Special thank you to Nuvola Tea for sending me this surprise sample! Really it was quite a wonderful surprise. My first order from Nuvola came with two free samples, then a second two were sent promptly after they had heard of a simple mislabeling and then this one arrives unbidden in my mail box Tuesday morning! What a wonderful generous surprise!

I feel a tinge of guilt as I still haven’t reviewed the Pouchong they sent last time, but yesterday I was in the mood, nay in need of a good black tea. See I’m on a week long staycation, husband and son are in Indiana, I should be spending most of my time cleaning an organizing, but my sister gave me three books on Sunday, the Hunger Games trilogy and I have devoured them. I started reading Monday evening and stayed up until 4am finishing the first book, I never stay up that late and when I do I’m usually sick. I survived though had a tea date at Clementines with my friend Michelle the. Had her over for Milk Oolong (oh my goodness another thing to review). When she left I started the second book, then went to the local brewery with my sister for a very late dinner and a flight of beer, got home and continued reading, I willed muself to go to bed an hour earlier leaving a few chapters for the morning. That was the morning I needed this tea.

This tea, this tea is lovely! I’ve only ever had two other black teas from Taiwan and only one other “black oolong”. The leaves on this one are gorgeous both dry and especially when wet, the stems and edges have a redness to them though the centers are most definitely black, they are full, slightly twisted, not huge but a good size. The smell is dark, rich, intoxicating, it reminds me of cocoa but not quite the way other black teas do, this one is unique. It’s not quite chocolately and not quite bready, it is sweet and rich in ways I’m not used to describing in tea. It reminds me a bit of brandy. But first I should mention the first sip had a sea air taste to it, again not fishy, though maybe the slightest bit salty, I could taste some of the vegetal qualities of the oolong, then it got darker and sweeter like currants or plums. I reinfused it several time, coming back to it after a car appointment and toward the end it took on a lighter more floral quality like Darjeeling, no more like Oriental Beauty. Very lovely!

It kept me company reading yesterday and I got to bed at a much reasonable hour half way through the final book that I finished a couple hours ago. Been a long time since I’ve indulged in a good fiction novel and I’m grateful to Nuvola for sending me such a wonderful reading partner in this lonely house.

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Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.


Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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