SororiTea Sisters

A Sorority of Sisters Who Love Tea

Bali Bamboo Leaf Tisane from Wise Owl Tea

April24

BambooLeafTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tea

Where to Buy:  Wise Owl Tea

Tea Description:

Our delicious Bamboo Leaf and nettle tea will leave you feeling refreshed, and conjure up images of the tropical island of Bali in the Indonesian archipelago. Long sugary beaches leading into hillsides terraced with Bamboo. The tall supple plants gently swaying in the coastal breeze. One sip and the Island of Bali is just around the corner This fabulous blend is a mild, sweet, green tea flavour. 

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I haven’t had a lot of bamboo teas/tisanes during my time as a tea reviewer, and I’m finding myself a little surprised at just how much this Bali Bamboo Leaf Tisane from Wise Owl Tea tastes like green tea!  It has that sweet, light, clean flavor of a pure green tea, although I’m finding this to be a wee bit sweeter.  There is no bitterness here and no astringency.

The brewed liquid even LOOKS like a green tea, which had me zapping myself over to the website to check out the ingredients of this tisane again to make sure it wasn’t actually a green tea.  Nope, this tisane contains only bamboo leaf and nettle.  Of course, the addition of the nettle in this blend probably contributes to the “green tea” taste of it.  Nettle tends to have a sweet, grassy taste – just like green tea.

This has a slight buttery tone to it, and that vegetative taste that falls somewhere in between freshly steamed veggies and sweet grass.  It has a flavor that is reminding me of a Chinese Sencha, but it’s free of caffeine.  It’s a pleasant cuppa and would make a great substitution for a green tea for someone who needs to refrain from consuming caffeine but still want to drink green tea.  I don’t need to restrict my caffeine consumption and I’m still finding this lovely to drink.  It is a tasty, refreshing beverage!

So far, I’ve been very impressed with the tisanes that I’ve tried from Wise Owl Tea.  I’m hoping to try more from them in the future!

Li Li Xiang Anxi Wulong 2013 Oolong Tea from Seven Cups

April23

lilixiangTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Seven Cups

Tea Description:

The name “Li Li Xiang” means each leaf is fragrant. Most versions on the market are made from a blend of several tea bushes such as huang dan, ben shan ,mao xie and tie guan. This year we are excited to introduce Li Li Xiang made purely from leaves of the Tie Guan Yin Bush. Experience the stronger dark chocolate aroma, rich lightly roasted flavor and complex aftertaste of this high quality tea. While this tea’s level of oxidation is similar to other Anxi teas like Monkey Picked, it has undergone more intense roasting in its processing. This stronger roast gives Li Li Xiang a golden liquor color and a flavor that is reminiscent of Anxi’s traditional style. The interesting flavor and affordable price makes this a great everyday wulong tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Subscribe to Steepster Select here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of the dry leaf of this Li Li Xiang Anxi Wulong 2013 Oolong Tea from Seven Cups was very interesting to me, it had a fragrance that was familiar – smelling of a top-notch Tie Guan Yin Oolong – but, the scent was much more intense than I have experienced with other Tie Guan Yin Oolong teas that I’ve tried.  It smelled very lush and “green” but there were also some very intriguing notes of raw chocolate.  The brewed tea loses much of this aroma, smelling mostly of vegetation, but there are some faint hints of raw chocolate if I really focus on the scent.

The raw chocolate notes translate – surprisingly! – to the flavor, and what a delightful surprise that was.  I’m not sure if it’s because I was smelling the chocolate in the aroma that my palate simply wanted to taste the chocolate but … it still took me aback because I’m not used to experiencing chocolate from a pure Oolong like this.

The vegetal notes are present too, but they meld with the other flavors of the cup.  I taste notes of flower and peach, with hints of toasted nut in the distance.  There is a creaminess to the cup too.  This creaminess reminds me a bit of vanilla, but it’s not quite a sweet as vanilla.  I like how the creaminess complements the notes of cacao.

My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was even more delightful than the first.  The vegetal notes are softer now, and the fruit notes are emerging.  The floral notes blend in with the fruit notes and I like the flavor that the two produce together.  The notes of vanilla remain although this isn’t quite as creamy as the first cup.  I’m still noticing the subtle raw cacao notes.

With my third cup (infusions 5 and 6) the flavors were beginning to soften a bit.  This is still a very flavorful cup, but, I don’t think that I’ll continue to infuse this tea for a fourth cup.   I taste a sweet peach/apricot note mingling with the floral notes.  The vanilla is less discernable now, and I taste very little cacao as well.

This is a really wonderful tea.  One of the very best Tie Guan Yin I’ve ever tasted!

Glen Arbor Breakfast Tea from Whispering Pines Tea Company

April23

GlenArborBreakfastTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Whispering Pines Tea Company

Tea Description:

Glen Arbor Breakfast is our classic, everyday breakfast blend. On those days that you just need a cuppa to get moving, this is the tea for you! This robust tea was inspired by riverside morning walks in the summertime with the perfect breeze whispering through the pines and the birds singing cheerfully. Glen Arbor Breakfast brews a smooth, sweet cup that can be taken plain or with sugar and cream, boasting a pleasant light stringency at the end of the sip and lasting aftertaste of cedar wood and malt! Second and third infusions morph into a beautiful earthy and malty cup with cooling eucalyptus notes!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was excited to try this Glen Arbor Breakfast Tea from Whispering Pines Tea Company.  I had been reading some positive tasting notes written about this tea on Steepster, and I was interested to experience the tea for myself.

And since the description above suggests several infusions with this tea, I decided to take it through it’s paces.  My first infusion proved to be a hearty, robust cup of tea.  A bit more astringent than I expected – I wouldn’t categorize this as “light” astringency, it’s more of a medium astringency in my opinion.  I do get the aftertastes of cedar and malt, and those are quite pleasant, indeed.

The flavor is rich and earthy.  There are hints of smoke to this – not a strong, smoky presence, but, enough for me to envision a walk through the woods on a crisp spring or autumn morning.

My second infusion … wow!  I am tasting those eucalyptus notes as promised in the above description.  It’s a really cool and crisp sensation, and it evokes more of those thoughts of a morning jaunt through the woods.

This tea really should be infused at least twice, I think, because I’m finding the second cup to be more rewarding than the first.  The first was good – certainly!  But the second is even better.  The body is not quite as hearty, but, what it loses in bold, bracing flavor, it gains in complexity.  The astringency is lighter here, and the taste is smoother.  I love the malty flavor and earthy tones of this cup.

This is a little different from most breakfast type teas that I’ve tried – I can definitely taste the “woodsy” influence to this cup.  While I know that the teas of Whispering Pines Tea Company are inspired by Northern Michigan, as I sip them, I feel more connected with the beautiful Pacific Northwest that I call home.  This tea has a very rugged, outdoorsy sort of taste to it.  I like it a lot!

A Day in Provence Rooibos Blend from Tay Tea

April22

Day-In-ProvenceTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tay Tea

Tisane Description:

Soothing and relaxing with a tangy kick that screams at you to make iced tea. As a hot tea, this is still a delight. Layers of red berries, tart currants, lavender and rooibos with subtle hints of rose. The texture of this tea is amazingly soft on the tongue and the lavender persists all the way through each sip.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda’s Monthly Tea Tasting Box here.

Taster’s Review:

This is really lovely!  Despite the suggestion above to make this into iced tea, I opted for a hot tea – there’s just something about lavender that tells me to make hot tea and since it would seem that A Day in Provence Rooibos Blend from Tay Tea has a strong lavender presence I figured hot tea was the way to go this evening.  And as I said … it’s really very lovely!

The lavender is a strong, well-defined essence but it never tastes too floral, perfume-ish or soapy.  The lavender (and the rose) have been added at just the right amounts so that the flavors are present in every sip without tasting of Aunt Mildred’s favorite perfume.

And as much as I enjoy lavender, what I’m enjoying most about this particular cuppa is that I’m not tasting a strong rooibos flavor.  I taste subtle notes of a woody flavor and hints of nutty tones and that familiar honeyed note, but it isn’t a really powerful presence.

Instead, I taste notes of currant and this gives the cup an almost wine-like taste, and the rose and lavender are very complementary to the wine-ish flavors.  I taste a sweet-tart berry note.  Overall this has a very indulgent, beautiful flavor that I am finding very nice.

I’m really happy that this tea was part of this month’s Amoda Tea Box!  Usually, I approach the rooibos/herbal blends with a certain amount of skepticism, but, this is one with which I’m quite pleased.

Ayurvedic De-Stress Tea from Tea of Life

April22

AyuvedicTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.

About Tea of Life Ayurvedic Collection:

The word “Ayurveda” is derived from two words – “Ayus” meaning life and “Veda” meaning ‘knowledge’ or ‘science’.  So the literal meaning of the word Ayurveda is ‘The Science of Life.’

Life or Ayus, according to Ayurveda, is a combination of senses, mind, body and soul.  So Ayurveda does not just limit itself to the body or physical symptoms, but also provides comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and emotional health.  

The traditional healing system of Ayurveda is based on a theory of balance between the body (physical), the soul (spiritual) and the mind (psychological).  

Ingredients:

Green Tea with Lemongrass, Gotukola, Ginger, Lavender Buds, Cumin Seed, Fennel.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t know that I was necessarily looking to “De-Stress” today, but I definitely wanted something that would help me unwind and relax without making me want to go and take a nap (like Chamomile would do!) so I decided I’d try this Ayurvedic De-Stress Tea from Tea of Life to help me calm down a little.

When I opened the individually wrapped package that held this tea bag, I could smell the cumin seed!  I love cumin and because it’s not really a spice that you often find in tea blends, I’m happy when I do come across a tea blend that has cumin in it.

And I can really taste the cumin in the brewed tea.  It is the strongest flavor that I notice in the cup, but, it doesn’t overwhelm the palate.  I am also tasting the gotakola here, and together these two spices give the overall cup a very ‘curry-ish’ sort of flavor.  I also taste notes of green tea and citrus, the peppery notes of ginger and a hint of licorice from the fennel.  I don’t taste a lot of Lavender.

This is a very savory tea with the spices that have been used to craft this blend.  The green tea adds a slight vegetal note and a buttery tone and texture, as well as a hint of sweetness that contrasts nicely with the overall savory flavor of this tea.

I enjoyed it, and I will say that I think it served its purpose as I feel not quite as wound up as I was before I started sipping on this tea.  It’s not something I’d drink daily, but it is something I’d turn to – happily! – on a stressful day when I need something to get my mind back on track.

Organic Nonpareil She Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from Teavivre

April21

She Qian Dragon WellTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

In the early Spring, when the tea buds just appeared their face on the trees, the harvest of She Qian Dragon Well is ready to begin. The tea gardens in Hangzhou are busy making the first flush teas. The fresh leaves of She Qian Dragon Well are all in one bud with one leaf shape, as straight as an upstanding flag. The beautiful shape also brings enjoyment to the brewing.

Organic She Qian Dragon Well Tea can reach your requirements for both quality and health benefits. A good starting of the year is in Spring; a taste of good spring tea is from She Qian Dragon Well.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

FRESH!  This Organic Nonpareil She Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from Teavivre is the brand new harvest from Spring 2014 - wait a sec - this IS Spring 2014!  It doesn’t get fresher than that!

The leaves are beautifully jade green, and they produce a liquid that is very pale green.  The flavor is very fresh, pure, and clean.  There is a sweet, nutty flavor to it that reminds me of chestnuts.  The chestnuts have a slightly buttery taste to them too, and there is an invigorating “green” taste.  This is nutty, vegetal, buttery and pleasantly sweet.

I like the mild flavor of this, it doesn’t have an overpowering vegetative tone.  It has a well-balanced, nicely round flavor.  The texture is soft and brothy.

The flavor is complex with the top notes of sweet chestnuts, steamed veggies that have been lightly drizzled with melted butter and as I continue to sip, I start to pick up on a light, apple-y mid-note.  There is a hint of savory taste in there … almost salty or perhaps kelp-y might be a better way to describe it.  It’s not a strong note, it tastes like someone added about half a pinch of salt to my steamed veggies!

Teavivre has been a long-standing favorite company of mine and this tea is a perfect example of WHY I love them so much.  This is one of the finest Dragon Well teas I’ve yet to taste.  It is so fresh and I can taste that freshness in every sip.

Zhejiang White Pearls from Steepster

April21

ZhejiangWhitePearlsTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Steepster Select

Tea Description:

Hand rolled from the earliest picked buds, this spring harvest tea is light, refreshing, and incredibly floral. A beautifully soft and golden liquor that will focus your senses and revitalize your spirits. A wonderful example of quality white tea.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve had white tea pearls a couple of times in the past, but it’s been a while, so I was excited to see these Zhejiang White Pearls featured in this month’s Steepster Select Box!  And these pearls are amazing!

The size of these pearls are smaller than I remember the white tea pearls that I’ve had in the past being.  Size wise, these are similar to jasmine pearls – but they don’t smell like jasmine pearls!  They have more of a vegetal aroma.

And they certainly don’t taste like jasmine pearls, either!

The flavor is sweet and like honey!  Imagine a very thin honey!  That’s what I’m drinking right now!  It is very light and crisp.  There are very subtle notes of melon, air, earth and a light floral tone in the background.  For those of you who consider a white tea to be too delicate – you should try this one, because the flavors stand out!

Later infusions were a little earthier than the earlier infusions and a little less like thinned honey.  Still sweet and the floral notes begin to emerge.  Still a delightful tea, I think I preferred the first two infusions to the last two.  (It’s still well worth the effort to keep on infusing!)

I am thrilled with this month’s Steepster Select box!  And I want to take a moment to express how happy I am with the customer service from Steepster.  I encountered some issues with my account, and they worked very hard to get these issues resolved, and when the resolution took more time and effort than expected, they sent me this month’s box free of charge to make up for my troubles.  Thank you, Steepster!  If you’re on the fence about trying this amazing monthly subscription, rest assured knowing that you’re in good hands with Steepster!  They’ll take good care of you!

100% Pure Ceylon Tea FBOP1 from Alwazah Tea (Swan Brand)

April20

AlwazahTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Learn more about Alwazah Tea here.

Alwazah Tea is available on Amazon.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t have a lot of information about this Ceylon Tea FBOP1 from Alwazah Tea, as it wasn’t sent to me by a vendor nor did I order it.  It was sent to me by another tea drinker, and since what I do is drink tea and write about it, I decided that I wasn’t about to let my lack of information about the brand of tea or the company that sells it stop me from writing about it!

It’s been my experience that Ceylon Tea is – generally speaking – a fairly moderate, middle-of-the-road, easy-going and equally as easy to sip black tea.  It’s a medium-bodied tea with a fairly “neutral” type flavor that makes it the usual choice for a tea base when flavoring teas.

However, as I sip this Ceylon from Alwazah, I can’t honestly say that this is an easy to sip black tea.  I’m finding it quite tannic.  I brewed it in boiling water for 2 1/2 minutes, so this is not a case of bitter tea because it was over-steeped.

There are other flavors within this tea too, and they’re enjoyable:  I get some sweetness derived from fruit-like flavors in the tea.  I taste notes of stone fruit together with some citrus notes.  I’m liking those flavors, but I’m still rather overwhelmed by the bitterness of the tea that it’s difficult to get a lot of enjoyment out of the sweeter layers of this tea.

It’s also quite astringent.  I usually note an astringency as either “tangy” – which is when I feel a slight pucker on the inside of my cheeks; or “dry” which is when I feel a slightly dry sensation from the astringency.  Here, I get both the pucker on the inside of my cheeks and the dry sensation on my tongue and upper palate.  I often embrace astringency but this is too astringent for my liking.

I am just not enjoying this Ceylon.  I wish I had more positive things to say about it, but, the most positive thing I can say at this point is that it’s drinkable, but, not something I’d want to drink again.

Hazelberry Pu’er Blend from Simple Loose Leaf

April20

hazelberrypuerTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Simple Loose Leaf

Tea Description:

The earthy smoothness of Pu’er creates a warm foundation for the rich flavor of hazelnut while playful, tangy-sweet strawberries peek through the nutty opulence. A hint of cream adds a soft, dreamy note to the blend.

Pu’er Tea, Strawberries, Cocoa Nibs, Natural Strawberry Flavor, Natural Creme Flavor, Natural Hazelnut Flavor

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Taster’s Review:

When I opened the pouch of this Hazelberry Pu’er Blend from Simple Loose Leaf, I didn’t smell a strong earthy aroma.  Instead, what I smelled was hazelnuts!  Hints of fruit in the background, along with a slight earthy tone that mingled with the hazelnuts in way that was agreeable to the olfactory senses.  The brewed tea smells strongly of hazelnuts with notes of earth and a berry note.  

This is a really tasty Pu-erh blend!  The hazelnut flavor is well-defined and stands out.  The earthy notes of the Pu-erh meld with the nutty notes to create this really intense nutty flavor that is quite yummy.  It has a deep and mellow flavor, something that you just want to curl up with and enjoy.

The strawberry notes are not as strongly pronounced as the hazelnut, but, they are sweet with a tart note toward the finish.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had a hazelnut and strawberry blend before, but these two flavors work well together.  There is a creamy backdrop to the cup, and this seems to bring out the cacao flavors a little bit (as does the earthy tones of the Pu-erh and the hazelnut).  If I were to change anything at all about this blend, I’d want a little more chocolate.  But when do I ever want less chocolate?  Never.   More chocolate is always better.

This is really good.  I didn’t brew it the way I traditionally brew a Pu-erh (in my gaiwan) but I did take it for a quick rinse before the first steep, and I do recommend doing this to help wash away some of the stronger earthy qualities of the tea.

I got this tea in my April Selection Club box and I am just thrilled with it!  Wonder what it’s like to get a Selection Club sampler box?  Click here to see what teas I received this month!  Awesome, right?  Well, I’ve got even more good news:  Simple Loose Leaf has a special April promotion.  Get your first month of the Selection Club for just one dollar!  Use this code:  1DOLLARMONTH and enjoy up to five samples of different teas next month for just one dollar!  You can also opt to receive a larger quantity of one or two teas rather than the sampler box that I usually choose. Interested?  Check it out here and enjoy some great teas at a really great price next month.

Pina Colada Flavored Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas

April19

PinaColadaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Learn more about Southern Boy Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

After my last iced tea review (not from Southern Boy Teas), I was really looking forward to getting back to some GOOD iced tea blends from Southern Boy Teas!  This Pina Colada Flavored Iced Tea has been calling out to me for a while, so I finally decided to give in to the calls and give it a try.  Mmm!

This is pretty tasty.  The pineapple and coconut notes are pretty evenly matched here.  I taste a good amount of both pineapple and coconut, with maybe just a wee bit more pineapple than coconut.  I especially enjoy that juicy, sweet-tangy note of pineapple that comes in at the aftertaste.

I also taste notes of rum in this, but the rum is a little more subdued than the fruit notes.  It doesn’t have a really strong alcohol taste, but I can taste the subtle presence of rum.

And I can taste the black tea.  I find myself really appreciating the FLAVOR of the black tea today.  The black tea blend that 52Teas aka Southern Boy Teas uses for their iced tea is of good quality.  It tastes good.  It has a smooth yet brisk flavor.  It’s very refreshing and quenches the thirst.

I’m very happy with this Pina Colada iced tea.  It’s not my favorite of the SBT collection, but, it’s tasty and one I wouldn’t mind drinking again!

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Our mutual love for tea and writing about it inspired us to start this blog so that we could better share this love with others.

One thing I (Anne) learned very early on in my career as a tea artist is that everyone has different preferences, and every single tea tastes differently on every single palate.  So just because one of us doesn’t happen to like a tea, doesn’t mean that YOU (the reader) will not.

We try to be as impartial as we can.  We do have our favorites.  We are human.  But we do our very best to be as fair and as honest about a tea as we can be.

You might not agree with my assessment – or with Jennifer’s assessment – of a tea.  But that’s OK… if we all liked the same exact tea – we’d only need ONE kind of tea and … wow… that sounds really boring, indeed!

What a beautiful world it is that we have so many teas to suit so many tea enthusiasts!

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