90 Tasting Notes

99
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
90 tasting notes

ETA – Ok guys, I get it now! I tried this again with more leaf and wow, what a difference! It was so rich and malty, and the cocoa notes came through much stronger. Kind of like chocolate beer in tea form; it was a real treat this time. Up goes my rating!
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I finally got my hands on some of this! I think it was so hyped in my mind that I was expecting fireworks to go off above my head when I took a sip. That didn’t quite happen (it was more of a single clap), but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The taste was rich and malty with a slight berry undertone. I’m getting hints of grains, coffee, earth and cocoa powder. The end of the sip tastes like the roasted fennel seeds that my mom serves as a traditional digestive/breath freshener after a meal, so it reminds me of visiting home (and being in a happy food coma).

I brewed according to the western instructions but I think I could even go a bit stronger. Has anyone ever tried this, or would that be a recipe for tea-saster?

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

My husband prefers it steeped much longer than the directions for western. You just don’t get as many re-steeps but it works just fine and you get a much more bold flavor.

Alysha

Thanks Stephanie! I will try that next time I want something bolder in the morning.

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85

This weekend I tried my first Verdant tea and my first ever gongfu session. Exciting stuff guys!

The 1st steep yielded a mineral, rock-like smooth flavor. The 2nd steep was more creamy and floral with a hint of spice. 3rd steep was back to the mineral flavor but with a slight sweetness. 4th – 6th steeps were mellower versions of the 3rd one.

In reality I do a lot of my tea drinking at work so I decided to try this western style this morning (apparently a faux pas according to Verdant’s website! But I’m not great at following instructions anyway). It was still incredibly smooth, with a more apparent sweetness and roasty flavour. At the end of the sip I’m getting an oat-y flavor that reminds me of cereal, in a good way.

Both brewing styles were a success. It’s amazing how many different flavors come out of the same little leaves! I’ll definitely try to make more time for gongfu as it’s such a relaxing way to really savor and enjoy a tea.

Unfortunately I didn’t get the caramel or crème brulee flavours that sucked me into buying this in the first place, but it was still very tasty. I kind of guesstimated the western parameters, so if anyone has any tips for this one, I’d love to hear them!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Ze_Teamaker

From the few types of these teas that I have had, all I can say is that less is more when it comes to brewing it; under leaf is best.

Alysha

Thanks; I’ll give that a try!

TheTeaFairy

Congrats Alysha, that’s a lot of first! You don’t know how incredible gongfu brewing is until you try, right? But I too don’t have much time for it in my daily routine, it is usually reserved for week ends only!
The reason why this oolong type is better this way, is because of its complexity. it’s the only way you can get all the layers as opposed to getting EVERY layers at once. Some other types don’t «suffer» as much from western brew. It’s more about what you’re missing than what is actually there cause it’s still a good cup of tea no matter what.
But you can still achieve a great infusion western style, just make sure you use a bit more tea than you would normally do and DON’T STEEP LONG forget about the usual 3-4min, you’ll loose those very sweet notes!
There’s no science behind this, but this is what I do. Use at least 3 tsp for 8 oz and play with the time, start with 30sec only, you should achieve 3 good steeps this way by increasing time to 1 and 2 minutes approx. If it’s your morning cup, keep the leaves and do your other steeps at night.
But all in all, this is not a tea for rush hours, you should keep it for when you have more time :-)
Oh, and since it’s all a question of tastes in the end, Ze Teamaker could be also right by using LESS tea, I have learned that what works for one, doesn’t work for everyone :-)

Ze_Teamaker

Hmmm. I have never tried using more leaf with shorter steeps like that. I might have to try your method TheTeaFairy. Though I have to agree that this is a tea that you have to sit down and make time for.

Alysha

Yes the gongfu really opened my eyes to all the nuances of tea and what an art form it really is! Thanks for the tip! I’ll try that method out as well. I think I’ll dedicate some time to play around with this one a bit and find the sweet spot!

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After reading whatshesaid’s glowing review of this yesterday, I decided to try my sample. But I got greedy and filled up my 12oz timolino rather than following the directions that clearly indicated 8oz. So now I have a pale imitation of the original. Lesson learned. Tea rebellion is not the way, my friends.

But despite that, it’s still tasty. It’s nutty and slightly sweet with a whisper of nutmeg, with that similar rich mouthfeel as Cantaloupe and Cream. I’m holding off rating until I get to try it properly one day, but considering Butiki’s track record so far I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed.

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94

After returning from Costa Rica, I was in a bit of a rut. It was so beautiful, but also the first time that I really got to know some locals and find out about their lives. It gave me so much appreciation for my life and all the basic things I take for granted, like running water. It was an amazing trip but I am so glad to be home. Sure the weather is often cold or rainy here, but tea is the perfect antidote ;)

This is what I was most excited about trying when I got back. And considering I’ve already gone through half the bag (while exercising restraint) I’d say it’s a hit. It starts off just like Premium Taiwanese Assam but then there’s a caramelly-vanilla hug at the end (I was gonna say kick but no, it’s more of a loving squeeze). In true Butiki form, it leaves me wondering how something so seemingly desserty could taste so natural. Oh yes, this is joining the ranks of cupboard staples!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Maple Pecan Oolong by Butiki Teas
90 tasting notes

This is the last tea I’ll get to drink before heading off to Costa Rica so I had to make sure it was a good one. Don’t you worry guys; I may dabble in some coffee when I’m there (when in Rome, right?) but I won’t forget my true love. I’ll have two orders waiting for me when I come back (including more of this one) so that should eliminate any post-vacation blues! Then I can do a catch-up session and drink ALL THE TEAS.

I love this one and I want it in my cupboard at all times. It’s by far my favorite maple tea and one of my favorites overall.

Stephanie

Enjoy your trip! :D

Butiki Teas

Have fun! :)

Alysha

Thanks guys!

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77

The flavor of this reminds me of Della Terra’s Dubbele Chocolade, but back in its younger days when it was Single Chocolade and hadn’t yet shacked up with more chocolate. It’s less sweet and in-your-face, but has a similar chocolate flavor. But I’m not tasting any rose at all.

The lack of floral flavor is the only reason I didn’t rate it higher, but as a purely chocolate tea this is pretty solid. Thank you whatshesaid for the sample!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Movie Night by DAVIDsTEA
90 tasting notes

I did my first tea smuggle into the movies! Getting to drink non-concession stand tea was awesome (plus I like the mini adrenaline rush from sneaking in “outside food and beverages”). I love buttery popcorn but I always regret it afterwards when I get that am-I-hungry-or-full? feeling.

So the first flavor I tasted was coconut, which was completely unexpected. Then the tart apple flavor came through, followed by a hint of popcorn. As it cooled the coconut faded and popcorn got a bit stronger. I think I would like it more if there was more popcorney flavor and less tart apple, but I did enjoy it. Thank you whatshesaid for letting me try this!

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec
TassieTeaGirl

I like taking that one to the movies too! Even if its not quite s popcorny as movie popcorn, it’s still tasty!

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88

I love chewy oatmeal cookies, but the texture of baked-in raisins weirds me out. However it’s a personal mission that any cookie-flavored tea must be tried (or cake or cupcake or pie…you get the picture).

At first this just tasted like a mildly spiced black tea, until I added milk. Aaand there it is! Instant liquid oatmeal cookie (without the squishy raisins). Yum yum. I’ll definitely order this one. Thank you Emily M for including this in our swap!

(I just checked and they are sold out. Whew…I’m sort of relieved. Well not really, cause I know when I place my next order it’s going to be GINORMOUS)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Emily M

Glad you enjoyed it!

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85

You know those nights when you want a bedtime tea but are not in the mood for anything sugary, tart, spicy or minty (you know, like the tea equivalent of staring into your closet and exclaiming that you have nothing to wear)? This is the perfect tea for those times.

The flavors are simple but satisfying; vanilla and cream with just a little touch of sweetness at the end. Adding milk enhances the creamy feel (and makes you basically forget you’re drinking rooibos). It’s a nice comforting cuppa before bed. This is the one that hits the spot when I’m not sure where the spot is.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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92

I’m a little wary of floral teas, so I thought I probably wouldn’t like this sample. Wow, was I wrong!

This is a masterfully blended floral symphony. The jasmine, rose and violet all come through in perfect balance with the oolong (I don’t know what calendula tastes like, but whatever it is works!) It is so fresh and delicate, and not at all overpowering or perfumey. This is THE perfect tea for a tea party. Or for just taking some time to yourself to unwind.

If you like floral teas or are on the fence about them, then you have to try this one! I don’t know how Stacy does it, but she makes teas that I thought weren’t for me the ones that I find myself craving!

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Bio

I recently discovered loose leaf after a long and uninspiring relationship with teabags. I’ve been in love ever since (sorry bags, I just don’t feel that spark anymore).

Food is a passion for me and my love of scents and flavors has translated into an excitement for trying new teas. I’m trying to expand my palate with all different types, and currently my favorites are oolongs and greens.

Location

Vancouver, Canada

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