Monday, September 16, 2013

A Trio of Tea from JusTea, A Tea Review

The people over at JusTea were kind enough to send me samples of three of their teas to review, and so here I am reviewing them! Before I begin though, a little about JusTea and why you should give them a look. Their vision is to change the tea growing model, starting with a farm in Kenya, they are not just fair-trade, they are 'Direct-trade' which I completely support. Because let's be honest, growing tea is hard work and the farmers deserve to be compensated fairly for the joy they bring us! I could spend this whole blog waxing poetically about this awesome company, but you are here for the tea review so I will wrap this up, go give their campaign to build a processing kitchen a visit, if you can afford to pick up a tea themed perk then awesome!
I got new tea cups and tea display dishes!

On to the tea! The teas I will be reviewing today are: African Chai, Kathryne Earl Grey, and Kenyan Black. Let us start off as normal with the aroma and description of the dried leaves.

African Chai: Very sweet and very spicy are the first things I notice when appreciating this tea. The leaves and spices are a beautiful combination of colors...pardon me while I ogle this tea for a moment. The aroma blends earthiness, floral (mostly rose), pepper, and fennel notes with little hints of licorice and coriander for a powerful yet subtle aroma. It reminds me of the spice bushes I had in my yard when I was a little girl.

Kathryne Earl Grey: Woo! That Earl packs a punch! Very strong bergamot and what seems like a mild note of lemons hiding under the bergamot. Not an unpleasant potency, it would be perfect as a wake up aroma. I often amuse myself by comparing a good Earl Grey to Victorian smelling salts, it would make a better fainting remedy I think! The aroma is very tart with little whispers of malt from the base tea.

Kenyan Black: What a pleasant smelling tea! The aroma is a wonderful mix of earthy and malty with a slight note of nuttiness. It is a very clean, pure tea smell which I think would be great to drink on its own but also a perfect base for blends.

The teas have steeped, let us now explore the aroma of the brewed leaves and the liquid:

African Chai: The spiciness has increased! Very peppery, which I like, also very earthy, which I also like. For all that is smells very spicy it is also very mild. Nothing really over powers your senses so you can just inhale the aroma and enjoy it. This chai smells mouthwatering.

Kathryne Earl Grey: Sweetness, that was something I was not expecting! After the initial surprise of the sweet aroma I get lots of citrus: lemons, oranges, bergamot, it is a veritable citrus melange. There is also a very pleasant underlying maltiness to the aroma that I am thoroughly enjoying.

Kenyan Black: Again the sweetness, I think I have found the source of that intoxicating sweet aroma in the other teas. The aroma is a wonderful mix of malt, marshmallows, cocoa nibs, and delicate earthiness. I almost feel the aroma of this tea can be a dessert all on its own.

And now onto the tasting! What is your favorite part, tasting the tea or appreciating the aroma?
beautiful colors!

African Chai: My first impression on this tea is 'what an unusual chai' the spices blend together but no one flavor sticks out. This is just a personal preference, but when I drink chai I like one flavor to be king while the other flavors play as courtier to it. The fennel gives a wonderful mouth tingle (always a favorite) and mix that with the pepper, sweetness, and spice warmth and you almost get a chai that feels like a palate cleanser. I do feel like there may be too many spices or just too much going on because the flavors become muddied. Just as a contrast, Ben had a taste and really enjoyed it, so I do not think this is any fault of the tea just a preference thing. The chai becomes sweeter as it cools and gains a level of richness. I am curious to try this as an iced chai at some point.

Kathryne Earl Grey: I did not like this tea, and I feel really awful for saying it. I thought perhaps it was a fault on my end so I brewed a new cup with a lower temperature and I still did not enjoy it. The taste was unpleasantly bitter, the bitterness you get when eating a citrus fruit and you make the mistake of accidentally eating the rind. After the initial (almost medicinal tasting) bitterness fades you are left with the taste of sweetness and bergamot. As the tea cools the bitterness fades some but it is replaced with tartness, it is better but still not my...umm...cup of tea.

Kenyan Black: My favorite of the three! I love this tea, it is a perfect blend of maltiness, richness, earthiness and sweetness. I am not sure why this black tea is so sweet but it is, it is not sugary sweet I should say, but very sweet for a tea. I stand by my original assumption that this tea would be great in blends. I feel like this tea has the best aspect of Assam, Keemun, and Kenyan blacks and blended it into a magical happy taste. I am certainly going to be getting more of the Kenyan Black for my collection.

5 comments:

  1. Wonderfully informative reviews!! Kudos to the reviewer.

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    1. Thank you ^_^ it was hard reviewing three teas at once, I think I will definitely stay with single tea reviews in the future, but it was still fun.

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  2. Delightful reviews! I want to try all three. I know you said the Kathryne Earl Grey was bitter, but sometimes I like a bitter tea. A taste that makes you take notice and then fades into other flavors. I of course would put cream and a sweetener with mine.
    As for the question what is my favorite, the tasting or the aroma.....I enjoy all of the sensual aspects of tea drinking. So, I don't have a preference ;-).

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    1. you are in luck! I have enough for a cup so I will send it to you along with some of the other teas. I do also have some black to send you, I did drink all the chai though

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  3. Thanks for the wonderful reviews! Now, I'm very curious and would love to try them, too!

    H2OBaby for Follow me #16 (Swap-bot)

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