2018 Laoshan Osmanthus Black / Verdant

Osmanthus. A flowering tree native to Eastern Asia. There are many varieties but the bright, orange blossoms indicate that this is the Osmanthus fragrans. Of all the teas this family, the He family, produces this one ranks of the top of the difficulty list. Due to the tiny size of the flowers they all must be hand-picked.

For each batch they must pick thousands of flowers. After de-stemming and getting rid of all else they dry the flowers while processing the tea. Once they reach the finishing stage the flowers are added to the tea. One might ask if all that trouble is worth it.

Yes. Double and triple yes.

You may open the package and find it lacks scent as I did and wonder what you are in for. This is my first time trying out an osmanthus flower mixed with a tea. It won’t be the last. The wet leaves boast a unique aroma, unlike anything I’ve smelled in a tea before. It is sweet, like perfume, with high floral notes and scant earthy undertones. Hold on to your hats, the amazing train doesn’t stop there.

The clear, amber liquid, light at first but becoming slightly darker as you steep it longer, has a silky mouthfeel with a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste. A whirlwind of flavor begins with orange-chocolate tones and changes to brown sugar. Fruity accents, woodsy undertones.

Everything comes together so nicely on the palette. I think I need more of this.

 

 

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This is a brand new 2018 premiere! Last year we were lucky enough to share the He Family’s Roasted Oolong scented with local osmanthus flowers. This year Mr. He wanted to share a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

High Mountain Oolong/Qi Aerista

This just might be the first tea I have ever tried from Qi Aerista. More specifically, High Mountain Oolong from Qi Aerista, that is.

First I want to talk about their website. It’s pretty fantastic when it comes to individual information about each one of their teas and products. Very few companies describe the process of each tea to the degree that Qi Aerista did. With this oolong, they said it went thru the traditional process, but went one further to describe it step-by-step which included Plucking, Withering, Bruising, Kill-green/Fixation, Rolling & Shaping, and Drying & Roasting with special emphasis on the ‘bruising’. Bruising is a critical phase as it involves rounds of shaking and resting of the leaves to obtain the right amount oxidation that delivers the optimal flavor and aroma.

Going beyond the process, they told more secrets of this tea including the tea type being a Semi-oxidized Oolong and what other names it could go by which were Xiyan Oolong and West Rock Oolong. Cultivar was listed as Local oolong cultivar and the region it hails from is Dapu County, Guangdong Province, China.

What I find even more exciting is that the age of the plant in which this tea came from was over 60 years old and grew at an altitude of 1250m/4100ft from their April 2017 harvest.

I took about 2 or more teaspoons of this loose leaf and infused for about 3 minutes. It was the perfect cuppa outcome! It offered a gentle roasted flavor but it was also sweet. Smooth, crisp, and a bit nutty on the end sip! A really lovely flavor. I can’t want for another cup! Next time you are looking for a tea to buy or try – make sure you look this one up!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Qi Aerista

Description

This tea is no longer on the website but click below for more information regarding Qi Aerista’s offerings.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Black Ruby/Rakkasan

Sustainability. What does that mean to you?

Is it as simple as maintaining ecological balance within the confines of ones company property or it is more than that?

Any company can put a label on their tin but to live it is a different matter.

Black Ruby comes from a women-only run estate. Though there is no specific information on Milan Kumari Khatri’s tea estate nor that I can currently find on the web, besides what is on the Rakkasan website, I can tell just by sipping this tea that the estate has very high standards.

If English Breakfast had a sister, this would be her. This delicious tea has the usual earthiness but also has some extremely unique fruit undertones, such as black cherries. If you want to support a good company make sure to give this tea a try!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rakkasan Tea Company

Description

This tea is no longer on the website but click below for more information .

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Shi Zuo Oolong Tea/Tea From Taiwan

(Insert Music Bed HERE)…The best part of waking up…is dancing leaves in your cup! Okay, I’m just having a little fun with spoof jingles and at the same totally showing my age. Regardless, it was the first thing that came to mind when I was infusing this tea. Shi Zuo Oolong from Tea From Taiwan…it’s where it’s AT!

Don’t let the gentle, pale yellow liquor tea color fool you! What it lacks in a bolder, more vibrant color…it makes up for in beautiful aroma and flavor!

It’s very fresh, clean, buttery, and sweet when it comes to taste. As for aroma it reminded me of sweet, sugar snap peas with a hint of raisin. The buttery texture of the sip lingers long after the sip and makes you crave more.

This is definitely one of the more interesting and flavorful Oolongs I have sampled in a while. I think it would pair well with a nice savory veggies and rice dish, too! YUM!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea From Taiwan

Description

Shi Zuo oolong tea (wu long tea) is grown in the Shi Zuo (Stone Table) area of Alishan (Mount Ali). At an altitude of 1300 meters, Shi Zuo has a cool, moist climate that is ideal for growing tea.

Shi Zuo oolong tea is hand picked and hand processed in the traditional manner of Taiwanese High Mountain oolongs. The processing results in ball-shaped tea pellets which consist of two or three leaves and a bud. These pellets open up during brewing to release the full flavor of the tea.

In order to experience the full potential of this tea, we recommend brewing it Gong Fu style. This method of brewing brings out the sweetness and complex undertones that mark this tea as one of the best that Taiwan has to offer.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

GLENDALE ESTATE, NILGIRI, FIRST FLUSH 2017/Yatra Tea Company

This Nilgiri is reminiscent of a Darjeeling. Though the leaves really do not have a resemblance, the wet leaf smell has the mineral and earthy components.

It is somewhat mineral in taste as well but namely earthy with mixes of wood and earth. That sounds confusing but if you look at a tea flavor wheel it will make more sense.

If tasted while steeping between minutes 1-2 you may detect some hints of honey which I also find follows in the after taste but the honey disappears when steeped past 3 minutes.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Yatra Tea Company

Description

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!