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  • Kate Malone Hesser

Review: ColorfulTea collection from Umi Tea Sets

I am long overdue in sharing my experiences with this collection of six Chinese teas gifted to me by Umi Tea Sets. In a natural pulp paper box six rose gold tins, each with an etched mountain scene, are nestled together. Inside are teas representative of the diverse range of teas produced and enjoyed throughout China. The set provides and excellent addition to any avid tea-drinker's inventory, but would serve just as well as an introduction to Chinese teas. Also with the teas were two beautiful fluted, mint-green Gongfu cups that help to create a truly next-level tea experience.

I did a proper cupping of the six teas over two days and also brought a few of them to work with me for afternoon sessions. I found that what each of these teas has in common is the uncompromising commitment to type and expert balance of floral essences. There is a fundamental "classic" quality that provides, I think, clear, referable examples of the tea types included. This collection could be enjoyed simply for the quality of the flavors within, but also as a teaching tool for someone trying to broaden their palette.

The cups add a sense of elegance to my tea tray and dress it up for company. They are medium weight porcelain and hold heat very well. It is festive and fun to drink out of a vessel that looks like a flower!

Yinzhen Bai Hao: This white tea has two-toned gold and silver downy buds. It produces a light rose-gold liquor with subtle, sweet hay flavors. After a few sips and gentle floral element appears in the mouth. It is smooth, easy to drink, and soothing to the body.

Dragon Pearl Jasmine: I found this Jasmine tea to be particularly well- balanced. The pearls are slightly larger than average and unfurl almost entirely when steeped. The light touch of sweetness is welcome and not overpowering.

Dragon Well: one of the most revered teas in China, known for it's "4 uniques" in shape, aroma, color of the liquor, and flavor, a Dragon Well could easily be missing an important nuance. Not to worry with this one. It has the soft umami brothyness that is clearing and warming.

Osmanthus Oolong: Like the Jasmine, this oolong has a subtle floral scent that is not overpowering. The aroma is that of fresh, spring greens, and the flavor is almost like a white tea with touches soft grasses, cucumber, and pear.

Ginseng Oolong: This was my first experience with the caramel-richness of Ginseng Oolong. I found it had the flavor of sugared violets, which gave a sense of luxury to my afternoon tea break.

Lychee Black tea: As Lychee is a favorite of mine, I was particularly interested in trying this one. The perfect pairing of tea and fruit was achieved, bringing out the best in both. I continued to enjoy this throughout the afternoon. It pairs extremely well with pork and noodles!

Umi Tea Sets and ColorfulTea have curated a first-rate array of Chinese tea to be enjoyed by the novice and expert alike. The packaging is beautiful and would make this set a treasured gift or a treat for yourself. Don't forget to take a look at their incredible selection of unique tea ware!

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