Tea Review: Second Breakfast from “Tales & Tea Leaves: Tea for Those Who Wander” by Aun-Julie Riddle (part of Adagio Tea’s Fandom Sampler Sets)

Happy October! 😀 It’s TEA SEASON, FOLKS! Rachel and I freaking love fall, and one of the big reasons is that the days are starting to get cool enough for us to drink hot tea all the time. In the summer, Rachel drinks a lot of iced tea and since I’m not as much of a fan of it cold, I tend to limit my hot tea consumption to 1) weekly Writing Nights at our freezing-but-otherwise-wonderful Starbucks and 2) when I’m sick. But once the leaves start to change and the temperatures drop, we delight in turning on the kettle every night!

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“Tales & Tea Leaves” is a Lord of the Rings-themed tea sampler that Rachel bought me for Christmas last year. All of the teas are delicious, and they’re perfect for fall.

Second Breakfast is a blend labeled “green chai – apple – cream”. The unbrewed tea has some flattened, dark green leaves and some shriveled, heavily oxidized black leaves. There are also apple chunks, cloves, and small pieces of spices I can’t identify. It smells very spicy, with an additional scent of dried apple and an undertone of crunchy autumn leaves.

I brewed mine for maybe two minutes and the liquor is a nice yellow-to-orangeish. Brewed, it smells like sweet fresh apples and the spicy smell is gentler. The cloves come through well. There’s also a distinct smell of… vanilla? Cream? Sugar? I’m not sure how it smells creamy, but it does.

The green tea doesn’t come through in the smell, but it takes center stage in the taste! It’s a nice gentle green tea, a little grassy. The spice is somehow more of a sensation on my tongue rather than a taste, if that makes sense. I can’t taste any apple at all, but since it smells so apple-y, that certainly adds to the experience.

I would imagine that a hobbit’s second breakfast might be a bit lighter than the first, though still, of course, rich and sustaining 🙂 With that in mind, this tea was given the perfect name.

Tea Reviews: Long Jing (dragonwell)

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Welcome to my first tea review! I hope this will become a recurring series 🙂

I’m a little obsessed with tea, and a year or two ago Rachel and I took a really lovely, informative class at Dobra Tea in Portland, Maine about the different types of tea and how they’re prepared. Since I’m just starting out as a tea reviewer, I’m not entirely familiar with all of the terms for taste and fragrance nuances. Hopefully you’ll still enjoy this anyway 🙂

Today I’m reviewing long jing (or dragonwell) tea from Dobra Tea. Dobra Tea is an oasis, a tea wonderland – it’s allowed me to try more different kinds than I ever would have before, and it’s been integral to my falling in love with tea.

Long jing is a Chinese green tea, one of the milder and lighter varieties. My stash is about two years old.

When I open the bag, the tea smells sweet and grassy, a little bit like hay without any barn-ish scent. The leaves are pressed flat and are fairly long, maybe ¾ of an inch to 1 and ½ inches. They’re a nice dull green.

Long jing is steeped for one minute at I’m not sure what temperature, because the handwriting on that part of the pouch is illegible XD I’m using the temperature at which hot water comes out of the water heater at work, whatever that is e_e

After steeping for a minute, the tea is a very pale yellow, almost indiscernible, but it darkens to a more visible light yellow-tan over a few minutes after taking the leaves out. (As a side note, when they steep long jing for me at Dobra Tea, it’s always perfectly clear. I’m sure they’re doing it right.) The leaves now smell like the grassy component of their previous scent, without the sweet hay smell. There’s also a little bit of almost saltiness in the smell now.

The tea itself has a lovely, light scent of growing things, very subtle. I like my green teas pretty soft on the taste spectrum, so this is perfect for me. The grassiness is more apparent in the taste than the smell, but it’s still quite subtle. It’s a very smooth tea, sliding over my tongue with no astringency. As it sits in the cup, the scent and taste grows somewhat in strength. I’m sure that I don’t brew it quite perfectly when I make it myself; even though the taste isn’t very strong, it’s still stronger than when Dobra Tea serves it. Theirs is light and delicate.

If you’re in the New England area (or at their six other locations in the U.S.!) do stop in to Dobra Tea. You won’t be sorry.

(Note: The photo above isn’t of long jing… it’s a lemon blend we have at home. I didn’t take any pretty pictures of the long jing because it lives at work in my cubicle.)