The Dancing Flavors of Sun Moon Lake Tea from Taiwan Leaf Tea. . .

There is a form of hypnosis caused by watching water move – At once it’s both calming and playful, it invites us to stay and watch stories unfold. My folks often invite us over to the lake house, and as much as we can cause a raucous, I take a simple pleasure in just watching the light dancing over the rippling lake. I am doing this as I steep the Sun and Moon Lake tea from Taiwan Leaf Tea.

There are deep chestnut colored, thick, loosely twisted leaves with a hint of apple chips smell to them. They yield a sumptuous auburn colored tea that now smells of rose and honey. Wow, this is so unexpectedly beautiful. I find that as my eyes take in the visual symphony on the water, the medium-bodied mouthfeel of this tea provides an equally stimulating journey for my taste buds. The more I drink it, the more I find to like about it.

Though there are no added flavors, I find a natural hint of sweetness but the tiniest incidental Granny Smith crisp to it, hmmm but without any tart pucker face. I’m torn between adding sugar to bring the flavors out more or leaving it as is. A sip ends with a short, smooth yet robust aftertaste. Nope, that sugar didn’t do anything here to enhance those subtle flavor nuances. On its own, it’s a well-rounded, meditative tea.

One of my favorites from this whole review box, Definitely a keeper. Would be great for sipping during an artistic event – figure skating at the Olympics comes to mind, or even just a walk past the new spring blossoms peeking out lately.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black loose leaf tea
Where to Buy: Taiwan Leaf Tea

Premium Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Black Tea (Tea # 18) is rare black (red) tea from Central Taiwan (Yuchi, Nantou County).

Sun Moon Lake is located in Nantou County in Central Taiwan. It is surrounded by mountains. Average temperature is very stable during the whole year and humidity is very high. These all enable tea leaves grow rich and intense.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Orange Cardamom Black Tea from Aftelier Perfumes

I didn’t have much information on this tea going into my first cup, so I was surprised to see these black tea leaves unfurl into a deep, dark, red brew.  This tea almost seems like a pu erh rather than an astringent black tea.  The base is earthy, almost smoky, and much richer and more savory that I expected.

Aftelier Perfumes describes the tea as “red tea rolled into pearls and roasted,” which makes sense with the musky, toasted notes I tasted.
The orange and cardamom are minimal, the most noticeable on the back of each sip.  There’s something sweet and herbaceous in this blend, it’s not a full-on smoky black tea, but the brightness is slightly subdued and more noticeable in the mouthfeel than the flavoring.

This tea was unexpected, but very enjoyable.  I was waiting for the astringent bite of orange, or the baked-good sweetness of cardamom, and instead tasted a complex, smooth, and earthy tea.  This makes me curious to check out other flavors Aftelier Perfumes has to offer!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Aftelier Perfumes

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 even more about this tea and tea company here!

Honey Scent Red from Terroir Tea Merchant

Have you ever encountered a tea that literally shook you and changed your thoughts on what teas you should be drinking? I will admit it. I drink mostly flavored teas knowing full well that I should expand my horizons and enjoy more straight teas to grow my tea knowledge and palate. But I just have such a fondness for those fun crazy flavored teas that I don’t take the time to enjoy straight teas.

Well that is until now. Terroir Tea Merchant recently sent the Sisters an amazing care package with a fabulous sampling of their offerings.  I decided that I needed to try one of these teas before I passed along the rest. So I decided to grab this one.

Honey Scent Red is striking from the moment you set your eyes on the leaves. The leaves are gorgeous with a lovely malty and slightly spicy aroma.  I prepped my water, brewed the tea according to the recommended parameters, and sat down to enjoy.  I braced myself for a rich malty astringent flavor. That isn’t what this tea gave me at all.

Warm soothing apple notes followed by a sweet honey flavor that ended with an almost baked bread feel. This tea is simply divine. There are  so many warm flavors going on without any strong malty or astringent characteristics.  Sip after sip, this tea just keeps delivering on this sweet apple bread flavor. I’m excited to spend more time with this tea and see what other flavors I can draw out in future infusions.

A perfect tea to welcome in the cooler weather we are starting to experience here in the Midwest. Really wonderful tea that I just can’t get enough of and one that has me on a kick for more Terroir Tea Merchant offerings.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Terroir Tea Merchant


Although not fully oxidized this tea is considered a black tea and in Taiwan and China, a black tea is known as hong cha or “red tea”. This refers to the colour of the liquor once the leaves are infused. The deep, rich caramel liquor with its reddish hue is much more fitting as a red tea.

Just like the dry and wet leaf aromas, honey dominates the flavour with notes of raisins, spice and a malty finish. As it cools, the natural sweetness shines through and this tea can be enjoyed iced with no need to add sugar.

Served warm or iced Honey Scent Red is a beautiful accompaniment to any meal. Try a cup for breakfast with baked scones with jam and cream, or on its own in the afternoon whilst you contemplate the tea’s journey from the bush to your cup.
For another high altitude, bug-bitten tea from Central Taiwan, you’ll also enjoy our Shan Lin Xi Concubine

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Dian Hong Black Tea from Teabook

Hello Tea Friends!

Today I will be reviewing some Dian Hong Cha from Teabook. If you are new to tea then here is some translating: Dian – Shorter version of Yunnan, a province in China known for tea growing. Hong means red which refers to it’s colour, in China it’s known as red tea but in Western countries it’s a black tea. Cha literally means tea. So it’s Yunnan Red Tea. This tea is also known as Yunnan Black or Yunnan Red but as there are many different types of black/red teas produced in Yunnan it can be a little confusing using the generic naming. This is why Dian Hong is most commonly used for differentiation.

Personally I do love a nice Dian Hong, they tend to have more tippy golden buds in general, assuming it’s of a nice quality. For this I have no idea until I open it, so let’s get to it. Actually first before I rip the top off the sachet like a monkey peeling a banana let me mention the sachet itself, Teabook sell these sachets in pre weighed bags to make it easier for drinking and transportation. Each sachet is 3g.

Opening the packet I can see some thin, dark leaves with a couple of golden tips. Altogether 3g is around 10 pieces of loosely broken leaves. They bare a dry, wooden scent with some sweetness. I say 3g but the sachet weight is included in that too.

Steeping this Western style: 2-3g into a 320ml glass cup with infuser for 3 minutes boiling water. Usually I do three steeps with Dian Hong in a teapot but 3g is not enough for me to do that to my desired strength.

Once steeped the tea is golden red in colour and bares a very mild malt and wood scent.

Flavour is very mild at first, further sips reveal a hint of sweet malt. There is some drying in the after taste that coats my tongue somewhat. The strength does not increase but the sweet, honeyed malt remains. It’s only noticeable really toward the after taste.

I am torn at this point. I do not want to write a negative review but I do need to be honest. While there was nothing wrong with the tea I personally (and I stress personally) believe that 2g loose leaf tea is not enough for a cup. If I had some Dian Hong whilst relaxing at home I would use 4-5g for a Western brew and 6-7 for a gaiwan. Both would be suitable for multiple steeps at that level of strength.

So the sachet idea is good but it should be at least 5g of tea in my honest opinion. That way it could be Western steeped or used in Gaiwan/Gong Fu Teapot and would be happy in both instances. Perhaps 2g is good for new tea drinkers adjusting to the taste of loose leaf, though even then I would recommend a higher dose.

Apologies to Teabook but that is my brutally honest opinion.

Until next time,

Happy Steeping!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black/Red
Where to Buy: Teabook


Dian Hong Red (Black) Tea from Lincang, Yunnan. This Dian Hong tea is misty gold liquor has a lovely sweet aroma that resemble milk chocolate. The Dian Hong enters the palate full and brings soft flavors of cherry and red grapes and leaves a slight mouthwater with a slight dry patch in the center of the mouth making you thirsty for the next warm soft sip.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea

HoneyRedJadeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Golden Leaf Tea

Tea Description:

Honey Red Jade Tea is a unique fermented black tea from the pristine hills of Taiwan. Hand-picked and processed, Honey Red Jade Tea is grown naturally to encourage the tea leafhoppers to feed on the tea leaves, producing a natural honey fragrance when the enzymes from the leafhopper interact with the tea plants. This tea brews to a dark caramel color with a sweet fragrance and refreshing taste.

Honey Red Jade tea is irresistible when it is hot. It is even better when it is cooled. The unique sweet floral and honey fragrance becomes more pronounced, with a slight hint of citrus. This is a tea you can leave in your cup or tumbler and not worry about over steeping or drinking it cold. Over-steeping and bitterness is not a problem with this tea.

Available in tea bags or loose form.

Benefits:  Aid in heart health.  In a 2009 research by Arab L. et al., it is said that people who consume 3 or more cups of black tea per day have a 21% lower risk of a stroke compared with people who consume less than 1 cup per day.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea is a fermented tea from Taiwan.  Straight from the bag you’ll see tightly rolled tea leaves waiting to release their magic.  Once these rolled leaves hit hot water – BAM – they puff out and open to fill the tea cup with magnificent black tea!  The post-infused aroma of Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea is that of a biscuit and honey duo which was very pleasing to the nose.

I think I was expecting a brash and overly rich black tea flavored base to this on the tongue but it has a more even sip than I thought it would.  I’m not saying that is good, bad, or indifferent – it’s just something I was surprised by.  It had a woodsy-type flavor that seemed to come and go.  I do like this tea.  It’s satisfying.  Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea is pleasant and not overly done in any way.  Perhaps this would be a nice loose leaf to share with friends…especially if you are unsure of their tea tastes.  Personally, I think this is perfect for early to middle of the afternoon.  I would need something more robust to start my day off but it might be better for those not into the super strong tasting black teas, too.