Huang Guan Yin/Harney and Sons – Ashmanra –

Huang Guan Yin goes by several names. The tea plant is a hybrid/cross of a Tie Guan Yin cultivar and a Huang Jin Gui cultivar. The name literally translates as “Yellow Goddess of Mercy.” It is sometimes also called No. 105 or simply Yellow Goddess. It is a fairly new cultivar.

This particular one from Harney and Sons is very light. There is none of the roasty toasty or smokey flavor found in many TGY or Wuyi oolongs. No Tung Ting nuttiness. I think some companies do sell this processed a little more roasty if their descriptions are accurate.

The scent cup revealed floral aroma reminiscent of baby powder – that light magnolia or osmanthus scent, and a baked sugary treat smell that made me think of cream filled dougnuts. Then a herbaceous savory note rises.

It was prepared gongfu style. The liquor is yellow. There is quite a mix of flavor here. The floral scents are still there, but there is a savory note overlaid on all the sweetness. Sipping the tea, I taste the floral aspects first and then the savory nips in at the aftertaste like vegetable liquor from leafy greens, like tender greens (popular in the South where I live) or perhaps bok choy, perhaps more well known.

The leaves held up for steep after steep, delivering a lot of flavor. It was a very interesting tea to try. I wouldn’t want to waste this one by drinking it with a meal. I prefer to enjoy it on it own to tease out all the flavors.


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Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Harney & Sons 

Description

This is a light Oolong from the Wuyishan area of northern Fujian Province. We have been buying from Mr. Chao for many years. This Spring we stopped by and saw him and his wife. This is one of the 3 teas that we bought from them. This is a cross blend between Ti Quan Yin and Huang Jin Gui, so you have nice floral notes and a bit of sweetness.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

**this tea was purchased and not gifted in exchange for a review**

Black Thai Tropical/Tiesta Tea- Ashmanra-

Black Thai Tropical was very different from what I expected! Since it comes from the Energizer line I was expecting a cup of deeply colored, strong black tea with some fruit flavors, but when I opened the pouch I saw mostly dried fruit pieces – big ones! – with bits of black tea clinging to them. It was extremely aromatic and I could have sworn I smelled lime but it isn’t listed in the ingredients.

This steeped up to a medium golden color, looking more like a fruit infusion than a black tea. I tried it both hot and plain, and iced with sugar, so let’s start with hot.

I felt no need for sugar in this. It is quite “citrus fruity” with the papaya and mango giving a very different vibe than most fruit teas that seem to rely heavily on apple and hibiscus with spices like cinnamon and clove. This is a bright, refreshing change from that. I don’t feel like I am drinking a cup of black tea. The fruit is center stage. With as little black tea as I see in the pouch, I wonder how much caffeine is actually in this. I don’t mind, as I don’t seek out caffeine and if I have too much of it in the afternoon I will be up all night!

I tried it as iced sweet tea because it is ridiculously hot and humid where I live and we guzzle
tons of iced tea here. I grew up on super sweet Southern iced black tea, and I am loving icing all different kinds now. I have pulled back the amount of sugar considerably from what we made when I was growing up.

I think I liked this best as an iced tea. The aroma is amazing! The fruit flavor is really citrusy and bright, and the papaya and mango make it more unique than most of the fruit blends I run into. It was fantastically refreshing and also went very well with a meal.


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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Tiesta Tea

Description

This tropical trio combines the power of black tea with the bursting flavors of pineapple and mango to create a force strong enough to take down any to-do list. You’ve got exotic places to go, people to see, and the world at your fingertips; this Energizer blend is the one to get you there.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Naughty or Anise/Tiesta Tea

I had a nice, big sample pack of this one, full of juicy chunks of fruit and whole spices. The thing is, I am not a big fan of dried fruit teas. I drink mostly real TEA so I have put off trying this. But today was abnormally warm and it seemed like a good time to try it.

The reason I don’t like fruit tea usually is that it either has almost no flavor, like someone whispered the name of a fruit at the water, or they add hibiscus for color and flavor and it all ends up just being a variation on hibiscus – tart and sassy.

This one came out SO DIFFERENT.

I used the whole pouch and steeped it twice, because I wanted a large pitcher to drink with our evening meal. I did sweeten it lightly with cane sugar. I added chilled water and ice and oh my goodness, it was great!

It had FLAVOR! You could really taste the fruit and the spices were so well matched to bring out the best in it. I like anise, and it was just the right amount for me with beautiful whole stars in the blend. The cinnamon brought out the apple pie vibe they talk about. This is from the “Relaxer” tea line, and who could be tense with an apple pie?

Bottom line – I loved it and would definitely love to have it again.


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Leaf Type:  Fruit Tisane

Where to Buy:  Tiesta Tea

Description

Star anise, cinnamon and almond blend together for a spunky twist on apple pie. Being naughty has never tasted so nice.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

 **by purchasing this product via the pic/link below, you will be supporting the SororiTea Sisters in their mission to support tea companies, big and small with the Amazon Affiliate Program.  All monies collected from this program will be used to purchase teas for the SororiTea Sisters to review or to assist with shipping costs**

Cherry Blossom/DAVIDs Tea

It is late at night and I am already sleepy.  I want something light and sweet as a bedtime treat, so I chose Cherry Blossom. Although it is primarily labeled as a white tea, this is a actually a blend of white and green tea with cherries, coconut chips, rosebuds, and natural and artificial cherry flavoring.

Cherry flavor can so easily go wrong. So many cherry teas (and other cherry flavored things) taste like cherry cough syrup, which is NOT what I am looking for. Remember Luden’s Cherry Cough Drops? Now THAT I could handle, or real sweet cherries, but not something that tastes like actual cough syrup. (Not a rooibos fan as a general rule because it tastes like cough syrup to me. It takes throwing in a ton of flavoring to make it palatable for me.)

Happily, this didn’t go wrong. The coconut is giving it body and creaminess, the rose adds a little sweetness but honestly not a ton of floral flavor, and the main event is definitely sweet cherry without the cough syrup BLARG.

This one has really been a hit with family and friends, and I think the next step is to try it iced and see what happens!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  White/Green Blend

Where to Buy:  DAVIDs Tea

Description

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

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Planet Kunlu Sheng Puerh/Crimson Lotus Tea

I have a lot more experience with shu puerh than with sheng, but I want to rectify that. What better place to start than with this gorgeous dragon pearl from Crimson Lotus Tea?

This is a really large pearl, but I was not prepared for just how much leaf there is here! Crimson Lotus had a great video telling how to best steep these. Thirty second rinse with boiling water to open it up, pour off the rinse and let it rest for about five minutes. This is great thing to do with any puerh, by the way, not just a tight pearl like this.

Now you can do another thirty second steep and drink it or pour it away, your choice. If the aroma doesn’t appeal to you at this point, don’t worry about pouring it away because believe me, you are going to be here steeping and drinking for a long, long time.

Now that you are on the third steep, shorten your steep to about ten seconds because the leaves are now saturated and the pearl has opened. My gaiwan is full! The leaves are whole, soft, and a beautiful green.

The tea is rich and thick, and has lots of energy going down. The color is surprisingly dark for a youngish sheng, a really deep golden/amber color. The flavor is as rich as the color and stays that way for more than ten steeps, maybe fifteen or twenty. I lost count and have no idea how many steeps I ended up making. For this reason, I am buying a pace counter (ranger beads or range counter) to keep track of future steeping sessions with sheng puerh teas.

This felt like a favorite hoppy beer on the way down, really refreshing and kept me reaching for more. The best part for me was the amazing rising sweetness that persisted.

Honestly I think the tea could have kept going for ages more, and I am thankful that halfway through I was joined by another tea drinker because it just kept giving and I couldn’t hold anymore. The color never lessened, the flavor never got weak. I am really kicking myself for not saving those leaves but it was an outdoor, early spring gong fu session and I couldn’t manage it.

More Crimson Lotus sheng is definitely going on my shopping list.


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Leaf Type: Puerh

Where to Buy:  Crimson Lotus Tea

Description

“A world of flavor in the palm of your hand!” This is a new planet in our Yunniverse.

Don’t let their small size fool you. These tiny spheres of puerh are made from Kunlu Shan small arbor tree tree material. They were picked and processed in Spring of 2017 and were pressed in the Summer of 2017.

Each of these hand made ‘planets’ weighs around 8 grams. These are called ‘long zhu’ (龙珠) in Chinese; this means ‘dragon balls’. They are hand wrapped and ready to brew. These work great with any style of brewing. You can toss one in a gaiwan or clay teapot. They work great grandpa style, or in an on the go thermos. They are tightly compressed so we give them a nice long initial wash to help them open up. The first steep is longer than normal until the leaves open up.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

photo credit:  crimson lotus tea