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
Description:

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!

Azores Shade-Grown Orange Pekoe ‘Ponta Branca’ Black Tea from What-Cha Tea

AzoresShadeGrownBlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

Azores Shade-Grown Orange Pekoe is a unique tea with an equally complex taste; a light and smooth start with a brisk full finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

When I first opened the pouch of this tea, I noticed the aroma.  It is a strong scent and is reminiscent of leather.  A very masculine scent.

To brew this tea, I put a scoop of the leaves into my small (warmed) teapot and added 12 ounces of boiling water to the teapot and allowed the tea to steep for 3 minutes and then strained the liquid into my favorite tea mug.  The color is dark and the fragrance is softer than that of the dry leaf, smelling vaguely of leather, perhaps, but more like sweet fruit – almost like a sweet, sugary date.

AzoresShadeGrownBlack1My first sip I took as I was looking at the description above that says “a light and smooth start with a brisk full finish.”  Yeah, I agree with that.  It starts out light with a delicate citrus note but smoother, not quite as astringent as citrus fruit but with the sweetness of an a sweet orange.  It is a bright yet smooth note.  As the sip progresses, I pick up on more of a sweeter, denser type of fruit.  Like a combination of a ripe plum and a ripe peach – all the sweetness of those two fruits but none of the tartness.  As I near the finish, I pick up on some of the sweet caramel-y undertones.

This has a bracing flavor that is very rich and rewarding.  It’s a bold tasting tea, maybe not quite as invigorating as I would want my first cup of tea for the day to be, but this would be an excellent choice for late morning or mid-day.  A great “tea-time” type of tea:  perhaps with some scones or shortbread?  It has that rich, freshly baked type of flavor that I like:  somewhat bready and very satisfying.   It would probably take the additions of milk and honey well, but, I rather like it straight up.  The flavor is sweet and smooth and additions may just overwhelm the tea.  Try this one before you add anything to it.

Another winning tea from What-Cha!  I think that’s all they sell there, because I’ve tried a lot of teas from them and haven’t come across anything disappointing yet!

Assam FTGFOP Black Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

AssamFTGFOPTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

A rich, whole leaf Assam with dark leaves and golden tips produces a bright copper, full-bodied tea. Floral and citrus hints are followed by a malty aftertaste. Lovely with milk and sugar, and a wonderful stand-alone tea.

Ingredients:  Assam Fine Tippy Golden Flower Orange Pekoe Black Tea

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Receive 25% savings on the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf.  Just type in SISTERSELECTION25 in the coupon field and save 25%!  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  That’s the first sound that came out of me as I took a sip of this tea.  There is something that is just so … delectable when it comes to a high quality Assam tea like this one from Simple Loose Leaf.  Is it the sweet caramel undertones?  The malty notes?  The hints of cacao that intermingle with the notes of fruit and flower and earth?  Or is it a combination of all these?

For me, it’s how the cup comes together.  It’s the sum of the parts.  The tea is rich and full-bodied.  It has a certain gusto to it that invigorates me, which is why I tend to reach for teas like this as my first cup of the day.

I also love the sweetness of the tea.  The creamy caramel low notes meld with the malty notes of the tea to create this decadent sweetness that compliments the cacao notes.  Then I taste the notes of flower and fruit in the distance.  It’s earthy and warm.  And as you’re starting to feel just a little cozy with the sip, those fruit notes come through to add a touch of brightness to the cup.

But how to brew it?  I have found that Assam teas tend to be rather finicky.  They don’t like to be kept in hot water too long or they’ll become quite bitter on you.  Sure, this is true of many teas, but I find it to be particularly true of Assam, and even a matter of 15 – 30 seconds too long can mean a cup that’s more bitter than you want it to be.

For Assam, I go with 205°F rather than the full-on boil, and then I steep the tea for no more than 2 1/2 minutes.  If I steep the tea in my Breville One-Touch tea maker (which is what I did today), I steep the tea for only 2 minutes.  500ml of freshly filtered water with 2 bamboo scoops of tea in the basket and I pushed the button to make my magical machine go.  Two minutes later, I was treated to a fragrant, delicious cuppa!

This is a really good Assam.  I like this tea best served hot, and it takes the additions of milk and honey well if that’s what you like in your tea.  I personally like this straight up, it’s edgy and it gives me a good shake awake.  When I want an indulgent treat, I sometimes drizzle some pure maple syrup in my cup and yum!

Another awesome tea from Simple Loose Leaf!  Have you joined the Selection Club yet?

Green Pekoe Tea from Simple Loose Leaf

GreenPekoeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf here.

Tea Description:

Green tea from the Fujian province of China. Green Pekoe is famed as an everyday tea, and is among the most popular teas consumed in China. Its thin, wavy leaves appear almost black when dry. Once infused, however, our ‘Green Pekoe Blues’ reveals its true color. And produces a light cup with a smooth, mellow taste and a gentle, soothing aroma.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Selection Club subscription program here.

Receive 25% savings on the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf.  Just type in SISTERSELECTION25 in the coupon field and save 25%!  This discount is applicable only to the monthly Selection Club subscription and not the retail selection of teas.

Taster’s Review:

Oh wow!  This is just what I needed today.  As I write this (which is a few days before it will actually publish), I am feeling kind of drained.  Everyone in the household is getting sick!  Ugh!  I don’t feel it yet … except for that weak, sort of drained kind of feeling that I feel.  Lackluster … no energy.  You know what I’m talking about, right?

Today, my box from Simple Loose Leaf arrived, and it came just when I needed something to pick me up and bring a smile to my face.  (Receiving these boxes from Simple Loose Leaf every month always DO bring a smile to my face!)  And this Green Pekoe is the first tea that I’m trying out of this month’s box.

The dry leaf smells very vegetal and a little earthy – like something between freshly cut grass, kelp and the leafy green section of the produce market.  It’s a green tea, so I brewed it at my “go to” temperature for green tea, 180°F.   I measured two heaping bamboo scoops of tea into the basket of my Breville One-Touch.

Well, I sort of “guessed” that it was about two heaping scoops.  These leaves are long and curly like a bunch of tangled up wire!  So, it’s difficult to actually get a heaping scoop out of the package.  You either get more than a heaping scoop … or you get less, as in much less.  Like a few leaves.  This is usually the case.  These leaves are very *independent* and don’t want to hang with the crowd on the bamboo scoop – they want to do their own thing!

So I measured out enough leaves to where it looked like two heaping scoops in the basket.  Then I poured 500ml of freshly filtered water into the jug (fortunately the water is not as independent as the tea leaves and just goes with the flow), finished assembling the jug and set the timer for 2 minutes at 180°F.

And we have green tea deliciousness!

The flavor is sweet and mild.  It’s not an overbearing “green tea” taste – it doesn’t taste too much like vegetables of any sort, nor does it taste bitter or grassy.  I do pick up on hints of steamed artichoke, but it’s not an overwhelming flavor.

It’s smooth and feels soft on the palate.  It has a very satisfying, soothing kind of taste – just the pick-me-up that I needed on this afternoon that was starting to feel kind of down-and-out!  This tea got me out of that funk.

I like the light flavor here, it’s sweet with delicate notes of flower and fruit.  The finish is slightly dry but not overly astringent.  The aftertaste is pleasantly sweet.  This would make an excellent everyday sort of green tea because it has a very enjoyable flavor and it is very relaxing to sip.

This tea helped turn my whole day around!  Thank you, Simple Loose Leaf!

You Had Me At Pekoe Black Tea from Tease

you.had.me.at.pekoeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tease

Tea Description:  

A classic Kenyan black tea in traditional orange pekoe style. Perfect for adding milk &sugar. Equally satisfying iced with your favourite sweetener. 

Learn more about July’s Postal Teas shipment here.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

I recently subscribed to Postal Teas – just to check them out.  I’m always interested in seeing what other companies out there have to offer, and I especially enjoy subscription services such as this one.   I like the idea of a “mystery box” coming my way each month where the teas have been curated with a theme in mind.

So I was really excited when the “One Classy Lady” themed tea box arrived filled with three ‘classic tea staples.’  To be honest, these three teas – A Kenyan Orange Pekoe, a Genmaicha, and a Lapsang Souchong – didn’t really generate a lot of excitement with me because these are teas that I’ve had on more than one occasion (although not from this specific vendor) and I was kind of hoping for a new tea experience.

However, I was happy to find a hand-written note in my box.  Here’s what they wrote to me:

Anne,

We’re super excited to have you experience these teas!

We decided to go with some well made classics that everyone should try at least once.  

Let us know which is your fav!

-Postal Teas

OK, I understand a little more about why they selected these teas and I’m good with that explanation, because I agree!  I think that everyone should try these three teas.  Also included in the box was a nifty little 48-page notebook for “tea notes” (and I like that they took the time to write “tea” on this notebook.  It’s a little detail, certainly, but I like that it is one that wasn’t overlooked.)

But that’s enough about the box … let’s get into this tea!

When I first read that this is an Orange Pekoe tea, my immediate thought was “oh, another Ceylon.”  Not that Ceylon teas are bad, mind you!  I love a good Ceylon tea and I’ve discovered MANY wonderful Ceylon teas in the time that I’ve been reviewing teas.  Some very surprising Ceylon teas … some Ceylon teas that have changed my original belief about Ceylon.  But, I’ve had a lot of Ceylon and I was just hoping for something a little different.

But this isn’t a Ceylon!

teaselogoIt’s a Kenyan Black tea!  Now, Kenyan teas, I’ve had quite a few, but far fewer than I’ve had Ceylon teas.  And I’m always happy to try a Kenyan black from a tea company I’ve not tried before – and I’ve not tried any teas from Tease, Postal Teas featured tea purveyor this month.

Robust!  Full-flavored!  Smooth and rich!  These are all words I’d choose to describe this Pekoe.  It’s rich and malty with a pleasing mouthfeel.  It has that sort of “chewy” taste that evokes thoughts of freshly baked bread crust.

Our local grocery store always has fresh French bread – hot and right out of the oven – at the top of the hour in the afternoon.  We like to plan our visit to this store around this time of the day so that we can pick up a loaf of the bread to devour in the car after we’ve finished shopping.  No butter, no jam … just warm, soft, freshly-baked goodness.  My favorite part is the caramelized, crispy-chewy crust … and that’s what this tea reminds me of!

This is an ideal tea to choose for that all-important first tea of the day because it’s bold and has some invigorating GUSTO to it – it will give you that kick you need to get the day started.  It also takes well to the additions of milk and honey if you like to add those to your breakfast tea.

As for me, I like this one served straight up.  It has a light sweetness to it that is reminiscent of honey and caramel, with lovely floral tones in the distance that accent these sweet notes perfectly.  There is a mild, cleansing astringency that readies my palate for the next sip.  A really lovely CTC Kenyan.

And despite my first thoughts on the overll package, I have to say that it was a very fun package to receive so I’m going to go with at least one more month from Postal Teas to see what August has in store.  So far, I’m enjoying this familiar journey with Postal Teas.