Black Beauty/Mandala Tea -Skysamurai-

NOOOOO!! I thought this was a Lapsang.

It smelled to heavily of campfire smoke I didn’t think it could be anything but Lapsang….

But no… It’s a wonderful black tea And why am I screaming?

Because I dumped a good lot of it in my bone broth that is cooking from yesterdays turkey leftovers. Shame, shame, shame. It really s too bad. This tea is so smooth.

A Keenum style but without the astringency. Aroma of apricots and slightly earthy in the wet leaf. I’m currently on my third steeping and it’s still going strong. I hope my bone broth is amazing.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mandala Tea

Description

Black Beauty is a very fitting name for this wonderful tea!  If you are a fan of Keemun style black teas, you will want to try this one.  Most of our customers and myself, now prefer this over the Keemun black.  It is wonderfully sweet, almost chocolatey and little to no astringency present! The tea liquor is clear and longer steepings will give it a slightly red hue.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

China Keemun First Grade/Upton Tea Imports -Ashmanra-

I received a gift of this tea in the mail from a fellow tea lover. Tea people are THE BEST! And Keemun is one of my favorite tea types, so let’s get down to business!

The package says First Grade China Keemun but the website puts it the other way around as China Keemun First Grade. This is an entry level Keemun with an astonishingly low price, so if you are not overly picky and want a daily drinker, this would be very economical.

The aroma of the dry leaves is very nostalgic for me. It smells just like the tea section of A Southern Season, harkening back to my earliest explorations of tea. This smells like TEA. The aroma is bracing and rich, and very comforting to me.

I erred on the side of caution and made this more like they would in China with a slightly lower temperature and a short three minute first steep, followed by a four minute re-steep.

Wow. I can not imagine taking this to five minutes with boiling water unless you are adding milk and sugar. Strong stuff.

I am getting no cocoa at all, no chocolate. The overwhelming impression is tobacco and wood.
There is a touch of wine or muscatel, like a darjeeling. There is a definite natural smokey flavor, not like lapsang but rather the light smoke often found in daily drinker Chinese black tea.

The aroma had so many layers and was so rich that I really thought the tea was going to blow me away. But it isn’t quite my favorite profile. I enjoyed it without milk or sugar with my breakfast, but this wouldn’t do double duty for me as an afternoon tea or a dessert accompaniment.

What I think it WILL do very well is sweet iced tea. It has the heft and smoothness to carry it off.

UPDATE: I made it as a sweet tea and let it chill overnight because we all know iced tea tastes best after it has had time to meld.

The taste really surprised me. I thought it would be a really classic iced black tea flavor but somehow the fruity aspect really amped up, to the point that it almost tastes like a flavored tea! Interesting!

Not a favorite Keemun type for me, but glad to have tried it. If you like winey Keemuns and are looking for a super economical price point, this is worth checking out.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Description

With its rich flavor profile and smooth mouth feel, this standard grade Keemun represents a great value for a China black tea. Hints of wine and a suggestion of smoke round out the earthy, full-bodied cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Day #1 Adagio Teas Advent Calendar -CuppaGeek-

Today is the second official day of the tea advent calendar season but to avoid spoilers- I’m going to review the lovely Adagio Teas Advent Calendar a day behind so without further ado. . . . .

Day #1- Spiced Apple Chai

Spiced Apple Chai is a tea blend from Adagio Teas that I know very well.  I have enjoyed this one quite often.  This lovely black tea based flavored chai is pretty much like fall in a cup but I like to enjoy this one with a twist. A shot of rum or a dollop of cream just adds a nice next level feel to this brew.

Brewed with fresh prepped water at boiling and steeped for right around 2-3 minutes this blends yields a distinctive distinctive apple flavor along with what I would consider the traditional chai spices-ginger, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon .  Flavors that you would expect to go well together and a chai you want to enjoy on a cool day where wrapping your hands around a mug brings your tea loving soul so much love.

Adding the additional extras of course are optional to enjoy this lovely cuppa and what is great about this particular blend, there are so many different ways you can enjoy- western brewed, as a latte, adult like with a shot of this or that, cold brewed with or without a touch of maple syrup, truly the possibilities are endless which makes this one of my favorite Adagio blends.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Description

Our Spiced Apple Chai features the timeless, comforting combination of apples and spice. A lively blend of black tea, classic spices from Indian Masala Chai and bright notes of crisp apple. Juicy and pleasantly sweet, like warm applesauce, with clean, refreshing texture. We suggest two heaping teaspoons per 8 oz cup. Sugar, cream or soy if desired.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

TeaLady Grey/Rare Tea Company – Stephenia-

I admit it, I am obsessed with earl grey tea. Every morning is started with a cuppa of earl grey and many times I end my day with a caffeine-free rooibos version. I literally have over 40 different varieties of the stuff from all sorts of companies in my tea collection but I am always looking for THE holy grail earl grey. I think I may have actually found it!

I recently saw that Rare Tea Company released a new version of earl grey. If you are not familiar with Rare Tea Company it was founded by Henrietta Lovell. She wrote a fantastic book called Infused which recounts how tea has shaped her life and has been a constant companion through times of trouble. I can’t recommend the book enough, especially if you love tea! At any rate she created a new blend called TeaLady Grey. I was immediately drawn to it because of the addition of lemongrass. Lemongrass is perhaps one of my absolute favorite herbals and I especially love when it is added to earl grey. It helps to deepen the citrus notes of the bergamot. I ordered the tea during one of their free ship events. Make sure you are subscribed to their email because free ship events are offered several times a year.

The tea begins with a beautiful base. And really, a tea blend is only as good as the base used with it. I find so many companies start with an inferior base in hopes that the other ingredients will mask the fact that the tea leaves are not good. The base is black tea from the Shire Highlands of Malawi. It is a smaller cut leaf typical of teas from this region. The base is strong, malty and a perfect tea to carry the Sri Lankan lemongrass, Malawi lemon verbena and Italian bergamot. Because Henrietta has such a great relationship with her tea farmers she is able to secure the highest quality and freshest ingredients which translates to an exquisite tea experience. This is an absolutely perfectly blended tea and on par with all the other great teas I have had from Rare Tea Company. The layering of the citrus notes from the bergamot, lemongrass and lemon verbena create a perfectly bright and well rounded cup. If you are a fan of earl grey I highly recommend this version. This blend checks all the boxes for me and then some on what I am looking for in a perfect earl grey.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Co.

Description

This tea is our Rare Tea Lady’s (founder Henrietta Lovell) riff on a traditional Earl Grey; a more delicately herbaceous and distinctly lemon blend.

Instead of containing just black tea and the essential oil of bergamot that composes a traditional Earl Grey Tea – we’ve built up the lemon notes, not with more citrus but uniquely with delicious lemon herbs.

Rich yet elegant black tea from the Shire Highlands of Malawi blended with Italian Bergamot, Malawi Lemon Verbena and Sri Lankan Lemongrass.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Chestnut/Adagio Teas -Ashmanra-

I have recently been introduced to LOTS of tea by Adagio, and honestly I had no idea that they had such a huge selection.

I decided to share this pot of tea with someone who has actually had chestnuts since I never have so I would be able to tell you how authentic the taste is!

My impression of the tea is that it tastes exactly like the company description – black tea with a pleasant dryness. It is nutty, but the company says their teas are safe for people with nut allergies. The facility is also gluten free.

I took it plain but it definitely could take milk and sugar if you prefer. It had that raspy dry feel on the tongue that many Keemun teas give, a cocoa powder vibe without chocolate. It reminded of the feeling when a wee bit of the “bitter” from inside a pecan or walnut shell gets in your mouth. That may sound bad but as they said – it is a pleasant bitterness.

So what about the person who has had actual chestnuts? She said it was so authentic that she was transported back to Eastern Europe at Christmastime, buying roasted chestnuts from vendors in the street. She was quite nostalgic and I am pretty sure she would be pleased to find a box of this tea in her stocking this year!

This also gave a decent resteep. Many thanks to the Sisters for sharing this one with me!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Adagio Teas

Description

Premium Ceylon black tea flavored with roasted chestnuts. Roasty, smooth and full-bodied, with a pleasant dryness. Perfect for enjoying in front of an open fire on a cool night, in any season. A comforting reminder of the season of giving, perfect to share with a few close friends.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!