Phoenix Dan Cong Duck Honey Snowflake/SerendipiTea Studios. . . .

Gongfu Brewing. . .something has always scared me away from trying to brew tea up in the tea ceremonial fashion and kept me to western brewing.  I think scared may be the incorrect word. I think intimidated is better.

I was intimidated by the amount of teaware you had to have, intimidated by having the right teaware, and also intimidated by making a complete fool out of myself for trying. But when March rolled around and I turned 40-I finally convinced myself it was time to finally immerse myself into learning something new.

And learn something I did.  I found myself taking notes after notes from different videos on YouTube from amazing tea bloggers like Tea for Me Please and tea companies like Mei Leaf.  By the time it was all said and done, I found tea ware that I already had that would work to get the party started.

So to test this out, I took a sample of Phoenix Dan Cong Duck Honey Snowflake from Serendipitea Studios and brewed the tea both in the gongfu method and western style.  The different was night and day.

With the gongfu method, I was able to get these rich gorgeous notes of sweet floral that I was not getting with the western style.  These pops of sweet floral thrilled my tastebuds and I found myself eagerly drinking this tea down.  Towards the middle brewing sessions, I would find myself describing the tea as being delicate but with a bit of power behind it.  Yes this tea is delicate but this tea demands your full attention as well. There was also this slight savory touch that I could note here and there but couldn’t really pull what I would compare the taste to.

With the western style, I was still able to pull out those beautiful floral notes with a sweet touch but I will say that the flavors were not as bold and not as alluring. Still delicious but I would say I prefer the gongfu method for this particular tea. The flavors were just more pronounced and more on point.

Regardless of how you brew this tea, this tea is fabulous and one that I will be getting more of for myself soon.  I’m beyond thrilled with the tea itself and have found myself wanting more so I may be ordering quicker than I intended to.  Smooth, lush, floral, with just a hit of a contrasting flavor here and there. Can’t ask for more from your tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy:  Serendipitea Studios

Description

Elegant just like its name, Duck Honey Snowflake is a seasonal winter hand-picked harvest of regular Duck Honey Aroma all-natural tea. This winter version is much more florally delicate than the regular and contrasted to caramel like sweetness, its sweetness brings a rather icy wintry feel.

From the coastal area in Canton province, Phoenix Mountain possesses mineral-rich soil and is constantly surrounded by mists and fog, covered by wild tea tress and tea farms, as well as the folklore of the Phoenix Dan Cong Tea. Many wild tea trees are at least 100 to 200 years old.

It’s a special type of organic Oolong treasured for its highly distinctive natural aroma, and is also believed to be the ancestor of all Oolong teas. Well-known for its ten aromatic categories, it delivers rich and complex flavor. Local tea scholars and connoisseurs from China study and try to organize these all-natural teas into hundreds aromatic subgroups. Mandarin uses the word ‘Xiang’ or aroma for each specific type that mimics certain flower or fruit aroma. Phoenix Dan Cong’s aroma is never artificially added or perfumed but exclusively cultivated, artisan crafted, and each aroma comes from the tea plant’s natural aromatic compound.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Gingerbread Latte/A Quarter To Tea

I only recently became a fan of gingerbread and I am a picky one. I like gingerbread just so and I like just enough ginger in food or drink to make it sparkle but not enough to bite!

I am happy to say that this blend is the good kind of gingerbread. I made it as a plain hot tea first in six ounces water with no sugar and it was very good and very flavorful with a steeping time of just over three minutes. Ginger is the main note, followed by cinnamon.

But it is called Gingerbread LATTE so even though I don’t usually add milk and sugar to my tea, I do like lattes – a LOT, even though I rarely drink them. So I heated six ounces of milk with two teaspoons of sugar, and then plopped the infuser basket in for four minutes.

The milk is now a creamy color with little specks of cinnamon and spice swirling in it. Ginger is still up front with cinnamon a close second. The taste and texture of this drink would totally satisfy me as a dessert, no cake or pie needed. The flavor lingers for a long time.

Another A+ for A Quarter To Tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  A Quarter To Tea

Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for tea blends that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Golden Jin Xuan Oolong/Totealy

I am one of those people that never wins anything. I do weekly giveaways on my Instagram and I LOVE to give tea samples away! But I never WIN anything. Well, I can’t say that anymore. I entered a giveaway on Totealy’s Instagram page and actually WON! WHAT?! They sent me 4 “mystery teas” and I was so excited to open them!

When I opened this mystery bag I was greeted by an incredible sweet, milky aroma. I could have sat there and smelled it all day. In all honesty, I probably sat there for about 5 minutes. I immediately knew that it was a milk oolong and I was SO excited! I have never had the opportunity to try a milk oolong and I have always wanted to! Just my luck that my first tea from Totealy would be on my wish list! The curled tea leaves were absolutely beautiful. This was going to make an amazing cup of tea.

The instructions on the card are very clear. Steep Golden Jin Xuan at 205ºF for 1.5 minutes. It then goes on to explain that brewing for a shorter time will bring out the floral aromas and longer to bring out the creaminess. It also explains that you can brew their teas multiple times.

Since I could already smell the amazing sweetness of the florals I decided to start with their recommended 1.5 minutes. I could absolutely get the sweet floral aroma when steeped for this time. It didn’t have the creaminess that I wanted so I decided to steep again. I added 30 seconds to the same tea leaves. The flavor completely transformed. It was incredible how smooth the tea was with a perfect amount of sweetness and grassy “tea” flavor. I was able to get 4 solid steeps out of Totealy’s Golden Jin Xuan. I probably could have gotten a 5th but it had lost its creaminess.

Overall, I was thrilled with my first experience with a Milk Oolong. It was exactly as I hoped and expected. Totealy has an amazing quality Golden Jin Xuan that is wonderful from the moment I opened the bag and was engulfed in that sweet floral creaminess to each individual steep.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Totealy

Description

Our sweetest tea, Golden Jin Xuan hails from Taiwan’s Pear Mountain, where it is cultivated at 3,300 ft. After harvest, the Jin Xuan leaves are bathed in natural milk flavors, resulting in a nourishing brew for both tea newcomers and seasoned sippers alike.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Autumn Laoshan Green Oolong / Verdant

An aroma sweet like passion fruit custard.

Appearance twisted, crocodile skin green. Two leaves and a bud attached to a twig. Unfurl, gently, in water not so hot. The steam rises with bouquets of asparagus. They find your lips, those bouquets, and you wonder if you are not drinking a Camellia Sinensis but a Asparagus officinalis broth.

Minerality follows, slight but rounds the flavor out nicely. Cleansing mouthfeel with a bit of astringency in the aftertaste. This oolong has a much lower oxidation level then most.

Mr. He, tea master, has produced this tea to have almost the same percentage of oxidation that a Bilouchun does according to their special note included with the box.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This tea is the He Family’s answer to the challenge that oolong is only for southern China. Despite Laoshan Village only having fifty years of tea cultivation and oolong being the most technically demanding kind of tea in the world to produce, Mr. He comes through brilliantly. The careful kneading and rolling brings out a beautiful, pure expression of the minerality of the soil and the water. This tea is processed without a roast for a true green flavor of Laoshan.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chinese Fenghuang Dancong Oolong Tea Honey Rhyme Mellow Grade One / AprTea

Ready for a tea test?

Have someone pull up this tea before you look at the type and look at a picture -What did you guess?

I chose black. Wrong. This is an oolong.

While a bit confusing in just appearance, it actually makes sense once you take a look at the processing. This is yet another superb tea by AprTea.

No aroma notes to talk about in the dry leaf. Yet it still is a nice tea to look at. Whole leaves, dark chocolate in color. Twisted with care. The best flavor comes between a minute to three and a half minutes.

The aroma cup reveals scents of sweet honeysuckle mixed with other floral hints. Silky mouth-feel with a very slight astringency in the aftertaste if steeped longer than three minutes. If steeped longer then 6 minutes… don’t do that. Just don’t.

Luckily I save a cup from my previous steep the flavor starts sweet with a mix of floral flavors spring floral leads to summer floral the longer you steep it. Longer steeps also lead to introductions with earthy tones.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Apr Tea

Description:

Fenghuang (Phoenix) Dancong Tea:The main origin place of Phoenix Dancong tea is Chaozhou Phoenix Mountain, it is rare high flavor famous tea whose natural floral tea is the most lofty, has most diverse floral types with mellow and sweet taste, special charm in our tea resources.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!