Thursday, April 10, 2014

Teavivre: Organic Dehydrated Camellia, A Tea Review

I found a nice new paradise today. Located downtown-ish is a lovely walled in garden with a conservatory and loads of beautiful flowers. The Kauffman Memorial Gardens is going to be my new haven when I am desperately seeking an environment that is more nature filled, hopefully come summer there will be the occasional mushroom peaking out from amid the flowers.

Speaking of flowers, today's tea from Teavivre is one! Organic Dehydrated Camellia from the Lin'an Tea Garden in Zhejiang, is the dried flower of a member of the Camellia family, the same family that the beloved Camellia Sinensis comes from. I am not sure if this is the flower from the tea plant or one of the other Camellia variants, regardless, drinking tea (or tisane if you are fancy) made from flowers is one of my great passions. The aroma is a bit surprising, instead of smelling like flowers it smells like a blend of baking bread, cooked squash, and dried persimmons. It is really quite a fascinating aroma, very warm and almost autumnal in its quality.

The now quite soggy flowers are sweet and toasty, quite similar to actual toast with a hint of burnt marshmallow and a finish of cooked fruit. The liquid without the flowers smells exactly the same as the wet flowers, the aroma is very warm and welcoming. One of those times it feels like the aroma is reaching out and giving me a nice warm hug.

My first word of advice, don't treat these like a normal herbal tea, in other words, boiling is a no go. I am sure that Teavivre has steeping instructions on the website, but for all my staring at it I just could not find it. I attempted boiling water and four minutes for my first attempt and, well, I won't go into too much details about how it tasted. Long story short, it was not too pleasant. After browsing around the interwebs I discovered the best option is between 180-190 degrees for two minutes. That result was significantly better!

The taste is honey sweet, specifically it reminds me of the richness of clover honey and the sweetness of straw. If you have ever chewed on a piece of straw you know it has that distinctly warm sweetness, and this tea shares it. It fades to ripe persimmon fruit and the idea of flowers. A strange description, but it does not taste like flowers, it is very much so a sensation that is more aroma than taste, and very faint at that. The aftertaste is that of corn silk. A perfectly floral end to a floral day.

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