December 2016 I watched in envy for 24 days. Fellow tea lovers opened their various advent calendars, and shared their tea adventures with the online tea community. December 2017, I join the fun!
Join me on my 24 day journey with the Westholme Tea Farm Advent Calendar!
A great start to my 24 days of tea! Every morning, without fail, I start my day with an earl grey! This particular one is made with whole leaf Assam and Italian cold-pressed organic bergamot oil. The flavour harnesses the strength I search for, but rarely find. A fancy treat! It's gonna be hard going back to my normal earl.
Like tea, yerba mate is packed with caffeine and antioxidants. These mate leaves have been roasted and mixed with classic chai ingredients; cardamon, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves. Mate isn't my favourite thing to drink, but mixed with spices and a little honey, this earthy, spicy tea is grounding.
A comforting mix of lemongrass, nettle leaf, red clover, linden leaf and flowers, rose petals, elder flowers and stevia. The initial aroma radiates hay and chamomile, but the flavour is sweet and floral.
Keemun Mao Feng
"Mao Feng", meaning fur peak, is a high quality Chinese black tea. The flavour is perfect for my taste buds; rich and smooth with smoked, toasted notes combined with hints of stone fruit.
A sweet mix of hojicha, Japanese green tea, vanilla bean and rose petals. An aesthetically beautiful tea, but not my favourite so far.
A wonderful, festive mix of classic chai ingredients (ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, orange peel, black pepper and cloves), swapping out the black tea for a simple rooibos. The strong sweet scent of rooibos often gives me a headache, but the spices covered this, turning the rooibos from sweet and sickly into a raw, earthy chai.
Drum Mountain White Cloud
Just look at those white fluffy buds! These beauts are grown at a Buddhist monastery in the Drum mountains (hence the name!) of China. Also known as Gu Shan Bai Yun. The flavour is gentle, almost melodic, sweet, fragrant and dry.
Nilgiri Orange Pekoe Korakundah Estate
Grown at nearly 8000ft, this estate is one of the highest tea gardens in the world! The tea is characteristically bold and lively, giving it a great kick for a wake-me-up tea. Personally, I like a mild black tea, so I took this with good dash of milk.
After recent bad experiences with puerh, I was excited to see how this mini puerh cake would compare. The actual quality of the leaf was pretty much dust, while the smell was distinctly earthy and not overly appealing. However... the taste more closely resembled a black tea, with an intricate addition of rich, earthy notes. I think it will take some getting used to, but overall a far better experience when compared to the mouldy, peaty flavour of other puerh.
"Gonna take some time to do the things we never had..." - Sorry, had to put that in, I've had it stuck in my head all. day. long. >.< Anyway, aside from my brain replaying song lyrics in my head... this blend of rooibos, lavender, vanilla bean and orange peel , was a delight! It smells sweet like marzipan, but once steeped the relaxation vibes come out to play.
The first oolong of advent! This semi-oxidised oolong is from the northern most point of the Darjeeling region. Though not quite as tasty as your average darjeeling, this oolong is nutty, buttery and still very yummy.
I love a black tea and it's always a delight to experience the rich, malty flavours of assam. I take mine steeped for 2 minutes, with milk. Please and thank you.
Yun Wu Cloud & Mist
Apparently Lu Shan Yun Wu tea is fairly famous! Who knew? As I'm not the BIGGEST fan or follower of green tea, the fact I've never heard of it doesn't surprise me. I wasn't really looking forward to this one, but the sweet, slight toasted, slightly grassy flavour was pleasant enough that I would go back to it. Who knows, I might even finish the packet!
A perfect evening concoction. This caffeine free blend feels GOOD. It's relaxing and restorative, in a way I never really felt from mint or nettle. Winner.
As I'm typing this up, DAYS after I opened day 15, I realise I have actually only have about 1 cups worth left. I LOVED this twist of the classic earl grey, consisting of orange peel, vanilla bean and bergamot oil. It's sooo good! And all the better for having that sweet, creamy element of vanilla.
Sharp, grassy and pungent. I'm ok with sencha, but I've never warmed to it in the way some people do (Hey, I already said I wasn't a green tea gal). It's ok, but I wasn't stoked to see it the morning of day 16. Can't win em all.
Moving on to bigger and better things! Today I got to experience Qu Hao, also known as Black Silk, a black tea from the Wuyi mountains. The flavour is delicious; nutty, cocoa flavours, that are almost creamy, and a thick mouth feel.
Jasmine Phoenix Dragon Pearls
I know I said I'm not the biggest fan of green tea, but there's always an exception to the rule. Jasmine pearls are one of my ten. Anyone who follows the blog on the regular will know I had a slight obsession with jasmine in the summer of 2017 and just couldn't stop writing about it. Anyway, these are very good. Perhaps not THE best I've had, but a close second with a succulent, dry, lasting flavour.
A revitalising mix of lemonbalm, hibiscus, licorice root. ginger and rosehips. The combination of powerful herbs is designed to uplift, soothe and restore. Before steeping the aroma is full of ginger. Disappointingly (for me at least), the flavour is less ginger filled, more licorice.
Also known as "Nai Xiang", which translates to milk fragrance, which is indeed reflected in the cup. The smooth creamy aroma and flavours, make it easy to see how this tea developed its name. Although, I once loved milk oolong, a string of fake (mainly flavoured) milk oolongs has ruined this wonderful liquid for me.
White Mountain Matcha
This is a matcha (tea leaves ground into a powder), made from white tea grown in Kenyan mountains. The aroma is much less grassy than the normal green tea matcha, with a delicate bouquet fragrance.
Darjeeling Sungma Autumunal
Although this tea has the classic muscatel characteristics of darjeeling, they are much less refined. Instead this tea has adopted a more robust and astringent quality.
A twiggy green tea, made from a spring sencha harvest, offering toasted flavours of green tea.
Canadian Grown Maple Smoked Green 2017
As someone who isn't a massive green tea fan, I was a little apprehensive about day 24. But, Westholme really did save the best till last! This mix of Canadian grown tea leaves and twigs has been cold smoked over big leaf maple chips to create a strong punch of smoke, layered over a subtle toasty green tea.