H’mong Kings Tea from Rakkasan. . . .

Generally when you think of green tea you think of Japan or China first. What about Vietnam? Wasn’t on my radar until I spotted this one. This rare wild grown tea is a true splendor to behold. The dry leaves have an incredibly unique aroma. This scent is what I think of when I think umami. It’s almost like they cooked something on the pan before they roasted it. Somewhat vegetal but nothing like the usual vegetal flavors found in tea. SMOKY! Smoky vegetal! But not like Lapsang Souchong. The wet leaves smell like passion fruit. NO I am NOT joking. They don’t taste like it though… Don’t taste the leaves. And the liquid? Awesome. Grassy sweet with just a very slight amount of bitterness. I need more.

More in my cup. The leaves slowly un-twisting in my cup are lovely. The Agony of the leaves. It is interesting how pan firing a tea can give it such a different flavor profile.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Rakkasan
Description

This is a rare wild-grown, green tea produced by Black H’mong families in Hà Giang Province, Vietnam at over 5,200 feet. It is different from other green teas in that it is fired and dried by hand in a wood-fired cast iron pan rather than a drum oven. It has a smoky aroma and earthy and woody notes reminiscent of the surrounding pine forest where it grows. Like other wild green teas, it is naturally sweet with little bitterness.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Da Hong Pao / Great Tea Road Co. . . .

If pu-erhs don’t suit your taste but you are looking for some of the same unique medicinal characteristics and timelessness (becomes better with age) then you should try out a Da Hong Pao, also known as Big Red Robe.

From the first time I tried it many years ago to now it has remained one of my favorite teas. It is a darker roasted oolong with lovely attributes. When the liquid first hits your tongue roasty and toasty notes flourish. Then subtly sweet plum and floral accents, almost jasmine in essence.

If you are having trouble deciphering these flavors make sure to steep between two to three minutes and swish it in your mouth a few times. I found this tea company while on the prowl for my favorite maple syrup (Faxon Farms, so amazing).

The owners truly know their tea and when I told them what I like to drink they immediately recommended Da Hong Pao. I will be a repeat customer for sure.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Great Tea Road Company
Description:

Da Hong Pao still grows in traditional, small-scale tea gardens, and each spring the farmers still climb the hills to implore the tea god to bring new shoots. It’s the combination of rock and water that gives Da Hong Pao its rich flavor. The rain that pours off the sheer rock walls, flowing down narrow streams and pretty waterfalls, becomes imbued with minerals, which then impart their goodness to the tea. A legends has sprung up around the original Da Hong Pao trees, which still perch precariously on a cliff face not far from the monastery.

What Da Hong Pao taste like?  This is a medium charcoal roasting oolong. It gives a flavor of red dates and purple plums and slightly roasted with light floral / fruity aroma. It is clean finished and clear, medium-amber colored liquor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

MMU03 from Material Matcha. . . .

This is quite possibly the most beautiful matcha I’ve beheld. Makes drinking some of the other brands harder. (Kinda like turning ketchup purple). It is a green of dynamic proportions. A chocolaty aroma emanates from the bag. The soup is a dark green color that looks like it could engulf your soul. Too deep? Let us chat about the flavor. Very sweet in umami is the main descriptor. Somewhat misleading in my opinion as umami (from what I understand) is more savory? I’m no food expert though so who am I to say. Regardless, smooth and grassy. But not grassy like a green tea. It’s so good and yet so hard to explain.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Matcha
Where to Buy:  Material Matcha
Description

MMU03 is a full bodied blend of Samidori and Gokou.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tsui Yu Taiwan Floral (Jade) Oolong Tea from Fong Mong. . . .

You can always count on Fong Mong for exceptional Oolongs. The aroma cup reveals some wonderful vanilla and orchid notes in the aroma as it is steeping. A strange very very slight bit of asparagus hit the back of my tongue as I was sipping. This is not a tea for those who prefer strong teas. The flavors of this one are incredibly light. There are definitely some floral notes but if you swish it around in your mouth a bit you will also discover unique vegetable and herb notes. Be it ever so slight.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Fong Mong
Description

Plucking from Taiwan peculiar Tsui Yu (Jade TTES #13) tea cultivar, in addition to stringent management of planting, Taiwan floral oolong tea was made by artisans to refine into traditional oolong tea. In the process of light fermentation, Jadeoolong transpires delicate floral aroma which you, tea lovers, won’t miss it out.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Puerh from Pinky Out. . .

The further I delve into the world of tea the more I am astounded by its depth. Behind every tea, every brand, dear I say even every leaf, lies a story.While on a recent cruise I read The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane. This book is not only well written but also truly enlightening on tea. More specifically though on Pu Er; which of course is what this tea is.

Complex is understatement. And Pu Er is only a sub category of Dark tea! I have to admit I wasn’t really a fan of pu er but perhaps that is only because I tasted a fake or something to the same accord. Though I don’t mind this one. I honestly do not smell anything from the dry leaves. One who has looked at plenty of leaves can tell this is different then black tea but the differences between ripe, aged, raw are something I … have no idea. There is a mild smell in the wet leaves. Something I can’t quite define, something of the earth. The liquid is quite a bit darker then I was expecting. Some say it tastes like dirt but then I wonder what type of dirt these people are chewing on. It has a bit of a heavier body in my opinion complete with some unique earthy flavors.

Part of me wonders where this one was harvested. The general public would say, “China of course!” But those who love tea know there is more to it then that.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu Erh
Where to Buy: Pinky Out
Description

Pu-erh is said to have originated during the Eastern Han Dynasty in the Yunnan Province.

Pu-erh was traded heavily along what was known as “The Ancient Tea Route” or “Tea Horse Road”. Around a thousand years ago Yunnan, one of the first tea producing regions traded Pu-Erh along the route. The tea traveled a long road by horse, mule, and even person. Pu-Erh made an excellent tea for this sort of travel, as it did not spoil easily during the long trips. In fact it was found that Pu-Erh actually improved with time boasting yet another advantage for the Yunnanese.

Sourced from China no matter how far our Pu-Erh has to travel before it makes it to your cup, you can be sure it will still boast the same authentic flavor and health benefits sought after during the time of The Ancient Tea Route.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!