Today I’m super excited to introduce Teas Unique – a company that specializes in Korean teas! The reason I’m so excited about that is that the previous Korean teas which I reviewed from Osulloc – Jeju Island rocketed to the top of my blog stats and have remained there for the past two years – undefeated champions! Every time I check my stats, there are the Korean teas, right on top! It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me… I have no idea why people have such a huge interest in Korean tea – over Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, and all the other cool places that I’ve had tea from. But it’s pretty awesome too – knowing that there are so many people who really want to know more about Korean tea.
Because this is a new company for me, I’m going to tell you all the details and maybe you’ll want to check them out for yourself. Teas Unique contacted me last week and offered to send samples. I said “sure” and then kind of forgot about it. Since I live in Canada, it often takes months for tea to arrive by international mail, and I didn’t expect to see these any time soon. So, I was surprised and impressed when the box showed up this week. Tea within a week never happens around here!
The teas were nicely packed in a sturdy box, and inside was a lovely personalized letter, 6 metallic zip-lock packets of various teas, and BONUS – a matcha chocolate bar! Wow! The tea packets feature photos of the tea estates and are clearly labelled with the name, origin, location, date, grade, steeping instructions, ingredients, and organic certification info. All of the teas are USDA Organic. Teas Unique’s mission is to bring “the finest organic, single estate, artisan teas from all the major growing regions of Korea to the international market”.
Today, I’m going to try the “Jeju Island Second Flush Organic Single Estate Whole Leaf Black Tea with Mandarin Orange”. This is from Pyoseon District, Seogwipo City, Jeju Island, and it was harvested in June 2016. I open the packet and inhale; it smells like dark fruits – raisins and currants, and yes, hints of orange. The leaves are long, solid black twists, and there are tons of little chunks of orange peel. This looks so pretty and fresh, I know it’s going to be great!
I steep a heap of tea in my push-button pot for 100 seconds. I want to be able to watch and control the steep time very carefully so I don’t get it too dark. When I pour it out – my goodness – the aroma is gorgeous! It smells like sweet honey, orange, and tea in a perfect combination and it’s perfuming the whole room! The tea is a light glowing orange/brown colour. It looks perfect!
The first sip is light and clean and very mild. This is, to me, exactly what black tea should taste like. It’s got that classic “tea” flavour, but with zero bitterness or astringency. I get hints of orange in the aftertaste, but not so much in the mouth. It’s all so delicate and clean – no dust, no grit, no tannins – just a sweet, slightly honeyed tea flavour. I love it!
I steep a second cup for 2 minutes and it looks like the last one, but I think the aroma is even more intense. It’s the kind of tea smell that makes my brain float to the ceiling and dance around. The flavour, again, is clean, mild, slightly sweet tea with no bitterness.
This is exactly the type of black tea that I adore. I usually don’t want it too dark or bitter. This doesn’t have as much orange flavour as I expected, but what’s there gives a nice fresh fragrance that doesn’t overwhelm the tea. The aftertaste – a fresh, bright tea flavour lasts and lasts.
Well-done, Teas Unique! I now have another great Korean tea to add to my collection! Super BIG THANK YOU for providing this sample.