Review: Drink the Leaf Blood Orange Black

Black Tea, Blood Orange Tea, Drink the Leaf Add comments
Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"If you are looking for a sweeter, juicy tasting tea, this is not it, but if you like your black tea with a twist, this more than delivers."
Lynn’s Teaview: 8.5/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 9/10
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drinkleafbloodorangeblackDrink the Leaf’s owner, Dan Ritzenthaler, came to the tea business after years in Napa wine production, and seems to share my views that the appreciation of fine tea and fine wine are very similar pursuits, and that the drinking of fine teas is a necessity for a fully-realized existence. He sells his teas at the Napa Farmer’s Market in California, and on a well-designed website (see link below.) As someone who buys a lot of tea online, I do like a good website. He provides detailed descriptions of the various tea varieties, a frequently asked questions page, a detailed brewing guide, (something I consider an important aspect of any tea-vending site), and a lively tea blog by “Wife of a Tea Drinker.”

This is a company I’m just getting to know, having recently enjoyed one of Dan’s pu-ehrs. My sample of Blood Orange black contained a generous helping of medium length, twisted Sri Lankan black tea leaves sprinkled with an unidentified orange flower petal. Dry, the tea—infused with natural blood orange essence, according to the website— smells very strongly of citrus, but more like orange peel than the juicy, pulpy fragrance I was expecting. Following Dan’s guidelines, I steeped a generous teaspoonful of the tea in 212F water for three minutes. This produced a clear, coppery liquor with some particulate matter (probably from the petals) and a very strong orange peel fragrance that overwhelmed any fragrance the tea might have. The orange peel effect carried over into the flavor; rather than sweet, this tea has the sharp, bracing citrus oil taste you get when you bite into the peel of an orange. Again, not what I was expecting, but quite nice. This would make for quite a morning eye opener, and a good summer iced tea.

The downside was that I was hard pressed to make out the tea itself over the “loudness” of the flavoring. It was a bit more evident in the finish, however; I detected a subtle maltiness on the back of my tongue between sips, after the orange flavor began to fade. Nonetheless, the enjoyment of this tea lies primarily in the citrus overtones.

A second steeping of three minutes produced a cup with a fragrance nearly as intense as the first. Taste-wise, it was almost identical, still powerfully citrusy.

If you are looking for a sweeter, juicy tasting tea, this is not it, but if you like your black tea with a twist, this more than delivers. Though the tea flavor itself is overpowered, the caffeine kick is still there, making me think once again that this would be quite a good wake up tea. And at a starting price of $5.50/2 oz (approx. 25 cups, 50 if you double steep) this is a very affordable tea. Recommended.

— To purchase Drink the Leaf Blood Orange Black, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Lynn Lynn
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