Superfine Tanyang gongfu black tea from Tea Vivre . . . .

I’m learning to love unflavored teas this year, and this beautiful offering from Tea Vivre really makes my job easy! Without even opening the bag, I’m already impressed with the gaiwan tea ceremony directions and WOW! The heritage on this tea is amazing, down to the day of when and where it was harvested (April 8, 2017). The gongfu style black tea is named after where it was grown, Tanyang Village in Fujian, of South East China.

The adventure continues as I reveal Twisted ropes of gold and brown… I’ve never seen this type of tea before, it’s actually soft with some fuzzies on it. A green-thumbed friend of mine called this style of leaves “pubescent”, meaning they were just barely mature.

Still dry, they offer a light, clear, inviting scent, like fresh sweet peas in the garden. I decided to taste a leaf, (they make coffee bean snacks so it’s not that crazy to do, right??) and we are reminded of the chocolate noodles they sample out of Pikes place market.

The walnut colored brew offers a hint of honey taste though none was added. I never expected this sort of delicate leaf to be so powerful! They say the longer you brew this style, the mellower the flavor will be, which is quite the opposite of most teas I’ve had, and it’s completely true!! Now I’m curious about the actual chemistry of tannins etc… oh the rabbit holes of science we can get caught up in…
It is “zero percent bitter” and easy to drink (Hanley, R.,2017). There is a refreshing aftertaste, maybe a subtle hint of wintergreen. This tea doesn’t have much of an aftertaste but I tended to wait a while between sips because this tea was just so transcendental that I couldn’t help but daydream about it.

If ever you need to impress someone with a tea, this is the one!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black, loose leaf
Where to Buy: TeaVivre

Being the first one among Fujian’s three best Gong Fu Black Teas (Bai Lin Gong Fu, Zheng He Gong Fu, Tan Yang Gong Fu), Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea has tight and thin leaves, looks glossy, which could be seen from TeaVivre’s product photo. When looking at this tea, the golden pekoe is particularly eye-catching, strongly connected to its high quality. Under the effect of photosynthesis, fresh buds contain the largest amount of beneficial substances than other parts. Moreover, the traditional making method of black tea has retained the nutrition in the most volume.

Black tea is renowned with it red leaves and red liquid. The liquid of Tan Yang Gong Fu is bright red, and clean, which brings you a feeling of pureness. The flavor will vary based on different amount of teas and time of infusion. If using gai wan to brew in traditional Chinese way (Recommend Brewing Guide), you will sense the sweet and mellow flavor, and feel a quick sweet aftertaste in your throat. The aroma of Tan Yang Gong Fu will float around you for a long time.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Dancing Flavors of Sun Moon Lake Tea from Taiwan Leaf Tea. . .

There is a form of hypnosis caused by watching water move – At once it’s both calming and playful, it invites us to stay and watch stories unfold. My folks often invite us over to the lake house, and as much as we can cause a raucous, I take a simple pleasure in just watching the light dancing over the rippling lake. I am doing this as I steep the Sun and Moon Lake tea from Taiwan Leaf Tea.

There are deep chestnut colored, thick, loosely twisted leaves with a hint of apple chips smell to them. They yield a sumptuous auburn colored tea that now smells of rose and honey. Wow, this is so unexpectedly beautiful. I find that as my eyes take in the visual symphony on the water, the medium-bodied mouthfeel of this tea provides an equally stimulating journey for my taste buds. The more I drink it, the more I find to like about it.

Though there are no added flavors, I find a natural hint of sweetness but the tiniest incidental Granny Smith crisp to it, hmmm but without any tart pucker face. I’m torn between adding sugar to bring the flavors out more or leaving it as is. A sip ends with a short, smooth yet robust aftertaste. Nope, that sugar didn’t do anything here to enhance those subtle flavor nuances. On its own, it’s a well-rounded, meditative tea.

One of my favorites from this whole review box, Definitely a keeper. Would be great for sipping during an artistic event – figure skating at the Olympics comes to mind, or even just a walk past the new spring blossoms peeking out lately.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black loose leaf tea
Where to Buy: Taiwan Leaf Tea

Premium Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Black Tea (Tea # 18) is rare black (red) tea from Central Taiwan (Yuchi, Nantou County).

Sun Moon Lake is located in Nantou County in Central Taiwan. It is surrounded by mountains. Average temperature is very stable during the whole year and humidity is very high. These all enable tea leaves grow rich and intense.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tea Party Sonnet in honor of William Shakespeare black tea blend from Simpson and Vail

 

TEA-ming up with Tiny Salutations again for your reading pleasure with this sonnet:

Harken back to a faire of the 16th century
With “William Shakespeare’s black tea blend”
In each cup a wistful reverie
And a moment for your soul to mend.

It’s rosy liquid, by any other name,
Would it smell as sweet?
Inspiration my mouth doth claim
In framing Sonnets in my seat.

Intense floral aromas enhance
The Bard’s many tales
Of tragedy, comedy, and romance
Such a tea of Simpson and Vail’s.

Made of lavender and rose
And fresh plucked rosemary
A delight to eyes, mouth, and nose
As good a tea as potpourri!

The flavor is smooth
The rose aftertaste BOLD
A pleasant scent in truth
The color a rich chocolate gold.

This tea we doth surely keep.
Huzzah for a second steep!


Here’s the scoop!

Loose Leaf:   Black tea Blend

Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail

Description:  Gardens, herbs, and flowers appear in many of Shakespeare’s plays and oftentimes play a critical role in his stories. Our William Shakespeare tea blend is a combination of a few of the many herbs he references: lavender, roses, rosemary. The wit and playfulness of his verse means that Shakespeare’s plays can still be enjoyed today, ideally with a warm cup of tea.

This black tea and floral blend brews to an amber cup with a sweet, floral taste. The slightly earthy and woody notes are rounded out with the citrus taste of bergamot and sweet rose petals.

Certified Kosher

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Plum Oatmeal Squares Temi Sikkim Tea from A Quarter to Tea. . . .

Buttery oatmeal squares are the simplest comfort food, a warm (healthy) hug. I expected nothing less from this Plum flavored seasonal offering from A Quarter to Tea.

My first impression is strong fructose vibe from ripe plums or berries, almost the scent of a sweet wine? It’s rare that I find plum in a tea, and this reminds me of smelling farmer’s market produce in the fall. Slivers of goodies decorate the dry black tea leaves, including actual oatmeal.

The hot water awakens the blend, the familiar breakfast oats smell emerges then the tannins follow, the strong fruit smell of earlier is now just a hint. Being present for transformations like these, I find myself appreciating the effort the creators put into their products. The plum aroma gets stronger again as the auburn water gravitates through the steeper.

There is a mismatch of acidity in the two flavors which surprises my taste buds, but also somehow balances itself out. These malted and fruity flavors work really well together. The second steep mellows out the tannins and is more of a creamy fruit taste. Delicate with hint of, wow, what is this biting aftertaste? Like most flavored blends, noticeably less intense but still a good amount of flavor. None of the some cinnamon-type spice in here that I would’ve expected, but it’s oatmeal-y enough without it.

It takes a lot of guts to release a rare flavor, and this offering from A Quarter To Tea rises to the challenge, keeping things original, yet still enjoyable.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea

Tea of the Month for November 2016

Temi’s perfect muscatel notes are blended with rich dessert flavors: plum, pastry, and vanilla butter. A warming dessert tea, perfect for this (or any other) season.

This tea is limited run, so once it is gone, it’s gone for the season. It is sold only in 0.5oz quantities.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Toasty and Floral: Keemun Black Tea from The Tea Spot. . . .

Fine quality, unflavored black tea always makes me feel like a serious tea aficionado.  So I brewed up a cup of Keemun black tea from the Tea Spot and put my semi-professional tea-hat on.  Keemun tea is a well-known black tea from China.  The leaves are dark, with medium length and medium twists in shape.  No extra blossoms or fuzzy buds, just deep, rich tea leaves.  Dry, in the bag, the tea smells earthy and musky, very complex.

The Tea Spot describes this tea as having notes of “smoky pine, orchid, crushed apple.”  I was very intrigued. Brewed, the keemun has a much sweeter taste alongside the damp earth tones, which must be the “crushed apple” flavors coming through.  The earthiness is not as strong or overwhelming as sour pu erh tea, but more lush, like wet leaves or freshly-turned soil.  There is a touch of the “orchid” floral notes in the scent of the tea, but I don’t notice it as much in the taste.

The more I drink the tea, the more a toasty, almost-caramel aftertaste starts to appear.  And despite all my talk of savory, masculine flavors, there is a hint of a brighter note, more reminiscent of breakfast teas, with a lighter, almost lemony tone.

There is a lot going on in this tea, and lots of details to savor and enjoy.  For mornings when you want to feel sophisticated and expand your tea palette, you can’t go wrong with Keemun from the Tea Spot.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Tea Spot
Description: A splendor of toasty flavor and aroma! The most refined and perhaps the most well-known of Chinese black teas, this Keemun is handpicked in Anhui Province. This tea has an indescribable flavor, with the most delicate hints of smoky pine, orchid, crushed apple and a rich, sweet body.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!