Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk

Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk is a Kumamoto-style guricha with tea leaf stems.  Apparently, the curly-shaped guricha leaves are prepared using a steaming process, rather than a pan-fried process, which give this tea its special flavor.

First and foremost, let me say that I like the name of the tea, and it’s helped me be inspired while drinking this brew. This is a well-balanced tea, just the right mix of both vegetal and fruity notes, and both sweet and savory tones. The vegetal notes feel like spring grass that grew up fast and got caught by that last, sudden wet frost.  This tea feels green and fresh, like melting frost on new grass, very wet and green.

There are also some brighter notes, which taste more lemony with a hint of savory herbs like sage or parsley.  In the aftertaste, there’s a bit of green almost-melon sweetness.  The most I drink this tea, the more I experience a buttery mouthfeel with hints of toasted nuts.  

Reminding me of the cusp of spring weather where new greens meet the last clutches of cold, Frosty Garden from Mellow Monk is aptly named, and a fresh, fantastic brew.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk
Description:

Frosty Garden™ is a shiraore (also known as karigane), a tasty sencha mixed with some white leaf stems. That, plus a slightly different tea-crafting technique, results in a uniquely “soft” tea—a lightly herbaceous aroma, a gentle, creamy sweetness with nutty overtones, hints of sage, and a savory finish. This tea is always first flush—made from the first harvest of spring leaves.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Darjeeling 1st Flush Colonal Casleton DJ-13 Oolong from Camellia Sinensis

DarjeelingOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Camellia Sinensis (However it’s no longer listed)

Tea Description:

Here is an wulong composed of leaves varying in hue from light green to orange by way of delicate shades of silver which adorn its numerous buds. The light rolling typical of this type of clonal offers lovely large leaves which, once infused, release rich floral and herbaceous fragrances. The liquor, soft and of a substantial texture, is supported by fruity and spicy notes. Its long tangy finish evokes the lightness of spring.

Learn more about this tea on Steepster!

Taster’s Review:

This is definitely an interesting looking tea, one I probably wouldn’t have chosen for myself had Camellia Sinensis not included it as a bonus sample in one of several orders I’ve placed with them this year. Personally, I don’t have much experience with Darjeeling teas, and I’m almost certain that this is the first Darjeeling Oolong that I’ll have tried.

The dry leaf of this blend it fascinating to me; it definitely doesn’t look like a lot of oolong I’ve encountered. I know it’s definitely on the lower scale of oxidation, for sure – but it doesn’t even look like they even attempted to roll it which is definitely something I’m accustomed to with greener oolong. More so, it just kind of reminds me of Bai Mu Dan, but a little twisted up.

I brewed this one in one of my Gaiwans because it felt more right to be brewing it that way instead of in an infuser mug, though I did brew it Western style instead of Gong Fu. Normally I’m not one to resteep things, but I got three resteeps of this blend before I decided that was enough for the day.

The first infusion was very soft and delicate with such a lovely silky mouthfeel (which was definitely a consistent trait between all three infusions). The flavours were kind of in line with green teas and greener oolong; crisp and sweet sugar snap peas, lighter fruit notes like slightly under ripe honeydew, some floral notes, and a slight creaminess. However, the overwhelming gentleness of the brew reminds me a lot of white tea as well. I was looking forward to experiencing the “tang” like described by Camellia Sinensis, but I definitely didn’t taste anything close to that. Nor did I taste anything “spicy”.

The second infusion definitely brought about a change in flavour though; while the liquor was still very smooth and delicate and I still got some lovely snap pea notes there was also a touch of a herbaceous quality and the more floral notes were traded in for something quite a bit fruitier. More like over ripe honeydew than under ripe, and with an almost white wine like quality. I also experienced the “tangy finish” like described. I was definitely a little taken aback; the body dramatically and quickly shifted into this long, drawn out pleasantly sour finish that I wasn’t expecting. This was easily my favourite infusion of the three I did; it had a great balance between the flavours of the first and third infusions.

The third infusion was still delicate but that tangy note was even more vivid and instead of just being present in the finish it started to creep up into the body of the sip as well. In this infusion I definitely thought it was much more distinctly like white wine. In fact, I almost immediately was reminded of the few Reisling wines I’ve had (I’m not a huge wine person). It was super interesting, and still quite enjoyable but quite different from that first infusion. I can only imagine how much more interesting this would be Gong Fu brewed.

It’s a shame I can no longer find this on the Camellia Sinensis site; I want to learn more about this tea as it was very different from other oolongs I’ve tried, and quite memorable. I 100% recommend trying it, even if oolong isn’t your jam.

Hard Candy Tisane from DAVIDsTEA

Hard CandyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal/Tisane

Where to Buy:  DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

Looking for a new way to satisfy your sweet tooth? This sweet and tangy tea is where it’s at. With sour cherries, kiwi and coconut, it has all the taste of a candy shop treat – at next to no calories. Brewed over ice, it’s a deliciously fruity, kid-friendly summer treat. And brewed extra-strong then topped up with sparkling water, it’s an unbeatably refreshing TeaPop. How sweet is that?

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is part two of a five part review of the DAVIDsTEA Summer Collection.

This year I found myself relatively interested in all five teas offered from DT’s Summer Collection so I decided to do a review of the whole collection here on SororiTea Sisters. Not all the teas are going to be prepared the same way; I decided to go with my gut and prepare each in the way I thought that they were best suited for. Now, because DT has marketed/designed these blends to be prepared iced that does mean most of the five teas were tried in a cold preparation style.

This is not an exception; for my first taste of the summer collection I decided to cold brew this one. Based on the initial stream of reviews on Steepster this blend seems to be pretty well liked; as of writing my review there aren’t really any bad reviews of this tisane. That’s definitely unusual, and it has me quite curious especially since this is the blend I was least interested in initially.

Dry I think this has a really intense aroma, and it reminds me a lot of Lipsmacker’s Strawberry Kiwi flavour. It’s very over the top, and really candy sweet. And as long as this doesn’t mysteriously pick up a ‘waxy’ taste then I think that’s a good thing because candy is obviously what DT was going for. I’m not totally sure where I’m getting strawberry from though since that is definitely not one of the ingredients in this: but it’s distinctly strawberry and NOT cherry or cranberry.

Steeped up and strained this has a powerful flavour; it’s incredibly sweet with just a hint of tartness. The first thing I noticed was actually the absence of a flavor – coconut in this case. DAVIDsTEA is really heavy handed with coconut as an ingredient, in fact three out of five of this seasons blends have coconut as an ingredient! It’s only the returning blends that don’t, and I can’t help but wonder if they were maybe so popular because of the lack of coconut. I definitely anticipated the coconut to be strong though – and I’m not getting it at all. It’s really weird, actually. And thinking about it, I don’t remember seeing any coconut shreds in the measured out leaf either.

The first flavor I’m actually tasting though is the kiwi – it’s much strong than I thought it would be. It’s followed closely behind by very plump, juicy cherry, cranberry and – yes, strawberry notes too. It tastes A LOT like Strawberry Kiwi Lipsmacker, no matter how hard I try to shake the comparison. Another popular comparison with this one is Jolly Ranchers; both cherry and watermelon. I can understand the comparison, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. Although, it’s reminding me a lot of a summer cold brew favourite of mine: Prickly Pear from Tea Desire, and now that I’m thinking about it not only do both teas have intense kiwi flavour but Prickly Pear also has a rich melon flavour so maybe I am subconsciously drawing melon comparisons too.

I may be the first ‘negative’ review of this one though; while I didn’t think it was bad I did think that ultimately there was too much going on about about half way through my cold brew I was just getting really sick of the intense sweetness and artificial fruit flavours. I get why it’s getting good reviews so far, it’s different from a lot of other tisanes from DT; but I’d call myself neutral at best. It’s not going to be a restock for me.

Honey, I Dew White from DAVIDsTEA

Honey I dewTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

In Vietnam, melons are a sign of good luck. In Chinese medicine, they’re said to help cool the body down. Around here, we think they’re just about the tastiest fruit around – especially when you pair them with fresh, delicate white tea. With fruity hints of pineapple and mango, this melon-packed blend is refreshing, juicy and naturally sweet. The best part? This tea was named by our customers! Is there anything they can’t dew?

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It’s very refreshing to see another permanent white tea blend on the DAVIDsTEA walls; I’ve been complaining for months about the dwindling amount of permanent white teas – I’ve even suffered some losses that were more emotional than I’d care to admit (Coconut Grove, Sweet Strawberry, and Big Apple…). At least a lot of seasonal blends for Spring featured a white base, and one of the Mother’s Day blends as well.

And not going to lie, the fact this was named by DT’s customers (and has such a cute name) is really appealing as well; I find I’m definitely more drawn in to wanting to try a tea when it has a unique name, even if the ingredients/flavor pairings aren’t that unusual. Let us put an end to the “Earl Grey Creams” and “Jasmine Greens” that every company seems to have a version of; give yours a neat name, and make it stand out!

I’m doing this one iced; yes, iced and not cold brewed. I don’t often have the means to do iced tea because I don’t actually have ice at my place. We don’t own an ice tray, and I don’t have the freezer space in my little apartment for larger bags of ice. I know it could be easily remedied by buying an ice cube tray but I always forget; so iced tea is a special treat for me provided by being in the right place (err, chef’s kitchen) at the right time.

My initial thought when I tried this was of Trident’s Watermelon Twist gum – the sugary, candy sweet watermelon top notes were pretty identical. I was expecting something both more mellow and, based on the name, more in the line of Honeydew so I was a little taken aback but once I got accustomed to the taste I found it really enjoyable. Contrasting that, the tail of the sip was a lot more natural tasting once the sweetness has subsided, and definitely a lot more honey dew than watermelon. I like the layers of melon that this one has. Almost like Trident Layers? That’s a bad pun, sorry.

The body of the sip is interesting too; somewhere in between where the watermelon eases up and the honeydew takes over there are a lot of very strong apple notes and some very vague mango and pineapple notes. I’d say they mostly create a tropical fruit vibe rather than make an impact as unique, stand-alone flavors though.

This was really enjoyable, and I think quite different from any other white blend that DT is currently offering, let alone any of their current blends. I really, really like the way they do Honeydew flavors; I’m thinking in particular of Honeydew Mate and Cool Cucumber (two seasonal blends). I loved both quite a bit (I still have some Cool Cucumber), and they definitely honed in on that awesome honeydew flavor. While DT’s watermelon can get too sweet or artificial, honeydew is a flavor they have successfully nailed. If you’re a fan of either of those two blends I absolutely 100% recommend giving this one a shot.

Mojave Desert Prickly Pear Tea by Mountain Witch Tea Company

MojaveDesertPricklyPearTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Mountain Witch Tea Company

Tea Description:

Quench your thirst with our special prickly pear tea blend. We infused our finest black tea with the flavor of Mojave Desert prickly pear for a delicious & unusual tea. Made with our best black tea, natural & artificial flavors, marigold & safflower petals, citric acid.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I can’t say that I’ve ever had anything like this one before.  I’m not sure what Prickly Pear is supposed to taste like so I did some research and it from what I can gather it is supposed to taste similar to watermelon with a slight bite like kiwi fruit.  I’m not sure if that is what I’m tasting but this is really good!

Another offering from the Mountain Witch tea Company and I am impressed.  So far I’ve had three or four of their teas and they all seem to have a nice fresh crisp taste to them without having the artificial flavoring chemical taste.  I can’t say this is one of my favorites of theirs but it makes an amazing cup of iced tea!

The tea itself has a sweet yet tangy flavor to it.  I don’t pick up any kind of black tea base.  I do pick up a melon like flavor that has hints of a peach or apricot flavor with a side note of honey.  I know, it sounds really different but the flavors work.   The description says that it is a unusual tea and I agree with that. This is a great light tea for the spring/summer months. The dry leaves have a peach and honey like aroma to them.  I would love a candle that smells exactly like these tea leaves.