Irish Tea For One Teapot from FineLine Teas #VeganMoFo2016

A few years ago I received this lovely teapot as a gift from my parents and I haven’t seen too many of them since I received it but recently I was online and saw it on a site and thought I would review it today.  It’s the Irish Tea For One Teapot from FineLine Teas.  Eventho this Irish Tea For One Teapot from FineLine Teas is not currently in stock I felt it was certainly worth a mention!

Irish Tea For One Teapot from FineLine Teas is a decorated teapot for one (or two) and has the Irish look and feel to it.  It’s painted in cream and green and has Celtic knots wrapping around the teapot.  It’s a 3-piece teapot and says “A good laugh and a cup of tea are the two best cures” on it.  You can see where the small top part comes off and the bottom half as well.

I think this Irish Tea For One Teapot from FineLine Teas is darling.  I have only used it a few times because I use it more for display than USE but that might have to change in the coming months.  I’m also using this as my Vegan Mofo post today where the prompt is “Something Rare” as we are to use something we don’t usually use in cooking – well – instead of that – I figured I would feature this teapot since I don’t usually use it but still admire it!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Teaware
Where to Buy: FineLine Teas
Description: A beautifully decorated tea for one, this Irish tea for one set is painted in cream and green and boasts lovely Celtic knot work. View product description below for more information.

A beautifully decorated tea for one, this Irish tea for one set is painted in cream and green and boasts lovely Celtic knot work. A three piece set, this tea for one features the saying “A good laugh and a cup of tea are the two best cures”. Packaged ready for gift giving, this tea for one is sure to delight.

Stoneware. Dimensions: Teapot – 7 1/2″ x 6″ and holds 22oz; Cup – 2 1/4″ and holds 10oz. Dishwasher and microwave safe.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Meng Ding Huang Ya Yellow Tea from Camellia Sinensis

Meng Ding Huang YaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy: Camellia Sinensis

Tea Description:

This yellow tea composed almost entirely of buds comes from Sichuan province.Its magnificent young shoots are selected before being covered with the fine hairs typical of that grade of imperial picking! Its light yellow liquor is sweet and tasty. Bold hazelnut aromas are complemented by hints of vanilla and herbs. The finish is supported by its creamy texture and sweet taste. In the tradition of great teas – preferably to be enjoyed in a Gaiwan in a careful ambiance!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Stream of consciousness review, meaning once I get to the steepings/infusions part of this review I’m just going to be taking note of my initial impressions/thoughts. I initially recorded this as a series of jot notes but have obviously since edited things to be paragraph formatted and easier to read…

This was a birthday present from my Dad; with the expensive price tag that comes along with this one I didn’t think that I’d ever be able to justify buying it but when I was explaining to him why yellow tea is such a big deal and how it’s something that I’ve been dying to explore but, because of the rarity, having a hard time doing something must have clicked for him because he surprised me with 25g!

I should note, the only other yellow tea I’ve had was a flavoured one and definitely not this high of a quality – I think that’s obviously something of note with this review.

Dry smell: From the bag this smell very strongly smells of rich hazelnut with herby undertones. After measuring it out into my gaiwan and being able to smell it closer/more directly I notice those smells and an almost borderline graham like smell. I do think you need to have an at least somewhat refined palate to pick up on it though; I’ve had various family members smell the dry leaf for this one and each of them swears they can’t smell a thing. The smell is so distinct for me though so I can only assume the difference here is that they’re tea plebians/don’t drink tea at all and, well, I’m obviously not and I definitely do.

Visually, the dry leaf reminds me a fair bit of silver needle, but with a more “tarnished” dusty yellow/ light brown colour, and very slightly smaller and more compressed/flat. I think it looks very aesthetically pleasing!

Infusion One – 30 Seconds:

Strong herbaceous and hay notes with a particularly peppery start and just a smidgen of astringency and bite are the first and foremost flavours with a menagerie of buttery vanilla and creamy hazelnut notes offering contrast and softening the tea a touch. There are corn silk notes and very soft roasty ones that fit somewhere into the equation. Fades into a soft, lemony flavour that lingers for a very long time, but only after having swallowed. There’s a lot going on, but it’s very pleasant! The leaf left in the Gaiwan smells like lemon pepper and hazelnut; weird but mouthwatering.

Infusion Two – 20 Seconds:

Smells like pepper, lemon and hazelnut. Less bite and less generic herby notes but still has some grip and some hay notes; it’s much more distinctly lemon pepper in start of the sip fading into roasty notes, vanilla and lemon in the body of the sip. I’m losing some of the hazelnut now as the other flavours get stronger. I tthoroughlyenjoy the transition from savory to light and sweet. It almost reminds me of vanilla lemon sponge cake in the aftertaste but the confectionery component’s not all there. It’s the butter that’s forming that impression, though. Leaf in the gaiwan is very lemony with some hay scent as well. It’s ticking my nose a little and making me sort of want to sneeze. But in a good way?

Infusion Three – 20 Seconds:

Oh wow; the flavour has diminished quite quickly as well as lost almost all the bite/grip. I pick up on a lot of hay notes; it’s quite similar to the flavour profile of your generic white tea/silver needle. There’s some creamy, buttery notes and a faint hazelnut and vanilla flavour. Mostly, it’s a sweet but dull lemon flavour though. This is my least favourite infusion thus far and I think, probably, a good place to stop steeping – even though I think I could get at least one more decent infusion from this I personally don’t push my Gong Fu sessions too long; I’m the sort of person who prefers to experience multiple different teas in one day than spend my whole day drinking a single tea.

Overall, this tea had a lot of really varied flavours to it but I found it so fascinating and enjoyable, and I think I learned a great deal from it. I would absolutely seek out this varietal again; I’m so intrigued to see how other companies’ offerings would compare! It’s quite sad that all of the ones I’ve seen have been so expensive; it’s definitely not one of those teas I can afford to buy from several companies in order to sample/compare…

Personally, I thought the second steeping was the best and had the most range of flavour as well as distinct flavours. Even though I know I said that I feared a novice/less trained palate would have a hard time picking up on the nuances I may have been wrong there; I thought almost all the flavour notes were very obvious. And, I definitely recommend seizing the opportunity to try this one if it presents itself to you!

Huang Ya Yellow Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

HuangYaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

A truly original yellow tea produced according to a traditional recipe in an ancient Chinese tea region. The sprouts are picked when still tiny and tender to be carefully processed in small batches.

The taste is very clear and rich, refreshing but not fresh. Warm, brisk and mineral with hints of hay and a pleasant, slightly sweet, aftertaste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

For those of you who are familiar with my love of tea, you are probably aware that yellow tea is my favorite variety of tea.  So when Nan Nuo Shan offered to send me their new harvest of Huang Ya Yellow Tea, I leaped at the opportunity.  Yes PLEASE!

To brew this, I got out my gaiwan.  They sent me 6 grams of the tea and since I have a fairly large gaiwan, I poured the whole 6 grams of tea into the bowl of the gaiwan.  I gave the tea a 15 second rinse and followed it with six infusions (1 minute for the first infusion with 15 seconds additional steep time for each subsequent infusion).  All six infusions fit quite nicely in my YiXing mug designated for yellow teas.

And how I love this tea.  It’s so lovely!

Before I proceed with the review, I wanted to highlight some information on the Nan Nuo Shan website about yellow tea that I found rather interesting:

The production of yellow tea is not only difficult but also risky. During yellowing the tea might turn moldy, causing the lost of precious raw leaves. So former yellow tea producers decided to focus on more popular and risk-free green teas or at least to shorten the yellowing phase to few hours instead of days, thus producing yellow tea undistinguishable from green tea.

That is something to keep in mind when you’re purchasing yellow tea in the future.  It’s important to communicate with your tea purveyor to find out what you can about production of your teas!

This tea!  It is pure loveliness and joy in liquid form.

Sweet!  The tea is sweet with a lovely contrasting note of bitter toward the end of the sip.  This is not the “oh no, I steeped the tea incorrectly” kind of bitter.  This is not an off-putting kind of bitter.  It’s a delicate, savory note that contrasts with the sweetness and adds complexity to every sip.  It hints at the layers of flavor that are waiting to be explored by the sipper.

It has a soft, creamy texture that is similar to a Chinese green tea but without the strong, grassy/vegetative and/or kelp-y taste that you might notice with a typical green.  Hints of butter with a light, tangy quality that reminded me a little of the tangy note that I might experience from buttermilk.

It’s lightly earthy as opposed to what I’d call vegetal, but the earthy tones are vegetal tasting.  It doesn’t taste like earth as in loam or peat, it tastes like an earthy green taste.  Like kale that has been cooked to perfection:  earthy with a little bit of bitter and and a hint of tangy.  Only this is better because it also has that delightful sweetness!  I’d take a cup of this over a plate of kale anytime!

It’s so smooth.  There’s no astringency.  Even the tangy quality here – it’s a flavor without the sensation that accompanies an astringent tea.  This is one of the very best yellow teas I’ve yet to encounter.  I highly recommend this to all who are looking to expand their experience with yellow tea!  (All of you, right?)  It’s an incredibly beautiful tea!

Huoshan Huang Ya Yellow Tea from What-Cha Tea

HuoShanHuangYaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

A rare tea produced only a few days each Spring that features a great bamboo nose and a slight nutty taste followed by a lingering sweet after-taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yay!  Yellow Tea!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve tried a “new-to-me” yellow tea for review.  Yellow Tea is my all time favorite type of tea.  I love it.  And I LOVE this Huoshan Huang Ya Yellow Tea from What-Cha Tea!

To brew this tea, I used my gaiwan and measured one bamboo scoop of tea into it, and then I heated the water to 170°F.  First I rinsed the leaves with the water, by infusing them for 15 seconds and then straining off the liquid and discarding it.  Then I steeped the first infusion for 45 seconds and added 15 seconds to each subsequent infusion.  I strained each infusion into my very special Yellow Tea Yi Xing mug.  This mug is a little larger than my Ali Shan and Jasmine Yi Xing mugs, so I can fit 6 infusions of tea in the mug.  So that’s what I did.  I’m now sipping on the results of the first six infusions of this tea. HuoShanHuangYa1

Mmm!  Sweet and delicious.  The texture is creamy and smooth.  The sip starts out sweet with nutty nutty notes.  By mid-sip, I’m picking up on notes of flower.  The sweetness remains throughout the sip.  The aftertaste is delicately floral with a light sweetness.

What I like best about Yellow tea versus say, a white or green tea or even a green Oolong is that there are elements of most of these teas:  I taste creamy notes that you might find in these three tea types, but it’s not quite as heavy in texture as an Oolong or even a green tea might be.  It has subtle floral tones but they aren’t as sharp as with these other teas types.  And there is less of a vegetal note than with these other three tea types.  In fact, I’m having a hard time detecting ANY vegetal note to this cup, and I’m searching for it.  There is a very, very faint vegetal note hiding in the distance behind the sweet, nutty flavors and the notes of flower in the breeze.

It’s simply a wonderful tea, and this yellow from What-Cha is beyond wonderful.  Better than wonderful.  It’s absolutely, exquisitely perfect!

Temomi Shin Cha Green Tea from Sugimoto America

Temomi Shin ChaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Sugimoto America

Tea Description:

Temomi Shin Cha is one of the rarest and highest quality Japanese green teas. The word temomi means “hand-rolled”. From the meticulous picking of the best young tea leaves to the final process of kneading the leaves to fine needles, the whole practice is done by the hands of elite temomi artisans. A method used in Japan centuries ago, the temomi technique is vanishing due to the adoption of today’s machines to produce tea. Temomi Shin Cha is offered to the Japanese Emperor each year in a ceremony celebrating the first tea of spring.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have tried Shin Cha teas in the past, but I have never had this very rare Temomi Shin Cha tea before.  What an amazing opportunity to try it!

This is one of the finest green teas I’ve yet to try.

The dry leaf is long and elegant.  The photo above almost suggests an appearance of a Japanese Sencha, and … it does look a little bit like that, except that the leaves are longer.  These aren’t a finely cut leaf, they’re the tender, young leaves – whole – that have been assiduously rolled by hand.  Each tiny, beautiful leaf has been rolled into a long, very slender, sleek “needles.”  They’re gorgeous.

Since I do not own a kyusu, I steeped these leaves in my gaiwan.  My gaiwan is not the “standard” gaiwan, it has a fairly wide, shallow chamber and it is the perfect size to accommodate these precious leaves.  How this tea is brewed is very important.  The temperature should be only 100°F – yeah!  I did a double take on that temperature too.  I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a tea where such a low temperature was required!

Fortunately, my Breville One-Touch doubles as a variable tea kettle as well, and while it doesn’t have a setting for a temperature so low, it does show the temperature as it builds and I was able to pull the kettle at 100°F.  The steep time is 2 minutes.  After two minutes, look at the leaves and see if they’ve opened.  They were beginning to open at this point, but not fully open, so I gave the tea one more minute.  After the extra minute, I strained the tea and sat back to enjoy my this rare tea experience!

The color of the tea is very pale.  But even though there isn’t a lot of color to the liquid, there is a LOT of flavor and texture. It is sweet and the texture is thick.  Thicker than any other Japanese green tea I’ve ever tried (Matcha is not included in that statement.)  It is rich and buttery with a strong vegetative taste that is somewhat grassy.  Sweet and grassy.

In the literature that comes along with this tea, it says:

Temomi Shincha is consumed in small amounts, very much akin to enjoying a rich and strong flavored espresso.

And I get that.  No, I’m not tasting espresso here.  But it does have a very strong and forward flavor, just like you might experience if you were to be sipping on an espresso – but without being brash like espresso can be.  Hey, what can I say, I’m not into espresso … I’m a tea drinker through and through.

For the second infusion, I used 130°F water and steeped for only 1 minute.  This cup is not quite as thick as the first was, but it maintains the same level of flavor and the same sweet, grassy, rich taste that I enjoyed in the first cup.  Still buttery, but because it isn’t as thick, it doesn’t seem quite as buttery or creamy as the first cup was.  It still has a really luscious texture though, it’s just a little lighter.  I notice a bit of astringency to this cup.

I brewed my third infusion the same way, but I added 15 seconds onto the infusion time, steeping for 1 minute 15 seconds.  The extra 15 seconds made a difference, and I’m getting that same soft, thick texture that I experienced in the first cup with this cup.  It’s thick and buttery and delightful.

This third cup may be my favorite of the three.  It has the same rich, brothy texture of the first cup, but with a softer vegetative presentation, the flavor is a little softer and this accentuates the creamy texture.

And because I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to this tea just yet, I decided to do something that I don’t ordinarily do:  eat the leaves!  I brought the kettle to a boil, and poured the boiling water over the leaves to soak them for five minutes to remove any tannic qualities of the leaves.  So after I finished drinking this tea, I enjoyed a warm salad of tea leaves and a light dressing of sesame oil and orange.  It was tasty!

This is – unquestionably – an exceptional tea and offers not just a journey that’s well worth taking but also represents an opportunity to taste a rare tea that is available only in limited quantities.  I highly, highly recommend this tea to all those who truly love tea.