Inconceivable! Vizzini’s Brew from Geeky Teas . . . . . . .

I love a tea with a good theme, so Vizzini’s Brew from Geeky Teas was a joy to drink and write about.  Vizzini refers to the character from the Princess Bride film, you know the one who was always shouting: inconceivable!  His brew was made with a black tea from the Fujian province of China.

When brewed, this blend was exceptionally smooth, both smelling and tasting reminiscent of creamy hot cocoa.  With a chocolate scent and silky mouthfeel, this brew was far sweeter and more comforting than the grating voice of its namesake.

Beneath the sweet buttery-vanilla cocoa flavors, there were hints of honey-roasted nuts, reminding me of honeybush teas.  The range and potency of these delicious flavors were impressive, knowing that this was an unflavored black tea.

I think the real cleverness in choosing this blend for Vizzini lies in its brewing notes.  Geeky Teas said that this type of tea can be brewed strong or light according to your preference, and it will maintain its tasty cocoa notes without getting bitter.  I couldn’t help but imagine brewing two mugs side-by-side with different brew times and tasting them to compare.

It made me think of Vizzini’s infamous “pick your poison” scene in the Princess Bride.  A clever man would brew a strong tea… Light or strong: which would you choose? Just remember: never go against a Sicilian when death– I mean.. a good cup of tea– is on the line!

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Geeky Teas
Description:

Black tea from the Fuijian province of China. Can be brewed strong or weak. As you wish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Ruhuna Tea from Zesta Tea . . . . . .

The Ruhuna (sometimes spelled Ruhunu) tea from Zesta is part of their regional tea tasting set.  This black tea came in a beautiful red patterned box, and I’m tempted to try the rest of their regional tea set just for the eye-catching packaging alone. Beneath the red box is a foil bag of tea, so I popped it open and started brewing.

The dry leaves were small and tightly rolled, almost like pellets.  When I put my nose into the bag of tea the leaves were very fragrant, with both earthy almost-tobacco notes complimented by bright lemony scents.

In brewing, the leaves unfurled and quickly produced a dark and potent cup of tea.  The taste is definitely that of a strong black tea, but not so strong that it makes your mouth pucker.  This is where the Ruhuna blend stands out. It doesn’t have the fuzzy and chocolatey mouthfeel of some assam or malty breakfast teas.  But it is not sharp or bitter like other brighter black teas I’ve tried, even after a longer steep time.

Ruhuna is powered by its citrus flavors, tasting as sunny and lemony as you can without adding flavoring or lemon peel to the tea.  Beneath that first flush of lemon, there are sweeter orange notes, all supported by a a robust and figgy black tea base.

Sweet without being artificial, and bright without being too tart, it is easy to enjoy such an uplifting and drinkable tea.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Zesta Tea
Description:

Enjoy our regional tea packs featuring teas from five tea growing regions of Sri Lanka – Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. This variety from such a small island is what made Ceylon tea famous – try it – from the low grown Ruhuna teas to the high grown Nuwara Eliya – a true journey in Ceylon tea, packaged in teabags for convenience and offered in a pine wood box. Perfect for gifting.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Glenburn Estate Darjeeling, First Flush 2017 from Yatra Tea. . . . .

Darjeeling teas fall somewhere on the spectrum of black teas, green teas, and oolong teas, depending on their level of oxidation.  This 2017 First Flush darjeeling is a high quality blend from Glenburn Estate and from the Yatra Tea Company.

The dry leaves are a very dark green, and tightly curled.  I used the recommended brewing of 185 F water with a steep time of 3 minutes.  Brewed, the tea was fragrant, green and fruity, and very much in the oolong-family of of scents.

The taste was driven by a muscatel stone-fruit flavors, a green and pleasantly tart, almost fermented, frutiness.  This tea was bright and sunny, with notes of apricot and white grape, coupled with a lush green undertone. The mouthfeel was very smooth in texture, though I don’t taste as much buttery flavors as I might expect.  The more I sipped, the more gentle lemon and citrus notes became apparent.

This is definitely a fruit-forward tea, perfect for springtime brewing.  Even if flowers aren’t quite blooming in your garden, watch these tea leaves bloom in your mug and enjoy the sweet fragrance and experience.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Darjeeling
Where to Buy: Yatra Tea
Description:

High in the Himalayas, overlooking the intimidating Kanchenjunga mountain range, lie the rolling tea fields of the heavenly Glenburn Estate. Founded in 1859 by a Scottish tea company, Glenburn is one of the oldest Darjeeling estates and many of the laborious routines appear to be unchanged till date on this 750 hectare estate.

In addition to traditional Darjeeling black teas, Glenburn produces a superior green tea at specific times of the year. Yatra Tea Company proudly presents an April 2017 offering harvested exclusively for us.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Superfine Tanyang gongfu black tea from Tea Vivre . . . .

I’m learning to love unflavored teas this year, and this beautiful offering from Tea Vivre really makes my job easy! Without even opening the bag, I’m already impressed with the gaiwan tea ceremony directions and WOW! The heritage on this tea is amazing, down to the day of when and where it was harvested (April 8, 2017). The gongfu style black tea is named after where it was grown, Tanyang Village in Fujian, of South East China.

The adventure continues as I reveal Twisted ropes of gold and brown… I’ve never seen this type of tea before, it’s actually soft with some fuzzies on it. A green-thumbed friend of mine called this style of leaves “pubescent”, meaning they were just barely mature.

Still dry, they offer a light, clear, inviting scent, like fresh sweet peas in the garden. I decided to taste a leaf, (they make coffee bean snacks so it’s not that crazy to do, right??) and we are reminded of the chocolate noodles they sample out of Pikes place market.

The walnut colored brew offers a hint of honey taste though none was added. I never expected this sort of delicate leaf to be so powerful! They say the longer you brew this style, the mellower the flavor will be, which is quite the opposite of most teas I’ve had, and it’s completely true!! Now I’m curious about the actual chemistry of tannins etc… oh the rabbit holes of science we can get caught up in…
It is “zero percent bitter” and easy to drink (Hanley, R.,2017). There is a refreshing aftertaste, maybe a subtle hint of wintergreen. This tea doesn’t have much of an aftertaste but I tended to wait a while between sips because this tea was just so transcendental that I couldn’t help but daydream about it.

If ever you need to impress someone with a tea, this is the one!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black, loose leaf
Where to Buy: TeaVivre

Being the first one among Fujian’s three best Gong Fu Black Teas (Bai Lin Gong Fu, Zheng He Gong Fu, Tan Yang Gong Fu), Tan Yang Gong Fu Black Tea has tight and thin leaves, looks glossy, which could be seen from TeaVivre’s product photo. When looking at this tea, the golden pekoe is particularly eye-catching, strongly connected to its high quality. Under the effect of photosynthesis, fresh buds contain the largest amount of beneficial substances than other parts. Moreover, the traditional making method of black tea has retained the nutrition in the most volume.

Black tea is renowned with it red leaves and red liquid. The liquid of Tan Yang Gong Fu is bright red, and clean, which brings you a feeling of pureness. The flavor will vary based on different amount of teas and time of infusion. If using gai wan to brew in traditional Chinese way (Recommend Brewing Guide), you will sense the sweet and mellow flavor, and feel a quick sweet aftertaste in your throat. The aroma of Tan Yang Gong Fu will float around you for a long time.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Perfect, Cold-Weather Cup: Boisahabi Estate Assam from Capital Tea Ltd

Assam teas are known for their fuller, malty feel and flavor, distinctly different than the tart zing of Ceylon black teas.  This Assam from the Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd., is a high grade tea (STGFOP (SPL) ) with a mix of black tea leaves and the highly-prized golden tips that bring the complex and delicious flavor.

In the dry leaf, this tea smells comforting and slightly spicy, like cinnamon sticks and fresh wood.  Brewed, the tea becomes surprisingly fruity, with lush muscatel flavors like pear and plum.  Beneath this fruitiness, the black tea is smooth and full, with toffee tones.  Overall, the tea feels very pleasant to drink, with a texture that fills my mouth with a warm, fuzzy feeling, without being too cloying or too sharp.

In the winter season, I seem to be drawn to all the crazy dessert-flavored teas like pumpkin pie or gingerbread cake, but while those teas are fun, their flavors are certainly enhanced by artificial flavors or added sugars and sprinkles.  There’s a time and place for those tasty flavored teas, but this Assam from Boisahabi Estate really took me by surprise and felt more flavorful and festive than those other blends.

This tea has a beautiful balance of both bold and delicate flavors, with the lighter, garden-like flavors of stone fruit, and the rich caramel and black tea undertones.  Even without sugar or milk, there is a smooth and comforting natural sweetness to this brew, which speaks to the quantity and quality of the golden tips and the tea leaves as a whole.

When you want a mature cup of tea with comforting yet complex flavors, brew a cup of Assam black tea from Boisahabi Estate from Capital Tea Ltd. and stay cozy in the chilly weather.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Capital Tea Ltd
Description:

Sweetly aromatic attractive deep brown Assam leaves with plenty of golden tips. These leaves infuse to a rich, full bodied, and intensely flavourful tea liquor with prominent notes of candy-malt and toffee. Highly recommended as a breakfast tea to drink with milk

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!