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Frozen Summit Oolong Tea from Dachi Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Wed, 12/31/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Learn more about Dachi Tea’s Kickstarter Campaign Here.

Tea Description:

Also known as a Dong Ding Oolong, this tea has a woodsy aroma with notes of granola and butterscotch, which tease you into a heavy-bodied soup that has the minerality or river rocks and a malty flavor that some say is akin to a carefully crafted Indian Pale Ale. Forget the hollowness of a caffeine rush, this assertive tea comes with a boost of chi that energises you from the inside out and it’s coming to takeover the west! 

Follow Dachi Tea on Facebook.

Taster’s Review:

I love the sweet, nutty notes of a Dong Ding like this Frozen Summit Oolong from Dachi Tea.

The aroma of the dry leaf is nutty, a little sweet and there are some fresh vegetal tones to the fragrance as well.  The leaves are tightly wound into pellets that unfurl slowly as they brew.  The brewed tea has a stronger nutty scent, but I found that the vegetal notes had softened with the brewed cup.  I noticed that as the tea “pellets” began to open, there are quite a few stems in this tea.

To brew this tea, I grabbed my gaiwan and measured a bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl.  Then I heated the water to 180°F and performed a re-awakening rinse for 15 seconds, discarding the liquid.  Then I steeped my first infusion for 45 seconds.  I strained the tea into my teacup and steeped the leaves again, this time for 1 full minute.  I combined the first two infusions into my teacup and now it’s time to enjoy!  (I repeated the process for cups 2 and 3!)

I found the tasting notes from Dachi Tea to be interesting, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone describing the nutty notes of a Dong Ding as “granola” but I totally get it.  Yeah, there’s a warm, nutty flavor (and scent) and there is an almost ‘oat-y’ quality to it as well.  Hints of honey too!  I don’t smell (or taste) much of a butterscotch essence – at least not yet.  I look forward to discovering that flavor (hopefully) in the infusions to follow.

The tea has a pleasant, rich mouthfeel.  It is very soothing, like a broth.

Overall, this cup is a light tasting cup – but that light flavor won’t last!  I can already pick up on notes of mineral in the distance and a slight vegetal note to the flavor.  The vegetal note is less obvious than the roasty-toasty, nutty flavors, but every once in a while, I pick up on a slight taste of vegetation with whispers of flower weaving its way into the sip.

I suspect in the next cup, I’ll enjoy stronger flavors and hopefully that butterscotch note will reveal itself!

Ah!  There it is!  The butterscotch!  I can definitely smell it (as well as the nutty notes) in this second cup and I can taste the butterscotch notes too.  This is cup is sweet and nutty – just like the first – but I think that the sweeter notes are even more intense this time around!  Mmm!

I’m tasting fewer of the aforementioned vegetal notes and few of the floral tones that I discovered with the first cup.  I’m also picking up on some light malt notes as mentioned in Dachi’s tasting notes, reminiscent of the few ‘gourmet’ beers that I’ve tasted.  (‘Gourmet’ beers should be interpreted as something that costs $6.99 a can rather than $6.99 a six-pack.)

There is a slightly dry finish to this cup, but I only really notice it when I’m trying to find out if I notice any astringency to the cup.  That is to say, it’s not a strong astringency or something that really stands out unless I’m trying to ‘find’ it.

The third and final cup was smoother than the second.  I found the second cup to be sweeter but the third cup to be more unified and even less astringent than the second.  I pick up on hints of apple in this cup.  The sweet notes are more like honey than they are butterscotch.  The aforementioned malt notes are less noticeable this time.

Overall, this is a really enjoyable cup and I’m thrilled that I got to try it.  I love that Dachi Tea has reached their goal on Kickstarter and will, therefore, be funded.  I also love the packaging of this company!  Inside the box was a beautiful metallic, coppery gift bag that has been labeled with Dachi’s logo, and inside the gift bag are their four flagship Oolong teas.  (So, needless to say, I’ll be reviewing the other three teas very soon!)

This new company approached me to help spread the word about their up-and-coming company as well as their Kickstarter campaign which has been enormously successful.  However, every bit helps, so why not consider supporting Dachi on Kickstarter and get some really great perks in the process (in this case, perks = tea and other great stuff!)  This Kickstarter campaign ends soon!

Tea Feature - Organic Green Phoenix

The Tea Horse Road - Wed, 12/31/2014 - 08:00
From the organic tea gardens located in the mountainous area of Anhui Province, China.An excellent tea that can be had daily without feeling the pinch to the pocket.The tea is light and soothing but with enough of a body for a mild caffeine feel.Very enlivening and refreshing.








Cookie Dough Flavored Iced Black Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 23:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Southern Boy Teas

Tea Description:

What’s better than eating a tub of cookie dough? Drinking an awesome organic iced tea with accents of organic cookie dough flavors and zero calories!

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

So, I was really excited to learn about this tea!  Cookie Dough iced tea?  Yum!

But I was a little skeptical too, because I wondered how well the idea of cookie dough would translate to an iced tea.  But if anyone could do it, Frank at Zoomdweebies could do it!

And this is really tasty.  It took a few sips of the tea for my palate to get used to the idea that it was drinking cookie dough.  But once those flavors developed on my palate, I really found it difficult to stop sipping!  I’m on my third glass of this tea now, and it’s almost gone!

It’s sweet and I taste the buttery flavors of the dough.  I also taste hints of a brown sugar like sweetness and hints of chocolate.  These flavors meld nicely with the brisk flavor of the black tea base.

To brew:  I used the hot brew method (I usually do with iced teas that I’m going to be reviewing because I feel that this is the best way to get the flavor from the tea so that I can offer the best and “most accurate” review I can.)  I heated 1 quart of water to boiling and then steeped the large tea pouch for 2 minutes.  I poured the hot tea into my favorite tea pitcher and then repeated the process, heating another quart of water to boiling and resteeping the pouch for 2 1/2 minutes.  Then I combined both quarts of tea in my pitcher and I let the temperature drop to room temperature before stashing it in the fridge.

It is a sweet iced tea so I’d advise caution if you are one who sweetens the whole pitcher of tea as you’re making it.  Maybe either go a little lighter on the sweetener or better yet, don’t sweeten it and maybe make a simple sugar syrup to sweeten it if you decide it needs a little something.  I didn’t sweeten this at all and it tastes great served unsweetened.

A really yummy iced tea.  Now, I’m looking forward to the “hot tea” version of this from 52Teas!  (That’s your cue, Frank.)

Why do you choose your your teaware?

The Sip Tip - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 20:41
I have run several small interesting experiments with my friends, namely when giving them a choice to use any cup I have to offer, who chooses which, and why did they choose that one?  Is there something about the shape, glaze, size that appeals to them, more than any other piece? Oddly while most of my teaware distinctively speaks to me and as such has traits I admire, the pieces chosen by

Golden Tips Teas Okayti Muscatel Darjeeling

Tea For Me Please - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 17:00
Country of Origin: India Leaf Appearance: small, dark and somewhat twisted Ingredients: black tea Steep time: 5 minutes Water Temperature: 195 degrees Preparation Method: Teavana Perfect Steeper Liquor: dark amber I can't put my finger on the reason why but Darjeeling will always be a soft spot for me. I was excited to dig into this sample because I have never tried anything from +Golden Tips Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Coca tisane: Peruvian Pick-Me-Up

T Ching - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 13:01

What’s green, warm, and is not warm green tea? For centuries, the people of Peru have chewed the leaves of the Erythoxylin coca plant. Ethnobotanists like Wade Davis, Andrew Weil, and Joel Hanna have studies the leaf, and recommend its consumption. It’s known for its digestive, uplifting, and hunger-stifling properties, as well as brewing into a flavorful medicinal tisane. As a quick note, coca tisane is constantly referred to as coca tea, but it does not contain any actual tea or caffeine.

Coca is a leafy shrub native to South America. It was discovered, according to the Quechua tradition (Quechua being the language spoken by the native peoples of Peru and the surrounding area), by a grieving Mamachia, searching for her child. In a moment of grief, she chewed absent-mindedly on a leaf, and found it gave her comfort, while suppressing her hunger.

Coca is ingested by the Quechua either as the raw leaf for chewing, flour for baking, or boiled as a tisane. Its use as a tisane was prescribed by Dr. Weil as a cure for the dizziness and nausea caused by altitude sickness in the altitudinous Andes.

Now for the white elephant in the room. Yes, cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant. The coca plant contains the alkaloid cocaine, along with eighteen other alkaloids. Through a complicated process involving toxic pits full of volatile chemicals, the cocaine alkaloid is concentrated into an infamous white powder. Coca tisane therefore contains cocaine; however, the concentration of cocaine by weight is very low in the coca leaves (less than 1%). The most important fact about the coca-cocaine relationship is that coca is imbued with a mix of alkaloids.  The other alkaloids and compounds present in coca mediate the absorption and effect of cocaine once it gets into the bloodstream. An additional mitigator is the low amount of coca present in the coca tisane, about a gram a teabag. Comparing coca to cocaine has been said by Wade Davis to be comparable to tea and snorting pure caffeine powder.

Coca tisane has a few pleasant physiological effects though. It is an excellent cure for nausea. Coca tisane will give you a uplifting buzz, with a feeling of warmth and energy, but you’re not going to get high off of it. The effects are not in the least long-lasting, and in my experience, are much less intense than those of caffeine drinks. Coca tisane is less stimulating than coffee, matcha, or even a stiff cup of English breakfast. It sure ain’t white tea, but you’re not reliving the 80’s.

Tastewise, coca tisane is very similar to green tea. It contains the grassy element that is prominent in Japanese sencha, and an excellent smooth quality. It’s sweet at first, but the small quantities of alkaloids cause a bitter aftertaste that can result in a faint tingling sensation in the mouth. Altogether; it is a very pleasant drink.

The legality of this tea is an issue. Coca is not legal in the US, due to the fraudulent and downright racist report of the 1950 “Report of the Commission of Enquiry on the Coca Leaf” to the UN, which established coca as narcotic in 1962. A four-man team, composed of two doctors, a businessman heavily invested in the pharmaceutical industry, and the head of the Narcotics Bureau of France found an effective, natural medicine and restorative used for centuries among the native peoples of Peru to cause malnutrition and an inability to advance socially. To acquire coca tea, one must either go to Peru, or order teabags online. I found some when I visited a local Peruvian cafe. The tea wasn’t on the menu, but the owner happily brought some out from behind the counter when I asked.

In the end though, coca is actually an already popular character in the American drink scene. Coca-cola is flavoured using the oils (Decoccainized, or course) of E. novovgranese, a wintergreen-imbued variant of the coca plant. Coca tea: it’s the pause that refreshes.

Loading image courtesy of Ben Dane.          IMAGE 1:

Ben Dane is a freshman at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C.  He works part time in a tea shop, and has completed the first course toward certification as Genuine Tea Geek.

The post Coca tisane: Peruvian Pick-Me-Up appeared first on T Ching.

Peppermint Peace Herbal Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

SororiTEA Sisters - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

Can’t we all just get along? Probably not. But at least we have tea, and in this case, it tastes like honey and peppermint! A great tea to relax with before bed, or a great tea to start your morning off minty. Whatever the case, just give (peppermint) peace a chance and try this blend out.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love licorice and I like peppermint, so I found myself curious about this blend.  They are very “polarizing” flavors – it seems that people either like licorice or they don’t, and the same is true of peppermint.  And they are two very strong flavors too, so I found myself wondering how well they’d work together.

The answer:  I really like the way these two ingredients work together.

To brew this tisane, I used my Kati tumbler and poured the entire sample into the basket because I generally like to use extra leaf in my tisanes.  I suspect that the sample might be enough for two 8 ounce cups with a slightly weaker flavor than I’m enjoying now, but for this 12 ounce tumbler, I think that the sample is just the right amount.  I heat the water to 195°F and let the tisane steep for 8 minutes.

As I just mentioned, these two ingredients work very well together.  The coolness of the peppermint helps to curb some of the sharper notes of the licorice while the warm licorice notes help to reduce some of the strong minty tones so that this doesn’t taste like toothpaste.

It has a slightly medicinal taste but not in a bad way, it’s soothing.  Instead, it’s a comforting yet exhilarating cuppa that’s naturally caffeine free.  Like what you’d want to drink if you were feeling a little under the weather.  I am tasting that zesty licorice, a pleasing honeyed sweetness and the crisp minty notes of the peppermint.  It’s a little sweet and a little spicy.

As I sip it, I was trying to think of the word that best captures this tisane:  refreshing!

Wild Woman Black Tea Blend from Tay Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 12/29/2014 - 23:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Tea Information:

Do you have as much trouble finding well-balanced berry teas as we do? Look no further. This is the one. Wild Woman has an amazing dark berry aroma. Don’t let it scare you off though because it softens in the sip. The hibiscus is light and adds to how deliciously tart this tea is. The blueberry and black currant authentically flavour a bold black tea base.

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

After reading the description of this tea on the website, I was a little apprehensive.  I’m not into hibiscus, as I’ve said on many occasions and I really think that hibiscus is “overused” in the tea industry.  It’s become a substitute for true berry flavor and I think that’s a shame.  So, I found myself thinking … “ugh, hibiscus in a berry blend, how original.”  (sarcasm, of course!)

But … this is pretty darned good, I must say!

As the description above promises, the hibiscus here is light.  It doesn’t add too much tartness nor does it add a thick, syrupy texture to the cup.  There’s just a wee bit of hibiscus tart that accents the berry notes in a pleasant way.  But what I’m appreciating here is that the hibiscus isn’t taking away from the berry flavors or making it tastes too hibiscus-y.  Instead, the hibiscus seems to encourage the berry notes to come forward.

The black tea is a medium-bodied tea, brisk and even toned.  It is smooth, not very astringent (a moderate astringency is noticed at the tail) and it doesn’t taste bitter.

The blueberry is the top note.  It’s sweet and it’s my favorite aspect of this blend.  The currant offers a slight wine-like quality to the cup and it adds just a hint of tartness.  There is that berry tingle at the end of the sip.

A very enjoyable berry tea.  I didn’t try it latte but I think it would be quite nice with a splash of milk in it – berries and cream!  It has a nice sweetness to it and doesn’t require sugar to coax the flavors to come forward, so I would recommend tasting this one before you sweeten because you may find it doesn’t need it.

It tastes good hot but I liked it even better as it cooled.  It had a really pleasant flavor, suggesting to me that this one would be great to have on hand in the summer for iced tea!

Crimson Lotus Tea 2012 Bulang Gushu "Ancient Tree" Ripe Puerh

Tea For Me Please - Mon, 12/29/2014 - 17:00
Country of Origin: China Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly compressed Ingredients: puerh tea Steep time: 30 seconds Water Temperature: 212 degrees Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan Liquor: very dark, almost black You all know how much I love raw puerh. Shu has never really been my thing, mostly because a lot of what is out there simply isn't good tea. +Crimson Lotus Tea threw a sample of this Nicole Martinhttps://plus.google.com/103097147251455801975noreply@blogger.com0

Tea as a tool for good

T Ching - Mon, 12/29/2014 - 13:03

If the phrase “you are what you eat” holds true, then perhaps the same standard can be applied when tea enters the equation. Tea is not only one of the most consumed beverages in the world, but behind the scenes, there are thousands of hard-working individuals who help set the high ethical standards of this ancient industry. No easy task, indeed. And there is no better example than the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), which works to improve the sustainability of tea by setting international social and environmental criteria for producers to follow. What lays at the crux of the ETP’s mission is something powerful, and that is to touch the lives of many in a positive way. Part of the reason why the partnership continues to prevail is due to the fact that it boasts nearly 30 of the most influential tea companies as members.

Tea has never been such a competitive and exciting enterprise to join, spawning unique opportunities for members of the tea community to get together and form new social partnerships focused outside on issues areas outside the industry. With our industry generating over $10 billion in sales today, imagine a “best-case scenario” for an ardent idealist, where 1% of total revenue is directed towards helping game-changers to find innovative solutions to global challenges. An example of this type of initiative exists in the form of the One Percent for the Plant, a global movement of companies, across all industries, donate at least 1% of their annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide. In 2012, One Percent for Profit global network claims to have contributed more than $100 million “to environmental preservation.”

A Call To Unite Tea’s Most Impassioned Leaders to Spark Social Change

With $100,000,000 generated from a new partnership, the tea industry could purchase a SMS phone for every citizen of Liberia. Within the last decade, the civil war plaguing Liberia has resulted in approximately 95% of its healthcare facilities decimated. Non-profits like Medic Mobile, operating successful healthcare programs in countries like Malawi, give people tools to empower themselves by managing their healthcare through text messaging. As a dyed-in-the-wool social enterprise, Tea of the People is proud to be giving a portion of our profits to support Medic Mobile this December.

In the West, we are fortunate enough to be able to drive to our local pharmacy for medication with near perfect certainty that whatever our doctors have prescribed us will be there. In places like Liberia, one must trek miles to a local clinic, usually only to find out their medication will not be in stock for weeks. If the tea industry came together to donate a portion of its profits to organizations like Medic Mobile to provide the resources to help just one village, the impact would be tremendous.  In addition, the industry would be aiding in the development of a model that is applicable to villages throughout the developing world. The purpose of illustrating the scenario is to inspire fellow tea entrepreneurs that we are an industry of larger and ever-growing size, possessing the resources to bring change.

The spirit of such lofty thinking is fundamental to Tea of the People.  Painted all over our website and packing is the phrase, our aim to support game-changing entrepreneurs and non-profits. Tea companies across the globe have established their own self-guiding principals, doing everything from purchasing carbon neutral credits to supporting local food banks and homeless shelters. But the truth is, no matter how many tea cups Tea of the People fills with our innovative blends, collaboration between our company and fellow tea companies will not only yield more impactful results, but a more conscious-driven model and criteria set applicable to industries across the business spectrum for corporate social responsibility.

As previously underscored, the tea industry is a fascinating space to operate in, experiencing tremendous growth. So, let’s come together to form a new partnership to empower leaders who are taking on our world’s most trying problems. We encompass both the human and financial capital not only to continue to set the highest ethical standards in our industry, but demonstrate leadership outside of it as well.

Tea of the People / IMAGE 1:

The post Tea as a tool for good appeared first on T Ching.

Fujian Golden Monkey (Jin Mao Hou) Black Tea from What-Cha Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Mon, 12/29/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

A delightful black tea with a caramel nose and taste without any bitterness or astringency. Perfect for all times of the day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is AWESOME!   Seriously, this is one of my favorite black teas of all time.  It’s amazing.  Astonishingly good.  This!

To brew this tea, I could have gone all out and grabbed the gaiwan and steeped it like that.  But, I don’t like to use the gaiwan for black teas because even though I’ve got my easy gaiwan, the boiling water does get those little ceramic “handles” for the fingertips hot and I didn’t want to burn the fingers.  So, I used my Kati Tumbler and measured 1 bamboo scoop into the basket and brought 12 ounces of water to a boil and let it steep for 3 minutes.

Even the aroma of the brewed tea, as the cup sits here in front of me and I await the tea to reach a cooler temperature so that I can start sipping – even the fragrance is enough to send me into a state of excitement.

Imagine a kid on Christmas morning.  It’s 5: 58 am and his parents said that under no circumstances were they to be awakened before 6 am and the child is trying to be mindful of his parents’ command.  So, there he sits, in a state of pure impatient bliss and excitement waiting out those 2 minutes.  Yeah, that’s me now, waiting on this tea.

The fragrance is sweet, caramel-y with delicious notes of cocoa.  Background notes of leather and earth.  It smells so rich and it’s that smell that is telling me to get ready because this is going to taste GOOD!

Oh … so good.

The flavor is what the aroma suggests it would be:  sweet, caramel-y with notes of cocoa.  The notes of cacao are so well defined that it almost tastes like I dropped a few cacao shells into the basket of the Kati before I brewed the tea.  I didn’t, of course, but it tastes like I did!

There’s a backdrop of earthy notes and a leathery tone.  Delightful notes of malt that mingle with the notes of caramel and cocoa for a rich flavor that hints at being creamy.  It isn’t “creamy” the way some teas can be exactly but it entices the mind to evoke thoughts of something creamy and dreamy.

And really, dreamy is what this tea is.  If I had to limit myself to one pure black tea for the rest of my life, this tea would probably be the one that I’d choose.  This is the kind of flavor that I love so much that I wouldn’t mind starting every day sipping it.  There is no bitterness.  There IS a sweet yet savory quality to the tea with an emphasis on the sweet.  There is virtually no astringency.

The sip is pure pleasure from start to finish.  I love this tea!

Spicier Chai Blend from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 12/28/2014 - 23:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

Looking for a chai with a little extra ZING? You’ve found it! We crafted this warming chai with extra ginger and cinnamon, plenty of anise seed, peppercorns and even a touch of red pepper flakes. It’s not super spicy like they cayenne pepper blends we’ve created, but it will do a great job of warming your bones.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

The name of this chai made me go hmm.  – Spicier Chai –  Spicier than what?  But after I took my first sip, I got it.  I understood.

Because…

Wow!  “Spicier” is right!

And to answer the question:  it’s spicier than your average chai.  And it might even be spicier than the average spicy chai.  Frank (Chief Zoomdweebie at 52Teas) didn’t skimp on the spices in this chai.

And I’m LOVING it!  This is the way chai should be.

Oh sure, I’ve loved many a mild chai.  But, in my heart of hearts, I like my spices robust and zesty, and to call this Spicier chai “robust and zesty” would be an understatement.  This takes robust and zesty to the extreme!  This is sure to warm you up after a day out in the snow.  (Or the cold, biting rain like we experience here in the Pacific Northwest.)  This will warm you up – starting on the inside and that heat will radiate outward.  And I like it like that.

There is a good amount of ginger to this, and that, along with some black pepper and red pepper flake is what is providing the heat.  But I’m glad that there is more to this chai than just ginger and pepper!  I am getting a nice cinnamon-y backdrop and a pleasant anise flavor.  The snappy-sweet licorice flavor from the anise contrasts nicely with the peppery flavors.  The cardamom and clove work together with the cinnamon to create a cohesive “chai” flavor rather than something that tastes like it’s all peppery/gingery heat.

I think that’s what I like best about this chai is that it’s not a one-note kind of chai.  I am tasting a masala blend here, not just one or two spices.

Yes, I do taste the black tea too.  I have to say that it does get a little lost in the spices here, but the black tea is strong enough to offer a background of black tea flavor.  I’m not drinking an infusion of spices.  I’m drinking black tea and spices and that is evident in the flavor.  The nuances of the black tea are difficult to discern.  I’m not tasting “delicate floral notes in the background” or “notes of fruit” within the layers of flavor.  I taste SPICE and I taste black tea.  And really, that’s good enough for me because the spice is bold and strong and that’s what makes this a seriously good chai.

If you’re one who tastes a chai and thinks, “Hey, where is the spice?”  or if you’re one who thinks that the average chai is just a little on the tame side, you really should try this chai!  This chai has some bite!

Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea from Teavivre

SororiTEA Sisters - Sun, 12/28/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

TeaVivre brings you the fresh Monkey King Monkey King Tie Guan Yin which has no heavy roasting flavor. It is from the origin place of Tie Guan Yin, Anxi in Fujian Province. The twisted dry leaves are tight and strong in dragonfly-like shape. Dry tea has the light refreshing fragrance of vegetables and fruits. After brewed, the characteristic fresh scent of Tie Guan Yin comes. The tea liquid tastes sweet and its fragrance lasts long.

Tie Guan Yin has two different kinds of making method, Zheng Chao (正炒,) and Tuo Suan (拖酸), which was introduced in the description of Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin. This Anxi Monkey King (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin belongs to zheng chao Tie Guan Yin tea, has comfortable brisk and smooth flavor without the sour taste on your tongue, just like the Anxi Superfine Tie Guan Yin.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a lovely Tie Guan Yin – it’s a little different than the ‘typical’ Tie Guan Yin, at least, those that I’m used to.  The leaves above look greener than the leaves that I found when I opened the sample pouch, these appear to be a chocolate brown color with notes of a deep forest-y green.  They look as though they might have been lightly roasted or at the very least they appear as though they were oxidized a little longer than the typical green Tie Guan Yin.

To brew this tea, I grabbed my gaiwan and measured a bamboo scoop of leaf into the bowl of the gaiwan.  I rinsed the leaves for 15 seconds in 180°F.  Then I discarded the liquid and resteeped the leaves for 45 seconds in 180°F water and strained the liquid into my teacup.  Then I repeated the process, adding 15 seconds onto each subsequent infusion.  I combined the first 2 infusions to create my first cup, infusions 3 and 4 combined made my second cup, and so on…

And after tasting the tea, I think I’m correct with the ‘roasted’ guess because I taste a nice roasty-toasty flavor to this.  It’s sweet and nutty and very pleasantly smooth.  There is very little astringency to this first cup.  It’s creamy and this creaminess develops as the cup cools.  I found the first few sips to be crisper, brisker than the sips that followed as the cup cooled somewhat.  As the tea cooled, the brisk flavor became more subdued and the creaminess came forward.  While I liked that brisk note, I am liking the creaminess even more.  I like the way it melds with the nutty flavors.

The second cup was not quite as creamy as the first but I found it to be even smoother.  The roasty-toasty notes remind me of notes of charred wood and freshly roasted, still warm chestnuts.  The toasty flavors lend an autumnal taste to the cup, evoking thoughts of a walk on an afternoon when the weather is crisp and the fallen leaves are crackling beneath your feet.  You can smell hints of smoke in the air from a nearby chimney.  It’s a very cozy and comforting flavor.

The third cup almost seemed like a different tea entirely!  It’s still smooth, but this tastes brisker and cleaner.  I’m not getting as much a nutty tone as I’m getting a fruit-like flavor.  Hints of peach with the charred wood notes that I experienced in the second cup.

This third cup is a very refreshing tea – my palate feels clean after sipping it but don’t mistake that for a ‘cleansing astringency’ because I’m not experiencing that.  What I’m experiencing is a crisp, clean flavor that isn’t inundated with a heaviness.  It is gentle and soft on the palate and doesn’t weigh it down with flavors.  It’s an invigorating taste.  As the cup cools slightly, some of the nutty flavors start to emerge and these meld beautifully with the peachy flavors.

A really lovely Tie Guan Yin.  If you are familiar with the greener Tie Guan Yin, I strongly recommend trying this one for something a little different!  This is yet another example of why I love Oolong teas so much – the word “Oolong” can mean a vast number of different tastes and just when you think you’re familiar with one type of Oolong, something comes along like this Monkey King and offers something a little different and makes you fall in love with Tie Guan Yin all over again!

Bemolapur Estate Assam STGFOP1 Black Tea from Capital Tea Limited

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 12/27/2014 - 23:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Capital Tea Limited

Tea Description:

Small tightly rolled leaves with a high proportion of golden tips. These amazingly aromatic leaves produce a highly concentrated sweet and full bodied tea liquor with an incredibly rich dark chocolate-malt character. An outstanding breakfast tea to enjoy with milk.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love it when I find a really excellent Assam tea – and this Bemolapur Estate Assam from Capital Tea Limited is indeed excellent!  The flavor is full and robust!  This is the kind of tea you want on those mornings when you need to shake the sleepy, because it’s got plenty of gusto!

To brew this Assam, I heated the water to 205°F and poured the sampling I received into the basket of my Kati Tumbler.  Then I poured the water over the leaves and steeped the tea for 2 1/2 minutes.  This is a tea that I’d recommend tinkering around with to find just the right time and temperature for you, because although my cup was not bitter, it was somewhat astringent and I suspect that the tea would have been bitter if I steeped it for another 15 or 30 seconds.

Fortunately, I cut off the steeping time at just the right time for my palate because what I’m getting is a sweet, malty richness that I love from an Assam tea.  Bold!  Delectable notes of dark chocolate with an undertone of honeyed caramel.

I liked this tea served hot, straight up.  But I did let part of the cup go cold (I got distracted and was away from my cup too long!) and it’s quite tasty as a cold tea too (again, straight up).  It would also be nice with a dollop of honey (to accentuate those honey undertones) and a splash of milk (the creaminess of the dairy together with the malt would be outstanding).

A really lovely tea.

We Trust You

The Devotea - Sat, 12/27/2014 - 21:00
As a strictly loose leaf tea vendor, we are offering our customers something that teab*g vendors never can: trust. Taking aside all of the other reasons to not buy teab*gs – poor work practices on mega-plantations, lack of quality, a desire to not have staples, glue, paper or plastic in your tea – the very […]

Tea Review 551: Tea ‘n’ Teas’ Nilgiri Frost Tea

Walker Tea Review - Sat, 12/27/2014 - 13:30
  Origin: Parkside Estate, Ghats, Nilgiri Hills, India Score: 90 Price (as of post): contact for price   Sample provided by Tea’n'Teas. Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings. Want to see a tea reviewed? Contact me: jason@walkerteareview.com

1997 Light Green 7582 Private Order Pu-erh Tea from White Two Tea

SororiTEA Sisters - Sat, 12/27/2014 - 11:00

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  White Two Tea

Tea Description:  

This cake is made from the Menghai factory recipe 7582, composed of many larger leaves. This production was made on private order at a smaller factory between  1995-1999, we decided to take the median of the age and list it as 1997, though we can not pinpoint an exact year. The tea is already smooth and easy to drink. There is some humidity that still shows up in early steeps.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about White Two Tea’s Tea Club Subscription here.

Taster’s Review:

Nice!

The aroma of the dry leaf is delicate and earthy.  It’s not a strong fragrance which I sometimes find in an aged tea.  I’m glad the earthy notes are rather subtle here because it’s usually that really strong, earthy scent that I find off-putting.  This is not off-putting at all.

To brew it, I grabbed my gaiwan.  I eyeballed a measurement of leaf (the sampling I received from White Two Tea had been broken off the cake) and placed it in my gaiwan.  After having brewed cake pu-erh enough times, I’ve gotten to the point where I can recognize by sight how much tea is “the right amount.”

As I said, the sampling had already been broken off the cake, but a couple of the pieces were a little thicker, so I took a knife and I split the leaves apart so that I’d get a proper infusion.

I brought the water in my kettle to 185° and I poured enough water into my gaiwan to cover the leaves.  Then I let that steep for 15 seconds and strained off the liquid, discarding it.  This is a “rinse” or a reawakening of the leaves.  I find this step is crucial for the best tasting cup of tea.

Then I filled the gaiwan with more water (same temperature) and let it steep for 45 seconds and strained it into my little teacup.

Ah … this is lovely!  It’s sweet and mellow.  The earthiness is perhaps the most pleasant earthiness I’ve yet to taste from a pu-erh.  There have been times when the earthy qualities are just not pleasant at all.  They taste a bit more like earth than they do earthy, if you get what I’m saying.  But, this is more like the flavor of a mushroom.  That’s the kind of earthy I like.

It’s not brine-y.  It doesn’t taste fishy.  It’s remarkably smooth with no astringency and no bitterness.  It’s a really lovely cup of tea.  And since it’s a pu-erh, I can take this for several infusions (and by several infusions – when it comes to pu-erh – I mean more than 3 or 4!)

The second infusion presented a slightly deeper flavor than the first.  Earthy, and I’m starting to pick up on the development of a caramel-y like flavor.  Very pleasant.  Mild.  Smooth.  A hint of a vegetative flavor that complements the aforementioned mushroom note.

The flavor kept getting deeper with each subsequent infusion.  It remained very mellow, smooth and sweet.  The sweetness develops from a caramel-y note to more of a dark molasses-y type of flavor.

I picked up on notes of raw cacao in later infusions.  I’m also picking up on a mineral-y quality and a slight ‘tangy’ note to it.  Not astringent tangy, but as if someone had squeezed a lime on my tongue but without the distinct lime note.

I really enjoyed this tea – the first that I’ve tried from this new-to-me company!  I found this experience to be quite encouraging of what is to come!

Cinnamon Apple Honeybush from 52Teas

SororiTEA Sisters - Fri, 12/26/2014 - 23:00

Tisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tisane Description:

Organic, caffeine-free honeybush blended with real freeze-dried granny smith and red delicious apples, cinnamon chips and organic flavors.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

It seems that this fall season, Zoomdweebies is embracing the apple!  There have been several apple-y flavors released this year.  That’s OK with me, because I’ve been enjoying them!

For this review, I decided to try something a little different with the brewing process.  I steeped it in my Breville One-Touch (nothing different about that) but instead of going with 500ml of water, I went with 750ml of water and poured the whole pouch (1/2 ounce) of tisane into the basket of my Breville.  The reason for this is that when I was measuring out the 3 bamboo scoops of tea into the basket, I noticed that there was about a scoop left of the tisane (maybe a little more than 1 scoop, like a heaping scoop).  So, I decided to to ahead and add a little more water to the jug and use the whole pouch.   I set the parameters for 195°F and 10 minutes steep time.

The result is a tasty pot of caffeine-free tisane!  Two very large mugs full to the brim of cinnamon apple-y goodness.  Before I took my first sip, I set my Breville One-Touch to “keep warm” so that I could have another hot cup of yummy, but shortly afterward, I thought that I’d like to try it iced.  So, I poured the rest of the tea into a lidded cup so that I could refrigerate it.

This blend is a really delightful combination of flavors:  the sweet apple notes with just a hint of tartness toward the finish, the zesty, warm notes of cinnamon and the honeyed nutty flavors of the honeybush.  It’s pleasantly sweet – no need for additions with this one – so if you’re one who typically adds sweetener before you taste it, I would recommend trying this one before you add anything to it.  If you like your drinks sweet, a dollop of honey would be a nice addition.

Served warm, I find it to be somewhat hot apple cider-like and I really liked that.  It also makes a refreshing cold drink, although I found that as it cooled, I could taste a slight chemical note from the flavoring.  It’s very slight and it was not as apparent to me when I drank the hot tea.

I enjoyed this, but not quite as much as I enjoyed some of the other apple offerings this season from Zoomdweebies.

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