Da Yu Ling Oolong Tea from Tea from Taiwan. . .

I am having a really emotional day*, so I decided to treat myself with the best option available: a bracing cup of tea.

*To be fair, most of my days are emotional. I am a person with a Lot Of Feelings.

This was a more delicate cuppa than I was in the mood for, but no fear, it is still quite the taste sensation.

It’s really LEMONY! Light, and toward the green side of oolong, and there’s a little bit of a sweet-n-sour lemonade twist. I feel like they could serve this in the South, maybe iced, and people would love it.

It comes from a place that translates out to “Pear Mountain.” I have this weird thing where I fear unfamiliar fruit (please don’t make fun of me), so I honestly am not sure if this tastes like a pear. But it definitely IS fruity. It’s got a surprising amount of extra flavor for a straight tea. Wow.

If you were to go to Mount Li, from whence this tea originates, you would be close to — and possibly able to visit — China’s Terracotta Army.

It’s a giant underground tomb-necropolis that houses a miniature version of the first Chinese emperor’s army. They protect his (still unopened) tomb. You really need to read the Wikipedia article about this. It’s fascinating.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Tea from Taiwan
Description

Da Yu Ling oolong tea (wu-long tea) is a premium-grade oolong tea from the Da Yu Ling area of Taiwan’s Taichung county. Its high altitude (more than 2600 meters) makes this one of the highest tea plantations in the world.

Da Yu Ling has a wonderful fragrance and taste. It is a lightly oxidized oolong tea with a refreshing palate that is sought after by the most demanding tea connoisseurs. Da Yu Ling is produced in limited quantities and is one of the most prized teas of Taiwan.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Himalayan Black Dragon (Nepal) from Rakkasan Tea. . . .

If I told you this tea had it’s oxidization stopped at around 45% would you believe me? Yea, I wouldn’t believe me either. When I first opened the can and looked at the elegantly shaped ‘balls’ of tea I thought they made mistake. Then again I generally drink oolongs close to the green spectrum so who am I to talk.

As much as I stick my nose into this can to smell the dry leaves I just don’t find much. There is a very slight musty… earthy smell. The true aromas come out in the wet leaf. The first time I smelled it I detested it as the smell of cigarette smoke was somewhat lingering but this time it is very very light. Wet forest is now what I predominately detect. As far as flavor goes, this one is very unique.

Granted, there are lots of unique teas in this world. This one is unique in that it has the essences of darjeelings in a subtle way. (Darjeelings should almost be given their own classification instead of black). Anyway, flavors for this one primarily stay in the earthy range. Some grape hints here and there but no floral notes detected as is said on their site. Perhaps its a floral that I don’t understand. Summer meadow floral perhaps?

If you are looking to support a tea company for certain reasons like sustainability, environmental responsibility, good customer service, etc then you definitely need to look into Rakkasan, not only are they a great company but you will be supporting tea grown in post-conflict countries.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Rakkasan Tea Company
Description

Grown in Ilam, Nepal at an elevation of 5,000 feet, this oolong tea combines the best of both green and black tea. The mature leaves are hand-plucked and then withered in sunlight, spread on bamboo mesh trays. They are then heated to stop oxidation at 45 percent. Afterward, the leaves are rolled and separated into a unique ball shape. The finished product results in high floral notes with a hint of grapes. Himalayan Black Dragon is grown organically, but it is not yet certified.

About Our Nepalese Tea

Grown in the Himalayan foothills, Nepalese tea is extraordinary. However, years of industry underdevelopment, coupled with a decade-long civil war, served to stunt Nepal’s economy. Development of tea farming in the country suffered as a result. Since the signing of a peace accord in 2006, Nepal’s tea growers have sought to share their product with more and more drinkers around the world.

Our Nepalese tea comes from small farms in Ilam and Panchthar, a region just 45 miles west of Darjeeling, at an altitude of between 5,000 and 6,000 feet. The region is semi-tropical and very sunny, but has abundant rainfall.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Superfine Tanyang gongfu black tea from Tea Vivre . . . .

I’m learning to love unflavored teas this year, and this beautiful offering from Tea Vivre really makes my job easy! Without even opening the bag, I’m already impressed with the gaiwan tea ceremony directions and WOW! The heritage on this tea is amazing, down to the day of when and where it was harvested (April 8, 2017). The gongfu style black tea is named after where it was grown, Tanyang Village in Fujian, of South East China.

The adventure continues as I reveal Twisted ropes of gold and brown… I’ve never seen this type of tea before, it’s actually soft with some fuzzies on it. A green-thumbed friend of mine called this style of leaves “pubescent”, meaning they were just barely mature.

Still dry, they offer a light, clear, inviting scent, like fresh sweet peas in the garden. I decided to taste a leaf, (they make coffee bean snacks so it’s not that crazy to do, right??) and we are reminded of the chocolate noodles they sample out of Pikes place market.

The walnut colored brew offers a hint of honey taste though none was added. I never expected this sort of delicate leaf to be so powerful! They say the longer you brew this style, the mellower the flavor will be, which is quite the opposite of most teas I’ve had, and it’s completely true!! Now I’m curious about the actual chemistry of tannins etc… oh the rabbit holes of science we can get caught up in…
It is “zero percent bitter” and easy to drink (Hanley, R.,2017). There is a refreshing aftertaste, maybe a subtle hint of wintergreen. This tea doesn’t have much of an aftertaste but I tended to wait a while between sips because this tea was just so transcendental that I couldn’t help but daydream about it.

If ever you need to impress someone with a tea, this is the one!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black, loose leaf
Where to Buy: TeaVivre

Being the first one among Fujian’s three best Gong Fu Black Teas (Bai Lin Gong Fu, Zheng He Gong Fu, Tan Yang Gong Fu), Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea has tight and thin leaves, looks glossy, which could be seen from TeaVivre’s product photo. When looking at this tea, the golden pekoe is particularly eye-catching, strongly connected to its high quality. Under the effect of photosynthesis, fresh buds contain the largest amount of beneficial substances than other parts. Moreover, the traditional making method of black tea has retained the nutrition in the most volume.

Black tea is renowned with it red leaves and red liquid. The liquid of Tan Yang Gong Fu is bright red, and clean, which brings you a feeling of pureness. The flavor will vary based on different amount of teas and time of infusion. If using gai wan to brew in traditional Chinese way (Recommend Brewing Guide), you will sense the sweet and mellow flavor, and feel a quick sweet aftertaste in your throat. The aroma of Tan Yang Gong Fu will float around you for a long time.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Huang Shan Mao Feng by Driftwood Tea. . . . . .

I steeped a tablespoon of leaf in about a cup of 175-degree water for three minutes. (The directions said to use a tablespoon per pot but didn’t say what pot size to use, so I just stuck it in my mug because I was like, it’s probably not going to turn out too strong anyway. And I was right!)

The dry leaf smells a bit vegetal, a bit astringent. Some of the leaves are more intact than others but on the whole they’re long and thin, dark green, and some even slightly fuzzy. They seem to be the growing tips of the plant (a leaf and a bud).

The tea is still almost perfectly clear after it’s finished steeping; it just has the faintest off-white, almost peachy tinge to it. It’s even clearer in color than many white teas I’ve seen!

First sip: it’s light, almost floral, and has vegetal flavors only on the back of the tongue. None of the flavors are very “forward” in the mouth except maybe the light floralness that comes at the front of the sip. It’s not too astringent, but it has a little brightness to it and even offers a comforting, energizing aftertaste. It’s definitely not too overpowering; however, the high-quality leaves should stand up to multiple steepings.

I’ve had to use my sneaky detective skills to find out more about this tea because the info isn’t up on the company’s website right now. Huang Shan Mao Feng is apparently a type of green tea, judging by the processing techniques (no oxidation time, et cetera) but the flavor really reminds me more of a white tea or even maybe a super-mild sheng (raw pu-erh) tea.

Altogether it’s a light, gentle cup that I’d recommend for relaxed, pensive afternoons where you’re not necessarily looking for something super dark or highly caffeinated.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Driftwood Tea
Description

This tea doesn’t appear to be on the site now but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Dancing Flavors of Sun Moon Lake Tea from Taiwan Leaf Tea. . .

There is a form of hypnosis caused by watching water move – At once it’s both calming and playful, it invites us to stay and watch stories unfold. My folks often invite us over to the lake house, and as much as we can cause a raucous, I take a simple pleasure in just watching the light dancing over the rippling lake. I am doing this as I steep the Sun and Moon Lake tea from Taiwan Leaf Tea.

There are deep chestnut colored, thick, loosely twisted leaves with a hint of apple chips smell to them. They yield a sumptuous auburn colored tea that now smells of rose and honey. Wow, this is so unexpectedly beautiful. I find that as my eyes take in the visual symphony on the water, the medium-bodied mouthfeel of this tea provides an equally stimulating journey for my taste buds. The more I drink it, the more I find to like about it.

Though there are no added flavors, I find a natural hint of sweetness but the tiniest incidental Granny Smith crisp to it, hmmm but without any tart pucker face. I’m torn between adding sugar to bring the flavors out more or leaving it as is. A sip ends with a short, smooth yet robust aftertaste. Nope, that sugar didn’t do anything here to enhance those subtle flavor nuances. On its own, it’s a well-rounded, meditative tea.

One of my favorites from this whole review box, Definitely a keeper. Would be great for sipping during an artistic event – figure skating at the Olympics comes to mind, or even just a walk past the new spring blossoms peeking out lately.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black loose leaf tea
Where to Buy: Taiwan Leaf Tea

Premium Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Black Tea (Tea # 18) is rare black (red) tea from Central Taiwan (Yuchi, Nantou County).

Sun Moon Lake is located in Nantou County in Central Taiwan. It is surrounded by mountains. Average temperature is very stable during the whole year and humidity is very high. These all enable tea leaves grow rich and intense.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!