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Alex Zorach

RateTea Editor

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1251 teas.

Reviews of Pure Tea (Camellia sinensis)

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Picture of Rainforest Indulgence

Rainforest Indulgence from teakruthi

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Matara, Sri Lanka

90 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 9/10
Jan. 20th, 2017

An exceptional CTC tea, the best I've ever had, and as complex as many hand-processed, whole-leaf teas. This one really surprised me.

The dry leaf is unusually aromatic for a CTC tea. The aroma is toasty and with a strong maltiness, more like rye than other grain.

The brewed cup smells intensely aromatic, and j...

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Picture of Frontier Organic White Peony

Frontier Organic White Peony from Frontier

Style: White Peony Tea – Region: ?????

47 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5 Overall: 5/10
Jan. 17th, 2017

I was not impressed with this one. I'm not sure if it was the low quality of tea though, or if it was simply not very fresh at the store where it was sold. I wish Frontier had more of a mechanism in place for ensuring freshness in the bulk tea kiosks they have in natural food stores, because I sometimes have a proble...

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Picture of Organic Green Dragon

Organic Green Dragon from Mighty Leaf Tea

Style: Dragon Well Tea – Region: China

67 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5 Overall: 7/10
Jan. 17th, 2017

I was eager to try this because it was the only pure green tea in tea bags sold by Mighty Leaf, other than their hojicha which is roasted and does not taste at all like a green tea.

I wasn't crazy about this tea; if I had to divide all dragon wells into "good dragonwell" vs. "bad dragonwell" this one would be at the...

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Picture of Green Valley

Green Valley from teakruthi

Style: Green Tea – Region: Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

70 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5 Overall: 8/10
Jan. 17th, 2017

I enjoyed this tea but thought it the most overpriced of Teakruthi's offerings so far.

Dry leaf smells quite good, like a Chinese tea, a little vegetal and slightly floral, suggesting of a slight edge. It reminds me of chun mee both in smell and appearance, but is more vegetal.

I like this tea but it can get ove...

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Picture of Wild Monsoon

Wild Monsoon from teakruthi

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Matara, Sri Lanka

87 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5 Overall: 9/10
Jan. 12th, 2017

The dry leaf of this consists of big, dark, coarse looking leaves that are slightly curled. There is a mild toasty and chocolatey aroma. The leaf takes up a lot of space, and you need to use quite a lot by volume to get a strong enough cup.

Upon brewing, the aroma is distinct, different from other teas I've tried,...

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Picture of ZW48: Fuding White Tea Cake

ZW48: Fuding White Tea Cake from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Tea – Region: Fuding, Fujian, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5 Overall: 8/10
Jan. 9th, 2017

I tried this together with Upton's ZW42. I actually liked this one a lot, and not the other.

Brews up a dark, full-bodied cup that, like the other compressed white tea cake, is rather bitter. I find the bitterness more blunt though, whereas ZW42 has a sharp bitterness.

The aroma is strange and hard to describe....

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Picture of ZW42: White Tea Cake

ZW42: White Tea Cake from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Tea – Region: China

60 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 2/5 Overall: 5/10
Jan. 9th, 2017

This was the first of two compressed white tea cakes from Upton that I sampled. It was interesting but I'm not sure I'd want to drink this tea regularly. This was a strong tea, unpleasantly sharp but also thin-bodied, and I think I may have brewed it too strongly, wanting a fuller-bodied tea, but by the time I had fi...

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Picture of Kagoshima (Kagoshima Sencha)

Kagoshima (Kagoshima Sencha) from Harney and Sons

Style: Sencha – Region: Kagoshima, Japan

80 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 8/10
Jan. 9th, 2017

I usually think of tea as being more about the aroma than the flavor, but this tea was intensely flavorful, and I thought its flavor was what made it most interesting and enjoyable.

This tea was very similar overall to the Organic Sencha also sold by Harney & Sons. The main difference I noticed initially was that t...

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Picture of Southern Malt

Southern Malt from teakruthi

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Matara, Sri Lanka

93 / 100 Aroma: 10/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 10/10
Jan. 9th, 2017

The first tea I tried from Teakruthi was excellent and enjoyable, but didn't wow me. This one immediately stood out, from before the first sip, or even just smelling the brewed cup.

The dry leaf has a smell that strongly suggests a savory stew. It's malty with a hint of smoke and spice.

When brewed, wow. This ...

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Picture of Royal Midlands

Royal Midlands from teakruthi

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Kandy, Sri Lanka

83 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 2/5 Overall: 9/10
Jan. 5th, 2017

I went to try this tea first because I got the sense that it seemed the most "classic Ceylon" of Teakruthi's offerings, and it definitely delivered the character I expected. This is a little less like the types of Ceylons served in British traditions though, and more like the type of tea I find consumed in the middle-...

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Picture of African CTC

African CTC from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Black Tea – Region: ?????

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 8/10
Dec. 21st, 2016

The dry leaf has a pleasant aroma that is much more complex than typical for CTC teas...there are notes of spice that remind me of Christmas as a child.

Produces a very rich and aromatic cup. Before sipping, the aroma suggests sweetness, being creamy and almost candy-like. But upon sipping, pleasantly bitter. Ful...

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Picture of Assam Tippy Golden

Assam Tippy Golden from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Assam – Region: Assam, India

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5 Overall: 7/10
Dec. 9th, 2016

Wow, this tea was quite satisfying, especially for cold days.

The dried leaf smells good, the aroma is mild but complex, mostly fruity and malty, with hints of spice, dried herbs or portpourri.

The leaves explode in aroma when they are steeped in water and there's a honey-like aroma that is a hallmark of higher g...

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Picture of Ceylon UVA Highland

Ceylon UVA Highland from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Uva, Sri Lanka

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 5/5 Overall: 8/10
Nov. 30th, 2016

I enjoyed this tea; it's a potent black tea of good strength, with a classic British character. One could convincingly substitute this for an English Breakfast blend. It also has a great price, and is a bit smoother than other similar teas in its price range.

The cup is moderately aromatic, a little malty but mor...

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Picture of Scottish Breakfast

Scottish Breakfast from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Scottish Breakfast – Region: Blend

97 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5 Overall: 10/10
Nov. 28th, 2016

This tea was extraordinary and was one of the best blended teas I've ever tried. I do tend to really like Scottish Breakfast as a style of tea, and this was an unparalleled example of such.

The dry leaf has a pleasing aroma with a light hint of smoke, just what I'd expect: noticeable, but a bit less than in a Russi...

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Picture of Hairy Crab Oolong Loose Tea

Hairy Crab Oolong Loose Tea from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Hairy Crab Oolong – Region: China

87 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 8/10
Nov. 16th, 2016

I thought this was a delightful tea. I have tried a Mao Xie before, and loved it, but it was an unbranded type that someone brought me back from China so I was not able to review it. This one was a lot like I remember it: pungent and a bit edgy and odd, but in a way that I liked.

The dry leaf has an aroma that is ...

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Picture of Ceylon Orange Pekoe

Ceylon Orange Pekoe from Basilur

Style: Ceylon Black Tea – Region: Sri Lanka / Ceylon

67 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5 Overall: 7/10
Oct. 31st, 2016

This was yet another tea I had the opportunity to sample from a variety pack in a hotel. I have never seen this brand for sale in the U.S. It was good, considerably above-average for a simple black tea bag.

A bold and strong tea, not particularly distinctive or remarkable, but good. Aroma is malty with hints of s...

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Risheehat 1st Flush Darjeeling from Harney and Sons

Style: Darjeeling First Flush – Region: Darjeeling, India

87 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 9/10
Sep. 28th, 2016

I loved this one.

No picture of this because unfortunately it was removed from Harney's catalogue before I posted my review.

The dry leaf of this smells wonderful, and unexpected. It smells more like an autumnal flush tea, with more malty notes and a sort of soft, rich, caramel smell. There are floral and caram...

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Picture of Columbian Green

Columbian Green from Harney and Sons

Style: Green Tea – Region: Colombia

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5 Overall: 7/10
Sep. 26th, 2016

The first time I tried this tea I was unimpressed, but it grew on me, and I also started liking it more when I brewed it with boiling water. I still don't like it anywhere near as much as I like the black tea from the same estate, which I think is otherworldly and among the best black teas I've ever tried. At best th...

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Picture of Handcrafted Kenyan

Handcrafted Kenyan from Murchie's Tea & Coffee Ltd

Style: Black Tea – Region: Kenya

93 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5 Overall: 9/10
Sep. 22nd, 2016

This tea was exceptional, and was among the best Kenyan teas I've sampled yet.

The dry leaf of this tea looks intriguing: long, completely intact, irregularly twisted leaves. It has a very pleasing aroma, suggestive of a high-quality tea, evoking thoughts of sweetness.

Upon brewing, produces a fascinating cup wi...

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Picture of Premium - Loose

Premium - Loose from Chai Bora

Style: Black Tea – Region: Tanzania

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 7/10
Sep. 21st, 2016

Thanks again to Jim, who brought this to me from Tanzania. I tried this side-by-side with the Tanzanian Green Label Tea. Although both are dark, finely-broken black teas from Tanzania, the two are surprisingly different.

The dry leaf of this tea is a little more uniform in size, slightly darker, and slightly less ...

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Picture of Darjeeling Tea - Specialty Classics

Darjeeling Tea - Specialty Classics from Basilur

Style: Darjeeling Black Tea – Region: Darjeeling, India

70 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5 Overall: 7/10
Sep. 14th, 2016

This was served to me at a wedding and I was able to take a few different tea bags to try them later. I was surprised at the quality of this one.

The tea bag is not extraordinarily aromatic, but the brewed cup has a very nice, strong black tea smell. It reminds me a lot of sticking my nose into a bin of fresh, loo...

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Picture of Green Label Tea (Tanzania)

Green Label Tea (Tanzania) from Green Label Tea (Tanzania)

Style: Black Tea – Region: Tanzania

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 8/10
Jul. 24th, 2016

Thank you to Jim, who brought this back for me from Tanzania!

I was really impressed by the quality of this tea. It is among the best finely-broken CTC teas that I've tried. It reminded me quite a lot of the Fahari Ya Kenya Tea, although I think I preferred that tea slightly to this one.

Like the Fahari Ya tea,...

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Picture of Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea (Ye Sheng Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong)

Lapsang Souchong Wild Black Tea (Ye Sheng Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong) from TeaVivre

Style: Lapsang Souchong – Region: Wuyi, Fujian, China

93 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5 Overall: 9/10
Jun. 16th, 2016

A lovely tea, mellow, and complex, among my favorite Lapsang Souchongs ever sampled. Thank you again to TeaVivre for the sample! This is a traditional Chinese lapsang souchong, it lacks the strong smoky aroma that the more widely-known style of tea popular in the West has. Compared to other traditional Lapsang Souch...

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Picture of Panyang Congou

Panyang Congou from Harney and Sons

Style: Black Tea – Region: Fujian, China

43 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5 Overall: 5/10
Jun. 13th, 2016

This was the most disappointing pure tea I've ever tried from Harney & Sons.

Dry leaf not very aromatic, but the aroma is pleasant. The leaf is pretty, with fine wiry pieces, fairly finely broken...the faint aroma suggests spice and dried fruit, like fig or date.

The brewed cup is surprisingly lacking in aroma. ...

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Picture of Lung Ching

Lung Ching from Harney and Sons

Style: Dragon Well Tea – Region: China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5 Overall: 8/10
May. 28th, 2016

I loved this, it's a strong tea, nutty and toasty, but with deep vegetal undertones. I did not tire of drinking it and I could imagine happily drinking this every day.

The dry leaf has a potent aroma that evolves quite a lot as I smell it. It starts off a bit in-your-face, and I found myself slightly taken aback b...

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