French Toast Dianhong Black Flowering Tea from Liquid Proust Teas

FrenchToastFloweringTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black/Flowering

Where to Buy:  Liquid Proust Teas

Tea Description:

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.

Taster’s Review:

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!

White Tropics Tea Blend from Tea & Bloom

TeaBloomTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Tea & Bloom

Tea Description:

Mixture of white tea with pineapple, coconut and rose petal. High in antioxidants.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I try to go into a tea tasting with no real expectations.  It’s not always easy.  It wasn’t in the case of this White Tropics tea from Tea & Bloom … because with pineapple and coconut flavors, I couldn’t help but think Pina Colada.

And this doesn’t really taste so much like a Pina Colada as it does a tropical tea.  But I’m not disappointed by that.  The pineapple and the coconut are nicely paired here, and the white tea is not overpowered by the tropical fruits.  And I can even taste hints of the rose in there too.  And it’s the rose that gives this a flavor that is different than the typical Pina Colada flavored tea.   (Well that, and there’s not a rum note to this.)

I like that I can taste the creaminess of the coconut, and it melds beautiful with the sweet notes of the white tea while the pineapple brightens up the cup.  It’s flavorful, but in a delicate, “white tea” way.

All that said, this isn’t really all that exceptional in any way.  It’s a tasty enough tea, I like the classic combination of pineapple and coconut, and I like how they meld with the white tea and just a hint of rose flavor.  But, it’s just … alright.  I’d drink it again if it were offered to me, but it’s not something I’d want to purchase and have on hand.

Jasmine Bloom Flowering Tea from Nuovo Tea

jasmine_bloomTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Nuovo Tea

Tea Description:

Meant to delight your eyes as well as taste buds, these awe-inspiring ‘display teas’ unfurl when added to water, revealing delicate flowers hidden within. The practice of hand-sewing leaves into ‘blooming teas’ is an age-old Chinese art form that dates back centuries. Adagio has infused state-of-the-art packaging into this ancient delight, ensuring maximum freshness and superior flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I really enjoy brewing “art teas” like this Jasmine Bloom Flowering Tea from Nuovo Tea.  It’s fun to watch the art reveal itself.  It starts out as a hand-sewn bulb of tea leaves, and as it brews, the leaves begin to unfurl, revealing a beautiful “blossom” tucked inside the tea leaves.

This particular art tea unfurls pretty quickly in comparison to some that I’ve encountered.  After my first infusion of 3 1/2 minutes, it was still a bulb, but I could see that quite a few of the leaves had begun to open up and away from the bulb to form the blossom.   I’m sure that with another minute, this art tea would have been unfurled and revealed to me the beauty inside.

But I didn’t want to oversteep the tea.  I don’t brew these art teas just for the art, after all … to me the true art is the beauty of the flavorful liquid so I’m always mindful of this and take care to brew each cup carefully – whether it’s an art tea like this, or a loose leaf tea or even a bagged tea.  I want the best flavor I can extract from any tea.

The first cup is delicate and sweet, with notes of jasmine and hints of buttery vegetables.  There is also a pleasing fruit note that is reminiscent of a sweet melon.

For the second cup, I infused the partially open bulb for 4 minutes, and within a minute, the bulb had opened and I could see the pretty white flower peeking from inside the tea leaf “blossom” that enveloped it only minutes ago.  Beautiful!

This cup had a stronger flavor than the first cup, but, I think I prefer the delicate quality of that first cup more than this stronger tasting cup.  Oh, it’s still tasty, don’t get me wrong!  But, I really liked the soft, buttery notes that I experienced in that first cup, and now, this is more like a grassy green tea with notes of jasmine.  I appreciate that the jasmine is soft and not tasting like soap.  It’s not a bitter tea, it’s a pleasing jasmine green.

A beautiful tea experience – these “art teas” make a great tea to serve when you have guests! Be sure to brew them in glass teacups (I don’t think that these little bulbs are quite large enough for a large teapot) so that everyone can watch the splendor as it unfolds!  They make a great conversation starter … not to mention produce a really tasty cup of tea.

Nature’s Bloom Pu’erh Tea Blend from Nature’s Tea Leaf

NaturesBloomPuerh

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Nature’s Tea Leaf

Tea Description:

Nature’s Bloom Pu’erh Tea: is the ultimate blend of our select loose Pu’erh leaves expertly combined with our organic Jasmine, Lavender and Rosebud herbal teas. Our Pu’erh is handpicked, dried, and rolled tightly and neatly into strips. Subsequently, the leaves undergo a microbial fermentation process which makes this a unique, dark tea. Our Jasmine buds are beautiful and tight until infused when they burst into a beautiful flower with a lovely and soft fragrance. Lavender is a flower purple in color with an invigorating fragrance and subtle flavor that will linger on the palate. While the third bloom in this one of a kind blend is our Rosebud. A staple of Chinese medicine, Rosebuds have been found to contain vitamin C which boosts the immune system and promotes healthy skin and bones. The marriage of the bold earthy Pu’erh with this fragrant and soothing herbal trio will thrill the palate with a bouquet of flavor that you will enjoy every day of the week.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yep, I did it again.  I put off trying this Nature’s Bloom Pu’erh Tea Blend from Nature’s Tea Leaf because it’s … well, because it’s Pu-erh.  While I have come to the point where I very much enjoy Pu-erh and Pu-erh blends, I still have not been able to get past that point where my initial reaction is hesitation and yes, even a little bit of repulsion when I’m given a new Pu-erh to try.

And … I’ll say it again, I enjoy Pu-erh!

But, I had a couple of really negative experiences with my first pu-erh tastings and the memories of those negative experiences have lingered even though my positive experiences with Pu-erh greatly outnumber the negative ones!

All that said – this flowery Pu-erh blend is absolutely LOVELY!  The aroma is very interesting because it is both floral and earthy, giving it an almost “greenhouse” kind of scent.  What I mean by that is that this reminds me of the fragrance that I’d experience if I were to go to a nursery and go into their greenhouse.  Scents of earth and flowers fill the air!  This is also a visually stunning blend with whole rosebuds, jasmine buds, and lavender buds generously added to the dark pu-erh tea leaves.

And I love the flavor.  I did a quick rinse of the leaves – just 10 seconds! – and then I brewed the first infusion for 1 minute.  The first cup is earthy – but not overwhelmingly so.  The notes of rose, jasmine and lavender are in pleasing balance with the earthy tones.  The pu-erh is rich and mellow and very smooth, and the floral tones – which can sometimes be sharp – are sweet and those sharp tones have been softened by the pu-erh, creating a flavor that is just pleasantly sweet, floral and very relaxing to sip.

As one who tends to shy away from the sometimes overtly earthy tones of Pu-erh, I appreciate how the floral tones lighten some of those strong earthy notes.  At the same time, I like that the floral notes do not overpower the cup.  This is a really delightfully balanced tea blend.