543 Tasting Notes
This was one of the free samples I got with my David’s order (unfortunately, the other two were Fall Collection teas that I already have). Looks like a food tea. There are big pieces of dried apple and other things, and it smells sweet and nutty with some buttered popcorn notes. I steeped the sample (1.25 teaspoons) for 5 minutes in about 6 ounces of boiling water.
Sadly, it came out weak. I knew that it wouldn’t be enough for an 8 ounce cup, but it seems it wasn’t even enough for a 6 ounce cup. I guess this is one of those teas that requires a whole tablespoon of tea to be strong enough. The flavor that’s there is okay – kind of like buttered popcorn with almonds and some cinnamon. There’s an undertone of sweet apple. Not bad, but not something I would buy.
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Creamy, Nuts, Popcorn, Sweet
Okay folks, I’m calling it. This is the best genmaicha ever. And that’s that.
Seriously, though. Once I saw Ost’s Laoshan Genmaicha tasting note, my mouth would not be satisfied until I brewed up a cup of this lovely blend. So creamy and smooth, sweet butternut squash and oats and soy milk with a touch of vanilla goodness. And, of course, that delicious and nutty toasty rice.
I am the proud owner of 4 ounces of this now discontinued blend (thanks mj!) and I will cry like a small child when I run out of it. Seriously.
This is (was) one of the oldest teas in my cupboard, so it feels nice to sip it down. It’s a perfectly tasty offering from TeaVivre, but not one of my favorites. Malty and bready with a tad bit of smoke and a nice creamy texture. Thanks again to TeaVivre for the free sample. :)
This is my last untried Tao Tea Leaf “sample” (it’s a big pouch) from scribbles. I’ve enjoyed the other three teas, so I had reasonably high hopes for this one. The leaves reminds me of a Keemun – they’re thin and short to medium in length, and very dark in color. Dry scent is musty/dusty hay or straw with some oats. I let the leaves steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The aroma definitely says “Fujian” to me – it has that dill note along with bread and maybe a touch of fruit. Hmm, flavor-wise this tea has a lot going on. I taste bread and sweet potato first, and the sweet potato has a touch of cinnamon on it. The bread seems to be rather buttery and has dill sprinkled over the top. There’s some fruit here as well, and it’s reminding me of raisins, either regular or golden. Deep in the background, I can taste some dark unsweetened cocoa. And in the aftertaste, I get a mild vegetal note, like a cooked-to-death green bean. The overall texture is very smooth and creamy, yum! This tea kind of reminds me of a combination of Yunnan and Fujian teas, maybe a touch more toward the Fujian side.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Creamy, Dill, Green Beans, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes
Another black tea sample from boychik! Apparently this one came from Terri HarpLady originally, so thank you Terri! The leaves look similar to other Taiwanese teas – they have that creepy gnarled tree branch vibe and they’re jet black. The dry scent is very mild, but I can catch some sweetness from honey or molasses. I steeped about two teaspoons of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees. I think I may have underleafed a tad, so I’ll keep that in mind next time (boychik sent me a generous sample).
Wow, this tea has such a sweet aroma. It makes me think of lots of dark brown sugar and, to a lesser extent, maple syrup. I think there’s a touch of bread there too, but it’s drowning in all of that sweet syrupy lusciousness. This is a very rich and sweet tea. The flavor is mostly caramelized brown sugar and maple syrup as well. There’s a little touch of wheat bread and some dark dried fruits, like raisins. Yum!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Maple Syrup, Raisins, Sweet
This sample came from Blodeuyn. Yay, another Keemun! :D This is one of those tea categories that I am trying to explore more, as I feel I have neglected it in favor of Yunnan and Fujian teas. This tea has what I would consider to be typical Keemun leaves – they’re thin and small and very dark in color. Whoa, the dry scent hit me over the head when I opened the pouch. This tea smells so mineral and it’s extremely strong, almost to the point of being chemical. There’s a touch of musty hay scent there as well. I must admit, I was scared, so I steeped it for 2.5 minutes instead of 3 and I was very careful to level my teaspoon of leaf…
After steeping, the liquor also smells quite mineral but it’s less extreme. I can also smell bread and malt aromas. Luckily for me, drinking this tea is only a bit like licking a rock. The mineral is definitely the strongest note, but there’s also malt and bread, along with a creamy grain note reminiscent of oats. I get a light peppery taste, especially toward the end. Overall, not my favorite flavor profile, but not bad.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Creamy, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Pepper, Smoke
First tea of the morning! This sample came from boychik. I’ve been wanting to try more Indian Assams, since at this point most of the ones I’ve tried have been Taiwanese. For some reason, I feel the need to systematically “figure out” different regions of tea. :P Anyway, these leaves are somewhat broken, and they’re about half golden and half dark chocolate brown. Dry scent is mild malt with a touch of sweetness. I steeped a teaspoon of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Mmm… aroma. I can smell strong malt and bread with a touch of honey, and something that makes me think “creamy”. Yum, this is a lovely tea! For some reason I’m always intimidated by the concept of Assam, as it’s generally described as strong or needing milk to mellow it. This one’s not overly strong at all! I mostly taste malt and baked bread, but there’s also a definite raisin or fig note to it that makes my mouth happy. A touch of astringency, but not enough to bother me. Also, there’s a touch of honey and some oats, especially in the aftertaste. Yums!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Fig, Honey, Malt, Oats, Raisins
Time for another lazy note because I was distracted by gaming! This is the last of the Joseph Wesley samples generously provided by scribbles. The leaves are small, thin, black, like most Keemuns I’ve seen. Dry scent was musty hay, maybe some grain. I did my usual black tea steep.
Yum, this one is very creamy with bread and oat flavors. There’s also some honey and maybe the slightest touch of cinnamon? Also some slight vegetal notes near the beginning of the sip, maybe greens? A fairly simple, but tasty, tea. :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Honey, Malt, Oats, Vegetal
First tea of the day! This sample came from Blodeuyn. I’ve tried the regular version of Premium Taiwanese Assam, so I was interested to try this one as well. The leaves seem a bit less extreme to me, but they’re still in the creepy tree branch family. Dry scent is caramelized brown sugar, molasses, and dried fruit. I steeped the whole sample (about 2 teaspoons?) for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once steeped, the tea smells of strong dark caramel and apricots with a touch of something mildly vegetal (green beans?). The taste is similar. It’s rich and malty with strong dark caramelized sugar notes along with molasses. I can also taste dried apricots and raisins/prunes. That light vegetal note is still there, adding a savoriness to balance the rich sugar and fruit. It reminds me of slow-cooked green beans. Overall, very deep and delicious with layers of flavor.
Flavors: Apricot, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Dried Fruit, Green Beans, Malt, Molasses, Raisins
Another Héritage Gourmand blend to try tonight! These samples came from boychik and before that, they came from CharlotteZero. Thanks to both of you for the opportunity to try these coveted teas! This one is based on Tarte Tatin, which is basically an upside-down apple tart that’s baked in butter and sugar. Om nom nom! The base is rooibos, and there are pieces of dried apple as well. Dry scent is rooibos (woody, not medicinal) and caramel with some sweet cooked apple notes. I steeped about 2 teaspoons for 5 minutes in boiling water.
The liquid smells fairly strongly of rooibos, but it’s not the medicinal sort so I’m okay with it. There are also sweet cooked apple and caramel aromas. The apple flavor here is very nice, although I would call it more of a fresh and somewhat tart apple rather than cooked. There’s a touch of caramel and a definite buttery pastry note. I think this one would be amazing with a touch of sugar, but I find that I don’t like the taste of sweetened teas these days, so I’m going to forego that option. Very good rooibos blend! :)
Flavors: Apple, Butter, Caramel, Pastries, Rooibos, Wood