Hongyu Hongcha from Fong Mong Tea. . . .

The wet leaf has the most interesting smell.

So much so that I am having trouble being able to put a descriptor to it.

Perhaps its hints of eucalyptus in mahogany sawdust in a mixture of compost and wet leaves.

It’s such a complex aroma! Somewhat medicinal as well but not in a bad way. A silky mouth feel and dark, clear amber in color.

Quite an earthy tea. The aroma carries over into the after taste but the first time the liquid hits your tongue a full force of earthy flavors assault you.

I’m not really sure I would say it’s minty like their website describes but it does have that slight mouth clean sensation that mint gives you.


Here’s the scoop!

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

Organic Hong Yu Hong Cha, Sun Moon Lake black tea (well-known as Ruby #18) can be declared Red Treasure in central Taiwan. A hybrid from a Burma Assam varietal (mother) and a Taiwanese wild camellia sinensis varietal (father), was researched for years by TRES developing as a unique new cultivar producing carmine and perfectly clear liquor with super high quality in the world. The tea trees are widely planted in Nantou County growing thick and rich tea leaves because of the fertile soil and moderate climate in central Taiwan. Its unique sweet malt aroma and strong cinnamon and mint taste, delicious with hints of fruit, and a little earthy make it truly unforgettable. Rich catechins enrich its character of black tea itself. It is also the best ingredient to makebubble tea (the most famous Taiwanese tea drink on earth).

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Assam Tonganagaon from Simpson & Vail. . . .

While searching for some pretty unique yet powerful black teas – one MUST try the offerings of Simpson & Vail!

If you have been following the Sororitea Sisters for a while you probably aren’t a stranger to that company and for good reason…they have some pretty fantastic teas!

This time around I would like to share with you Simpson & Vail’s Organic Assam Tonganagaon. It’s not a tea that stayed in my tea stash for long – that is for sure! I sipped it up pretty quick – it’s just that good!

S&V state on their website that – In the northeastern state of Assam in India, along the Brahmaputra River grow the hearty, malty Assam teas. The heavy rainfall and hot, humid day time temperatures in this area create the perfect green house like environment for growth, as well as helping to create the unique taste found only in Assam teas. Their distinct flavor can be enjoyed “as is”; however, Assam teas are often used in conjunction with other teas to create numerous blends, specifically breakfast teas. This small estate is located in Northeast India near the Namdapha National Park, which is recognized as one of India’s richest areas of biodiversity.

I fully agree with their assessment that this is a delicious Assam! The medium-black, slightly tippy leaves brew to a medium amber cup with a delightful, well-bodied malty taste…just what I look for in an Assam!

Yet another WIN for S&V and for ME as I continue to sip!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson & Vail
Description

In the northeastern state of Assam in India, along the Brahmaputra River grow the hearty, malty Assam teas. The heavy rainfall and hot, humid day time temperatures in this area create the perfect green house like environment for growth, as well as helping to create the unique taste found only in Assam teas. Their distinct flavor can be enjoyed “as is”; however, Assam teas are often used in conjunction with other teas to create numerous blends, specifically breakfast teas.

A delicious Assam! This small estate is located in Northeast India near the Namdapha National Park, which is recognized as one of India’s richest areas of biodiversity. The medium-black, slightly tippy leaves brew to a medium amber cup with a delightful, well-bodied malty taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Assam Black Tea by Mana Organics

 I haven’t bought from this tea company before, but it seems to have a social conscience. Mana Organics isn’t just focused on producing organic tea and selling it, but instead takes a more holistic approach to getting the products from farmers to customers. They focus on community development and sustainable farming in rural areas, then help the farmers get products out to the world by doing marketing and retail work. So I’m really excited about this company and I’m planning to do more research and potentially start sourcing some of my tea from here.
But on to the review!
I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for about five minutes, using 1.5tsp of leaves in about 10 ounces of water. It turns out to be a handsome teak /cedar color after steeping. It smells deep, malty, and strong. It’s very aromatic, promising good things to come.
First sip: It’s astringent, but not puckery, with a deep and bright flavor profile. There’s just a hint of bitterness at the back but then it’s gone (fortunately; it’s not my favorite thing when bitterness hangs out with me all day). But on top of that, I’m detecting sweet potato and baked squash notes! Nice. Next to chocolate, I think this is one of my favorite flavor types for black teas. Actually I’ve been looking for a good squash/sweet potato flavored tea so this is good news.
Anyway. With milk, which brings baked-squash and maltish flavors to the front, this tea is just great. In fact I’m almost finding it has a little brown sugar flavor to go with the squash flavor. So fun! (Come to think of it, I hope I’m not the only person who thinks it’s funny how similar sweet potato and baked squash flavors are. Isn’t that just strange?) There’s no bitterness now, and practically no astringency; milk is an excellent buffer for such things, which is one reason I almost invariably have milk with my tea. (Another reason is that I sometimes drink tea when I’m hungry, or even in lieu of a meal, and the milk helps keep my blood sugar from crashing.) I’m also thinking maybe I’m detecting a hint of a floral note? But then again maybe I’m making that up–it was too fleeting to be sure.

 

All in all this is a solid, strong, great tea blend and goes well with food at meals (or even without food at meals if you’re like me) and is excellent with milk. <3

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Mana Organics
Description

A brisk tea with a malty, honey-sweet aroma followed deep character of taste and a pleasant pungency that will please even the most discerning of palates.Only Tippy Golden Flower Orange Pekoe Premier Grade (TGFOP1) Assam tea direct from our family’s estate, Chota Tingrai.  Healthier for you and the environment thanks to our USDA certified organic practices.  Packed onsite in re-sealable bag so you get that garden-fresh taste again and again.  Tastes, smells, and looks so delicious that we got an award in the Global Tea Championship 2017

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Calico & Black Cat Tea from 52Teas. . . .

On a rainy day where the wind is blowing and the raindrops are as big as golf balls, tea is perfect to curl up with. Sometimes, if you want a little something more, a latte could be what’s needed to hit the spot.

For me, it was a rainy day in May. I just had a consultation with a surgeon regarding my gallstones and got drenched walking back to the car as it poured outside. I got home, freezing, a little bit soggy, and I needed something more. That meant a Calico & Black Cat skim milk latte.

Having had this tea before, I knew how chocolatey this was and thought that it would pair nicely with a more milky base. And having tried the latte I could say I was right about that. With that said, I do think it is worth noting that though this is chocolatey, it is not a creamy milk chocolate sort of flavor. The chocolate of this tea leans more towards the sort of dusty and more unrefined chocolate of cacao husks which may not be enjoyed by all.

There is also a coconut undertone here that I worried might have been lost in the latte. Luckily, it is not as it provides a foil flavor to contrast to the cacao. Sweet and creamy, the coconut is nicely balanced here.

As this is inspired by the delicious Girl Scout Samoas, I will say the caramel component is lacking both in this latte and previous cups I have had. I imagine it may be drowned out by the other flavors though since the chocolate here is strong. That’s not necessarily bad but I note it so that anyone who gets ahold of this tea (which is currently unavailable but could be reblended in the future) is not disappointed.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  52Teas
Description

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Super Starling Enjoys A Hearty Chai from Choice Organic Teas. . . .

This tea comes in… a bag? A BAG? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE TAKE ME FOR? A PEASANT?

(Just kidding. Great teas can come in bags.)

This chai has one of the heartiest, butchest bases I’ve ever had. It’s described as a “malty Assam” on Choice’s site, which I think is apt. That phrase is better than anything I would have typed on my own. What I would have typed is:

“This is a rugged-man base tea. Not smoky, like the Marlboro Man. More like Wolverine, after a long day of fighting villainy. He comes home to a dark, crusty bread he just eats whole, without fussy butter or knives.”

Yes, the two manliest men I can conjure up offhand are the Marlboro Man and Wolverine. After that, my brain supplies up John Cena, the Rock, and that hot werewolf from True Blood. (In case you were wondering. Which you most likely were not.)

While the tea’s in your mouth, you’re in Dude Land. As you swallow, the chai spices check in with you to see how your day’s going. This is, technically, a chai (cinnamon in black tea, guys), but I think it’s more of a black tea — with chai elements.

I could see grabbing a box of this and taking it traveling with you. Boxed tea is great on-the-go. I drag along a steeping ball on my vacations, along with a bunch of loose teas, and I worry that some TSA agent is going to think my tea is, well, NOT tea.

And then they’d call in the sniffer-dogs to check, and then — and this is the worst part — they would NOT LET ME PET THE SNIFFER DOG. My hand would reach toward that beagle/lab/Germie and they would be like “NO, YOU TEA PSYCHO. YOU CANNOT PET HIM. HE IS WORKING.”

And I’d cry in the middle of the Pittsburgh airport.

And I am an UGLY CRIER, squad. Pink face. Snot. Puffing up. The whole shebang.

So I guess what I’m TRYING TO SAY HERE is that 1) bagged teas have a time and place, and 2) this is a good example of one that I enjoyed.

See how I tied that digression in? I wasn’t sure it was going to be possible, especially when I got into the airport thing.

Hope you enjoyed this review, and this tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea
Where to Buy:  Choice Organic Teas
Description

Spice things up with this bold classic, featuring malty Assam tea from India’s Brahmaputra River Valley. We blend rich, robust black tea with masala spices for a spirited cup that warms your body and soul. It blends perfectly with milk and sweetener for an authentic cha

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!