Black Ruby/Rakkasan

Sustainability. What does that mean to you?

Is it as simple as maintaining ecological balance within the confines of ones company property or it is more than that?

Any company can put a label on their tin but to live it is a different matter.

Black Ruby comes from a women-only run estate. Though there is no specific information on Milan Kumari Khatri’s tea estate nor that I can currently find on the web, besides what is on the Rakkasan website, I can tell just by sipping this tea that the estate has very high standards.

If English Breakfast had a sister, this would be her. This delicious tea has the usual earthiness but also has some extremely unique fruit undertones, such as black cherries. If you want to support a good company make sure to give this tea a try!

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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rakkasan Tea Company


This tea is no longer on the website but click below for more information .

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Zhen Quo Fine Black Tea/A Southern Season

I have seen this tea sold under several different spellings, but this is the only one of this type I have tried. It is one of the first fine loose leaf teas I ever purchased, and I haven’t outgrown it. When I am in the town where they sell it, I get a bit for the shelf.

My husband only likes his black tea with milk and sugar, and since he tries to cut back on sugar where he can he prefers that we drink green, white, oolong or puerh together. I had a hunch that he would like this one plain, and it paid off. That tells you a good bit about this special tea from the Yunnan Province. It tells you that it doesn’t taste like a breakfast tea, it isn’t malty, and it isn’t very brisk. So let’s talk about what it IS.

This lovely black tea steeps up a little light in color, but it is far from light in flavor. There are layers of goodness in each cup. This is smooth, slightly savory, and has hints of golden raisin and honey, a hint of sweet pastry, and a little fruit. High notes and middle notes abound, with just a little bit of bass.

It resteeps wonderfully, so even though this is a regional shop with only a few locations, they do ship, and it is worth a try. Or perhaps you can try a Zhen Qu from other sources and let us know how it compares to this description!


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Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: A Southern Season


A black tea from Yunnan province, a big bodied, deep rich brew that is a mix of dry savory notes balanced by pervasive sweetness and a hint of fruit

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Chinese Wuyi Jin Jun Mei Black Tea Grade One / Apr Tea

Took a hiatus from some of the amazing teas I’ve been sampling the past few weeks. Not because I wanted to but because I had a bit of a cold.

Nothing serious but enough to knock my senses out a bit. Hoping against hope that I was better than yesterday I decided to open this 5g packet. Thought it quite odd they would use honey incense in the name but the moment I opened the packet it hit me. Then I had to blow my nose to make sure I was getting every ounce of this incredible aroma.

Honey and incense! The packet still smells like it even with the tea out in my pot. Needless to say I’m excited to try this. Oh wow. Oh man. This is beyond delightful. Everything about this tea is pleasure. Even the way the dry leaves looked before steeping.

Golden leaves mixed in with dark, chocolate-brown. The clear, dark, honey, liquid is a beautiful precursor to the flavor. No astringency, only sweet bits of honey rounded off with light touches of forest floor and hints of nuttiness. The mouth feel is incredibly smooth.

This tea just blows me away. If you enjoy black tea you absolutely have to give this one a try.

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Apr Tea


Wuyi Jin Jun Mei (金骏眉):Every 500g of Jinjun Mei tea needs tens of thousands of fresh shoots of tea buds, picking the fresh tea buds of the mountain original ecological species in Wuyishan Nature Reserve, to be completed through a series of complex withering, shaking, fermentation, rolling and other processing steps. The appearance of Jinjun Mei tea is small and tight. The color is gold, yellow, black and white. Golden for the tea fluff, buds, tight tight knot, round and straight, light body weight, uniform. Open Tang golden color, water with sweet, sweet through the incense, the bottom of the flower fruity display was unable to imitate and beyond the rare quality. Special aroma, dry tea fragrance; hot soup pure and refreshing; warm soup (45 ℃ or so) maturity and delicate; cold soup clear and elegant, high and lasting. Both hot and cold drinks are smooth, with “clear, and, alcohol, thick, fragrant” features. Even brewed 12 times, the mouth is still full of sweet, after the end of the leaves stretch, sprouts fresh, beautiful show.

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Masu Old Tree Black Tea/Old Ways Tea. . .

Something was tugging at me this evening…a longing to shut myself away with a pot of tea and candlelight and soft flutes playing.

It is so easy to make a cup of tea, and the process itself can be calming and enjoyable. I wanted to go the extra step and create an atmosphere for a full tea experience. Candles were lit first, the tea tray arranged on the floor, water set to heat, a tea selected, and Asian traditional music playing.

Some time ago, I would have felt impatient in the preparations, wanting to get to the part where we sit and drink. I have learned now to view the setting up and the cleaning up as part of the pleasure of the whole experience and I feel very contented as I prepare.

The tea selected is from Old Ways Tea. This is a black tea, Masu Lao Cong Hong Cha. It is in a lovely red and gold package of five grams weight. I think that is perfect for this little gong fu session.

The leaves are beautiful. They are long, twisted, and black. I poured hot water into my little pot, poured it out, and then added the leaves and put the lid on for a minute. The warm, steamy environment in the pot allows you to smell the leaves better prior to actually steeping the tea.

The aroma is rich and dark. There is no cocoa aroma here as you find in many Wuyi teas. It is a rich scent of TEA, pure and unadulterated. More layers of scent begin to peek out and continue to develop throughout the session.

I kept the first steep short as my pot is quite small. We used an aroma cup to fully enjoy every aspect of this session, and now there is a strong burnt sugar aroma. This is not the wafting smokey aroma of a lapsang, but a deep and stable smell as of burnt sugar when making caramel. I am reminded of the brown sugar toast my mother made, when the brown sugar would melt into a hard crust on top of the bread that would shatter and crumble when you bit into it. Then after a deeper sniff, it reminds me of peach cobbler. My favorite part of a homemade cobbler, fresh from the oven, is the edge where the batter has touched the pan and become crispy and deep brown instead of cake-y like the middle.

With each steep, the baked fruit aromas grow with this tea. The sugar is fading a little and fruit steps forward more, and then an aroma like osmanthus begins to blossom. Combined with the baked fruit and sugar, it smells like a fine, natural cologne.

This was an excellent tea for a gong fu session. It is not a heavy tea, nor is it astringent. The body is medium and the color somewhat light for a black tea. I am so glad we made the most of it, and took the time to enjoy its full beauty. I am left feeling very much at peace, even after the tea things are washed and dried and put away. The peace lingers.

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Old Ways Tea


2018 premium black tea from my cousin’s garden in Masu. 2018 has brought a good harvest and we are excited to offer this tea once again. Lighter fragrance with strong mouth feel and overall roundness. Brew it strong or weak, the tea can deliver.

This is black tea produced from older wild style trees. The trees are allowed to grow as they wish getting much bigger than normal. The trees are different in two distinct ways. First since they are older trees the roots have reached past the upper soil into the rocks below and can access a broader mineral content than young trees; providing additional flavor complexity. Secondly the wild style trees are denser which provides a micro-climate influencing the lichen, leaves, and shading of the tree.

This old tree black tea comes from the village of Masu (麻粟) high in the mountains above Tongmu village, in Wuyishan City, China. The farms are small and located at an elevation of 1250 meters. The soil is very rocky and the clear cold streams fast flowing. The trees are said to be roughly 60 years old; although with matters of age it can be hard to verify the claims. I am satisfied and happy to offer this tea for your enjoyment.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Foggy Coconut/52Teas. . . . .

Foggy Coconut blend was inspired by a coffee shop London Fog. First you need to know what a London Fog is, if you don’t know already! There may be variations but usually a London Fog is made with Earl Grey tea, lots of milk, and some vanilla and sugar, sometimes brown sugar.

The creator of this blend was ordering her London Fog with coconut milk instead of cow’s milk and loved the creamy coconut flavor. Hence, Foggy Coconut came into being.

When I served this tea, the reaction was instant. “Wow! I smell coconut!” And yes, that is the first you notice about this tea. Fortunately, we were all coconut lovers drinking it!

I love that you can still TASTE THE TEA, as a lot of flavored teas major on the flavors so much that the tea itself gets lost. This blend uses Assam and Yunnan tea that can stand up to plenty of flavors without going into hiding.

As for the bergamot, (which haters love to call blergamot) it is very refined. It comes through almost as a fruitiness rather than as edgy harsh citrus. I think the vanilla softens it wonderfully.

I drank this with no additions, but if you wanted to make a London Fog with it you could. You don’t need to, though, as all the flavors we look for in London Fog are right here. It is creamy and sweet, and the coconut lends it the full body usually provided by milk – dairy or otherwise – in a London Fog.

This was a delightful afternoon tea, and I will definitely be serving it again.

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas


This tea is no longer available but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!