In August I was contacted by a representative from Tea Horse in London, England asking if I'd like to sample some of their teas, and write a review on my blog. I replied I'd be happy to, and the samples arrived the beginning of this month.
Today I sampled them, beginning with Panyong Golden Needle - a whole leaf black tea with delicate golden tips grown in the Taimu Mountains of China. The leaves for this tea are picked only in April.
The infused leaf produced a beautiful amber colored liquid with rich notes of chocolate/ cocoa flavor. I sampled it without milk, then with milk. Its rich, delicious taste was good both ways, and required no sweetening.
The second tea was Jasmine Pearls from the Fujian Province of China. Young green tea leaves with silver tips are hand-rolled into tight uniform balls. Below are both the dry tea-leaf balls, and the the infused leaves. As you can see, the infusion was a pale yellow liquid. It had a delightful, fragrant smell, and the taste was pleasantly mild [not cloying or overpowering as some Jasmine teas can be], and there was no bitterness.
I'm a fan of Jasmine tea, so this was an instant hit with me. The Tea Horse website even has a recipe for Jasmine Tea Jelly. Doesn't that sound yummy on scones at tea time?
The last tea was a very fun tea, because I sampled it hot and iced. It was called G & Tea Blend, made with Sencha Green Tea and gin botanicals of Juniper Berries, Coriander Seed, Cardamon, Angelica Root and Lemon Peel for a crisp, aromatic gin flavor.
The directions said to give the berries and seeds a gentle crush with a pestle and mortar to bring out their wonderful gin aromas.
The infusion produced a pale green liquid with an aroma similar to fresh celery, and a taste that made me think of a deliciously mild vegetable broth, with no bitterness or astringency.
I enjoyed it hot, but I really liked it iced. The directions said to mix the infusion with six teaspoons of sugar and two teaspoons of lime juice, and stir until dissolved. Cool, and fill half a glass with the tea and the other half with tonic water, leaving room for ice. Oh my! It was deliciously refreshing! My hubby and I both declared it a winner - like limeade, only much better.
I smiled when I read the recipe card enclosed with the sample: Gin and green tea are ideal companions, perfectly complimenting each other's flavors... what's better than a non-alcoholic gin iced tea created from fragrant gin botanicals? This refreshing sparkling iced tea is great for staying cool and sober! Something more exciting for the designated driver. ;-)
I highly recommend Tea Horse teas. They ship internationally.
There was a fun, unanticipated surprise for me with the tea samples. A letter was enclosed written by the company's founder, Ali Silk, which stated: "Quality and variety are extremely important to us...Our Master Taster, Tim Clifton, has been in the tea trade for thirty years..."
When I saw Tim Clifton's name, I immediately remembered him from the 2007 Tea Masterclass I took when I was in London. He and Jane Pettigrew co-taught the course.
[Tim Clifton teaching the 2007 Tea Masterclass]
[L-R: Jane Pettigrew, Me, Tim Clifton]
Thanks Tea Horse, not only for your delicious tea samples, but for this fun walk down memory lane as well!