Ti Quan Yin Oolong with Fresh Ginger and Turkish Rose from Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Product Description:

Monkey-picked Tie Guan Yin oolong tea starts with a roasted-rice aroma and finishes with a fruity taste, blending beautifully with the refined Turkish rose and warm fresh ginger. These rolled leaves provide up to 4 infusions.

Taster’s Review:

Oh … WOW!  This tea is absolutely dreamy!  Like some sort of euphoric dream that’s been scented with roses and ginger and even a hint of smoke.  That’s not only what it smells like, it’s what it tastes like too!

It’s amazing!  The sip begins with an introduction from the rose.  It is a sweet and almost intoxicating rose flavor that is not bitter, it’s not even what I would consider to be sharp.  It is a distinct rose flavor, but, at the same time, it is unlike the rose flavors that I’ve experienced in teas before.

Shortly after your palate has become acquainted with the rose, a smooth yet smoky note from the Ti Quan Yin Oolong comes through and imparts its silky texture.  The smoky flavor is not at all off-putting, rather, it seems to unite perfectly with the rose and the ginger to create a complete flavor experience.

The ginger comes in next, and this is not a strong, peppery kind of ginger, but rather, an almost sweet note of warm spice.  It doesn’t taste hot or spicy, just mildly warm and enchanting.  The sip finishes with a slightly drying astringency, and the aftertaste lingers with the perfumed flavor of rose and whispers of ginger.

This tea is absolutely lovely.  Words cannot even begin to adequately describe just how lovely it truly is!  It is a tea that must be experienced to appreciate fully.  What a delight!

Nostalgia Dong Ding Oolong with Jasmine & Fresh Mint from Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Aftelier Perfumed Teas

Product Description:

Rich and complex charcoal-roasted Tung-Ting oolong tea produces a fruity aroma that is exquisite with the cool mint and rich jasmine. These rolled leaves provide up to 4 infusions.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is very interesting.

First of all, as a cup of this tea sits before me, it smells amazing.  Like intoxicatingly (I don’t know if that was a word before now, but it is one now!) amazing.   But with such an enchanting smell … I become a little apprehensive when it comes to taking a sip.  What if it’s too perfume-y?

After all, it is a perfumed tea.  That alone sort of indicates that it might come across as perfume-y tasting.

However, it doesn’t.  The perfume melds with the buttery creaminess of the Oolong tea to create one of the most unusual yet delightful teas I’ve tasted in a very long time.  The Oolong has a slightly roasted back note that seems to tie all the flavors together quite nicely.  It’s a very unified taste.

That is not to say that the jasmine is not strong, because it is.  It is quite strong (this tea is for jasmine lovers only!) and tastes very floral.  But it tastes like a natural floral flavor; not a chemical-y, artificial-tasting, lab-recreated perfume.

The mint is quite a bit more subtle, but the flavor of it develops as I continue to sip.  Similarly, the scent of the mint develops as I continue to smell the tea.  The first couple of times I could barely smell the mint, and now it is more prominent, although it is still not as strong as the jasmine.

I recommend brewing this in a gaiwan – using short steep times.  30 seconds (or less) for the first infusion; increase by 15 seconds for each subsequent infusion.  Any longer and you may wind up with a very strong jasmine taste.

If you love jasmine (and I do!) this tea is the ULTIMATE.  You really must try it!

Ginger Fresh from Herbal Republic

Ginger Diagram from Wikipedia

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Herbal Republic

Product Description:

A great ginger tea that’s an original ayurveda blend.

Contains lemongrass, ginger, citrus peels, liquorice, peppermint and pepper.

Taster’s Review:

This is a tea that scared me a little at first.  I love all the ingredients individually, and I love many of them in blends, but having tried at least one licorice and peppermint blend that I didn’t like (and, in fairness, I should mention that there is at least one that I can recall that I did enjoy), seeing that these two ingredients were on the list worried me a little.  I mean, I love licorice.  I love peppermint.  But together in one tisane?  I was skeptical.

The flavors here are all so very assertive, and yet the cup itself is not off-putting or overwhelming.  It is a strong yet tasty tisane.  I think that it is the assertiveness of the ingredients that really makes this flavor combination work!  I think that if there was an ingredient here that was a little less than assertive, it would be overwhelmed.  As it is, the flavors here are bright, strong and vibrant.

The ginger is the first flavor I taste, and I don’t know if that is because it’s the first flavor that I expect.  The ginger is nicely accented with the black pepper, and these two warm ingredients really spice things up nicely here.  The lemongrass seems to soften the edge of the ginger, giving the cup a sweet and somewhat creamy taste.  The citrus peels seem to enhance the lemon-y taste of the lemongrass just enough to make this a very pleasing, citrus-y tasting tisane.

Because of the strength of the ginger, citrus and black pepper, the licorice and peppermint don’t really have much of a chance to come off as repellent (and that is a VERY good thing!)  Instead, they act as highlight flavors, offering just enough of their distinctively zesty flavor to the cup when needed without overwhelming the balance of the cup.

This is a tisane I enjoyed much more than I thought I would.  It is smooth but with a lively, zippy flavor that really grabs my attention.  It is delicious and sweet and quite soothing after a spicy meal (I had some rather spicy tacos tonight!)  I am finding that this cup is just what I needed after that!

Patriot Tea (Daughters of the American Revolution)

Tea Type: Rooibos

Where To Buy: Local Coffee & Tea (Sip Locally)

Product Description:

This tea perfectly captures the essence of the Sara DeSoto chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This is the oldest non profit organization in the Sarasota located in historic Payne Park.

Early colonists learned about locally grown herbs from the Native Indians. These discoveries played an important role in the protest against taxes the British were placing on tea, which would eventually lead to the Boston Tea Party.

Daughters of the Revolution vowed to “drink tea made from weeds” instead of imported tea. Thankfully they chose herbs, fruits and flowers to make their tea and as a celebration of those early beverages we now present them to you in this beautiful tea!

A CERTIFIED ORGANIC Rooibos blended with lavender the “Herb of Harmony”, rosehip shells, dried red and black currants, rose petals and bilberries. Heady, perfumed lavender notes with a floral, fresh, fruity and mellow flavor. This is a very relaxing tea for consumption any time of day or night. Naturally caffeine-free.

20 to 25 cups of tea can be made from 2 oz of loose leaf rooibos. We also suggest steeping our Rooibos multiple times for even more cups of great tea.

Store in a dry place.

Tasters Review:

This is a juicy flavored rooibos. I can taste the elderberries and currants more than the floral ingredients but I certainly like that. The rosehips and floral notes are subtle and are a nice gentle touch.

This is nice hot but I am going to be trying it ICED soon because I think it will be even better iced!

Another draw to this tisane is the history behind it!  Not only the history – locally – and for their local DAR Chapter but the story behind Sara, herself!  I did some research and found the following about Sara…

The Spanish explorer, Hernando DeSoto, explored this part of Florida in 1539, and according to legend, he had his daughter Sara with him. Sara met and fell in love with a native warrior by the name of Chi Chi Okobe (pronounced Chee Chee Okobee). He was a member of the Calusa tribe, which inhabited this region at that time. Unfortunately, he contracted a fever and was gravely ill. Sara decided to remain with him and nurse him back to health, but she contracted the fever and she died. Chi Chi Okobe was grief-stricken at the loss of his love. He had her body buried out in the bay. He then sent 100 of his best warriors out to the spot where they chopped holes in the bottoms of their canoes and drowned themselves to protect her final resting place. According to the legend, when you see whitecaps on the waves in the bay, they are actually the feather headdresses of those native warriors still guarding her grave.

For more information about Daughters of the American Revolution see THIS Website.

For more info about Sarasota’s Chapter see THIS Website.

And for more information about Local Coffee & Tea’s Sarasota Collection of Teas – check this out!

Organic Fresh Green Yerba Maté from Maté Factor

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Yerba Maté

Where to Buy:  Maté Factor

Company Description:

100% Organic

Why Does Our Fresh Green Yerba Mate Tastes So Good?

We do not age our Yerba Mate: All other yerba mate sold in the USA is aged for 1-2 years before being packaged, according to cultural traditions from Paraguay, Uraguay and Argentina. However, in Brazil, mate is commonly prefered as fresh as possible. The Mate Factor prefers this style, since it preserves the life-giving nutrients and the fresh green taste.

Our Yerba Mate Process is an Art: We have spent years perfecting the “art” of creating delicately delicouse Yerba Mate. We have painstakingly learned the vast array of factors that control the final flavor and vibrance, in order to produce, The Mate Factor.

No Smoky Flavor: We dry our Mate; using an art we have developed that preserves the natural flavor and also keeps our original green flavor Mate tea free from smoke. This low heat process protects natural enzymes that exist in yerba mate.

100% Certified Organic: We use one hundred percent certified organic Yerba Mate, responsibly grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers, preserving the environment where our Mate is grown.

Ingredients: 100% Certified Organic Fresh Green Brazilian Yerba Mate;. (Never Smoked Never Aged)

Taster’s Review:

People can change!   Example:  If you would have asked me a week ago if I liked yerba maté, I would have responded with something like:  “I like yerba maté in some blends, and I like the roasted yerba maté, but I don’t really care for green yerba maté.”  This is the stance I’ve held on maté for many years now, ever since I first tried green maté.

Unflavored, unblended green yerba maté tends to be too earthy, vegetative and even somewhat smoky.  It was a lot of everything that I don’t really care for in tea – I like a little earthiness to a tea sometimes, but, I’m not crazy about an overtly earthy tea.  The same goes for vegetative and smoky qualities.  And… green yerba maté tends to be all of these things… and not enough of something else to keep my interest.

But… as I said at the start… people can change.  I LIKE this yerba maté!  And this is green yerba maté at its simplest – plain, unflavored, unblended green yerba maté – no fillers, flavors or other additives.

After reading the information from Maté Factor about this tea, I understand a little as to why my taste seems to have done a complete 180.  This is an unaged, unsmoked maté – just pure, dried leaf.  In it’s purest form like this – green yerba maté is actually quite delicious.

The flavor is light and rich.  It’s a little earthy and a bit rustic.  It has a fresh sweetness to it that is quite nice.  It tastes a little bit vegetative.  It’s really very pleasant and invigorating!

It is refreshing to find a tea that totally changes my ideas about it.  When I first received this tea, I was apprehensive.  But now, I know – there’s nothing to fear when it comes to yerba maté!  It’s delicious!

Fresh Green (Long Jin) from In Nature

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  In Nature

Company Description:

Long Jin tea is also known as Dragon Well and is often called the national drink of China. It is probably the most well known green tea produced in China.

When brewed, this green tea produces a yellow-green colour, giving off a distinct but subtle aroma with a great taste. It is incomparably better than the beverage produced from cheaper green tea bags.

Taster’s Review:

The flavor of this tea is so rich and pure.  It has a very clean, vegetative taste with no bitterness and a surprising amount of complexity – especially when one considers that this tea was brewed just 1 minute in a gaiwan!

The dry leaves are a bit smaller than I’m used to seeing when it comes to a Dragon Well.  As they unfurl, they reveal themselves to be tiny, young, WHOLE leaves that are just beautiful – almost breath-taking! – to behold.

The aroma is floral with grassy notes, and this translates into the flavor except that I wouldn’t really call the flavor grassy.  It is vegetative but not overwhelmingly so, and it’s more like a vegetable than a grass taste.  There are notes of flower, hints of fruit, and even a very subtle nutty quality.  The tea has a light astringency that gives a sense of continuity to the clean taste of the overall cup.

But the dominate flavor of this cup is the buttery taste of it.  No, it’s not like drinking a cup of melted butter, but the sweet, creamy butter taste of this tea is a fine compliment to the other notes of this pleasingly complex tea.

And this tea stands up to multiple infusions, too!  I managed five very flavorful infusions – each just as delicious as the one before it!  I am so thrilled that I had the opportunity to try this fine tea.

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