Mandarin Rooibos from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Mark T. Wendell

Product Description:

South African Rooibos herbal tea with mandarin orange flavor. It is an exotic twist on your favorite beverage. Easy to make into your favorite iced tea.

Taster’s Review:

On cold, gray days like this one, sunny tasting tisanes like this really make the day a little brighter.  This blend really lets the sun shine in!

The fresh, juicy flavor of mandarin oranges really goes well with the natural wood and nut flavor of rooibos.  The mandarin essence does not mask the natural flavors of the rooibos, it doesn’t need to!  That’s because somehow the natural flavor of the mandarin melds so well with the taste of the rooibos, creating a profile that is smooth, light and delicious.

This is a very refreshing blend.  I find this to be most inviting when it is iced, but it is also good hot.  It has a natural sweetness to it, so it doesn’t need additional sweetening, but I find it to be very agreeable with a small drizzle of raw honey.  I like the way the honey highlights the mandarin flavor.

Holiday Fruit & Spice Blend from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Mark T. Wendell

Product Description:

A blend of select black tea leaves with orange pieces, bits of cranberry, ginger and cinnamon. A winter season favorite that is now available year-round.

Tasters Review:

 

I know Anne already reviewed this one about 2 weeks ago but I figured since the timing is right – being the holidays and all – and because this exceeded my expectations – I thought I would write about it as well!

Holiday Fruit & Spice Blend from Mark T. Wendell is better than I thought it would be!   Sure, it smells just like you assume it would but this is a tasty flavored black tea…juicy cran and the spices are just-right!  The draw for me on this one – is that the spices seemed to have been Taylor-made just for me!  Okay…maybe not…JUST FOR ME…but the spice is done nicely and not over the top and the cranberry flavors are exceptional!

Cloud & Mist Tea from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Type: Green Tea

Where To Buy:  Mark T. Wendell

Product Description:
This tea is a unique find, deriving its name from the high altitude growing areas of the Wu Lu Mountains in the Jiangxi province of China. Grown in the gentle mountain clouds and prevalent mist, this tea consists of single bud and leaf sets that unfurl magnificently when brewed. The brewed liquor has a herbaceous aroma, a smooth and sweet taste and appears a modest yellow-green in the cup.

Tasters Review:

I assumed this would be grassier tasting based on the aroma but it has a wonderful Sweet-Buttery-Almond Type Taste to it-  with a little grassiness is the middle of the sip – but then ends smoother.  Smoother than I expected, too!

This is a good green tea!  For those of you who think green teas are grassy or mossy tasting and leave funky-floral aftertastes…give green another try if that is what turns you off on greens!  Cloud & Mist from Mark T. Wendell is different and very pleasing!

Plus…Cloud Mist Green Tea is one of China’s top ten teas.  Perhaps you’ve seen it by another name from other companies?

They sometimes go by Yun Wu Green Tea, Cloud and Mist Tea, Cloud and Mist Green Tea, Cloud Mist, Yun Wu Lu Cha, Lu Shan Yun Wu Green Tea, Mount Lu Cloud and Mist.  Regardless this is a nice, clean cuppa.  Very unique and refreshingly-sweet.

 

 

Holiday Fruit & Spice Blend from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where To Buy:  Mark T. Wendell

Company Description:

A blend of select black tea leaves with orange pieces, bits of cranberry, ginger and cinnamon. A winter season favorite that is now available year-round.

Taster’s Review:

Having recently tried Mark T. Wendell’s Autumn Cranberry blend, I was very curious to see how this one would differ from that tea.

While the two teas are both black teas flavored with cranberry, they are two very different teas.  Since I’ve already reviewed the Autumn Cranberry blend, I think I’ll just talk about the tea that I’m sipping right now:  Holiday Fruit & Spice!

The black tea base is brisk but not very aggressive.  It seems rather content to sit back in the background and just let the cranberry, orange and spices do their thing.  It is a mild yet very delicious black tea with a light-to-medium amount of astringency.

The cranberry and orange are very complimentary to each other here.  A light tartness from the cranberry and the sweet orange really come together well in this cup.  It tastes juicy, bright and delicious.

The spices here are not overwhelming or spicy.  Instead, they simply give the cranberry and orange a very seasonal kind of flair.  The spices add just a hint of warmth to the cup.  What this sort of reminds me of one of those spiced fruit punches that are served at holiday parties… you know what I’m talking about?  With the clove-encrusted orange slices floating on top?  It has that kind of spice level… not strong, just warm and very agreeable.

There is no bitterness to this tea.  I even brewed this and forgot to set the timer — I think it must have been brewing for well over 5 minutes before I rescued it!  But still, no bitterness.  Just very pleasant fruit and spice flavor.

After my initial taste, I decided to add a drizzle of honey to my cup.  It is plenty sweet without the honey, but I like the way the honey enhances the fruit and spice flavors.  This is a very nice cuppa – one that would be perfect to serve to friends and family at holiday gatherings!

Autumn Cranberry from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy:  Mark T. Wendell

Company Description:

A rich, whole-leaf black tea with cranberry pieces and flavoring. It is an exotic twist on your favorite beverage. Easy to make into your favorite iced tea.

Taster’s Review:

When I first received this tea, I thought it would be like a lot of other autumnal cranberry teas that I’ve tasted in the past.  Now, mind you, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, because I have quite enjoyed them.  But, I wasn’t prepared for something different!

And this is different – deliciously different!

The black tea is delicious and strong without being overpowering or bitter.  It has a very smooth, well-rounded flavor that is very satisfying.  It is full-bodied with a very pleasing taste and a light, drying astringency.  The tea is definitely the star of this show.

The cranberry, on the other hand, is more like the supporting actor.  It has a very nice berry taste that is neither too sweet nor too tart. Delicious!

But what makes this tea so surprisingly different is the floral notes!  When I saw some rose petals tossed in the blend, I suspected that they were there merely for aesthetics, but, I can taste the rose, and it is very nice!  It adds a very enjoyable charm to this already delicious tea.  I also like that the sharp, sweet tones of the rose curb the sometimes too tart taste of the cranberry.  It’s a very harmonious union.

This is really a delicious tea.  If you like cranberries I would recommend trying this one.  I would also recommend this to the rose tea enthusiasts out there!

While this is delicious hot or cold, I recommend it hot – especially for this time of year.  It’s so comforting!

 

Triple Cup Green Tea from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Type: Green Tea

Where To Buy: Mark T. Wendell

Product Description: This rich, green tea is grown in the mountains of China’s famous Zhejiang tea region. The small and tender curled leaves brew a golden colored cup that is full of classic green tea flavor. Due to its unique character, our Triple Cup green tea can be infused several times before the flavor fades.

Tasters Review:

It’s often that I ‘think’ I know what a tea is going to taste like and it ends up tasting completely different than I thought it would.  Believe it or not…I LIKE it when this happens!  I like being wrong!  I enjoy being surprised.  I think it’s wonderful when teas aren’t stereotypical.  This is one of those teas.

Triple Cup Green Tea from Mark T. Wendell tastes much like a ‘precious eyebrow’ type but MUCH better!  It has a slight vegetal aftertaste.  What I was thinking it was going to taste like was a very strong grassy-green but it has a very unique and pleasant taste.  One that I have never encountered in another green tea.

This smells almost slightly chewy for a green.

Another neat thing about this tea is that it’s a grey-green leaf when dry but when infused it brightens up to a REALLY vibrant green color…much like when you blanch a green vegetable…like Broccoli for example…and it comes out EXTREMELY bright green…VERY neat leaf color!

This is a very good, solid green and I like it!

Spiced Masala Chai from Mark T. Wendell

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mark T. Wendell

Company Description:

We are pleased to offer this uplifting, full-bodied blend of India black tea with masala, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and cardamom. A traditional Indian offering that is often served with plenty of milk to create a delicious, spicy Chai.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m quite biased when it comes to masala chai blends.  That being said, this is a delicious masala chai, and I’m really enjoying it.

Although the ingredient list for this tea seems somewhat simple compared to some other masala chai blends, it has a very nice balance of flavors.  This skillful blend of cinnamon, ginger and cardamom is very much in harmony – it is not too spicy, it is not too hot from the cinnamon, it is not too peppery from the ginger, nor is it too zesty from the cardamom.  Each of these ingredients is present and accounted for in the flavor presentation, and there is no power struggle to overwhelm the cup.

I suspect the addition of vanilla to this blend has something to do with this harmonious flavor.  It has a very enjoyable smoothness to it – a hint of creamy sweetness.  It, too, is not an overpowering flavor; rather, it is very subtle.

The black tea base is also noteworthy in this blend, it provides an even flavor and texture that is not too mellow – it has a pleasant briskness to it that offers a nice contrast to the warm spices and smooth vanilla taste.

I would recommend this to the tea drinker looking for a chai that is not overwhelmingly spicy.  While I enjoyed my cup of this hot with just a little honey (come on, you’ve gotta have honey with your chai, right?) as my cup cooled I noticed that the flavors stood strong – making this an excellent choice for iced masala chai.  I’ve also enjoyed this chai as a latte, and it’s so good!  While the steamed milk does mute the spices slightly, the milk does bring out the vanilla and elevates this tea to a very creamy, decadent treat!

Victorian Afternoon from Mark T. Wendell Tea Company

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Mark T. Wendell Tea Company

Company Description:

Created over 15 years ago and previously sold as a private label blend for the Elizabethan Club of Yale University, we are pleased to offer this original black tea blend to our customers as our Victorian Afternoon tea blend. This vibrant blend of Indian, Sri Lankan and Formosan teas is further complemented by a slightly smoky character. It yields a dark, reddish cup with a sparkling liquor when brewed.

Taster’s Review:

I am not a big fan of smoky teas.   I never have been.  A slight smoky note in a tea is an agreeable flavor to my palate, but when a tea possesses a very heavily smoked essence… I’m probably going to be hesitant (and that’s putting it mildly) to try it.

So when I open a package of tea and am greeted with a strong smoky aroma, I’m not really excited.  Again, that’s putting it mildly.

When I opened the package of this Victorian Afternoon from Mark T. Wendell… I was not really excited.  I could smell the smoke.  I contemplated putting it away and not giving it a fair try.

But I didn’t do that.

Instead, I measured the tea into my smart brewing device, and heated the water.  Before steeping it, I poured in some boiling water to give it a 15 second rinse, strained the tea, and then I began steeping.

“I’m going to try it before I decide I don’t like it,” I said to myself – kind of like a little pep talk.  After all, isn’t that what I tell my kids?  “How do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never even tried it?”

The brewed liquor still smells smoky even after the rinse, but it is not an overwhelming smoky note.

Not bad!  Not at all!  Yes, it’s smoky, and a bit stronger than that “slight smoky note” that I mentioned previously.  I actually LIKE the smoky note here.  There is a burnt sugar/caramel-like taste that follows the smoky flavor, and it’s really quite delicious.

This tea is strong, sweet, and smoky.  And, it’s good.

Hu Kwa Tea from Mark T. Wendell

Leaf Type: Black Tea

Where To Buy: Mark T. Wendell

Product Description:

This is a fairly heavily smoked Lapsong Souchong that smells wonderful and brews up beautifully. Named for a Chinese Tea Merchant.

Tasters Review:

I have been looking for a Lapsong Souchong JUST LIKE THIS! I FINALLY FOUND IT! Yes, it’s true…I have had a strange relationship with Smoky Teas before now.  I confess the very first one was bagged from NUMI and I wasn’t impressed.  So much so that I ALMOST started saying I was not a Smoky Tea Fan.  I’m glad I continued to try additional smoky teas.  BUT…my bad luck didn’t stop there!  I must have tried a dozen smoky teas that I didn’t like or just found mediocre…nothing I was too excited about…UNTIL NOW…

I was looking for something with the strong smokey scent and was smoky to taste but didn’t have a funky after taste or too over the top while actually drinking it. I was also looking for one that didn’t taste like wood and was smooth. This Hu Kwa Tea from Mark T Wendell is it!  It just seems to have EVERYTHING I have been looking for in a smoky tea.

If you are one of those people who are the “more smoky tasting the better” this might not be strong enough in taste for you. At least the way I did it which was 1 to 1 and a half Tablespoons of loose leaf in 12-ounces of 190-200 degree water for 5 minutes.

Or if you are like me and searching for a smoky tea that works for your palate or haven’t had much luck with smoky teas in the past…try this one!  It just might be what you are searching for!

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