Smoky Coconut Packs a Punch!

Smoking Coconut from 52Teas packs a punch!  It has a base of bold Assam black tea, the powerful addition of coconut chips, and the dangerous, dreamy taste of smoke.  I’ve come to seek out smoky teas of the years, so I found this to be an exciting, enjoyable cup.  The coconut is fragrant and buttery throughout the dry leaf and brewing process, while the smoke lingers at the back end of each sip.  With the fatty coconut and hint of smoke, this tea feels more savory than refreshing.  It would pair well with a bold meal like bacon and eggs or a barbeque lunch.

This tea review goes out to a favorite create-a-character from my 2012 wrestling video game: Smoky Coconut.  Smoky was an old school wrestler, big dude, rocking a classic mullet, and throwing down power moves in his blazing white singlet. Pound-for-pound, Smoky had the best mustache in the business. Though he lost the infamous rumble match to SpicyGirlGimlet, Smoky Coconut will always have a place in the hearts of his fans.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: black
Where to Buy: 52Teas
Description: I just wanted a tea that was coconut-y and a little bit smoky. So that’s what I did. Sometimes, that’s what my inspiration is all about. I wanted a coconut-y tea and I thought that the combination of a lightly smoky tea with the creamy, sweet coconut flavor would be really interesting.
I started with a blend of black teas – a rich, malty Assam; a smooth, medium-bodied Ceylon and a tippy, robust Yunnan. Then I added just a teensy bit of Lapsang Souchong to give it a hint of smoke. I wasn’t going for a heavily smoked tea this time around – I didn’t want an overpoweringly smoky presence – just enough smoke to add some contrast to the silky sweet coconut flavor. Then I added a bunch of huge shreds of coconut.
The result is a sublimely yummy cuppa that you’ve gotta try. Sure, it might be a little on the ‘usual’ side especially when compared to some of the teas that we’ve made in the past but it’s no less delicious. Sometimes – going with something a little more ordinary can lead to extraordinary results!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas

smokyTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Majesteas

Tea Description:

Our own special blend of fine black tea will delight the single-malt whiskey lover. This tea combines peaty smokiness with a hint of citrus.

Region: China, India, Sri Lanka

Leaf: Black, full leaf mixed with cut pieces

Water Temperature: 212F

Steeping Time: 3-5 minutes

Preparation: Makes a good afternoon or morning tea, can be milked and sugared

Flavor Profile: Medium strength, smoky, peaty and smooth

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas is a heavy-duty tea for sure!  If you are a fan of Lapsang Souchong this tea will most likely intrigue you!  What makes this tea different from your average every day Lapsang Souchong is that this Macdonald’s Highland Blend from Majesteas is a blend of their fine black teas with a hint of citrus.  It is VERY smoky and quite ‘peaty’ as well.  Majestea says this tea will delight ‘the single-malt whiskey love’ and that it is ‘perfect after a meal.’

It’s nothing short of a ‘slap you in the face’ morning wake-up tea but if you are afraid of smoky teas you have been warned.

The citrus notes are moreso in the front of the sip and the malt finishes everything off.  Personally I enjoy this tea after the appropriate brew/infusion times and at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.  It seems to bring more of the citrus notes out.

This is an oldie-but-a-goody from my stash that I am not sadly out of.  Perhaps this is a smokey tea that you will enjoy!  If you do be sure to let us know in comments!

Australia Houjicha Green from What-Cha

GreenHoujichaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

Two Rivers Green Tea started producing tea in 2001 with the aid and encouragement of Japanese tea experts who were seeking to encourage Japanese style tea production for the domestic Japanese market. The Two Rivers farm was selected as it has the same latitude of southern Japanese tea farms, idea temperatures, rainfall and great quality topsoil.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Recently I placed a What-Cha order for myself, and one of the things I was looking for was a Houjicha to stock up since it’s one of my favourite kinds of green tea and while I currently have a Genmaicha stocked that I really like there’s a hole in my cupboard where a good Houjicha should be. This one comes from Australia, and personally I’ve never tried an Australian grown tea before though I was aware that they were produced. Australia is one of those regions that isn’t typically thought of as a tea growing region among people who aren’t more learned tea drinkers the same way people don’t realize tea is grown in places like Kenya or Hawaii and I’m very excited to get my first taste of an Australian tea, especially considering how affordable this blend was. It was an easy thing to gamble on.

I do think this was worth the gamble. While it’s not as straightforwardly roasty as I tend to prefer from a good Houjicha there are some very, very nice subtle nuanced flavour notes that more than makes up the different. For starters, there’s an interesting nutty notes that seems to make itself known in each part of the sip in a different way. With that first initial taste it’s light lightly toasted nuts, and then in the body it weaves in and out between the other flavours. In the aftertaste, you’re tasting the shadow of the nut flavour which once was.

There’s also some really nice sweeter notes like caramel and cocoa which gently stretch out across the surface of your tongue, creating this really nice, smooth body flavour. The finish is lightly smokey, and leaves you wanting to go back in for another sip so you can experience the flavour dynamics all over again. Overall it’s a very warming and welcoming cuppa.

I definitely think I’ll clear my purchase of this easily, and will probably go back for more after that. More than that, this only gets me even more excited to try more of what Australia has to offer!

Golden Dragon Yellow Tea from Teavana

GoldenDragonYellowTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy: Teavana

Tea Description:

We are proud to offer one of the rarest teas in the world; our limited edition yellow tea direct from China. The name ‘yellow’ tea refers not only to the unique processing and the lovely, bright golden infusion color, but due to its rarity it is also associated with the imperial yellow worn exclusively by emperors for centuries. Unlike any tea you have tasted before, at first sip it evokes the exquisite pleasure of everyday luxuries. Captivating high floral notes mingle with a smooth honeyed body and a subtle creamy, buttery finish. A perfectly balanced tea curated just for you.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

First a brief disclaimer of sorts;

I am NOT a fan of Teavana. I have never purchased a blend from them and likely never will. However, this has absolutely nothing to do with the blends they sell themselves.While the store serves it’s purpose of acting as an introductory loose leaf tea shop, for which I am grateful (as I’m sure they’ve turned many people on to drinking loose leaf tea) I cannot personally support their business model nor will I give money to a company with such consistently reported poor customer service.

Any of their teas that I’ve ever tried has been received as a sample, and not purchased out of my own pockets. That said, I’ve never let my personal views of the company’s business model affect the way I perceive their teas. This has meant occasionally finding a great blend but not pursuing a revisit, which can be disappointing, but is something I can live with. As for this tea, I’m going to review it as if I didn’t know the company from which it was sourced and give my opinion PURELY about the tea itself.

And so carrying on…

Visually, the dry leaf of this blend looked like somewhat tarnished, lightly browned Yin Zhen (Silver Needle tea) but a little more twisty. Steeped up, the liquor is a very flat, dull golden yellow. It’s very beautiful, even if it’s not a more lively looking liquor. Personally, I’ve only had three or four other plain yellow teas and they’ve been prepared in blue teaware, so I can’t really use my personal experiences to say whether this colour is normal for steeped up yellow tea though. The aroma is interesting; it’s soft with a bit of a buttery vegetal smell and some malt and sweeter notes as well.

Drinking this, it was really apparent to me that the nuances of flavor take after traditional Yin Zhen and Green Tea pretty equally; of course that makes sense given that yellow tea is halfway between white and green tea. I could actually tell it was produced in China without reading the description though; China’s green teas tend to have a more distinct smokey and nutty flavor to them while Japanese greens lean more heavily on the marine side of this (seaweed) and the flavors here weren’t an exception to that. On the greener end of the spectrum, I noticed very gentle smokey notes, buttery vegetal notes, a bit of a peppery flavor leaning towards lemon pepper more so than black pepper (or the actual vegetable; bell pepper, etc.), and some less distinct herbaceous notes as well. That lovely peppery quality definitely falls in line with other yellow teas I’ve been lucky enough to sample.

On the whiter side of things; there was a lovely supple sweetness that reminded me of honey or, combined with the weaker floral tones present, honeysuckle. A more vague hay-like flavour was present, and a flavor that kind of crossed over between malt and cream with a soft fruity edge; very similar to some of the Kenyan white teas I’ve gotten to try. I like to describe that flavor as kind of tasting like a Hot Cross Bun/Easter bun, in a way.

This was a super interesting tea, and I loved all the flavors present that bounced off one another; I’ve only gotten to try a few different yellow teas, and this isn’t my least favourite but it’s not my favourite either: so far Camellia Sinensis’ Meng Ding Huang Ya is my favourite. Both this tea and CS’s heavy big price tags; but with the quality difference I’d go with CS’s yellow tea. However, I think this is definitely worth trying if you get the chance because it WAS lovely.

Lapsang Souchong Crocodile Black from Dammann Freres

lapsang-souchong-crocodileTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Dammann Freres

Tea Description:

A black tea with a more smoky flavour than that of its Chinese counterparts. A great smoked tea from the Island of Formosa ; merits discovering.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The ‘Crocodile’ in the name of this tea is certainly intimidating; I picture it snapping at you when you take a sip. Almost like getting whiplash from the intense smoke I suspect I’ll be tasting. The smell of the dry leaf certainly seems to support my theory; however some very quick research seems to indicate the name comes more from the fact this is a Formosa Lapsang Souchong, and less because it’s gonna bite me.

This is actually really good though it’s a little less naturally sweet than some of the other Lapsang Souchong blends I’ve been enjoying lately. It’s got a very brisk black base, and the smoky notes are indeed biting, but in a way that stimulates taste rather than assaults it. Maybe it’s because it’s summer and finally BBQ season but I’m picking up flavor notes that resemble the smell of burning hamburgers on a grill. The finish reminds me a little bit of molasses or those ‘tar candies’ that are sometimes given out around Halloween.

I enjoyed this one best when it was lukewarm; but the entire cuppa was pleasant. I don’t think I could call it any better or worse than another Lapsang Souchong though. It’s certainly very smoky; so if you like your Lapsang light I’d veer away from this blend.