Huang Shan Mao Feng by Driftwood Tea. . . . . .

I steeped a tablespoon of leaf in about a cup of 175-degree water for three minutes. (The directions said to use a tablespoon per pot but didn’t say what pot size to use, so I just stuck it in my mug because I was like, it’s probably not going to turn out too strong anyway. And I was right!)

The dry leaf smells a bit vegetal, a bit astringent. Some of the leaves are more intact than others but on the whole they’re long and thin, dark green, and some even slightly fuzzy. They seem to be the growing tips of the plant (a leaf and a bud).

The tea is still almost perfectly clear after it’s finished steeping; it just has the faintest off-white, almost peachy tinge to it. It’s even clearer in color than many white teas I’ve seen!

First sip: it’s light, almost floral, and has vegetal flavors only on the back of the tongue. None of the flavors are very “forward” in the mouth except maybe the light floralness that comes at the front of the sip. It’s not too astringent, but it has a little brightness to it and even offers a comforting, energizing aftertaste. It’s definitely not too overpowering; however, the high-quality leaves should stand up to multiple steepings.

I’ve had to use my sneaky detective skills to find out more about this tea because the info isn’t up on the company’s website right now. Huang Shan Mao Feng is apparently a type of green tea, judging by the processing techniques (no oxidation time, et cetera) but the flavor really reminds me more of a white tea or even maybe a super-mild sheng (raw pu-erh) tea.

Altogether it’s a light, gentle cup that I’d recommend for relaxed, pensive afternoons where you’re not necessarily looking for something super dark or highly caffeinated.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Driftwood Tea
Description

This tea doesn’t appear to be on the site now but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Warm Fuzzy – Hand-blended tea from PaperBoxGoodies

Today’s blend, Warm Fuzzy, comes from Etsy shop PaperBoxGoodies. This teabag came with a cute tag and tea charm, helping remind me that each bag is hand-filled by the small Etsy shop.

Warm Fuzzy lives up to its name,  With fuzzy chamomile blossoms and green tea, this is a cozy, relaxing blend.  The grassy green notes pair easily with the floral, lemony chamomile.  For a tea with blend of herbal ingredients, this was gentle and sweet, definitely not bitter or medicine-like.  I think this blend is best with touch of honey to bring out the natural sweetness in the chamomile. I prefer teas with a bit more spice or boldness, but this is a kind, comforting brew for when you need to calm down and drink something nice-and-easy.

I don’t see Warm Fuzzy in stock on PaperBoxGoodies’ Etsy shop, but there are other intriguing flavors with names like Purple Snozberry, Bluesfest Green, or Passionmint Green.  After the quality of Warm Fuzzy, I look forward to trying other blends from PaperBoxGoodies.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: PaperBoxGoodies
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Stuff of Fairy Tales: Organic Nettle Tea from Republic of Tea

Nettle makes me think of ancient forests, fantasy novels, or fairy tales.  I imagine a character moving through the woods getting stung by nettle, or collecting herbs like nettle for a tea or potion.  The herb’s prickly reputation is featured in folk tales where the hero needs to grasp a bunch of stinging nettles, or make a cloak of nettles to fend of some malicious force or break a spell.  (As a side note, apparently there is a world nettle eating championship.  Who knew?)

All that magic in mind, how does nettle taste as a tea?  The Nettle blend from Republic of Tea tastes slightly green with a strong flavor of creamy vanilla, and just a hint of mint.  It’s unclear to me if the creaminess if from the vanilla flavoring or part of the nettle.  This brew has a smooth and buttery mouthfeel like certain green teas.

I did a little research and the internet tells me that nettle leaves should taste reminiscent of spinach or cucumber, green and mineral in flavor.  I’m not picking up on anything strongly like that in this blend, the vanilla clearly takes over.  Maybe I’m in luck, as a spinach tea doesn’t sound all that appetizing.

On its own merits, the Nettle blend from Republic of Tea is a easygoing herbal vanilla brew, with a hint of something green and minty.  I’m glad such a prickly herb was transformed into something so soft and comforting.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Republic of Tea
Description:

Nettle leaves have been known to support the body in a variety of ways. Studies have shown that it can help reduce joint inflammation and can help support kidney function.* Nettle tea has also been popular as a tonic for centuries to help women through all phases of life- from menstruation, through pregnancy and breastfeeding, to menopause. A touch of mint and vanilla makes this tea a joy to sip.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Don’t judge a tea by it’s company name! Jasmine Green from Chai Kai . . . .

Honestly I was feeling a little unsure about Jasmine flavored tea from a company named CHAI Kai, but this departure from their standard has good company with a group of other tempting flavors in their shop, so I’m putting my trepidation and bias aside… for now.

Looking at the loose leaf here the green tea leaves are finely rolled and I see  small delicate Jasmine blossoms but there is a definite, not overpowering, floral scent to the blend. These little buds really pull their weight!

The leaves expanded a great deal after being brewed for three minutes at just under 160F and have a slight nutty scent to them. Will all the flavors remain after a resteep?

The liquor is a caramel color and is less fragrant than the dry leaves, hopefully the infusion trapped the flavor in the water! Without sweetener it has a gentle earthy green tea flavor with a short floral aftertaste. The jasmine impressively survives resteeping, FLOWER POWER!

Despite my misgivings from it’s name, this blend really does the Jasmine/Green tea genre justice. I guess that’s why they say “don’t judge a tea blend by it’s company’s name”…

If you’re enticed by British teas like this that defy preconceived biases, they’re offering 20% off EVERYTHING in their store with the coupon code: WINTER20!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Chai Kai

Freshly picked Jasmine Blossoms are placed in layers amidst the leaves of this beautifully made Chinese Green Tea, imparting their sweet, perfumed aroma as they dry. Also available in Teabags.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo. . . .

My sample of Organic Greek Mountain Tea from Kilo looked so unusual in the bag I had to give it a try.  It looks a bit like sage or a white tea, grey-green in color and fuzzy to the touch, with a chain of full, yellow blossoms.  I needed my big infuser to handle all the lush stems, leaves, and blossoms of this tea.

I followed my usual pattern for lightly flavored herbal teas and steeped these leaves with boiling water, lots of leaves, and waited a good ten minutes.

Brewed the tea is very fragrant, vegetal but sweet, almost like brown sugar and okra.  There’s a hint of something in the scent that reminds me of savory dishes in the kitchen, like black pepper or oregano: herbal but spicy.

The taste of this tea has some of the familiar lemon and chamomile notes, gently floral, sweet and bright.  But this tea goes behind the chamomile flavors and has a more fermented great tea base beneath all that sweet lemon.  The sweetness is worth noting, there is a very forward, almost-caramel note in the scent and aftertaste.

This was a unique blend in looks, smell, and taste, not to mention it is an herbal tea packed with good things to help you live a long and healthy life.  Unless you go into the mountains to pick some more tea and encounter the gods of Mount Olympus, that is.  Safe travels and happy brewing!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Kilo
Description:

This variety, Sideritis Scardica, comes from the legendary Mount Olympus, in the Balkans, situated between Thessaly and Macedonia. It has been tested for antioxidants by Brunswick Labs, (www.brunswicklabs.com) the leader in bio-analtyical testing. It has a mild and very pleasant taste and aroma.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!