Field to Cup’s May Adventurer Box

May Adventurer Box by Field to Cup
$34.97USD for 1 Adventurer Box (per month)
$356.69USD for 12 Months ($29.72/mo)

Field to Cup has provided me with the May Adventurer Box for the purposes of writing an honest review.

Use coupon code Onemoresteep20 for 20% off your first order of teas or first month of subscription boxes from Field to Cup!

First Impressions

As always, the Adventurer Box came to me in a brown cardboard box – just stuffed full of tea, steeping bags, and the steeping guide catered towards the teas in the box. The May Adventurer Box consists of 5 teas – two green teas and one each of black, oolong, and pu’erh teas. Each tea came in a sealed, resealable pouch that has a label affixed to the front that details the tea, tasting notes, steeping instructions – as well as a guide to steeping it in the appropriate water temperature if you don’t have a thermometer or variable temperature kettle (my kettle is still my favourite small appliance purchase ever).

The first trio of teas that I tried from the May Adventurer Box were: Silver Sheng 2012 (pu’erh tea), Organic Hibiscus Hint (oolong tea), and Sweet Ceylon (black tea). Silver Sheng 2012 looks like a silver needle (a white tea), which isn’t surprising as it’s an aged raw 2012 silver needle. The leaves still retain their downy feathers, but is slightly darker than a regular silver needle. This aged white silver needle is from the Yunnan Province of China. Organic Hibiscus Hint has some dark brown leaves that have some deep purple colouration, I can spy some hibiscus in the blend and it smells like preserved plums (those that grew up in an Asian household may know the aroma that I’m talking about!). This blend consist of organic oolong and organic hibiscus. Sweet Ceylon has some dark red and brown leaves, with some golden tips throughout. The primarily aroma is a toasted nutty fragrance that is inviting and reminds me of a savoury tea. Sweet Ceylon consists of Sri Lankan black tea (FBOPFEXSP) from the New Vithanakande Tea Estate.

Left to right: Silver Sheng 2012, Organic Hibiscus Hint, Sweet Ceylon.

The last duo of teas I tried were Toasted Breakfast Blend and Hidden Treasure, both green teas. Toasted Breakfast Blend smells like a genmaicha – it has the popped rice/popcorn aroma that I’m familiar with, with a hint of ocean/salt water in the background. I can see the matcha powder coating the tea leaves and popped rice. This tea consists of: sencha green tea, toasted rice, and matcha. Hidden Treasures is a biodynamically grown green tea from Zhejiang, China. It has wiry dark green leaves that have an aroma that I would categorize as being a mix of nutty and sweet. I did have to look up what biodynamic agriculture means and essentially it means that it’s a type of farming practice that helps maintain the nutrients in the soil to keep the land sustainable, and is considered a type of organic farming.

Left to right: Toasted Breakfast Blend, Hidden Treasure.

Preparation

Silver Sheng 2012 is recommended to be steeped in 205°F (96°C) water for 1 minute. I used 200°F (93°C) water for 1 minute.

Organic Hibiscus Hint is recommended to be steeped in 195°F (91°C) water for 4 minutes. I followed the steeping recommendations for the initial steep.

Sweet Ceylon is recommended to be steep in 200°F (93°C) water for 3 minutes. I followed the steeping recommendations for the initial steep.

Toasted Breakfast Blend is recommended to be steeped in 165°F (74°C) water for 2 minutes. I heated my water up to 175°F (79°C) (lowest temperature setting on my Breville IQ Kettle), allowed the water to cool for 3 minutes and then steeped the tea for 2 minutes.

Hidden Treasure is recommended to be steeped in 175°F (79°C) water for 2 minutes. I followed the steeping recommendations for the initial steep.

First Taste

Left to right: Silver Sheng 2012, Organic Hibiscus Hint, Sweet Ceylon.

Silver Sheng 2012 steeps to a light yellow. I found that this pu’erh white tea has a lovely floral grassy and hay notes to it. It’s a smooth cup of tea. The tasting guide suggested that there were chili pepper flavours to it, but I didn’t find that to be the case. However, it is a nice smooth cup of tea and is very easy to drink.

Organic Hibiscus Hint steeps to a lovely orange colour. Surprisingly, there were no plum notes in the steeped tea, compared to the dry leaf. It has a nutty quality to it, and a hint of tartness that I attribute to the addition of the hibiscus in the blend. The hibiscus is not overpowering compared to the oolong base.

Sweet Ceylon has a dark brown colour after steeping. I found it to have a sweet aroma, with a hint of honey sweetness. The strength behind the tea is matched by the astringency from this black tea. Quite a bit of mouth puckering occurred when I drank this, as it reminded me a lot of a breakfast blend.

Left to right: Toasted Breakfast Blend, Hidden Treasure.

Toasted Breakfast Blend has a slightly cloudy yellow-green colour to the dry leaf. There’s a nice toasted rice flavour to it, which couples nicely with the creamy green tea base – I found it to be quite vegetal but no astringency to be noted at all.

Hidden Treasure steeps to a light golden yellow. I found it had a pleasant toasted aroma to it – the flavour is primarily vegetal, it reminds me of the flavour of raw spinach but perhaps a few notches lower in flavour compared to the vegetable.

A Second Cup?

The best resteeping tea in the box is Silver Sheng 2012. I resteeped it four times (adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep) and found that the flavour remained fairly consistent throughout, just a bit weaker with each steep. Organic Hibiscus Hint did fairly well with being resteeped – I resteeped the same leaves twice and found that the oolong became more prominent as the hibiscus fade. Sweet Ceylon did a lovely job with being resteeped (I did two resteeps of the same leaves) – the astringency was still present with each steep, but it lessened over time.

Left to right: Silver Sheng 2012, Organic Hibiscus Hint, Sweet Ceylon.

I attempted a resteep of Toasted Breakfast Blend but I found that the toasted rice flavour just wasn’t as strong as the initial steep, so this is one tea that I would recommend just one steep of. Hidden Treasure did remarkably well with two resteeps of the same leaves, I found that the flavour stayed fairly consistent throughout each steep.

Left to right: Toasted Breakfast Blend, Hidden Treasure.

My Overall Impression

I loved Field to Cup’s May Adventurer Box. I feel like this month’s box is a fantastic combination of teas – especially for those who love the traditional teas. My favourites would have to be Silver Sheng 2012 and Toasted Breakfast Blend. I found that almost all of the teas did well with being resteeped, which just showcases the quality of the tea leaves showing up in the boxes! As always, you can opt to purchase the box as a whole or pick and choose your teas to try via the Field to Cup website (and don’t forget to use the coupon code Onemoresteep20 for 20% off your first tea purchase or first month of a box subscription!)

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Global Tea Hut – March 2018 “Swirling Mist”

March 2018 “Swirling Mist” 2004 Sheng Puerh by Global Tea Hut
Pu’erh / Straight
$20-30USD/month

Global Tea Hut has provided me with their March 2018 issue of Tea & Tao Magazine with a sample of “Swirling Mist” for the purposes of providing an honest review.

First Impressions

When I was first contacted by a representative of Global Tea Hut, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. A tea magazine? Why not! It came to me in the post from Asia, so it did take a little while to reach me in Canada. The magazine is a beautiful 60+ page magazine with full colour, glossy pages, and no advertisements. The March 2018 issue talks about several different locations where tea is grown, harvested, and processed. There’s even a full feature on the tea of the month, as well as a feature on a Tea Wayfarer, which I’ve come to learn is a regular feature on a Global Tea Hut member.

“Swirling Mist” is a 2004 Sheng Puerh, it came to me in a metal tin that’s lined with rice paper to help protect the tea. The aroma from the dry leaf is actually very mild, I found it to be a little bit earthy. There were some leaves that were heavily compacted, just from how the puerh was made into a cake.

Preparation

Global Tea Hut recommends steeping Swirling Mist in 98°C (208°F) water and suggested steeping it gong-fu method up to 20 times. It’s a bit of a time consuming method, consisting of very short steeps. I opted to steep in 100°C (212°F) water for an initial steep of 2 minutes.

First Taste

Swirling Mist steeps to a dark gold colour. I found that it had a smooth, pleasant mouthfeel. There’s some earthiness in the flavour – something that reminds me of mushrooms, and also sweet plums. It makes for a very pleasant cup of tea, and I don’t say that very often about pu’erhs.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Swirling Mist a total of eight times (nine steeps total). I found that the flavour stayed strong and consistent throughout, until about the sixth resteep – which is when the flavour started to decline a little bit. I added an extra 30 seconds for each additional steep and found that the tea stayed smooth and enjoyable throughout each steep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Global Tea Hut’s March 2018 issue of Tea & Tao Magazine along with Swirling Mist. I really enjoyed reading the magazine, and learning more about the kind of places where tea is grown and harvested. The pu’erh was a really nice treat to have, I’ve been disappointed in the past before with pu’erh tea, so I was very pleased that I enjoyed this one. I think for the cost, you do get good value if you are interested in learning about tea farms and the process of making some of your favourite teas.

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Davidstea’s S’mores Chai

S’mores Chai by DavidsTea
Pu’erh Tea / Flavoured
$8.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

When I first heard about DavidsTea putting out a S’mores Chai, all I could think was the fact that I really wanted to taste some marshmallows over an open campfire (huge fan of s’mores here!) so of course I had to get my hands on some of this tea. S’mores Chai smelled delicious in the store, the dry leaf honestly smells like a s’mores with the smell of chocolate and marshmallow. I don’t really smell graham crackers, but it’s forgiven because it does remind me of s’mores. The pu’erh base gives it a nice nutty aroma.

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S’mores Chai consists of: pu’erh tea, brittle pieces, cinnamon, sugar, marshamllow, chocolate chips, natural and artificial flavouring. The label suggests that the tea contains hazelnuts, but where? Perhaps in one of the flavourings.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping S’mores Chai in 194-203°F (90-95°C) for 4 to 7 minutes. I steeped it at 200°F (94°C) water for 5 minutes.

First Taste

S’mores Chai steeps to a cloudy reddish brown, with an oil slick on the top from the melted chocolate. The tea smells like s’mores, which is quite delightful. On first taste, there’s an oily mouthfeel (from the melted chocolate) and it tastes a bit chocolately with some nutty flavour. It’s a slightly watery version of hot chocolate, with the sweetness of marshmallows. I didn’t really enjoy the tea straight so I added it some sweetener, and milk to make it a latte. It’s delicious as a hot latte and would highly recommend it.

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If you’re interested in learning how to make tea lattes at home without the use of a fancy machine to froth the milk, check out my tutorial on how to make lattes at home using a glass jar (and a microwave).

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A Second Cup?

I steeped S’mores Chai a few times and found that the flavour wasn’t as rich as the initial steep. I would say that S’mores Chai is good for only one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked DavidsTea’s S’mores Chai. I loved how this tea smell, it smells just like s’mores! This tea is excellent as a hot latte, and would highly recommend it. However, this tea didn’t taste remarkably well as a straight tea and I didn’t enjoy it. The addition of milk helps temper the oily mouthfeel that was the result of the melted chocolate chips and make the tea more enjoyable. A s’mores-flavoured tea is okay in my books and I greatly enjoyed it as a treat. I think this makes a great dessert latte.

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