California Tea House kindly sent me a gift card with a value of $25 to experience and review some of their teas. After much deliberation, these are the teas that I chose and what my thoughts are on them.
Vanilla Creme Earl Grey
I chose to get Vanilla Creme Earl Grey because I had only ever had one other Earl Grey. I was interested to see how the vanilla beans contributed to the tea. This blend has: Ceylon and Nilgiri teas, bergamot oil, vanilla beans, and cornflower petals.
The taste was very sweet and it has a strong bergamot taste. The consistency is very thick and oily and the aftertaste is strong due to the bergamot. It is very scented but if you enjoy scented teas, you will enjoy this Earl Grey!
I also tried this tea mixed with hot chocolate- it tasted amazing because of the strenght of the bergamot.
The price is $4/0.5z.
This was my first time trying gunpowder green tea on its own! I chose this tea because of the compelling description up on their website. This tea is naturally withered, steamed, rolled, and then dried. However, the leaves are rolled by hand, which helps preserve the aroma and flavor of the tea. This sounded super interesting and I decided to give it a try.
Since I am not very experienced drinking this kind of tea, I decided to brew it two different ways. The first was gongfu style. I added 3.5g of leaf and poured in around 150ml of warm water and left it brewing for 15 seconds. I then poured most of the tea onto my cup, but I made sure to leave some water in the teapot with the leaves. I do this with green teas to make sure the leaves do not oxide.
The body was thin to medium and the taste was earthy, with a slight sweetness, like sweet bread, towards the end. It was slightly astringent but I could not detect any bitterness coming from it.
The second way I brewed this tea was Western style- adding a teaspoon of tea onto my mug for 3 minutes. I was quite shocked by the difference this made! The body was much thinner and the taste was very weak. I definitely preferred the first method for its taste.
Another thing I noticed was the energy from it- it energized me without feeling jittery or overly caffeinated. Definitely one to try when you need some extra energy.
The price is $5/0.5z
My favorite blend from the lot was definitely Bedtime Chai! This blend contains: valerian root (powder), organic honeybush, chamomile blossoms, cinnamon, toasted rice and whole cloves.
It was the first nighttime blend that I tasted which had cloves- and I was a bit weary about how well it would work for sleeping. All my concerns dissipated with the first sip. The taste is so well balanced and it definitely helped me sleep. The cinnamon and whole cloves are noticeable in the blend, and they are very enjoyable, yet the honeybush and chamomile add a calming effect to it as well.
Some of the most noticeable notes from this tea were cedar, cinnamon, leather, and slight chocolates. The body is light to medium and I was able to do two infusions without sacrificing taste.
The price is $6/0.5oz
Organic Imperial Gyokuro Genmaicha
As with the Gunpowder tea, this was my first time trying Genmaicha! My first thought was, why haven’t I tried this before? I was beyond impressed with this tea and I am almost all out already. This tea is made with: Gyokuro tea and sticky rice. The description on their website explains that they chose to use Gyokuro rather than sencha to keep the taste of it crisp and without any bitterness. Since I have not tried any other Genmaicha before, I cannot attest to this statement but it sure is delicious and worth drinking.
As soon as I tried this tea, I was transported back to a Japanese restaurant- it tastes exactly like being surrounded with Japanese foods, most likely due to the puffed rice. It has a very warming feeling to it, which I associate to be perfect for cold weather days. I must agree with the description in that there is no bitterness at all in the tea- it is overall just very pleasant to drink.
The price is $5/0.5oz
Of course, I also had to order an oolong as I can never resist them. Buddha Hand gets its name from the cultivar, the ‘Citron’ tea variety. The leaves are very large and their color is a strong, dark green. The balls are semi tightly rolled as well.
I brewed this tea doing gongfu style and got upwards of 5 infusions. I used boiling water and started with 30 seconds, with increments of 15+ seconds for each re steep.
The body of this tea was light and the liquor was a light yellow that transformed into a brighter yellow throughout the infusions. I could notice corn, flowers, and freshness as tasting notes, and it left my mouth very refreshed. There was a slight aftertaste but it did not last long. Overall, the taste was simple yet comforting and it makes for a great daily drinker. However, if you are looking for a more complex oolong, maybe this is not for you.
The price is $5/0.5oz
I am honestly quite impressed with California Tea House for several reasons. Firstly, they have a great selection of teas available, ranging from blends, to pure teas. Secondly, they include a great deal of information for each tea, which is much appreciated! Thirdly, the price to quality ratio is great. Finally, and maybe most importantly, their teas have a great taste to them and you are sure to find something you will like.
I will definitely order more Bedtime Chai soon and maybe even more Genmaicha! Go check them out and thank you to California Tea House for sharing.