Happy Earth Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

87

A few years ago I went a bit crazy with buying FF darjeelings and samples and ended up with a lot of teas I couldn’t drink before they went stale. Last year and this year I got the FF darjeeling sample packs from Happy Earth Tea and really liked trying a few to see which ones I liked the best. Now I’m only going to have one FF darjeeling in my stash for now and that’s the Arya Ruby which I bought a full size of.

As for the Muscatel Valley, I drank this at work so I don’t have an exact idea of my water temp but it was well below boiling. Color of the tea liquor is a medium yellow and the aroma of the brewed tea reminds me of bee pollen and a flowery meadow.

This is a gentler tea without a lot of astringency and definitely doesn’t need milk or sugar. I don’t know why you would add milk to a darjeeling but maybe some people do.

This has a nutty taste that reminds me of some green oolongs I’ve had. Definitely picked up on a mango note and a slight muscatel finish that’s a bit zingy and cleanses your palette. It has a very relaxing and happy quality as I’m sitting here sipping it. If I had more of this to play around with I probably would try steeping it for shorter periods of time, say 1 to 1.5 minutes. Enjoyable, though the Arya is still the winner for me this year :)

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec
boychik

I got full size of Arya Ruby too. And it’s enough for me since I don’t drink much FF .

CHAroma

Bee pollen and a flowery meadow…what lovely imagery!

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85

Chose this as my morning tea. I feel that it’s hard to go wrong with anything from the Jun Chiyabari Estate, at least I have always liked the teas I’ve tried from there.

Compared to the Himalayan bouquet of yesterday, this is a stronger tea with more “oomph”. It reminds me more of a second flush darjeeling. I am getting a definite “spice” flavor from this tea along with nuttiness & a bit of muscatel. I decided to add a bit of agave syrup to this cuppa and found the sweetener made the flavor of it really sparkle. The agave definitely brought out the grape notes! Also nice because it has no astringency in the finish. I would say Nepali teas are like darjeeling’s gentle cousin… :)

Glad I got the chance to try this…

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90

I just reviewed this recently so please read my previous tasting note. I got a whole 2 oz. bag of the tea and I was surprised at how big the bag is, but the leaves are huge and fluffy! This is a great mid-morning tea and perfect for work as it is non-fussy and needs no sugar or milk. just yum! Floral-olive-nutty goodness.

p.s. Steepster seems really like a graveyard lately, I think a lot of people stopped posting after the site functionality issues which is too bad. I’m also on Insta under the name of: TeaBrat if you want to follow me there.

boychik

i think its summer. hot and many ppl on vacation. i have to try this tea, i have a sample. pretty sure i will like it too

TeaBrat

boychik – you should!

Doug F

I’ve been wondering why so few people are posting. I hope it’s attributable to summer. I’ve started following more people so I can get some new posts!

TeaBrat

@Doug F – I think a lot of people are spending time on Insta too

Nicole

I haven’t been posting b/c I’m not drinking anything new. Plus, I have to cut down a bit on the caffeine for awhile to see what happens with some health issues. So, one cup a day, pretty much. Sad but hopefully not forever. :)

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90

Another sample from Happy Earth Tea. This has a very appropriate name because it seems like a bouquet of flowers to me. As others have remarked this isn’t a “black” tea in the traditional sense, it steeps up fairly light similar to a darjeeling. I got a yellow tea liquor color from this. This is a very gentle, uplifting tea with no astringency or bitterness. I get the raisin like sweetness and the nuttiness in this blend. Combined with the floral nose, this is pretty dreamy. I would drink this as an afternoon tea it’s so mild and refreshing. No need for sweetener or milk! Would probably be good iced as well.

I am saving up to get a large order from HET but need to try all my samples first. I think this is going in the “buy” list for me. :)

I am quite fond of Nepali teas. Did you know 10% of Happy Earth’s Nepali teas go to the Ama Foundation? check it out. http://happyearthtea.com/pages/social-partners

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
kieblera5

This is a great tea :)

TeaBrat

agreed!

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94

I am definitely happy with this ff darjeeling sample I got from Happy Earth tea.

I brewed up my whole 5g sample because I was using a tea tumbler for this one. The predominate note I am getting is fruity. I thought peach/nectarine but it has a little bit of pineapple too. There seems to be a slight nuttiness about it as well. Only a hint of astringency in the finish but that might be because I steeped it too long. I did get a 2nd steep out of this that brought forth more pineapple and slight lemony notes.

I haven’t tried all my samples yet but will definitely consider getting a large size of this now. Sorry I can’t write more because I’m at work but it’s delicious!
Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C
Kirkoneill1988

hopefully i will try this tea someday

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79

Pleasant. A very earthy and roasted flavor with the sweetness of raisins. The aroma was mostly raisin with a hint of sweetness. It had a malty freshness that I enjoyed.

Flavors: Earth, Raisins, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Sample from Happy Earth Tea – thank you so much.

This tea was quite successful. i stopped buying First Flush Darjeeling because they are very temperamental. Too hot, too long and you can ruin it.

I faced the challenge lol
It was easier than i thought.
3g 8oz 190F just few sec under 3min.
I didnt cover the pot either. i was afraid to burn the leaves.

it is highly aromatic, light and brisk. Astringency creeps up as it cools so i recommend to drink it while its hot. it has some resemblance with yunnan greens in floral grass and nuttiness.

overall Im very happy with the session. i should not be afraid of FF.
Thank you so much Happy Earth Tea for the opportunity to try something i wouldnt pick up on my own. It was a great learning experience.

https://instagram.com/p/2bRyW9Bwmm/

https://instagram.com/p/2bTXZFhwqC/

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 45 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

they can be difficult

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Sample from Happy Earth Tea – thank you so much.

i tried this tea using my parameters and failed. I used 6g for 100ml and 200F. short steeps didnt help because it became quite strong vegetal and astringent.

i strongly recommend you to use their parameters (unless you are familiar with this tea and know what you are doing)

Next try (thankfully it was a nice sample enough for 2-3 sessions) i did exactly as written on their website for gongfu:
Cover the bottom of your vessel you are using with a single and uniform layer of tea.
Use boiling water.
Steeps: 1 min, 30 secs, 40 secs, 50 secs, 1 min, 1:10 mins

It did work. what a difference, like 2 different teas. it is floral fruity, some nuts. the roasting done really well without unpleasant ashy aftertaste.

its still not tea for me because im not comfortable with strong floral notes. But if you fan of floral oolong i think its really nice quality tea.

Thank you so much Happy Earth Tea for sending me generous samples i probably wouldnt pick on my own. It was a great learning experience.

https://instagram.com/p/29Au6JBwhE/

https://instagram.com/p/29A9X-Bwhr/

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Happy Earth Tea were very kind and sent me samples some time ago.
I apologies it took me so long to try and review. they sent me delicate teas i wasnt familiar with. due to my allergies i didnt want to try them.

This oolong is lovely. its sweet smooth and quite complex. it went thru many steeps and i believe i still can resteep it. It has some fruity notes , lychees i believe or maybe grapes. those two are pretty close. some raw nuts.
Overall this tea is very smooth and sweet without any bitterness. not floral (thank you, im not huge on floral teas). Roasting done beautifully without any ashy/bitter undertones.

Thank you so much Happy Earth Tea for sending me this tea. im not sure I would pick it on my own. it was a great experience

Ps i did my own parameters (i forgot they give their parameters on website). i dont know, maybe i had to follow their but in my experience when i use 5-6g of tea i try to give quick steeps for the fear of becoming bitter
5g 110ml gaiwan 195F
rinse/pause/ 5/5/7/7/10sec etc. many many steeps lost count

https://instagram.com/p/3UPFEXhwq-/

https://instagram.com/p/3URJx7hwv5/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I’m more active on IG nowadays. I follow Happy Earth Tea. they have beautiful pictures. Once they mentioned tasting session of Spring 2015 teas in Rochester, NY. I really wanted to try those teas and they offered to send me some samples.

Today i was brave to face First Flush Darjeeling. Ive had some before but it was never a success. FF tend to be more finicky. i wasnt paying attention to temps and time at that time (maybe like 8 yrs ago roughly). so i gave up.

Im so glad that they sent me samples outside of my comfort zone. I used website parameters. instead of 1tbsp i measured 3g. 190F 8oz

The dry leaves have intoxicating aroma of spring wild flowers. they are long greenish grey color.
Once i brew it the aroma of tea was so strong. the tea is refined, delicate, appropriate for afternoon teatime.
it has apricot, nectarine flavor along with raw nuts, slighly citrusy. it does develop slight astringency almost by the end of the cup. not unpleasant but rather welcoming.
This tea is complex and ever changing. it had different notes by the end when i finish it.
It doesnt require anything. no sugar ,no milk. no cheese.
It should be savored on its own.

I did try to resteep @5min. it was decent but not even close to a first cup. Darjeeling teas usually not very good with resteeps and its fine by me. one cup of this tea is enough to think about it.

im so glad i was able to try such an exquisite tea. Thank you Happy Earth Tea for sending it my way

https://instagram.com/p/2TVizVBwgD/

https://instagram.com/p/2TWpEchwh3/

https://instagram.com/p/2TXGaOBwip/

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

Love the glass cup! I only ever resteeped a darjeeling with any success one time. At a Fairmont hotel. Bagged, oddly!

boychik

Drinking mostly Chinese teas that resteep easily i had to test it out. But I’m not disappointed because this tea is too good

Indigobloom

That makes sense. I often forget to resteep but then I’m mostly a black tea girl :)

Brian

ive actually been enjoying some darjeeling teas lately too. Some are pretty good. i still brew in a gaiwan tho. ha

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83

This is my first Darjeeling. Gasp! Any-who, I am glad to say I am enjoying it very much. I find the taste to be similar to a Yunnan golden black crossed with a green. That could just be my unrefined palate though. All in all it is wonderfully light and fresh.
Thanks very much to KIEBLERA5 for swapping with me for this little delight! :)

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey, Sweet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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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

Since I have the rest of this sample laying around and I don’t really want to drink it, I decided to be adventurous and use it as a seasoning for my chicken last night. I just used enough to sprinkle it lightly. The flavor definitely comes through – I think I like it better as a seasoning than as a tea

scribbles

I feel that way about lapsang…. :)

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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

Finished off this sample after it sitting in my tea drawer forever. It’s still really good, though I feel like I was able to discern more complex flavor this time after having tried so many teas and my palette expanded. Very nice light roast dongding

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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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