Gong Fu Black/Zhi Tea

Really wanting to use my new gaiwan tonight, I pawed through my tea samples and my eye fell on this. Perfect! I don’t have to wonder if it is a good candidate for the gaiwan. The name tells me so!

The leaves are thin and twisted, and very dark. They have that heady chocolate aroma you find in black and oolong tea sometimes. After warming the gaiwan and allowing the leaves to rest in it for a moment, the scent is now much nuttier.

I experimented a bit and found that I like this one to have a little more time than I would give some teas. It didn’t become bitter – the main incentive for keeping a steep short would be to prevent bitterness – so I let those warm, rich flavors develop over a few extra seconds. The darkest steep was my favorite.

The tea is creamy, nutty, with a little hint of cocoa. It is so smooth that even a black tea phobe drinking with me liked it plain. Although there is virtually no astringency, there is the slightest briskness that develops over time in a very pleasant way. Walnut is the flavor that I most notice lingering.

I lost count but my guess is that we had about seven or eight steeps from this session. Overall, a very pleasant tea. I definitely want to have a look at this company’s other offerings, as well!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zhi Tea

Description

Zhi exclusive. #1 Rated Black Tea in the World!

This exquisite black tea from Fujian Province in China has become the favorite at Zhi. If you like the rich complexity of a classic Chinese black tea with all the hallmark smoothness and depth, be prepared to be enchanted. This is a top-grade exclusive tea with a major wow factor.

Thin, twisted leaves present a deep rich red cup with distinct caramelized sugar and chocolate notes and a long creamy finish. Mouthfeel, mouthfeel, mouthfeel.

If you like a great Keemun or a Gold Yunnan then you will love this tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Black Ruby/Rakkasan

Sustainability. What does that mean to you?

Is it as simple as maintaining ecological balance within the confines of ones company property or it is more than that?

Any company can put a label on their tin but to live it is a different matter.

Black Ruby comes from a women-only run estate. Though there is no specific information on Milan Kumari Khatri’s tea estate nor that I can currently find on the web, besides what is on the Rakkasan website, I can tell just by sipping this tea that the estate has very high standards.

If English Breakfast had a sister, this would be her. This delicious tea has the usual earthiness but also has some extremely unique fruit undertones, such as black cherries. If you want to support a good company make sure to give this tea a try!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rakkasan Tea Company

Description

This tea is no longer on the website but click below for more information .

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jaffalicious/T2

One of my all-time favorite teas is DavidsTea’s Chocolate Orange. I have a friend who comes over to my house and only drinks that one, decimating my stash. When I was in T2, I found a similar tea, with a base of black tea instead of pu’erh. WAS THIS MY RE-STOCK SOLUTION?

Sort of. It’s pretty close, but not quite the same.

The DT Chocolate Orange is a POW, with the pu’erh being stronger and the chocolate being darker and spikier in flavor. The T2 Jaffalicious is more like the former, but with milk added. It’s sweeter, lighter, creamier, and more delicate. It’s a dessert tea. It’s tea you’d serve your grandmother to make her giggle.

I served this tea to my friend who keeps stealing my Chocolate Orange, and he didn’t really notice the difference. So I guess, in a way, it serves my needs exactly.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  T2

Description

Jaffa lovers will agree, chocolate and orange is one of the greatest combos ever created. Lashings of velvety dark chocolate with a twang of sweet orange will take you to a world of all things heavenly.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vanilla Comoro/Harney and Sons

Drinking this today, a friend asked me why it is called Vanilla Comoro. I told her that the Comoro Islands are a source of vanilla, sugar, ylang ylang, cloves, and spices. Can you imagine what that place must smell like? And although it isn’t publicized on the label, this is a decaffeinated tea. Harney and Sons makes a tea called Vanilla Black that is not decaf and is very similar, but to me it is not quite the same flavor as this one.

When I poured the tea, my friend mentioned that it didn’t look very dark. She had already sipped and swooned, so the news that it was decaf hit her with a shock! “What? It’s so rich and good!”

A lot of decaf tea goes wrong. A decaf tea can be disappointing and even sometimes disgusting. This tea? Love love love. I don’t ever resteep this one, but the price is so reasonable that I don’t need to. It needs no sugar, no milk. Even though it is decaf, a little maltiness builds up as you drink – a lovely foil for that sweet, rich vanilla.

Fair warning and this is my opinion – I have had this tea in bags, sachets, and loose. I will probably never buy it any way but loose again. I don’t know why, but it is so much richer tasting to me. But if you have to have it convenient for on the go, my preference would be the sachets. To each his own, and try them all and see what you think!

If you see bits in the bottom of your teacup, have no fear. Those are not dregs, those are VANILLA BEAN SPECKS! We sometimes jostle to get the last cup from the pot so we can have all the yummy vanilla bits at the end.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Harney and Sons

Description

We’re pleased to offer Vanilla Comoro, our popular decaffeinated version of Vanilla Black tea! Now you may enjoy our favorite vanilla dessert tea to your heart’s content, and still get a good night’s sleep.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Zhen Quo Fine Black Tea/A Southern Season

I have seen this tea sold under several different spellings, but this is the only one of this type I have tried. It is one of the first fine loose leaf teas I ever purchased, and I haven’t outgrown it. When I am in the town where they sell it, I get a bit for the shelf.

My husband only likes his black tea with milk and sugar, and since he tries to cut back on sugar where he can he prefers that we drink green, white, oolong or puerh together. I had a hunch that he would like this one plain, and it paid off. That tells you a good bit about this special tea from the Yunnan Province. It tells you that it doesn’t taste like a breakfast tea, it isn’t malty, and it isn’t very brisk. So let’s talk about what it IS.

This lovely black tea steeps up a little light in color, but it is far from light in flavor. There are layers of goodness in each cup. This is smooth, slightly savory, and has hints of golden raisin and honey, a hint of sweet pastry, and a little fruit. High notes and middle notes abound, with just a little bit of bass.

It resteeps wonderfully, so even though this is a regional shop with only a few locations, they do ship, and it is worth a try. Or perhaps you can try a Zhen Qu from other sources and let us know how it compares to this description!

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: A Southern Season

Description

A black tea from Yunnan province, a big bodied, deep rich brew that is a mix of dry savory notes balanced by pervasive sweetness and a hint of fruit

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!