Formosa Lapsang from Grey’s Tea

The other day I was in the mood for a tea that was different. . .a game changer . . .one that would shake up my taste buds and Formosa Lapsang fit that bill perfectly!

This particular tea is an oolong with that familiar smoky tone and flavor of a Lapsang black tea.  So you are getting the best of both worlds.  That gorgeous oolong setting with a smoky backdrop.  Talk about shaking up a flavor profile. This tea does just that.

First you are greeted with this aroma of pure smoke. This tea variety is not for the faint of heart.  (If you aren’t one that enjoys smoky teas, than this tea may not be your cuppa, but if you are, I highly encourage you to check this tea out.  ) The flavor profiles are bold with

With each sip, you are greeted with that smoky rich flavor that gives both your taste buds a high five right along with your sense of smell.  Bold, yet rich and smooth.  The smoky notes combined with that familiar oolong flavor that I have come to really enjoy.   Towards the end of the sip you start to get this earthy finish that completes the sip while that smoky tone does start to come back in a subtle aftertaste.

I can’t say that this tea would be an everyday drinking sort of tea, but for a switch on what I normally drink -which is green or white teas- this Formosa Lapsang was a very welcomed palette cleanser and one that reminded me of how tasty smoky teas are.  Usually I do shy away from them, but I feel myself starting to open up to those varieties more.

All in all, a tea variety that absolutely delivers on flavor, quality, ad uniqueness.  this tea will be one that I will remember for some time to come!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Grey’s Tea
  • Formosa Lapsang: a most unusual Lapsang tea from Formosa (Taiwan).
  • It combines the earthy characteristics of Formosa’s oolongs with the pinewood aromas of Fujian Lapsang Souchongs.
  • This aromatic tea is smoked uniquely over a combination of oak and pinewood.
  • The typically coarse yet deep brown leaf produces a wonderfully balanced and subtly smoky tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Happy Valley Darjilong Organic Tea from Grey’s Teas

Darjilong2Tea Type:
Oolong Tea

Where To Buy:
Grey’s Teas

Production Description:
Darjeeling tea lends itself well to the oolong process of semi-oxidation. It creates a character beautifully complementary to the muscatel taste of Darjeeling. It is a fragrant tea that has a little more complexity than you would expect with black Darjeeling. Infuse for five minutes with fresh water just off the boil. We also offer .

Tasters Review:

Happy Valley Darjilong Organic Tea from Grey’s Teas…well, well, well!  I have a bit to say about this tea!  First…the name!  Anything that says Happy Valley just has to put a smile on your face!  I wanted to start the day off positive and this tea certainly helped!  Organic teas always make me happy, too!  The name Darjilong is just fun to say!  But when you put a Darjeeling Oolong in front of me I tend to pick it a part a bit.  Maybe that goes back to ‘word dissection’ in my college days – not sure – but that’s sort of what I did here.

I took the “Darjeeling” to heart.  I always associate Darjeelings with a specific taste profile, I guess…mostly via Black Darjeeling Teas eventho I have had Oolongs, Whites, and other Darjeeling Teas but I guess I will always have a place in my heart for Darjeeling Black.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m LOVING this tea!  I LOVE that it’s a Darjeeling Tea and that it’s a Darjeeling Oolong Tea.  It’s not quite as muscatel as some of the Darjeelings I have tried but I’m totally ok with that.  Sometimes I actually prefer it.  It’s slightly juicy.  In the 2nd infusion It’s more juicy as well as more muscatel and even a bit more sweet-woodsy tasting – which is very much welcomed.  I do enjoy the 2nd infusion a bit more than the 1st but BOTH infusions are VERY satisfying.  I appreciate the complexity of this tea.  From start to finish it’s fairly fragrant, too!  It’s also a winner HOT or COLD.  A terrific tea for Spring, Summer, or Fall!  Excellent!

Assam Anandabagh STFGFOP1 Autumn Flush Tea 2013 from Grey’s Teas

AssamAnandabaghAutumn2013Tea Type:
Black Tea

Where To Buy:
Grey’s Teas

Product Description:

This is a lovely, tippy autumn flush Assam with a most attractive, slightly liquorice note. It is malty yet elegant, having plenty of tip evident. Just flown in this 2013 picking is a real treat. Infuse for five minutes. Drink with milk.

See more at:
Tasters Review:
Assam Anandabagh STFGFOP1 Autumn Flush Tea 2013 from Grey’s Teas….you are impressive!  Just when you think you know what an Assam is going to taste like you come across a ‘gem’ like this one that throws your taste buds for a loop but in a good way!  This is more than ‘just an Assam’.  This has fairly complex layers of flavors that puts on a show for any tea lover!
Once infused the color is that of a medium brown.  It nearly glows in the cup!  It smells slightly malty.  The flavor is somewhat bold but ‘sits on the tongue well’.  It only has a hint of sweet wood.  The malty and rich notes are more upfront.  There are specks of gentle liquorice in there as well.  The end sip on to the after taste gives a bried nod to cocoa flavors, too.
I’m really loving this tea.  Assam Anandabagh STFGFOP1 Autumn Flush Tea 2013 from Grey’s Teas is one I would probably store in my ‘secret stash’ and save for the end of a busy day to relax or even pump up a rough mid-morning while at work.

Keemun Peony China Black Tea from Grey’s Teas

KeemunPeonyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Grey’s Teas

Tea Description:

This extra quality Keemun has a neat pine-needle leaf producing a subtly rich liquor with a toasty character and delicate aroma. A truly delicate tea that can be enjoyed any afternoon or evening.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I read the name of this tea on the package, I was a little confused by it:  Keemun Peony.  Is it a black tea, or a white tea?  Before I brewed it, I brought up the Grey’s Teas Website and found that this is a Black Tea from China.  The aroma of the dry leaf is rich with notes of a warm, toasty, earthy type of scent.  There is also a sort of leather-y type of fragrance.  The brewed tea smells very similar to what I experienced with the dry leaf.

Nice!  This is such a rich and satisfying Keemun.  It has wisps of smokiness in the background.  Not an overpowering taste of smoke, I would describe it more as a smoke you’d taste if you were to taste a fire-roasted plum.  And I mention “plum” because I taste notes of fruit in this cup as well, and it’s not so easy to pinpoint the fruit flavor I taste, but, I’d say it’s closest to plum.  As I continue to sip, I notice that the fruit notes seem to morph into the fruit notes you would taste in a well-aged wine.  The astringency to this tea further develops the wine-like flavors.  There is a honey-like sweetness to the cup as well.

Overall, I would describe this tea as a masculine tea.  It has a rugged sort of flavor, like something you’d want to drink early in the day to give you that inspiration to get moving.  Toasty and smoked.  Rich and earthy, with notes of leather.  It does have sweetness to it too, from the aforementioned fruit and honey notes, but even these have a sort of masculine quality to them, tasting sweet but with savory undertones to cut through some of the sweeter notes.  Nothing too sweet here.  Just a smooth, rich tea experience.

Assam Smoked Oolong Tea from Grey’s Teas

AssamSmokedOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Grey’s Teas

Tea Description:

Having a big, tippy, curly leaf, this is a most unusual and aromatic oolong from India’s northern Assam region. It is produced using the semi fermented oolong process and is smoked with an oak-like wood, unlike the pinewood used for lapsang souchong. Its aroma is unique. Brew for three minutes and drink without milk. Once tried, forever besotted!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I could smell the smoke in this Assam Smoked Oolong Tea from Grey’s Teas the moment I opened the pouch.  But what I liked is that the smoke … didn’t overwhelm me.  I didn’t get that “off-putting” sort of feeling when I smelled the tea … and that often happens when I encounter a really strongly smoked tea.  I like that I can definitely tell that this is smoked, but it’s not an assault on my olfactory nerves.

And this is a really interesting cup of tea!  I brewed this tea the way I usually brew an Oolong – in my gaiwan, using short steeps – and my first cup is the combination of infusions 1 and 2 (following a quick 15 second rinse).

The sip starts out with an immediate introduction to the smoky notes.  But I can also taste the fruity qualities of this dark Oolong, and together with the smoky notes, it almost tastes as though a plum and a peach were smoked in a pit.  It’s a very unique flavor.

And I can also taste floral notes … and with the smoky tones, it almost tastes as though flowers were smoked with those stone fruits.  This tastes unlike any other tea I’ve ever tasted.  The smoky tones are extraordinary in themselves, because this doesn’t taste like the typical “smoked” tea … the flavor is deeper, richer … more like the fire from a hearth rather than a campfire.

The second cup (infusions #3 and 4) brought a more unified taste.  There is less distinction between the different flavors.  I taste a little bit of sweet and savory. The smoky notes are prominent.  The fruit tones are sweet and sour and the smoky tones are savory and even hint at some bitter notes, with hints of sweet, exotic flower in the distance.  This cup is very smooth and has very little astringency to it.  It has a very pleasant, soft mouthfeel.

As I brewed the third cup, I sort of expected some of the smoky tones to wane, but the smoke remains!  It softens somewhat … but it really surprised me just how long the flavor stays with this tea.

If you’re one of those who love a good, smoky tea – you really should try this Assam Smoked Oolong from Grey’s Teas!  I’m not a huge smoky tea fan … but I really enjoyed this, and it surprised me at how long the smoky tones lasted.  It’s a really enjoyable and very flavorful tea!