Tea Review: Teabook Sun Set Red Tea

Teabook Sunset Red Tea
Dry leaves of Sunset Red Tea

About Teabook

Teabook, founded by Jeffrey McIntosh, is an online tea store located in Seattle. The reason they attracted my attention was their beautifully designed travel tumbler. The one I got from Teavana has broken a year ago and I was looking for a replacement. 

Alongside with the tumbler, I’ve ordered their largest sample box and Sunset Red Tea.  To be honest I was not expecting their teas to be that good; so I’m glad that I’ve placed the order. I guess I should come out of my comfort zone more often and try more different teas.

Sunset Red

Tea book Sunset Red Tea, taking its name after the warm reddish amber color of its liquor, comes from Fuding, Fujian. I’ve grown accustomed to Fujianese black teas (which might be the sweetest of all black teas) since I had the chance to sip on White 2 Tea Black Meizhan and since then I always try to keep some in my tea cupboard. 

Tasting Notes

Let’s dive into tasting notes of this week’s tea. First of all, the smell of dry leaves is mesmerizing; reminiscent of milk chocolate and caramel. They are composed of short, slightly curled black tea leaves alongside with some golden yellow tea buds. 

It cupped out orangish red liquor with great clarity. It’s sweet with a tad bitterness in the back. It’s not so strong but not so mellow either; perfect for an afternoon drink. Furthermore, the aftertaste was rather long and left a taste of dark chocolate notes in the throat.

Teabook Sunset Red Tea Teabook Sunset Red Tea Teabook Sunset Red Tea

Tea Review: Two Teas from Tea Side

Tea Side Red Tea #2 Ancient Tea Trees

Tea Side is located in the far north of Thailand, offering a wide range of teas harvested and produced in Thailand. I have not drunk too much Thai tea previously, so I’m glad to have the chance to try several samples of oolong and black teas from Tea Side. For this week’s post, I have chosen a black tea, Tea Side #2 Ancient Tea Trees, and an oolong tea, Tea Side Oriental Beauty, to review. Both are exquisite teas, I enjoyed them a lot.

Tea Side Red Tea #2 Ancient Tea Trees

First tea of this week’s blog post was handmade and harvested in Spring 2016. Very high-quality material (large tea leaves) was used to make this tea. It’s all made out of whole tea leaves plucked from ancient tea trees of Thailand.

Dry tea leaves are composed of long, dark curly leaves alongside with somewhat gold yellow tips. The smell of them is reminiscent of dark chocolate.

Tea Side Red Tea #2 Ancient Tea Trees

It cupped out a liquor between orange and red with great clarity. The mouthfeel is thick and slightly velvety. The flavor is reminiscent of earthy tones. It’s quite rich and strong yet quite smooth to drink. The aftertaste is refreshing and persistent, leaving a nice trail of soothing flavor in the throat. Although there is a tad bitterness, it’s got a nice balance of sweet and bitter tones.

Tea Side Red Tea #2 Ancient Tea Trees

Tea Side Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea

Also known as Dong Fang Mei Ren, Oriental Beauty is among my favorite oolong teas. Although I’ve tried Taiwanese oriental beauty oolong teas many times before; this is the first time I’ve tried one from Thailand.

It’s coming from Chiangmai Rai province in Northern Thailand and harvested in May-June 2015. It’s handpicked and a good representation of decent quality oriental beauty oolong teas.

Tea Side Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea

Lightly roasted and bug bitten leaves which are mostly dark brown include quite short and broken leaves with lots of silvery buds. The smell is floral and fruity, hints of peach and plum.

It cupped out clear orange liquor. It’s quite smooth and floral. It’s got a sweet honey-like taste and there is no bitterness. The aftertaste was short but left a nice fragrant aroma in the mouth.

Tea Side Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea Tea Side Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea

Tea Time in Sydney: Zensation Tea House

Zensation Tea House

Last week I had the chance to visit Sydney. As in all my trips around the globe, I had discovered a few tea houses to visit and drink tea. This week’s blog post is dedicated to the Zensation Tea House which is located on Bourke Street.  Zensation Tea House is 13 years old and run by a father and daughter; Raymond and Cristina. It’s in a relatively quite neighborhood compared to the hectic flow of downtown Sydney. As soon as we stepped into the shop we were welcomed by Christina. The place is as tranquil as its name suggests and the music in the background complimented the authentic decor of the shop.

It’s got a wide selection of teas ranging from puerh teas to flavored teas alongside with some tisanes. They’ve got also lots of teaware including high-end yixing teapots and more affordable pots such as gaiwans. I pampered myself and bought an aroma cup set.

First tea I tried was Da Hong Pao, having been deprived of nice tea for few days that was just what the doctor ordered. While I was enjoying Da Hong Pao, my friend went for milky oolong tea. Both of them were decent quality and served beautifully by Christina herself. Following Da Hong Pao, I decided to quench my thirst with shou puerh. I left it to Christina to pick one and she came up with one that’s ten years old.

Overall, having tea at the Zensation Tea House was quite relaxing and authentic following an exhausting day of sightseeing in Sydney. Highly recommended if you happen to be visiting Sydney!
Zensation Tea House
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Tea Review: Eco Cha Teas Award Winning Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Eco Cha Teas Award Winning Dong Ding Oolong Tea

I’m a great fan of lowly oxidized floral Taiwanese oolongs such as Baozhong, Jin Xuan and so on. That’s said I’ve recently grown accustomed to more oxidized, roasted, darker oolongs from Taiwan. This is because of the depth and richness that roasting process adds to the tea. Particularly when it’s done in a traditional way which is quite hard to come across nowadays.

This week’s tea, Eco Cha Tea Club Award Winning Dong Ding Oolong, is one of them. It’s oxidized twice as much as High Mountain Oolong. And furthermore, it’s roasted masterfully. Handpicked from Shanlinxi (1500 m elevation) in Winter 2016.

Dry leaves are mostly composed of tightly rolled, dark green leaves which are quite uniform in shape. Because of high oxidation and roasting process, they smell quite nutty.

I brewed it Gongfu style using about 7 grams of tea for about 150 ml water. The first infusion cupped out golden yellow orangish liquor with great clarity. It’s smooth and has a quite nutty character. The mouthfeel is mildly thick and velvety. The aftertaste is quite persistent and refreshing. In total, it held up to seven infusions without losing its touch.

Overall, this week’s tea has got everything if you’re looking for a traditional style Dong Ding oolong. Highly recommended! To learn more about Dong Ding oolongs, please take a look at Global Tea Hut Dong Ding Oolong Tea review.

Eco Cha Teas Award Winning Dong Ding Oolong Tea Eco Cha Teas Dong Ding Oolong Tea Eco Cha Teas Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Tea Review: Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Black Tea

Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha

This week’s tea, Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha, is coming from Ya’an in Sichuan province and harvested in Spring 2016. It takes its name after its cultivar, Mei Zhan, which is mainly used to produce oolong tea until very recently.

The aromatic and floral smell of dry leaves is very promising. Dark black tea leaves are quite uniform in shape and slightly curly. They consist of both short and long leaves which are shiny in appearance.

I brewed it western style using about 3 grams of tea for a 150ml teapot. I let it sit in the water about 5 minutes which was a bit long considering the bitterness of the liquor. It cupped out between orange and yellow liquor with great clarity. The first thing that hit my palate was the smoky texture alongside with fruity tones. It’s sweet and smooth with some astringency. The aftertaste was short but it left a touch of smokiness in the mouth.

Because of the cultivar used to make this tea, Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha has got characteristics of both a nice floral oolong and a strong/rich black tea. I’ve found it quite successful and it definitely satisfied my curiosity and palate.

Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha