Posted on February 16, 2013

Last updated on May 7, 2014

1 White Teas

White teas are the least processed types of teas. After harvest of fresh and young leaves and buds, they are left for withering to prevent oxidation, and then dried, and packaged.

1.1 White Silver Tip Tea - Rare Tea Co

For a while, I was a member of the Tea society at my university, Imperial College London, and one of the events was the owner of Rare Tea Company. It was fascinating to listen. The owner travels herself to China to personally meet with tea growers, and pick what’s best.

Silver tip tea is a white type of tea where only the unrolled young buds are collected, which makes it the expensive type of white tea.

This particular white tea is very delicate and fresh, and relatively sweet, no hints of bitterness, even after a significant period of cooling down. High quality buds are rolled together, and open a little bit after the first brewing. The tea gets a pale, golden color. At 7 GBP for 25g, this tea is on the expensive side, but I recommend it.

2 Oolongs

2.1 Vietnamese Imperial Oolong

Not particularly strong, rather delicate. I prefer the second brewing. Opens up to very nice large leafs.

2.2 Thailand Doi Tung Red

Very tightly rolled leaves. Tea appears medium strength (stronger than the Vietnamese Imperial Oolong), and has a relatively darker hue. The leaves are not full leaves like in the Vietnamese Imperial Oolong, they are smaller.

2.3 Rose Oolong

The tea leaves have a fantastic smell, you can definitely pick out the rose fragrance, although after brewing, I had more difficulty finding the rose smell, it was much more delicate. I might buy more for the rose smell.

2.4 [Kenya Tinderet Oolong]

The raw tea smells very grassy, and does not come in full leaves, it appears cut. Pretty decent taste. Appears to become much better on the second and third brewing.

2.5 [China Oolong]

Brittle, large, dark, and very dry leaves. The tea leaves smell smoky, and a little burnt. The leaves are uniform dark brown color.

The brewed and drained leaves have a sharp smoky aroma, more burnt than many other teas I have tried. The smoky aroma translates to the tea itself too.

2.6 [Malawi Salmia Oolong]

Dark and pungent leaves, almost look like burned. Produces a dark and deep beverage with a an aftertaste stronger and more bitter than many of the other oolongs I’ve tried.

3 Tisanes

Tisanes are any infusions that do not include the leaves of the tea plant camelia sinensis. As a tisane, we can classify various dried flowers, herbs, dried fruit melanges, or any plants besides the tea plant.

3.1 Bois Cheri Lemongrass

This is a lemongrass tisane from a place I visited many times, Mauritius, a small island just east of Madagascar, and it is one of my favourites. Even though the tea comes in a teabag, with ground lemongrass inside, it nevertheless delivers a delightful cup with a strong, but not overly, smell and taste of lemongrass. I had the chance to have a look at the fields where this particular lemongrass grows, and even have a little taste of it. The tisane replicates as closely as possible the experience of tasting fresh lemongrass.

3.2 Rose

I’ve had rose tisanes a couple of times, most recently in the restaurant Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London. This particular one was from Iran, although the one I’ve tried before was from Turkey.

Rose infusions have a distinct rose smell, and a light golden colour. The dried flowers open up a little bit, so make sure you are infusing in a transparent teapot or brewing cup, or you will miss out on visual aesthetics. Taste wise, a rose infusion is delicate and reminiscent of the smell of summer roses.

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