Tag Archives: favorite

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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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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Fresh Friday!

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea is one of the first high quality teas I tried back in the day. Their dragonwell from series 1 got me hooked on dragonwell for a very long time! I’ve ordered every one of their series since the release of series 1, because they’re customer service is great(not to mention very fast shipping!), their teas are always delicious and the labels on the teas are awesome too! This week’s very first Fresh Friday is Series 5 of Damn Fine Tea, which was released last week, after much anticipation and patience!

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 The Oolong, and a review of the Assam will be up this weekend. Finally, maybe the funnest part of ordering their teas is the added surprise gift, like an autographed postcard, stickers, a patch, or a set of tattoos, which is this series’ fun gift!

Brand: Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea
Tea Rating: 85/100
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Steep Temperature: 180 Degrees
Price: $20.00 for two 2 oz tins of tea + tattoos!

Now onto the tea! I love Oolongs, so I steeped The Mermaid’s Kiss first!  I really like this tea, it is a beautiful medium/dark green color in the dried leaves. The dry tea also smells  very lightly floral, and is not overpowering. I admire this about the tea, because personally, I do not usually enjoy  Jasmine Teas, for they can either be too Floral, or taste fake and flavored. This tea is neither of those things. It smells lightly floral and sweet.  I steeped this tea for  5 minutes in 180 degree water, as suggested.

The smell of the steeped liquor was the first thing to hit me. Mind you this was the first tea I got to enjoy after getting over my cold a few day ago, so my experiences and senses may have been heightened from lack of being able to taste and smell tea for a week ;). The smell of the steeped tea was lightly like jasmine flowers,but was sweet, succulent smelling, and intoxicating to my senses, the smell urged me to take a sip each time I got a sniff! Once I took a sip, I was reminded why I had waited to [im]patiently for this series. This oolong is fantastic. It had a pretty thick mouth-feel, and it is as creamy as it comes. Taking a sip, reminded me of taking a bite of a buttery biscuit, where it is both cream and buttery. The flavor is very lightly floral, and fruity. The fruitiness tastes like peaches, or plums, that kind of sweet astringency that you get from those fruits. I really enjoyed this tea, and hope to hear your thoughts if you have picked up this set as well! Thank you to Erik and Charles for creating yet another enjoyable series!

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Cha Cha Tea’s Iron Goddess of Mercy

Brand: Cha Cha Tea’s Iron Goddess of Mercy
Rating: 88/100
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Steep Temperature: 180 Degrees
Price: 1 oz.=$7.00; 3 oz.=$16.00

Iron Goddess of Mercy, or Tie Guan Yin is typically a lightly oxidized with a wonderful floral and fruity aroma. Tie Guan Yin is the most famous tea bush in Anxi City, which is found in the Fujian Province of China. Tie is chinese for “iron” which is named for the tightly twist balls of tea that resemble Iron properties of being small, but heavy.

Tie Guan Yin is one of my favorite teas. After having a bad experience with a Tie Guan Yin, Maleah offered to send me a sample of hers to try, which was so sweet of her! This tea is really great. Unlike some other Tie Guan Yin’s I have had that are more ‘green’ , this one is toastier and darker. The liquor color of this tea is a beautiful bright golden-yellow. It smells of buttered toast and slightly fruity, I can’t make the fruit out, but it reminds me a tart,yet sweet fruit. The smell is intoxicating and really lasts over multiple infusions! I love the flavor. It is toasty, with some beautiful floral notes on the end. The toasty flavor is accompanied by a slightly sweet honey note, which reminds me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. The honey makes the tea lightly sweet so in my opinion, no sugar would need to be added.I infused this tea for 5 steeps, and the aroma and flavor really lasted! I would  recommend this tea if you are looking for something new to try!

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! Also, Cha 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!

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