Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Teasenz
A farmer needs to work seven days, just to produce about 1.5 kg of this artisan tea, picking only the most-tender leaves from large-leaf tea trees in Simao, Yunnan. Afterwards, each ring is carefully hand-rolled piece by piece, requiring patience and mastery of advanced tea processing skills. A pure organic and luxury green tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
Beautiful! These leaves are so amazingly graceful! They are rolled in perfect little rings, and the leaves feel soft and fluffy as they’re still covered with their downy fuzz.
They slowly unfurl in hot water, and it’s fun to watch them do their thing as they brew. I highly recommend steeping these in something that you can watch the brewing process. I realize that the website recommends a ceramic teapot for brewing, but I brewed this in my gaiwan so that I could watch the tender leaves do their graceful dance as they gently infused the hot liquid.
The cup that sits before me now is the results of the first two infusions, and this tea is delicious. It is delicately fragrant. The flavor is lightly vegetal with notes of butter and nutty tones, reminiscent of a nutty browned butter. It isn’t bitter, grassy or overly astringent.
There is a subtle floral note to the cup that seems to gradually build, and is especially noticeable in the aftertaste. The notes on the website suggest a jasmine note, but, I don’t know that I’m tasting jasmine. It is a very gentle flowery note that melds seamlessly with the other flavors of the cup.
This is a really remarkable green tea from Teasenz: I love that it’s organic, I love that it offers several delicious infusions (I got two cups of tea out of one measurement of leaves, infusing the leaves for a total of four times), and quite simply, I love this tea! Then again, I’ve been very impressed with all the teas that I’ve tried from this company! This is one company that you should put at the top of your shopping list!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Harney & Sons
For years, we have been honored to supply the tea to Ming Tsai’s famous restaurant: Blue Ginger. This blend is a heady combination of Fujian black tea and floral lychee fruit with a hint of ginger.
Learn more about this blend here.
The first thing that was noteworthy to me about this tea was the aroma. Typically with a lychee tea, I get that overwhelming scent of lychee from the dry leaf which … is nice, but sometimes it’s a bit TOO much and can often come off as somewhat chemical-ish, you know what I mean? But with this Blue Ginger Black Tea Blend from Harney & Sons, the lychee notes seem somewhat subdued, which is possibly due to the fact that there is also ginger in this blend.
The brewed tea is wonderfully aromatic with notes of lychee, ginger and a rich black tea base. And that’s exactly what the flavor delivers!
The black tea base is a hearty Fujian black tea which provides a good, solid background of flavor that is rich and full-flavored. Typically with a pure Fujian black tea, I will note hints of caramel and cocoa in the flavors, and I’m picking up on those here. It’s much more subtle than I’d experience from a pure tea, but, it’s still nice that I’m tasting them!
The lychee and ginger seem very compatible. Lychee can sometimes taste a bit “perfume-y” and the ginger seems to tone that down enough so that the lychee tastes sweet and fruity without tasting so much of the perfume-like qualities of the aromatic fruit.
On the other hand, ginger can sometimes come off as a bit too spicy and hot, but in the presence of the lychee, the ginger tastes warm and slightly peppery without experiencing the fire that ginger can sometimes deliver.
Like I said, these two ingredients work very well together! Overall, I really enjoyed this Blue Ginger Tea. According to the Harney & Sons website, this tea is one that is supplied to Chef Ming Tsai’s restaurant by the same name – Blue Ginger. A very cool and delightfully unique tea to feature in a restaurant. I guess I’ve been offered one too many generic tea bags in restaurants becaus I know that I’d be excited to find something like this tea in a restaurant!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Teavivre
The fresh Organic Nonpareil Ming Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Tea provided by Teavivre is picked before Tomb-Sweeping Day, an important solar term in Chinese agriculture. Ming Qian (Pre-ming) tea is seldom damaged by insects. Its buds and leaves are delicate and tender. With a mellow taste, it is emerald green in color and quite beautiful in appearance. Since the weather is relatively cold before Tomb-Sweeping Day, the number of fresh buds is limited and they grow slow. Therefore, a few leaves can meet the picking standard. Compared with those picked after Tomb-Sweeping Day, Ming Qian (Pre-ming) tea is of top grade.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Teavivre is one of my favorite tea companies. The reason is quite simple. They offer some of the very best teas available, and it is obvious to me that this is a company that cares about the teas that they sell. This is evident in their careful packaging that protects the tea quality and integrity of the tea. This is evident in their responsive customer service. More than that … this is evident in the FLAVOR of the tea itself.
As this Organic Nonpareil Ming Qian Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea from Teavivre brewed, I could smell the strong, fresh vegetative aroma. The scent filled the kitchen, smelling of steamed vegetables … it smelled delicious!
The flavor matches the fragrance with its strong, vegetative overtone. It is pleasantly sweet but with a nice contrasting savory tone that is almost like salt. I taste nutty notes, reminiscent of a freshly roasted chestnut: creamy and sweet, with hints of butter.
The texture is smooth and silky, and there is very little astringency to this. It is not bitter (although I wouldn’t recommend steeping it in water too hot or for too long a time. I recommend a temperature of 175ºF and a brew time of 1 – 1 1/2 minutes for the first infusion, and increasing the brew time by 30 seconds for each subsequent infusion.)
I like that this tea holds up well through multiple infusions too. This is definitely a tea that you want to spend some time with … take your time and savor it! It will submit several very flavorful infusions that will make it well worth your efforts!