Sensiblyscript’s Take on Lapsang Chai by Bluebird Tea Company. . . .

Steeping specs: One teaspoon at 212 degrees for 4 minutes in 1 cup of water.

This was an exciting idea for a tea. I’ve tried actual lapsang souchong once and couldn’t get through my mugful (maybe it was a bad idea to add milk, but I couldn’t stand it without milk either so I figured it couldn’t hurt anything). It’s not because I don’t like smoky flavors, either. I love smoked meat (I mean, BACON, right?), and I love campfires although it’s true I don’t eat them. But combining smoky tea with other strong spices that I know I like sounds like a very clever idea. I only wish I’d had it. In fact, I think I might have the rest of that sample packet of Lapsang somewhere; maybe I should go experiment with mixing it with various chais.

But I digress. . . .

After steeping for four minutes I took a good whiff–it smells tantalizingly smoky. This could be either a good thing or a problem, as mentioned above. The color is amber-ish–on the light side for a chai, I think (and I do have the unfortunate tendency to judge my tea’s strength by its color! I’ve been known to waaaaay over-steep my tea just because it didn’t look dark enough to me). A few crumbs of leaf have escaped my basket, so maybe I’ll use the finer mesh next time I steep this. What’s really exciting is that although the smell is smoky, I can smell spices too! Cinnamon, ginger, and possibly clove, I think.

First taste: it’s definitely not tasting like liquid smoke here, which is good! The flavor combo is hard to describe, though. The smoky tang and the warmth from the spices hit me at approximately the same time with each sip, which means it really has a kick! It’s not a super spicy chai, though, so if you’re sensitive to spice that probably won’t be a problem (depending on just how sensitive you are, of course. Some people manage to complain of spiciness in foods that taste basically bland to me).

The smokiness combines especially well with the ginger notes for some reason. Does ginger have a smoky component normally? I don’t know. I just know that this tastes really, really good. The smoke lingers a bit after each sip, but like I said, it’s not overpowering.

I also tried this tea with milk and sugar and found it still enjoyable, although less unique. That could just be due to the fact that I have a tendency to put milk and sugar in all my tea, though the milk does seem to muffle the brightness of the spice notes a bit too.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Bluebird Tea Co.
Description

We like to do things a bit differently at Bluebird. Our latest infusion is a thoughtful blend of Lapsang Souchong, malty Assam + aromatic masala chai spices. A BREWtiful blend of tea + culture alike!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Assam Black Tea from Mana Organics. . . .

 

In the mornings, I typically drink a cup of two of coffee before I leave the house. For my commute to work, I always bring some form of hot tea and my matcha smoothie.  But to get me out of bed-which is no small task- coffee is usually what I drink.  (My hubby actually brings me my first cup in bed to help me get up.  He is such a sweetheart!)  But lately, the coffee just hasn’t tasted right. I recently had the flu and I think my stomach is still a bit wonky from that experience because coffee just hasn’t been hitting those notes for me.

So the other night, I set my kettle up to start prepping my tea so that my hubby could bring me a cup of this Assam first thing in the am. And my taste buds are loving this experience!

This black Assam is malty with a gentle sweet note that combines to become the perfect wake me up cuppa. I really adore the brisk malty notes. They bring a lot of character to the tea and make the mouth feel so silky.   I’m also picking up a floral hit now and again and a nutty undertone.   A perfect combo first thing in the morning.

For me, this is about the perfect morning cuppa.  I think I may have to pick up some of the bagged versions of this tea for an added convenience factor. Plus, my hubby can handle brewing me up a cup of this brisk brew in a bagged form much easier than the loose leaf version.  And let’s face it, sometimes my mornings just don’t allow for brewing up loose leaf tea with getting the kiddos work, making sure everybody has their lunch, getting the dog set for the day and so on and so forth. . . .

I do have to end this review with a warning, do mind the steeping parameters. I have found that the tea as lovely as it is, can be a bit unforgiving if you forget that you are steeping your morning cuppa like I did the other day.  But with a touch of milk and honey,


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:   Black
Where to Buy:  Mana Organics
Description

Brisk, bold, and pure, we grew this organic Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe Assam black tea on our family tea estate, Chota Tingrai (27.458869 N, 95.354856 E). This tea is excellent for waking you in the morning or replacing your afternoon cup of coffee.

In this resealable packet, you find no fillers or dust. Instead you meet a blend of long aureate and black leaves. The golden leaves you see are the fabled tips of Assam. Prized for their complexity of scent and flavor, they are a rare find in any tea. The black leaves are the two leaves plucked next to the bud. These provide a sweet background flavor for taste of the golden tips to dance around in. Both these leaves come from the very tiniest leaves at the very tip of the youngest shoots of the tea bush, and are known as Flowery Orange Pekoe.

When you brew the tea, you can watch the long leaves unfurl. Upon brewing, you smell dates, almonds, and parsley as the liquor blooms a dark rosy red. As you take your first sip of the tea, you meet a flawlessly smooth balance of malt and sweet. While you can add milk and sugar, the honey after-taste will try to dissuade you.

As you savor each drop, you can taste the rich, healthy earth of Assam and the warm, happy pride of the women who plucked the leaf. This tea is both certified and actually 100% organic. We know this because we personally oversee the nurturing of every plant with compost made on our estate, and ensure that no staff uses any chemical pesticide in our organic sections.

We love this tea, the land we grew it on, and the people with whom we grew it. We know you will love it too.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Meleng FTGFOP 1 CL 2nd Flush 2016, Assam Tea from Lochan Tea Limited

Meleng FTGFOP 1 CL 2nd Flush 2016, Assam Tea from Lochan Tea Limited maybe a mouth full to SAY but it’s a wonderful cuppa to SIP on as well!  I have to say I have always been partial to Lochan Teas when it comes to their wide selection of estate teas and different flushes especially when it comes to black loose leaf teas.  Their catalog of them seems endless!

If you are looking for a very strong black tea that has a lot of character and will provide a LOUD wake-up call in the morning Meleng FTGFOP 1 CL 2nd Flush 2016, Assam Tea from Lochan Tea Limited might be for you!  It sure was for me!

The aroma of this dry loose leaf comes across very strong with bold cocoa notes.  It infuses to a dark brown and gives off a full, heavy-duty Assam flavor!  I can taste the dark yet daring black tea base with those saught-after natural cocoa flavors that move on to the aftertaste, too!  The aftertaste is that of a dark cocoa powder and I’m totally LOVING it!  Meleng FTGFOP 1 CL 2nd Flush 2016, Assam Tea from Lochan Tea Limited is one heck of a morning wake-up tea!

 


LochanLogoHere’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black Tea
Where to Buy: Lochan Tea Limited
Description: As I write this post Meleng FTGFOP 1 CL 2nd Flush 2016, Assam Tea from Lochan Tea Limited is not yet on their website but you can check out their entire catalog of offerings HERE.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Formosa Assam from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company

FormosaAssamTea Type:  
Black

Where to Buy:
Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company

Tea Description: 

NEW ITEM THIS MONTH!

What a smooth tea this is! This tea comes from a farm just above the pristine alpine lake called Sun Moon Lake. It’s hand processed by Mr. Lee and his wife, a wonderful and hospitable couple. They grow without chemicals the old fashioned way. Do you like black teas from India? This tea is similar but has no astringency. It’s a pure stock Assam Black Tea that has been growing in Taiwan since 1926 when the Japanese imperial machine started to foster a tea industry in Taiwan for world-wide export.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:
This is one of this company’s NEW teas and I must say it’s a GOODIE!  Of course – I’m partial to a solid black tea especially in the morning – I usually start each day with a black based tea and then move on to other types of tea throughout the day.  Have said that – I REALLY love this tea.

I’ve been hearing a lot of people use the word “Pristine” more and more these days.  I’m not sure if it’s a new buzz word or fad or lingo but I try and reserve it for something REALLY special.  After reading the product description of this tea and this tea being from a farm about the “pristine” Alpine Lake call Sun Moon Lake of course I had to research it to see if it lived up to the word.  And you know what?  It DOES!  This lake truly IS a gem!  It’s marvelously beautiful…and I’ll say it…PRISTINE.  After seeing the photographs I can’t image anything ‘bad’ coming from this area.  I absolutely believe this tea lives up to the product description.

I LOVE that this grown without the use of chemicals and the old fashioned way.  It has no astringency.  It’s bold but smooth.  It’s sweet, too.  For a black based tea I think this has a level of mouth watering and thirst quenching type of sip to it, too!  The leaves are fairly large and precise.  The aroma is pleasant but not over powering and not dark like most black teas.  I can’t think of one thing I don’t like about this tea.  It’s a real winner in my book!

2nd Flush Assam from Tea Horse

Second Flush Assam from Tea Horse
Second Flush Assam from Tea Horse

2nd Flush Assam from Tea Horse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Tea Horse

Tea Description:

A malty, rich Assam, perfect for a morning cup. It has a rich caramel, almost burnt sugar flavour with a maltiness and hints of fruit. This is a versatile tea. As good with a hearty cooked breakfast, bacon butty or toast and pastries as with a slice of fruitcake, piece of gingerbread or rich dark chocolate in the afternoon. It pairs well with dishes using cinnamon or nutmeg, as well as Mexican food or red meats.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

2nd Flush Assam from Tea Horse may be the first tea I have ever had from this company. I cannot recall another before it. This 2nd Flush is a good morning cup. I find the flavors evolve more if you let it cool just slightly before sipping. Regardless, the flavors are strong with berry notes, and have lovely caramel and malty notes. I find the malty notes to be less intense than many assam however.

What I find most pleasing with this tea is that the berry notes turn to something like a wine flavor as the cup breathes a little – cooling slightly more.

The downside of this tea is that I find you have to get the exact right steep time or you could end up with a bitter brew, or one that lacks flavor.

I found the perfect steep time for me was right at the 2 minute mark while my SororiTea Sister LiberTeas preferred hers at a minute and a half. There may be a “sweet spot” for each person and their personal taste but by no means would I suggest steeping this as long as the directions which say 4 minutes.

Personally I think this would make a far better tea iced or cold steeped because the longer I sip on this cup, the more flavors evolve with the caramel and malt waking up even more.

It is relatively bright in the mouthfeel however, its not heavy, or creamy, or even all that robust. It may not be the morning tea for everyone depending on how strong you like your morning tea to be.

I am glad that I have got to sample a Tea Horse tea and I look forward to trying more in the future.