Yunnan Golden Strand (Spring 2011) from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Description:

The most delicate combined with the robust; a skilled harvest of just the tips of the tea plant, exposed to the outside world for one day, then processed as black tea. Features characteristic earthy tones of Dian Hong, yet yields an incredibly soft, sweet cup. Notes of grape, slight pepper, and olive.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:


I do love a good Yunnan, and when its a golden Yunnan, I love it even more.  This is really very good – surprisingly sweet!  Yes, other Yunnan teas have been sweet, but, I don’t think I’ve found one that is quite like this.  It has notes of caramel, sweet cocoa and grape that seem to intertwine to create a sweet taste that is very palate pleasing.

And of course, there are the hints of spice, but, here, the peppery notes are quite subtle, lying beneath all that yummy sweetness.  There is just enough peppery taste (and aroma!) to put a little vigor into the sip, and it offers a nice transition from the initial sweetness to the more savory tone that the sip takes as it moves toward the tail.

This savory note reminds me a bit of artisan bread.  You know the specialty bread that you can find in bakeries with olives baked right into the bread?  That’s what this tea seems to evoke.  It has a deep, bread-y, bake-y kind of taste to it, like freshly baked bread, and then there is a smooth, rich flavor that is quite similar to the taste of olives!  These flavors offer a really delicious contrast to the sweetness at the start of the sip.

What I’m liking most about this cup is that through it all, from the start of the sip where it is sweet and sumptuous, to mid-sip where I notice a slight prickle of pepper, on to the savory qualities of the tea, I notice absolutely no bitterness, and very, very little astringency.  This is a black tea for those who sometimes avoid black teas for the bitterness and astringency.  It is so smooth and yes, even decadent, that you may just change your mind about black tea!

I love Yunnan, so I’m not surprised that I love this one too, but, what does surprise me is just how good this Yunnan is.  It’s a standout, because it’s better than most Yunnan teas that I’ve tried!

Keemun Mao Feng Supreme from Strand Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Strand Tea

Product Description:

Keemun Mao Feng Supreme from the mountain slopes of Anhui Provence is a great tasting whole leaf black tea.  Typically Keemuns are breakfast teas, but the Mao Feng Supreme is a great ‘self drinker’ or stands milk well so can be taken any time of day.  A beautiful twisted leaf yeilds a cup with little astringency and the classic toasty/winey notes of a good Keemun.  We have 3 grades of Keemun and this is the middle grade.  It is a well made tea and well worth the price.

Taster’s Review:

I placed an order a while back with Strand Tea, and received this tea as a free sample with my order (Strand Tea also included a small package of cookies with my order!)  I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to try this Keemun – it’s fantastic!

The flavor is robust.  It is sweet and slightly smoky.  Hints of black currant and I can even taste some cocoa notes in the distance.  Just as the description above suggests, there is very little astringency to this cup, and it does finish slightly dry:  a wine-like finish.  The sweet, wine-like taste lingers in the aftertaste.

This tea has a very autumnal kind of feel for me, and perhaps it’s just the fact that it IS autumn that I say that.  But the toasty, slightly smoky character of this tea is a very cozy kind of taste – evoking thoughts of warm, comfy blankets and roaring fires in the fireplace.  This is the kind of tea you want to have around to warm you up on a chilly afternoon!

A fabulous Keemun – and it is VERY reasonably priced!

Portland Blend from Strand Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Strand Tea Company

Product Description:

Estate grown Indian and China black teas blended by Strand Tea Company with the Pacific Northwest in mind. This is a satisfying, rich, and smooth blend you can drink all day. One of our most popular breakfast blends.
Taster’s Review:

When I found this tea on Strand Tea Company’s website while shopping around for a new Yixing mug, I knew I had to try it.  I live just minutes from Portland, Oregon.  I love it there!  So I definitely wanted to taste a tea that was named after it.  Fortunately, Strand also carries Yixing mugs so it gave me a good excuse to include this tea in the order!

The tea is beautiful with lots of golden tips.  There is also an occasional rose petal or two (Portland is the city of roses!)  It has a soft yet pleasant aroma that when brewed develops into a sweet, caramel-y smell with notes of smoke.

This is a very delicious black tea blend.  There is a deep, rich flavor with a backdrop of caramel-y sweet goodness.  There is a toothsome quality to this tea and a bake-y taste that goes along with it.

This cup has a vibrant flavor that is brisk and bold enough to get one up and running for the day.  Complex flavors throughout the sip, with hints of smoke (not too much though, thankfully!), spice and peach, but mostly what I taste is that caramel note.  The smoky taste really compliments the sweet notes very well.

A very pleasant tea with which to start the day!  Warm and comforting.  It takes well to the addition of milk and honey too, if you care to add them.  It is also nice as an iced tea, but I prefer it hot!  It is a perfect tea to enjoy on a cold, wet morning like this! YUM!