Blue Lady from Zest Tea

Blue Lady from Zest TeaThis week I received an exciting package of teas from Zest Tea – some sample packs, a cylindrical tin, and a pouch.

It was great to see all of the different packaging types that this tea company offers, and the amazing, vibrant designs on each of the packs.

But there was one that particularly intrigued me, and led to me choosing it for my first review. Blue Lady, a blend of South Indian flower orange pekoe Black Tea, cornflower petals, hibiscus, orange, lemon, passion fruit flavour, with added natural caffeine – said to contain a high level of caffeine, antioxidants, and amino acids for alertness and energy.

Upon opening the pouch, I got the citrus fragrance from the tea – the orange, lemon, and hibiscus being the dominant tones. Reminiscent of a tropical cocktail!

Everything about Zest Tea feels premium and of exceptionally high quality and this extends through to the silk tea bags they use.

Once infused, this blend turned the water a golden amber, with the tropical, citrus fragrance still as strong as when I opened the pack.

On taking my first sip, it’s clear this is a tea I’m going to thoroughly enjoy to the last sip. Refreshing, fruity, clean, and crisp – a truly thirst-quenching delight.

As for the physiological benefits of increased alertness and energy, I do feel surprisingly chipper for a late Sunday evening – so perhaps it’s taking effect already. After all, the scientific evidence behind caffeine and L-Theanine (the dominant amino acid) is solid, and does point towards increased energy levels and mental alertness.

Here’s what Zest Tea say about this blend:

Winner of Best New Product at the 2015 World Tea Expo, Zest premium energy teas offer the same energizing kick of coffee without the negative side effects. Despite our teas having comparable caffeine levels to coffee—about three times the levels of traditional teas—the amino acids in Zest help create a steady and prolonged alertness, instead of the jitters and crash associated with other caffeinated products.

Our Blue Lady Black blends a sultry South Indian black tea base with an aromatic mix of orange, lemon, passion fruit, and hibiscus. A peppering of vivid blue cornflower petals and bits of orange peel make for a visual spectacle. Blue lady will excite all of your senses. No wonder this is a favorite among hot and chilled tea drinkers.

And it’s clear to see why this tea is an award-winner. Delicious, refreshing, and good for mental clarity – it truly puts some ‘Zest’ in your day!

Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips Tea by Cup Above Tea

Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips Tea by Cup Above TeaA delightful package arrived at my door yesterday – one very delicately and intricately wrapped with care.

As I opened it, I knew it had to contain something pretty special. And it did!

It was Cup Above Tea’s Golden Hand Rolled Himalayan Tips Tea – packaged in a premium, black glass jar with a lovely sleek label.

As I read about the tea, I notice it has come from a batch of only 3kg, meaning this experience should be very unique – one like I’ve never had before.

On opening the jar, a lovely, light, hazelnut-like aroma escapes, and I cannot wait to brew this tea.

I pour on the 90 degree water, and watch the tightly rolled leaves unfurl, releasing a deep green liquor as they do so. The smell of the tea when the water hits becomes deeper, more intense.

On taking my first sip, I can instantly tell this is a tea of very high quality. Caramel, nutty flavours come through, with a clean, crisp aftertaste. There’s a definite texture to this tea also – it has great mouthfeel, quite substantial but not overbearing.

Here’s what Cup Above Tea say about this blend:

A tea with instant visual appeal and a rich, chocolatey aroma. Full bodied, smooth and malty with unique hints of toffee and maple. It’s bold, beautiful and best in breed. A perfect kick-start for the morning.

And I can see what they mean. Except, I disagree about it being a kick-start for the morning – this tea should be drank the day through! It is a truly superior blend and one I regard as being up there with the absolute best teas of all time.

11 Year Aged Pu’ Erh Tea from Chash Tea

11 Year Aged Pu' Erh Tea from Chash TeaWith the post-Christmas weight not seeming to shift all that quickly – I was delighted to see Pu’ Erh hiding in the big box of teas sent to me by Chash Tea.

Pu’ Erh is a fermented, aged tea that is reported to have weight loss properties, if you didn’t know this already.

What’s extra special about Chash Tea’s Pu’ Erh is it has been aged for 11 years! And the exciting thing about Pu’ Erh of this age (or older) is that ownership and therefore storage conditions can change from batch to batch. This, combined with the natural flavour differences introduced by the season, means that no batch of Pu’ Erh rarely tastes exactly the same.

Upon opening the pack, it has a distinctly smokey aroma brought about by the fermentation process.

It takes the tea around 3-4 minutes to bring the water to a lovely, mellow amber colour – much lighter than I’ve experienced with other Pu’ Erh teas in the past – but again this is the beauty of this blend, the variations you encounter from one batch to the next.

The steeping process amplifies the smokey aroma and I can smell my cup of Pu’ Erh even whilst typing right now, when it’s sat around 30cm away from me.

On taking the first sip I can tell this tea is something quite special. The smokey notes that exist in the aroma remain in the flavour, but they are not bitter or harsh – just very smooth and quite comforting. It reminds me of the bonfires my family have every November – just without the noise of the fireworks!

Because of its smoothness, I would be confident in saying this is a very high grade of Pu’ Erh, using smaller, more tender leaves to achieve that balanced flavour with no bitterness.

Here’s what Chash say about this blend:

Poor quality Pu’ Erh smells mouldy and damp; this fine example is dry and woody.

The taste,is smooth, clean and surprisingly mild
Pu’ Erh is especially good for multiple infusions. As you re-use the leaves the liquor will change from burnt oranges to deep reds, often to a quite brilliant purple hue
An elegant evening drink. The perfect end to a meal

And I couldn’t agree more.

On the front of each pack of tea, Chash states ‘If tea makes everything better, shouldn’t we be drinking better tea?’ – and this is a fine example of one of the better Pu’ Erhs I’ve ever tasted. Highly recommended!

Fruiteas Date & Lime Tea from O-Teas

Fruiteas Date & Lime Tea from O-TeasKnock Knock.

Who’s there?

The postman. With a delicious package of Date and Lime Tea from O-Teas.

I couldn’t wait for this one to come in. I’ve never tried date in a tea blend before. I’ve eaten plenty in my time, but never drank one! So this was going to be a completely new experience for me.

Opening the outer packaging made me even more excited, when I saw the beautiful white, cylindrical tin with its clean, sleek design.

I popped off the lid and immediately the smell of lime and lemongrass hit the air – this was exciting.

Placing one of the teabags into my mug, I notice O-Teas use biodegradable pyramid bags, and large pieces of fruit – I could literally see all of the ingredients in this blend, making it feel truly superior and high-quality before I’d even boiled the water.

Steeping the tea released even more of the intense citrus aroma and turned the water a light, mellow green colour – reminiscent of lime.

On tasting, it was like placing a dolly mixture on my tongue – never before had I tried a tea that would tackle a sweet craving just like this one would. Next time I need my sweet fix, I’m reaching for this! Much lower calorie and healthier.

Although the distinct caramel flavour of date was somewhat masked by the citrus notes, the sweetness of date really drew through.

I notice on the back of the pack that this tea can be mixed with traditional green and Black Teas. I drop a regular bag of black tea into my cup to see how it tastes – and I would highly recommend it.

In fact, it would be an ideal way to wean off using sugar in black tea (if this is how you take it) – it delivers the sweetness needed, along with the citrus notes, and doesn’t contain anywhere near the same amount of calories (or cause as much damage to your teeth) as a spoonful of sugar would.

Here’s what O-Teas say about this blend:

A sublime combination that is both one of our own and our customers favourite fruit infusions. Our Date & Lime blend contains neither caffeine nor tannin and is easy to prepare as a traditional hot Fruit Tea or alternatively it makes for a wonderfully refreshing Iced Tea.

And sublime it is! Definitely worth a try for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Organic Dragon Well from Canton Tea Co

Organic Dragon Well from Canton Tea CoHere’s the second sample that arrived from Canton Tea Co the other day – Organic Dragon Well Green Tea.

Personally, I’ve never tried this green tea before – and I’m intrigued by the processing method they use, pressing the leaves in a hot, dry wok by hand.

Opening the pack evokes so many memories of my childhood, playing on the local park with the smell of freshly cut grass constantly in the air. It’s amazing how many seemingly forgotten memories this smell re-ignites. It’s fresh, invigorating, and just makes me want to get outside, playing in the park once again.

Infusing the leaves mellows the fragrance somewhat to a more subtle tone, but it’s still very fresh and clean – almost like a good matcha green tea.

After 2-3 minutes the water changes from transparent to a deep olive green, and it’s time to take my first sip and experience Dragon Well Green Tea for the first time in my life.

I’m not disappointed.

Smooth and fresh like the fragrance promised, with an almost nutty aftertaste – giving this blend a good mouth feel and making it easy to drink.

Drinking green tea of all varieties makes me feel healthy both during and after drinking. And this blend is no exception – you can tell a great deal of effort has gone into sourcing this tea and ensuring the proper production methods are followed in order to produce a highly-refined, smooth green tea.

Here’s what Canton Tea Co say about this tea:

Also known as Long Jing, our Dragon Well is grown in the hills of China’s Zhejiang Province, near the village of Long Jing -where this world famous tea originated. After the young leaves are picked, they are taken back to the village to be pressed. Skilled tea masters press the tea leaves in the traditional way: by hand in a hot, dry wok. This heating stops the oxidation of the leaves and means that the leaves stay beautifully vivid green in colour and produce a liquor that is bold with notes of freshly cut grass, green beans and sweet chestnuts.

Our Dragon Well is grown on a small Organic Tea garden in the middle of on an Island of Qiandao Lake, aka ‘Thousand Island Lake’ in Zheijiang. Thousand Island Lake was man-made in the 1950s Maoist era, when an area over over 500km² was flooded by the building of a nearby hydroelectric station. The flooding submerged two ancient cities and three more ancient townships, which still lie beneath the lake today. Over 1000 islands, home to lush forests and wildlife, lie in the middle of this giant man-made lake.

The care and attention it must take to hand-press this tea in hot woks does not go unnoticed in its flavour and final product. A truly refined and enjoyable green tea.