Leaf Type: White/Bloom
Where to Buy: What-Cha
A hand tied ball of silver tip white tea, possessing delicate fruity tones which become stronger with subsequent infusions. Tangy apricot notes become apparent with some subtle malt tones in latter steeps.
Learn more about this tea here.
I have to admit, the only reason I bought this tea was because it has ‘mushroom’ in the title and it intrigued me since I’m very allergic to mushrooms. Though the tea itself has little to nothing to do with mushrooms, it still felt kind of cool to get to say I was ‘having them’. #TeaOnTheEdge #ButNot2Edgy
I only bought a sample amount; two blooms. When I opened up the package I was pretty taken aback because the smell was very pungent and defined. It certainly smelled strongly of apricots but also something sort of akin to sweet and sour sauce? I wasn’t expecting that level of smell at all, though it was intriguing to say the least.
I made three 12 oz. infusions of this one over the course of a work day, making sure to take note of the differences. I certainly freaked out a few coworkers at my new job; they saw this unfurled tea bloom from a distance/in passing in my mug in the breakroom and assumed something fungal was growing in my mug and that’s because the bloom certainly wasn’t the most attractive one I’ve come across – there’s no “flower” tied into it just an arrangement of white tea leaves tethered together. Which is fine: I wasn’t drinking this tea for the aesthetics however I’ll admit I did expect the “mushroom” to tie in with the overall shape of the bloom but it certainly didn’t look like any mushroom I’ve seen.
The first infusion was a mix of sharp, lively, tangy notes of apricot and peach. Again, the intensity of the ‘tang’ reminded me a little of sweet and sour sauce. Actually, in particular I couldn’t help but think of a very particular flavour from highschool cooking class I’ve only experienced once: we made vegetarian meatballs with a “sweet and sour sauce” that used apricot jam and ketchup in the sauce and this was quite similar to my memory of that sauce. There was also a very slightly malty taste to the finish of this infusion.
The second infusion was about 50/50 malt and apricot/peach with less of the piercing tang. It was probably the smoothest infusion overall and I’d say my favourite. Finally, the third infusion was more malt than anything else with light notes of apricot and a bit of a peppery finish. I swear there were also very light cocoa notes on the top of the sip as well.
Overall, I thought this was surprisingly delightful – more so than I actually expected it would be if I’m being completely honest/transparent. What started off as a bit of a ‘gag’ purchase actually resulted in a wonderful tea session and intriguing learning experience. Also, credit where credit is due: What-Cha has done a marvelous job describing the overall flavour of this tea on their page for it. While I was taken back by the intensity of the apricot notes there’s no doubt in my mind that their flavour description was super accurate. I absolutely recommend trying this tea!
Leaf Type: Black/Flowering
Where to Buy: Liquid Proust Teas
As my first batch of French Toast Dian Hong, I decided to go lightly on the flavoring because the natural cocoa taste from the tea is pleasant enough to keep the flavoring at a low amount. This tea proves to pull out different taste from different steeps from my experience and I am hoping you find the same to be true.
Learn more about this tea here.
Some of my favourite tea companies are the ones where you really get a feel for the owners as people; a hand picked sample, signed note added in to my order, and online interactions on sites such as Steepster are all touches that win me over quite a lot as a consumer; and something really cool about Liquid Proust Teas, a retailer which opened quite recently, is that I kind of got a feel for the owner, Andrew, before the company was even hatched since, first and foremost, he was a Steepster member himself and is a consumer as well as a seller too.
Recently, I did a swap with him and he generously included a few of his own blends. Personally, I thought this seemed the most interesting of what he sent me. A few other companies such as 52Teas, both under new and old management, have attempted French Toast teas but I’ve yet to be wowed by one and I think Andrew’s approach here is quite a bit different than the ones they’ve taken so I’m definitely excited!
I brewed this ‘Grandpa Style’ because that’s my typical approach with blooming/flowering teas. I knew that there was a possibility that it would get bitter because that’s a risk you always take when brewing Grandpa Style but this was unwaveringly smooth and silky. The entire time I spent drinking this (a few hours in total) there wasn’t even the slightest hint of bitterness OR astringency. I’m incredibly impressed by that.
The flavour was very fluffy and sweet, but reserved enough to not be cloying or make me feel like I was drinking syrup straight from the bottle. The rich notes of custard, cream, vanilla, cocoa, and, yes, egg hardly waned at all throughout the session. There were also lighter notes of cinnamon that I thought did fade towards the end of my session, and some pretty pronounced malt notes from the tea itself along with more muted floral notes. I likely could have continued to drink this for another hour or possibly longer with very little flavour deterioration. More than that, if it had not have been midnight I would have continued to drink this which is certainly high praise from me given that I dislike resteeping in general (drink as many teas as possible in one day is my philosophy).
My only criticism would be that the “toast” part of “French toast” was lacking; I’d have liked stronger bread notes contributed from the base tea to complete the illusion; but that’s just me getting hyper critical of one of the better flavoured teas I’ve had all month. If Andrew’s other teas are as tasty as this one I’m in for a real treat!
Leaf Type: Black/Flowering
Where to Buy: McQuarrie’s Tea & Coffee Merchants
An exquisite medium body taste profile. A smooth cup with hints of fruit and soft rose notes.
Learn more about this tea here.
Picked up a single bloom of this one at McQuarrie’s (my local, privately owned loose leaf store) when I was there earlier in the month. It cost about $1.50 if I remember correctly – $2 tops. It’s been a little while since I had a bloom tea, and when I was skimming the selection they offers this was the only one I noticed with a black base, so I figured I’d give it a shot since blooms with black bases don’t seem to be a super common thing. Like I usually do with bloom/flowering teas, I made it in my 25 oz. mason jar from DT so I could see it clearly. I apologize that the pictures I took are pretty crude; my options were webcam or cell phone, and neither are the highest quality…
Aesthetically speaking this was pretty; the black tea when fully spread out did look a little frayed and tattered, but the flower in the center was really pretty. It’s hard to see in the pictures, but it was a little pinker than they’d lead you to believe. A lot of the lavender ‘woven’ in place also got loose as well and ended up as floaty bits at the top of the mason jar.
This was actually pretty decent as far as bloom teas go though; since a lot of the lavendar broke off and was drank by me early on it didn’t get a chance to get super strong/perfumey and instead just imparted a nice light, but still present flavour. Other strong flavours were malt, stewed fruit and raisin from the black base and then quite a bit of rose from the actual rose in the blend. It tied in together pretty well. If I was a fan of raisins I think I’d have personally liked it a little bit better. There was a nice mix between flavours contributed by the tea itself and the additional floral ingredients. Given most bloom teas are just a pretty aesthetic this had some solid flavour to match.
It was a bit bitter by the end; but given that I drank it during an hour and a half movie and it was essentially steeping the entire duration of the movie I think it held up incredibly well. I know McQuarrie’s sources almost all of their teas from different companies, but this one isn’t listed like they usually do – so maybe it is one of the few teas they carry that are actually their own blends.
If that’s true, than it’d definitely be harder for most people to get a hold of since it’s a local store (with pretty steep shipping prices for delivery outside of Saskatoon) – but I do think it’s worth a try! However, if I had to guess where they probably sourced it from I’d wager Metropolitan Tea Company, since that’s where most of the flowering blends they carry seem to be from.
Where To Buy: thepuriTea
Royal Lily Bloom is a hand-tied white tea that blooms into a gorgeous gradation from muted-green white tea buds to delicate, canary-yellow chrysanthemum petals to a vibrant spray of blossoming crimson lily. This regal, sophisticated tea is a classic “flowering tea” or “blossoming tea” in terms of its appearance, but its flavor is no shrinking violet… Surprisingly full flavors of cocoa, malt, flowers, fruit and chestnuts set this tea bloom apart from other flowering teas.
Short infusions of Royal Lily Bloom are perfect with mild breakfast foods, mild Buddhist Chinese foods or mellow desserts. It can also steep longer over meals or at parties for a White-Peony-like aroma and deeper flavors of caramel, malt, apricots and chestnuts
I LOVE Flowering teas…the beauty, the art, the tradition…
I’m not the most patient person but flowering or blooming teas are certainly worth the wait! This one…Royal Lily Bloom Tea from thepuriTea is no exception! This is a real winner!
I did 3 infusions on this bloom! Here are my findings…
It was YUMMY! It was Sweet but still floral. Weird thing tho…the bloom…bloomed…but upsidedown! I tried to flip it gently several times and it just wouldn’t belly-up! Regardless is was a delight to my palate!
2nd infusion…was still good! It was Floral-sweet and even juicy. The aftertaste reminded me of Chestnuts…a sweet Chestnut more than a bitter-nutty Chestnut.
3rd infusion was semi-fruity and semi-floral and sweet. A bit sugar-like…and still VERY good!
Take TIME for this BLOOM…it’s WORTH it!