Fine quality, unflavored black tea always makes me feel like a serious tea aficionado. So I brewed up a cup of Keemun black tea from the Tea Spot and put my semi-professional tea-hat on. Keemun tea is a well-known black tea from China. The leaves are dark, with medium length and medium twists in shape. No extra blossoms or fuzzy buds, just deep, rich tea leaves. Dry, in the bag, the tea smells earthy and musky, very complex.
The Tea Spot describes this tea as having notes of “smoky pine, orchid, crushed apple.” I was very intrigued. Brewed, the keemun has a much sweeter taste alongside the damp earth tones, which must be the “crushed apple” flavors coming through. The earthiness is not as strong or overwhelming as sour pu erh tea, but more lush, like wet leaves or freshly-turned soil. There is a touch of the “orchid” floral notes in the scent of the tea, but I don’t notice it as much in the taste.
The more I drink the tea, the more a toasty, almost-caramel aftertaste starts to appear. And despite all my talk of savory, masculine flavors, there is a hint of a brighter note, more reminiscent of breakfast teas, with a lighter, almost lemony tone.
There is a lot going on in this tea, and lots of details to savor and enjoy. For mornings when you want to feel sophisticated and expand your tea palette, you can’t go wrong with Keemun from the Tea Spot.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: The Tea Spot
Description: A splendor of toasty flavor and aroma! The most refined and perhaps the most well-known of Chinese black teas, this Keemun is handpicked in Anhui Province. This tea has an indescribable flavor, with the most delicate hints of smoky pine, orchid, crushed apple and a rich, sweet body.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Leaf Type: Green Tea, Yerba Mate & Rooibos
Where to Buy: Tea Guys
South American yerba mate makes the perfect base for this wonderfully tropical blend with sweet chopped papaya, apples, and refreshing lemongrass. The addition of green tea and organic rooibos helps to smooth the blend and create a healthful, antioxidant rich tea that is a wonderful way to re-balance anytime.
Learn more about this tea here.
When I look for an energy boost to get me through a challenging day at work, I usually bring with me a nice large jug of cold brewed tea. I absolutely love cold brewing. It’s the perfect lazyman’s way to prepare a nice cold beverage for the next day. I don’t have to double the leaf usually, and the results are almost always satisfying. All I have to do is dump some cold water over some leaves overnight and bam! Great results with little effort.
I like using tropical-themed teas for cold brewing, and Tea Guy’s Papaya Mango Mate certainly fits the bill. Smelling the dry leaf, there is something so nicely fruity about it. The papaya in this blend is most certainly the star. I have had plenty of other blends like this from Tea Guys, and I am sorry to let the cat out of the bag; most of their tropical/fruity teas smell the same. I wish the mango was much more present in this tea, I feel like the combination is really great and should not be forgotten when blending the tea. Looking at the dry leaf, I see a lot of flotsam that may only be 50% necessary. I see more blue corn flowers and safflower than I do yerba mate or green tea. While I do see plenty of lemongrass in this blend, I have had ones that have overwhelmed the loose with it, so see less of it is quite refreshing for a change.
What this tea promises in the dry leaf, it delivers in the cold brew! I get a herbaceous dry grassy note snuck into the body of the tea that alerts me to the Yorba. The tropical papaya shines through in both aroma and main flavor component. The lemongrass is leading lady, and lends a brightness to the tropical flavors. I must have been thirsty, because I gulped down the entire quart in my mason jar pretty quick without complaints. While I think that their Golden Grapefruit is a better iced tea, I would still recommend this tea for the cold-brew fanatic who needs a nice summer change up to their routine.
Leaf Type: Tulsi & Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: Amoda Tea
Tastes like jujubes Sweet aroma of berries, apple and chamomile. Slightly sweet on the tongue, lightly minty with a tart finish. This tea is full-bodied and rich. Sip this tea and it will calm your body and relax your mind. ahhhhh.
Learn more about this tea here.
Learn more about subscribing to Amoda’s Monthly Tea Tasting Box here.
So, I’m a bit behind on my Amoda Tea reviews! This Poppy Fields Tisane from Indie Tea came in my July Tea Tasting Box, but, I’m just now getting around to reviewing it. What can I say, when it comes to tisanes … I always seem to be reluctant to try it!
But this is one of the prettiest teas I’ve seen in a long time! Big flower buds of chamomile, poppy and rose. And BONUS: No Hibiscus! Yay!
I was excited to see Tulsi as one of the ingredients in this tea (here, it was called “holy basil”) because I have enjoyed the tisanes with Tulsi that I’ve tried. I like the herbaceous, slightly minty, slightly spicy taste that Tulsi brings to a tisane.
In this tisane, the Tulsi offers subtle hints of the minty basil tones which are especially noticeable in the finish. I’m noticing more of a peppery warmth during the sip from the Tulsi than the cooling mint taste. But I like the way the Tulsi comes through in this blend, because there is a strong fruity character to this cup, and the spice gives it some added interest and depth.
The description from Amoda Tea suggests that this tastes like Jujubes … and I don’t know that what I’m tasting is Jujubes. I’ll be honest and mention though, that I’ve not had Jujubes since I was young. They were never really a favorite candy of mine (I didn’t like the way they stuck to my teeth). But I did like their bright, fruity taste, and while this tisane does have a fruity taste to it, I can’t say that this reminds me of that candy.
But it is sweet with lots of fruit notes: apple, orange, and hints of lemon. I don’t really taste a lot of ‘berry’ as mentioned in the description by Amoda, but, I do notice the tartness that lingers in the aftertaste. Given the sheer number of flowers in this blend, I did expect it to taste more floral than it does. It does certainly present a floral note to the palate, but, it’s a smooth, subdued floral taste rather than the sharpness that I often associate with floral tones.
Then again, everything about this particular blend is very calm and relaxed. The flavor is gentle and mild. It is a really tasty tisane … certainly better than I expected it to be given my hesitancy to actually try it. I like the fruity overtones, I like that it doesn’t taste overly herbaceous or medicinal, and I like that there is a pleasant warm yet sweet taste to it … without adding sugar.
As I mentioned in my review of The Road To Hana (also from Indie Tea) – a tea that also came from my Amoda Tea Box for July – I have already tasted and reviewed the third tea that came in my box: Lover’s Lane. I was really happy to see that Amoda Tea focused in on Indie Tea, because they are a company that I really like. They are a fun company with a youthful vibe … I like the jovial attitude they give their teas!
So this tea review gets me all caught up with my July reviews for Amoda Tea … and a good thing too, because I have August’s box waiting for me! I can’t wait to try the teas in that box from their featured blender: Tea Xotics … a company I’ve not yet tried! Yay!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Butiki Teas
Our Gui Fei Oolong was sourced from Lugu Township in Nantou County, Taiwan and is a particularly unique tea. Green leafhoppers are allowed to bite the tea leaves which causes the leaves to begin the healing process which creates the honey notes in this tea and also begins the oxidation process. This tea utilized traditional Dong Ding processing techniques. Gui Fei Oolong has a natural sweetness to it and produces no astringency. Notes of honey, lightly burned toast, raw almonds and apples can be detected.
Learn more about this tea here.
Good Heavens! This tea smells DIVINE! Seriously I have had this in my stash for ages now and just never got around to testing it out. I am angry with myself for waiting so long! I am kicking myself!
The aroma is peach and honey. The dry leaf is nuggety and a few stems while the moist leaf is still quite dry and I hope for more steeps to follow! The cup is a beautiful sunny orange color.
My first sips emote honey, peach, and candies almonds. What a pure and simple delight! This will be consumed regularly until it is time to reorder. Still angry at myself for sitting on this one!
Subtle notes of oak are peaking through. I do not detect any apple notes but perhaps in the second infusion. I am getting a mouthfeel of brandy like consistency. Thick and syrup like yet not clinging to my mouth like syrup, much brighter than that – not heavy just very juicy and refreshing in a sweet rich sort of way.
There is some astringency to this cup and it is a tad sour on the after taste much like a peach that is not fully ripened yet, but as you wait a little the flavor tames into almost an oak moss flavor and then the sweetness comes back around. There is a palate cleansing effect that follows.
My second steep is still deep in color perhaps even more so which is surprising. The steep turned into more of a reddish orange rather than a bright sun colored orange. The astringency still exists, which is something I have found in Butiki Teas oolong more so than others but it is nice as it reminds me of a black tea’s astringency even though the flavor description says there is none but again, I don’t mind at all. I am now getting a savory sweet note like apples and sage that I often cook with together.
I decided that I needed to “pair” my tea with a chocolate truffle. Okay I was making excuses to have one but hey I wanted a truffle! This brought out the peach notes in the tea by truck loads! Literally it was like a truck load of juicy ripe peaches drove into my mouth! Okay not literally but figuratively. Regardless it was amazing! Now I could easily use this new discovery of the paring as an excuse to have another truffle but alas I would prefer to savor my third steep allowing it to stand on its own.
Steep three although not necessarily the final steep but the last I will write about still has a lovely color to it. It does not seem to be weakening at all! The flavors are still very present with the peachy notes, along with the wood notes. It is becoming more oak-y in flavor now however and a little less sweet. Now it is settling into a tea that one would kick back and really relax with and it may even be making me a little sleepy due to its easy going qualities – no not sleepy but grounded. Like a good meditative tea!
End result is this tea has many layers of flavors to offer someone willing to sit down and contemplate it. One could easily suck down cup after cup and just enjoy and embrace the goodness however for me, I am finding this tea one that I will build a relationship with and discover more depth through each steep as I know there are many more left to uncover! The wet leaf still has more love to give, still some dryness within them, and they still smell strongly of flavors!
Very good tea!
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Kärma Blends
Add romance to your day with our Apples and Snowflakes. Inspired by the season of fall, just the aroma of this tea is enough to put you in another world. Flakes of white mint candy add a sweet touch. We promise you will replace your apple cider with this one!
Learn more about this tea here.
Wow! This tea is WONDERFUL!
The white tea base has a delicate flavor: soft and sweet. Not quite what I’d call “grassy” but more like a warm hay kind of flavor that complements the flavor of clove very well.
But what really knocks my socks off about this blend is the flavor combination of clove and mint. Mint tends to be a rather selfish herb and often overpowers the other flavors in a blend, but, the clove keeps it in check, creating a contrasts in flavors that is both cool and crisp from the mint and warm and spiced from the clove.
The apple starts out quite subtle, but as I continue to sip, I notice the apple more and more. By the end of the cup the flavors are a little like apple cider with a hint of mint. The overall flavor is something that is very familiar, but, at the same time, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. Very warm and cozy and absolutely memorable.
I like this one very much!