Sencha Green Tea by Whittard of Chelsea

WhittardSenchaTea Information:

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy:  Whittard of Chelsea

Tea Description:

Beloved in Japan, this is a tea of spontaneity made for friends and strangers. Spring-picked, the leaves of our blend are steamed and rolled to keep their colour and capture their verdant herb-like taste. Pale gold when brewed lightly it can be drunk hot or poured over ice.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Sencha is one of my favourite varieties of green tea, so I was interested to try these tea bags from Whittard of Chelsea. I used 1 bag (approx. 1.5 tsp of leaf), and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. As with many bagged teas, this one looks to contain primarily fannings. They’re a very dark green (almost black) in colour, which seems odd for a Sencha, but the resulting liquor is a more characteristic medium yellow-green. The scent is mildly vegetal and a little musty.

To taste, this one comes across as a smooth, mild green tea. There’s a hint of pepperiness in the initial sip that’s very pleasant and distinctive, but this fades quickly to a light, sweetly vegetal flavour. There are hints of fresh cut grass, and a vague hint of spring greens, but the overall flavour lacks definition. A longer brew time doesn’t solve this problem; one cup I left for 3 minutes to try and eek out some extra flavour, but it resulted in bitterness and astringency. This one is clearly on the mild end of the flavour spectrum by nature.

This one isn’t a complex tea, and it doesn’t have many layers to its flavour. It is light, mild, and refreshing, however, and so would makes for a refreshing cup on a warm day. It would also make a good introductory green tea for those just starting to explore. There are undoubtedly more flavoursome and higher quality Senchas out there, but this one is very palatable and fairly forgiving. Unless you leave it far too long, it’s hard to mess up the brewing of this one. Personally, I would like more flavour, but it’s a pleasant cup nonetheless.

Jasmine Green Tea by Whittard of Chelsea

whittardjasmineTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Whittard of Chelsea

Tea Description:

The gently perfumed taste of Jasmine Tea makes it one of the most popular scented teas in China. It is a hugely elegant drink that fills your mind with oriental splendour every time you take a sip.

Believed to date back to the Song Dynasty, Jasmine tea was originally a tea for China’s elite, drunk only by members of the Imperial Court. It’s beautiful taste is achieved through its very precise preparation. The beautifully aromatic jasmine flowers are picked at dusk, just when their scent is headiest. At night-time they are layered with the long leaves of fine green tea, the petals infusing the tea with their perfume. The result is a sweet, aromatic tea that captivates the senses.

Jasmine tea is a naturally flavoured green tea with an unmistakable floral taste. It is a great-tasting and reviving tea to drink throughout the day.

Learn more about this tea here

Taster’s Review:

Warm and spring-like weather, to me, is perfectly suited to Jasmine tea. Hence, today was the perfect opportunity to give these tea bags a try! I used 1 bag (which looks to contain maybe 1.5tsp of leaf), and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. While tea bags have the advantage of convenience, they can suffer in terms of the quality of the leaf. This looks to be the case here, as the bag contains primarily very fine-shred fannings. No variety is specified for the green tea, either, so I can only assume it to be a blend. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow, the scent lightly floral.

To taste, this one comes across as a very mild, light, jasmine flavoured green tea. The initial sip is a primarily a smooth, slightly buttery green. There’s a tiny bit of bite towards the end of the sip, almost verging on bitterness, but it’s actually quite pleasant in that it gives what is a very mild-tasting tea a little texture and depth. It doesn’t impact on the overall flavour, which is fairly sweet and floral, too much.

The jasmine emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a sweet, floral accord. It’s not a heavy, perfumey jasmine, and it’s by no means overpowering. It’s still possible to taste the green tea base underneath, and it really just gives a taster of what jasmine as a flavouring can add to a tea. It fades fairly quickly and doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression.

I think this would make a good introductory Jasmine tea for those who are uncertain or who are just beginning to explore this category. It would also be an excellent choice for someone who likes jasmine in principle, but who doesn’t like overly strong, overpowering jasmine that can be found in some varieties. As someone who falls into the latter category, I have to say that this one is a touch too mild for me, but it still gives the impression of jasmine without too much lingering floral. The green tea base is pleasant, if unremarkable, and the cup as a whole is eminently drinkable. It makes for a refreshing cup on a warm day, its only failing being that it’s a little lacking in flavour.

Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea

Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea
Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Whittard of Chelsea 

Tea Description:

A truly superb robust Oolong from the Fujian Province with a honeyed sweetness.

Delicate floral Oolongs are between a black and green tea. This long leafed organic tea comes from the Wu Yi gardens of the Fujian Province. It is stronger than most Oolong tea due to higher roasting and longer fermentation. The dark smoky taste of the tea balances perfectly with sweet honey notes. Served after a rich meal, traditionally one would exhale after each sip, savouring the ‘Hui Gan’; the teas lingering sweetness.

Great Taste Awards judges love it too – “This tea produces a liquor of good color and great clarity.”

Packed in an environment where nuts are handled.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh yes, this is an oolong after my heart! Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea has every bit of that smokiness I adore in a dark oolong and a berry sweet note that drives me wild! The aroma alone is intoxicating, I would wear this as perfume, not that it tastes like perfume at all but it smells so dreamy!

The notes of woods, deep smokiness, sweet honeyed tones like caramelized berries, I could go on and on but I want to get to the way this tea tastes!

I have to say I am so pleased by SororiTea Sister LiberTeas sent me a nice baggie full of this stuff! Thank you Anne!

The cup steeps into an amber vision of beauty with a clear view to the bottom of the cup. The first note I pick up is a light honey note, with a backdrop of maple, and wood. This is a very sweet cup considering its dark smoked nature.

There is not much of a rock mineral note in this, some but not as much as I have experienced in other Wuyi tea, but there is a slight saltiness, which reminds me of salted caramel which I love.

Don’t think of the smoked note as you would a Lapsang Souchong though, its not smoky like that, its just a deep woodsy richness you would get from a toasted marshmallow, far sweeter than any smokiness from a Lapsang Souchong tea.

I also get a brandied candied flavor in the tea, a brothy sensation in the mouthfeel that is welcoming and warming.

This tea does not really conjure up feelings of sitting by a campfire as much as it does feelings of walking in the deep woods sipping a hardy grog from a chalice or a canteen perhaps. It makes me feel more like Robin Hood than Roy Rodgers!

This one goes on my shopping wish list but for now I have a generous sampling from my sister Anne!

Yay!

Organic China Oolong from Whittard of Chelsea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Whittard of Chelsea

Tea Description:

A truly superb robust Oolong from the Fujian Province with a honeyed sweetness.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have loved Oolong teas since my very first encounter with an Oolong tea.  I even remember that very first Oolong experience!  It was a Formosa style Oolong, with leaves dark and curly like these, and the flavor was sublime!  Sweet with peach-y notes and the most amazingly soft mouthfeel.  I think it was at that moment that I realized that I truly loved tea.

Since that time, I’ve tried many teas, and many Oolong teas … and some that I enjoy even more than a delicious Formosa Oolong.  I’ve tried many Oolongs from many different regions in the world.  This Organic China Oolong, while it does look a lot like my beloved Formosa Oolong, it possesses quite a different flavor.

The tea starts out soft, with hints of stone fruit in the front of the sip.  But as the sip progresses, the flavor develops.  Nutty tones reveal themselves at about mid-sip, and by the end of the sip, I’m noticing a deep, woodsy, almost charcoal-y kind of flavor.  Very roasty-toasty, and this complements the nutty tones very nicely, and gives the light fruit tones some depth.  There is an undercurrent of honey-like sweetness throughout, and the sip ends with a moderate amount of astringency.  The aftertaste is slightly smoky and sweet.

This tea has a very autumnal taste and feel to it – like the early days of autumn, as the weather begins to cool and the dry leaves crackle as you walk along the sidewalk.  The air is filled with the smell of wood burning in the fireplaces.   That is what I think of as I sip on this deliciously toasty tea … it is very comforting and wonderful.