Osmanthus. A flowering tree native to Eastern Asia. There are many varieties but the bright, orange blossoms indicate that this is the Osmanthus fragrans. Of all the teas this family, the He family, produces this one ranks of the top of the difficulty list. Due to the tiny size of the flowers they all must be hand-picked.
For each batch they must pick thousands of flowers. After de-stemming and getting rid of all else they dry the flowers while processing the tea. Once they reach the finishing stage the flowers are added to the tea. One might ask if all that trouble is worth it.
Yes. Double and triple yes.
You may open the package and find it lacks scent as I did and wonder what you are in for. This is my first time trying out an osmanthus flower mixed with a tea. It won’t be the last. The wet leaves boast a unique aroma, unlike anything I’ve smelled in a tea before. It is sweet, like perfume, with high floral notes and scant earthy undertones. Hold on to your hats, the amazing train doesn’t stop there.
The clear, amber liquid, light at first but becoming slightly darker as you steep it longer, has a silky mouthfeel with a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste. A whirlwind of flavor begins with orange-chocolate tones and changes to brown sugar. Fruity accents, woodsy undertones.
Everything comes together so nicely on the palette. I think I need more of this.
Want to Know More About This Tea?
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
This is a brand new 2018 premiere! Last year we were lucky enough to share the He Family’s Roasted Oolong scented with local osmanthus flowers. This year Mr. He wanted to share a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Tg
Tg – Green Tea with Jujube & Osmanthus
Tg green tea is a rather exceptional Chinese green tea. It is organically grown in the Dao Ren peak area of Eastern China. Its is grown in a special plantation located on the 887m high Dao Ren mountain peak that has been certified as organic since 1995. As if that wasn’t tonic enough, a sprinkle of sweet Jujube (Chinese Red Date) super fruit and delicate fruity-floral Osmanthus create a delicious twist.
Tg – Green Tea with Ginger & Lemon
Tg green tea is a rather exceptional Chinese green tea. It is organically grown in the Dao Ren peak area of Eastern China. Its is grown in a special plantation located on the 887m high Dao Ren mountain peak that has been certified as organic since 1995. As if that wasn’t comforting enough, we’ve added a bit of ginger and lemon zest for tingling warmth and citrus zing.
Tg – Green Tea
Tg green tea is a rather exceptional Chinese green tea. Its is grown in a special plantation located on the 887m high Dao Ren mountain peak that has been certified as organic since 1995. The specific growing location and tea preparation methods handed down since ancient times help to produce a green tea with a delicate taste and soft slightly fruity flavour. It may have been the effect of the Dao priests’ (Taoists) meditating as they cultivated the tea gardens years ago but, whatever the reason, the organic tea used in Tg Green Teas tastes heavenly.
Firstly let me thank Tg for this chance to try some of their tea. I always enjoy reviewing tea from different companies, particularly if I have had the misfortune of not hearing about them before. In this instance I have three different samples to try, and I am certainly looking forward to it.
Brewing instructions on the back of the packet:
1. Bring your kettle to the boil, then let it cool for a minute or two.
2. Pour the water over the tea bag and let it infuse for at least 3 minutes
3. Remove the tea bag, sip and enjoy. Add sugar or honey to sweeten if you like.
4. Of you use the pyramid tea bag for a second refreshing brew, just add half a minute to the infusion time.
This is a new one for me, I don’t recall having jujube in a tea before. Though I do find it rather fun to say…Jujube. I want to mention the packet, the design is cute but at the back it says ‘Your green tea is kept in a non transparent pouch to preserve freshness’. A very important bit of information.
As I open the packet I am met with a sweet herbal and berry scent that is subtle yet fresh. A nice combination actually, and on the jujube terms it’s similar to cranberry. In that sharp, dry sort of way….but not as drastic.
The pyramids are made from see through material so it’s easy to see the quality of the ingredients, and you can know exactly what you’re drinking. I can note golden pieces of osmanthus against a dark green/brown leaf (which makes some contrast) and some dark orange/brown berry pieces scattered around the mixture. It appears to be roughly 1.5-2 tea spoons worth of mixture, so a good amount per bag. Also it’s worth mentioning that the bags contents are not powdered or small, so no fannings.
Easy enough steeping instructions to follow, even my husband could do this he is a bog standard tea or coffee man most of the time).
Once steeped the tea is: Yellow/brown in colour with a soft yet toasted scent. Lightly grassy too. Also the tea blend has actually expanded beyond expectations, the pyramid was very spacious but it has now been filled.
The flavour is subtle but pleasant with toasted grass, sweet herbs (which must be osmanthus) and a clean yet dry after taste. I cannot taste the jujube as much as I could smell it which is a little disappointing, but the osmanthus is rather pleasant without it. As the blend cools it becomes thicker in flavour, with the green tea increasing vastly. Though it’s not really what I would call bitter, but the sweetness has subsided somewhat. To the point where in the after taste among the dry I think I can taste something creamy and berry like.
One bag, two steeps ie The re-steep
Colour and scent match that of the first steep, which is rather impressive for a tea bag. Flavour is more mild (which was to be expected) but it still has toasty, grass qualities and just that touch of sweetness from the osmanthus. I would definitely say it was worth the re-steep.
A flavour I am more familiar with compared to the previous tea, in fact ginger and lemon is my ‘go to’ tea when I have a cold. Not to mention that I actually happen to love ginger, and lemon aids it rather well in most cases. Interesting to see this is listed as lemon peel, and I’m delighted this is all natural flavouring.
As I open the bag I am met with a herbal scent, not quite ginger but warming enough to tickle my nose. The lemon is a little more recognizable, though with the herbal scent it is more like lemongrass than lemon peel.
The pyramid bags have dark green/brown leaves in with small pieces of chopped, dry ginger and even smaller pieces of dry lemon peel. Though the pieces are small, they are still not powdery in any way. Again this one also has a good amount of leaf in the bag.
Once steeped the colour is golden/brown with a subtle yet toasted grass scent, the after scent is peppery and tickles my nose.
Flavour strength is subtle, dominant toasted, grass tones in front of a dry, peppery herbal ginger and a soft aftertaste of something sweet and fruity. Which pretty much sims up the name of this tea, so in effect it tastes as it’s named. Nothing too dramatic in terms of flavours and strength, but the mellow feel of this makes it easily drinkable.
As it cools the lemon increases in strength and becomes waxy but also sweeter than before. It moves in front of the ginger and the whole affair dances on my tongue for a long after taste sensation.
One bag, two steeps ie The re-steep
Colour is dark yellow with a toasted, herbal scent. Remaining soft but still strong enough to warrant the re-steep. Flavour still has wonderful peppery ginger and soft, lemon tones amidst it’s toasted grass affair. Another successful steep.
The original ie unflavoured tea, basically what I have been enjoying so far but without the additional notes. Still, I do love green tea and I am looking forward to this just as much as the previous two.
As I open the bag I am met with the toasted, grass scent I have got to know rather well these last few mugs full. It reminds me of Japanese Bancha if I had to compare the green base to another. There is also a dry, perfumed scent in the after sniff.
Once steeped the colour is golden brown with a toasted grass scent. Very clean smelling.
Flavour pretty much matches the scent, though the after taste is rather dry and somewhat perfumed. It’s more floral than I noticed in the two previous flavours, grassy but floral and behind the toast is a slight buttery tone.
As it cools it thickens in strength with an increase to dryness. Also not as immediately toasty as before.
One bag, two steeps ie The re-steep
A nice re-steep, still subtle elements of toast, grass and perfume though it also remains rather dry.
In honesty, the three were very similar in flavour. I imagine that comes down to being natural and organic rather than artificially pumped with chemicals. Nothing was ‘in your face’ or ‘too much’ in terms of flavour and the green tea base itself was not bitter/astringent though it was a tad dry at times. Either way I thought it was one of the nicest green tea bags I have ever had. I see them as being similar to Teapigs but with a more authentic Chinese appeal, and being organic and fair trade. Plus each bag can be re-steeped at least twice, so in effect you get 30 bags per pouch which means twice the happiness.
Thanks once again Tg. Happy Steeping Everyone!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Ette Tea
Inspired and named after a local favourite dessert cake, Pandan Chiffon is a blend of roasted green tea, pandan leaves, osmanthus blossoms and cinnamon.
It is reduced in caffeine and we recommend to drink Pandan Chiffon on its own and without sugar.
Learn more about this tea here.
Recently I had the opportunity to take part in a group order from Ette Tea, a relatively new company based in Singapore. They only have six blends currently, but they all appear to be very well thought out and the range of diverse flavours is impressive. Being able to take advantage of buying smaller sample sizes was the nail in the coffin on what probably would’ve been an inevitable order anyway.
This isn’t one of the blends I was initially more excited about; but it smells very good! Quite sweet with cake like elements and a playful touch of spice. I’m definitely getting notes from the dry smell that remind me of caramel or lightly burnt sugar. Mmm! And, because this is one of the lighter blends I ended up with a lot more of it than any of the other samples so I’m taking advantage of trying this one in a different way than a lot of the people from our group order appear to have done; cold brewing! That is my go to, after all.
I’m surprised by how sweet this is; though I don’t necessarily know why. Every other run in I’ve had with ‘chiffon’, be it tea or in real life, is sweet so I should have expected as much from this even though it doesn’t have ingredients that necessarily go hand in hand with more dessert-like teas.
There’s a lot going on but it’s harmonious; I’m picking up sweeter top notes like caramel and vanilla and a pastry-like cinnamon (like cinnamon sugar, sort of) which together are reminding me of Stroopwafel! That’s definitely not what I was expecting to get from this blend but it’s wonderful. I’m also getting some light roasty notes from the hojicha, though not as dominant as I anticipated. They’re great support though and keep this tea from tasting too sweet. There’s also a sweet, starchy taste present: in part I think that’s what making me think of the “waffle” part of the stroopwafel flavour going on, but it also reminds me loosely of sweet potato.
The osmanthus is somewhere in the middle; not as strong as the sweeter notes but not as light as the roasty/potato notes either. It doesn’t tie in the the Stroopwafel thing I’ve got going on, but what it DOES do is really, really round this tea out and give it a lot of depth. My only complaint is that this left quite a bit of sediment/fannings in the bottom of my brewing vessel. But even then it’s not a huge deal with cold brews anyway.
For my first tea from Ette Tea I’m very impressed! If all the others are half as good and interesting as this one it’ll be one of the most successful tea orders I’ve ever made. Yeah, this definitely set the bar high for the others. I don’t know if that’s for better or worse. I really want to try actual Pandan Chiffon now! I don’t know if there’s anywhere in town to get it…
I need a hookup ASAP!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Jardin du Thé (However it isn’t currently listed)
The vert parfumé à l’ananas accompagné de curry, de gui, de fleurs de tournesol, d’osmanthus et de souci. Un mélange fleuri des plus originaux.
Green tea flavored with curry accompanied by pineapple, mistletoe, sunflower flowers, osmanthus and concern/worry/care. A floral blend of the most original.
Learn more about this tea on Steepster.
First, a nod to MissB – this is another tea passed along to me by her while she’s off abroad. Tea friends may very well literally be the best!
This is actually one of the teas she sent that I was most excited to try. As is pretty well known, I love pineapple but don’t actually like spices too much. However, I have had pineapple curry before and I really enjoyed it so I was super open minded about this one.
The smell of this one is lightly pineapple, and steeped up it’s very supple with a soft sweetness to it. It’s a little bit candy like – but not over the top or overly artificial tasting. The osmanthus in this was nice; even though I don’t recall seeing any in the measured out leaf I felt like I was tasting the slightly sweet, whispy floral notes that I associate with it. I’m a big fan of pineapple and floral pairings – as far as I can recall everyone I’ve had has been well executed. I’m personally not very familiar with mistletoe so I don’t know if I can accurately weigh in on how that ingredient presented itself in the blend. I did try looking it up, but the one relatively reliable site I found said it has a very bitter taste – and that’s certainly not something I observed with this blend, so either that’s not an accurate description of mistletoe’s flavour or it doesn’t come through in the tea.
Sadly, neither did anything remotely ‘curry’ like – not even a little bit. That’s definitely disappointing especially since the curry aspect is in the name of the tea. If you can’t deliver on what your tea is named after, you definitely lose a few points in my book. The green base was nice; it was light and just a touch sweet and grassy. It definitely complimented the floral notes and pineapple well.
So overall I thought this was a nice tea and I certainly enjoyed it – but it’s nothing like what I expected and the name isn’t accurate at all so if you’re going to try it keep a very open mind and don’t expect the curry to come through too much, if at all.
Leaf Type: Black
Organic apricot pieces and natural brandy flavor give this black tea blend a delicious full flavor and luscious sweetness. An aromatic and visually appealing tea.
Ingredients: organic black tea, organic apricot pieces, organic calendula and osmanthus petals, natural apricot brandy flavor. Produced in accordance with the Ethical Tea Partnership.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I placed my samples order with ArtfulTea, this was the first sample that I selected. I’m not sure what it was about this tea that allured me, but at the moment when I was shopping something in my head thought: “Oh, that sounds good!” when I read the words Apricot Brandy.
The aroma is a perfect representation of Apricot Brandy! The dry leaf smells of apricots, brandy and black tea. (No big surprises!) Once brewed, the tea smells similar, but I think I smell more black tea now. It’s a wonderful fragrance – the kind of scent that gets the taste buds excited and the mouth watering!
And it tastes as good as it smells! Mmm!
I can taste notes of apricot: sweet, juicy and reminiscent of the flavor of a tree-ripened apricot. When served hot, this is especially true (I guess because tree-ripened fruit is always a wee bit warm, you know?)
I taste the black tea next and it has a pleasant flavor. It’s a smooth, mild-tasting black tea. The website doesn’t indicate what type of black tea is used in this blend, but if I were to wager a guess I’d say it’s a Ceylon, because it has that moderate, even-tempered sort of flavor that is typical of a Ceylon. It’s an enjoyable black tea base, not bitter and not overly astringent. There is some astringency, slightly dry toward the finish, but it’s not a strong astringency. I’d categorize it as a light astringency.
As I sip this, I can’t help but wonder how apricot flavors would fair with Assam tea. I think those caramel-y, malty notes of an Assam would taste delightful with apricot!
The brandy flavor is – happily – not an overpowering flavor. I like the way it balances with the other tastes in this cup. Sometimes with alcohol-inspired teas like this one, I find myself concerned that the alcohol notes will be overwhelming, and because I’m not much of a drinker of brandy or any other alcoholic beverage (I’m a tea-totaler!) I generally am not all that excited about teas that taste strongly of an alcoholic drink.
This has more of the sweet, delicious apricot than it does brandy, and the two meld together in a very delightful way. The flower/petal additions don’t add a strong floral note to the cup, but, the osmanthus does enhance the apricot nicely.
Overall, a really enjoyable cup of tea! I’m very happy with this cup. It tastes good hot, and it’s also nice as the cup begins to cool, suggesting to me that this would make a tasty glass of iced tea as well.