On the 7th Day of Christmas … from 52Teas

I have a confession to make… today was the one day that I had to “spoil the surprise” because I won’t be home most of the day tomorrow… and I probably won’t have time to post a review on the morning of the 20th, so I had to open this package late on the 19th.

But, since it is about 11:30 pm Pacific time as I write this, I guess I could argue that it IS the 20th somewhere.  Right?

Ah… the sacrifices one must make when they review teas!

The tea of the day for December 20th is …

BANANA PEACH

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  52Teas

Product Description:

…like a banana peach flavored green tea with real no-sugar-added dried banana and peach pieces. Think of it like tea with a hint of cool refreshing fruit smoothie added in. Enjoy!

Taster’s Review:

I can’t believe that I haven’t yet written a review for this tea!  I’ve had this tea for quite a while now, and it just may be my favorite from 52Teas.  Before I tasted this tea, my favorite was Chelsea’s Chocolate Banana Rooibos, but, I do believe that this one has taken the number 1 spot.

In fact, shortly after I tried this tea (and instantly fell in love with it), I bought the rest of what 52Teas showed as in stock so that I wouldn’t run out of it.  I thought that like so many of their blends, this one would be a limited edition.  I still have plenty of this tea on hand, and now that it is part of 52Teas permanent collection, I guess I needn’t hoard it.  Life is short – we should enjoy the teas we love most more often!

The flavor of this tea is just perfect.  The Chinese Sencha green tea is lush and sweet.  It has a buttery essence to it that can be experienced both in the taste and the mouthfeel, and since there is very little astringency to this tea, I can enjoy that buttery essence well into the aftertaste.

The union of flavors works so well in this cup.  The fruit flavors are sweet and remind me a bit of fruit nectar sans the pulpy texture!  I can taste the banana flavor just a little stronger than the peach, but I think that both compliment each other very well.  When combined with the fresh green tea base, it becomes a delicious, fruity treat; it is very much like tea with a hint of smoothie!

This is absolutely delightful!

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Wuyi Rock Oolong from Shanti Tea

Tea Type: Oolong

Where To Buy: Shanti Tea

Product Description:

One of the purest teas available on the world market.

Organic Wuyi Rock Oolong is one of the purest teas available on the world market. This rare oolong hails from Mount Wuyi in Nanping Prefecture, Fujian, up along the border of Jiangxi Province. In 1999, UNESCO listed the mountain as a World Heritage Site in part owing to its outstanding biodiversity. According to the UN, Mount Wuyi is one of the world’s finest, intact, subtropical forests. Further complimenting the region’s reputation, Mount Wuyi is registered with the Chinese government as a biodiversity conservation zone. The climate of the region is relatively humid due to the fact that the mountain prevents cool air from entering the valley, and the presence of the 9 Bend River meandering through its valleys. Living with this subtropical paradise is an almost unaccountable number of species of flora and fauna. Many of the plan species living on the mountain are considered relics of a bygone age, no longer found anywhere else on the planet. In amongst this jewel of biodiversity grows the world famous organic rock tea. The tea bushes, like many other plant species, are ancient, having grown amongst the mountain’s rocky outcroppings for generations. Cultivation of the plants is almost impossible given the topography, so exceptional care is taken when handling and plucking the fresh tea shoots. The harvesters typically wear light cotton gloves when handling the leaves, which are harvested in small quantities so as not to tire the bushes. The fresh leaf is then allowed to naturally semi-ferment. The resulting flavor is at once rich, delicate, and laden with floral nuance.

Tasters Review:

Right out of the envelop this smells nutty to me…much like almond, actually!  As if infuses it starts smelling more woodsy almost like a damp twig.

As for the taste…this is a hearty brew!  It’s quite masculine, woodsy, slightly peppery, and a little like roasted or toasted nuts!  It has a gentle-semi-sweet after taste to it too!

This is interesting, different, and pretty good!  Certainly a conversation piece – no matter which way you look at it.  As for me…I look at it with a smiling face!  This Oolong is very nice!

Lapsang Souchong from Enjoying Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Company Description:

Lapsang souchong is a special Chinese black tea. This tea produces a reddish hue liquor with a smooth crisp taste and a smoky aroma of pine wood fire. The lapsang souchong is considered to be heavy and overpowering by many.

The method of production for this tea is the following: The leaves are first withered over fires of pine wood. After pan-frying and rolling, they are presses into wooden barrels and covered with cloth to ferment until they give off a pleasant fragrance. The leaves are fired again and rolled into taut strips. Then they are placed in bamboo baskets and hung on wooden racks over smoking pine fires to dry and absorb the smoke flavor.

Taster’s Review:

I feel that I need to preface this review with this:  I am not a fan of Lapsang Souchong teas.  I am one of the “many” as depicted in the above review that find Lapsang Souchong tea to be “heavy and overpowering.”  The pine smoke aroma and taste is a bit overwhelming for my personal taste.   And because my first experience with a Lapsang Souchong was not a positive one, and since that time, I’ve steered myself clear of Lapsang Souchong teas.

That being said, I have learned since that first experience that not all teas are the same – including Lapsang Souchong teas! – and it’s not fair for me to now judge all Lapsang Souchong teas based on one bad experience years ago… I mean, who knows?  Perhaps my tastes have changed.  Perhaps that one Lapsang Souchong was not a good representation of all Lapsang Souchong teas.  I need to not allow myself to become confined based upon my opinions.  I need to experience things to make sure I truly dislike them… only then can I be sure.

So, summoning up all the courage I can muster, I brew myself a cup of this Lapsang Souchong from Enjoying Tea.  I awaken the tea leaves first, giving them a quick “rinse” (or pre-infusion) with boiling water for about 10 seconds before I steep the tea.

The flavor and aroma is quite smoky (no surprise there, this IS a Lapsang Souchong tea).  But I do think that the pre-rinse did help, because it’s not as smoky as I seem to remember Lapsang Souchong being.  I can smell the pine scent, it reminds me of the scent of the smoke when one burns pine needles.  It isn’t my favorite scent, but it isn’t unpleasant, either.

This is a very complex tea.  I can taste the smoky essence and the presence of the pine.  But beneath those rather heavy layers there is a nice (yes, I said NICE) and delicious (yes, delicious) caramel-y sweetness that complements the smoky and pine flavors well, and while it is still not my favorite tea, I can see what others love in this tea.  It is not as terrible as I once made it out to be.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t let your opinions you’ve formed years ago shape who you are now.  Be willing to try something new and out of your comfort zone, and you might find something rewarding when you do.   Trying this tea was way out of my own comfort zone but I am really very glad that I tried it because I got to taste that delicious caramel flavor to this tea and I now understand this tea just a little better.

Pure Black Tea/Ji Hong Men Tea from In Nature

Leaf Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: In Nature

Production Description:

Ji Hong Men

The best Black Tea in the market. Superior taste and aroma. One can drink at any time and even during meals. Unlike with most Chinese Teas, people will often add sugar and milk. It is also known as Red Tea (hong cha).

This tea brews to a reddish-brown colour with an exquisite rich soothing taste and aroma. An Hui region

Pack size: 50g

Servings: 50 cups or more. Full instructions on how to prepare the perfect cup of tea inside each box

Tasters Review:

Recently I received a shipment of tea from the UK.  I always LOVE getting tea from different countries!  In Nature or innteas.com has a very attractive website, great customer service with wonderful email correspondence, and their packaging is unique and very reminsicent of Nature and it has their Nature-Themed Feel to it.

The first tea I tried was their Pure Black Tea also known as Ji Hong Men.  At first I thought…oh…ANOTHER “Pure Black Tea’…BUT…this is NOT your average tasting black tea! This is fantastic! The taste is so full and so bold!

I’m truly amazed! It infused pretty dark and smells almost ‘baked’. The taste is a magnified black – not a bitter black but a cakey, bakey, chewy type black!

It’s very memorable and I am already telling my friends about it!

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