Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Oollo Tea
A perfect marriage between Burma Ashamu and Taiwanese wild tea. The long twisted whole leaves give distinct smooth raisin, date and cinnamon infusions with traces of peppermint.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Red Jade Black Tea from Oollo Tea is one of those teas that after taking my first sip, the sound that I uttered was “Mmm.” Not a lot of teas elicit that response from me. This one did.
The dry leaves are dark, chocolaty brown. They’ve been rolled lengthwise, producing a very long and wiry shape. Because of the long, curly composure of these leaves, it’s difficult to actually measure a bamboo scoop of the leaves into the basket of my Kati tumbler. So instead, I eyeballed it. Then I added 12 ounces of boiling water and let the tea steep for 3 minutes.
Now I have a cup of perfection!
I enjoy most tea types: Green, White, Black and if I’m going to be totally honest, I even enjoy most of the Pu-erh that I’ve encountered. I’ve enjoyed some of the variations and even the new varietal Purple teas. Oolong teas and Yellow teas are my favorites. But the tea type that I drink the most is Black tea. So, I guess I could amend my previous statement to say that black teas are my favorite, followed closely by Yellows and Oolongs.
And this tea from Oollo is a perfect example of why I love black tea so much. It has a rich, invigorating flavor but it doesn’t get all aggressive on me. Instead, it’s smooth and sweet. The description above is spot on with its comparison to raisin and date. That sugary sweetness that I’d taste if I were to bite into a raisin or a date, that’s the kind of sweetness I taste when I sip this tea.
There are notes of gently warm spice and hints of rich malt. There is a slight intonation of cacao and a whisper of caramel. And the aftertaste delivers just a hint of minty taste, especially if I draw a breath of air over my palate just after I’ve finished a sip.
The tea is so wonderfully sweet but not so sweet that it becomes all about the sweet. There is a nice complexity to this. Lots of depth to the flavor. Those sugary sweet notes from the dried fruit are top notes, with a mid-note of warm spice. Undertones of caramel that mingle with notes of cacao. Every once in a while, I pick up on a hint of leather. A subtle note of plum comes in here and there. And every once in a while, I even pick up on a floral tone. It’s a wonderful cup with lots of layers of flavor to explore!
This tea is an absolute DELIGHT to sip. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try anything from Oollo Tea yet, I urge you to get to their website immediately and try some of their fantastic teas. And be sure to put this tea in your cart while you’re shopping. You’ll thank me later!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Teavivre
This Ancient Wild Tree black tea comes from Fengqing, Yunnan. The tea garden is at 2000 meters high, is renowned as a good place of growing good tea.
The local tea tree is Fengqing large leaf species, can produce thick tea leaf. Our Ancient Wild Tree black tea then has large, strong leaves. The dry tea is glossy and dark, covered with thin pekoes. Its full aroma and bold taste can be revealed when brewed, as well as the particular strong taste which brings a characteristic of raw pu-erh to this black tea.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’m always happy to try a tea from Teavivre, because I know that the tea is going to be good. Not just good, but excellent! I can’t recall ever having tried a tea from Teavivre that I’ve been disappointed by, and this Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Ancient Wild Tree Black Tea is no exception. This is lovely.
The flavor is rich and smooth. There is a delightful honeyed flavor to the cup and this honey-like flavor is further highlighted by the thick texture of the tea.
There is no bitterness to this tea and it’s very smooth with very little astringency. By mid-cup, I started to notice a slight dryness to the finish. So there is some astringency and it does develop but even by the end of the cup, the astringency is very slight.
It’s earthy with notes of leather and hints of mushroom. This is a wild tree tea and I can almost taste the ‘wild’ in the tea. It’s beautifully complex, with the sweet notes of raisin and plum, hints of flower in the distance and of course, the aforementioned honey notes. I like the balance between the savory notes – earth, spice notes that develop as I sip and leather – and the sweetness.
Yet another tea from Teavivre that I can enthusiastically recommend to any tea drinker. This is marvelous.
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Simple Loose Leaf
Sheng Cha is an oolong tea grown at 1,100 m elevation and is grown wild. Sheng Cha is made from tea plants left to grow for decades in the wild, this imparts a more earthy palate to the leaf. Look for notes of sesame seed biscuits, toast and wheat.
Learn more about this tea here.
Learn more about Simple Loose Leaf’s Co-Op Membership here.
I’m liking this Sheng Cha Oolong Tea from Simple Loose Leaf a LOT! I’ve tried a lot of different Oolong teas over the years and the ones that really stand out to me are the ones that are different from the rest. This is one of those teas.
To brew it, I used my gaiwan. I measured a bamboo scoop into the bowl of the gaiwan and then added just enough hot water to cover the leaves (180°F water) and let that steep for 15 seconds. Then I strained the liquid and discarded it – that is known as the rinse or the ‘awakening of the leaves.’ A lot of people overlook this step, but I’ve learned over the years that the rinse is essential for getting the best flavor from Oolong teas (this is also true of pu-erh teas!)
Then I filled the gaiwan with more hot water and steeped the first infusion for 1 minute. For each infusion to follow, I added another 15 seconds onto the steep time.
My first cup is comprised of the first and second infusion. With this cup, I’m already discovering that the description above is pretty spot on, I’m getting an earthy flavor to the cup. I taste nutty notes that remind me of toasted sesame seeds and whole, multi-grain toasted bread. It’s sweet and warm. It has a nice, roasty-toasty flavor – it’s a comforting, cozy sort of flavor that you just want to curl up to.
The second cup (infusions 3 and 4) was a bit stronger in flavor than the first. The first was still quite a robustly flavored Oolong – ordinarily with Oolong teas, I find that my first cup is somewhat delicate in flavor but that wasn’t the case with this Sheng Cha. This second cup is even stronger than that first cup was. It is only slightly astringent, but I am noticing more astringency than with the first cup – where it seemed almost non-existent. This time, I’m experiencing a slightly dry astringency at the tail – slight, yet it’s there.
This tea is savory as well as sweet. I taste the sweet, nutty tones, but the bready notes and the warm, toasted flavors have a savory quality to them. It’s quite a nice contrast, and with this second cup, I’m noticing more savory than sweet.
Mmm! My third cup (infusions 5 and 6) proved to be my favorite of the three cups that I brewed of this tea. The astringency has gone back to the ‘almost non-existent’ that I experienced with my first cup, and I’m also tasting more sweetness than I tasted with the second cup. This cup still has those savory notes too. Sweet, nutty, toasted sesame and whole grains. A slight earthiness and a woodsy note. It’s a really comforting tea to sip. It has an autumnal flavor – so it’s something that I find especially rewarding to sip on a chilly evening.
Leaf Type: Black
Do you have as much trouble finding well-balanced berry teas as we do? Look no further. This is the one. Wild Woman has an amazing dark berry aroma. Don’t let it scare you off though because it softens in the sip. The hibiscus is light and adds to how deliciously tart this tea is. The blueberry and black currant authentically flavour a bold black tea base.
Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.
After reading the description of this tea on the website, I was a little apprehensive. I’m not into hibiscus, as I’ve said on many occasions and I really think that hibiscus is “overused” in the tea industry. It’s become a substitute for true berry flavor and I think that’s a shame. So, I found myself thinking … “ugh, hibiscus in a berry blend, how original.” (sarcasm, of course!)
But … this is pretty darned good, I must say!
As the description above promises, the hibiscus here is light. It doesn’t add too much tartness nor does it add a thick, syrupy texture to the cup. There’s just a wee bit of hibiscus tart that accents the berry notes in a pleasant way. But what I’m appreciating here is that the hibiscus isn’t taking away from the berry flavors or making it tastes too hibiscus-y. Instead, the hibiscus seems to encourage the berry notes to come forward.
The black tea is a medium-bodied tea, brisk and even toned. It is smooth, not very astringent (a moderate astringency is noticed at the tail) and it doesn’t taste bitter.
The blueberry is the top note. It’s sweet and it’s my favorite aspect of this blend. The currant offers a slight wine-like quality to the cup and it adds just a hint of tartness. There is that berry tingle at the end of the sip.
A very enjoyable berry tea. I didn’t try it latte but I think it would be quite nice with a splash of milk in it – berries and cream! It has a nice sweetness to it and doesn’t require sugar to coax the flavors to come forward, so I would recommend tasting this one before you sweeten because you may find it doesn’t need it.
It tastes good hot but I liked it even better as it cooled. It had a really pleasant flavor, suggesting to me that this one would be great to have on hand in the summer for iced tea!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: The Veda Company
“Revitalize” your mind, body and spirit with refreshing and rejuvenating essences of wild mint, cinnamon and traditional Ayurvedic Indian Gooseberry. Each blend is mildly caffeinated with green tea, one of nature’s antioxidant wonders.
Learn more about the teas from TeaVeda here.
Indian Gooseberry is not something that I’m well acquainted with, so I googled it to learn more. Based on the information that I could find, it is high in vitamin C, it is an antioxidant and does all kinds of other good for you things like enhances brain function, heart support and it’s good for your skin and hair among many other benefits.
OK, sounds good to me.
The berry is supposed to offer a very strong sour and bitter taste. Bitter and sour are not two of my favorite words when it comes to describing tea.
So maybe the Indian Gooseberry is starting to sound less good to me.
But, hey, there are other ingredients in this tea too. Not just the gooseberry. Cinnamon and wild mint. I like them. And I like green tea. So, maybe these other ingredients will help make the Indian Gooseberry more palatable.
So, I’ll try it. Hey! That’s what I do. That’s why I’m here. And that’s why you’re here. You’re here to read about what I’m drinking. And I’m about to drink this tea.
To brew it, I heated freshly filtered water to 175°F and I got out my favorite teacup. Unfortunately, it isn’t the gorgeous Revitalize teacup from the TeaVeda collection. But I like my sunflower teacup anyway!
I let the tea sachet steep for 2 minutes. The aroma has a strong fruity essence with light background notes of cinnamon and a whisper of mint.
The flavor is strong. It has a strong, berry like flavor that is indeed both bitter and sour. The cinnamon and mint do balance this strong flavor out though. I’m finding the flavor a little surprising because cinnamon and mint tend to be very strong, aggressive flavors and it surprises me that the Indian Gooseberry is a stronger flavor than the other ingredients. The gooseberry is what I taste – front and center – while the other flavors seem to temper the bitterness and tart character of the gooseberry.
That said, I find the flavor to be enjoyable. I am not a big fan of bitter and sour flavors, but, because of the presence of the mint and cinnamon, these two flavors are much more acceptable to my palate … not just acceptable, but actually enjoyable.
I don’t taste a lot of green tea here and if I’m to offer a complaint about this tea, that would be it. I would like to have a stronger green tea presence. After all, I’m drinking tea. I want to taste the tea.
I found this tea to be quite interesting, and I could notice myself feeling revitalized after I finished it. I would certainly drink this again if the opportunity presented itself.