White2Tea – 2016 Daily Drinker

White2Tea says that this Daily Drinker is a tea “for the everyday”, “for the people.” I was like “uh, what does that… mean?”

I’m still not sure what that means.

But I *do* know that this orchid/honey tea is incredibly sweet while still not losing that rustic pu erh charm. It’s aged, but in a way that’s not rancid, or fishy, or musty, or cardboard-y, or whatever else you might fear out of pu erh.

It’s like an orchid oolong that’s in a retirement home, still sweet and sharing jokes that have been worn smooth and refined through multiple retellings. She’s the old lady in the nursing home that has a boyfriend (YOU GO GIRL) and slips other people’s grandkids the best candy.

This is one of the first teas I’ve ever drank that came from a cake, which meant it was a little more work. I had to snap off bits and try to crumble the right amount into my steeper. I think I gave it a good whack.

I don’t know what makes a tea a “daily drinker.” I sort of imagine it as an old shoe that you know will fit you nicely, even if you don’t wear it on special occasions. But that seems… somehow disparaging of the tea? Like “oh, this old thing? I drink it daily. I don’t even notice it any more.”

I think that this tea deserves to be a little more special. I shall drink it only every once in a while, until it’s complete.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Pu Erh

Where to Buy:  White2Tea

Description

A blend of raw Puer material meant for the daily grind. Sweetness and a delightful fragrance.  Solid, reliable, affordable, and better quality than you’d expect for the price. Tea for the everyday. Tea for the people.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Glutinous Rice Scent Tea Fossil Pu-erh Cooked Tea from AprTea Mall

I will be the first to admit it.  I am intimidated by Puerh teas.  But each and every time I have one, I love it.  Not sure why I have this apprehension but I’m hoping this is the year I tear that wall down.

This particular puerh was a different bird all together from what I’ve had in the past.  Instead of being tea leaves or a cake, the tea looked to be broken pieces of a cake.  The smell of the tea instantly reminds me of sushi and my mouth starts to water.  To really get all my senses involved with this tea, I went ahead and used my Wall Infuser Mug, scooped some tea into the mug and added some freshly prepped water. Probably not the proper way to enjoy this tea, but I wanted to prepare the tea in a more familiar way this first go.

After a few moments, I couldn’t resist the alluring tea anymore and had to take a sip.  This tea.  This tea is really good. And that is coming from someone that isn’t all that knowledgeable in the matters of darker teas.  The first steeping really delivered this thicker sort of sweet liquid that I eagerly took down.  Really delicious and not at all like the puerhs I’ve had in the past.  The smell was similiar but that the taste. Gotta love a tea that smells like sushi but has a sweeter stonefruit taste.

The second steeping and additional steepings resulted in the same style of flavor.  A sweetness with a thicker feel. Such a complete pleasure and such a wonderful tea to drink.  I actually drank this tea for hours and just never felt that the leaves were fully exhausted of their flavor.  Being the first rice scent puerh I’ve had, I’m hoping I can mimic this result with other varieties later on and even later this week with the remaining puerh I have.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Puerh
Where to Buy:  AprTea Mall
Description

Tea Fossil: the soul of Pu’er tea, Ten years of pure dry storage, named as [broken silver], the aroma is very full, fast and lasting Gan Gan, long-lasting high foam resistance, can bubble more than 40 times, especially the taste: the entrance of thick rice soup incense. Can be described as the essence of tea!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Spotlight on Fraser Tea Bags

Sustainable business models are so hot right now. Seriously, Zoolander aside, I’m all about capitalists that care about future generations. Fraser Tea sells organic tea blends in corn-based, sustainably produced pyramids. I think it’s a great option to consider bringing in to your cubicle or on vacations. I received several of their pyramids in my tea mail this month, so their spotlight is a little from Column A and a little from Column B…

Spicy Chocolate Chai – flavored puerh

First things first, a girls gotta have her chocolate. There were oils on top of brew, which always equate to having been carefully handled and thus retain more of the goodness we expect from full leaf teas. A sneaky Chai taste followed by a  mellow chocolate aftertaste. The tiniest bit of sweetener rounded out these flavors. I want to point out for later on, those of you hardcore readers, that this tea has 60 mg caffeine.

Chamomile Dream – herbal

To me, Sleepy-time teas are the most swoon-worthy. There’s always something about them that is so restorative and comforting.  This pyramid has sweet smelling dry leaves. As soon as that scent connects in my brain, there’s that instant calming response. I know i’m not the only one!

The blend of wet leaves smell just as sweet, and I notice an enticing hint of a berry red in them now. This tastes like soft, pillowy, dreamy meadows… full of sheep, so many sheep, mmm and it feels like time to say goodnight.

Turmeric Ginger Green – flavored green

Ok, preface, turmeric and I got off on the wrong foot when it stained my gravity strainer for no good reason. I have been suspicious of its health claims ever since… but that’s a personal bias which does not discount dozens of peer-reviewed scientific studies…  I also need to state that my toddler helped me brew this and ripped the bag 😬 kay, so still waiting for the great feelings. Moving on, I found I prefer this ingredient in bag form because it eliminates my first problem with staining. So my palate has started to open up to tea for health reasons, as opposed to familiar tastes. There is an acquired taste to this tea, but it is not in your face. It certainly would be a perfect finish to a savory lunch.

Yerba Mint – alternative tea

Until now I never realized how powerful other plants could be in the caffeine department! I guess I should have known that from coffee beans, but I never put it all together until I saw there was 70+ mg caffeine in this non-camellia sinensis plant!!! Yikes! That probably explains a few restless nights after “just some herbal” tea… The juxtaposition between earthy and gentle is juuuuuuust right here. I can imagine putting this over ice would be a delightful way to ignore a humid summer.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Variety
Where to Buy: Fraser Tea

https://frasertea.com/products/organic-spicy-chocolate-chai

Spicy Chocolate Chai Organic Pu-erh Tea is a fusion of cocoa nibs, spicy chili peppers, and delicate, sweet oranges combined to craft a flavor sensation with maximum health benefits. Striking a delicate balance between heat and sweetness, spicy chocolate chai is a smooth and flavorful tea that supports weight management and wellness.  Enjoy any time. Try it as-is or add milk and sugar.

https://frasertea.com/products/chamomile-dream-organic-herbal-tea.

Chamomile Dream Organic Herbal Tea soothes the mind and body.  Supporting health and digestion, this relaxing organic tea blends gentle, floral notes of chamomile, cleansing and bright lemongrass, tart hibiscus and refreshing peppermint. Try it anytime throughout the day, with a book before bedtime, or following a restorative meditation practice. Chamomile Dream offers gentle, soothing relaxation for mind, body and spirit.


https://frasertea.com/products/organic-turmeric-ginger

Turmeric Ginger Organic Green Tea delivers a multitude of health benefits in a delicious and flavorful way.  Green tea is blended with cinnamon, ginger, pink peppercorn, lemongrass, and turmeric offering a sweet and unexpected fresh taste. Known as a “superfood”, turmeric’s list of health benefits include boosting your body’s immunity, anti-inflammatory properties, improved brain function and heart health.

https://frasertea.com/products/organic-yerba-mate-mint

This Yerba Mate Mint Organic Herbal Tea is an energizing blend. At Fraser Tea we formulated this vibrant tea to maximize focus or help make the most of your daily workout. We combine the South American yerba mate plant with invigorating peppermint, a sophisticated green tea and an array of floral’s to amplify the natural benefits. Yerba mate is considered the healthy wonder drink grown in South America thanks to its energizing effects. Traditionally yerba mate is consumed with a gourd and a straw, however you can use your favorite teacup. Our Yerba Mate Mint tea is delicious iced or warm.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Limited Yiwu Spring 2016 from Bitterleaf Teas

I’m not usually a pu erh tea drinker but I saw the lovely label from Kelly Puissegur on the Yiwu Spring 2016 blend from Bitterleaf Teas and had to give it a go.  This is a limited run of tea, so you won’t be able to get this exact blend anymore, but the same tea harvest for 2017 can be found in the year of the rooster blend.

This tea starts off like many of my past pu erh tea sessions.  The scents are intense and fermented, and off-putting to me as a prelude for something I’m about to taste.  The aroma isn’t bad exactly, in fact with smells like old books or leather or wet grass, I find the flavors to be nostalgic and dreamy; they just aren’t something I’d personally want to smell right before I take a sip.

I steeped this tea over the course of a session, brewing several times.  Before I even tasted it, I stepped for 1 minute in 200F water to rinse and let the leaves open up.  After that I steeped for increasing 5 second intervals.

The first brew had the typical hay barn scent I expect, but less fermented and much more fresh.  Almost like green grapes or wet peony flowers. The brightness in the first steep was a pleasant surprise.

In the second steep there was more white tea buttery earthiness, but still the green grapes and peony came through on the aftertaste.  The tea is very smooth on the tongue.

In the third steep the hay scent was more gentle and the overall flavors were more relaxed.  The brew was sweeter almost like cacao earth tones and smooth honey floral flavors, paired with a very pleasant caramelly mouthfeel.

On the fourth steep and beyond, the tea still holds up the fresh grape and peony tones, but eventually the earthy cacao flavors end up taking over.

I’m not a pu erh expect but this tea took me by surprise and contained pleasantly complex flavors that I wasn’t expecting.  Be bold and try one of Bitterleaf Teas’ pu erh harvests for your next brew.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Bitter Leaf Teas
Description:

This Yiwu raw puer is one of our two Year of the Monkey puers. The material for this tea comes from a recently transitioned fang yang (literally meaning “left to grow”) garden that receives minimal human interference, to the extent that all weeding is done once a year by hand (taking up to one month) and is harvested only in the Spring. The tea itself has an initial and surprising honey-like sweetness at the front, which yields to some slight roughness and unique lasting aroma. With good cha qi/tea energy and a solid mineral fragrance that lingers, this is a strong candidate for storage.

Typical of Yiwu teas, this one is on the softer side of things for now, but still maintains a solid backbone with plenty to offer. This also makes it a very drinkable young raw puer, and well suited for beginners and experienced drinkers alike. Don’t be fooled though, Yiwu teas tend to age well, even if they seem lighter in their early years.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chocolate PuErh from Numi Organic Teas

Numi’s Chocolate Pu-erh bags are the perfect intro to flavored Puerh: organic yet inexpensive, and bagged for easy travel. In fact it was the very first tea I pulled from my very first sampler, an inexpensive add-on in my amazon cart. This is also sold loose leaf by the pound.

I have to admit I was skeptical because not only did I dislike chocolate, but I also had heard “fishy” things about the fermented tea. But as a scientist, I had to test these assumptions, and the evidence supported the null hypothesis. This was a light bodied, full flavor tea, that I’ve found is impossible to screw up in the brewing process.

This silky brown infusion reminds me of a hot cocoa with toasted marshmallows fresh from the campfire, and ooooooh that tiniest hint of that nutmeg. Alton Brown would be proud.  As a final touch of perfection, cue a chef’s kiss, no sweetener was needed!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Flavored Pu-Erh
Where to Buy: Numi Tea

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!