Rare Orchid Oolong Tea from Tea Source

Rare OrchidTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tea Source

Tea Description:

This rare regional oolong from Wuyi Mountain, Fujian yields a light liquor, but with great aroma, taste, and texture. You’ll experience: sweet, nutty, fruity, honey, and silky over many steepings. These long, large, twisted, bronze/brown leaves are produced at more than 1000′ elevation from the Qi Lan cultivar.

Learn more about this tea here.

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Taster’s Review:

This is a really nice Oolong!  This Rare Orchid Oolong Tea from Tea Source is an example of why I really love the Steepster Select boxes – I get the opportunity to try teas that maybe I wouldn’t have tried if not for the Steepster Select program.

I’m loving the malty notes to this Oolong.  It’s not a flavor that I usually associate with an Oolong, and I love it when I discover an Oolong that offers me something a little different that I haven’t really tasted in an Oolong before.

Over on Steepster, some of the other tasting notes on this tea mention an Asparagus-like flavor, and I’m not tasting that yet.  I’m hoping that in later infusions, I’ll pick up on that flavor.  But for now, in this first cup (infusions 1 and 2 following a 15 second rinse), I’m happily enjoying the flavors of malt, a sweet honey flavor, and a sweet, creamy vanilla note.  There are some lovely floral notes to this cup too.

With my second cup (infusions 3 and 4), I noticed more vanilla notes … this second cup is so creamy!  More honey notes, less malt than in the first cup, and the floral tones seem somewhat subdued compared to the first cup – not quite as sharp, or perhaps the vanilla has softened the floral tones just a little bit.  Either way, I really like the way the vanilla flavors seem to really envelop the palate.  And if I focus, I taste hints of the asparagus note that I was searching for in that first cup, and I’m also picking up on a distant fruit note.

My final cup (infusions 5 and 6) was a mellower tasting cup.  I still tasted the vanilla, but this was less creamy than the second.  I could taste the fruit notes a little more than I did in the second cup, but, I’m tasting less honey and malt this time around.  Still a really flavorful cup, though, and definitely worth the effort!

This was a really lovely Oolong, I’m glad that I was able to try it – thanks to my Steepster Select subscription!  Interested in subscribing to the Steepster Select program?  Click here.

Yunomi Monthly Mystery Tea Sampler’s Club: Kesennuma Kuwacha Sencha Mulberry Leaf Tea


MulberryLeafTeaTisane Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Yunomi

Tea Description:

Rare Japanese mulberry tea, or kuwacha (桑茶), is very similar to a light sencha without the caffeine.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about Yunomi’s Monthly Mystery Tea Sampler’s Club here.

Taster’s Review:

I was a little unsure about trying this Kesennuma Kuwacha Sencha Mulberry Leaf Tea from the Monthly Mystery Tea Sampler’s Club from Yunomi, because I can’t recall actually having tried a Tisane made from just mulberry leaves before.  I probably have had tea blends with mulberry leaves … but, I can’t recall trying a straight mulberry leaf tisane before.

But, I decided what the heck, I was going to give it a try, because everything that I’ve tried thus far from Yunomi I’ve enjoyed … so I put my faith in this company and hoped that they wouldn’t let me down.

And you know what – they didn’t!  This is really quite nice.  The aroma of the dry leaf is very pleasant with its sweet fruity notes and leafy/grassy tones. And the dark green, finely chopped leaves resemble a Japanese Sencha. Once brewed, the tisane keeps some of the fruity notes, and the leafy/grassy notes become more distinctive.

The flavor is very reminiscent of a Japanese Sencha, believe it or not!  I was actually quite surprised by the flavor … I didn’t expect it to taste so much like a Sencha!  It is sweet, slightly buttery, with fruity notes.  It has a light character to it (although, if you want it stronger, you can add more leaf!) and the texture isn’t quite as brothy as a Sencha tea might be but … the grassy/leafy notes of the Sencha are there.  This might actually be a little sweeter due to the fruity quality, and I’m noticing less (as in very little if any) savory taste to this.  It’s more like a sweeter version of a Sencha … without the invigorating caffeine.

This tisane is perfect for those of you who would like to enjoy a green tea later in the evening but don’t want the caffeine … this has such a “green tea” taste to it that you’d think you’re drinking green tea … but you’re not!  It’s really quite wonderful!

Japanese Black Tea from Tealet

japanese-black-teaTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tealet

Tea Description:

Japan is not known for its black tea production, but it is no surprise that many Japanese growers are trying their hand at black tea. All tea derives from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, only the processing of the leaf makes a difference. Japanese tea growers such as Osamu are experimenting with new tea processing methods by learned from growers in other countries. This Wazuka black tea is a bit different than the common Ceylon or Darjeeling, but it will not disappoint. Its rich flavor shows that Japanese tea varieties are capable to make great oxidized teas. It also shows the dramatic effect location and climate has on a tea?s characteristics.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Japanese black teas are usually pretty difficult to find in this part of the world.  In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually come across Japanese black teas … and one time, it was in such a limited quantity that it was given to me by a tea vendor that did not offer it on their website, because they didn’t have enough to sell!

So, I am thrilled that Tealet is offering this black tea from Japan.  And, I am loving this cup of tea!  It’s excellent!

This tea has a sweet profile, and if I were to describe that sweetness, I’d say that it reminds me a bit of raw sugar.  It has that unprocessed, unrefined kind of sweetness to it, and something about the sweetness reminds me of the warmth of raw sugar.

The tea has a delicious richness to it, it is smooth and there is no bitterness to the tea at all.  There is a minute amount of astringency to this … and only really noticeable when I focus on trying to detect it.  A casual sip does not reveal the astringency, only when I try to taste it, that is when I notice it.

There is also an earthiness to the cup, and these earthy tones play toward the raw sugar notes, as well as notes of cocoa that I begin to pick up on by mid-cup.  These cacao notes develop as I continue to sip.  Interestingly enough the first couple of times that I notice the chocolate-y notes, it reminds me of raw cacao.  Then, toward the end of the cup, the chocolate-y flavor has intensified enough to the point where I notice more dimension in these notes … and I notice hints of roasted cacao.

A truly interesting cup, one I’d be happy to sip anytime!  I love that Tealet is opening the windows of opportunity for tea drinkers who might not have had access to some of these more difficult-to-find teas!  Thank you, Tealet!

Blueberry Purple Tea from Butiki Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Purple

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

Made with a base of Purple Tea of Kenya, this mellow tea has an earthy blueberry flavor that lingers. Add a little brown crystal sugar for an intense sweet blueberry flavor. More extensive information on our Kenyan teas can be found HERE.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve tried a couple of purple teas now, I’ve had at least one purple Oolong and a purple Pu-erh, but this the first flavored purple tea (at least that I’m aware of).  And it’s quite unusual … different from any blueberry flavored tea I’ve tried in the past, but at the same time, there are some remarkable similarities to some teas I’ve had, as well.

This purple tea bears some striking resemblances to a white or a green tea.  It has the light, delicateness of a white tea with some of the herbaceous/vegetative tones of a green tea.  There is also an earthiness to this tea that offers a unique contrast to the sweet-tart blueberry notes.

The blueberry is prominent, and the somewhat nutty, earthy, herbaceous flavor of the tea together with the blueberry creates a taste that is similar to a blueberry muffin – heavy on the blueberry!  It is sweet and tart, earthy and refreshing … and it’s very good!

I really like this tea – it’s a great way to explore the purple tea variety.  Oh… and I highly recommend resteeping this one – the second infusion is even better than the first.  The earthiness softens a bit, making the flavor very smooth and even more pleasant than the first infusion.

Kenya Silverback White Tea from Imperial Tea Garden

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

Where to Buy:  Imperial Tea Garden

Tea Description:

First planted with tea in 1903, the majority of Kenya’s tea gardens are clustered on the slopes of the Great Rift Valley which produces 22% of the worlds tea exports. Unlike most of the tea produced in the Nandi region, Kenya Silverback is one of the rarest teas in the world with only 600 kgs produced annually.  The tea is only made from the choicest white tips harvested from select plants 5600 ft – 6500 ft above sea level.  The fresh leaf is hand plucked, hand rolled and naturally dried resulting in a white tea with a lot of character.  The cup opens with notes of honey, roasted nuts and Madagascar vanilla that lead the way to a long smooth finish.  A lot of mouth feel for most white tea connoisseurs.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I drink a lot of tea.  I’m sure that comes as no surprise to those who read this blog regularly.  Every day, I drink at least one type of black tea and one type of green tea, and I try to find time for Oolong daily too.  White teas, I don’t drink as often as I drink other tea types, because while I do adore white teas, I find myself tiring of them faster than I do other types of tea.  I like them, but, I just prefer green, black and Oolongs.

But I don’t think I could ever grow tired of this Kenya Silverback White Tea from Imperial Tea Garden. The aroma is gentle and sweet, and the mouthfeel is velvet-y smooth.

And the flavor!  It’s amazing!  So many nuanced layers of flavor within each sip!  The above description suggests notes of honey, nuts and vanilla, and I taste those.  They sit right at the forefront of the sip, tantalizing the palate with sweet, creamy, toasty flavor.

But then, off in the distance, I notice the distinct flavor of freshly cut hay.  If you’ve ever been out in a hayfield just after the hay has been cut, you know what I’m talking about here:  I taste the air of the hayfield just after harvest.  It is a light, airy kind of taste with distinct hay-like notes.  Slightly vegetative and warm, sun-ripened notes.  I taste crispness and even hints of flower.

This white tea is truly remarkable!  Sweet, but not too sweet.  Juicy and refreshing and absolutely delightful.  I love it, and highly recommend it to all tea enthusiasts out there.