Chrysanthemum Tuocha from The Tao of Tea

Tea Type: Pu-erh

Where To Buy: The Tao of Tea

Product Description:
(I was unable to locate a product description but wanted to share with you a little something I found in Tao of Tea’s ABOUT US Section on their website)

Love for Tea
I started The Tao of Tea with a love for the leaf. While travelling with my family in the Himalayan mountains of India in 1997, I dreamed about the possibilities that tea offered. For me, it started a journey into the essence that it exudes and the cultures it connects. The dream evolved into a business and the love grew even more. My travels to the source, friendships with tea people and living with wellness have been very rewarding. Over the years, I have been fortunate to be joined with people that share a similar love and philosophy about tea. Our commonality is based on recognizing the purity in the leaf, the surroundings it grows in and the people who nurture it. It has become the purpose of our company.

Veerinder Chawla

Tasters Review:

I’ve had good luck with The Tao of Tea’s Pu-erhs so far and thought I would share my findings on their Chrysanthemum Tuocha today!

The 1st infusion is somewhat light in color and smells like a lighter-scented pu-erh.  It tastes like a lighter black plain tea.

The 2nd infusion is darker in color and in aroma.  It smells like pu-erh but with a little floral aroma as well.  It tastes quite good…both hot and cold. It tastes like a medium flavored black tea with a slight sweet-floral taste.

The 3rd infusion is tremendously dark and  smells more like your stereotypical pu-erh.  It’s bolder in flavor and almost coffee-like…in taste.

As for the 4th infusion it was still very dark in color and in flavor.  It tastes more pu-erhy now and  more like a muddy/earthy/wormy type.

Overall I did enjoy this tuocha and have found most if not all of the Tao of Tea TEAs I have tried to be very tasty and intriguing!

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500 Mile Chai from The Tao of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Chai is an integral part of life in India and simply translates to ‘Tea’ in Hindi. Calling it ‘Chai tea’ is considered redundant. In India, ‘Chaiwallahs’ (tea vendors) are present at street corners brewing basic black tea with spices.

500 Mile Chai
The tale of ‘500 Mile Chai’ originates from the many late night truck drivers stopping at small Chai stands ‘Dhabas’ on the highway and asking for really strong, sweet Chai to help them drive long distances (in a humorous tone – “for another 500 miles”).

Taster’s Review:

This is a good chai – and it is quite different from many other chai blends that I have tried.  In many other blends, it seems as though the emphasis is on the spices, and it can be sometimes difficult to discern the flavor of the tea base amid the stronghold of the spices.

But here, the black tea base is strong and solid!  There is some real power to this black tea.  I suspect it is an Assam due to its malty tone, and to the fact that when it is steeped too long, it gets just a little too bitter (care to guess how I know that?)

When steeped for the right amount of time, however, this is a delicious tea.  I found that 3 to 3 1/2 minutes is just right for me.  When I got to four, the tea verged upon bitterness, but at 3 1/2 the tea tasted just perfect.  I did not steep this using the chai “stovetop” method (steeping in simmering milk on the stove) because as I’ve attested to in previous reviews, I try to avoid this method whenever possible.  Too messy!

So, instead, I steeped for 3 1/2 minutes in boiling water.  I tried this latte style (steeping at a stronger concentration and serving with steamed milk) and without the milk, and while I prefer it latte, it is quite delicious either way.  I do recommend a little honey or agave nectar though to help bring out the richness of the spices.

The flavor of the cup is bold and well-spiced.  Invigorating!  The blend of spices is well-balanced.  In some blends, the ginger or cinnamon is overwhelming and can cancel out some of the notes of the cardamom and cloves, but here, each one of these spices is nicely represented without one stealing the show.

This is DEFINITELY strong enough to keep you going another 500 miles!

Rose Tuocha from Tao of Tea

Tea Type: Pu-Erh

Where To Buy: Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Origin: Southern Yunnan, China

Introduction: The Tuocha refers to a family of bowl shaped teas, commonly available as Green tea Tuocha, Black tea Tuocha and Puer (aged) Tuocha. More recently, Tuochas have also become commonly available by compressing the tea leaves and flowers together, or by heat infusing them together. In making the Rose Tuocha, more mature leaves of the tea plant are selected in summer, sun-dried, steamed, oxidized to turn dark, then compressed along with rose petals into small bowls. Wrapped with paper, the Rose Tuocha are an ideal size (3 grams) for individual serving.

Flavor Profile: Sweet, smooth, very mild rose flavor with little astringency.

Tasters Review:

I decided to do an infusion test with this tuocha!  Here are my findings:

The 1st infusion was incredibly smooth with slight rose aroma and flavors.  It reminded me of the aroma of Seitan/Vegan Bacon! Before infusing.  The taste is VERY good…VERY smooth and almost sweet!   An awesome Pu-erh!

2nd infusion was completely different from the first…still good tho!
It’s darker in color (I could have over infused) and bolder taste-wise.
Not as sweet….more woodsy…I can also taste more of a floral rose too.  It’s Malty yet smooth!

3rd infusion was still dark in color a little more wormy/woodsy and less sweet but more floral. There is a hint of something fruity…perhaps plum?
Not as malty – not as smooth but still strong!

4th infusion smells more like a plain black tea now…still dark in color…about the same darkness as before.  There is a stronger fruit-like flavor…I’m thinking raisin, plum, maybe a berry of some sort…OH! Maybe Strawberry…yeah!  It’s like if you were to take plums, strawberry, and raisins and create a hybrid fruit! This is very interesting and the sweetness has come back in full force!

I was going to stop with this infusion and switch teas but not I am wondering what the next infusion will bring! 🙂

5th infusion is much lighter in color.  It has a Hay-Like Aroma.  The taste is a paler strawberry and plum combo but a little bit of the sweetness returned!

I really like this infusion for the smoother and sweeter yet fruity notes! Still a good cuppa!

 

Black Spiral from The Tao of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Introduction: Black Spiral is a malty, gold leaf black tea from one of the main tea growing regions of China.

Black Spiral Varietal
Representing some of the smoothest black teas from Hunan, Black Spiral is notable for its prominent gold tips. Only certain tea plant varietals have the characteristic to transition into the gold color during leaf processing. Golden colored leaves generally provide a more honey-like texture to the brew.

Flavor Profile: Very buttery texture similar to honey, malty and full-bodied, with roasted undertones and hints of sweet potatoes.
Ingredients: 100% Organic Black Tea Leaves.

Taster’s Review:

This tea is AWESOME!   The Tao of Tea is nothing less than SPECTACULAR when it comes to excellence in teas.  These beautiful little Black Spirals are the perfect example of why they are so excellent!

I have to say that The Tao of Tea is pretty spot-on when it comes to the flavor profile (in the above description from their website), but more on that in a few moments.  First I want to describe the aroma for you, because I like to make it a practice of deeply inhaling a tea before I take a sip, I find that this greatly enhances the tasting experience since it’s all related.

There is a deep, sweet scent to this tea that is like warm, toasty caramel.  It’s very autumnal to me, like the crisp air and the autumn leaves.  Perhaps a hint of spice.  Not a lot.  Just a note or two to make your thoughts turn to the lovely warmth of a cozy hearth.

Yeah… all that from just the fragrance of this tea!

The flavor is equally as amazing.  It is incredibly well-rounded with a very smooth and creamy texture to it that is uncommon for a black tea.  Uncommon – but definitely well received.  The taste is slightly sweet with notes of burnt sugar caramel and subtle hints of honey.

It has a lovely malty character to it that melds nicely with the aforementioned sweetness.  There is a delicious nutty taste to the cup, and I must again agree with the description from The Tao of Tea – it does have mellow notes of sweet potato.  Like roasted sweet potato (which is my favorite way to serve sweet potatoes!) that has been caramelized from the high heat of the oven.  Sweet and rich and absolutely fantastic!

It is a beautifully complex, delicious black tea.  I highly recommend steeping these leaves a second time.  The second infusion is just as lovely as the first.  It does lose a little of its strength the second time around, but the flavors are all intact.  Delicious!

This is one tea that you’ll want to keep on hand for those special times when you want to have something simply amazing (and this is simply amazing!)  It’s the kind of tea you’d want to serve to guests you wish to impress (and impress them, it would).  However, don’t be surprised if you find yourself thinking twice about serving it to someone else, because a small part of you may just want to keep all this goodness for yourself!

Osmanthus Oolong from Tao of Tea

Tea Type: Oolong

Where To Buy: Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Native Name: Gui Hua Oolong

Origin: Guangdong, China

Introduction: Located in the northern part of Chaozhou, close to Guangdong’s border with Fujian Province, Phoenix Mountain is famous for its large, old growth tea trees and distinctive Fenghuang Dancong (Phoenix Select) Oolong tea. It is the highest peak in eastern Guangdong and the indigenous home of the She Ethnic Minority.

Gui Hua
Gui Hua (“gway hwah”) is the Chinese name for the fragrant osmanthus flower, which blossoms in the Phoenix Mountain area during tea season and is used in scenting this oolong.

Chaozhou Tea Culture
Chaozhou is the birthplace for the art of “Gongfu Cha”, the method used for brewing oolong tea throughout southeast China and Taiwan. Large amounts of leaf are skillfully brewed in a small teapot and the fragrant liquor sipped from tiny, thimble-sized cups.

Osmanthus Scenting
After plucking and withering, the tea is rolled sideways and pan-fired creating long, gently twisted, Fenghuang Dancong style leaf. In the final stages of processing, the leaves are baked with fresh osmanthus blossoms “heat-infusing” the tea with the flower’s fragrant essential oils.

Flavor Profile: A light, bright, sweet flavor and a fruity, floral aroma with hints of apple and apricot.

Ingredients: Oolong Tea Leaves.

Brewing Suggestions
180°F-200°F
1tsp/8oz
4minutes

Tasters Review:

This is AMAZING! Truly AMAZING!

Osmanthus Oolong from Tao of Tea smells floral but it also smells sweet, sugary, and fruity…almost like a combination of Apricots, Apples, and Grapes! I simply LOVE the aroma of this!

There is a smooth-sweet taste and gentle floral notes on the tongue.  It has a nice nutty/buttery aftertaste that makes me crave more!

This is a wonderful Oolong!

 

Pitta-Dosha from The Tao of Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  The Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Introduction: In Ayurvedic principles, Pitta is the fire element. It is the energy needed for metabolism and heat in the body. Pitta regulates digestion, absorption and promotes balance in vitality and appetite. It is the alert, logical and intelligent aspect of the self.

A Pitta imbalance can have some of the following indicators: generally feel warm, low tolerance to hot weather, prone to inflammatory conditions such as acne, rashes or heartburn, an overly competitive, aggressive or perfectionist nature. When Pitta is in balance digestion and metabolism are strong. You feel alert, focused and at a comfortable body temperature.

Our Ayurvedic Pitta herbal tea can help restore balance to your Pitta energy with cooling flowers and mint.

Taster’s Review:

This tea worried me a little bit.  When I first opened the tin, I could see the hibiscus, and I am not particularly fond of hibiscus.  When I brewed the tisane, I could see the deep, ruby red color of the hibiscus.  I was very worried.

But, I took a sip anyway.  And you know what?  This is actually pretty good!  The hibiscus adds the color and body, but not so much of its signature tartness.  That is not to say I can’t taste the hibiscus, because I can, but what I’m not experiencing is that puckery tartness from the hibiscus.  And that is a good thing!

This is a very interesting combination of flavors.  In each sip, I taste hibiscus, mint, rose and a hint of chamomile.   The flavors are there, and it is as though they have all come together to create some hybrid flavor.  It is also quite soothing and comforting to sip.

This tisane leaves me feeling somewhat perplexed.  I am enjoying what I’m tasting, but, it is a very unusual cup.  I don’t think I’ve tasted anything quite like it before, but at the same time, it is so very oddly familiar.  It’s like deja vu or something!

A tasty yet unusual tisane!

Dragonwell Tea from The Tao Of Tea

Tea Type: Green Tea

Where To Buy: Tao of Tea

Product Description:

Rich, toasty aroma reminiscent of roasted chestnuts. Smooth, vegetal, earthy flavor.

Tasters Review:

This review is going to be short and sweet because that is EXACTLY what this tea is…it’s straight and to the point…and DARNED GOOD!

The Tao of Tea has a REALLY fantastic Dragonwell!  It’s rich and thick tasting yet astonishingly smooth!  Just think…Buttered Veggies, Sweet Grass, and semi-Nutty-Goodness!  That’s what makes up this flavor.

I’m putting this on the pedestal and saying it’s of my favorite Dragonwells to date!

Wonderful!

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