Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Teas Unique: Jeju Island Teas, a Tasting Adventure

Today's tea adventure takes us to the far away (for me at least) land of Korea's Jeju Island thanks to Teas Unique (use this link to get a 25% discount.) Jeju Island is a beautiful volcanic island, these teas specifically were grown on the slopes of Mt Halla, a 100 thousand year old shield volcano, the climate and very fertile soil makes for perfect tea growing conditions. Do yourself a favor and go google Mt Halla and Jeju Island (I can wait) it is worth it because wow is that island ever gorgeous! If I ever get the chance to visit Korea that is definitely where I want to go.

The first of the teas I am looking at is, of course, the Jejus Island First Flush Black Tea, because my obsessive love with black teas of any kind is well known, but my obsession with Korean oxidized teas is (I would like to assume) legendary. Like the other oxidized teas I have had from Teas Unique, this one is superb, the aroma in the bag is light and sweet similar to honeyed roasted nuts, but toss some water on it and what you get is a symphony! Incredibly sweet and rich while also being light, sounds paradoxical but it isn't, it lacks a malty or molasses heaviness and is instead all orange blossom honey, sugar cookies, orchids, and a touch of chocolate bread. As you can imagine, tasting this tea is a treat, it maintains its lightness in both texture and overall flavor profile, it is a tea that while drinking gives a feeling of being uplifted rather than a heavy sinking feeling. The taste is immensely sweet, like licorice without the licorice taste, it lingers long in the mouth, which I like! You all know I am a sucker for naturally sweet teas! There are notes of honey, chocolate bread, guava, lychee, and bit of almond. It lasts several steeps and eventually faded into a gently sweet and mineral tea, it is a definite win in my book!

Next up is 2017 Jeju Island First Flush Green Tea with Mandarin Orange, as it is well known I am usually not a fan of tea with flavors but I am a sucker for teas that have been blended with real ingredients and not fake stuff. I really enjoyed the version of this with black tea, so was excited to try the green. The aroma is wonderfully sweet mandarin with a nutty undertone and a slight sea water note. Steeping it and wow, the mandarins! So intense! There is something truly wonderful about the aroma of dried mandarin peels, I recently have learned to love them since I got a dehydrator and it was one of the first things I dried, it takes a sweet mandarin aroma and gives it an extra warmth and cooked quality, I am really fond of it. As you probably notice from the picture, there are a lot of mandarin bits in this, and that is reflected in the taste wonderfully. The base green tea is light with a touch of nuttiness and sea air umami that is mixed with a bright sweet honey drenched mandarin explosion that really wakes up the senses. I feel like I should use this to treat season depression because suddenly I am transported to the coast on a summer day. It lasts for quite a few steeps, and I am glad because this nectar sweetness I could just drink and drink.

Finishing off this little Jeju Island journey with 2017 Jeju Island First Flush Green Tea, a vibrantly green tea with a wonderfully sweet and savory aroma. I have in the several times I have looked at Korean green tea, compared it to arare (those delightful Japanese rice crackers with soy sauce and seaweed) and the comparison sticks, but there is also an additional sweet nuttiness that is reminiscent of mochi. I love the way this tea smells, I do not drink a lot of green teas much anymore, but Korean greens are the exception! The taste is delightfully refreshing, blending savory seaweed and soy with sweet and nutty rice and a distant touch of grass. Like I said, super refreshing, brings to mind late spring and favorite snacks!

And speaking of snacks (ooh you thought I was done) along with the teas was sent along two bars of my own personal weakness...chocolate. Matchacolate Organic Earl Grey and Matchacolate Black Chai Tea. I very surprisingly didn't eat it all in one sitting like I did with the last one of these I tried, I am learning self control! Both are made with Italian white chocolate and blended with powdered tea of their respective flavor, and that is it, no gross artificial flavors or garbage like that, which I for one greatly appreciate! Trying to pick a favorite is hard, the flavors are both subtle and blend really well with the chocolate (something a lot of tea infused chocolate bombs, either all you taste is the tea or all you taste is the chocolate...I want to taste both!) The dominant note in the Earl Grey is definitely the bergamot, it is like a super fancy chocolate orange but somehow better, Ben the lover of Earls Grey was a huge fan of this and pretty much ate half my bar. The chai really brings the cardamon which I loved! I am a monstrous fan of cardamon in sweets and really enjoyed it, it truly felt like I was eating a spicy chai tea and white chocolate! Clearly I need to try the other flavors now...

Products sent for review by Teas Unique.

No comments:

Post a Comment