243 Tasting Notes
I was feeling like a nice black tea this morning (I miss all of my Yunnans!) and I thought I’d try something new instead of drinking one of the few teas I brought with me from home. So out this one came! I actually think this was one of the teas we sampled in-store, but I’m not positive on that… Anyway! The leaves are dark, medium-sized, and twisted. I didn’t see any flower petals in mine, but it was a small sample size, so that doesn’t surprise me. It smells very sweet and floral, like some kind of flower-scented candy! Somewhat similar to the Violet I tasted yesterday, actually. I considered steeping it for 3 minutes, which is my usual time for black teas. After poking around on Steepster, I saw that the average was 2 minutes and decided to go with that! God, I miss my electric kettle something fierce… :P
The floral in the brewed aroma has toned itself down, which I appreciate. It still smells quite sweet, almost vanilla-y. There’s a little bit of citrusy something in there, too, tangerine I suppose!
Hmm… I’m not sure about this one. I do like the base tea a lot, it has that nice almost chewy grain flavor that I’ve found in all of Shang’s teas so far, which I adore. There’s a little bit of citrus in here, but I find the floral element to be quite overwhelming. I am not a huge fan of floral teas in general, and I think this one is just a little bit much for me. I would probably enjoy this more with either less tea used or a 1-minute steep, unfortunately I only bought the one sample. This probably isn’t one that I’ll purchase, just because I’m not a floral tea person. I’ll try some shorter times for the resteeps and see how they come out! :)
Not going to assign it a rating because I feel I’m biased and I don’t want to drag its overall rating down for people who do like floral teas. :P
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Grain, Hay
I have a confession to make… I went to Teavana today. Hangs head. I was at the mall with my mother and sister and we were walking by the store, so I figured might as well. Actually, I’m glad I did go in, because I picked up a couple of cute little tins (http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea-storage-tins/p/pompom-tea-tins) at half price! So worth it! As usual, the salesperson was annoying and overzealous about trying to get me to taste all of the samples. And of course, when I picked out a couple of teas to buy, he wanted to give me 2.7 ounces when I said I wanted 2 ounces. No sir!
Anyway, this tea. It smells wonderful and sugary, just like it should. I was in for a big surprise when I took the first sip… HIBISCUS. It was so tart! The flavors that I could taste underneath the tartness were good, but it was hard to focus on anything other than the hibiscus! I don’t even understand why anyone in their right mind would decide to include hibiscus in a marshmallow flavored tea. Those two things are pretty much complete opposites! Are these people crazy?! Rage rage rage.
So anyway, after that I spent a while picking all of the hibiscus petals out of my two ounces of this tea. We’ll see how it tastes after that another time.
Teavana, you are on my shit list! >:(
Flavors: Cake, Coconut, Frosting, Hibiscus, Marshmallow, Sugar, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla
So, my sister’s birthday was June 30th and I had purchased a 4.4 ounce tin of this tea for her with my Kusmi order a few weeks earlier. This was the tea she was most interested in when I showed her the website, so I figured it would make a nice little gift, especially since their tins are so cute. I didn’t mail it because I knew I was going to be coming to Kansas City soon (she lives here, too). So when I gave her the gift a couple of nights ago and she opened it, I took out a serving for myself and kept it until today. I’m going shopping with her and my mother later today, so I’ll definitely ask her what she thinks of this tea. Dry, this tea smells like floral candy – it’s very sweet. I did my usual French tea method – 1 tsp in 8 ounces of 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
I don’t think I paid much attention to the brewed aroma – oops. In the tea itself, the flavoring is quite mild, especially when it’s still hot. The black tea base is smooth and mellow, nothing special but unobtrusive and drinkable. I don’t consider myself to be terribly familiar with the smell or taste of violets, but it’s definitely a more delicate floral note than I generally encounter (rose, jasmine, etc.). There’s something about it that makes me think that these are sugared violets, not the fresh variety. I definitely get a candy flavor from this tea, even without sugar. I found it altogether pleasant enough, but not something that I would seek out or order. Then again, I’m not big on floral teas generally. :)
Flavors: Candy, Floral, Malt, Smooth, Sweet
Yay, another of my Shang samples! I pretty much picked up all of their “plain” white teas, meaning the non-floral variety. So that includes this one, their White Peony, and their Wild White. I don’t have much experience with white teas in general, so I thought it would be fun to try all of them. So I plucked this little packet out of the cupboard this afternoon when I felt like having one of those white teas. The packet recommended a 1-2 minute brew, but I left it in for an additional 30 seconds after tasting it. I actually did four brews total with the same leaves: 2.5 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes.
This tea is very delicious, and I can definitely see the similarity to their Golden Needle King. It has that same amazing grain/oats taste that I love, but this one is a tad lighter. The texture and lightness conjured up visions of marshmallows (although this isn’t really a sweet tea). I also got a very lovely pastry note that reminded me of my favorite Yunnan teas. Yum! There was, of course, the ubiquitous hay flavor that I have tasted in every white tea so far, I find it to be so comforting and it melded beautifully with the grainy oat flavors.
Overall, this was very similar to Shang’s Golden Needle King, but with a lighter touch and a lovely marshmallowy soft texture. Love it! :)
Flavors: Grain, Hay, Marshmallow, Oats, Pastries
Another tea from the Chanakara variety boxes I found while looking through old things at my mom’s. I have no idea what a guanabana is, so I looked it up. Apparently it’s the same thing as a soursop, which is a fruit that visually reminds me of a giant green burr. I kind of chose this randomly as my caffeine-free tea to have tonight while in bed. Brewed one bag in boiling water for 5 minutes.
Bleck… This basically tastes like weak, tart rosehip and hibiscus water. I don’t get a “vanilla-scented” anything, or even citrus. Just tart water.
Boo hiss. That is all I have to say, Stash.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Rosehips, Tart
This was my wildcard purchase at Shang today. It sounded interesting and it was only $6.50 for a box of ten pouches, so I figured why not? I like dates. I have no idea what dong quai tastes like (apparently it’s the same thing as angelica root, but I don’t know what that tastes like either).
So I mixed a packet up in hot water while my sister was over for dinner, because we were both curious about it. I originally did 6 ounces, but bumped it up to 8 after the first taste. This is incredibly sweet stuff. I mean, it’s literally like drinking honey and molasses in water. I realize dates are sweet, but dayum! And apparently dong quai tastes like celery leaves, because there’s a very strong celery leaf flavor in here that doesn’t go well at all with the sweetness.
Overall, this is odd but not terrible. I’m not really sure I should give it a rating even… I wouldn’t even know where to begin with this one! :P
Flavors: Celery, Dates, Honey, Molasses, Sweet
Nicole recommended that I go visit Shang Tea while I’m in Kansas City, so we drove there this morning to see what they had to offer. There was a very nice man working there who brewed us up some samples to try and seemed very knowledgeable about their teas. I noticed later that there was a photo on the wall of him in the tea fields. Apparently he goes there about 2 or 3 months out of the year, he told us. I’m not sure whether he was the owner or not, but he was very nice and I wish I had asked him his name. I ended up buying samples of several different teas and a box of some interesting-looking instant mix.
So I ended up steeping this tea three times throughout the day, the first at 3 minutes, then 4 and 5 for the other two. I think this may be the first tea I’ve had that I’ve enjoyed the second and third steeping more than the first. Honestly, I don’t remember that much about the first, as it was in the afternoon. I would describe it as a mixture of black and white teas. The second and (especially) the third steepings were fantastic, with an amazing creamy grain note that reminds me of something, but I can’t quite place it. I would call it similar to rice or cereal grains, and there’s a bit of a hay note as well. The texture is creamy and light. Yum! I may have to try for a fourth steep in the morning…
Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Hay, Honey, Molasses
So I found a couple of boxes of Chanakara Collection tea bags at my mom’s when I was going through some things. They were still wrapped in cellophane so I figured that they were probably still semi-fresh even though they’re a year or more old. There was a time in my tea past when I ordered several things from Stash’s website, and a box of these teas was one of them. I liked them so much that I ended up ordering a six-pack of boxes on Amazon, so that’s where these came from. I felt like having a nice chamomile blend this evening while watching Brave with my mom and boyfriend, so I opened one of the boxes and selected this tea. There don’t seem to be instructions anywhere on the box, so I just did boiling water for 5 minutes. I could definitely steep this one longer if I wanted a stronger flavor.
Overall, I find this to be a perfectly nice and pleasant chamomile-based tisane. I’m not really familiar with lotus or chrysanthemum flowers, so I couldn’t tell you what they add to this, and I found that the linden blossom tea I tried tasted quite similar to chamomile. So overall, this is mostly a chamomile tisane with a little bit of extra. There’s definitely a honey note, and something that reminds me of sweet pastries.
I was pleasantly surprised by this tisane, and I could definitely see myself keeping it around as a nighttime treat.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Pastries
Hello from Kansas City! My boyfriend and I are here visiting my mother for a week. We got up at 4 AM this morning for our 6:15 AM fight, so needless to say, I am pooped. We had just under a two hour flight to Chicago, then just over an hour flight to Kansas City. It all went fairly smoothly aside from the fact that they put our one checked bag onto a different flight that arrived an hour-and-a-half later, so we had to wait for that. We took a little nap and now we’re just relaxing, ahhhhhhh…
Anyway, I brought about five teas with me, and this was one of them! Partially because I need to be trying to sip down my TeaVivre samples, and partially because it smelled really good when I opened the tin last night. It’s amazing how different this tea is after trying so many “tippy” Yunnan teas from other companies. It’s so good! I haven’t had such a bready-tasting tea for a while now, and it’s making my mouth very happy. :D
I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far! I won’t be posting much for the next week, but I will be around daily to check messages and such. <3
P.S. – Upped the rating from 88 to 90!
My last Butiki sample from Mandy! This is actually one of the teas I’ve been most excited to try since I discovered Stacy’s website, and I ordered it in today’s sale. It’s very light and fluffy, mostly marshmallow leaf with various colored flower petals mixed in. Smells vaguely sweet and vanilla-esque.
This actually reminds me a lot of chamomile – it has that same musty, sweet floral taste. It’s very odd, considering there’s no chamomile in this blend… There’s also vanilla there, and a bit of butter. The whole thing is quite creamy and thick in texture.
I like this a lot! I can’t get over how similar it is to chamomile… I stopped buying chamomile blends because they’re just such a pain in the ass to brew. All those little tiny pollen strand things get stuck everywhere. But this is a nice alternative to that! Hooray!
Flavors: Butter, Cake, Marshmallow, Sweet, Vanilla