Vietnam Ha Giang Organic Black Tea from Simpson and Vail

Vietnam Ha Giang Organic Black Tea from Simpson & Vail – didn’t last long in my tea stash – that is for sure. Good problem for S&V…bad problem for me!

My own personal default for black tea is double the amount for a short time because I like it STRONG! End result was an dark amber cup with slightly smooth taste. But don’t assume by me saying this was smooth that it was lacking a nice rich flavor because that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The leaves were crispy and slightly tippy and just what I crave in the morning and what my body needs to kick the afternoon lull, too!

S&V’s Vietnam organic black tea comes from the Ha Giang province in northern Vietnam along the Tay Con Linh mountain range (at 1300, above sea level) – deep within the ancient forests of Shan tea that have been growing for hundreds of years. Shan tea is a specialty in this region and the investment helped farmers to preserve this tea. A nursery of seedlings was created and workers were taught how to use crop rotation, green manure and biological pest control to sustainably develop this tea. Monies were also put towards new production facilities to ensure a consistent, high quality leaf. The area went through an economic revival in 2010 with a serious investment in the community. The goal of the investment was to achieve a better, higher quality tea using modern production techniques coupled with organic farming practices. This investment has more than paid off and the people living in this area have seen steady increases in production, quality and pay.

Improvements like these really get me energized about the region, the product, and the people behind the leaves and the cuppa! I can’t wait to see and TASTE what other teas comes from Vietnam and how it continues to grow in the coming years!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

The black, slightly tippy, leaves of this Vietnam black tea brew up to an amber cup with a mild astringency and a smooth, slightly earthy taste. A delightful afternoon cup!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Life is Rosey from Simplicity Teas. . . .

My friend signed up for Simplicity Teas’ subscription/blind box, and has begun passing me some of her samples! HIP HIP HOORAY for MORE REVIEWS!

Today’s pick is “Life is Rosey,” a black tea with rose petals & flavoring. It comes in a charming test tube that you can observe here.

My friend gave it to me because she believes that roses taste like soap. She is not, to be fair, entirely wrong on this point. I often also feel like I’m using hand-wash in my mouth if florals aren’t done delicately.

Fortunately, for me, this particular rose is nicely crafted. The rose adds a charming, grandmotherly stateliness without being an overwhelming love-gush from Bath and Body Works. (A great store. But not for eating.) The black base is a very neutral stoic foil for the rose. The duo reminds me of flamenco dancers: The man dons a simple black outfit; and the woman wears a frilly, showy dress.

And did I mention the test tube? It’s the cutest way to receive tea, I’ve decided. The packaging appeals to my inner science nerd; the rose appeals to my inner hopeless romantic. It’s a fusion of joys!

Though you can’t buy this tea specifically on Simplicity Teas’ site, they do have a blind box subscription to which you can subscribe to try other offerings. I am super into blind boxes. They’re a great way to try new things. Your favorite could be just around the corner.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Monthly Tea Subscription Plan
Where to Buy: Simplicity Teas 
Description

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Whisky Chocolate Truffle from A Quarter To Tea. . .

Here are two little-known facts about me, friends: I don’t really drink much alcohol if at all (hashtag my bounce-back time is not what it used to be and all that jazz, hashtag old), and I am SO VERY PICKY about chocolate teas. So clearly, when this whisky chocolate truffle tea arrived on my front door step… well, it already had the odds stacked against it, to say the least.

But y’all: I am nothing if not continually amazed at the tea-magic that Lauren at AQTT is able to create in her flavors on a regular basis. This malty black tea is the perfect vessel for both the slight hint of whiskey, balanced by the not-at-all-fakey bittersweet chocolate notes. I’ve had many, many bad chocolate teas in my life– but consistently, AQTT’s chocolate teas are not among them. Rather than tasting like weird, weak hot chocolate, this brew is almost a touch bread-y and a hint savory while still feeling like a decadent, velvety chocolate treat. A splash of cream really takes this one to the next level, and I feel like I’m in college again, with not a care in the world (and the hangover resilience of a 21-year-old).

Almost 30-year-old Mary, though? She’ll stick to her whiskey non-alcoholic, in a tea latte, please and thanks.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea
Description

This tea was part of the subscription plan, click below to find out more!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Yule Fuel from For Tea’s Sake. . . . .

Scent is one of the strongest senses tied to memory, and there is something distinct for all of us about the holidays! There are the cinnamon pine cones in every store, you start being able to use you fireplace, and everything smells like apples. Yule Fuel by For Tea’s Sake is hands down the best holiday tea I’ve ever had. It smells like the holidays with cinnamon and cloves immediately confronting your senses. One encounter with the aroma of this tea will make it obvious that it is aptly named.

I brewed this black tea at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (110 degrees Celsius) for five minutes as directed. It brewed into a nice rich color. The cinnamon and cloves which are prominent in the aromatic profile of this tea are reduced to supporting, but important, players when brewed. The flavor that comes out in the brewing process is a lovely vanilla which helps remove the bitter aftertaste that is common for black teas and often puts people off of drinking black teas without sugar or cream. Saying this is a smooth black tea may be an understatement for this blend. This blend needs no assistance from sugars or cream, but I suspect that the addition of either would create a lovely flavor profile as well.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this blend. From the aroma to the flavor profile that is presented once brewed, this tea is one that you need to have in your collection.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  For Tea’s Sake
Description

This is a holiday blend tea so if interested click below right around the holidays to see if the blend is coming back!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Colombian Andean Princess Black Tea from Simpson and Vail. . .

Grape-y Goodness? Yes, please! But Colombian Andean Princess Black from Simpson & Vail is much more than that thanks to the simple – yet impressively unique – list of ingredients! The ingredients in this loose leaf tea are Colombian Black Tea, Isabella Grape Skin, Andean Raspberry, and Hibiscus Flower.

If any tea has done Hibiscus Flower perfectly it’s THIS tea! I wouldn’t change a thing about the hibiscus ratio or any other ingredient ratio in this lovely loose tea!

The grape and raspberry combination really make this special. Everything seems to have the same color hue when dry that it camouflages within the packet of ingredients!

S&V states on their website that this tea blend balances the naturally acidic flavor characteristics of Colombian fruits with the sweet flavor of Black Tea. Isabella grape is a hybrid distinguished by its high acidity and enhanced level of antioxidants. Andean raspberry is a type of blackberry found in northwest South America that is noted for its high vitamin C content, calcium, and phosphorus. Andean Princess tea brews to an amber cup with a full fruit flavor.

I enjoyed reading a bit more on this tea and the region it hails from which is the mountainous region of Colombia, in an area steeped in biodiversity, along the western slope of the Andes, is the Bitaco tea estate. They say the gentle mist from the mountains, rich soil, and ample rainfall all stimulate the growth of the tea bushes, producing a tea with unique characteristics.

I was excited to also learn that Bitaco Tea owns over 200 acres of tea plants that are cultivated at over 6,000 feet above sea level in the region of Choco. This region enjoys a high rainfall and has exceptional biodiversity. The tea gardens are located next to a thriving, protected rain forest, the Bitaco Regional Forest Reserve, where there is a wide diversity of flora and fauna: 256 bird species, 28 amphibian species, 23 reptile species and 772 species of plants. The garden, located near the Equator, enjoys a consistent climate which results in a bountiful production of tasty, delicate tea-tips that are picked and processed throughout the year.

Bitaco Tea not only cultivates exceptional teas, they also are committed to their community – (which you know we LOVE to talk about ChariTEAs here at the Sororitea Sisters). They created the Agricola Himalaya Foundation to develop and improve programs focusing on education, especially for local children. Activities focus on the improvement of infrastructure, recreational opportunities, local culture and access to technology.

This is a complete CommuniTEA Tea! Share with others and enjoy and KNOW it comes from people who also are passionate and care, too!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

This Blend balances the naturally acidic flavor characteristics of Colombian fruits with the sweet flavor of Black Tea. Isabella grape is a hybrid distinguished by its high acidity and enhanced level of antioxidants. Andean raspberry is a type of blackberry found in northwest South America that is noted for its high vitamin C content, calcium, and phosphorus. Andean Princess tea brews to an amber cup with a full fruit flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!