Steepwell Tea Co. is a tea company based out of Pennslyvania that is dedicated to helping the environment one cup of tea at a time. With completely biodegradable packaging, they make sure that their tea makes a positive impact on the earth. They sent me three teas to try: Niagara Peach, Scottish Breakfast, and Kyoto Cherry Rose. Here are my thoughts:
Niagara Peach: The aroma was much of a green tea, reminding me a bit of gunpowder green or sencha tea, and a hint of floral notes. The leaves brewed a darker yellow color. The first time I brewed this tea, I was welcomed subtly with peach or sweet notes in the tea. The second time, I brewed a larger quantity for my brother and myself, but it was a bit more heavily green tea focused. There was still a very light aspect to this tea, with many floral notes and a hint of sweetness. I would have liked to taste the peach aspects a bit more, but the jasmine in the tea had a very lovely calming effect on me. The delicate floral notes lingered on my tongue for about 10 seconds after consuming, and I felt extremely solid and grounded when drinking.
Description: Green Tea, Jasmine Petals, Natural Flavors (Organic Compliant)
Scottish Breakfast: The aroma was the first thing that drew me to this tea after steeping. Since it was too hot to safely consume, I settled for breathing in the malty aroma. It also had a savory-sweet element to it. The dry leaves had an earthy aroma, quite different from the brew with maybe a slight hint of sweetness. I have no idea what blend of black tea this is, with the only information on the bag and website saying the origin is from India and China. So, it really would be a wild guess to try and figure out, besides assuming that one is Assam. Since this is a Scottish Breakfast tea, I fully thought this tea would be a morning punch to the face of caffeine (in the best way though), and was a bit surprised that it was slightly milder than expected. They suggest a 5-7 minute brewing time (which almost killed me when I read that because I know that 3 minutes is my all-time preference), so perhaps that is why it was not extremely strong and robust. But all the same, I did quite enjoy it. It had a bright element to the tea, which sort of electrified my taste buds and made me alert fairly quickly. In its own way, it had boldness to it and a warming aspect. I have been getting into breakfast teas a bit more, so this one will definitely be prominent in my collection.
I also made this in a latte like form, with honey and almond milk froth on top. This might be one of my favorite ways of drinking breakfast tea, especially since I am not normally a milk and sugar type of tea drinker. But the latte frothiness, made it so I had a bit sweeter of a drink without being overbearing. I would recommend.
Ingredients: Black Tea Blend
Kyoto Cherry Rose: This tea was quite interesting to consume. The aroma was quite sweet and seemed to be 100% pure cherry. The slight vegetal aspect of the green tea was the first thing I noticed when taking a sip. Very soon after I noticed the rose. At the very end of the tea was a slightly sweet flavor from the cherry flavoring. There were conflicting feelings in my mouth, the rose added a softer element to this tea, while the green tea had a tiny drying effect. While I did enjoy it, it did seem like it was a bit over-brewed, so I am going to try it again for about two and a half minutes instead of three (which is my normal preference and standard).
Ingredients: Japanese Sencha Green Tea, Sweet Cherry Flavoring, Light Rose Petals.
Pricing: For the Scottish Breakfast and Niagara Peach Tea, the price was $5.95 for 50 grams of loose leaf tea. The Kyoto Cherry Rose was $4.95 for 10 small sachets of tea.
Packaging: This section is the pride and joy of the company. Their packaging is 100% biodegradable and compostable, from the tea sachets to the tea pouches. I really enjoy that they chose the environment over profit margins, it is really respectable that they do that. I have had issues with biodegradable packaging in the past (it was harder to close and be completely airtight) but this company’s packaging did not seem to have the same issues.
Sourcing: I think this section could be a little stronger for this company. While they did state the area that the tea is from (Japan, India, China, etc), I really would love to know a bit further and have more traceability in their tea. Maybe the city, if in a mountainous area, elevation, or any other information that could make a consumer better informed before making a purchase.
Additional Note: One other thing I found odd was the absence of an ingredient list on their website and packaging. I was expecting to know what types of black tea were involved in my Scottish Breakfast tea. I actually reached out to the company to get a list of ingredients for the Niagara Peach tea. I think it would greatly benefit this company to fully disclose the ingredients so consumers can make educated decisions. If someone has an allergy, but if the ingredient list is not disclosed they may not buy the tea, or risk buying the tea without knowing if they will react to it.
What do you guys think of the switch to biodegradable and compostable packaging in the tea industry? I think it is extremely interesting and is a sign of a new standard in tea packaging. I hope you all are being safe, Happy Brewing!