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Posts Tagged ‘drink’

The last two weeks I have felt physically crappy – some days better than other – but today is the worst.  I am in need of some sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever, so-you-can-rest medicine!  It’s funny how, when feeling under the weather, we seek to surround ourselves with things that bring us comfort.  For some that means comfort food, for others comfy pajamas, a favorite blanket, or a childhood pillow.  Depending upon the ailment, there are times when hearing the voice of a spouse, loved-one, or best friend provide the needed level of comfort.  Sometimes it’s a hot steaming cup of tea.  The subject of today’s tea review and comfort of choice – Lavender Oolong.

Composition: Alishan oolong infused with natural lavender

Dry Visual: Light and dark green leaves tightly rolled with stems present.  Thanks to Naivetea for the great photo.

Dry Aroma: Delicately floral – the smell of lavender is unmistakable with a hint of oolong.

Flavor: Lavender Oolong is a lovely floral infused oolong.  The oolong is mild with a distinct floral quality – I’m sure you are not surprised – that is present in the cup from the first sip to the last.  Full-bodied, Lavender Oolong creates a heavy feel in the mouth.

There is no astringency, therefore Lavender Oolong can be enjoyed without sweetener.  There is, however, a mild dryness that becomes more pronounced throughout the cup and into the next infusion.  Nevertheless, I prefer to drink Lavender Oolong without sweetener.

Liquor: A yellow hue.

Brewing Time: I steeped Lavender Oolong in 190 degree water for  one minute during the first infusion and two minutes during the second infusion.

Manufacturer: Naivetea

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Lavender Oolong tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**Tea was provided by Naivetea as a sample.

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When it’s cold and dreary outside, nothing is better in my humble opinion than the aroma of flowers.  During the winter months, the trees are barren of their leaves, the sky is often gray, and the lush grass of summer is long gone.  It is during these times that I miss the burst of color found in spring blooms and the fragrance of summer gardens.  This is when I reach for and savor the opportunity to sip a cup of scented tea.  Today’s choice – Jasmine Silver Needle – a sample I received from Adagio Teas.

Composition: White tea from China. Silver Needle is produced in the Fuding and Zhenhe districts of its Fujian province.

Dry Visual: Very green rolled leaves (resembling fat pine needles) with silver fur – hence the name.  Thanks Adagio Teas for the photo.

Dry Aroma: Sweet and amazingly floral – just like Jasmine.

Flavor: Jasmine Silver Needle is delightful. Traditional of white tea, Silver Needle itself is quite delicate and mild. However, after scented with jasmine becomes somewhat full-bodied.  It is naturally sweet and quite floral as one would expect.  To be frank, the jasmine dominates the flavor.  It is consistent from start to finish, yet never unpleasant.  Instead the floral taste and aroma provide an amazing sensory experience. I found myself alternately inhaling the steam and sipping the tea until gone.  Be advised if you are looking for the extremely delicate, clean taste of silver needle this is not where you will find it. Jasmine Silver Needle is in a category of its own.

I found the brew to have a hint of astringency (no bitterness, but a subtle dry feel in the mouth).  Nevertheless, no sweetener was needed nor would I recommend it.  I simply cannot imagine the impact sweetener would have on the floral characteristics of the tea.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 7 minutes in 180 degree water. I steeped 7 minutes for the first infusion and 7 minutes 30 seconds for the second infusion.  I intend to play around a bit more with the steeping times as I am interested in discovering how Jasmine Silver Needle tastes with shorter infusion times.

Manufacturer: Adagio Teas

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Jasmine Silver Needle, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

**Tea was provided by Adagio as a sample.

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1000-cranes-white-tea-500When I attended the 2009 World Tea Expo in May, I had the opportunity to meet Beth and Newman Johnston from Teas Etc. During my chat with Beth I learned about the amazing history of 1000 Cranes White Tea Blend.  I thought I would share the story right from the  website of Teas Etc.

The Story…

Nathan, who has worked with us for the past 4 years, decided to ask Nicole to marry him. It’s not that he asked but HOW he asked that makes this a “story.”  The happy couple was spending the afternoon at one of their favorite places, the Morikami Museum in Delray Beach. There is a Japanese saying that if you give a 1000 cranes and/or receive a 1000 cranes you are granted one wish. It was that day that Nathan presented Nicole a rather large box to open. Inside the box there were 999 white origami cranes that Nathan had laboriously folded 1 by 1. At the bottom was a larger, gold crane number 1000. In that gold crane was the ring which was followed by the proposal. How romantic!42040412 Shortly thereafter, Nathan and Nicole put together a list of ingredients with special meaning and the 1000 Crane Blend was born.”

I don’t think I could have told a better story – instead I’ll share the review of 1000 Cranes White Tea Blend.

Composition: Organic bai mu dan (white tea), strawberry white tea, organic strawberry pieces, rose petals, coconut shreds

Dry Visual: A rich variety of color – deep green tea leaves with brown stems present, rusty-red fruit pieces, creamy coconut pieces, mauve and pink leaves. Thanks Teas Etc., for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Absolutely yummy! Floral and fruity sweet I loved to simply sit and inhale the loose tea.

Flavor: 1000 Cranes White Tea Blend is a mild tea blend, characteristic of bai mu dan. A lover of white tea, particularly bai mu dan, I thought this tea was blended very well. The other ingredients – strawberry, rose petal and coconut actually complimented the white tea instead of overpowering it. The strawberry flavor was present from start to finish. I found the rose petal to be less prominent in the start, but definitely present at the finish. I cannot say I was able to easily discern the coconut. I’m brewing another cup for a second opinion.

A full-bodied tea, 1000 Cranes White Tea Blend can easily be enjoyed without sweetener – the method I used to enjoy my first cup. However, in my second cup, I added a little Sugar-In-The-Raw. That is when the coconut really “popped”.  It’s subtle taste was definitely present, yet not overwhelming.  I found the brew to have no astringency; yet, I think I prefer drinking 1000 Cranes White Tea Blend with just a touch of sweetener. I found the tea to be delicious.

Liquor: A rich yellow actually golden hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is one (1) teaspoon for 3 – 6 minutes in water that ranges from 180 to 190 degrees F. Initially, I steeped for 3 minutes – tasted, then steeped for an additional 3 minutes using about 1.5 teaspoons fresh leaves each time versus multiple infusions.

Manufacturer: Teas Etc.

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of 1000 Cranes White Tea Blend, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Tea_PeachAfter enjoying a cup of jasmine green tea before dinner, I needed a treat after dinner. To satisfy the relentless cravings of my insatiable sweet tooth I grabbed a snack consisting of Table Water Crackers, homemade quince paste, and manchego. A girlfriend of mine, and fellow tea lover I might add, makes an awesome quince paste. For those of you that don’t know, Quince paste also known as dulce de membrillo, is a firm, sticky, sweet reddish hard paste made of fruit from the quince tree. It has a sweet taste and a slightly floral flavor. For the trivia lover, quince paste is extremely popular in Southern Europe and the Middle East. Now back to my snack… quince paste tastes great spread on a cracker with manchego – sheep’s milk cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain. Once my cheese and jam were assembled, I dug in with great fervor and washed it all down with Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea.

Composition: White Peony Tea, fructose, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice from concentrate, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Antioxidant Extract, peach juice from concentrate, passionfruit juice from concentrate, natural flavors, citric acid

Dry Visual: N/A – pre-maid tea juice drink. Many thanks the POM Wonderful website for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Sweet and fruity with peach being the predominate aroma.

Flavor: Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea is a tasty treat for juice lovers.  I found the tea juice blend to be dominated by the fruit juices – peach, passionfruit, then pomegranate respectively. As one would anticipate from the list of ingredients, this drink is pre-sweetened. I believe the fructose eliminates the tartness often found in pure pomegranate juice. White tea, regardless of whether Bai Mu Dan, Silver Needle, or in this blend White Peony is a very mild tea. Therefore, it is not easily discernible in this tea drink. This in no way detracts from the flavor, as I found Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea to be delicious as well as a low calorie dessert. However, to set proper expectations, I would characterize this as more of a juice drink versus a tea drink.

Liquor: A pale salmon colored hue.

Brewing Time: N/A as this is a pre-maid juice/tea drink

Manufacturer: POM Wonderful

Caffeine: Yes.

Peach.JPGTo the left, I have included the nutrition facts for Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea. This is for the regular version, not the Light. If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a bottle of Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea, please stop by and share your experience.  Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

References:

1. Dulce de membrillo. (2009, September 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:35, October 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dulce_de_membrillo&oldid=316087488

2. Manchego cheese. (2009, September 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:44, October 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Manchego_cheese&oldid=314156250

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PuerhTypically, Saturday’s were designated as tea day. I spent a great deal of time, tweeting, blogging, and drinking tea in the midst of homework and other life obligations. Sadly, over the last few months, I have fallen out of sync with my normal routine. I haven’t even pulled out my Yixing Teapots lately. So , this afternoon, in my quest to both start and finish this week’s homework assignments, I thought… today I shall resume my personal tea traditions! That resolved, Puerh Tuo Cha became my tea of choice. With utter excitement, I pulled out the Yixing Teapot specifically seasoned for puerh’s and prepared to steep and enjoy.

Composition: Puerh from Yunnan, China.

Dry Visual: Resembles a tiny bird’s nest or bowl. Dark brown, almost black, red and gold compressed tea leaves.  The name Tuo Cha or Tuocha is believed t have originated from the round, top-like shape of the pressed tea or from the old tea shipping and trading route of the Tuojiang River. The picture reflects the bottom where the top has a convex opening causing the bowl-like resemblance. Thanks TeaSource for the picture.

Dry Aroma: Earthy with a mild marine quality.

Flavor:  This is my second Tuo Cha – the first was from a different retailer. I was quite surprised by the flavor of Puerh Tuo Cha by TeaSource. In my first sip, my tongue encountered an unexpected sweetness. Subsequent tastes brought the earthy flavor, puerh’s are known for, whether in a cake or loose leaf, followed by a mild smokey flavor (some would call “peatiness”) mingled with floral qualities. Yet again, the aftertaste was sweet. Overall, the tea was flavorful, albeit somewhat mild in comparison to other puerhs I’ve enjoyed. 

Puerh Tuo Cha was not astringent, thus no sweetener was required. Puerh’s have such a unique flavor profile that would be altered by the addition of a sweetener. While not astringent, my tongue and mouth was left with that heavy almost numbing effect characteristic of puerh’s. 

Wet Visual: Typically, I do not discuss the wet visual, but thought it would be appropriate as the actual leaf shape is not visible until after steeping and speaks to the quality of the tea. The leaves were broken and of various sizes, with some stems present.

Liquor: An extremely dark rich red hue that almost appeared black.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 7 – 10 minutes in boiling water. I was surprised as this seemed like quite a long time to me for a Puerh. Nevertheless, I steeped for 7 minutes for the first infusion and 10 minutes for the second.

Manufacturer: TeaSource

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Puerh Tuo Cha, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

What is Peatiness?

Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter. Peat forms in wetlands or peatlands, variously called bogsmoorsmuskegspocosinsmires, and peat swamp forests. Peat fires are used to dry malted barley for use in Scotch whisky distillation. This gives Scotch whisky its distinctive smoky flavour, often called “peatiness”.

References:

1. Peat. (2009, August 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:40, August 15, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Peat&oldid=308113996

2. Pu-erh tea. (2009, August 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:09, August 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pu-erh_tea&oldid=309212385

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White Masala Chai 2To be fair, I must start this post off stating that I am completely biased when it comes to Chai – I simply love it.  Even though, I do not profess to be enamored with black tea, there is something special about a cup of Chai. A traditional drink from India, I was first introduced many years ago to Chai Tea Lattes at Starbucks.  At that time I thought, who drinks tea with milk in it? Surprisingly, the taste was amazing. As my interest in tea blossomed into loose tea, I stopped purchasing the Starbucks version and began making my own with blends purchased from Harney and Sons initially and later Yogic Chai. Yogic Chai, really opened my eyes to the possibilities of Chai. Especially when I discovered White Masala Chai - the subject of today’s tea review. 

Composition: Organic Bai Mu Dan (white tea), Organic Cinnamon, Organic Green Cardamom, Organic Cloves, Organic Ginger

Dry Visual: An amazing blend of dark and green broken and whole leaves and buds. A mixture of small yellow, orange, green, and brown chunks of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Some stems are present. Many thanks to Yogic Chai for the photo.

Dry Aroma: Sweet yet spicy – absolutely delicious to inhale.

Flavor:  Never having the opportunity to drink a cup of White Masala Chai, I was truly intrigued by what this experience might bring. I must admit that I really enjoyed this tea. Unlike a traditional Chai made with black tea (most often Assam) White Masala Chai is not pungent or powerful tasting tea. This is not to be construed with a lack of flavor. Characteristic of white teas, the tea in this brew was mild yet flavorful. The addition of the spices – cardamom, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon were definitely evident, but blended in proportion to the strength of the Bai Mu Dan. White Masala Chai is natually sweet and spicy.

A couple of things to note: There was no astringency and no sweetener is required (Yogic Chai even recommends not adding sweetener) – I did drink both with and without sugar. I preferred with sugar, because the flavor of the spices were enhanced. Additionally, milk is not recommended nor was it added – a common way of preparing Chai. The mildness of the Bai Mu Dan could not stand up against the power of milk. White Masala Chai is full-bodied or as some like to say heavy in the mouth, but smooth. 

Liquor: A rich gold hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 2 – 3 if the ingredients are allowed to come to boil  in a small pot. Unfortunately, I was at work and without kitchen amenities. Thus I steeped for 10 minutes tasting at intervals in water less than 190 degrees F.

Manufacturer: Yogic Chai

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of White Masala Chai, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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At TeaSource we bring you the highest quality teas and tisanes from around the world.

At TeaSource we bring you the highest quality teas and tisanes from around the world.

A few days ago, I decided to drink tea all day. My love for puerh drove me to steep Green Puerh Supreme – it has been weeks, maybe even months since I last enjoyed a cup of its liquor. Later, after eating an entire bag of steamed asparagus with hollandaise sauce, I found myself with an upset stomach. My knowledge about the ability for puerh to ease a sick stomach drove me to drink multiple infusions. As always, puerh never disappointments. 

 

Composition: Aged black tea from China 

Dry Visual: Dark green, brown flat and twisted whole tea leaves. Some yellow tips and stems present.

Dry Aroma: Earthy

Flavor:  Green Puerh Supreme is a full-bodied tea. It is quite delicious with the characteristic earthy flavor puerhs are known for. Some puerhs I’ve enjoyed in the past have contained a quite dominant earthy flavor, however, I was surprised by the mild flavor of this brew. Consistent from start to finish Green Puerh Supreme had a floral quality.

There was a subtle astringency in my first cup, but I would never add a sweetener. I love the rich woodsy taste of puerh. Subsequent infusions presented almost no astringency and an increase in natural sweetness. For the record, I am enjoying my third infusion.

Liquor: A rich amber hue.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 3 – 5 minutes for 190 – 200 degrees F. I steeped for the recommended 4 minutes for the first infusion, 5 minutes for the second, and 7 minutes for the third.

Manufacturer: TeaSource

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of Green Puerh Supreme, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Cherry VanillaIt’s Saturday, early evening, and of course I should be studying, but I decided to take a much needed tea break. Although who needs a break after an hour or two of studying – I’m just not focused. Evidenced by the fact that since I started studying, I made a light dinner and commenced to eat, cleaned the kitchen, talked on the telephone and took a peak at all my status updates on Facebook and LinkedIn. Pathetic! If it were my kids, I’d be fussing at them for not being focused! Oh yeah, amazingly, I found the time to write a tea review… ChocoLatte Red Tea – Cherry Vanilla.

Composition: Dark roasted cacao, Organic rooibos, Cinnamon, Licorice, Chicory, Cardamom, Ginger, Cloves, Vanilla and Natural cherry flavor.

Dry Visual: Because the tea came prepackaged in a tea bag, I was unable to get a clear view of tea.  Nevertheless, what I could see were flecks of red and brown.

Dry Aroma: Cherry Vanilla has a very pungent aroma. There is the spicy smell of cinnamon and cardamom. The sweet smell of cacao. However the entire batch was overpowered by the smell of chicory and licorice.

Flavor:  The flavor of ChocoLatte Red Tea – Cherry Vanilla is quite distinct.  There was a significant difference in the flavor profile based upon infusion time. When steeped at the lower end of the spectrum (3 mins) the flavors blended well – not one stood out more than the other and the presence of rooibos was evident. Although the brew was somewhat weak. When steeped on the higher end of the spectrum (5 mins) the licorice and chicory became bold. The flavor absolutely mimicked the dry aroma with the chicory and licorice (black licorice) dominating the brew from start to finish. The cherry and chocolate flavors made a subtle presentation while cinnamon sweetened the cup. I was only able to detect the vanilla as an aftertaste.

Not an ounce of astringency was detected. However, I chose to add Sugar-In- The Raw to my cup when steeped for 5 minutes. I was surprised and amazed by how well the sweetener abated the licorice and chicory. I found the cocoa to stand up and present itself quite nicely.

Liquor: A rich, dark, reddish brown.

Brewing Time: According to the directions, the recommended steeping time is 3 – 5 minutes. I used both.

Manufacturer: Kalahari Red Tea

Caffeine: No.

If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of ChocoLatte Red Tea – Cherry Vanilla, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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Safari LullabyI am always excited to crack open a new box, tin, or foil package of tea.  For a moment I simply sit with my eyes closed and inhale the dry aroma. There is nothing else I can draw on from the recesses of my memory that smells quite as soothing as tea leaves. Whether the tea is flavored, unflavored or blended is irrelevant.  Others may disagree, and perhaps I have a bit of free association going on, but I’m okay with that. While I have never visited a tea plantation, when enjoying dry tea’s perfume, I sometimes find myself imagining the plantation from whence the tea originated. Even now, I am reminiscing about the smell of Safari Lullaby, the subject of today’s tea review.

Composition: Rooibos, Chamomile, Spearmint, Lemon Grass, Valerian, natural flavors.

Dry Visual: Because the tea came prepackaged in a tea bag, I was unable to get a clear view of tea. Interesting fact from the retailer – the tea bags are made of unbleached Manila hemp and unbleached wood pulp – very eco-friendly. Nevertheless, what I could see were flecks of yellow, green, and red – a representation of the the ingredients.

Dry Aroma: Safari Lullaby has a sweet, somewhat citrus, mildly minty aroma.  There was a hint of its floral nature.

Flavor:  The flavor of Safari Lullaby and the dry aroma almost mimic one another with one exception – I was unable to detect the lemony taste of lemongrass.  However, the sweet nutty flavor of rooibos and the floral quality of chamomile were easily discernible. This tea has a mild soothing taste. No one flavor overpowers the other, but blend wonderfully to form this brew. A personal lover of mint, it would have been nice if the mint presented itself a bit more robustly, but then again, its spearmint not peppermint.

Not an ounce of astringency was detected thus Safari Lullaby could be enjoyed without sweetener. However, next cup I may be adventurous and add either Sugar in The Raw or Adagio Sugar Crystals to test the impact on the flavor profile.

Liquor: A burnt orange/rusty hue.

Brewing Time: As I was unable to locate the recommended steeping time for Safari Lullaby, I relied upon my past experience with rooibos which typically requires a 5 – 7 minute steep time. After 5 minutes, I tasted and decided to steep for 7 minutes.

Manufacturer: Kalahari Red Tea

Caffeine: No.

If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Safari Lullaby, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

 

180px-Valeriana_officinalisWhat is Valerian?

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers. The flowers are in bloom in the northern hemisphere from June to September. Valerian was used as a perfume in the sixteenth century.  Native to Europe and parts of Asia, Valerian has been introduced into North America. Valerian is used for certain effects including sedation.

References:  Valerian (herb). (2009, July 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 18:39, July 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Valerian_(herb)&oldid=303383954

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Medium LiSan OolongClasses have resumed and as usual, I am exhausted. Too much homework, too many late nights, and too much procrastination. Even now, I wish I were in bed sound asleep, yet I could not completely pass out without first posting my latest tea drinking experience. Having enjoyed Lishan Oolong several months ago from Jing Tea , I eagerly anticipated my first sip of Medium LiSan Oolong and I must say, I was not disappointed.

Composition: Light roasted oolong tea from Taiwan. (Country of origin corrected 7/23/09) 

Dry Visual: Light and dark green balled leaves with hints of brown and yellow. Stems are present.

Dry Aroma: Medium LiSan Oolong presents a complexity of aromas: sweet, mildly vegetal, nutty and wet like spring rain.

Flavor:  Flavorful, yet light, I found Medium LiSan Oolong to be delicious. This tea could be described by four key adjectives… refreshing, clean, floral, and mildly “sappy” from start to finish. Even after three infusions, this oolong remained full of flavor. As the brew began to cool, Medium LiSan Oolong presented a buttery quality adding additional complexity. As an aside, I did not find Medium LiSan Oolong to be vegetal, despite the dry aroma. 

I was not surprised by Medium LiSan Oolong’s lack of astringency. Sweetener is not required and non was added for fear of negatively altering the flavor profile.

Liquor: A rich yellow hue.

Brewing Time: The recommended steeping time for Medium LiSan Oolong Tea is 3 – 4 minutes in pre-boiling water. If you make the mistake of boiling your water allow it to cool a couple of minutes prior to steeping tea. I steeped the first infusion for 2 minutes, the second infusion for 4 minutes and the third infusion for 6 minutes.

Manufacturer: Fang Gourmet Tea (Special note, Medium LiSan Oolong is currently not listed on Fang Gourmet Tea’s website, but can be ordered.) 

Caffeine: Yes.

If you have had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of Medium LiSan Oolong Tea, please stop by and share your experience. Until then… Happy Tea Drinking!

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