Vietnam Ha Giang Organic Black Tea from Simpson and Vail

Vietnam Ha Giang Organic Black Tea from Simpson & Vail – didn’t last long in my tea stash – that is for sure. Good problem for S&V…bad problem for me!

My own personal default for black tea is double the amount for a short time because I like it STRONG! End result was an dark amber cup with slightly smooth taste. But don’t assume by me saying this was smooth that it was lacking a nice rich flavor because that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The leaves were crispy and slightly tippy and just what I crave in the morning and what my body needs to kick the afternoon lull, too!

S&V’s Vietnam organic black tea comes from the Ha Giang province in northern Vietnam along the Tay Con Linh mountain range (at 1300, above sea level) – deep within the ancient forests of Shan tea that have been growing for hundreds of years. Shan tea is a specialty in this region and the investment helped farmers to preserve this tea. A nursery of seedlings was created and workers were taught how to use crop rotation, green manure and biological pest control to sustainably develop this tea. Monies were also put towards new production facilities to ensure a consistent, high quality leaf. The area went through an economic revival in 2010 with a serious investment in the community. The goal of the investment was to achieve a better, higher quality tea using modern production techniques coupled with organic farming practices. This investment has more than paid off and the people living in this area have seen steady increases in production, quality and pay.

Improvements like these really get me energized about the region, the product, and the people behind the leaves and the cuppa! I can’t wait to see and TASTE what other teas comes from Vietnam and how it continues to grow in the coming years!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Simpson and Vail
Description

The black, slightly tippy, leaves of this Vietnam black tea brew up to an amber cup with a mild astringency and a smooth, slightly earthy taste. A delightful afternoon cup!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Old Tree from Old Ways Tea. . .

As this tea’s blend suggests, this tea is from an old tea tree. According to Old Ways Tea’s site, old trees run rampant and have huge roots that change the mineral content and flavor of the tea. They also are home to little ecosystems that live in their big, dense branches, including lichen and moisture and all sorts of funky goodness* that translates into the leaf’s flavor.

* (Note: The phrase “funky goodness” does not appear in the original description of the tea, to its detriment.)

This tea is indeed mineral-ish, and a little bit spicy/smoked. It almost has a heat to its flavor. Is it possible for tea to have… a natural kick? Because this does.

This is the Southern BBQ of tea. The flavor is kind of rugged. The kind of thing a man’s man would enjoy while turning a spit with a hog on it first thing in the morning. Later in the day, I imagine a man’s man would turn to beer, but this is a good solid push into anyone’s busy day.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Old Ways Tea
Description

This is black tea produced from older wild style trees. The trees are allowed to grow as they wish getting much bigger than normal. The trees are different in two distinct ways. First since they are older trees the roots have reached past the upper soil into the rocks below and can access a broader mineral content than young trees; providing additional flavor complexity. Secondly the wild style trees are denser which provides a micro-climate influencing the lichen, leaves, and shading of the tree.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Keemun Chinese Black Tea from The Tea Spot

I love the discovery of new tea flavors, finding their nuances, comparing and contrasting from a baseline. I started educating myself on tea with subscription boxes, and still have a soft spot for them. Looks like Tea Spot will be my next choice. They offer a monthly subscription box for $16 for about an ounce worth of 5-6 teas and also a quarterly loose leaf club at $45 for 3+ teas of one chosen style, in larger portions obviously. This selection seems to be from the former.

The dry Keemun smells very gentle, a bit like the coriander in my cupboard. There are uniformly tight, straight, leaves, appearing medium on the spectrum of browns. I see some broken bits in wet leaves and a tamarind color brew. It smells subtly sweet, and reminds me of cherries – cheerful but with a slightly tart finish.  1 heaping tsp per 8 oz from the brewing instructions, does not make a strong tea, which some people prefer. I’m not the type to drink this flavor straight, because tannins and I are frenemies.  I think it is It may leave a slight orange taste in my mouth but, this tea is still excellent at its job of caffeinating me!

Just like the Beastie Boys, I like my Sugar with [Keemun] and cream, too sweet to be sour, too nice to be mean.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: The Tea Spot
Description:

A splendor of toasty flavor and aroma! The most refined and perhaps the most well-known of Chinese black teas, this Keemun is handpicked in Anhui Province. This tea has an indescribable flavor, with the most delicate hints of smoky pine, orchid, crushed apple and a rich, sweet body.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

English Breakfast from the Virginia Tea Company . . . .

When you need a tried-and-true pick-me-up in the morning, many of us reach for a cup of English Breakfast black tea.  But each tea company has a little different take on this style of tea. English Breakfast from the Virginia Tea Company is robust in scent, taste, and texture.

This tea is full and malty, almost chewy, with toasty tones of baked bread.  This tea is strong enough to have flavor after being mixed with milk and sugar, and to hold up on its own against the savory flavors of your breakfast.

The first scent and taste are the rich and complex flavors like roasted wheat or leather, followed by the little crisp bite of black tea that we come to expect.  There is a hint of earthy smoke at the back of each sip, along with the the less bitter black tea tannins and thicker mouthfeel.

This is a black tea that makes you feel strong and invigorated, while also giving your palette a full-bodied flavor experience.  For those mornings where it is hard to get your head on straight, be sure to brew up a strong cup of English Breakfast from the Virgina Tea Company and get back on track.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Virginia Tea Co.
Description:

This organic tea is perfect for pairing with your morning meal. The full-bodied flavor can be blended with milk and sugar to create an even better drinking experience.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Old Tree Black Tea – Premium from Old Ways Tea. . . . .

One of my favorite visual characteristics of various black teas are the thin, long, wiry leaves. And among my favorite flavors of black teas are the ones that are more complex, flavorful, and bold. I was thrilled when this tea proved both of my loves! The tea on tap for today is Old Tree Black Tea from Old Ways Tea.

This is black tea produced from older wild style trees, hence the name! The trees are allowed to grow as they wish getting much bigger than normal and are different in two distinct ways. First since they are older trees the roots have reached past the upper soil into the rocks below and can access a broader mineral content than young trees; providing additional flavor complexity. Secondly the wild style trees are denser which provides a micro-climate influencing the lichen, leaves, and shading of the tree. The trees are said to be roughly 60 years old; although with matters of age it can be hard to verify the claims.

This old tree black tea comes from the village of Masu which is high in the mountains above Tongmu village, in Wuyishan City, China. The farms are small and located at an elevation of 1250 meters. And the soil is very rocky and the clear cold streams fast flowing.

This is a gem of a black tea with a more than impressive story behind it!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy: Old Ways Tea
Description

This is black tea produced from older wild style trees. The trees are allowed to grow as they wish getting much bigger than normal. The trees are different in two distinct ways. First since they are older trees the roots have reached past the upper soil into the rocks below and can access a broader mineral content than young trees; providing additional flavor complexity. Secondly the wild style trees are denser which provides a micro-climate influencing the lichen, leaves, and shading of the tree.

This old tree black tea comes from the village of Masu (麻粟) high in the mountains above Tongmu village, in Wuyishan City, China. The farms are small and located at an elevation of 1250 meters. The soil is very rocky and the clear cold streams fast flowing. The trees are said to be roughly 60 years old; although with matters of age it can be hard to verify the claims. I am satisfied and happy to offer this tea for your enjoyment.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!