Old Tree from Old Ways Tea. . .

As this tea’s blend suggests, this tea is from an old tea tree. According to Old Ways Tea’s site, old trees run rampant and have huge roots that change the mineral content and flavor of the tea. They also are home to little ecosystems that live in their big, dense branches, including lichen and moisture and all sorts of funky goodness* that translates into the leaf’s flavor.

* (Note: The phrase “funky goodness” does not appear in the original description of the tea, to its detriment.)

This tea is indeed mineral-ish, and a little bit spicy/smoked. It almost has a heat to its flavor. Is it possible for tea to have… a natural kick? Because this does.

This is the Southern BBQ of tea. The flavor is kind of rugged. The kind of thing a man’s man would enjoy while turning a spit with a hog on it first thing in the morning. Later in the day, I imagine a man’s man would turn to beer, but this is a good solid push into anyone’s busy day.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Old Ways Tea
Description

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.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Yuzu Berry Sencha Green Tea from Prestogeorge. . . .

I’ve recently begun seriously exploring the world of green teas. They have the best alleged health benefits; they’re springy; they’re tasty. They’re also decidedly not soda, which I have been trying with little success to quit for years.

Greens are not like black teas. One can’t just use the hot water dispenser at work and forget about them and hope they turn out okay twenty minutes later. Green teas require a lower temperature and shorter steep time in order not to singe and taste icky.

I’ve learned the hard way to put an ice cube in the gravity steeper before putting in the water, in order to get an appropriate temperature. I also try to keep an eye on the time in order to only steep for about two minutes instead of, eh, whatever.

Today’s pick: a sencha! Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan. It has very green leaves that are typically plucked while young and full of nutrients. Japanese Sencha tends to be more grassy/vegetal than greens from China.

This particular blend is mixed with yuzu and safflowers. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit. (Tea has me experiencing all sorts of new fruits/flowers/berries I’d never even heard of before.)

The flavor of this blend is very tangy and grassy. The profound green-ness of the tea is balanced out with the sassy citrus of the yuzu, which is a distinctive sort of citrus. It’s zesty, like a lemon or a Mandarin orange.

I’m not sure I’d recommend this particular blend for a green tea newbie, because it has to be handled very carefully and has a REALLY distinctive flavor that one might not like. However, if you’re looking to expand your palate, this is a distinctive pick you might just love. Give it a whirl!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy: Prestogeorge
Description

Sencha green tea with safflowers and natural yuzu berry flavor. Yuzu berry is a Japanese citrus fruit similar to mandarin orange. Remarkable flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

H’mong Kings Tea from Rakkasan. . . .

Generally when you think of green tea you think of Japan or China first. What about Vietnam? Wasn’t on my radar until I spotted this one. This rare wild grown tea is a true splendor to behold. The dry leaves have an incredibly unique aroma. This scent is what I think of when I think umami. It’s almost like they cooked something on the pan before they roasted it. Somewhat vegetal but nothing like the usual vegetal flavors found in tea. SMOKY! Smoky vegetal! But not like Lapsang Souchong. The wet leaves smell like passion fruit. NO I am NOT joking. They don’t taste like it though… Don’t taste the leaves. And the liquid? Awesome. Grassy sweet with just a very slight amount of bitterness. I need more.

More in my cup. The leaves slowly un-twisting in my cup are lovely. The Agony of the leaves. It is interesting how pan firing a tea can give it such a different flavor profile.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Rakkasan
Description

This is a rare wild-grown, green tea produced by Black H’mong families in Hà Giang Province, Vietnam at over 5,200 feet. It is different from other green teas in that it is fired and dried by hand in a wood-fired cast iron pan rather than a drum oven. It has a smoky aroma and earthy and woody notes reminiscent of the surrounding pine forest where it grows. Like other wild green teas, it is naturally sweet with little bitterness.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jin Xuan GABA Tea from Eco-Cha. . . .

I have always wanted to try Eco-Cha’s oolongs and I was ecstatic when a box of delightful oolongs arrived for the SororiTea Sisters to check out. With the snow falling and the crisp air, today felt like the perfect day to try Jin Xuan GABA tea.

So I brewed up a pot, broke out a few snacks, and gave myself a few moments to really indulge in this brew. And indulge I did.

Each sip I am greeted with pops of fruit with a slight bready finish. Fresh crisp smooth and delightful. I can’t get over how fantastic this oolong is and how much I’ve missed oolongs to be honest. I’ve been in a green tea craze and this tea is telling me its time to shake up my tea routine.  Pot after pot of this tea and I was on cloud nine. Not only does this oolong taste fabulous with such a smooth flavor profile that is insanely satisfying, this tea is one of those soul soothing teas that you can literally just soak in and it helps wipe the day away.

So in not so many words, I loved this offering so much, I’ve asked for a subscription for Christmas! I need more Eco-Cha in my life!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Eco-Cha

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Fresa Guayusa from Fava Tea Company. . . .

Guayusa is a non-traditional type of tea, like mate.  Both guayusa and mate come from a type of holly bush and not the traditional tea plant.  While technically herbal teas, guayusa and mate both pack a big punch of caffeine so brew this tea when you’re looking to get hyped.

Fresa Guayusa from Fava Tea Company adds sweet strawberries to the guayusa base.  I think this is a great combination for tea. I find mate and guayusa to be a bit too plain on their own.  They have a pleasant dry grass scent and flavor, like standing in a field at the end of the summer with everything feeling fresh but a bit dry and toasty.  But after a whole cup of this flavor, I find myself wanting a little something else.

Adding strawberries makes this bright and happy, with natural pink fruitiness it livens up the blend.  Besides, if you’re reaching for a blend with as much caffeine as this guayusa has, you could probably use a little perky sweetness in your cup too.

This would be a great iced tea to kick off hot summer days, or a nice alternative to black tea on an afternoon where you need something sweet and highly caffeinated to get you going.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Guayusa
Where to Buy: Fava Tea
Description:

This tea has been shown to reduce physical and mental stress allowing for stronger mental strength and courage.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!