Marco at Steap’d challenged us to write about our favorite or most memorable teas of the year, so I am obliging, because I like Marco but also because it is a fun idea! Because it is nearly impossible to rank my favorite teas of the year, I am going to list the teas that are the most memorable to me. If a tea is truly memorable, I shouldn’t need any kind of reminders to think about it. So I didn’t look back at any posts or look at my tea stash, I just got a pen and paper and made a list.
Just a word about 2019 and what it has meant for me and my tea journey. This is the year that I really became a part of the tea community. I started this blog in April and then joined Instagram after that. I never expected much to happen, but I wanted to chronicle my experiences. I quickly realized just how awesome and welcoming and kind the tea community is and I am still amazed at this great group of people. So thank you to everyone in the tea world that I have met this year for welcoming me and I hope to meet many more in the years to come. Now let’s get to the list!
The first tea to come to mind was Mi Lan Xiang from Path of Cha. Holy moley this tea blew me away. It was my first ever Dan Cong and I can still remember the happy and shocked feeling I had while drinking that tea, realizing that a tea can be that good. I can still taste how thick and smooth it was. Yum.
Next is also from Path of Cha and it’s the Smoky Lapsang Souchong. I haven’t posted about this tea yet, because I am afraid I won’t do it justice. This is the year that I learned that this is my favorite tea. It’s the tea. For now. Maybe forever, we’ll see.
The next one is a group of teas and I chose it because of the experience that went along with them. It’s the Black and Oolong from Fairhope Tea Plantation and the Mississippi Queen and Black Magnolia from Great Mississippi Tea Company. I took a trip to visit both of these farms in May. This was an incredible eye opening experience where I learned a whole lot about tea production and in Mississippi, I picked and processed the tea myself. I will always remember this great experience.
Jade Star IV from Mei Leaf. Aged white. Tea Drunk. What an experience!
Big Red Robe (Da Hong Pao) from Harney and Sons. This was my first Wuyi Rock Oolong and I will always remember the dark and complex flavors. I even served this at church once and an experienced gentleman from Kentucky who doesn’t drink tea appreciated the bourbon barrel flavors. This was also one of my early teas, before I had a tray or a fairness cup.
Also from Harney and Sons is Japanese Whisky. This is a smoked Japanese black tea that I had in a comparison tasting with two other smoked teas and I liked it a lot. But this tea called me back to it months later. I started craving it out of nowhere and kept checking for it to be back in stock. When it was, I ordered two samples of it and it remains delicious.
Young Gushu 2018 from Mei Leaf. I am not yet and may not ever be a Puer person, but after watching Mei Leaf’s Youtube videos about gushu, I just had to try one. So I bought a sample of Young Gushu 2018. This was my first ever sheng puer and my first gushu tea. I remember the feeling after drinking 12 infusions. I thought I was floating. I had to remind myself that I was indeed still on the ground.
Mejiawu Lung Ching from Harney and Sons. This was at the time the most expensive tea I had ever tried ($1.60 / gram). It was so dang good though. This was and still is definitely the best green tea that I have had.
Wuyi Golden Horse Eyebrow from Crafted Leaf. I distinctly remember this tea tasting like chocolate milk and I was giddy like a school boy getting a special dessert. That was a fun tea experience and also very delicious.
Lastly but not least, we have a two for one special. Benifuki White and Benifuki Black from UNYtea, which I drank together in one session. This was the first Japanese white tea that I had ever had, and didn’t even know such a tea existed until I ordered it. The Japanese black is also still fairly rare and I remember the taste of this one like it was yesterday – spicy fruit. Unique and wonderful.
That’s my list. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to many more great teas in 2020. My goal is to share tea with more people both in person and virtually. Have a Happy New Year. Cheers.