Jin Jun Mei/Tealyra -CuppaGeek-

I’ve recently found that I’m getting more and more into straight teas.  I’ve tried a few flavored teas to recently but I just felt that pull to pull out my gaiwan and experiment.  I’ve found myself eager to sit down and spend the time to enjoy the tea sip by sip in smaller quantities and this tea is a beautiful example of why.

Not too long ago, I brewed this tea up in the traditional western fashion- teapot, few scoops of tea with water prepped at a bit below boiling, steeped for a few minutes, poured into my tea cup and enjoyed. While the tea was tasty with soft chocolate notes , I wanted to see how the flavor would change if brewed with gong fu style.

Now when I do gong fu, I do a modified version that works with not only my crazy busy job but my house in a whole. I don’t get too deep into measuring and making sure everything is on point. I 100% should because I’ve over leafed and under leafed on more occasions than I would like to admit, but in the same- I have a very go go go 8-5 and after work so I have just decided to pour and go.  Eventually I’ll get to the point where I measure out the night before so I’m all prepared for the next day. Please forgive me that I don’t have all of the measurements to how exactly I steeped up this ditty.

Using my gaiwan, I popped in some leaf and water at 200F.  Gave the leaves a quick rinse and quickly added in more water to go about my first infusion.

-First infusion:  Delicious toffee notes with a small hint of chocolate and no astringency and a hint of malt.   At this point, we are talking dessert tea here.  Really lovely and nice.  Can not get enough and the brew was gone in no time.

-Second infusion: Still those same delicious toffee notes but the chocolate touches are becoming a bit stronger.

-Third Infusion:  Toffee notes are pretty distant now and the chocolate notes have also subsided a bit with the malt touches and a new astringency coming in.

-Fourth Infusion:  The astringency is really the power player at this point and I’m thinking about taking the leaves to make a cold brew.  Not a huge fan of super astringent teas and the brew is taking a turn in that direction.

Now, I was working the whole time I enjoyed this tea so probably if I would have timed the steeps, etc- the tea would have probably lasted for more infusions to my liking.   All in all, love the adventure this tea took me on.  I’m a big fan of this black tea anyway so I was excited to try a more intimidate way to enjoy the tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Tealyra

Description

Jin Jun Mei (Beautiful Golden Eyebrow in Mandarin) is a famous Chinese tea known for its deep auburn golden hue and delicate slender leaves, like a beautiful women’s eyebrow. It is one of the most beloved Chinese teas, grown and produced in Fujian province.

In the springtime, the two small leaves are plucked from the stem and allowed to fully oxidize; this full oxidation gives Jin Jun Mei its deep and malty aromatic profile. Jin Jun Mei is made of slim black and gold tips, covered in a delicate golden fuzz. Once steeped, it has a smooth body and well rounded mouth-feel; its taste is sweet, honey-like, malty, velvety smooth and has hints of vanilla.

Jin Jun Mei is best enjoyed straight, and try multiple steeping it multiple times!

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

(Pure Indulgence) Lavender Oolong/Palais des Thés

Palais des Thés doesn’t get over the top with the explanation or product description of this one. Not because it isn’t wonderful but because it IS wonderful and they don’t need to go on and on about it.

Pure Indulgence Lavender from Palais des Thés. Simply put is…the pure sensation of lavender with tea.

This is an Oolong Tea with Lavender. It’s doesn’t get more straight forward than that, folks!

The sweet Oolong used in this offering hails from China and is combined with that stereotypical flower that ‘girly girls’ and ‘grandmas’ adore. I, for one, am neither of those types but I have to give credit where credit is due and say this one really surprised me. There was ‘just enough’ of the flower aroma and flavor to be noticeable and take this tea to the next level but it wasn’t overly loud about it either.

This is a classy tea. It’s comforting and warm. It doesn’t leave a bitter floral aftertaste like some flowery flavored tea tend to and for that I’m extremely grateful!

Don’t assume you will know what this tastes like. Try it before you label it. This isn’t your Grandmothers lavender! This is something really special. It should be shared and celebrated!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Palais des Thés

Description

The pure sensation of lavender with tea.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

The Famous Lion Chai /T by Daniel . . . .

Instant tea mixes have always intrigued me.  More or less for the convenience factor. In the mornings, I am rushed.  Even waking up early doesn’t seem to help me get everything done, in place, everybody out the door- with there still time to always be able to make a proper cuppa.  Especially anything I might want to add a touch of frothed milk or creamer too.

So when The Famous Lion Chai from T by Daniel came my way, I was pretty excited to check the concoction out. Without even looking at the ingredients, I added 2 tablespoons of the mix into my frother, added the recommended 8 ounces of milk, hit the button to froth/mix up and away I went finishing up making lunches and making sure homework was in book bags.

A few moments later I heard the ding indicated the tea was ready, poured the mix into my tea cup, and away I went.  After taking my first sip though, I noticed a flavor hanging out in the background that made me wish I would have checked the ingredients. Hazelnut.  I know I know. The majority of the world loves hazelnut, but sadly I am not one of them.  And after taking a few more sips, the resounding flavor I was getting was split between caramel and hazelnut.

Now the good thing about these flavors being so pronounced and in the spotlight-there really isn’t a harsh artificial flavor that I’ve gotten when trying mixes like this one in the past.  For me personally, the best part of this blend is this honeyed cinnamon flavor you can catch here and there.  Really light and sweet with just a hint of a spiced kick.

Overall, well played T by Daniel! Even though I’m not 100% in love with this mix, I know my kiddo would love and eagerly gulp away.  And I would have no problem serving this to him in the mornings instead of the soda he seems to grab. I’m sad to say this just isn’t a blend for me.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Chai

Where to Buy:  T by Daniel

Description

Get ready to make your tastebuds ROAR!

Our most popular tea of all time is now available for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home!

A luxurious smooth blend of premium black tea and exotic spices such as cinnamon and hazelnut, this delicious chai premix can be made with milk or water (or your favourite milk alternatives!)

One sip of our famous Lion Chai will make you understand why its our “MANE” beverage!

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Plantation Fresh Uva Tea from Zesta

The crisp aroma of these maroon, CTC BOP leaves transports you with their smell of brambles dried in an arid forest.

Zesta aims for this tea collection, which includes this Uva, to provide an authentic Ceylon journey, well, mission accomplished! Turns out, this selection is from Sri Lanka’s 4th largest grower.

Zesta recommends brewing with boiling water, which produces a rich mahogany brew.

I also made a cup at my usual 175F, which had more of a ruby color to it. I didn’t detect any major differences in taste between the two temps. Though I know its pure tea, I taste lots of refreshing red apple and somehow a sweet, fresh-cut grass in there.

Sweetener also made a negligible difference in taste. Pairs deliciously with all kinds of milk!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Loose Black Tea
Where to Buy: Zesta

Description:

The perfect gift for the tea devotee, the enchanting pine wood gift box has premium black teas from all five tea growing regions in Sri Lanka – Dimbula, Ruhuna, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Uva. Ceylon tea became famous for its unique taste variety that differs across the regions and elevations which are reflected in these teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Huang Shan Mao Feng by Driftwood Tea. . . . . .

I steeped a tablespoon of leaf in about a cup of 175-degree water for three minutes. (The directions said to use a tablespoon per pot but didn’t say what pot size to use, so I just stuck it in my mug because I was like, it’s probably not going to turn out too strong anyway. And I was right!)

The dry leaf smells a bit vegetal, a bit astringent. Some of the leaves are more intact than others but on the whole they’re long and thin, dark green, and some even slightly fuzzy. They seem to be the growing tips of the plant (a leaf and a bud).

The tea is still almost perfectly clear after it’s finished steeping; it just has the faintest off-white, almost peachy tinge to it. It’s even clearer in color than many white teas I’ve seen!

First sip: it’s light, almost floral, and has vegetal flavors only on the back of the tongue. None of the flavors are very “forward” in the mouth except maybe the light floralness that comes at the front of the sip. It’s not too astringent, but it has a little brightness to it and even offers a comforting, energizing aftertaste. It’s definitely not too overpowering; however, the high-quality leaves should stand up to multiple steepings.

I’ve had to use my sneaky detective skills to find out more about this tea because the info isn’t up on the company’s website right now. Huang Shan Mao Feng is apparently a type of green tea, judging by the processing techniques (no oxidation time, et cetera) but the flavor really reminds me more of a white tea or even maybe a super-mild sheng (raw pu-erh) tea.

Altogether it’s a light, gentle cup that I’d recommend for relaxed, pensive afternoons where you’re not necessarily looking for something super dark or highly caffeinated.

 


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Green
Where to Buy:  Driftwood Tea
Description

This tea doesn’t appear to be on the site now but click below for teas that are.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!