Sun Moon Lake Black Tea #18/ Great Tea Road Co. . . . .

Do people get excited over coffee beans like tea drinkers do over beautiful tea leaves?

When I saw the sample for this tea while strolling though the farmers market I knew I had to try it. Long, black leaves twisted and curled slightly; an aroma of honey and cedar.

This is not a machine tea. Leaf perfection like this needs to be worked by hand.

The wet leaves become a chocolaty brown color and gives off a rather strange scent. It’s not bad, I’m just not quite sure of what to make of it. The liquor is silky smooth.

Nothing bitter to it.

Hits the palette just right with essences of honey, cedar, and forest floor.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Great Tea Road Co
Description:

Taiwan is an island near China. Although mountainous, its climate conditions make it ideal for farming. Many Taiwanese have either Chinese and/or original tribal heritage, and the countries main languages are Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese (Min). This tea is uniquely produced with a mixture of local Taiwanese tea cultivar and Burmese tea cultivar. The leaves were picked by hand. Its smell is like light lotus and cinnamon which is uniquely produced in Taiwan.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Wild Style Black Tea from Old Ways Tea. . . .

A telltale nagging in my throat tells me a cold is underway. So I needed the toughest, most bracing tea out there.

Enter: WILD STYLE BLACK TEA.

You know, a RUGGED, BUTCH, RICH tea that’ll sharply inform my immune system HOW IT IS DONE. No mix-ins. Just the STRAIGHT-UP REAL DEAL. The sort of situation that calls for the CAPS LOCK BUTTON

This tea has a thick and smooth flavor. It’s manly, but in a calming, non-smoky way. It tastes like berries, and growth, and getting a tan. It tastes like soil in softening in preparation for spring. It tastes like a cute man in leather winking at you. It tastes like a winding car ride on perfectly paved road.

It tastes like a glorious warrior defeating a sniveling cold.

I hope.

Fingers crossed.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Old Ways Tea
Description

This wild style black tea is from high mountains above Tongmu village located in the Wuyishan Biodiversity Protection area. A strong but clean floral fragrance is present. The tea is described as wild style due to the conditions in which the trees are allowed to grow. The trees are by no means wild, they are still intentionally grown from known cultivars, but are spaced more widely and allowed to grow more how they please. They are not forced into the neat rows that make cutting more efficient.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Have a Sweeter Breakfast Blend with Aso Black from Mellow Monk

Aso Black from Mellow Monk is technically a black tea but it is processed a little differently that most black teas.  If I understood their description correctly, Aso Black tea is made from the tea leaves that would normally go into making sencha green tea.  Picked in the mountains of Japan, these leaves are less processed and less fermented than traditional black tea.  Aso Black is also called “kocha” or “crimson tea”, perhaps due to its medium level of oxidation.  But I digress.

The leaves in my sample were small and flat, though very dark in color.  As it brewed, the tea smelled distinctly starchy like oats or bread.  It had none of the citrus brightness I associate with other black teas.

Mellow Monk recommends letting this tea cool slightly before drinking to let the flavors come forward, so I stepped away from my cup to let it cool down.

When I took my first sip of the tea, I was once again hit with the starchiness of the flavors, though this time it also had quite a bit of sweetness.  In an abstract way, the tea reminded me of oatmeal raisin cookies if they could be turned into a breakfast tea.

In the aftertaste there is a vegetal note that I expect more often from green teas.  It reminds me of the sweet and sour fermented green tea note that I often taste in kukicha green.  With all the sweetness and smooth mouthfeel of the rest of the blend, the green tea aftertaste is less grassy and more fruity, complimenting the sweet oat flavors in the overall smell and taste.

This is a unique tea, worth a taste by black tea and green tea lovers alike.  If you are tired of ceylon’s sharpness, or assam’s full fuzziness, try Aso Black for your next breakfast blend and maybe you’ll find it makes for a sweeter morning.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black and Green
Where to Buy: Mellow Monk
Description:

How about a nice change of pace? Aso Black™ is black tea (kocha, or “crimson tea” in Japanese) made from the leaves of green tea varietals grown in the pristine foothills of Mt. Aso. Gently harvested leaves are only lightly fermented compared to conventional black tea, for a sweetness not found in ordinary black teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Pekoe Breakfast from Pekoe . . . .

The smell of this tea reminded me of English Breakfast, and that triggered me to think this blend would be great with cream and sugar! Pekoe’s website recommends trying this blend with cream and sugar, and the flavor profile does not disappoint. The flavors of this black tea were able to penetrate the cream and sugar to provide a smooth and clean black tea flavor.

I was able to get three quality brews from this tea in one serving of leaves. I personally selected to brew this in my press, and the leaves provided a beautiful light mahogany color when brewed. Before I discarded these tea leaves, I also tried this blend as an iced tea with sugar. I’m from Louisiana and a good black sweet tea is a staple in my family. When on a third brew, this tea gave wonderful light notes that were enhanced by the sweetener in the sweet tea. It was everything a sweet tea should be for a southern girl!

This tea could easily replace your English Breakfast tea that you have in your cupboard, and the quality of the leaves are apparent. This is definitely a tea I’m excited to brew again.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Pekoe
Description

Perfect for when you’re up at dawn for a run or readying for another busy day, sip on our signature organic loose leaf black tea that provides uplifting energy in a smooth and malty cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bigfoot from Wendigo Tea. . . .

The leaves of this black tea are extremely dark. When I saw the tea, I immediately though “that needs to be for a rough morning,” as I was anticipating a very strong flavor. When I opened the tea, I noticed a few flavor scents including a floral scent. !hen I brewed this tea, there was a wonderful musky flavor. The flavor is prominent, but not overwhelming as I had anticipated. It reminds me of the smells from camping with my father when I was a kid. There’s this beautiful smoky aftertaste in this blend, and I love it!

I was able to get three quality brews out of one serving of tea leaves. I have a toddler, and I often end up having to walk away from my cup only to come back to a lukewarm morning cup. To my delight, this tea’s flavor and body were still present at room temperature and still made for a delightful flavor profile! I typically take sugar and cream in my tea, but for this one, I drank it straight. When I added tea, it did was still a good cup, but I preferred the flavors without the sweetener.

This is definitely a tea I would love having in my cabinet!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Wendigo Tea
Description

Hey I’m Bigfoot! I am a pure black tea whose leaves are naturally sweet.I am a shy yet powerful beast, with a musk full of fruits, nuts, and trees. What you imagine when someone says “black tea” is a pale imitation of my beastly quality.

Want to get personal with me? I am an Imperial Grade Golden Monkey from a tea workshop in Fuan county in the Fujiang province of China. I get my name from my leaves, which look like long brown curly monkey hair and are so powerful that you can repeatedly steep them up to 6 times for pot after pot of aromatic bold tea to share with family and friends. Or just keep me all to yourself.

Don’t bother tasting any other Sasquatch. You have found Bigfoot!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!