Organic Nonpareil Fujian Black Tea/Teavivre. . . .

This story begins with a tragedy. A tea tragedy.

What is a tea tragedy, you may ask? A tea tragedy is anything tea related that breaks your heart a little bit – or a lot – like dropping the tin and spilling the last of a now-discontinued tea, or forgetting you were steeping a tea you were looking forward to and ruining it, or failing to read the instructions on a special tea that doesn’t go by “the usual parameters.”

The last was my tragedy. I was looking forward to this tea and didn’t look at the instructions. I assumed the sample pouch was heavier than it was and made 22 ounces of tea with enough leaf for twelve. All was not lost, and the tea was nice but it was obviously not all it was supposed to be.

To make up for my blunder, I had a gongfu session with this tea this morning. Many of the finest teas are really good steeped Western style but downright gorgeous gongfu. I gave it the full treatment – traditional Asian music playing, a tea tray on the carpet, and a surprise guest – a ladybug – who wandered around my linen tea towel the whole morning!

To begin: Steep one – much thicker mouth feel than the underleafed Western cup as one would expect. The honey notes are intense. If someone else had prepared this, and said to me “By the way, I took the liberty of adding some honey to the tea,” I would have believed them. The aroma was that sweet and the feel that thick, but not sickeningly sweet. Honey overwhelms me easily, and this was a lovely, natural taste.

Steep two – Oops. Minor tea tragedy. I got lost in thought for just a moment and slightly oversteeped. And I only had to pay attention for twenty seconds! But it turned out to be one of my favorite steeps. Now the baked sweet potato is joined by a hint of orange and the flavor is even more intense than the first steep. The honey aroma is still there, and the sweetness.

Steep three and onward – increasing the time a bit for each steep, this 5 grams of leaf continues to deliver. On steep eight I do see a noticeable decrease in color but the aroma is still at a desirable level. Perhaps because the sweet potato flavor is fading, a light briskness is now present. And on steep nine, I know it is time to stop. The color has lightened further, and the body is thinner. Still good and still drinkable, nevertheless it is time to stop, and to sit back and enjoy the lingering flavors of the tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Description

Thick, full bodied texture with pure and clean profile

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Nilgiri Black Tea from Bare Leaves Tea via Sipsby Box. . . . .

Black tea is a variety of tea that just isn’t my go to.  Give me a solid white, green, or oolong and I’m a happy camper.  For some reason I seem to shy away from black teas more and more. Which is why I adore Sips By boxes so much.

Sips By is a company that curates a monthly tea box for about $15 that contains tea from a variety of different tea companies.  Usually get 4 different selections in your box.  These selections are based on your tasting profile that you fill out when you sign up for the service.

So I will admit. . . this sample has been hanging out in my tea stash for a few months.  Again, because black tea just isn’t what I grab as my daily drinker. But after you discovering my love for my Wall Infuser Mug, I thought this tea may just be the way to start off my day today.

Brewed up freshly boiled water and scooped in a hearty serving of the tea into my Wall Infuser Mug.  Allowed the tea to steep for a few minutes and took my first sip. And to be honest, this tea isn’t too bad.  Actually, I’m digging this tea a lot!

The tea is very soft and subtle.  The malty notes are slight and so is the astringency factor. I’m also noticing this flavor that reminds me of a floral note.  This is such a gentle blend that I would have no problem drinking this as a daily drinker.  I’m excited to try this tea as a cold brew.  I can only imagine the dynamite cold brew this tea could offer.

And before I know it, my mug is empty and I need more water for a second steeping. If you are like me and maybe black tea varieties just aren’t your (ahem) cup of tea. . . maybe check out this offering from Bare Leaves.  It might just give you a change of pace that you didn’t realize you were even looking for!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: Bare Leaves 
Description

This bright and fragrant tea comes from the South Indian mountainous region of Nilgiri, which translates to “Blue Mountains.”

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Takarabako Tea Farm: Organic Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage from Yunomi. . .

The Takarabako Tea Farm in Shimane Prefecture has been experimenting with creating aged black teas, “vintages” specific to a year, and allowed to age under fixed low temperature storage conditions. For this specific tea – Takarabako Tea Farm: Organic Shimane Aged Black Tea 2016 Vintage – I have to say I was blown away by the quality and flavor!

Straight-up this is an AGED Black tea. Cultivar: Yabukita with the harvest being that of Spring, 2016 from the Oba Sorayama District, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture region.

It’s Eco-farmer certified by Shimane Prefecture, has the Organic certification of JAS (Tea, Persimmon) for agriculture, processing and packing, Local GAP certification by Shimane Prefecture, and received the Excellence Award for the 19th Japan Environment Preservation Agriculture Promotion Competition. IMPRESSIVE, eh!?

The tea brews up a red/orange/brown color while the aroma shines with maltiness and a hint of cinnamon and plum. It’s smooth cuppa with the aftertaste of honey or agave!

This is a very special tea. I would share it with those I know would appreciate it. I can’t wait to see what other lovely leaves come from this region and farm!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Yunomi
Description

The Takarabako Tea Farm in Shimane Prefecture has been experimenting with creating aged black teas, “vintages” specific to a year, and allowed to age under fixed low temperature storage conditions.

  • Ingredients: Black tea
  • Cultivar: Yabukita
  • Harvest: Spring, 2016
  • Region: Oba Sorayama District, Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Leafy Black Colombian Tea from Simpson and Vail. . .

This Organic Leafy Black Tea from Simpson & Vail is the 2nd tea that I’ve tried (that I know of) that hails from the Bitaco Tea Estate. This is a lovely loose leaf tea that features large, twisted leaves. When steeped, this tea yields a cup that’s sweet and mellow with a soft fruity character at the end of each sip.

I did have a little time to play around with this tea, however, and it can be a versatile cuppa if you want it to be. What I mean by that is if you double the amount of loose leaf and cut the steep time in half it gives off a different flavor than described on the companies website. With this steeping method I’ve noticed it’s a much more heartier, and bold brew with a fair amount of maltiness, too!

I think I mentioned this in another tea review recently but this tea is what we call a chariTEA…

Bitaco Tea not only cultivates exceptional teas, they also are committed to their community. They created the Agricola Himalaya Foundation to develop and improve programs focusing on education, especially for local children. Activities focus on the improvement of infrastructure, recreational opportunities, local culture and access to technology.

So not only is it a good cup – it’s a good cause! An all-around feel-GOOD tea!


Here’s the scoop!

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

From the mountainous region of Colombia, in an area steeped in biodiversity, along the western slope of the Andes, is the Bitaco tea estate. The gentle mist from the mountains, rich soil, and ample rainfall all stimulate the growth of the tea bushes, producing a tea with unique characteristics.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson and Vail. . . .

Nepal is one place I have always wanted to travel to. I try and picture the place, the people, the culture. Since I probably will never have the opportunity to go there I will be living my wanderlust thru tea sipping. Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson & Vail helped me with this recently.

Nepal is located in South Asia, and bordered by China and India, and home to some of the largest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest which is the highest point anywhere on Earth. According to S&V and other sources – Nepal is comprised of 75 districts, one of which is the district of Panchthar. Panchthar is located in the Mechi Zone in the easternmost part of Nepal. It borders the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India, and enjoys the same soil and climatic conditions as Darjeeling.

This certified organic garden is located in Panchthar, Nepal at an elevation of 1900 to 2100 meters above sea level. Simpson and Vail’s product description of this tea says that this garden sits among beautiful forested areas and has a stunning view of Mount Kumbhakarna. Pathivara Tea was planted in 1990 and is a relatively young garden that employs 35 people (mostly women). Pathivara almost borders the Sikkim border and the location is quite remote. The yields from Pathivara are not large which allows the growers to concentrate on producing this high-quality tea.

Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson & Vail consists of large black, golden, and well formed leaves that brew to an amber cup. It gives off a delicate yet full flavor on the tongue. The astringency (that is found in many high-grown Himalayan teas) is present in the cup although it is on the lighter side of things. The taste is smooth with a slightly sweet rose taste. An truly delightful cup of tea that I – for one – am thrilled they offer! Yet another great cuppa from our friends at S&V!


Here’s the scoop!

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

Pathivara Gold tea consists of large black and golden well formed leaves that brew to an amber cup with a delicate yet full flavored taste. The astringency that is found in many high-grown Himalayan teas is present in the cup although it is slight. The taste is smooth with a slightly sweet rose taste. A truly delightful cup of tea that we are thrilled to offer.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!