Leaf Type: Black, Darjeeling
Where to Buy: Darjeeling Tea Lovers
Margarets Hope Muscatel comes from one of the best known gardens Margarets Hope Tea Garden. The dry leaves are black and dark chocolate in colour with fresh floral notes to the nose.
When steeped for 3 mins, it gives a brilliant deep golden liquor. It has a full bodied muscatel flavour with a distinct mint ‘twang’ in the nose. A perfect cup to make your evenings delightful.
Learn more about this tea here.
2012 Margarets Hope Muscatel (2nd Flush) from Darjeeling Tea Lovers is such an easy tea to drink. It’s light but full bodied, has that wonderful muscatel wine like flavor of fermented grapes, but is accompanied by an almost bubbly mouthfeel.
The tea is also complimented by spiced earth notes and woodsy flavors.
My sample is going on at least 5 to 6 months in age but its flavor is wonderful. I wish I had tried it when it first came out and truly hope I get to experience the 2013 leaf while it is still fresh and full of flavor.
I do love a good darjeeling and this one is slightly different from others I have enjoyed. This has a far more earthy and musk like note to it, which I love, yet a really good balance with its lighter fruity, berry, and red currant notes.
The more the tea cools the more rich and full it becomes. I find it reminding me almost of a pu-erh with notes ranging from peat, oaky, and other aged woods. While the cup begins rather light by the end of the more cooled cup it thickens up and becomes far heavier in the sip.
What an interesting tea! One everyone should try in order to understand a truly wonderful Darjeeling!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Mandala Tea
One of our favorite oolong teas capable of many infusions.
This tea is a variation on a Taiwanese oolong named “Oriental Beauty”, utilizing large-leaf wild arbor Yunnan grown leaves. Nearly black leaves and silver tips impart a dark, sweet, wine-like flavor unto the water. Great no matter how you choose to brew it. This tea is quickly becoming a favorite in the tea thermos. It will keep well and develop new flavors over 2-3 years.
Learn more about this tea here.
Yunnan Beauty from Mandala Tea is a lovely sweet and aromatic oolong that looks much like a black tea in dry form.
The sweet aroma is present both in dry leaf and when steeped. There is a wonderful sweetness in the taste of this tea not quite honey but not quite molasses, more like sourgum. This lends to the tea being somewhat wine like in flavor, but not muscatel. If memory serves this tea is similar to a barley wine, but it has been years since I have sipped barely wine.
The flavor of this tea really coats your mouth leaving behind a long lasting delicious flavor and aroma that sticks in your nostrils. As you breath you can taste the tea even more.
At 6.00 per ounce, discounted to 21.60 if you purchase 4 ounces this tea is a steal for a high quality and totally unique oolong.
The tea has an interesting effect on the palate, in the front part of your mouth you will get a watery sensation but toward the back it is slightly drying. Not nearly as drying as some oolongs I have sipped but the drying effect is there. The watering mouth mixed with the drying in the back keeps you fully hydrated in between sips yet at the same time makes you just want another and another!
I really quite enjoy Mandala Tea’s Yunnan Beauty Oolong and am happy it is in my stash.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Cuppa Crew Tea Company
Top’o’the’mornin’ our pasty Irish butts. If you need a kick with a kick to start your day (or wake you up after lunch), here’s your tea, good ma’am or sir.
We start with our hearty Irish Breakfast blend and add a drop of the craythur — Irish Cream (cream + Irish whiskey). The resulting cuppa is bold, creamy, sweet, and just reminiscent of a fine Irish whiskey. Feel the burn (in a fabulous way)! Uisce beatha (“water of life”), indeed.
The name of the blend is borrowed from an old Irish street ballad by the name of, “Finnegan’s Wake,” embedded below. We thought it appropriate!
Ingredients: Black Tea, Blackberry Leaves, Cornflower, Sunflower, Calendula Petals, Natural Flavors.
Learn more about this tea here.
Tim Finnegan’s Wake-Up from Cuppa Crew Tea Company tastes like a good merlot in my opinion. There is not a thing wrong with that! It’s no surprise it is after all an Irish inspired blend and since I have Irish blood in me I think I am politically clearned to say the Irish do love their alcohol although not necessarily wine. Okay now if I have not offended everyone I will continue. Alright so maybe my Irish blood is not thick enough for a stout whisky and perhaps this is spot on for Irish Whisky but to me I keep tasting that wine note, although I am far more partial to wine than whiskey. I hope my ancestors are not turning over in their graves.
The creamy element to this tea is lovely. Its not too creamy that you feel like your drinking something heavy or cloying but it does evoke that Irish Cream flavor quite well.
I do not usually do this but I did add some sugar and a splash of milk half way through the cup as it is recommended by Cuppa Crew even though the tea was rockin without it!
Sure I do think the sugar and milk, only a splash, do help highlight some of the notes in the tea, especially the more savory notes of calendula, a wonderful healing herb, but I believe I may prefer this one just as is, why mess with something that is good on its own? Still it is nice that we have choices and its great both ways!
The dry leaf is pretty with sprinkles of purple, and gold color from the calendula, and cornflower, and it has a lovely aroma. The steeped leaf expands to at least twice its size. A note on the leaf from Cuppa Crew:
We use only orthodox tea leaves in both our standard Irish Breakfast and in Tim Finnegan’s Wake-Up, so the texture of the leaves is beautiful and consistent. We also like the somewhat mellower flavor of the full leaf versus a CTC blend.
The folks at Cuppa Crew are awesome people with in my opinion a good sense of humor and good nature. I enjoy reading their web site and blog with the quirky sense of humor and antidotes.
Check them out and give a nod to a new and upcoming tea company!
As for last notes on this tea … I have never had a tea like it! Truly unique and original! Kudos Cuppa Crew!