DavidsTea’s Silver Bell Oolong

Silver Bell Oolong by DavidsTea
Oolong Tea, White Tea, & Green Tea / Flavoured
$12.98 for 50g

First Impressions

One of the reasons that Silver Bell Oolong made its way into my online shopping cart because the reviews compared it to a previous blend (Monk’s Blend). This obviously meant that I needed to give it a try. But when I first unboxed the order, I was subjected to this label. I’m not sure who decided teal was easy to read on a medium shade of blue, but it isn’t (at all). Silver Bell Oolong comes in a sealed, resealable pouch.

Silver Bell Oolong consists of: white tea, milk oolong with natural milk flavouring, and jasmine green tea pearls. It’s a beautiful blend, and has a great aroma to it. I can smell the jasmine and milk from the milk oolong. Silver Bell Oolong is really pretty to look at and admire the different leaves. Silver Bell Oolong has identical ingredients as Monk’s Blend (a retired blend), with a slight change in price  ($12.98 versus $11.50), but comes with a different name that makes me think that it’s a holiday or seasonal tea (so keep that in mind if you’re wanting to get some).

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Silver Bell Oolong in 90°C (195°F) water for 4 to 5 minutes. I opted to follow the temperature recommendation, and did an initial steep of Silver Bell Oolong for 4 minutes.

First Taste

Silver Bell Oolong steeps to a beautiful yellow colour. There’s a strong aroma of jasmine and milk. Silver Bell Oolong has a smooth liquor. I find that the flavour is floral, milky, and grassy. Silver Bell Oolong has a certain level of creaminess to it, that I would attribute to the milk oolong. It has a nice mouthfeel to it, with zero astringency or bitterness.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Silver Bell Oolong two times (three steeps total), adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. I find that the flavour stayed fairly consistent to the initial steep, with the milky flavour waning as I resteeped the leaves. It is quite tasty though.

My Overall Impression

I liked DavidsTea’s Silver Bell Oolong. I still find this oolong, white tea, and green tea blend to be tasty. It has a great mouthfeel, flavour profile, and resteeps decently well. I think that Silver Bell Oolong coming back is nice for fans of the original Monk’s Blend, and I think it’s very similiar (if not identical?) to the original blend. I wish I still had some in my tea stash so I could do a taste comparison between the two. I would highly recommend resteeping this blend because it does hold up to resteeping, and Silver Bell Oolong has a great flavour. The creaminess of Silver Bell Oolong would lend itself well to being paired with a meal or dessert.

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Teakan’s Rare Willow White

Rare Willow White by Teakan
White Tea / Straight
$30.00 for 60g

Rare Willow White is part of Teakan’s Volume 4 Exploration Kit, a collection of five single origin teas. Rare Willow White makes up 10g of the 60g kit.

First Impressions

Rare Willow White comes in a sealed, resealable kraft paper pouch with a very familiar label. Unsurprisingly, Rare Willow White is a white tea. This particular one comes from Maipokhari, Ilam, Nepal. Fun fact, the tea industry began in that region back in 1863 and Nepal is responsible for producing 16.23 million kilograms of tea every year – with the majority being grown in Ilam. Rare Willow White is a 2nd flush tea harvested in 2020.

The leaves are long, wiry, with a great mix of colorus from cream, spring green, olive, brown, and a deep brown that’s almost black. There’s a great range in colours here, which makes it a such joy to look at. There’s a light floral sweetness to it, which makes it kind of enticing.

Preparation

Teakan recommends two different steeping temperatures for Rare Willow White. For those steeping western style, Teakan recommends 75°C (167°F) water for 1 minute. For those opting to go the gongfu route, they recommend 80°C (176°F) water for 15 seconds.

I opted to go the western style as it’s easier for me to pour and steep for 1 minute versus 15 seconds.

First Taste

Rare Willow White steeps to a light yellow. The aroma is lightly floral. This white tea steeps smooth – it has a nice mouthfeel to it with zero astringency or bitterness when steeped for 1 minute. The flavour is floral, with a hint of fruitiness and just a touch of sweetness. Nothing too overwhelming, but it helps accent the floral notes. It has a bit of a crispness to it, and it’s just a very easy tea to drink.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Rare Willow White six times (seven steeps total with the same leaves). The tea itself became a darker golden yellow as I went, and the floral notes got stronger, with a heavier fruity undertone as I steeped. It was still very easy to drink, and I liked tasting the very subtle differences between each steep. I found that the flavour began to wane by the third resteep (fourth steep total), but it was still palatable by the sixth resteep.

My Overall Impression

I loved Teakan’s Rare Willow White. Honestly, what a treat to try a white tea from Nepal – especially one that just resteeps so well and has a great flavour to it. I love the light sweetness that mingles well with the floral and fruity notes. Rare Willow White certainly has a great flavour, aroma, and the leaves are pretty to look at as well. I definitely enjoyed this one hot, but also had a cup of it cooled down with ice and it does well as an iced tea as well.

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Masters Teas’ Bai Hao Yin Zhen

Bai Hao Yin Zhen by Masters Teas
White Tea / Straight
$29.00USD for 1.5oz

Masters Teas has provided me with Bai Hao Yin Zhen for the purposes of writing an honest review.

First Impressions

Bai Hao Yin Zhen came in a sealed, resealable pouch. I’m tickled at the opportunity to try the April 2021 harvest of this tea, after having had the April 2020 harvest. The leaves come from Fujian, China, and were harvested in this year. As with most of the teas from Masters Teas, the teas are single origin and description of the farmers and location – which is a nice little touch that you don’t get with a tea that isn’t single origin.

Bai Hao Yin Zhen is also known as Silver Needle, and one of the trademark characteristics for a good Silver Needle is to be covered with those fuzzy feathery parts on the leaves. These leaves are green or fuzzy white. The leaves are soft and have a very faint, sweet and floral aroma and are just really pretty to look at. I do wish that the aroma was stronger, to give me a better idea of what’s to come, but I’m still eager to taste it.

Preparation

Masters Teas recommends steeping Bai Hao Yin Zhen in 170°F (77°C) water for 2 to 3 minutes. I opted to do an initial steep of Bai Hao Yin Zhen for 2 minutes.

First Taste

Bai Hao Yin Zhen steeps to a pale yellow. It has a sweet floral aroma. It’s a faint colour, but the flavour is interesting. I find it to be a blend of light floral sweetness, with a hint of hay or grass. It makes for a complex blend, as I find it difficult to determine where one flavour ends and the other begins – it’s so well blended with a nice hint of sweetness to round it all out.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Bai Hao Yin Zhen seven times (eight steeps total with the same leaves), adding an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. The flavour deepened – more grassy and straw and less floral as I steeped. It lacked sweetness by the end of my steeping session of the leaves.

My Overall Impression

I loved Masters Teas’ Bai Hao Yin Zhen. This was definitely pleasant to drink and experience from the dry leaf to steeped tea. I admired the beauty in the dry leaf, and then getting to taste the tea as I went through the steeps was a real treat. I would definitely recommend resteeping these leaves, and enjoy having it hot or perhaps cold steeped or iced – it certainly has a pleasant flavour to it with the grassy notes throughout.

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