Himalayan Shangri-la from Teabox

If I had to choose between dark oolong or green oolong, for me it would be green every time. I find them characterful and unique, with more variation in flavour than I’ve typically found (at least so far…) among their roasted counterparts. And that’s coming from a habitual black tea drinker.

Himalayan Shangri-la is a Nepalese Oolong from 2015. It’s a first flush, or spring, oolong comprising highly graded leaves taken from a single estate.

The leaf here is pretty impressive – they’re long and twisty, with a high predominance of downy buds, and vary from a dark khaki to the palest green-silver. The scent is lightly vegetal and just a touch floral, in the way of orchids.

I followed the recommended parameters, and gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in water cooled to around 85 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, the scent mineral. The initial flavour is also mineral, with a hint of petrichor and wet rock. There’s a hint of heady floral in the mid-sip, reminiscent of orchid and jasmine. Heavily scented, and very reminiscent of perfume, but thankfully not in the cloying, throat-coating way some floral tea possess. The end of the sip features some cleaner, fresher notes. Tomato flesh, wet grass, and the return of the petrichor.

I really enjoyed this one. It’s a flavourful green oolong, and the tomato note in particularly was a highlight as it’s not something I’ve come across in an oolong before. If you’re looking for a high quality oolong that’s also accessible in flavour terms (there’s nothing to deter the newcomer here…) then this would be a good place to start. If you already love oolong, this one might still have a few surprises…

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Teabox

If there is one oolong that can compete in the same league as the Taiwanese and the Chinese kind it has to be this Nepalese offering. The rigors of high elevation, mineral-rich terrain, and cool air allow the plants to grow slowly resulting in an immensely flavorful tea. Also interesting is the fact that it’s from the country’s small-scale producers’ cooperative which produces small batches of orthodox teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Persimmon Gelato Rooibos from The East Indies Tea Company

EastIndiesTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy: The East Indies Tea Company

Tea Description:

There is nothing better than sitting on the porch on a warm Spring day with a cup of creamy gelato. Imagine the taste of fresh, ripe persimmons in the gelato, just dancing around your taste buds!

Learn more about this tea on Steepster.

Taster’s Review:

…Persimmon Gelato?

…Persimmon Gelato!

That’s such a unique and fascinating flavour idea, and the minute I saw it on East Indie’s website I knew that I had to try it. For anyone who isn’t aware of East Indies Tea Company, they’ve got some really interesting and well executed flavoured blends. Their ‘specialty’ is probably dessert blends. Also, for people not aware they seem to be the supplier for most of, if not all of, Della Terra Tea’s blends – a company pretty well known for having wonderful flavoured dessert blends.

When I cracked open my sealed up package of this the smell was really overwhelming; I honestly have only had persimmons once or twice and I found that they tasted like a very sweet tomato, almost with an orange-y flavour. The aroma of the dry leaf certainly causes me to relive that experience; it’s intensely sweet and fruity with a strong citrusy scent that makes me think of really ripe mandarin oranges or perhaps very ripe mangoes. Visually, there’s lots of dried fruit (Persimmon? I wish there was an ingredients list for this blend) in the leaf as well as a multitude of little yogurt drop type things. All of this in conjunction had me very, very pumped to get this tea steeped up!

I gave this a nice, long steep to make sure I drew out as much flavor as I could and to also give the many yogurt drops time to fully melt. I was somewhat worried that when they did melt the liquor would either get a little oily or I’d get “yogurt scum” similar to what happens with melted chocolate chips but neither really happened and the liquor was very smooth and thick. The flavour was quite wonderful too; while I ultimately think the gelato aspect of the blend could have come across better, as it was basically just added creaminess from the yogurt drops, the persimmon was very well executed! Persimmons, simplified, are basically just very sweet tomatoes and that came through. I got that wonderful umami flavor that a tomato has that manages to linger all over your mouth, but also fruity notes that made me think of very, very ripe mango or either naval oranges or really ripe, in season mandarin oranges.

Anti-rooibos tea drinkers be warned though, while the flavor is strong and lively it doesn’t completely mask that rooibos base so expect to taste it alongside the lovely persimmon/citrus notes. But overall this is just a really wonderful, unique flavored rooibos and I’m extremely happy with it and definitely recommend trying it if you find yourself with the chance to.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Tomato Basil Green Tea Infused Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas


Product Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

About Millie’s Savory Teas:

Our first-of-its-kind sipping broth is a blend of savory herbs and spices infused with loose leaf green tea. Excellent as an alternative to coffee or plain tea. Each tin comes with 15 tea bags that make 8 oz cups each. Just boil water, pour into a cup then add a tea bag and let steep for 2 minutes, stir and enjoy. Let the bag steep longer for a more intense flavor.

To Learn more about this Millie’s Savory Teas, click here.

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Taster’s Review:

I received this product – a tea bag of this Tomato Basil Green Tea Infused Sipping Broth from Millie’s Savory Teas – in my February Love with Food Box.  I subscribe to these boxes and review many of the samples of food that I receive from them on my foodie blog, which you can read here.

I was very curious about this “tea” because, as many of you know, I’m a HUGE fan of 52Teas and after months of bugging Frank of 52Teas, he finally relented and created a blend for me:  LiberTEAS Tomato, Basil, and Black Pepper Tea.  And I loved the stuff!  And to be honest, when I had originally suggested the tomato, basil, and black pepper blend, I had a green tea base in mind rather than a black tea base.  Frank thought that a black tea base with a hint of Lapsang Souchong in it would be better, and I do think that the black tea base was a good choice.  However, I remained curious about the green tea base, so when I received this Tomato Basil green tea infused sipping broth, I was excited to finally try a green tea with the flavors of tomato and basil.

The aroma of the bag when I opened the pouch was similar to the smell that I get when I open a tin of dried basil from my pantry.  The aroma had a very strong herbaceous scent to it.  The bag was kind of … hard.  that is to say that it didn’t really seem very “loose” or “leafy” inside the tea bag, it seemed to be more like a bit of bouillon that was dried in the bag.  Since this was called a “sipping broth” I didn’t find this objectionable, but, I can see how tea purists might find it a bit off.

Let me say that the “infused” part of the Tomato Basil Green Tea Infused Sipping Broth is the key word to the name of this product.  Because the green tea flavor is nearly indistinguishable.  I taste hints of an earthy, vegetative greenness to this “tea” which turns out to be more like broth than tea, and the hints are not really enough for me.  I found myself wishing that this was more like a tea and less like a broth.   That said, I do like that this is not quite as salty as I find the typical commercially produced broth or bouillon would be.

As a broth, it’s tasty.  As a tea … it leaves quite a bit to be desired.  Not bad, and it would be nice to maybe have on hand for when you might be feeling a tad under the weather and want a cup of broth to soothe and comfort you.  Especially nice if you’re at the office.    And that’s what I’d recommend it as:  a soothing, comfort food for when you’re away from home.  If you’re looking for a tea with the flavors of tomato and basil … I’d suggest looking somewhere else.

Hong Yu (Red Jade) Taiwanese Black Tea from Zi Chun Tea Co

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Zi Chun Tea Co

Product Description:

A high quality organic black tea – this unique tea was developed & refined by the Taiwan tea research station. It is a cross between an Assam strain from Burma & a local wild strain. A truly great tea.
A noticeable cinnamon aroma and carries a subtle, but pleasant mint flavor.

Tasters Review:

WOW!  Just…WOW!  This is SO amazing on SO many levels!  This is a mighty fine Black Tea, right here, folks!

Hong Yu (Red Jade) Taiwanese Black Tea from Zi Chun smells a little like tomato soup and/or tomato bread…I LOVE the aroma!  The taste is toasty, creamy, malty, a mellow black tea, meets a hint of cherry tomato type undertone but then changes up and evens out.

By the after taste I can find that mint note the description says lingers…it’s so amazingly different I can’t NOT like this one!  I would HIGHLY recommend this tea to ANYONE!


Yunnan Black Tea from Urban Tea

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Urban Tea

Product Description: This company has since closed

Tasters Review:

I’m always sad to see a good tea become extinct from my stash.  More importantly – I’m always sad to see a good tea place close.  This is the case here for both my tea stash and where the tea came from.  A darned shame!

But…I do like to give credit where credit is due and this tea – still around or not – is one of the better Yunnan Black teas I have tried.  And I do LOVE a good Yunnan Black!

I really liked this one because it was bold and dark and had a hint of crusty or bready-like notes as well as tomato – trying to hide underneath.

…it was yummy and savory…and I’m sorry to see it go!