Walnut Green Tea/Aromatica Fine Teas

Monthly subscription boxes can be hit or miss. I have tried several along my tea journey including subscriptions by Amoda, A Quarter to Tea, Handmade Tea, myteabox.ca, Sips By, and Tea Sparrow. Some, such as the A Quarter to Tea box, offers selections from one company whereas others, such as the Sips By box, offer teas from a variety of different vendors in each box. The former is good if you know you like a certain company whereas the latter is fun for when you want to try and discover new things. Sometimes you discover gems, sometimes you discover disasters, and sometimes you find new things that are simply unremarkable.

I received the Tea Sparrow box as a gift. The teas are a variety of Tea Sparrow blends and blends from other vendors. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a tea that really stands out to me from this box which has so far put this subscription in the “unremarkable” category. With that said, one of teas in my Tea Sparrow subscription is this Walnut Green Tea by Aromatica Fine Teas. I have tried another Aromatica Fine Tea before, Ginger Cream, courtesy of my Amoda subscription. I really enjoyed that tea so my hope was I’d enjoy this as well. Moreover, this tea is also the first place winner of the 2011 North American Tea Championship so hopefully that means it’s a good one.

When I read the brewing instructions for this tea, it suggested steeping the leaf in “almost boiling” water for 2.5 minutes. Almost boiling is my least favorite temperature because it is so ambiguous. As a result, I decided to steep one cup for 2.5 minutes in 175F water (the “Green” setting on my kettle) and another cup in 200F water (what I would consider almost boiling to be) for 1.5 minutes. I figured I had the leaf so it could be interesting to experiment how different brewing parameters impact the tea flavor.

First cup I drank was the cooler cup, the one brewed at 175F. Lookswise, this cup was much lighter than the tea brewed at a higher temperature, a bright-ish yellow versus a deeper brown-gold. To me, this tasted like liquid brittle. Nutty and sweet with more walnut flavor than almond. No vegetal/grass flavors from the base tea and no pineapple or coconut in sight.

The second cup, brewed with a little more leaf and at 200F, is a lot more buttery though still tastes of brittle. I think more coconut comes through when brewed like this but less walnut which is really meant to be the focus in light of the tea’s name.

This tea is made of chinese green tea, sencha, brittle, coconut rasps, candied pineapple pieces, walnut pieces, flavor, and almond pieces. Given that list, I was surprised that not much of the base nor pineapple was part of the taste of either cup. Personally, I think I preferred the tea brewed at 175F just because it was more distinctly walnut and thus more true to its name though the two were fairly similar flavorwise. Overall I found the tea to be unique and good, definitely one of the better options provided in my Tea Sparrow subscription, but ultimately I just don’t reach for nutty blends or green teas all that quickly. As such, while I can appreciate this as a good tea, an award-winning tea even, I just don’t feel the need to keep it around all the time.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Aromatica Fine Teas

Description

Chinese green tea, sencha, brittle bits (sugar,hazlenuts), coconut rasps, candied pineapple bits, walnut pieces, flavour, almond pieces.

“What a fantastic and sophisticated profile for a blended green tea!”

Michael Menashy, Tea Sparrow

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tasting Notes for 2018 Autumn Laoshan Green / Verdant Tea

More tea, less steep time. Less tea, more steep time. Too much water, less flavor. Each tea has unique steeping parameters. Each steep will be different. Even for the same tea of the same harvest.

Edamame. Very vegetal. Slight astringency. Clean and crisp


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This harvest is picked in the cool autumn air after resting the plant through summer. The result is crisp, fresh flavor with more savory green bean and cream that Laoshan for which Laoshan is famous. The He family’s signature green tea is fed by mountain spring water, picked by hand, and cultivated sustainably using traditional chemical-free farming techniques including growing rows of soybean between rows of tea to restore nitrates to the soil. The extreme northern climate means cold winters and short growing seasons, but the He Family perseveres, protecting their tea in greenhouses over the winter. The result is a deeply sweet and delicate green tea unlike any other in the world.

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!

Glendale Estate, Nilgiri, First Flush 2017 from Yatra Tea Company. . . . . .

If this tea were a man, it’d be at the bar picking up ladies left and right — because it is smoooooooooooooooooooooth. It has a dark, slightly spicy, very earthy flavor that melts on the tongue.

This is a great example of a classic Indian black tea. If someone were like, “hook a sister up with a Darjeeling*,” I’d toss this into their lap. “Give this a whirl. See how India treats you,” I’d reply.

* (No one says things to me like this. I would be SO RECEPTIVE to someone making a nice, specific tea request. Usually I get someone waffling around, asking if, um, I have any tea, that’s like, uh, black? Can they have a cup of, uh, black? I have about 50 types of black tea. I need more specificity.)

Do you know the history of tea in India? LET ME TELL YOU A STORY.

Once upon a time, the British realized they liked tea. But they didn’t want to pay Asia for tea. So they took over India and made the locals grow it for them instead. And they still grow tea in India today.

Interestingly, Indian black tea tends to be lighter, and slightly spicier, than its Asian counterpart. It’s like the spices from Indian cooking somehow correlate with the soil. That’s not science, I know, but it sort of FEELS like it, which is almost the same thing.

Next time you’re a little lonely, let a nice Darjeeling slide into your cup. You might just find love!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Yatra Tea Company
Description

Residing at an elevation of between 4,000 and 6,000 ft., Glendale was established in 1835. Located in close proximity to the scenic city of Conoor in South India, Glendale is among the most recognized Nilgiri tea plantations and follows all global production standards.

Glendale, the anglicized version of “Gleann Dail” (Gaelic), roughly translates to a fertile valley and comprises of 3 gardens which combined make up 525 hectares of planted area.  Typical mountainous conditions allow for the production of distinctive “high grown” teas. The estate has a flourishing ecosystem, and while technology is pervasive, it exists without disrupting the essential characteristics that makes Glendale teas so sought after.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Brunch in Paris from Plum Deluxe. . . .

If you are looking for a creative, rich, bold, chocolaty blended base to start your day…might I suggest this one…Brunch in Paris from Plum Deluxe!?

I was THRILLED to read that this doesn’t have dairy in it…just stand alone Cocoa Nibs! All-Organic Ingredients – to be exact – Black Tea, Honeybush Tea, Cocoa Nibs, Orange Pieces, Orange Essence. Love, Gratitude. What a great way to start your day…with love and gratitude!

These days it seems like if you say ‘love and gratitude’ it makes you a hippie. And some people think that makes you weak. I say…that couldn’t be further from the truth! And I would take it as a compliment to be called a HIPPIE. Actually, I have been called that…more than once…and I have to say that puts a smile on my face each and every time!

It takes a stronger person to love one another than those who hate. It takes a bolder person to stay positive and a weaker person to be ‘down in the dumps and negative’ all the time.

The same could be said for this tea. The black tea base is bold and rich. The cocoa is strong pretty ass-kickin’ but in a ‘warrior pose’ sort of way (and not a violent way). The orange isn’t as prominent and it’s the only thing I would alter if I was asked what I would change about. But I’m not saying that to complain because I truly do LOVE this flavored black tea/honeybush blend.

And let’s talk about the honeybush, shall we? I’m stoked they used honeybush and not rooibos here! Kudos on that!

I’m VERY pleased with this cuppa. It makes me want to go out and face my day with a smile on my face, love in my heart, and a certain swagger I was lacking before the sipping experience!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Plum Deluxe
Description

We think that a good cup of tea can transport you to someplace special.  And that’s what we had in mind when we created our fresh, flavorful blend of chocolate orange tea.  It reminds us of brunch in a fine cafe in Paris, the city of light.

To create this magic we pair a simple blend of black tea and honeybush tea with cacao nibs and orange peel / orange extract.  It’s delicious and will give you an emotional boost.  Excellent with a splash of honey and milk.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!