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Garden

Soothing from Balcony Teas

When you look up herbal tea in the dictionary you should see a picture of Soothing blend from Balcony Tea. It is so herbal and so picturesque.  There are yellow orbs of chamomile blossoms, curls of pink rose petals, vibrant red rose hips, and purple lavender.

Brewed, the tea is sweetly fragrant, floral and full of outdoor goodness. The lemony chamomile is the primary flavor, followed by the juicy rose hip.  The lavender and rose are still present but more relaxed, which is just the way you want it. Too much rose and a blend becomes like perfume, too much lavender and it reminds you of grandma’s closet. This tea is blended just right, and hits the flowery sweet spot.

This tea is soothing, its scent makes you imagine a garden. The chamomile is relaxing, honey sweet with a hint of lemon. Breathe deep in the soothing flower scent and relax.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy:  Balcony Teas
Description:

Feel transported to a beautiful evening in the Mediterranean. All is calm and you can smell wild flowers. Perfect for a moment to yourself or to wind down after a busy day.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

White Peony from Swallowtail Tea. . . .

Whenever a tea company offers a sample pack, it’s a great chance to try out teas that you aren’t sure you’ll like.  Recently I tried a sample pack of several different teas from Swallowtail Tea company and White Peony tea was a lovely new find.

I’m not always in the mood for white teas.  They have a unique smooth, earthiness that is different than pu erh, black, or green teas.  In the right blend, this is a winning flavor, in the wrong blend it ends up tasting strange.  White Peony from Swallowtail tea was absolutely a winning white tea.

This tea is lightly flavored, mainly allowing the white tea itself to fill out the flavor profile.  The tea brews up deep and golden with the buttery and earthy tones I expect from white tea. The floral peony is gentle but present, not at all like perfume, but instead much more natural like crushed dried flowers, or getting a whiff of blooming flowers from a garden as you walk past.

White Peony is a great spring and summertime tea.  It is refreshing without being too vegetal or too sweet, and bright and floral without giving you hayfever.  A perfect balance of butter and blossoms, suitable for a hot or iced mug on a sunny day.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Swallowtail Tea
Description:

This least processed of all our teas has a shimmering golden liquor with a delicate floral fragrance.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Go to Wonderland with a cup of Lewis Carroll tea from Simpson and Vail.. . .

Springtime feels like the time for Alice in Wonderland: flowers blooming, spending more time outside, feeling a little more whimsy after the winter blues.  I’ve seen a few new teas popping up this time of year, themed for just such an occasion.

I recently tried the Lewis Carroll blend of black tea from Simpson and Vail.  In case you don’t know, Lewis Carroll is the author of Alice in Wonderland, among other works.  Alice in Wonderland tends to be a favorite among tea fans for the famous tea party scene featuring the Mad Hatter, not to mention all the cute tea cakes that wreak fantastical havoc for Alice’s adventures.

This Lewis Carroll tea blend features an Indian black tea base, combined with Chinese Rose Congou black tea, highlighted by added violet fragrance and flavoring.  All these flowers are meant to put us in a fantasy world, whether in the queen’s roses, or in the garden beside the tea party.  There are lots of blossoms in the dry leaves, and the brewed cup smells as sweet as a blooming garden.

I enjoy the fragrance of this tea, but strong floral blends aren’t my personal favorite when it comes to taste.  I found I enjoyed the tea more with a touch of milk and sugar, which helped mellow out the strong floral flavors and made the brew more like a flower-scented dessert.

This is a great tea to put you in a springtime mood, perhaps sipped while out-of-doors after a dreary winter.  If you’re one for having fancy tea parties, this may also be a great choice, whether it fits your Alice in Wonderland theme, or just because it feels fancy and ladylike, and makes the flowers on your teacup smell like they are alive and fresh!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Simpson and Vail
Description:

A tea party plays a memorable role in Carroll’s most celebrated novel as the setting for Alice’s nonsensical meeting with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. “A large rose-tree stood near the entrance of the garden” where, as the Mad Hatter told Alice earlier, “it’s always tea time.” To make our Lewis Carroll blend, we added our fragrant violet flavor to an Indian Black tea and Rose Congou tea, a China black that has been scented with rose petals during the drying process, to create a deep amber cup with an incomparable bouquet and a flavor that is absolutely heavenly.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Unlock your Inner Romantic with Rose Garden Pu Erh from Tocha Tea

Rose Garden Pu Erh from Tocha Tea looks the part right off the bat, with deep, pink rose petals and dark tea tied up neatly in a silk teabag. The dry tea smells strongly of roses, so strongly, the scent verges into being a bit like floral-scented soap.

With the heavy rose smell and the pu erh base, I kept the steep times and temperatures a little lower than the package recommended, brewing for 1 minute at about 195 degrees Fahrenheit, to keep the flavors from getting too saturated.

When brewed, the rose overtones are still the most forward flavor, but there is an added depth from the musky tones of the pu erh tea.  This earthiness is a pleasing presence, fleshing out the “garden party” theme.

With the romantic and delicate nature of roses, it makes sense that this is blended with pu erh tea instead of black tea. Black teas have a more astringent bite, while pu erh is smoother and creamier, and this gentler mouthfeel is noticeable.

At first, I wasn’t sold on the rose and pu erh combination from the description alone, but this brew turned out to be lovely. Rose Garden Pu Erh would be perfect with a Beauty and the Beast theme, using the rose petals and earthy pu erh, as stand-ins for Belle and Beast. I say, keep track of your brew times and temperature, and this tea can unlock even your toughest enchantments.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Tocha Tea
Description:

For centuries, pu-erh tea has been treasured for its elegant flavor and health benefits. The unique natural fermentation process gives it an earthy, woodsy essence that is never bitter, even after a long steep. Rose petals add a graceful note to this delicious and versatile blend, a wonderful tea for everyday wellness.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Doke Black Fusion from Lochan Tea

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Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy: Lochan Tea

Tea Description:

Doke Black Fusion

Invoice Number: DB 001

Season: 1st Flush 2015

Grade: Hand made Black Tea

Cultivar: TV22 plucked from the 4A section

Location: Bihar, India

Size: 6 kilos

This tea comes from a small producer in Bihar, south of Darjeeling. The flat tea garden, next to a river (a power plant outlet), is everything else than the almost eponymous “Darjeeling Himalayan vales” – and yet it can already rival with some of the finest Darjeelings. What is unique however, is that the leaf material is Assamese and indeed embodies their virtues without their climate. Not without reason, the Lochan family have baptized some of their teas with the “Fusion” moniker.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It is with thanks to the Lochan Tea family that I have been sent this sample to review. I did not know that the Lochan Tea founder Rajiv Lochan was responsible for starting up Doke Farm, one of my favourite sources for Indian Tea. It was Butiki Teas that got me into Doke through the likes of Doke Rolling Thunder and Doke Silver Needle. Needless to say that makes me rather excited and honoured to be sent this directly from source to review.

In-front of me is a 10g sample which is factory sealed and clearly labelled with tea company name, tea type/name, flush info and growing region and also the date it was packed. A nice little touch and easy to read/see what the packets are. Also the packets are black and non see through which I like as it protects the tea from the sun/light.

In raw form the leaves are: long, thinly rolled and curly. Dark brown colour in appearance. They hare a dry wood and sweet cocoa scent.

Steeping Info: 
Method: Gongfu glass teapot – 200ml
Water: Boiling
Infusions: Three – 1m, 2m,3m.

First Steep – 1 minute

Tea is  light golden brown with a red/orange hue and bares sweet wood and sour malt scent, albeit of a subtle and pure nature.

In flavour this starts with light and soft, sweet wood notes before increasing in strength and becoming sour with malt and cocoa, put together with a sweet fruit after taste of dried fig with honey. A combination that worked very well together and each sip was as good as the first.

Second Steep – 2 minutes 

This steep remains mild and pure in flavour but there is a definite increase in the dried fig flavour. Also the difference between the sweet wood and sour malt has now combined as one. Some dryness in the after taste which put together with dried fig and honey has a rather nutty finish. No bitterness at all.

Third Steep – 3 minutes 

Wonderful balance of flavours remain despite this being the third steep. It is less sweet and there is some astringency now but still mild on the scale. Thicker malt tones and less wood but the dried fig after taste remains.

Fourth Steep – 4 minutes (A surprise steep) 

There is enough flavour left in my opinion for another steep, this doesn’t happen many times which is why this wasn’t planned.

The final steep is lighter than the first but was worth going that bit extra for. All that remains is a dry and delicate wooden flavour.

Overall: 

Mentioning I was a Doke fan from what I had previously tried I’m happy to say this lives up to my expectations. This has such beautiful flavours that were very clean tasting and pure, and it had a wonderful array of different notes that combined together very well. On the mild side for a black tea in strength to begin with which plays with the traditional Indian black tea vibe and makes this rather ‘different’ and ‘special’. I particularly liked the honey and fruit notes in the after taste.

Thank you very much Lochan Tea for this beautiful tea sample, I know I will be keeping an eye on this tea for when my cupboard runs low.

Until next time, Happy Steeping!