Tsuei Luan Oolong Tea by Tea from Taiwan . . . .

I steeped this tea for three minutes with five grams of leaf in six ounces of water at 190 degrees.

It smells so lovely in the packet that I kind of want to eat it. The tiny densely rolled-up leaves (which I let float free in the cup so I can watch them moving around and unfurling) are so cool! It seems about half of them are floating and half are sinking. It smells fruity, orchidy and a bit savory.

First sip: Super rich! So much flavor!! The tea leaves have unrolled into large, intact leaves and the tea liquid is a gentle yellow that reminds me of winter sun.

As I sip the tea, it’s astringent, creamy/buttery, a little grassy, viscous, and a little nutty even, with some floral/orchidy notes flying around too. It’s also a bit “leafy” so I may have steeped it a bit long, or maybe that’s just supposed to be part of the flavor. Either way, it’s a very interesting combo with the buttery and the fruity and the vegetal/savory aspects.

It’s a full and rich cup, and I don’t think it needs sugar or milk. I really enjoyed finishing this cup off and I’d love to have more of it sometime. Apparently this tea is very popular with aficionados of Taiwan teas (according to Tea from Taiwan’s website), and although I myself am not an expert in that area, I can definitely see how that would be the case.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Tea from Taiwan
Description

Tsuei Luan Oolong tea (wulong tea) is grown in the Tsuei Luan district of Li Shan (Pear Mountain). This area is a former fruit producing region which was converted to tea plantations in the late 1970’s. The soil quality of the former orchards is excellent, and the high altitude (more than 2,000 meters) of this district provides a cool, moist climate – ideal conditions for growing tea.

Tsuei Luan oolong tea has an exquisitely sweet aroma and interesting flavour profile. The slightly floral taste has a definite fruit undertone – said to be the result of growing tea on orchard land. This tea has a very pleasing flavour that makes it one of the most popular teas amongst Taiwan tea connoisseurs.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Vivacious Vitalitea by Vampyre Tea Company (Cup of Love). . . . .

Steeping: 3 g at 212°  in 1 cup for two minutes. . .

This is my first tea of the day so let’s hope it lives up to its name! It’s a rooibos-based blend, but it does have green tea as well so it’s not caffeine-free.

As the tea steeps, I’m watching it and catching a sniff here and there. I’m catching some whiffs of rooibos fragrance and, leaning closer, some honeylike flavor as well (which I at first thought came from honeybush, although I later discovered honeybush does not seem to be in the ingredients list). The liquid is turning dark reddish orange and I notice that a few bits of tea have escaped the mesh as well. (I would recommend using a finer mesh if you don’t prefer having small bits in your tea). It also smells a little bit acidic. The first sip has an interesting hint of flavor that I can’t quite place – citrus maybe? Or perhaps it’s from the rose petal I saw in the tea leaves before steeping. The overall flavor is sweet and not bitter at all or very astringent either; the flavor is welcoming but not too exciting. It doesn’t need any sugar, though, because it’s already so sweet. This tea could be a nice intro to rooibos; it does have some other flavors such as rose petals too, but they’re not too overpowering so you can still taste the rooibos flavor.

It’s good with milk too! Adding milk was actually a very interesting experiment because it ended up bringing out a completely different side of the flavor profile. I’d almost think that I was drinking a totally different kind of tea! That doesn’t happen often (and I do almost always add milk to my tea so I have plenty of experience).

Overall, I’d say this is a great, enjoyable rooibos combination with plenty of sweetness, perhaps a little citrus and/or rose flavor, and definitely no need for sugar. And according to the label it’s also organic and fair trade!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Rooibos
Where to Buy:  Cup of Love
Description

A revitalizing blend of herbs, flowers, and Green & Rooibos Teas to give you a boost of energy throughout your day.  Its effervescent flavor is smooth without the bitter crash of an energy

drink.  It leaves the body feeling clean, refreshed, and renewed for all of life’s adventures.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Ginger Spiced Pear Cake from A Quarter to Tea. . . .

If you’re looking for some tea to go with your post-holiday fruitcake, or just some tea that tastes a bit like holiday fruitcake, brew up a cup of Ginger Spiced Pear Cake from A Quarter to Tea.

This black tea smells sweet in the dry left and in the brew.  The taste of the blend is not too sweet, mainly driven by the appropriately clean and tart breakfast black tea base.  There is a hint of juicy pear with each sip, and a touch of ginger heat behind the pear.  The ginger is not too spicy, mainly adding a little herbal flavor and sweetness to make the tea feel festive.  I don’t taste any buttery cake or pastry flavors, just pear and ginger.

It’s possible that my small sample wasn’t at peak freshness or maybe I just needed a bigger serving of tea leaves to get the flavor intensity I was looking for.  I’ll have to keep an eye out for this blend in the future and give it another try.

This is a gently flavored blend, but very drinkable.  There are not many pear teas on my shelf, so this was a nice brew to have in my mug.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White/Black
Where to Buy: A Quarter to Tea
Description:

Sweet pastry with pear, spicy ginger, and cinnamon and clove accents.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

RYCBAR by Fandom Teas. . . .

I’m a Doctor Who fan and, even with the information that this is an “impossible girl” inspired tea, it still took me several seconds to figure out what the name of this blend meant. Maybe my brain was just really slow today? Hopefully you can figure it out faster. 😉

I steeped two teaspoons of this tea in ten ounces of 175-degree water for three minutes.

While steeping, it starts smelling fruity right away. This is a flavored tea (raspberry-pomegranate flavored) and the tea liquid is much darker than an unflavored green tea would. That might be from the raspberry, although it’s not really pink; it’s a sort of clear and handsome brown color with a reddish tinge.

First sip: It’s definitely fruity and sweet. Pomegranate and raspberry are both quite tart fruits, but the tartness isn’t coming through too strongly here, although yes, there is quite a bit of astringency. The fruity flavors complement each other well, and the green tea base sings backup; I’m hard put to it to distinguish its flavor components separately, yet I can still tell it’s there.

With sugar: Sweeter, of course. But surprisingly, I can taste the green tea base a bit more now. The sugar tames the astringency but doesn’t really bring out the fruity flavors like I hoped/assumed it would.

I bet this one would be great as iced tea too, but wouldn’t want to try milk with it because it might be too acidic for that.

All in all a fun tea, and one that I’d like to try iced (or as cold-brew) if I ever have the chance to try it again!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: Fandom Teas
Description

This tea is no longer available but click below for Doctor Who teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Organic Assam Black Tea by Mana Organics

 I haven’t bought from this tea company before, but it seems to have a social conscience. Mana Organics isn’t just focused on producing organic tea and selling it, but instead takes a more holistic approach to getting the products from farmers to customers. They focus on community development and sustainable farming in rural areas, then help the farmers get products out to the world by doing marketing and retail work. So I’m really excited about this company and I’m planning to do more research and potentially start sourcing some of my tea from here.
But on to the review!
I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for about five minutes, using 1.5tsp of leaves in about 10 ounces of water. It turns out to be a handsome teak /cedar color after steeping. It smells deep, malty, and strong. It’s very aromatic, promising good things to come.
First sip: It’s astringent, but not puckery, with a deep and bright flavor profile. There’s just a hint of bitterness at the back but then it’s gone (fortunately; it’s not my favorite thing when bitterness hangs out with me all day). But on top of that, I’m detecting sweet potato and baked squash notes! Nice. Next to chocolate, I think this is one of my favorite flavor types for black teas. Actually I’ve been looking for a good squash/sweet potato flavored tea so this is good news.
Anyway. With milk, which brings baked-squash and maltish flavors to the front, this tea is just great. In fact I’m almost finding it has a little brown sugar flavor to go with the squash flavor. So fun! (Come to think of it, I hope I’m not the only person who thinks it’s funny how similar sweet potato and baked squash flavors are. Isn’t that just strange?) There’s no bitterness now, and practically no astringency; milk is an excellent buffer for such things, which is one reason I almost invariably have milk with my tea. (Another reason is that I sometimes drink tea when I’m hungry, or even in lieu of a meal, and the milk helps keep my blood sugar from crashing.) I’m also thinking maybe I’m detecting a hint of a floral note? But then again maybe I’m making that up–it was too fleeting to be sure.

 

All in all this is a solid, strong, great tea blend and goes well with food at meals (or even without food at meals if you’re like me) and is excellent with milk. <3

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Mana Organics
Description

A brisk tea with a malty, honey-sweet aroma followed deep character of taste and a pleasant pungency that will please even the most discerning of palates.Only Tippy Golden Flower Orange Pekoe Premier Grade (TGFOP1) Assam tea direct from our family’s estate, Chota Tingrai.  Healthier for you and the environment thanks to our USDA certified organic practices.  Packed onsite in re-sealable bag so you get that garden-fresh taste again and again.  Tastes, smells, and looks so delicious that we got an award in the Global Tea Championship 2017

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!