Yunnan Tea

Black Tea Review: American Tea Room Grand Yunnan Imperial

Grand Yunnan Imperial

Company/Brand Name: American Tea Room

Name: Grand Yunnan Imperial

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Yunnan, China

The Leaves: The leaves are dark-brown to black in color with a sprinkling of golden tips

Additions: None

Flavor: A robust and slightly malty/biscuity brew with plenty of complexity

Overall: As I sit here writing this loose tea review and drinking the last of my sample, I am wishing I had ordered more of the Grand Yunnan Imperial. I really enjoy a strong and multifaceted black tea and this one certainly packs a powerful punch on both fronts.

Tea Review:

At first, I notice the robust-maltiness of the Grand Yunnan Imperial. As I explore further, the complexity of the brew starts to emerge. That is when I notice the unsweetened dark-chocolate note, which gives this black tea a richness that I really like.

Yet, there is something else there, another taste I can’t quite comprehend. Then it comes to me, a slight smokiness further enriches my cup along with a touch of spiciness.

As I finish off the first infusion, a decadent bitter-sweet dark chocolate flavor leaves my palette begging for more.

The second infusion is quite brilliant as well, especially for a black tea. I found that the smoky-spiciness has dissipated a bit and in its place is a honey-like sweetness. Overall, the second cup is mellower, but sweeter.

This is the kind of tea that you really want to savor in quiet contemplation so as not to miss any underlying flavors.

When I sip this tea, I find myself transported to a mountain top far above the din of the world. On that peak I feel one with nature and my warm brew reminds me that I am indeed alive—fully alive.

Sample Packs from American Tea Room

Packaging:

I had ordered a sample size of this tea, which came in a black pouch with colorful label. The label included the name of the tea as well as steeping instructions. One little annoyance with these bags, however, is that they don’t re-seal. On the plus side, they do have a thick foil-lining to help keep the tea fresh.

Preparation Tips:

On the loose tea package it recommends using a water temperature of 200F and a brewing time of 4 minutes. I found these instructions to be quite accurate for obtaining the best tasting cup.

Because there were no specific directions about the amount of water or tea to use, I decided on one level teaspoon in my six-ounce glass teapot.

In addition, I used filtered water, which doesn’t make a big difference in taste for the first cup, but does impact the flavor of the second infusion.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – For the second infusion, I allowed the leaves to steep for about 5 to 6 minutes. I was quite pleased, but a little surprised as well, that I was able to get two very good cups of tea from a single teaspoon.

Dessert Tea – I found that I really enjoyed this tea in the morning as my wake-me-up brew, but I also found myself craving this tea after eating a rich tasting dessert. It helped to keep me from going back to the kitchen for more chocolate!

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the American Tea Room web page for the Grand Yunnan Imperial tea. Enjoy!

Grand Yunnan Imperial

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Black Tea Review: American Tea Room Kensington

Kensington

Company/Brand Name: American Tea Room

Name: Kensington (English Breakfast Blend)

Category: Black Tea Blend

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Assam, India and Yunnan, China

The Leaves: Dark brown to midnight black leaves with a splash of golden tips. The dried leaves have an inviting sweet-earthy scent.

Additions: None

Flavor: A full-bodied and malty tasting brew with a touch of sweetness and just enough oomph! to get you going in the morning

Overall: Yunnan and Assam are two of my favorite black teas, but I had never thought to combine them. Good thing that the American Tea Room did it for me! This tea blend combines the best of two worlds and makes a rich and luxurious cup of tea.

Tea Review:

Since this English breakfast tea brings together two black teas that I adore, I was kind of expecting fireworks overhead when taking my initial sip. Even though the sky didn’t light-up with splashes of color, I was still dazzled by the combination of flavors.

At first, when the tea was still rather hot, I detected a note of sweetness. Just behind the scenes is a subtle, yet tantalizing flavor of bittersweet chocolate.

As the tea cooled, the maltiness seemed to really kick in, which made my cup even more interesting and enchanting.

The Kensington blend has a nice refreshing finish, just enough astringency to eloquently round out a robust and sumptuous brew. Plus, I love that little tingle on my tongue after each sip!

The overall experience left me feeling rather revitalized and empowered, ready to tackle whatever the day may bring.

American Tea Room Sample Packaging

Packaging:

I had ordered a sample size of the Kensington loose tea, which came in a black bag with colorful label that included steeping directions.

However, one little annoyance with these bags is that they don’t re-seal, but on the plus side they do have a thick foil-lining to keep the tea tasting fresh longer.

Preparation Tips:

On the tea package, it recommended using a water temperature of 200F and an infusion time of four minutes.

I tried to follow these instructions fairly closely; occasionally I did let the leaves steep a minute longer out of habit, but I didn’t find that it made a significant difference in the taste.

As with most of my recent reviews, I used my six-ounce glass teapot. Since there were no specific directions about the amount of water or loose tea to use, I decided to go with the general guideline of one level teaspoon.

I do recommend using filtered-water, if possible, to allow all the wonderful nuances of this tea to really shine.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – I was able to get two infusions from the Kensington tea. The first was definitely much more robust and the second retained the maltiness of the first infusion, but was mellower tasting.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea just click the link below, it will take you directly to the American Tea Room web page for the Kensington tea. Enjoy!

Kensington

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Black Tea Review: Adagio Black Dragon Pearls

Black Dragon Pearls

Company/Brand Name: Adagio

Name: Black Dragon Pearls

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Yunnan, China

The Leaves: An abundance of full leaves, with some golden buds. The leaves are wrapped into small, marble-sized balls and are spectacular to watch unfurl as they steep.

Additions: None

Flavor: A wonderfully rich and earthy cup with tantalizing notes of bittersweet chocolate.

Overall: This has become another one of my favorite black teas. Not only does this tea provide an entertaining presentation, it also delivers a sumptuous taste experience that one would expect in a fine dining setting.

Tea Review:

When I first started drinking this tea, I used two pearls per six ounces and received a satisfactory cup. There was nothing extraordinary about the brew, other than a sharp taste I had not encountered before in a black tea.

However, once I discovered three pearls, magic happened.

The sharp taste was no longer there. Instead, I found a well-rounded, robust and earthy brew that had a distinct cocoa note; an ideal combination of flavors that left me feeling rather decadent and certainly wanting more.

For some reason while I was drinking this tea, I found myself transported to a handsome study with huge bookcases filled with leather-bound books. A fireplace is glowing and lights-up the exotic treasures from far-away places that adorn the massive room. I’m sitting in an overstuffed chair and listening to some sultry jazz as I sip my decadent tea. It’s as if all my worries have turned into gold, at least for one brief moment.

Adagio Sample Packaging

Packaging:

I ordered the sample size of this tea, which came in a good-sized, foil-lined pouch with the name of the tea and steeping instructions. The pouch is also re-sealable. Sweet!

Preparation Tips:

I used three pearls in my 6-ounce glass teapot and allowed the leaves to steep for 5 minutes in water that was approximately 200F.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – If desired this tea can be infused at least twice, but I found the first cup to be the best.

Dessert Tea – I really enjoyed this tea after a meal. In fact, it is a wonderful replacement for dessert, especially if you’re looking to save a few calories. Although, if you’re feeling rather indulgent, go for the chocolate. Then put the perfect finishing touch on your meal with a cup of Black Dragon Pearls.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, just click the link below. Enjoy!

Adagio

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Black Tea Review: Adagio Yunnan Noir

Company/Brand Name: Adagio

Yunnan Noir

Name: Yunnan Noir

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Yunnan, China

The Leaves: Unique looking leaves, with plenty of golden tea buds that are swirled and curled into snail like shapes.  Once the leaves are steeped there are many full leaves to be found.

Additions: None

Flavor: A rich, malty, brisk, full-bodied and sensuous tea with a hint of bitter-sweet dark chocolate.

Overall: The Yunnan Noir has wonderful bold and rich flavor, which is simple yet extravagant.  It has become one of my favorite black teas.

Tea Review:

I have so looked forward to writing this review; because I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every sip of Adagio’s Yunnan Noir.

My first impression was that this was a rich and robust tasting black tea, which immediately reminded me of my coffee drinking days.

As I searched deeper into my cup I found an earthy-maltiness which really seemed to give this tea its full-bodied flavor.

Then there was the hint of bitter-sweet dark chocolate that lingered in the back ground, just waiting to be discovered. This note of chocolate adds to the overall richness of the Yunnan Noir. 

This is actually the first tea I’ve sampled that has a distinguishable and consistent dark chocolate flavor, or maybe I’m just getting better at detecting it!

To top it all off, this tea has a nice briskness to it which rounds out the tea very nicely and leaves a tangy taste sensation on the tip of my tongue after each sip.

For some reason, when trying to describe this tea the word sultry keeps coming to mind. I think it is because this tea has some sexiness to it.

It has a beautifully warm and rich taste that is simply captivating. Then it gives you a light, sensuous slap of astringency, just enough to engage the senses, not so much as to leave you feeling turned-off. Lastly, you’re left with a tingly tongue that begs for more tea.

See tea can be sexy!

Adagio Sample Packaging

Packaging:

I ordered the sample size of this tea. It came in a foil-lined pouch with the name of the tea and steeping instructions on the front. Plus, the bag is re-sealable.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the Adagio bag: 1 heaping teaspoon per cup for 3-5 minutes at 212F. Then, I steeped the leaves for about 5 minutes, which resulted in the nice strong and sensuous flavor reported in this review.

I used my one-serving glass teapot, which holds about 6 ounces of liquid.

I also used my PersonaliTEA teapot to sample larger quantities of this tea.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – If desired this tea can be infused at least twice, with acceptable results.

When doing multiple infusions, I did the first infusion for 2 minutes. This gave a nice brisk and malty tasting brew, but lacked depth. For a second steep I did 5 minutes, and had pretty much the same result.

I found that one infusion of the Yunnan Noir gave the best cup of tea.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, just click the link below. Enjoy!

Adagio

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: Adagio Yunnan Jig

Yunnan Jig

Company/Brand Name: Adagio

Name: Yunnan Jig

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Yunnan, China

The Leaves: I thought the leaves were quite fine-looking; a mix of brown-black leaves interspersed with golden tips. They smelled as good as they looked with just a hint of cocoa scent.

Additions: None

Flavor: A smooth, malty black tea that is slightly spicy. It has a clean finish and never seems to go bitter.

Overall: I really enjoyed the malty, rich flavor of the Yunnan Jig, but its flavors were a bit elusive. In addition, I was never able to detect a cocoa flavor that the dried leaves had revealed.

Tea Review:

Over the last seven days I consumed my entire sample of Yunnan Jig from Adagio. It wasn’t because this was the best tea I’d ever tasted.

Rather, I went through all of the tea leaves trying to pin down the flavor profile. Once I found that nearly perfect cup, I wasn’t able to replicate it, no matter how hard I tried.

It all started the moment I opened the package.  Once I saw the abundance of lovely golden tips and inhaled the beguiling aroma of the dry leaves, I had high expectations for a delicious cup of tea.

But, that ideal cup would elude me.

Each cup seemed to tease me with indistinct flavors hidden behind a strong, malty black tea. I could sense this tea had more to give than simply its robustness.

Yet, the leaves didn’t seem to want me to decode their inner secrets.

Then one day I had a glimpse of glory. Perhaps on that day my good mood encouraged the leaves to reveal themselves fully.

What I experienced in my teacup was a creamy richness that had a touch of spice to it. The almost peppery flavor actually enhanced the earthy-maltiness to give this tea that special something.

Lastly, the Yunnan Jig has a nice clean finish. In other words, there was just enough astringency in the tea to leave a refreshing sensation in my mouth.

The taste of that ideal cup reminded me of the tango; a sultry and fiery dance that tantalizes you with bold, controlled moves and then surprises you with a dip here and there. The mysterious hint of spiciness is the unexpected dip of the tango. It surprises you, but delights you as well.

Adagio Sample Packaging

Packaging:

I purchased the sample size of this tea, which came in a foil-lined pouch. The name of the tea and steeping instructions where provided on the re-sealable pouch.

Preparation Tips:

I followed the instructions on the Adagio bag: 1 heaping teaspoon per cup for 3-5 minutes at 212F. As I have done in my last several tea reviews, I once again used my one-serving glass teapot from China to steep the leaves.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – I thought this tea was best when steeping it only once because I found the subsequent infusions to a bit weak for my taste. I even attempted to keep the first infusion under two minutes, with the hope that the second infusion would be a little more robust. However, I just ended up with two weak cups of tea.

On the plus side, I accidently left this tea steeping for a good 20 minutes and it was still drinkable. It never got bitter.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea, just click the link below. Enjoy!

Adagio

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: No

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

 

Black Tea Review: Teavana Copper Knot Hongcha

Copper Knot Hongcha

Company/Brand Name: Teavana

Name: Copper Knot Hongcha

Category: Black Tea

Form: Loose Leaf

Origin of the Leaf: Yunnan Province of China

The Leaves: A beautiful black tea with lots of golden tips, all of which are hand-curled into a spiraling knot

Additions: None

Flavor: A rich, malty and earthy black tea with notes of dark chocolate and just a touch of sweetness

Overall: I found this tea to be absolutely captivating cup after cup. The Copper Knot Hongcha has wonderful depth and complexity that makes it quite intriguing. In addition, I really enjoyed playing around with different infusions in an attempt to acquire the perfect cup. I would definitely purchase again!

Tea Review:

I’ve been drinking the Copper Knot Hongcha for about a week now and I still find each cup to be a bit of a mystery, which made drinking this tea lots of fun! However, I think I may have unlocked one or two of the secrets this tea has to tell.

For instance, when using water just under boiling, the tea reveals its chocolaty undertones and malty flavor. But, when its lovely leaves are steeped in boiling water, a rich brew is produced with some bite too it; reminding me of my coffee drinking days.

In addition to this tea’s interesting flavor profile, I found it quite entertaining to watch the leaves unfurl as they steeped. Not to mention the imagery that came to mind when sipping this tea.

I often imagined a log cabin nestled in the woods on a cool spring-like day, when the snow is just starting to melt. This imagery came to mind, I believe, because this tea has sweet-earthy taste to it, reminding me of how the ground smells when it is allowed to see the sun after several months of a snowy, cold hibernation. A perfect tea on a cold, dreary winter day when springtime seems to far away.

Washi Tea Tins from Teavana

Packaging:

I had purchased the Copper Knot Hongcha from the Teavana store at the Mall of America. Since I didn’t have any canisters at home, I decided to also purchase a Washi tea tin. I had the friendly Teavana guy place my loose leaves in the red canister for safe keeping!

Preparation Tips:

Teavana suggested using one teaspoon of tea per eight ounces of water, heated to 195F. The leaves should steep for about 2-3 minutes. I found these directions to be fairly accurate.

I used my one-serving, glass teapot to steep the leaves, which worked okay. However, I would recommend using a larger teapot to give the leaves even more room to expand, because the unfurled leaves are quite large.  Adagio’s PersonaliTEA teapot worked very well for this purpose; I took out the brewing basket, which gave the leaves plenty of room to unfold.

Additional Notes:

Infusions – You’ll want to play around with different infusion times to find your perfect cup. I personally found that I was able to get two delicious infusions from the Copper Knot Hongcha. For the first infusion, I steeped the leaves for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then, for the second infusion, I allowed the leaves to brew for a good 5 minutes.

I do like my tea on the stronger side, so if you prefer a lighter brew you may be able to get a few more infusions out of the leaves than I did.

Oh, I even forgot about my brew a couple times. When I finally remembered to check on it, the leaves had been steeping for a good ten minutes or more. Yet, this tea never got bitter.

I Want This Tea!

If you’d like to purchase this tea or shop for over 100 types of other healthy, gourmet teas, as well as teapots and other  accessories, then click the link below. Teavana offers free ground shipping on orders over $50.

Teavana

Vendor Provided Sample: No

Affiliate Links: Yes

Photo Credit: A Girl With Tea

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.