Makaibari Bai Mu Dan from Tea People

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White Tea

Where to Buy: Tea People

Tea Description:

This  fine White Darjeeling tea is from the organically certified Makaibari tea estate located in the town of Kurseong.  In the local language ‘Kurseong’ means the land of the white orchid.  This tea is made from the delicate unopened leaves and yields the palest liquor with a light chestnut flavour.  

Learn more about the white teas that are offered here.  This particular variety does not look to be on the website any longer.

Taster’s Review:

 

Makaibari Bai Mu Dan from Tea People is my first voyage into the lineup of what Tea People has to offer their customers. Lately, I’ve been in a flavored tea rut, not enjoying straight teas like I should.  So I thought this would be a great start in forcing myself to try new straight teas.

First of all, I have to say the packaging, website, and the presentation of this tea and tea company are very well done. After doing a bit of research, this is a company I’m going to take another look at the next time I’m buying tea. Their packaging really catches my attention.

So let’s chat about the tea itself. What I first noticed was that the dry leaf really didn’t call my attention or have any defining notes. I was surprised by this but went about steeping the tea per the instructions provided by Tea People.

From what I can gather from the description, this tea is supposed to have a rather light chestnut flavor. That is a note that really does come thru, but that isn’t the attribute that I pick up from this tea. Mostly what I find myself picking up is this lovely whole mouth feel of astringent notes that really captivates the senses. Sure the lovely nutty flavors are quite nice, but that astringency says “Hello! Check me out!”.

So my final thoughts? I can’t say that I love this tea as much as I would love a floral white tea, but this Makaibari Bai Mu Dan was a real treat. I’m really enjoying this cuppa!

Sweet Mirabelle from Fusion Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: Fusion Teas

Tea Description:

Sweet Mirabelle is sweet indeed! This tea yields a fresh, fruity infusion that lingers on the palate. Like the yellow plum it’s named after, this Sweet Mirabelle Green Tea has a full, succulent flavor. Big pieces of dried mango adorn this blend and the flavor of the brewed tea is straightforward and honest: it’s all about the fruit!

Tasting Notes:
Plum, apricot, tropical candy

Piquant notes of plum and mango create an exotic flavor with a tangy finish. An intoxicating sweetness infuses every sip. Enjoy the charms of this delightful blend for a dose of summer any time of year.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Sweet Mirabelle Green Tea received mixed reviews in my family last night.  I have to say that my family loved it. I on the other hand wasn’t the biggest fan. Let me explain.

This vibrant green flavored tea is mango flavored with notes of a tropical feel. I filled my tea pot up with this lovely sweet smelling tea blend and started steeping. Waited about 4 minutes and poured myself, my hubby, and my stepson Casey, huge mug fulls.

After steeping, this tea smelled as sweet as it did as a dry leaf. As you can see from the picture, there are HUGE pieces of mango in the mix, which normally I would love. First sip in, I could hear my hubby and stepson loving the tea. I took a huge first sip myself and found that this tea was incredibly sweet. Overwhelmingly sweet to me unfortunately. Where the mango and tropical flavors are there and quite present. This tea almost needed a contrast from a different flavor ie maybe a vegetal green tea note- that would calm the sweetness down. I typically would love a tea like this, but as a hot tea, it just didn’t sit well with me.

Regardless, as a hot tea, this tea seemed to appeal to the masses in my family. My hubby and stepson greedily gulped this tea down in no time flat and would have accepted more if I would have put on another pot. I can see Sweet Mirabelle being a hit at parties or served at a gathering.  This tea might be one of those blends that needs a cold brew to make the green tea notes pop. I have just enough left over to try that later this week!

Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea

d7fae485035f4cb1ae9b4a6130efcbc6Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Pique Tea

Tea Description:

Citrusy. Cherry-infused. Your day just got fancier.

Polyphenol Antioxidant Level: 245mg

  • 14 sachets (servings) per carton
  • Organic, premium tea leaves brewed and crystallized for a perfect cup of tea
  • Simply open, pour in cup, and add water
  • Free of artificial flavors, preservatives and sugar

Our delicious Earl Grey is made from the finest Organic and Fair Trade certified leaves from the world-renowned Idulgashinna Estate in the Uva region in eastern Sri Lanka. A really special area, at 3,300-6,500 feet in elevation, the Uva region receives tons of rain in winter very strong, dry winds in late summer. This garden produces a very smooth cup with light fruity hints and delicate pungency. The finish is long and clean, with a hint of fresh-cut pine and a nice accent of orange zest.

  • 100% certified organic ingredients
  • Sourced from Fair Trade Certified tea farms
  • Batch tested to ensure antioxidant levels and no heavy metals

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Boy do I have a product for you – Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea – is something I will tell EVERYONE about today!  Pique Tea takes LEAF to crystal!  Pique Tea Crystals are the intersection of modern science and ancient tradition—a proprietary process that slow brews and extracts the fresh flavor and nutrients of whole leaf tea at optimal levels and locks it in a crystal form.

This in itself made me categorize this product in with the black tea rather than only putting them in with tea products.  I have tried other products that are crystals for your tea which would be specifically a tea product but Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea are crystals that are ACTUALLY made from tea leaves.  That is the most important and deciding factor here, I think.

Another thing I want to point out about Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea is that the crystals that you pour in your cup – heat up – and enjoy – are just that – crystals – or what may look to many – as powder.  After closer examination you will see that the ‘dust’ varies in size and the more sizable crystals may (or may not) have a glimmer to them.

Now…let’s talk about the more sizable glimmery crystals – shall we?  I’ve had other products that you pour into a cup and have had minimal tea in them but have been completely overpowered by sugar and other additives.  I have had novelTEA products that have been a groovy concept but not that great in flavor.  I have had MANY ‘convenient’ pour-in-and-go packaged tea or tea-like drink mixes that have collected grit in the bottom of my cup.  But let me be clear when I say that Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea blows all of these other product away!  Sure…the directions say stir but I have to tell you I didn’t even have to do that!  As soon as my hot water splashed these fine crystals they dissolved!  Nothing was found at the bottom of the cup!  The liquid looked like PURE and clean black tea!

And I rejoiced when I tasted NO sugar in this cuppa!  If you have been reading this blog for a while you may know that I do NOT add ANYTHING to my teas!  I drink them straight up!  No sugars or other additives – no milk or milk alternatives!  I really think this little packet of wonder was made for me!

Another comparison I would like to point out here is the trendy and mainstream K-Cups that we’ve all seen on the shelves!  I have a problem with these.  I have tried just about every tea based K-cup out there HOPING that I can find one at least acceptable but I haven’t yet.  (If you know of one – or are from a company that uses quality tea in K-cup form please leave a comment and/or contact us).  Anyhow…enough about my Tea Based K-Cup rant – I was going somewhere with this!  And that is that Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea shines brighter than ANY K-Cup or drop-and-heat product out there!

Now…on to the actual smell and taste!  As for aroma – Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea – isn’t an in-your-face Earl Grey punch to the nose but I am ok with that.  The taste, however, is pretty good!  It DOES taste like Earl Grey!  It’s not an overdone Earl Grey flavor but it’s not underdone either.  The one thing that I seemed to have missed is the cherry infusion that the product description mentioned but I’m not worried about that.  I would put this on the ‘just right’ flavor scale!  I bet if I wanted it stronger I could probably just use a little less water.  I have yet to experiment with this.  This Earl Grey Organic Black Tea Crystals from Pique Tea is a real winner!

I was quite surprised with this product and will be mentioning it to MANY.  I was able to sneak one of their other flavors and will be doing a review of that in the neat future, too, and let me tell you that was impressive as well!  Pique Tea is a game changer!  There…I said it!

 

2006 Xinghai Golden Peacock Ripe Pu-Erh Tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-Erh

Where to Buy: Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Description:

A classic Xinghai ripe tea produced from the late 90’s until.  Xinghai tea factory is the 2nd producer of ripe tea in Menghai town (after Menghai tea factory), and has an excellent “wo dui” fermentation process.  Our 2006 Golden Peacock was aged Donguan town in Guangdong.  It’s a “Guangdong dry-stored” tea that has already lost it’s “wo dui” (fermented) taste.  The tea brews up a deep, dark but clear burgundy-brown tea soup.  The taste is sweet with a expansive lubricating taste and feeling in the mouth.  Both subtle and complex at the same time, a high quality tea leaf was used, each session lasting many infusions.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Hello tea friends!

Whilst sorting (more like rummaging) through my tea cupboards I spotted this tea had been pushed to the back. Probably when I had my aversion to all Pu-Erh tea at the start of the year. I cannot say what made me feel that way but it does happen from time to time, at the moment I dislike Jasmine teas but give it a few months and that will change. Perhaps it has something to do with the change in weather? I digress, this tea was still sealed in it’s sample packet and the words ‘Golden Peacock’ left me with some fascinating images in my mind. That is how I settled on reviewing this tea today. I also want to made a note before I begin that I am not at home while I do this review, I’m at my parents house dog sitting for the day while they go shopping in Birmingham and may not be back until late. I mention this as it changes a few things, I do not have filtered water for an example, nor do I have a self boiling kettle for each steep. At least I bought my tea ware with me in preparation.

Opening the packet is tricky but I do it eventually. Once opened I pull out a large piece of cake which has remained whole despite it’s journey. There are quite a few golden tips present on the outside of the cake and a beautiful shine. Some of the golden tips have downy hairs that I can stroke, as though the Pu Erh were an animal. I don’t know why I decided to stroke it…perhaps the heat is getting with me? Further inspection shows dark brown leaves the colour  of old, dark chocolate. The cake remnant bares a soft, dry wood and clay scent.

Steeping Parameters: 220ml Glass Gongfu Teapot. Tea Leaf 12g. Boiling Water. 2 Rinses each of 15 seconds. 

First Steep – 15 seconds

Colour is golden orange with a soft clay scent.

Flavour is mild with some sweetness and an earthy, dusky wood tone toward the after taste. The more I drink the more I can define the sweetness to being brown sugar like.

Second Steep – 20 seconds 

Still soft with brown sugar and dusky wood tones, but with added dryness.

Third Steep – 30 seconds 

Darker though still soft. Less sweet and more musky now, with old wood and dry earth notes that linger in the after taste. Also the tea liquid is dark at this point too, like red soy sauce.

Fourth Steep – 45 seconds 

Slightly sour in this steep and the wood is coming through with some cocoa notes. Still dry and mildly sweet.

Sixth Steep – 1 minute 

Similar to the previous steep though with more clay and dryness. It reminds me of autumn, the dry, musky leaves crunching under my feet as I walk through a forest. The smells of an autumn forest match this flavour quite nicely.

Seventh Steep – 2 minutes

An increase of musk though still soft and the sourness is slight. Very wooden.

Overall – I found this Shou to be mild and delicate throughout the steeps which made it difficult to describe the flavours. At least it was consistent throughout. I would say this is an everyday Shou for Pu new drinkers or those that prefer softer teas. Personally I like strength and depth in my tea which this just didn’t have, though despite that it was drinkable and pleasant enough. I had some difficulty breaking up the cake piece so I did it by hand in the middle of my steeps, partly to see if it increased strength.

I honestly cut this steeping short, originally I planned on 10 steeps rather than 7. Don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t a bad Shou when it comes down to it; my personal preference is just that and I can’t like them all. I still think that for the price it’s a decent every day Shou for new drinkers and would recommend it for that. If I can be nothing else then at least I’m honest.

Happy Steeping!

Super Fancy Oolong from Solstice Tea Traders

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Solstice Tea Traders

Tea Description:

  • Loose Leaf Oolong Tea Sampler-Solstice Tea Traders loose leaf oolong tea sampler pack, a selection of awesome oolongs, including both China Oolong, and Taiwan Oolong. Includes an incredibly array of Oolongs. Sure to please.
  • Loose Leaf Oolong Tea Packed in 4oz Teas-Our Oolong tea sampler is packed in 4oz metal tea tins, each filled, sealed, and labeled..

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m a sucker for samplers. So when I had the opportunity to review a few samplers for Solstice Tea Traders, an online Amazon store, I was all over it. The first tin I grabbed out of the set was this one, the Super Fancy Oolong variety. I was pretty excited to try it.

This is really a no frills sort of sampler. In the sampler, you get 4 nice 1 oz tins full of different kinds of oolongs. None of them are exotic by any means, but this sampler is a great start. So far I’ve tried a few teas from Solstice Tea Traders and have been more than impressed by the taste, quality, and the value you get.

Super Fancy Oolong has a gorgeous look to it.  I love looking at the longer dry leaf and how the white pieces really pop against the darker browns. The aroma I picked up from the dry leaf was that familiar oolong smell that I have grown to love.

I brewed this up with the help of my Breville One Touch and the oolong setting. Allowed the tea to steep for a few minutes and took my first sip. Simple, subtle, and fresh-this oolong delivers those familiar notes of a nutty underground with a sweetness from a stonefruit.  I can pick up a very soft floral hint here and there- A lovely contrast to the nuttiness that greets you first.

This isn’t a new flavor by any means, but a solid tea to lean on when you want a flavor you can count on.  So far, I’m impressed. I shared this tea with a few loved ones and the tea was greeted with smiles.  I can see this sampler being a great one to introduce others to oolong teas.

 

Spiced Coffee From Handmade Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where To Start A New Subscription:  Handmade Tea

Tea Description:

Spiced Coffee from Handmade Tea begins with a smooth and silky Chinese black tea as the base. The base tea has sweet vanilla-like notes. Costa Rican coffee beans are blended into the base adding rich coffee flavor without being overwhelming. Lastly, cinnamon chips are blended in for a warm and spicy flavor. Together these flavors work quite well together. The vanilla notes from the base tea plays nicely with the cinnamon and the bold coffee notes balance things out a bit.

Taster’s Review:

Spiced Coffee from Handmade Tea has been sitting in my stash for sometime. I know shame on me but coffee flavored teas are not my cuppa. I’ve tried several in the past and most of them are just meh.

Now let’s put some perspective on this tea. I’m a coffee drinker in the mornings. I  start every morning off with 2 cups of coffee then I switch to tea for the rest of the day. So I like the taste of coffee, but I don’t exactly like the idea of mixing coffee and tea together. Those profiles to me really don’t match.

Which is why the fact that I loved this tea so much completely surprised me.  This tea is the perfect combination of rich coffee notes followed by a brisk tea malty flavor sweetened by subtle vanilla cinnamon notes.  A treat to say the least.  The flavors are gentle and bold but on point each sip.

I don’t always like the flavors that I receive from my monthly subscription from Handmade Tea. To be honest, I’ve cancelled my subscription once, but I found that I really missed receiving a uniquely different tea each month.  This is just one of the wonderful examples you can expect when you subscribe!

Strawberry Guava White Tea from Simpson and Vail

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Simpson & Vail

Tea Description:

This delicate pink cup is truly scrumptious! Our Pai Mu Tan white tea is the perfect base for the delicious guava and strawberry flavors, with their complex, fruity aroma and full flavor. Delicious hot or cold!

Ingredients: White tea, organic hibiscus, cornflower petals, marigold flowers and Guava and Natural Strawberry flavors.

Brew: 2 tsp tea in 8 oz. water (at 175°), steep for 4 minutes.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Strawberry Guava White Tea from Simpson and Vail is a lovely strawberry tropical treat for the hot days of summer. White flavored teas can be very hit or miss.  Sometimes the flavor is spot on, other times, not so much.  White tea has such a delicate flavor that sometimes adding different flavors just muddies the flavor.

The look of the dry leaf is something to behold. Gorgeous blue and yellow pops of color amongst a green background. I scooped a few heap fulls into my infuser and steeped the tea.  They recommend steeping this tea at 175 for about 4 minutes. I’ve found those recommendations to be pretty spot on.

First sip and this tea is a pretty marvelous example of a flavored white tea. Delicate yet full of flavor. Light floral notes mixed with strawberry tones and a subtle tartness that actually adds a lovely contrast and definition to the tea. This is one of those teas that needs to be shared with others with gorgeous matching cups and saucers.  This tea is dainty yet full of flavors.  Really great example of a flavored white tea.

Simpson & Vail has a really unique concept on their site. They encourage their customers to create new and different foods using their teas.  From this particular tea, a customer created a jello. A great idea and one that I can’t wait to try!

Bangkok Green Tea -Nectar Fine Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green Tea

Where to Buy: Nectar Fine Teas

Tea Description:

Green Tea-Japan(Coconut/Lemongrass) 2-3 minutes@170/180f

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m not sure where I found Bangkok Green Tea from Nectar Fine Teas but it doesn’t look like they have an online presence except for a FB page. I’m sad to find this because this coconut flavored green tea and I have become the best of friends as of late!

This flavored green tea is a lovely mix of green tea, coconut pieces, and lemongrass. Simple yet full of fresh proper flavor. I am a huge fan of cold brewing tea at work. I pour a few scoops into my silicone infuser, some ice, and water and let the cup sit. I use a stainless steel tumbler which holds all the coldness in quiet nicely.  In just about a half an hour or so, I have the start of a wonderful iced cuppa tea.

As an iced flavored green tea, this tea really delivers on flavor! Cool crisp green tea with a lovely lush coconut flavor that just stands out with perfection.  The lemongrass flavor I don’t really get in this cuppa, but maybe as a hot tea that flavor might stand up better.

We did try cold brewing the tea overnight in a pitcher and the flavors were just about the same as when we cold brewed it in a tumbler. The only difference is that the coconut flavor is way more prominent when cold brewing overnight.  So if you are a fan of green teas and coconut flavors, I suggest cold brewing this one. You’ll be in coconut-green tea- heaven!  Maybe before my stash runs out, I’ll try Bangkok as a hot tea but for now, I’m loving this tea just as it is!

 

 

Pretty in Pink from For Tea Sake

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: For Tea’s Sake

Tea Description:

For Tea’s Sake Pretty In Pink Loose Leaf Iced Tea Blend. Juicy and delicious strawberries are a traditional summer treat and when blended together with papaya pieces they make a pretty tasty cup of iced tea! Strawberry,3.5oz/85g Tin. 

INGREDIENTS: 
oolong and green tea, papaya and strawberry pieces, plum and safflower petals and natural flavors.

CAFFEINE: Low

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Pretty In Pink from For Tea’s Sake is a new tea and a new tea company to me. I was enjoying lunch with my parents and hubby when we stopped into a little boutique shop afterwards.  At the very front of the shop was a little display of different teas from For Tea’s Sake.  I quickly squealed and picked up a few of the sample packs.  With names like Pretty in Pink and Mint To Be Together, I was sold!

Pretty in Pink is a lovely blend of oolong, green tea, and fruity pieces.  The dry mix had a rich and vibrant candy or cotton candy note to it.  One that just made you start drooling.

Prepped this tea per the instructions they provide and I have to say the tea turned out quite brilliantly.  First sip and I was hooked. This is one of those teas that a sample pack just will not do justice.  Fresh bright strawberry flavors mingled with a sweetness that reminds me of a candy base or even like I said earlier cotton candy flavoring.  But not overwhelming to the point of tasting fake.  Add in the lovely lush oolong base, and you have yourself one fantastic treat!

This tea is one those that delivers infusion after infusion.  I’ve spent a day with the same leaves and still the flavor is spot on. Sweet and spectacular. One that I could see would crave those 3pm sweet tooth cravings I have.

Pretty in Pink from For Tea’s Sake will be one that I will be picking up a larger package of.  One that I will need more of soon for sure!

 

As American As Apple Pie from Cat Spring Yaupon Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yaupon Tea

Where to Buy: Cat Spring Yaupon Tea 

Tea Description:

As American As Apple Pie is our comforting black yaupon tea loose leaf blend as delicious as a slice of apple pie. Take a trip to grandma’s kitchen with every cup.

Contains: yaupon tea, bits of dried apple, sliced almonds, cinnamon, beetroot and flavoring.
(Allergen: Contains Almonds)

Learn more about this tea here. 

Taster’s Review:

Have you ever looked at a tea and went- yeah right-this tea isn’t going to taste like that? Well I did. I did with As American As Apple Pie from Cat Spring’s Yaupon Tea. I have had a lot of other apple pie flavored teas and for the most part, they just taste like a apple cinnamon flavored tea. They don’t deliver on the baked good flavor.

As American as Apple Pie reminds me of an yerba mate blend when I first looked at it. It didn’t have any other attributes like yerba mate, just the look. The smell was more reminiscent of black tea. This particular tea smelled amazing. Rich apple notes mixed with a baked good aroma that really captivates you. I couldn’t wait to steep up this tea.

Steeped up the tea per the instructions on the back of the package and took my first sip. I have to say I was taken back by how fresh and bright this tea tasted. It really does come across as apple pie!! Apple Pie with touches of caramel drizzled on tea. The notes of flaky baked fresh crust with  apples that are spiced with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon. There is a slight roasted toasted flavor in the background that really elevates every sip.

I highly recommend checking this one out. Yaupon Tea was something I had only tried a few times in the past but never had an experience like this. Take a moment and check out yaupon tea and then check this tea out. It truly is like taking a trip to grandma’s kitchen!