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237 Tasting Notes

89

It’s getting down to the bottom of the pouch, so there were lots of white chocolate chips in the spoon of dry leaf I used. It smelled pretty amazing while it was steeping! Two things because of the higher than average proportion of chips – the tea itself was quite cloudy after they had all melted into the liquid, and the cashew flavor was overwhelmed by the white chocolate flavor. Not a bad thing though – it was a nice, warm, sweet cup to start the day with.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Jaime

I love this one.

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82
drank Sommerfrische by Demmers Teehaus
237 tasting notes

Though it’s now feeling far from summer, this is still a nice warm cup for a cold and dreary day. I did one pot in the morning and one in the afternoon, and for the second pot I couldn’t get back to strain it for about 10 or 15 minutes, and it still held up like a champ. It was a little more tart, but the apple flavor was brought out more strongly, as was the lemongrass, moving from the background to the middle ground.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more

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85

My last bit of this sample pack too, and again a little more than my usual amount of leaf. This is a really nice example of the oolong style, hewing pretty much straight down the middle of the green/black tea divide. There’s a bit of green vegetal flavoring, and some black roastiness, along with the typical rich mouthfeel of a good oolong.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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81

The last of my sampler pack of this variety, and it ended up being a little bit more leaf than I’d been using before. This brought out the sweetness nicely and bumped up the earthiness a bit, but the tea still avoided veering off into bitter or too strong territory. It stayed extremely smooth and mellow, and gave me an appreciation for how much pu-erhs can vary – this one and the Camel’s Breath tuocha being at the opposite ends of the scale from one another. Both great and interesting, but for different reasons and with very different taste profiles.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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83
drank Fairmont Earl Grey by Fairmont
237 tasting notes

Just for kicks I thought I’d try one of the bagged teas I had sitting around, and was very pleasantly surprised by this one. The bergamot to tea ratio is not out of the ordinary, but there’s a fruity component to the flavor that is quite compelling. My guess is that it’s coming from the Ceylon tea they used as a base, which was slightly malty and astringent in a good way.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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83
drank Mi Lan Dan Cong by Canton Tea Co
237 tasting notes

Not sure why, but not enjoying this one quite as much as usual today. It tasted a bit flat, so I think I probably messed up the parameters somewhere along the way. Didn’t get the typical mix of fruity and toasty flavors with lingering aftertastes, but in all fairness it was still a tasty cup – just much more basic in taste.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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79

I’ve typically been using long steeps for this, so I decided to shake things up a bit and try much shorter times – a minute a piece or so. I’ve now been through four infusions and really like the difference I’m finding. It’s much different from the soupy, savory brew I usually end up with. Instead, I’m getting much more of the sweetness, and also a spiciness I hadn’t detected before – almost like a cinnamon/nutmeg/clove note. Each successive infusion has gained in sweetness and lost a bit in spiciness, but still features the typical earthy quality of pu-erh. A nice change up for this variety!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I grin every time I read the name Camel’s Breath! (I can just see one shaking its muzzle and spraying … uh … liquidy goodness all over.)

Stephanie

Camels…lol! This just reminded me of Robin William’s frenetic Genie voice in Aladdin: “Be careful of camels—they spit!!” (or something like that) :)

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61

A colleague at work was preparing a bag of this and it caught my eye as I’d never heard of sorrel tea before and wasn’t even quite sure what it was. She told me it’s a flowering plant that is very popular in Jamaica, particularly in the holiday season, and prized for its sweet/sour flavor. She was kind enough to offer a sample, so I’m happy to log it here.

I have to say that the BRIGHT red color coming out of the bag during the steep is very reminiscent of hibiscus, and the first sip has a similar sour, herbal taste, though not quite as pronounced. Combined with the ginger, it’s an enjoyable and caffeine-free hot drink, especially on a grey and rainy day.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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91
drank Bai Lin Gong Fu by Canton Tea Co
237 tasting notes

I guess I can tell which of the samplers I’ll be reordering by noting how nervous I feel when the pack starts to get empty… This is one of those. It’s got such a nice and sweet dried fruit quality to it, and with the holidays coming round it feels like the right tea for the moment. Really happy to have discovered this one!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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94
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
237 tasting notes

A strong yet sensitive type, this tea is! It came out malty and a little astringent, with a rich and doughy smell and thick texture. I second the sentiments of those who are looking for an alternative supplier to The Simple Leaf – this is a fantastic example of the bready, malty black tea style.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!

Location

Washington, DC

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