Happy Earth Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

84

Wow, wow, wow.. Glad I saved this one to end my Happy Earth Tea samples on a positive note!

The dried leaves smell heavenly! I was in the Steepster chat when brewing this and I commented that the leaves “smell like lemon hay” (that’s not a bad thing :P). I had never had a darjeeling before, so thanks to Marzipan and Corvuslunar for the steeping instructions :)

I used 1tsp per 8oz (I made a whole 32oz pot!) and steeped it at 185 degrees for 2.5 minutes. The taste is different to me, since I wasn’t sure what to expect with a darjeeling, but it’s beautifully complex. The subtle peachy and grassy flavors bring me back for multiple cups, contemplating this tea. It’s not a “brute force” tea, but there’s something about it that makes me want to keep drinking.. The flavors don’t say “Here I am!” but rather they are warm and inviting, luring you into the liquor.

I steeped for a second round (3 minute infusion this time) and the tea definitely has a sweet note to it now, almost like a caramel without the overpowering sweetness of the actual candy. The peach flavor still lingers in the background, calmingly. It’s strange through, because I even wrote in my bio that I don’t like peach flavored tea, but.. yeah, it’s good here! All in all, a great way to end my day yesterday and finish off my Happy Earth Tea samples. Thank you Niraj! :)

Flavors: Earth, Grass, Peach, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Niraj Lama

Ah I saw this just after writing a comment on your Nepal Autumn tea review. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I hope you will come back to visit us once the Darjeeling first flush 2015 is here. We are expecting to make it available around mid-May.
I know there are lot of great teas out there, but we still like to call Darjeeling, the champagne of teas! :)

TheLastDodo

Man, this really makes me wish the new flushes would come out already!

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38

The smell of the tea is very overpowering with lavender.. The same comes through with the taste – way too floral for me!

Flavors: Lavender

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

First of all, this tea is listed as a black tea, but I’m not 100% sure that it is. Granted, I don’t know a lot about tea, but it looks, tastes, and smells like an oolong to me. I don’t know if someone can tell by the pictures on their site, but if anyone could educate me, that would be wonderful :)
http://happyearthtea.com/collections/black-tea/products/himalayan-autumn-bouquet-153-jun-chiyabari-nepal-organic-autumn-2014

Now, to tasting.. Rather, smelling first! This tea is gorgeous and smells like a fresh raisin nut cake – very pleasing aroma. The steeping instructions say to use 1 TABLESPOON of leaves per 8oz! Wow, that seems like a lot to me! The brew (3 minutes) comes out as a dark amber/gold and still has the scent of raisins. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love the smell of raisins – I tend to put my nose in the box and smell the dried grape-y goodness :)

The brewed leaves are a mixture of green and copper colors (http://imgur.com/oz2Lbbo). The taste is complex and soothing. I can taste the faint raisin flavor along with a nutty flavor (maybe like a walnut, but I don’t typically eat or like nuts). But wait.. it has a very oolong-y finish! Yet another reason why I’m confused as to the category in which this tea belongs. It tastes earthy and roasted on the back end.

The second steep (added 30 seconds) brings out even more sweetness and emphasizes the earthy flavor of the tea. Personally, I love it :) That’s two good, two bad, and one middle of the road tea from my Happy Earth Tea samples. One more to try!

Flavors: Earth, Nuts, Raisins, Roasted

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
TeaBrat

A lot of teas from darjeeling and Himalayas are pretty light, even thought they are classified as black teas. But technically they aren’t oolongs either I guess.

Anlina

I’ve found that a lot of Darjeeling and Nepalese teas that are classified as black teas look like they are only partially oxidized, and have a lot of qualities that are similar to green or oolong teas. I’m guessing the classification is based on the processing. This chart is helpful. http://www.worldoftea.org/tea-classification/

kieblera5

Interesting.. Thanks for the information :) I guess since it’s not fully oxidized, that’s why it tastes like an oolong, but I wonder how they stop the oxidation process? Since traditional blacks don’t have the “heating” step (kill-green/steaming/etc.), I wouldn’t think that the leaves would still be so green/copper.

Anlina

Drying will also stop oxidation.

Niraj Lama

Hello Keiblera! I am the owner-operator of Happy Earth Tea. Thank you once again for ordering tea from us and we are even more thankful for sharing your experience of it here.
You are right about this tea being oolong because it is semi-oxidized. However the reason why we have it in the black tea category is keeping with the traditional categorization done at the place of origin.
Oolong is not a familiar tradition in tea producing nations outside of China and Taiwan. Although places like India and Nepal have been making semi-oxidized (or fermented, as they still prefer to describe it) for a while, they still prefer to call it black tea. (Cultural differences make for interesting situations. For instance, the Chinese are still perplexed why we call red tea black. By the way, in local lingo Darjeeling and Nepali refer to their black tea as red tea. But while talking in English they will switch to calling it black tea!)
Anyhow because of the Darjeeling and Nepali tradition of describing their semi-oxidized teas as black tea for the market, a lot of long-standing drinkers of Darjeeling and Nepal also refer to them as black. So in line with that we have categorized these teas as black. Not to say that a tradition cannot be revised.
To answer your other question the semi-oxidation is achieved by a very gentle rolling of the green leaf where the leaves are only partially bruised. In black tea the leaves have to be fully bruised, which is achieved by a much heavier rolling, and which sets off a total oxidation.
Thank you again and happy sipping!

kieblera5

Thank you for all the information, Niraj :) I figured it had to be the classification of the tea in the area. I prefer oolongs anyway :) No matter what it’s called, it’s a delicious tea!

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40

Another sample from Happy Earth Tea.

Wow. The tea leaves smell like paprika and chipotle peppers! Unfortunately, it also tastes like water in which I put a bunch of paprika and chipotle peppers.. Definitely not for me!

Flavors: Pepper, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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88

First, I tried to add this tea to the database and only realized after that I can’t add more than one picture! Sorry!

The tea leaves smell floral and light and it is lightly oxidized. The liquor is a light gold color. The taste of the tea? Magical. This light, creamy nectar must have come from a heaven-touched mountain. This tea is sweet and buttery mixed with a pleasant floral note and a smooth oolong finish. I really didn’t taste the “steamed spinach” that the product page proclaimed. Overall, this was a very pleasant tea that I would love to have again!
Steeped for 1 minute at 200 degrees and increased by 30 seconds each for the next two steeps.

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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84

At first scent, the leaves don’t make me think of anything special. I only smell a nice earthy oolong with a hint of sweetness in the aroma. There weren’t any steeping instructions with this, so I opted for 3tsp in 16oz at 190 for 3 minutes. The light gold-amber liquid smells strongly of the oolong’s earthiness with a hint of smokiness. The taste of the liquor is strange – I had to take a few sips to really comprehend the complex flavor. It’s very much an oolong, but has a subtle sweetness to it, like a honey flavor. The flavor takes over the whole mouth in a pleasing sensation, lingering on the tongue. I only had a sample of this, but I would definitely recommend it.

Flavors: Earth, Honey, Smoke, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

These leaves are so pretty! I’ve never met a Jun Chiyabari that I didn’t like, although it always feels a bit like I’m cheating on my love affair with Darjeeling. This one was all fruity, nutty, spicy yumminess. It stayed strong through a second infusion.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Nutty, Pepper

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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70

This was part of a FF sampler pack I got from Happy Earth this past spring. I had heard there was a drought in darjeeling and wonder if that might be affecting the quality of the teas.

I did one steep of this at around 195 F and found it to be kind of bitter with apricot and peach notes. But I wasn’t enjoying the cup, due to the bitterness.

I decided to start over again and brew another sample at a lower temperature. This time I would try to brew it like a green tea. I got better results this way, the bitterness retreated and the fruity notes became more prominent, as well as some nutty ones. Compared to the 2012 Puttabong ff I had a few years ago, this is more harsh and less flavorful. Glad I got to try it, but also glad I didn’t buy a larger size. Much better experience with the Sungma and Risheehat…

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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91

Backlog:

A beautifully sweet tea! I loved the first flush teas that I enjoyed this spring and summer from Happy Earth Tea. A beautiful dry leaf produced a coppery cup of tea that was delightfully fragrant with notes of grape and flower.

Notes of raisin and peach. The floral notes have been subdued somewhat by the fruity sweetness but as I continued to sip, the floral notes emerged more.

By mid cup, I started to pick up on a delightful note of chocolate. Caramel and cacao. Yum! One of the best Darjeeling teas that I’ve enjoyed this year.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/08/15/2014-organic-arya-ruby-darjeeling-first-flush-from-happy-earth-tea/

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80

This tea brewed an amber colored liquor and immediately gave off a strong punch of apricots, trailed by a musky honey scent. The first taste—still too hot—yielded an indistinct malt-floral taste. Later after allowing to cool further, the liquor still seemed mild and subdued, and so with a third sip, I vigorously aerated it in my mouth and was hit with a powerful sense of syrupy ripe fruit and sweetened flowers, which, after swallowing, gave way to a dry, slightly sour tang. It, too, was pleasant.

The tea seems to do best at room temperature. At the tail end of my cup, after it had gone completely cold, the aroma seemed more developed and open, and all the different things I had tasted had finally married into a balanced harmony.

Between this and the Singbulli First Flush I tasted last night, the Puttabong definitely comes in second. But these two teas are far and away superior to most of my previous experiences with tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Honey

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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95

This was a very light brew with a bright golden color, and it smelled immediately of mint and other subtle floral and green fragrances. The sense of mint carried into the taste and mouthfeel, and it was never earthy or grassy. Later in the cup, I noticed a bit of the scent of asparagus. It was a really soft, beautiful tea with a gradually building astringency that made the cup very refreshing. The overall sense was an elegant balance of many subtle flavors and aromas that I was never able to tease apart. I loved this tea, and found it fared well through three steepings.

Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Mint, Sweet

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

Backlog:

A lovely first flush from Happy Earth! I was very happy with the many different first flush Darjeeling teas that I’ve tried this year. So good.

Sweet notes of fruit and flower. Light and crisp. The fruit is something between apple and peach. A very smooth tasting tea with a mild, dry astringency toward the tail. After a few sips, I started to pick up on hints of vanilla. These tones added a nice, silky experience to the cup.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/13/organic-2014-risheehat-darjeeling-first-flush-from-happy-earth-tea/

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66

This is really light and green tasting, which surprised me. It steeped twice comfortably, and had pretty full flavor each time. I would not do one long steep as it seems to be rather astringent, even with shorter steeps, and I do not like much astringency. It was pretty good, but I don’t think I would buy this for myself because I like thicker (but not astringent) tasting blacks and oolongs.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92

I ordered a few FF darjeeling samples from Happy Earth Tea this year. I don’t know what my problem is but I haven’t felt that motivated to drink them. I may have gotten burnt out since the huge darjeeling binge I went on in 2012… :)

I like my darjeelings to be brewed at temps well below boiling, I think this helps to keep them from getting too bitter for me. I think that was a good decision for this one. It seems nice and fruity, there is something wine like about it, and also it reminds me of pineapple. Doesn’t really need any additions, though it was really good with a tiny touch of coconut sugar, that helped to bring out more fruity quality. I am also getting peaches. This might be my favorite of the samples I’ve tried so far but I haven’t reviewed the others yet, hopefully soon. I might get some more samples from Happy Earth when the second flushes roll around. (note: I spoke to Happy Earth on Twitter and they said they weren’t able to get a lot of second flush due to lack of rain this year) I also like that these are organic and fair trade.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

Backlog:

I really loved this past spring because I got some remarkable, stunning, amazing first flush Darjeeling teas. Normally, I am more excited about the second flush (I love that muscatel) but the first flush this year was rather outstanding and I enjoyed the teas that I’ve tried.

Here is my full-length review of this Darjeeling: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/01/organic-2014-puttabong-darjeeling-first-flush-from-happy-earth-tea/

This is a sweet, delightful tea. The fragrance is delicate. Notes of earth, crisp floral notes and notes of fruit. Surprising notes of grape which I don’t usually expect from a first flush but this one is distinctly grape-y! Some astringency develops as I continued to sip, offering a slightly dry finish.

Happy Earth Tea rocks!

TeaBrat

I got some of their samples and haven’t logged any of them yet. Maybe you will inspire me :)

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92

Backlog:

This tea brews up very light. The leaves don’t really look “black” – they look like a green or perhaps even a white tea because of the silvery tips. But, Happy Earth categorizes this as a black Darjeeling, so I’ll go with it.

And it doesn’t really matter to me, because I LOVE THIS TEA! It’s an amazing first flush. Notes of flower and lime. It’s bright, light, and crisp. Sweet and vibrant with a very fresh taste to it.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/05/19/organic-singbulli-darjeeling-black-tea-first-flush-2014-from-happy-earth-tea/

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90

Backlog:

Crisp … invigorating! A really lovely first flush Darjeeling. My preference for Darjeeling teas tend to be second flush because I love the muscatel of the second flush, but I’ve really enjoyed quite a few stunning first flush teas this year. This is one of them.

Smooth, sweet flavor with notes of fruit and flower. Not a strong muscatel (again, that’s not expected from a first flush), but this does have a slight wine-like quality to it that I enjoyed.

Nice round flavor. Sweet!

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/05/11/organic-sungma-darjeeling-black-tea-first-flush-2014-from-happy-earth-tea/

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87

Good evening Steepster…
I haven’t been feeling too perky today, just down in the dumps I guess. Of course the answer to that problem is to drink a nice cuppa!

I bought a sampler pack from Happy Earth Tea that has all the 2014 FF darjeelings in it. I think I’ll be happy with this decision as I didn’t need more darjeelings but I really wanted to try the current crop.

This tea steeps up with a dark yellow liquor. It definitely has a lot of natural sweetness that comes shining through in the cup. I am getting wonderful fruity flavors and a floral aroma. Their description says peach and vanilla but I was thinking mango too. Hmm, I don’t like this quite as much as the 2012 Risheehat so far, but maybe I will need to experiment a bit with the steeping temp on this one. It is a very nice afternoon tea with a bit of astringency. This was good with a tiny bit of cane sugar and is helping me to feel a bit calmer. :)

Flavors: Flowers, Mango, Peach

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Skysamurai

Sometimes tea is a great pick-me-up

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94

I’ve been longing to try Darjeeling Teas from Happy Earth Tea for some time. Happy Earth Tea which was founded by Niraj Lama and his wife Mary Boland in 2011 is located in Rochester, New York. Niraj is originally from Darjeeling and making most of his background to source great teas from Darjeeling, India.
A colleague of mine was kind enough to get me some tea while he was visiting the US last week. I ordered some breakfast tea which is blend of Assam and Yunnan black teas and a sample set of their Darjeeling First and Second flush teas which include their four Darjeeling teas. It was hard to decide which one to review for this post yet finally I made my choice and went for Arya Black First Flush.
First of all you can not go wrong with Darjeeling teas especially if it’s first flush. Yet there are even better ones and this one from Arya Estate is sure one of them. If you do not know much about tea, you can easily confuse it with green tea because of its leaf appearance.
It’s so rich in aroma and flavor, you can feel Darjeeling in it even your eyes closed. It’s exactly what you’d expect from Darjeeling tea. Enjoy your tea!

Flavors: Flowers

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
TheTeaFairy

Lovely review…love both FF and SF Darjeeling. They are my favourite spring tea!
And kudos to your friend colleague for bringning you such great teas :-)

Emin

Thank you The TeaFairy! I love them both, too.

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98

Backlog:

I LOVE this Darjeeling. It’s one of the finest Darjeeling teas I’ve yet to taste. This is the flavor that I think of when I hear the word “Darjeeling.” This is it! As close to perfect as a Darjeeling can get, in my opinion.

A beautiful muscatel. Sweet, floral, fruity, wine-like finish. Delightful.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/02/10/organic-arya-ruby-darjeeling-black-tea-second-flush-happy-earth-tea/

Christina

I’ve never had Darjeeling, but I do have one in my cupboard I have yet to taste. What sort of flavours should I look for when trying it?

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84

I like this one quite a bit. It’s very fruity. I’m mostly getting dried apricot, which really comes out in the aftertaste. There’s just a hint of something floral lurking in the background, and exactly enough astringency to keep things interesting. It’s complex, full bodied, and an all-around enjoyable tea.

To be honest, I have a hard time picking out the differences among Darjeelings—I can tell a first flush from a second, but beyond that I’m lost. I don’t get the whole muscatel thing either; neither this nor any other Darjeeling I’ve tried strikes me as particularly wine-like (although I admit I’m not much of a wine drinker) and I only occasionally get grape notes. I do tend to like second flushes quite a bit, though, and this one’s no exception. Thanks to Nicole_Martin for the sample!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

i like 2nd flash or autumn more than 1st. less finicky with temps and time, more flavor. i love strong stone fruit flavor.

greenteafairy

Same here. I really enjoy cold-steeped first flush, but otherwise I find they tend to be too grassy and herbal for my liking.

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74

I cold brewed this (and will probably add more tea next time) but it is quite tasty. I’ve never had “holy basil” in anything before, so its hard for me to describe the taste. I’ll just say that this is very refreshing :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 2 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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87

Backlog:

This first flush had a really nice balance between fruit and flowery notes. It tasted crisp and clean. There is an ever-so-slight muscatel note to it. I’m betting that this particular estate has a really amazing second flush if I can taste the muscatel in the first flush.

A really nice tea. I’m looking forward to the 2014 harvests!

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83

This is a really nice Darjeeling. It’s quite fruity—grape and dried apricot, mainly—and not very floral. I’m not picking up on the nuttiness mentioned in the description, and I wouldn’t say it’s sweet either. It’s just as astringent as a good Darjeeling should be, and it’s not too heavy on the grassy, herbal kinds of notes that I often find overwhelming. I tried the 2012 Sungma First Flush from Happy Earth and didn’t much care for it, but I tend to prefer second flush Darjeelings so it’s no surprise that this one’s more to my liking. Thanks for the sample, Nicole_Martin!

boychik

If you like rich muscatel stone fruits flavor I highly recommend Sungma Autumnal by H&S.

greenteafairy

Thanks! Adding this to the list for the H&S order I’m planning for when I can buy more tea.

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