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.

Jasmine Tea from Canton Tea Co.

Canton Tea Co Jasmine PearlsThis week we had a delivery from Canton Tea Co – some samples of their loose leaf tea, including their Jasmine Tea.

For me, this was the one that I was particularly keen to try – their jasmine pearls tea. I just love the fragrance of jasmine and adding it to a tea seems so natural and the perfect thing to do with this amazing flower.

As soon as I tear open Canton Tea Co’s re-sealable pack, the fragrance of jasmine tea hits my nostrils. This strong floral, almost hay-like aroma escapes from the tightly-packed little balls of tea.

It’s no surprise to learn that the jasmine shrub is a genus of the olive family – which explains the hay-like smell, just like some green olives share a similar smell and taste – a very rustic flavour that’s hard to draw any other comparison to.

Pouring water onto these little jasmine balls sees them begin to unfurl and infuse the water with a light green hue, which gradually becomes a darker and darker green throughout the brewing process.

When the tea is ready to drink, it’s a very deep olive green – again reminiscent of jasmine’s link to the olive family.

Taking a sip, the fragrance hits me again and I expect quite a bitter flavour from the tea – but no bitterness. This is actually quite a creamy taste – smooth and aromatic.

It’s not one of those Green Teas that makes you feel sick if you drink on an empty stomach, as it doesn’t have the same bitterness. It’s a warming, soothing, yet invigorating blend that is rather soothing and comforting.

This is down to Canton only using the tender, young leaves of the tea plant, and not leaving the jasmine flowers in the final product (instead just using them to infuse flavour in the tea leaves) – making it a truly refined brew.

Here’s what Canton Tea Co says about this blend:

These Jasmine Pearls have been hailed as one of the UK’s finest Jasmine teas. The young green tea buds are hand-rolled and suffused with only the freshest jasmine blossoms in the traditional way: the tea and the flowers are layered together over successive nights, allowing the heady, delicate jasmine to impart its beautiful aroma. Most of the Jasmine tea on the market is artificially scented, but ours is all natural, capturing the floral sweetness of jasmine without overwhelming the soft, creamy green tea.

After reading this, and the care they take with their blends, it’s easy to see why this jasmine tea is one of the finest I’ve ever tasted, and I can’t wait to try Canton Tea Co’s other sample shortly.

Roselle (Hibiscus) Tea from The Natural Health Market

The Natural Health Market Roselle TeaToday I received a lovely package of roselle (hibiscus) tea from The Natural Health Market.

Now the great, and slightly spooky, thing about this is I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure – literally about 3 days ago.

So, when I read the top of this pack of tea and it says roselle/hibiscus tea is great for balancing blood pressure, I just couldn’t wait to give this one a try.

Before I get started on the brewing process, I’d like to make a point about the tea bags that The Natural Health Market uses. They are very small, almost perfectly square bags – so great for slipping into your purse or pocket if you want to take them wherever you go.

But boy, do these little bags pack a punch.

I pour boiling water into my favourite Bodum glass mug (I love using this mug with bolder coloured teas – and I’ll explain why shortly) with one of these little bags inside.

It only takes around 10 seconds for the bold red of the roselle/hibiscus to start slowly seeping out of the bag and gradually taking over the whole cup until, around 2-3 minutes later, the whole cup of water is a bold, vibrant red.

The smell of hibiscus tea is quite tart/sharp, and I expect to pull a face similar to when you suck on a lemon when I take my first sip – but I’m pleasantly surprised. This hibiscus tea, although still quite tart, is beautifully and refreshingly sweet on the aftertaste too.

Throughout the flavour profile I can taste citrus, red berries, blackcurrant, and those vibrant fruity and citrus flavours synonymous with hibiscus. Delicious, refreshing – and it even makes me feel healthier as I’m drinking it.

I was in my own little World for a moment enjoying this refreshing brew until I realised my young daughter had climbed up at the side of me and started to use the front of the tea pack as a colouring pad – which is a shame because I really like the clean, stylish packaging The Natural Health Market uses, but an unexpected bonus, it kept her busy while I could finish the rest of my fruity brew!

All-in-all, a deliciously healthy brew that I would definitely recommend to other health-conscious individuals or just those looking for a pleasant herbal tea to enjoy.

Here’s what The Natural Health Market say about this blend:

Roselle tea, also known as Hibiscus tea, is believed to help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure. Studies have also demonstrated that it helps lower blood pressure in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. The tea has a distinctive red-brown colour, fresh, fragrant aroma and a citrusy flavour, which makes it a popular beverage to consume at any time of the day.

As for reducing my blood pressure, I’ll have to see on my next check-up, but I do definitely rate this tea as one of the most refreshing roselle/hibiscus teas I’ve ever tried.