the flavour profile remained fairly consistent throughout, but the third resteep was a bit weak in flavour. Overall, I think that Gunpowder can handle being resteeped at least twice and the third can be reserved for people who don’t mind the flavour being a bit weaker.

My Overall Impression

I loved Chai Castle’s Gunpowder. I really enjoyed steeping this green tea, watching the leaves open up was a nice treat that reminded me of my oolong experiences. I was a little bit apprehensive when I read that it had a smokey flavour, but it wasn’t overbearing – it was just enough, and it goes well with the name of the tea as well. For this tea, I would definitely recommend at least two resteeps to get all that nice flavour out of the leaves.

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