Teaneer Panfired Green Tea from Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms

Getting back to the samples provided by Teaneer Teas and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms, the Panfired green tea looks most interesting to me today.

Although Teaneer and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms do not have an official website, or at least one that I can find, they are present on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as Teaneer. Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms is located in the Nilgiri district of south India.

The sample pack has been opened, and the appearance of these dry leaves has sparked my interest. Let the journey begin…

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea Dry Leaves
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a dark green color with yellow blotches. There are also some smaller silver tips. The leaves are twisted. Most of the leaves appear to be whole, unbroken leaves with stem attached. The pluck is mostly two and a small bud, but some of the leaves appear to have the third leaf on the stem, as well. Others are large fragments. There are no bare stems or twigs. The aroma has scents of sweet wood, sweet hay, and a light fruity hint. I can say that I have never seen a tea with an appearance similar to this tea. Although I assume that the yellow blotches on the leaves are the result of the panfiring process, I wish I knew more about the in depth chemistry that leads to this occurrence.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute on the first infusion, thirty seconds on the second infusion, and forty-five seconds on the third infusion.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea 1st Infusion
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale jade greenish yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of roasted nuts, light wood, and light hay. The body is light, with a round texture. The taste has notes of wood, roasted nuts, grass, and a light floral hint. The aftertaste is grassy and floral.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea 2nd Infusion
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a more specific light, pale jade green color, less yellow tint. The aroma retains the scents of roasted nuts, wood, and hay. The body and texture are the same as the first infusion. The taste is also very similar, with the grassy character taking over some of the roasted nut note. The wood and floral notes are the same, as well as the grassy and floral aftertaste.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea 3rd Infusion
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion has an identical color to the second infusion. The aroma, body, and tastes are slightly lighter, but retain the same general descriptions as the second infusion. This third infusion had plenty of aroma and flavor to offer.

Teaneer Panfried Green Tea Infused Leaves
Teaneer Panfired Green Tea Infused Leaves

As usual with the teas from Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms, the infused leaves look and smell very fresh. The color is a uniform bright, lively forest green. The leaves are long and narrow. The pluck is mostly two and a small bud, with some having the third leaf included in the pluck. There are a few longer, more generous buds in the mix, as well. The majority of leaves are whole and unbroken. The remaining leaves are large fragments. The aroma is very fresh, and has scents of wet wood, fresh grass, and flowers.

In the past, I have had a hard time appreciating panfired green teas. They never tasted bad to me, but I just could not find the high level of pleasure that other tea enthusiasts have found in them. What I can say about this Teaneer Panfired green tea is that it is one of the panfired green teas that I did find pleasurable, and there were no aspects that I found unpleasant. In my world of panfired green teas, it holds a respectable place towards the top of the list. The appearance of the dry leaves is very interesting, and the appearance of the infused leaves is beautiful. The care and effort put into the teas from Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms is evident in all of their products, and this Panfired Green Tea certainly fits that mold perfectly.

Thank you to Teaneer and Vijayalakshmi Natural Farms for providing this sample of Panfired green tea. Cheers!

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Fengqing Raw Puer Tuo Cha 2006 from TeaVivre

It seems like it has been a long time since I reviewed a sheng (raw) puer tea. It also seems like it has been a while since I had an opportunity to review a product from TeaVivre. Time to put an end to both of those time periods.

I was very excited to see not just one, but two sheng puers in the most recent package of samples I received from TeaVivre. The subject of this review is the aged 2006 puer tuo cha from Fengqing, Lincang, Yunnan Province, China. The Yunnan Large-Leaf tea trees produce the leaves used to make this puer tea. Generally speaking, larger, more mature leaves should make for a stronger, yet mellow infusion.

TeaVivre has quite a bit of information regarding this tea on their website. Rather than paraphrase, why don’t I just give you the link to read for yourself.

Let the journey begin…

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Dry Leaves
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Dry Leaves

The dry leaves display a variety of colors, from yellow to silver, faded green to dark green, and light to dark brown shades. Since this tea came in a ten gram sample package, some of the leaves were loose, while others were parts of condensed chunks. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments. I cannot see any leaves that appear to be whole and unbroken. The aroma is smoky, earthy, and with a hint of wet fur.

Ten grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were rinsed for fifteen seconds, then infused for one minute. The amount of dry leaves may seem high, but this was the suggested weight to water ratio from TeaVivre. Actually, the suggestion is ten grams in eight ounces. The temperature I used and infusion time are much lower than the recommendation of 212°F (100°C) for three to ten minutes.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 1st Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a dark yellow-gold color, clear and transparent. The aroma was smoky, earthy, and lightly floral. The body was medium, with a smooth, clean feel. The taste had notes of animal (musk), mineral (wet stone), floral (jasmine), and a very light raisin hint. There is a mineral aftertaste, and a flowery essence left on the breath. I am looking forward to a better balanced second infusion, and would not be surprised if the third is the best tasting of the three.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 2nd Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 2nd Infusion

 

The second infusion produced a liquor with a nearly identical shade of dark yellow-gold color as the first infusion. The aroma remains earthy and floral, with the smokiness having dissipated slightly. The body remains medium. The taste did balance out some, but I still do not think it has reached the optimum balance. The tastes remain floral (jasmine), mineral (wet stone), animal (musk), and light raisin. The aftertaste has become slightly more floral and less mineral. As usual with puer, I love feeling the tea evolve from infusion to infusion. Looking forward to the third and beyond.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 3rd Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with again a nearly identical color as the first and second infusions. The aroma remains earthy, floral, lightly smoky, and a woody scent is evolving also. The taste is balancing better in this infusion, and the body feels even smoother and more refined. The floral (jasmine) taste seems to be changing into more of a woody taste, while the animal (musk) and mineral tastes remain strong, with the light raisin taste also persisting. The aftertaste began to give a dry feeling in the mouth. I still think that the taste has not reached it’s optimal balance quite yet. I will say, however, that this third infusion has definitely been my favorite of the first three infusions.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 4th Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 4th Infusion

I continued infusing this tea for six infusions before running out of time. The color, aroma, body, texture, and taste remained quite similar, with only lightening slightly, from the fourth to sixth infusion. I have no doubt that this tea could have gone to ten infusions or more.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Infused Leaves
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from light green to forest green, and a few are light brown. The leaves are all medium to large fragments, with no unbroken leaves being pulled from the mix. The aroma reminds me of a wet forest floor, with scents of wood and light flowers. There is a touch of animal musk in the scent, as well.

The Fengqing Raw Puer Tuo Cha 2006 had the earthy, mature tastes that any fan of puer tea expects from an aged sheng puer tea. This is not a tea that you would offer to friends or family who are new to tea drinking, or prefer lighter tastes. It is quite powerful in aroma, taste, and energy. This tea is perfect for a long evening of reading or study. This is truly a tea drinker’s tea.

Thank you, TeaVivre, for giving me the opportunity to try the Fengqing Raw Puer Tuo Cha 2006. Cheers!

 

Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) Black Tea from Kangaita Tea Factory

This morning I needed a strong, full bodied tea to give me a boost after a night of minimal sleep. Looking through my current selection of samples, the Kangaita FOP Black Tea from the southern slopes of Mount Kenya certainly has the reputation of providing a rich, powerful taste.

Let the journey begin…

Kangaita FOP Black Tea Dry Leaves
Kangaita FOP Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a uniform dark brown to black color, with some copper color in the stems and veins. The leaves are rolled, and are all small to medium sized fragments. There are few bare stems, and no twigs in the mix. The aroma is sweet (cocoa), and very lightly floral.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Kangaita FOP Black Tea 1st Infusion
Kangaita FOP Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a deep orange-red color, clear and transparent. The aroma is sweet (malty), lightly floral, with light citrus scents. The body is full, with a rich and mouth-filling texture. The taste is lively, with notes of malt, citrus (lemon), and a very light floral note. The aftertaste is sweet (malty), with a respectable persistence.

Kangaita FOP Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Kangaita FOP Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a significantly lighter orange color. The aroma, body, and taste lightened significantly, but maintained the same general scent and flavor descriptions. I decided to pass on trying the third infusion. This second infusion was easy to drink, but lost much of it’s character.

Kangaita FOP Black Tea Infused Leaves
Kangaita FOP Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper-brown color. The leaves are all small to medium sized fragments. The aroma is sweet (malt), floral (wet flowers), and had a light fruity or jammy scent.

The first infusion of the FOP black tea from Kangaita Factory definitely accomplished what it was intended to do, provide a strong tasting tea to perk me up on a slow morning. I really enjoyed the first infusion. The second infusion was not bad in any way, just a steep drop-off in character from the first infusion. This is certainly a perfect black tea to use in a higher quality Breakfast blend tea. I look forward to blending this with some of the Keemun Hao Ya and lower elevation Sri Lanka teas on the morning after my next sleepless night. This black tea tastes perfectly fine without additives, but I assume that throwing a splash of milk in with it can make a very smooth and energizing beverage.

Thank you to Dafina Tea Traders for providing this sample of FOP Black Tea from Kangaita Factory in Mount Kenya. Cheers!

Yong Xi Huo Qing Green Tea from Anhui Tea Import & Export Co.

Also known as Yong Xi Jade Fire, Yong Xi Huo Qing originated in the Yong Xi town in Anhui Province, China. Although similar in appearance to Gunpowder styles of Chinese green tea, Yong Xi Huo Qing typically uses higher quality leaves than gunpowder teas. Traditionally, the leaves of the Yong Xi Huo Qing are charcoal fired during processing, giving a slightly smokey character to the aroma.

Thank you to Yanfei at Anhui Tea Import and Export Co. for providing this sample of Yong Xi Huo Qing. Yanfei is another young and passionate student of tea. I always enjoy seeing the lovely photos of her tea experiments on Instagram.

The sample packet has been opened, and a fresh, herbacious, and lightly smokey aroma is escaping into the air. Let the journey begin…

Yong Xi Huo Qing Dry Leaves
Yong Xi Huo Qing Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a dark forest green to nearly black color. There is a polished, shiny look to the leaves. The leaves are tightly rolled in to a elliptical semi-ball shape, not quite the round pellets found in gunpowder teas. Leaves appear to be large fragments and whole leaves. Pluck is difficult to determine but based on the size of the semi-balls, I assume a two leaf and bud pluck. The aroma is sweet, slightly herbacious and smokey.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute on the first infusion, thirty seconds on the second infusion, and one minute on the third infusion.

Yong Xi Huo Qing 1st Infusion
Yong Xi Huo Qing 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale jade green color, perfectly clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of fresh grass, flowers, and a light smokey hint. The body is light-medium, with a soft, almost creamy texture. The taste is very refreshing, with notes of fresh grass and flowers. A mild astringency provides a nice compliment. The aftertaste is refreshingly grassy, with a pleasant floral bouquet essence persisting on the breathe for an extended period.

Yong Xi Huo Qing 2nd Infusion
Yong Xi Huo Qing 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker shade of light, pale jade green color. The aroma remains very refreshing, with scents of fresh grass and flowers. The body remains light-medium. The taste has lost no quality whatsoever. This second infusion smells and tastes as fresh and enjoyable as the first infusion. The flowery essence on the breathe also remains strong and persistent. Excellent second infusion.

Yong Xi Huo Qing 3rd Infusion
Yong Xi Huo Qing 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor that was the same light, pale jade green color as the first infusion. The aroma still remains refreshing with scents of fresh grass and flowers. The aroma smells as good as the first infusion. The taste is very slightly lighter, but still a very high quality, refreshing infusion. The notes of fresh grass and flowers are still dominant and enjoyable. I am impressed with the quality of this third infusion.

Yong Xi Huo Qing Infused Leaves
Yong Xi Huo Qing Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a very fresh, bright green to fresh forest green color. There are very few large fragments, as most of the leaves are either unbroken and still attached to the stem, or detached but whole. The pluck is two leaves and a generous bud. These are beautiful leaves and buds. The aroma is very refreshing, with scents of fresh dew-covered grass and flowers. Excellent!

I am very impressed with every aspect of the Yong Xi Huo Qing green tea from Anhui Tea Import and Export Co. Any fan of Gunpowder green tea should experience this tea, as it retains many of the popular characteristics of Gunpowder tea, but also provides the fresh, clean, and more refined character that comes with higher quality leaves. This is truly a green tea that needs no help in smelling and tasting great. This tea provides an uplifting, energizing, and refreshing feeling that is hard to match.

Thank you again to Yanfei at Anhui Tea Import and Export Co. Cheers!

 

Le Gourmand Grand Amour from Nina’s Paris

I have been holding on to this sample for a time when I felt the need to sip on a flavorful, rich black tea. This is the Le Gourmand Grand Amour from Nina’s Paris. This is a blend of black tea, flavored with vanilla, caramel, raspberries, and red currant essential oils. Click here to see a list of all of the teas available from Nina’s Paris, and be sure to explore their other gourmet products, as well.

The sample pack has been opened, and a storm of sweet scents is raging in my office. Let the journey begin…

Grand Amour Black Tea Dry Leaves
Grand Amour Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves are a uniform dark brown to black color. The leaves consist of small fragments, most likely a BOP grade from low to mid altitude Sri Lanka. The leaves are rolled. The aroma is incredibly sweet, with strong scents of caramel, vanilla, and berries.

Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) ceramic tasting infusion cup. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Grand Amour Black Tea 1st Infusion
Grand Amour Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with bold orange color with red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma is very sweet, with the fruity raspberry and currant scents being slightly stronger than the caramel and vanilla scents. The body is medium-full, with a round feel. Their is a notably brisk character to this tea, suggesting the black tea originates in Sri Lanka, which is known for producing brisk flavors to their black teas. Other taste notes include caramel, vanilla, raspberry, and red currants, as intended. I will note, also, that the flavoring is not overwhelming. The natural taste of the tea could be felt. Considering the strong aromatic properties of this tea, the taste was surprisingly well balanced. The aftertaste is sweet.

Grand Amour Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Grand Amour Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with lighter orange color with red tint. The aroma remains strong and room-filling. The body has lightened some, but the brisk character persists. The flavor has lightened, but the intended tastes are still present.

Grand Amour Black Tea Infused Leaves
Grand Amour Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a uniform copper to dark brown color. The leaves are small fragments. There are some small stems and twigs in the mix. The aroma is very sweet, with the smell of red currants and caramel being dominant.

At first, I was a little concerned that the taste of this tea may be as strong as the aroma was. Thankfully, that was not the case. The aroma was very rich, but the taste was very well balanced and not overwhelming. This tea gave me two quality infusions. I really enjoyed the brisk character and the natural taste of the tea. My guess is that this is a mid altitude grown BOP grade tea from Sri Lanka. The brisk character, the color of the liquor, and the appearance of the dry leaves leads me to this conclusion. It could very well be a low-grown Sri Lanka, or I could be wrong all together. It doesn’t matter. Part of the fun of getting flavored teas from retail companies is trying to figure out the origin of the tea.

Thank you to Nina’s Paris for providing this sample. For those of my friends, family, and fans who enjoy flavored teas, I highly recommend Nina’s Paris. Cheers!

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

Continuing through the samples from Satemwa Tea Estates, today I will be reviewing the Satemwa OP1 black tea. For more information on Satemwa Tea Estates, please visit their homepage by clicking here.

Let the journey begin…

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Dry Leaves
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a light brown to dark brown color, with a few silver tips in the mix. The leaves are mostly medium to large fragments, with a few leaves appearing to be whole and quite large. Most of the leaves are nicely rolled, but some appear to have not gone through or been missed in the shaping process. The aroma is sweet and malty, with a light dried fruit hint.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 195°F (90°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes (1st infusion), two minutes thirty seconds (2nd infusion), and three minutes (3rd infusion).

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively golden-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet (honey) and floral (orange blossoms). The body was medium, with a smooth texture. There was a moderate briskness to the taste. Other taste notes include a light malt, floral (orange blossoms), light citrus, and mineral (wet stone). The aftertaste was lightly sweet and floral.

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor that was significantly lighter than the first infusion, with a golden-yellow color. All aspects of the tea lightened significantly. The aroma is lightly sweet, and the floral scent is more dominant. The body lightened some, and the brisk character has dissipated. The taste is floral and lightly sweet, with the mineral note remaining.

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 3rd Infusion
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a very similar liquor to the second infusion. There was not much of a further decline in aroma or taste.

Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Infused Leaves
Satemwa OP1 Black Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves were either a dark forest green color, or a light copper brown. The leaves were mostly large fragments, with more than a few whole, unbroken, and quite large leaves. A few bare stems and twigs were present in the mix. Stems showed a two leaf and small bud pluck. The aroma had the scent of fresh wet forest floor, and a light floral hint.

The first infusion of the Satemwa OP1 was very enjoyable. The sweet and floral aroma and taste, with the moderate briskness and smooth feel, made the first infusion a true pleasure to sip. The first infusion does not need any additives or help in offering a great drinking experience. The steep decline from the first to second infusion left me a bit underwhelmed with the second and third infusions. However, I had no trouble finishing the second and third infusions. They were simply not nearly as tasteful and aromatic as the first infusion. The appearance of the leaves, both dry and infused, were impressive.

I am looking forward to comparing the Thyolo and Satemwa OP1 teas from Satemwa Tea Estates to the Kangaita OP black tea from Mount Kenya. I hope to get to that comparison tomorrow. Thank you to Satemwa Tea Estates for providing this sample of Satemwa OP1 black tea. Cheers!

Satemwa Antlers White Tea from Satemwa Tea Estates

UPDATE: This product is now available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop! Click here to purchase!

Here’s a tea who’s name has been catching my attention as I flip through my sample list, the Satemwa Antlers white tea. Satemwa Tea Estates has already surprised me with the high quality of the Zomba Pearls white tea, so I am interested to see how this Satemwa Antlers will compare. To read more about Satemwa Tea Estates, please click here.

The sample pack has been opened, and the appearance truly resembles deer antlers. Interesting, there are no leaves, only stems. Let the journey begin…

Satemwa Antlers White Tea Dry Stems
Satemwa Antlers White Tea Dry Stems

The dry stems vary in color from fresh green to brown and dark brown, with some silver tips in the mix. This product consists entirely of stems. There is one tip in the five grams used for this sampling. There are no leaf fragments whatsoever. The stems are between two to three inches (50 to 77 mm). There are short, soft silver hairs covering the stems. The stems show a two or three leaf with bud pluck. The aroma is very delicate, with scents of hay and wood.

Five grams of dry stems were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The stems were infused for two minutes and thirty seconds.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 1st Infusion
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a lively pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma was sweet, with scents of honey and lychee fruit. The body was medium, with a smooth, silky, satisfying feel. The taste was quite complex, with notes of lychee fruit, honey, and sweet wood. The aftertaste is sweet also. Very interesting. Excellent taste and texture.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 2nd Infusion
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a very slightly lighter shade of pale yellow than the first infusion. The aroma remains very sweet. The body remains medium and smooth. The taste has lightened on the sweet wood, and the lychee fruit note has become more prominent. The honey note remains, as well. I enjoyed this second infusion more than the first.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea 3rd Infusio
Satemwa Antlers White Tea 3rd Infusio

The third infusion produced a liquor with a very similar color to the first infusion. The aroma has lightened, but remains sweet. The taste has lightened overall, but retains the same general description. I am amazed with how good this third infusion tastes.

Satemwa Antlers White Tea Infused Stems
Satemwa Antlers White Tea Infused Stems

The infused stems have a greenish-brown color. Some stems show a two leaves and bud pluck, others show three leaves and bud pluck. One tip was found in the mix. There are no other leaves whatsoever. The aroma is very sweet, with hints of lychee fruit and sweet wood. The aroma of these stems is truly incredible. Certainly among the best aromas I have come across.

Every aspect of the Satemwa Antlers White Tea surprised me in very positive ways. The presence of only stems, with no leaves, was the first surprise. The amazingly sweet aroma and taste were unexpected. The texture was smooth and very satisfying. It was a thick, yet smooth sweetness. It was incredible, and unlike anything that I have tasted in other teas.

This product has lived up to the high expectations that I have developed for Satemwa Tea Estates. This was truly a pleasure to experience, and every tea drinker should give this product a try, if they can find it. Cheers!

Steamed Purple Tea From Kangaita Factory, Mount Kenya

A short time ago, I reviewed the Fermented Purple Tea, considered more of a wulong style of tea due to partial oxidation. The Steamed Purple Tea is considered to be a green tea in terms of processing. This Steamed Purple Tea is also from the Kangaita Factory in Kirinyaga, on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya.

Let the journey begin…

Steamed Purple Tea Dry Leaves
Steamed Purple Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves have a very dark purple to black color. The leaves are rolled, with some being long and wiry, and others being in somewhat of a semi-ball shape. The leaves appear to be mostly medium to large fragments. There are very few bare stems in the mix. The stems show a two leaves and small bud pluck. The aroma is sweet (hay and light malt) and bakey, with light earthy hints.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.5 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute and thirty seconds.

Steamed Purple Tea 1st Infusion
Steamed Purple Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a light, pale yellow color and a light purple tint. The color is very unique. The aroma is grassy, fresh, with light scents of red grape juice. The body is light, with a delicate, refreshing feel. The taste is very refreshing, with notes of delicate grass, light red grape juice, and mineral (wet stone). The aftertaste is lightly fruity, with a light flowery and grassy essence being left on the breathe. Given the dark appearance of the dry leaves, I was surprised by how light, grassy, and delicate this tea tasted.

Steamed Purple Tea 2nd Infusion
Steamed Purple Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly stronger purple tint than the first infusion. The aroma is fruitier, and lighter on the grass. The body remains light and refreshing. The taste has lightened on the grassy note, and the mineral note has become more potent. The grape juice undertone remains. A slight bitterness appeared, indicating that the infusion time should have been decreased by about thirty seconds on this second infusion. This tea is quite delicate to the infusion time, very similar to a green tea.

Steamed Purple Tea 3rd Infusion
Steamed Purple Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor similar to the second infusion. The aroma has lightened, but remains fruity and grassy. The taste has also lightened, and maintains the dominantly mineral note, and light grass and grape notes. I do not expect a fourth infusion to have much to offer.

Steamed Purple Tea Infused Leaves
Steamed Purple Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a mostly dark forest green color, with some purple leaves. All leaves are medium sized fragments. There are some stems showing the two leaves and small bud pluck. There are a few tips in the mix. The aroma reminds me of a wet forest floor with soft hints of grape juice.

This Steamed Purple Tea was an interesting contrast to the Fermented Purple Tea. One thing that was very similar in both varieties of the purple tea was the thirst quenching and refreshing quality. There is something about a clean mineral taste that I find very satisfying. This Steamed Purple Tea had a very nice balance of tastes, blending grass, grapes, and minerals. The color was intriguing, showing the presence of the anthocyanin pigmentation in purple tea, compared to the dominant chlorophyll pigmentation of the traditional green tea bushes. This tea is a great way to take a break from the typical green teas. It has the refreshing character of other steamed green teas, with a noticeable difference in taste, aroma, appearance, and body to make it unique.

I am very grateful to my source in Kenya for providing me with these purple tea samples. Cheers!

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea from Mount Kenya

Today’s review is a first in two aspects. This Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea is the first “purple” tea that I have tasted. Technically, this tea is a wulong tea according to processing technique classification (semi-oxidized). Secondly, this will be the first tea infused in my new Kuro Sendan Tokoname teapot.

This purple tea was produced in the Kangaita Factory in the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. Many people have not heard of purple tea, and it is a rather new cultivar of tea bush that has been under development in Kenya for about twenty-five years. The primary difference between purple tea and other tea cultivars is that the leaves of purple tea bushes are actually somewhat purple instead of green. The leaves are purple due to the high content of the antioxidant and pigmentation called anthocyanin, compared to the chlorophyll pigmentation in green tea bushes. This new clone, the TRFK 306/1, is frost, draught, disease, and pest resistant. The Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) is hoping that this new clone will help generate three to four times the revenue that the current black teas generate, helping the tea farmers earn a better living. Click here for a link directly to the TRFK website on Purple Tea.

The sample pack is opened, and a sweet scent of honey and ripe fruit is filling the air. Let the journey begin…

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Dry leaves
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Dry leaves

The dry leaves have a dark purple-black color with a few silver streaks. The leaves are long, wiry, and tightly rolled. There is a clear pluck of two leaves and a bud. Some of the tips are quite long. A few of the leaves appear to be large fragments to whole leaves, with the majority being medium sized fragments. The aroma is very sweet and attractive, with scents of honey, caramel, and dried stone fruit.

Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.5 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 185°F (85°C). The leaves were infused for three minutes.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 1st Infusion
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a pale yellow-orange color, clear and transparent. The aroma is sweet, with scents of ripe citrus fruit and honey. The body is medium, with a soft, delicate feel. The taste is nicely balanced and brisk, with notes of ripe citrus fruit (orange), flowers, and minerals. A light mineral (metallic) effect is left on the tongue. The aftertaste is sweet, with a light floral essence left on the breathe. This tea has a very refreshing quality to it.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 2nd Infusion
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a darker shade of yellow-orange. The aroma remains sweet, lighter on the ripe citrus fruit, making the honey smell more potent. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened on the citrus fruit, making the floral and mineral notes more influential. The mineral feel on the tongue remains, as well as the lightly sweet aftertaste and light floral essence.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 3rd Infusion
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a lighter shade of yellow-orange than the second infusion, and quite similar in color to the first infusion. The aroma has lightened, but remains sweet and lightly fruity. The body remains medium. The taste has lightened more on the fruit, and the fruity taste resembles papaya more than citrus at this point. The floral and mineral notes are still obvious. The third infusion maintains the refreshing quality of the first infusion.

Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Infused Leaves
Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a copper color with a purple tint. There are few whole, unbroken leaves, but the few that are present are fairly large (nearly two inches or 50 mm). Most of the leaves are medium to large fragments. There are quite a few whole tips. The pluck is two leaves and a bud. There are a few bare stems in the mix. The aroma is sweet and fruity.

This Hand-Rolled Fermented Purple Tea was uniquely refreshing. For a higher oxidized (fermented) tea, the body was quite light and exhibited more properties of a wulong tea than a black tea. I have one more variety of purple tea to try, being the steamed purple tea. I will be posting that review shortly. Due to the purported antioxidant properties of this tea, and the lighter, pleasant taste, I can imagine this tea can appeal to a large number of people. I certainly enjoyed my first experience with this relatively new style of tea, and look forward to the continued development of this cultivar in Kenya and elsewhere. Cheers!

The 100th Tea Journeyman Post Reviews The Kuro Sendan Tokoname Teapot from Yuuki-Cha

First, I would like to mention that this is my 100th post to the Tea Journeyman blog. It is my hope that the subject of this post will be with me through hundreds and thousands of future posts. My first ninety-nine posts have been a true pleasure to write, and each of the teas that I have reviewed have provided me with a great experience. Cheers to one hundred posts!

Back to the subject at hand, this beautiful Kuro Sendan Tokoname Teapot which I purchased from the Yuuki-Cha website. This teapot was designed and handmade by Japanese artist Houryu, located in Aichi, Japan.

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View From the Front

This teapot holds 9.4 ounces (280 ml) of water. It weighs 8.43 ounces (240 grams). Although the picture does not display the color very accurately, dark greenish-gray rings wrap around this otherwise black piece.

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View From The Back

The spout is non-drip, which is a commonly overlooked feature in many mass produced teapots. The handle is lightweight and ergonomically comfortable.

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Long, Smooth, Non-Drip Spout

This Kuro Sendan Tokoname has a ceramic mesh sasame strainer molded to the inside of the teapot, giving this teapot another high-end touch.

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Ceramic Mesh Sasame Strainer

The interior of the Kuro Sendan Tokoname Teapot is smooth, even, and uniform, with no obvious flaws.

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Interior of the Teapot

The Japanese artist, Houryu, etched his insignia into the Kuro Sendan Tokoname under the handle. Each tokoname teapot is marked with the insignia of the maker in order to identify it’s origin.

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The Insignia of the Artist, Houryu

This Kuro Sendan Tokoname Teapot was sealed using high grade Chinese Chun Mee green tea, and boiled in the tea for fifteen minutes. Now it is ready for it’s first real taste of tea. I have quite a few high quality handmade teas from Malawi that still need a review, as well as several great teas from Kenya, south India, China, and Japan. Perhaps the steamed Purple Tea from Kenya will be an interesting welcome for this beautiful teapot.

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Final View From the Top

The Yuuki-Cha website has some of the most beautiful Tokoname, kyusu, and earthenware teapots and teaware of any website that I have found. Take a moment to visit the Yuuki-Cha website by clicking here. They also have some interesting Japanese teas, including Japanese black and oolong teas. You may also find them on Facebook and Twitter as Yuuki-Cha. By the way, in my opinion, the pricing is quite reasonable. You will find some truly amazing handmade teapots for under $70, with EMS Express shipping included. For such a beautiful and highly functional piece of tea art, these Tokoname teapots are worth every penny. Thanks, Yuuki-Cha, for offering such high quality teaware at reasonable prices. Cheers!

Thank you for taking your time to read this review. Please leave a comment and start a discussion.