Leaf Type: Red Tea
Where to Buy: Shang Tea
Hearty and flavorful, this brew has a complex flavor, crisp finish, and a deep traditional red tea hue. This tea is harvested from a white tea plant, which offers a smooth finish to a fermented tea.
Ingredients: Organic White Tea Leaves
Learn more about this tea here.
Bai-Lin Kung-Fu Classic Red Tea from Shang Tea is quite spectacular! The aroma is like a malty black tea with aromas of cocoa, hay, and maple. My first reaction when smelling this while steeping was Mmmmmmmm. A deeper inhalation of this tea brings forth some berry aromas as well. Yet there is also something savory about this tea. My mouth was watering while I patiently waited for my tea to cool just a tiny bit so I could indulge!
This is a sweet tea! It even smells somewhat sweet. As I sip on this tea I find notes of honey, toasted cocoa beans, notes of roasted flavors, some kind of molasses perhaps, and a spark of spice. The after taste is lingering of that savory element I noted above. Almost an oregano note.
What a strange, interesting, complex tea!
This is not a tea for the faint of heart, it is bold, robust, not shy at all. It wakes you up and perks you up as it presents itself with a hearty “Hey there! Bet you weren’t expecting me!”
Its a bit sweet, a bit saucy, and all attitude! If this tea were a person it would be that interesting, but sometimes peculiar uncle Bob that sometimes makes you laugh and other times makes you go Hummmmm. Unless your uncle Bob is just creepy in which case this tea is not like him at all. It just has a way about it that speaks boldly for itself yet makes you feel comfortable with its unusual flavor. This tea makes you feel good to be a bit different, to go off the beaten path, to try new things, and indulge in rare delights that you won’t find around every corner.
If I were going to take a trek through the country I think I would take this tea along with me. It tends to make me feel invincible or like all things are possible. Its unusual, exciting, and unlike any other tea out there yet familiar enough in some of its flavor notes that I find it comforting at the same time as exciting.
Is it white or red or black? Its confusing right? Don’t despair, read all about it on Shang Tea’s blog here.
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
New Spring 2012 Harvest!
This jasmine makes us understand what jasmine is all about. It starts with a silky smooth silver needle white tea from Yunnan with notes of cinnamon sweetness. Jasmine blossoms are scattered around the tea while drying for several nights in a row, and removed in the morning to be replaced by fresh blossoms, scenting the tea in the traditional method. The result is a perfectly integrated flavor, that starts off with the textures of a white tea, and sweetness drawn out and extended by a silky jasmine aroma. Continue steeping this out, and an intriguing apricot jam flavor starts to come out and compliment the subtle spice of the yunnan white. In later steepings there is even the slightest hint of pine needle.
ICED: Perfumed florals are more potent, with an exquisite silky texture and notes of melon and banana fruit salad.
Learn more about this tea here.
I was so pleased to sample this tea. I was surprised at the first flavor note I tasted being that of nut, rather than jasmine. Interesting because I have not really noticed anyone else picking up on that in other reviews, and it is not listed on the Verdant site as being a flavor note in the tea. Everyone experiences their tea in their own way though. I find the jasmine to be natural and light in the first steeping. A light sweetness and a slight rock mineral quality, but no one note is standing out in the first steep beyond the nutty flavor I am now so focused on. The mouthfeel is creamy, and the cup color is very pale yellow, almost beige, and quite clear. The after flavor is somewhat vegetal but only so slightly, more like a green tea than the after taste of a white, but lovely. Everything about this steep is slight, delicate, gentle. Now I am not saying I detect absolutely no jasmine in the flavor, I do, but even then it is faint and does not make me declare this a strong jasmine tea. I think however that is what is so lovely about this cup, the jasmine is so natural that it does not make you feel assaulted by its note. Toward the end of the cup of this first steep I am beginning to pick up on hints of a baked sugar confection flavor. Quite enjoyable!
In the second steep more of the notes come forward and the color of the brew is slightly darker. There are some lightly cinnamon notes but to me they come over as more like a black pepper which is delightful and awakens the senses. This note is detectable both in the aroma and flavor. Fruity notes are also coming forward which taste like red and blue berries. The sugar notes develop more as the cup cools. Jasmine is still of course a flavor note that is present but unlike many jasmine teas this one does not come over like grandma’s perfume! For those who have experienced a jasmine before and hated it – you must know that not all jasmine teas are created equal. There is a distinct difference between one that is done well and one that is not. This is done to perfection. A natural jasmine will taste, and for that matter smell far different than an artificial one. I leaned this long before my tea journey through natural perfumery and essential oil training. There is nothing quite like true jasmine.
Steep three evokes somewhat of a savory flavor palate with the citrus and linen notes in the background. There is a light drying sensation now on the tongue with grapefruit and orange notes. I am also detecting an oregano flavor. This is quite pleasing and surprising! I was not expecting the savory notes.
I am going to get many more steeps out of this tea!
All in all – a wonderful experience! I enjoyed this tea while listening to a Reiki CD and it was such a glorious way to welcome a new day!