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!

Green Jasmine by The Love Tea Co. . . . .

I steeped this tea with 2 heaping teaspoons of leaf in 1 cup of 200 degree water for about four minutes.

I was a little concerned that the jasmine flowers wouldn’t have much fragrance left because I couldn’t detect much smell in the dry flowers, but when I started steeping the tea it started giving off its perfume right away, so I guess hot water is the magic ingredient to bring that out!

There are tons of jasmine flowers in this tea, too. Like, actual jasmine buds. And they smell like a combination of candy and perfume once they’ve started steeping. The green tea fragrance isn’t really coming through at this point, but I’m not surprised at all given how flowery the smell is.

I let it go to four minutes because I didn’t want to waste any of the jasmine fragrance.

Once the tea is steeped, I noticed that some leaf has escaped the ball; the tea is orange-yellow in color and, as mentioned before, highly fragrant.

First sip: Apparently Jasmine tastes sweet as well as smelling sweet. There’s an edge of bitterness to the green tea, though; there’s also some umami and maybe a little seaweediness to it, rounding the flavor out. I blame myself for the bitterness, because I used 200 degree water instead of 195 degree water like recommended (because hey, my electric kettle only has so many settings. Next time though I’d go with the cooler option, which I think would be 185 on my kettle).

A little sugar helps with any bitterness; or you could just steep at the recommended temperature, unlike me, and do a less intense steeping as well (three minutes instead of four). It’s really great as is, though, and tastes like drinking flowers!! Jasmine is so magical it kind of blows my mind every time I try a good jasmine tea (the reason I don’t try them more often is probably because I’m kind of scared of getting a not-so-good one).

I’m also really impressed by this tea company’s mission and activism; they don’t just say that they support charitable causes, they also give 25% of their proceeds (that’s a quarter of everything they get!) to mental health causes, according to their website.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  The Love Tea Company
Description

Jasmine tea is one of the most pleasant fragrances to all people. To the nose, the dry tea has a floral bouquet, which causes your senses to come alive with pleasant thoughts. This tea is filled to the brim with an abundance of beautiful jasmine blossoms which gives the tea an amazing presentation value.  In China, they declare this jasmine tea as ‘Jasmine #1’.

This high quality green tea – produced between the middle of March and the middle of May – has jasmine flowers that bloom between the 1st of May and the end of May (the time of the most intense aroma). This tea yields a cup with all the concentrated heady bouquet of a garden in bloom, even if its your neighbor’s jasmine bush.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tsuei Luan Oolong Tea by Tea from Taiwan . . . .

I steeped this tea for three minutes with five grams of leaf in six ounces of water at 190 degrees.

It smells so lovely in the packet that I kind of want to eat it. The tiny densely rolled-up leaves (which I let float free in the cup so I can watch them moving around and unfurling) are so cool! It seems about half of them are floating and half are sinking. It smells fruity, orchidy and a bit savory.

First sip: Super rich! So much flavor!! The tea leaves have unrolled into large, intact leaves and the tea liquid is a gentle yellow that reminds me of winter sun.

As I sip the tea, it’s astringent, creamy/buttery, a little grassy, viscous, and a little nutty even, with some floral/orchidy notes flying around too. It’s also a bit “leafy” so I may have steeped it a bit long, or maybe that’s just supposed to be part of the flavor. Either way, it’s a very interesting combo with the buttery and the fruity and the vegetal/savory aspects.

It’s a full and rich cup, and I don’t think it needs sugar or milk. I really enjoyed finishing this cup off and I’d love to have more of it sometime. Apparently this tea is very popular with aficionados of Taiwan teas (according to Tea from Taiwan’s website), and although I myself am not an expert in that area, I can definitely see how that would be the case.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Tea from Taiwan
Description

Tsuei Luan Oolong tea (wulong tea) is grown in the Tsuei Luan district of Li Shan (Pear Mountain). This area is a former fruit producing region which was converted to tea plantations in the late 1970’s. The soil quality of the former orchards is excellent, and the high altitude (more than 2,000 meters) of this district provides a cool, moist climate – ideal conditions for growing tea.

Tsuei Luan oolong tea has an exquisitely sweet aroma and interesting flavour profile. The slightly floral taste has a definite fruit undertone – said to be the result of growing tea on orchard land. This tea has a very pleasing flavour that makes it one of the most popular teas amongst Taiwan tea connoisseurs.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vivacious Vitalitea by Vampyre Tea Company (Cup of Love). . . . .

Steeping: 3 g at 212°  in 1 cup for two minutes. . .

This is my first tea of the day so let’s hope it lives up to its name! It’s a rooibos-based blend, but it does have green tea as well so it’s not caffeine-free.

As the tea steeps, I’m watching it and catching a sniff here and there. I’m catching some whiffs of rooibos fragrance and, leaning closer, some honeylike flavor as well (which I at first thought came from honeybush, although I later discovered honeybush does not seem to be in the ingredients list). The liquid is turning dark reddish orange and I notice that a few bits of tea have escaped the mesh as well. (I would recommend using a finer mesh if you don’t prefer having small bits in your tea). It also smells a little bit acidic. The first sip has an interesting hint of flavor that I can’t quite place – citrus maybe? Or perhaps it’s from the rose petal I saw in the tea leaves before steeping. The overall flavor is sweet and not bitter at all or very astringent either; the flavor is welcoming but not too exciting. It doesn’t need any sugar, though, because it’s already so sweet. This tea could be a nice intro to rooibos; it does have some other flavors such as rose petals too, but they’re not too overpowering so you can still taste the rooibos flavor.

It’s good with milk too! Adding milk was actually a very interesting experiment because it ended up bringing out a completely different side of the flavor profile. I’d almost think that I was drinking a totally different kind of tea! That doesn’t happen often (and I do almost always add milk to my tea so I have plenty of experience).

Overall, I’d say this is a great, enjoyable rooibos combination with plenty of sweetness, perhaps a little citrus and/or rose flavor, and definitely no need for sugar. And according to the label it’s also organic and fair trade!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Cup of Love
Description

A revitalizing blend of herbs, flowers, and Green & Rooibos Teas to give you a boost of energy throughout your day.  Its effervescent flavor is smooth without the bitter crash of an energy

drink.  It leaves the body feeling clean, refreshed, and renewed for all of life’s adventures.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Rose Chateau by The Love Tea Co

I steeped this tea at 200 degrees in about a cup of water for about four minutes.

This is another selection from the Love Tea Company, who donates a quarter of their proceeds to mental health causes. Their teas also come in cute little reusable canisters!

The dried leaf has rose petals and other flower petals too, it looks like. According to the ingredients list these could be hibiscus, calendula, or sunflower petals, which are all included in the blend! In addition, there’s green tea in here and some curled oolong bits and some pieces of dried fruit (which turn out to be rosehips based on the ingredients list). It smells mainly fruity, with some rose/floral scent.

The steeped liquid looks almost pinkish-peach and smells like strawberry with floral notes and some savory green tea flavor.
I steeped for four minutes because it didn’t seem very strong at three (and I prefer getting stronger flavor out of my tea when I can).

First sip: it tastes a little astringent and strawberryish; the rose flavor isn’t overpowering here (maybe I just didn’t get any rose petals in my scoop of leaf?). It’s delicate and reminds me the most of a strawberry-flavored green tea, which is quite nice and desserty. There’s a bit of seaweedy vegetalness in the back of the throat. A few particles of tea escaped the strainer so I’d recommend a fine mesh if you don’t like that sort of thing (although mostly they’re just sitting on the bottom of the cup not causing a problem).

Overall it’s light, floral/fruity, but with a hint of buttery aftertaste (from the oolong), so I’d say it’s great for afternoon or evening relaxation (unless you’re super-sensitive to caffeine; green tea generally has just a little).


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green/Black
Where to Buy: The Love Tea Company
Description

This blend was created by a Canadian Master to evoke the character and spirit of France’s best rose vintages.  It’s combination of some of the most luxurious green and black teas available today.  Like wine, it goes perfectly with cured meats and fine cheeses.  Milk and sugar are NOT recommended with this one.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!