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Recent Tasting Notes
Holy cow this stuff is awesome. I originally sampled it at Satemwa’s booth at World Tea Expo but it was towards the end of the last day and the leaves were just about done. Now that I was able to properly steep it I’m pretty blown away. The level of complexity is crazy, especially for a tea that is made entirely out of stems. I could drink this all night (in fact I think I will).
Flavors: Cream, Honey, Spices, Vanilla
When I am in the mood for a classic Ceylon black tea, the Uva Greenland OP1 is my first choice. This is a mid-altitude grown Ceylon black tea, therefore it combines some of the floral characters of the high-grown Ceylon teas with some of the malty characters of the low-grown Ceylon tea. Of course, the refreshingly brisk character and bright liquor color that Ceylon black teas are known for is most certainly present, as well.
Perhaps the first thing that one may notice about the dry leaves of the Uva Greenland OP1 is the incredibly fresh appearance and aroma. This tea was harvested and manufactured and immediately shipped to my door from the Uva Halpewatte Factory. The dry leaves have welcoming scents of cocoa, malt, and flowers.
The liquor is bright, clean, and fragrant, with scents of citrus, light malt, and flowers. The body is medium, with a brisk character. The taste has notes of light malt, flowers, and light citrus.
This classic tea can be enjoyed by casual tea drinkers and enthusiasts alike. With or without additives, this is an aromatic and flavorful tea that will prove to be a reliable source of daily tea drinking pleasure.
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Flowers, Malt
Many tea enthusiasts have tried the very popular Pouchong oolong teas from northern Taiwan, but how many have tried the black style that is currently being produced at PT Harendong Green Farm located in the Halimum Mountains of Indonesia? If you have not tried it yet, I implore you to do so.
The aroma of the dry leaves is very fragrant, with sweet, spicy, and woody scents. The liquor is colorful with a clean brightness to it. The aroma of the liquor has scents of baked apple, cinnamon, brown sugar, and wood. The taste is crisp and satisfying, with a nice balance of light green apple, lemon, spice, and mineral. There is also a nice brisk character, and an unusually sweet aftertaste.
If you are looking for a break from the typical black teas of Sri Lanka, China, or India, give the Indonesia Pouchong Black a try. It will rejuvenate your passion for black tea.
Flavors: Apple, Citrus Fruits, Mineral, Spices
The second that the aroma of the Amba Estate Hand Rolled OP1 hit my olfactory glands, there was an immediate passion developed. Because of my love of this tea, and my belief that this is the best black tea coming out of Sri Lanka, I decided to import it and offer through The Tea Journeyman Shop.
Compare this Amba Estate OP1 to other high quality OP1 black teas out of Sri Lanka, and prepare to be amazed with the differences among them. The dry leaves are long and leggy, with plenty of golden tips. The aroma of the dry leaves is full and robust.
The liquor has the typical bright Ceylon black tea color, yet has a touch of depth that can be attributed to the hybrid bushes of Camellia Sinensis Sinensis and Assamica. The aroma is sweet, fruity, and minty. The body is full, with a brisk mouthfeel. The taste is a perfect combination of Ceylon and Assam, with notes of citrus, malt, toffee, papaya, and mint.
Another sign of the Amba Estate OP1’s superiority to other Ceylon black teas is the fact that you may used the leaves three or more times and still get amazing quality infusions. I challenge you to find me a Ceylon black tea that can match the Amba Estate OP1 in consistency of color, aroma, and flavor through multiple infusions. Believe me, I love being wrong, and I love Ceylon teas, so please present a challenge. :-)
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Malt, Mint, Toffee
It is not often when I use the tasting term floral to describe the dominant notes of a green tea, but that is exactly how the Mount Kanchenjunga Nepal Green Tea is described. Imported fresh from the Kanchanjangha Tea Estate in Phidim, eastern Nepal, this green tea immediately became a favorite of mine, which is why I decided to offer it at The Tea Journeyman Shop.
The floral scent begins with the dry leaves and persists through three or more infusions, and even into the used leaves. Notes of roses and light jasmine blend with light grass, mineral, and even a slight muscatel note to create a mouth-filling flavor that will satisfy any green tea enthusiast.
This tea has refreshing and uplifting qualities, and is a great introduction to the high quality orthodox teas that are emerging from eastern Nepal, which neighbors the Sikkim state of India, and the Darjeeling district.
Flavors: Grass, Jasmine, Mineral, Rose
Here is a very unique green tea that will cater to fans of raw (sheng) pu’er tea. The Radella Ceylon Young Hyson Green Tea consists of mature tea leaves from the TRI 2023 cultivar. The mature leaves provide the infusion with earthy, mineral, and marine aromas and tastes that are as refreshing as they are unusual. The mineral and marine notes combine to create a sea mist quality. You will be amazed by the size of the leaves once they have fully expanded. I have measured leaves that are over four inches (100 mm) in length, and nearly two inches (50 mm) wide.
The leaves can be reused at least five times, with each infusion having slightly different profiles of aroma and taste. The tea has an interesting and noticeable energy that calls you to nature. Seriously, as weird as it sounds, when I drink this tea, I want to be sitting on the forest floor next to a mountain stream.
I decided to import this tea and offer it through The Tea Journeyman Shop not because I felt it would become a widespread favorite among casual tea drinkers, but instead to offer experienced enthusiasts an opportunity to try something truly different from anything else I have found on the market. I cannot wait to start getting some feedback on this tea from other enthusiasts, because I personally love it. Cheers!
Flavors: Marine, Mineral, Seaweed
My wife and I have been fans of Jin Xuan (milk) oolong teas since the first time we tried one. With a little research, I found that many (if not most) of the milk oolong products sold in the U.S. are actually oolong tea leaves flavored with milk, cream, or butter flavoring. I began searching for only pure, unflavored, natural Jin Xuan (TTES 12) products.
Obviously the first Jin Xuan products that I tried came from Taiwan, the original birthplace of Jin Xuan, and many were truly wonderful. I tried some from China and Vietnam, as well. However, this Jing Shuan Oolong Tea from Thai Tea Suwirun Garden in northern Thailand has taken my Jin Xuan preferences by storm.
The leaves are allowed to oxidize to 50%, permitting both the floral and fruity scents and tastes to develop. The natural scent and taste of sweet cream, and the milky texture that Jin Xuan is recognized for, combine with the fruity and floral flavors to create a truly well rounded, medium bodied Jin Xuan tea. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of this tea is the potent floral essence that is left on the breath after finishing.
If you are a fan of Jin Xuan, give this Jing Shuan Thai Oolong Tea a chance, and see how far the tea masters of Thailand have come to compete with the better known producers of Jin Xuan oolong tea.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cream, Flowers, Peach
I have come across many varieties of TieGuanYin from many terroirs, but none of the highly oxidized varieties have impressed me as much as the Thea Kuan Imm Oolong from Thai Tea Suwirun Garden, located in Mueang, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. That is why I have decided to import this tea and offer it through The Tea Journeyman Shop.
The experience begins with the sweet brown sugar and molasses aroma of the dry leaves. Upon infusion, inviting scents of baked apples, brown sugar, and honey fill the room. These scents carry over nicely in the taste, resulting in a sweet, satisfying liquor with a medium body. As usual, the tea leaves can be used four or more times, and will provide a satisfying infusion each time.
This Thea Kuan Imm Thai Oolong Tea was not just a little better than the other medium to highly oxidized TieGuanYins that I have had, it was leaps and bounds better. The feedback on this tea has been overwhelmingly positive. Cheers!
Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Honey, Mineral
This is among my favorite white teas on the planet, which is why I chose to import it and offer it through The Tea Journeyman Shop. From the light, crispy feel and colorful appearance of the dry leaves to the incredibly fruity smell of the used leaves, this Bvumbwe Peony White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estate is phenomenal from start to finish.
The leaves include mostly whole, unbroken leaves and a generous portion of silver tips, many of which are still attached to the stem. You can tell by the appearance of the leaves that the processing of these leaves is minimal. The range of colors on the dry leaves is intriguing, and the aroma is reminiscent of fresh autumn leaves.
These leaves can withstand at least four infusions, and the color, aroma, and taste are quite persistent from infusion to infusion. You will probably find yourself short on time before these leaves will be short on character. The aroma and taste are very sweet and fruity, with apparent notes of lychee and apricot, combined with notes of honey and light sweet hay.
This white tea is worth a try, and may prove to be your next favorite, as it has proven to be for me. Cheers!
Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Honey, Lychee
I have had many TieGuanYin oolongs in my time, and never really cared for any of them. The Ti Kuan Yin, as the growers referred to it, from Xin Yuan Tea Garden in Anxi County, China, changed the definition of TieGuanYin oolongs to me.
The freshness of this tea can be recognized the moment that the container is opened. The tea leaves have a fresh bright green to fresh dark green color. The aroma of orchids is present from the dry leaves through the many infusions that the leaves provide. The flavor of the tea can be summed up in two descriptions: orchids and honeydew melons. This tea provides an incredible flowery essence on the breath that can be felt for minutes after a sip is finished.
The tea liquor has the color of light honeydew melon, with a light-medium body, a silky texture, and a comforting energy. Six infusions is not an unreasonable expectation, and depending on the steeping method, these leaves may give you seven or more enjoyable infusions.
Most of the leaves are whole and unbroken, with some edges showing the slight reddish tint of oxidation. There are no bare stems. These leaves are beautiful to observe.
Flavors: Honeydew, Orchid
This was the first white tea that I have ever seen that consists entirely of stems. There are absolutely no leaves in this tea. The term “antler” is a perfect visual representation for the stems, as they have a shiny yet soft and smooth appearance and texture, resembling the antlers of a young deer. The average length of the stems is two to three inches (50-77 mm). The aroma of the dry stems is fairly delicate and common, but do not be quick to judge based on this single common feature.
The bright color of the liquor carries a fruity, sweet aroma and taste. Lychee fruit, honey, orange marmalade, and sweet hay describe the notes I took on the aroma and taste. The body is light-medium, with a smooth, and very satisfying texture. The aftertaste is also sweet.
The best part of this tea is that it will literally last for hours. I got seven infusions out of the sample pot, and I stopped there simply because I had to go to sleep eventually. This is a truly unique product that is hard to find in the U.S.
Flavors: Honey, Jam, Lychee
Darjeeling teas are generally referred to as the “champagne of teas”. This Uva Greenland Silver Tips Ceylon White Tea, however, may just have Darjeeling defeated in this description.
The aroma of the dry leaves is quite unique, having a touch of spice and ripe citrus scents gently interwoven with the typical scent of sweet hay. The tips are long, slender, and sickle-shaped. They consist of a fine leaf enveloping a young bud. As usual, soft downy-like hairs cover the tips.
The aroma, body, texture, and taste of this tea are fairly consistent through the first four infusions. The fifth infusion begins to get noticeably lighter, but is still acceptable. I did not try a sixth, but expect it to be acceptable also.
The aroma had scents of honey, sweet hay, crisp apple, and green grapes. The body is light, with a gentle, smooth texture, and a relaxing energy. The taste follows the aroma closely, with notes of sweet hay, honey, and light notes of crisp apple and green grapes. The aftertaste is sweetly floral, and the mouth is left with a clean feeling.
The high market price for silver tips from Sri Lanka is well deserved, in my opinion. This tea is certainly unique from silver tips from China, India, Kenya, or Malawi. This is one you will want to try.
Flavors: Apple, Grapes, Hay, Honey