Tsuei Luan Oolong Tea by Tea from Taiwan . . . .

I steeped this tea for three minutes with five grams of leaf in six ounces of water at 190 degrees.

It smells so lovely in the packet that I kind of want to eat it. The tiny densely rolled-up leaves (which I let float free in the cup so I can watch them moving around and unfurling) are so cool! It seems about half of them are floating and half are sinking. It smells fruity, orchidy and a bit savory.

First sip: Super rich! So much flavor!! The tea leaves have unrolled into large, intact leaves and the tea liquid is a gentle yellow that reminds me of winter sun.

As I sip the tea, it’s astringent, creamy/buttery, a little grassy, viscous, and a little nutty even, with some floral/orchidy notes flying around too. It’s also a bit “leafy” so I may have steeped it a bit long, or maybe that’s just supposed to be part of the flavor. Either way, it’s a very interesting combo with the buttery and the fruity and the vegetal/savory aspects.

It’s a full and rich cup, and I don’t think it needs sugar or milk. I really enjoyed finishing this cup off and I’d love to have more of it sometime. Apparently this tea is very popular with aficionados of Taiwan teas (according to Tea from Taiwan’s website), and although I myself am not an expert in that area, I can definitely see how that would be the case.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Tea from Taiwan
Description

Tsuei Luan Oolong tea (wulong tea) is grown in the Tsuei Luan district of Li Shan (Pear Mountain). This area is a former fruit producing region which was converted to tea plantations in the late 1970’s. The soil quality of the former orchards is excellent, and the high altitude (more than 2,000 meters) of this district provides a cool, moist climate – ideal conditions for growing tea.

Tsuei Luan oolong tea has an exquisitely sweet aroma and interesting flavour profile. The slightly floral taste has a definite fruit undertone – said to be the result of growing tea on orchard land. This tea has a very pleasing flavour that makes it one of the most popular teas amongst Taiwan tea connoisseurs.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Yerba Mate Mint by Choice Organic Teas . . .

I steeped this tea for 4 minutes at 175 degrees with one bag in about one cup of water.

The packet says to steep for 4-6 minutes but it smells plenty strong enough at 4 so I stopped there. Plus, since mint can get bitter if oversteeped, I didn’t want to wait too long.

It smells nice and minty while brewing. I can’t really distinguish it from plain peppermint tea by the smell. After steeping is over, the tea is a yellowish cedar-like color and not noticeably viscous.

First sip: Surprise! It tastes just like mint herbal tea–to me, anyway. Or at least not different enough that you would be positive there’s something else in there rather than just a variation on the minty flavor. (Maybe if I had prepared a cup of plain mint tea at the same time to compare against, that would have helped me pick out any differences, but alas–I didn’t think of that until it was too late.)

What that means is that this could be a clever way to have something caffeinated in the morning if you’re an herbal tea drinker and don’t care for green or black tea or coffee! Or if you only drink black tea with milk (like me) and are avoiding milk because you have a cold, but still need that caffeine boost. (I know that sounds oddly specific but it happens to me more often than you’d think!)

The mate isn’t roasted, I’m guessing, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t have a strong enough flavor to dominate this tea blend (after all, peppermint is a very powerful flavor and it’s hard to overcome that). So if you like peppermint tea, you’ll probably like this!

With sugar: It’s still good and minty, nice and easy on the throat (which means that it’s both good for colds and for vocal health if you’re trying to relax your voice and stay hydrated, although I guess caffeine is a little bit controversial where vocal health is concerned).

Overall this blend is both useful and enjoyable when prepared as a hot tea beverage, and it seems to have plenty of potential as a cold brew as well, although I didn’t try it that way.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Yerba Mate
Where to Buy: Choice Organic Tea

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Blueberry Green Kukicha from Frontier Organic . . . . .

I’ve really been looking forward to this organic Kukicha touting the same blueberry green flavor profile that got me through finals week. This kukicha style of tea includes twigs from the tea plant so it’s a bit lower in caffeine and usually a bit more woody tasting. To be honest I’m a little judgy about low caffeine teas, I have an assumption that they’ll be less flavorful but I’m more than willing to test my hypothesis, especially since this is my comfort flavors! The stars of this blend are plenty of flat greens (I’m guessing it’s Dragonwell tea / longjingcha) dotted with teensy dried blueberries.

As it brews, it smells earthy but pleasant and delicate, like walking through a forest in the summer, with teases of juicy berries begging to be eaten. Not getting as much lemongrass scent, though I see it. The different components stratify themselves by weight in my gravity strainer, producing a really neat effect in the deep caramel-colored infusion. You can blame my geology profs for that last observation 😉

The complex taste of the green tea seems to expand past my mouth! It makes a single sip seem impossibly full of flavor. It’s unexpectedly rich, and then the sweet berry aftertaste lingers for a nice long while. The lemongrass is hiding somewhere in all this, but it’s not undetectable, just subtle. My second steep included rock sugar, which eased the flavor intensity a bit and made it more my taste.

I have to say, despite my bias I’m impressed with how well this low caffeine tea passed my taste-tests. Each flavor amplified the others, but nothing is overpowered. Since I’m already committed to nerdy buzzwords here, I’m going to call this a synergy blend, where the end product is more flavorful than the sum of its parts alone. Yum!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Frontier Co-Op

Organic and Kosher loose leaf Kukicha

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

 

A Gentle Hug from Nessie in Tea form! – Nessy Tea by Wendigo Tea Co.

Hello readers! I come with another review for a tea company that continues to impress me. As some of you may know that the tea blend named after the company has impressed me as far as green tea goes (the review is here). And like the tea that I had before named Wendigo, the Nessy blend also drew me in with its name. For the Loch Ness monster or Nessy has always piqued my interest for according to the legend Nessy is what you will call a gentle giant. Instead of the Chupacabras and the Nosferatus before her, she mainly keeps to herself with no intent to harm. With that being said, I believe this tea is a perfect representation of Nessy’s character.

At its base form this tea is referred to as Imperial Grade Jasmine Dragon Pearl tea and since I have not had much experience in the pearl tea family I can’t tell you much in comparison other than I enjoyed every cup I had of this tea. This tea was smooth and uplifting, it gave the feeling of the smell of clean linen. It was comforting and warm while giving your brain a nice clean jump start. This tea was also delightfully sweet, without one note of harshness. And this is without much sugar, for me personally on an average basis add 2-2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar depending on the beverage. So with this tea, I found 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar was perfect.

Now onto the numbers. Nessy, like the legend itself, is a treasure and so this blend is not an average price that I would pay for a container of tea. This tea, in my opinion, is a splurge item and every sip should be treasured for the asking price is 12.99 for 2.2 oz and $25.99 for 5.5 oz. So the 2.2 oz is not terribly expensive but it exceeds my normal purchases two-fold but then again this is Jasmine tea pearls we are talking about. Unfortunately, I have failed to find any type of samples on the site but there is a space for a Wendigo tea club in the works so I will stay tuned for that.

With all being said, I would say that I would recommend this tea to anyone who wants to try out authentic jasmine tea pearls. For if there is one thing that this company does well that is to provide its customers with the most authentic and pure taste of tea without adding weird ingredients like rice crispies or sprinkles. This tea is definitely on my list of future wants and I hope for the day where I can have Nessy with my evergrowing tea collection.

See you for the next cuppa!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Wendigo Tea Co
Description

You may know me better as the Loch Ness Monster. I am a jasmine scented tea whose leaves have been rolled into tiny pearls to release my beautiful taste and smell as I uncurl for you in the hot water. There is nothing quite like me.

Sometimes people call me an Imperial Grade Jasmine Dragon Pearl from Fuding of the Fujiang province of China and scented five times by jasmine flower buds picked just after they had bloomed. You can just call me Nessy though. All you really need to know is that I make one damn good cup of tea that will make you feel refreshed and comfy.

You love me, but just don’t know it yet.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Peppermint Cinnamon from Trader Joe’s. . . .

I’ve been feeling the need to cull my tea collection lately, friends. Now, before you gasp and exile me from Sororitea-Sisterhood, let me clarify. I have SO MUCH TEA. And frankly, lots of my “backlog” teas are ones that have sat there for a very, very, very long time. Rather than letting them languish, I’ve been packing them up (or tossing them out, if they’re really *that* old) and passing onto friends, and keeping my core collection full of teas that I really, really love. (this way, when new samples come in, I can happily sip a cup or two and then move along to the next without a giant back-stash of guilt staring at me from my tea cabinet.)

Now, you’d think in all this freshening-up of my tea cabinet, I’d be staying away from picking up anything new. Ah, friends, but you would be wrong. While I’ve been trying to stay away from restocking the empty spaces in my cabinets, the siren song of new blends has been a little tricky to resist. I’ve mostly persisted, but when I saw this cute little box of pyramid sachets for only a handful of dollars at Trader Joe’s, I knew it was coming to work with me for easy brewing.

This blend is simple, as the name implies– only peppermint leaves and cinnamon stick chunks, perfectly visible in the bag. It’s autumnal (thanks, cinnamon!) without being in-your-face, it’s herby and fresh (oh hey, peppermint) without being toothpaste-y. I can say with all honesty that it’s unlike any herbal I’ve ever had before– and frankly, when it comes to herbals, I’m learning that the simpler/fewer ingredients, the better. I’m finding this the perfect little bridge to get me through my mid-morning/pre-lunch slump during the workday, and it hits those festive fall notes, to boot. Well done, TJ’s! This is worthy of a space in my forever-cabinet.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Herbal
Where to Buy:  Trader Joe’s