Recently, I was sent some samples of some new loose teas to be released from Joe of Revolution Tea. As most of you know, loose tea is by far my preference, followed by large pyramid-shaped teabags (which mostly are filled with full leaf tea anyway). Small, scrunchy paper teabags, however, are never my friend, for a number of reasons.
It therefore delighted me to hear of this company, who previously only offered teabags (although they were the high-quality sort that gives plenty of room), venturing into the world of loose teas. Although these are not for sale to the public yet, they will be something to watch for.
The blends come in a number of varieties. They have herbal blends as well as blends made from white and black teas. One variety that I particularly like is Swiss Herbal. It's a delicious fruity blend with a great color in the cup, and a nice mellow, subtle flavor. I served some iced to some guests I had over recently, and they seemed to really enjoy it. They're not typical tea drinkers, but they did admit to quite liking this herbal blend.
Another especially impressive variety is their White Himalayan blend. It seems to have just the right blend of accompanying herbs to really bring out the delicate floral notes of the fine silver-needle white tea. And it is indeed some of the finer quality white tea I have consumed.
The scent of all of these teas is absolutely amazing. When I first opened up the packing envelope, I nearly drove myself mad. So many enticing aromas. They must have but great effort into creating such well-blended aromas for each of their teas. No one scent in any of the blends is particularly overpowering. They all seem to blend quite nicely.
Now, while these teas do definitely demonstrate a step forward, in order to provide a fair critique I must note some areas which need improvement.
One such area is in the packaging. The teas come packaged in nice zip-seal bags. The zip-seal on top is quite secure, however the pressure seal along the bottom of the bags is not. The seal is not secure enough, and when the bags arrived, the bottoms of two out of five of them had opened up. Upon my handling them, the bottom of a third one opened up. While this is a minor flaw, it is certainly something that needs to be resolved, if it has not been resolved already.
Another point I might make is that although the bags do provide the name of the tea, they do not provide an explanation of the herbs that went into that particular tea. Unless you are familiar with a wide variety of herbs, in both appearance and taste, you might never know what is in a given blend.
Now, I realize that the samples I was sent were something of a "prototype," but the purpose of prototypes and evaluatory samples is indeed to help find and correct flaws before the product is released to the public.
All in all, I would rate the actual quality of the tea itself as an 8 out of ten. It is very good tea, and meets some serious quality standards. It is not the best tea I have had however. That mark would go to some imported Darjeeling Rungmook Estate tea that I received from India.
The tea provided by this company, Revolution, is of high enough quality that the average tea purchaser on a reasonable budget would be hard-pressed to find much better.
The packaging for this tea, in it's current state, I would give a 6 out of ten. Some serious improvement could take place there. Even so, the packaging they used is a good idea, and if it can be made to work correctly (and give more information) then it will perform it's task with excellence.
I would recommend these teas when they are released on the market, rumored for sometime next year, to the general tea-drinking crowd. Most people should be extremely pleased with the quality and flavor of these blends. I'll post an update when the final product is released.
I hope you'll all try these when they are released, and form your own opinions. I'd love to hear about it if you do!
Thanks again for the samples, Joe!
Over and out,
Relznuk Zero Relznuk
Note: I have received a response from Revolution to the effect that the weak packaging problem has been resolved and will certainly not represent the final product.
Friday, October 05, 2007