Goomtee Grand Reserve Spring Tea First Flush 2014 from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

Goomtee Grand Reserve is a LIMITED EDITION tea. Not all teas get the prestigious tag of GRAND RESERVE but this tea deserves every bit of this.

The leaves have been plucked from the highest elevated section of this garden which is also called the MUSCATEL VALLEY. Super fine plucking of the leaves and tender processing has resulted with a masterpiece.

High floral notes with distinct JASMINE LIKE flavour will make every tea connoisseur mesmerized. It is only Goomtee that could deliver such a beauty.  

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This 2014 Goomtee Grand Reserve Spring Tea First Flush is a lot greener than most of the Darjeeling teas that I’ve encountered lately.  In fact, it looks very much like a green tea rather than a black tea.

Taking this into account, I lowered the temperature slightly.  Normally, I would steep a Darjeeling tea at 195°F, but for this greener Darjeeling, I lowered the temperature to 185°F, and using my Breville One-Touch tea maker, I set the steep time for 2 minutes.

The result is a delightful cup of tea!  The aroma of the brewed cup is crazy floral – it is really beautiful.

And the flavor!  Sweet!  Floral!  There are even hints of muscatel in this cup.  The floral notes are profound, and as the description above promises, there is a “distinct jasmine like” flavor.  There is a soft, pleasant texture.  The astringency sort of tingles on the tongue in the finish, and I find that it accentuates the floral notes of this cup.

I’m mesmerized by the jasmine tones of this cup.  I don’t think that this tea was actually *scented* with jasmine, but, it almost tastes as though it has been processed similar to a typical jasmine scented tea.  The jasmine essence is a bit more subdued than in a typical jasmine green tea, for example, but, it’s still a rather surprising taste to find in a Darjeeling tea such as this.

I’d recommend this to all those that enjoy drinking tea!  Those that love jasmine, as I do, this is an exciting twist on that classic favorite.  Those that love Darjeeling, this is one that you should have on your cupboard because it’s a stunning representation of a fine Darjeeling first flush.  Those that simply love all teas, this is quite a unique tea and unlike any that I’ve tried thus far (and I’ve tried a lot of tea!)  It’s one you should try too!

A truly remarkable and … rather unexpected Darjeeling tea.

Grand Yunnan Imperial Black Tea from Le Palais de Thés

grand-yunnan-imperialTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Le Palais de Thés

Tea Description:

The subtle flavor of this flowery, mild tea is known as the “Mocha of teas” or “Surgeon’s tea”, as it has the power to revive without over-stimulating the nerves. A splendid leaf with plenty of golden buds.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The description above suggests that this Grand Yunnan Imperial Black Tea from Le Palais de Thés is “subtle” and “mild,” but I disagree!  I would replace the word “subtle” with “smooth” … and then replace the word “mild” with the word rich!  Because those are the words that first came to my mind when I took the first couple of sips of this tea.  It’s remarkably smooth and rich.  Not at all something I’d classify as subtle or mild.

This is very much what I’d expect from a good quality Yunnan tea:  a rich flavor with notes of malt and that freshly baked bread sort of flavor, with notes of fruit and flower in the distance.  Middle notes of spice, like a gentle pepper.  Nothing over the top or something that I’d call “spicy” by any stretch of the imagination, this has pleasant, mellow peppery notes that enliven the palate.

It is a medium to full bodied tea.  It is robust without being overly aggressive.  It offers a more “well-mannered” way of invigorating the drinker … this doesn’t give me a kick in the butt to get me going, but I can still feel it at work to offer me a sense of alertness without the over-stimulation.

A really good Yunnan tea.  A nice tea to enjoy in the later morning or early afternoon.  Nice as a latte, but, I prefer it served straight.  The mellow spice tones are very much appreciated on this cold, autumn day!

Sencha Tea Chashi-Meijin Imperial Gold from Chado Tea House


Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Chado Tea House

Tea Description:

Gold prize awarded three consecutive years by prestigious Monde Selection of Brussels, Belgium. Japanese Sencha at its finest. Uses only those tea leaves produced by master tea makers. The highly skilled artisans steamed the leaves with exceptional care and then roll them to perfection. This deeply steamed Fukamushi Sencha tea has delightful Shincha like tastes and fragrant aromas that make them highly sought after by tea connoisseurs. Rich full bodied tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:


This Chasi-Meijin Imperial Gold from Chado Tea House is unlike any other Sencha Tea that I’ve tried … no wonder it has been awarded the Grand Gold Prize.  I agree with the description, this tastes a bit more like a Shin-cha … like maybe somewhere between a fresh Shin-cha and a Gyokuro.

Oh, sure, it has some of the characteristics you’d expect from a Sencha, including a sweet, vegetative taste with a hint of bitterness.  But this is so much smoother than other Japanese Sencha teas that I’ve tried.  And sweeter too.  Less of a bitter note.  The vegetative note is a cross between kelp, sweet grass, and mild, lightly steamed spinach.  There is a buttery note to this, but it isn’t really a creamy buttery texture so much as it is just a hint of the sweet, creamy note that butter would impart if it were melted over a serving of the aforementioned steamed spinach.

The body is very smooth and lush, not so much a creamy body, and it isn’t heavy like that … I am finding this to be a little lighter than a “full-bodied” tea as described above, but then again, I steeped this tea for just 1.5 minutes in 170°F water, and the infusion was so pale that it almost looked like water that had just been barely tinged with a hint of chartreuse.  But that was all that was required to create a very delicious cup of tea.  It is a pleasantly smooth, easy to drink tea.

Chado Tea House is a company I’d highly recommend for the very best teas that Japan has to offer.  The quality of teas offered by Chado is outstanding, and this Award-Winning Sencha is just another example of what I’m talking about!

Grand Keemun from Tea Licious

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tea Licious

Product Description:

Full body black tea with a light flavor.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of this tea is somewhat earthy with a low note of pine.  There is also the faintest hint of smoke in the fragrance.  It is very masculine and intriguing.

After my first sip of this tea, my first impression is that the description provided on the website is a little misleading – this is certainly a full-bodied black tea, but, I don’t consider the flavor to be light at all.  This is a very bold, robust tea with a very pleasing complexity that I would expect from a high quality Keemun tea such as this.

The wine-like qualities of a Keemun are there:  fruit notes of plum and currant, sweet but not cloying, with an aftertaste that is somewhat reminiscent of fermented fruit.  The finish is dry but not overly astringent.  There is very little bitterness to this cup, although I do detect a hint of savory bitterness toward mid-sip.

There are some other noteworthy flavors to this cup as well.  The earthiness that is part of the fragrance becomes less apparent although I can detect vague earthy notes in the sip, as ell as a lovely smoky note that weaves its way throughout the sip.

Perhaps most enjoyable (for me, at least) is the biscuit-y quality that this tea possesses.  It has a deep, bake-y kind of taste to it, that is accented with a lovely burnt-sugar caramel undertone.

This is a really lovely Keemun, one I’d highly recommend.

Grand Earl Grey from Caraway Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black & White

Where to Buy:  Caraway Tea Company

Product Description:

You’ve not tasted an Earl Grey like this before, unless of course, you’ve tasted this one.  One of our top teas, this Earl Grey starts with top quality Keemun tea, adds just the right amount of bergamot, and tops it all off with a sprinkle of Yin Zhen white tea.

Ingredients:  Keemun Tea, bergamot, Yin Zhen.

Taster’s Review:

I love me some Earl Grey, so I was very happy for this opportunity to try this one from Caraway Tea Company.

And this is a superb Earl Grey!  The black tea base is a Keemun tea which lends a more robust background flavor than is often found in Earl Grey teas.  There is a strong, smooth flavor to the black tea.  It tastes rustic, like freshly baked biscuits.  There are even some vague hints of wood and a touch of smokiness to the cup.  A very pleasantly complex Keemun.

All of these interesting features of the Keemun offer a very beautiful backdrop for the bergamot flavoring.  It tastes vibrant and authentic – like real fruit without a chemical aftertaste.  There is very little of the floral note that is often associated with bergamot.  Not at all soapy or perfume-y, this Earl Grey.

And then there is the “sprinkle of Yin Zhen white tea” and I can’t say that the white tea is a particularly profound flavor in this blend, but I will say that it does influence the flavor.  There is a delicate … almost creaminess to the taste of this cup.

Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t taste like an “Earl Grey Creme” at all.  But there is a certain sweetness that mingles perfectly with the tangy bergamot flavor that almost portrays itself as a creamy note without tasting like cream.  A smooth, supple flavor that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced with an Earl Grey tea before.  It’s quite lovely.

There is no bitterness to this tea, and very little astringency.  What little astringency there is seems to hit just after swallowing the tea, as I begin to contemplate the aftertaste, I notice the very faint puckering sensation on my tongue from the astringency.  It dries the palate only slightly.

This tea can be re-steeped with similar results.  The flavor is a little lighter and smoother.  Not quite as rustic tasting.  But still very delicious.

This is one of the most amazing Earl Grey teas I’ve yet to encounter.  It is right up there, in my top five, at least!  I love this one, and I am going to have to order some soon so that I keep it in my permanent collection!