Hi Tea Lovers!
Oolong Owl has moved!
All new tea posts and owl craziness will be posted on our new location:
thank you all for the love and support!
Hi Tea Lovers!
Oolong Owl has moved!
All new tea posts and owl craziness will be posted on our new location:
thank you all for the love and support!
Peppermint Patty is a herbal tea made of vegan chocolate chips, organic marshmallow leaf, organic peppermint. This caffeine free and vegan friendly tea is from Butiki Teas.
Yay, Butiki Teas! I haven’t done an order with them for awhile and with this latest order I ordered a lot! Oohhh yeah!
Mintea the Owl was excited – finally a mint tea for him to help review!
Dry Leaf: Opening the tea package, Peppermint patty is a blast of sweet mint and chocolate! I can sense that white smushy middle of the mint filling and melty chocolate coating! It is seriously like unwrapping the actual candy, without the sticky chocolate on the fingers.
The tea has a generous amount of chocolate chips! Wow!
Steeping Instructions: I followed package instructions: 5 minute steep with boiling water.
I gave the gravity steeper a good swirl to get all the chocolate to dissolve before pouring the tea into my cup. This was after I was able to pry the owl off the gravity steeper.
The tea is a cloudy light brown tea that smells like light hot cocoa and mint. In a coloured cup, it looks quite dark.
Taste: Peppermint Patty sips in lightly at first – like flying on a big fluffy and smooth cloud in a light minty breeze. That cloud drifts you into a drizzle of milky chocolate ending with a crunch of mint. There is a lingering aftertaste of both creamy chocolate and mint.
As I drink the Peppermint Patty tea down, it becomes more chocolately, I’m guessing the chocolate flavoring is sinking to the bottom. By the way, no bitterness or dryness in this tea.
This tea very much so tastes like a peppermint patty, but at 50% less sweetness. There is enough sweetness here for me for it to taste like a dessert! I love the sweetness level as is, but one could add some rock sugar to enhance the chocolate flavor.
Comments: Peppermint Patty? Very tasty! I do love peppermint tea and the chocolate flavoring matches perfectly to the peppermint patty candy!
If you love peppermint tea, I highly suggest trying Peppermint Patty from Butiki Teas! The blend is fantastic and well executed to make an awesome late night dessert tea!
“Hands off my tea! This is Mintea’s tea!! Hoot!”
Jasmine Black Pearls is an organic black tea offering from DAVIDsTEA. This tea is listed in the Web Specials at DAVIDsTEA‘s online store – with that said, if you want this tea you should act quickly!!
I do like my floral teas, but most often floral is present in white, green and oolong teas rather than blacks. I was doing a tea order with a friend and he spotted Jasmine Black Pearls. I totally didn’t notice this tea when browsing around DAVIDsTEA. I don’t drink much unflavored blacks and own some regular black pearls from another tea company. My eyes just skimmed past assuming its another black pearl tea that looks like bunny nuggets. Though, the combination of jasmine and black tea made me quite curious on how this tea would turn out.
Dry Leaf: Large black and brown striped balls of tea that are quite heavy and tight feeling. The tea smells strongly like jasmine!
The tea attracts an orange owl, wondering who dropped their owl pellets. Eww.
Steeping Instructions: I followed the instructions on the package – 200F for 4 minutes using 3 balls. I added 1 minute per resteep.
What is fun about black pearl teas is watching them unfold!
The tea is a deep, yet glowy woody brown colour with the scent of jasmine.
Taste: Okay, I took a sip right away and found this tea on the harsh bitter side. Great, I thought, this tea would be a pain to drink. I let the tea sit for 5 minutes while I prepared the resteep, as I like to chain drink my resteeps.
5 minutes later, Jasmine Black Pearls really mellowed out. The tea sips down really easy with a fantastic sweet earthy smoothness that tastes like a warm, thick treed forest. The flavor glides with sweet floral jasmine honey notes without any bitterness or dryness. The black tea base is on the lighter side here, it’s not thick or robust, but strong, silent type of black tea. Jasmine Black Pearls has an interesting balance of the strength of black tea with the delicateness of the floral. 4/10 on the Floral-o-meter by the way – the floral is present throughout sip, but is not overpowering. Also, florals do some interesting tricks to the mind – sometimes tasting like fruit. A couple sips I found the jasmine here tasted slightly like dark raisins!
Resteep: Jasmine Black Pearls‘ second steeping came out lighter in black tea earthy wood flavor, but stronger in the floral department – a 5/10. The tea finishes off slightly malty.
Pretty nice quality on the tea leaves too. After the resteep, the balls have broken apart leaving quite large leaves.
Another Resteep: The third steeping of Jasmine Black Pearls has slightly spiced notes of pepper and cinnamon, with a light moderate jasmine floral that is nicely sweet, similar to previous infusions.
Comments: Looking for an easy black tea to drink? Jasmine Black Pearls is very smooth, lightly floral and sweet. This tea would be fantastic during mid work day when you need to relax yet have some black tea caffeine give you an energy hit!
I’m not a huge black tea fan but I quite liked Jasmine Black Pearls due to its smoothness and lack of bitterness. If you are mostly a green/white/oolong drinker wanting to move into black tea territory, Jasmine Black Pearls would be a great choice!
Jasmine Black Pearls totally reminds me of this EXO-M song! Must be the name, “Black Pearl”.
Guava Cadabra is a caffeine-free herbal fruit blend from DAVIDsTEA. This blend features mango, apple, hibiscus, elderberries, and guava crunchies. Guava Cadabra is DAVIDsTEA‘s Tea of the Month for July 2013.
Guava seems to be an uncommon ingredient in tea. Actually, even seeing guavas in stores is uncommon, unless I go to specialty markets. Guavas remind me of a coworker I had who would often eat them like a giant apple – walking around the office with this large green fruit in his hand, taking large bites out of it.
I ordered this tea as guava is tasty, unique and I do love my fruity herbals. Many of DAVIDsTEA‘s fruity herbals are fantastic, too!
Oh cool, nutritional facts!
Dry Leaf: The tea is chunky. I gave the bag a good toss to ensure the ingredients are combined, however the tea is so fruity chunky that it likes to mold into shape of my teaspoon. Reaching in with fingers, some of the bits are slightly sticky (and tasty!) so I’d be sure to correctly store this tea and use quickly.
Lots of interesting bits: sugary mango cubes, deep red hibiscus strands, itty bitty elderberries, mystery chunks and apple lumps.
The smell? OOOH MAN SO GOOD! Smells strongly sweet and fruity!
Steeping Instructions: I followed the packaging instructions and used boiling water, steeping the tea for 7.5 minutes.
Interestingly, in a gravity steeper the tea is a cute cloudy pink colour that reminds me of guava flesh.
When poured into the cup, the hibiscus steps in and turns the blend into a deep orange red.
Annoyingly, Guava Cadabra jams up my gravity steeper – the large, smushy chunks of fruit cover up the filter so the tea pours slowly! (FYI, no damage to the steeper, the steeped bits rinse away easily)
Taste: First sip, slightly watery in flavor intensity with a hint of hibiscus with a little tart. Tart-o-meter? 3/10. The tart is slight and all hibiscus, that thankfully isn’t overused here. Throughout the sip, the fruityness develops into an interesting, complex and exotic combination. I get a little mango smoothness, apple sweet and a lot of guava/pear/berry notes. The tea finishes sweet, but moreso sugar sweet than natural sweet. The fruity aftertaste lingers on for awhile after drinking this tea.
Sweetened: adding some german rock sugar nuked all the tart out of Guava Cadabra making it pretty much like fruit juice and candy. There is a mystery light creamy feel to this tea that reminds me of mango and guava flesh. YUM! I do miss a little tart as it tastes more like guava. It is really easy to over sweeten this tea as there is some sugar already in the blend.
I decided to not add any sweetener just to see how it would taste. The flavor is pretty yummy iced! The mix of tropical mango and guava is crisp and candy-like with a little hibiscus tart. Much less tart here 1/10 on the Tart-o-meter and it is much sweeter. I could add a little sugar, but is good as is.
Mintea Owl has been lurking in a DAVIDsTEA tin since I unwrapped them, however this cup of iced tea is tempted him to leave the tin!
Comments; The more I drink Guava Cadabra, the more it entrances me – the fun exotic flavors are very tasty! It has a great crispness and interest without being flat in flavor. It is on the sweet side however, so be careful when adding additional sweetener (if that is even needed). FYI, this tea is fairly heavy – I made 1 cup hot and 2 tumblers of iced tea and I’m easily 50% through my 50g package.
I prefer this tea cold and I like how I don’t need to add additional sweetener to it. This would be a great tea for kids and fruity herbal fans!
Mad Tea Party blend is an indian black tea flavored with peach, apricot, ginger, safflower and calendula petals. This tea was purchased at Disneyland, under the brand Disney Wonderland Tea.
My best friend/sister loves going to Disneyland. Of course, since I now live in Southern California, when she came to visit me, she went to Disneyland, like she does every time she’s in the area. Me? I went to Disneyland when I was 6 years old. These days I see the $90+ 1 day ticket price and pass – that’s lots of tea, yarn, nail polish, stuff owls and frozen yogurt I could buy instead. Anyways, last time she went, she surprised me with a tin of this tea. They also have a couple other flavors (Mint, Pomegranate, Mango Green, Topsy Turvy, Blueberry Green, English Breakfast, Papaya Passion Fruit, Chai, French Vanilla, Lemon Honey Chamomile, Earl Grey, and Jasmine Green) and come in bagged form as well!
If you can’t make it to Disneyland, you can also buy this tea on Amazon or try your luck on Ebay and such. I’ve given this tea out as tea swaps a few times, joking it as “my local tea”.
The tin of this tea is SUPER CUTE!
Dry Leaf: Mad Tea Party blend has a sweet peachy smell to it. Quite nice! Attractive appearance too with thin waves of black tea with orange and yellow petals.
Uncold Tea: I’m taking this from my previous Steepster taste log as it is too hot outside for me to want hot tea. This tea is a brisk, black tea with apricot flavoring with a zing of ginger end of sip. Mad Tea Party Blend also has a moderate amount of bitterness from the black tea. This black tea is best made with sweetener, milk or iced.
Iced: I prepared this tea double strength, steeped 3 minutes, poured over ice and a little light agave syrup. I love having an ice machine in my fridge – no need to follow the directions to curtsey to save time!
There’s something classic about iced black tea that has that brisk, earthy bite to it, which this tea has. Mid sip there is a vibe of spicy ginger adding an interesting warmth and added earthyness to this iced tea. The tea finishes with a tasty apricot peach aftertaste that lingers. There’s a slight bitter aftertaste, similar to the hot version, but not as strong. I’m sure if I added more sugar I could counter all the bitterness.
Comments: Mad Tea Party Blend tea flavor = fair. Ginger peach is a common tea flavoring and off the top of my head, I’ve had better peach ginger flavoring from Steep City’s Ginger Zinger and better black tea base with Teajo’s Tropical Mango black tea.
Packaging, collectible factor and tin design – awesome! These Disney teas are an irresistible of a tea buy if you love tea and Disney stuff!! If I actually do haul my crazy owl butt to Disneyland, I will get more of these tins!
Interestingly teascent only sells oolong tea, with 4 types of oolong. The one we’ll be trying today is the All Day Oolong, which is a Ali Shan Oolong in bagged form. By the way, their website is adorable! Plus, this Troutie tote bag is awesome!
Dry Leaf: Nice smell on the oolong! All Day Oolong has a comforting smell like fresh baked bread.
Appearance wise is kind of smashed up, more smashed up compared to teascent‘s photos. However, this tea came in a paper envelope from the UK to California, so it can have some expected damage.
Steeping Instructions: teascent’s brewing method for their oolongs is using boiling water for 2-4 minutes, with 4 minute resteeps.
Following that, I steeped for 3 minutes. I didn’t use the tea bag because that’s how I roll!
The result is a buttery and lightly floral cup of golden bronze tea.
Taste: All Day Oolong has a slightly creamy texture on the lips throughout the sip. Up front, a super light floral, 1/10 on the Floral-o-meter, a little grassy notes mixed with a buttery coppery mineral flavor. End of sip goes lighter in flavor, with a bit of floral grassyness lingering. The overall flavor level is light-moderate and easy to drink.
Resteep: The 4 minute resteep of All Day Oolong is even lighter. The tea is a light, buttery flavor with a silky texture that fills my mouth. The aftertaste is sweet floral notes. Very good resteep.
Cold Steep: I cold steeped this oolong overnight. The main flavor is a lovely silky butteryness, with hints of grass and floral.
Comments: I wish I had more to play with for steeping times or gongfu brewing to find more complexities, but overall teascent‘s All Day Oolong is a lovely starter oolong – not too floral or grassy. True to its name, it’s lightness makes it an easy to drink tea that one could sip away at all day.
(tea provided for review)
Finally, it is time for…
A horror film with a great black metal soundtrack. The air is filled with the earthy clay scent of yixing clay. Boiling pots of water of cleansing and dark shu pu’er THRASHING WITH QI! /metal yell
Yeah I’m weird.
Admittedly, I am a little scared of THE SEASONING, hence the horror film theme playing in my mind. These yixing pots are pricey little tea pots and it’s something I don’t want to mess up. Though logically, seasoning a yixing pot sounds easier than boiling pasta.
As planned, I decided to season Oolong Owl’s Yixing pot #3 first. Annoyingly, this pot has an issue – tt smells heavily like incense. It turns out the box and the wrapping are also strongly scented. I love incense, just not in my tea. Sadly, I’m going to have to try and air out the box the pot came in, or find a new one. The pot:
I rub my finger inside the pot and the lid and discover lots of clay debris. With that said, I gave it a good rinse.
I decided to go with Verdant Tea’s How to Season an Yixing Teapot. They also have a handy video which was super helpful to me.
Prior to the seasoning, I super cleaned the pot, utensils and bowl that would be involved in the process.
I got my pot of water to a boil.
Placed my reaky incense yixing pot on my deep fryer scoopy thing.
Then slowly lowered the pot on an angle to fill the inside with water.
Gently, I plop the lid in with chopsticks, then watch the pot boil away for 5 minutes. I opted for a longer time to ensure I kill the incense smell.
Time’s up! I carefully angle the giant mesh spoon to pour some of the water out of the pot.
Finally, I transfer it to my clean towel. CRAP this is hot! I totally burnt my thumb doing this!
I left to eat curry for lunch. I come back and the pot is nice and dry.
NO INCENSE SMELL! JUST A NICE CLAY SCENT! YESSSSSS SUCCESS!!!!!
Let’s proceed with THE SEASONING!
Our yixing tea pot sacrifice: Mandala Tea’s Phatty Cake. Will our hero, Phatty Cake, make it out of this horror flick alive?This is slightly heartbreaking – I love this tea, but this is the last of my sample meaning I’d have to buy a cake soon…which I was planning to do anyways. It was very tempting to choose something else, but as suggested, I went with a good quality shu pu’er I like.
I added the pu’er to my nicely clay scented yixing pot. I made multiple pots of tea, pouring it out to fill up my bowl.
I found this part pretty cool as I was learning about my yixing pot – how it pours and where to hold so I don’t burnt my hands off. Also was fun putting a finger over the hole in the lid which stops the flow of tea!
By the way, this is my husband’s favorite bowl to microwave his Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in. Shhhh, don’t tell him I tainted it with tea!
Tea turtle is getting excited! It’s like a swimming pool to him!
As I fill the bowl, the scent of Phatty Cake is overwhelming! I cannot resist, I will save you Phatty Cake! /sipsip
Now that I have enough tea, it is time to season my pot! Gathering all my courage, I dunk the pot in the delicious tea.
Noooo PHATTY CAKE!!! /cry
One last sip…
(backstage note, I took the leaves out of the yixing pot and steeped them! Sadly, not much flavor left but was still tasty!)
I leave the kitchen to do other things – leaving the tea to cool and saturate the yixing pot in amazing flavor. I came back to check on my tea pot and see this:
After kicking out Owly and Tea Turtle, I remove my yixing pot from the bowl of Phatty Cake tea.
Once dried, the yixing pot smells mostly like Phatty Cake (YUM) with maybe a hint of incense only if I’m looking for it. Maybe the incense smell is in my head? Ehhhh.
Overall – THE SEASONING went very smoothly. Difficultly? Low. The hardest part was cleaning/baking soda rubbing the large boiling pot as I made pot roast in it the day before. I suffered a burn to my thumb that didn’t hurt for no more than 10 minutes.
The next day I went off and seasoned my other two pots with no issue at all.
As much as I like my gaiwan and gravity steeper, I’m excited to own these yixing tea pots! Now I must use them lots so they can start giving back in flavor!
With the Monthly Mystery Tea Samplers Club you get 3 x 10g samples, all different teas. 20% off coupon to purchase any of the teas for that month. What I found was really cool was included was a couple page letter that goes into each tea – the history of the tea farm its from, pictures of the family/farmers at the tea farm, information about what the tea is and steeping instructions.
This month, one of my three teas is Houjicha Light Roast from Obubu Teas! I’ve previously reviewed a Houjicha genmaicha. I’ve had a couple Houjichas at a few local sushi restaurants. Always fun when one expects the usual green sencha or genmaicha, but instead getting pots of roasty houjicha!
I didn’t know there are various roast intensities for Houjicha, that go up in smokey flavor strength – Yunomi.us/Obubu Tea has 4 roasts: Basic, Light, Dark and Smokey (you can also buy them as a package deal to try them all!)
Let’s give Houjicha Light Roast a try… as well as Houijcha Dark Roast! The dark roast was not in the sampler, but I had been sent some previously and this seemed a fun opportunity to try both teas together.
Dry Leaf: Nutty roasty scented leaves with an interesting tan green appearance. The thin curly bits are kind of cute!
Steeping Instructions: Yunomi.us suggests to use their Standard Steeping Technique - with that said, I did 190F for 30 seconds, 10 second second steeping, and 30 seconds for further steepings. I used my gravity steeper as my kyusu tea pot makes a huge mess for some reason.
The Houjicha Light Roast has a gorgeous glowing gold colour with a sweet roasted smell. I poured two cups, the big owl cup for me and the small glass one for Barny.
What is up with glowing Japanese tea? The gyokuro I reviewed last has a similar bright glow.
First Steeping: Very smooth tea! The sip goes down really easy going from light to rich intensity of flavors. Houjicha Light Roast has a savory roasty flavor with a hint of smokeyness, finishing off with a really tasty sweetness that reminds me of roasted chestnuts. The sweetness steals the show for this tea! The smokeyness is a 1/10 intensity. No bitterness, grassy or dryness in this tea.
Second Steeping: Still smooth, but not as smooth. The flavor seems much stronger yet more balanced with being one even brothy taste of roasty green tea with an amber sweetness to it. The first steeping was very easy to drink, with the second steeping being more of a slow sipper as it is a stronger cup. What is intriguing is this was a 10 second steep!
Third Steeping: Another shift! The tea is just a light blanket of chocolately roasty sweetness! Less brothy than the last steeping and closer to the first steeping for lightness. YUM! I could drink this steeping all day, very easy to drink!
Fourth Steeping: Very light and a little flavor left. I think I could squeeze more flavor with aggressive steepings or overnight cold steep, but I’ll stop for now.
Dry Leaf: The smell comes off very roasty and earthy. The dry leaf looks similar, though a little more smashed up. The smashed up quality could be from being smushed in my sample pile.
Colour wise, the Houijcha Dark Roast is a touch more brown with less glow to it.
I put the two teas together, but the camera could barely pick up the colour difference. You can see from the photos above there is quite a difference between the colour.
First Steeping: WHOA, very rich! Houijcha Dark Roast has a very robust, rich, earthy roasted flavor that reminds me of coffee. I guess we need a smokey meter – 5/10 on the Smokey-o-meter. It’s not like campire smokey or raw pu’er smokey, it’s roasty smokey, like the smell of roasting chestnuts. No bitterness or dryness.
Second Steeping: 10 second steeping! MMMmm, fantastic! Similar to the Houjicha Light Roast, it evened out in flavor – but this time very smooth, roasty, deep earthy and chocolate notes! This tea would be perfect with (or as) a dinner dessert! Out of all the Houjicha, this is the BEST steeping I’ve ever had.
Third Steeping: A big jump in flavor intensity to be a much lighter version of the second steeping. Not bad, but the second steeping is so incredible, so this one can’t compare. Kind of similar in flavor of Light Roast but more smokey.
Comments: I just drank.. 2 different Houjichas and a couple resteeps each. I should be climbing the walls, but thankfully there is less caffeine in Houjicha so I’m feeling good. Obubu Tea, your Houjicha is fantastic – lots of rich flavor!
This is a toughie: Which Houjicha roast I prefer?
Houjicha Light Roast is smooth, more sweet, easier to drink and light with further steepings having brothy green tea flavor note. I think this tea would appeal to many people as it is easy to drink. Houijcha Dark Roast is rich, earthy, chocolately and smokey of a tea, yet light and sweet. This would be a black tea or coffee lovers dream tea.
Hmmm, for everyday drinking, I’d go Light Roast, but for a treat, I’d go with Dark Roast. When I was drinking Houjicha Light Roast was impressed and thought it would be the better one, but Houijcha Dark Roast is fantastic too!
Yunomi.us has a tasty looking Houjicha Lattle Recipe that I think would be really good made with the Dark Roast! I think I’ll need to get some more dark roast and maybe try the Smokey Roast. Overall – check out Yunomi.us/Obubu Tea Houjicha! The prices are great and shipping is very reasonable despite coming from Japan!
Barny loves his Japanese teas!
(teas provided for review)
In early into my tea journey, Gravity Tea Steepers got me started into making amazing loose leaf tea.
Before gravity steepers, I was use those tea ball chain things which were messy and didn’t give tea room to expand. I also used paper filters that you can fill with your own loose leaf, but I found that was a bit of waste. Once I got my first gravity steeper, in my case DAVIDsTEA the Steeper, I immediately noticed a flavor difference. Tea had a fuller and stronger flavor!
Years later, I acquired other tea ware for steeping, such as teapots and gaiwans, but I always go to my gravity steeper for blends or western style tea steeping.
Let’s go into detail about this magical tea steeping tool and how to take care of it.
What is a gravity tea steeper? They are a tea steeping device that you infuse your loose leaf tea in. Pressing on the bottom of the device (with your fingers, or placing the device on a cup) will dispense the steeped tea from the bottom, filtering the leaves out of your cup.
There are plenty of Gravity Steepers on the market. I’ll list a few:
It seems the typical price at this time is around $19 for a 16 to 20oz model and $24 to $30 for larger infusers.
I prefer the DAVIDsTEA the Steeper or any of the wider base models. The ingenuiTEA is too narrow and doesn’t fit most of the cups I use, so I have to use my fingers to touch the bottom to dispense the tea. The narrow gravity steepers are also harder to clean as it is harder to get your hand inside to deal with the filter. Models with “bends” could also provide difficulty.
With that said, I highly suggest going with an open, wider squat model from or similar to the DavidsTea or Teavana models.
What makes a gravity steeper awesome:
+ The design of the steeper has lots of room for the tea to expand, giving the tea the chance to release all its flavor.
+ Resteeping is very easy – the leaves are kept inside, so all you have to do is add more hot water.
+ Very easy to use with low mess as the tea is poured out the bottom of the device.
+ Perfect for 1 or 2 cups of tea (though, there are bigger models available)
+ Filter works very well, filtering out small teas like rooibos.
+ Great for iced teas, simply dispense the strong tea into a tumbler of ice.
Though the design has some cons to deal with:
- Not the greatest heat retention. I haven’t tested my gravity steepers, but I can easily tell a big difference in temperature making a cup of tea in a gravity steeper vs small tea pot.
- Additional cleaning needed to prevent staining and ensuring the filter preforms well. However, I think it is inevitable that there will be staining or clouding.
- Very fine dusty teas (such as orzo) can clog the filter.
- Majority of models are BPA free plastic, but unfortunately no glass or ceramic models at this time.
- Can drip out the bottom. I’ve noticed all mine don’t leak when steeping, but will drip a few drops after I dispense the tea. With that said, I keep a saucer underneath the steeper to catch all the artistic tea designs.
I wonder if I could sell that as tea art?
Quick cleaning – I only do this cleaning when I’m making more of the same type of tea the same day. Simply dispose the leaves (I like putting mine in my compost pile) and rinse out the gravity steeper.
Better cleaning – Every time I switch tea types, or if I left the tea leaves in the gravity steeper overnight, I do this cleaning. Simply rinsing out the steeper can leave traces of the flavor from the previous tea – this method quickly removes the lingering tea flavors and scent.
Pour a couple teaspoons of baking soda into the gravity steeper. Add a spoon of water and rub the baking soda like paste into the sides to remove any colouring. Swirl in tap water or hot kettle water to rinse. I sometimes pop out the filter and give it a baking soda rub and a good rinse. Occasionally, I leave the steeper to soak in the baking soda and water a few minutes while I decide on a tea to make.
With my first steeper I did mostly quick cleanings and it stained, with some buildup I don’t think I’ll get out. EWWWWWWW!
With my newer gravity steeper, I often do baking soda rinses and rubs and I have no staining so far, though bit of cloudlyness starting to show.
*** I found cream of tartar works pretty much the same as baking soda, however cream of tartar is much more expensive! I use quite a bit of baking soda for cleaning (especially my tea ware), so I now buy the 5lb bucket.
Thorough Cleaning – I do this cleaning when I notice build up of tea in the steeper… or when I discover I left my tea leaves after coming back from vacation. Eww!!!!
Dismantle the entire device – pop out the filter and push the middle plunger thing down so it squeezes out the bottom. Remove the washer.
Soak everything in a bowl of hot water and baking soda – leave to soak for a few hours.
Once thoroughly soaked, there still can be some tea residue on the washer or on parts of the filter. Go in and scrub those with soapy water or more baking soda – I do extra care to clean the underside as that is where the tea pours from.
I use a toothpick to scrape all the tea gunk off out of small spots like inside the filter.
Give the main body a nice soapy brushing.
Unclogging the Filter – sometimes the filter will clog, especially after dusty orzo teas, or tea build up over time.
What I found worked to unclog the filter was to rub some baking soda on the filter. Place the filter in a cereal bowl and pour some vinegar on it. It will foam up a bunch! Set aside for a few hours and it will clean the filter.
I’ve heard of people owning a couple gravity steepers restricting their use to a specific tea type. I’d personally rather use a yixing clay pot which will give back in flavor over time, something a gravity steeper will not do. If you clean and treat your gravity steeper well, you should have very little contamination of flavor, cup to cup.
I made a crochet tea cozy for my DAVIDsTEA the Steeper - check the pattern out over on my crafting blog!
Life has been weird lately. My husband adopted a turtle. We unexpectedly bought a new fridge and deepfreeze on a trip to the hardware store to build a pond for Turtimer. The kitchen was in disarray as said new fridge doesn’t fit where the old one was (and barely got into the house). All the moving around of the kitchen and surrounding areas to get the fridge into the house made me move my tea stuff out of the way, so I’m disorganized. The bonus is I have a water filter and ice maker built in! No more brita pitchers with flying lids and icecube trays.
I’m feeling like having a tea that is straight forward, yet lovely. I’ve had a magnolia oolong before, but from a different tea company, and I really enjoyed the floral. I went to buy more, but it was a tea seller that wasn’t convenient for me (ie, high shipping and only one thing I wanted.) I bought a sample of this tea from Upton Tea Imports too check it out. Time to crack open my packet of Magnolia Blossom Oolong!
Dry Leaf: Classic green oolong appearance – tightly balled leaves snuggling in delicious oolong tea flavor. The leaves smells slightly sweet and grassy.
Steeping Instructions: Upton suggests 190F for 3 minutes. I followed their instructions, steeping my tea in a gravity steeper. I could see this tea doing well in a gaiwan.
The goldenrod vibrant tea smells buttery with a hint of floral – what a combo!
Taste: First sip, the oolong is light and grassy, but quickly develops into a silky buttery flavor. The tea finishes off with a sweet floral that has a slight fruity tang to it. The silky texture lingers after sip. The floral level is fantastic – 5/10 on the Floral-o-meter – I can easily pick out the magnolia floral flavor, is the main flavor, but not overpowering and I am able to enjoy the oolong base.
The floral is quite different. It is much lighter than jasmine and lacks that “pow” intensity. It is also sweeter and much easier to drink. The “tang” present is fantastic – it is like a singer hitting a highnote to pull me out from drowning in buttery floral.
Resteep: I did a 4 minute resteep – the leaves fully opened up after this steeping! Nice sized leaves, I’ve seen bigger but the size is pretty good.
Magnolia Blossom Oolong flavor changed slighty with the butteryness losing most of its texture. The floral is much lighter, 2/10 on the Floral-o-meter, and backed with some grassy notes from the oolong. The tang is much sharper with a bit of a sweet grapefruit citrus note, but not tart. Very interesting resteep!
Resteep 2: The tea has gotten pretty light – just gentle dance of floral, citrus tang, sweet and grassy. Despite being light, it is still very good.
Cold Steeped: I did about 24 hours, but I think it should be steeped at least overnight. Magnolia Blossom Oolong is crisp at first sip that develops to buttery savory mid sip. End of sip the tea is sweet floral, a 4/10 on the Floral-o-meter – less floral than hot. I think I prefer this tea hot but cold is pretty good.
I’d also suggest Magnolia Blossom Oolong to tea drinkers who want to give floral tea another shot. The floral is softer, sweeter and not very potent – lighter than jasmine and rose. A great everyday tea!