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Bamboo

Bali Bamboo Leaf Tisane from Wise Owl Tea

BambooLeafTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tea

Where to Buy:  Wise Owl Tea

Tea Description:

Our delicious Bamboo Leaf and nettle tea will leave you feeling refreshed, and conjure up images of the tropical island of Bali in the Indonesian archipelago. Long sugary beaches leading into hillsides terraced with Bamboo. The tall supple plants gently swaying in the coastal breeze. One sip and the Island of Bali is just around the corner This fabulous blend is a mild, sweet, green tea flavour. 

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

I haven’t had a lot of bamboo teas/tisanes during my time as a tea reviewer, and I’m finding myself a little surprised at just how much this Bali Bamboo Leaf Tisane from Wise Owl Tea tastes like green tea!  It has that sweet, light, clean flavor of a pure green tea, although I’m finding this to be a wee bit sweeter.  There is no bitterness here and no astringency.

The brewed liquid even LOOKS like a green tea, which had me zapping myself over to the website to check out the ingredients of this tisane again to make sure it wasn’t actually a green tea.  Nope, this tisane contains only bamboo leaf and nettle.  Of course, the addition of the nettle in this blend probably contributes to the “green tea” taste of it.  Nettle tends to have a sweet, grassy taste – just like green tea.

This has a slight buttery tone to it, and that vegetative taste that falls somewhere in between freshly steamed veggies and sweet grass.  It has a flavor that is reminding me of a Chinese Sencha, but it’s free of caffeine.  It’s a pleasant cuppa and would make a great substitution for a green tea for someone who needs to refrain from consuming caffeine but still want to drink green tea.  I don’t need to restrict my caffeine consumption and I’m still finding this lovely to drink.  It is a tasty, refreshing beverage!

So far, I’ve been very impressed with the tisanes that I’ve tried from Wise Owl Tea.  I’m hoping to try more from them in the future!

Gui Fei Cha from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Gui Fei Cha
Gui Fei Cha from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy:  Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Description:

Taiwan, Summer 2012

Medium Roast

贵妃茶
A medium bodied, roasted oolong from the famous mountains of San Lin Ci, near the traditional tea producing region of Lugu. This is a unique and hard to find variety of rolled Dong Feng Mei Ren, or Eastern Beauty. Yields a slightly earthy, sweet, and savory rose aroma with a smooth woody-bamboo body and a delightful lingering honey aftertaste. Energizing and strong with a bit of a bite.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Gui Fei Cha from Stone Leaf Teahouse is a more earthy tea but the honey note is one of the first things I tasted and the note that tends to linger along with the rose. I do pick up on the floral aspect of this tea and it is reminiscent of rose but I would not really consider this a floral tea. This may sound strange to some, but the taste of the rose in this tea is more like the way a fresh rose scent lingers in the nostrils. It is clean, crisp, refreshing, but subtle. There is a very green leafy aspect to the rose note, but then rose has always been one of those aromas that is quite clean and refreshing so it comes over very well in the flavor note here. So okay I am one of those people who will try eating their tea leaves, and I am no different when it comes to flowers. I tend to want to taste them. Before you think I am a total freak consider please that I am very much into natural medicine, herbs, and natural perfumery, therefore really being one with the herbs, flowers, and plants I use is essential. Regardless, and aside from all my weirdisms, this tea is quite lovely in its floral nature, however I don’t want anyone to pass this tea up for its floral nature if you are not inclined to enjoy a floral tea – as there is so much more to this tea than its rose accent.

Gui Fei Cha has a wonderful note of bamboo, tropical rain soaked trees and plants, notes of honey and a slight spice note. And as for that bite as mentioned in the description, think of it like an astringency type of bite. Not bitter, but just this kick at the end of the sip.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side but the finish of this tea on the palate is bright and cherry. It is truly a tea you can’t be in a crabby mood while sipping as it will lift you right up out of your funk and place you on a fluffy cloud and leave you floating gleefully. So if you are in a crabby mood and want to stay there – don’t sip this tea!

With each sip I feel a little smile creeping over my face and by the time I am tasting the lingering notes that are left behind the sip, I am beaming.

Now there is a darker side to this tea interestingly enough … some of these heavier notes of wood, of spice, the savory notes of fresh herbs from the garden, they tend to be very calming and grounding. So the after effect is a tea that brings you up and makes you feel joyful but keeps your core essence firm and secure. This could make it a very nice meditative tea perhaps, or a tea for those days you need a little boost of confidence, say before a presentation, or before a big date night because the tea is a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of strength and confidence all rolled into one.

Of course I always try to assign personalities to teas but that is how I feel about this one from Stone Leaf Teahouse and again, as always, they have a winner in this tea!

Bi Luo Chun Spring 2012 from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Taiwan Green Tea

Where to Buy:  Stone Leaf Teahouse 

Tea Description:

Bi Luo Chun

Spring 2012

碧螺春茶

Taiwan. San Hsia Township.

Fresh is the operative word for this tea. Fresh, vibrant and green with notes of bamboo sprouts.  Perfectly balanced with subtle nutty aromas, lively vegetal flavors, lingering grassyness, and a touch of ocean mist.  This sparkling green infusion is perfect for a sunny day, or if you’d just like it to .

Learn more about this tea here. 

Taster’s Review:

When I opened the bag the buttery sweet aroma was so intoxicating! Then a sweet vegetal aroma lifted up toward my nostrils and I was in love. I just melt when I sip on buttery, sweet, vegetal, grassy, creamy, nutty teas and if I had to list adjectives to describe a perfect green those are the adjectives I would list, and this tea captures every single one of them perfectly.

It is such a very pretty leaf! All curly and springy! I love the shades of green and would describe this leaf as “playful”. The steeped leaf is so soft and silky – what I describe as “angel hair” feeling. It feels so plush I wish I could sleep on a bed that feels like this!

I keep re-steeping in order to do a proper review but I just can’t keep my cup full long enough to savor these amazing flavors, and while I do like to respect the tea, and appreciate it, savoring each and every sip I can’t seem to contain myself to do so with this one. Look out folks…its a guzzler!

Now I assume that in the description they say “a touch of ocean mist” to mean there is a slightly seaweed like flavor in it. I have to say that I get very subtle notes here and there of that, more of a salty like note, however it is slight and I do love salt! Ironically even though I am a total saltaholic my sodium levels always run low! Go figure, I could put a salt block in my living room and be quite happy. So for that reason I am very happy to have that “touch of ocean mist” flavor in my cup. As for a seaweed note, to me that is more in the aroma than in the flavor but it is there, that salty seaweed bamboo like flavor just screams tropical rain forest to me more than ocean side sea spray.

The flavor is so very buttery, so creamy and silky in the mouthfeel, yet I can’t quite decide which vegetable it tastes like, corn came to mind, but so did green beans, and peas, but its more like a medley of vegetables. Yet there is this nutty almost wood like flavor perhaps from the bamboo sprouts. The after taste lingers so nicely making me just want to keep sipping away without a care. Which in and of itself is making it more difficult to really give a detailed review of exactly what this tea taste like other than AMAZING!

I clicked on the blog link on Stone Leaf Teahouse website and found this tidbit of information about Bi Luo Chun that I wanted to share with you because I found it so romantic:

Yet another legend claims that this tea was named after a girl, Bi Luo, who watered a tea tree with the tears she had shed for her slain dragon lover.  She then died under this tree, and the next spring, the tree produced a fragrant green tea which we now call Bi Luo Chun.

This is only a small excerpt however as there is an entire article about the name of this tea and the man legends associated with it. Here is the link to their blog if you would like to read more for yourself.

Aged Bamboo Oolong 1990 from Zhi Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Zhi Tea

Product Description:

This is a Grade AAA tea from Spring, 1990, stored in a vacuum seal. We have procured this Aged Oolong from Zhu Shan or Bamboo Mountain in Taiwan. It has been refired or roasted eighteen months to retain and enhance its incredible qualities. It was grown at mid/high elevation from a soft stem varietal, in Zhu Shan, Taiwan.

Fantastic rare artisan tea here. Incredibly smooth and complex. Initial strong roasted quality as can be expected with round notes of acorn, baked bread, sweetgrass, and pine.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The dry leaf aroma is quite unique, unlike any other tea that I can recall.  It does have a roasted smell, reminding me a bit of the smell of burning dry leaves, along with hints of smoke and wood.  It is a very rustic kind of smell, evoking thoughts of a log cabin deep in the forest with smoke billowing out of the chimney.  It is a warm, inviting kind of smell, very masculine.

I steeped this the same way I’d steep just about any other Oolong, using my gaiwan and short steeps, starting with a quick rinse to awaken the tea leaves, and then 45 seconds for the first steep, adding 15 seconds for each subsequent steep.

The first two infusions delivered a very smooth liquor with very little astringency.  The flavor is a roasted kind of flavor … almost charcoal-ish, but not in an off-putting way.  I guess the way I’d explain it as the delicious, deep charred kind of flavor you’d get when you grill food over charcoal.  There are notes of camphor and a sweet caramel-y undertone.  The flavor is so smooth that this cup disappeared rather quickly!

With the third and fourth infusions, I noticed a bit more astringency – mild, but more obvious than with the first cup – and it leaves the palate feeling slightly dry and clean and ready for another sip.  I think that this cup disappeared faster as a result.  There is still that roasted/charred/smoke kind of flavor, as well as a caramel flavor underneath.  I am finding this to taste more of char and smoke, less of wood and of thick caramel, with hints of spice and thinned honey in the background.

The fifth and sixth infusions offer the best flavor yet.  Sweet!  As in SWEET!  Burnt sugar but without the bitterness of the burn … just pure sweet.  Less of the astringency of the second cup, this is smooth like the first, but with less of the charcoal-y charred taste.  The woody flavors seem to have been replaced with hints of earth, and the spice tones have emerged.  I taste freshly baked bread – like the artisan bread baked in a fire-burning, stone oven.  Very rustic and home-y and comforting, what was once an image of a log cabin with billows of smoke from its chimney is now the inside of that cabin, cozy beneath blankets and warm from the fire.

And these leaves appear ready to offer even more infusions!  So, I shall take them up on that offer, and hope that the flavor is as good as that third cup.   Yes!  The sweetness is a bit softer, and the spices … almost cinnamon-y … give this cup a taste that reminds me a bit of cinnamon-raisin toast, maybe even a touch of butter and the edges are not burnt, but almost.  Very toasty and delicious.

A wonderful tea to warm the very heart and soul of this Oolong enthusiast.  If you love Oolong, you must try this one.

Pineapple Bamboo Green Tea from Praise Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Praise Tea

Product Description:

Our Pineapple Bamboo Green Tea is an exotically fruity, pineapple and mango infused green tea. A smooth and juicy blend that provides a way to escape in your day. Delectable both hot and cold. Try some with white crystal sugar. Indulge your taste buds.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really good!  I often approach tropical teas with a somewhat pallid attitude.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like tropical flavored teas; but sometimes it seems like every tea company out there has a tropical tea, and they all end up tasting pretty much the same.  So, I like it when I find one that is different from the rest.  And this one definitely qualifies as DIFFERENT!

The pineapple flavor is prominent, but I don’t find it to be an overwhelming taste.  I think that is due to the fact that this tea really does have a lot going on.  There’s pineapple, mango, papaya, bamboo, cardamom, ginger, coconut, raspberry and rose in this, not to mention three different kinds of green tea:  Chinese Sencha, Bancha and Genmaicha.

For me, what really makes this tea extra special is the touch of Genmaicha.  It isn’t an overwhelmingly strong note – the Genmaicha – but it adds that little something to this.  The sweet flavor of the roasted rice accents the flavor of the cardamom and ginger so well, giving this a warm, exotic kind of feel without it coming off as too hot or spicy.  And if you’re one who does not care for spicy teas, you can rest assured that this is NOT a spicy tea, instead, I’d describe it as a very mild spice that serves as an accent rather than the main focus of the tea.

The coconut is a gentle flavor, adding just a hint of creaminess to the cup, while the mango and papaya add a nice sweetness to the background.  The bamboo is also a gentle flavor, there is just enough there to make the taste buds sit up and say “hey, what was that?” Just enough to add some interest to the flavor without it becoming all about the bamboo.

In fact, that would probably be the theme for every ingredient of this tea.  There is just enough of each ingredient to add an interesting note to the cup without it overpowering it or throwing off the balance of flavors.

I really like this offering from Praise Tea!