In Love with #JusTea

Mount Kenya Black is the first tea I have tried from Justea and I’m already in LOVE. I adore the tins, the labels, the packaging, the SPOONS, and of course the Mount Kenya Black from Justea!

Before I get to the tasting notes I have to point out that this tea has one and only ingredient and that is 100% Rainforest Alliance Kenyan Black Tea. It’s certified. It’s also Non-GMO Project Verified. PLUS this company is a Fair Trade Federation Member. Mount Kenya Black Tea from Justea is small-scale farmer grown, pesticide-free, and no chemicals were ever sprayed on the tea leaves! This is a tea and company I can get behind for sure!

As for the tasting notes and profile – it’s just as impressive! This tea is strong and malty and reminiscent of cocoa and dried fruit such as plums/prunes or raisins. The caffeine is HIGH and makes for a great hearty morning steep or an nice eye-opener during your afternoon lull

This is a black tea that I was able to get 2 spiffy infusions out of! Something I’m always impressed by if a black tea can pull it off that is! I really like the strength of this tea but also the way it’s smooth at the same time. This is a REAL WINNER all the way around!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  JusTea

Mt. Kenya Black: A sip of our whole leaf black tea transports you to the lush, jade tea gardens at the foot of Mt Kenya. This rich black tea is fresh and smooth, but packs a serious hit of flavour. Sweet and complex on its own, but equally superb with a splash of milk and sugar. Also delicious as an iced tea!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Handcrafted Oolong Tea from JusTea

HandcraftedOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Justea

Tea Description:

This is a tea like you’ve never tasted before. Hand-rolled by the JusTeam in Kenya, the unique flavour profile is buttery, with notes of stone fruit and nuts. As the leaves unfurl, different tasting notes are revealed. Best enjoyed at a 1.5 minute steep time, this Oolong will last 2 or 3 steeps!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Amoda Tea is implementing some changes to their format.  This month’s tea tasting box is the last that I’ll be receiving – they’re no longer offering the tea tasting box.  While I’m anxious and excited to learn about the changes that they’re making to the company, I’m also quite sad that this is the last box that I’ll be getting from them.  I’ve enjoyed receiving my monthly tea box from Amoda!  I’ll miss the joy of opening my mailbox every month around the 12th or so and finding that familiar, slim “letter box” from Amoda Tea.

For this month’s box, Amoda has chosen to focus on two different tea companies that I’m already familiar with:  JusTea and Nepali Tea Traders.  These two tea companies are dedicated to creating sustainability in the tea industry.

One of the teas from JusTea is one that I’ve already reviewed:  African Chai. I probably won’t be writing another review about this tea, but, I’m more than happy to drink more of it!  The second tea from JusTea is one that I’ve not yet tried until today – this Handcrafted Oolong Tea!

When I opened the pouch, I was greeted with the smell of freshly cut hay.  It was a little unusual for me to experience that aroma with an Oolong, but it left me intrigued!  Once I poured hot water over the leaves for the initial rinse, the hay-like fragrance was replaced with the distinct scent of molasses.  Sweet!

My first cup (infusions 1 and 2 after the rinse) tasted just like it smells – that is to say, I am tasting a thin molasses.  I’m not sure if I’m actually tasting “baked” notes in this, or if it’s just my mind playing delicious tricks on me, but I feel like I’m sipping on liquefied molasses cookies.  In the distance, I also notice hints of vegetative tones.

This is one of the sweetest Oolong teas that I’ve ever tasted – and Oolong teas tend to be somewhat sweet!  But even for an Oolong, this is so sweet and delectable!

My second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was not quite a sweet as the first cup.  The first cup was very much like a thinned molasses.  This cup still has some molasses notes, but, I’m noticing more fruit notes emerge with this cup, as well as a subtle hint of a woodsy note.  The fruit notes are like something between a sweet plum and a ripe nectarine.

The third cup (infusions 5 and 6) was more fruit-like, and I could taste the sweet as well as hints of sour notes of a tree-ripened plum that have been cooked to extract the sweet juices of the fruit.  The molasses notes are not completely gone, but they’ve become integrated with the plum notes.  Think of the aforementioned cooked plum juices mixed with a little drizzle of molasses … that’s what you’ll taste with the later infusions of this tea.

This is an amazing Oolong – I highly recommend it to Oolong enthusiasts.  It is so different from the Taiwanese and Chinese Oolong teas that I’ve reviewed in the past … oh, sure, I still love those!  But this one is special and stands out from those and definitely deserves some attention from you!

I am sad to see my Amoda Tea Box go … but I’m glad to see that they decided to go out with a bang!  This Handcrafted Oolong Tea from JusTea is so good!

African Chai Blend from Justea

africanchaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Justea

Tea Description:

Our African Chai is whole leaf Kenyan black tea with organic African spices and rose/safflower petals. “The fennel, clove, coriander and liquorice root makes this chai smooth and silky on the palate. This African chai is balanced – it has a tea hit first and then a sweet finish”

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Justea’s fundraising effort to support Kenyan farmers here.

Taster’s Review:

Are you looking for a truly DIFFERENT chai blend?  This African Chai Blend from Justea might be just what you’re looking for!  This chai is quite different from many of the other chai blends that I’ve tasted … and different is good!

That’s not to say that I’ve not enjoyed the other chai blends I’ve tasted … you know how I love a good spiced blend.  But this blend focuses on other spices:  I taste the fennel and licorice root up front, and they give the cup a sweet, snappy kind of taste, and like the Tea Sommelier video for this tea states, it’s a very silky sort of wash over the palate.  The clove and coriander lend warmth and zest to the cup without turning this into something overly spiced.  The balance of the spices allows for enjoyment of each ingredient’s presence here, and I like that.

The Kenyan black tea is an excellent base for this tea because it is so rich and smooth, and it has its own sort of natural spice taste to it.  It seems like a smart choice to accentuate the natural spice tones of the tea by turning the tea into the base of this African Chai.

I also taste the rose in this.  I like the hint of sweetness from the floral notes here.  It adds just a little interest, just a little something to keep the palate excited to keep tasting.

This tastes less “spicy” and more warm and “spiced.”  It doesn’t have a “spicy-hot” sort of flavor, instead, it tastes comfortably warm, with a cozy sort of taste to it.  The kind of tea that you like to warm up with on a chilly autumn day.  As I continue to sip, my mouth feels warm, as though I’ve had something peppery, but not so hot that I feel the need to wash it down with something cooling.  It’s a very enjoyable warmth.

I tried this African Chai a few different ways.  First, I tried it straight up, and it was delicious.  Then I tried it with a little bit of raw turbinado sugar, and discovered my favorite way to drink this chai.  The sugar brings out the subtle nuances of the spices, and I got the most enjoyment out of this chai with just a little bit (about half a teaspoon for a cup of tea) of sugar (honey would do nicely too!)  Finally, I decided to try it latte, and this makes a really outstanding latte too.  Just a splash of warmed milk enhances the silky smooth quality of this tea.  I really enjoyed it as a latte, but, the milk does mute some of the spices just a tad, and since I really love the spices … I’d have to say that the best way – or at least, my favorite way – to enjoy this is with just a little bit of sugar or honey.  It’s so good!

Kathryne Kenyan Earl Grey Black Tea from Justea

KathryneKenyanEarl GreyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Justea

Tea Description:

Our Kathryne Earl Grey tea is whole leaf Kenyan black tea leaves cold-pressed with organic Mediterranean bergamot oil.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Justea’s fundraising effort to support Kenyan farmers here.

Taster’s Review:

I was very excited to try this Kathryne Kenyan Earl Grey Black Tea from Justea.  I know you’ve heard me say it before:  I love Earl Grey … and I’m always excited to try variations on the traditional blend … even with the variation has to do with the black tea base.  In this case, a rich black tea from Kenya is flavored with my beloved bergamot.

The dry leaf aroma is superb.  STRONG bergamot … and that’s just the way I like it!  Here’s hoping it tastes as good as it smells!

My very first impression was that with this Earl Grey … I am noticing more of the bitterness from the bergamot.  That’s not a bad thing (although generally when people say “bitter” people think of it as a bad thing), because bergamot is a bitter tasting fruit.  After the first couple of sips, the bitterness subsides and I notice the tangy citrus notes.

The black tea base is smooth and well-rounded, and I like the way it works with the bergamot.  This is the first time (at least to my recollection) that I’ve tried an Earl Grey made with a Kenyan black tea … and I’m very impressed with what I’m tasting … this is definitely one of the finest Earl Grey offerings that I’ve tried.

The bergamot is one of the best bergamot representations that I’ve tasted in any Earl Grey tea … I like that I tasted the bitterness.  I like that I now taste the tart citrus.  I like that there are underlying notes of juicy sweetness from the fruit.  I like that I don’t taste anything remotely similar to perfume here.  I like the way the black tea and the fruit are balanced.  THIS is the way Earl Grey should taste!

Kathryne Kenyan Earl Grey tea is a stellar Earl Grey … I’d recommend this to all those who are Earl Grey enthusiasts!  This one should be on your “I’ve GOTTA try that” list!

Kenyan Black Tea from Justea

KenyanBlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Justea

Tea Description:

Our whole leaf Kenyan black tea is malty, fresh, clean and full bodied.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Justea’s fundraising effort to support Kenyan farmers here.

Taster’s Review:

This Kenyan Black Tea from Justea is AMAZINGLY good.  It’s so rich and malty and robust!  It’s a strong, full-flavored cuppa deliciousness!  And I’ve got to tell you that I really appreciate Justea’s approach to help the Kenyan farmers to develop their farms to be financially stable.  Want to read more about that?  Here’s an article that was published in a local newspaper about the launching of Justea’s fundraising campaign to help the Kenyan Farmers!

This tea brews to a beautiful coppery color and has a sweet, earthy aroma.  The flavor is sweet and molasses-y, with a strong malty note and caramel tones.  It is pleasantly sweet and warm with notes of spice and hints of earth.  There is a distinct “bake-y” kind of note, like a freshly baked loaf of dark bread (think a sweet squaw bread!)  I also taste notes that remind me of dates and dark raisins.

And while it does have a sweet taste to it, I like that it is also bold and rich.  It has that gusto that I look for in a morning black tea – this would be an excellent tea to choose for your morning cup of motivation!  I’m drinking it served straight up with no additions, but, it would also taste great with milk and honey if you like to add those to your morning cuppa!  It would make a great latte!

A truly delightful cup of tea – this is a tea I’d be happy to start my day with every day!

Would you like to try some of this tea?  I’ve got three samples to send out to three individuals … if you’re interested, please comment on this post.  Please include contact information so that I can contact you and get your shipping information.  In addition, please tweet about Justea’s fundraising effort to support Kenyan farmers.  Your tweet should include this link, and also please include #sororiteasister on your tweet so that I can easily find the tweet!  I’ll select three winners of the samples on Monday, September 23, and contact those winners and ship out the samples to you!