827 Tasting Notes
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
Woo, it’s been a while since I’ve had Bai Hao! The lovely Blodeuyn was kind enough to sent me not one, but two different ones, and I am eternally grateful! I picked this one to try first for no particular reason. The leaves have the usual ramshackle appearance, a variety of shapes and sizes in different shades of brown with some silver highlights. Dry scent is sweet honey with autumn leaves and unlit tobacco. I steeped mine for 3.5 minutes at 185 degrees.
Mm, the brewed aroma has super strong honey notes along with the leaves and tobacco from the dry leaf. There are also sweet dried fruits, I would say fig and date. Yum yum, I forgot how good these teas are! It’s funny how I’m so indifferent about almost all types of oolong, yet this particular type is one of my favorite teas period. This tea is lovely and sweet honey paired with tobacco and autumn leaves, along with an amazing dried fig flavor that makes my mouth very happy. I would also say there’s molasses and maybe some raisin here. So good! :D
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fig, Grain, Honey, Molasses, Raisins, Sweet, Tobacco
This is the first tea I’m trying from my Steepster Select box! I’m feeling a bit overfull (of water mostly, I’ve had a lot of tea today) so I figured going with a peppermint-based herbal was a good idea. The dry leaf itself looks like a mixture of peppermint and lemongrass with some other grassy-looking herbal things in there. Dry scent is very powerful peppermint! I followed the instructions and steeped for 3 minutes in boiling water.
Once brewed, it pretty much smells like peppermint, but it’s not super powerful, which is nice. I must say, I’m actually surprised that this doesn’t just taste like peppermint! The peppermint is definitely the strongest player, but there’s also lemon, and I also get some other mild herbal-y flavors that I can’t really identify. HA! Overall, not bad, I could see this being nice as a late-night tea.
Flavors: Herbs, Lemon, Medicinal, Peppermint
This lovely sample came from my swap with Blodeuyn! I’ve been wanting to try this tea for a while now, because I like white tea a lot and lemon-vanilla white tea… well that just sounds awesome. My sample is in sachet form. The white tea leaves are very broken up, and there are a few little pieces of rose petals mixed in. Dry scent is lovely sweet lemon and vanilla swirl. I steeped one sachet for 3 minutes at 185 degrees.
Once the tea is brewed, I actually get quite a bit of cucumber from the aroma. And it goes very well with the mild lemon and sweet vanilla scents. Wow, I get a ton of cucumber in the taste too! And it’s very tasty. It melds beautifully with that mild, sweet lemon-vanilla pudding swirl flavor. The white tea itself lends a creaminess and a grain flavor that makes this even more like a pudding. Vanilla-lemon-cucumber pudding tea! :D
Flavors: Candy, Creamy, Cucumber, Custard, Lemon, Oats, Vanilla
Another sample from the very generous scribbles! I love vanilla, so whenever I see a vanilla tea that I haven’t tried, I ask for a sample. To be honest, I don’t generally expect much from the regular ol’ generic flavored vanilla teas, but I still want to try them! This one looks very generic, just small black tea leaves and vanilla flavor. Dry scent is very sweet vanilla custard, yum! I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Brewed, it still mostly smells like vanilla custard, but for some reason I also get a mushroom-y scent. Odd! Luckily, it doesn’t taste like mushrooms. Hmm… I actually quite like this! The flavoring is a bit more subtle than I’d like, but the base tea itself is nice and mellow with no astringency. There’s that vanilla custard-esque flavor, along with something that resembles caramel, which turns it into a kind of creme brulee tea! I also get a touch of woody flavor which is what I generally associate with “bourbon” vanilla. Yummy! :)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Custard, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood