Phoenix Herb Company

Recent Tasting Notes

79

In theory I would be apologizing for no tea blog yesterday, but I am not sorry, TU19 came out yesterday and I was in utter bliss. A bit of backstory, the last ‘real’ not bugfix update for the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft came out last time I was in Pennsylvania, either in July or August of 2013! I know 4J Studios has been busy making Minecraft for all the other consoles, and that is awesome, but I was seriously gloomy about the lack of update. So as expected, when I saw yesterday that the new update was out, all my plans flew out the window as I went around taming horses and giving mobs really random names.

It is now time for yesterday’s tea today! My current home town of Kansas City has a delightful shop which I visit on occasion, Phoenix Herb Company (who will be at the Midwest Tea Fest, hint hint :P ) and I am looking at one of my favorite teas: Dian Hong! Basically Dian Hong translates to Yunnan Red, so this is a fancy red (or black) tea from Yunnan, it is not as fuzzy and golden as some of my favorite red teas, but it makes up for lack of gold by having a powerful flavor and smell. Or at the very least the other Dian Hongs I have had are like that, so time to see how this one compares. The aroma is super sweet, there are notes of raisins, sweet potato, a bit of dark rum, cherries, and some floral in there as well. It has a headiness to it, but more of a fruity sweet headiness than floral, though the distant rose aroma is quite striking.

So, into the gaiwan the leaves go, after their first somewhat short steeping (30 seconds if you are curious) the aroma of the leaves is still sweet, but it takes on a heavy richness. There are notes of cocoa, raisins, dried cherries, molasses, and a nice malty punch at the finish. It is an aroma that wakes you up, which is good, especially after an all-nighter of Minecraft. The liquid is really malty and bright with a distinct cherry undertone and a finish of molasses.

The first steep starts out really brisk and bright, it almost reminds me of an Assam who decided to visit Yunnan and liked it so much they stayed. I could see this becoming a really good breakfast tea. After the initial brisk malt tones, it mellows out to molasses and raisins at the midtaste, this in turn goes to sweet cherries and a touch of smoke at the finish. The smoky finish is so minute that it took me a few sips before I was certain it was there and not just in my head.

For the second steep, the aroma is much maltier and even more brisk, it practically effervesces and wakes me up from sniffing it, definitely a good morning tea! Like the previous steep it starts out brisk, bright, and malty, but it lacks the sharpness of astringency that some really brisk teas can have. After the beginning’s zinginess it moves into heavy cherry and raisin sweetness which lingers into the aftertaste. I could see this being a really good wake up tea for someone who wants a milder black but finds most Chinese red teas too mild and more ‘Western style’ black teas too intense.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/12/phoenix-herb-company-dian-hong-tea.html

Lion

I had always wondered if Phoenix Herb sells tea, since they are walking distance from my home now. I will have to check them out. I popped in to buy culinary lavender once and was in a rush so I popped right back out that day and didn’t look around me.

Nicole

Phoenix used to sell mainly herbs and a lot of flavored teas. They have shifted over the last few years to some higher quality unflavored. I like going in the shop, though I haven’t been in some time.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Lion, I find this funny because we have had two separate conversations about them selling tea :P

I need to pop in again when I get back to KC, I need to get my hands on some ingredients for blends ;)

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89

I sadly do not have anything really interesting or important to open today’s post with. My sleep schedule is all wonky, so I woke up late in the afternoon, I played Minecraft (working on a Creeper Argonath) and played some Soul Calibur V with Ben. My breakfast was cornbread stuffing and a Matcha latte, so yeah, nothing too exciting today.

Today’s tea is Lapsang Souchong from local tea and herb shop, Phoenix Herb Company. Lapsang Souchong is a fun tea, it originated as low quality tea that was sent to those outside of China since apparently smoking a tea over pine fire makes it a lot easier to transport (less apt to rotting on the Tea Horse Road). Nowadays we can get the fancy stuff that was originally reserved for tribute, but we still love our smoked teas. The aroma is extremely smoky, it is like sticking your face in a pine wood campfire or running away from a forest fire. There is no subtlety at all in the empyreumatic (smoky) aroma of this tea, but there is more to it than just smoke. Once you waft off the clouds of smoke you can pick up a faintly sweet malty quality and a hint of pine resin.

The brewed tea is not like sniffing a forest fire any longer, the smokiness is significantly more subtle and joined with malt and molasses sweetness. The aromas blend together quite nicely and the tinge of sweetness is tantalizing. The liquid has the aroma of campfire and also pine sap with a hint of rich malt.

Fun side note, when I first started drinking primarily loose leaf tea, Lapsang Souchong was one of the ones I drank the most. The taste of this particular Lapsang Souchong is quite pine heavy, both in pine smoke and pine sap. There is also a rich malt quality similar to an Assam, there is mildly astringent finish that gives the mellow and rich smokiness an extra zing at the end. I recommend this tea, so much so that whenever there is a family gathering and I do not feel like offering a tea menu, this is the tea I serve everyone. It is safe to say I end up brewing several pots and give lots of refills.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/phoenix-herb-company-lapsang-souchong.html

Flavors: Malt, Pine

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

I love Soul Calibur! :D I have been thinking about Lapsang Souchong lately because my husband found a smoked tofu recipe that uses Lapsang in it…we’re definitely going to have to try making it some day!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Ooooh that sounds delicious!!

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96

A really surprising treat this morning!
Love this tea!
Full review going up on http://sororiteasisters.com/ on the 16th but here are my snippits:

Pomegranate Splash from Phoenix Herb Company is such a refreshing treat! It reminds me of everything about spring. It has this awakening, light, lovely flavor and aroma, that truly refreshes and makes you feel alive.

The first sip was like drinking in a ray of sunshine! Clean, crisp, refreshing, and fruity! The flavor of Pomegranate is spectacular! There is no artificial flavor here and I am choosey about that! I really was not anticipating having a flavored tea this morning but as I looked through my teas, I kept being drawn to this one and I am so glad I went for it. I have had three cups so far – two being re-steeps and I am finding that the tea is actually making me quite perky and cheerful! There is nothing like a really good cup of fruity flavored tea in the morning. Granted I generally trend more toward straight blacks, with the malty depth and complexity, but it is nice to wake up with a cheerful cleansing tea.

Well I am impressed. Both with this tea and with Phoenix Herb Company! I have made it my personal mission to make it INTO their store one day soon, but until I can, and do, I have plenty of wonderful teas to sip on as their prices are excellent as well.

Get some here: http://phoenixherb.com/

Nicole

Definitely get to the store. They are just super nice folks.

Azzrian

I will! Sean was wonderful in email communication – what a doll! I can’t wait to feel the vibes from the shop too!
What is your favorite tea from them?

Nicole

It’s been so long and it was back when I was just getting into teas. Since then I’ve switched offices and it’s not convenient to get to the shop. :( I’m pretty sure I had a darjeeling blend of some kind. I remember having a favorable impression overall of their teas but being concerned that the teas were stored in clear glass jars. The selection was quite impressive and perhaps since the shop is long and narrow the sun doesn’t do much damage. :) I bought more bulk spices from them than tea, if I recall correctly. Excellent prices on those as well.

Azzrian

I really do need to stock up on my herb as well! Can’t wait to get in there. Yeah the storage in the glass could be a concern but as long as they are not hit by light and cool(ish) they should be fine. Especially if they go through their stock reasonably fast. So far all the teas from them I have tired – which is only three now – have been great so I don’t think they have been effected by the way they are stored.

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