Jasmine Oolong Tea from Enjoying Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Product Description:

Jasmine Oolong is a favorite beverage for all seasons. It produces a pale yellowish brew with a rich and distinctive flavor expertly infused with the sweet, delicate fragrance of fresh summer jasmine. The tea has a very light and subtle jasmine flavor.

Taster’s Review:

I love this Jasmine Oolong!  It is wonderful!

The Oolong tea is light in flavor with a smooth, silky mouthfeel.  Just slightly vegetative but with very little buttery taste that is often associated with the greener Oolong varieties.  It has a hint of fruity taste as well, just barely there, lingering in the background.

There is a light astringency to it that seems to wash over the mouthfeel just enough so that it doesn’t impart a slick feeling in the finish.  The aftertaste is lightly floral.

The jasmine is so beautifully delicate in this cup.  It doesn’t overwhelm the palate and it isn’t too sweet or too sharp… a pleasant balance of characteristics to this jasmine, and I like that it doesn’t interfere with the complexity of the Oolong.

I steeped this in a gaiwan – steeping just 45 seconds for the first steep, and increasing the time by 15 seconds for each subsequent infusion.  I managed eight very flavorful infusions this way.  The sumptuous flavor is so comforting and delightful!

This is a tea I’d recommend to those who wish to explore jasmine but find some of the green jasmine teas to be a bit too sharp or overwhelming.  This jasmine may just be the perfect jasmine for you!

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Oolong from Enjoying Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Product Description:

This oolong tea offers a smooth roasted nutty flavor and has a sweet lingering aftertaste. The Chinese traditionally treasure the slimming effects of this tea.

Taster’s Review:

The picture of the tea bag package above looks different from the packaging that I have of this tea, however, of the bagged Oolong teas on Enjoying Tea’s website, the above description (that accompanies the above photo) matches this tea’s characteristics best.

As a rule, I tend to be highly skeptical of any Oolong that is in a tea bag.  Oolong teas – more so than any other tea, in my opinion – need room when they brew, and most commercially processed tea bags just don’t offer that kind of space.  So, to say that I was skeptical when I first tasted this Oolong several months ago is putting it lightly.

But, this is actually really good.

The flavor is nutty and sweet and it reminds me of the type of Oolong tea I might enjoy in a nice Asian restaurant.  It has light floral tones in the background and a somewhat fruity note that hits about mid sip.  The sweetness of this tea lingers through the astringent-free finish.

This doesn’t have the same complexity as most loose leaf Oolong teas and whether that has something to do with the fact that this is a bagged tea, I don’t know, but I believe it does.

As an Oolong enthusiast, I prefer a more complex Oolong when I’m sipping tea for tea enjoyment, but this is my Oolong of choice to serve along with my meals, because it has such a pleasant and mild flavor that does not interfere with the flavors of my food, but rather enhances my experience.  A more complex Oolong would be distracting.  So, it’s quite nice to have both on hand depending upon the occasion.

Indian Mocha Chai from EnoyingTea.com

Tea Type: Chai Tea (Black Tea)

Where To Buy: EnjoyingTea.com

Product Description:

This Sri Lankan Chai is made from Indian spices and high-grown Ceylon tea with natural cherry and chocolate flavors. The combination of ingredients gives this tea the depth and character of those served in Chai stands prevalent in India and Sri Lanka. This tea has a superb body with mellow Indian spice notes and overtones of mocha. When brewed this chai is coppery and bright in color and is wonderful served with milk.

Tasters Review:

I was pleasantly surprised with this one…it was mellower that I expected and I am grateful for that.  I was thinking it was going to be all-spice…and nothing more but it was part cocoa and and partially spicy-E but full and a nice black chai.

I have spent 3 nice sit-downs with this chai and it is one that has made it to my favorites list.  Mostly because it is different than most of the chai I have tasted thus far.

Another reason I like this is because it’s from EnjoyingTea.com and I have tried several of their teas and think this is one of the many that have stood out to me.  Another reason I like EnjoyingTea.com is because their shipping is extremely reasonable – it’s a flat rate shipping fee of just $3.98 and if you buy $60 or more…it’s FREE.  They will also send you some free tea with the purchase of a tea pot or tea set!  AND they will even send you a FREE Tea Cup with the purchase of loose leaf tea(s) over $80!

They are a very giving company and have a nice selection as well as offer some unique tastes that I haven’t found elsewhere!

Wild Bitter Tea (Tianshan Lushui) from Enjoying Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Company Description:

This is a rare and expensive tea grown in Zhejiang province. In Chinese medical journals the Tianshan Lushui is known to lower cholesterols and help with weight loss. This tea produces a green color liquid. The better its quality is, the greener the color. This tea has traditionally been used as a diet tea in palaces by the empress and princesses of ancient China. Because this tea is very concentrated, we suggest using one teaspoon of tealeaves for every 500ml of water.

Taster’s Review:

These tiny leaves are so much fun to watch as they brew.  When I first watched them, the first thought that came into my head is that this is “instant gratification for tea watchers” – because it unfurls much like a gunpowder or pearl, but much faster.  It is kind of like watching a gunpowder tea unfurl in fast forward.

I was a little afraid to taste this tea, to be honest.  When the name of the tea is “bitter” – I get a little worried.  But, really, this is “bitter” in a good way.  Kind of like dandelion greens.  And that is a really good description of this tea, because when they unfurl, the damp leaves look like baby dandelion greens!  Really tiny, baby dandelion greens!

This is actually quite good.  It has a savory quality that I’m finding very rewarding.  The key is to not over brew it, I found that with a short brew time (I brewed it for about 1 1/2 minutes in hot but not boiling water) the flavor is lightly bitter, with an interesting sweet background note.  It’s a very crisp, bright, herbal taste that I’m finding rather energizing.  Vibrant!

I also recommend not using too much leaf when you brew this, because the flavor is quite intense.  Too much leaf will result in a cup that is quite bitter, and because the bitter is so overwhelming, it is difficult to enjoy the other flavors that this tea possesses.   A lighter infusion allows the many dimensions of this leaf to come alive in the teacup!

By now, you might be wondering what “Tianshan Lushui” is – is it a tea (as in Camellia Sinensis) or is it something else?  Well, I was not entirely sure if it came from the Camellia Sinensis plant, so I contacted Enjoying Tea for more information.  I was very impressed with the speed in which they responded!

They informed me that it is in fact an herb and not from the Camellia Sinensis plant.  I also did a little research of my own, and found that this herb is also often called “small-leaf bitter tea.”  It is often utilized to help cool the body temperature, as well as help to lower cholesterol and improve blood circulation.  It’s also supposed to be good for the skin!  So while it’s not a true tea, it is a tasty herb and very good for you!  Cheers!

Lemon Grass from Enjoying Tea

Lemongrass Plant - Photo from Wikipedia

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Company Description:

This perennial herb, native to Southeast Asia is noted for its lemony scent and ginger undertones. In Thailand, lemongrass is believed to calm the nerves and restore the spirit. The lemony flavor of lemongrass is used to flavor everything from curry to Thai milk shakes. Lemongrass is delicious brewed on its own or enjoyed with your favorite tea.

Taster’s Review:

This Lemon Grass has such a pleasant, bright flavor.  Like the name of this herb suggests, it has a lemony taste – but what I like about lemongrass over a lemon is that lemongrass doesn’t have the same tangy/tart/pucker-ish character of a lemon.  Instead, it is like the sweeter side of a lemon – fresh, vibrant, and appealing.  It also has a delicate buttery taste to it that I really like.

Over the past few months, I have really become a fan of this lemongrass from Enjoying Tea.  It has that light, lemony flavor that I really enjoy.  It is soothing when I have a sore throat; restorative when I feel drained; and refreshing when I want a hot beverage but desire something a little lighter than tea.  It also blends so well with other teas – I like to add a little to unflavored white tea or honeybush for a little extra flavor.

Lemongrass is also excellent served hot or iced.  I especially like it hot on chilly evenings.  It is naturally caffeine free and very uplifting.  For an extra treat, try adding just a little candied ginger to the brewed lemongrass – it sweetens it just a little bit and accents the natural ginger-like undertones of the lemongrass.  Delicious!

Spearmint from Enjoying Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Company Description:

This wonderful field grown and sun-dried spearmint is from Washington State. Spearmint is highly appreciated for its digestive properties and its ability to relieve nausea. It’s often used to help relieve headaches and tension. Use spearmint to add a kick to your favorite tea!

Taster’s Review:

I really don’t drink a lot of herbal teas.  I prefer teas with Camellia Sinensis (the tree from which tea leaves are harvested) rather than herbal tisanes, but later in the evening, I really like to sip on a “tea” – but I don’t really want all that caffeine keeping me up all night.   That’s when I usually turn to herbal teas.

And, sometimes, it’s nice to wind down after a long (and spicy!) day with something fresh and pure like this Spearmint.  Spearmint is often used to help with digestive discomfort, so it’s especially good after eating something spicy (tonight we had tacos!)  Plus … it leaves the mouth feeling minty fresh – a nice bonus.

This is pure Spearmint from Washington State (which is where I live), and the taste is crisp and clean.  It has a natural sweetness to it – so it doesn’t need any sweetener.   It doesn’t taste medicine-y or like mouthwash – it tastes light and refreshing.

Not something that I drink all the time… but I’m really enjoying it right now!  It is also a great “tea” to keep on hand, because it makes a great addition to other teas should you wish to “kick it up a notch” (to borrow a catch phrase from a well-known chef).  I especially like to add a little Spearmint to plain, organic honeybush for a minty, sweet, late-night treat!

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.

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