Autumn Reserve Tieguanyin/Verdant Tea . . . . . .

Not gonna lie to you, Sisters: these past few weeks have been QUITE STRESSFUL for me. So I’ve been in Treat Yo’self mode: cookies. cheese. trashy pop music. trips to the zoo. leisurely walks on the treadmill instead of strenuous weight lifting.

And tea. ALWAYS TEA.

Today I decided to try one of the samples I’ve been looking forward to: Autumn Tieguanyin from Verdant Tea. Oolongs are my current favorite, and frankly, I deserve fineries.

This tea is a creamy walk through a spring meadow filled with fluttering buttercups. It’s so light and dainty. If it were an garment, it would be a pastel mint-colored tutu. If it were a voice, it’d be Ingrid Michaelson’s.

The tasting notes I’m picking up are mostly flowery, sweet vegetal, and slightly creamy. The description on Verdant Tea’s site says “pound cake,” which I’m not sure I’m getting. This may be, in part, due to my profound unclassiness. I may not have enough fae in my blood to be able to pick up on everything. But I’m getting the idea, and I’m adoring it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Description

Master Zhang has worked for over four decades continuing his family’s craft growing true Tieguanyin varietal tea high above Daping village in Anxi. He is working to bring back the original habitat of the region by clearing mountainsides and planting trees, bringing back wildlife and biodiversity, for better tea and a better future. He has won awards across China and has been recognized as one of the leading teachers and craftsman in Anxi for his unique approach to grading teas and processing for flavor. Instead of grading solely by elevation or tree age, Master Zhang holds the “Reserve” designation for the few teas that meet his strict criteria of lingering intensive aftertaste, pervasive sweetness, and thick creamy body. This means that only the leaves whose weather, position in the field and processing come together perfectly can be offered as Master Zhang’s reserve. This reserve grade Tieguanyin was hand-picked and hand finished with an exhaustive fluffing and turning process to bring out deep intense florals and creamy texture.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Honey Orchid Dan Cong from Tea Runners. . . .

This is a strong, alluring cup of pure, unblended oolong that tastes like fruit and flowers with a dash of pollen/honey. The taste is surprisingly rich for a straight tea.

I feel like a fancy aristocrat with such a delicacy at my hands. Like my porter bright it straight from Asia as an offering from a king trying to curry my favor.

(Side note: “Curry favor”? Like… make it spicy and delicious? I’ve never thought about the phrase “curry favor” before, and had to Google it to make sure that was the exact phrase. It is. Do you ever have linguistic moments like this?)

This tea makes me think about how big and magical the world is. We have these plants that come up from the ground that we’ve selectively bred and handle in specific ways to make them tasty. There’s nothing else in this cup. Just leaves. We put the leaves into some hot water and taste pours out.

Some people put beans in hot water for the same reason. But they’re wrong. The leaves are better.

If you want to enjoy these leaves in particular, they’re for sale at the TeaRunners site. The site is run by a girl who’s been in several science fiction TV shows I like. I showed up to support the girl. I stayed because I liked the plants she picked out for me to try.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Tea Runners
Description

From the family farm of a nationally recognized tea master, this fabulous Mi Lan Xiang (“Honey Orchid Fragrance”) Dan Cong Oolong tea sets itself apart with its distinctive golden color and strong fruity aromas.

This alluring and addictive tea has strong notes of orchid, honey, lychee and mango, with a touch of spice. It lingers on the palate for hours and will have you coming back for more.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

On Wisconsin from A Quarter To Tea. . . . Part Two

I have actually written a previous review about On Wisconsin by A Quarter to Tea, the tasty honey cheesecake tea. For that reason, this review is more about a tea experiment I did with On Wisconsin as opposed to the tea itself.

For a while I have been obsessing over iced lattes. I have tried and tried but can never get my iced tea lattes to be as rich and creamy as the ones you get at places like Starbucks (though I think that because Starbucks uses whole milk loaded with syrup). Instead mine are almost watery. As a result, I have been searching the internet, reading recipes and watching YouTube videos, trying to get new and inspiring ideas for iced lattes. I came across one video by The Domestic Geek called 5 Fave Iced Coffee Hacks  which has 5 tasty looking ideas that could easily be adapted for iced tea lattes.

One hack that really caught my attention was the third hack for Inside Out Lattes. For this hack, The Domestic Goddess made ice cubes out of coffee and chocolate syrup. She filled a mug with the coffee ice cubes and topped it with milk. Since I don’t drink coffee, I followed her lead but made my ice cubes out of a concentrate of On Wisconsin tea. I made the cubes by steeping the tea per the recommended parameters but using about 3-4 times the amount of leaf suggested. I then poured the concentrate into the ice cube tray and left them to set in the freezer overnight.

Once the cubes were set, I took the hack a step further and decided to blend my tea ice cubes with the milk. I used about 5 cubes to about a 1/2 a cup of milk but it was too thick so I added about another 1/2 a cup of milk. Then something weird happened as the icy milk foam separated to the top of the glass and the milky tea separated to the bottom. After some aggressive stirring to combine the foam and the tea, I was still surprised at how loose the tea tasted. I expected a smoothie-like or iced Aroma type consistency and instead it tasted like cold, milky tea. Personally I blame my ratio of cubes to milk but also the use of the On Wisconsin tea which has a strong honey flavor that competes with the milk as opposed to mixing with it.

Ultimately the experiment turned out good but not great. I think next time I need less cubes but also I think a different tea would improve the results drastically. My guess is a chocolate tea would suit this type of thing better. Though this is definitely an improvement from other iced lattes I have tried in the past as milky tea in an iced latte is better than watery tea in an iced latte so at least I am working in the right direction.

 

Sijichun / Fong Mong

Using a Yixing clay tea pot along with an aroma cup set in order to fully extract all the greatness from this tea. It has a 6 minute steep, though I highly suggest taking sips along the way till you reach that point as you will find the flavor profile will change. The dry leaves are beautifully rolled and curled with a mix of lighter and darker greens. As the leaves unravel in the water you can see the care that was taken to make sure to only pluck the most tender and attractive leaves. So far, through three steepings and many sips at different times throughout, the mineral flavor remains constant while the vegetal flavor seems to appear more as you steep. The mouth feel is very silky and leaves an after taste that is somewhat reminiscent of butter with spinach.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy:  Fong Mong Tea
Description

Sijichun, plucked from Taiwan peculiar Four Seasons Spring tea cultivar, in addition to stringent management of planting, Taiwan fruity oolong tea (Sijichun) was handcrafted to refine into circumspect & traditional oolong tea. This Four Seasons Spring oolong was strictly selected as a higher grade oolong tea, possesses particularly pure and strong fresh flower fragrance plus smooth taste which you, tea lovers, won’t miss it out.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Lemongrass Oolong / The Tea Club

In the world of tea and tisane,  there are some ingredients used that are overpowering. One of these is lemongrass. This tea is a perfect example, in taste and aroma, of how careful a tea blender must be in combining their ingredients.

The lemongrass is all that can be smelled, good thing it’s a calming scent.

Whoever blended this tea did a wonderful job. At first I wasn’t impressed All the flavor was lemongrass.

Even the after taste was lemongrass. Don’t get me wrong it’s a gentle flavor that can easily be enjoyed but what I really wanted was to taste the oolong. With a bit more steep time the uniqueness of this tea came forth. It is very apparent that whoever blended this tea has taken a class or five on tea blending. The oolong may be the main ingredient but in this case it aids the lemongrass. The floral, citrus, and tropical notes are subtly amplified.

The only thing I’m not really fond of in this tea is the pineapple pieces. They add a unique tropical tone to the tea but because of this the aftertaste is a bit artificial.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: The Tea Club
Description:

This was a special blend in the December Tea Club pack.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!