Do you drink tea? If so, do you take it black, with lemon, sugar, or with milk? Do you prefer caffeine-free tea, herbal tea, or a good old-fashioned builder’s brew? There are so many varieties of and ways to drink tea. Much as I love it though, especially with a good book in hand, I’ve never tried to drink it like the Chinese do. So I was very excited when Capacitea * offered to send me a few of their blends and teaware to try out.
Capacitea was founded by young tea enthusiasts in London, who are passionate about premium quality loose leaf teas and classically inspired modern tea wares. Influenced by China’s tea heritage, the founders aim to enlighten people that quality tea isn’t only a beverage, it’s an experience in itself. And using the correct teaware is also important in bringing out the best flavours, as well as the right quantity and brewing times.
According to Wikipedia, tea culture is defined by the way tea is made and consumed, by the way the people interact with tea, and by the aesthetics surrounding tea drinking. For me, the idea of Chinese tea conjures up elaborate ceremonies and an almost reverential appreciation of the drink. And not a cucumber sandwich in sight.
With so much choice available, I opted for one of Capacitea’s best sellers, the Dark & Black Tea Lover loose leaf gift set. This retails at £28.80 with free delivery and contains three 50g sachets of tea and a very stylish glass infuser mug.
If you’re not a dark tea fan, you could go for white, yellow and green tea varieties, or even a touch of the exotic with some fantastic flowering teas (which really do look just like flowers when they’ve brewed).
The mug comes with a drop-in stainless steel infuser and cap. All you do is add your loose leaf tea or tea bag into the tea infuser and steep until your desired strength is reached. Then simply place the strainer on your cap to avoid any drips.
I like the mug, it feels comfortable to hold, and is practical as well as stylish. It’s been designed for on the go drinkers, as well as those who prefer to sip at their desk, or from the comfort of home. Fun fact: when you invert the steel infuser and run water over the bottom to rinse it, it “sings” – really!
“The tea’s fruity, caramel and malty flavours are balanced out with a light tannic finish.” Originating from lapsang souchong, black tea has developed into a rich family of different teas over the years from its distinctive smoky ancestor. Not only that, this tea is a Great Taste award winner too.
Sniff and taste tests
On opening the bag, there was a lovely malty and smoky aroma, which I always associate with lapsang souchong. And very reminiscent of the tea I used to come home to after a walk along a wintery beach. The flavour certainly lived up to its description, and it’s one I’d have no trouble drinking at any time of day. Alan enjoyed this one as well.
“Its rich forest foliage scent enhances its full-bodied and well-rounded earthy flavour.” Unlike most teas, Pu’erh retains both its flavours and antioxidants with time – rather like a fine wine 🙂 A fermentation process causes the leaves to darken and the flavour to become smoother. So the taste can transform through various stages of being fruity to nutty, grassy, herbal and earthy.
Sniff and taste tests
Despite much sniffing, I couldn’t detect any forest scent when I opened the bag. To be honest, I couldn’t make out much aroma at all. But the flavour was definitely on the grassy side and this was a much lighter flavoured tea, despite my leaving it to steep for a while. I wasn’t as keen on this tea but, considering its health benefits, I think it might make a useful addition to my attempt at a healthier lifestyle. Alan quite liked it as he drinks a lot of green tea anyway.
“A delicate rose scent follows through to a full-bodied and earthy tea.” Although today jasmine-scented teas are better known, the rose can claim a longer history as the first flower to be used in Chinese tea. And this one’s another Great Taste award winner as well.
Sniff and taste tests
The fragrance when you open the bag is wonderfully floral and rose-scented. My quibble with aromatic teas is that they never live up to their smell but not this time. This tea is absolutely gorgeous. It has a delicate perfume but not too overpowering, you certainly don’t feel like you’re drinking rose water. I would happily drink this all day, and so would Alan, which I think speaks volumes.
Would we buy again?
You’d think that 150g of tea wouldn’t last very long. Well, you’d be wrong in this case, because you can use these leaves at least three times – just increase the steeping time accordingly. So your 150g of teas are going to last you a good long while.
I think one of the Gifts Sets would make an ideal Christmas or birthday gift for any tea lover. Or indeed for anyone who’s never tried traditional Chinese tea. And the infuser mug is a brilliant inclusion, the mesh is so fine that not a single fragment of tea escapes to spoil your brew. As and when our teas run out, I will certainly be repurchasing Captain’s Breakfast and Dark-rose Waltz. I thoroughly enjoyed my Chinese tea experience and I’d like to say a big thank you to Capacitea for enabling me to enjoy their quality teas the way the Chinese do.
Have you ever tried Chinese tea? Which of these three teas appeals to you the most?
* I was gifted these products in exchange for a review but all opinions are my own and this is an honest, unbiased review. This post contains also contains affiliate links.