611 Tasting Notes
This sample came from Blodeuyn. She was kind enough to send me samples of three different teas from this company, which I’ve been curious about since I stumbled upon their website a couple of months ago. The leaves are very small and dark, and there are several colors of flower petal/buds mixed in with them. Dry, this tea smells very sweet and almost candy-like with grape and plum notes. It also has a weird powdered sugar scent to it that I do not enjoy. I steeped a teaspoon of leaf for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
The brewed aroma is also sweet and fruity with some malt and definite wine-y characteristics. However, it still has that weird powdered sugar/chalky scent. Meh, that scent carries over into the taste as well, which is too bad. It reminds me of those berry-flavored Tums. The other flavors are quite nice here, the winey grape and the plum along with a touch of licorice and floral. I would enjoy this one a lot if it weren’t for the weird chalky flavor…
Flavors: Floral, Grapes, Licorice, Malt, Plums, Powdered sugar, Red Wine
I wanted something refreshing and calming after my run, so I chose this sample from KiwiDelight. This is the first of Den’s flavored senchas that I’ve had, although I did try and enjoy a couple of their plain ones. The leaves are dark yellow-green and flat steamed. Dry scent is spot-on fresh pineapple with lots of tartness. I steeped my leaves for 1 minutes at 175 degrees.
The brewed aroma reminds me of a fictional pineapple milkshake! It’s sweet and pineapple-y but also creamy. And that creaminess is present in the taste as well! The pineapple flavor almost reminds me of citrus in this, it’s definitely underripe fresh pineapple and isn’t very sweet. And it’s very nice this way! Definitely a tart pineapple milkshake or smoothie. :)
Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Pineapple, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal
Another black tea for me this morning! :D This one came from KiwiDelight. I haven’t had many broken-leaf teas, so I’m not sure what to expect here aside from strength of flavor. The leaves are very broken and dark chocolate brown in color. They smell of malt and wood with a slight sweetness. I followed Kiwi’s instructions and did a 1 minute steep.
The brewed aroma is rather sweet and strong with lots of malt and wood. Oops, I accidentally dipped my nose in it… XD The taste is pretty much the same as the aroma. It has a strong woody presence, and the sweetness really marries well with it (sounds weird, but it’s good). There’s some malt in the background, and a slight bit of astringency. Overall, a simple tea but a nice one.
Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Sweet, Wood
I was in the mood for a Taiwanese black tea this morning, and this was the first one I saw, so here we are! This sample is from Blodeuyn. The leaves are beautiful and have that gnarled, twisty Taiwanese Assam style. They’re very dark in color, almost black. Dry, they smell surprisingly strongly of molasses, and there’s also some sweetness and malt. I used a teaspoon (roughly, these teas are difficult to measure!) of leaf and let it steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, the tea’s aroma is grainy sourdough bread with lots of dried fruit and some caramelized sugar/molasses tones. The taste is very similar. There’s a combination of tangy sourdough and soft homemade wheat breads, along with a fair amount of malt. The molasses seems to have lightened itself into honey, but definitely a stronger raw honey. I must confess, it took me far too long to identify the dried fruit that I was tasting, and then I felt like a complete dope for not thinking of it sooner… It’s definitely dried apricots, and I can say maybe there’s a hint of a second fruit – a mild and sweet one like golden raisin or fig. Overall, a very delicious tea for the morning!
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Burnt Sugar, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt
This is another Harney & Sons tea I’ve been wanting to try for a while. So thank you to Blodeuyn for including a sample in our swap! I have the sachet version, and the contents basically look like crushed up white tea leaves. Dry scent is sweet vanilla with a touch of spice. I actually had to make this twice… The first time I steeped it for 4 minutes and it was super bitter, ick. The second time I did a 3 minute steep instead of 4.
The brewed aroma has a lot of vanilla with some mild spicing along with the hay and grain qualities of white tea. Honestly, I’m finding this tea really odd… There is some vanilla in the flavor along with the generic hay of the white tea, but the cardamom is horrible. It makes this taste very heavily of menthol or eucalyptus, and it’s basically undrinkable for me. It’s sad, I think this would make a very tasty tea if they were to do cinnamon, cloves, or nutmeg instead of the super strong cardamom. :(
Flavors: Bitter, Eucalyptus, Grain, Hay, Menthol, Vanilla
This tea was in the Steepster Select box for September. I was quite pleased to see a Chinese black tea in the box, since I tend to love them. The leaves of this tea are medium in size and very dark chocolate brown in color. They smell sweet and malty with strong grain notes. I steeped about a teaspoon of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once steeped, the tea smells very grainy and malty with a lot of sweetness. Yum, this tea is so much crusty homemade whole wheat bread! There’s a fair amount of malt as well, and the loveliest caramelized brown sugar flavor that adds richness and depth. I can taste a touch of that savory dill note that I often find in Fujian teas, and it pairs (unexpectedly) nicely with the hint of cinnamon that’s also present here. Overall, this tea has deep flavor and an interesting and delicious mix of sweet and savory tones. Yum! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Cinnamon, Dill, Malt
My sweetie has a random sore throat that started yesterday. He thinks it must be from pushing himself too hard on the treadmill and sprinting too much. So this morning he asked me to make him a tea with honey to soothe his poor throat. He wanted a black tea, so I was a dear and made him one of my favorites – Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black. He says he really likes it! :)
Anyway, this tea! Scribbles sent me a sample in our swap, she is lucky enough to live near the retail store! These large pouches are too big to fit into my “bag o’ black tea samples” so I actually chose this tea deliberately. The leaves themselves are rather thin and of medium length. They’re very dark brown, almost black in color. Dry scent reminds me a lot of white tea – hay, raw grains, honey. I steeped a teaspoon of leaf for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, this tea smells just like fresh-baked bread! It’s very rich and buttery, yum. The taste is also quite bready and reminds me of pastries. There’s a raw grain note that makes me think of oats, and just a smattering of honey over the top. I’m picturing some lovely puff pastry concoction with oat streusel and honey glaze! I’m getting a slightly dusty mouthfeel, but it’s not enough to give me any bother.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Hay, Honey, Malt, Oats, Pastries, Sweet
This is one of the Harney & Sons teas I’ve been wanting to try for a while, and Blodeuyn was nice enough to send me a sample! The promise of apricot, plum, and cherry just sounds divine. The tea itself is just generic very small black tea leaves and flavoring – no chunks of anything. Dry scent is very sweet and fruity with a nice tart, juicy element. Yum! I stepped it for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
The brewed tea has that same sweet but somewhat tart fruity aroma. Aw, there isn’t enough fruit flavor in the taste for me. I get a bit of vanilla, but mostly just the generic malty base tea. There’s a little fruitiness here, and I would call it mostly plum, but I was really hoping for more! I guess this tea is a bit too subtly flavored for me. :(
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Plums, Vanilla
Another black tea chosen at random from the pile! This one came from scribbles. The leaves are short and thick, and dark chocolate brown in color. Dry scent is very mild with malt, hay, wood, and cocoa notes. I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
I was surprised by the amount of sweet cocoa aroma I got from this one. There were also very earthy notes along with wood and mushroom. This is another black tea that reminds me of a shou (a mild shou, obviously). There’s no fishy note or anything like that, but it’s very earthy and sweet with a bit of woody taste. Mellow and smooth, not astringent or bitter at all. This isn’t my favorite as I don’t love earthy teas, but it’s still quite good. :)
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Malt, Sweet, Wood
I reached into my big bag o’ black tea samples this morning, and this is what came out! :P This sample came from Blodeuyn, thanks dear. It has those telltale Taiwanese “creepy tree branch” leaves that are jet black in color. The dry scent was sweet and malty with some fruit notes. I let it steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Mm, brewed aroma is all sweet potato! It’s accompanied by malt and brown sugar with just a hint of fruit aroma. Sweet potato is the star in the taste as well, and I am happy to see that the tea’s description agrees with me. There’s a fair bit of malt and some nice dark molasses or burnt sugar notes, but I also get a small wisp of something that reminds me of jasmine. As I let the tea cool (aka forgot about it while playing games, doh), I could taste this floral note more. I also got an interesting savory flavor that reminded me of green olives (I know that sounds terrible, but it wasn’t) – not necessarily the sourness, but the overall flavor profile. Interesting! :)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Jasmine, Malt, Molasses, Olives, Sweet Potatoes