English Breakfast Black Tea by Steeped Tea

I steeped this tea for two minutes at 212 degrees, with one heaping teaspoon per cup of water.
So this is another tea company I haven’t tried before, how exciting! Let’s get right to the details of this tea. I guess it’s a blend of black teas, since that ‘s how english breakfast teas are generally made.  It has a nice, hearty, strong fragrance, which is of course exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from a breakfast tea (after all, it’s meant to help you wake up in the morning, right?).
It smells a smidge bitter while steeping, but mainly you notice that strong, robust tea flavor! After steeping, it doesn’t look super dark; instead, there’s a cedar-like, chestnutty color, and it’s very clear rather than opaque. The smell fortunately is less bitter after steeping has ended, and I can detect some malty notes.
The tea itself isn’t noticeably viscous/thickened. At the first sip I notice plenty of astringency combined with a tad of bitterness, but not a lot. It’s not too bitter (not as bitter as you’d expect from how it smelled while steeping), so I’m sure people who like really strong tea (or coffee) would love it, or it would be perfect for if you’re planning to have it with milk and sugar. Or, to avoid the bitterness, I’d consider steeping it a tad cooler next time.
While sipping this I can detect plenty of tannins–it seems to be a highly oxidized tea, which is just what black tea is supposed to be, but it also has an extremely tangy flavor, which I find quite helpful for waking up in the mornings (or even in the afternoons if I’m having a hard time staying awake after lunch).
There’s not much in the way of floral or cocoa notes, although there may be a touch of maltiness deepening the flavor here and there.
Of course I also had to add milk (to test my it-would-be-great-with-milk theory) and discovered that this tea is indeed lovely with milk, and that the milk takes out the bitterness just as I was hoping. With milk this tea has a strong, creamy, and excellent flavor, and I find it to be exactly the sort of tea I enjoy the most. <3

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy:  Steeped Tea
Description
This classic breakfast tea is fresh, full and flavorful. Traditionally served with milk.
Ingredients: Black tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Hazelnut by Adagio Teas. . . .

Aha! A morning tea to appease coffee drinkers. The loose leaves of this hazelnut (also known as filbert if you’re botanically savvy) tea smells earthy, warm and dare I say sweet!?! It creates a rich, henna colored infusion. Seriously, I want my hair this color… you are what you drink, right?

Oh, somehow a milky taste snuck in for a full rounded, creamy mouthfeel. I had my rock sugar on standby, wary of bitter tannins, but no sweetener was needed, which is really saying something. It is bold and at the same time, smooth, with a lingering earthy nutty aftertaste.

This tea is the highlighting and contouring of tea, emphasizing what’s already amazing in a way that seems natural. Still tasty after 3 steeps, this is definitely making its way into my regular stock, for my coffee snob friends.


 

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Description:

This flavor combines the full, bright taste of Ceylon black tea with the cozy creaminess of hazelnuts. Very nutty and aromatic, slightly roasty with a rounded, sweet flavor. Toasty dryness. A mellow, very well-blended cup of tea. Great with just a touch of brown sugar.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Earl Grey Le Creme from The NecessiTeas. . . . .

 

I’m not normally a bergamot fan, but my high school partner-in-crime, code-named Tiny Salutations is, so welcome her along on today’s adventure!

This is a delightful blend that ignites the romance at first sight, and pictures don’t do it justice. Beautiful blue corn flowers are sprinkled throughout, which is a special flower that she would grow and send to husband back when they first dated. She says she’s kind of in love with this tea before even drinking it. The dry leaves need to be cross-marketed as an air freshener!

The corn flowers float to the top as it brews and lose their color becoming translucent and elegant like dragonfly wings. That initial carmel smell mellows out as well, and the brew just smells like standard Earl Grey. The combination of small tea leaves and delicate flowers mean the brew time is quick and more caffeine is released into the light amber infusion.

There is not as much flavor as color implies, so it’s great way to get caffeine if you don’t like the bitterness of the tannins. There’s a slight milky aftertaste. It tastes like a Standard cuppa black tea, but you don’t need to add any cream or sugar! (Unless you’re an absolute sugar fiend)

Upon resteeping, the tea still has some oils to give off and it has a good earthy taste but not as much caramel flavor.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Flavored Black Tea
Where to Buy:  The NecessiTeas 

Our Earl Grey Le Creme is a forgiving indulgence essenced with bergamot, vanilla and cream. Go ahead, treat yourself!

Your tea is hand packaged in an airtight tin at no additional charge.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Drunken Concubine from Silk Road Tea. . . . .

This top-shelf variant of Iron Goddess (Tie Guan Ying) oolong is named after the Beijing opera story where a concubine gets shwasted after she’s stood up by the king. Based on the name alone, I’m not sure which way this will go from the baseline floral taste of a lesser quality iron goddess – will the tea be a sharp bitter taste reminiscent of heartbreak, or a sweet balm to heal her sorrows?
The dry leaves have fabulous scent, reminding me of the elusive white gummy bears flavor.
After brewing “3-5 grams for under 2 minutes”, the brew is quickly a deep ochre yellow. A delicate purple orchid wafted up from the full, fluffy leaves along with the familiar umami butter of oxidized teas. It should be noted this teas flavor is due to slight oxidation as it grows – leaf hoppers bite a bit and start the process as it’s still growing. Which means there’s an absence of pesticides – win!

Everything about this tea so far is flat out sexy. Yep, sexy tea, I took it too far with the concubine reference…Moving on.
One thing I love about Oolong teas is their incredible resteep value. In this particular case, the royal fragrance gives way to a complex nectar of smoke in later brews. I’m at least 5 steeps in and the flavor just keeps evolving. This is FANTASTIC! Perfect to drink all day. Definitely the heart mending tea from my predictions earlier. A great escape for someone whose thoughts are clouded with an ominous heartache.
My first go with this tea, I over brewed it. Fortunately it was forgiving…maybe the tea is telling me something? When I brewed it with more care, it was simply magical. This is exactly the pick-me-up tea I needed this week.


Here’s the scoop!

 Where to Buy: Silk Road Teas
Description:

Drunken Concubine is named in recognition of the intoxicating flavors of a wonderful, high-grade Tieguanyin oolong. One will note the highly aromatic fragrance of the leaves. In the first steep, as the leaves begin to unfurl, delicious, flavorful notes build. This tea is bright, clean, fresh and orchid-like – all classic flavors of this high-grade, prized lo-oxidized oolong. Each season, we select a lot of this varietal from our tea maker that we believe is the finest of the harvest. We are proud to offer our latest lot of Drunken Concubine. This is a rare taste offering, high-grade oolong, much prized in China.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Kukicha Green Tea by Aiya America

Steeping specs: 3 g 1 cup 175° 1.5 minutes

This one was a tea that I could not find on the company’s website, so please forgive me if I don’t steep it according to the ideal specifications. I kind of guessed a bit and I hope I didn’t steep it too hot. It turned out pretty well with the steeping specs I tried, but who knows what would happen with different steeping specs? (I didn’t have a large enough sample to really experiment.)

As it steeps I’m catching buttery, seaweedy fragrances. After steeping, the liquid isn’t nearly as clear as I would’ve expected. It’s cloudy and has what look like tiny T specks throughout the liquid, similar to matcha specks (?) and much smaller than the type of tea specks that normally escape from my tea strainer. So I’m thinking maybe this is an intentional feature of this tea and not a bug. It doesn’t seem to detract from the drinking experience at all and does enhance the tea’s strength.

The flavor is rich and full, with vegetal savory notes, not bitter, and only a little astringent. And it’s very fragrant, but not really floral– it’s more on the grassy side. Its flavor is not just vegetal, but savory in a smooth and buttery kind of way which creates a cohesive flavor profile.

This seems to be quite a strong green tea with plenty of flavor, yet without any unpleasant bitterness. It goes well with sugar too, but seems to be a somewhat less immersive experience somehow once the sugar has been added. Also, I notice the seaweedy notes more once sugar has been added.

This tea is great for when you want a strong, unflavored and non-floral green tea that’s more on the savory side and yet has a very strong presence of its own without any bitterness. (If you don’t like the tiny specks floating around your tea, I would recommend using a very fine steeping mesh or strainer.)


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy:  Aiya 
Description

Kukicha literally means “stem tea” and is made from different varieties of tea stems. Aiya’s Kukicha is a blend of stems from Gyokuro and Sencha. Most of Kukicha available in the market is made by stems from 100% Sencha, however, Aiya’s Kukicha is adding more than 50% of Gyokuro stems for more natural sweetness and rich aroma

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!