Li Shan/Harney and Sons. . .

This tea tastes like it was poured out of a very delicate porcelain teapot by an expert. It’s a delicate green pollen, pooling in your cup, soothing you during difficult times. It’s classic; it’s timeless; it’s fancy. It’s exactly what I’d expect to taste at a non-matcha tea ceremony.

When I was in Phildelphia’s Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, I actually accidentally walked into a class where they were teaching tea ceremonies. I didn’t realize it was a class. There was no note. There was just a person speaking to some other people, sitting on a mat. I thought it was a tour guide or something and got — unceremoniously — thrown out.

I think that, if I had stayed, I would have learned the art of distributing this tea to my companions with grace. These leaves deserve fine treatment after, as Harney’s site claims, “battl[ing] cold (sometimes even snow) and frequent mists,” resulting in a “rare and haunting” quality. I could have poured this pale yellow tea with a delicate wrist motion. People would have sipped it out of clay cups like these.

Alas, I’m drinking it out of a mug I got from Hot Topic for $5. I guess I’ll never be as classy as my tastes.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Harney and Sons

Description

Li Shan, considered to be among the best oolong teas in the world, comes from one of Taiwan’s highest mountain areas. The tea plants must battle cold (sometimes even snow) and frequent mists. This makes a rare and haunting brew, with echoes of honey and cream.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Qi Lan/Old Ways Tea . . . .

Good morning, Tea-ple! It’s time for another review! Today we’re trying Qi Lan from Old Ways Tea, an oolong from China’s Wuyi mountains.

The first word that springs to mind is “tangy!” (With the exclamation point. Don’t leave that out).

There’s a metallic taste with almost a citrus feel to this tea. It’s almost the equivalent of the sound of rain tapping on a tin roof. It’s pennies and earth and rust, converted into tea form.

I’m not sure that sounds appealing; but I can assure you, this is a pleasing blend. It’s surprising and rusty and homey.

It’s a meditation session in a gazebo in a forest. It’s a wishing fountain. It’s a ceremonial gong being struck. It’s a martial arts scene set in the rain.

It’s my morning choice, and I like it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Old Ways Tea

Description

This Qi Lan tea can be described as qing xiang meaning having a gentle fragrance. The fragrance is well rounded leaving a pleasant Wuyi mineral flavor and returning sweetness. I think that our Qi Lan turned out quite good this year.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bi Luo Chun/Beantown Tea. . . .

Beantown Tea describes this green tea as “resembling snail meat,” but don’t let that deter you. Put the snail thing aside and give this a try.

This green tea is on the very airy end of green, practically a white. In fact, some of the balls’ coloring is white, and fuzzy, which means it was plucked early in the season.

The flavor’s balances green and white: a mix of earth, leaves, pollen, and electricity.

This tea tastes like a moon setting and dawn’s birds chirping. It tastes like waking up very, very early for an event and walking toward your car in the meandering morning breeze, everyone asleep around you. It’s being the only person at the intersection at 5 a.m.

I got this tea from Etsy, and there was a mix-up with my address (my fault, not theirs). The customer service, I have to let you know, was TOP-NOTCH. They followed up and offered to send me a follow-up package right away — even though the mistake was NOT their fault. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. (The second package wasn’t necessary; the post office on my end figured out what to do. It arrived safely.)

Thumbs-up on this one. I have another one I’m going to try in the next week or so!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Beantown Tea and Spices

Description

Bi Luo Chun is regarded as one of the best green tea China offers. It brews a refreshing cup that is floral, slightly earthy with nutty notes.  Bi Luo Chun literally means “green snail spring”. It is called “green snail spring” because it is a green tea that is hand rolled into a tight spiral, resembling snail meat, and is plucked and produced early spring. The annual productions span of the Bi Luo Chun is very short. It is picked between the Spring Equinox (end of March) and Qing Ming (early April). Our ‘Choral Bi Luo Chun’ tea is made from the finest tender buds, gathered and processed exclusively by hand.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate Truffle Organic Pu-Erh Tea/Fraser Tea. . . .

This delicious, sweet, creamy goodness is a mix of rich pu’erh tea, cacoa nibs, and flower petals (mostly for appearance, I suspect). The flavor profile of this is a warm chocolate bar. One that will kick you awake with caffeine.

My husband and I like to walk around on New Years Eve in our town, look at ice sculptures, and drink hot chocolate. This tastes like that night. It tastes like the excitement of a new year. It tastes like a red nose and hand-holding.

It tastes, possibly, like a trip to the ski lodge, though I don’t EVER participate in sports, so I wouldn’t know.

If you’re in the mood for a sweet picker-upper, give this one a whirl!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Puerh

Where to Buy:  Fraser Tea

Description

Decadent Chocolate Truffle is an organic, healthful beverage with calming effects. Delight in the richness of chocolate and comforting cream in your first sip of this high quality organic Pu-erh tea. Fraser Tea handpicks all teas and chose this Pu-erh variety for its ability to improve with time. Often used as a slimming tea for those working to manage weight and wellness, this tea is sought all over the world.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cinnamon Plum Berry Organic Botanical Blend/Storehouse Tea

Tart hibiscus and zesty cinnamon join forces with sweet plums and currants to form Storehouse Tea’s Cinnamon Plum Berry. The result is a very spicy brew with juicy notes in the background. It’s basically a berry chai.

The smell is delicious; however, the resulting drink doesn’t do it for me.

I was hoping for sweetness with a dash of spice — perhaps like a mulled cider — but the spices are like 90% of the flavor.

If spice is your jam, though, this might be the one for you!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Storehouse Tea

Description

Currants, succulent hibiscus, hints of plum, cinnamon and naturally sweet licorice root create a warm, full bodied and soothing Organic, caffeine free tea. Perfect served hot or brewed as mulled tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!