Angry Alpaca’s Bohemian Raspberry

Bohemian Raspberry by Angry Alpaca
Green Tea & Oolong Tea / Flavoured

I received Bohemian Raspberry as a gift as part of a tea swap for the holidays in December 2020 from the lovely Jann of Tea With Jann (check her out on YouTube!). As it was a gift, I won’t be looking up the price, but I will include the link to the company’s Facebook page so you can check out their other available tea blends as well as Bohemian Raspberry.

First Impressions

Some things that really stood out to me was the feel of the packaging – it has a soft paper-feel to it with fibres that hang off a bit, and it’s resealable. The label is fun – bright colours with a crocodile?! I find the idea of a ‘naturally aggressive tea’ to be a bold statement, which makes me want to try the tea even more. The name of the blend itself is punny, which I do like. The back of the packaging has a clear window to see the tea, and a label that includes instructions, ingredients, the fact that this tea is made in River Hebert, Nova Scotia (hello, maritimes!), as well as including an artist credit to the cover art (a British Columbian artist by the handle @GOZNO. All in all, a very nice first impression with the packaging.

The tea itself has a really bright berry aroma to it. I can definitely see the leaves, petals, and berries mixed it. I can smell the green tea, not so much the oolong, but also the floral and berry aromas as well. It definitely reminds me of something that could be had iced and I’d probably be pretty happy about it. Bohemian Raspberry consists of: green tea, oolong tea, dried strawberries, dried raspberries, hibiscus, lime leaves, calendula, carthage and sunflower petals.

Preparation

Angry Alpaca recommends steeping Bohemian Raspberry in 90°C (194°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions and did an initial steep for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Bohemian Raspberry steeps to a very pretty golden yellow colour. It has a strong berry aroma to it, and I can smell the oolong! The flavour of the tea itself is nice – get some grassiness from the green tea, some strong floral notes, I can definitely taste the berries, and there’s a buttery quality that lingers in the background that I believe to be from the oolong base. It’s well balanced with not a whole lot of sweetness, but it doesn’t seem to really need it. Bohemian Raspberry is pleasant hot, but I imagine it would be stellar as an iced tea with those fruity flavours. I’m a bit surprised that it didn’t end up steeping a bit more pink or more tart, given the presence of the hibiscus.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Bohemian Raspberry once by adding an additional 30 seconds to the steep time and found the flavour to be a bit lacking compared to the initial steep. The fruitiness from the berries just wasn’t as forward as I would have wanted it to be, but the green tea and oolong tea bases both shine a bit more. So I would recommend resteeping if you’re a fan of the base teas.

My Overall Impression

I loved Angry Alpaca’s Bohemian Raspberry. I really enjoyed the flavour profile that they were able to create with both the green tea and oolong tea base. I think the fruity flavours are nice and really shined in the initial steep. I’m definitely going to set aside the rest of the bag for some cold steeping/iced teas for this summer because I just really think it’ll do well iced or cold steeped. Plus, I do need to give bonus points to a company who takes such care in their design to include fun artwork, highlighting Canadian artists, and giving their tea blend a punny name.

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DavidsTea’s Salted Caramel Oolong

Salted Caramel Oolong by DavidsTea
Oolong Tea / Flavoured
$9.98 for 50g

First Impressions

Salted Caramel Oolong is one of those blends that I saw in a photo, was a bit curious at all those salt chunks, and just had to give it a try. This is an oolong blend from DavidsTea and comes in a familiar silver pouch. As always, I still hate the labelling and the teeny tiny print… but nobody asked me for my opinion (I just happen to give it freely). The blue is nice, but I can see how it might be difficult for someone with poorer vision or perhaps colour blindness to have difficulty reading this turquoise text on a medium blue background. But again… nobody asked me for my opinion.

The aroma of Salted Caramel Oolong basically reminds me of salted caramel (treats). It smells like how one would expect it, and it’s very tempting. The tea consists of: oolong tea, caramel bits, sugar crystals, pineapple, carob, chicory root, artificial caramel flavouring, and salt. Those crystals that you can so easily see in the blend are sugar, not salt – yes, my dear readers, I tried one in the name of science. I’m not sure why they saw the need to add flavouring on top of the presence of caramel, I find that often just leads to disappointment over the expectations versus reality when it comes to steeping a flavoured tea. That said, it smells like candy (a pro) and I cannot smell the oolong base at all (a con).

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Salted Caramel Oolong in 90°C (195°F) water for 4 to 5 minutes. I opted to do an initial steep of 5 minutes with the recommended water temperature, which just so happens to be the oolong tea setting on my Breville kettle.

First Taste

Salted Caramel Oolong steeps to a deep reddish brown and there just seems to be a lot of… stuff floating around in it. Lots of bits here and there, some oils. If any of that sounds off-putting to you, I would recommend steeping Salted Caramel Oolong in a filter instead of an infuser – just makes life a little bit easier. It smells like salted caramel candy, but not much like oolong at all. The taste reminds me of liquid dessert – it’s sweet, I can taste salted caramel, and it’s got a thickness to the texture of the tea. I find it to be coyingly sweet, and very much has a mouth-coating effect to it.

This oolong blend definitely does not require any addition of sweetener, and I think that it could do with some evaporated milk (which I whole-heartedly added to the cup). The addition of dairy (or a dairy-free milk alternative if that’s more your jam) really helps to temper down that sweetness and adds a level of decadence to it – the creaminess helps perpetuate that idea of caramel, but the oolong base is still not present.

A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Salted Caramel Oolong, and found that it just wasn’t there in terms of what I was looking for. It was still quite sweet and that oolong base was nowhere to be found. I would recommend Salted Caramel Oolong for just the one steep (and as a tea latte over having it straight).

My Overall Impression

I thought that DavidsTea’s Salted Caramel Oolong was just okay. I think this tea by itself is just far too sweet – so far that it might give a person a toothache despite the fact that they’re a sweet tooth. I’m saddened by the fact that I really could not taste the oolong base, I think it was just overwhelmed by all of the other ingredients that are present in the blend. I find that the tea is greatly improved in the form of a tea latte, so would highly recommend drinking it in that format if you’re a fan of tea lattes. I am disappointed that the oolong base was nowhere to be found within the flavour profile because of the over-powering presence of the other ingredients that are present in the mix.

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The Tea House’s Phoenix Dan Cong

Phoenix Dan Cong by The Tea House
Oolong Tea / Straight

I received Phoenix Dan Cong as part of my swag bag from the 2020 Virtual International Tea Festival. At the time of writing, Phoenix Dan Cong was not available on The Tea House’s website, so I was unable to determine the price of the tea.

First Impressions

Phoenix Dan Cong came to me in sealed, non-sealable, silver packaging – nothing a tight fitting metal tea canister or even just a zip-top plastic bag won’t fix in a pinch. This was part of my swag bag from the 2020 Virtual International Tea Festival. I don’t have a lot of information on this tea, as it’s product page was not available when I was writing this review, but I’ll do my best!

The leaves are wiry and very dark brown. There are some deep, stone fruit aromas from the dry leaf, which are really intriguing. Traditionally, Phoenix Dan Cong is an oolong tea and is grown and harvested from Phoenix Mountain in China. This tea looks like a straight tea and I don’t believe that there are any other added ingredients (just the way I prefer my oolong teas…).

Preparation

The Tea House recommends steeping Phoenix Dan Cong in 190°F (88°C) water for 1 minute. I opted to use 185°F (85°C) water and did an initial steep for 1 minute.

First Taste

Phoenix Dan Cong steeps to a pretty light golden yellow colour. It has a remarkably smooth texture, with notes of plums or apricots (both lovely stone fruits), and just a floral finish at the tail end of each sip. The tea does a nice job of just coating the inside of my mouth with flavour, which is quite well balanced. Zero astringency and zero bitterness and just overall quite smooth and easy to drink.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Phoenix Dan Cong a total of seven times (eight times total with the same leaves). The colour of the steeped tea definitely gets darker, a more golden yellow and the flavour deepen as well while staying fairly consistent in terms of the flavour profile. I found that the fruity notes got stronger while the floral notes did back off a little bit. Still an easy tea to drink though, and quite enjoyable.

My Overall Impression

I loved The Tea House’s Phoenix Dan Cong. I thought that the tea was a lovely experience from start to finish. I really appreciated the level of complexity in the flavour profile and how it subtly changed as I drank it. It really made for a delicious cup of tea and I thought it had some great flavour for a tea that doesn’t contain additional ingredients. The floral finish was really one of my favourite parts of the tasting experience with this oolong.

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