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Rare Tea Republic

Sandakphu White Orange Tea from Rare Tea Republic

Sandakphu White Orange from Republic of Tea
Sandakphu White Orange from Republic of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: White

Where to Buy: Republic of Tea (formerly Rare Tea Republic)

Tea Description:

This laboriously hand-plucked leaf yields a light yellow infusion and a sweet, refreshing liquor reminiscent of cucumber and honey. A whisper of woodsmoke in the finish completes this satisfying tea.

Steep Time: 5 minutes

Water Temperature: 180°F

Tea per 6 oz of Water: 2 teaspoons

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have been saving this sample of Sandakphu White Orange Tea from Rare Tea Republic for a while now. I wanted to sample it when I could savor it as I have high expectations for this tea, even though I don’t know why. Rare Tea Republic has some amazing teas, and I have rarely been disappointed. When I went to the website today I was redirected to their sister company Republic of  Tea. It seems they have decided to merge their two companies. So while I got my sample of this tea from Rare Tea Republic, you will need to go to Republic of Tea to get yours.

Sandakphu White Orange is truly a unique and delicious cup. For a white tea it is very full bodied, one of the most robust white teas I have ever sipped. There is a very delicate smokiness deep in the core of the taste, but mostly it is a yummy honey flavor that is not too sweet, and a light taste of cucumber and spice. Yes, it is an unusual flavor but I love it.

The color of the tea is orangish brown, and there is a very slight citrus flavor as well but I would not really say it is an orange tea. Granted this is not a flavored tea obviously but there is just a hint at an orange note regardless. Don’t be too concerned about the smokiness in the tea. It is not smoky like a Lapsang Souchong at all. The smoky note is more in the woody note itself and reminds me of the quality wood that would be used to smoke meat.

This is absolutely a white tea that I would recommend and is unique enough that everyone should try it at least once.

Doke Thunder Second Flush from Rare Tea Republic

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Republic

Tea Description:

Ripe apricot, butternut squash, sweet finish.

A juicy ripe apricot aroma leads to an exceptionally flavorful liquor with vegetal undertones of cooked butternut squash and a lingering finish. .

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I bought a sample of this, along with about 12 others, from Rare Tea Republic a week ago and today I picked it from my grab bag of RTR teas to taste.

This is an Oolong? I had to check three times to be sure. I was extremely sleepy when having this as my morning wake up cup, I thought perhaps because I generally have a black tea in the morning, and that is what I thought I had grabbed I thought that I must have been mistaken when I went to Rare Tea Republic site and saw it was an oolong! Surely that was a mistake on their site. To me, this tastes like a black tea.

I am even a little surprised by the flavor palate of this tea – again to me it rings more true to a black tea.

Regardless, letting go of all that and just allowing myself to sink into the tea itself, submersing my distractions of what this tea is supposed to be and just appreciating the tea in and of itself I could not be more pleased.

This tea reminds me of walking through our local fruit farm in the fall. Today’s weather here in my town could not be more perfect. Its like the weather had planned my tea selection this morning. Its cool and crisp outside, leaves are gently blowing around, my yard is the neighborhood’s catch all for fallen leaves, and I LOVE it! The aroma and flavor from this tea are fresh butternut squash, apricots that are a bit over ripened and reduced for quick sale, (the juiciest), autumn leaves, moist air and wet leaves, all indicative of the weather we are having today. Yesterday it was sunny, balmy, and hot, but hey I live in Kansas, as they say if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes, it will change! My local fruit farm which is down the road from me, is chalk full of the very things this tea evokes at this time of year.

Also there are wonderful flavor notes of syrup, and malt. This is like no other oolong I have ever experienced! The astringency is even aligned with a quality black! I can’t get past the fresh squash note. It is so spot on, so perfect. What a lovely treat on this cool October morning!

Surprised, yes, but delighted for sure! This is one enjoyable cup with wonderful flavor notes that are sure to please!

Jun Chiyabari FTGFOP1 First Flush (2012) from Rare Tea Republic

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Republic

Tea Description:

This easy-drinking selection has a minty aroma and a smooth, full flavor with soft notes of dry apricot in a light liquor. A sweet, balanced selection.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve got to tell you, this year’s first flush Darjeeling teas seem to be green in color!  Each of the three first flush Darjeeling teas I’ve tried from Rare Tea Republic, while technically categorized as black teas because they’ve been oxidized, all have leaves that have made me go back and check the website to make sure that I’m dealing with a black tea and not a green!

That’s neither a bad thing nor a good thing … I’m just so used to looking at a leaf and being able to determine what type of tea it is.  Admittedly, there were a few times I’ve judged incorrectly … perhaps more than a few.  But, I would say that I’m about 90% accurate with those judgment calls.  But with the three teas I’ve tasted from this past spring’s harvest offered by Rare Tea Republic:  the Phoomsering, the Wah, and this Jun Chiyabari, I’ve had to double check to make sure they’re black teas and not green!

But no matter … really, what it all comes down to is the taste, and taste (and quality!) wise the teas from Rare Tea Republic simply are the best!  This Jun Chiyabari is no exception.  It is so deliciously flavorful, with interesting notes of cream as well as a crisp, cooling sensation that is quite mint-ish.  I do taste the sweet, dried apricot flavor to this as well – and it’s quite a lovely contrast to the zesty, herbaceous mint-like tone.

What also sets it apart from other Darjeeling-esque teas is that it doesn’t have the same level of astringency that I often experience with a Darjeeling.  The finish is dry and sweet (like a fine wine) but, it isn’t overly astringent.  The delivery is smooth from start to finish, providing lovely, sweet fruit tones that I am finding irresistible.

The lovely lightness to this cup makes it a delightful choice to serve in the afternoon, when you’re looking for a little pick-me-up but nothing too heavy or assertive.  That’s not to say that this isn’t packed with flavor – it is!  But it is such a creamy, smooth kind of flavor.

Really quite wonderful!  The kind of tea you’ll want to spend time with – often!

Phoobsering FTGFOP1 First Flush Darjeeling from Rare Tea Republic

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Republic

Tea Description:

Made entirely of Phoobsering Estate’s famous cultivar, P312, this flavorful selection is the perfect expression of spring in Darjeeling.  A sweet briskness lingers on the palate with notes of Lily of the Valley and sweet lemon. There is a planty quality to the finish.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

As I mentioned in my tasting note for this tea on Steepster, if this Darjeeling is any indication of what we might expect from the 2012 harvest, we’re in for a wonderful year of tea!

This is really quite marvelous.  The aroma is lovely, with notes of flower.  I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced a tea that had such a distinct Lily of the Valley note to it before.  I mean, I’ve experienced teas with orchid notes or honeysuckle, and other flowers, but this is the first time where I really recognized Lily of the Valley.  Wow!

This is really quite smooth, smoother than I’d normally expect from a Darjeeling.  The delivery is smooth from start to finish, with only a slight astringency toward the tail, as if to remind you that this is a Darjeeling.

And as I mentioned with my review of the Wah First Flush from Rare Tea Republic, this tea looks like it could be a green tea when I first opened the package.  And the color of the brewed liquid is much lighter than a typical black tea.  But, one taste tells me that this is definitely a black Darjeeling.

It has those crisp, light notes and fruity tones that Darjeeling is known for, with a hint of muscatel that presents itself toward the finish.  Quite lovely.  But even more than the muscatel is the delectable lemony note of this tea.  It tastes as if I’d squeezed a thin slice of fresh lemon in the cup.  It really brightens the flavor and perks up the flavor in a very nice way.

Truly a memorable Darjeeling, this Phoobsering First Flush from Rare Tea Republic.  I find that I can always count on Rare Tea Republic to deliver top-notch tea.  This is the kind of company that will impress even the most discerning of tea connoisseurs … I highly recommend them, and this tea!

Wah FTGFOP First Flush Black Tea from Rare Tea Republic

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rare Tea Republic

Tea Description:

At Wah Estate, some of India’s oldest China variety tea plants are tended by one of India’s oldest tea producing families. The result is the classic China character expressed in this first flush selection. Complex sweet notes and dried herb undertones.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is definitely one of the most unique and curious teas I’ve ever come across.  The package did not indicate to me whether this might be a black or green or other type of tea, so I checked out the website before opening the package.  It was on the black tea so I decided to enjoy it as an early afternoon tea (I like to refrain from drinking black teas as it gets later in the evening because I don’t want to be bouncing off the walls at bedtime!)

But then when I opened the package and looked inside, the leaves looked like green tea leaves.  They looked green to me!  I double checked the website and saw that it was, indeed, a black tea, and since this tea had already thrown me for a loop I decided to follow the steeping parameters:  1.5 teaspoons of tea per cup, water just below boiling at 190°F, and steeping for 4 minutes.

The flavor is amazing.  It does not taste like a green tea, but it does have a mild freshness to it that is vaguely reminiscent of a green tea.  Very lush, herbaceous and flavorful.  But that is where the similarities to green tea ends, because the primary profile of this tea is very Dian Hong-esque.  It is rich and full-flavored, but I wouldn’t really call it bold.  Instead, it is very well-rounded, and has a lightness to it that is extraordinarily delightful.  And as the tea cools, I find the Yunnan-like notes continuing to emerge – offering a very velvety smooth texture and taste.  Sweet with chocolate-y notes and hints of caramel.

Rare Tea Republic is always surprising me with what they come up with next … every tea has been of exceptional taste and quality, and every tea has really thrown me for a loop – I’ve come to expect the unexpected with Rare Tea Republic!