How to get loose tea samples:
Obviously you can review any tea that you already own but you can also try your luck at contacting tea companies or online tea stores to see if they will send you some samples. Just point out how great it is for the tea company that for the cost of a few grams/ounces of tea they can have free advertising on your blog that you will promote across numerous social media websites.
I would suggest contacting whole leaf tea companies directly via social media sites. All that the company will ask for in return is a link to their website which will help them in terms of SEO.
Brewing the loose tea:
When reviewing your loose tea sample it is important to brew it using the exact guidelines given to you by the company. If it says to use water at a certain temperature, you should make the effort to do this as the company will know what temperature the tea tastes best at. It is the same when it comes to the amount of tea to use. If you posted a negative review but had not brewed the tea how the company suggested this would not really be fair to the tea company.
What to look for:
The look and smell of the dry leaf – is it the same as the picture on the company’s website? Does it smell fresh and clean? Is it broken or whole leaf?
Aroma – how does the smell change while it is brewing compared with the dry leaf? Is the fragrance from the tea balanced or over powering?
Taste – Most importantly how does the tea taste? Does it match the description or is it different? Do you like it? Can you notice subtle flavours coming through?
The great thing about loose tea is that you can brew it more than once. Often you can brew it 4 or 5 times. I find it’s best to just keep going until you notice less or unpleasant flavours.
Be sure to mention these in your review and I think it is essential to do at least 2 re-brews.
Words to use
Aroma/fragrance – use to describe the smell of the leaves
Patina – the build of tea on the inside of cups and teapots
Grade – the quality of the leaves
Steeping – when the tea is brewing
Emotive – how the loose tea makes you feel
Descriptive words you could use to describe your loose tea sample:
Citrusy, fresh, clean, full bodied, creamy, mellow, strong, over powering, weak, fragrant, sharp, verdant, grassy, floral.
The number one thing to remember when reviewing loose tea:
This actually applies to anything review! Be honest! There is no point in giving a positive review for no reason and no point in being negative just to play devils advocate. If you want to build up credibility you must be honest otherwise your readers will soon get bored.