Honey Citrus Raspberry Green Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

HoneyCitrusRaspberryGreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  M&K’s Tea Company on Etsy

Tea Description:

M&K’s own unique blend! We take Chinese green teas, blend them with three citrus fruits, licorice root roasted in honey, and actual raspberries! Not too fruity, not too simple, it’s a perfect blend of green tea and fruit. We use local honey from California beekeepers and local California orange peel.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

After having tried quite a few different teas from M&K’s Tea Company, I must admit that this one isn’t my favorite.  And I thought it would be one I like quite a bit because the name offers quite a bit of promise!  Citrus, Honey and Raspberry flavors in a Green Tea?  Yes, please!

But the execution is a little off for me and I can’t really pinpoint it yet, so maybe in the process of writing this review, I can figure it out.

To brew this tea, I measured 1 bamboo scoop of the loose leaf tea into the basket of my Kati Tumbler.  Then I added 12 ounces of 175°F water and let the tea steep for 2 minutes.

The green tea base is pleasant:  it’s a combination of two Chinese green teas:  gunpowder and Huangshan Maofeng.  Together they give the tea an enjoyable texture – soft and creamy – and a smooth, lightly buttery taste with hints of smoke and vegetation.

The citrus note is subtle to this and most discernible when the tea is slurped (this helps aerate the liquid on the palate and it “enlivens” the flavors for your palate).  I taste tart and tangy notes of citrus with a light sweetness of the honey.  I also get a hint of bitter from the citrus peel.

Then I pick up on the sweet notes of licorice.  Because the licorice root has been roasted in honey, the flavor of the licorice has been softened – I’m not getting that sharpness that I often get from licorice root.  I think that this works for this particular blend because if the licorice root hadn’t been softened somewhat, it might have taken over the blend and we’d have Licorice Citrus Raspberry Green Tea instead of Honey Citrus Raspberry Green Tea.

Instead the licorice just adds a hint of almost candy-like sweetness to the cup that I actually enjoy.  It might be my favorite thing about this particular blend

The raspberry is also quite subtle and I think that is what I’m thinking is off.  I feel like I’m tasting more hibiscus and raspberry leaf to accentuate the raspberry than I’m actually tasting raspberry and that’s unfortunate.

So, there you have it, I’ve pinpointed my issue with this tea:  I’d like the flavors of citrus and raspberry to be a little more prominent in the blend.  I do like that the green tea is a dominant flavor here and I like the little contrast that the licorice root adds, but I think that because this tea is called Honey Citrus Raspberry Green Tea that I’m wanting a little more focus on the citrus and berry notes.

It’s not a bad tea but it’s not as great as I thought it would be.  I’ve enjoyed many of M&K’s blends though, so I won’t hold this against them, because while it’s not my favorite tea that I’ve had from them, it’s tasty.  It’s good, just not as great as some of the other M&K’s experiences that I’ve had.

Imperial Keemun Tea from Steepster

keemun2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Steepster Select

Tea Description:

The Burgundy of tea, Keemun is considered by many to be the finest black tea produced in China. Grown in the Huangshan mountain range, this black tea is soft and approachable while incredibly complex: a marriage of floral, fruity, smoky, and mineral flavors.

Taster’s Review:

I received this Imperial Keemun Tea in my Steepster Select box for February and let me tell you it’s a mighty fine Keemun!  I don’t know that it’s the best of it’s kind that I’ve tried, but, I am enjoying the balance of flavor profiles that I’m experiencing with this cup.

Just as the above description suggests, there is a nice “marriage of floral, fruity, smoky and mineral flavors.”  I get each of these notes … perhaps more fruity and smoky than floral and mineral, but I taste each of these qualities.

The first note that I taste is the smoke.  That probably has something to do with the smoky fragrance of the tea, because I deeply inhale the aroma before I take a sip.  Then I notice some of the fruity tones.  Sweet and I taste something that falls somewhere between sweet, juicy berries and luscious plums.  The smoky tones give these fruits an almost “roasted” type of flavor, as if they have been fired over a charcoal pit.

With Keemun tea, I tend to find that there are two different “categories” of Keemun:  one is a strong, rich, smoky Keemun, while the other is slightly less bold and more wine-like and fruity.  This Imperial Keemun from Steepster offers a balance between the two.  It’s strong, rich and smoky, but I can also taste those wine-like fruity notes.

I also definitely taste notes of charred wood as well as the smoke and fruit.  The aforementioned floral tones are more subdued.  The mineral notes I notice mostly toward the finish.  I also taste a lovely undertone of caramel – a sweet and delicious note that tastes like a caramel made from molasses.  The finish is clean but not overly astringent.  The aftertaste is sweet and slightly smoky.

I liked this one.  Not the best Keemun I’ve ever tried, but, I’m glad I got to try it!

Creamy Eggnog Tea from Butiki Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

Creamy Eggnog is part of our holiday series that encompasses a number of holidays from different religions. Many people might not think of eggnog as their number one choice for a Christmas flavor but Eggnog is particularly important in my family’s tradition of celebrating Christmas. Eggnog always marked the beginning of the Christmas season and was the last thing we would drink before we would try to go to sleep Christmas Eve. As a child, getting any sleep Christmas Eve would have been a miracle. There was always so much excitement and anticipation building. Creamy Eggnog pairs our buttery Organic Huangshan Mao Feng with a rich creamy eggnog flavor. The tea and flavor work well with each other and neither overshadows the other. This tea is sweet with a heavy cream and eggy quality. Add a little brown crystal sugar and the tea becomes extremely creamy, rich, and very much like eggnog. Some vanilla notes become pronounced and so do the egg notes. We added safflower for a touch of red for a festive Christmas colored tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

OH goodness … this is so good.  So creamy and delicious – you’d swear you’re drinking something incredibly sinful and fattening, but, it’s not.

The dry leaf is a simple yet beautiful looking tea with the curly green tea leaves and just a few red safflower petals to add a pretty holiday look.  The aroma has a strong vanilla tone that smells so sweet and creamy.   My mouth started watering before I even started the tea to brew.

The brewed liquid smells much more like eggnog.  It has a custard-y note to the fragrance, with an almost egg-y kind of scent.  And I like that I am tasting what I smell … a very egg-y, custard-y kind of flavor that is distinctly eggnog.  The flavor of the Organic Huangshan Mao Feng comes through nicely, and there seems to be a very pleasing balance between tea and eggnog taste.

I’ve tried a couple of different eggnog teas, and I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve tried, but if I had to choose the best that I’ve tasted thus far, this one would be the absolute best.  Butiki Teas never ceases to amaze me with their ability to create amazing flavored teas.

Really, all that’s missing for me with this eggnog tea is a touch of nutmeg, because I always like to grind a little bit of fresh nutmeg to top my eggnog.  But, I think that can probably be easily remedied if I were to grind a bit of nutmeg into my teapot before the tea brews.  Just a wee little bit, enough to add a little bit of warmth and delicious nutty flavor to the cup.

Yum.  Just YUM!

Huangshan Furry Peak Tea from Peony Tea S.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Peony Tea S.

Tea Description:

There are few areas more gorgeous than the UNESCO heritage site- Huangshan where this wonderful green tea is grown.

As you sip on this sweet, delectable green tea, imagine the exhilarating mountain air revitalize you.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is really quite lovely.  It looks quite a bit like some of the yellow teas that I’ve seen.  The leaves and the buds look like miniature, young pea pods.   They smell very vegetative, and produce a beautiful, light yellow-green liquor that is so pale it is nearly clear. The aroma of the brewed liquid is very faint compared to that of the dry leaf.

The mouthfeel of this tea is quite unusual.  At the start of the sip, I notice a soft silkiness in the texture, and almost immediately I notice a slight astringency near the tip of the tongue.  This radiates to the sides of the palate and especially toward the inner cheeks, toward the back of the throat.  It is a dry, slightly “twinge-y” sort of sensation that sort of dissipates to make way for a lovely sweetness that is delicate, reminiscent of spun sugar.

The flavor is not so vegetative as I expected it to be, an expectation that I formed based solely on the aroma of the dry leaf.  There are some vegetal notes in there, but they are mild and slightly creamy, reminding me of buttered lima beans.  While this tea is beautifully sweet, there is a savory sort of element in there as well, and it adds a nice contrast to the sweet, creamy taste of the tea.

This is one of the most unusual green teas I’ve ever encountered.  Unusual, but very, very lovely!

I have tried several different teas from Peony Tea S. now and I am incredibly impressed by everything that I’ve tried.  The proprietor of this company, Derek, seems to be very passionate about tea and it shows through his vast knowledge of tea.  I like that he maintains an online presence in tea communities like Steepster where he shares his knowledge with those that frequent the site, but most of all, I love the teas he offers!

Valley Peak (Ding Gu Da Fang) from Mandala Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Mandala Tea

Tea Description:

Like many of China’s famous greens, this tea also has a rich history.  Known in China as Ding Gu Da Fang (Valley Peak Da Fang), it was named after the Buddhist monk who originally grew the plants on Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) centuries ago.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is my first tea that I’ve tried from this new tea company (or perhaps I should say, a company that is new to me!) and based upon this very positive experience, I am glad it won’t be the last tea I taste from them.  I am absolutely LOVING this tea.

In the website description of this tea, Mandala Tea compares it to a LongJing (aka Dragon Well).  And while I do enjoy a good Dragon Well Tea and can see where Mandala Tea is coming from with such a comparison, I have to say that I prefer this Ding Gu Da Fang to most Dragon Well teas that I’ve tried. It is lighter, sweeter and smoother than a typical LongJing.

There is such a charming nutty tone to this tea.  It is light and crisp and reminds me of the snap (or crunch) you’d experience when biting into a cashew.  It has a creamy smooth flavor that reminds me of the mild, creamy taste of a delicious roasted nut.  The texture is light and clean, with a very mild astringency at the tail of the sip.

The sweetness and smoothness of this tea reminds me a bit of a yellow tea, so I have categorized this as both a green tea and a yellow tea, because even though it is a green tea, it has so many characteristics that remind me of a yellow tea.  This is an extraordinary tea; I highly recommend it.