91 Tasting Notes

92
drank Da Hong Pao by unkown
91 tasting notes

This was the final Red Robe oolong I tasted in my side-by-side(-by-side) comparison this morning.

The wet leaves had a nice spiciness to them, but with a touch of sweetness. The sweetness sort of had that characteristic of something that wasn’t initially sweet being broken down to create the sweetness (like how when you eat a saltine cracker and chew it a while, your saliva breaks it down into sugars and it becomes sweet in your mouth.) I’m not sure how else to describe it, unfortunately.

The first infusion had a very light scent, but the aroma I could pick up was clearly spicy and peppery. The flavor of the tea was nice and strong with a somewhat peppery flavor on the outside.

The second infusion elicited a more directly spicy aroma, but the tea itself was much milder compared to the first infusion. It was lovely and roasty, like a roast pumpkin that was lightly spiced.

Totally a fan of this tea!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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89

This was the second Red Robe I had in my side-by-side(-by-side) tasting of Red Robe oolongs.

After the first infusion, I smelled the damp leaves and they had very little scent, but what I could detect was lightly spicy, as I’m used to associating with Red Robes. The first infusion itself had a pretty light flavor. It was smoother than most first infusions I enjoy, but had a very slight astringency toward the end of the cup and a lightly peppery flavor that danced on the tongue.

As with most second infusions, the tea had mellowed somewhat and had a nice roasty flavor. It was interesting because that light peppery, spicy flavor from the first infusion was magnified as an after-taste at this point and I loved it. That flavor is one of my favorite things about a Red Robe. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone else comment on the spiciness of a Red Robe before, but I taste it to some degree in every Red Robe I try, so it must be there! ;)

Definitely a tea I’m glad to have a nice stock of on hand!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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87

I enjoyed this quite a lot! I actually just did my first side-by-side(-by-side) tasting of the same tea from different vendors with some Red Robes I have in my cupboard. So I’m going to try and keep this review to this tea alone, as I’ll be writing a post this weekend comparing them more directly.

In any case, I really love a Red Robe oolong. It’s a fun tea that packs a wallop and has some seriously awesome flavor every time.

Of all the Red Robes I’ve had, this one from Verdant Tea is probably the most mild. This is not a negative thing, however. It’s just a thing. The wet leaves after the first infusion were mild and nutty in scent.

The liquor had a smooth aroma and there was something familiar about the flavor that I still can’t quite manage to place. As if it tasted of something I’ve eaten before and really enjoyed, but I’ve only actually eaten it once or twice. But it has a lovely flavor that I enjoyed very much.

The second infusion was mellower and added a touch of sweetness. Interesting enough, even though the water was still quite hot, it left a coolness in my mouth. Like a mild version of the feeling you get when drinking a mint infusion. But it didn’t taste minty, just mimicked that sensation.

I’m glad I got this tea and will be happy to finish off what I have in time!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Azzrian

You have had a busy morning!! :)

Dinah Saur

I sure did, Azzrian! Now that I’m finally not sick, I was able to wake up earlier than usual without much trouble and decided to enjoy myself before coming into the office!

SimpliciTEA

Glad to hear you are feeling better. And what a great idea to do side-by-side steepings! I am considering doing this with a green tea I have, one from a batch that is fresh and one that is a year old.

Dinah Saur

That would be really interesting to see a side-by-side comparison on, SimpliciTEA! I’m guessing in your case, your green is from the same vendor, just different years? I’d love to read that comparison for sure!

SimpliciTEA

Yes, I happen to still have a sample of Life in Teacup’s Frosty Spring Yunnan Roast Green from 2011 that I haven’t yet brewed up. And I recently received the same named tea from the 2012 harvest. The thing is, I think in the description of the tea she mentioned it is a slightly different tea than the last two years, so that makes the comparison a little problematic. But I still plan to try them both, possibly simply trying one on one day, and the other on the next day, but a side-by-side comparison would be even better. We’ll see. I’m glad you to hear you have an interest in the comparison though, as that will certainly spur me on!

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69

I have had a really gnarly cold for the past week or so, preventing me from consuming tea in the way I normally would. In fact, especially toward the beginning of being sick, drinking tea would aggravate the rawness of my throat if I didn’t use an absurd amount of honey (to the point where I might as well be drinking just hot water with honey and no tea at all). So I have been out of the loop in the meantime!

For the past couple of days, I’ve been able to drink a little tea and (mostly) taste it, but it wasn’t until this morning that, upon making a cup of tea, I could also smell it properly. So exciting!

This Tamayokucha is like a breath of fresh air to me right now. It’s a great tea to start with when being able to drink tea once again. It’s mild (overall) and has a nice flavor. While it’s never going to be one of my favorite teas, just now it’s making a very nice impression on me, immediately following over a week with practically no tea at all.

Still a far cry superior to other bagged teas, this is one I would likely bring along with me on expeditions where carrying loose leaf is just not a good idea!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I’m glad you’re feeling better. I find Japanese green tea is great for kick starting my immune system after I’ve been sick.

LiberTEAS

I’m glad you’re feeling better too. And I agree with Amy, green tea is great for after I’ve been sick. It’s as though I can feel it working!

Indigobloom

I’ve been sick to! honey has been my best friend :)
and I think you’ve inspired me to break out my greens tomorrow…

Dinah Saur

Thanks! I’m glad I went with the green because it definitely helped! I even made it to yoga again yesterday after work and, at the end of it, I could feel my body going all detox on itself. The only problem is it rushed everything straight to my head and I’ve had a headache from it ever since. Maybe a little more green this morning will help settle that down!

Hope you feel better too, Indigobloom!!

Jennifer

That sounds amazing. Nice note!

Indigobloom

thanks! I do feel better today. I think your wishes did it :P

Dinah Saur

I’m so glad, Indigobloom! It’s so awful feeling sick. :P

And thanks, Jenn!! :D

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53

This is another of the generous samples sent along to me by Two Leaves and a Bud recently. Early on, I can say that I enjoy the fact that this has such a mild jasmine aroma. That’s because this isn’t a scented green, but a green with some jasmine petals in with it.

I brewed the tea related to the specifications on the package and I think it was too long. It said 5 minutes steeping (I did closer to 3 1/2 minutes) and I think it was still too long. There’s a weird after-taste that I’m not particularly fond of. Other than that, the tea itself is pretty light. I like that there is very little jasmine flavor… almost nonexistent, yet enough to be able to tell it’s there if you’re looking for it, I guess.

I’m not explaining this very well, am I?

In any case, I think if brewed a little shorter, this would taste better to me, but overall, it’s just sort of “meh” to me.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Azzrian

You made sense to me.

Dinah Saur

Haha, thanks, Azzrian. It can be difficult to be coherent sometimes!

ScottTeaMan

But you have to be coherent to be difficult. Unless you’re passed out somewhere impeding someone’s daily progress or sense of well being. :))

Payton

I disagree with the steeping advice on almost every package in existence, including several loose tea sellers. Go with your gut.

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85

I can’t stop drinking this tea of a busy morning. I’ve started noticing that each morning that I’m in a rush and need to get a quick tea fix, this is the first thing I grab! I’m almost out, so I really need to order a box sometime soon.

I really cannot express enough how impressed I am with this. By no means is it the most superb breakfast tea I’ve had, but it’s very good and I’m always surprised at how tasty it is coming in a bag and all.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Jennifer

Any other non-bagged Assam recommendations? I need a strong black now that I’m out of McN’s Earl Grey and would you believe I’ve NEVER tried assam? (FOR SHAME! I can hear the brits now).

Dinah Saur

Hahaha, oh Jenn, you crack me up. Anyway! I’m actually not very knowledgeable on Assam teas either, so you’re not alone! For non-bagged options, unfortunately the only strong blacks I can think of are from tea vendors that are either not available anywhere but if you find them at a local festival, or whose names I don’t know since I get them locally! I would recommend the Scottish Breakfast from Blend Teas, but I haven’t seen hide nor tail of them since a music festival in Grass Valley last year and they don’t seem to have updated their website or Facebook since last November… (http://blendteas.com/index.html)

Jennifer

Bummer. I might try this bagged blend since it’s one of the highest rated assam teas on here. This or the DAVIDsTEA blend.

Dinah Saur

Also, Two Leaves and a Bud does offer this same Assam in loose form: http://www.twoleavesandabud.com/c_Loose-Black-Tea-12.html

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51
drank China Green Tips by Tazo
91 tasting notes

This is one of the teas that is provided in the break room at work. I usually stick with my own personal stash, but every now and then I feel like something different and will snag one of the tea bags that sounds interesting at the moment.

This morning, I remembered a conversation with a friend in the office about how much she has enjoyed the China Green Tips, so I thought this would be a good morning to give it a try.

I have to admit that I am a bit surprised at how decent this is. I wouldn’t call it a particularly high quality tea, but it doesn’t have some of those gross qualities that are so common of bagged teas, especially a green. It doesn’t have a lot of flavor, but more than I expected. It actually somehow reminds me of the Dragonwell from The Tea Spot more than anything else right now. Both just sort of seem good, but not something I’d go for if I’m in the mood for something more flavorful.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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59

This is actually my first experiment with Mate. It’s totally new to me! I received a generous box of samples from the Fusion Tea Room (thanks again!) and decided that I’d give this one a try first, because caramel flavors are very comfortable for me.

I followed the brewing instructions carefully, because I didn’t really know what it is supposed to taste like. The smell of it is definitely caramel-y, but I think the smell of the actual mate is a little odd to me.

I’m first trying it plain, without any sugar or milk. I have to agree that the chicory is a bit strong, but it’s not entirely unpleasant to me. It just sort of adds a bite. I can see that preventing me from having too much of it at one time, however.

I went ahead and followed suit with LiberTEAS and added some milk, which definitely did mellow it out nicely. I then added some sugar (the packet did say to sweeten to taste, after all!). With these additions, it really is a fun, sweet, drink. Reminiscent of a caramel latte, as LiberTEAS described.

I don’t dislike it, that’s for sure. I’m just still new to this kind of flavor, so we’ll see how it goes for me!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 0 sec
SimpliciTEA

“Reminiscent of a caramel latte?” Sounds good to me!

I agree that anything with mate in it takes some getting used to. I’m still not certain where I stand with it. I want to brew a mate up again sometime soon, as I hear it can be quite invigorating!

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88

Every time I taste this tea, it just makes me happy! A friend and I hadn’t really talked in a long time due to some extenuating circumstances in life (for example, me breaking up with my [now ex] boyfriend, who is one of her husband’s best friends and lives right next to her). In an effort to change things, even just a little, I asked her if we could do something and she ended up meeting me at my place for some tea.

We talked politely about what was going on in our lives over the past 4-5 months… she asked me a lot about tea, since my more focused passion arose in this time period. And we got to talking. I started showing her the tea options I had, asking what she would like me to make for us to drink while we talked. All of a sudden, it hit me… Pancake Breakfast! DUH!

I pulled it down and showed her and her eyes lit up. She immediately said, “DONE.” and we proceeded.

The flavor is just as it ever has been. Delicious, pancakey, buttery, and syrupy. The perfect tea to catch up with an old friend over. And it worked! After a while, we both were more comfortable and we really did connect again. So thanks, 52teas! ;)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

I still have yet to try this…

Azzrian

A lovely tea connection! This is so nice!

Bonnie

Great story! Reconciliation over food or drink…sharing what we have with others is old as the hills and much needed today!

ScottTeaMan

Such agreat story Dina. :))

Dinah Saur

Thanks, all! It was very lovely to experience so I wanted to share. :)

And Amy, I think you will enjoy it. It’s very fun!

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54

A few weeks ago, I had a friend over for a tea party. Now, when I host a tea party like this, it usually means serving some of the Chinese teas I have gong fu style, since most of my friends have no experience with them. For this one fateful party, my friend brought along a lovely array of teas from her own personal stash for me to taste!

I was very excited to try them, as many of the teas were picked up in Mexico where she spends a month or two each year.

While this one was clearly not from Mexico, I was interested to try this tea in particular and, at long last… here I am!

I’m not a big fan of mango, so I wasn’t sure how I’d like this tea. The dry leaf and following the liquor were quite sweet in aroma. I was concerned that the tea itself would be too sweet for my sensibilities. However, my worries were unfounded and I discovered this to be a very mildly flavored tea.

It is sweet and tropical, but not in an overpowering way, which suits me very nicely. It almost has a coconut-y after-taste once the tea is more in the “warm” zone than hot. It’s definitely interesting. I’m not sure it’s really my style, but I’m enjoying it this morning!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Mangosteen is a purple fruit from a tropical evergreen and not a mango of any sort. I tried this tea too just because I had the fruit in the tropics but you rarely find it here. I found it dehidrated at Trader Joe’s in California.

Dinah Saur

Interesting! Though this does actually have mango in it as well, it says on the package. I guess that’s more what I was referring to with the mango. But I did not know that about the Mangosteen! I’ll have to see if I can find some at TJs sometime. :)

Bonnie

Sorry ol neighbor I wasn’t trying to be uppity but many people get the mango and mangosteen associated because of the name. Mango on it’s own is not good except as fresh fruit or juice in my opinion. I have a powder used in Indian cooking that is really tangy sour!

Dinah Saur

Not at all! I just didn’t specify at the time that there was actual mango as well as mangosteen. :)

And yeah, I guess I’m not a big fan of most tropical fruits by themselves, actually. Just not to my taste!

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I’m your standard nerdy girl in a lot of regards, from my taste in music, books, and movies to my penchant for getting completely wound up in various activities and hobbies. One of my hobbies that never seems to fade away is my joy in writing.

I’ve written a personal blog, a tea blog, and an adventure blog, all of which recently have been brought together to a single location – A Chomp at Life. The Fun and FlirTea section is dedicated to introducing tea to and enticing today’s younger, coffee-drinking generation. It’s a fun place to learn about tea and hopefully start meeting more tea-lovers as well!

More than almost anything else, I enjoy sharing the things I love and helping spread that joy. Now I’m doing this with tea, living life everyday, and adventures – and I couldn’t be more excited!

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