Yu Lu Yan Cha Black Tea from Verdant Tea

yu-lu-yan-chaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

In 2012, we were pleased to offer the very first experimental harvest of this incredible, innovative tea from Wang Yanxin.  Her first experiment yielded a completely new kind of black tea that combined the best chocolatey notes of Laoshan Black with the crisp texture and honey aftertaste of Jin Jun Mei.  Last Spring, Wang Yanxin and her friends in Xinyang and Laoshan outdid themselves with the newest harvest, and we’re honored and privileged to bring in Yu Lu Yan Cha for the 2014 Autumn Season.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  The aroma of this Yu Lu Yan Cha Black Tea from Verdant Tea is ahh-mazing!  The scent wafting out of my teacup in front of me smells sweet and chocolaty.  Like dark chocolate – rich and decadent.  My mouth is watering as I’m waiting for the tea to cool so I can start drinking!

To brew this tea, I used my Kati Tumbler, measuring 1 bamboo scoop into the basket and pouring 12 ounces of boiling water into the tumbler.  I let the tea steep for 3 minutes.

Oh, chocolate-y bliss!  This is such a delightful tea.  The chocolate melds with notes of malt, and the malty notes add just a hint of caramel-y sweetness to the chocolate.  So indulgent!

Beneath the top notes of chocolate, I taste notes of sweet potato and cream!  It makes me think of mashed sweet potatoes that have been whipped with butter.  A hint of vanilla in the distance.

As the tea cools a little more, I am picking up on notes of orange toward the tail.  It’s a little brightness and a hint of sweet tangy flavor that is quite welcome after the rich flavors of chocolate, malt, sweet potato and vanilla.

The description from Verdant Tea suggests some Darjeeling-esque vegetal tones but I didn’t really pick up on those.  Perhaps I was too enamored with the chocolate notes to notice.  There was also a suggestion of honey in the flavor and I guess I do pick up on that, but it’s layered with the chocolate and becomes almost seamless with that flavor that it’s difficult to pick out on it’s own.

This is a spectacular tea – if you’re a lover of rich, chocolaty black teas, this is one you should add to your collection!

Supreme Bi Lu Chun Green Tea from Grand Tea

supreme BLCTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Grand Tea

Tea Description:

Grand Tea’s Supreme Grade Bi Lu Chun consist of 1-2 cm size buds. As expected from such top notch tea, the flavor is smooth, light and delicate. The distinct sweetness from the bud make it really stand out.

Due to the very high demand of high quality tea in China, such small quantity fine tea usually never leave China and reach the mass market. We are fortunate to have 20 kg of this very best Green tea. So don’t wait to long before order, I promise it won’t last very long.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

There’s something just so … lovely about a top notch Bi Lu Chun like this Supreme Bi Lu Chun Green Tea from Grand Tea.  The leaves are so beautiful, so tiny and tender and covered with soft, fuzzy down.  They look, smell and feel so fresh.

The brewed liquid is very pale green and it has a delightfully delicate flavor.  The sweetness is so profound … like a sugary sweetness!  It has a smooth taste that is softly vegetal with hints of butter-like notes.  There are layers of flavor to this as well, and I can pick up on whispers of fruit and floral notes, as well as a sweet, nutty tone in the distance.  As I continue to sip, the nutty flavors come a little more into focus, but, these flavors are never strongly pronounced.

That’s because the overall cup is so beautifully delicate.  This delicate quality doesn’t allow the flavors to come through strongly, instead, it beckons your palate to discover them.  It’s a tea that you want to sit and consider rather than one that you want to rush through.  This tea wants to take things slowly with you and allow you to discover the flavors and enjoy them as they’re revealed.

This Supreme Bi Lu Chun is truly an exceptional Chinese green – and it’s a tea that should be experienced by every tea drinker out there!

Lu Shan Yun Wu Green Tea from Teavivre

Lu Shan Yun Wu Green TeaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Teavivre

Tea Description:

The fresh tea leaves of Lu Shan Yun Wu are picked under strict requirement of one bud with one leaf or one bud with two leaves. After processed, the leaves will shape into tight, curly and strong strips. The liquid presents bright and green color while showing brisk fragrance. The scent of roasted chestnut lasts long. This Lu Shan Yun Wu is better to be brewed with big glass. It will has brisk and refreshing flavor and sweet taste. After several steeps, you will see the tea leaves tenderly stretched and showing its soft and light yellow appearance.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I know I mentioned it in a previous post, but, I LOVE when spring arrives and with it – the new flushes of spring teas!

That’s actually my favorite part of spring.  Oh sure, I love the flowers and the fresh new buds of life on the trees and bushes but I’m not particularly fond of the pollen that comes with all of nature’s new spring life.  Or more accurately, I’m not particularly fond of the allergic reaction that comes with the arrival of the pollen.  Then again, there’s really very few things that are more soothing than a cup of hot tea!  Yeah … like I really need inspiration to drink more tea!

So I was more than happy to try the new spring teas that Teavivre has added to their collection, including this Lu Shan Yun Wu Green Tea.  Oh yum!

When I opened the pouch, I inhaled deeply to take in the fragrance of the dry leaves.  While dry, I noticed a leafy green type of scent, evocative of a trip to the produce market – the smell I notice when I’m walking along the wall where all the leafy greens are housed.  But once the tea starts brewing, I noticed less of the vegetative aroma and more of something much more exciting . . .

Chestnuts!  Yep.  The description above suggests an aroma of chestnuts, and this does have a strong chestnut fragrance.  There’s also a delicious chestnut flavor to go along with it:  sweet, nutty, roasted.  It even has that creamy taste and texture that I’d experience if I were eating a freshly roasted chestnut.  Mmm!

Most green teas have a vegetative flavor to them, and this is no exception to that, although I’m finding that this Lu Shan Yun Wu has less of a vegetal note and more of a sweet nutty flavor.  For those of you who tend to shy away from green teas because you don’t really care for that overly vegetative taste, I think you’d do well with this tea.  It’s really quite sweet and wonderful!

As I continue to sip, I notice the roasty-toasty flavor developing.  By the time I was nearly finished with the cup, this sweet, roasted flavor was intense, and it kept me sipping and thirsty for more of it.  It’s a very comforting flavor, and it seemed to nourish my soul.

Nice, especially after enduring these bouts with my allergies.  And yes … I take allergy medication and I even use locally harvested, raw honey that I drizzle on my morning toast, but, I still have a few days when the pollen just wins out.  Not fun.  This tea makes these days not only more tolerable, but a JOY!

A really BEAUTIFUL green tea from Teavivre.  I have a few other reviews of Teavivre’s new green teas from this spring’s harvest that will be featured in the coming days … watch for them!