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Tag: Teasenz

Two Flower Teas: Chrysanthemum Purple Tea and Green Jasmine Tea

Sometimes you just can’t be bothered to think of a theme for a tea review, or stick to a tea drinking schedule. (Life is so rough, my poor little darlings, isn’t it?)

In that spirit, today’s just going to be a mish-mash day where I talk about random teas that have had the privilege of joining my cabinet. Interestingly, both of today’s teas are ones that contain flowers. So let’s look at some flower tea.

2015 Yunnan Sourcing “Ying Shan Hong” Purple Black Tea and Snow Chrysanthemum

Our “Ying Shan Hong” cake is a blend of Wild Purple Black tea and Snow Chrysanthemums from Spring 2015. The taste is floral and sweet with a thick burgundy red tea soup that soothes the mouth and throat with a layer of tea and flower oils and tannins.

I’ve never had a purple tea before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I figured it would taste similar to a black tea. The dry tea itself is mixed with dry chrysanthemum flowers and compressed into a dense little cake — the yellow petals of the dried flowers are peeking through the tea itself, giving the cake quite a festive look.

YS_Ying_Shan_Hong_cake

I got this flower tea as part of the monthly swap that my Steepster friend and I have — I send her half of my White2Tea subscription box and she sends me half of her Yunnan Sourcing subscription box. It’s a nice system.

Anyways.

I went with gong-fu brewing for this tea — about 6 g of leaf in my gaiwan, and a teapot of freshly boiled water. I gave the whole thing 5-6 steeps.

I’ve had one or two teas before that tasted like chysanthemums, so I thought I was prepared for this tea. Oh, how wrong I was! The chrysanthemum flavour in this tea is pungent, and medicinal. The tea flavour itself is fairly weak, taking a back seat so that the chrysanthemum can drive. Overall, the tea feels quite thin and dry in my mouth, with a sensation of camphor and cedar being most prominent. The brewed tea was a deep reddish brown, like brandy.

I will say that the spent leaf of this tea looks quite lovely — look at those yellow petals! I don’t consider this tea to be an everyday drinker, but it might be good with some honey when you’re sick.

YS_Ying_Shan_Hong_wet

You can learn more about Ying Shan Hong tea with chrysanthemums here.

Imperial Jasmine Tea from Teasenz

Reserved for the imperial families since the Song Dynasty in 960 AD. All the appeal and flavor of green tea and enhanced by the aroma of jasmine flowers, Emporial Jasmine Green Tea has a subtly sweet taste and blooming fragrance. Light, soft, and perfumy with a delicate mouthfeel.

I’ve had my fair share of jasmine green teas, but I’ve been running fairly low on them in my cupboard, so it was very kind of Teasenz to send me some for free for this review. The dry leaf of this flower tea is a mix of white and pale green strands, but since I couldn’t see any jasmine buds or flowers, I’m assuming that the two weren’t mixed together to create the blend.

I took a heaping spoonful and steeped it in my medium-sized teapot (24 oz) for 3.5 minutes at 85°C. The resulting brew was a clear yellow-orange, nice and healthy.

teasenz-jasmine-green-pour

However, the taste of this tea wasn’t that memorable. The jasmine flavour was thick, but it was a surface-level thickness, without a lot of body underneath. A lot of the time, with really good jasmine, there’s an underlying sweetness that reminds me of oranges or orange blossom, but that secondary flavour wasn’t present here. I’m going to chalk that up to there being no jasmine flowers in the blend.

The green base was quite mild, which I didn’t appreciate — I think that if the base tea had a more intense flavour, it would have competed with the surface-level flavour of the jasmine and overall given it more body.

You can learn more about Imperial Jasmine tea here.

Teasenz Teas: Liu An Melon Seed and Anji Bai Cha

I reviewed some green tea from Teasenz a while back, and they liked the review so much they offered to send me some more! There will be a few other Teasenz reviews lined up, but I wanted to try these two teas before it got too cold to enjoy their light, crisp flavours.

Liu An Melon Seed

A legendary favorite tea of emperors and dignitaries including the empress Dowager Cixi and Henry Kissinger. Liu An Melon Seed is known for its unique shape and taste. Single leaves, carefully cut to equal size, are pan-fired over low heat, shaping the leaves into a beautiful melon-seed shape and creating a tea with bright green leaves and a refreshing, crisp flavor.

teasenz-liu_an_melon_seedWhen I open the packet of Liu An Melon Seed tea, I’m greeted with long, spindly tubes of leaf that are a dark forest green colour and smell faintly of licorice. Because the leaf was so fluffy and hard to measure, I put a generous spoonful into a teapot with 80C water and let it sit for about 3 minutes.

The resulting brew was clear, light green, and had a delicious sweetness on the back of my tongue to complement the notes of greens and cooked vegetables. It reminded me of pine sap — a bit sticky and refreshing.

You can buy Liu An Melon Seed here.

 

Anji Bai Cha

Fresh and creamy soft with notes of citrus and nuts. From Anji, the town of dense bamboo forests and tea cultivation, comes Anji Bai Cha, one of the rarest of all Chinese teas. With long, delicate, vivid green leaves, Anji white tea is beautiful in every sense of the word. A tea connoisseur’s dream.

teasenz-anji_white_teaThe leaves of Anji Bai Cha were similarly long and spindly, but instead of being a deep sage green, these leaves were a light pea green. They also smelled more traditionally tea-like — of buttery vegetables and snap peas rather than licorice.

The leaves were similarly fluffy, so I took a huge spoonful and put them into the pot with 80C water for 3.5 minutes. The resulting  brew was pale yellow that darkened to a clear green as the brew cooled. This had a more traditional green tea taste – buttery, vegetal, and green-beany, but still remarkably light and clear.

You can buy Anji Bai Cha here.

I’m really happy to find such consistent success with the teas that Teasenz sends me. There will be more reviews on the way!

Tea Review: Tai Ping Hou Kui from Teasenz

About This Tea

tai_ping_hou_kui_dry_leafTea type: Green tea, loose-leaf

How I got it: I received a sample of this tea for free in exchange for a review.

How you can get it: Monkey-Picked Green Tea – Tai Ping Hou Kui is available online from Teasenz.

Tea description from the Teasenz website:

Possibly China’s most luxurious gift tea. The monkey picked tea (tai ping hou kui in Chinese) won the 2004 King of Tea award. The tea’s long, flat, and straight dry leaves become larger when brewed, almost like flower petals dancing in the cup. The Monkey King has a mellow aroma reminiscent of orchids, making it a very soothing tea.

How I Brewed It

tai_ping_hou_kui_brewedThe dry leaf of Teasenz’s Tai Ping Hou Kui is gorgeous and unlike any other kind of tea I’ve seen before. The leaves are pressed long and flat like thick blades of grass and have a delicate, fluffy texture like feathers or moth wings. The different strands of leaves mingle together so that it looks almost like the tresses of some beautiful mermaid.

Damn, the leaf is so pretty!

The smell when I open the packet is rich and vegetal, like green beans glistening with melted butter. It’s even somewhat musky. I ordered this sample roughly a year ago and it had been languishing in my cupboard, so the fact that the leaf still smells so good is a testament to their tea growers and to the quality of their packaging.

I decided to brew this leaf in a gaiwan over a few steeps in 80°C water. The first steep was 15 seconds long, the second 20 seconds, and the third 30 seconds.

How Does It Taste?

tai_ping_hou_kui_wet_leafThe first steep produced a brew that was pale yellow-green and had a mild smell that was briny and vegetal. However, the taste itself was much stronger — it packed a sharp punch that reminded me an awful lot of some sweeter sencha teas. It was rich, somewhat umami, and had a lingering buttery aftertaste on the back and sides of my tongue that faded into grassy notes.

The second steep produced a liquid that was slightly greener and weaker in flavour. That sencha-like quality was still there, but tasted much grassier and had a less buttery aftertaste. I also started to notice some astringency and it felt like my tongue was coated in fuzz.

The third steep was weaker still but started to smell sweet instead of vegetal, and it had a sharp aftertaste on the sides of my tongue.

After the third steep there was a big drop-off in flavour. I drank 5 steeps in total, but the fourth and fifth ones were weak. But those first and second steeps were great! And the wet leaf after I finished brewing looked like long, forlorn strands of seaweed — again, super gorgeous. I’ll seriously enjoy drinking up the rest of the remaining sample.

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