Thailand ‘Red Tiger’ Oolong Tea/What Cha. . .

Sometimes I just have an oolong sort of day. When I first started drinking teas, oolongs were definitely not high up on my favorites list and still today I prefer other types of tea more often than not. Yet somedays nothing quite satisfies like an oolong and sometimes if I am shopping for teas and having one of those days, I tend to buy all the oolongs. This tea, What Cha’s Thailand ‘Red Tiger’ Oolong, is one that I bought the last time I stocked up on oolong teas.

What Cha claims this tea has a smooth sweet taste with notes of honey and baked cherry. With that in mind, I was pretty surprised when I started drinking this tea and it tasted more like a brisk black tea than an oolong. Maybe not brisk per se but definitely metallic. It is sweet but I am not picking up the cherry notes promised. Perhaps there is a roastiness that combines with a bit of honey. Also, to me, it has a bit of a wet leaf flavor. Not the oolong I was hoping for when I pulled this out of my stash.

Personally, I don’t love this one. I think part of the reason why is when I went on my oolong shopping spree, I was inspired by a tasty milk oolong I recently had. This lacks the flavor qualities that I loved in that and so it falls a bit short of what I hoped for. However, I know many others who have had this tea and loved it so though it is not for everyone, it is by no means a bad oolong and one worth trying.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: What Cha

Description

Another brilliant red oolong from south-east asia with a smooth sweet honey taste coupled with baked cherry notes.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

China Bancha/Herbie Organic. . . . .

This is intriguing! Bancha usually refers to Japanese tea, specifically the second harvest from the same tea bushes that produce sencha. Bancha is considered to be an every day tea grade rather than something to reserve for special occasions, so I am drinking this as my after brunch cup.

This tea is harvested in China but is processed like Japanese bancha. The leaves are not terribly long – not like Hou Kui – but they are similar in that they are pressed flat. They are quite dark green in color.

The steeped tea is a rich gold color, not pale at all. It looks a lot like apple juice! My first sip gave the impression of mint, but the more I drink, the more I realize it is a very light briskness that builds over time. It is not creamy, buttery, or very vegetal. It is not sour when sipping. There is a bit of mineral flavor. By halfway through the cup, my tongue is feeling rather dry. And dry makes you want to drink more.

As is so often true of brisk tea, the follow up to the sip is a slight rising sweetness. There is only a hint of that here and it seems to come and go, being the most noticeable in the very back of the throat. Once the aftertaste establishes itself, though, it does linger well.

With its palate cleansing tendencies, I think this is a tea I would serve with or immediately after a meal. It is not a favorite for me, as I tend to like highly vegetal or buttery green tea, but is the sort of thing my daughter loves.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Herbie Organic

Description

Green tea produced by combining the best Chinese and Japanese tea making traditions. Grown on the northern side of the River Yangtze at altitudes of up to 250 meters, pressed and long leaves give this green tea light and gentle taste and a mild character.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson and Vail. . . .

Nepal is one place I have always wanted to travel to. I try and picture the place, the people, the culture. Since I probably will never have the opportunity to go there I will be living my wanderlust thru tea sipping. Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson & Vail helped me with this recently.

Nepal is located in South Asia, and bordered by China and India, and home to some of the largest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest which is the highest point anywhere on Earth. According to S&V and other sources – Nepal is comprised of 75 districts, one of which is the district of Panchthar. Panchthar is located in the Mechi Zone in the easternmost part of Nepal. It borders the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India, and enjoys the same soil and climatic conditions as Darjeeling.

This certified organic garden is located in Panchthar, Nepal at an elevation of 1900 to 2100 meters above sea level. Simpson and Vail’s product description of this tea says that this garden sits among beautiful forested areas and has a stunning view of Mount Kumbhakarna. Pathivara Tea was planted in 1990 and is a relatively young garden that employs 35 people (mostly women). Pathivara almost borders the Sikkim border and the location is quite remote. The yields from Pathivara are not large which allows the growers to concentrate on producing this high-quality tea.

Nepal Organic Gold Pathivara Black Tea from Simpson & Vail consists of large black, golden, and well formed leaves that brew to an amber cup. It gives off a delicate yet full flavor on the tongue. The astringency (that is found in many high-grown Himalayan teas) is present in the cup although it is on the lighter side of things. The taste is smooth with a slightly sweet rose taste. An truly delightful cup of tea that I – for one – am thrilled they offer! Yet another great cuppa from our friends at S&V!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

Pathivara Gold tea consists of large black and golden well formed leaves that brew to an amber cup with a delicate yet full flavored taste. The astringency that is found in many high-grown Himalayan teas is present in the cup although it is slight. The taste is smooth with a slightly sweet rose taste. A truly delightful cup of tea that we are thrilled to offer.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Takarabako Tea Farm: Organic Shimane Oolong Tea from Yunomi. . .

May I introduce you to…Takarabako Tea Farm’s Organic Shimane Oolong Tea…sold online from our friends at Yunomi.

Upon opening this package of loose leaf I thought the dried leaves were a little while and crazy for an oolong but I thought that was something that really set it aside from others, too!

It smelled a little airy and floral and grassy all at once. Much like if you were laying in the middle of a meadow while spring is blooming!

The flavor was comparable to a earthy green tea but had an hint of dryness and heartiness to it that some black teas have. It made for a very complex cup to contemplate. I guess you could say that it’s a ‘real thinker’.

This is the second tea I have had from the Takarabako Farm. The farm was established in 2003 as a subsidiary of the landscaping company, Matsuura-Zoen, Takarabako Tea Farm is located in the Oba Sorayama district in the southern part of Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture. The farmers conduct circulation type agriculture mainly based on tea and persimmon in addition to processing the crops and selling them directly to local consumers.

The president Kouichi Matsuura has five employees and carries the following Certifications: Eco-farmer certified by Shimane Prefecture, Organic certification of JAS (Tea, Persimmon) for agriculture, processing and packing, Local GAP certification by Shimane Prefecture, Excellence Award for the 19th Japan Environment Preservation Agriculture Promotion Competition.

For those who like unique Oolongs I would highly suggest trying this at least once!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy: Yunomi
Description

Takarabako Shimane Oolong tea is both thirst quenching like green teas and mouth drying like some black teas. It’s amazing how many different characters are connected in this tea to create something very unique. It’s more herbal-tea like than regular oolongs, very light with the actual taste floating somewhere in the middle of the gulp, perfect for everyday drinking in early autumn days or wintery spring. You can use the same leaves for at least 4 times. Love it.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Inconceivable! Vizzini’s Brew from Geeky Teas . . . . . . .

I love a tea with a good theme, so Vizzini’s Brew from Geeky Teas was a joy to drink and write about.  Vizzini refers to the character from the Princess Bride film, you know the one who was always shouting: inconceivable!  His brew was made with a black tea from the Fujian province of China.

When brewed, this blend was exceptionally smooth, both smelling and tasting reminiscent of creamy hot cocoa.  With a chocolate scent and silky mouthfeel, this brew was far sweeter and more comforting than the grating voice of its namesake.

Beneath the sweet buttery-vanilla cocoa flavors, there were hints of honey-roasted nuts, reminding me of honeybush teas.  The range and potency of these delicious flavors were impressive, knowing that this was an unflavored black tea.

I think the real cleverness in choosing this blend for Vizzini lies in its brewing notes.  Geeky Teas said that this type of tea can be brewed strong or light according to your preference, and it will maintain its tasty cocoa notes without getting bitter.  I couldn’t help but imagine brewing two mugs side-by-side with different brew times and tasting them to compare.

It made me think of Vizzini’s infamous “pick your poison” scene in the Princess Bride.  A clever man would brew a strong tea… Light or strong: which would you choose? Just remember: never go against a Sicilian when death– I mean.. a good cup of tea– is on the line!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Geeky Teas
Description:

Black tea from the Fuijian province of China. Can be brewed strong or weak. As you wish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!