White Monkey Green Tea from Little Red Cup Tea Co.

whitemonkeyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Little Red Cup Tea Co.

Tea Description:

Little Red Cup Tea’s organic White Monkey Tea is a terrific mountain-grown tea from western Hunan Province. Despite its name, White Monkey Tea is, in fact, a green tea — a function of processing — but when steeped, the tightly rolled leaves unfurl yielding a lovely golden brew more akin to white tea than anything else. It is made from the earliest leaves, still covered with downy white hairs for which the tea is named.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

A lovely tea, this White Monkey Green Tea from Little Red Cup Tea Co.!  The texture is what captures my attention immediately, it’s so soft and silky.  It’s like a fine broth, very gentle and soothing as it floats across the palate.

The flavor is a gentle green tea flavor.  The “grassy/vegetative” tones here are very subtle, much softer than in a typical green tea.  This tea is called “White Monkey” not because it’s a white tea, but because the leaves have the tiny, white fuzz (similar to what you’d find on a Silver Needle tea!)  But, even though it is not a white tea, it does share something in common with a white tea – it’s delicate quality.

The flavor is so delicate!  And I like that!  I suppose a stronger flavor could have been obtained with more leaf, or with a longer steep time (I steeped this for 2 minutes in 175°F water in my Breville One-Touch), but I like it this way – I like the gentle quality of this tea.

The sip starts with the soft texture, which gently introduces the delicate vegetative notes that are influenced by whispers of floral tones.  By mid-sip, I notice a buttery flavor which complements the texture of the tea very well. The finish brings hints of a fruit like note, almost citrus-y.  The aftertaste has a slightly sweet, slightly tangy note.  There is very little astringency to this, and absolutely no bitterness.

This is a really nice green tea offering from Little Red Cup Tea Co., and I’m thinking it’s one of my favorites that I’ve tried thus far from them!

Hunan Red Oolong from Imperial Tea Garden

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Imperial Tea Garden

Tea Description:

Hunan Red Oolong is a full leaf oolong tea from the Hunan Provence of China that boasts bold toasty notes with full bodied character ending with a light smooth finish.  The infusion is red as one would expect from a classic luxury Hunan Red Oolong tea. Steeped in legend and lore, this soft and subtle Hunan Red Oolong provides a unique tea drinking experience that everyone can enjoy.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really unique Oolong, quite unlike any I’ve tried before.  That is what I think I love most about Oolong … to take a line from Forrest Gump, they’re like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!  Of course, if you’ve tried one type of Oolong, you’re probably safe to bet that another Oolong of the same type (say, Tie Guan Yin, for example) will taste very similar.  But, I’ve discovered that even within the same type of Oolong, there are subtle differences from one tea company to another.  (Which actually has more to do with the estates and how it is harvested more than the tea company that sells it).

But, let’s get back to this Hunan Red Oolong.  I taste a fruity character, and typically with an Oolong, one would compare it to a peach-like flavor, and while I do detect notes of peach, what it reminds me more of is plum, and perhaps a peach that had been macerated in a fine wine or perhaps a brandy.  It is sweet and deep in flavor.  Very nice.

There is an earthiness to this as well, in fact, I was about to suggest that this might be something of a love-child created by a Pu-erh and an Oolong, but, the earthiness is not quite that well-defined here.  It is as if the Pu-erh would be more of a distant relative rather than a parent.  But it does have that smoothness that I associate with a Pu-erh.  The earthiness melds nicely with the toasted nutty flavor and light, malty notes that provides the foreground of flavor to this tea.

While I consider this to be a tea that is full of flavor, it does have its nuances to it.  It is a tea with lots of flavor but it is more subtle in its approach to deliver those flavors to the palate.  It has a nice, soft mouthfeel, and a moderate astringency.  Overall a sweet, delicious Oolong – quite lovely!

Pumpkin Pie Tea from MarketSpice

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  MarketSpice

Product Description:

A holiday favorite, this tea combines Chinese Hunan black tea, Pumpkin Pie flavoring, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Taster’s Review:

Autumn is coming!  Autumn is coming!

As I write this, it is one of the warmest, muggiest days of the summer, but, as I sip this tea, my thoughts turn to autumn.  The cool, crisp air and the colors… I want autumn to be here now!

This tea delivers autumn in a teacup.  It has a lightly spiced tone with its hints of cinnamon and ginger.  While these two spices can sometimes be strong and overwhelming, here they provide only a warm, gentle kick.

The black tea is a strong Chinese Hunan tea.  It is a deliciously bright tea with an astringent finish.  It is bold enough to get one going in the morning and provides a solid, robust background for the other flavors of the blend.

The pumpkin flavor seemed a bit lost when I started sipping on this tea, however, as the tea cooled slightly, the pumpkin flavors started to come into focus.  It doesn’t present itself as an overly pumpkin-y taste, but I like the way the pumpkin seems to smoothly glide throughout the sip, offering hints of flavor here and there.

Overall, a very pleasant pumpkin tea.  This is one that you’ll be proud to serve your guests during the upcoming holiday season!