Ceylon Idulgashinna Hand Twisted Blue Nettle Oolong from What-Cha

bluenettleoolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  What-Cha

Tea Description:

A delightful tea crafted by workers meticulously hand twisting and tying tea leaves together to form a ‘blue nettle’. The leaves within the ‘blue nettle’ show varying levels of oxidisation and as a result the tea exhibits characteristics typical to white, oolong and black teas!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a very cool tea; and while I don’t know for sure that’s it’s unique to What-Cha I’ve personally never seen another oolong rolled like this. When I opened up my sealed package I was quite surprised too; the ‘nettles’/spears of tea are actually quite large and thick – maybe about the length of my pinky finger? And just slightly thicker across than the widest part of my finger. For my tasting, I used two of the nettles/spears since the suggested measurement was 1-2 pieces and I was using a mug just slightly bigger than 12 ounces.

The first infusion was very soft and delicate, like a very lightly oxidized oolong but with flavour notes traditionally found in white, oolong, and black teas  – exactly like What-Cha describes in the tea description! The notes I observed throughout the cup were apricot, overripe peaches, hay, flowers, malt, and a dewy/rainwater like flavour. The emphasis was on the really supple stonefruit notes though. It also surprised me a little that the nettles stayed almost completely the same shape as they were before steeping – just slightly ‘swollen’ from steeping.

The second infusion was quite similar to the first – though the apricot, hay, and malt notes all got increasingly more prominent and I wasn’t tasting overripe peaches or the same ‘dew’ flavour anymore. The mouthfeel was initially soft, but it left a tingly feeling on my tongue like I’d eaten too much pineapple recently. All subsequent steeps followed the layout of this one up until the flavour started to really suffer. The nettles never really completely unwound, either.

This was a fascinating tea, and I really enjoyed it quite a bit! However, that said, the first infusion actually was my favourite. There was something really perfect about the taste of apricot and fresh rainwater. It’s hard to put it into words.

Very Big Hill Dew Flavored Iced Tea from Southern Boy Teas

BigHillDewSBTTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Learn more about Southern Boy Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

After trying the Very Big Hill Dew Honeybush from 52Teas, I was very interested in how the black iced tea version from the Southern Boy Teas line differed from the aforementioned tisane.  I really enjoyed the honeybush, so I was anxious to try this flavor in a black tea!

And it is really tasty.  I do think that with these particular flavors, they work better with a lighter base like the honeybush, but it’s still a really tasty, refreshing black iced tea.  The sweet, lemon-y, lime-ish taste shines through in this glass of iced tea, but, I don’t notice quite as much of the effervescent soda-ish taste that I experienced with the honeybush.  I do still get some of that soda-like flavor, but, here, it’s less apparent.

The black tea is brisk but not overpowering.  I like the way the bright, lemony flavors add a really uplifting flavor to the iced tea.  It’s a very refreshing drink, and it’s one that I will probably be ordering again, especially with summertime coming up – this is one that I’ll want to drink on a hot, summer day.

A really good tea from the Southern Boy Teas line.

Very Big Hill Dew Honeybush Tisane from 52Teas

VeryBigHillDewTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Honeybush

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tisane Description:

Several people from our Southern Boy Teas Kickstarter campaign requested that we make a Mountain Dew inspired iced tea. I was thinking about how I would do it, and I kept thinking how good this would be as a honeybush blend. So here we have caffeine-free African honeybush with lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon myrtle and organic flavors. This is YUMMY. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Learn more about this tisane here.

Taster’s Review:

OK … I cracked up laughing when I read the name of this honeybush tisane from 52Teas:  Very Big Hill Dew.  Maybe I have a twisted, whacked sense of humor.  Because when I shared the name of the tisane with my husband, he didn’t think it was funny at all.  Maybe his sense of humor is whacked.

Regardless, this is a really tasty tisane.  I don’t drink a lot of soda, in fact, I can’t tell you when the last time was that I had a Mountain … err … soda by which this tisane was inspired.  It’s been a long time.  So, it would be difficult for me to say with confidence that this tastes like that soda.  I do know that when I opened the package, it smelled like the soda, and that I know because my husband does drink it (well, the diet version of it), so I’m familiar with the aroma.

And this does have a soda-like taste.  I can taste that bubbly, effervescent sort of taste.  It’s light and refreshing.  And there is a lot of lemon-y, lime-ish like flavors dancing on my palate.  It’s very tasty.

The honeybush adds a sort of sweet, honeyed flavor to the cup, as well as a slight earthiness.  Not exactly “nutty” the way I usually taste from a honeybush tisane.  It’s just more of a slight earthy flavor that complements the lemon-lime notes in a really pleasing way.

It is sweet, a little bit tart and tangy, and very enjoyable.  I drank a cup of it hot, and then I chilled the rest that I brewed and drank it iced.  It’s better iced (it is a soda-inspired tea, after all), but, it’s still tasty served hot too.  I found it to be a calming, relaxing cuppa – nice for the end of a busy day.

Gyokuro from Tea Licious

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tea Licious

Tea Description:

“Precious Dew” Japan’s pampered child of green tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Do you like green tea?  Have you ever tried Gyokuro?

Gyokuro – which translates to “jewel dew” – is the gem in the Japanese green tea crown.  It’s so sweet and delicious!  It has a vegetative note, but, it is unlike a typical green tea “vegetative” taste.  It doesn’t taste grassy, exactly, nor does it taste like vegetables – steamed or otherwise – but, it has hints that lean toward a sweet grassy taste and a vegetable broth without tasting quite like either one.

I know that I’ve probably said this before about another Gyokuro that I’ve tried (or maybe more than one other), but this is one of the nicest Gyokuro teas that I’ve tasted.  I say that often, I think, because Gyokuro tea is one of those outstanding teas that taste so remarkable every time you try it, it is almost like nothing you’ve ever tried … even though you’ve tasted Gyokuro before … if that makes sense!  (And by “you” … I mean me.)

The flavor is sweet with a lovely fruit note to it that is almost plum-like, but without the tartness of a plum.  Instead, this is just juicy and sweet.  The texture of the tea is broth-like (thick, smooth and almost even creamy!), which kind of gives it that vegetable broth essence that I mentioned earlier.

I do think it’s important to brew a Gyokuro correctly.  The tea leaves are extremely delicate, and they should be brewed at a low temperature.  The suggested parameters on the Tea Licious website are 185°F but I think that may be too hot.  I prefer to steep Gyokuro at 160°F for just 1 minute and 30 seconds.  This produces a clear, light jade colored liquid that is a pure delight to sip.

If you’ve not tried Gyokuro before (or even if you have), I highly recommend trying this one from Tea Licious!  I think you might fall in love with it just like I have!