Murmur from Handmade Tea, part 1

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White

About this Blend: 

Murmur starts with a white peony base which features the signature unopened tea bud and two accompanying leaves. This tea has beautiful delicate notes of juicy honeydew drizzled in honey, with accents of darker fruit and chocolate. Next, the strawberries are added to accent the white peony’s fruity notes and add a little tartness to the back of the palate. Lastly the cacao nibs contribute to the rich, classic chocolate taste that pops mid palate.

Read more about Handmade Tea here.

NOTE:  this tea was the tea of the month for February, 2012.  However, I did notice that – after a quick visit to the Handmade Tea website, that this particular tea is offered on FAB for just a couple more days!  So if you’re interested, you need to act now!  Also worth mentioning, Caleb at Handmade Tea is offering a 15% discount on the first month’s subscription to Steepster members who subscribe to the monthly service.  Read more about that discount here.

Taster’s Review:

I want to approach this review a little differently (as you have probably already noticed!) because, really, this tea and tea company are a little different from any other that I’ve yet to encounter.  This tea is true to its name, it is truly a handmade tea – something that you, the consumer, could have easily crafted yourself with the right tools at your disposal.  This tea required no real skill in tea flavoring, because it is NOT a flavored tea.  It is a blend that falls somewhere between tisane and tea.  It takes high quality, pure, unflavored loose leaf tea and mixes with it dried fruit, spices, and other components to create something that is a little like a fruit tisane and a little like a pure, whole leaf tea.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about the packaging and what is included with each package.  Each box is tied with red twine and sealed with a wax seal which adds a touch of class and makes one feel like they’re getting something very special.  Inside the twine sealed box is a large tin of tea that holds the blended tea.  In this case, it is a white peony blend with dried strawberries and cacao nibs.  There are also three tiny tins which hold small amounts of each of the components:  one for white peony tea, one for dried strawberries, and one for cacao nibs.  These individual components allow you to personalize your experience further.  Wand a little more strawberries?  Add them!  More chocolate-y flavor?  Make it so!  Or maybe you’d just like to eat the strawberries right there at your kitchen counter.  Sure, go right ahead!

So, let’s get right down to it.  I’m going to do three separate tastings of this tea.  The first time, I’m going to taste the blend as I received it.  The second, I’m going to taste the white peony on its own.  And then, I’m going to customize it by adding a few more strawberries and cacao nibs.

First Tasting

If you’re expecting chocolate covered strawberries – you’re going to be sorely disappointed.  This … isn’t a flavored tea.  That is why I decided to craft this review differently to begin with … this initial tasting.  I wanted a strong chocolate and strawberry presence, and it isn’t there.  A wee bit disappointing when you’re expecting one thing and you get another… HOWEVER… this IS really quite good, so it is a little weird for me to say I’m disappointed.  Instead, I would want to say that this isn’t a chocolate covered strawberry experience.  This is a white tea experience with hints of strawberry and chocolate.

What I taste mostly is white tea.  Nothing wrong with that:  this is an excellent white peony!  Sweet with honey-like tones and hints of melon.  I notice a dew-like taste to this, a taste that evokes thoughts of those early spring mornings when the new spring leaves and grass are sparkling with dew drops.  It is vegetative and fresh tasting, and overall, it hosts a beautiful delicateness to it.

About mid-sip, I notice the chocolate.  It doesn’t really pop in like “HEY!  I’M HERE!” instead it sort of creeps into the taste buds awareness … as if it is being drizzled over the palate.  The chocolate is subtle and smooth … but very delicious.  I wish it was stronger, of course, and it will be in my third tasting of this tea!

Finally, the strawberry creeps in at the finish, and lingers into the aftertaste, offering that berry taste that I’d experience if I were to bite into a fresh berry.  After I’ve eaten the berry, the aftertaste that remains… it’s that same aftertaste.  Sweet yet tart.  Not strong or overwhelmingly present, but, there in the aftertaste, haunting the taste buds with strawberry goodness.

Overall, this first cup of Murmur tea was really delicious, even if it didn’t fulfill my expectations … I still really enjoyed it.

I will be writing a second part to this review which will publish in a few days time which will include my impressions of the tasting of the white peony on its own, as well as the tasting of the customized cuppa.