Foreign Affair from East Pacific Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  East Pacific Tea Co.

Product Description:

Our Foreign Affair blend features buds from flowers of the Provence region in France. This rooibos tea is the most deliciously aromatic combination currently offered.

Taster’s Review:

This rooibos blend is beautifully fragrant.  The dry leaf beacons me to brew it, while the brewed liquor beacons me to sip.  The lavender and rose perfume the tea so pleasantly, while the fruit notes come through to cut through some of the floral notes just enough so that the tea doesn’t become all about the flowers.

What I like best about this blend is that the flavor of the rooibos is quite subtle.  I can taste the rooibos, but only mere hints of a nutty, woodsy taste, and none of that weird sweetness that often comes from rooibos.  The rooibos here seems quite content to let the fruit and flowers do all the work – and that’s quite alright with me.

The lavender and rose are a delightful pairing.  Together, these two flowers give a slightly sweet, decidedly feminine taste to the cup.  It is not unpleasantly sharp or bitter.  The fruit flavors of blueberry, raisin, black currant and red currant offer a light tartness and just enough sweetness to the cup without going overboard.

The tea finishes soft and slightly tangy.  It is a pleasing contrast of flavors:  sweet and tart; fruit and flower.  And it makes for a refreshing, restorative tisane that is delicious any time of the day, but especially in the evening when you want to succumb to the relaxation it offers.

 

Gold Flake from East Pacific Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  East Pacific Tea Co.

Company Description:

This tea is a treasure from the Yunnan province of China. Since it is grown high up in the secluded mountains there are only limited quantities of this rich tea available each year.

Taster’s Review:

What a remarkable Yunnan!

All the flavors that I would normally expect in a high quality Yunnan are there – but each note is just a little better than I expected.  Am I contradicting myself?  Allow me to explain what I mean…

When you think of a black Yunnan tea, what immediately comes to mind?  For me, these qualities come to mind:  complex, full-bodied tea with a rich, bold flavor and deep notes of spice.

The spice notes are there, but somehow they seem more enhanced – spicier, perhaps?  Hints of pepper and even a slight nutty taste come through.  There is also notes of earth and wood to the cup.  Yes, this is a very interesting and complex cup of tea!

The flavor of this cup is indeed rich and bold; well-rounded with a fair amount of astringency that is drying and even a little bit starchy.  It has a sweetness to it that reminds me of sweet potato.

What a beautiful Yunnan – every bit as beautiful as a flake of gold!

Soul Vacation from East Pacific Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  East Pacific Tea Co.

Company Description:

Delicious Formosan from the Taiwanese County of Nantao. This tea is tender on the taste buds with a slight scent of citrus on the nose. By speeding up the metabolism, this oolong tea is a great addition to any diet.

Taster’s Review:

My adoration of Oolong has been well documented by now with all the praises I sing of it here and elsewhere.  This tea is the perfect illustration of why I love Oolong so much.

The tiny green pellets are tightly rolled, and they are slow to open – bringing me many infusions of joy from just one measurement of leaves.  The aroma that they release is slightly citrus and slightly vegetal, a bit like the scent you might experience after squeezing a bit of orange or lemon over asparagus.

This fragrance translates very softly into the flavor – there is a definite citrus-y note to the flavor, however it is not so distinctive that I can tell you which citrus fruit I taste, exactly.  Perhaps a medley of orange, tangerine and lime?  There is a slight tartness, but overall, the flavor is decidedly that of sweet citrus.

The body is smooth and silky – leaving a very pleasant feeling over the palate as I sip.  Not quite as thick as some Oolongs I’ve experienced, but, very velvet-y, nonetheless.  There is also a vegetative flavor to the cup.  It isn’t a strong vegetable flavor nor is it grassy; it’s just a wee little hint at a vegetative quality.

I prefer this tea hot, and that’s how I’d recommend that you drink it.  Of course, you don’t have to take that recommendation, but you’d be missing out on the many subtle nuances of flavor that this tea has to offer if you don’t.  The naturally sweet nature of this tea needs no additional sweetening, and I fear it would upset the lovely balance of flavors of this tea if sugar or something else sweet was added… however, if you’d like to emphasize the citrus tones of this tea, a teensy squeeze of orange might be am enjoyable addition.

This tea is truly a Soul Vacation!  It tastes so luxurious and it is positively relaxing to sip… and even to brew.  Try brewing it in a glass vessel so that you can enjoy the showy display of the leaves slowly unfurling.  Lovely!

Bengal Beauty from East Pacific Tea Co.

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  White Darjeeling

Where to Buy:  East Pacific Tea Co.

Company Description:

A delightful Darjeeling from the rich soils of the Indian mountains. The subtle taste and delicate scent of this rare tea makes it one of India’s best kept secrets.

Taster’s Review:

This is a most unusual Darjeeling.  And when I say unusual, I mean that in the very best way possible.  This tea is sublime!

I don’t recall ever encountering a Darjeeling tea that was categorized as a white leaf.  The dry leaves themselves are very unusual, and at first glance I would have never guessed that these were Darjeeling tea leaves.  Some variation of golden Yunnan, perhaps.  Or maybe some twisted variation of the Silver Needle.  The leaves possess the green/brown color like a Darjeeling, but the colors are much lighter than usual, and they have tips – silvery, fuzzy tips!

But the taste – oh yes!  That is Darjeeling!  A delicious, delightful Darjeeling.

The flavor is light, crisp and refreshing.  These are all typical traits of a good quality Darjeeling tea, but, this one is just a little lighter.  Just a little crisper.  Just a little more refreshing.  It’s very lovely, indeed.

The muscatel that Darjeeling lovers look for is there, too.  It is a pleasant musky, almost wine/grape-like flavor.   This tea possesses an earthy nature that is woodsy but not rustic.  There are floral notes as well, with a hint of fruit that lingers in the background.   It is beautifully complex and seems to sparkle on the palate.

Darjeeling is a tea that I prefer hot because I feel like the flavors and the complex layers are better enjoyed when the tea is hot.  As the tea cools, those layers of flavors become somewhat muddied and dull, and much of that complexity is lost.  It is also a tea that is best served straight with no milk or sugar.  It has its own pleasant sweetness that would be overwhelmed by the addition of anything else… although sometimes a very thin slice of lemon is quite nice and brings out some of the fruitier notes of this tea.

This is one of the finest Darjeeling teas that I’ve ever tried, and one I would recommend to all tea lovers, especially those who are curious about learning more about Darjeeling teas.  The subtle nature of this tea would be a nice way to introduce some of the unique characteristics of a Darjeeling tea.  And if you’re a Darjeeling aficionado like me, you’re in for a treat with this tea.  It’s an absolute MUST  TRY.

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