Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Harney & Sons
For years, we have been honored to supply the tea to Ming Tsai’s famous restaurant: Blue Ginger. This blend is a heady combination of Fujian black tea and floral lychee fruit with a hint of ginger.
Learn more about this blend here.
The first thing that was noteworthy to me about this tea was the aroma. Typically with a lychee tea, I get that overwhelming scent of lychee from the dry leaf which … is nice, but sometimes it’s a bit TOO much and can often come off as somewhat chemical-ish, you know what I mean? But with this Blue Ginger Black Tea Blend from Harney & Sons, the lychee notes seem somewhat subdued, which is possibly due to the fact that there is also ginger in this blend.
The brewed tea is wonderfully aromatic with notes of lychee, ginger and a rich black tea base. And that’s exactly what the flavor delivers!
The black tea base is a hearty Fujian black tea which provides a good, solid background of flavor that is rich and full-flavored. Typically with a pure Fujian black tea, I will note hints of caramel and cocoa in the flavors, and I’m picking up on those here. It’s much more subtle than I’d experience from a pure tea, but, it’s still nice that I’m tasting them!
The lychee and ginger seem very compatible. Lychee can sometimes taste a bit “perfume-y” and the ginger seems to tone that down enough so that the lychee tastes sweet and fruity without tasting so much of the perfume-like qualities of the aromatic fruit.
On the other hand, ginger can sometimes come off as a bit too spicy and hot, but in the presence of the lychee, the ginger tastes warm and slightly peppery without experiencing the fire that ginger can sometimes deliver.
Like I said, these two ingredients work very well together! Overall, I really enjoyed this Blue Ginger Tea. According to the Harney & Sons website, this tea is one that is supplied to Chef Ming Tsai’s restaurant by the same name – Blue Ginger. A very cool and delightfully unique tea to feature in a restaurant. I guess I’ve been offered one too many generic tea bags in restaurants becaus I know that I’d be excited to find something like this tea in a restaurant!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Harney & Sons
Years of Japanese and Scandinavian tradition come together in this elegant blend. The fruit-forward notes of tart Nordic lingonberries strike a delicate balance with the refreshing green tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
I found to get the level of flavor that I wanted from this Ligonberry Green tea from Harney & Sons’ new Ambessa Tea line, I needed to make a stronger brew. This is where loose leaf shows up the bagged or sacheted tea, because I could have easily added a little extra leaf … but for a sacheted tea like this, it’s either use less water or another tea sachet. I used two tea sachets for my cup.
The first time I brewed this (with just one bag), there was certainly flavor, but it was just a little too delicate for my liking. But now, with two tea bags, the flavor is THERE, and I’m liking it.
The lingonberry is a unique flavor … not one that is often found in tea blends. I think I’ve found lingonberry as an ingredient in one or two other teas … it’s a rare thing, though. Usually, the only other place I can find lingonberry at all is at IKEA.
And I like the flavor that the lingonberry brings to this cup. It is mostly tart, but there’s a little bit of sweetness to it to and it adds a really bright, enjoyable flavor. I’m not one who usually rejoices in tart flavors, but I am really liking the flavor of the lingonberry here.
The green tea offers a sweet taste with a soft texture. It’s a nice contrast to the sharp, tart notes of the lingonberry. It’s really a very pleasant culinary experience … and it’s almost like I can taste the mastery of a chef (in this case, Chef Marcus Samuelsson) behind this cup because it’s no ordinary tea!
I have tried all four of the Ambessa Teas now, and I really enjoyed all four, and overall, I’d say that this tea is a win. It does lose points, however, because I needed two tea bags to satisfy my palate flavor wise. For me to be thoroughly impressed by this Ambessa line, I would like for it to be offered in a loose leaf format.
I was just thinking that I’d love to experience another Chef Marcus Samuelsson tea creation now … but what flavor should he attempt next? He’s done Earl Grey, he’s done Chocolate … I guess … I’d love to try a Chai from Chef Samuelsson!