Leaf Type: Pu’erh
Where to Buy: The Persimmon Tree
The Honeysuckle pu-erh tea delivers a deep red infusion with a sweet woodsy, floral aroma. The finished brew is mild and earthy, with a lingering hint of honeysuckle. This honeysuckle tea can be steeped multiple times in a sitting without becoming bitter. This particular pu-erh is cooked and has been aged for about 4-6 years.
Learn more about this tea here.
The urge to drink Pu’erh comes and goes with me, perhaps largely because I initially found it a very acquired taste. Even though I’ve now tried a significant variety of different Pu’erhs, I still feel that I’m learning about the variety and discovering new things. This tea, for instance. I’ve never tried a floral Pu’erh before, or any variety flavoured with honeysuckle, come to that. It’s a real first! I treated this one as I would generally treat a loose-leaf Pu’erh, using 1 tsp of leaf in boiling water. I tend to vary the brew time based on the individual tea and the strength/scent/liquor colour, but went with a fairly standard (for me) 1 minute this time. The resulting liquor is a medium red-brown. The scent once brewed, and while brewing, is very evidently a Pu’erh – it has quite pungent manure notes!
To taste, this has to be one of the most unique Pu’erhs I’ve tried so far. I was expecting a fairly standard earthy/manure flavour based purely on the scent, but it’s actually nothing like that. Instead, there’s an initial almost-sharpness, which blossoms into a heavy, sweet, nectar like floral. Honeysuckle! There are virtually no earth or manure flavours to be found, which is a big surprise. The sweetness seems very natural, and isn’t at all overpowering. I think it’s helped by a sort of yogurt-like note which contributes a cool, tangy freshness to the overall cup.
I really like this one. I’m definitely the kind of person that objects to strong manure flavours in their tea, although I don’t mind earthiness at all. This one is pretty unique amongst those I’ve tried in that it has no earth or manure notes (despite the scent). The flavouring is sufficiently strong that the honeysuckle is front and centre pretty much the whole time, although as it cools this does dissipate a little to reveal just a hint of what lurks beneath. I’m pretty sure a fairly conservative brew time helped here – a longer one might herald more of a “traditional” Pu’erh flavour. I personally like the honeysuckle, though, so I’ll always err on the side of caution when brewing this one. It’s an outstandingly flavourful cup!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Nina’s Paris
Rose petals, apples, rose
A very delicate tea, flavored with apples & rose, with a touch of strongness with ceylon tea basis Apple aroma done with apples coming from King’s Kitchen Garden – Versailles.
Learn more about this tea here.
Marie-Antoinette from Nina’s Paris has a wonderful aroma. I just love sitting here smelling it fill the air around me with the scents of roses and fresh apples. Its almost too good to drink! The apple aroma is that of mulled cider, or the smell that fills the air every year at the Apple Festivals that are commonly held in my area. It just makes me feel warm and sunny on this cold snowy winter’s day.
The flavor, while not strong, is very good. The apple notes come through in a very natural way, so natural in fact that I can taste some of the earthy notes, a light musk, or damp earth like flavor common in pu-erh. I don’t want you to think this tea tastes like a pu-erh however, it does not. Its just that there is a note here that seems so earthy, it is almost like soil. But apples come from tress, then again trees do grow out of the ground.
So here we have a wonderful apple cider like tea, with a lovely earth tone to it, and just the slightest hint at rose.
The more I sip it the more it grows on me. I think any person who loves apple flavor should try this tea. Its so subtle, does not try to flood your taste buds over with flavor but yet it is so true to what apple tastes like when you bite into one. I can even taste apple skin in this tea.
Yes, I do like this Marie-Antoinette tea from Nina’s Pairs. I like that it is polite and does not try to swarm me with flavors that would just not be natural or real. This just may end up being something I order regularly.
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
An experimental hybrid tea with the best of Tieguanyin, Wuyi oolong and malty black tea. . . .
NOTES: chocolate, scotch, caramel, walnut, coconut, jasmine
Fo Shou or “Buddha’s Hand,” is a varietal of tea from Wuyi, traditionally twisted and oxidized into an oolong tea. This revolutionary Fo Shou Black Tea is an experimental crop transplanted in nearby Anxi and fully oxidized as a black tea. The fusion of rocky Wuyi flavor, malty black tea flavor, and hints of Anxi Tieguanyin flavor make this a worthwhile and intriguing creation all of its own.
Learn more about this tea here.
Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea from Verdant Tea is scrumptious! When I was opening the bag I could smell the chocolate notes just jumping out at me. I was surprised to find yet another sealed bag inside the first bag which told me this tea was very heavy with flavor notes considering how strong and wonderful the aroma was through not one but two sealed bags!
Anxi Fo Shou comes in small 5 gram bags – two servings per bag – in order to preserve its freshness. What a wonderful way to package teas! I wish more teas were packaged in this manner.
If you notice the flavor notes listed by Verdant Tea “NOTES: chocolate, scotch, caramel, walnut, coconut, jasmine” I want to note that every single note is easily detectable. Often times I see people mention and have myself experienced the searching for flavor notes mentioned by tea companies, and it can sometimes be disappointing not to be able to pick up on them. Sometimes we question our own ability to detect specific flavor notes, or we doubt the vendor wondering if they are not just trying to make a pretty good tea seem extraordinary. With Anxi Fo Shou, I am able to pick up on each and every element listed. I like that because it is exactly as it is described which adds to my faith in a vendor as well as my faith in my own palate!
The distinct note in the beginning is the chocolate note but caramel peeks through nicely. As the tea cools down some there is a note of a single malt scotch and a light lilting note of coconut! The walnut note lays nicely all over the tongue giving a slight drying sensation like walnut typically does, yet this tea is anything but drying! It is refreshing and juicy!
For me, the jasmine note is the lightest, yet its there in the aroma and comes alive even more the cooler the tea becomes.
There are other notes that I pick up on not mentioned in the notes provided by Verdant such as rock mineral, butter, malt, sweet potato, cream, and earth to name a few! The second steep especially had a more earthy, rock mineral aroma and flavor to it, yet so delightfully sweet!
Yes friends, this is a true winner and if I had any tea funds I would jump right on the Verdant Website and order more RIGHT NOW. I am so excited to have had a chance to get some of this tea and will be cherishing what remains of my stash. Hopefully soon I can order more if there is any left to order!
Get some while it is in stock – you won’t regret it!
An excellent tea FO SHOU!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Obubu Tea
Balancing sweetness with bitterness, the Sencha of the Earth or 大地の煎茶, was named because it comes from standard tea plants over 30 years old. The strength of these plants is simply amazing, and we can feel the power of the earth as we drink it. Grown on northwest facing slopes near the Wazuka River.
Another fantastic Sencha from Obubu Tea!
It brews to a pale green that is much more translucent than Obubu Tea’s Sencha of the Autumn Moon that I reviewed previously. It possesses a slightly nutty aroma with a hint of spice in the background, and a vegetable front note.
This tea tastes so fresh and vibrant, like a run through a dew-drenched meadow of clover on a sunny afternoon. There are strong notes of vegetation that are a little more grassy than vegetable, and unlike some Sencha teas I’ve encountered, I don’t get that heavy buttery quality. There is a note of creaminess, but it is more like creamed spinach than it is creamy butter.
This tea is appropriately named, because there is also an earthy quality to the flavor of this tea that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced before with another Sencha tea. With this earthy note and the aforementioned grassy tones, this tea truly is a Sencha of the Earth!
This Sencha is delicious hot or iced, but I recommend trying it first as a hot tea so that you can fully appreciate all of the subtleties that this tea has to offer, because as it cools some of the flavors mute slightly, and this becomes much more vegetal-tasting than it is hot. One thing worth mentioning, though, is that as it cools, I notice more of a gentle pepper-y taste in the background that is quite delicious.
Regardless of how you choose to serve it, you should definitely try this tea!