Nurture #4 Black Tea from Verdant Tea

nurture-4Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

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.

Taster’s Review:

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.

I dream in tea.
Hello! My name is Maddi and I love to gongfu and listen to good tunes. I live in Denver, CO with my big dumb malamute and three other people who are not bid dumb malamutes. I like to take boiling hot showers and meditate in my closet. I talk about tea so much that it has become a punch line of sorts with my family and coworkers. Besides my unhealthy obsession with the drink that gives me life, I do yoga frequently, watch Korean Dramas religiously, run as a form of moving meditation, make green smoothies out of any vegetables and fruits within the nearest vicinity, and play video games with my patient and forgiving boyfriend. I also cook for a living and have at least one waffle a day.
Likes: Tea, Teaware, All forms of nature, Old movies, People with infectious laughs, Blankets
Dislikes: Watching sports, People who don’t tip servers, Slipping on ice, drinking tea for the ‘health benefits’
I tend to only drink loose leaf, although I will have a bagged tea every once in a while in an emergency. I also never sweeten my tea because, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’
I like the following flavors:
Majority of chai
Anything Tropical
Stone fruit/melon
I am not so fond of the following flavors:
Strong Bergamot
Cloves/strong cinnamon

Rare Orchid Oolong Tea from Tea Source

Rare OrchidTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea Source

Tea Description:

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.

To subscribe to Steepster Select, click here.

Taster’s Review:

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.

Anne (aka the Mad Tea Artist) has celebrated her 29th birthday for many years now. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her hubby and her youngest daughter. Her oldest daughter is married and has bestowed Anne with the proud title of “Gramma” and her grandson is about the cutest boy you ever did see.

Anne started her journey with tea as a casual drinker and became more serious about her tea drinking when she realized that she couldn’t drink coffee. Shortly thereafter, she started becoming obsessed with the beverage and she started creating small-batch, artisan blends of tea that she sold online as LiberTEAS. After a few years, she realized she wasn’t cut out to be the sole proprietor of a business so she closed LiberTEAS and started reviewing teas online. She met Jennifer through another blog that they both reviewed for and they decided to start their own review blog. This review blog!

Throughout her journey as a tea reviewer, she discovered 52Teas and became enamored with the idea of creating a new tea every week. When the founder of 52Teas decided he wanted to move on, he offered the business to Anne but knowing that she wasn’t cut out to be a sole proprietor, she instead offered the company to her oldest daughter who employs her as the Mad Tea Artist for 52Teas!