Tea Time in August 2023 Box
Greetings, tea enthusiasts! As we bask in the warmth of summer, this month's Tea Time Box is ready to guide you on a flavor expedition through the aromatic terrains of Vietnam, Taiwan, China, and beyond. Our curated selection this month promises a palette of unparalleled experiences.
In our Origins section, the spotlight is on "Sun-Kissed" - a Black Tea emanating from the verdant landscapes of Vietnam. Complementing this exquisite tea, we've paired it with Taiwan's delicate Lime Wafer Sticks and delicious Lemon Cream Wafers.
Moving on to our Fruity or Floral line, we introduce the Passion Fruit Green Oolong from China. This oolong tea wonder is accompanied by the refreshing Watermelon Crystal Candy from the USA and the delightful Strawberry Biscuit straight from Japan.
Lastly, for those who yearn for adventure in their cup, our Explorer segment brings the bold and smoky Lapsang Souchong from China's renowned tea regions.
Prepare yourself for this fascinating tea journey, while you immerse yourself in flavors and fragrances from across the globe. Cheers to a memorable August tea experience!
Follow our My Tea Time blog series for an immersive exploration of your monthly tea experiences. Without further ado, let's start our August tea experience!
Journey with us as we delve into the heart of northern Vietnam, a land of timeless beauty and age-old traditions. As nature transitions from the chill of winter to the embrace of spring when the sun peaks out from behind the dispersing clouds, we find ourselves drawn to the ancient rhythms of tea cultivation and preparation. Experience a tea that's not just a beverage, but a tale of origins, a reflection of the land, and a celebration of seasons. Dive in and get to know your Origins Tea.
Tea Name: Sun-Kissed (First Kiss)
Teamaker: Mr. Nguyen Viet Hung
Origin: Ha Giang Province, Northern Vietnam
Cultivation: Natural (Organic, but no certification)
Harvest Date: Fall 2022
Caffeine Content: High
Brewing Instructions: To brew the Sun-Kissed tea, start by warming your tea ware with hot water. Next, add 6 grams of the tea to the teapot. Pour water that's been heated to approximately 98°C over the tea leaves. Allow it to steep for 20-30 seconds, though you can adjust this duration based on your personal taste preference. Once brewed, transfer the tea from the teapot to a pitcher, then serve in small cups. This method will let you fully experience and savor the distinctive flavors and aromas reminiscent of northern Vietnam.
Tea Aroma and Taste
In the heart of Vietnam, the Sun-Kissed black tea offers a sensory journey, capturing the essence of spring's embrace. Each sip is a testament to ancient trees, traditions, and nature's dance between the old and the new.
Appearance: Magnificent long, dark leaves intermingled with alluring golden tips.
Smell: A seductive floral bouquet, reminiscent of spring flowers, complemented by subtle undertones of earthy woods.
Taste: A harmonious blend of milk chocolate and maple mingles with the deep florals, culminating in a silky mouthfeel. Earthy, woody notes provide a grounding backbone, creating a complex yet comforting flavor profile.
About the farm and Farmers!
In the bustling city of Hanoi lies a sanctuary of tradition and passion: Hien Minh Tea House. This haven, established in 2016, bridges the past with the present, reflecting Vietnam's rich tea heritage through the preservation of its ancient tea trees.
Background on the Farmers: Hien Minh Tea, a gem in Hanoi, is owned by the dynamic duo, Mr. Hung Viet Nguyen and his wife, Yen. Mr. Hung is a recognized tea master who won a title at the Tea Master Cup 2016. He collaborates with his wife to elevate the Vietnamese tea making process and champions the legacy of the ancient Vietnamese tea trees. Their commitment runs deeper than business; it's a tapestry of meditation, tradition, and culture. Embracing Buddhism's principles and inspired by the simple lifestyle, they've embodied peace and contentment. Hien Minh showcases the art of Vietnamese tea-making and also the spirit of sharing Vietnam's tea essence with the world.
In the world of tea, pairing with pastries elevates the tasting experience to a symphony of flavors. Just as wine finds its match in cheese or chocolate, Sun-Kissed tea from Vietnam discovers its perfect dance partners in the form of two delightful pastries from Taiwan. Let's embark on this culinary journey together.
Lime Wafer Sticks (Taiwan)
Emerging from the culinary wonders of Taiwan, these Lime Wafer Sticks are a great play on contrasts. The wafer is ethereally crisp, offering a gentle counterpoint to the spirited lime filling nestled within. This lime flavor, bright and zesty, is an artful middle ground between sharpness and subtlety. When paired with the Sun-Kissed tea, the wafer's feathery touch beautifully accompanies the tea's silky character, while the lime's vibrant zing accentuates the tea's deep floral undertones, resulting in a delightful fusion of flavors.
Lemon Cream Wafers (Taiwan)
These Lemon Cream Wafers are a sublime expression of Taiwan's expertise in confectionery. Each bite reveals a velvety lemon cream, balanced with just the right zest and tang. This soft wafer, when coupled with the smooth notes of Sun-Kissed tea, crafts a harmonious blend for the palate. The undertones of chocolate and maple in the tea are further heightened by the wafer's creamy essence, and the tea's floral nuances bask in the wafer's citrusy glow. The pairing resembles a serene garden where blossoms and citrus trees stand together.
Palate Cleanser (for taste testing): Saltine crackers are provided in our tea box to clean the taste of your mouth, including spicy, bitter, or sweet.
Fruity or Floral
Nature has a whimsical way of expressing itself, and nowhere is it more evident than in teas that capture the essence of fruits and flowers. Step into a world where the earthy foundation of tea meets the aromatic caress of nature's bounty, resulting in a blend that's both refreshing and evocative.
Tea Name: Passion Fruit Green Oolong
Processing: A lightly oxidized blend of premium oolong with marigold petals and natural passionfruit flavor infusion.
Caffeine Content: Moderate - Roughly 50-75 mg per 8 oz. cup.
Brewing Instructions: For a standard brew, utilize 1 teaspoon of Passion Fruit Green Oolong tea for every 8 oz. of water. Steep at a temperature of 185 ºF for an optimal duration of 3 minutes. This blend is re-infusible; for each subsequent steep, add a minute to the brewing time.
Tea Aroma and Taste
Each tea tells a story not just through its origin or processing, but through the intimate experience of savoring it. The aroma and taste of tea allow it to weave its tale, transporting the drinker to its place of origin and revealing the intricacies of its creation.
Appearance: The leaves of the Passion Fruit Green Oolong present a delicate dance of light green shades intertwined with the soft golden hue of marigold petals. Once brewed, the tea takes on a pale, clear, golden-green hue, reminiscent of early morning sunshine.
Smell: The initial aroma that wafts from the cup is undeniably that of ripe passion fruit, a tropical burst that's both sweet and slightly tangy. Underneath this dominant note, there’s a subtle freshness of oolong, giving it a rounded, minerally undertone.
Tasting Notes: Upon the first sip, the fruity sweetness of passion fruit takes center stage. It’s vibrant and refreshing, evoking images of tropical orchards. This fruity note is beautifully balanced with the slightly floral and mineral characteristics of the green oolong. As the tea lingers on the palate, there's a smooth, velvety finish with a hint of floral aftertaste, making each sip a harmonious blend of fruitiness and the nuanced complexity of oolong.
Watermelon Flavor Yabumoto Krystal Kandz (USA)
Hailing from Washington State, the Yabumoto branded Watermelon Crystal Candy promises a sensory delight unlike any other. At first glance, its sugar crystals glisten, hinting at the artisanal craftsmanship that's gone into its creation. Taking a bite, you’re first met with a crisp sugary crust which soon yields a soft, gel-like center, reminiscent of a sweet watermelon-infused gel. The candy's juicy watermelon flavor plays an amazing duet with the tropical passion fruit notes of the tea, creating an exhilarating dance of fruity freshness. The tea's slight astringency balances the candy's sweetness, making each sip and bite a harmonious exchange.
Strawberry Biscuits (Japan)
Japan's Strawberry Biscuit brings the essence of a favorite delight, strawberries! These delicate wafers encase a rich strawberry cream filling, crafted from the finest Hokkaido milk. This results in a harmonious balance of crispiness from the wafer and creamy sweetness from the strawberry filling. When paired with the Passion Fruit Green Oolong, the tea's floral undertones beautifully complement the fruity strawberry notes of the biscuit. The creaminess of the filling further enhances the smoothness of the oolong, creating a pairing that feels like a gentle embrace of flavors and textures.
Dive deep into the heart of China's Wuyi Mountains, where legends are birthed and flavors define identity. Lapsang Souchong, often called the "smoked tea," stands as a beacon for those adventurous souls looking to expand their tea horizons. A tea with a story as rich as its taste, Lapsang Souchong's distinctive smoky profile stems from a tale of wartime necessity, with locals drying tea leaves over fires in haste. Today, it serves as an invitation: an offering for those brave enough to taste the wild side of tea.
Tea Name: Lapsang Souchong
Processing: The creation of Lapsang Souchong is an intricate dance of tradition and technique. It begins with the hand-picking of the finest black tea leaves. These leaves are first dried in bamboo baskets, hovering above a pine wood fire. This process infuses them with the signature smoky aroma. Further deepening its flavor, the leaves are rolled to break the cell walls and then packed for oxidation, where they absorb a unique smoky essence. The “frying” and rolling process that follows seals in this smokiness. The pièce de résistance, however, is the final drying step: the leaves are laid in bamboo baskets once more and dried over a fire infused with aromatic pine needles, ensuring that the smokiness is deeply ingrained in every leaf. This exacting 8-12 hour drying procedure imbues the Lapsang Souchong with its characteristic boldness and smoky allure.
Caffeine Content: Medium
Brewing Instructions: For a cup that truly encapsulates the spirit of the Wuyi Mountains, start with fresh, filtered water brought to a boil. Weigh out 5 grams of Lapsang Souchong, placing it either in an infuser or directly into an 8-oz. mug. As you pour the hot water over the tea, the air will fill with its unmistakable aroma, evoking images of campfires and ancient forests. Allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes, ensuring the flavors meld perfectly. After the time elapses, strain the leaves or remove the infuser, then take a moment to inhale the rich smoky scent before savoring your first sip.
Health Benefits: Lapsang Souchong offers more than an exquisite taste journey. Packed with antioxidants, it aids in combating oxidative stress, promoting cellular health. Moreover, its unique preparation process ensures the preservation of beneficial compounds, providing a calm, focused energy boost. Regular consumption can also aid digestion, soothe the mind, and offer a sense of relaxation amidst the chaos of daily life.
Tea Aroma and Taste
Lapsang Souchong is not just a tea; it's an experience. The smoky resonance it offers makes it stand apart from other teas. Every sip of this tea is a fragrant journey into the heart of the Wuyi Mountains, enveloping the senses in an alluring tapestry of aroma and flavor.
Appearance: The brewed tea captures the essence of a serene sunset, displaying a deep coppery-golden hue, reminiscent of ancient bronze artifacts, glistening in the soft light.
Smell: As you bring the cup closer, the bold, unmistakable scent of campfire smoke entwines with subtle notes of pine resin. It’s as if the very soul of the forest, with all its mysteries and histories, is whispering to you through the steam.
Tasting Notes: On the palate, Lapsang Souchong is bold yet nuanced. The first impression is intense smokiness, akin to sitting beside a roaring campfire under a starlit sky. This is closely followed by a gentle hint of pine, evoking memories of forest explorations. As the tea dances across the taste buds, underlying notes of aged wood, leather, and a touch of sweetness make their presence felt, ensuring every sip is a multi-layered revelation. The finish is long and smoky, leaving a lingering taste of adventures yet to be had.
Are you interested in previous Subscription Boxes from previous months? Check out Last Month’s box (July Tea Time in A Box).