Ruhuna Tea from Zesta Tea . . . . . .

The Ruhuna (sometimes spelled Ruhunu) tea from Zesta is part of their regional tea tasting set.  This black tea came in a beautiful red patterned box, and I’m tempted to try the rest of their regional tea set just for the eye-catching packaging alone. Beneath the red box is a foil bag of tea, so I popped it open and started brewing.

The dry leaves were small and tightly rolled, almost like pellets.  When I put my nose into the bag of tea the leaves were very fragrant, with both earthy almost-tobacco notes complimented by bright lemony scents.

In brewing, the leaves unfurled and quickly produced a dark and potent cup of tea.  The taste is definitely that of a strong black tea, but not so strong that it makes your mouth pucker.  This is where the Ruhuna blend stands out. It doesn’t have the fuzzy and chocolatey mouthfeel of some assam or malty breakfast teas.  But it is not sharp or bitter like other brighter black teas I’ve tried, even after a longer steep time.

Ruhuna is powered by its citrus flavors, tasting as sunny and lemony as you can without adding flavoring or lemon peel to the tea.  Beneath that first flush of lemon, there are sweeter orange notes, all supported by a a robust and figgy black tea base.

Sweet without being artificial, and bright without being too tart, it is easy to enjoy such an uplifting and drinkable tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Zesta Tea
Description:

Enjoy our regional tea packs featuring teas from five tea growing regions of Sri Lanka – Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. This variety from such a small island is what made Ceylon tea famous – try it – from the low grown Ruhuna teas to the high grown Nuwara Eliya – a true journey in Ceylon tea, packaged in teabags for convenience and offered in a pine wood box. Perfect for gifting.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Venetian Rose from Chash Tea

Venetian Rose from Chash Tea was the tea that started my day a few weeks ago!  And let me tell you – it was a mighty fine way to start the day!

With black teas from India, China, and Sri Lanka paired with rosebuds – how could you go wrong?  Venetian Rose from Chash Tea smells and tastes just like you think it would based on those ingredients!  It has a medium strength black tea base and mild to slightly-medium rose flavor to it.  It feels great on the tongue and on the throat!  It leaves a lovely floral aftertaste, too!

Eventho I sipped on Venetian Rose from Chash Tea for my morning tea – I think this would be ideal for afternoon tea as well!  This is completely delightful and satisfying in every way!  If you are looking for a gently flavored and scented black tea try Venetian Rose from Chash Tea.


Here’s the Scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Chash Tea

chash-logo-2014Description:

Venetian Rose from Chash Tea.  We select choice black teas from India, China and Sri Lanka

To complement the tea we add lots of delicate and fragrant rose buds

Full-bodied and rich; warm yet light; comforting and relaxing

Enjoy with or without milk

Learn more about this tea and tea company here.

 

Ceylon Idulgashinna Blooming Mushroom White from What-Cha

Ceylon Idulgashinna Blooming MushroomTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White/Bloom

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

A hand tied ball of silver tip white tea, possessing delicate fruity tones which become stronger with subsequent infusions. Tangy apricot notes become apparent with some subtle malt tones in latter steeps.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have to admit, the only reason I bought this tea was because it has ‘mushroom’ in the title and it intrigued me since I’m very allergic to mushrooms. Though the tea itself has little to nothing to do with mushrooms, it still felt kind of cool to get to say I was ‘having them’. #TeaOnTheEdge #ButNot2Edgy

I only bought a sample amount; two blooms. When I opened up the package I was pretty taken aback because the smell was very pungent and defined. It certainly smelled strongly of apricots but also something sort of akin to sweet and sour sauce? I wasn’t expecting that level of smell at all, though it was intriguing to say the least.

I made three 12 oz. infusions of this one over the course of a work day, making sure to take note of the differences. I certainly freaked out a few coworkers at my new job; they saw this unfurled tea bloom from a distance/in passing in my mug in the breakroom and assumed something fungal was growing in my mug and that’s because the bloom certainly wasn’t the most attractive one I’ve come across – there’s no “flower” tied into it just an arrangement of white tea leaves tethered together. Which is fine: I wasn’t drinking this tea for the aesthetics however I’ll admit I did expect the “mushroom” to tie in with the overall shape of the bloom but it certainly didn’t look like any mushroom I’ve seen.

The first infusion was a mix of sharp, lively, tangy notes of apricot and peach. Again, the intensity of the ‘tang’ reminded me a little of sweet and sour sauce. Actually, in particular I couldn’t help but think of a very particular flavour from highschool cooking class I’ve only experienced once: we made vegetarian meatballs with a “sweet and sour sauce” that used apricot jam and ketchup in the sauce and this was quite similar to my memory of that sauce. There was also a very slightly malty taste to the finish of this infusion.

The second infusion was about 50/50 malt and apricot/peach with less of the piercing tang. It was probably the smoothest infusion overall and I’d say my favourite. Finally, the third infusion was more malt than anything else with light notes of apricot and a bit of a peppery finish. I swear there were also very light cocoa notes on the top of the sip as well.

Overall, I thought this was surprisingly delightful – more so than I actually expected it would be if I’m being completely honest/transparent. What started off as a bit of a ‘gag’ purchase actually resulted in a wonderful tea session and intriguing learning experience. Also, credit where credit is due: What-Cha has done a marvelous job describing the overall flavour of this tea on their page for it. While I was taken back by the intensity of the apricot notes there’s no doubt in my mind that their flavour description was super accurate. I absolutely recommend trying this tea!

Ceylon Sapphire Oolong Tea from Mela Teas

Fullscreen capture 8192015 24343 PMTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea

Where to Buy: Mela Teas

Tea Description:

Sri Lanka’s first Oolong tea, one of the landmarks of 150 year-old tea history. Enjoy the milky notes of this partially oxidized tea with its gentle aroma and light taste.

12-15 tsp per 2oz (12-15 cups). Teas can be re-steeped within 2 hours of first infusion by adding hot water to taste, giving 24-30 cups per 2oz.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Ceylon Sapphire Oolong Tea from Mela Teas…the name rolls right off the tongue and swishes flavor-fully on the taste buds, too!  Ceylon Sapphire Oolong is a great name for this tea.  To me it says beautiful yet powerful.  Spunky yet graceful.  Strong and worldly.

The flavor is pretty bold for an Oolong.  There are certainly some floral notes but backed up with earthy tones, too.  Mid-sip presents sweet-woodsy flavors followed by more sweeter floral notes.  The aftertaste is NOT a stale floral lingering taste like some woodsy and earthy Oolongs tend to have but is rather delightful and hydrating.

This holds up to multiple infusions while morphing the flavoring on the tongue only slightly with each additional infusion.  It’s been said that most Oolong fall somewhere between a black tea and a green tea.  I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum and this one seems to fall more with the darker side of things which I really enjoy.

Ceylon Sapphire Oolong Tea from Mela Teas is a KEEPER in my book!  It’s ideal for sharing or keeping in your stash for special occasions.

Ceylon Idulgashinna Hand Twisted Blue Nettle Oolong from What-Cha

bluenettleoolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  What-Cha

Tea Description:

A delightful tea crafted by workers meticulously hand twisting and tying tea leaves together to form a ‘blue nettle’. The leaves within the ‘blue nettle’ show varying levels of oxidisation and as a result the tea exhibits characteristics typical to white, oolong and black teas!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a very cool tea; and while I don’t know for sure that’s it’s unique to What-Cha I’ve personally never seen another oolong rolled like this. When I opened up my sealed package I was quite surprised too; the ‘nettles’/spears of tea are actually quite large and thick – maybe about the length of my pinky finger? And just slightly thicker across than the widest part of my finger. For my tasting, I used two of the nettles/spears since the suggested measurement was 1-2 pieces and I was using a mug just slightly bigger than 12 ounces.

The first infusion was very soft and delicate, like a very lightly oxidized oolong but with flavour notes traditionally found in white, oolong, and black teas  – exactly like What-Cha describes in the tea description! The notes I observed throughout the cup were apricot, overripe peaches, hay, flowers, malt, and a dewy/rainwater like flavour. The emphasis was on the really supple stonefruit notes though. It also surprised me a little that the nettles stayed almost completely the same shape as they were before steeping – just slightly ‘swollen’ from steeping.

The second infusion was quite similar to the first – though the apricot, hay, and malt notes all got increasingly more prominent and I wasn’t tasting overripe peaches or the same ‘dew’ flavour anymore. The mouthfeel was initially soft, but it left a tingly feeling on my tongue like I’d eaten too much pineapple recently. All subsequent steeps followed the layout of this one up until the flavour started to really suffer. The nettles never really completely unwound, either.

This was a fascinating tea, and I really enjoyed it quite a bit! However, that said, the first infusion actually was my favourite. There was something really perfect about the taste of apricot and fresh rainwater. It’s hard to put it into words.