News / Daily Tea Facts

A Spring Sencha, a 'Greenbush', and a rather lovely Indian in Week 12

This famous Chinese Tea is from the province of Anhui. Wonderful large wiry leaves produce an aromatic tea with a full sweet taste. It is these needle shaped green and silver leaves that are used in the making of the wonderful ‘Peony’ or ‘Urchin’ arrangements, the leaves tied together with silk in the form of a rosette, which slowly opens up in warm water. Traditionally Lu Mu Dan Tea is picked under strict harvesting conditions that help retain its rarity and value for tea connoisseurs and collectors. I made this at 75°c and 2 minutes.

Cup of Lu Mu Dan and leavesLu Mu Dan infused leaves

Sencha Spring Melody seemed an appropriate choice today.(First day of Spring an' all that) It was particularly nice to sit and sip it in the blazing sunshine this afternoon. Wild strawberry pieces and orange peel blended with a really good Japanese sencha gives a light, bright and refreshing cup. It also contains Cat's Foot (the herb not like..y'know the thing) I'm not sure whether it adds anything to the flavour or not but according to herbalists it has a really wide range of medicinal uses. Happy Vernal Equinox! It's not just me that liked it either - Russteas gave it a lovely review.which you can read here.Sencha Spring Melody

Day 81 of ‪#‎yearoftea is an  oriental spice black tea. A really good blend flavoured with cinnamon, ginger, clove, vanilla and orange. It's a little bit of an acquired taste, mainly due to the cloves. In fact I wasn't best pleased with the first cup, but the second (and third) really hit the spot. I think now I'm a bit obsessed with tea latte, it's simply a matter of time before I try it with this one.

montage of oriental spice leaves and tea

Really enjoyed this Vietnam OP black tea.
Nothing special, just a good, stout and reliable brew. Plenty of tannin and plenty of character. This tea comes from the far north of the country close to Yunnan in China, so has a good heritage. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Montage of vietnam tea with and without milk

An Indian tea today: Nilgiri Thiashola Estate SFTGFOP 1. These beautiful leaves of varying colour make a surprisingly strong brew. I only steeped it for 3 minutes and to be honest I think I would've preferred it at 2 and a half. Very rich, very malty, and quite fruity. This is one of the highest grade Indian teas you can get and if you like a tea with some welly, you should give it a go.

Collage of Nilgiri Thiashola leaves and tea

An unfermented herbal tisane with well-documented health benefits is Day 84 in my ‪#‎yearoftea.  Green Rooibos (so surely that's Greenbush?) has even more anti-oxidants and super-duper stuff than it's better known Red counterpart. Taste-wise it's totally different - where Redbush tastes rich and almost syrupy, the green version is much lighter. It's still has that lovely woody taste but is much less challenging if you're new to herbal tea. As with traditional Rooibos, it's apparently impossible to spoil it by overbrewing.

Collage of cup of green rooibos tea and leaves

Considering I hate the smell of bonfires and tarmac, this Lapsang Souchong tea was never going to be a winner with me. The leaves are withered over fires of pine needles which is what gives it that distinctive smoky aroma. I decided to use it for washing down a particularly good Stilton. It worked so well with the cheese that I found myself enjoying it (sort of) it has a much more subtle taste than smell. I still had to pinch my nose in order to drink it...

collage of Lapsang Souchong tea and leaves

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Dragons, Phoenixes,and Mad Dogs on Week 11 of my #yearoftea

Oolongs are semi-fermented and most come from Taiwan. This is a Jin Xuan Milk Oolong from Fujian in China. It's a handmade tea so has a certain rarity to it. The leaves are first withered, then heated in milk steam. They're then hand-rolled then dried gently. Steeped for 3 minutes at 75°c it has much more character than the colour of the brew would indicate. It actually tastes creamy and a little 'hazelnutty'. I loved it and while it would probably be a touch too indulgent to drink daily, I think a weekly treat wouldn't be too flash.

cup of milk oolong 1st infusionMilk oolong infused leavesMilk oolong dried leaves

A full 5 minutes and 100°c gives a really outstanding tisane. It's full of all kinds of wonderful. As well as the Chocolate (cocoa peel) & Strawberry (dried pieces) of the title, there's rosehip peel, orange peel, apple pieces, and marigold petals. It tastes divine and so full of flavour. I'm seriously considering using it for icecream or maybe for making an Almond Milk Latte.

chocolate and strawberry wholefruit infusion

I have plans for a House of Cards binge tonight so decided on this Lung Ching No 1 Dragon Well. Apparently it's particularly good for keeping you awake and alert, so I'll get back to you on that. I gave it quite a long (4 mins) steep-time at 80°c. This wasn't deliberate - I put the infuser mug down and couldn't remember where. As a result it was a little chewier than I'd usually like - lovely flavour though. A fairly typical Chinese green tea; earthy with a slight cashew taste.

Lung ching montage of tea and leaves

Day 75 in my ‪#‎yearoftea and it's a Formosa Choicest Fancy Oolong. Another semi-fermented and 90°c with a steep of 4 mins made quite a dark amber liquor. Quite 'grapey' and an almost toasted flavour. Really distinctive.

vintage china cup of formosa choicest oolongFormosa choicest oolong infused leaves

Stinging Nettle is one of my favourite herbs, it makes a delicious tea and if you pick the bright fresh leaves in the Spring you can make a lovely pesto too. According to Culpeper, today's ‪#‎teaoftheday is an effective treatment for gangrene, manginess, and the bites of mad dogs. I've been drinking this tisane all day and can safely report that I'm showing no symptoms at all. ‪#‎phew

 Stinging nettle montage of tea and dried herb

With a nod to St Pat's I've been channeling Mrs Doyle for today's‪#‎teaoftheday it's an Irish Breakfast Blend. Made up of a selection of Assam teas it's malty, robust and is fantastic with milk.

 Mug of Irish breakfast tea next to gift wrapped tea. plate of infused leaves.

 Very fragrant (in fact it makes me sneeze when it's a freshly opened packet.) delicately floral with the slight cashew nut taste you find in certain other white teas. It's scented by making six layers of high quality tea leaves and open Jasmine flowers then leaving them to suffuse overnight. The leaves are then hand rolled into pearls. I used 80°c water and then got completely distracted watching them open. It's called jasmine dragon phoenix pearl because apparently the leaves resemble fire breathing dragons and flame-licked phoenixes as they unfurl in the hot water.

 Jasmine Dragon Phoenix King Pearl

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The World's Most Expensive Porcelain Cup

The precious Chinese porcelain cup, also known as the “chicken cup” among art collectors, is decorated on both sides with a rooster, a hen and chicks walking amidst lilies and roses. This cup is representative of the height of the Chenghua Style in Chinese Art. The particularity of this style can be found in the paintwork, which is applied in several layers and which allows the cup to be dated between 1465 and 1487. There are only 17 known specimens worldwide, four of which are privately owned, the rest can be found in museums.

World's Most expensive porcelain cup

The Chinese collector Li Yiqian purchased one of the rare cups at an auction in Hong Kong in 2014 by bidding the unbelievable record amount of 36 million US dollars for porcelain. Moreover, he paid with his credit card. Li Yiqian has led a colourful life, from taxi driver to businessman, and is renowned as an eccentric art lover. In 2012 he opened a museum in the Chinese city of Pudong, where he exhibits the treasures he has accumulated.

(courtesy of D&B)

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Sparrow's Tongues, SCOBY, and Sweet Cherries on Week 10.

No 65 takes me to one of my favourite tea-growers: the Rukeri Cooperative in Rwanda produce this lovely organic and fairly traded F.O.P. The long leaves produce a dark russet brew which is strong, but not so much that it feels like a battle (more a good-natured tussle?) Like all Rwandan tea it's rich, nutty and a little biscuity. It works equally well both with and without milk (although it really benefits from a much shorter steep time if you're taking it black) I used 100°c and steeped for 2.5 and 3.5 minutes respectively. 

Rwanda Rukeri tea with and without milk

 This is another of those instances where I wish I could make this post 'Scratch & Sniff'. You're just going to have to take my word for how gloriously scented no. 66 in my ‪#‎yearoftea is. It's Sweet Cherry Rooibos and it tastes as good as it smells. Not only that, it's super-healthy and choc full of anti-oxidants; I started out this morning with a mini-lurgy and after drinking this all day I genuinely feel loads better (and my throat isn't sore anymore.)

Cup of Sweet Cherry Rooibos

 Think I may've spoken too soon on the lurgy-busting decided on the 'big guns' of Kombucha Sencha. To be fair there is little scientific evidence to support any health claims so it's a good job it tastes nice innit? Kombucha is also known as a SCOBY (a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast) That sounds quite ropey whereas it's actually really tasty - sweet and fruity mixed with the fresh grassy taste of the sencha.

Cup of Kombucha Sencha and spent leaves.

#‎teaoftheday 68 is Chrysanthemum Tea . It's widely used in Chinese Medicine for it's health benefits such as alleviating cold symptoms. It tastes very similar to Chamomile - unfortunately... Maybe if I added a shedload of sugar it might be a little more palatable but that kind of defeats the object of a healthy tea. I may be in a minority as here at Gently Towers it's quite a popular tisane. It's a bit like me: quite fragrant and a little bitter.

Cup of chrysanthemum tea and flowers


I don't know why but I expected this Georgian tea to be proper hefty. It's actually remarkably delicate with a lovely aromatic woody aftertaste. Brewed at 100°c it needed a good 5.5 minutes mashing so if you like tea you can stand your spoon up in, this one's not for you. 
You don't need to be particularly eagle-eyed to spot that I took this with milk; I think next time I'll do it without.

Mug of Gruziya Orange Pekoe with milk.Gruziya orange pekoe brewed leaves.

90°c and 5 minutes steeping was the method for ‪#‎teaoftheday 70 'Red Rosepetal' Absolutely gorgeous IF you like Turkish Delight (which I do because I'm normal...) It's obviously a perfumed tea but doesn't taste 'soapy'. It has the added advantage of being super high in both Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Apparently it does something with free radicals too but in truth I stopped reading as I got distracted (really?) If you have a yearning to know, Google is your friend. I was just concentrating on how delicious it was and how I'm looking forward to using it for an iced latte. (ooh yes it's also really economical too )

Red rosepetal tea and petals

Oh my, this is a bit spesh. Day 71 comes from Jeju Island a self-governing province of South Korea. A green tea 'Seogwang Woojeon 1st Flush FOP',the 'sparrow tongue' leaves only needed a steep-time of a minute and a half at 60°c to produce five infusions of an aromatic greeny-yellow brew. No astringency but a slightly grassy, and pronounced umami flavour. The particular production methods are specific to Jeju and the Japanese island of Kyushu.

collage of Seogwang Woojeon 1st flush tea and leaves 

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A flagrantly fragrant week...

 Week 9

Day 58 in ‪#‎yearoftea is a Maghrebi Tea which is a blend of Moroccan Spearmint and Chinese Gunpowder (rolled green tea). Usually taken for it's calming effect and it's improvement on digestion, although I know people who have it as a 'go to ' tea. I think it could be good with a white rum in the manner of a Mojito. **trundles off to do some research**

Magrebi Tea Glass Collage

A fabulously fragrant Formosa Orange Blossom Oolong is the 59th‪#‎teaoftheday Oolongs are semi-fermented and this one is flavoured with orange peel and flowers. I've spent most of the afternoon guzzling this - it's really refreshing and the orange flavour combined with the bit of sunshine was proper summery.

Formosa Orange Blossom tea and Leaves

Okey Dokey - so following from my previous success: this one is a Coconut Tea Latte made with coconut milk!!! So it's not only DELISH it's also veganI'm really looking forward to summer when I can have a bash at some iced latte. If you pop over here, I've noted my method (you can't really call it a recipe..)

Montage of Coconut latte and tea leaves

Day 61 in ‪#‎yearoftea and I've popped over to the Northeast of India (where it borders Burma/Myanmar). Green tea from India is far less usual than from China or Japan. This one is an Assam Jonktoollee TFGOP Grade 1 - it's rich with loads of flavour. It's slightly floral at first with a toasty honeyed aftertaste. This was brewed for 2.5mins at 80°c and if you struggle to like green teas, I can recommend this one as it's not even slightly challenging.

Assam Jonktoollee green tea

Technically it's just cold and wet but it's a bit grim so I thought Stormy Weather would be a great choice for ‪#‎teaoftheday 62. A really warming blend of loads of different leaves, herbs and flowers. It's got a really nice woody taste (think that's the blackberry leaves) and the peppermint is subtle but there's enough there to give it a 'lift'. I'm not sure what (if anything) are the properties of sunflower and peony petals but they make for a very pretty tisane.

Stormy Weather montage

When I embarked on this daily tea post malarkey, I promised myself that I'd say if I didn't like one. Well, up to now I haven't needed to keep to the promise. Enter: Earl Grey Sencha Decaffeinated ...really not my cup of tea as it were - to me the grassy Sencha taste combined with the orange of the Earl Grey really wasn't favourite. I drank an entire cup, then realised I hadn't taken a picture  so made a second infusion. I'm really glad I did. I frequently have a preference for the second infusion but I've never known it as marked as this. So the moral of the story is: If in doubt, always have a second cup.

Earl Grey Sencha Decaffeinated Montage

 Day 64 in ‪#‎yearoftea and I'm all over this GORGEOUS Java Sunda Purwa Pekoe Souchong. If you want the run down on that terminology you can read about it here All you really need to know is that it's almost buttery to start and then with a lingering rich and oaky aftertaste. Ooh and check out me lovely infuser- thanks Estelle !

Montage of Java sunda purwa tea,leaves and infuser

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