Tea Time in June 2023 Box
This month, we have a curated selection of teas with entirely different flavor notes. Our Origins line offers a unique 'Da Hong Pao' or 'Rock' type Oolong, distinguished by its intriguing mineral profile. Complementing this, our Fruity or Floral line introduces a delightful spiced Rooibos tea, its warm, inviting brew redolent with the comforting notes of apple and cinnamon. To further broaden your tea-tasting experience, we've incorporated a nostalgic favorite into our selection - a charming 'Butterscotch' blend. Read on for a more detailed exploration of these intriguing teas.
Follow our My Tea Time blog series for an immersive exploration of your monthly tea experiences. Without further ado, let's embark on our June tea odyssey!
Get to know your Tea!
In this month's box, we are thrilled to feature a rock oolong from India! This tea is named Red Oolong as the liquor from this comes out to be a dark orange reddish tint. But first lets find out more about this delicious tea.
- Grower: Yanki Tea & Darjeeling Orthodox Small Growers Welfare Society
- Teamaker: Yankhu Tamang
- Origin: Mirik Valley - Darjeeling, India
- Elevation: 2,100m (7,000ft)
- Cultivation: Natural (Organic, but no certification)
- Harvest Date: Summer 2021 2nd Flush
- Brewing Instructions: To fully appreciate the depth and complexity of the Red Oolong, we suggest brewing it the Gong Fu way using the black tea’s large leaf instructions. Because this Oolong is grown in Darjeeling, which is a region known for producing black teas, the brewing methodology for this type is more aligned with black tea; please follow the steps below to brew this tea: 1) Start by bringing fresh water to boiling, approximately 100°C or 212°F. 2) Measure about 1 tablespoon (3-7 grams) of tea leaves per 16-ounce (473 ml) cup, and place them into your preferred tea infuser or teapot. 3) Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves to rinse it by letting it sit for about 10 seconds, then pour it out. 4) Pour more hot water onto the tea leaves and steep for about 20 seconds. 5) Keep the same brewing temperature but steep any subsequent infusions by adding +5 seconds to the steep time.
Tea Aroma and Taste
In the world of tea, a delightful journey of the senses awaits you. This journey becomes even more nuanced and enchanting when you delve into the unique aroma and taste of the Red Oolong tea from Darjeeling, produced by the dedicated members of the Darjeeling Small Growers Society. This tea represents an innovative change in the Darjeeling tea industry, offering a unique sensory experience that extends beyond the traditional norms.
Appearance: The Red Oolong tea has a refined, full-leaf orthodox appearance, indicative of the high quality plucking standards employed in its creation. These leaves undergo an unusual processing method that distinguishes them from the lightly oxidized orthodox teas commonly found in the region. Once steeped, the tea releases a rich infusion, resulting in a dark, alluring liquor. Its visual appeal is enhanced by the promise of a deep, sweet, chocolatey flavor profile.
Smell: The olfactory sensation of the Red Oolong tea is a journey on its own. As the tea infuses, it releases an enveloping aroma, subtly hinting at its Darjeeling origins. The scent profile is delicate and inviting, intertwining the complexity of its high-altitude terroir with an underlying sweet, chocolatey fragrance. The aroma hints at a depth of flavor yet to be experienced, setting the stage for an immersive tasting experience.
Taste: The tasting experience of the Red Oolong is a revelation. The first sip introduces a deep, sweet, soft, chocolatey flavor, a departure from the flowery tastes typically associated with Darjeeling teas. This taste complexity reveals the meticulous crafting that has gone into its creation. It maintains a subtle Darjeeling character while offering a distinct taste profile that sets it apart. A profound aftertaste lingers, an invitation to savor its depth and complexity over multiple infusions. This tea also lends itself well to iced tea brewing, offering a refreshing, versatile option for tea connoisseurs.
In summary, the Red Oolong tea offers an intriguing sensory experience, embodying the innovative spirit of the small growers in Darjeeling and their dedication to quality and sustainability.
About the Farm and Farmers!
The essence of any great cup of tea goes beyond just the leaves and infusion. It is also deeply rooted in the place of origin, the soil in which the tea grows, and the people who cultivate it. This holds particularly true for the Red Oolong tea from Darjeeling, a product of the combined passion and labor of over 60 small growers, united under the Darjeeling Small Growers Society and led by the visionary tea maker Yankhu Tamang. The Red Oolong tea offers an intriguing sensory experience, embodying the innovative spirit of the small growers in Darjeeling and their dedication to quality and sustainability.
Background on the Farmers: The Darjeeling Small Growers Society is a community-driven initiative determined to shift the status quo in Darjeeling's tea industry. For a long time, large estates dominated the scene, prioritizing quantity over quality, and often overlooking the welfare of tea workers. Recognizing the need for a paradigm shift, this group of over 60 small growers, led by Yankhu Tamang, has embarked on a journey to realize a dual vision - producing better tea and promoting better worker ethics.
Instead of selling their raw leaf harvests to the large estates, they've banded together to control their destiny, establishing a small factory in Mirik Valley, Darjeeling. These farmers employ traditional, natural farming methods, shunning expensive chemicals to preserve the health of their soil and the land. Alongside their tea bushes, they encourage biodiverse agriculture, allowing shrubs, herbs, and fruits to thrive, enhancing the ecosystem's balance.
The Tea Maker: At the helm of this society is the dynamic Yankhu Tamang. Tamang's vision and leadership have been instrumental in shaping the future of small tea growers in the region. His drive to "Promote Small Farmers, Socially and Economically," has led to significant strides in the tea industry, not only for the small growers' society but also for the broader community.
The Yanki Special tea, a signature offering, exemplifies Tamang's commitment to quality and innovation. As the tea maker, he oversees the tea's unique processing, setting high plucking standards, and ensuring more uniform processing in their factory. His deft touch and understanding of tea craftsmanship are evident in the resulting product - a Red Oolong tea that has a uniquely deep, sweet, and chocolatey flavor, a product that has carved a niche for itself in the market.
In essence, the farm and the farmers' story is an inspiring tale of community, resilience, and a shared commitment to excellence. Every sip of their Red Oolong tea serves as a testament to their hard work and their unwavering dedication to transforming the tea industry, one leaf at a time.
The sophisticated taste profiles of the Red Oolong tea from Darjeeling can be amplified through thoughtfully curated food pairings. The sensory delights of this unique tea are exceptionally complemented by two distinctly Taiwanese pastries: the Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies and the Boba Milk Tea Mochi. These pastries, each with their unique flavor and texture, complement the rich and layered experience of sipping the Red Oolong.
Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies (Taiwan)
The Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies from Taiwan are a culinary delight on their own - imagine a rice crispy treat fashioned into a cookie, each cereal piece coated in rich dark chocolate. Each cookie is topped with sliced almond pieces, adding a crunchy dimension to the softness of the chocolate-infused cereal. This indulgence from Taiwan becomes even more enjoyable when paired with the Red Oolong.
The rich dark chocolate of the cookies harmonizes with the deep, chocolatey notes of the Red Oolong, creating a symbiosis of flavor that leaves a delightful aftertaste. The crunchy almonds add a contrast to the smoothness of the tea, making each sip a complete sensory experience. The sweetness of the cookies is balanced out by the subtly complex character of the Red Oolong, ensuring neither overwhelms the other.
Boba Milk Tea Mochi (Taiwan)
Next, we have the Boba Milk Tea Mochi, a fusion of two popular Taiwanese treats: bubble tea and mochi. This delightful treat is the perfect blend of soft and chewy, with a unique boba-flavored filling encased in a pillowy mochi exterior. The paste inside is a delightful mixture of sword beans, black tea powder, and brown sugar, with a hidden tapioca core adding to the surprise.
Paired with the Red Oolong, the Boba Milk Tea Mochi complements the tea's unique flavor profile. The soft, chewy texture of the mochi provides a satisfying contrast to the smooth liquor of the tea. The bubble tea paste, rich in black tea flavor, accentuates the subtle Darjeeling character of the Red Oolong, while the sweetness of the brown sugar in the mochi paste is balanced out by the tea's chocolatey undertones.
Both the Dark Chocolate Almond Cookies and the Boba Milk Tea Mochi serve as perfect companions to the Red Oolong tea. Each enhances the tea's distinct flavor profile while bringing their unique tastes and textures to the table, making your tea drinking experience a delightful journey of sensory exploration.
Use the 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
Embrace the Delightful Flavors
Indulge in a cup of our featured tea this month - the Apple Cinnamon Rooibos, a warming, comforting brew that promises to soothe your spirit. This exceptional blend mirrors the delightful essence of freshly baked apple pie, brought to life in a teacup. The experience it offers is akin to cozying up with a favorite dessert, but without any accompanying guilt, making it a perfect after-dinner treat.
- Tea Name: Apple Cinnamon Rooibos
- Processing: This herbal infusion combines the naturally sweet and smooth flavors of red rooibos with the comforting and familiar blend of apple and cinnamon. The rooibos tea, also known as red bush tea, is derived from the leaves of the Aspalathus Linearis plant native to South Africa. This tea is meticulously processed with apple pieces, cinnamon bark, and calendula petals, topped with natural apple and cinnamon flavors to create a harmonious blend that is both warm and festive.
- Year: 2022
- Caffeine Content: The Apple Cinnamon Rooibos is a caffeine-free alternative that offers similar health benefits to tea without caffeine, making it a suitable choice for any time of day. The rich antioxidants and beneficial alpha hydroxy acids in rooibos add a healthy note to this delicious brew. Whether you're a cinnamon lover or an apple pie enthusiast, this spiced, warm, and fruity herbal tea is sure to captivate your senses and warm your heart.
- Brewing Instructions: Because this is a blended tea, we recommend using the Western brewing style. 1) Begin by bringing fresh water to a boil, 2) Measure approximately 1 tablespoon (3-7 grams) of tea leaves per 16-ounce (473 ml) cup and place them in a tea infuser or teapot, 3) Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves and let it steep for around 3 minutes.
Tea Aroma and Taste
Appearance: The Apple Cinnamon Rooibos tea is visually enticing with its rich, reddish-brown hue that characterizes Rooibos teas. Interspersed within the fine reddish strands of rooibos are the warm tones of cinnamon bark and vibrant specks of dried apple pieces, enhancing the tea's visual appeal.
Smell: The aroma of this tea is nothing short of comforting and familiar. The distinct spicy, sweet scent of cinnamon mingles harmoniously with the fresh, fruity notes of apple, creating a bouquet that's reminiscent of home-baked apple pie. The underlying earthy and sweet aroma of rooibos rounds out the olfactory experience, making it all the more inviting.
Tasting Notes: On the palate, the Apple Cinnamon Rooibos tea unfolds a symphony of flavors. The natural sweetness of the rooibos serves as a harmonious backdrop for the playful, refreshing taste of apple, and the warm, inviting spice of cinnamon. This medley of flavors results in a brew that's naturally sweet, spiced, and comforting. The tea leaves a pleasant, lingering aftertaste, inviting you to indulge in another sip. Despite its dessert-like qualities, it maintains a smooth and well-balanced profile, making it an excellent companion for those relaxed, contemplative moments.
There's no better way to enhance the warmth and sweetness of our Apple Cinnamon Rooibos tea than pairing it with carefully selected pastries that complement its flavors. Here are two of our favorite pairings for this delightful tea:
Cheesecake Cookie (Korea): With their classic cheesecake flavor and subtle yuzu jam, these cookies are the ideal counterpart to the Apple Cinnamon Rooibos tea. This product of Korea provides a bite that is reminiscent of a light lemony fig newton, adding a citrusy twist to the well-loved cheesecake taste. The texture, slightly dense but still light and fluffy, melts in your mouth, making it an irresistible pairing with the Rooibos tea. The sweet citrus notes of the cookie match perfectly with the spicy warmth of the tea, creating a balanced and satisfying combination that is a treat for your taste buds.
Coconut Cookies (Hong Kong): Hailing from Hong Kong, These Coconut Cookies offer a crunch that contrasts beautifully with the silky smooth texture of our Apple Cinnamon Rooibos tea. The cookies, with their dry consistency, are a great absorber of the tea, making them perfect for dipping. The dominant coconut flavor, with slight buttery undertones, harmonizes wonderfully with the fruity and spicy notes of the Rooibos tea. This delightful combination will transport you to a cozy afternoon tea-time setting, bringing a smile to your face with each sip and bite.
There is a world of delightful flavors waiting for us to explore, and one such unique blend is the Butterscotch Black Tea. This tea captures the very essence of an old-time favorite candy - Butterscotch. The sweetness of this well-known confectionery delight combined with the robust flavor of black tea creates an irresistible beverage that takes us on a nostalgic journey, reminding us of simpler, sweeter times.
- Tea Name: Butterscotch Black Tea
- Caffeine Content: High
- Year: 2022
- Brewing Instructions: To fully experience the decadent, buttery delight of this tea, it is recommended to brew it using the western style: 1) Begin by bringing fresh water to boiling-212°F. 2) Measure approximately 1 tablespoon (3-7 grams) of tea leaves per 16-ounce (473 ml) cup and place them in a tea infuser or teapot. 3) Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves and let it steep for around 3-4 minutes. 4) The resulting brew should be savored and not rushed, fully allowing you to appreciate the unique sweetness and buttery character.
- Health Benefits: Black tea forms the base for this blend, a variety known for its potential health benefits. Black tea is said to offer some protection for the lungs against damage caused by cigarette smoke and may even reduce the risk of stroke. Additionally, its high caffeine content provides a good pick-me-up.
Tea Aroma and Taste
Appearance: Butterscotch Black Tea is visually appealing with its dark, fully oxidized tea leaves, hinting at the robust flavor of black tea. Amongst these leaves are tiny fragments that add a subtle glimmer, a visual representation of the rich butterscotch flavor that awaits.
Smell: The aroma of this blend is a delightful mix of the full-bodied black tea and the sweet, caramel-like butterscotch. The combined scent can be likened to a dessert, with a richness that fills the room as soon as the tea begins to brew.
Tasting Notes: Butterscotch Black Tea treats the palate with a balance of sweetness and depth. The initial sip introduces a smooth, sweet taste that mimics the traditional butterscotch candy. This sweetness is followed by the robust, full-bodied flavor of black tea. The finish is smooth, leaving a lingering buttery taste that keeps you coming back for more. Overall, this tea provides a comforting, decadent experience that elevates your usual tea time into a luxurious indulgence.
Are you interested in previous Subscription Boxes from previous months? Check out Last Month’s box (May Tea Time in A Box).