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walnut

Organic Oolong Tea from Buddha Teas

oolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Buddha Teas

Tea Description:

Over the years, many different varieties of oolong tea have been produced, each with their own style and flavor, however traditional oolong tea remains the most popular among these.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Oolong has historically been my nemesis, although I have to say at this point that I’ve only ever tried loose leaf oolong with one exception (Teapigs Tung Ting Oolong, which is pyramid bagged). This oolong is also bagged, and in fairly small, square paper affairs that really don’t look like they’ll provide much room for leaf expansion. Even dry, the leaf fills up at least half of the space in the bag. One cute touch is that each paper tag has a different phrase – my current bag declares “love is ecstacy”, and my second “appreciate yourself and honor your soul”. Something to muse upon as you wait for your tea to brew? I added the bag to a cup of water cooled to around 180 degrees, and gave it 2.5 minutes. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown.

Once wet, it’s clear that the leaf is shredded quite finely, and it becomes waterlogged and soggy quickly. The leaf expands to fill the bag, but not as much as I thought it might. I guess the fine shred means that there are no large leaves to really unfurl. Looking at the leaf, this would appear to be a dark or roasted oolong. It has the signature scent that’s often one of the things I like least about oolong – metallic and a little sweet.

To taste, I’m more impressed that I expected I would be. I’m not the world’s biggest Oolong fan, so when I find one that’s palatable and enjoyable to drink, a bit of a celebration ensues. This Oolong is initially very nutty, in the way of pecans or maybe walnuts. There’s a slightly bitter tang that I associate with walnuts especially, which only reinforces the comparison for me. The mid-sip contains a little of the metallic flavour I so dislike, but it’s not over-strong and I’m finding I can ignore it without too much trouble. There’s a note of slightly burnt toast as well, which puts me in mind of autumn and open fires. It’s a fitting flavour profile for this time of year! The aftertaste is smooth and a little sweet, with an almost honeyed texture. It’s a pleasant, flavourful cup, reminiscent of a Formosa Oolong. I’m not sure which variety it actually is as the packaging gives very little away, but that’s where I would peg it.

I enjoyed this cup, which seems a strange thing for me to say given my history with Oolong in general. The nutty, toasted notes pair well together and are very complementary, which probably has a lot to do with it. I’d drink this one again, and I’d happily recommend it either to those who are just beginning to explore oolong (as an accessible entry tea), and to Oolong-phobes who are looking to be proved wrong. It’s made me reevaluate my feelings about dark and roasted Oolongs, in any case!

Foxy Roxy’s Banana Walnut Treat Black Tea Blend from Butiki Teas

banana walnut keemunTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Butiki Teas

Tea Description:

Foxy Roxy’s Banana Walnut Treat utilizes our Congou Keemun as the base which provides an interesting contrast with the sweet banana flavor. We also added a touch of walnut which melds nicely with base without overpowering the banana flavor. One of our customers, Foxy Roxy, contacted us to suggest a banana Keemun blend. Since we were already working on a banana tea, we decided to test it out and we were quite surprised by the deliciousness of this combination. For a short interview with Foxy Roxy on how this tea came about, please click HERE

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

WOW!  This Foxy Roxy’s Banana Walnut Treat Black Tea Blend from Butiki Teas is fantastic!  It exceeds any expectations I had of the tea … and since it’s a blend from Butiki Teas, my expectations were very high.  This tea is really delicious.

The banana flavor here is probably the best tasting banana flavor in a tea that I’ve yet to try.  It doesn’t taste candy-like … it tastes true to the fruit.  The walnut is also an authentic tasting walnut taste, and it complements the flavors in this cup perfectly.

But my favorite part of this tea is the Keemun itself.  It is rich and smooth and slightly astringent, and provides a very satisfying ‘canvas’ for the flavors of banana and walnut.  There is a certain bake-y kind of flavor to the tea that accentuates these flavors and elevates them.  It tastes like someone liquefied a slice of fresh banana walnut bread and added it to a rich, delicious Keemun tea.

If you are a fan of banana nut bread … this is a tea you really MUST try.  Butiki Teas did this one just right!  It is so yummy!

Lilac Blend from Strand Tea Company

Lilac Blend from Strand Tea Company
Lilac Blend from Strand Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Strand Tea Company

Tea Description:

Premium Black Teas from highland China blended with lilac flowers. This tea looks, smells, and tastes great.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Lilac Blend from Strand Tea Company has me just beaming with happiness. It is a beautiful sun shiny day outside, I am looking at my first flowers of the year, although they are daffodils, not lilacs, and dreamily sipping on such a delightful surprise! I love lilacs, they are so very fragrant and beautiful. This tea speaks to my sensibilities of summer, flowers, and yet there is a wonderful, surprising fruitiness as well. Mmmmm, so good!

I have to say I have never heard of Strand before a generous tea trade with a fellow Steepster but I am really glad to know of this company and am looking forward to exploring their site more throughly.

I have read on Steepster that this company sends a tea sample and a cookie with orders! WHAT? Okay this place may have me breaking my no order streak! Cookies and tea, YES PLEASE!

And then I saw the price of this tea. No its not a bad thing, rather shockingly good! 2 ounces for only 3.50 – are you kidding me? Wow what a bargain!

And the taste? Can it match up to all my self imposed hype? Why yes, it can! It is sweet – like honey, fruity, wonderful berry notes, almost a blueberry flavor but I get some deep red berry notes in here too. It tastes wine like, a bit like a blueberry mead tea.

The aroma is beautiful as well. This is a cup you just hold up under your nose and deeply inhale the aroma between sips. Gad this is good!

Lilac from Strand Tea Company has a full mouthfeel nearly creamy. Add a splash of milk and you have a dessert tea for sure, oh so creamy and delicious! The mouthfeel is surprisingly heavy for what one would think is a light dainty tea. This tea has some heft to it.

A perfect tea for younger ones too! I could easily see this being the hit at a tea party for young and old alike! I doubt the kids would even know this is tea and mistake it for some sugary drink if you didn’t tell them about it!

I can’t wait to try this tea iced!

I had to come back and add this to my review. My daughter tried this tea after it had become cold. She prefers cold tea to hot. Regardless she found a note in this tea that I had totally missed but should not have! I think my daughter is getting really good at detecting flavor notes in tea. Before long she may be better than I am at it because this note is SO obvious, yet I missed it! Walnut! Yes walnut, I can’t believe I missed it because as soon as she said it – it become so obvious! I made a second steep in addition to enjoying the rest of my cold cup and I am even more in love. You know how once you identify a flavor note it becomes even easier to pick out? Well now I am enjoying this sweet, honey kissed, blueberry, creamy, floral, WALNUT tasting tea. Yummm

Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea From Verdant Tea

Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea From Verdant Tea
Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea From Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

An experimental hybrid tea with the best of Tieguanyin, Wuyi oolong and malty black tea. . . .

NOTES: chocolate, scotch, caramel, walnut, coconut, jasmine

Fo Shou or “Buddha’s Hand,” is a varietal of tea from Wuyi, traditionally twisted and oxidized into an oolong tea. This revolutionary Fo Shou Black Tea is an experimental crop transplanted in nearby Anxi and fully oxidized as a black tea. The fusion of rocky Wuyi flavor, malty black tea flavor, and hints of Anxi Tieguanyin flavor make this a worthwhile and intriguing creation all of its own.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea from Verdant Tea is scrumptious! When I was opening the bag I could smell the chocolate notes just jumping out at me. I was surprised to find yet another sealed bag inside the first bag which told me this tea was very heavy with flavor notes considering how strong and wonderful the aroma was through not one but two sealed bags!

Anxi Fo Shou comes in small 5 gram bags – two servings per bag – in order to preserve its freshness. What a wonderful way to package teas! I wish more teas were packaged in this manner.

Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea Packaging
Anxi Fo Shou Black Tea Packaging

If you notice the flavor notes listed by Verdant Tea “NOTES: chocolate, scotch, caramel, walnut, coconut, jasmine” I want to note that every single note is easily detectable. Often times I see people mention and have myself experienced the searching for flavor notes mentioned by tea companies, and it can sometimes be disappointing not to be able to pick up on them. Sometimes we question our own ability to detect specific flavor notes, or we doubt the vendor wondering if they are not just trying to make a pretty good tea seem extraordinary. With Anxi Fo Shou, I am able to pick up on each and every element listed. I like that because it is exactly as it is described which adds to my faith in a vendor as well as my faith in my own palate!

The distinct note in the beginning is the chocolate note but caramel peeks through nicely. As the tea cools down some there is a note of a single malt scotch and a light lilting note of coconut! The walnut note lays nicely all over the tongue giving a slight drying sensation like walnut typically does, yet this tea is anything but drying! It is refreshing and juicy!

For me, the jasmine note is the lightest, yet its there in the aroma and comes alive even more the cooler the tea becomes.

There are other notes that I pick up on not mentioned in the notes provided by Verdant such as rock mineral, butter, malt, sweet potato, cream, and earth to name a few! The second steep especially had a more earthy, rock mineral aroma and flavor to it, yet so delightfully sweet!

Yes friends, this is a true winner and if I had any tea funds I would jump right on the Verdant Website and order more RIGHT NOW. I am so excited to have had a chance to get some of this tea and will be cherishing what remains of my stash. Hopefully soon I can order more if there is any left to order!

Get some while it is in stock – you won’t regret it!

An excellent tea FO SHOU!

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, Della Terra Teas Sent to Me…

We’re past the halfway point in this countdown, and you know what that means, don’t you?  The big day is just around the corner, almost here … are you finished with your holiday shopping?  We’re not, but we are nearly done, and that’s more than I can say for our usual progress this time of year.

Today’s tea was sent in a beautiful blue, sparkly envelope/box.   These little boxes are really cute, and of course, I’m keeping them … hopefully I’ll think of something to do with them that is alter-ish art-y.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re all just sitting there at the edges of your seats, waiting to learn what today’s tea from Della Terra Teas is …

Walnut Brittle

day7-1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Della Terra Teas

Tea Description:

On the seventh day of Christmas you’ll be swimming like the swans in delicious tantalizing walnut brittle tea.

A most amazing green tea is the base for this perfect walnut tea.  With bits of real walnut brittle within we truly believe you have a cup of nutcrackers Heaven in your tea cup!

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This IS a tantalizing treat!

walnutbrittleThe dry leaf offers a very appetizing sight with the big chunks of walnut, coconut and pineapple blended with the long spears of Chinese Sencha green tea.  The aroma is nutty and fruity, and interestingly enough, reminds me very much of the holidays, although I don’t usually associate walnuts, coconut or pineapple with this time of year.  Somehow, the way it all comes together reminds me very much of Christmastime – perhaps it is the sweetness of the scent … I don’t know.  But it is certainly bringing a smile to my face.

The flavor also brings a smile to my face.  The flavor of the green tea is prominent, it is sweet and slightly vegetative, although most of the sweetness I taste is coming from the coconut, I think, or it could be the fact that there is also brittle candy in this blend, and that may have melted during the brewing process.  I do taste a bit of caramelized sugar in the cup, and that just may be my favorite part of this tea.

But I also like the walnut flavor.  Walnut is not a “usual” nut flavor to find in a tea … almonds – yes … but not walnuts.  But I think it is the fact that I don’t often get to experience walnut flavor in a tea that makes me enjoy this rare occasion so much.

Overall, a very enjoyable cuppa.  It is nutty and sweet, with just the right amount of fruity essence to keep the cup interesting.  A bit unexpected and very nice, indeed!