The dry leaves vary in color from the pale green of the mint leaves, the dark charcoal grey of the purple tea leaves, and the dark red of the rose petals. The vast majority of the mix consists of the peppermint and spearmint leaves (>/= 90%), with maybe 5% of purple tea leaves, and <5% of rose petals. The refreshing aroma is also dominated by spearmint and peppermint scents. The rose petals and purple tea are undetectable.
The dry leaves were infused in 200°F water for 3 minutes.
The tea liquid has a dark golden-yellow color. The aroma is strongly dominated by the sweetness of the spearmint and the spiciness of the peppermint scents, and there is a slight trace of rose petals. The scent of the purple tea leaves is undetectable. The body is medium-full, with a refreshing, mentholated feel, and a lively texture. The taste is dominated by the peppermint and spearmint, and the rose petals and purple tea are undetectable. The aftertaste continues the refreshing, mentholated feel that coats the tongue and throat, and the mint character.
The wet leaves again vary in color from the green of the mint leaves, the green and purple of the purple tea, and the pinkish-white of the wet rose petals. The mint leaves are all small fragments, the purple tea leaves are all medium to large fragments (with a bud or two in the mix), and the rose petals are large fragments. The aroma again is dominated by the sweet spearmint and the spicy peppermint. A mentholated, tingly, cool feel in the nose is very interesting and unique.
The combination of the peppermint and spearmint truly hits all parts of the tongue (and nose), and is quite the sensation to focus on. The coolness touches the front end of the tongue, followed by the spicy bite towards the middle, and an extra mentholated feel at the back. Although I would prefer to see, smell, and taste a little more of the rose petals and purple tea in the mix, the blend of the spearmint and peppermint is very tasteful and uplifting (even without the caffeine). Increasing the proportion of the tea and roses is an easy problem to solve, if other reviewers and consumers feel the same way I do. But the cool, mentholated feel was the highlight of this experience.
Just when I thought I was about to have a typical, not-so-exciting sample from Satemwa Tea Estate, I poured out the contents of the Mint Green Tea Fusion packet. Then I saw mint leaves that were plucked like tea leaves, with two fine mint leaves and a small mint bud. Then I smelled the leaves. Then I grabbed my note pad, because a sample that I did not originally expect to review proved to be much more interesting than I assumed it to be. Shame on me for assuming that any product from Satemwa is anything less than interesting (my head is hanging in shame).
So here I am, with the review of the day focusing on the Mint Green Tea Fusion (621) from Satemwa Tea Estate. Satemwa Tea Estate is located in and around Thyolo, Malawi. To read more about Satemwa, please visit my introductory page to this wonderful estate at The Tea Journeyman Shop. Don’t forget to check out the two white teas that I offer from Satemwa Tea Estate at The Tea Journeyman Shop, including the Bvumbwe Peony and the Satemwa Antlers. Not surprisingly, these are two of the best selling products at The Tea Journeyman Shop.
This product is not flavored with mint. It is simply a blend of the Zomba Steamed TSFOP Green tea and mint leaves. I do not think the mint leaves are peppermint or spearmint. I would guess grapefruit mint, but I will have to check with my contact at Satemwa Tea Estate.
The sample packet has been opened, and the fact that this is not a common mint tea blend is immediately obvious. Let the journey begin…
The dry tea leaves have a uniform dark greenish brown appearance, while the dry mint leaves have a fresh, bright forest green color. The tea leaves are large fragments, and are lightly rolled. About 60% of the mint leaves are whole and unbroken, many of which are still attached to stems that show a two fine leaf and slightly opened mint bud pluck. The remaining 40% of mint leaves are medium to large fragments. The green tea leaves are steamed, and have a very light, fluffy, crispy texture. There are a few bare tea stems, and a few small tea buds in the mix. Strangely, the mint leaves are the star of the dry leaves show. The smell has scents of dried grapefruit mint, oregano, dried grass, very light brown sugar, light citrus (grapefruit). Interestingly, there is a spicy, herbal scent that hints of damiana leaf. This almost smells like a blend that will taste as good sprinkled on your favorite baked dish as it will when steeped in a teapot.
I prepared this sample as I would normally. I placed the ten gram sample of dry leaves in a 21 ounce (620 ml) cast iron teapot. Purified water was heated to 175°F (75°F). The leaves were infused for 2:00 minutes. At home, use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Expect two to three quality infusions out of the same serving of leaves. I recommend not exceeding the 2:00 minutes of steep time.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-yellow color and a touch of jade green, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of grapefruit mint, seaweed, oregano, salted butter, and a hint of nectarine. The body is light-medium, with a clean, lively texture, and a refreshing energy. The taste has notes of grapefruit mint, mild seaweed, light oregano, salted butter, and citrus.The aftertaste leans to the grapefruit mint and spice notes, and a refreshing minty essence is left on the breath.
As I finish this review, I am enjoying the third infusion of these leaves. The third infusion is developing a mineral taste at the back of the tongue that hands through the aftertaste. Blending with the grapefruit mint notes, which are still present, makes for a very pleasant aftertaste. After three infusions, I am mightily impressed by this product. I wish I had more.
The infused tea leaves have a fresh, light forest green color, while the mint leaves have a uniform dark forest green color. Interesting how the tea leaves and mint leaves seemed to trade colors during the infusions. The tea leaves are all large fragments, with some bare stems in the mix, and a few fairly young buds. The largest leaf fragment measures about 1.75 inches (<45 mm). The mint leaves are small, but mostly whole and unbroken, with two small leaves and freshly opened buds attached to the stem. There are some large mint leaf fragments also. The smell has scents of grapefruit mint, citrus, oregano, lemongrass, and mild seaweed. The smell is simply incredible. Below is a not great photo of one of the grapefruit mint plucks. The leaves are folded in, but whole.
I personally thought this was the most interesting blend of mint and tea that I have ever had. In my opinion, the aroma and taste of the infusion was simply beautiful. The consistency over three infusions was also impressive. This Mint Green Tea Fusion has made my Friday go by very quickly, as I have been intrigued by each sip, and there were many of them after three 21 ounce pots. I do not currently have a mint green tea blend in my personal collection, and I must say I am tempted to ask Satemwa to include a kilogram of this tea with my next inventory purchase for the Tea Journeyman Shop. My question is how would a more casual tea drinker, or one who is used to the more typical peppermint or spearmint mixed with Chinese gunpowder or Chun Mee green teas, feel about this Satemwa version? They are vastly different in every way! If your appreciation of tea expands to not only the aroma and taste in the cup, then you will want to check this product out! It may change the way you view mint tea blends. It has certainly changed mine!
Thanks to the management at Satemwa Tea Estate for providing another phenomenal product! I promise to never underestimate your fusion products again! 🙂 Cheers!
Having the zodiac sign of Libra myself, I decided to try the Libra Rooibos and black tea blend from Nina’s Paris. Libra, as most of you know, is symbolized by a scale, and Balance is the primary virtue. If I have come to realize one thing about the Nina’s Paris blending team, it is certainly the fact that they have a good understanding of balance. All of the samples that I have received from Nina’s Paris are products that seem to have a perfect amount of flavoring. The flavoring is not too heavy or too light, allowing the products to provide the natural taste of the base tea or herb, and having the desired aromas and tastes from the flavoring. Check out the Nina’s Paris North America website by clicking here.
The sample packet has been opened, and there is a pleasant balance of aromas. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves are a blend of red rooibos (African Red Bush herb), orange safflower petals, and black tea leaves. The blend is slightly weighted on the amount of rooibos, with a ratio of about 65% rooibos and 35% black tea. The black tea leaves are all small fragments, orthodox style, and machine rolled. I am guessing that the black tea is Ceylon BOP grade. The red rooibos has the usual thin twigs or needle shape. The aroma is dominated by scents of orange. Vanilla can be easily detected, but not as strong as the orange. The naturally soft and sweet scent of the red rooibos can also be detected with some effort.
Ten grams of dry leaves were placed in a twenty-one ounce (620 ml) cast iron teapot. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 3:30 minutes. Use the same water temperature and time parameters for at home preparation, and use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a beautiful rich amber color, clear and transparent. The aroma is a soft and gentle blend of orange, vanilla, and red rooibos. The black tea itself is difficult to detect in the aroma. The body is medium-full, with a lively, invigorating texture. The taste has notes of orange and vanilla, with a mild astringency. The natural taste of the red rooibos can be detected easily, and the character from the black tea comes more in the form of the mild astringency and lively mouth feel. The aftertaste is sweet with orange and vanilla.
Considering the components of this product blend, there is little to describe in the infused leaves that differs from the description of the dry leaves. The aroma continues to be very attractive, with dominant scents of orange and vanilla.
The Libra Rooibos and Black Tea Blend from Nina’s Paris reflects the virtue of Libra quite well. The flavoring and the leaf blend resulted in a perfect balance in the cup. The aroma and taste of the flavoring in the infusion are quite gentle, and far from overpowering. The natural character of the red rooibos is easy to feel throughout the experience. The black tea provides the mouth feel and pleasant astringency. Balance is what I expected in a product with Libra in the name, and Nina’s Paris was successful in accomplishing balance in this product.
Click here to check out the Libra Rooibos Blend at Nina’s Paris North America website.
Thank you to the management team at Nina’s Paris North America for providing the sample used in this review. Cheers!
The clock was showing around 10:00 PM by the time I had a moment to sit down and relax for some tea. My body was begging for as good of a sleep as possible, so I reached for one of the many herbal tisane samples that I had received recently. The packet with the name Jiao Gu Lan was most appealing to me. This packet of Jiao Gu Lan was provided by Daokrajai Lanna Thai Teas, which sources their teas and herbs from near Chiang Rai City in northern Thailand.
Jiao Gu Lan’s scientific name is Gynostemma Pentaphyllum. The name Jiao Gu Lan translates to “twisting vine orchid”. This herb has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine, and has been gaining much attention in other parts of the planet for it’s numerous health benefits.
The sample packet has been opened, and a sweet, dark chocolate smell is emerging. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a light to dark forest green color. The leaves are rolled, giving them the appearance of some gunpowder styles of green tea. Some leaves appear to have the stem attached. The aroma is sweet, with strong scents of dark chocolate and spice.
Four grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 212°F (100°C). The leaves were infused for five minutes.
The infusion produced a liquor with a yellow color and a slight brown tint, clear and transparent. The aroma is strongly herbaceous and spicy. The body is medium, with a lively, mouth-filling texture. The taste is very unique, strongly herbaceous at first, almost like overboiled dark green leafy vegetables, and evolving into a strange, oily sweetness toward the back of the tongue. I think, should I ever have this product again, I will cut the amount of leaves used in half to two grams.
The infused leaves have a dark forest green color. There are quite a few whole leaves, some still attached to long, stringy stems. There are hair-like strands on the leaves and stems. The aroma has scents of cooked dark green leafy vegetables and spinach.
Although I appreciate the health benefits of this herb, I think I will stick with Camellia Sinensis as my hot beverage of choice. The taste of this Jiao Gu Lan was very different, and it will take some additional experimentation to find a suitable strength. Perhaps it is my fault for being overzealous on the amount of leaves that I used. Regardless, everyone’s tastes are different, and many people seem to love this product. I am happy to have had a chance to try it out. Cheers!
What better way to train the tongue and brain to pick up on specific flavor notes in tea than to drink tisanes that are restricted to each individual flower, spice, herb, etc? Considering that I have about twenty various herbs, flowers, fruit peels, and other tea blending ingredients on my shelves, I decided to do individual tastings on each non-tea product in order to better polish my taste memory.
I just received some fresh rose petals and buds, and fresh lavender flowers for my herbs supplier, so why not start with the freshest ingredients on my shelves. Obviously, there is not much to review on these products. The rose tisane smelled and tasted like roses, and likewise with the lavender. The one character to note is the feel of each tisane. The rose tisane had a medium body with a smooth, supple feel to the liquid. The lavender also had a medium body, but had a pungent, mouth filling feel. I can guarantee that I will never miss the taste of lavender after this experiment. I also know for blending purposes that it will be very easy to overpower a tea or tisane blend by not being careful and conservative with the amount of lavender that is used.
Here are the photos that I took while experimenting with these tisanes.
I did enjoy the color of the lavender liquor. It had an interesting reddish-purple tint. The lighting that I had to use for these photos was not ideal, thus the reflections. I have quite a few boxes of tea samples being delivered in the next week or so, so I am not sure when my next post in this series will be available. This type of experimentation and tasting is vital in developing one’s tasting ability, so there will be plenty of these posts in the future.