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Stone Leaf Teahouse

Yunnan Golden Strand Spring 2011 from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Yunnan Golden Strand from Stone Leaf Teahouse
Yunnan Golden Strand from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Stone Leaf Teahouse 

Tea Description:

Jinggu, Spring 2011
Smooth, velvety, nutty

The most delicate combined with the robust; a skilled harvest of just the tips of the tea plant, exposed to the outside world for one day, then processed as black tea. Features characteristic earthy tones of Dian Hong, yet yields an incredibly soft, sweet cup. Notes of grape, slight pepper, and olive.

Learn more about this tea here.

 

Taster’s Review:

This Yunnan Golden Strand Spring 2011 from Stone Leaf Teahouse has the sweetest bready flavor. It reminds me of raisin bread, or fig cake. There is even a yeasty quality to the sip that makes it even more like a true gourmet baked good.

While it is sweet, very sweet, there is something interesting about this tea that brings it toward a savory note as well. I do get the olive note that is mentioned in the description, and just a light taste of black pepper, which is very nice, but I also taste bulgar wheat, and milo.

The mouthfeel of this tea is heavy but not thick. It fills the mouth and has a near creamy feel, but with all the sweetness it finds a way not to become syrupy. It has a clear finish.

The leaf itself is beautiful, one of the lightest colored Golden Strand teas I have encountered.

Other notes worthy of mention are caramel, cocoa, fruit, hay, cane sugar, indeed it is a strange brew, but quite delicious.

Stone Leaf Teahouse never fails to provide tea of the highest quality.

Gui Fei Cha from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Gui Fei Cha
Gui Fei Cha from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy:  Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Description:

Taiwan, Summer 2012

Medium Roast

贵妃茶
A medium bodied, roasted oolong from the famous mountains of San Lin Ci, near the traditional tea producing region of Lugu. This is a unique and hard to find variety of rolled Dong Feng Mei Ren, or Eastern Beauty. Yields a slightly earthy, sweet, and savory rose aroma with a smooth woody-bamboo body and a delightful lingering honey aftertaste. Energizing and strong with a bit of a bite.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Gui Fei Cha from Stone Leaf Teahouse is a more earthy tea but the honey note is one of the first things I tasted and the note that tends to linger along with the rose. I do pick up on the floral aspect of this tea and it is reminiscent of rose but I would not really consider this a floral tea. This may sound strange to some, but the taste of the rose in this tea is more like the way a fresh rose scent lingers in the nostrils. It is clean, crisp, refreshing, but subtle. There is a very green leafy aspect to the rose note, but then rose has always been one of those aromas that is quite clean and refreshing so it comes over very well in the flavor note here. So okay I am one of those people who will try eating their tea leaves, and I am no different when it comes to flowers. I tend to want to taste them. Before you think I am a total freak consider please that I am very much into natural medicine, herbs, and natural perfumery, therefore really being one with the herbs, flowers, and plants I use is essential. Regardless, and aside from all my weirdisms, this tea is quite lovely in its floral nature, however I don’t want anyone to pass this tea up for its floral nature if you are not inclined to enjoy a floral tea – as there is so much more to this tea than its rose accent.

Gui Fei Cha has a wonderful note of bamboo, tropical rain soaked trees and plants, notes of honey and a slight spice note. And as for that bite as mentioned in the description, think of it like an astringency type of bite. Not bitter, but just this kick at the end of the sip.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side but the finish of this tea on the palate is bright and cherry. It is truly a tea you can’t be in a crabby mood while sipping as it will lift you right up out of your funk and place you on a fluffy cloud and leave you floating gleefully. So if you are in a crabby mood and want to stay there – don’t sip this tea!

With each sip I feel a little smile creeping over my face and by the time I am tasting the lingering notes that are left behind the sip, I am beaming.

Now there is a darker side to this tea interestingly enough … some of these heavier notes of wood, of spice, the savory notes of fresh herbs from the garden, they tend to be very calming and grounding. So the after effect is a tea that brings you up and makes you feel joyful but keeps your core essence firm and secure. This could make it a very nice meditative tea perhaps, or a tea for those days you need a little boost of confidence, say before a presentation, or before a big date night because the tea is a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance, and a little bit of strength and confidence all rolled into one.

Of course I always try to assign personalities to teas but that is how I feel about this one from Stone Leaf Teahouse and again, as always, they have a winner in this tea!

Yunnan Golden Strand (Spring 2011) from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Description:

The most delicate combined with the robust; a skilled harvest of just the tips of the tea plant, exposed to the outside world for one day, then processed as black tea. Features characteristic earthy tones of Dian Hong, yet yields an incredibly soft, sweet cup. Notes of grape, slight pepper, and olive.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Impressive!

I do love a good Yunnan, and when its a golden Yunnan, I love it even more.  This is really very good – surprisingly sweet!  Yes, other Yunnan teas have been sweet, but, I don’t think I’ve found one that is quite like this.  It has notes of caramel, sweet cocoa and grape that seem to intertwine to create a sweet taste that is very palate pleasing.

And of course, there are the hints of spice, but, here, the peppery notes are quite subtle, lying beneath all that yummy sweetness.  There is just enough peppery taste (and aroma!) to put a little vigor into the sip, and it offers a nice transition from the initial sweetness to the more savory tone that the sip takes as it moves toward the tail.

This savory note reminds me a bit of artisan bread.  You know the specialty bread that you can find in bakeries with olives baked right into the bread?  That’s what this tea seems to evoke.  It has a deep, bread-y, bake-y kind of taste to it, like freshly baked bread, and then there is a smooth, rich flavor that is quite similar to the taste of olives!  These flavors offer a really delicious contrast to the sweetness at the start of the sip.

What I’m liking most about this cup is that through it all, from the start of the sip where it is sweet and sumptuous, to mid-sip where I notice a slight prickle of pepper, on to the savory qualities of the tea, I notice absolutely no bitterness, and very, very little astringency.  This is a black tea for those who sometimes avoid black teas for the bitterness and astringency.  It is so smooth and yes, even decadent, that you may just change your mind about black tea!

I love Yunnan, so I’m not surprised that I love this one too, but, what does surprise me is just how good this Yunnan is.  It’s a standout, because it’s better than most Yunnan teas that I’ve tried!

Bi Luo Chun Spring 2012 from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Taiwan Green Tea

Where to Buy:  Stone Leaf Teahouse 

Tea Description:

Bi Luo Chun

Spring 2012

碧螺春茶

Taiwan. San Hsia Township.

Fresh is the operative word for this tea. Fresh, vibrant and green with notes of bamboo sprouts.  Perfectly balanced with subtle nutty aromas, lively vegetal flavors, lingering grassyness, and a touch of ocean mist.  This sparkling green infusion is perfect for a sunny day, or if you’d just like it to .

Learn more about this tea here. 

Taster’s Review:

When I opened the bag the buttery sweet aroma was so intoxicating! Then a sweet vegetal aroma lifted up toward my nostrils and I was in love. I just melt when I sip on buttery, sweet, vegetal, grassy, creamy, nutty teas and if I had to list adjectives to describe a perfect green those are the adjectives I would list, and this tea captures every single one of them perfectly.

It is such a very pretty leaf! All curly and springy! I love the shades of green and would describe this leaf as “playful”. The steeped leaf is so soft and silky – what I describe as “angel hair” feeling. It feels so plush I wish I could sleep on a bed that feels like this!

I keep re-steeping in order to do a proper review but I just can’t keep my cup full long enough to savor these amazing flavors, and while I do like to respect the tea, and appreciate it, savoring each and every sip I can’t seem to contain myself to do so with this one. Look out folks…its a guzzler!

Now I assume that in the description they say “a touch of ocean mist” to mean there is a slightly seaweed like flavor in it. I have to say that I get very subtle notes here and there of that, more of a salty like note, however it is slight and I do love salt! Ironically even though I am a total saltaholic my sodium levels always run low! Go figure, I could put a salt block in my living room and be quite happy. So for that reason I am very happy to have that “touch of ocean mist” flavor in my cup. As for a seaweed note, to me that is more in the aroma than in the flavor but it is there, that salty seaweed bamboo like flavor just screams tropical rain forest to me more than ocean side sea spray.

The flavor is so very buttery, so creamy and silky in the mouthfeel, yet I can’t quite decide which vegetable it tastes like, corn came to mind, but so did green beans, and peas, but its more like a medley of vegetables. Yet there is this nutty almost wood like flavor perhaps from the bamboo sprouts. The after taste lingers so nicely making me just want to keep sipping away without a care. Which in and of itself is making it more difficult to really give a detailed review of exactly what this tea taste like other than AMAZING!

I clicked on the blog link on Stone Leaf Teahouse website and found this tidbit of information about Bi Luo Chun that I wanted to share with you because I found it so romantic:

Yet another legend claims that this tea was named after a girl, Bi Luo, who watered a tea tree with the tears she had shed for her slain dragon lover.  She then died under this tree, and the next spring, the tree produced a fragrant green tea which we now call Bi Luo Chun.

This is only a small excerpt however as there is an entire article about the name of this tea and the man legends associated with it. Here is the link to their blog if you would like to read more for yourself.

Zin Hsuan Golden Daylily from Stone Leaf Teahouse

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong, Mei Shan, Taiwan, Winter 2011, Late November Harvest

Where to Buy: Stone Leaf Teahouse

 

Tea Description:  A full bodied oolong famous for its soft crème aroma and light green infusion. A particularly nice large leaf High Mountain varietal. It is really quite smooth, crisp, and refreshing,

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Have you ever had one of those teas that simply puffed up so much that you didn’t have enough room in your gaiwan, cup, steeping basket, etc… for it?

This is one of those teas! As if given miracle growth water the tiny little nuggets just poofed up into this huge puffy cloud of tea leaves. Beautiful!

I did a quick rinse and then steeped my first sampling. In the dry form we have typical oolong nuggets that smelled of earthy soil but that was nothing of the taste in this tea.

The first aroma to hit my nostrils was corn, sweet corn. First sip was also that of a sweet ripe corn, but perhaps a white corn rather than yellow. The mouthfeel was of milk, cream, and butter. I do love a creamy buttery tea.

When I ordered this from Stone Leaf Teahouse I had called to have a few question regarding their teas and website clarified and John Wetzel, at Stone Leaf was so accommodating and helpful. Which we all know good customer service is key in any business. John explained some of the differences between teas and helped me choose teas that I would most enjoy and he hit my taste buds as if they had a target on them! I am loving the flavor profiles of this Zin Hsuan which John educated me the literal translation is Golden Daylily.

The color of the cup is such a faint golden color that at first I was suspicious that there would be any flavor in there! To my delight I am finding my cup to be full of rich wonderful flavors and aroma!

The leaves unfurl into long stems with three to four leaves attached.

I was able to get multiple steeps from the leaves though out the day and with each cup the flavors held strong and true.

This is a lip licking tea that keeps you wanting more but it is rich and decedent! Dare I say a dessert tea? Normally I use the words “dessert tea” for flavored teas however this creamy delight for me is one that says YUMMMM Dessert!

If you too love flavor profiles that scream creamy, milky, buttery, with a vegetal hint then you must get some Zin Hsuan Golden Daylily from Stone Leaf Teahouse!