Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: Whispering Pines Tea Co.
Sweet notes of mint and tart hibiscus with just the perfect elderberry twist flow smooth as water through the rooibos base – It’s like a cup of serenity pulled straight out of the deep northern forests!
Learn more about this tisane here.
This Ancient Forest Rooibos Blend from Whispering Pines is really quite nice! I was surprised to find that this has hibiscus in it, because, while I do taste the hibiscus, it isn’t a strong, prominent flavor … and hibiscus is one of those herbs that tends to get strong and prominent in no time at all. And I steeped this tisane for 10 minutes! But … it did not get thick, syrupy or overwhelmingly tart! Hooray for Whispering Pines Tea Company … they know how to blend with hibiscus!
The hibiscus here seems to accentuate the elderberry flavor … and I like that just fine. I’m not a fan of hibiscus (as I’ve said many times before) but, I don’t mind it if it’s done right, and Whispering Pines did hibiscus right with this blend.
The spearmint is done right too – it’s not a powerful minty taste … it is crisp, cool and refreshing … but it doesn’t taste like toothpaste! There is a really enjoyable balance of flavors here. Even the rooibos – which is another herb that I’m not particularly fond of – works well with this blend. The natural nutty tones of the rooibos melds nicely with the berry notes and the minty notes, while the sweetness of the rooibos offsets some of the tartness of the cup.
A really enjoyable blend, this Ancient Forest Rooibos Blend!
Leaf Type: Tulsi
Where to Buy: The Tao of Tea
Flavor Profile:Very fragrant, notes of kafir limes, orange, mint and cloves.
Ingredients:100% Organic Wild Forest (Vana) Tulsi leaves and stems.
Learn more about this tea here.
I often find myself at a loss on how to describe an “unflavored” tea or herb, because, even though the natural flavor of the product has not been altered by flavoring, it is often quite flavorful on its own and therefore I don’t feel the word “unflavored” applies.
Unadulterated? Unaltered? Untainted? These words seem to intimate that the act of flavoring tea is somehow wrong, and I don’t agree with that sentiment, as I enjoy many types of tea, both flavored and “unflavored.”
Unmixed? This almost seems like the reverse sentiment … like tea and herbs should be blended, flavored or mixed, and I don’t agree with that either.
How about Plain? This seems to imply that the tea or herb is boring. Plain. Dull. And I don’t agree with that either.
So, after what has seemed a long “inner debate” with myself, I think I may have finally settled upon the word PURE to describe an unflavored tea or herb.
And, I think that the word pure is the perfect word to describe this Wild Forest Tulsi from The Tao of Tea. The aroma of the dry leaf is quite herbaceous, reminiscent of the fragrance of the air one might experience while taking a hike in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. (We have a lot of mint growing wild up here!) Once brewed, the tea becomes extraordinarily fragrant. I noticed a medicinal quality to the aroma as I poured it, reminding me a bit of vapor rub.
And to tell you the truth, that isn’t exactly what I would consider to be a mouth-watering scent. But, I still managed to get myself to take a sip … and I found myself taking another, and then another. At first, it seemed to be more curiosity than anything else, but, by the time I made my way to mid-cup, I found myself really enjoying what I was drinking.
The flavor is incredibly complex for an herb: I taste hints of mint and a warm, spicy note to it (not “spicy hot” really, but more of an exotic spicy note) as well as notes of citrus. It has a very satisfying savoriness to it; it is very calming and relaxing to sip.
A lovely, pure herb. I love how it offers a sense of tranquility to me as I wind down this evening.
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: KTeas
Hand-plucked Single-Estate tea: Volcano Village – Home Grown Estate FarmGrowing elevation: 4000′, Volcano Village, Hawaii USA
These leaves are long, loose, downy. The flavor of this shade-grown tea remains delightfully floral throughout multiple steepings.
I really love this tea. This is definitely my favorite (thus far) of the Hawaiian-Grown teas that KTeas offers (although I haven’t yet tried their Oolong, that one is next on my list!) This white tea might even be my favorite white tea I’ve ever tasted. Yes, it’s that good.
The leaves are long and slightly curled and covered with white fuzz. They brew to a light, clear amber color that smells fresh and somewhat earthy, with hints of flower in the background. The aroma does not reveal what is about to be experienced by the palate, though.
The flavor is amazing. At first sip, I noticed many similarities to a high quality Bai Mu Dan. But, after a couple of sips, the complexity of this white began to reveal itself: a lush sweetness and hints of a grassy flavor. A floral quality that begins ever-so-quietly and develops as I continue to sip – and develops even more as I steep these leaves for a second and third time.
The tea has a rather hearty flavor and is surprisingly rich for a white tea. This is not a delicate white tea! If you love tea – try this one! If you have tried white teas in the past and found them to be too softly flavored for your liking – try this one! Everyone should really try this tea!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Shanti Tea
Cultivated from the ancient protected tea tree forests of Yunan Province, China, this rare and exquisite black tea makes a full-bodied and earthy infusion with a rich and penetrating aroma heavy with age and collective wisdom. The flavor of this deep amber infusion is unlike any other black tea available. Truly exceptional.
This really is an exceptional tea, and one that teaches me not to judge a tea by its dry leaf presentation. It doesn’t smell exceptional, and it doesn’t really look exceptional. But, the taste – is truly remarkable!
The tea has a very deep, rich taste to it. Earthy, yes. I can taste a Pu-erh kind of taste in the background that is earthy. But that isn’t all there is to this tea – and if it was, I probably wouldn’t consider it remarkable or exceptional, since I’m not a huge fan of Pu-erh. I like this much better than any Pu-erh I’ve ever tasted, because there is so much more to it.
The flavor has a hint of woody taste to it, like a damp wood. Consider an old growth forest just after it rains. The smell of the trees, the earth, the leaves and the air … that is what I taste in the background… that essence.
If I were to attempt to describe this tea, I would say it is somewhere between a Yunnan Pu-erh and an Assam tea. It has that maltiness that an Assam usually possesses, and there is the most exquisite underlying tone of sweetness too that is caramel-like. Sweet and almost creamy. The finish is sweet with a light, cleansing astringency. The aftertaste focuses on hints of earthiness as well as the deep sweetness that I am falling more in love with after each sip. This is really good.
An excellent black tea!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Shanti Tea
Reminiscent of a China green, with its vegetal taste, but with a greater degree of fermentation. This rare, rainforest grown tea is mellow yet full-bodied, serene, and uplifting.
This is a delicious green tea. The dry leaves, when I first saw them, didn’t look real green to me, they looked more like an oxidized tea, perhaps not as dark as a black tea, but, not really green, either. After infusing, the wet leaves reveal their true color and are very deep green.
The flavor is delightful. The description states that it is “mellow yet full-bodied, serene and uplifting,” and I agree with that. This does have a vegetative taste, but, it’s much more complex than that. The sip begins with sweetness with a hint of a grassy/vegetative note. About mid-sip, I notice a savory note that is somewhat bitter but not off-putting. It’s actually quite intriguing and I like how it cuts through the sweetness. The sip ends with some astringency, and a sweet, fruity tone lingers in the aftertaste.
This tea is good for a couple of infusions, and I highly recommend taking advantage of that. The second infusion is superior to the first. It is in the second infusion that more fruit tones reveal themselves. I would liken this second infusion to the flavor of apple slices that have been drizzled with honey. It is sweet and very delicious. Definitely a cup you’ll want to savor.
This is a tea I would recommend to all green tea enthusiasts out there! It’s divine!