Tag Archives: black tea

Shui Tea Act Normal

We are very excited to celebrate fair trade month! Not sure what fair trade means? Let us break it down for you…What does fair trade mean? When something is Fair Trade Certified, it protects the environments,through helping farmers and workers to practice sustainable farming,remove dangerous chemical and preserve their land. This is very important when it comes to tea, as you don’t want to be ingesting those harsh chemicals without knowing. Fair Trade gives you the confidence to trust the tea company and the tea farmers, and also reminds you that your tea is socially sustainable as well as environmentally sustainable.  The social sustainability goes towards empowering families to keep their children in school,and enables these people with access to health care, and representation. If you want to learn more about Fair Trade Practices and tea, check out Jim at Shui Tea’s blog post “Soulja Boy Teaches Fair Trade” to go more in-depth! What can you do as a consumer? If you are unsure whether the tea you are buying is fair trade, or sustainably farmed, contact the company and ask, most companies are more than happy to have a customer relationship with you and will answer promptly!


The first tea we will be reviewing in honor of fair trade month, is Shui Teas’ Act Normal Black Tea, which is “Processed by hand by good people and fairly traded.”

Brand: Shui Tea Act Normal Black Tea
Tea Rating: 93/100

Steep Time: 2-3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 190 Degrees
Price: $6.25 for 2 oz/ $$12.75 for 4 oz

This is the second tea sample I received from Jim at Shui Tea to review! I am excited to share my review because this tea is delicious! On first smell, this tea embodies a very rich earthiness,both in the dry leaves and in the liquors aroma. First sip..? This tea is bold! I can taste some sweetness,peppery notes and some citrus-y flavors (which may be the tannins o f the tea coming out). I really like the boldness of the tea, and it makes

the tea a great introduction to tea from coffee. The tea has a sweet, creamy flavor, that reminds me of caramelized sugar. This sweetness really balances out the bitter/tannic flavor and makes you want another sip! I steeped this tea 4 times, and as my steeps went on, the bitter tannins went away, and the sweet flavors really came out in the tea. The subsequent steeps also got much milder in flavor, so if you like your black teas bold, I would recommend just steeping this twice, or adding some more tea to the subsequent steeps to keep the bold flavors in play! I really enjoyed both teas that I was given to try from Shui Tea! They were both excellent, and very moderately priced. If you’re looking for good tea, be sure to check out Shui Tea! Also, if you are in the Chicago Area, Jim hosts events from time to time, which most recently has included his Tea Cocktails (tea infused vodka, and Sweet Revenge on a Manhattan to name a few!).  You can also schedule your very own tea tasting with Jim, where he brings everything along to have a great tea time at a reasonable price.

To learn more about Shui Tea:
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Or visit their store to buy this tea!

All photographs included in this post are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be used without artist authorization(minus the logo,which is property of Shui Tea)
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Damn Fine Tea Captain Assam

Brand: Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea
Tea Rating: 80/100
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Steep Temperature: 212 Degrees
Price: $20.00 for two 2 oz tins of tea + tattoos!

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea recently released their 5th series, which features a The Mermaid’s Kiss, a Chinese scented oolong tea, and Captain Assam’s High Seas Elixer, which is an Assam tea from India. Today I am going to review Captain Assam’s High Seas Elixer (See my review of The Mermaid’s Kiss)!

First, the unsteeped leaves have tiny golden tips on the them, and are  brownish  in color. The dry leaf didn’t really smell all that much, and similar to the steeped liquor, which smelled like ‘tea’, sort of a tannic,maltn Assam is not very astringent or tannic in character at all, whichy,creamy smell that really can’t be described well. The liquor is a beautiful deep reddish brown.

This is a lighter Assam tea, but does pack that caffeine! I took this with me to my Ancient Philosophy class this morning, and the Captain made my morning. The tea is very much in the vein of a breakfast tea, shown in its lighter flavor profile. It is lightly malty, and creamy. I added some milk this morning to cool the tea off before sipping, and that just made it creamier! Usually, I don’t add milk to any of my teas,but I had to try this one both ways, and I say- go for the milk if you want some extra creaminess! Captai is nice in the morning. It does have that drying mouth feel after you sip, but that isn’t as prominent as its malty and sweet notes! The next time I steep it, I want to see how well it over brews, I have a feeling this one may over-steep and still taste pretty good, since its not as tannic as some other black teas . Overall, I really dig this tea, and the entire Series 5 from Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea.

If you pick this series up, I want to hear your thoughts! Thank you to Erik and Charles for creating yet another enjoyable series!

Find Andrews & Dunham online:
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or buy this tea!

as always, all photos are property of Melissa Wrzesniewsky and are not to be used or borrowed without artist authorization.


Cha Cha Tea’s Breakfast Organic+Fair Trade

Brand: Cha Cha Tea’s Breakfast Organic and Fair Trade Tea Rating: 83/100
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Steep Temperature: 212 Degrees


This is a wonderful black tea for breakfast, as the name suggests. Usually, I only drink black tea at night or if I really need a good kick in the morning. I sipped on this tea on a Saturday morning with a hot breakfast, which is paired nicely with. The smell of the tea was intoxicating. It smelled a bit like cocao and scones, so it was sweet and robust all in one. The flavor was so much lighter than the smell of the liquor.The taste  is light and gentle.  I experienced little to no bitterness or tannins in my cuppa, which is good for someone who may forget about their tea by accident(hey, it happens to us all!). The taste is so smooth, that it naturally tastes as if there was creamer or milk already put into the tea. I pick up very little chocolate notes on the tea, but there is a sweetness on the back end of my palette, that is nice and refreshing.
All  in all, I could picture myself drinking this tea as a morning ritual. Due to its lighter black tea attributes, I would also recommend it for someone who is trying to make the switch from coffee to tea.As with most teas, but especially blacks, I would tell you to experiment with tea amounts, by increasing the amount of loose leaves used or the infusion time if you want a more intense flavor, or back off and use less leaves and a shorter steep time for a more subtle cup that won’t overwhelm you at first. For me, I tend to like my teas more intense,thus I usually add more leaves than suggested, but that is completely up to the drinkers discretion!

Cha Cha Tea is a small tea company located in Madison, Wisconsin. She almost exclusively sells organic teas, meaning she supports growers and farmers who farm using organic and natural methods. These methods yield a much healthier and tastier cup of tea! AlsoCha Cha Tea is a small tea company, that focuses on providing small amounts of artisan teas to their customers. I’ve had a wonderful experience with Maleah at Cha Cha Tea and would definitely order from them in the future!

FIND CHA CHA TEA ONLINE:
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Want to buy this tea? Click here!

(PHOTO CREDIT COURTESY OF CHA CHA TEA/MALEAH MOSKOFF)

Review of Teas Etc. Golden Monkey

Brand: Teas Etc. Golden Monkey

Tea Rating: 88/100

Steep Time: 4-5 minutes
Steep Temperature: 212 Degrees
Golden Monkey is a Black Tea from Yunnan, China. This tea from Teas. Etc won 2nd Place at the 2009 World Tea Championship in the “Signature Famous Teas – Hot Tea Class”.
The dry leaves of this tea are very beautiful, and have a fuzzy,soft look to them and are yellow golden in color. This color changes to a reddish brown hue after being steeped. The liquor is smooth and has a medium mouth feel, right in between thin and thick. This tea’s liquor was quite spicy, reminiscent of black pepper,cinnamon and a tiny bit of cocoa. Cocoa isn’t a dominant note, but it is there. I don’t seem to taste a maltiness, which is commonly found in black teas from the Yunnan Province, but this doesn’t take away from the tea one bit.  There is a sweet, almost caramel finish on this tea as well. I steeped this 3 times so far today, and each infusion brought on different, unique notes, and they were all great. Within these 3 steeps, I found some floral aspects in the tea, that really paired great with the spiciness of the tea.
Find Teas Etc online:
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On Twitter : Here
Want to check this tea out? A Direct link to their website: here

Tea Review: LeafSpa Teas Organic Banaspaty Bliss

Brand: LeafSpa Yunnan Gold

Tea Rating: 80/100

Steep Time: 5:00

Steep Temperature: 205 Degrees

LeafSpa Tea is an online retailer that offers a variety of organic, fair-trade teas. They are committed to have an exceptional collection of teas that are all USDA certified organic teas. The company has a passion for top quality teas as well as the environment, fair trade and community involvement. Whether looking for a tea for stimulation,relaxation, weight loss, detoxification, or overall heath improvement, LeafSpa can provide consumers with all of these teas and more. They are currently working on a line of spa products based on teas, such as Green Tea massage oils, Rooibos Tea Soap Scrubs and much more!

Their Organic Banaspaty Bliss Black Tea is a black tea from the Banaspaty Tea Estate located in the hills of the Assam Region of India. The smell of the steeped leaves and the steeped tea was very sweet and inviting. The tea’s liquor was also sweet,with some notes of honey, which aided in the smooth flavor of the tea. There was also some identifiable tobacco notes, as well as some dark forest-like flavors,that reminds me of driving through a forest. For a black tea, the flavor was not as full bodied as expected,which is why I think this tea would be a good morning tea or a good day to day tea, one that would take long to get bored of.  I have had nothing but a good experience with Steven and Jennifer from LeafSpa,so I definitely recommend you checking this company out! Not only do I suggest them because they are from New Jersey, where I am from and I love to represent my home state, but because LeafSpa is a wonderful company and are working towards great goals to maintain organic and fair trade teas and contribute to their  community and the environment through improving global trade conditions. Check them out!

For more information on Leafspa Teas and products:

find them on twitter : here
Find out more information about their company: here
or find out more information about their Banastapy Bliss : here

Review- Adagio Teas Maestro Collection-Yunnan Golden Curls

When I opened this sample of tea I had never seen raw leaves that look so beautiful. They look soft, are golden and are curly.The appearance is very aesthetically pleasing and made me want to try the tea immediately. I have never tried a Yunnan Golden Curls tea before,and I am sad that this was my first because it was a great tea. Onto the tea, despite the light color of the raw leaves, the liquor was significantly darker than expected. Sipping on it, I was delighted by a savory flavor of something that reminds me of sweet potatoes or yams. I also get some creaminess in the tea, which made for a very smooth cup. Yunnan teas are known for their unique peppery flavor profiles and this tea was not lacking that at all. On the back end of the taste was peppery, as if you had added some pepper into the tea, which is a very interesting flavor and probably my favorite aspect of it! All in all, what a great tea, i’m so happy to have tried it!

For More Information on Adagio’s Maestro Collection Click : HERE

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LeafSpa Teas’ Yunnan Gold Review

Brand: LeafSpa Yunnan Gold

Tea Rating: 85/100

Steep Time: 5:00

Steep Temperature: 205 Degrees


LeafSpa Tea is an online retailer that offers a variety of organic, fair-trade teas.  They are committed to have an exceptional collection of teas  that are all USDA certified organic teas. The company has a passion for top quality teas as well as the environment, fair trade and community involvement. Whether looking for  a tea for stimulation,relaxation, weight loss, detoxification, or overall heath improvement, LeafSpa can provide consumers with all of these teas and more. They are currently working on a line of spa products based on teas, such as Green Tea massage oils, Rooibos Tea Soap Scrubs and much more!

Yunnan Gold is a black tea from the Yunnan Provence of China. Yunnan is located in Southern China and is know to have been producing tea for two thousand years. The Yunnan Provence harbors some of the oldest tea trees found in China. Teas from Yunnan are known for their unique peppery taste, which is commonly found in many of the black teas produced  in the provence.

LeafSpa Teas’ Yunnan Gold is a very smooth, light tea. Considering it is from the Yunnan Provence, this tea is on the lighter side of teas coming out of the region. The lightness is reminiscent of a breakfast black tea. The liquor color is a beautiful copper color, but the flavor is the best part of the tea. The taste includes a tobacco flavor, but is also earthy and peppery in the aftertaste.. There is a lot of body for this tea  and just a hint of that darkness that is commonly found in Yunnan teas. The peppery aspect of the tea is found in the aftertaste of the tea and has honey hints that pairs nicely with the slight pepperiness. This pepper flavor is a subtle aspect of the tea versus a dominant flavor in the liquor, which is very pleasing.


All in all, I really enjoyed this tea,while sitting watching the first game of the season for the Yankees, I am drinking this tea and enjoying it very much. I really thing this would be a great tea to drink in the morning as a wake up tea, and I will probably bring it to my 9 am class on Tuesday! I have had nothing but a good experience with Steven and Jennifer from LeafSpa. Not only do I recommend them because they are from New Jersey, where I am from and I love to represent my home state, but because LeafSpa is a wonderful company and are working towards great goals to maintain organic and fair trade teas and contribute to their  community and the environment through improving global trade conditions. Check them out!



For more information on Leafspa Teas and products:

find them on twitter : here
Find out more information about their company: here
or find out more information about their Yunnan Gold : here

Episode Three- Review of Tie Guan Yin & Yunnan Noir

Enjoy the Video! Leave comments or @reply me on twitter with questions/comments! 🙂
-Melissa

Episode 2- Indonique Passionfruit Black

Indonique’s Passionfruit Black Tea is a blend of indian black tea, flowers, and passionfruit. Enjoy the episode!