Oteas’s Organic Darjeeling

Organic Darjeeling by Oteas
Black Tea / Straight
$6.95 for 30g (12 sachets)

Oteas has provided me with Organic Darjeeling for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

Oteas’s Organic Darjeeling came in what is now a very familiar cardstock box. Inside was the tea bags inside of a plastic bag for all that freshness. The tea sachets are biodegradable, which is always a feature I like to point out because being environmentally friendly is a good thing.

Darjeeling has an interesting aroma – I find it to be a mix of earthy and nutty notes that is inviting. There’s a nice mix of shade of browns with hints of green in the tea leaves, along with some reddish browns. It’s amazing how many different colours can be found in a single tea.

Preparation

Oteas recommends steeping Organic Darjeeling in 100°C (212°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep of this black tea was for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Organic Darjeeling steeps to a golden reddish orange. The aroma of the tea is a lighter earthy fragrance compared to the dry leaf. There’s some roasted nutty notes in the flavour of the tea, and I found it to be mildly astringent when the tea’s been steeped for four minutes. It made for a pleasant cup of tea. If you’re not fond of astringency in your tea, I would add a bit of cream or milk to help temper the tea. As a black tea, it would take sweetener well also.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Organic Darjeeling twice, adding an additional 30 seconds for each steep. Look at how much those leaves opened up! I found that the flavour stayed pretty consistent throughout, with the astringency lessening with each steep – which made it increasingly pleasant.

My Overall Impression

I loved Oteas’s Organic Darjeeling. I love the flavour of Organic Darjeeling has and how it’s reflected in the aroma of the dry leaf. Bonus points for the astringency not being too strong and lessening with each steep – a quality that is easily fixed if you’re not a fan of the astringency. But I enjoyed the roasted nutty flavours throughout, it makes for a nice savoury cup of tea that’s a nice option for afternoon tea.

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Udyan Tea’s Da Hong Pao Black Tea

Da Hong Pao Black Tea by Udyan Tea
Black Tea / Straight
585 for 100g

Udyan Tea has provided me with Da Hong Pao Black Tea for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Udyan Tea’s Da Hong Pao Black Tea came to me in a matte sealed, resealable bag with just a bit of information about the tea listed on the label. For those not in the know, the traditional Da Hong Pao tea (Big Red Robe tea) comes from Wuyishan in China and is a dark oolong tea. It’s traditionally a tea that is very expensive – the real stuff is more expensive than gold, at nearly $10,000USD for a pot of tea.

This Da Hong Pao from Udyan Tea is grown in Nepal and is processed as a black tea, which makes the name choice questionable considering the history (and legitimacy) of using the name of Da Hong Pao.

This Da Hong Pao is a black tea that was harvested in the autumn of 2018 and is considerably less expensive than $10,000USD for a pot. The leaves are wiry and dark, and are reddish brown in colour. There’s a mix of earthy and floral aroma from the dry leaf.

Preparation

Udyan Tea recommends steeping Da Hong Pao Black Tea in 90-95°C (194-203°F) water for 4 to 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 5 minutes in 91°C (195°F) water.

First Taste

Da Hong Pao Black Tea steeps to a deep reddish orange. There’s a nice aroma from the steeped tea – it’s more floral than earthy compared to the dry leaf. I found when I steeped it for the 5 minutes, there was a slight bitterness and astringency to it. The earthy quality is more present in the taste of the tea than the floral, surprisingly. There’s no sweetness to it, despite the floral notes. The astringency makes itself known at the end of each sip.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Da Hong Pao Black Tea twice, adding an additional 30 seconds per resteep. I found that the tea got increasingly earthy in flavour and less floral in the flavour of the tea. Da Hong Pao became more astringent with each steep.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Udyan Tea’s Da Hong Pao Black Tea was just okay. I wish the tea had been more floral than earthy to my tastes as I drank it and resteeped the leaves, as I expected the flavours to match better with the dry leaf. As well, it’s a bit disappointing that a classic name of a tea is being appropriated, since there may be people who are wanting to try a Big Red Robe tea and getting a decent black tea from Nepal instead – not that there is anything wrong with tea from Nepal, but it’s the principle of the matter.

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DavidsTea’s Traditional Tea Discovery Kit

Traditional Tea Discovery Kit by DavidsTea
Black Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and White Tea / Straight
$35.00 for 110g

First Impressions

This is the Traditional Tea Discovery Kit, which was released as part of the Origins Collection from DavidsTea (there is also a Green Tea Discovery Kit and Black Tea Discovery Kit). The Traditional Discovery Kit consists of 6 teas that each come in a cute metal tin: 24g of Organic Zen Pearls (white tea), 12g of Organic Mao Jian Jade (green tea), 24g of Organic Gyokuro Yamashiro (green tea), 22g of Guangzhou Milk Oolong (oolong tea), 16g of Orange Pekoe (black tea), and 12g of Organic Nepal Black (black tea). I’ve linked previously written reviews to the teas that I have tried previously, and I will be showcasing the Organic Zen Pearls and Organic Gyokuro Yamashiro in this review.

From left to right: Organic Zen Pearls, Organic Gyokuro Yamashiro

Organic Zen Pearls has a beautiful jasmine aroma, and the tea comes in cute pea-sized pearls. There is a nice differing range of colours of the leaves from a dark olive to a light cream. Zen Pearls are rolled white teas from Fujian Province, China – scented with jasmine flowers. Gyokuro Yamashiro has these shiny dark green leaves, that have a slightly salty, umami notes. Gyokuro Yamashiro consists of organic steamed green tea from Kagoshima, Japan.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Zen Pearls in 90°C (195°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. My initial steep was for 3 minutes.

DavidsTea recommends steeping Gyokuro Yamashiro in 80°C (175°F) water for 1 to 2 minutes. My initial steep was for 1 minute.

First Taste

Zen Pearls steeps to a light orange colour. There’s a light jasmine aroma to this tea, which is nice and sweet. I found that this tea has a smooth mouthfeel. There’s light jasmine floral flavouring throughout, with no astringency or bitterness. I found it to put me in a very zen mood since I find it very relaxing to have a jasmine tea.

From left to right: Organic Zen Pearls, Organic Gyokuro Yamashiro

Gyokuro Yamashiro steeps to a yellow. There are obvious umami notes from the aroma that comes off from the tea. I found that there is a full mouthfeel from this tea – it’s smooth and has a light sweetness. There is a nice savoury quality from this tea, which I think comes from the umami notes.

A Second Cup?

For each resteep, I kept to the same temperature of water as the initial steep, and added an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep.

From left to right: Organic Zen Pearls, Organic Gyokuro Yamashiro

For Zen Pearls, I did 5 resteeps. I found that the jasmine flavouring stayed fairly consistent and it was nice to watch the leaves unfurl further with each steep.

For Gyokuro Yamashiro, I did 3 resteeps. I found that umami quality got a bit lighter with each resteep, becoming more sweet.

My Overall Impression

I loved DavidsTea’s Traditional Tea Discovery Kit. I really love the presentation of this tea kit, and the adorable printed tea tins. For the new-to-me teas, I really enjoyed the flavours and I think that DavidsTea did a great job of putting together an assortment of quality traditional teas to allow people to sample a variety of teas. The only thing that would have made it better is if they had included Butterfly Jasmine in it.

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