I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for 2 minutes (using the entire sample packet). The packet suggested 1-2 minutes; I sampled it after 1 minute and decided I wanted it stronger, so I left it in for another minute.
The rolled leaves start to expand as soon as they’re submerged. They’re pretty tightly rolled, but they expand a LOT. I’m not really good at determining the level of oxidation in an oolong but I’d say it was fairly light to medium, based on the color of the leaves (and of the liquor). They seem to be high-quality, fairly intact leaves; I was able to pull out one crumpled piece and tease it open to discover that it was actually a couple of entire leaves attached to a bud by the associated stem. So cool! It makes me feel a lot closer to the plant, somehow, than when the leaves are pre-measured into a sachet and/or chopped up into eensy bits.
The tea liquor when steeped is a mid-light yellow, not quite as light as the average green tea, with that distinctive oolong-y fragrance (a bit floral and a bit savory).
First sip: tangy. There’s a definite presence of acidic/astringent aspect. A warming, slightly roasty flavor travels over the top of the tongue while the astringency pulls at the sides of the tongue. By “roasty flavor” I mean an almost nutty, hearty savoriness. It’s not exactly roasted (and certainly not smoky) but it’s a very hearty presence with more depth than just the floral/orchid oolonginess.
The flavor is overall quite smooth with no noticeable bitterness. This smoothness combines with the savoriness to give an almost buttery impression. There’s maybe a tiny bit of mineral-y-ness as well, combining with the green (in a good vegetal sort of way) and slightly roasty/hearty/buttery flavor to create a very satisfying flavor profile.
The tea is fairly sweet already, so I added just a pinch of sugar. I don’t usually prefer milk with oolongs, so I didn’t add any. I imagine you could re-steep this tea with good results as well, based on the quality of the leaves.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teavivre
The Nonpareil Taiwan DaYuLing High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea is grown in the area at the altitude of 2500 meters, in which the climate is cold and forests grow well. This cold and moisture condition is suitable for tea trees’ growth. In addition, the soil here is fertile, meanwhile performs well in drainage. Thus the tea leaves carry a natural scent of flower and fruit.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
I am far from an expert, but I’ve always been both intimidated and entranced by pu erh tea. The tea comes packed in cakes and wrapped in decorative papers, and you might even have a tea pick especially for breaking up these tightly packed leaves. There’s a proper way to brew and taste pu erh, and all kinds of special teapots and accessories. There’s something inherently magical about having the right tools for an ancient ritual. With the Mini Yunnan Toucha mix sampler from Teasenz, I could give the whole thing a try at my kitchen table.
I’ve brewed enough bad cups of pu erh tea to know that it’s worth following the instructions. For this sampler I used the following process for each: 20 second awakening rinse (pour off the liquid), 5-10 second brews following. I only did three brews for each tea, though a good pu erh session would have many more. I only used a small piece of each tea cake for my taste-test– I would not recommend throwing the whole thing in your teapot, no matter how small and cute the tea cake is.
I’m going to use the same naming convention that Teasenz used on its website, referring to the teas by the color ink on their wrappings.
First up was the brown wrapper tea. This smelled like what I typically associate with pu erh: wet hay, earth, and old leather. If you’re new to pu erh, these flavors may take a little getting used to. Feel free to shorten your steep times to as little as 1 to 3 seconds if anything gets too intense. This tea very much smelled like the outdoors after the rain, with notes of wet mulch and damp leaves. I mention all these wet adjectives because there was definitely a sense of age or plant decay in the smell and taste.
The mouthfeel of pu erh is worth noticing, known for being exceedingly smooth, some might even describe it as creamy. Black teas can be bitter or have a strong astringent bite, but no such sensation was present in the brown wrapper tea. By the second and third steep, I continued to notice wet garden flavors, with more mineral tones like mushroom or beets or kale, especially on the aftertaste. The wet hay fragrance remained throughout, coming on the strongest when first brewed and dissipating slightly as the tea cooled.
Next was the red wrapper tea, in a cube shape. This tea felt similar to the brown wrapper, with notes of wet earth and grass. However there was a bit of brightness in the red tea that wasn’t present in the brown, maybe citrus or orange, a touch of something tart. The second steep had more of this brightness, like lemongrass, along with the typical pu erh wet hay flavors. By the third steep, the citrus verged to more of a bright pine note. If the brown wrapper tea was a deciduous woods full of wet, autumn leaves, then this red wrapper tea was a damp, evergreen forest with crushed hemlock needles and pine resin.
After the brown and red teas, the blue wrapper tea was quite a departure. As soon as I rinsed the leaves, I was hit with a striking popcorn scent. According to Teasnez, this “sticky rice” flavor is a staple of certain pu erh teas. My boyfriend was walking by the room at this point and said it smelled like Fritos corn chips! As for the taste, this tea still had the expected wet grass notes, but the brew was more savory, like a soup broth. The plant-like flavors were a little different than the brown and red tea cakes, this time tasting more like corn or celery. As I tried more steeps with this tea, the sticky rice note became more mellow, and the damp earth and corn husk flavors were more prevalent, smelling more like an autumn cornfield maze.
Finally we get to the yellow wrapped tea. This is a different type of pu erh tea entirely. The brown, red, and blue wrapper teas were all pu erh shou tea. The yellow wrapped tea is a pu ehr sheng. Shou tea is fermented prior to packaging, while sheng teas are packaged “raw” and age in the package over time. This yellow wrapped sheng tea occupied a flavor profile somewhere between the wet earth flavors of the brown wrapper tea, and the toasty rice notes of the blue wrapper tea. The yellow wrapper tea had flavors like starchy baked bread and old paper alongside the damp grass tones. This tea had the most variation between steeps, the second steep having flavors that reminded me of black licorice or roasted nuts, and the third steep brightening up to more of a celery and sweetgrass blend.
Personally, I find the smells and tastes of pu ehr tea to be memory-inducing, reminding me of playing and exploring as a kid. The scents of damp paper or old leather are akin to going into an undisturbed attic, and the damp earth scents make me think about playing in neighbors’ barns or crawling under the porch for hide-and-seek, while the wet leaves flavors make me think of walking in the woods after the rain. The flavors of these aged tea leaves provide me with a strong sense of nostalgia and history.
Or maybe I’m just waxing poetic here, and I’ve just brewed one too many cups of tea for one afternoon. Either way, I highly recommend this sampler as a great way to experiment with pu ehr tea and its traditions.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Teasenz
If you are new to pu erh tea and have yet to discover the different types of aromas it offers, then this mini tuocha tea mix is the right place to start. Reap the weight loss benefits of this pu erh while enjoying the diverse mix of flavors that ensure you will never get bored.
Today I NEED to share with you – Spicy Tortilla Vegetable Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas! I’m doing a tie-in with VeganMofo on this one because it works PERFECTLY for the “Easy Cook Meal”… ‘something I make when I can’t be bothered to cook much’! Millie’s Savory Teas – also known as – Millie’s Sipping Broth – was INVENTED by a school teacher who needed a better way to snack in between classes!
After double checking the ingredients AND confirming with the company I was able to verify that Spicy Tortilla Vegetable Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas was VEGAN – therefore – the PERFECT PRODUCT to feature for today! WHY am I so darn excited about Spicy Tortilla Vegetable Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas? Because MOST Tortilla Soups that are commercial popular have chicken broth or other chicken ingredients in them! NOT Spicy Tortilla Vegetable Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas! The ingredients include: Green Tea, an organic vegetable blend that contains carrots, onion, and celery, tomato, sea salt, yeast extract, garlic, chipotle, herbs, and spices.
I made a cup of Spicy Tortilla Vegetable Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas while at work and VERY busy one day not too long ago and I will tell you the more I drank it the more I was addicted to the flavor! I drank it on an empty stomach (well the only thing my stomach had in it was other teas) but I will say I was HUNGRY going into this sipping experience and by the time I was done I was completely satisfied. I’m not making any claims here – just telling you what my stomach experienced!
The flavor of Spicy Tortilla Vegetable Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas was out of this world! It WAS spicy, savory, tomato-y, garlic-y, and peppery. I LOVED each of those tastes! I can see myself drinking this often! Is it a SOUP? Is it a TEA? YES. And it is FABULOUS!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Millie’s Savory Teas
Description: This Spicy Tortilla Sipping Broth is a zesty blend of chipotle pepper, spicies & green tea. This first-of-its-kind savory single serve hot beverage delivers an amazing taste using the highest quality vegan, natural, wild harvest, organic and gluten-free ingredients – NO MSG. It really is Comfort Food in a Broth™.
Millie’s Sipping Broth – The first soup/broth in a tea bag – invented by a school teacher who needed a better snack between classes to cure the crave of unhealthy salty snack foods.
– Steepable tea/Broth Bag – excellent at work, for travel or home
– 75% less sodium than a bouillon cube
– Gluten free and real all vegetable/herb ingredients
Leaf Type: White Tea
Where to Buy: Shanti Tea
This flavored white tea is no longer available on the Shanti Tea website but I thought it was still worth a mention.
Eventho J’aime Caramel White Tea from Shanti Tea is no longer available for purchase on their company website I thought it was still worth a mention. My first encounter with this tea was about 5 years ago and I knew awhile ago at some point the last of my stash would come to an end and it would be a sad, sad day. That day has come.
I don’t think I have ever had another caramel flavored white tea but even if I did this one would be hard to beat. It has that floral flavor that some white teas have but it also has a hardy caramel flavor to it too! The two flavors paired together work oddly well together. This tea is incredible smooth, sweet, floral, and a bit savory, too!
With the loss of this flavored white tea there appears to be a gap in the market. So if any of those creative tea companies out there are trying to think of a new flavor offering in their catalog – may I suggest a caramel flavored white? It’s shockingly tasty!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: August Uncommon
As the Austrian Alps warm they offer a multitude of aromas and colors. The woods come alive with light flickering through branches, beaming in unexpected clearings redolent of grasses, herbs and wildflowers in full bloom. The bright spruce aroma overhead and earthy fir needles melding with the soil underfoot. Brushing your hands against the sticky juniper bushes, gathering fragrant herbs and ripe blackcurrant berries warmed by the sun. Capture the fleeting majesty of the aromatic journey.
Learn more about this tea here.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a review here on SororiTea Sisters but that certainly doesn’t mean I’ve stopped drinking wonderful, strange and unique teas such as this tea from August Uncommon!
This is such an interesting tea; any time you encounter a ‘savory’ tea with different kinds of unconventionally used herbs and spices, such as the rosemary and thyme in this blend, you know you’re going to be getting an outside of the box tea drinking experience. The dry leaf of this tea certainly has a very pungent aroma of thyme which is quite enticing. There’s also a slight earthiness which adds depth right off the bat, even before pouring any water!
The aroma of the brewed tea is surprisingly smooth with both a familiar, comforting aroma and air of exoticism. However, I just feel like once you begin drinking the tea it fails to deliver the level of flavour that you’d expect from all the wonderful aromas that have been experienced at this point. Not that it tastes bad! It’s just that I feel like this blend doesn’t quite commit to being either sweet OR savory. I taste a distinct flavour of thyme with hints of rosemary but not in the potency I expected or wanted. The sweetness comes from a hint of jammy flavour provided by the juniper berries; I’m missing the distinct pine flavour of the junipers though and that’s a slight disappointment too because I think that flavour note would have really sold the title for me. The whole thing is supported though by a very smooth, earthy base though and I’m REALLY loving that element of the blend.
And of course, like I said, it truly isn’t a BAD blend. On the whole, I actually find it really delicious – I’m just having to mildly adjust my expectations while drinking it. I absolutely recommend trying it if you get the chance. And for people who haven’t had savory teas before I think this would be a really good way to branch into that type of flavoured blend.