58 Tasting Notes

89

This is one of my summer favorites! I’m really enjoying floral & fruity black teas lately, and although this one does not contain any actual fruit, it still has a very nice light berry aroma and flavor—just a hint that goes right along with the light floral aspects of this tea. The black tea base is great too—not too strong, not too weak, but just right. A great way to wake up on these sunny summer mornings!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95

After reading TeaTiff’s review of this one not too long ago, I thought “hmm that sounds good!” and added that at the last-minute to my summer tea order at Gong Fu. What a great unexpected addition it turned out to be! It totally hit the spot! Full-bodied, fruity, vanilla: NAILED IT! This tea is just so satisfactory. It’s elegant, lovely, quite dashing with that nice fruity current taste (and smell! Oh the scent that this tea exudes! I seriously spent pretty much the whole five-minutes while it steeped with my nose practically plastered to the bag, inhaling the delicious aroma).

If this tea were a person, it would be that “tall, dark, and handsome”, smooth, clean-cut dashing gentleman in a spiffy black suit at a party . He’d be French, of course. And if you stand close to him under a starry sky in Paris, you are totally drawn in by the fantastic fragrance of his cologne. Ah, Paris. Ah, strong sweet fruity black tea. I am in love. (If I knew French, this is where I would insert the perfect French phrase). Okay, I know, this all is sounding pretty cliche, but this tea is not cliche. It’s just….wonderful.

The only thing wrong about it is it’s name, in my opinion. I would definitely pick something more romantic than Le Tour de France. Not that Tour de France is not a good association—it’s just that it doesn’t represent the elegance and smoothness and finery that is this tea. I would call it something along the lines of “Moonlight in Paris.” Ooh la la!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

25

Hmm I didn’t care for this tea. It just tasted really bland to me, lacking the complexity and depth of flavor I like—and come to expect—in really good black teas. There is just not much to say about it. I even tried steeping it for a shorter period of time (3 minutes instead of the typical 5) because the description said it was good for gong fu style drinking, but that didn’t change anything taste-wise. As a last resort, I finally tried cold-steeping it, and that also did not bring out anything new in terms of flavor. Oh well, I’m glad I gave it a try, though.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
TeaTiff

Oh man. By the name I thought this one would be tasty.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

81
drank Mao Feng by Gong Fu Tea Shop
58 tasting notes

This is a nice green. It is lightly warm and vegetal, with a teensy bit of asparagus and possibly nut, and a faint smoky taste reminiscent of gunpowder green tea, and with a slight smoky sweetness on the finish. The first thing I noticed, though, was the gunpowder taste—nothing strong or bold, but just enough of a presence to bring to mind my old habit of drinking 4 cups of gunpowder green tea before my morning run during marathon training. That sure did get me going!

Anyway, this is a perfect tea to keep me going these days, when I require a different sort of energy…not a bold burst like a cannon, which the gunpowder used to supply, but a more low-key, substantial, and sustainable energy to keep up with my toddler all day! And yet the tea needs to be mellow enough to keep me calm and patient. This fits the bill most afternoons. It’s an enjoyable yet practical green, nothing too fancy or lofty for everyday, yet not hum-drum or boring. It has enough complexity to keep me interested, but nothing I would feel obligated to forgo on the basis of “not having enough time” to appreciate it.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

This is another great spring green tea! Deliciously sweet and juicy cherry and sencha combine in an exquisite and vibrant duo. The scent of the dry leaf is incredible: it will make your mouth water the minute you stick your nose in it, and brings to mind super juicy cherry candy like a Starburst or Jolly Rancher. The liquor itself, though, has a more natural cherry flavor which is nicely balanced and doesn’t taste medicinal (I was a little apprehensive it would taste too much like cough syrup). Additionally, this tea has a light, almost faint vanilla wafting in the background. All in all, it’s fresh, fruity, and faintly floral—as if you were sitting among cherry trees in full bloom. Very tasty!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

100
drank Earl Grey Cream by Zen Tea
58 tasting notes

I received this pleasant surprise in the mail yesterday from TeaTiff, who is providing me with a welcome distraction from all my green-tea tastings lately! (Gotta throw in some black teas here and there, because, let’s face it, there’s nothing quite as good as a deep, dark, rich cup of black tea to help one wake up and power through the day!)

I decided I couldn’t resist trying this sample first, because for some reason without intending to I have ended up being sort of on a little Earl Grey kick…I first tried that green EG, then the one by Williamson, and now, this fabulous cup of perfection. I am so spoiled to have enjoyed these really nice Earl Greys over the past two weeks, and this Earl Grey Cream is the icing on the cake, the piece de resistance, the…(okay, I think you get the point, haha) It’s AMAZING!

Oh gosh, the flavor: SO good! It does not have a super strong Ear Grey flavor, but that’s not to say it’s weak. It just tastes as though the bergamot has taken a respectful step to the side to give the cream more of the spotlight on center stage. (This is CREAM Earl Grey, after all) The bergamot is there, it is present, singing out it’s lively citrusy notes in harmony with the star of the show: the lovely cream! Mmmm that vanilla cream flavor is outstanding, belting out its melodiously rich, smooth song just like a famous opera singer! The cream mellows out the citrus and astringent black tea qualities, but is delightfully well-balanced with the other flavors. A nice sweet robust black tea flavor still shines through, so you don’t forget you’re drinking a black tea!

Overall this is deliciously rich and robust, yet sweet and creamy; it has no bitterness or sharp notes. It has a light citrus flavor, calm and soothing, like orange blossoms. Simply superb!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TheTeaFairy

Lovely review Charissa, I share your enthusiasm, this is my favourite earl grey :-) I love that the creamy part is not overly vanilla, just perfectly balanced.

Charissa

Thanks, TeaFairy! Yes, it’s hard to contain the enthusiasm on this one…it’s just so good. :-)

TeaTiff

This is my go to tea these days. If I am not feeling excited about anything tea wise, or just have had too many disappointing cups, this one always brings me back to that zen tea place.

I think you should be a description writer for tea companies. I think you could sell me about any cup with how you world things. Love it!

Charissa

Thank you so much for sharing a sample of this with me, TeaTiff! I am completely hooked. And I’m glad you enjoy my reviews, though I don’t think they’re nearly as good as some of the things other people have written here. But I’m glad my English major is coming to good use! haha

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

87

I had tried this sample from TeaTiff a while ago when I first got it, but refrained from writing about it until I could have another cup. This morning is rainy and cool, and Full Steam black is just the thing to get me going. It’s sweet, malty, roasty, and robust. I think someone else had mentioned it had some rye bread flavor, and I would agree. Mmmm nice notes of cocoa and rye bread, warm and roasty! Very good! I will have to check out Hugo’s other teas as well because I just might need to place an order!
Thank you, TeaTiff for introducing me to this!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Terri HarpLady

Tony is in Kansas City this week. I should have him pick some of this up for me.

looseTman

It’s also available online:
http://www.hugotea.com/collections/organic-tea/products/full-steam
$9.89/1.76 ounces
When does Hugo typically have sales?

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

88
drank Cloud Nine by Gong Fu Tea Shop
58 tasting notes

This is a tasty treat! A delicious sencha base with nice juicy fruit flavor. Strawberry and raspberry provide a light sweetness while the rhubarb contributes a delicate, pleasant tartness on the tongue. I can also taste smooth honey. As is the case with all the Gong Fu teas I’ve had so far, the variety of flavors co-mingling with the tea are very well-balanced and masterfully chosen. This tea really does make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. It’s a great way to celebrate spring, and I’m glad I included it in my spring green collection!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

On this gray, rainy morning my little son and I headed out to the store, and I happened to find this Earl Grey, along with a variety of other Williamson teas. I’m not familiar with that company, but their products looked interesting—mostly Kenyan teas, which immediately piqued my interest. (I love Kenyan black teas! And actually, I’m currently trying hard to wait until I make my “summer tea purchase” to re-stock my cupboard with African teas, but it is so hard to wait…and then THIS came along!) Well, I figured the price was terrific, and although I would have liked to try some of the other teas they had as well, I decided on the Earl Grey because it was the only loose-leaf canister there, and it looked good. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a Kenyan EG. And it is a rainy day, which in my book means it’s an earl grey kind of day. And, as I mentioned, I’ve been craving Kenyan teas so…for all those reasons I felt compelled to buy it.

Now, purchasing teas on a whim like that without prior research into the company and its practices is rare for me, and on the offchance I do make an impulse buy, I have found it is pretty much a hit or miss. But I took my chances on this one, and it turned out to be a hit!

This is a VERY smooth, sweet EG. It lacks the sharpness or tingle you sometimes get from stronger EGs. The first thing that hit me was a lovely sweet orange flavor. Yes, I know that’s the bergamot, but this somehow tasted slightly more orange-y to me than the bergamots in other Earl Greys. It was delicious, though. Different, but delicious. This tea is robust, full bodied, luscious, and absolutely silky smooth. I think the Kenyan base works really well with the bergamot flavor. I would definitely buy this again.

So, for those who like a really strong hit-you-in-face bergamot-y Earl Grey, this would probably not be for you. But for those liking a more mellow cup, this I think would be perfect.

I was surprised to find that no one has reviewed this tea before, and there are only a few Williamson teas on Steepster. It’s too bad, because this one at least is a very enjoyable and affordable tea! If you go on Williamson’s website, they give a closer look at how they process their teas and it’s quite interesting. (I just wonder about pesticide use—that’s always my big concern, and they don’t say their tea is organic)—but other than that it looks like a decent company: they use sustainable farming methods, are Rainforest Alliance Certified, family-owned, and all of their tea is grown right there on their own farms in the Kenyan highlands.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Hesper June

Okay, so this would not be for than.
I like to be slapped in the face with the bergamont:)

Charissa

HAHA! :-D

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

I have had this in my cupboard for a while and completely forgot about it. Shame on me! I guess I just tend to ignore my bagged teas and go straight for the loose-leaf. (I’m such a snob). I am glad I re-discovered this though, because it is unexpectedly good. I don’t care for the plastic-y pyramid bags, but that’s not a problem. I just rip them open and pour the leaves into my infuser and bingo! loose-leaf! This also gives me a chance to inspect the leaves, and these appeared to be in good shape, not shredded up in teensy weensy pieces. Once steeped, my infuser is filled with nice full sencha leaves, and the liquor is fresh bright green. Okay, I’ll admit I’m impressed. So far so good.

The resulting tea is delicious! I thought it would be difficult to achieve a good balance with the bergamot and green tea leaves, but this company manages to pull off the blend very well. The Earl Grey bergamot flavor is perfect: citrusy and light, and the assertive yet sweet sencha comes through nicely. It is a good sencha base, definitely holding its own to the bergamot but at the same time working harmoniously with it. Both flavors are impeccably balanced. I’d say this is a wonderful breakfast or brunch tea, when you want a green with a little more oomf to it but that’s still smooth enough to ease you into the day. Or, I could see this also being that perfect rainy afternoon tea, when it seems a little too late for a brisk, classic black EG and you want something just a bit lighter (but that will still provide you with a snap-out-of-it alertness). This tea will no longer remain lonely and neglected on my shelf. I think it is deserving of loose-leaf status now. :-)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― C.S. Lewis

I have been enjoying and obsessing over tea since my college days, when a good cup got me through a long night of studying. Later on, tea helped keep me energized and hydrated for my long runs when I was marathon training. I was (and still am) a complete health nut, and researched all of teas’ wonderful benefits and to this day value the beverage not only for its outstanding flavors but for its antioxidant and health-giving properties.

After a torturous nine-month hiatus from tea while I was pregnant (I tried not to drink too much because of the caffeine) I am back to enjoying it without guilt once again! Although I’m nursing my son so I still have to limit my intake (Bummer! Guess my days of downing 4 cups of gunpowder green tea in the morning are long gone…) I’m just savoring the 1-2 cups per day I do allot myself. Now tea has once again come to the rescue at this time in my life, granting me moments of peace and pleasure and helping me keep my sanity after many long sleepless nights with the baby. Oh thank God for tea.

Favorites: Yunnan, Kenyan, and Assam black teas, White Peony (Bai Mu Dan), Pu-erh, and Milk Oolong.

I really need to try other kinds of tea, and not just stick like glue to my favorites! However, it can be hard with a limited budget, and I tend to buy my favorites repeatedly instead of trying something new because I honestly just love what I have!

Location

Iowa

Following These People