509 Tasting Notes

83

Cutting into the sample packet is a sensory experience. The dry leaf aroma is a very appetizing floral jasmine scent. Who knew smelling a flower could make you want to drink it? Actually, the whole concept of drinking water that leaves have sat in for a while is kind of weird…But I love it!

The brewed tea aroma is just as lovely as the dry. And the taste? Pure jasmine heaven! My other experience with this tea was from a swap. I think that sample may have been compromised from sitting amongst so many other teas, as it had an odd pungency that this cup lacks. This time it’s just pure, unadulterated, jasmine bliss!

This is my Western brewing session with this tea. I have enough of the sample left to try gongfu brewing later. I think this tea might be especially delicious that way. But this method is much easier and quicker for me. I like the instant gratification of Western brewing. :)

I’m so glad I got to try this again! This is a perfect example of how a jasmine tea should be: floral but not perfume-y. The best part about this tea is the beautiful aftertaste that lingers long after the sip. I must have finished the cup 10 minutes ago, but there’s still a lovely floral note clinging to my palate. Mmmm! Delicious! Upping the rating from 80 to 83.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Pomegranate Da Hong Pao by 52teas
509 tasting notes

I decided to give this tea another shot with fresh leaves and a drastically increased infusion time. There is still little to no recognizable pomegranate flavor. It’s a tasty oolong, but I’d prefer the added fruit flavoring to be punched up about 10 notches. If anyone wants to try it, I’ve got plenty left for swaps.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

I would so be in for a swap with you! :D

CHAroma

Cool! Send me a PM. :)

JennyFur

I’m very interested in a bit of this.

CHAroma

Sure! Just send me a message.

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50
drank Pomegranate Da Hong Pao by 52teas
509 tasting notes

I split an order of this and the other new V.I.T. with tattooed_tea, so we both ended up with 0.75 ounces of each tea. Thanks tattooed_tea!!! The dry leaf aroma is discernibly pomegranate. The brewed tea aroma is woodsy, dark oolong and smells exactly like salted peanut shells to me. Uh oh. Where’d the pomegranate go?

Hmmm…the taste is different than other dark oolongs I’ve tried, namely Formosa oolongs. And by different, I mean better. ;) I read the back story on this tea too, and it’s hard to believe that this tea is more valuable than gold. Who’s the crazy loon who spent over $1600 on 20g of this stuff? I mean, I think it tastes good, but no where near that good!

Luckily, that salty peanut shell aroma doesn’t make its way into the flavor. This is a medium to light-bodied cuppa with virtually no pomegranate flavor. Maybe I didn’t use enough leaf or I understeeped it? I can detect a tiny hint of fruitiness, but it almost tastes like a naturally occurring flavor rather than an added flavoring. And it’s definitely not a pomegranate specific taste. It’s more generically fruity to me.

I picked a couple extra pomegranate arils from the bag and added them to the second steep for 2 minutes. Hmm, sadly there’s still no pomegranate flavor. I triple-bagged it and stored it in a tin, so I’m not sure how it lost flavor. Oh well. It’s a good oolong, but it’s no more than that. It’s really too bad. I can imagine pomegranate being a nice complement to this.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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88
drank French Toast by 52teas
509 tasting notes

Ahhhhh!!!!! French toast tea!!!!!!! I didn’t hesitate for a second to purchase this tea when I read the e-mail announcing it. I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m really hungry or what, but when I lifted the brewing basket from the steaming cup, I was assailed by a strong, authentic French toast aroma! Yum! The brewed tea aroma is spot on!

I first tried this tea a few days ago with skim milk and Truvia. I do NOT recommend milk with this tea. It squashes the flavors and creates a bland, heavy mouthfeel. Sans additions, this tastes like a buttery, cinnamon black tea. But with only a little sweetener, BAM! The flavors really meld and come to life, and now I’m drinking liquid French toast! If I owned any maple syrup, I’d definitely try that out as a sweetener. In fact, it might be worth a trip to the store just to see how it’d turn out. ;)

If I had to compare this to Pancake Breakfast, I’d say it’s heavier on the bread and lighter on the maple syrup. And of course, there’s the addition of cinnamon, which Pancake Breakfast doesn’t have. Mmmm! It’s hard to choose a favorite between pancakes and French toast, and I’d have a hard time picking a favorite between these two teas as well. They are both delicious in their own right!

Wow, my cup disappeared fast. That’s always a good indicator. This tea is hard to categorize because it’s not sweet enough to be a dessert tea. But it’s also not brisk enough to be a breakfast tea. For me, this is best as a late morning/mid-afternoon tea. Overall, this is deliciously yummy regardless of the time of day. Not quite as good as the real thing, but tea hardly ever is. :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Cavocorax

Mine disappeared too before I could review it!

tattooed_tea

oh man! I need this tea & actual French toast

Emily M

Now I want French Toast! This one sounds interesting.

CHAroma

I especially enjoy this with 0.5 tsp of Pancake Breakfast mixed in. Mmmm mmm, mapely goodness!

JustJames

you know, i haven’t had much luck with 52teas… things never wind up tasting the way they’re described? even assuming operator error and an attempted resteep they just don’t seem to work for me. randomly odd.

CHAroma

I have had both hits and misses with 52teas. Sometimes they don’t taste like what they’re named, but they still taste good. When a tea does taste the way it’s described, it’s a magical thing!

JustJames

true, magical teas are wonderful. i guess i already have a ‘hit or miss’ company in my roster and don’t want to add another? for me that’s david’s teas. they make some of my favourites, and then they make some ghastly ones (my opinion only) that sound great.

CHAroma

52teas was one of the first online retailers I discovered, so they have a special place in my heart. I have a TON of their teas, so if you’d like to try some samples, let me know and we’ll set up a swap. It’s a company that’s worth the risk in my opinion. And some of their teas are no risk at all, like the iced tea line Southern Boy Teas (SBT).

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81
drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
509 tasting notes

I bought this sample on a whim on the mini-moon trip to NYC. I had a bunch of DAVIDsTEA samples I wanted to buy, and when I mentioned I love apple, they brought out this tin. Wow! One whiff and I knew I had to have it!

The dry leaf aroma is amazing!!! It smells like some kind of rich fruit spice cake. Like apple cake or even carrot cake complete with the sugary, cream cheese frosting. I forgot tea could smell so enticing.

The brewed aroma is virtually the same. Yes! I love when that happens. Now for the taste…aww, sadly the taste is slightly lacking. I added a bit of Truvia and that helped to awaken the flavors. But it’s still not as yummy as that gloriously tasty aroma. It is growing on me the more I sip it though, seeing as my cup is empty.

I let the second cup steep for 15 minutes. Kind of forgot about it as I watched Eat Pray Love. That is one depressing movie. I’d probably enjoy the book better. Anyway, this second cup was really good too. No idea why it’s called Forever Nuts though. It’s more spice fruit cake than nutty.

So, the verdict is I like this tea. It’ll be especially good when I get pregnant and can’t drink caffeine. Of course, that’s still about 12 months off or so. But I’m always preparing for it in my heart and mind. :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Genmaicha by Kusmi Tea
509 tasting notes

I reached into my still large pile of samples from Shmiracles and randomly selected this tea. The dry leaf aroma is surprisingly floral. Last time I checked, there’s nothing floral about genmaicha. It’s simply a medley of bancha green tea leaves, popped corn, and roasted brown rice.

Luckily, once the water hit the leaves, a nice roasted rice aroma floated up into the air. Oh thank goodness! You had me a bit worried there, genmaicha. ;)

The flavor is roasted rice with a very light green tea background. There’s something floral in the taste as well. Strange. Floral notes do not belong in my beloved genmaicha. It’s fighting the roasted note, which now only emerges in the aftertaste.

It’s nice for what it is, but it’s not my perfect genmaicha tea. How interesting to find a floral genmaicha though. I’ve definitely never come across this before. Thanks to Shmiracles for the sample!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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98

Mmmm, these two were made to be together! The sweet, buttery caramel blends so smoothly with the creamy, tangy cheesecake. I am loving this! It’s a fantastic combo!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
Sil

mmm i like mixing these together often.

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95

SIPDOWN!

I drank 3 cups of this one tonight just to make it a sipdown. :P I’ve enjoyed its spun sugar yumminess, but I don’t think I’ll re-stock it. I’m ready and excited to continue my Red Leaf Tea adventures with some new-to-me flavors. There’s so many I want to try! How do I choose??

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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85

SIPDOWN, and a Gongfu brewing session!

According to Verdant Tea’s website, you should steep this tea for 3 seconds and then increase the steeping time after the third infusion by 3 seconds or to taste. Three seconds seemed like an awfully short amount of time. So, I opted to start out at 10 seconds. The resultant liquor is an unsettling yellow color. I won’t tell you what it reminds me of…

But the flavor is incredible! So very different from what I remember from the Western steeping. It tastes like snap peas and butter. It’s very flavorful and very delicious! Second infusion also for 10 seconds was similar but a little bit greener. There’s more of a grassy note apparent now.

(Start unrelated rant). Why do people fight you on stuff when you’re the expert in it? I know what’s best. You don’t. You came to me for my assistance, not the other way around. If you think you know best, then do it yourself and leave me out of it! I had to waste an hour of my time for people to come to the same conclusion that I told them in the first 5 minutes. And then they try to give me an extremely unrealistic deadline. I can’t work on 4 different projects at once and get them all done in 30 days. Are you serious? They can’t all be at the same priority level! Some things are just more important than others! And if this is really that important, then hire more people to work on it! I shouldn’t be the only one! Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. And now I have to wait for the water to boil again. Ugh. (End rant).

I don’t know what I did wrong, but the third infusion for 10 seconds was bitter. Blech. Ironically, the fourth infusion for 13 seconds had no bitterness at all. The cup returned to its beautiful creamy, buttery, vegetal self. I wonder what happened? Maybe taking a break in the brewing session allowed the wetness in the leaves to sit and create bitterness. That’s the only explanation I can think of that makes sense because the fourth infusion picks right up where the second one left off. Weird.

Fifth infusion for 16 seconds was less flavorful. The liquor color remained strong though, and the aftertaste was a nice buttery grassiness. Sixth and final infusion for 19 seconds was pretty much the same as the fifth. I think this tea is done. The first two infusions were definitely the best. I had hoped that the interlude wouldn’t color my opinion of this tea, but I think it has. Phooey. So much for relaxing with a nice cup of tea this afternoon. :/

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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88
drank Osmanthe D'Or by Dammann Freres
509 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is floral oolong. Oh yeah! That’s what I’m talking about! I woke up craving a nice green oolong, and I think this tea will assuage my craving nicely. I wasn’t entirely sure what brewing parameters to use, so I opted to do what other Steepsterites here did.

The brewed tea aroma is more developed but otherwise the same as the dry aroma. The taste? Ohhhhh yeaaaahh! This was exactly what I wanted! It’s a lovely quintessential example of floral green oolongs. Buttery, silky smooth, and full of flavor!

I agree with Dinosara’s assessment that this is an unscented oolong with natural Osmanthus-like qualities. It tastes very naturally floral to me as well and not flavored with real Osmanthus flowers. I’ve only tried one other Osmanthus oolong and that one definitely had more of a flavored feel to it. It was from Lupicia, and it was a very long time ago that I had it. But I do remember it being lovely and quite enjoyable.

Second infusion for 4 minutes was equally as delicious as the first infusion! As the cup cools, it loses luster. This is definitely best enjoyed piping hot. Third infusion for 5.5 minutes was less floral yet still tasty. This is a great green oolong, and I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to try it. Thank you to Shmiracles for passing along this sample!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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