Notes on 2015 Shou Mei / Verdant Tea. . . .

Zero degrees and getting colder. The past few weeks have been full of intense cold and winter storms. Makes this one want a floral tea to remind me spring isn’t too far away. And vacation is even closer. This 2015 shou mei has a silky mouth-feel with no astringency.

After I unwrapped the ball I noticed that the leaves were an array of colors. Usual leaf colors nothing crazy. It reminds me of the bark on a Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree except darker with less pop. The flavor is quite floral with honeysuckle and other unique garden flowers. Scents of rose and gardenia overflow your senses if you smell the wet leaf. Just lovely!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Verdant Teas

No description as this one is not currently being sold on the site and is no longer available, however, the general description given for most shou is workable.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Streusel Topping Iced White Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SBT-WHITE-Streusel-ToppingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

Ever get one of those giant packaged muffins with the crumbly streusel topping, and find that the lower half of the muffin isn’t nearly as good as the top half? Here’s our premium organic shou mei white tea fannings blended with organic cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and pastry flavors to make it taste like a muffin top without giving you one!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yum!  This Streusel Topping Iced White Tea from Southern Boy Teas tastes so much like a muffin top, all that’s missing is the blueberries (or whatever muffin you might be eating).  But I’m not missing blueberries because this is so tasty that I forget that I generally take my muffins with blueberries.

But since there are no blueberries in my muffin top, I might suggest that this tastes a bit more like a crumb doughnut.  You know the mini doughnuts that come in packages of six?  I taste top notes of brown sugar, and those notes almost taste caramelized.  The cinnamon isn’t overpowering.  And I get just enough of the butter and cake-like flavors to make this glass of iced tea taste like something other than just another cinnamon tea.

The Shou Mei base is an ideal choice for the flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar, and buttery, cake-y pastry.  The white tea is delicate enough to allow these flavors to be experienced but not so light in flavor that I can’t taste the tea.  Southern Boy Teas has achieved a delicious balance with this blend.

It’s a really refreshing iced tea and a very cooling beverage to drink, which is especially nice as the weather gets warmer.

Cucumber Melon White Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SBT-WHITE-Cucumber-MelonTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

Our premium organic shou mei fannings white tea blended with organic cucumber and melon flavors. This is a seriously refreshing glass of yum. Don’t miss your chance to nab one of these.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn about SBT’s subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

Nice!  I’m really LOVING this Cucumber Melon White Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas!  It’s so refreshing!

Having previously enjoyed the original 52Teas version of Cucumber Melon White tea and to a lesser extent, the SBT Cucumber Melon Black Iced Tea, I was excited to try SBT’s version of these flavors with a white tea base.  I really think that the delicate qualities of the cucumber and melon are better suited for the softer white tea base!

To brew this, I tried something just a tad different.  I hot brewed it (as usual) – heating 1 quart of water to 160°F and letting the teabag steep for 1 1/2 minute and then straining that tea into my glass tea pitcher.  But for the second quart, instead of steeping it for 2 minutes (I usually add 30 seconds onto the resteep time), I only steeped the bag for 1 minute with the resteep.  And the flavor is PERFECT.

I’m getting a strong melon flavor with notes of cucumber.  It’s sweet with a hint of savory and the white tea base comes through nicely without overpowering the soft flavors of the cucumber and melon.  A really delightful balance has been achieved here and I daresay that this is just as good as the original 52Teas version!

Ginger Ale Iced White Tea from Southern Boy Teas

SBT-WHITE-Ginger-AleTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy: Zoomdweebies

Tea Description:

Our amazing organic shou mei fannings blended with the organic flavors of ginger and bergamot. We think it makes the ultimate tribute to ginger ale. But what do you think?

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve been back and forth with this Ginger Ale Iced White Tea from Southern Boy Teas.  I like it … but I find myself not as happy with it as I was with the original Ginger Ale.  I don’t know if it’s because that tea was crafted with Bai Mu Dan and this is Shou Mei.

Or maybe it’s because since having tried that Ginger Ale tea, I’ve been exposed to a few really awesome ginger ale sodas that have knocked my socks off and perhaps my expectations of ginger ale are higher now.  Perhaps those experiences have raised the bar for me.

That’s not to say that I’m not enjoying this.  I find it tasty and very refreshing.  We’ve had some rather warm weather here lately (sorry for those of you who aren’t getting that same warm weather!) and this is really nice for when I need something cold and tasty that will quench the thirst.

Still, I find myself tasting a little more bergamot than ginger and I’m wishing that the ginger had just a wee bit more bite to it.  I guess it goes back to what I was saying before, some of the ‘gourmet’ ginger ale sodas that I’ve tried in the last few years have been absolutely outstanding and I find myself wanting that kind of flavor.

Overall, though, if you enjoyed the first Ginger Ale tea from 52Teas, I think you’d enjoy this.  It’s tasty.  I found that I enjoyed the second half gallon pitcher of the tea more than the first – so, this is one you definitely want to resteep!

This review will publish at the very tail end of Southern Boy Teas’ Indiegogo Campaign to raise funds to build the brand.  Support this small business and help it grow!

White Chocolate Raspberry Shou Mei from 52Teas

White-Chocolate-Raspberry-Shou-MeiTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

This is a blissful blend of premium Shou Mei white tea, freeze-dried raspberries, white chocolate chips and organic flavors. I’m pretty sure even the Grinch would like this one.

Learn more about this blend here.

Learn more about 52Teas’ subscriptions here.

Taster’s Review:

I brewed up a big pot of this tea for my daughter and I – she loves raspberry and white chocolate, so it was as if this tea was custom designed just for her.  As for me, I’m not as crazy about white chocolate as I am about dark chocolate.  But, I like it alright.

And her verdict?  She really liked this one.  When the tea is still quite hot, the white tea is difficult to detect.  It’s very much a raspberry tea when the tea is fresh-from-the-teapot hot.  But after the tea has had a little time to cool, the white chocolate starts to come into focus.  It’s a creamy, sweet note, somewhat vanilla-y and soft.

That said, this is still very much a raspberry tea.  The raspberry really comes through strong and is especially focused in the aftertaste when the tongue tingles from the sweet-tart notes of berry.

And you’d think that maybe with as strong a raspberry flavor that this tea has, that the delicate quality of the white tea would be overpowered, but no.  I find that the white chocolate notes seem to enhance the Shou Mei.  The Shou Mei seems stronger here than in many of 52Teas recent white tea offerings.

Overall, this is a pleasant cuppa.

I infused the leaves a second time and I drank a small cup of that tea hot and chilled the rest.  I actually preferred the second infusion to the first.  The raspberry notes have mellowed a bit with this second pot of tea, and the white tea notes are more balanced with the berry.  And it surprises me to say this, but I think that this is even better as an iced tea than as a hot tea.  I usually prefer my chocolate blends to be hot, but this is really good iced.

Please take a moment to visit my Kickstarter Campaign to Take Over 52Teas!  Please help me achieve my goal and make this dream of mine a reality!