498 Tasting Notes
This was a bonus sample that Roswell Strange included in our swap. It is extremely smelly, ha ha… It definitely reminds me of Harney & Sons’s Hot Cinnamon Spice in that it basically smells exactly like Red Hots candy or any type of cinnamon candy really. This one is a green tea however, compared to black. The leaves are rather large and sencha-ish, and they’re mixed with red flower petals, cinnamon bark, and a few red peppercorns. I steeped about 1.5 teaspoons for 3 minutes at 175 degrees.
Brewed aroma is pretty much still cinnamon candy. And it tastes like cinnamon candy too, with a little bit of green tea at the beginning of the sip. The only real difference between this tea and Hot Cinnamon Spice is that this one isn’t sweet. Overall, not bad, but not something I’d regularly drink. :)
Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Grass
Miss Roswell Strange was nice enough to purchase and send me 20g samples of the David’s fall collection teas that I was interested in. What a sweetheart! For some reason, I’ve been neglecting these since I got them, and this is only the second one I’ve tried out of 4 total. Doh! I really love maple-flavored things, so I have to try this one. The tea itself looks like an even mix of black tea leaves and dried apple pieces (why…). There’s also cinnamon bark and pieces of maple brittle. Dry scent is extremely sweet with more cinnamon and apple than maple. It does smell delicious though, like some kind of amazing fall pastry! :) I steeped mine for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
Brewed, this tea smells like a cinnamon apple tart or some other form of pastry. And with maple glaze! :D Wow, it’s very buttery, which I did not expect! It’s definitely very similar to some kind of pastry, maybe an apple pie with plenty of butter in the filling! There’s only the barest hint of maple here, which is unfortunate, but this is a really good apple pie tea! I taste buttery, flaky crust along with buttery, cinnamony, brown sugary apple filling. Yum!
Also, this would make the best latte ever… Next time!
Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Pastries, Sweet
Another Lupicia sample from mj! I love how vague the description is for this tea – “honey-preserved fruits”. Well, sounds lovely to me, so let’s do it! Dry, it’s a mixture of small to medium-sized black tea leaves and yellow flower petals that I assume are there for visual interest only. The dry scent is extremely sweet and honeyed, and I’m unsure whether I could pick out a specific type of fruit – it has more of a general candied fruit smell. Okay, so I made a bit of a boo-boo with the steeping… I set my electric kettle to 200 degrees, and I didn’t notice until I was pouring the water that there wasn’t quite enough for an 8 ounce cup… So I had to add a little bit of room temperature water, bringing the temperature down a bit. I had planned to steep for 3 minutes, but I let it go an extra 30 seconds because of this.
I think this came out a tad weaker than it would have had I not messed up the water temperature, but still tasty! It doesn’t have much of an aroma, perhaps a vague sweetness. The dried fruit flavor is also vague, but delicious, and it goes perfectly with the honey. If I had to take a guess, I’d say perhaps dried figs? And maybe a touch of dried stonefruit? There’s also definitely a touch of vanilla to me, although it’s not listed as a flavor here.
So, long story short, this came out quite tasty despite my shortcomings (doh). I’m sure it’ll be even better next time, when I steep it correctly! :P
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Stonefruits, Vanilla
Lewis & Clarke TTB
This is it, folks! This is the very last sample I took from the TTB before sending it on its merry way. I’m not sure why I haven’t tried this one sooner, it’s been hanging out next to the dreaded Da Yu Ling Oolong sample that is finally gone. Anyway, on to the good bits! The leaves are long and fairly thin, and tightly twisted. Color is a lighter shade of grey/green. The outside bag smells like Hot Lips, oops! Luckily the tea inside didn’t seem to be contaminated, and smells lightly sweet with mild vegetal notes. I steeped mine for 1.5 minutes because I felt like it (seriously).
I think I may have underleafed or understeeped this one, as I’m not getting a ton of aroma. What I do smell is a bit of mineral quality combined with mild and sweet vegetal notes.
Confession: I totally let this tea cool a ton, mostly because I was looking through boychik’s cupboard with my mouth wide open… Seriously tempting things in there! Ahem! Anyway, yeah this is definitely underleafed. I do like the flavor that’s there, and it reminds me of the Bi Luo Chun that I got from Han Xiang on AliExpress. It has an interesting mineral/smoke note to it that I enjoy, along with strong apricot notes near the beginning. Overall, very nice, even underleafed! :D
Flavors: Apricot, Mineral, Smoke, Vegetal
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Okay, I admit it… I’ve been avoiding this one. I took a sample out of the TTB and now it’s been a week or something since I sent that off, but the little baggie was still sitting on my kitchen counter, conspicuously outside of my normal sipdown box. I just can’t get excited about green oolong, as I find they all taste basically the same to me. The only reason I took a sample of this one was that there was definitely enough of it for everyone to try, so why not? So anyway, here goes! Looks similar to other green oolongs, although my pellets are abnormally small because my sample was from the end of the package (this tea was in multiple small packets). Dry scent is the usual – peaches, cream, slightly vegetal note. I steeped it for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The aroma is actually a bit strong on the vegetal side, which makes me at least mildly excited to try this! I actually like this tea better than a lot of other oolongs I’ve tried. It has a fairly strong almost spinach/butternut squash-y vegetal note which is lovely and almost fools me into thinking it’s a green tea. But then that nice peach (definitely fresh peach) flavor pokes its head out and yells, “Hey Bozo, this is an oolong! Get your head out of the clouds!” There doesn’t seem to be much floral, which is a nice reprieve, and I’m not getting much of that creamy taste and texture either. I actually rather like this one! Who’da thunk it?
Edit: As this cools, it’s getting more and more floral. BLECK! :P
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Floral, Peach, Spinach, Vegetal
This sample came from mj. This is one of the Lupicia teas that I was most interested in, so I’m very happy that I was able to get it in a swap! It’s in sachet form, and it looks to be about a teaspoon of leaf in there. The leaves themselves are small and dark, and there are little chunks of something mixed in (apparently almonds). Dry scent is very sweet and caramel-y with vanilla. I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Brewed, it smells like oatmeal cookies (no raisins) with caramel in them. Honestly… I’m not too impressed with this one, and that makes me really sad. I’m not getting a lot of flavoring here, just a mediocre black base with a bit of astringency. I tried adding a bit of sugar and milk, and it helped it taste like a cookie a little more, but I’m not big into teas that I have to add things to in order to enjoy them. This one is a letdown for me. :(
Flavors: Astringent, Caramel
This is a nice enough tea. It has that je ne sais quoi herby spice note that reminds me of dill or something similar. I tend to find that flavor a lot in Fujian teas, and it makes this tea lean more toward savory for me. Other flavors include lots of bread and grain and maybe some cocoa and burnt sugar? Overall, tasty but not a reorder for me.
Under 100 once again! With two (three?) swaps incoming, derp. XD
Well now that I’ve tried Kiwi’s Big Adventure, I have to try this one to compare! Thanks to mj for providing my with samples of these lovely Lupicia teas. This one has a black base as opposed to the green base in Kiwi’s Big Adventure. I think a green base makes more sense for a kiwi tea, but we shall see! The tea leaves themselves are quite small, and there are little pieces of what looks like crushed dried green leaves? Also a small piece of candied kiwi! The dry scent is fantabulous amazing sweet fruity candy deliciousness! I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The brewed aroma smells exactly like a fresh kiwi! I’m amazed by how accurate it is. And the taste is the same way! There’s authentic kiwi flavor throughout the entire sip and it’s lovely. It’s a nice balance of sweet and tart just like the actual fruit. The black base is unobtrusive and fairly ho-hum to me, there’s a bit of malt but not much else. I would really like to see this kiwi flavoring used with a lighter base, such as green or white tea. I just feel like it would mesh well with a nice fresh base. But it’s still delicious as-is! :)
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Sweet, Tart
This is the last black tea for me to try from my Han Xiang Ecological Tea samples (I still have one green that they added as a freebie). Honestly, I wasn’t too excited for this one because I haven’t been impressed with similar teas that I’ve had from other companies in the past. But I still ordered a sample of it because YUNNAN. The leaves are long and thin and quite straight, they remind me of black pine needles or twigs. The dry scent is just kind of vaguely sweet and somewhat malty. I steeped about 2 teaspoons (eyeballed, these are impossible to measure) for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Strangely, I had a really hard time getting any aroma out of this one. As I was telling the people in Steepster chat, I just kind of hovered over it with my nose in the cup for 5 minutes, looking like a moron. I did get some fruitiness with honey and a bit of malt. Wow, the flavor of this one shocked me! It’s very different from the other versions of this tea that I’ve had. It’s extremely fruity in taste, in a rich dried fruit sense. The main ones I can pick out are dried figs and raisins, yum… There’s also a large dollop of honey flavor that is especially apparent near the end. And lastly, there’s a mild bready note along with some malt.
I really love this one! It’s fruity like an Ai Lao black but without the floral notes! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Malt, Raisins
Next sample up from Design a Tea is Vanilla Nutmeg Black! This one was kind of a safe bet for me, as I love vanilla black teas in general and nutmeg is amazing. Visually, this one looks similar to Butiki’s Nutmeg Cream but with smaller leaf pieces (they’re small but not quite fannings like the last one…). It also smells pretty similar – strong nutmeg with lovely vanilla/cream undertones. I’m steeping this one for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once brewed, the vanilla/cream and nutmeg scents are more equal. It smells like some kind of amazing nutmeg vanilla custard pie! Okay, now I need to make one of those… Happily, this cup did not come out bitter at all. The beginning of the sip is mostly nutmeg, and then the vanilla shows up near the middle and continues to the end, which reminds me of creamy vanilla pudding. I actually dared to add some vanilla almond milk to this, which just pushed it over the top. I think I prefer soy milk, but I bought a carton of almond this time to compare. Overall, I’m pleased with this blend! Rating would be in the low 80s. :)
Flavors: Creamy, Custard, Nutmeg, Vanilla