While beer enthusiasts are busy trying every beer known to man, tea is more my speed. Tea has seen such a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Loose tea seems more popular than ever. Part of the fun of being a tea drinker is being able to try lots of different teas. No two taste the same and even ones that “are” the same, such as blended teas like your Earl Greys or Breakfast Teas, aren’t the same. The recipe or formula, if you will, for each blend is different. I wanted to share five loose teas that I absolutely love: Harney and Sons’ Viennese Earl Grey, Tay Tea’s Duchess’ First Love, Adagio’s Ceylon Sonata, Dallmayr’s Ostfriesien and Eco-Cha’s Organic Dong Ding Oolong.
Harney and Sons Viennese Earl Grey
The Austrian capital city is known for its pastries and its coffee; not its tea. But New York-based Harney and Sons offer their take on an Austrian Earl Grey. The results are toll (that is German for “great”). With a Darjeeling base and the touches of citrus, it is a dark and brisk take on the popular and beloved tea variety. While Harney advertise the tea as being their lightest Earl Grey, I like it let it brew a little longer for an extra strong cup of tasty tea. It is not secret it is an absolute favorite of mine.
Tay Tea Duchess’ First Love
Duchess’ First Love from Tay Tea might very well be the prettiest tea I have come across. Yellows, corals, and rich brown colors all mingle in this not-just-another-Earl Grey blend. Brewed with water that is slightly below boiling, caramel flavors emerge. It smells as good as it tastes. Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel offers the tea among their selections for afternoon tea. It is clear why the flavorful tea is a favorite: it pairs well with food. Or simply enjoy on its own.
Adagio Ceylon Sonata
Looking for a dependable, unfussy black tea that will satisfy both you and your guests? Adagio‘s Ceylon Sonata is just the loose tea to stock in your kitchen pantry. When we have guests, I usually will make a communal pot of tea and brew a black tea that will please everyone. Ceylon Sonata is just that tea. The medium-strength Sri Lankan tea is not too dark, too bold, or too weak. It has something to appeal to everyone, no matter what their tea preference.
Germany’s northern coast might have invented East Frisian or Ostfriesien tea but down south, not far from the Alps, Bavaria’s Dallmayr are giving them a run for their money. Made from high grade Assam Golden Tips this strong, dark tea is straightforward and uncomplicated. Enjoy it as an alternative to a breakfast tea, to warm up on a rainy afternoon or try it the traditional way: sweetened with rock sugar and cream.
Eco-Cha Organic Dong Ding Oolong
Just within the past year, there have been a number of articles published about the abuses that shockingly still occur around the world in tea agriculture. This includes anything from poor working conditions to use of dangerous chemicals. That is why Taiwanese company Eco-Cha stands out. With their responsibly sourced and, in some cases, organic teas you do not have to worry about the life your tea had: from seed to brew. Their Dong Ding Oolong tea, in particular, is very flavorful with a nutty, roasted flavor.
So what’s your favorite loose tea? Share what you’re brewing up in the comments below!