Orange Cookie from Fox Tea Club

This is my first tea from the Fox Tea Club, and it has such an enticing name: Orange Cookie!

This black tea is blended with cardamom, cinnamon, and big beautiful slices of dried orange.  In the dry leaf, the tea smelled like a sweeter chai, with lots of bright citrus and cozy cinnamon.  Brewed, this scent continued, making this tea seem like the halfway point between bright, citrusy breakfast black teas and warm, spicy, chai teas.

Brewed, the black tea base really comes to the forefront with orange and spices lingering at the back of each sip, and in the scent.  The black tea is earthy and robust, with a smooth mouthfeel that reminds me of a pu erh tea.

Maybe I just have a sweet tooth, but I’m not getting the cookie flavors in this tea.  I think it would pair very well with some cookies, but on its own it is much more traditional and subdued.  To make it more cookie-like, I would brew it with more sweetener and milk next time. If you’re not into dessert teas, don’t let this name discourage you, this might just be the well-balanced orange and spice black tea that you’re looking for!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Fox Tea Club
Description:

Dried orange rind and aromatic spices will surely make this tea a favorite black tea to sip with good friends by the fire on a snowy winter evening. Hints of cinnamon and cloves balance the richness of the black tea. A spiced orange pomander in a cup!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate from Pu-Erh Numi Teas. . . .

I’ve found that sometimes pu-erh teas can be a bit complicated, there’s a lot of history and process that’s worth knowing if you take your pu-erh seriously.  However, I had a completely different experience with Chocolate Pu -Erh from Numi, which is one of the most approachable pu-erh teas I’ve tried.

Pu-erh teas are known for their exceptionally smooth mouthfeel and their earthy taste.  Adding chocolate to that combination sounds like a great idea. This Chocolate Pu-Erh came in an easy-to-use sample tea bag, not in a big tea cake, so no special tools or teapots were necessary.  Just add hot water and a mug. The dry tea smelled a little sour with a hint of vinegar. However, once I brewed the tea, the flavors were far more inviting, with a strong fragrance of cocoa and roasted nuts.

This tea had a forward chocolate flavor, but it was rounded out by the more savory, earthiness of the pu erh tea underneath.  There is a hint of fermentation flavors that I expect from pu-erh teas; a subtle undertone, almost like wet leaves or flowers, slightly sweet and slightly sour.  The richness of the pu-erh leaves and the decadence of the chocolate are only enhanced by the creamy, velvety mouthfeel as I sipped this tea.

If you are tired of the bright and biting flavors of breakfast black teas, try a pu-erh tea like Chocolate Pu-Erh from Numi.  The rich, smooth, taste and texture are a completely different experience that may open the door to a new world of teas to try.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Numi Teas
Description: This velvety infusion combines black Pu∙erh tea and organic cocoa. Accented by whole vanilla beans and sweet orange peel, this decadent blend is rounded off with nutmeg and cinnamon for a spicy finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2006 Xinghai Golden Peacock Ripe Pu-Erh Tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-Erh

Where to Buy: Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Description:

A classic Xinghai ripe tea produced from the late 90’s until.  Xinghai tea factory is the 2nd producer of ripe tea in Menghai town (after Menghai tea factory), and has an excellent “wo dui” fermentation process.  Our 2006 Golden Peacock was aged Donguan town in Guangdong.  It’s a “Guangdong dry-stored” tea that has already lost it’s “wo dui” (fermented) taste.  The tea brews up a deep, dark but clear burgundy-brown tea soup.  The taste is sweet with a expansive lubricating taste and feeling in the mouth.  Both subtle and complex at the same time, a high quality tea leaf was used, each session lasting many infusions.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Hello tea friends!

Whilst sorting (more like rummaging) through my tea cupboards I spotted this tea had been pushed to the back. Probably when I had my aversion to all Pu-Erh tea at the start of the year. I cannot say what made me feel that way but it does happen from time to time, at the moment I dislike Jasmine teas but give it a few months and that will change. Perhaps it has something to do with the change in weather? I digress, this tea was still sealed in it’s sample packet and the words ‘Golden Peacock’ left me with some fascinating images in my mind. That is how I settled on reviewing this tea today. I also want to made a note before I begin that I am not at home while I do this review, I’m at my parents house dog sitting for the day while they go shopping in Birmingham and may not be back until late. I mention this as it changes a few things, I do not have filtered water for an example, nor do I have a self boiling kettle for each steep. At least I bought my tea ware with me in preparation.

Opening the packet is tricky but I do it eventually. Once opened I pull out a large piece of cake which has remained whole despite it’s journey. There are quite a few golden tips present on the outside of the cake and a beautiful shine. Some of the golden tips have downy hairs that I can stroke, as though the Pu Erh were an animal. I don’t know why I decided to stroke it…perhaps the heat is getting with me? Further inspection shows dark brown leaves the colour  of old, dark chocolate. The cake remnant bares a soft, dry wood and clay scent.

Steeping Parameters: 220ml Glass Gongfu Teapot. Tea Leaf 12g. Boiling Water. 2 Rinses each of 15 seconds. 

First Steep – 15 seconds

Colour is golden orange with a soft clay scent.

Flavour is mild with some sweetness and an earthy, dusky wood tone toward the after taste. The more I drink the more I can define the sweetness to being brown sugar like.

Second Steep – 20 seconds 

Still soft with brown sugar and dusky wood tones, but with added dryness.

Third Steep – 30 seconds 

Darker though still soft. Less sweet and more musky now, with old wood and dry earth notes that linger in the after taste. Also the tea liquid is dark at this point too, like red soy sauce.

Fourth Steep – 45 seconds 

Slightly sour in this steep and the wood is coming through with some cocoa notes. Still dry and mildly sweet.

Sixth Steep – 1 minute 

Similar to the previous steep though with more clay and dryness. It reminds me of autumn, the dry, musky leaves crunching under my feet as I walk through a forest. The smells of an autumn forest match this flavour quite nicely.

Seventh Steep – 2 minutes

An increase of musk though still soft and the sourness is slight. Very wooden.

Overall – I found this Shou to be mild and delicate throughout the steeps which made it difficult to describe the flavours. At least it was consistent throughout. I would say this is an everyday Shou for Pu new drinkers or those that prefer softer teas. Personally I like strength and depth in my tea which this just didn’t have, though despite that it was drinkable and pleasant enough. I had some difficulty breaking up the cake piece so I did it by hand in the middle of my steeps, partly to see if it increased strength.

I honestly cut this steeping short, originally I planned on 10 steeps rather than 7. Don’t get me wrong, it really isn’t a bad Shou when it comes down to it; my personal preference is just that and I can’t like them all. I still think that for the price it’s a decent every day Shou for new drinkers and would recommend it for that. If I can be nothing else then at least I’m honest.

Happy Steeping!

Hot Chocolate from DAVIDsTEA

hotchocolateTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

We take hot chocolate pretty seriously around here. It’s gotta be rich, decadent and mega-creamy. And after searching high and low for the ultimate hot chocolate tea, we finally found the perfect blend. We took a flavourful base of pu’erh and black tea, then we added real cocoa nibs and fudgy chocolate chips. The result? An uber-chocolately blend worthy of the name Hot Chocolate. Dark, sweet and totally satisfying, it’s the perfect winter treat.

Learn more about this tea here

Taster’s Review:

This was another blend that I was excited to try from the 2015 Winter Collection. I love hot chocolate and I love tea. There are times, though, when I would like to have the flavor of hot chocolate, but not the added fat or calories of a true cup.

The scent of this blend reminds me of a powdered hot chocolate mix… really! I can detect the sugar and the chocolate… and I’m so surprised that this scent is coming from a tea. I’m not sure how they did it. Giving this cup a sip, I am already enjoying this one quite a bit. I taste the earthy quality of the pu-erh, but also the chocolate that actually seems lighter than expected. I think that drinking this tea a bit quicker than usual instead of sipping, brings out more of the straight hot chocolate flavor. One thing I should mention is that the flavor I’m getting doesn’t reflect a hot chocolate made from chocolate shavings, but more of a powder mix.

There is an unfortunate element of this tea that I just can’t seem to ignore: the stevia. I am someone who can tolerate stevia in many things and actually add it to my coffee once in a while. Its presence in this cup really ruins everything, though. I would recommend this blend if you aren’t sensitive to stevia and if you enjoy hot chocolate.. but otherwise, this might be one to skip.

“Planet Jingmai” Ancient Tree Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea

Planet-JingmaiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Crimson Lotus Tea

Tea Description:

“A world of flavor in the palm of your hand!”

Don’t let their small size fool you. These tiny spheres of puerh are made from 300yo Gushu/Ancient Tree material from Jingmai. They were picked and processed in Spring of 2014. They have been aged loose as maocha in Jingmai until now. They are fantastic. The aroma is thick with honey. The flavor is smooth and floral with just enough bitterness and astringency to keep your palate interested. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  OK, so I say that a lot when it comes to tea.  But I don’t often say it when it comes to Pu-erh!  At least, not so you – our readers – can “hear” it.  But this “Planet Jingmai” Ancient Tree Sheng Pu-erh from Crimson Lotus Tea has earned the “mmm!”

This tastes more like honey than Pu-erh.  (When reading the word ‘honey’ in the previous sentence, you should hear it the way that Mr. Wonderful aka Kevin O’Leary says “money.”)  It is sweet and delicious and so honey-like, you’ll wonder why you’re not all sticky after drinking it.

Planet-Jingmai-PlateMy second cup is even more honey-esque.  I’m still searching for something that reminds me of a pu-erh.  It doesn’t taste earthy, it doesn’t have a mushroom-y taste.  Just beautifully sweet.  Perhaps a hint of vegetation and a light touch of floral notes.  But mostly, honey is what I taste this time too.

And this pearl of tea takes quite a while to unfurl too!  It wasn’t until after my third infusion that the orb looked more like a tea and not a ball of yarn.  After my fourth infusion, I noticed that the leaves were beginning to settle in a heap rather than staying wound in the ball.

The flavor of the honey notes begins to wane by the fourth infusion.  It was with this infusion that I started to pick up on more floral notes with hints of earthy vegetation than a strong honey-like flavor.  I’m still tasting honey notes even in my fifth infusion, but, they continue to soften with each new infusion.

By the end of the sixth infusion, the leaves had fallen away from the ball shape and had become a pile of wet leaves.  There is still plenty of flavor to them though, and I kept on going until I finished my ninth infusion.  I probably could have gotten even more from this tea!

This tea is a PLANET of flavor!  I highly recommend the journey.