Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Grade One/AprTea Mall

Keemun is my absolute favorite tea for breakfast. Once upon a time long ago, if you asked for breakfast tea, Keemun was what you were given. These days, even specifically ordering English Breakfast can result in many different types of tea being delivered to you, with Assam or Kenyan tea being the most likely to show up at your table. There are many, many kinds!

But Keemun is gentler on my stomach and still has that “start the day” vibe. Although I rarely add anything to my tea, Keemun can take additions of milk and/or sugar and still shine. The taste is so great as is that I don’t want to dampen it.

This particular Keemun is the middle grade offered by AprTea Mall. I reserve the highest grades for afternoon tea or for drinking by themselves, and I don’t enjoy lower grade Keemun teas nearly as much, but I find a mid-grade to be just what I am looking for in a breakfast tea or to pair with a meal.

The leaves are very dark, long, and lightly twisted. These are whole leaves and not broken bits. The dry leaf aroma is fruity, and the wet leaf aroma is fruity and bright.

It has just enough heft and just enough cocoa or malt flavor to be paired with waffles and syrup and clear the palate without the pucker factor of most breakfast teas. This particular Keemun also has that hint of fruit that earns some of these the designation of a “winey” Keemun, although it is just a hint here and not terribly pronounced.

Overall, I deem this to be a good, serviceable Keemun that I can enjoy as a daily drinker.


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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  AprTea Mall

Description

Keemun Mao Feng (祁门毛峰): Keemun Mao Feng is a kind of Keemun Black Tea,has a more refined production process.using one bud and one leaf for full fermentation. the shape is cord tight knot small as eyebrow, the luster is Ukraine; tea aroma lasting fragrance, like fruit orchid fragrance, the aroma has this special name “Qimen fragrant” in the international tea market; tea soup color and leaf color is red and bright, the taste is fresh and thick, and even drink with milk and the sweet sugar, the aroma is not only reduced, but more fragrant.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Mango Party/Wize Monkey

Well, technically this isn’t tea since “tea” means a beverage made from Camellia sinensis leaves, but it is a hot beverage derived from the leaves of a plant so here we go!

In my search for information about coffee leaf being used for beverages, I came across a documentary on the company website that was very informative. Many workers on coffee plantations must uproot their families as the coffee bean harvest ends. It makes it difficult for children to stay in school and to have consistency in their lives and causes interruptions to the family income. By learning to use the coffee leaves, the harvest is both increased and extended and the workers and the families have greater stability and higher income. It is worth a viewing when you have the time!

Now I am not a coffee drinker AT ALL so I am pleased to say that it does NOT taste like coffee.

Steeping the leaves has produced a beverage the same color as mango, and there is a natural mango aroma coming up in the steam from the cup. It is a nice, fruity smell without artificial candy scent. Note that other coffee leaf offerings may be darker as this company does many levels of oxidation just as can be done with tea.

The base does not taste like tea to me. It is pleasant, though. There is no bitterness to it and no drying of the tongue. It has medium body, creamy, with an aftertaste of wood and almost… smoke? I think of forest and find it to be mostly low notes.

The instructions say to resteep multiple times and that you don’t have to worry about oversteeping. I did keep to the suggestion of going two to three minutes for the first and five minutes for the second. The second steep has less mango flavor but now the coffee leaf flavor stands out much more, and it is just as full-bodied if not more so. I think of how Graham Kerr used to talk about mouth-roundness of flavor, and that is what I get from this.

If you enjoy trying new things, this is worth a shot! You may find a new flavor love.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Coffee Leaf

Where to Buy:  Wize Monkey

Description

It’s like a mango party in your mouth!

  • Our award-winning CLTea base blended with fruity and fragrant mango flavour
  • Delivers antioxidants like mangiferin and chlorogenic acids
  • Put your steeping on autopilot: can’t over-steep it, add hot water as needed for more cups
  • Ingredients: Coffee Leaf Tea, dried mango chunks, calendula petals, natural mango flavour
  • How to steep: 2.5g per 250mL/8 fl. oz cup, use freshly boiled water, steep for minimum 4 minutes

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Puerh/Numi

Sometimes I read up on a tea before trying it. Sometimes I just make a cup and start sipping. I figured “chocolate” and “puerh” were pretty self-explanatory so I boiled some water and got down to business.

I expected the earthy flavor of puerh tea and rich chocolate or cocoa taste. Before I even tasted it, I smelled something more akin to Mexican hot chocolate. What’s going on here?

The first sip offered a sweet spice that I wasn’t expecting. I knew I tasted cinnamon and something else…nutmeg! And cardamom! The puerh flavor is pretty light, the chocolate flavor is mild enough not to cover up the spices and thankfully doesn’t have that horrible mildew odor that some chocolate teas have. There is honeybush and rooibos in this, which must be part of the foundational symphony of flavors because they don’t stand out on their own to me. I actively dislike rooibos so for me to enjoy this means there isn’t much here, or it is adequately covered by the other flavors. I am not really picking up the orange flavor, and I am glad because orange + cinnamon has been done to death!

We don’t do tea bags much. Bags that are dirt cheap usually aren’t a quality that we enjoy. Bags that are not dirt cheap need to resteep for us or they just aren’t worth buying. I am on steep three for this one. I approve!

TLDR: light earthy puerh that tastes like cocoa with cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon, reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Numi Organic Tea

Description

This velvety infusion combines black Pu∙erh tea and organic cocoa. Accented by whole vanilla beans and sweet orange peel, this decadent blend is rounded off with nutmeg and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Power Breakfast/Stash Tea. . . .

I received this sample a few months ago and honestly I put off trying it. I just don’t use caffeine to wake up in the mornings. I had mate once or twice before and didn’t care for it much, and I am afraid that if I drink a lot of caffeine at any time besides breakfast I won’t sleep for days.

Today was the day. I had a sweet breakfast planned and an early work schedule. It seemed the perfect time to try it and I figured I could always sip it and toss it if I didn’t like it.

Then I smelled it while it was steeping and said, “Oh, baby!” It smelled like coffee at first and I don’t even drink coffee, nor I am particularly attracted to the smell of coffee. But this was calling my name. Another sniff or two and finally I pulled the bag out and gave it a sip.

Lapsang! That was what my first thought was on tasting it. And I love lapsang as long as the base is nice and strong, instead of smoke laid over weak and watery tea. And this had a solid breakfast tea base.

Maybe a real coffee drinker would not agree, but I get a hint of coffee, lots of lapsang-like smoke, a little toasted nut, and definite breakfast tea aroma.

This was really good, smooth, and very drinkable with no additions but able to take milk and sugar if you like it.

While this isn’t a highly nuanced cup with layers of different flavor notes to tease out, it is a really good, serviceable cup of tea that gets down to business and satisfies.

Because this seems to be unavailable at present on the Stash website, I am linking to a vendor who still has this available. You can still find it here and there online.


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Leaf Type:  Black/Mate

Where to Buy:  Stash Tea

Description

Wake up with this tasty brew. The bold, rich flavor of premium black teas is complemented by the smooth taste of yerba mate. Delicious iced or hot, plain or sweetened.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Gong Fu Black/Zhi Tea

Really wanting to use my new gaiwan tonight, I pawed through my tea samples and my eye fell on this. Perfect! I don’t have to wonder if it is a good candidate for the gaiwan. The name tells me so!

The leaves are thin and twisted, and very dark. They have that heady chocolate aroma you find in black and oolong tea sometimes. After warming the gaiwan and allowing the leaves to rest in it for a moment, the scent is now much nuttier.

I experimented a bit and found that I like this one to have a little more time than I would give some teas. It didn’t become bitter – the main incentive for keeping a steep short would be to prevent bitterness – so I let those warm, rich flavors develop over a few extra seconds. The darkest steep was my favorite.

The tea is creamy, nutty, with a little hint of cocoa. It is so smooth that even a black tea phobe drinking with me liked it plain. Although there is virtually no astringency, there is the slightest briskness that develops over time in a very pleasant way. Walnut is the flavor that I most notice lingering.

I lost count but my guess is that we had about seven or eight steeps from this session. Overall, a very pleasant tea. I definitely want to have a look at this company’s other offerings, as well!


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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zhi Tea

Description

Zhi exclusive. #1 Rated Black Tea in the World!

This exquisite black tea from Fujian Province in China has become the favorite at Zhi. If you like the rich complexity of a classic Chinese black tea with all the hallmark smoothness and depth, be prepared to be enchanted. This is a top-grade exclusive tea with a major wow factor.

Thin, twisted leaves present a deep rich red cup with distinct caramelized sugar and chocolate notes and a long creamy finish. Mouthfeel, mouthfeel, mouthfeel.

If you like a great Keemun or a Gold Yunnan then you will love this tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!