Smoked teas. They aren’t for everyone. Usually, it is one of those things that people either love or hate, and I fall in the camp of loving it. In fact, if you forced me to pick my favorite tea, I would say a smoky Lapsang Souchong.
I had three different smoked teas on hand, and I thought it would be neat to do a horizontal tasting of all three of them to see the differences. I had a little bit left of a sample of Japanese Whisky from Harney and Sons, a Lapsang Souchong from In pursuit of tea (a gift to me), and smoked Lapsang Souchong from Path of Cha. Coincidentally, I had 3.6 grams left of both the Japanese Whisky and the in pursuit of tea Lapsang. So I used 3.6 grams of all three teas and brewed them for 10 + 5 seconds at 200F. I don’t have identical teaware, but I did use neutral teaware for all three to make it as close as I could to being identical brewing conditions.
I will start with the Japanese Whisky. This is a Japanese black tea, which is pretty rare as most Japanese teas are green. It is smoked over fire of wood chips of Japanese whisky barrels. I have done a separate post on this tea alone, but I noted the texture was a bit thin and smooth. The smoke was there but not overpowering and it had some fruity sweetness to it. There was no bitterness and very little astringency. This is a really nice tea.
Next up was the in pursuit of tea Lapsang Souchong. This one had a medium body with some floral notes to it and some tart fruit sweetness but overall this tea just didn’t work for me. It tasted like cough syrup in my mouth and once I had that thought in my head it was all I could taste. I gave it two infusions to be fair but it wasn’t any better the second time.
Lastly was the Path of Cha Lapsang Souchong. This is a Chinese tea from the Fujian province which is smoked over pine wood. I can describe this tea in one word: Smoky! Again, depending on your preference, this can be good or bad. I really enjoy the smoky flavor and this tea is in your face smoky and I love it. This teas also had a bit of a fruity sweetness on the end to round it off which is nice.
I think the Japanese Whisky from Harney and the Lapsang Souchong from Path of Cha are both very good teas. I wouldn’t recommend the in pursuit of tea unless you really like the flavor of cough syrup. If you are not familiar with smoked tea or have never tried it, I would say start with a Japanese Whisky and see if you like it. If you have had it and you know you love the smoky goodness like me, then go for the gusto with the Path of Cha. They are both excellent choices with fairly big differences in flavor.
The price on the Japanese Whisky is $25 for 3 oz ($8.33 per oz.) The Path of Cha is $8 for 1oz. So the Path of Cha is slightly cheaper but they are very close in price and they both have very good shipping policies so you shouldn’t pay any difference there either. Heck, if you are feeling adventurous just get both of them!
This was a fun experiment and I hope to do some more of these types of comparison tastings in the future. Cheers!
Hi everyone, I am back with another edition of “Can I Guess the Tea?” This tea has some special sentimental value. We are currently hosting an exchange student from China for a few weeks and she brought us all gifts from her home town, and my gift was Tea. I had no idea what kind of tea it was, because the packaging was in Chinese so I thought it would be another good way to test my tea knowledge (or lack thereof) yet again. So, without further ado, here it is:
Some of you may know already exactly what this is, and if I had some more knowledge, I would have too because it’s staring me in the face. But the fact that I am telling you this now shows that I am not trying to cheat at least, so there’s that 🙂
I can see that it is a green bud tea. I don’t know what it is yet, but I have something to go on, so I heated the water to 190F, I am thinking it should be a bit higher than the usual 180 because the tea is all buds and needs more energy to open up. I am giving myself two infusions to figure it out. After that, I have to guess or give up. First infusion was 15 seconds and second one was 20.
The color is very light yellow. I tasted notes of roasted vegetable, but mainly corn is the one I kept coming back to. It had a slight sweetness on the finish was nice. It was a good tea overall. So, what’s my guess?
I am a little embarrassed to say, but my first guess was Anji Bai Cha (In my defense, I have only tried it once). My 2nd guess was some kind of bud tea from Sichuan Province (which is where our student is from) I only guessed that because of the student’s hometown, not because I know what tea from that area tastes like.
So, did I get it right? No. The correct answer as I noted earlier, was staring me in the face. The only English words on the packaging – Zhuyeqing. I thought this was the name of the company, which it was, but it is also the name of the tea. It’s English name is Bamboo leaf tea. It is a bud tea that is grown in Sichuan province, so my second lucky guess was half right.
I went for four infusions, but probably should have stopped at three. It turned bitter at the end, but not undrinkable.
Overall, it’s a pleasant brew and could certainly be a good daily drinker green tea. I am beyond honored to have received it as a gift and I will forever treasure the memory that it will bring of our special guest.
Once again, tea brings people together, as it tends to do. Bye.
So I don’t have much experience with white tea, hardly any to be accurate. I have two and only two kinds of white teas in my possession so I thought it would be interesting to taste them side by side to compare. Those teas are White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) from Mei Leaf and a cake of Fuding white tea from China given to me by my coworker. I used the same brewing parameters for both: 3.5g at 195F for 20 +10 seconds.
Both teas were rather sweet and both were good. The White Peony was very thick and syrupy with some vanilla and honey and nutty notes. The cake was a bit more thin and had some sweetness but it also had a woody note to it that I have also noticed in other sun-dried teas, which I don’t prefer. The cake also had a small amount of astringency in the second and third infusions that I didn’t notice in the White Peony.
Granted, these two teas are not meant to be exactly the same, with one in cake form and the other loose. The cake contains buds and large leaves where the White Peony is mostly large leaves so it’s not apples to apples. That being said if I had the cake by itself I would have enjoyed it because it’s not bad, but the Mei Leaf just takes it up to that next level with the body and the finish that just weren’t there on the cake. So Mei Leaf is the winner.
I’m not sure how helpful this could be, but if you want to try white tea, start with a Bai Mu Dan and go from there.
I went three infusions for each and the taste didn’t change much for either tea. The Mei Leaf was all around better for the entire session.
The cake was a gift so I have no idea what the price would be, but the White Peony is $8.09 for 20g and I got it during the Easter sale for less than $7. 3.5 g per session will get you at least 5 sessions per packet. That’s $1.62 per session, and you can get 5 infusions per session, so that’s $.33 per cup. That’s higher than most teas that I have tried and I would not have thought that before I did this calculation. It’s definitely worth trying to see how you like white tea and if you do, then you can’t go wrong with Mei Leaf. I have always received top quality tea from them.
I received some Chinese gift teas today from a co-worker of mine who has just returned from a visit to China. Since the tin was entirely in Chinese, I thought it would be fun to try to guess what kind of tea it is, to test my skills and knowledge I have gained so far (or lack thereof). So, let’s open it up and see what we have!
Right off the bat, I am unfamiliar with the dry leaf. It’s a rolled oolong of some kind, but it looks different from any tea I have ever had. I have the suspicion that I have seen this tea before in passing, but I can’t remember what it is.
I brewed the whole package, which came to 8.16 grams in a gaiwan with 200F water for 15 seconds + 10. There was no smell at all coming from the dry leaves, so I am completely stumped at this point. Let’s brew it up.
The wet leaves had a smell of popcorn but slightly burnt popcorn.
All I can say is this tea tasted like cotton candy. But like someone took cotton candy and sprinkled a bunch of powdered sugar on top of it. I love sugar about as much as anyone, but I was not expecting that flavor in a tea. It threw me for a loop. All of the infusions tasted like cotton candy and a funnel cake, it was a day at the fair. Those are perfectly pleasant flavors but not when I was expecting something completely different.
At this point, I am thinking that the leaves were encased in sugar, which is crazy but that is what it tasted like. I went for 4 infusions because that was all I could handle.
This was a gift tea bought in China, so I don’t know the price.
So, could I guess what it is? No, I couldn’t. I figured it was an oolong but that’s as far as I got with it. I appealed for help to the Gong Fu Cha Facebook group that I am in, and several people knew right away that it is Ginseng Oolong. A quick internet search proved that they were correct. I have heard of Ginseng Oolong but only in passing and never really studied it. So I am 0 for 1 in this game. I will try the other tea soon and hopefully have better luck. On the bright side, I now know what Ginseng Oolong tastes like and I can add that to my experience. No experience is completely wasted. That goes for tea and in life.
I should note that the taste of this tea was not bad overall and could be quite pleasant if you know what to expect. The sweetness did diminish a little bit with each infusion also, so there’s that. I can’t say I would recommend it, but ginseng is good for you and we know tea is good for you so it certainly wouldn’t do you any harm to try it, but I prefer tea with nothing added to it. Cheers!
Oh how I love a good smoked black tea! Something about the smell of the dry leaves just speaks to something deep down in my soul that I can’t quite put into words. No other tea does that for me. I didn’t even know that smoked black Japanese tea (wakoucha) even existed until very recently when I saw it on the blog of someone I follow (Camellias Treaty). I thought it sounded like something I would like but could only find it in large quantities plus shipping costs. I was excited when I saw it on Harney & Sons website and it was offered in a sample size. I jumped on it and put in the cart right away. So for $3.00 ($2.40 with discount code) and free shipping I had to have it.
I used 4 grams in a gaiwan brewed gongfu style with 200F water for 10 seconds + 5 after a rinse. I must say the smell of the smoke was very powerful in the dry leaf, but the taste of smoke didn’t come through all that strong in the liquor. It was there, but not as prevalent as it is in other smoked teas that I have had. Depending on your preference this might be a good thing. The texture is medium to thick and there is very little to almost no bitterness or astringency, it’s very smooth. There was also a pretty long aftertaste that lingered in my mouth for a while, which was nice.
The first infusion didn’t really give me much, to my disappointment. I expected great things based on the smell of the dry leaf, but as I have learned, the dry leaf smell doesn’t always translate to the liquor in the cup. There was a hint of smoke and that was about it for the first infusion. But I didn’t give up on it, and I am glad for that. The 2nd infusion gave me a hint of honey sweetness and a bit of peaty and malty flavor, which I enjoyed. The third through fifth or so was fairly similar. An overall taste of smoke up front, smooth body, sweetness on the back and a long lingering finish. Really an enjoyable tea after it got warmed up a bit. After about 4 infusions it really started to get thinner and weaker, but this also made the sweetness more pronounced, which I didn’t expect. So you lose the body and the aroma, but you gain the sweetness. It was an interesting transition.
I went seven infusions, but as you can see, I think 5 is about the stopping point. Overall, this is a pretty good tea. It’s not the best smoked tea I have had, but I think it is a pleasant brew. It makes me want to try some different kinds of Japanese black teas.
I would say about 99% of the tea produced in Japan is green tea, so this is a relatively new category of tea, and it is exciting to see what they can come up with. I’m looking forward to a deep dive into Japanese teas, which I hope to do sometime in the future.
The price on this is $25 for 3 oz. (85 g) for a tin. $3 for a sample. If you take the smallest tin price, that is 4 grams per session which is 21 sessions in a tin. That’s $1.19 per session. 5 infusions per session and that comes to $.24 per 100ml infusion. It’s definitely worth trying to see if you really enjoy it, especially if you already know you like smoked tea like I do.
Hey y’all, this post has been a long time in the making and I finally took the plunge and did it today. Matcha has been a trendy fad lately and I wanted to give a little info on what matcha actually is and I also tasted three matchas in a horizontal tasting to determine which one was the best so you don’t have to suffer through bad matcha like I have done!
What exactly is matcha? It’s simple, really. It’s green tea. That’s it, green tea. Nothing else. What is different about it though, is instead of taking leaves and steeping them in water like you do with most tea, matcha is the leaves of a type of green tea in Japan called Tencha, which is ground into powder. Traditionally, the farmers would take a shade covering and cover the plants for 30 days before harvesting, which makes the plants work harder to grown and gives the leaves more green color and more flavor compounds. After picking, it is taken and ground between concrete millstones for up to 10 hours until it is made into a fine powder. Instead of steeping the leaves, the powder is mixed into hot water using a whisk, and therefore, the entire leaf is ingested. Because of this, matcha has antioxidant levels that are off the charts and a lot more caffeine than normal green tea (hooray for caffeine, am I right?!)
Matcha is trendy because of the insanely high antioxidant levels and the high caffeine (still less than coffee though). But beware, not all matchas are the same, not even close. Also beware, there are a lot of drinks being sold as matcha that are actually a mix containing milk, sugar, and who knows what else. This is because low quality matcha can taste quite bad and the low quality stuff must be mixed with sweetener to become drinkable, which then negates the health benefits of it (not entirely of course, and I do like a matcha latte from time to time, don’t get me wrong).
To learn more about matcha, I would suggest this video. Mei Leaf has taught me quite a lot about tea, much more than anyone else has for that matter.
To learn about some of the health benefits of matcha, a quick internet search will yield several articles, but I believe it has the highest antioxidant content of any food or drink known to man, so it’s literally a super food.
So, what do you need to make matcha? There are many ways to make it, so don’t take my way as the only or best way, it is just the way that I choose, and it closely resembles the traditional Japanese way with some added steps. You will need a bowl (chawan) a bamboo scoop (chasaku) or a tea spoon will work fine, and a bamboo whisk (chasen) or any kitchen whisk will work really.
You take two bamboo scoops or 1 teaspoon of matcha powder, put it in the bowl and pour about 3 oz water that it is 175 or 180 degrees F. Try hard not to use water hotter than this for any green tea because it will draw out the bitter compounds and will taste bad. Then you whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds or so and the matcha is done. In the Japanese ceremony, the bowl is then passed between participants who drink straight out of the bowl. I like to pour the matcha from the bowl into a glass, and I also add the step of putting it through a strainer. I do this because it has a tendency to leave a few little clumps in the bowl even if you whisk is really well. This might be a personal preference but I can’t stand when I am drinking a liquid and something solid hits my tongue, it is just not good at all. Pouring it through a strainer eliminates any of the clumps that were left behind and leaves a completely liquid and smooth drink.
Now, on to the tasting!
So here’s the setup: I have been saving one last serving of two different brands of matcha for this test and included the matcha I am currently using as well. They are Aiya Ceremonial Grade Matcha, purchased at Publix, Harney & Sons Matcha Jobetsugi, purchased from Harney’s website, and Mighty Leaf matcha purchased from Publix. I used two scoops of each and the same amount and temperature of water and used the same tools to mix them all. I started with the Mighty Leaf.
The Mighty Leaf was quite vegetal and grassy tasting and was very astringent and drying in my mouth. The texture is fairly thick. I can’t say that this tastes “good” It’s more like one of those things that you just get through because you know how good it is for you. But let me say, tea should not and does not have to be that way. If you drink tea that way, take a look around and do some research to find some better tasting tea, because it’s out there. Skip on this one if you see it at the store. however, I will say that if you make it iced, the ice cuts the bitterness a lot. Add a splash of milk and you have yourself a decent tasting iced matcha latte. It serves that purpose well. Up next, Harney.
The Harney matcha was much better than the Mighty Leaf, I must say. I still picked up some vegetal notes, but it was much less astringent and had a texture that reminded me of milk. I also picked up a slight hint of sweetness on the end. Really a pleasant drink and would be a good everyday matcha. Harney sells three grades of matcha and this was the lowest of the three, so I can imagine their two other grades are very good quality. Up next, Aiya.
This tea takes it up a notch further. You can tell from the pictures that this has a smoother and thicker texture. I am very impressed with this one. There was a more prominent sweetness and it lingered on my tongue after I finished drinking for a while. It was very smooth and had a milky texture with very little astringency or drying.
The verdict: Aiya wins and it isn’t close. Harney was still very good, but skip the Mighty Leaf.
The prices on these are not that far off. Aiya is normally $17 for 30 grams, but I have seen it on sale a few times and I bought it for $14. Harney is $14 for 30 grams, and Mighty Leaf is $13 for 42 grams. When it comes to matcha, you really do get what you pay for.
This was also the first time that I really sat down at the table and placed my tools out before making and drinking matcha. I usually make it on the counter and drink it in a hurry first thing on the morning before I head to work. But I noticed how calming and focusing the whole process was for me when I took the time to set the table and the tools and really prepare for the whole experience. If you try matcha, make an ordeal out of it and try to make it a whole experience. I think you will enjoy it. I think I will have to start a little earlier on my morning matcha from now on. Oh, and I will need to get another tin of Aiya ASAP.
I normally write these posts immediately after drinking the tea while everything is still fresh, and I am SO wired right now. Thanks for reading, cheers!
I’ve been getting around to trying all of the famous green teas of the world, but Melon Seed Green or Liu An Gua Pian is one that I hadn’t had a chance to try, until now. This tea is unlike most other Chinese green teas, in that the leaves that are picked are the larger leaves further down the stem. The leaves are then pan-fired like most Chinese greens, but then undergo a further kind of flash roasting. Being made of larger leaves also means it can’t be Spring picked but must be picked later in the season. Most Chinese greens will be picked using the bud and first or second leaves and picked in early Spring.
Now, on to the tea. This is the third of the teas I ordered from Path of Cha recently, and I followed their brewing instructions for gong fu brewing. I used 3 grams of tea, 180F water, gave the leaves a rinse, and did the first infusion for 10 seconds and an additional 5 seconds for each subsequent infusion.
The dry leaf had a smell that reminded me of Sencha, it was very vegetal and had that marine air aroma to it. The first infusion was very light in color, had a thick texture and notes of roasted vegetable. The second infusion was a little bit darker, I noted some slight astringency and a slight smoky flavor and a sweet finish. This is a very complex green tea. The flavor was very similar the rest of the way through infusion number 6. Slightly smoky, thick texture, slight astringency, with a sweet finish. This was a pleasant tea to drink and I could have kept drinking it.
Full disclosure: Out of black, green, white and oolong teas, I would say green tea is the type I enjoy the least. I’m not saying it’s ever bad, I just don’t usually CRAVE it like I do with a lot of black and oolong teas. I usually drink at least one green tea everyday because of the health benefits. So if you approach green tea as drinking a super beverage, because that’s what it is, and then you realize it’s a super beverage that tastes good too, well that’s pretty exciting stuff. There is too much green tea that is sold in bags that tastes like someone plucked some grass from their front lawn and put it in a bag. Good quality green tea can be very enjoyable and quite pleasant. This tea was pleasant.
These leaves are quite large compared to other green tea!
The price on this one is $10.00 per 1oz. or 28 grams. I used 3 grams per session, which makes 9 sessions per pouch, which is $1.11 per session. Each session is 6 cups, which is $.19 per cup. Where else can you find a super beverage that tastes nice for $.19? You can’t. All I’m saying is give tea a chance! Cheers.
Hey y’all. I have heard and read about Mi Lan Xiang Honey Orchid Oolong long ago and I finally got around to trying it and let me tell you, this tea blew me away! I had been wanting to try it for a long time but it is not the cheapest and I would have had to pay a lot for shipping on top of it. Enter Path of Cha, a new tea company that I have never ordered from before. I am impressed with them and will tell you more about them below. But first, the tea! Also, I got a new scale for Father’s Day and I go to use it for the first time here too.
I brewed it exactly like the instructions said to do. My gaiwan is 100ml so I used 6 grams and heated my kettle to 200F (closest I can get it to 195) and got to brewing. 5 seconds for the first infusion, which is the shortest I have done yet, and 5 more for each infusion after that. The dy leaves had a sweet and woody aroma to them, which was pleasant.
I took one sip of this beautiful liquor and knew I had found something special. The texture is so smooth, the taste is sweet and buttery. I kept expecting that hit of bitterness or astringency in the back of my throat, but it never came. This tea went down smooth as butter and it coated my throat like medicine, but it tasted amazing. I’ve never tasted a tea that was that silky smooth and buttery like that before and now I’m worried that I’ve kind of spoiled myself. We’ll see, hopefully not though (fingers crossed).
I went for a total of 8 infusions, and honestly, it had more to give. I don’t know how far I could have gone, but I had to call it after 8. You can see the leaves aren’t fully opened yet. In my limited experience, I would say these are the markings of a high qualify leaf, but I am far from an expert. On the third infusion, I really started to notice a fruity note, like a baked or cooked fruit. Fourth infusion was mostly sweet. Fifth infusion was mostly buttery. Sixth infusion had notes of cooked fruit and butter. This is also where I really noticed that the texture seemed to get even thicker as the liquor cooled down. So the second half of the infusion was noticeably thicker than the first, which was already like cough medicine (but delicious). All I noted on the 7th infusion was “still SO good” I have run out of words to describe it, so I will just leave it at that.
The Price on this tea is $9.00 for 1 oz. (28 grams). 6 grams per session, makes 4 or 5 sessions, call it 4 to be conservative, which comes to $2.25 per session. At least 8 infusions per session comes to $.28 per cup. That’s 28 cents per cup. Absolutely worth that. It’s not the cheapest tea, but certainly not too much for what you get. No other beverage in the world can make you feel this way and be incredibly healthy for you, as all tea is, for $.28 a cup. Nothing.
Now, as promised, a note about Path of Cha. I only found out about this company because they are active on social media in the tea world. I saw where they were having a Father’s Day sale and everything was 15% off so I thought I would take a look. So I see that they offer several teas for sale, but they also have a very good shipping policy. Most sites have shipping costs that average around $9 for domestic and offer free shipping for orders over $50 or $75. I don’t know about you, but $75 is a LOT to spend on tea at one time for me. So what sold me on PofC was their standard shipping rate of $3.95 and free shipping for all orders over $25! I can definitely do $25. So that’s what I did.
On top of the shipping being free, it came very fast. I ordered on Friday and my tea arrived on Monday. And it came with a hand-written note, which I thought was a really nice touch. I am very impressed with them so far, both as a company from a customer service standpoint and I am impressed with the tea quality. They have been in communication with me after the sale as well to ensure that I enjoyed their tea.
I have yet to try a Liu An Gua Pian Melon Seed Green, so I suspect that post will be coming soon. Cheers.
I decided to try to cold brew tea for the first time, and I must say it was a success! I had a tiny bit of Jeju Sejak Korean Green tea left from the sample I had from Harney and Sons. I don’t have a measurement of grams, I just poured it all in. I also didn’t measure the water so this is not very informative, but it was more of a general experiment.
I put it in the refrigerator overnight (about 10 hours) and filtered it out from the leaves into a small jar.
The taste was very light and refreshing with hardly any bitterness at all. I will definitely be trying this again in the future and using some more specific measurements next time!
I bought some Chinese Milk Oolong from my local tea store and I’ll be darned if it didn’t taste just like milk!
My setup is certainly nothing fancy. I brew on a kitchen towel on my dining room table. I have seen a lot of pictures of people with very beautiful tea brewing setups and they look great but you don’t have to have everything fancy to get some great tea.
So what is milk oolong? I had a hard time believing that tea can taste like milk without being artificially flavored, but it can. I have had the Ali Shan Oolong from Taiwan which is very creamy, but I’ve never had a tea that is so milky like this one before. I unfortunately don’t know much about this tea other than it’s from China and it’s English name is Milk Oolong. My local store doesn’t have all the details.
I used 5 grams of tea for 100ml gaiwan. Water was 212F or a full boil and I brewed first infusion 20 seconds and +5 for every other infusion. I had heard from YouTube and other sources that rolled oolongs need the hottest water you can get so that the leaves can unroll. It takes a lot of energy to unfurl and boiling water is the most energy you can give them. So that’s what I did, but on the third infusion, it became slightly bitter.
I haven’t seen anyone advocate doing this before, but I thought what the hey I’ll try it and see what happens. So I use a steel water bottle to keep my water hot between infusions, and I decided to leave the lid off of the water bottle after the third infusion, so that the water would cool down a little bit and maybe the tea would stop being bitter.
As you can see, the leaves were completely unrolled by the 4th infusion, I would say after the second one they became unrolled, and at that point, I think it is time to lower the water temperature slightly. My goal was to get it down from 212F to 200F, but I don’t have a water thermometer so it wasn’t exact. But I can tell you that the bitterness was completely gone after I reduced the temperature.
The defining taste of this tea is the milk. I don’t how to describe it other than it tastes just like milk, which is the craziest thing. It had a slight astringency, but not bad, some slight green vegetal notes and a little bit of a floral note for the first infusions. The mouthfeel was very thick and smooth.
After I dropped the temperature, I picked up a bit of sweetness right at the end of the sip that I wasn’t getting at first, which was really nice. It also became more juicy and quenching instead and not astringent at all. It may have been a better idea to start off at 200F instead of 212, so maybe I will try it that way next time I brew it.
By the very end, this tea had an almost, dare I say, ice cream taste to it. It was just thick and smooth and milky with a hint of sweetness. It was very good.
This tea expands quite a bit as it unrolls, so beware how much water you use, because I may have burned my fingertips once or twice in this session.
The price of this tea was $8 for 1 oz. which is 28 grams. 5 grams per session makes about 5 sessions per bag, which is $1.60 per session. I got 8 infusions out of this one so that comes to $.20 per cup. It doesn’t sound expensive at all when you break it down. It’s definitely worth it and if you ever find a tea called milk oolong and it looks like it’s real tea and not artificially flavored, give it a try. It’s very unique and quite enjoyable. Cheers.