Rohini Supreme Breakfast First Flush Tea from Darjeeling Tea Lovers

ROHINI SUPREMETea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

This Breakfast Tea comes from ROHINI – The Youngest Tea Garden of Darjeeling. This is the only estate which claims to be 100% Clonal.

This tea has a woodsy kind of flavour to it which can be felt in the dry leaves also. The liquor along with woodsy flavour has prominent floral tone which becomes more prominent as the tea cools. The tea has a pleasant mouth feel and the flavour is uplifting.

Learn more about Darjeeling Tea Lovers here.

Taster’s Review:

This Rohini Supreme Breakfast First Flush Tea isn’t yet available this year from Darjeeling Tea Lovers.  I was privileged enough to get some from last year’s harvest.  I had written this review some months ago, when this tea was still available on the Darjeeling Tea Lovers website, but my review was somehow misplaced.  Hopefully this tea will be available again this year and perhaps my review of last year’s harvest will convince you that you should try this year’s harvest!

My apologies to Darjeeling Tea Lovers for the delay in getting this review posted!

When I opened the pouch of this “Breakfast Tea,” I noticed the green leaves.  This is not uncommon with a Darjeeling “black” as Darjeeling teas generally undergo less oxidation than other black tea leaves.

I brewed this tea in my Breville One-Touch, measuring 2 bamboo scoops of the tea into the basket and adding 500ml of freshly filtered water into the kettle.  Then I set the timer for 2 1/2 minutes and the temperature for 195°F.

The tea brewed up to a very light amber-coppery color.  It has a pleasant fragrance that is somewhat floral with hints of fruit.

The flavor is LOVELY.  While the tea is still quite hot, I picked up on very light floral notes with prominent woodsy notes and notes of fruit.  As the tea cooled, the floral notes began to develop.  Usually with a Darjeeling, I notice grape-like flavors.  This is particularly true of a second flush Darjeeling.  This is a first flush so I wasn’t expecting a strong grape-y presence, but, I was a little surprised when the fruit I was tasting was more like melon.  This flavor morphs into more of a grape-like flavor as I continue to sip, but those first few sips were quite honeydew-ish!

When it comes to the layers of flavor in teas, “woodsy” is not one of those flavors that I often celebrate.  It’s more or less one of those flavor profiles that I can take or leave.  It’s not something I usually get excited about.  I’m not usually like “Wow!  I love the woodsy flavors of this tea!”  Then again, I’m not usually like “Gah, I really don’t like that woodsy note.”  For me it’s something that I don’t really mind one way or another if it’s there or not.

But, I really am enjoying the woodsy tones of this.  It’s not a bitter wood or sour wood note.  It’s smooth and beautiful.  It melds beautifully with the fruit and the flower.  It’s a warm, slightly earthy note that is quite appealing.

Since I typically think of a breakfast tea as something that I might add milk and honey to, I don’t know that I’d consider this a breakfast tea.  It’s a brisk, bright flavored tea so I can understand why Darjeeling Tea Lovers might call this a breakfast blend – but I wouldn’t advise adding milk and/or sweetener to this.  It would really overwhelm the beautiful balance of flavors!

Instead, enjoy the gently nuanced flavors of the cup as they are.

Shi Feng Supreme Dragon Well Green Tea from Grand Tea

ShiFengDragonWellTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Grand Tea

Tea Description:

Dragon Well is a most celebrated green tea in China, the name comes from the town Lung Ching which means Dragon Well in direct translation. In recently research shows that fresh green tea, particularly in young buds contains high levels of antioxidants, and is very good for the skin and has anti-cancer properties. EGCG and theanine exist in the highest concentration in these young tea buds.

Typical for Shi Feng Dragon Well is the yellowish green leafs, sweet with a hint of chestnuts like fragrance and refreshing aftertaste. GrandTea’s Xi Feng Dragon Well is still hand-picked and hand-roasted the traditional way.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oh, wow, I’m loving this Shi Feng Supreme Dragon Well Green Tea from Grand Tea!  It’s so delightfully sweet and nutty.

To brew it, I used my Kati tumbler and rather than measuring these long leaves in a bamboo scoop, I simply pinched out an amount that looked to me like a scoop.  (I call this my eyeball pinch method.)  Then I heated the kettle to 180°F and added 12 ounces of hot water to the tumbler and let the tea steep for 2 minutes.

Now, Dragon Well tea is one of those teas that you can actually leave the leaves in the cup.  I’m told that it’s one of those teas that you don’t need to strain the leaves – you can just keep on infusing, adding more water as you drink the tea.  But, I’ve not tried it that way.  I remember the very first time I tried Dragon Well tea, I either oversteeped it or steeped it at too high a temperature.  Either way, the tea was just not something I wanted to drink.  So since that time, I’m careful with how I brew a Dragon Well.

I’m quite satisfied with the way this cuppa turned out!

It’s sweet, buttery, lightly vegetal and deliciously nutty with a flavor reminiscent of freshly roasted chestnuts.  It also has a really pleasant, creamy texture.

And while I’m not one to keep the leaves in my cup and keep adding hot water to the cup – I’m all about the resteep!  I resteeped these leaves three times with no real significant loss in flavor!

This is indeed a superb Dragon Well!  I highly recommend it.

Organic Avaata Supreme Nilgiri First Flush Green Tea from Golden Tips

avaata-supremeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Golden Tips

Tea Description:

An exquisite green tea from the coveted organic Avaata Tea Estate in the Nilgiris in southern India. The perfectly manufactured leaves boast of a light green texture combined with opulent long silver tips. The liquor has a very pale green appearance in the cup. The flavour is extremely smooth and fairly sharp typical of non-fermented green teas but without any hint of bitterness. A sensation of fruits and flowers flush your mouth with every sip of this certified organic green tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I’m sitting here sipping this tea, I find myself mesmerized by how good it is.  I then decided to do a search to see if I’ve ever tried a Nilgiri Green tea.  And as it turns out, I’ve tried two green Nilgiri teas, one of which was more of a smoky tea (reminiscent of a Chinese gunpowder) and one was the base for a Chai.  Neither were like this tea.

The dry leaf looks very much like a white tea, except that these are greener in color than most white teas I’ve encountered.  The dry leaf also has a stronger ‘green’/vegetal scent than most white teas I’ve encountered.  But the shape of the leaves – the appearance of the leaves – reminds me of a very high quality Bai Mu Dan.

So as you can imagine, it was a little more difficult to measure these leaves into the basket of my Kati tumbler.  Rather than attempt to measure the leaves using my bamboo scoop, I eyeballed a measurement in the palm of my hand.  Then I added 12 ounces of water heated to 175°F and let it steep for 2 minutes.

Delightful!  This is a wonderful green tea!  It has a delicate quality to it that reminds me of the aforementioned Bai Mu Dan, but it isn’t quite that delicate.  The flavor is a lot less vegetal than I would have expected after the aroma I experienced with the dry leaf.  In fact, those that tend to shy away from green teas because of that strong vegetal tone would probably find this green to be very much to their liking.

It’s light and crisp and very refreshing.  Sweet with almost a sugar-like flavor.  The texture is light yet creamy.  It has a nice softness to it.  There is no bitterness, but there is some astringency to this that is experienced primarily in the aftertaste, I can feel a dry, puckery sensation on the inside of my cheeks at the very end of the sip and into the aftertaste.

This is very CREAMY tasting.  I like that while it has that creamy taste and texture, it isn’t a super heavy texture and the astringency seems to cleanse the palate somewhat so that my palate doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the creaminess.

Truly, a delightful green tea.  This is one that should be on every tea drinker’s list to try because it’s so different from the green teas you’re probably familiar with.  It’s so lovely!

Jasmine Supreme Green Tea from Red Leaf Tea

jasmine_supremeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Red Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Of all the blossoms that are indigenous to Eastern Asia, the jasmine flower is perhaps the most popular and giving Jasmine Supreme tea its flavor. We have developed this unique blend of green tea and jasmine petals to bring the essence of the night-blooming vine to you. Infused with jasmine blossoms for hours at a time during several heating sessions, Jasmine Supreme Green Tea is a perfect floral tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I was excited to try this Jasmine tea.  I’m generally excited to try Jasmine teas because I love a good Jasmine.  Unfortunately, this isn’t as supreme as the name of the tea led me to believe it would be.

The flavors are TOO floral.  Oh, sure, I realize that Jasmine teas are supposed to be floral, but the floral notes here seem to taste more like a flavored jasmine rather than a scented one.  As in, flavored with jasmine oil rather than scented with jasmine flowers.  The description says that the jasmine flowers infused the leaves with their essence so I’m not going to question the validity of that, all I’m saying is that this is a highly floral to the point of tasting perfume-ish Jasmine tea.

To steep this, I used my Breville One Touch and added 2 scoops of the tea to the basket of the tea maker and added 500ml of water to the kettle.  I set the parameters for 175°F for 2 minutes.  Perhaps less time would make a better cuppa?  I don’t know.

The green tea is a soft green tea with buttery notes and a silky texture, and I feel like I’d really like this if the floral notes were not so potent.  As it is, though, I don’t drink perfume and I can’t finish the cup.  Sad, because I truly like this company – and they do have many wonderful teas.  This just isn’t one that I can recommend.

Supreme Bi Lu Chun Green Tea from Grand Tea

supreme BLCTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Grand Tea

Tea Description:

Grand Tea’s Supreme Grade Bi Lu Chun consist of 1-2 cm size buds. As expected from such top notch tea, the flavor is smooth, light and delicate. The distinct sweetness from the bud make it really stand out.

Due to the very high demand of high quality tea in China, such small quantity fine tea usually never leave China and reach the mass market. We are fortunate to have 20 kg of this very best Green tea. So don’t wait to long before order, I promise it won’t last very long.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

There’s something just so … lovely about a top notch Bi Lu Chun like this Supreme Bi Lu Chun Green Tea from Grand Tea.  The leaves are so beautiful, so tiny and tender and covered with soft, fuzzy down.  They look, smell and feel so fresh.

The brewed liquid is very pale green and it has a delightfully delicate flavor.  The sweetness is so profound … like a sugary sweetness!  It has a smooth taste that is softly vegetal with hints of butter-like notes.  There are layers of flavor to this as well, and I can pick up on whispers of fruit and floral notes, as well as a sweet, nutty tone in the distance.  As I continue to sip, the nutty flavors come a little more into focus, but, these flavors are never strongly pronounced.

That’s because the overall cup is so beautifully delicate.  This delicate quality doesn’t allow the flavors to come through strongly, instead, it beckons your palate to discover them.  It’s a tea that you want to sit and consider rather than one that you want to rush through.  This tea wants to take things slowly with you and allow you to discover the flavors and enjoy them as they’re revealed.

This Supreme Bi Lu Chun is truly an exceptional Chinese green – and it’s a tea that should be experienced by every tea drinker out there!