Saturday, September 06, 2008

Whole Leaf Organics - A Choice Product

Hey readers,

Well, the semester has officially started, so my posts here are going
to become somewhat less frequent, as I am taking alot of classes this
semester, and am also heavily involved in some extra-curricular
activities. So, the once-weekly posts you have been getting used to
are, for now, a thing of the past. Once the semester ends, I'll start
posting more often again.

Today, I'll be reviewing another offering by Choice Organic Teas.
This time, however, instead of a loose-leaf tea, I'll be reviewing
some of their organic premium tea bags in Pyramid infusers. I have
always liked the looks of the pyramid infusers, and find them to be a
superior form of the tea bag, allowing more water movement, and far
more room for the product to expand in.

Although they sent me several samples, I'll only be reviewing two or
three of the samples today. Maybe in some future posting, I'll review
some more of these teabags.

First, I will address the packaging for these, which is excellent.
The pyramids are packaged in individual biodegradable paper envelopes.
The design of the packets is fairly attractive, with lots of color
and a very simple, pure design. The front of the package displays the
name of the tea, and a short description, as well as the "Whole Leaves
Organic" designation, and the Choice Organic Teas logo. It also
contains that all-important USDA organic stamp, and a stamp indicating
that the tea is fair trade certified.

Being fair trade certified is also very important for a tea. I'll
post a more thorough article on what Fair Trade means for a tea, and
why it is so important that fair trade guidelines should be followed.
This is an important ethical issue in today's world of tea, and one
which I want to dedicate an entire posting to at some point in the

On the back of the packet, it lists the ingredients, brewing
directions, and so forth, as well as the tidbit that these teabags
also happen to be fully biodegradable, which is nice.

Choice Organic Teas has always been a company that takes their
environmental obligations seriously. This is part of the reason that
they have chosen to deal only in Organic teas. Additionally, they
recognize the value of using only fully biodegradable packaging and
materials, so that the end result of your cup of tea does not spend an
eternity in a landfill.

Now, I will review a few of the teas themselves.

The first tea I will review is the Jade Green blend. Jade green is a
blend of various green teas, with no additions. As far as greens go,
this is a pretty decent blend. It has a nice vegetal flavor. It's
dry scent tells of floral notes, which is interesting. For the
negative, however, I would point out that this blend has somewhat more
astringent than I like to find in a well-blended green tea.
Additionally, the term "Whole Leaf Organics" seems kind of misleading,
as I found quite a large number of broken bits of tea leaf contained
within the pyramid, and very few whole, unbroken leaves. It isn't
quite as bad as the tea dust Lipton likes to serve you, however I was
somewhat disappointed with this. This area could use a bit of

The end result, that it to say, the brewed cup, did not suffer
tremendously from this, as it still does seem to be a very
well-blended tea, with a good profile of flavors.

The second tea I will review is the Sweet Liquorice Mint blend. This
blend, I have found to be a true delight. It pleased me in many ways,
and the combination of liquorice and mint always entrances me. I
particularly enjoyed the spearmint flavor in this blend. It has a
excellent cup clarity, with very little cloudiness, and has an
excellent cup colour against my white teacup. However, with all of
these positive traits noted, I must mention a few things that need
improvement with this blend as well. As with the Jade Green, this tea
also suffers from alot of broken bits of leaf. I would have preferred
to see much larger pieces of herb, rather than the crushed remains.
Once again, the end result did not suffer much from this, but
remember, one of the signs of a truly excellent tea is the inclusion
of whole, unbroken leaves and herbs, or at the very least, large
peices (in some cases, the herbs and their various parts are too large
to include without some breakage or separation.)

Overall, this is a pretty good blend, however. And I would recommend
it to those who enjoy liquorice blends, or mind blends, as it
satisfies both characteristics without overpowering either of them.

And the third blend that I would make mention of is the Chamomile Citrus.

In quality, this is the best of the tree blends. It does much better
with the breakage problem I found in the other two blends, using large
bits of herb to acheive it's goals. This tea contains both hibiscus
and chamomile. As you all know, I am fairly particular when it comes
to chamomile teas. As most of you probably also know, both hibiscus
and chamomile are very delicate, and are easily overpowered. In this
blend, however, Choice Organic Teas has done an excellent job
preserving both herbs, and the citrus notes, both lemon and orange,
are very notable, without being brutish and overpowering to the rest
of the blend. I would say that this is the most well-blended of the
three teas I have reviewed today.

The hibiscus and the chamomile complement each other perfectly, and
they have included just the right amount of citrus to get the job
done. I would highly recommend this brew to lovers of chamomile

Well, thanks for reading, and I hope you'll stay tuned for further
reviews and developments on the blog.

Over and out,


Tree said...

Great blog- very in-depth. We love loose leaf tea. My husband has an on-line loose leaf tea company based in Napa, CA.
Wife of a Tea Drinker

tea Escapade said...

I have yet to try Choice Teas. Looking forward, however, to my first cup. I recently received some in my Tea Swap. I'm looking forward to comparing experiences.

Taylor and Jodi said...

hey dude, I just found your blog by chance-i do have a question that maybe you can answer. i'm in china right now and i've been given many gifts of tea from my hosts here. I love fruit teas and other herbal teas... but I don't drink tea's derived from the tea plant. Do you know if jasmine, chrysanthemum, brick and oolong tea are derived from that plant?

Relznuk said...

They might contain some actual tea, or they might not. It's hard to say. Some Jasmine teas are herbal, and some contain tea. Same with Chrysanthemum. Ask the person who gave it to you, they should know better than anyone else.

I've never heard of Brick Tea, although I suspect that it might be slang for pu-erh, which is made from actual tea. And oolongs are always made from real tea, so you would want to avoid those as well.

Hope this helps,

Taylor and Jodi said...

thanks man