Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Intelligent Nutrients’ Nurture #4 is warm, cozy and balancing. We are using the Li Family’s lightly smoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong black tea from the Wuyi Mountains as the base for a smoldering base to pair with certified organic Nature #4, and draw out the natural sweetness of the tea with elderberry and coriander. Like sitting by a crackling fire, this comforting blend brings warmth and balance.
Learn more about this tea here.
From the time that I first opened the package to the last drops dripping from my gaiwan into my cha hair, I was practically seduced by the flavor. I love the smell of this tea! To put it bluntly, it smells like musky hippie perfume that all those Tibetan souvenir shops always sell in one form or another. I know, not the most glowing description ever written, but I freaking love that hippie perfume. It’s slightly sweet and smoky, with perfume notes that evoke ancient biblical spices. Frankincense? Myrrh perhaps? I cannot for the life of me put my finger on it, but I am so intoxicated by the smell.
The large, long and lightly twisted leaves are dotted with coriander, and if you can look hard enough, you can see tiny dried elderberries hiding out, same color as the leaves. I gongfu’ed this tea and was delighted by the changes in flavor profile each infusion brought to the table. The new copper penny colored brew presented different combinations each time I steeped it. The first steeping I smelled a scrumptiously peppery aroma. I tasted the peppered aroma on my tongue, as well as that hippie perfumery.
The woody notes transitioned me into the next infusion, where I got a slight lavender essence, and upon smelling the top notes, I found a warm welcome of bread and malt notes. The smoke was an afterthought, until the third time around. I half wondered if there would be any smoke to it at all. But it came out to shine in the third round. It was as if someone had just blown out a match. Not so sting to turn you off anything smoked for the rest of your life, but just a hint so that I could taste the other fascinating notes. This time I got a vanilla orange spice to compliment the hint of smoke.
Sipping and enjoying this tea sent me on a sensory overload trip. I was transported to a different time and place. I know that most people upon hearing the word ‘perfume’ being used to describe tea will most definitely run for the hills. But there is so much more to this brew than the hippie cologne. Each time I took the kettle and dowsed the tea, it showed me a different card hidden in it’s sleeves. If I had brewed it any longer, it may have tried to pull a rabbit our of my cup. This is truly a strange brew.
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tea Source
This rare regional oolong from Wuyi Mountain, Fujian yields a light liquor, but with great aroma, taste, and texture. You’ll experience: sweet, nutty, fruity, honey, and silky over many steepings. These long, large, twisted, bronze/brown leaves are produced at more than 1000′ elevation from the Qi Lan cultivar.
Learn more about this tea here.
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This is a really nice Oolong! This Rare Orchid Oolong Tea from Tea Source is an example of why I really love the Steepster Select boxes – I get the opportunity to try teas that maybe I wouldn’t have tried if not for the Steepster Select program.
I’m loving the malty notes to this Oolong. It’s not a flavor that I usually associate with an Oolong, and I love it when I discover an Oolong that offers me something a little different that I haven’t really tasted in an Oolong before.
Over on Steepster, some of the other tasting notes on this tea mention an Asparagus-like flavor, and I’m not tasting that yet. I’m hoping that in later infusions, I’ll pick up on that flavor. But for now, in this first cup (infusions 1 and 2 following a 15 second rinse), I’m happily enjoying the flavors of malt, a sweet honey flavor, and a sweet, creamy vanilla note. There are some lovely floral notes to this cup too.
With my second cup (infusions 3 and 4), I noticed more vanilla notes … this second cup is so creamy! More honey notes, less malt than in the first cup, and the floral tones seem somewhat subdued compared to the first cup – not quite as sharp, or perhaps the vanilla has softened the floral tones just a little bit. Either way, I really like the way the vanilla flavors seem to really envelop the palate. And if I focus, I taste hints of the asparagus note that I was searching for in that first cup, and I’m also picking up on a distant fruit note.
My final cup (infusions 5 and 6) was a mellower tasting cup. I still tasted the vanilla, but this was less creamy than the second. I could taste the fruit notes a little more than I did in the second cup, but, I’m tasting less honey and malt this time around. Still a really flavorful cup, though, and definitely worth the effort!
This was a really lovely Oolong, I’m glad that I was able to try it – thanks to my Steepster Select subscription! Interested in subscribing to the Steepster Select program? Click here.