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Fujian

Orange Cardamom Black Tea from Aftelier Perfumes

CardamomTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Aftelier Perfumes

Tea Description:

This delicious full-bodied tea is flavored with Aftelier Chef’s Essences: the perfect marriage of mouth-watering blood orange and the spicy warmth of cardamom. Organic Red Pearls Black Tea, a rare tea from Fujian, is fully-oxidized Mao Feng tea leaves that have been rolled into small black pearls. They are then pan-fired where they develop a burnished sheen, toasty caramel-like aroma, and spicy, assertive — yet wonderfully sweet — flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Orange Cardamom Black Tea from Aftelier Perfumes is a truly unique tea offering from a company that started making natural perfumes over 30 years ago!  Here at Sororitea Sisters we’ve posted other reviews about Aftelier Perfumes Tea offerings and have enjoyed our past experiences with their teas.  Orange Cardamom Black Tea from Aftelier Perfumes certainly stands up to Aftelier’s quality and creativity that we have come to learn and love.

Mandy from Afterlier Perfumes uses Organic Red Pearl Black Tea which is a Mao Feng rolled into tiny black tea balls.  The tea itself is slightly caramelly and sweet.  She pairs that with luscious blood orange and spicy cardamom in a fascinating way!

The flavor combination is very nice and perfectly done.  When I first heard that Mandy was sending us some of this new offering to try I was hoping the cardamom wasn’t going to over power the actual tea.  After one sip I knew that she took a good amount of time to get the orange and cardamom ratios ‘just so’ and for that I am truly grateful.  I will never question her brilliance of evening out flavor levels again!  This was a remarkable offering that’s for sure!  If you or someone you know are into trying different flavors of teas don’t pass this one up!

 

China Fujian Cinnamon ‘Rou Gui’ Wuyi Rock Oolong from What-Cha

FujianCinnamon1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  What-Cha

Tea Description:

Rou Gui has a great cinnamon taste combined with a thick texture and sweet taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love Rou Gui and the reviews I’ve read for What-Chas have all be positive so I thought it was about time I bought some to try for myself. Usually, I like to do Gong Fu sessions with Rou Gui and I’m sure I’ll try this that way eventually, but when I showed this to my mom what she said was that it smelled like it’d be good cold; and since she so rarely weighs in on how I prepare the teas I share with her I decided to honor her suggestion and make my inaugural tasting a cold brew.

I have to say, this was definitely an interesting blend to me. One of the things I most like about drinking Rou Gui Gong Fu is the progression of flavours and drinking a cold brew with an extended six or seven hour steep time really makes that progression of flavour blur together. So, I tasted qualities I think I normally would have in the first few steeps of a Gong Fu session as well as ones I probably only would have noticed in the last few infusions.

FujianCinnamon2The most obvious taste was, of course, the sweet flavour of cinnamon. I find ‘cinnamon’ has such a varied flavour; it can be spicy like you’d find in Chai or very drying (have you ever done the cinnamon challenge?) or it can have this lovely pastry/baking sweetness. Of all the ways cinnamon can express itself, I definitely get the latter example here.

Other dominant flavours are honey, wood, leather, and floral notes. Maybe just a hint of cream as well. It’s a weird contrast between bold flavour notes and delicate ones too; the overall affect is a medium bodied, smooth tea with a very rich, thick mouthfeel and clean taste with a pleasant, lingering finish. One of the nice things about cold brewing this is that I got to skip the more ashy/char notes and biting astringency that usually accompany the first few infusions of a Rou Gui; but I still got leathery, wood notes! No additives are necessary. In fact, they’d probably detract from the taste more than anything else.

If there’s one thing I’d have liked to see which I didn’t it’s more of a fruity note – but maybe that’ll come out more when I inevitably Gong Fu this.

Fuijan Black from Liquid Proust Teas

FujianBlackTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Liquid Proust Teas

Tea Description:

As someone who didn’t like black teas for awhile, this is one of those black teas that make me wonder why I was like that for so long.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m pretty sure Andrew’s spelling of “Fuijan” is a typo and it’s meant to be “Fujian” but since it’s a typo he seems to have made across the board, I’m leaving it as it’s displayed on his Etsy page.

Dry, the leaf looks a little broken up and doesn’t really give off much of a scent. Perhaps a little bit of a cocoa aroma, but I could also be grasping at straws with that observation. I steeped this up hot and plain and using Andrew’s recommended steeping directions as a guide.

I’m enjoying this cup of tea. I don’t love it as much as I do a good Assam, but it’s a nice change of pace. Mostly it tastes like a good baker’s chocolate with a little bit of bitterness – which is a welcomed flavour when it comes to baker’s chocolate or dark chocolate. I also has some smokier top notes which wasn’t what I was expecting to taste, and a sweeter, fruity and honey like finish. There’s not really much more to go on about though; this is a simple enough tea with some basic flavours that I’m finding enjoyable to sip on.

In my opinion, it’s not the best offering from Liquid Proust Teas – and to be fair it’s the only straight/pure tea I’ve tried from the store but I’m probably not making a grand leap to assume that Andrew’s strong suit is probably his blended/flavoured teas which display a greater level of creativity than this tea does.

Gong Fu Black by Zhi Tea

gong_fu_organicTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Zhi Tea

Tea Description:

Zhi exclusive.

This exquisite black tea from Fujian Province in China has become the favorite at Zhi. If you like the rich complexity of a classic Chinese black tea with all the hallmark smoothness and depth, be prepared to be enchanted. This is a top-grade exclusive tea with a major wow factor.

Thin, twisted leaves present a deep rich red cup with distinct caramelized sugar and chocolate notes and a long creamy finish. Mouthfeel, mouthfeel, mouthfeel.

If you like a great Keemun or a Gold Yunnan then you will love this tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It took me a while to warm up to China black teas. When I began my tea drinking journey I often found these teas to be… lacking. In my mind the black teas from China were a finicky, touchy lot that required absolute precision in the measurement of the tea leaves and the steep time, and even then the resulting infusion was just okay. Now I know it was the quality of the tea I was using that was yielding a poor cup. Once I started drinking higher quality tea my love for black teas from China grew by leaps and bounds. I was introduced to a world of nuances and flavors that I hadn’t experienced in a tea before. I am now a card carrying tea fiend, and China black teas are often found in my teapot. The latest one to find its way into my pot is Gong Fu Black from Zhi.

When it comes to quality organic tea Zhi delivers a wonderful product. Their Gong Fu Black is a delightfully complex tea full of chocolate, baked bread, grain, and nutty notes. There is also a natural sweetness which brings out a lovely fruity flavor. The tea is smooth and full bodied which makes this a wonderful breakfast tea, but I must say that I also really like this in the afternoon. It’s a nice pick-me-up should that mid-afternoon slump hit. Also, this tea re-steeps like a dream which is always a plus in my book.

My favorite way to prepare this tea is using 1 teaspoon of leaves per 8 ounces of 205° F water and letting the leaves steep for 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Over steeping can cause some astringency, but I have let this tea steep for as long as 4 minutes, 45 seconds with great results. A longer steep really brings out the deeper roasted grain notes in the tea. Yum.

It’s fun to look back at my tea journey and see how much I’ve learned. I’ve gone from not liking China black teas to counting many of them among the tastiest teas I’ve tried. Zhi’s Gong Fu Black easily falls into that category. It’s a tea worth checking out.

Rou Gui Oolong from Tao Tea Leaf

Rougui_Wuyi_OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Tao Tea Leaf

Tea Description:

Rou Gui is treasured for its cinnamon flavour as well as its impressive stamina.   This tea also has the unique ability to keep its distinct flavours after multiple steepings upwards of 7 times.  Rou Gui comes from the historic WuYi mountains in the Chinas Fujian Province. This area is also famous for producing other famous teas like Lapsang Souchong and the famous Da Hong Pao.  Rou Gui has a medium and very smooth body with hints of floral orchid with a lovely honey-like finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve only tried a few different Rou Gui oolongs before, most of them from Nannuoshan, but so far I haven’t found one I dislike – the wide range of flavours experienced with the different infusions very much appeal to me so this Rou Gui oolong from Tao Tea Leaf is just going to further my exploration of the class. To stay consistent with the other Rui Gui I’ve tried I had a Gong Fu session with this one using my gaiwan.

The leaves for this are very dark, almost charcoal or black, and decently large. The smell of the dry leaf is very roasty with some fruity sweetness layered underneath. It’s perhaps a touch peachy? I did a ten second wash with this one; as the water hit the leaves my kitchen was instantly filled with a very robust, borderline earthy and roasty smell.

Infusion One: 10 Seconds – This is surprisingly sweet right off the bat despite quite strong toasted barley notes. It’s a little nutty and definitely has some stonefruit notes as well; like dried peach drizzled with honey. There’s maybe some cinnamon too, but not much. These notes comprise the start of the sip and the body. The finish tastes of corn chips and flax to me with a very intense  presence of raisins in the finish. I’m usually quite anti-raisin but I actually like the way it tastes here. The taste of the raisin lingers in your mouth for a very long time after swallowing; minutes.  For the most part it’s very smooth though it did leave my front two teeth feeling very dry. Leaves are barely opened up at all and smell quite roasty with cinnamon notes and something maybe vaguely like coffee grounds?

Infusion Two: 15 Seconds – Still tastes strongly of roasted barley but it a bit more nutty and has woody notes at the start as well as much more defined cinnamon notes. The body is comprised mostly of rich peach and raisin notes. The honey notes have also gotten stronger, and are tightly tying in with the raisin. Some floral notes have begun creeping in as well. I’m almost reminded of a roasted trail mix with dried fruit/raisins mixed in. This subtle transition of flavours is keeping true to what I’ve observed with other Rou Gui. The leaves smell subtly fruitier.

Infusion Three: 30 Seconds – Ooh! This was not a good pour; I spilled tea everywhere. The flavour is really starting to turn. I’m observing a dramatic decrease in roasted flavour. Definitely strong peach/raisin notes; the strongest so far. The peach is less so a dried peach flavour now, and closer to something fresh. Significantly more floral with more defined floral notes like orchid. Almost seems buttery. Leaves are almost completely opened up and smell sweet like honey and quite floral. There’s absolutely no dry feeling on my teeth from this infusion.

Infusion Four: 40 Seconds – There’s essentially no barley, nut or roasted flavour left. The liquor tastes quite floral with strong raisin and honey notes. The peach has faded quite a lot which is actually kind of disappointing; now that the focus is more on the taste of the raisin I’m losing interest. Also, it’s definitely very buttery. This is the lightest and most watery infusion yet. I’m sure I could probably get a decent fifth infusion but for my own personal tastes the leaves may very well be spent. They are, however, fully opened and smell sweet like honey and flowers.

This is definitely similar to the other Rou Gui/Cassia Teas I’ve tried but unique in its own right too – I definitely experience some more unique notes with the first steep like corn chips and flax, and I don’t remember really tasting raisin with the others I’ve tried. It’s definitely something I’d serve to other people and I would totally drink it again myself.