Power Breakfast/Stash Tea. . . .

I received this sample a few months ago and honestly I put off trying it. I just don’t use caffeine to wake up in the mornings. I had mate once or twice before and didn’t care for it much, and I am afraid that if I drink a lot of caffeine at any time besides breakfast I won’t sleep for days.

Today was the day. I had a sweet breakfast planned and an early work schedule. It seemed the perfect time to try it and I figured I could always sip it and toss it if I didn’t like it.

Then I smelled it while it was steeping and said, “Oh, baby!” It smelled like coffee at first and I don’t even drink coffee, nor I am particularly attracted to the smell of coffee. But this was calling my name. Another sniff or two and finally I pulled the bag out and gave it a sip.

Lapsang! That was what my first thought was on tasting it. And I love lapsang as long as the base is nice and strong, instead of smoke laid over weak and watery tea. And this had a solid breakfast tea base.

Maybe a real coffee drinker would not agree, but I get a hint of coffee, lots of lapsang-like smoke, a little toasted nut, and definite breakfast tea aroma.

This was really good, smooth, and very drinkable with no additions but able to take milk and sugar if you like it.

While this isn’t a highly nuanced cup with layers of different flavor notes to tease out, it is a really good, serviceable cup of tea that gets down to business and satisfies.

Because this seems to be unavailable at present on the Stash website, I am linking to a vendor who still has this available. You can still find it here and there online.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black/Mate

Where to Buy:  Stash Tea

Description

Wake up with this tasty brew. The bold, rich flavor of premium black teas is complemented by the smooth taste of yerba mate. Delicious iced or hot, plain or sweetened.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Twisted Black Tea / Cloudwater Tea

Thought it was silly that they wanted this tea to be steeped for 7 minutes. Most teas can hardly make it to five minutes before they are tannic. Which isn’t a bad thing as there are those, like my father, who like a good strong cuppa. Not me though.

So I only went about 3 minutes. It seems like many of the teas I’ve tasted that are grown in volcanic soil tend to be lightly in taste and need a longer steep time. So here we are on my second steeping. I’ve stopped at five minutes out of curiosity.

The astringency is already kicking in but I’ll go the extra two and pray it doesn’t become a bitter bash. They weren’t kidding when they called this twisted. The dry leaves are not just twisting but also curving and rolling. During the two extra minutes the liquid cooled slightly allowing more flavor to come through. Perhaps it’s just me but I really feel that when the water is hot you can’t truly experience any of the flavor.

The mouth feel like clean with a slight caulky feel, but maybe that is the astringency kicking in. Which has strangely mellowed as the water has cooled. Mineral flavors of volcanic soil co-mingle with earthy flavors of cedar and musty, forest floor. If you are ever in Hawai’i grab yourself a bag or better yet go check out their estate in Kilauea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Cloud Water Tea

Description:

Maintaining a bold and consistent character, our Twisted Black tea is full-bodied, very smooth, and possibly woody with an underlying sweetness and aftertaste of sweet potatoes.

Brewing Suggestions

3 grams per 6oz water. Steep for 7 minutes at 195 – 212 ° F. Re-infuse with increased time.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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!