Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea from What-Cha Tea

NepalCannonBallGreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  What-Cha Tea

Tea Description:

A unique tightly rolled green tea with a citrus nose and well defined lemon blossom taste, a rare and unusual tea which is not to be missed.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

These leaves look very unusual, looking like the pellets of a Tie Guan Yin Oolong, but the leaves are not quite as large.  The pellets are not uniform in size, some are quite small, while others are rather large.  They have a vegetal aroma to them.

Since they looked to me like they’d be fun to watch unfurl, I decided to brew them in my glass teacup (the same one I use to watch a flowering tea bulb brew).  The first infusion proved to be rather … lacking in show, to be quite honest.  The leaves didn’t unfurl very much at all.  But they did produce a very flavorful liquid after steeping for 2 minutes in 180°F water.

Nice!  The tea is sweet, with a nice, buttery texture and a light flavor.  Notes of citrus, flower and hints of vegetation.  The citrus is especially noticeable toward the finish and this bright flavor lingers into the aftertaste.   By the time I made it to mid-cup, I started to notice more buttery flavors than citrus and flower, the flavor becomes smoother as it cools.

This is what the leaves looked like after the first infusion. Still some unfurling to do!

Since the leaves hadn’t really opened up much with that first infusion, I decided to have another infusion and see if I would get more of a tea leaf dance from the leaves that were still looking more like tightly wound pellets.

During the second infusion, the leaves didn’t do much.  Oh, they’ve unfurled quite a bit more, but they don’t really do much of a dance that I had hoped for.  But that’s alright, the flavor is well worth the lack of showmanship.  (Showteaship?  Showleafship?)  When they infused this time, it looked a lot like a seaweed garden at the bottom of the sea – not a lot of activity, just the motion of the water just barely causing the leaves to sway a little.

But as I said, the flavor is well worth what little show the leaves provide.  After steeping for 2 1/2 minutes, the flavor is sweet with notes of tangy citrus and whispers of flower.  I don’t taste as much buttery taste or texture this time, and the vegetal notes have emerged, offering a savory quality to the cup which contrasts with the aforementioned sweetness.  As the cup cools a little, the buttery flavors are more discernible, but they are still considerably lighter than with the first cup.

NepalCannonBallGreen2This cup is a little more astringent than the first too.  I didn’t notice a lot of astringency with the first cup, only the slight tangy note toward the finish that melded with the citrus-y notes that it barely seemed astringent at all.  Now, there is a distinct separation between the citrus flavors and the astringency.  This is still what I’d consider a mild to moderate astringency.

I decided to try a third infusion.  With this third infusion, the leaves are now completely unfurled.  I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes.  The flavor is amazing.  I think that this third cup is my favorite of the three!  It is soft and buttery.  The astringency I noted in the second cup has smoothed out.  The citrus tones have also become softer and sweeter, reminiscent now of a citrus curd rather than a bright splash of fruit.  The floral notes are not as sharp and the vegetative tones less focused, creating instead a very unified flavor that is very palatable.

While this Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Cannon Ball Green Tea from What-Cha Tea shares many common characteristics with other green teas, I find it to be a truly unique green tea in ways that should be experienced by the tea connoisseur to be fully appreciated.  It’s a remarkable tea, one I really enjoyed and am thrilled that I had the opportunity to try.

Ball and Chain Oolong Blend Tea from Indie Tea


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Indie Tea

Tea Description:

“Till Death” Is Oolong Time, But When You Pair Together Lots Of Dates and Flowers, The Old Ball and Chain Might Actually Be A Lot More Fun.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yum!  I love dates, but they are a fruit that I don’t partake of very often because … well, to be honest, I’m not sure why not.  I guess because when I find them in my usual “thrifty” grocery store, they don’t look very promising, and when I’m shopping at my higher end grocery store like Whole Foods or Chuck’s Produce, I don’t usually think about dates, because I usually go in there with a set list of items that I’m purchasing … and well, dates usually just are not on that list.

So, when I find a tea that is flavored with dates, like this Ball and Chain Oolong Blend Tea from Indie Tea, I get excited and want to try it!

And this is really a tasty blend!  The Se Chung Oolong is sweet and has a nice, roasty-toasty kind of flavor that melds really nicely with the flavor of  the Medjool dates.  There is a slight smokiness to the Se Chung … not an overpowering smoky tone, but just enough to keep things interesting.

There is also a stone fruit kind of flavor to the Oolong … and together with the smoky, toasty, nutty tone, it almost tastes like a roasted or grilled fruit.  Think fresh, juicy peaches that have been grilled to a slight char over smoky charcoal!  Yeah, now that sounds yummy, doesn’t it?

The date flavor is not an overpowering note – it doesn’t overwhelm the Se Chung Oolong … and that’s a good thing.  The date flavor is strong enough to taste that sweet, sugary note that is very “date-like.”  The flower petals do not add much to the flavor of this, in fact, there is very little floral tone to this at all.  If you slurp the sip enough to aerate the tea on the palate, you might notice the faintest whisper of a floral quality to the tea, but it is so very faint.  But, the date flavor and the smoky, toasted nut flavor of the Oolong is so tasty that you won’t miss the floral tones to this tea!  It’s quite nice just the way it is!

A really enjoyable Oolong blend … and another tea from Indie Tea that you should add to your shopping list!

Variety of Colors from Dragon Tea Room

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Dragon Tea House on eBay

Product Description:

A delicate flower blooms inside this ball tea just before tiny flowers slowly cascade upward like Champagne bubbles. The flowers add their enlivening fragrance and strong taste to this delectably smooth green tea. Our Ball offers one of the most artful spectacles in tea. This blooming tea has an original shape of an tiny ball and when put in boiling water a bouquet of tea leaves and flower. The aromas of both flowers and tea leaves are very well preserved and these exceptional teas develop a wonderful flavor and create at the same time a beautiful “table decoration”.

Once dropped into a glass of hot water, this ball tea unveils a broad flower followed by the sudden eruption of a  flower plume, which is actually  flowers sewn together end to end. The golden liquor yields a full-bodied flavor intensified by the large medicinal bloom. Let the the blooming tea brew for at least 10 minutes, a longer brewing time will not spoil the tea, on the contrary, the flavour will rather improve. One piece of blooming tea can be used twice with approximately 5 to 6 dl water each time.

Taster’s Review:

It has been a while since I’ve taken the time to experience an “Art Tea” – otherwise known as a blooming tea.  But today I wanted to take the time to slow down and enjoy this tea in its splendor.

This tea ball is slow to open and reveal its beautiful flower inside.  For the first infusion, I steeped a full 10 minutes (as suggested in the product description) and it still did not fully open.  The liquor this 10 minute steep produced is surprisingly tasty.

It has a distinct green tea flavor, with notes of grassy vegetation and a fresh tone.  As the product description above states, there is a somewhat medicinal flavor to this tea as well, it comes across as a slightly bitter note that hits about mid-sip.  However, it is not an off-putting bitterness, rather, I find that it has a way of improving the overall cup by giving it some dimension.  I think that this would be a far too sweet tasting tea without that bitter tone!

I didn't take this photo (I got it from the purveyor's store). However, the photo is very accurate to what my bloom looked like after 25 minutes of infusing. Beautiful!

The tea has a smooth mouthfeel that dissipates at the tail when the cleansing astringency hits.  The mouth is left feeling clean, dry and ready for another sip.

The second infusion was well over 10 minutes.  I forgot to set a timer, so, I can’t tell you exactly how long I steeped it for, but I’m sure it was at least 15 minutes.  By this time, the ball had opened fully, revealing a beautiful pink flower that looked a bit like a large carnation!  Gorgeous!

The tea tastes even better with the second infusion than with the first.  It is smoother with a softer texture.  This infusion tastes almost buttery, with a beautiful sweet-yet-savory creaminess.  The astringency is lighter, too.

A very pleasant tea experience – I suggest brewing this with a friend!  It’s fun to watch and a pleasure to drink!