Li Shan/Harney and Sons. . .

This tea tastes like it was poured out of a very delicate porcelain teapot by an expert. It’s a delicate green pollen, pooling in your cup, soothing you during difficult times. It’s classic; it’s timeless; it’s fancy. It’s exactly what I’d expect to taste at a non-matcha tea ceremony.

When I was in Phildelphia’s Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, I actually accidentally walked into a class where they were teaching tea ceremonies. I didn’t realize it was a class. There was no note. There was just a person speaking to some other people, sitting on a mat. I thought it was a tour guide or something and got — unceremoniously — thrown out.

I think that, if I had stayed, I would have learned the art of distributing this tea to my companions with grace. These leaves deserve fine treatment after, as Harney’s site claims, “battl[ing] cold (sometimes even snow) and frequent mists,” resulting in a “rare and haunting” quality. I could have poured this pale yellow tea with a delicate wrist motion. People would have sipped it out of clay cups like these.

Alas, I’m drinking it out of a mug I got from Hot Topic for $5. I guess I’ll never be as classy as my tastes.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Harney and Sons

Description

Li Shan, considered to be among the best oolong teas in the world, comes from one of Taiwan’s highest mountain areas. The tea plants must battle cold (sometimes even snow) and frequent mists. This makes a rare and haunting brew, with echoes of honey and cream.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Autumn Laoshan Pine Needle Green / Verdant Tea

Laoshan.

A mountainous area on the east side of China. South east of Beijing and due north of Shanghai.

My appreciation for Chinese and Japanese tea is higher than that of others after visiting both countries. What I acknowledge more than anything now though is a family tea farm, such as the He family that grows, harvests, and processes this tea.

Flavors of vegetal, sweet grass, almost a lettuce type of flavor are heavy on the palette. It finishes with an interesting sweet note. They reference a light herbaceous cooling in the aftertaste in the letter that came with the tea box.

I wish I could explain this to you but it literally has a cooling feeling with a flavor of a bunch of mixed herbs.

Also worth a mention is the dry smell and look. Called Pine Needle green because it resembles a pine needle. The leaves they use require plumper leaves due to the process this tea goes through to receive the pine needle look.

They require a bit more work than other green teas. The smell, though fleeting, was an intense waft of vegetal and grassy bliss. If you enjoy green teas I highly suggest giving this one a try.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Description

This innovative tea is first carefully curled before being pulled straight – all by hand. The result is a delicate, nuanced, and flavorful brew that lasts through multiple steepings. He Qingqing loves the way the leaves dance in a glass pitcher for brewing and the way that the hand finishing shows off Laoshan’s delicate deep-green buds and leaves at a glance. This 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. This year’s harvest is particularly notable for the deep minerality that shows off Laoshan’s rocky soil.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Qi Lan/Old Ways Tea . . . .

Good morning, Tea-ple! It’s time for another review! Today we’re trying Qi Lan from Old Ways Tea, an oolong from China’s Wuyi mountains.

The first word that springs to mind is “tangy!” (With the exclamation point. Don’t leave that out).

There’s a metallic taste with almost a citrus feel to this tea. It’s almost the equivalent of the sound of rain tapping on a tin roof. It’s pennies and earth and rust, converted into tea form.

I’m not sure that sounds appealing; but I can assure you, this is a pleasing blend. It’s surprising and rusty and homey.

It’s a meditation session in a gazebo in a forest. It’s a wishing fountain. It’s a ceremonial gong being struck. It’s a martial arts scene set in the rain.

It’s my morning choice, and I like it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Old Ways Tea

Description

This Qi Lan tea can be described as qing xiang meaning having a gentle fragrance. The fragrance is well rounded leaving a pleasant Wuyi mineral flavor and returning sweetness. I think that our Qi Lan turned out quite good this year.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bi Luo Chun/Beantown Tea. . . .

Beantown Tea describes this green tea as “resembling snail meat,” but don’t let that deter you. Put the snail thing aside and give this a try.

This green tea is on the very airy end of green, practically a white. In fact, some of the balls’ coloring is white, and fuzzy, which means it was plucked early in the season.

The flavor’s balances green and white: a mix of earth, leaves, pollen, and electricity.

This tea tastes like a moon setting and dawn’s birds chirping. It tastes like waking up very, very early for an event and walking toward your car in the meandering morning breeze, everyone asleep around you. It’s being the only person at the intersection at 5 a.m.

I got this tea from Etsy, and there was a mix-up with my address (my fault, not theirs). The customer service, I have to let you know, was TOP-NOTCH. They followed up and offered to send me a follow-up package right away — even though the mistake was NOT their fault. GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE. (The second package wasn’t necessary; the post office on my end figured out what to do. It arrived safely.)

Thumbs-up on this one. I have another one I’m going to try in the next week or so!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Beantown Tea and Spices

Description

Bi Luo Chun is regarded as one of the best green tea China offers. It brews a refreshing cup that is floral, slightly earthy with nutty notes.  Bi Luo Chun literally means “green snail spring”. It is called “green snail spring” because it is a green tea that is hand rolled into a tight spiral, resembling snail meat, and is plucked and produced early spring. The annual productions span of the Bi Luo Chun is very short. It is picked between the Spring Equinox (end of March) and Qing Ming (early April). Our ‘Choral Bi Luo Chun’ tea is made from the finest tender buds, gathered and processed exclusively by hand.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Settlement/August Uncommon. . . .

It’s been a while since my last yellow tea so I was super excited to try this one!

The ‘one’ I’m referring to is The Settlement from August Uncommon Tea. Not only am I excited to sip on a yellow tea but I’m exciting about a tea from this company because I haven’t tried many of their teas thus far.

The aroma of the leaves is a combo of sweet, wet wood and brunt molasses. Once the leaves have been infused it smells even more like brunt molasses and paired with a roasted peanut aroma as well.

While I was sipping on this tea the first thing I thought of was roasted peanuts and burnt molasses, too. This offers a really unique aroma, flavor, and tea sipping experience. Even tho it’s been a couple of month since my last new-to-me-yellow-tea I have to say this one stands out for several reasons. It doesn’t taste anything like the others I have had and I say that with full excitement and respect because I am always looking for something different.

At the time I wrote this review I noticed that the company not only slashed their prices – they are offering free shipping in the US, too! So if you haven’t checked out this tea offering or this tea company I would HIGHLY suggest it. The Settlement from August Uncommon Tea. It’s yellow tea from Anhui province grown at 1,000 meters above sea level and pretty darn special!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Yellow

Where to Buy:  August Uncommon

Description.

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!