Sunday, February 23, 2014

Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre

Seller Description"Coming from Fujian, the Golden Monkey is made of the fresh buds and leaves of Fuding Pekoe, by lightly sun withering, rolling, fermentation and drying. Golden Monkey has the particular aroma of black tea. You could scent the fruity flavor through every sip of the tea."
Website: Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 3 teaspoons of raw sugar

When I opened the sample, I was initially surprised at how green and yellow this black tea looked... enough so that I double-checked the label! Sure enough, both the sample and the website list this as a black, and once I steeped it there was no question at all.

Whatever the color of the actual leaves, this steeped up into a gorgeously smooth tea with that distinctive briskness you'd usually encounter in an English Breakfast or an Earl Grey.

Actually, I'm enjoying this one so much that I have to force myself to slow down and savor it! I usually gravitate more towards black blends, and it's been only recently that I've tried more of the straight black teas. This tastes like a balance in between the two.

Sipping this, I'm impressed again by how smooth this tea is. There is little to no astringency, without any jarring notes at all. I think this is one I'll want to keep around!

Prominent Notes: Brisk black tea with a mellow buttery
Aftertaste: Slightly citrusy, fruity notes
Overall: Time for a second cup!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Swiss Mountain Black Tea by Della Terra Teas

Seller Description"If you are a fan of minty chocolate, especially when combined together in a candy then this tea is for you.  With real peppermint and chocolate pieces along with mint brittle you will be left with a minty, refreshing and chocolaty treat in your cup.  A true breath, errr, drink of fresh air... I mean tea!"
Ingredients: Black tea, chocolate bits, peppermint
WebsiteSwiss Mountian Black Tea by Della Terra Teas
Sample source: Facebook Giveaway

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 3 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 4 minutes
Additives: 3 teaspoons of raw sugar

This tea came my way via one of Della Terra's Facebook giveaways, with some of their Almond Biscotti green tea. Oddly enough, this is the second time they've sent me tea this way - I think that means more people need to "like" them so there's more of a pool!

Now when I make hot chocolate, I tend to stir up more of a thick soup than the lightly accented drink you'd get by following the directions. As such, I've never really gotten into chocolate teas because I always find myself craving more chocolate and less tea. I met with that same quandary this time as well.

It's a sweet, refreshing tea that reminds me strongly of thin mints. The slight bite of dark chocolate mixed with the soothing refreshment of the peppermint. If I make this again, I will definitely throw another teaspoon of sugar and couple extra chocolate chips in, but I know several friends who would definitely enjoy this as is!

Prominent Notes: Chocolate and peppermint
Aftertaste: Black tea
Overall: I'm going to go make some hot chocolate

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Traveling Tea Box?!?!?!

Since my last blog entry, another tea box has come my way! If you didn't catch my last post about the Traveling Tea Box C, this is a fun thing we do on Steepster. One person puts a bunch of tea in a box and mails it to the first person on the list. They then sample the teas they want to try, remove a couple they like, and add more tea of their own. It continues through the list like this until it comes back to the first person... who might continue it on for another round!

This particular box had a bit of a longer journey on its way to me, as you can tell from these pictures!

 A close-up of the left side, featuring a surprisingly wide variety of ESP Emporium teas, Harney & Sons, Tea District, Butiki Teas, and Verdant.
Looking at the middle in more depth, you can see the incredible variety of hand-labeled teas and even a couple tins. Let me tell you, those were fun to try to fit back into the little box that birthed all this!
But it didn't stop there! This little box was starting to remind me of Mary Poppins' carpet bag. For a while I wondered if I would ever find the bottom! It finally came clean, with a large assortment of Adagio teas. 

As you can see, it was a bit more extensive than the last one. Unfortunately, between a bout with strep throat and another cold that came in on its heels, I've been off my game lately. I only tried a small handful of teas before guilt (and a sense of obligation) had me sending it back on its way.

Here are the teas I sampled and/or removed:

Pineapple Bacon Rooibos by 52teas
Cinnamon Fig by Art of Tea
Mint Verbena by Harney & Sons
Coconut Lavender Rooibos by Tea District
Cuppa Paradise by Tea District
Earl Grey by Tea Forte
Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea

And the teas I tucked in for their new journey:

Chestnut by Adagio
Christmas by Adagio
Gingerbread by Adagio
Pumpkin Spice by Adagio
Easy as Pie by Adagio Custom (by Lariel)
Pumpkin King by Adagio Custom (by Lariel)
Earl Grey by The Tao of Tea
Pu’er Tonic by Verdant Tea (from Blends subscription)