87 Tasting Notes
I prepared this tea Western style in a small teapot due to time constraints this morning.
First impression – chocolate forward! My first sip was all chocolatey goodness, which surprised me a bit. It’s lightly malty, which is a good match for the chocolate flavor. The aroma of the liquor is like a heavy version of what you expect of a Yunnan Golden Tip. Almost like the aroma is weighted down with something more complex.
One thing I like to do with a tea is close my eyes, take in the aroma, and sip it a bit while allowing my mind to wander (I like to think of it as my medi-tea-tion). Many teas take me places in my imagination, and I allow the tea to tell me where that place is. This tea takes me to a forest in winter covered in dry snow. It is comforting in the abandoned place and a perfect complement to the experience.
When I have a free morning, I’ll be excited to try this tea again Gong Fu style to see what flavor subtleties I can squeeze out. Thanks again to TeaVivre for the selection of samples!
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Malt
I received this tea along with a wide selections of others from Friday Afternoon to review (and decide what to order more of!). I met Friday (yes, that’s her real name) at a Harry Potter con and it took a lot of willpower to walk out of her booth, I’ll tell you what. My favorite thing about her shop is the fact that she has an entire array of nerdy tea blends that she creates herself.
But I’m here to talk about this tea! This is Audrey’s Spring Tea. There’s also an Audrey’s Cozy Blend, and I’m a bit ashamed to say I’m not sure what the Audrey reference is. The only thing I can think of is Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors. But that’s neither here nor there!
Since I can’t drink caffeine past a certain point in the day, I picked this option as my first to sample. Plus, I love lemongrass in things and had never tried a tea blend with it, so that was a huge plus to me!
I brewed with just below boiling water for about 5 minutes. The hibiscus is in larger chunks than I normally see, so its color and flavor is more subtle and complex than I’m used to, which I love. When dry, the chamomile aroma rules, but once steeped, the lemongrass really plays up.
The flavor is slightly sweet from the hibiscus, but smoothed by the chamomile, and rounded out with the lemongrass. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure which flavor I’m picking up is the marigold, as I’ve never had a tea with it before and I can’t quite tell where it fits in the mix.
All I know is this is absolutely delicious and a perfect option for me of an evening when I’d like a nice cuppa, but know I can’t have anything caffeinated. Definitely ordering more than just a sample when all is said and done!
I want to preface this by mentioning that I don’t generally care for flavored teas. They just aren’t… my cup of tea. [sic] But when Angel offered to send this Strawberry Oolong with some other samples, I wanted to give it a try and see if perhaps my tastes had changed or perhaps this was an exception to my “rule”.
The tea itself smells exclusively of strawberry to me. But it’s not a sugary, candy-like strawberry. It’s a natural smell.
Following a brief rinse, I gave it a 15 second infusion and it smelled faintly of sweet strawberries and had a slight buttery aroma. The tea is super light and certainly is not overpowering in any sense. It is pretty easily one of the best flavored teas I’ve had to date.
The second infusion was a little less sweet and there was more emphasis on the buttery/creamy flavor. In a way, it made me think of eating pancakes with a strawberry puree at a local diner here in town. The strawberry flavor is definitely still there and adds a nice extra touch.
The third infusion is where the strawberry really starts to fade and you get a little astringency from the oolong. Overall, I would like to try this as a single full cup from a single, longer infusion. I think I’ll do that next time and let you know how it goes.
I received this tea along with a few others as free samples from TeaVivre, and I can’t be more excited! The dry leaf is a gorgeous dark loose oolong with a rich aroma. Following a brief rinse, the leaves unlocked a lightly vegetal and spicy scent. It reminds me a little of a Da Hong Pao, actually. Just a bit!
With the first 30 second infusion, the liquor is a light amber color and starts to give off a light floral scent. The tea itself is slightly astringent and the flavor is nicely mild. It no longer reminds me of the Da Hong Pao, but I’m intrigued to continue tasting further infusions.
The second infusion pulled out the astringency and led to a more full flavor. I started to identify some floral notes in the flavor. With the third infusion, it left most of the floral behind and went the vegetal/grassy route.
Overall, I enjoyed this tea, but it probably won’t be a daily preference. Definitely one to bring out with company I’m teaching about tea, though!
A friend brought this back for me as a thank-you gift for watching her cats while she was on a brief trip. I’ve been saving it for months, just waiting for the right opportunity to indulge in such a unique tea. While I had entertained the idea of sharing it with the gift-giver, she has officially just moved out of state and I realized, as I was setting up my tea tray and accoutrements, that this was the perfect time to try it.
It came in a well-sealed package which, upon opening, let out a very sweet mandarin aroma. When I say it’s sweet, I mean it practically smells like it was candied or something.
I unwrapped the mandarin and was a little surprised to see it so brown. I knew the peel was dried, but for some reason, it just didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t be a vibrant orange. The tea itself was loosely packed inside the peel and tumbled easily from its container into the gaiwan.
With a quick rinse, it was ready to be attempted.
The first infusion was for about 45 seconds as I got a nice picture in the process. The liquor was a beautiful amber and the mandarin sweetness was much milder overall. The flavor, however, just wasn’t doing it for me. It tasted almost a bit musty and the after-taste lingered unpleasantly.
As one does, I powered through to my second infusion. With a shorter infusion time (closer to 25 seconds), I achieved a similar shade of amber with a much pleasanter flavor. The odd flavors from the first infusion had mellowed and left the tea with a lightly smoky tendency and just an edge of the mandarin sweetness as an after-thought.
Finally (for this note), onto the third infusion. I was slightly distracted during this infusion period by the antics of my roommate’s cat, who was in the throes of her “morning crazies,” as we like to call it. So the infusion time lasted a bit longer than planned (nearly a minute).
By this point, the distinctive mandarin aroma is starting to noticeably fade. Interestingly enough, I find it’s a welcome change. While it wasn’t bad, it also wasn’t really making a super great impression on my senses. The flavor is still there, guiding the earthy pu-erh flavor to a smooth completion.
Overall, this is a pretty decent tea and definitely fun to explore the packaging. But honestly, it just isn’t entirely my cup of tea. It ended fine enough, but didn’t really pull me through with much desire. I’ll probably break it out occasionally when someone is looking for something more exotic or “out-there” in style.
I drink this ya bao probably once a week in the office. It’s light, refreshing, and simply delicious! In the office, we’re limited on our hot water resource, so I put a little cold water in with the leaves first, then fill my teapot the rest of the way with hot so that it steeps at approximately the right temperature.
Added benefit: It’s just the right temperature to drink immediately!
Every sip of this tea makes me smile and gives me happy little caffeine jitters.
I won this tea (along with a few others) in a contest the company ran on their Facebook account last year. I’ve been trying them each periodically, but this is my first time writing up a Steepster review for them.
The dry leaf has a very light and somewhat overly sweet aroma. The Bai Mu Dan itself, is large and full-leafed and remains surprisingly intact after being blended with the other flavors.
I brewed this tea in my tea pooper for convenience and the moment the water hit the leaves, the sweetness of the tea became more mild and far less overpowering for me.
Once the tea was ready, it was a lovely, light greenish yellow color and smelled like a spring morning. I discovered that I had brewed it a bit too hot, so had to add an ice cube and that’s when the fear of over-steeping came in.
On the contrary, this tea is actually quite good still! In fact, as a tea drinker who prefers non-flavored teas, I was surprised and excited by the flavor. It’s full-bodied for a white, but balanced nicely with the lilting flavors of the guava and marigolds in particular. I think it’s the hint of ginger that makes it pop and all come together into one smooth package.
So yes, I would recommend this tea!