Rare Tea Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

Wow.

I got this tea for Christmas and I was good and did not sneak a sample before Christmas. Today is my second time drinking it.

Big surprise to see a black breakfast recommend 176F but I did it and kept the steep short as they recommended. I have tasted single steeps and combined steeps.

This tea comes out slightly light in color like Darjeeling and some Ruby 18’s do, but the body. Oh wow, the body. This is creamy and thick with smooth sweetness, not a hint of astringency, no briskness. Layers of lovely notes ranging from an almost minty high note that flits by to woody notes reminiscent of a super creamy and utterly non-fishy shu. Fall leaves. Maple. Fall sun. So nice.

If you are looking for builders tea to get you going, this isn’t it. If you want a cup of tea to accompany a mindfulness session, here you are. Lots to think about in this cup. I got three lovely steeps off one teaspoon this time and combined them after tasting individually to make sure it did t lose much flavor in the resteeps.

Would definitely purchase again.

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90

TeaTiff TTB #27

Mmm, this is nice! It almost reminds me of a black tea with its rich, toasted bread flavor. But it also has that distinctive buttery smoothness of an oolong. I haven’t tried much from Rare Tea Company, but most of what I’ve had has been exceptional. I would definitely consider ordering this one in the future!

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Smooth, Toast

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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February Sipdown Prompt – an unflavored black tea

This was selected to go with breakfast this morning – homemade blueberry syrup and plain old Eggo Blueberry Belgian style waffles, all topped with whipped cream, of course.

This was Ashman’s first time having this tea, but since he liked Fortnum and Mason’s Darjeeling as well as Lupicia’s Premium Sakura, I thought he would enjoy this one.

His opinion was that it was a very good pairing and he felt that it would be an excellent tea paired with most food. He doesn’t like astringency much and said that he found this to be smooth and easy to drink.

I made two steeps and combined them and then intended to make a third steep after breakfast to see if we could get just a bit more out of the leaf. I really think we could have, but I got distracted with yard chores (squirrel!) and left it far too long. I didn’t risk a bitter experience and chucked it out. Maybe next time I can go for three steeps and see if it works.

Delicious, and would purchase again. The aroma of the very fine dry leaf alone is a treat.

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I have been looking forward to trying this tea since I first read about it some time ago. I was reading a novel and Rare Tea Company was mentioned which sent me down the rabbit trail of finding out if they were the actual company mentioned in the work of fiction and they responded with a link about this tea. Their customer service is top notch and I wasn’t even a real customer yet.

I have had a few other teas from the Satemwa estate, all I believe purchased by Superanna from What-Cha. They were all stellar teas.

Opening the tin, I was surprised to see that this is so finely chopped. Leaf color is deepest, darkest brown, like rich dark cocoa. Dry leaf aroma has some heady high nites as well as a deep smokiness. I am not getting chocolate from it.

I am glad I checked the instructions because they recommend that you use 185F water and 1-2 minutes if you will not be adding milk. They also mention that the second steep is best, which is common among oolongs but perhaps less common with black tea to me.

Since it is my first time trying it, I left room to experience and experiment. A bit of the first steep was poured into a cup. I tasted it and was very surprised. It was not at all what I expected. I definitely wasn’t what I think of as a breakfast tea. There was something so familiar teasing at the edge of my brain but it took me a while to get it. Brothy? Almost but not quite there. Something reminding me of purple tea…yes…DARJEELING. Yes, it has much in common with Darjeeling!

The second steep was made and poured in a different cup. Wow. Just wow. They are not kidding that the second steep is better. I immediately combined the steeps and discovered that I love the two steeps blended almost as much as the second steep by itself.

The dry leaf and the steeped tea both transport me to the exciting smell of the A Southern Season flagship store, where the rich scent of tea enveloped you with excitement about what you might find and what you would be taking home with you. It was a pure tea smell, a classic tea smell.

They say to drink this within three months of opening the tin. That won’t be a problem. Now that I have had this at breakfast, I also see on their site that it is considered an afternoon tea, and I can see that. Fortunately I also bought their Emperor’s Breakfast!

I will be sticking my head in the tin for the next three months for mini-aromatherapy sessions.

Michelle

I got her book, Infused, for xmas. I can send it to you after I am finished as it is a real book with pages. And you can pass it along when you are done.

ashmanra

Neat! Thank you so much!

gmathis

OK, tell me about this book of which you speak!

Leafhopper

I read Infused as an eBook and enjoyed it. Each chapter of the memoir features a different tea.

ashmanra

gmathis: I can send it on to you when I am done if you would like to read it!

Leafhopper: Oh, good to know! I look forward to reading it!

gmathis

ash: Me? Turn down a good book?

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99

Even for people, like myself, that love to adventure with different teas and companies, we have our cupboard staples and this is one of mine. In fact, I have a tea pot just for this tea. If you haven’t tried any New Zealand teas yet I highly recommend them. The terroir there makes for some really tasty teas. The leaf is a dark chocolate color with a slightly dusty texture and minimal twist. This is a perfect tea for the fall. Loads of Sweet potato, fresh and with a bit of maple syrup notes. Roasted sweet potato skin. Maybe a hint of thyme. The mouth feel is smooth. Butternut squash skin. Sweet and delectable. Though if you enjoy roast notes you can steep it longer and the sweetness becomes taken over with charcoal and burnt sweet potato skin. This one can last many sessions too.

Daylon R Thomas

New Zealand stuff is some of my faav. I used to get Zealong stuff from the Kiwi Importer for discounts.

Skysamurai

I just checked out their page. That is sweet as! Thank you!

ashmanra

I was just reading a novel and this company was mentioned! Corduroy Mansions was the book.

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68

Art is subjective when it comes to color, matcha is not. While someone could argue that matcha color doesn’t matter. I disagree. It can be the first sign of whether matcha is still good, how long it was shaded, if it was stored properly, etc. The color of this matcha leaves much to be desired. Is that a pun? Wa ha. It is between a green olive and moss green. Which in matcha is not something really desirable unless you are cooking with it. The mouthfeel is silky with a bit of silt. The flavor is better than culinary but doesn’t have the complexity of a ceremonial grade in my opinion. There is a slight creaminess mixed in with vegetal notes. I would rate this in the middle, better for lattes but still fine for a stand-alone session. On that note, mixed with creamy oat milk it is quite delicious.

Cameron B.

Even in the product photo, the color doesn’t look that great. Odd.

Skysamurai

So true. I was really hoping that it was just a bad pic when I ordered it. Henrietta does great tea but needs to rethink the matcha I think

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72

While some teas a very straightforward in their flavor and aroma this one is probably one of the most complex that I have consumed. The dry leaf is tightly twisted with a dusty slightly yellowish dark brown. Ever so slightly. This changes to brown with dark olive greens. in the wet leaf. Some longer leaves but also a lot of broken leaf. The wet leaf aroma is somewhat bready with hints of malt, The liquor color is a brownish amber. The flavor is all over. Compost, wet leaves, malt, rye bread, resin, and wet wood. This rates really well on the website. But to be honest it doesn’t really float my boat.

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Dark chocolate color dry leaf with a dusty appearance. Dusty like one sees with a high-end chocolate. Not that it is actually dusty but more so just a way of description. The dry aroma has barnyard and summer floral notes. Along with a touch of smoking wood that I get a whiff of on a rare occasion. I have no idea of how long to steep. I know I could just read what it says on the website but there is a certain excitement that goes into discovering a tea fully on your own. Three minutes to start at 175 F. Not the most beautiful liquor color. Kind of brownish gold. Though as I steep it longer it turns a nice almost rose-gold color. The longer steep reveals woody notes. And some lacquer. Resin. I think I should have followed the advice (I read it after the first steep) and only steeped for the 60 – 90 seconds because it’s lost a bit. Though with a longer steep like before more flavors begin to reveal themselves. More woody notes and a soft mouth feel. A bit of cream of wheat plain and a bit of cherry and dark cherry wood.

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90

Forgot to smell the dry leaf. But Henrietta does a fantastic job of sourcing so I trust this will be good. A deep brew. Bit of malt here, dash of wood tones there, and all wound up with a slight hint of malt o meal. This is very nice. And a perfect amount of astringency. Enough to wake you up but not enough to set your tongue clicking.

Terrible weather and things happening this past week. I just wanted to lay aside part of my note for all the lives lost.

gmathis

The tea sounds lovely. And so are your thoughts toward the storm survivors. Been there. You carry around the shock for a long time.

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30

TTB Review #51: Unremarkable. Slightly off-putting due to some muted, subtle notes of that burnt-popcorn-buttery taste I so despise. Could be just my palate playing tricks, but I didn’t care for this tea at all.

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87

As soon as I opened the pouch and saw all the fuzz I knew this was going to be a good one. The aroma is barely there because it is just a small bit of tea. But I did detect woody notes and cream of wheat. If you have anyone in the military or did, Thank you!, and also be sure to give this tea a try. “50p of the price you pay goes to the Royal Air Forces Association Wings Appeal repaying just a little of what so many of us owe to so few.” I’ve decided to steep this one just as Henrietta would. I want to meet her so badly! What an amazing tea lady!

This is a bit more subtle than your other English Breakfasts. But don’t worry it still packs a punch for your wake-up. However, the punch doesn’t come from the bitterness that you will find in tea bags. It comes from the soothing woodiness and slight creaminess and yeah it will take milk if you really must.

The video she shared of visiting their base: https://rareteacompany.us/products/rafa-tea-for-heroes-english-breakfast

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90

Lately, my love for charcoal-roasted oolongs has increased. This one in particular has some great roasty notes. The site doesn’t say if it is charcoal roasted but my palate says yes. And how incredibly interesting that this is a barrel-aged tea! Thank you Vallhallow. What an absolutely fascinating tea! To anyone who has had a charcoal-roasted oolong before this has many of the same charcoal and roasty notes. But what sets this apart is the port notes. The hygroscopic nature of tea shines brightly with this one. It is earthy, rich, and complex in flavor and aroma. In the wet leaf, I also detect notes of slightly charred sweet bread. Thank you Henriette for sourcing and sharing this most unique tea!

Kelmishka

This sounds really good!

vallhallow

Yeah, there is a whole story about the aged wine barrel aspect of this tea that drew me to it. Long story short though another company sold out of a port aged oolong that i had mulled too long over buying and then i scoured the internet for other wine barrel aged oolongs and found this one.

Martin Bednář

I have one Pipacha oolong as well, but I did not noticed much of port. Maybe I need to find correct steeping parameters.

Skysamurai

Well you found a great company! Ms. Lovell is an amazing woman. And she personally answers email whenever one of her coworkers doesnt have an answer. Here is here answer when I asked a bit more about it.

“This was the invention of another tealady- not me. Her name is Nina Gruntkowski and she is originally from Germany. She is experimenting with growing tea, with her husband Dirk Niepoort who is a port producer in Portugal. Her tea is in its infancy but her passion and inventiveness is rather more matured.”

vallhallow

Awesome!!! Pays to ask questions. :)

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The name for this one on the website is Chinese Peony but on the package I received, it says White Peony. So I decided to combine them. This is a very delicate tea. Not a good tea to drink on the go or while making the kids their eat breakfast. This is a sit-down and drink a few infusions before writing anything tea. The green notes in this are quite a bit heavier than I have experienced with other peony teas. Green branches and twigs. Small summer florals. Baby’s breath I think they’re called. And leaves, a big pile of dried leaves waiting to be burned. Very dry, with no dampness. The mouthfeel is light. The dry leaf is very pretty. Lots of trichomes. Barnyard and summer field aromas.

I will come back and revisit this one in a few days to see is my palate changes.

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78

Hello Ground Apple. How are you today? I’m making meatballs. I don’t mind Chamomile. It’s great for upset tummies and when you’re generally feeling under the weather but as an everyday drink. Meh. Don’t get me wrong this is a very good chamomile. Soft on the palate. Summer and spring floral notes with light apple bits.

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72

Needed something. Didn’t want a drinky drink. Not a big fan of peppermint tea but wanted to see what this had to offer. This is very refreshing. Slightly woody and slightly creamy. Smooth mouth feel. It is 1 degree outside. I hate this weather.

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95

Finally made an order to Rare Tea. After interviewing them (https://teatiff.com/2021/02/05/rare-tea-company/) and reading her book this was a purchase that not only one to help the company but also one from the heart. I heart you, Henrietta. Incredible woman, with an incredible story, and incredible tea. They included samples with my order. This was one. The aroma is wonderful somewhat buttery, earthy, and sweet butter cookies. The flavor is also very nice. Probably, no, definitely the best rooibos I’ve had. The butter cookies transfer into the background flavor but you may miss it if you aren’t thinking about it because the earthy tones of dry desert and desert wood are somewhat overshadowing. But in a nice way. Whether you’ve tasted good or bad or no rooibos at all you need to try this.

Michelle

Just put Infused on my good reads list!

AJRimmer

Your description definitely makes me want to order this one!

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I’ve never had an orange blossom tea before! The brewed tea smells candy-sweet and almost medicinal, reminding me of licorice. It’s an interesting flavor: lightly citrusy, savory the way chrysanthemum flowers are, and with just a hint of sweetness. I’m not sure I actually LIKE it, but super glad I got to try it thanks to the TTB!

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80

I love a good Earl Grey, so I was excited to see this one in my Rare Tea Company sampler. The leaf is very finely chopped, almost like a CTC tea and has a strong aroma of bergamot. It steeps up strong and hearty with a sharp bergamot flavor; a bit too aggressive on its own, but lovely with milk. It’s not the best Earl Grey I’ve ever had and I’m not sure its worth the premium price tag, but I’ll certainly finish and enjoy the 2oz I have!

Flavors: Bergamot

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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90

This was one of the teas I was most excited to try in my Rare Tea Co. gift set, as I haven’t had the opportunity to try many African teas. The leaf was much more finely chopped than I was expecting, almost like a CTC tea. It brews up to a rich reddish brown color with a nice malty aroma. The flavor is strong and earthy with notes of malt and stonefruit. Despite the torn up leaf, I didn’t get the anticipated bitterness or astringency; it’s smooth enough to drink without milk, though it’s also robust enough to take milk well. Overall, this is one of the best breakfast blends I’ve tried and definitely something I would repurchase!

Flavors: Earth, Malt, Smooth, Stonefruit

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Leafhopper

I read the owner’s book on the teas she sells and a lot of them sound interesting.

Inkling

I read that book too, Leafhopper! Such a fun one. :)

Leafhopper

I found myself checking off the teas I’ve tried. I look forward to your reviews!

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