Fortmason Black Tea from Fortnum & Mason

fortmasonteaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Fortnum & Mason

Tea Description:

This blend of Indian and China teas is also perfumed with the delicate aroma of orange blossom to produce a subtle, floral flavour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

So this review is for the bagged version of this one; and dry it doesn’t smell like a lot. I don’t really know why but my first thought was “Fresh Linens” and then just simply “Fresh” when smelling, even though I couldn’t really identify anything in particular flavour wise.

Steeped up there’s something REALLY appealing about the smell; it’s just a tiny bit fruity and really, really floral. I know this is supposed to be orange/orange blossoms so I’m not really ‘surprised’ per say, but it’s a lot better than I expected. I really hope the steeped smell carries over into the taste! Also, I should point out that orange blossoms are actually my favourite flower and have been since I was in highschool and had to read the screenplay for Federico Garcia Lorca’s play ‘The Blood Wedding’. However, despite that, I’ve never actually seen one in person let alone smelled one so I don’t have a lot of familiarity (or really any) with how they should taste.

I actually didn’t like the first few sips of this; it seemed a little harsh and perfumey. However, once it cooled down a little bit the flavours seemed to calm down as well and I got really into this one! I don’t taste anything actually like orange and I don’t know if I should be – do orange blossoms actually smell like oranges? I wouldn’t think so. The description for this one is kind of unclear as well: it says “scented with orange” do they mean the fruit or the flower?

What I do taste is this really aromatic and fresh floral note that reminds me of rose, but not rose. I want to describe it as a combination of my Grandma’s perfume and roses on steroids – in a good way on both fronts! It’s quite sweet and soothing. It’s making me feel like, ugh, I don’t know quite how to phrase it? The simile that springs to my mind is “Innocent young adult discovering her first love through a summer romance”. It’s like Nicholas Sparks version of tea! I’m totally in love with this blend! I need more!

Wild Raspberry Pu-erh from The Whistling Kettle

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh & White Tea Blend

Where to Buy:  The Whistling Kettle

Tea Description:

This Pu-Erh is flavorful, mild and with an addition of silver needles, makes a great iced tea. Dr. Oz has recommended this tea as a way to help lose weight. Pu-Erh also help reduce cholesterol and great after a meal to help “cut the grease”. Pu-Erh has probiotic properties no other type of tea has.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As those of you who read this blog pretty regularly are probably aware, I’ve pretty much come around when it comes to Pu-erh.  There was a time when I DID NOT like Pu-erh … or at least I didn’t think I did.  I was even “afraid” of Pu-erh, so much so that when someone would send me some in a swap package, I’d send it off to someone else without even tasting it!  And that REALLY doesn’t sound like me, does it?  But it’s true.

Now, I’m not afraid of Pu-erh any more, although I do often cringe when I receive Pu-erh … worried that I will have a bad experience with it.  But truth be told, I have far more positive experiences with Pu-erh than negative ones.  The negative experiences are indeed very few and very far between!

This Pu-erh blend … is amazing.  And let me just say that if my first tasting of Pu-erh tasted anything like this … I would not have been so afraid of Pu-erh for so many years!  This is so good!

The raspberry notes are sweet with just a twinge of tartness to them – just enough to make it taste like a true berry taste.  There are hints of flower in the blend as well as a softness.  Soft is generally not a flavor I associate with Pu-erh so this is a characteristic I attribute to the white tea.  The white tea really offers little else to this blend, other than some visual interest to the dry leaf.  As I taste this, there isn’t a moment when I can say definitively “there’s the white tea.”  However, I don’t think that this blend would be quite the same without the white tea in it.  It adds something … a creaminess, perhaps?

However, the Pu-erh offers the majority of the flavor here.  And while it does have that distinctive Pu-erh earthiness, it is slight.  Instead, this simply tastes rich and mellow and smooth.  Almost like coffee, but without the bitterness of coffee.

A very enjoyable tea from the Whistling Kettle … and it’s a good one!

Asian Pear from Tin Roof Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Tin Roof Teas

Tea Description:

Crisp Asian Pear with a subtle, yet enduring flavor and mild fragrance.

Ingredients:  Green tea from India, Japan and China, orange blossoms and flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is really good. I’m really surprised at how well the flavor comes through.

So often with flavors like this, the flavoring is added either too sparingly added and cannot be tasted, or the flavor is too heavily added and ends up tasting artificial.  Here, it is perfect – not so strong that it tastes fake or masks the taste of the green tea, and not so light that I cannot taste the sweet, juicy flavor of Asian Pear.

The green tea is the strongest flavor of the cup – and it has a sweet, fresh taste.  Slightly grassy and a little bit buttery.  Very pleasant, and a nice pairing with the flavor of Asian Pear – which is sweet and delicious and very authentic tasting.  It tastes as though I have just taken a bite of a crisp, juicy Asian Pear!

I also taste just a mild floral note coming through from the orange blossom.  This isn’t a strong flavor, but the subtle contrasts it offers really pleasing to the palate.  A really enjoyable tea.  It’s great hot or cold – I think I prefer it iced, it is just so refreshing!  Light and very thirst quenching.  Nice!

Huang Zhi Xiang Phoenix Mountain Dancong Oolong from Verdant Tea

Tea Type: Oolong Tea

Where To Buy: Verdant Tea

Product Description:

Region: Phoenix Mountain, Guangzhou

Leaves: Our Phoenix Mountain Dancong is picked from the old tea trees higher than 1000 meters above sea level. Huang Zhi Xiang is a varietal, or subcategory within Phoenix Mountain Oolong, sometimes translated as Orange Blossom or Yellow Branch. At such high altitude, the tea trees are large, slow-growing plants covered in mist that protects them from excess sunlight, helping to produce especially sweet and complex tea.

Flavor Profile: Through the entire 20-25 steepings that we usually take this tea to, this tea yields a staggering spectrum of flavors with a complexity that can rival the depth of any fine pu’er. Early steepings have a woody base with strong notes of toast with apple butter. The apple soon yields to blueberry jam, and the body of the tea becomes sparkly with flavor and texture creating a sensation like electricity or rippling water. Chocolate and darker citrus notes enter with the woody flavor becoming a more pronounced pine base.
It seems in these middle steepings that the oolong is finally settling into itself, but then it takes a sharp turn towards darker more savory flavors. First there is the taste of buckwheat and honey, which leads into what can only be described as the graham cracker marshmallow goodness of s’mores. In very late steepings, the dark flavors start to lift like a fog leaving a tingling lime citrus flavor on the tongue and a vegetal tieguanyin-like aftertaste, and even a bit of peppery cinnamon spice.

Notes: This Dancong keeps us coming back for more. As you can see from the tasting notes, it is a true shapeshifter, taking on so many intriguing forms that it seems to throw down the challenge of drinking it again and again. While it is an incredible full-evening’s entertainment to steep this Chinese style, we have been enjoying large pots and mugs with great effect as well. One note to point out is that this is one of our only teas that requires some attention to steep time. Forget about this for 10 minutes in a pot and the grassy notes get a bit strong. The extra care needed is well worth the reward!

Tasters Review:

These leaves are very dry and very strong they are on the verge of being wiry but haven’t quite gotten there yet…if Oolong were to have a Silver Needle “leaf” this would be the equivalent minus the fuzzy/hair that is on White Silver Needle for example.

I did 3 infusions with this tea and found them all to be very different in taste.

1st infusion…
was a VERY nice experience!  The flavor was nice and even…it’s that of a sweet wood and apple.  Not actual apple flavoring – but natural apple notes are what my tongue picked up!  I could also taste natural citrusy notes as it cools at room temperature a bit.

Since Verdant said you can get 20-25 infusions on this tea I wanted to do at least 2 infusions as part of my infusion test – and was considering moving on to my next tea after the 2nd – but after the first sip of my second infusion I HAD to do a 3rd infusion!

2nd infusion…
Totally unexpected! The overall taste was more intense – and more strong – than the first!  The notes changed and here is what I taste this time around…

It was a sweet wood and a bit grassy taste – not overly identifiable as apple like in the first infusion but I picked up something reminiscent of…peas and peppery flavor that is surprising and neat at the same time!

And for the 3rd infusion…
It wasn’t as woodsy and not nearly as grassy.  It was back to being a bit fruity but not apple…maybe a little citrus tho.  I could also pick up a little vegetal taste – maybe peas…but a fresh sweet pea or snow or snap pea but certainly the sweet kind!

I can’t really say which infusion I like over the others because they are so different from each other and offer completely different tastes in each.

This is certainly a FUN one…complex and QUALITY tea!

SororiTEA Sisters’ Special Blend from Blends for Friends

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Blends for Friends

Product Description:

A blend for those who truly appreciate the taste of a great beverage. A bright and diverse infusion of creative characters that are full of flavorsome charm. Enjoying fine top notes and far-flung origins, this lovely combination is the perfect accompaniment to rest, relaxation, and reviews!


Only the finest quality tea: Sri Lanka Uva Black Tea for bright liquor and fine top notes. Cocoa Shells for flavorsome charm. Orange Blossom for bright character. Rose petals for creative style. With natural Bergamot and Chocolate flavor for great taste.

Taster’s Review:

I have been excited to try this ever since it was made for Jennifer (aka TeaEqualsBliss) and I.  Yes… MADE for US!  That’s the beauty of this company, you simply answer a series of questions about yourself (or about the person you’d like to gift a wonderfully personalized tea), and Blends for Friends will create the blend based upon the responses.

And it arrives ready to give (or to receive, if you’re gifting yourself!)  I didn’t have the opportunity to see the all packaging except through the vivid description provided by Jennifer, but I did get to check out the tin – and it’s beautiful.  I’m a collector of tins and I love this one!  This is a tin that you’ll want to keep refilling (and the price on the refills from Blends for Friends is quite reasonable!)

For the purposes of this review, I had tried this blend on three different occasions and chronicled my thoughts about each tasting.  As Jennifer indicated in her review, it tastes a little different each time it’s prepared, but there are also one notable consistent with each tasting:  specifically, the black tea.  The black tea is a strong, solid yet unimposing presence at every tasting.  It is a rich, delicious tea that enhanced the other flavors, and while it didn’t interfere with the other flavors, it still managed to make its presence known.

The first time I tried it, I tasted the chocolate immediately.  The orange/bergamot tones and the rose were hints of flavor that would emerge every now and then.  During my second tasting, I could taste more of the rose flavor.  This time, the rose and chocolate were almost competing with one another – but not in a bad way! – and were about equal in strength.  One sip would be very rose-y, while the next would be quite chocolate-y.  Both made me smile.  The bergamot was also there, but it was more of a whisper of a presence.  While I do love bergamot (and I often prefer my bergamot to be much stronger), I really appreciate the softness of the bergamot here.  It’s a wondrous kind of flavor, like a happy daydream.

For my third tasting, the chocolate was without a doubt the most prominent flavor, but the bergamot was the flavor that was peeking through more so than the rose.  The rose was there too, but it seemed to take the position that was previously taken by the bergamot for the two previous tasting, being more of a hint of flavor than a strong contender.

All three tastings were quite wonderful and delicious.  What I like best about this blend is that it’s a little different each time that I drink it.  I’m never sure quite what to expect.  This adds to the excitement and anticipation of that first sip, and it really embraces what I’m about as a tea drinker.  As you’ve probably noticed, I drink a lot of tea every day, but I rarely drink the same tea every day.  I like to try different teas (which is probably good since I review teas!)  But what Blends for Friends has managed to do is create a whole blend that is a little different every time I taste it.  They really NAILED what I think SororiTea Sisters is all about, which I think is what Blends for Friends is all about:  creating a perfect blend for the intended drinker (or drinkers).