Menghai Shou Pu-erh Third Grade (2008) from Wymm Tea

MenghaiShou3rdTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Wymm Tea

Tea Description:

This shu pu-erh brews with a rich and honey flavor and long-lasting jasmine rice aroma. Small buds from high mountains in Menghai County, located in west of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, are picked to make the tea in 2008. Pu-erh tea has the potential to ferment over time, and this tea has been post-fermented for 6 years since production. Post-fermentation gives the tea vibrant flavours and richer aroma as well as deep wine colour.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

WynnTeasPresentation1I was so excited when I received my package from Wymm Tea!  What a fun presentation I received from them!  They sent me four samples of Pu-erh and they were all nestled in this really cute carton.  I really love it when a tea company puts thought into their packaging like this.  It’s a little like getting a gift in the mail.  And the only thing that’s just as much fun as getting tea in the mail is getting a gift in the mail – when the two are combined – we’re talking Pure Tea Joy!

And it may surprise you to hear that the tea inside that carton is also eliciting joy from me too!  Yep, it’s pu-erh, and yep … it’s making me happy!  Each of the samples was wrapped in rice paper (I love rice paper) and it was like a little gift inside each rice paper bundle!

Menghai Shou Third Grade
Menghai Shou Third Grade (2008)

I’m really enjoying this Menghai Shou Pu-erh Third Grade (2008) from Wymm Tea.  My first two infusions were very mellow – mild tasting with very little earthiness (I like that a lot!) but with a deep, lovely flavor that evoked thoughts of molasses.  I also pick up on some slight woodsy/earthy notes that remind me of a walk through the woods after a rain.  (There are a lot of places up here in the Pacific Northwest that offer that kind of experience!)

These first two cups disappeared so quickly, that I’m having to write most of this from the memory of them.

My third cup has a stronger flavor than the first two.  It’s a very mellow tasting tea with a very delicate earthiness to the flavor.  The earthiness slowly emerges with this tea and I like that.  I’m not being hit over the head with a strong, earthy flavor.

I taste notes of jasmine rice (a favorite staple in this house).  The texture is smooth and there is no astringency.  No bitterness.  It’s sweet, molasses-y, with hints of rice.  I’m not tasting any briny, fishy or other ‘odd’ undesirable flavors that sometimes are tasted with Pu-erh – this is the GOOD stuff.

I find that with each new cup of this tea – the flavor gets deeper with a more developed sweetness.  I never encounter any bitterness or strong, off-putting flavors.  Just a lovely, mild, remarkably smooth tea experience.

And, just in case you’re wondering what the different “grades” mean, according to the website:

First grade contains the smallest leaves while seventh grade contains the largest leaves. There is marginal difference in the taste; first grade has a slightly stronger and woodier flavour, while the seventh grade has a milder and sweeter flavour. The third and fifth grades fall in between of the first and seventh grade.

And if this tea is something “in between a stronger/woodier flavor and the sweet/mild flavor, then I’m in for a real treat when I get to the seventh grade tea!

A really lovely, delightful ancient tree pu-erh – I highly recommend it!

Castleton Autumnal Tulip Black Tea (2013 Autumn Flush) from Darjeeling Tea Lovers


Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Darjeeling Tea Lovers

Tea Description:

CASTLETON AUTUMNAL TULIP, as the name suggests is an AUTUMNAL TEA or THIRD FLUSH tea from the estates of CASTLETON TEA ESTATE.

This tea comes with Malty, Muscatel & spicy notes smooth yet complex in flavour. “LIGHT & BRIGHT” is an ideal way to describe this tea. It has a very smooth cup with plenty of sweet muscatel notes. An ideal tea for your breakfast.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of the dry leaf is sweet with some spice notes and floral tones.  The brewed tea has a fruitier fragrance, smelling a lot more like fruit than flower.  I still pick up on sweet and spice, but mostly, I’m picking up on a delightful grape-y scent!  You know what that means, right?  Muscatel!

Oh yeah!  And this tea has the muscatel that you’re looking for!  It has a very wine-like taste, with bright, fruity notes that taper to a slight dryness at the finish and the aftertaste is sweet and fruity, with notes of grape and black currant.

The sip starts with a sweet yet spicy note.  The malty notes of this tea accentuate the sweetness, although I’m not finding this tea to be overly sweet.  I think that the spice notes add enough contrast to the overall flavor to keep this from tasting like your average Darjeeling.  This is – in my humble opinion – head and shoulders above that average Darjeeling.  I love the muscatel notes here, and I love the crisp, light flavor of the cup.

This is not a heavy tasting black (not surprising, it is a Darjeeling, after all!) and it would make a great tea for mid-morning or early afternoon.  The above description suggests this as a breakfast tea, and I could see that too, there is a certain briskness to this cup that is quite invigorating.  Although, I wouldn’t add milk to this cup – it would overwhelm the fabulous flavors going on.  So, if you’re one who wants milk in your breakfast tea, save this one for the second cup of the day when you are ready for some unfettered tea flavor.

As I continue sipping, I’m picking up on some bright citrus notes that arrive just after mid-sip, and re-emerge in the aftertaste.  I don’t usually associate citrus flavors with Darjeeling, but this tea has some sunny notes of lemon!  Nice!

There is some astringency to this cup, but, it’s a fairly mellow astringency.  It isn’t leaving the insides of my cheeks feeling puckered or dry, although there is a gentle “clean” feeling to my palate.

Another delightful autumnal flush from Darjeeling Tea Lovers!

Product Review: Spicy Ginger Chai Concentrate from Third Street Chai

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

For more information, visit:  Third Street Chai

Product Description:

A generously spiced blend of fine black tea, fiery ginger, and freshly-milled aromatic spices.

Ingredients:  Filtered Water, Evaporated Cane Juice, Fair Trade Certified Organic Black Tea, Organic Cardamom, Organic Clove, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Fennel, Organic Nutmeg, Citric Acid.

Taster’s Review:

I don’t usually go for chai concentrates.  I don’t stop at a lot of coffee shops (although here in the Pacific Northwest, there seems to be at least one on every street corner) and order chai lattes that are made from those concentrates.  The reason is that I find that they don’t really taste very much like tea.  They are more like some sort of sweet (sometimes sickeningly sweet), spicy, milky beverage that is alright, but not something I’d want to drink on a regular basis.  On average, I’d say I have one of those coffee shop chai lattes about three times a year.

But… if I found a local coffee shop that used THIS chai concentrate, I might visit more often!  This is really good.  I prepared it according to package directions, using a ratio of 1 part concentrate to 1 part milk, put it into a mug and then zap it in the microwave for a minute or two.

The results are delightful.  Although it is sweetened – it is sweetened just right for me.  It is not so sweet that the sweetener overpowers the flavor of the black tea and the spices.  And neither does the milk.

I can taste the strong black tea and the spices – and if the name of this particular variety is any indication to you, I especially taste the ginger.  It is peppery but not over-the-top spicy.  It warms me up without making me feel like I need something to offset the hot spice.  Just enough zing without making my mouth feel like I should call the fire department!

This is really delicious!