Palas Supreme from BOH Teas. . . .

Orange pekoe teas tend to get that name due to some quality grading and inspections that take place, rating the size and quality of the tea leaf and so on.  I once had a colleague who only drank orange pekoe tea, they wouldn’t settle for anything else.  So when I find out the tea I’m tasking is an orange pekoe, I already feel fancy before opening the bag.

This time, I brewed Palas Supreme from BOH Teas.  Billed as an orange pekoe tea, the leaves looked to be good quality, long and dark and curly that unfurled in shape and flavor as I brewed.

This tea tasted bright and sweet, not too sharp or tart.  There were slight citrus flavors and some gentle floral flavors, but main taste of the the brew was driven by a smooth and bright black tea taste.

BOH Teas describes Palas Supreme as a flowery pekoe.  While it does have floral accents, it is not the blooming garden of flower flavors and scents that I would expect from a “flowery pekoe.”  This tea stands out because it isn’t all about the tart sharpness of the black tea.  It actually has a smooth mouthfeel and while there are orange notes, they aren’t biting citrus, instead tasting much more like sweet mandarin oranges.

As the tea cools there are more date and raisin after tones beneath the sweet citrus and smooth black tea.

This is is part of the BOH Teas garden collection and it even ships in a butterfly-and-blossom-themed canister.  I didn’t get as much floral flavor as I expected, but this tea is still a delicious orange pekoe fit to brighten any day.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: BOH Teas

When you savour the taste of this tea, the first thing you experience is its aroma. This fine garden tea is cultivated on the cool tropical slopes of Sungei Palas. The Flowery Pekoe of Ceylon and Assam varieties imparts an exquisite and delicate aroma. With its pure and delicate fragrance, this large-leafed amber tea is best enjoyed plain throughout the day.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black from Teavivre

Yun Nan Dian Hong BlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

Dian Hong black tea, also known as Yunnan black tea, is one of China’s most famous black teas.  This is the highest grade Dian Hong generally available in China – called Golden Tip Dian Hong.  It has lots of orange pekoe in the dried tea, and brews into an absolutely great tasting, golden coloured tea, with very rich taste and aroma.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea really wowed me from start to finish. You begin the cup with such attractive, even dry leaf that has a breath taking proportion of golden tips to it. I would agree that you can see the orange pekoe quite clearly in the leaf and I can’t help but wonder what the grade is – I’d guess at least TGFOP? It’s easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing black teas I’ve gotten to try in a long time.

Of course, the grade really has very little to do with the actual taste of the tea; it only describes physical aspects of the leaf and not the taste of the brew – that said, this brewed up bammin’ slammin’ delicious.

There were a lot of flavors going on but they were all so harmonious; the big one for me was the sweet taste of stonefruit that gave the tea an overall jammy quality. It was very much like overripe dark cherries and it easily stood out the most to me. Cocoa, molasses malt, and honey/light caramel notes were all present too – mostly as top notes, with the exception of the molasses which I thought was a bit stronger near the end of the sip. The body was, in addition to being quite fruity, rather starchy as well but in a sweeter way, like from yams.

This easily stands out among the majority of pure black blends I’ve had in the last month – if not longer. There’s no need for sweetener either; Yun Nan Dian Hong has such a solid and nuanced flavor profile all on its own. I absolutely recommend this tea to just about anyone and I look really forward to revisiting it.

Canton Assam Black Tea from Canton Tea Co.

canton_assamTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

We have waited a long time to bring in our own house Assam. Now we have one to shout about and have made it a Canton signature tea. It is a blend of two, high grade, Khongea Estate teas – one of which has just won the North American Tea Championships in the Assam category. That’s how good it is. The family-owned estate is known to us and we are delighted to be working closely with them. Do what Assam is made to do and steep the leaves for several minutes to get a really good, strong, dark liquor that is smooth and rich with notes of fruit. Not heavily malty, but brisk and full-bodied making it a classic breakfast tea which works well with milk. As with all of our teas, it can also be brewed light and quick and enjoyed it without milk. The golden tips you can see in the dry leaf is the higher grade CL.GFBOP: Clonal Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t think that Assam teas are actually my favorite type of black tea but I can’t deny that when I find an Assam tea in my stash of teas to try, I’m a happy sipper.  Assam teas may not be my favorite, but a good Assam tea is certainly always welcome in my teacup – I love that rich, robust, malty flavor that it provides.

And this Canton Assam Black Tea from Canton Tea Co. has what I typically look for in an Assam tea, although it is a little different than what I would normally expect.

This Assam is a bit smoother than I’m typically used to in an Assam – it isn’t quite as astringent.  But the trade-in for that is that it does lack a little bit of the strong, hefty body that I usually expect from an Assam.  It’s not quite as strong or sturdy as a typical Assam – although this would still make a great breakfast tea.  It’s still a robust, bold tea – but it’s a little lighter and smoother than what you might be expecting from an Assam.

It’s also not quite as malty as I usually expect.  There is still malty notes here and hints of caramel.  It’s still pleasantly sweet.  But, I’m getting more sweetness from a stone fruit (plum) note than I am from caramel or malt.  I also taste hints of raisin that are quite nice.

It’s still a full-bodied tea – it’s just not quite as rugged as I usually experience with an Assam.  But that’s OK – it’s still really good and it reaffirms for me just why I get excited when I am offered a new-to-me Assam to try.

I like that I can try a tea and have an idea of what to expect and get something a little different than I expected.  That’s one of the great things about tea and why I encourage people to try different teas!  Even if you’ve tried Assam teas in the past (and this applies to any other type of tea as well) – and even if that experience wasn’t all of what you wanted, you shouldn’t give up on Assam.  Try new teas and you might just find one that you not only like, but LOVE!  It’s a journey well worth taking when you find that tea that becomes your new favorite.

So if you’re looking for a new Assam to try – you should consider this one!  It’s lovely!

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea Golden Tip from Teavivre

Yun Nan Dian Hong Black TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

Dian Hong black tea, also known as Yunnan black tea, is one of China’s most famous black teas.  This is the highest grade Dian Hong generally available in China – called Golden Tip Dian Hong.  It has lots of orange pekoe in the dried tea, and brews into an absolutely great tasting, golden coloured tea, with very rich taste and aroma.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I reviewed this tea a couple of years ago, but I’m revisiting it because it’s a new year and a new harvest!  Plus, it’s a chance for me to taste this amazing tea again – how could I resist?

Because mmmmmM!  So good!

Rich!  Smooth!  Delicious.

When I first opened the sample pouch, I could smell notes of sweet molasses.  The dry leaf aroma reminds me a bit of freshly baked cookies – like rich molasses spice cookies without the strong notes of spice.  I can almost smell the cake-y notes of the cookie in the leaves!

To brew this, I used my Breville One-Touch.  The sampler pouch is just the right amount for my Breville, so I poured the contents of the pouch into the basket and added 500ml of water to the jug.  I set the parameters for 212°F and 2 1/2 minutes – and the tea came out perfectly!

This is a wonderful, full-flavored tea.  It’s nicely round.  It’s got a really robust flavor with notes of earth and leather with hints of smoke and spice.   And then I pick up on the sweet molasses-y, caramel-y notes with hints of cream.  It’s got a really delectable balance between savory and sweet.

A truly remarkable black tea – definitely something I’d recommend to all tea drinkers who are looking for something exceptionally excellent!

Firewater Black Tea Blend from Pelican Tea

firewaterTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Pelican Tea

Tea Description:

Firewater is the original recipe by Pelican Tea and remains our favorite to this day. Premium Orange Pekoe black tea and home-toasted brown rice produce an earthy blend that’s as comforting as it is spicy.  Good around a campfire or mixed with your favorite spirit (silver tequila being our spirit of choice).

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

OK!  I’ve got to tell you … this Firewater Black Tea Blend from Pelican Tea scared me!  I don’t do a whole lot of cooking (or anything else) with the habanero pepper, because even though I do appreciate a zesty, spicy tea every so often, I can’t say that I’ve been really jumping out of my seat to try a habanero pepper infused tea.  I mean, hey, we’re talking one of the hottest peppers out there, and right on the package of this tea, it says this:

Exceptionally Spicy, Habanero Infused

But, I’m thinking … I’ve tried a jalapeno tea, and I’ve tried some really SPICY teas, so I decided to pluck up the courage and brew myself a cup of this tea.  Upon opening the package, I expected there to be a stronger aroma.  I guess I envisioned the hairs in my nostrils feeling the singe of the heat from the habanero.  But that didn’t happen.  OK … this is a good thing!

The fragrance of the brewed tea is slightly spicy/peppery with notes of black tea with a slightly stronger, top note of toasted rice.  The smell is promising.

And the sip?  I took a very careful, timid sip.  I tasted the notes of sweet, toasted rice and the smooth, brisk black tea.  The first couple of sips were warm and spicy, but not ah-chi-cha spicy.  (Yeah … that’s just what came to my head while thinking of a way to say tongue blisteringly spicy.)  After the third sip, I started to notice the warmth develop toward the back of my throat.

After four or five sips, the flavor becomes increasingly more spicy.  By mid-sip, the heat creeps in and warms the palate.  The heat in the back of my throat is warm but not searing hot.  Make no mistake, this is exceptionally spicy, as promised on the label of the package.  But, it’s not uncomfortably, blisteringly, searingly hot.  I’m not feeling the urge to run to the kitchen for something to temper the heat.  I might be thinking “ah-chi-cha” but, it’s in a very good way!

This is what I’d call a very GOOD burn.   It’s hot and spicy and I can feel myself starting to break a bit of a sweat, but, I like the flavor that my palate is experiencing.  I appreciate that Pelican Tea has turned up the heat but they haven’t started a blazing inferno in my mouth.

And what I like best about that is that I’m able to experience the other flavors in this tea.  I can taste that light sweetness from the toasted rice.  I like that I’m tasting the flavor of the black tea and there’s a nice contrast between the sweet and the spicy … and while the spicy does reign over the sweet in this cup, I can taste these other notes and I like that.

This is the kind of tea I’d want to have on hand when I’m feeling under the weather because you know how when you’re feeling sick, your taste buds feel like they’ve been covered with cotton or something?  Like somebody wove a tongue coat of cotton that buffers your ability to taste … anything?  You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?  Well, with this tea, I have no doubt in my mind that I’d be able to taste it, and it would warm me up from the inside out, and that would be an added bonus.

It’s a great tea for those of you who appreciate a walk on the spicy side of life.