Reiki from Tea Shirt- A Review You Have to Read!

“Tea Shirt- tailored refreshments”. It will be a dark day when we finally run out of tea puns. Thankfully, I think we are a long, long way from the teapocalypse.

…what? …no…?

Okay, admittedly some have much more of a gift in the pun tea-partment than I do

…NO?!

FINE I’m done!!

When I saw the ingredients for Tea Shirt’s Reiki blend, I got super dooper scooper excited. An invigorating, fruity tisane WITHOUT peppermint! The stars hath aligned! Peppermint and I are not friends. Reiki’s ingredients read like a laundry list of all of my favorite fruits and herbs (oh yes sweet sweet lemongrass), so sampling this tea for review was a no-brainer.

As the tea steeps, I’m getting these wonderful scents of lemongrass and hibiscus. Just what the doctor ordered! The brew has a pinkish-yellow hue, so I know the blend is not completely overpowered by hibiscus like many tisanes are. All of the other fruits and herbs seem to have been added in relatively equal proportions.

The result is beautifully complex, not a compliment I give to very many tisanes. The lemongrass and stinging nettle shine as the stars of this tea, while the apple and orange flavors really make the infusion sing. Reiki is delightfully refreshing, delicious, and not only do the fruit flavors taste whole and natural, but the herbs present in this tea are incredibly potent as well.

This blend is wonderful! I only wish I had more


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal/Tisane
Where to Buy: Tea Shirt
Description

Ingredients: lemongrass, freeze-dried tangerine-orange pieces, sultanas, orange peel, apple pieces, mango cubes (mango, sugar), rose hip peel, hibiscus blossoms, carrot shreds, stinging nettle leaves, sweet blackberry leaves, blue cornflower blossoms, mallow blossoms, marigold blossoms, rose petals, rosebuds, safflower.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Nepal White from Simpson & Vail

Hi guys! In keeping with the current theme of trying out tea variety/origin combinations that are new or unusual to me, today I’m going to be trying some white tea from Nepal, supplied by the fabulous Simpson & Vail tea company!

The dried leaves are a lot darker than I would expect for a white tea, but the pieces are still mostly whole leaves. Their scent is very light and floral, with the slightest hint of smokiness.

I’ll be brewing this tea gongfu-style to try and get a sense of the intricacies of the brew, using 2 tsp per 200ml and allowing for 30 second steeps.

This Nepal White actually reminds me quite a bit of a White Peony variety! Very, very floral and sweet, making the darkness of the leaves almost a bit misleading! However, that little extra roasty goodness does shine through in the aftertaste of the tea, manifesting as a slight hint of woody flavor to round off each sip.

Really gorgeous tea, light and floral, with that little peep of woodiness keeping the brew from being too sweet. A solid daily drinker white tea, to be sure!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail

BannerNewFont670Description

Located 6000 feet above sea level, in the misty hills of Pashupatinagar, Ilam, is this family owned Organic (EU) and ISO certified garden. The teas grown here are some of the most interesting and spectacular teas that will tempt your taste buds into new levels of enjoyment. This garden is the first one in Nepal to use the technology, machinery and expertise available from Japan. The Aarubotay tea bushes are a combination of Japanese, Chinese and clonal varieties that produce the best of Nepalese teas. Try some today and, from the first smell of the dry leaf to the taste of the brewed tea, you will be convinced that this family has achieved success!

These over 1 inch long, pale white, downy tipped gray-green leaves brew to a pure white liquor and a sweet, delicate apricot cup. It truly is unlike any other white tea that we’ve tasted

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pascoe’s Woodlands Special Winter Nilgiri Frost Green from Teabox

When I hear “green tea”, I immediately think of Chinese and Japanese greens. Especially Japanese greens… ahhh~! So when I was presented with an opportunity to review a Teabox green tea that hailed from Nilgiri, India, I was intrigued and not really sure what to expec

The dried leaves are very finely ground, one can see a few leaf pieces but it is mostly pretty dusty- this could also simply be because of the package hitting a few bumps during shipping. The leaves smell a little fishy, but mostly vegetal and earthy. As it brews, it smells sweeter with a few familiar notes of grassiness.

The finished brew is a lovely cross between lime and amber colors, with a strong vegetal flavor- almost like smokey asparagus or spinach. This is a very savory and filling tea, with a hint of astringency at the finish. It honestly reminds me of eating a bunch of hearty autumn vegetables as a Thanksgiving side dish. Woohoo I feel so healthy!

As I said, I’ve never had a tea from Nilgiri before, and have enjoyed the complex and unique flavors of this brew. Experiencing a “different take” on green teas is quite refreshing! I don’t know if I would go for this tea in particular a second time as strong savory vegetal teas aren’t really my thing, but I’m certainly grateful for the introduction to Indian green teas!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Teabox

logoDescription

Unusually complex and sharp tasting, this green tea is not for an unseasoned palate. Because the tea leaves are pan fired, there is a strong, charred vegetal flavor to this tea that imposes itself on your senses. Its flavors can get jarring if the leaves over steep, but made right, it’s a cup that refreshes. Perfect for someone who enjoys a bold tasting tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong from Eco Cha

Oolongs are mysterious creatures- full of complexity, and with such a wide variety of dominant flavors depending on how the leaves are processed. For me, they are the closest I will get to anything like ripe pu’erh for probably a long time. That said, whenever I am presented with an oolong from a well-known, high quality tea vendor, I am always very excited, and like to put my “snooty tea connoisseur” wizard hat on for the duration of the review. SO!

Without any further delay, I present Eco Cha’s Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong! Let’s just call it.. SLX for the rest of this review. Hawt. The little emerald leaves are tightly rolled, requiring a 2 minute rinse to fully ‘expand’. ..and boy, do they really expand. My little gaiwan has suddenly turned into a dense, leafy jungle inside! I’m feeling healthier just by looking at all this green!!

After a 30 second steep, the resulting brew is a light yellow-green color, not entirely expected since the dark leaves led me to believe I’d have a dark drink. However, the flavor of the tea perfectly matches its color- so light and beautifully sweet, grassy without tasting vegetal or bitter, with a pleasant aftertaste that reminds me of cinnamon!…? Am I crazy right now? I’ve had this tea multiple times now and “CINNAMON!” just keeps popping up in my mind every time I taste it. Like.. a snickerdoodle cookie or something.

Subsequent steeps are also given 30 seconds to brew; the tea remains full bodied and satisfying. This tea is so perfect for the ‘transition’ period between summer and fall we are currently in. SLX provides a light and grassy taste for sweet sunny days, with just the right touch of toasty cinnamon spice to hint at the breezy days of hoodie weather that lie just ahead. This was my first ever tea from Eco Cha, and I loved it! 🙂

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Eco Cha

echochalogoDescription

One of the prominent qualities of Taiwanese high mountain oolong is the fragrance that exudes from the freshly brewed leaves. Especially after the first and second brews, hold the un-lidded teapot near your nose and inhale slowly to experience the volatile aromatic oils that are being released from the freshly moistened and heated leaves. From there you can enjoy the evolving aroma of each successive brew. The fragrance is the most intriguing and subtle quality of a fine high mountain tea.

This tea carries distinct qualities of adequate oxidation of the leaves during processing. This is evident in its sweeter, mellowed aroma and smooth, balanced flavor. Its aroma is slightly less floral and more fruity or pastry-like. Oxidation offers a more substantial, less green brew that is complex, yet balanced and smooth on the palate. This batch is another exemplary high mountain tea from the Shan Lin Xi area.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Firebird 2015 Dancong Song Zhong Oolong from Bitterleaf Teas

I… have an addiction. Yes, I admit it freely. The second I discover a straight tea that tastes of honey, I am on that stuff like a cat to catnip, and will drink it obsessively until my stash disappears. So! When the lovely CuppaGeek offered me a sample of Bitterleaf Tea’s Firebird 2015 oolong, I was ALL over that. Instantly. According to the folks at Bitterleaf, this tea has a “honey-like sweetness and is closest thing they’ve ever experienced to drinking a sticky bun”. With these leaves hailing from Feng Huang Chao Zhou, the birthplace of dan cong oolong, I knew I was in for a serious treat.

In order to unlock the maximum flavor of this tea, Bitterleaf suggests that I use “spring or remineralized water with 30-80 ppm total dissolved mineral solids”. Now, I unfortunately seemed to have left my analytical chemistry lab back in college, and do not buy bottled water, so I will just be using good ol’ tap water.

Brewing instructions for this tea cannot be found on the package itself- one must visit Bitterleaf’s website and do a bit of rooting around to find this information. They suggest using a flash rinse method to best enjoy the tea- however, since I don’t have quite enough leaves to be able to do so, used a longer 30 second steep in my gaiwan for each brew.

Despite my tea likely having less of a ‘potent’ flavor than it should due to my steeping method, and having a relatively light color, I was still quite impressed by the robust nature of this oolong. The brew is very sweet and pleasantly full bodied without being bitter, with an added complexity of smokiness that I’d expect from a dancong oolong. The aftertaste leaves those notes of sweet honey to linger for a while longer, keeping a smile on my face long after the last of the tea disappeared from my cup.

I really enjoyed Firebird 2015, and could only imagine the honey-hazed stupor I would find myself in for several days if I had a full tin of this tea. Bitterleaf clearly curates their tea with care, and I am excited to discover what else this company has to offer!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Bitterleaf Teas

header-2Description

Our Firebird Dancong is a delicious medium oxidized oolong, grown in Chao Zhou, near the North-East corner of Guangdong province. This Song Zhong variety of oolong has a honey-like sweetness that translates into a honey-coloured soup, and quite possibly the closest thing we’ve experience to drinking a sticky bun. It is fragrant and sweet with a slightly roasted taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!