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Tea House

Black Tea & Lemongrass from Chiang Rai Tea House

Black+tea+lemongrassTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:   Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

Enjoy your black tea with lemongrass, another great ally of your body with a lemony flavor that soothes and tastes delicious! Sip it hot after a meal for an easy digestion, or pour it over ice cubes for a refreshing summer treat.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Another interesting tea from Chiang Rai Tea House!  This time, it’s a combination of black tea leaves from Thailand and the curly pieces of Lemongrass that I enjoyed so much in their Lemongrass & Ginger blend.  I don’t know if the cutting process that produces the curls in the lemongrass makes a difference in the flavor or if it’s because this is lemongrass from Thailand – but the lemongrass that I’ve tasted in both these blends has been a substantial lemon-y flavor – much more so than I’ve experienced from the typical chopped pieces of lemongrass.

The lemon-y notes are sweet and tart, but not pucker-y tart.  Just tart enough to make this taste like lemon has been added to the tea rather than a sweeter lemon curd type flavor.  Just tart enough to perk up the taste buds and really brighten the cup!

The black tea base is a very mellow tasting black tea.  It’s not particularly robust, so I’m happy to have the sunny flavor of lemon in this tea.  It’s invigorating from the refreshing lemon notes with a background of smooth, sweet black tea.

A really nice blend – not quite as strong as I’d want from a breakfast tea, but this would make a wonderfully refreshing iced tea or a great afternoon tea.

Jasmine Oolong Tea from Chiang Rai Tea House

Jasmine+OOlongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Chiang Rai Tea House

Tea Description:

To produce oolong tea is a long and delicate process that involves withering, drying, roasting and rubbing the leaves for hours. The result is a leaf that yields a delicate yet flavorful and aromatic tea. Blossoms from organic jasmine trees are added to give its strong characteristic fragrance that makes it the perfect afternoon tea.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  The jasmine essence in this Jasmine Oolong Tea from Chiang Rai Tea House is really strong.  It’s very aromatic and very strong, and the jasmine dominates the flavor too.

But even though it is a strong flavor, it doesn’t taste perfume-y to me.  It’s very floral, but I’m not getting ‘perfume’ from it.  That said, I must caution you that if you’re one who prefers a subtle jasmine presence in your tea, this isn’t going to be the right jasmine tea for you.  However, if you’re someone who finds the average jasmine pearl or jasmine Oolong to be a bit too soft when it comes to the jasmine notes, you should definitely try this.

Jasmine+Oolong+TeaI steeped this tea in my gaiwan, following the procedure that I usually do for Oolong tea:  a bamboo scoop of tea into the bowl, heating the kettle to 180°F and pouring just enough hot water into the bowl to cover the leaf pellets and jasmine blossoms.  I let this steep for 15 seconds and strain off the liquid, discarding it.  Then I fill the gaiwan with more of the hot water and let it steep for 45 seconds.  For each subsequent infusion, I increased the steep time by 15 seconds.  I combined two steeps into my teacup, so my first cup is infusions 1 & 2, my second cup is infusions 3 & 4 … and so on!

My first cup is very floral, as I said.  But it doesn’t really taste ‘perfume-ish’ so much as it tastes jasmine.  It tastes as though I brewed straight up jasmine blossoms with some Oolong tea.

The Oolong tea is less discernible and seems to be a bit overwhelmed by the presence of the jasmine in this cup.  I do get some lovely buttery notes from the Oolong and a really nice texture from the Oolong (soft and creamy!) but that’s about all that I’m getting from the Oolong in this cup.

My second cup was much more to my liking.  I like jasmine, but I think that the first cup might have been a bit too much jasmine.  This cup is quite lovely though!  The Oolong flavors are starting to emerge and the jasmine notes soften somewhat.  Still a very strong floral presence, the softer flavor here allows me to enjoy the exotic flower much more because it tastes lovely with the Oolong notes that are now developing. The Oolong is sweet, creamy and a little nutty.  It has notes of peach in the distance.

The third (and final) cup was my favorite of the three.  The jasmine notes are softer than they were in either of the previous cups, and this cup is much more like other jasmine Oolong teas I’ve had.  I prefer the jasmine to be an accent note to the tea, rather than the tea to be an accent note to the jasmine and really, with the first two cups (the first especially) the tea was an accent to the jasmine.

Throughout my experience with this tea, I experienced no astringency, it was very smooth with a silky, buttery taste and texture.  A pleasant tea – a little too heavy on the jasmine, perhaps, but fortunately it wasn’t a jasmine oil kind of taste – and if my time with this tea has taught me anything, it would be that there is really a distinct difference between the way jasmine oil makes a tea taste versus the way jasmine flowers make a tea taste.

Bai Mu Dan Vintaged White Tea (Harvest 2004) from Wan Ling Tea House

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White (Aged)

Where to Buy:  Wan Ling Tea House

Tea Description:

Bai Mu Dan or Pai Mu Tan is a classic white tea from FuDing in FuJian province. This 2004 Bai Mu Dan aged white tea has been pressed into 357g tea cakes in 2010. The aim to preserve the leaf during storage and prevent damage during transportation.

This white tea, is absolutely stunning. Combining delicate, smooth body with a full, complex body. The taste is complemented a clear, bright liquor and enchanting aromas.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  Just … wow!

This is a truly stellar tea, quite unlike any Bai Mu Dan I’ve ever tasted!

It brews up to a beautiful, clear, pale yellow color, almost the color of melted, clarified butter.  The flavor is sweet and delicate, with notes that are similar to a fresh Bai Mu Dan, but, I’m noticing some flavors that I don’t usually expect with a Bai Mu Dan as well.  A strong fruit note is present.  Much more intense than I would have thought was possible to achieve from a white tea.

I don’t know that I agree that this is a full-flavored tea, though, but it IS flavorful.  It has a soft texture, very little astringency, no bitterness, and a slightly floral, sweet aftertaste.  The aging process has not only managed to strengthen the flavors of this Bai Mu Dan, but, it also seems it has enhanced its complexity. As I continue to sip, I notice some earthiness starting to emerge, and I like the way this earthiness melds with the natural sweetness of the white tea.

Subsequent infusions yield sweeter flavors – fruitier flavors!  I note more of an apricot-like tone now, like dried apricots, with their flavors and sweetness intensified by the drying process.

This is a tea that is highly recommended to those that love white tea, they will adore this one!  I would also recommend it to someone who thinks they don’t care for white tea as they find it to be too light in flavor for their liking – this one will change their mind about that!  This is truly a remarkable tea!

Japanese Green Tea Powder Stick from Chado Tea House

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Chado Tea House

Tea Description:

Very convenient, individually packed Japanese green tea powder stick 0.24oz(2g) x 20 sticks. One stick for one cup of tea. very convenient and keep in your handbag and enjoy green tea anywhere! Works well for Hot and Cold water! Always fresh individually packed green tea powder! Product from Kagoshima

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve been a fan of Matcha for a long time, but, for whatever reason, I often find myself leery of these “sticks” or pixies filled with powdered tea.  I don’t know why, exactly, because I’ve enjoyed other versions of powdered tea – not just Matcha – but also powdered genmaicha and powdered Sencha.

But this is really awesome!

I opened up the stick and carefully poured it into my chawan, fully intending to prepare it as a Matcha using hot water and my whisk.  However, somewhere before I finished heating the water, I decided I wanted to see how it would fair if I added cold water to it, so I poured roughly about six ounces of cold water into the chawan, whisked it to stir (it blended almost instantaneously), and started sipping.

The taste is strongly vegetative, sweet and very refreshing.  Much more invigorating and much better tasting to me than a typical ready-to-drink bottled tea, which is kind of the customer these types of pixies seem to target … the on-the-move kind of tea drinker, offering them a pure, un-sweetened alternative to those heavily sugared tea drinks that you can pick up at a convenience store.

These are every bit as convenient:  just open a bottle of water and pour in the powder, and then shake to incorporate … and I prefer the taste of this over those, because those “teas” seldom actually taste like tea!  Oh, sure, I’ve found some exceptions, but, for the most part, they taste more like a soda than a tea, and this – this tastes like tea!  This is the good stuff!

 

Yame Gyokuro Tea B from Chado Tea House

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:   Green

Where to Buy:  Chado Tea House

Tea Description:

Nice Gyokuro from Fukuoka, Kyushu island. Yame area in Fukuoka is known for Gyokuro producing center (take about 45 percent of share). Tea farms are located on slope of mountain and the area’s warm and foggy condition provides ideal climate for Gyokuro cultivation. This Yame Gyokuro is bit like supreme Sencha. Aromatic and sweet and smooth mouth feel.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

There is something magical about Gyokuro.

I recently injured my ankle (rolled it, fortunately did not break it, but, still badly sprained) and the evening of my injury, after returning from the hospital and still in quite a bit of pain, I brewed a pot of this Yame Gyokuro, and for a few moments while sipping, my mind was able to escape the pain, escape the reality of what was going on, and just allow me to enjoy the pure beauty of the tea without a thought (or even a feeling) of the pain.

Ah … the magic of Gyokuro!

That’s what I mean about the magical quality of Gyokuro.

This Gyokuro from Chado Tea House is sweet and vegetative.  It is a very vibrant and crisp flavor.  In the background, I notice subtle notes of chestnut and the vaguest hints of flower.  And every once in a while, I swear I can taste that freshness of spring … you know that beautiful freshness that you can smell and even taste in the air when spring arrives?  Yes, that is what I notice here.  It isn’t a strong flavor, but every once in a while, I just get that exhilarating sensation of spring as I sip.

A wonderful tea – one of the nicest Gyokuro teas I’ve tasted in a while.  And Chado Tea House has such a lovely selection of other Japanese green teas too – I highly recommend them!