Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Traditional Earl Grey is a classic, great for every season. With the Earl of Anxi, we start not with a black tea, but with our Master Zhang’s Hand-Picked Tieguanyin to give the bergamot a sweet, bright base and reinforce the floral citrus notes. We draw out the citrus sweetness with a uniquely creamy and rich orange peel, and crystallize the florals into a prominent position with jasmine blossoms.
Learn more about this tea here.
This is really a unique take on Earl Grey – unique but very enjoyable!
What is so remarkable about this blend is how incredibly balanced it is. This Earl of Anxi has a very balanced fragrance as well as flavor and the result is a very smooth tea. Unbelievably smooth!
Verdant Tea has found a way to balance all that is unique about Earl Grey to create an uncommonly smooth version of the classic tea. First, let’s think about the aroma of an Earl Grey tea, because let’s face it, that’s usually the first thing you notice about Earl Grey … that beautiful scent of bergamot! But the fragrant note of the bergamot is something that is noticeable not just by scent but also distinguishable by taste. That’s why sometimes bergamot in an Earl Grey can come off as “perfume-y” because one not only smells the heady aroma of the bergamot orange but also tastes it. Don’t believe me? Try plugging your nose when you drink Earl Grey and you’ll notice that it tastes different.
The way that the Oolong tea melds with the floral notes of the jasmine and the fruit tones of the orange and goji berry is really remarkable. It is so creamy and fluid. Smooth like silk.
To my recollection, I’ve only tried Frankincense in one or two other teas, but based upon my memory of those experiences, I can taste the Frankincense now. It has a somewhat perfume-ish quality to it, very aromatic and exotic to the nose and to the palate.
The frankincense and saffron offer contrast and balance to the fragrant flavor of the bergamot, as does the jasmine, while the goji berry accentuates the citrus tones. The oolong offers a creamy taste that is the basis for the smooth flavor and texture of the tea. It is the conduit for the incredible smoothness of this tea.
A sweet, beautifully balanced, delicately spiced, exotic cup of tea that is so delightful that it is almost impossible to describe. It is one of those teas that you MUST try to believe. It’s an amazing tea.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Nepali Tea Traders
A top-rated Orthodox black tea, only two leaves and a bud are hand plucked for processing. This full-leaf, loose tea is then oxidized carefully until a fine balance of flavors is achieved. This exquisite tea has a smooth floral bouquet with a lingering apricot finish. Tea available in pouches and tin.
Learn more about this tea here.
I generally like to save my “black tea experiences” for earlier in the day, because I find these teas to be more invigorating than other leaf types. However, this Sandakphu Hand-Rolled Black Tea from Nepali Tea Traders has a lighter body and a crisp, smooth taste (similar to what you would experience with a Darjeeling tea), and I think that it would make an excellent afternoon or early evening tea.
And while I am noticing similarities to a Darjeeling tea, I think that this tea is smoother and less astringent than a typical Darjeeling, and it doesn’t have that wine-like finish of a Darjeeling. Instead, the finish here is – as promised in the above description – apricot!
The sip begins with a sweet, fruit-like note and from there delivers notes of flower and wood. It tastes clean and refreshing. As the finish approaches, I notice the aforementioned apricot. It’s surprised me at just how focused the apricot notes are. There’s no mistaking that flavor for anything but apricot!
The aftertaste is sweet and maintains some of those apricot-y notes. Nice! This isn’t an overly robust or bold tea, but it does have it’s own sort of briskness to it. It isn’t a tea that I’d choose for first tea of the day, as I said before, it’s one I’d want to curl up with on a quiet afternoon, perhaps with a good book.
What impresses me most about this tea is that it’s consistent. With every sip, I get those amazing flavors. It continues to deliver from the very first sip right down to the last. A remarkable tea.