24 Days of Tea Holiday Countdown – Day 4 from Teanzo 1856

It’s day four!  We are off and running as we count down the days until the big day arrives.

A snowman crafted out of polymer clay on a 2×2 inch canvas by Kari McKnight-Holbrook. Adorable!

Today, I decided to feature something that I didn’t make, but it’s one of my favorite gifties that I ‘ve received in the past from a fellow mail-art artist.  What’s a “mail-art” artist?  Basically, a couple of years ago, I was actively involved in a few online groups that would send each other little pieces of art in the mail.  It was fun and it was a great source of inspiration.

This piece was created by an artist named Kari McKnight-Holbrook.  I love the texture of the piece.  Every year, it gets a featured place on my mantle on its own tiny little easel.   It’s just so festive and cute and fun.

Now it’s time for some tea fun!

Irish Breakfast Tea

irishbreakfastTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teanzo 1856

Tea Description:

A bold blend of leafy black teas from India and China with some golden tips.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

Reviewer’s Note:  After writing this review, I found this tea on the website – I don’t know if it was an oversight on my part or if it wasn’t on the website at the time of writing the review.  Anyway, it’s great that this tea is available now because it’s a good one!

I’m happy to have an Irish Breakfast Tea in my teacup – I love the bold, rich, malty flavor of an Irish Breakfast Tea!

And this Irish Breakfast from Teanzo has all that!  It’s a bold tea with the strong, hefty character that I look for in a breakfast blend.  It’s got a rich and satisfying mouthfeel and the sweet, malty notes that I like in my “first tea of the day.”

And it’s just what I needed this morning!  Today has been one of those days when I found it difficult to shake the sleepy.  I wanted to just stay in bed, curled up under the covers but I had things that I needed to do!  This tea came to my rescue today.

The flavor is robust.  It starts out sweet with notes of caramel mingling with the malty flavors.  At about mid-sip, I pick up on a slight bitterness.  It’s not a strong or unpleasant flavor, I think it offers a nice contrast to the sweetness at the start.  The sip offers notes of fruit (I taste raisin and dried plum) and hints of floral.  These floral notes are difficult to pinpoint, so I’ll describe it like this:  imagine standing in a tea garden and off on a distant hill there are some flowers.  When a gentle breeze sweeps through the area, hints of those flowers are picked up in the breeze and brought to where you are.  Mere hints of what lies in the distance.

The finish reminds me a bit of freshly baked bread.  Delicious and satisfying.  There is a wee bit of astringency at the tail, but it’s more like a slight dryness, kind of like what you might experience after eating a piece of that previously mentioned freshly baked bread.  There isn’t a lot of aftertaste to this, hints of distant flowers and a slight fruit note, as if it’s a continuation of what I experienced during the sip.

A truly rewarding cup of Irish Breakfast.  Thank you, Teanzo 1856, for including this in the Advent Calendar

No. 4 – Dian Hong Congfu Black Tea from Joseph Wesley Black Tea

4DianHongCongfuTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Joseph Wesley Black Tea

Tea Description:

At the foot of the Himalayas in southwestern China, the great tea masters of the Yunnan Province have been hand crafting some of the world’s most unique teas for centuries. Yet, not until the 20th century did this region produce the unique Dian Hong Gong Fu (Yunnan Black) tea. Joseph Wesley’s Black Tea No. 4 is a spotlessly clean representation of this newly famous tea. With its crystal clear red liquor, beautiful golden buds, robust and malty taste and exquisite construction, Joseph Wesley’s Black Tea No. 4 is as much a work of art as it is an unforgettable tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Last week when I reviewed Joseph Wesley’s No. 6 – Bai Lin Congfu Black Tea, and loving that tea as much as I did, I found myself wondering how the other two teas that I have from this company would compare because … quite simply I loved that tea.  It was easily one of the very best black teas I’ve tried.

And as I sit here and sip this No. 4 – Dian Hong Congfu Black Tea from Joseph Wesley Black Tea, I find myself amazed yet again by this company!  Another outstanding black tea from them.

It IS different than I remember the No. 6, though.  The leaves look somewhat similar, with their dark, curly leaves and lots of golden tips.  These are really beautifully crafted leaves!  I love that this company doesn’t just sell tea.  They sell GORGEOUS tea.  And it isn’t gorgeous because there are lots of “things” added to the tea.  There aren’t fruit bits or flowers or herbs or spices – not that there’s anything wrong with those things added to a tea, I quite enjoy teas with all of those things in them – but I also like that this company has chosen to focus on the beauty of the oxidized Camellia Sinensis leaf, because it in itself is quite a thing to behold!

But I digress!

This Dian Hong is slightly different from the previously reviewed Bai Lin.  That tea had a slightly more velvety mouthfeel, while I notice a little more astringency to this cup.  This tastes and feels more “clean” and brisk, and there is a certain refreshing aspect to that.

There is a pleasant malty tone to this tea, and a very enjoyable bake-y taste to it with sweet notes that are reminiscent to the caramelized crust of a freshly baked loaf of bread.  There are also hints of a smoky character in the distance, and I find that slurping the sip will help to elevate these smoky notes.

It’s a bold tea, with a strong, full-bodied flavor.  This is the kind of tea that I’d recommend for those mornings when you just can’t seem to shake the sleepies.  You know the kind of day I’m talking about, right?  When you know you have to get up because there are things that need to be done … but you just want to stay curled up under the covers and sleep?  This tea will give you that “get up and go” kind of vigor you need to get your day started.

The sip starts off sweet with hints of malty caramel and a brisk earthy flavor.  As the sip progresses, I notice the distant smoky notes and the warm, bake-y flavor that I mentioned earlier.  The sip ends with a slight dryness, and the palate feels clean and refreshed … and ready for another sip.

Another beautiful tea from Joseph Wesley!  If you like really good black teas, you really should be shopping with this company.  Their teas are top notch!