Wild Woman Black Tea from Tay Tea

wildwomanTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Tay Tea

Tea Description:

An organic high-grown Ceylon tea with wild blueberries, black currants, hibiscus, elderberries and corn flower petals. One heavenly sip of this organic tea is enough to make you go wild! A perfect tea to wake up to.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a tea I was looking forward to a fair bit; despite the hibiscus in the blend which I personally think it completely unnecessary to include in most blends but especially in berry ones.

When I first started drinking teas I was actually rather hesitant about trying blueberry teas because I don’t actually like the fruit a whole lot, and I definitely don’t like the taste of anything artificially blueberry flavoured but when I finally did try out a couple blueberry blends I learned that it’s a flavour I surprisingly quite enjoy – especially when paired with a black base like this one is. In fact, my most logged tea on Steepster happens to currently be DT’s Blueberry Jam tea – it makes a great everyday sort of tea and brews up very consistently, so when I tried this one I was kind of internally measuring it against that blend.

Dry, the leaf smells mildly of blueberries and black currants with the faintest scent of something sweet and almost black licorice like – which is odd given that none of the listed ingredients are ones I’d associate with that sort of flavour or scent. Visually, I don’t see much (if any, really) hibiscus in the leaf I’ve measured out. I’m slightly relieved about that, though I wonder if it’s going to make for a skewed sampling.

Taste wise, the blueberry is definitely the first flavour here though it’s quickly followed by a little bit of elderberry and the sweeter side of black currant. I don’t actually know how much black currant is blended in here, but for people who dislike the medicinal taste black currant sometimes has I don’t really see that ever being a problem with this blend; it’s all sweet and jammy, and faint in contrast to the blueberry anyway. I will say that compared to Blueberry Jam, this has the same level of berry flavour with the same accuracy when it comes to how realistic it is.

The downside is the base. This had a recommended steep time of three to five minutes and I steeped on the lower end of the spectrum – three and a half minutes in total. Even with a steep on the low end of Tay Tea’s suggested spectrum it brewed up quite bitter, and sadly that bitterness is the finishing note which lingers well after you’ve finished the sip. It greatly detracts from what would otherwise be a very well done blueberry tea.

For that reason, I don’t think I’d order it for myself though I do think it’d be worthwhile to try it again with a steep time closer to two and a half minutes to see if the bitterness could be lessened without losing out on the robust blueberry notes.

Wild Bitter Tea (Tianshan Lushui) from Enjoying Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Company Description:

This is a rare and expensive tea grown in Zhejiang province. In Chinese medical journals the Tianshan Lushui is known to lower cholesterols and help with weight loss. This tea produces a green color liquid. The better its quality is, the greener the color. This tea has traditionally been used as a diet tea in palaces by the empress and princesses of ancient China. Because this tea is very concentrated, we suggest using one teaspoon of tealeaves for every 500ml of water.

Taster’s Review:

These tiny leaves are so much fun to watch as they brew.  When I first watched them, the first thought that came into my head is that this is “instant gratification for tea watchers” – because it unfurls much like a gunpowder or pearl, but much faster.  It is kind of like watching a gunpowder tea unfurl in fast forward.

I was a little afraid to taste this tea, to be honest.  When the name of the tea is “bitter” – I get a little worried.  But, really, this is “bitter” in a good way.  Kind of like dandelion greens.  And that is a really good description of this tea, because when they unfurl, the damp leaves look like baby dandelion greens!  Really tiny, baby dandelion greens!

This is actually quite good.  It has a savory quality that I’m finding very rewarding.  The key is to not over brew it, I found that with a short brew time (I brewed it for about 1 1/2 minutes in hot but not boiling water) the flavor is lightly bitter, with an interesting sweet background note.  It’s a very crisp, bright, herbal taste that I’m finding rather energizing.  Vibrant!

I also recommend not using too much leaf when you brew this, because the flavor is quite intense.  Too much leaf will result in a cup that is quite bitter, and because the bitter is so overwhelming, it is difficult to enjoy the other flavors that this tea possesses.   A lighter infusion allows the many dimensions of this leaf to come alive in the teacup!

By now, you might be wondering what “Tianshan Lushui” is – is it a tea (as in Camellia Sinensis) or is it something else?  Well, I was not entirely sure if it came from the Camellia Sinensis plant, so I contacted Enjoying Tea for more information.  I was very impressed with the speed in which they responded!

They informed me that it is in fact an herb and not from the Camellia Sinensis plant.  I also did a little research of my own, and found that this herb is also often called “small-leaf bitter tea.”  It is often utilized to help cool the body temperature, as well as help to lower cholesterol and improve blood circulation.  It’s also supposed to be good for the skin!  So while it’s not a true tea, it is a tasty herb and very good for you!  Cheers!