Sugarcane Black Tea from Canton Tea Co.

sugarcaneblackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Canton Tea Co.

Tea Description:

This black tea is wilted and then fired briefly in Yunnan red cane sugar (an unprocessed sugar similar to muscavado). The tea maker learned the sugar technique from a Fujian tea master in Wuyi, and brought it back to Yunnan to make it his own. Just a small amount of sugar is used in the firing process, it is mixed with water and added to the wilted tea leaves during the frying stage of the processing, giving the brewed tea a pleasingly balanced sweetness. Having proved popular with both Tea Club customers and Canton staff, we had to bring this tea into our collection.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The name of this tea attracted me to it right away – Sugarcane Black Tea.  Just the sound of it sounds like it’s going to make my sweet tooth very happy.  So, when Canton Tea Co. sent me a sampling of it, I was very excited to try it!

I read a little bit about the process this tea undergoes to earn the name “Sugarcane Black” – apparently, the tea varietal used here is Zheng shan xiao zhong which is the same tea that is smoked to become Lapsang Souchong.  But instead of smoking this tea…

… freshly picked tea is wilted and then briefly fried in tropical Yunnan muscovado style (un-processed) red sugar. The sugar is mixed with water, and used sparingly in the frying process of the leaves …

To brew this tea, I used my Kati Tumbler.  I measured a bamboo scoop of the curly leaves into the basket of my Kati and added 12 ounces of boiling water to the tumbler.  Then I let it steep for 3 minutes.  The tea brews up lighter in color than I expected.  Lapsang Souchong tea tends to be very dark, but this is a color that is somewhere between amber and light copper.

The flavor is delightful!  The sweetness imparted onto this tea from the processing described above is delicate – this isn’t too sweet.  There’s a nice balance between sweet, sugary notes and the natural fruit and floral notes from the tea.  It’s very mellow and pleasant.

There is an overall lightness to this cup – it’s not a hefty or robust type of tea.  This isn’t the tea you’d want to grab for that first cup of the day.  Instead, this is the kind of tea that you’d want to share with guests or enjoy on a quiet afternoon when you can curl up and simply relax and take in the joy of this tea!

Really nice.  A rather unique tea – certainly something that I’d recommend to all those who enjoy something a little different.

Tropical Heaven Oolong from Kally Tea

TropicalHeavenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Kally Tea

Tea Description:  

This luscious treat begins with an exciting characteristic green Oolong. Then we’ve added marigold, safflowers and finished with tropical flavoring. The aromas and the tastes that unite in this tropical delight make you just want to…

“LIMBO!! How low can you go?” (Insert island music here…)

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh wow!  This is really yummy!  The flavor of this Tropical Heaven Oolong from Kally Tea is intense!  I love that while the tropical flavors are strong, I still taste the Oolong.  It tastes sweet, fruity and creamy … and yes … heavenly!

The Oolong tea adds a touch of creaminess to the cup as well as a light vegetative tone and a very pleasant sweetness that enhances the sweetness of the tropical flavors.  While Kally Tea does not go in to detail about which flavors are in this Tropical Heaven … I definitely taste pineapple.  Perhaps some mango and/or papaya.  My first sip, I noted a flavor that tasted remarkably like peach, although that could have been the Oolong as I often associate the fruity tones of an Oolong tea to be very peach-like.  The fruit tones are very smooth and sweet.  Only hints of tartness just to keep the palate’s interest piqued.

I love how smooth this cup of tea is.  The fruit flavors are sweet and are washed in a creaminess that is absolutely delectable … it almost tastes like a flavored milk Oolong … that’s how creamy this tea is!  It’s one of those teas that disappear from your cup so fast you wonder if someone has been drinking the tea out of your cup when you’re not looking!  Before I knew it, my cup was empty, and I resteeped the leaves.  The flavors are less intense with the second infusion, but still very present and absolutely delicious – this is definitely worth the second (and even a third!) infusion.

A really great flavored Oolong – a truly yummy cuppa!

Butter Brandy Cake from 52Teas

ButterBrandyCakeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Tea Description:

I’m having a glass of this week’s Tea of the Week as we speak. I think this is probably going to be a great comforting hot tea, but to anyone who knows me, I almost always drink my teas iced. The brandy flavor is the most prominent, with the buttery, cakey goodness coming through in the aftertaste. It’s a very unique and soothing flavor pallete. It seems well-suited to cold nights indoors under an afghan or (if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace) in front of a roaring fire.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve never had butter brandy cake. In fact, I was thinking that we have butterscotch and butter rum, why not butter-brandy, but when I went to Google it to see if such a confection existed, what I found was butter brandy cake and here we are. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am. My big tumbler is empty now.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is not my first cup of this tea, I have been drinking it about every other day for about a week now.  However, I did have a bit of a head cold over the past week, so, I felt my taste buds weren’t quite up to snuff … at least, not enough to offer an adequate tea review on this tea.

The first time I tasted it, I wasn’t exactly sure what I thought of it.  I didn’t even rate it numerically on Steepster, because I wasn’t sure about it.  I knew I liked it, but, it was just so different from anything that I’d tasted before.  I don’t know if that has anything to do with the fact that I’ve never tasted Butter Brandy Cake, I just knew it was delicious, I was enjoying it … but it was … different!

The first flavor that I notice is the brandy, it has a strong, fruity/sweet/almost-wine-y kind of taste to it.  Then I notice a caramel-y undertone … a sweet, luscious, buttery caramel-y taste.  Toward mid-sip, a buttery, freshly-baked cake-y kind of flavor comes through.  Throughout the sip, the black tea base is present, it isn’t a strong, overwhelming presence, but it is there enough so that you know you’re drinking tea and not some weird, space-age, liquid cake that’s been doused with brandy.  (Note:  In this case “weird” is good … definitely good!)

In the past, 52Teas’ black tea blends had a problem with astringency, that is to say it was really quite astringent to the point of coming across as bitter.  Since that time, Frank at 52Teas changed its black tea base to a smoother, more satisfying black tea blend … and I don’t think I’ve noticed much astringency in any of the black tea blends that 52Teas has offered until now.  Somehow the flavors here bring out the astringency … but I don’t find it off-putting.  Instead, the astringency works well with the flavors … it seems to complete the brandy notes quite nicely.

This is a very compelling blend by 52Teas … I like it quite a bit!  It also makes a remarkably tasty latte!

Renaissance Black Tea from Shanti Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where To Buy:  Shanti Tea

Tea Description:

A well travelled, enlightened black tea blend, with the malty strength of a morning tea, but the soft, floral touch of an an afternoon cup. A perfect blend to set the mood for a purposeful yet relaxing day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a wonderful black tea blend – it’s one of those that would work nicely for that important first cup of the day because it has a robust, bold flavor, but it would do equally as well as an afternoon pick-me-up because it has a certain softness to it.  Light and crisp, but with a bold, malty flavor.  I love it!

It also tastes great as an iced tea which is how I’m enjoying it now.  I had a cup of it earlier this morning, tasting it first without additions and then deciding that I wanted a creamy latte with my breakfast and it was very satisfying.  I decanted the rest of the tea and stashed it in the fridge, and it is fantastic as an iced tea – full of rich flavor, but there are so many lively floral notes to give it a lighter touch.

A really nice “all-in-one” type of black tea blend, this one will serve as your breakfast blend as well as your afternoon tea and a very refreshing iced tea too!  This would be perfect for those who (like me!) find that their space for tea is limited – this one takes the place of three different teas, and it’s delicious too.  What more could you want?