Monday, July 7, 2014

Green Terrace Teas, Honey Black Tea

Honey Black Dry Leaf
Green Terrace Teas Description:
This all-natural, handcrafted black tea is a deliciously sweet and smooth delight.  It has a wonderful natural honey flavor and light nutty caramel aftertaste that lingers pleasantly in the back of your throat.  This tea is sweet, rich and complex, with notes of peach and plum and almost no bitterness or astringency.  Like all other black teas, Honey Black is a fully oxidized tea which gives it a bit more caffeine than its green and oolong counterparts.  Drink pure - your friends will be amazed that no honey was added to their cup.

Sample provided by Green Terrace Teas

My Review:
I am excited about today's review. Green Terrace Teas is a new to me company. They recently offered Steepster members the opportunity to try their tea in exchange for reviews. I am to the point now that I don't jump on every offer but I grabbed this one in a hurry.

This tea has its origins in Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan. It came vacuum sealed in a sample envelope. When I cut the top, the bag literally breathed in and felt alive in my hand. The leaf is what they call strip style. Long dark slender strips that smell of oats and honey.

Honey Black Steeping
I used my crystal teapot because I was curious how this leaf would respond to the water. I used 6 oz of water heated to 190 F along with about 3.5 g of leaf (about 1/3 of the sample). I steeped for around 1 minute. This is a little different from either their eastern or western directions listed on the website. Picture taking used a few seconds more time than I intended.

The leaf expanded nicely but did not dance in the water. The liquor is caramel/orange in color, and lighter than expected, but quite fragrant. It smells of honey drenched raisin wheat bread. Yeah, seriously good. It turned more root beer brown as it cooled. I did not use a filter when pouring the tea as the leaf is large enough that only a few particles made it into the cup.

The taste continues the liquor scent but adds a touch of malt and a wine like fruitiness. I detect no bitterness. Some mild dryness. There is just a touch of bite, yet it is barely noticeable compared to an Assam or Ceylon. Not 100% smooth. It has just enough fight to speak to me.

Honey Black Wet Leaf
In some Yunnan teas the flavor would lean towards sweet potato. This Taiwan tea moves more toward bread and fruit.  Oh wow, as it cools the aftertaste really does bring out peach and plum flavors.

Cup two was steeped for 1 minute. This cup is stronger in flavor. It is super honey flavored with a spicy note towards the end. The light bite is gone as well as the wine note but I don't miss them as the malt and caramel notes have picked up. The peach and plum are also stronger in the aftertaste. Just Wow!

Cup three continues the 1 minute theme. I should have let it steep longer as this cup has very little flavor. I added sweetener in an attempt to bring the cup to life. It helped. What flavors I detected besides a much lighter honey and caramel, are mineral and earthy. Both of these come as a surprise as I did not catch either previously.

Cup four I let steep for 3 minutes. It is a golden orange in color. I felt the need to sweeten it once again as the taste is pretty light. It is stronger than cup three. The honey is still present like the first cup, along with the spicy note I can't identify from the second. It also has the mineral and earthy notes of the third. The earthy might be better classified as nutty. Though I had to coax this one a little it is an interesting cup.

This tea more than lived up to my expectations. I'm very pleased with this one. Green Terrace Teas claims 12 cups are possible from the sample packet and I can verify that claim, just be aware of the need to pamper cups 2 and 3. That works out to about $0.26/cup based on the sample price. If you don't want to work at it, you might try two western style steeps for a bolder less complex but still tasty cup at about $0.52/cup.

You can find Honey Black Tea here.

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