Plantation Fresh Uva Tea from Zesta

The crisp aroma of these maroon, CTC BOP leaves transports you with their smell of brambles dried in an arid forest.

Zesta aims for this tea collection, which includes this Uva, to provide an authentic Ceylon journey, well, mission accomplished! Turns out, this selection is from Sri Lanka’s 4th largest grower.

Zesta recommends brewing with boiling water, which produces a rich mahogany brew.

I also made a cup at my usual 175F, which had more of a ruby color to it. I didn’t detect any major differences in taste between the two temps. Though I know its pure tea, I taste lots of refreshing red apple and somehow a sweet, fresh-cut grass in there.

Sweetener also made a negligible difference in taste. Pairs deliciously with all kinds of milk!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Loose Black Tea
Where to Buy: Zesta

Description:

The perfect gift for the tea devotee, the enchanting pine wood gift box has premium black teas from all five tea growing regions in Sri Lanka – Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. Ceylon tea became famous for its unique taste variety that differs across the regions and elevations which are reflected in these teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Huang Shan Mao Feng by Driftwood Tea. . . . . .

I steeped a tablespoon of leaf in about a cup of 175-degree water for three minutes. (The directions said to use a tablespoon per pot but didn’t say what pot size to use, so I just stuck it in my mug because I was like, it’s probably not going to turn out too strong anyway. And I was right!)

The dry leaf smells a bit vegetal, a bit astringent. Some of the leaves are more intact than others but on the whole they’re long and thin, dark green, and some even slightly fuzzy. They seem to be the growing tips of the plant (a leaf and a bud).

The tea is still almost perfectly clear after it’s finished steeping; it just has the faintest off-white, almost peachy tinge to it. It’s even clearer in color than many white teas I’ve seen!

First sip: it’s light, almost floral, and has vegetal flavors only on the back of the tongue. None of the flavors are very “forward” in the mouth except maybe the light floralness that comes at the front of the sip. It’s not too astringent, but it has a little brightness to it and even offers a comforting, energizing aftertaste. It’s definitely not too overpowering; however, the high-quality leaves should stand up to multiple steepings.

I’ve had to use my sneaky detective skills to find out more about this tea because the info isn’t up on the company’s website right now. Huang Shan Mao Feng is apparently a type of green tea, judging by the processing techniques (no oxidation time, et cetera) but the flavor really reminds me more of a white tea or even maybe a super-mild sheng (raw pu-erh) tea.

Altogether it’s a light, gentle cup that I’d recommend for relaxed, pensive afternoons where you’re not necessarily looking for something super dark or highly caffeinated.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Driftwood Tea
Description

This tea doesn’t appear to be on the site now but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Headache Relief from Virginia Tea Co (with help from Mary Poppins). . . .

Once upon a time, I had sad news to give, and I was up all night thinking of how to break it. The next morning came with a pretty rough headache, but also the right words to say. Good thing this headache curing tea was in to ease some of my mental turmoil!

It’s got lots of pulverized leaves, I can recognize lavender and chamomile and there’s definitely spearmint in there too, though there are lots of fragrant flowers I can’t ID.

Virginia Tea Co is a Kickstarter crowd-funded company, whose done all the herbal medicine research so we don’t have to. They also source fair trade ingredients, and that’s a relief too.

When I tasted this, it seemed bitter to me, almost tasted like aspirin. Was it my conscience affecting my taste buds or was this just not my cuppa?

A few weeks later, I served some to a friend who’d been having a lot of headaches and thought he might benefit from it. He often describes himself as having “the palate of an eight-year-old”, but he liked it!…. After adding Paula Deen amounts of simple syrup…. in about 15 minutes, he noted his head felt less tense,  and later that night it hadn’t come back.

Well now we know Mary Poppins had it right, a (few) spoonful(s) of sugar helps the medicine go down! I know that some folks are sensitive to OTC pain relief options, or prefer not to use pharmaceuticals and this is a great option for them.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Virginia Tea Co.

Lavender, feverfew, chamomile, skullcap, and spearmint are blended together to help fight those awful headaches. They do this by relaxing your mind and allowing for better thoughts to enter.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tsuei Luan Oolong Tea by Tea from Taiwan . . . .

I steeped this tea for three minutes with five grams of leaf in six ounces of water at 190 degrees.

It smells so lovely in the packet that I kind of want to eat it. The tiny densely rolled-up leaves (which I let float free in the cup so I can watch them moving around and unfurling) are so cool! It seems about half of them are floating and half are sinking. It smells fruity, orchidy and a bit savory.

First sip: Super rich! So much flavor!! The tea leaves have unrolled into large, intact leaves and the tea liquid is a gentle yellow that reminds me of winter sun.

As I sip the tea, it’s astringent, creamy/buttery, a little grassy, viscous, and a little nutty even, with some floral/orchidy notes flying around too. It’s also a bit “leafy” so I may have steeped it a bit long, or maybe that’s just supposed to be part of the flavor. Either way, it’s a very interesting combo with the buttery and the fruity and the vegetal/savory aspects.

It’s a full and rich cup, and I don’t think it needs sugar or milk. I really enjoyed finishing this cup off and I’d love to have more of it sometime. Apparently this tea is very popular with aficionados of Taiwan teas (according to Tea from Taiwan’s website), and although I myself am not an expert in that area, I can definitely see how that would be the case.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Tea from Taiwan
Description

Tsuei Luan Oolong tea (wulong tea) is grown in the Tsuei Luan district of Li Shan (Pear Mountain). This area is a former fruit producing region which was converted to tea plantations in the late 1970’s. The soil quality of the former orchards is excellent, and the high altitude (more than 2,000 meters) of this district provides a cool, moist climate – ideal conditions for growing tea.

Tsuei Luan oolong tea has an exquisitely sweet aroma and interesting flavour profile. The slightly floral taste has a definite fruit undertone – said to be the result of growing tea on orchard land. This tea has a very pleasing flavour that makes it one of the most popular teas amongst Taiwan tea connoisseurs.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vivacious Vitalitea by Vampyre Tea Company (Cup of Love). . . . .

Steeping: 3 g at 212°  in 1 cup for two minutes. . .

This is my first tea of the day so let’s hope it lives up to its name! It’s a rooibos-based blend, but it does have green tea as well so it’s not caffeine-free.

As the tea steeps, I’m watching it and catching a sniff here and there. I’m catching some whiffs of rooibos fragrance and, leaning closer, some honeylike flavor as well (which I at first thought came from honeybush, although I later discovered honeybush does not seem to be in the ingredients list). The liquid is turning dark reddish orange and I notice that a few bits of tea have escaped the mesh as well. (I would recommend using a finer mesh if you don’t prefer having small bits in your tea). It also smells a little bit acidic. The first sip has an interesting hint of flavor that I can’t quite place – citrus maybe? Or perhaps it’s from the rose petal I saw in the tea leaves before steeping. The overall flavor is sweet and not bitter at all or very astringent either; the flavor is welcoming but not too exciting. It doesn’t need any sugar, though, because it’s already so sweet. This tea could be a nice intro to rooibos; it does have some other flavors such as rose petals too, but they’re not too overpowering so you can still taste the rooibos flavor.

It’s good with milk too! Adding milk was actually a very interesting experiment because it ended up bringing out a completely different side of the flavor profile. I’d almost think that I was drinking a totally different kind of tea! That doesn’t happen often (and I do almost always add milk to my tea so I have plenty of experience).

Overall, I’d say this is a great, enjoyable rooibos combination with plenty of sweetness, perhaps a little citrus and/or rose flavor, and definitely no need for sugar. And according to the label it’s also organic and fair trade!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Cup of Love
Description

A revitalizing blend of herbs, flowers, and Green & Rooibos Teas to give you a boost of energy throughout your day.  Its effervescent flavor is smooth without the bitter crash of an energy

drink.  It leaves the body feeling clean, refreshed, and renewed for all of life’s adventures.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!