Saturday, August 9, 2014

Capital Tea Limited Review

Today I am reviewing some teas from Capital Tea Limited! Capital Tea Limited is a Canadian based fine tea importer and tea shop. They've been in business since 1997, and you can learn a little bit more about them here.
One thing that really impressed me about Capital Tea Ltd. is there customer service. I talked to Joel, who picked out a variety of teas for me based off of my tastes, The teas matched me so well, including some new favorites I would have never thought to try!



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"Even black curly leaves with some golden tips and glossy sheen. These premium Keemun leaves produce an amazingly rich and flavourful tea liquor that is full bodied and concentrated in taste, yet uncommonly smooth and refined with less astringency than is common for a Keemun tea. $18 for 100g*"

The leaves are spindly and wavy/curly, and smell malty and bread like.
The aroma is also malty and bread like. The taste is malty, cocoa, bread, and a little browned caramel (and maybe a wisp of smoke in the end of the sip). This, like all of the other teas I’ve tried from Capital Tea Ltd., is delicious. I think if I had to chose, I’d go with Etambagahawila Estate Ceylon, but they’re both great teas that I will restock.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Cocoa, Malt, Smoke

"Deep green aromatic leaves that were grown half covered during the last week before harvest. Similar in character to our Hon Gyokuro, these leaves produce a sweet and smooth tea liquor with a light and delicate floral bouquet. $15 for 50g*"

The dry leaf is emerald green, with long needle like leaves, that smell like butter and spinach. As it’s steeping the aroma is so buttery, almost to the point of smelling like popcorn. And the wet leaf once removed has a spinach presence again, while still smelling buttery. It’s mouthwatering.
The first steep (60s) is light gold, clear but there’s some floaties in it so I made sure to drink fast. The taste is mildly butter and spinach, with an oceany (seaweed and minerals) aftertaste.
Second steep (30s) is a greenish gold color, and cloudier. The aroma is more ocean like than before, though not quite salty. The taste is still a bit buttery, but less so than the last cup, mild veggie, and a little sashimi grade salmon (salmon sashimi is one of my all time favorite foods): fresh clean slightly mineral sort of buttery and distinctly from the ocean. I can only imagine how amazing this would be with sushi.
Third steep (60s) same greenish gold as the last cup, but with the clearness of the first cup. Vegetal aroma. The taste is less buttery, more mineral vegetal, even a little metallic. I think I’ll stop here.
This is really good, lots if the things I like in a green tea. I didn’t get any floral despite what the description says, which is fine by me because I’m beginning to realize, unless it’s jasmine, I’m not big on floral.
Flavors: Butter, Mineral, Ocean Breeze, Seaweed, Spinach

" Long wiry and tightly twisted green leaves with a very high proportion of silver buds. These floral-aromatic leaves produce an amazingly full flavoured and sweet tea liquor full of nuance and depth. Very highly recommended! $17.50 for 100g*"

The leaves on this have lots of silver in them and they’re very twisted and curly, very beautiful. They smell vegetal and sweet.
Steeped up, it’s slightly astringent and bitter, sweet chestnut and peas, a light floral note, which lingers with the sweet pea taste in a nice aftertaste. I’m learning to not totally reject slight astringency, and don’t mind it in this tea. I’m also finding that I don’t like most straight green teas with sweetener. I tried added some to the last half of the cup, ad found that I like this much more unadulterated.
Oh how tastes change, I used to have to sweeten everything, and now not only can I drink a bunch of teas unsweetened, but I prefer some that way.
Flavors:Sweet Pea, Chestnut, Floral, Astringent, Vegetal

"Well made beautiful even and neat black wiry leaves with good sheen from Sri Lanka's Galle region. These aromatic leaves produce a medium to strong tasting tea liquor with ample body and prominent sweet flavour and aroma notes reminiscent of sugar candy. $10 for 100g*"

The first steep is very malty, dark, and probably would hold up well to some milk. Full bodied, and full flavored. As it cools a bit of a raisin note comes out. There’s also a dark sweetness, not quite molasses, but like a dark honey. 
Second steep is more sweet than the first. A bit of malt and cocoa Lots if molasses end of sip and lingering after taste, with a bit of honey and cherries. 
The third steep was more molasses but with a dark fruit (plum?) thrown in. 
Again I am amazed by how much flavors I’m getting from a type if tea that I thought of as bottom tier. I need to stop assuming things about teas I haven’t tried. This tea seems dark, but in a sweet kind of way. Like a good girl who’s had her heartbroken and turns “heartless”: a darker version of her sweet self, but the sweet can’t really be hidden by the dark.
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Plums

"Quality Ceylon black teas blended with vanilla bean. $9.50 for 100g*"

So, I’ve had tea wish vanilla bean in then before, but this was the first time I ever have seen an actual vanilla bean segment in a tea. It was a few cm big and bursting with the little black vanilla bean seed things, so cool.
I don’t know if it’s because how much straight tea I’ve been having lately, or because of how great the quality of the base tea is, but I’m getting a bunch of flavors from this. There’s the vanilla of course, but there’s also some cocoa and malt and cherries and honey. And there’s a nice long lingering raisin and cherry after taste. I always assumed Ceylon were bland, I don’t know why, but I really need to stop underestimating black teas.
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Vanilla

"Ceylon black tea blended with oil of bergamot, mallow flowers and a creamy citrus flavour. $9.50 for 100g*"

In all my years, I’ve only ever had Earl Grey one other time. I wasn’t a fan. First thing I notice when I opened the package was that from a foot from my nose I could smell cream. But when I smelled the dry leaf up close, the scent was more citrus and what I assume is bergamot (it smells nothing like all the Bath&Body Works scents with bergamot that I love so much), and then that creamy smell.
This isn’t terrible, I’m still not a big bergamot fan, but the creamy notes round out the blarg and make it drinkable. If served, I would drink it, but wouldn’t choose it given a choice. Better than the other EG I had though, and if you like the blargamot you’ll enjoy this.
Flavors: Cream, Vanilla, Bergamot, Citrus

"Incredible winter harvested tea from one of Nilgiri’s best gardens. Huge, well twisted wiry single leaves and buds with a delicate floral scent. These leaves produce a light liquoring, tantalizingly complex tasting infusion with a well rounded and balanced sweetness. $17.50 for 50g*"

This is such an intriguing tea. The dark spindly leaves look like a black tea when dry, and they smell sort of malty and breadish like a black tea. But the wet tea smells malty still, but also bright and fruity, like apricots and lime zest. And the leaves have unspindled, and have become light to medium green whole leaves, reminding me of green tea or a green oolong.
And the taste is a mix of malt and honey, apricots and water chestnuts, and a bit of citrus. It might sound like an odd mix, but the different notes come out to play at different times and blend with the other notes to create a very complex and interesting cup.
I can’t even describe what I’m tasting, but this is my best attempt to.
Flavors: Bread, Malt, Fruit, Apricots, Citrus, Honey, Water Chestnuts

"From Minjian in Nantou county, these very lightly oxidized curly dark green tea leaves produce an amazingly sweet, aromatic and delicately flavourful tea liquor with a gentle body and refined smooth mouth feel. $13.00 for 50g*"

I always find it interesting when I see an oolong that’s not rolled into tight knobby balls. The leaves almost look like how the leaves of most tightly rolled knobby balls of oolong look after a short steep, still rolled and wrinkly looking, still knobby, but straightened up out of the ball shape. The leaves stayed rolled and wrinkly, through the first two steeps, and it wasn’t until the forth steep that they actually started to smooth out.
The aroma of this is like most green oolongs, floral, sort of vegetal, and a little roasty. This is a floral oolong, with a natural sweetness that again makes me think of peach blossoms, with a very light roasted taste that only sticks around for the first steep or two, and a buttery taste that is especially noticeable in the 3rd and 4th steeps.
Overall not a bad tea, but not phenomenal, a good tea for when you want to just drink something simple and floral.
Flavors: Vegetal, Floral, Roasty, Peach Blossoms

"Tightly rolled, lightly oxidized and lightly roasted green-style oolong leaves from Minjian in Nantou County. These leaves produce a sweet, delicate, light oolong tea liquor that is particularly floral and smooth. $15.00 for 100g*"

This smells like green beans with a couple crushed roasted peanuts on top, next to a bouquet of flowers. A dark kind of dark vegetal mixed with a raosted note, and a floral finish. The leaves are tightly rolled dark and light green, gnarled knobby little things. The wet leaf smells more floral, and after the first steep the leaves are still wrinked but not longer balls. The second steep the leaves expand and smooth out more, and by the third steep they’re fully unfurled.
This is on the more savory side of the oolong spectrum.It’s roasty, but not in your face roasty (like the actual peanuts and not the peanut skins). Its that sort of floral thats that I always have a hard time defining. For some reason I want to say peach blossoms (is that even a thing?), or orchids. And in the background is darkly vegetal, like green beans, and buttery, both in taste and texture. Its a fancy cold green bean salad, with a orchid and peach blossom infused butter sauce drizzled on top, and sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Its different, it’s hard to describe, but still you want more.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green Beans, Orchid, Peanut, Roasted, Vegetal

Capital Tea Limited has quickly become one of my new favorite tea shops. Not only do they sell great quality and tasty teas, but their prices are ridiculously affordable, and their customer service is top notch!

*prices are in Canadian dollars, $10 in CAD is equal to $9.11 in USD, so prices for those who use US dollars is a little less than stated.

2 comments :

  1. Nice tea reviewing; lots there, and the descriptions are clear and detailed. I drink a lot of different kinds of teas and write a blog about it so some of these sound familiar, but some not so much. It's interesting how people write in different review styles, focusing on different things, and go into different amounts or types of details. Considering this isn't strictly a tea blog your palate seems developed enough; not so easy to separate out distinct flavor elements like that.

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    Replies
    1. I drink a lot of tea, and as such my palate has developed (:

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