Moroccan Mint Green Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

MoroccanMintTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

A popular tea prepared in the North Africa region, Moroccan Mint is prepared with fresh spearmint leaves and Chinese gunpowder green tea, which is tightly rolled into small pellets. Lemon Verbena is also used to give it a little taste of lemon flavor. We recommend this tea sweetened.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I received this Moroccan Mint Green Tea as part of my Wintertime Sampler Pack that I ordered from M&K’s.  This isn’t a special “seasonal” tea but it is one of the most unique Moroccan Mint teas that I’ve ever tasted!

What makes this one so special?  Well, like some of the best Moroccan Mint teas I’ve tried, the tea base for this is a Chinese Gunpowder Green.  To give it the “Mint” – M&K’s chose not just one minty herb, but two:  spearmint and peppermint.  But then they added Lemon Verbena to give it just a hint of citrus.  That bright, sunny note of lemon gives this crisp, minty drink just the burst of flavor it needs to make it just a little different.

The citrus-y tone isn’t a loud flavor.  It doesn’t overwhelm the flavors that make a Moroccan Mint tea what it should be.  It just adds a little extra to the cup.  I like that!

The Gunpowder green is a smooth green tea with hints of earth.  It’s not overly vegetal.  I think I mentioned in a previous review that I like the combination of gunpowder green teas with mint – that in my mind, this is the making of a true “Moroccan Mint” tea.  Other Moroccan Mint teas that use other teas as a base just seem to miss the mark for me.  It’s a little earthy but not too grassy or vegetative.  It has a light smoky tone in the background.  I find these flavors to be a nice contrast to the cool, crisp notes of the mint without it tasting too “herbaceous.”

I also enjoy the combination of spearmint and peppermint in this blend.  I usually prefer peppermint because it’s a bit more zesty than spearmint, but I like the way these two work together to provide a minty taste to this cup without it tasting too minty.  I’m not drinking mouthwash, I’m drinking tea.  And this tastes like tea with a fresh, cool minty taste.  Perfect.

This is one of the best Moroccan Mint teas I’ve tasted – and in my years as a tea reviewer, I’ve tasted quite a few!

Shui Xian Wuyi Oolong from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

Shui Xian is a tea shrouded in mystery -its name is either a reference to a Taoist immortal, a spirit of the water, or the narcissus flower.  This triple-meaning is fitting for the immense complexity and richness that the tea offers.

Learn more about this Oolong here.

Taster’s Review:

This is such a delightful Oolong.  The complexity here is intense!  So many layers of flavor just waiting to be explored.

The sip starts out soft, but remains soft for only a moment, until my palate starts to recognize the flavor of sweet, creamy vanilla washing over it.  After the blanket of vanilla subsides a bit, I begin to notice a pollen-y kind of taste … it is sweet, almost like honey, but, not quite.  It tastes like it falls somewhere between the pollen and the freshest honey as it slowly oozes out of the comb.  I can still very much taste the flower in this honey-esque note.

Then, I start to perceive notes of smoke in the distance.  Not a strong smoky essence, but, instead, imagine charcoal that is still smoldering.  Wisps of smoke appear around the surface of the charcoal … it is a tender smoke, very wispy, and offers hints of a toasty, almost charcoal-y flavor.

The tasting notes from Verdant Tea suggest ripe mango, and I do taste a fruit flavor, but I don’t know that it’s really mango that I taste.  I’ve had a few mango flavored things today and I don’t know that I’d really compare those flavors to what I taste now, but I do see where Verdant Tea is coming from with that comparison.  It is indeed mango-like.

Subsequent infusions reveal more of an apricot flavor, with nutty undertones.  I taste hints of cinnamon as well.  The tea is not quite as creamy now, although I do taste notes of vanilla … these notes are just not quite as smooth.  Instead, I notice an almost mineral-y texture to the cup which really complements the cinnamon notes quite nicely.

Later, I notice that the honey sweetness seems to have united with the smoky tones to offer a caramel-y kind of taste that is sweet and smooth.  In these last infusions, the tea has lost the mineral-y texture in favor of a smoother, softer … almost thin broth kind of mouthfeel.  The flavors now are very unified, less distinct in their individuality, but no less complex.

Overall, this is a very unique and mysterious tea, true to its description … and another perfect example of what makes Verdant Tea so wonderful.  High quality teas that not just taste good, but take you on a journey of complex flavors!

Hong Shui Oolong from Zi Chun Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Zi Chun Tea Co.

Note:  I was not able to find this tea on the Zi Chun Website, however, I was able to find a “News” post that mentioned that this tea had been harvested in the Summer of 2011 and was available in July 2011.  I assume this means that this tea has since sold out, but I recommend watching for similar news this coming summer!  Trust me when I say this tea is worth it!

Taster’s Review:

Hong Shui is not an Oolong type that is familiar to me, but, now that I’ve tasted it, I’m really glad I had the oportunity to do so!  It’s absolutely delightful!

I tend to prefer greener Oolong teas such as Ali Shan, but, I enjoy expanding my horizons and sampling other types of Oolong, and while this one is quite different from Oolong teas I’ve tried in the past, I really like it.

It starts out slightly smoky, with a strong charcoal-like presence.  Just beneath the overture of charcoal, I notice delicious nutty flavors, reminding me of roasted almonds.  The sweetness of the almond is there too.  After the strong notes begin to subside, a lovely fruit tone emerges, providing not only a sweetness but a slight “juicy” note that washes over the remnants of the charred tones, which acts to refresh and invigorate the palate.  The finish is clean and dry, imparting hints of the deeply roasted flavors that I experienced toward the start.

Truly a lovely tea experience, this is an Oolong I’d highly recommend to all those who love Oolong!