Tuesday, January 27, 2009

TeaGschwendner North India Manjhee Valley First Flush

TeaGschwendner explains that this tea is grown in the mile-high Manjhee Valley of India. The first thing that I noticed about this tea was that I had absolutely no idea what sort of tea it was. The greenish leaves were fairly large and intact. They smelled fresh and earthy but weren’t really typical of any type of tea that I had previously tried. I was very surprised to learn that it is a black tea. I brewed this tea using my Zarafina tea maker set on strong black. The liquor was a deep golden color and had a sweet scent.

This tea was compelling but I struggle to describe exactly how it tastes. The description on TeaGschwendener’s website probably sums it up the best, “bright and vegtal with slightly sour notes of wet stone”. It was salty and gritty but in a way that actually made it enjoyable to drink. The saltiness wasn’t apparent while sipping but appeared as an oddly pleasant aftertaste. It was similar to a Darjeeling but was still very unique.

I have my second Yixing tea pot and a matching setting for six on its way soon from China Dragon Tea House along with some Tie Guan Yin. Pictures will definately be forthcoming.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tea Gshwendner Strawberry White Tea

Tea Gshwendner continues to be one of my favorite tea companies. Nearly all of their teas that I have tried have been exceptionally good and their strawberry white tea is no exception. The manufacturer lists the ingredients as including white tea, strawberries and natural flavor. I surprised to see that the dry leaves really did consist of white tea leaves and large bits of strawberry. Many strawberry teas that I have tried used various other berries to create a faux strawberry that often results in a bitter brew. I made this tea using my Zarafina tea maker set on strong white. The liquor was deep yellow and the aroma of strawberries was very apparent.

This tea was simply wonderful. It was obvious that the white tea used was of a very high quality. The strawberry and the taste of the white tea complement each other so well. It was sweet and delicate without lacking in flavor. My very picky boyfriend who sweetens even the nicest of teas found it to be sweet enough on its own. I am sure that I will find myself ordering this tea in the near future. I think it would make a fantastically refreshing iced tea.

I know I've been bad but I have a lot of stuff coming. More reviews and my first attempts at matcha!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tea Places: Cha Ma Gu Dao

This past weekend I had the immense pleasure of frequenting a tea house in Montclair, New Jersey called Cha Ma Gu Dao. I was in awe as I had never seen so much loose leaf tea or serious teaware in one place. The whole place was very zen and relaxing. Their tea menu is larger than the menus of many restaurants. It was a tough choice but I decided on the high mountain light roasted oolong. The service was great and so was the tea. While there I also purchased a washi box, one of their three tiered tea tins and some white tea. Reviews of all three with be coming soon. If you are ever in the area I highly suggest checking them out.