Day 23 of 100 Days of Tea | Hydrate Tea by Honey & Tea Culture

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, green tea

I first encountered Honey & Tea at the Toronto Tea Festival, and was intrigued by their tea blends. The owner, Natalie was friendly and great to talk to, as was her staff at the Festival. Among the samples that they suggested, the Hydrate tea was one of the first that caught my attention.

The Hydrate tea, according to the ingredients on the package, is a blend of green tea, white tea, lemon myrtle, orange peel, goji berries, papaya, natural flavours, pomegranate, lime, oolong tea, stevia, osmanthus petals, minerals, cornflowers.

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The first thing you will notice about this tea is the wonderful smell. Even when dry, the minute I opened the package the aroma filled the room. My first impressions when opening the package was the intensely juicy, fruity aromas. Part of it is due to the natural stevia, but some of the fruity notes were definitely of the fruit in the blend.

Top notes to me were a fresh floral honey sweetness, while underlying it I could detect some candied citrus-tropical sweetness, and some lighter floral notes at the end.

Although their directions said to steep 1.5 oz in 8 oz boiling water, I suspected that cooler water may yield better results so went ahead with a few degrees lower since the base tea is the more delicate green and white teas.

The tea brewed up into a nice golden colour, and was just as strong in the second infusion, only starting to lose some strength in the 3rd infusion.

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For a sunny yet chilly weekend, it was the perfect tea to drink, while staying indoors wrapped up in a warm cashmere scarf. If all of their teas smell like this, I’m looking forward to trying the other 3 that I have.

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This tea, the Hydrate Tea is part of their Honey & Tea Cleanse program, which offers mini lifestyle changes that you make gradually over 3 weeks, all toward a goal of adopting a healthier lifestyle. I was impressed by the program they have which has been designed by a Fitness Trainer / Kinesiologist, with consultation from a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a Naturopathic Doctor.

Having a background in food and nutrition myself, I found the program steps to be quite helpful and achievable. This is not the food-less cleanse that most people envision when the word comes up. Instead, this is a program that helps you manage your food and water intake so you’re meeting your body’s energy and hydration needs right when your system needs them. If you work in an office like I do, we often are guilty of skipping breakfast or not leaving our desk for a glass of water, so a program like this designed with baby steps that you can implement (e.g. drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning), is extremely helpful.

Overall, the Hydrate tea was quite delicious and with its ability to withstand multiple infusions, makes a great tea to last the whole work day.

Day 22 of 100 Days of Tea | Yibang Puer Tea by Jalam Teas

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, puerh

I first discovered Jalam Teas via the Toronto Tea Festival. Being newer to puer teas, and only having tried ripe puer before, I was intrigued when I found there were ‘green’ or unripe/raw puers as well.

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I purchased one of their green puer cakes, the Yi Bang unfermented cake. Each tea they have comes with a card that illustrates the people and region, as well as the story behind the region and the people that make the tea.

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Following their instructions, I pried off about 6g or so and boiled up some water.

1st infusion – this was the rinsing infusion, I infused the leaves for 15 sec and then poured out the water. For those newer to puers, this first rinse should never be drank but discarded as it tends to be rather bitter and have an off putting taste.

Following the rinsing infusion, I added 10-15 seconds between each infusion, especially the last few infusions.

2nd infusion – wonderful light vegetal flavour, smooth and without any bitterness.

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3rd infusion – More intense vegetal flavour that develops, with a fullness on the palate

4th & 5th infusion – The flavour maintains quite well throughout these infusions. The tea is light in flavour but develops in colour the longer it sits. I’m getting some faint notes that is hard to describe but remind me of a popular chinese salted greens dish.

6th infusion – starting to get a bit light on flavour – I left the tea leaves infusing for longer to maximize the flavour. What I like so far is how there is no astringency in the taste at all. I could drink pots of these for days.

7th infusion – Left this to infuse for a white, but definitely is out of strength.

I’d suggest this be paired with greasy foods, as puer is known to cleanse out fats and toxins from the system. It paired quite well with some fried dumplings I had on hand.

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Overall, a light, easy to drink puer for those newer to the tea type.

Day 21 of 100 Days of Tea | Lapsang Souchong Black Tea by Tao Tea Leaf

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, black tea

One of my favourite teas so far, is Lapsang Souchong, and this one by Tao Tea Leaf was quite enjoyable. Its a deliciously smoky tea that if you smell with your eyes closed reminds me of smoked salmon. Granted smoked seafood isn’t usually something you normally think would smell good with tea, but I promise you somehow the smokiness that this tea has tastes quite delicious.

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The smokiness isn’t overpowering, in fact its just right so that even if you paired the tea with something like a smoked oyster appetizer (amuse-bouche style), they still complement each other without being too smoky.

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Granted, smoky tea is still more of an acquired taste. I found the overall flavour to be similar to other toward Asian herbal remedies that I’ve tried on occasion, so I don’t find it as foreign as some of my friends who think smoke seems quite out of place in a tea. This is one tea you would drink on its own, and definitely not add any milk nor sugar. It leans towards a more savoury, Asian-style herbal flavour profile with medium body.

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Overall, this is a decent option to try if you have not yet sampled Lapsang Souchong before, which I think every tea lover should try at least once.

Day 20 of 100 Days of Tea | Japanese Sencha Organic

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, green tea

Today’s tea is a sencha sample I saved from a friend. Unfortunately I happened to lose track of the notes with the maker / brand on them so have not included that in this post, though I do remember this being labelled an organic sencha.

The sencha is needle shaped, a rich medium green, with varying sizes of leaves, probably because of how the Japanese tea gardens are CTC to save costs, as manual labour isn’t as cost effective in Japan the way it is in other tea-growing regions.

It smells like nori to me (seaweed), different from the toasted smell that Chinese green teas have.

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Once brewed, the sencha has a lively green colour like cooked vegetables. The smell is umami-like, and rather broth-y.

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With a 1.5 min steep, the color was a light, bright green, and very light seaweed smell. Taste was a vegetal green but light. Out of the love of tea science I did half of this with a longer steep, probably more than green tea should ever be at 3 min. which turned the liquor into a very yellow bright green. The smell and taste was a sea smell but surprisingly didn’t have much astringency despite the longer steep.

A delicious satisfying tea that reminds me of spring.

Day 19 of 100 Days of Tea | Sunrise Oolong by Pekoe Kombucha

. Written by leafinhotwater. Posted in 100 days of tea, kombucha

I never thought of kombucha as an post-workout drink, but running into Pekoe Kombucha at the Toronto Tea Festival made me change my mind. There were 3 great flavours they had, Craft Brew, Sunrise Oolong, and Lemon Ginger. The last 2 were my favourite, but by the time I came back to the booth to get their show special, I had to settle for 3 bottles of Sunrise Oolong instead as Lemon Ginger was sold out.

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Still, I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 bottles of Sunrise Oolong, which turned out to be the perfect start in the morning post sun-salutations, or after my workouts at the gym.

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For those who haven’t heard much about kombucha, it is a fermented drink produced much like beer and all the other alcoholic beverages by adding yeast, which ferments the sugar in the tea and produces healthy probiotics. It originates in Japan, but funnily enough has caught on in North America, along with the current interest in health and wellness here.

To me, kombucha sounds like having the benefits of yoghurt without the dairy. Don’t take a whiff of the drink though, as it does smell a little vinegary, but when you drink it there is no sign of that at all, just a great tasting tea, with a bit of citrus notes and effervesence.

It needs to be kept refrigerated, but once under those conditions can last quite a while – the bottles I got were all good for 7 months, until August of this year.

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The only thing stopping me from buying more would be the price tag ($5 for these bottles; which seems to be the standard kombucha rate these days), and location since they are only at 1 location downtown so far (Dundas & Bay in the Yogatree studio). But for an occasional treat, I would go back.

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