Immodestea Tea Master Club is a tea education-in-box that ships monthly. Each month you will receive a few packets containing one type of tea that may have been harvested from similar areas but from different bushes at different times, which makes each one unique. This isn’t for the casual tea drinker – this is for tea enthusiasts who enjoy the tea ceremony and subsequent steepings of each serving of tea. Want to learn more about camellia sinensis from Asia? This is the box for you!
To learn about tea you must experience tea. To learn about incredible tea you must experience incredible tea. The Tea Master’s Club is the most educational and highest quality single origin tea subscription service available in North America. Over the months you’ll become intimate with tea in its many forms, putting you in the top 1% of informed tea drinkers in the continent.
DEAL: Get 50% off your first Tea Master Club Box! Use coupon code HELLOHELLO.
The presentation of this box was pleasant. The box was wrapped in brown paper for mailing and the box itself was wrapped with twine. I slid the box out of the wrapper and then I found red tissue paper tucked around some bags of tea.
The bags had colored dots for identification. How much tea is in each box?
Each box will give you Eight to Twelve perfectly crafted pots or mugs of tea. Resteep these leaves for an additional 40 to 60 delicious brews. How much tea you drink each month depends entirely on what you want out of your experience.
I received two cards in my box. The first card introduces the tea, which this month is a wulong (AKA oolong) and is somewhere in between a green and black tea, oxidation wise.
The flip side of the card shows the name of the tea and when and where it was harvested. There is a colored dot next to the name that matches the dots on the bags.
There was another card with a poem on it.
The flip side of this card lists the ideal brewing time and water temperature and has space for tasting notes. It also mentioned that this is best steeped using a gongfu pot. I had no idea what that meant and had to do a little sleuthing to figure out what that was, exactly. It turns out this is a specialty pot that can be used in tea ceremonies. I don’t own anything like this. I have never been to a tea ceremony. Up until this point I have dunked my tea bag or steeped my loose leaf tea and been on my merry way. I decided to wait until the weekend when I would have more time to do this somewhat properly, with items I could find in my kitchen. I watched YouTube videos and read several blogs on the tea ceremony, y’all! This was serious stuff!
I assembled the following items: a stainless steel pot for heating the water (I don’t own a programmable water kettle but that would be helpful); my glass French press, without the press; a wide cup for drinking; and a tea strainer.
I started with Rou Gui, the one with the yellow dot. Its name translates into “cassia”, or Chinese cinnamon, although it didn’t taste like cinnamon. All of this month’s teas are supposed to be steeped in water that’s between 175-194° F. I had no way to test my water temperature so I relied on crab eyes – when the water is between 176-194° it should have small, rising bubbles, or “crab eyes”.
I tend to prepare my tea like I assume most Americans do – I boil the water, pour it over my tea, and let it steep for 5 minutes. For this tea, I prepared the crab eyed water, poured it in the French press to get it heated, poured out the water, poured more water over the tea leaves in my French press, waited 30 seconds, and then strained it over the sink. The first steep is intended to open the leaves and remove any dust. I smelled the leaves. I placed the leaves back in the French press. I poured more water over them and waited another 30 seconds before straining into my white bowl. The cup shown above is that second steep, which had a light, grassy flavor similar to genmaicha. I steeped it again, for around 45 seconds, and it had roughly the same flavor. This tea could have been steeped 5 more times at slightly longer intervals, but I had two more flavors to try.
Next up was Shui Xian, the one with a red dot. The name means “water sprite” and it is supposed to have a honey scent.
I steeped this exactly as mentioned above and found it to have a light, clean, mild flavor. It was a little astringent but not bitter. I steeped it a second time and then moved on to the final tea.
Gao Cong Shui Xian was the final tea and had a green dot. This is “immortal water” and is from bushes that are between 20-100 years old! Older bushes are supposed to impart a sweet and softer flavor.
I thought this tea had a stronger, more robust scent and a bit of a spicy taste. I’m going to steep this with boiling water to see if it has a flavor similar to pu-erh, although that might make it bitter. In that case I will add sugar and milk and enjoy my tea English style!
I think that this subscription is perfect for anyone who wants to become a “tea master” or who wants to treat their friends or family to a tea ceremony. I have a busy lifestyle that doesn’t allow me to do several steepings of tea in the morning, and I wouldn’t want to drink caffeinated tea at home in the evening. I felt that the flavors were very similar, which may say more about my palate and less about the tea. It isn’t totally necessary to have a specialty tea set to prepare the tea but it would make it a little easier.
What do you think of Immodestea? Have you ever participated in a tea ceremony? Let me know in the comments!