The T Shop
Popular Teas from The T ShopSee All 46 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Located in southwestern China, Yunnan is the home of this exceptional black tea. The leaf is cultivated at altitudes ranging between 1,800m and 2,100m in an area with a cool climate and natural woodland. The medium-sized leaves are plucked in the early spring when the tea plants are budding with the new year’s growth and finely worked according to a special method. The end result is a gorgeous collection of golden twisted leaves, almost as lovely to look at as to taste.
Known also as Imperial Yunnan in China, this top-grade tea offers a unique character and lingering finish of this tea is intoxicating. The first infusion gives a rich, smooth, flavourful cup with notes of malt and spice with a vague whiff of the embers of a campfire in winter. There is no astringency. In fact, you can brew it for as long as you like, it won’t become bitter, just stronger.
The second infusion is equally as good, if not better. The notes are stronger. Earth, smoke, malt, honey, spice.
This highly sought after tea transports the drinker to the Tea Horse Road: to the nomadic traders of the camel caravans travelling from Yunnan to Europe via Russia who fuelled their travels through the steady drinking of tea. The route was arduous and took more than six months to complete the 6,000km journey. It has been said that during the camel caravan journeys, the teas took on the smoky taste of the campfires.
This is the amazing gift of tea. Each has its own story to share.
(Post-script: This is where the ‘Russian Caravan’ blend derives its unique flavour: all the leading brands of Russian Caravan seem to be predominantly Yunnan tea blended with various other black teas.)
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Smoke, Spices
Some days I can’t decide what beverage to choose – a comforting cup of tea or a shot of Java. Technically you can get both at your local coffee house in the form of a “dirty chai”: chai latte with a shot of espresso.
But if you are at home…?
The T Shop offers a new chai blend with a base of high-grade Chinese black tea mixed with coconut, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and velvet chocolate, then a sprinkling of ground and whole coffee beans to jazz it up. We all know the warm bright spices in chai tea are so incredibly cozy, but the additional ingredients take it to over the top decadent.
With much anticipation I got out my milk pot and brewed up a batch of the tea. The chai had a subtler, richer flavor than many other chais, with a big hit of spice from the cardamom and cinnamon and a tasty depth from the coffee beans. And yet the tea held its own.
The beauty of making your chai at home is that you can have it any way you want it. To get the best result from your spices, it’s recommended the chai is brewed on the stove with 1 part milk and 1 part water. However, if you are time-starved, boil the kettle, steep the tea (3 minutes) and add steamed milk. Decadent. (Almost as good as a dirty chai, but better for you…that is, minus the instant chai mix coffee houses use.)
If coffee isn’t your…ummm…tea then you can use this blend in baked goods or just toss it in a cup to hold under your nose all day long because it SMELLS COMPLETELY AMAZING.
Scented tea can be a mixed bag. Sometimes it can be way too fragrant and the cup ends up tasting like it has been spikee with artificial flavourings, nasty chemicals. Then there is the opposite side of the spectrum, where the tea is lacking in scent and flavour.
This particular tea has been scented with fresh juice from the Lychee nut. It is, perhaps, the first scented tea ever created.
Legend goes in the Chinese Tang dynasty, there was a imperial concubine, Yang GuiFei, who was addicted to Lychees. Each year, the Emperor shipped a large amount of the fruit in order to ingratiate himself with his concubine. In the fleet of vessels, there were many kinds of handcrafted ‘Tribute Tea’ destined for the imperial household. One such tea was Lychee Congou. Yang Guifei loved the tea and, subsequently, it became popular with the Chinese.
Back to the tea. The dry leaf smells incredible. Lychee fruit is unique and distinct. It has a natural sweetness, yet slightly tart. Infused in water that has been brought to a rolling boil (96-degrees) for 3-5 minutes the tea reveals a wonderfully exotic fruity (Lychee!) note. However, the Chinese Keemun base isn’t hidden behind the Lychee. Rather, the tea tastes rich and smooth, with a hint of smoke that pairs well with the fruit.
Exotic. Sultry. Intoxicating. Sweet.
Flavors: Lychee, Smoke
Many tea merchants offer Chai, but their concoctions tend to be overpriced and under-spiced. And the tea bags, pre-ground spice mixtures, and concentrates found on supermarket shelves are woefully bland. A proper masala chai will have a pungent and rich brew.
A blend made with spices – ginger, green cardamom, anise, red peppercorn, clove, chilli and nutmeg. No sweeteners and artificial flavourings are added. The tea can be made with water in a small teapot or simmer in hot milk for a traditional Chai experience.
This Garam Masala Chai meets all the criteria for a good cup of chai. Like mulled wine, traditional chai blends have an aromatic presence, but by adding ‘heat’ through the introduction of chillies and red peppercorns and an additional dose of ginger, this tea offers an even greater benefit: to provide warmth and insulate the body.
The spices in this chai are powerful movers – literally. The first sensation of heat is recognizable a few minutes after drinking the tea, when it sits at the back of the throat. It has a slightly dry feel to it. After 10 minutes or so the sensation of heat is felt in the chest and then continues through the body. I am reminded of the first known reference to tea: Venerable (Chinese) tea sage, Lu Yu, was boiling tea when some leaves from a plant fell into his pot. He tasted them and found the tea was unexpectedly better than usual. But more than that, as he had a transparent stomach, he could see the good the leaves were doing. Just like Lu Yu, we can feel this tea travel through our bodies and offer goodness and warmth.
It packs a double punch compared to traditional chai blends.
Note: While milk is not required to savour this tea, a tiny dollop of honey softens any harshness or dryness from the spices and imparts a rounded taste and body that is pleasant to the palate.
This tea was purchased from The T Shop in Christchurch, New Zealand.
From each bush, only the finest plucks are used. Tea buds and leaves are harvested in early spring before opening, when they are still covered with white hair. It takes about 80,000 tea leaf buds to make roughly 500g of the final tea product. A skillful tea harvest worker may well spend half a day to get just enough tea leaf buds to make 100g final tea product. After that they are left in natural sunlight for whitening and drying.
When it comes to steeping this tea, there are two options – a long steep, which will bring out grilled vegetable notes with floral/fruity (orchid or white peach) flavours. The taste remains long in mouth with a lingering sweet hay note with honey and walnuts.
OR you can opt for a short 30 second steep, which produces a light and delicate tea with grassy and floral notes.
Either way, watch the leaves dance as they steep. Glass is recommended, so you can witness the clarity of this tea.
Chinese people believe that Snow bud tea has even cooling and detoxifying properties. Recent studies have demonstrated that, compared to other types of tea, has more polyphenols, believed to be a possible anti-cancer agent. Unlike most white teas, Snow Bud is reasonably low in caffeine, so great to have before bed.
I have been slowly savoring my bag of Marzipan as I was aware it was no longer listed on the shops website :(
Welllll – it’s back!!! Oh My Goodness, this has made me so happy I could dance ╭☆╯
An absolute treat of sweet almond flavour, that can only be likened to drinking a battenburg cake – something so deliciously morish that I think I’ve made myself sick each and every time I’ve been faced with one .. Not that this tea will make you sick, oh no, but you WILL require more than one cup :D
PS: info above says it’s good with Danish biscuits, well I’m currently munching on home-made Springerle, and the combo is utter perfection ♡
Why do companies insist on giving their teas misleading names? The aroma of this is divine creamy-spicy-chai, but the flavour is a lot more muted and is more like a basic vanilla cinnamon tea. Still tasty, but I wish more of those chai spices would come through in the cup!
Luckily I wasn’t “looking for a legendary experience” as the description asks, otherwise I would have been sorely disappointed. A little fruity, a little floral, all around a “nice” tea. Nice in that inoffensive and uninteresting way though, and far from ~ legendary ~. SIGH.
For about the last two weeks, every time I brewed a cup of Earl Grey Excelsior aka The Fierce-est Earl Grey That Ever Earled, I made a mental note that I needed to buy another packet. Today the unthinkable has happened: I have run out completely!
A thorough and frantic rummage through my cupboard thankfully unearthed this sad wee forgotten packet with a single teaspoon left inside.
Perhaps I have an earlier version of this earl grey, as the ingredients only list bergamot and lavender in the blend. The resulting infusion makes for a very mild cup – too mild for my tastes and similar to a bagged earl grey with the smallest hint of lavender. At least I don’t have to wait too long for a proper bergamot fix!
Miss Sweet REALLY IS Sweet! She sent me this tea as well as others from NZ and I’s so grateful for her!
This smells awesome! The taste is equally as strong…it totally fits the description STRONG ALMOND…and I mean STRONG ALMOND!!!! It’s all about the ALMOND here, folks!
Did I mention it has Almond!?
Thanks again Miss Sweet! Can’t wait to try the others you sent! :)
One of the most delicious flavoured black teas I have ever come across! With natural almond flavouring and almond slivers, this tea is an absolute delight – I prefer mine with a tiny splash of milk, but it stands up well on its own. Fingers crossed they get this flavour back in stock soon, I’m not sure how long my current bag will last…
A darker and more warming cinnamon black tea than Hot Cinnamon Sunset, but I still think this tea is let down by the low quality tea leaves (which doesn’t make a difference with their Marzipan blend because the almond flavouring is so strong). I would definitely drink this plain, as adding milk mutes the flavour of the tea completely. However this is a great option if you find the Harney & Sons cinnamon too sweet, and the t leaf T cinnamon too dark!