Tea Company: Shang Tea (website)
Ingredients: Organic White Tea Leaves, Tangerine Flowers
Vendor Suggested Preparation: 1 Tablespoon (3-4g) 203-208 F 95-98 C 1-2 minutes
It doesn’t happen very often these days, but I would say about once every couple o’ months, something catches my eye in an “ooo shiny!” fashion. Okay, okay, I do that a lot…but not AS often with tea. I have a list saved as a Gmail draft that I call my “Tea WANT!” list. On it are several orthodox (and some plain out-there) teas that I hope to try someday. At present, I’ve notched off half of it. Some of the more difficult things were more easily obtained than I thought.
What’s this got to do with Shang Tea? Well, I ran across their operation via a tea social network called Steepster. (Think Facebook for cuppers.) Someone was waxing poetic about this black tea blend they recently tried. What caught my “shiny!” gland was the mention of tangerine blossoms. In case it isn’t readily apparent, I’m a tangerine fiend – been addicted to ‘em ever since I was a wee tot. I never knew those damn fruit trees had blossoms to them. Had I known, I would’ve built a fort out of ‘em.
Shang Tea is an operation out of Kansas City, MO. Other than being another brick-n-mortar tea shop in a mall, they have another thing to their credit. They own their own high-altitude tea garden in Fujian province, China. Their specialty happens to be Silver Needle white tea, but they also play around with the same cultivar to make red (or black) tea. This fermented option was blended with tangerine blossoms.
I bought a sampler pack that included this, along with several other white teas and blends. Needless to say, I first tore open the Tangerine Blossom black. Almost like an addict, even. It smelled beyond superb. Along with the slightly smoky/earthy black tea base was a scent similar to jasmine flowers and citrus rind – sweet yet floral. The tea leaves themselves were thin and twisty; the blossoms looked like – well – blossoms. Very…uh…blossomy.
The brewing instructions they recommended were a tad confusing, especially the measurements for the tea leaves. I skipped theirs and went with my own prep – 1 heaping teaspoon of leaves in 8oz of 205F water for three minutes. A bit light, sure, but it seemed the wisest approach.
The liquor brewed to a color that I would call “oolong amber”. The liquid aroma echoed the semi-fermented tea comparison with a fruity/lightly-astringent nose. As for taste, this completely floored me. It began with a regular Dian Hong-ish forefront that was immediately followed up with a strong citrus lean in the middle. That tapered off into a honey-floral aftertaste that simply lingered. I could find no fault with this blend. At all. It was perfect. I’m only upset that I’m all out of it now.
You can purchase the Tangerine Blossom Red Tea directly from the Shang Tea website.
Written by Geoff
Its All About the Leaf Reviewer
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