Friday, July 18, 2008

Tea Begins at Tavalon, and Tavalon Starts with T!

Hey readers! As promised, I have another tea review for you this week.

Recently, I was contacted by none other than Tavalon, who requested
that I review some samples for them. For those of you that don't
know, Tavalon is one of the largest, if not the very largest, tea
establishment in New York City. So when they asked me to review some
samples for them, you might say I leaped at the opportunity - I just
could not turn it down.

And, I am pleased to say, I was not at all disappointed.

Statisticaly, in New York, there are more tea drinkers per capita than
almost any other state in the US. Also in New York, Tavalon has come
to be a household name in Tea. I often worry about large tea
companies, as it seems that the larger a tea company gets, the more
mechanized they become, and the more shortcuts they begin to take.
The larger a tea company becomes, the worse their tea becomes overall,
with few notable exceptions. However, with Tavalon, their success has
spelled out their failure. Quite the opposite, in fact. It seems
that Tavalon is now more focused on quality overall than ever before!
From the packaging to the product, I have seen few greater displays of
pure tea-related ingenuity than those present in Tavalon's excellent

The first thing I would like to discuss is the packaging. Tavalon has
some of the best packaging of any tea company I have worked with.
Each tea is shipped in a clear, reusable, sturdy plastic canister,
which comes very much in handy for storing teas later on. In fact, I
very much wish that I could order these containers in bulk to store my
loose teas in.

Printed on the bottom of each canister is the name of the blend
contained therein, as well as complete directions for brewing the tea,
including the amount to be used, the temperature, and how much time is
necessary for the brewing. Fortunately, it also tells you how many
servings it contains, so you know exactly when to send for more when
your container runs dry. On the top and side of each canister is a
second label, which also serves as a seal for the canister, which
displays the Tavalon name, as well as giving you the name of the

The labels work well with the design and appearance of the canister as
well, making the packaging as aesthetically pleasing as it is useful.

I would also make note that the shipping and customer service
experience behind Tavalon is also excellent. They always respond to
emails quickly and professionally, and leave no question unanswered,
which is something that is rare and extremely appreciated for a tea
company of their prestige.

Now, I'd like to review two of the four blends that Tavalon decided to
send my way. I will review the other two blends in some future post.

The first blend that I'd like to mention is the NYC Breakfast blend.
Tavalon's NYC breakfast blend is made from a variety of premium black
teas, rather than just one variety as most breakfast blends consist
of. This breakfast tea is actually one of the best breakfast teas I
have ever had the pleasure of sampling! The varieties that were
chosen complement each other very well - It's as if they are taking
the good qualities from the various black teas that were available,
and combined them into one. This blend is the perfect mixture of
fragrance, subtle nutty flavour, and natural sweetness. In addition,
it has the least astringent of any black tea that I have ever tasted.

The leaves are whole, unbroken leaves, as I expect from a premium
view, and there is no tea dust to settle to the bottom of the
container, which is delightful. The blend also has an excellent cup
colour, a pleasant light amber, with none of the cloudiness that is
often typical of "every day" teas such as breakfast blends. The tea
also exhibits the perfect blend between the strong flavor expected
from breakfast teas, and the subtle mixture of flavors and aromas that
accompany any premium blend.

Overall, I would rate this breakfast tea very highly, and not only do
I recommend this tea, but it is likely that I will begin using this
blend as my exclusive breakfast tea in my own home. Yes, it is that

The second blend I would like to mention, is called After Dark. As
it's name implies it is an evening tea, composed of chamomile and
dried fruits.

The dominant fruit flavors in this blend are cherry and some sort of
citrus (Orange, I think), which both come through very strongly. Now,
as many of you will know, if you've been keeping up on my postings, I
am a big fan of Chamomile tea, and as such, I am very particular about
it. In chamomile blends, what usually occurs that the the subtle,
mellow flavour of the chamomile is drowned out by the strong fruity
tones. With this blend, however, it is not the case, for while there
are very strong fruit tones in this blend, the strongest of them being
the cherry (if I am not mistaken), they do not completely overpower
the chamomile. Instead, they complement it's subtle flavor. The
cherry, in particular, does very well in contrasting with the subtle
nuttiness of the chamomile.

This blend, also, is made of large chunks of material, rather than
small, broken pieces. This tea is a dark crimson color, presumable
from the cherry, but has excellent clarity and tint. This is one of
the most delightful chamomile blends I have tasted in a long time. It
was a pleasure for me to have the ability to sample it.

These two blends are some of the best blends I have ever tasted.
Tavalon definately puts the appropriate effort into both quality of
their ingredients, and expertness of their blends.

Well, that wraps it up for this review. I give Tavalon high marks,
and my highest reccomendation. Stay tuned for my review of the other
two blends that they sent, which also should prove to be delightful.

Over and out,


Eleen said...

wow.. i never saw you that enthusiastic about a tea blend.
I definitely have to try Tavalon teas!
so i'm going to start with one blend first, which one do you advice me, i like herbal teas.
thanks you!

Relznuk said...

I would reccomend either after dark or serenity. I am glad that you enjoyed the review!

Jonah said...

Check out this video about the health benefits of tea... made it myself..
Jonah Nelson

Relznuk said...

Thanks for that video - it is great! Both funny and true.