8 January 2011

Choi Time: Tea Selection [By @SpectreUK]


Choi Time sports itself as “superior Chinese tea”. I have tried their Thousand Year Red before, and although when adding boiling water the bulb unfurls to fill the mug like some freaky alien spawn, I can certainly say this was a very aromatic and flavoursome jasmine tea. Stocked in Harrods and Selfridges, Choi Time is a family business sourcing its teas from Hangzhou and Fujian in China. Their products such as Jasmine Green Tea Pearls, White Silver Needles, Chrysanthemum Flowers and Damask Rose Tea Buds have all won Great Taste Gold awards. We were lucky enough to receive some samples through the post and I was excited to be picked for taste testing.


Damask Rose Tea

This is a herbal tea that Choi Time suggests should relieve anxiety and stress, helping to boost circulation whilst nourishing your organs inside and out. I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious on drinking this, as the last time I drank herbal medicinal tea it flushed my insides out in a particularly brutal fashion (and for a good day or so too). I dropped three buds into a mug and added hot water, leaving the buds to infuse for a good five minutes. This tea has a pleasant floral rose smell to it. It has a light and pleasant rose taste that I would have never of thought would work as a tea, but it just does. The mild floral flavour calmed me down from my apprehension of herbal tea, as the last time I drank a mug of herbal tea it was so strong it was almost undrinkable. This really was a pleasant, calming and healthy feeling drink, and I was more than a little disappointed to reach the bottom of my mug. I was also glad to find there were no whooshing sensations hours after drinking!



Exotic Mixed Flowers

This tea includes a mix from a selection of fifty varieties such as jasmine, globe amaranth, osmanthus, and dandelion. There is an orange lily to nourish the lungs, relax anxieties and is good for the skin. Globe amaranth helps you recover from coughs and asthma (fortunately I have neither). Marigold is good for digestion (which is good, as I’d just had my lunch) and for long life (I’m always up for that, although you could drink a field of marigolds a week and it still wouldn’t stop you from being run over by a bus!). Chrysanthemums decrease body temperature, which I wasn’t too sure about staring at the frost and snow outside.

The tea itself smells more fruity than floral, which is strange considering the high level of flowers in my mug. Amongst the mix of flower petals the orange lily unfurls as a pretty sunken flower. I removed as many flowers as I could after infusing. The tea itself tastes predominately of jasmine with a fruity and energetic edge to it. Apart from a mouthful of petals to start and end with, this was a very pleasant tea that I would happily drink again, though it would be better sieved from a teapot to save picking petals out of my teeth.



Jasmine Pearls

This is a cleansing tea packed full of anti-oxidants. Drinking this should help with; digestion, weight loss (which I could do with), to reduce cholesterol, strengthening the immune system, giving skin a healthy glow and prevents death – no really! It has anti-aging qualities! Of course just one cup isn’t going to do all that for you, I guess you have to drink this regularly to see any real effects. Though I was tempted to hit the scales and check a mirror after drinking. I dropped seven Jasmine Pearls into my mug and added hot water. After a short time the Jasmine Pearls unfurled and sank to the bottom of the cup. I took a tentative sip, as you do when you’re testing the temperature of your tea for drinking, and had a good healthy hit of jasmine. The leaves at the bottom of the mug let the tea infuse and grow stronger during drinking. I do like a nice strong jasmine tea, especially after a meal, and I’ve tried plenty of different brands in the past. I must admit, this is clearly one of the best jasmine teas I have ever had the pleasure to try. I’ll have to get some more of this. It really did put the “superior” in Choi Times’ slogan.



Chrysanthemum Tea

As mentioned in the Exotic Mixed Flowers section, chrysanthemums are useful for their cooling properties, which are valuable for fighting off fever, sore throats, and sinus congestion. This type of tea is also supposed to detoxify the blood and can have a calming effect. Choi Time suggests this drink is ideal for winter time. Well, it’s winter and freezing outside, so I dropped a few flowers in a mug and added hot water. The flowers opened out and filled the mug quite happily. A colleague mentioned how pretty the flowers looked floating in the mug. I could see why they say this drink is good for the sinuses as it is very aromatic in a “you’re drinking menthol smelling flowers kind of way”. The pretty yellow flowers sunk after a time leaving a few petals on the surface. There was a slight childish fear that if I swallowed a flower when drinking I’d wake up in the spring with chrysanthemums growing out of my ears. This flowery tasting drink helped to sooth some of my fears. I can see why Choi Time suggests it’s a good drink to fight off colds as there is a touch of menthol to the taste as well as smell, and the chrysanthemums have their healing properties. I would definitely drink this if I had the flu or a bad cold as it would be good for me between mugs of Beecham’s, but the floating petals put me off a little. Again I couldn’t help feeling that this drink would have been better sieved from a teapot. I’ll let you know if any flowers grow out of my ears in a few months…

Thank you Choi Time! :-)
By Spectre

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