Drunken Concubine from Silk Road Tea. . . . .

This top-shelf variant of Iron Goddess (Tie Guan Ying) oolong is named after the Beijing opera story where a concubine gets shwasted after she’s stood up by the king. Based on the name alone, I’m not sure which way this will go from the baseline floral taste of a lesser quality iron goddess – will the tea be a sharp bitter taste reminiscent of heartbreak, or a sweet balm to heal her sorrows?
The dry leaves have fabulous scent, reminding me of the elusive white gummy bears flavor.
After brewing “3-5 grams for under 2 minutes”, the brew is quickly a deep ochre yellow. A delicate purple orchid wafted up from the full, fluffy leaves along with the familiar umami butter of oxidized teas. It should be noted this teas flavor is due to slight oxidation as it grows – leaf hoppers bite a bit and start the process as it’s still growing. Which means there’s an absence of pesticides – win!

Everything about this tea so far is flat out sexy. Yep, sexy tea, I took it too far with the concubine reference…Moving on.
One thing I love about Oolong teas is their incredible resteep value. In this particular case, the royal fragrance gives way to a complex nectar of smoke in later brews. I’m at least 5 steeps in and the flavor just keeps evolving. This is FANTASTIC! Perfect to drink all day. Definitely the heart mending tea from my predictions earlier. A great escape for someone whose thoughts are clouded with an ominous heartache.
My first go with this tea, I over brewed it. Fortunately it was forgiving…maybe the tea is telling me something? When I brewed it with more care, it was simply magical. This is exactly the pick-me-up tea I needed this week.

Here’s the scoop!

 Where to Buy: Silk Road Teas

Drunken Concubine is named in recognition of the intoxicating flavors of a wonderful, high-grade Tieguanyin oolong. One will note the highly aromatic fragrance of the leaves. In the first steep, as the leaves begin to unfurl, delicious, flavorful notes build. This tea is bright, clean, fresh and orchid-like – all classic flavors of this high-grade, prized lo-oxidized oolong. Each season, we select a lot of this varietal from our tea maker that we believe is the finest of the harvest. We are proud to offer our latest lot of Drunken Concubine. This is a rare taste offering, high-grade oolong, much prized in China.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

My favorite tea is always changing, like a typical Gemini. When I was a teenager, my native Washington Starbucks coffee was forbidden, but I occasionally snuck in a chai latte, so black teas have been my go-to morning drink when I feel feisty.

As an adult, I spent 3+ years living in China and Japan where I learned about green, white, oolong, and pu’er teas origins. I was even prescribed traditional medicinal teas while I was there and that’s a taste you don’t soon forget! But it didn’t scare me away from herbals – I really like cold brewing rooibos and tisanes now because I can share them with my toddler.

I am back in school to become a geologist, and these science textbooks can be difficult to get through without a strong cuppa. When I’m not studying, I love pairing my teas with my BFFL and salted caramel macarons, or having existential chats with my dad.

Barrel Aged Chai – Silk Road – from Tea of the People

silk-road_largeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea (Chai)

Where to Buy: Tea of the People

Tea Description:

Chai is to many tea drinkers to what The Beatles are to music. Paul sang, “Let it Be”, but we went “Across the Universe” and landed in Silk Road, the once legendary trade route between China, India and beyond. Barrel aged with Szechuan peppers, we made Imperial Keemun, “Come Together” with this Indian Chai. Sweet and spicy flavours will leave you wanting it “8 Days a Week”.


Barrel aging is a new and exciting way to handcraft a sophisticated cup of tea. Our barrel aging process begins by carefully hand-blending the tea and ingredients together and placing the blend into charred white oak wood barrels. Flown in from France, the barrels are then stored in our private tea cellar for five months. The oak keeps the ingredients tightly stored, allowing for the ingredient’s flavours to fuse harmoniously with the tea. 


Awarded both the prestigious designation for being one of China’s Ten Famous Teas and Official Imperial Tea of the Queen of England, Organic Imperial Keemun is one of the best black teas in the world. Great for stress management, studies have shown organic Imperial Keemun also promotes excellent oral, heart and bone health. 

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Most of the teas I have tasted – I can fully form my opinion about them – by the end of the cup.  This one took a while.  It took me until my 3rd cup to full form my opinion.  Not that it was a bad tasting chai – that couldn’t be further from the truth – it was just more complex than the others I have been sipping on as of late.  Barrel Aged Chai – Silk Road – from Tea of the People was quite the experience.

I read the ingredients label over and over again.  I couldn’t find anything that would make it different than the other chai’s to be honest.  Perhaps it was all of the organic ingredients – but – I have a hunch that the REAL taste difference is because it was barrel aged.  I have to say I haven’t tried many age barrels teas – a few – but not a ton of them – probably because there aren’t that many on the market.

That’s why I think this offering it wonderful!  It gives it that little extra something.  Something you can’t quite put your finger on – or in this case – your tongue on!  The spicy flavor blast of this chai really awakens your senses.  It forces you to taste and pick out each and every ingredients and ponder on it for a bit before completing your sipping adventure.  There seems to be a mysterious semi juicy undertone that is very much appreciated.  This is one chai that I will remember for a long time, that is for sure!  Very nicely done!


Co-Founder/Co-Creator of Sororitea Sisters at Sororitea Sisters
Jennifer (TeaEqualsBliss) is in her upper 30s and lives in the eastern snowbelt area of the US with her husband, 3 dogs, and cat (however the number of furkids can change at anytime as she LOVES providing a forever home for many shelter animals. Her several interests include music, movies, veganism, sports, traveling, collecting Baseball Cards and Unicorns, Radio, Computers, Crafting, and of course…TEA. She started drinking tea at the tender age of 3 thanks to her Grandmother and her love for tea has gotten stronger with each year! In addition to being a co-founder/co-creator of Sororitea Sisters – her main site is MyBlissfulJourney.com. Find out more about Jennifer on MyBlissfulJourney.com.

Xingyang Silk Road Spice from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

Xingyang Workshop produces some of the cleanest and most sparkling  shu pu’er we have tried.  The 2008 shu nuggets are just calling to be made into a juicy and cooling blend.  The spearmint and peppermint provide a crisp edge and refreshing flavor that brings out the sparkling texture of the tea.  The cinnamon and fennel extend the sweetness and bring it out into the long aftertaste.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

At this point, I’ve tried quite a few different teas from Verdant Tea.  They’ve become one of my favorite sources for high-quality, pure teas because, put simply, they have some of the very best pure (unflavored, unblended) teas that I’ve tried.

But I’ve not tried very many of their blends, so I was excited with this opportunity to try one of the blends that has received rave reviews on Steepster.

The picture above suggests to me that this tea is a stunner iced, so I’ve been allowing this first infusion to cool to “cold” temperature before tasting.  It doesn’t take long at all since I’ve poured this into a very small teacup… and now that it has cooled, I must say that this is really very good!

The initial flavors are minty, with a back note of fennel.  The cinnamon together with the fennel create a sort of spicy licorice-y taste … it’s a sweet and exotic kind of flavor that is very enjoyable, especially as it melds with the crisp, cool minty flavors of spearmint and peppermint.

At first, it was difficult to discern the Puerh, but, as I focus, I could taste it in the background.  And as I near the end of my teacup (time for another infusion!) the earthy flavors of the Puerh are emerging.  I expect that the next infusion will be earthier than this first infusion.

Yes!  This infusion brewed to a darker color, looking much more like a cup of Pu-erh (and tasting more like it too!)  It is this infusion where I find these flavors starting to swirl together in a very harmonious fashion.  It no longer is an “initially minty, with back notes of fennel and cinnamon and pu-erh in the background” kind of cup.  This is minty, yes, and fennel-y, and cinnamon-y too.  But these flavors are much more in step with one another.  It’s become a remarkably smooth tea with notes of mint and fennel and cinnamon.  It’s like it’s become very unified – one tea with many flavors, the whole has become better than the individual parts with this unification.

That is to say that while these flavors are distinctive, they seem to be playing as a part of the whole cup here.  Truly an Alchemy blend – where all these flavors that might otherwise be ordinary have come together to create a truly extraordinary taste.

This tea keeps getting more delicious with each infusion, too.  Just when I think it can’t get better, I infuse it again, and it does get better!  Smoother, richer, more harmonious.  It was with the third and fourth infusion that I began to notice a background note of cocoa!   The aftertaste is cool and crisp and minty, and together with the tones of cocoa, it’s almost like an exotic chocolate mint.

I love how my palate is begging me for more of this tea … it’s that good!

Anne (aka the Mad Tea Artist) has celebrated her 29th birthday for many years now. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her hubby and her youngest daughter. Her oldest daughter is married and has bestowed Anne with the proud title of “Gramma” and her grandson is about the cutest boy you ever did see.

Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn’t drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn’t cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!

Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn’t cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!