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Maofeng

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.

Organic Premium Keemun Maofeng Black Tea from M&K’s Tea Company

KeemunMaofengTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

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

Tea Description:

Like an ancient Chinese secret, this tea is an ancient Chinese secret. More or less. Different from black teas of India or Sri Lanka, Qimen (or the anglicized Keemun), features a hint of orchid fragrance and lingering fruity notes. Balanced and complex, Chinese Qimen tea is an ancient Chinese secret you should discover.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm!  This is a really good Keemun!

As promised in the above description, it does have a really good balance of characteristics.  I taste notes of flower and fruit as well as a subtle smoky note in the distance.  It’s really quite enjoyable the way the flavors come together in my cup.

The dry leaf is beautiful!  I don’t think that the above picture really does these beautiful, long, slender, wiry, glossy black leaves justice.  I can see by the appearance of the dry leaf that these are of superior quality.

To brew them, I grabbed my Kati Tumbler, although I argued with myself for some time as to why I wouldn’t use my gaiwan to brew these.  Ultimately, it was a decision that came down to the skin on my fingertips:  When I steep teas at such a high temperature as is best for a black tea such as this, my gaiwan gets really hot to the touch – even though I have the little “fingertip handles” on my easy gaiwan, those get really hot when I steep with boiling water and I wasn’t in the mood for scorched fingers.

So, I grabbed my Kati Tumbler and by the looks of the sampler, there were just enough leaves in the sampler for my 12 ounce tumbler.  I poured the leaves into the basket and added 12 ounces of boiling water and let the tea steep for 3 minutes.

And this is a marvelous cup of tea!

The sip starts out with notes of sweet and savory.  The sweetness is fruity and slightly honey-esque.  The savory is slightly smoky.  By mid-sip, the smokiness emerges a little more.  The fruity notes remind me of a combination of plum with a hint of grape.

I find myself trying to determine if it’s grape that I taste, or raisin?  It’s almost like it’s somewhere in between.  Like eating a grape that’s only been partially dried to the raisin stage.  It offers that sweet side of grape, but also a savory, almost black currant, wine-like flavor of grape.  It’s really quite enjoyable.

The plum with the smoky note is quite intriguing – a smoked plum!  Yum!

Just after mid-sip, I pick up on floral notes:  orchid!  The orchid becomes more distinct as I continue to sip.  Now that I’m more than halfway through my cup, I am really tasting the distinct notes of orchid.  There are still hints of smoke that linger into the aftertaste, and I like the way the floral notes mingle with those wisps of smoke.

I keep going back to the “smoky” notes and I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking that this is a strong, smoky tea.  This isn’t like a Lapsang.  The smoke is subtle throughout.  But it’s the way the hints of smoke dance in and out of the sip that I am marveling over.  I like this level of smoke – light notes of smoke that seem to charm their way into each sip.

This tea has a really satisfyingly round flavor.  Balanced, yes.  The fruit balances nicely with the floral notes and the smoky notes mingle throughout the sip, keeping the palate interested.  A really nice Keemun, and I love that it’s organic!

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!