Leaf Type: Puerh
Where to Buy: Samovar Tea Lounge
Wild-crafted from 30-foot trees in the jungles of Southwest China, this tea is a traditional wedding gift and evening mood-setter. Dark, creamy, and luxurious with notes of bittersweet chocolate and espresso.
Tea Type: Pu-Erh
Origin: Jing Mai Mountains in Yunnan, China
Caffeine Level: Medium-high
Processing Details: Tender, young-leaf, vintage, loose leaf Pu-Erh
Tasting and Aroma Specs: Very balanced, smooth, rich and dark, with a slightly sweet, wildflower honey finish. Deep, strong forward notes of earth and moss with a lingering raisin sugar sweetness.
Food Pairing: Dim Sum and Samovar’s Mushroom Quiche
Learn more about this tea here.
It is really difficult to sum up a puerh in a review without mentioning each and ever steep. Especially when it is such an excellent puerh like this Maiden’s Ecstasy Organic from Samovar Tea Lounge.
Maiden’s Ecstasy is one of the first pureh that I ever tried and is still one of my favorites. I stopped drinking coffee shortly before I found my love for loose leaf tea, and this Maiden’s Ecstasy provides such a rich, full, and robust cup that it brings back memories of my once loved coffee, but is so much better, and far more flavorful!
With a creamy, heavy mouthfeel, this tea has notes of german rock sugar, brown sugar, raisins, tree bark, oak moss, and so much more. Sometimes you will taste a more woodsy note, while other times you get a taste of chocolate, and other times a savory note of mushroom!
There is something otherworldly about this tea. It is the kind of tea I like to drink while watching a movie such as Avatar, or The Never Ending Story. I would take this and drink it at the Renaissance Festival every year if I could find a way to keep steeping it! It makes me feel like jumping from toadstool to tree trunk and swinging from branches of friendly tress and cavorting with gnomes but beware of the trolls because this tea does have a sparky, spicy kick to it at times as well! Its not dangerous though, it won’t burn your tongue at all, its just a little spark of playful now and then in the middle of an otherwise dreamy cup.
It does evoke thoughts of sipping on a very luxurious espresso, a good one though, one you could probably only find at one of those quaint cafes in Italy, as you sit writing in your diary at a white linen clothed table, dreaming of a romantic interlude. Flavors of molasses peek through resembling the sweet desires playing out in your mind as you gaze into nothingness, while someone, sitting at a table not too far away can see everything emoting through your eyes.
Yes, this tea is that special.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
“This wild-picked Golden Fleece is an exquisite lesson in texture, and one of the truest flavor embodiments of Yunnan itself. . . .This is the finest, most nuanced and intriguing Dian Hong we have ever encountered. Wang Yanxin, our sourcing agent who has devoted her life to Yunnan, has been searching for a Dian Hong like this for years. Every time she sends us pu’er, she includes 30-40 Dian Hong teas, and Jin Jun Mei teas. This time, she only sent us one, and wrote on the bag “this is the one. Best Dian Hong. Taste slowly.” She was so very right.
Learn more about this tea here.
I have had Golden Fleece from Verdant Tea since it was released on Verdant Tea website. I actually ordered it twice because the first order was gone in a flash. I had thought I would save the second bag I bought and hoard it, but the fact is tea is best when fresh, and I would not want to deprive myself of enjoying this tea while still fresh, let alone deprive the tea of giving off the best cup possible. So I have opened my second bag and I am enjoying it daily until it is gone. When it is gone I will most likely purchase another bag if it is still available on the Verdant web site. As of right now it is still available so if you are tempted by this tea – get some while you still can!
This is everything that could be desired in a black tea, especially in a morning cup. It is toasty, creamy, and the aroma is one that will wet your appetite for breakfast or sustain you and give you all the flavors that a calorie ridden decedent breakfast would. Everything you will find in the aroma, you will also find in the flavor. There is a malty, maple flavor, along with a fresh hay laying in the morning sunrise dew flavor, a spun sugar flavor, a subtle vanilla flavor, and a cocoa flavor. That is just on the top levels of this tea!
Once you relish in those beautiful top note flavors you will find yourself emerged into a world of sweet spices, such as cinnamon, clove, and even a taste of paprika.
The mouthfeel is like that of silk or satin, creamy and luxurious. It offers a very full mouthfeel indeed!
This tea can be steeped many times offering new layers and flavors in each cup which is always quite enjoyable and my preferred method of brewing (gong fu style). However, if you want your first cup to be richer, fuller, creamier, or just don’t feel like fussing with a gong fu sitting, by all means enjoy it western brewed as you can’t go wrong with this tea. You will still get two to three steeps out of it western style. Its just such a fine tea however you may find yourself feeling that gong fu brewing is a must. I prefer drinking this tea on weekends when I can take a bit more time in the mornings and go at a slower pace, enjoying up to eight or more steeps.
There are other wonderful flavor notes to find in this tea – some of the base notes I find are mushroom, oak moss, rock mineral, and wood. There is a dry finish to this tea which is due to the base notes.
According to Verdant’s Website: “ Instead, this is a subtle experience that will appeal to lovers of fine oolong and pu’er.”
I could not agree more! I myself am a lover of oolong and pu’er so they are absolutely correct as I fully appreciate this fine black tea.
I always say that good tea, which is defined by each of us alone, should evoke a thought, a feeling, or a memory, and for me this tea evokes the thoughts and feelings of friends, family, good times, warmth, and love. This is why I have chosen this tea for my Christmas Time Tea and why my review of it is posted today, Christmas Day. I will be enjoying this tea all day today as I spend cherished moments, and make forever memories, with my family and friends.
Merry Christmas to all.
Leaf Type: Black Hand-plucked Sun Moon Lake Black Tea Loose leaves
Where to Buy: Fong Mong Tea on eBay
Sun Moon Lake black tea can be declared “Red Treasure” in central Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County is surrounded with mountains and lakes with remarkable environment and typical climate. Heavy moist and stable yearly average temperature make the tea trees grow thick and rich tea leaves which produce carmine and perfectly clear liquor. Its unique sweet aroma and strong mint taste make it truly unforgettable. It is also the best ingredient to make “bubble tea” (the most famous Taiwanese tea drink on earth).
I was thrilled that Fong Mong Tea was offering some samplers a while back.
They provided a sampler pack that would allow two steeping sessions gongfu style.
I love it when a company includes enough in a sample to have more than one session. It allows for a learning curve if needed and for trying different steeping methods if one prefers.
I had the first session soon after I received the sample and now I am enjoying the second session.
I had been saving the rest of my sample for a day I needed a really relaxing and unique tea. A morning when I didn’t have to rush around, and didn’t want to. Today is that day.
Upon the initial sip my first thought was “is this a black tea?” well of course I knew it was but the flavor profile was so green. Fresh, vegetal, brothy, like juicy fresh from the garden green beans. I was slightly taken aback, although the flavor was absolutely delicious it was not what I was expecting. This prompted me to check my tasting notes from my first sampling of this tea! Indeed I also had felt the same way three months earlier when first trying Sun Moon Lake by Fong Mong.
I continued to sip and picked up mushroom notes, tree bark, and a hint of spice that caused a tingling sparkly sensation on the tongue. Ahhh, now the dark notes are beginning to show themselves lending to the black tea profile.
More of the black tea notes began to ring out loud and clear with a slight malt flavor, a milk chocolate flavor, and an oak moss flavor, however those light lilting green vegetal flavors never totally faded!
This is a very meditative tea. As a black tea I am not sure I would want this as my first cup in the morning as I tend to need far more of a punch in the face tea to wake up, however this is my second tea for today and its helping me ease into my afternoon beautifully. Its relaxing, assisting me in focusing on tasks I need to complete, and helping my creative juices to begin to flow gently, calmly, and with ease.
Now I have an admission to make. I used a lower water temperature than suggested. The reason why is quite simply that I was impatient and did not want to heat my water up. My Zojirushi water heater was already at 175 from the night before, and I just went ahead and used that temp for this tea. Granted I was taking a risk with this precious sample, being that one more session was all that was remaining. I have no regrets. This is obviously a forgiving tea, and of course it was not going to get burnt by over heated water but I have also not lost any flavors either. This tastes exactly as I remember it and matches my previous tasting notes perfectly. If nothing else perhaps steeping at this lower temperature will prolong my session allowing for even more steeps than I would normally have got. I am on my third steep now and it is ever bit as good as the first and I plan to keep on steeping until it stops giving.
I am surprised, actually shocked that this is not already holding a place in my permanent stash, but I am so happy that I had some left over as a reminder to place an order with Fong Mong Tea today!
In my previous tasting notes I said that this tea was like a soup created in the kitchen of a culinary master, one that needed to be allowed to simmer for a long time to allow the true flavors to develop. A broth that needed to age like a fine wine. This tea speaks to you as if it is knowing of secrets held within old trees, running streams that have spread gossip from one watering hole to the next and the memories of vegetation along the way. Sun Moon Lake is one that needs to be allowed to take you on a journey to unknown territories, allowed to tell you its stories. This is a slow, easy sipper tea, again not my preference for morning when I really need to suck a tea down in light speed to get “my fix”. This tea is one to be savored and appreciated.