I didn’t really get along with this tea. I will try it again with less tea and less steeping time. It just tasted more than a little acidulous and acerbic. I may revise my note after a second tasting.
255 Tasting Notes
I rolled an “8” on the die that RABS provided in the wonderful Geek Pride Tea Game Giveaway today. It was so exciting because I had gone two days in a row rolling numbers that were no longer valid. I did, however, congratulate myself on my virtuous failure to cheat.
So I opened the lovely package: http://www.flickr.com/photos/destro/4675967968/
It was the one marked “8” in the upper portion of the photo. And I was enchanged. Georgia Tea Company? Russian Caravan? I briefly thought that this tea might have come from Georgia SSR, but immediately returned to reality. I remember reading the reviews that Rabs had posted of this tea and I have it on a “to purchase” list. So I was absolutely thrilled to have it in hands and water on this afternoon.
The dry aroma is enchanting and robust—very smoky with a bit of tar, just the way I like it. Very smoky which I love. I felt tranported to a Russian troika where the horses are neighing as they approach the Kremlin and a very young Omar Sharif (transplanted to the 19th century) is guiding the reins and we are both wearing traditional Russian hats because it’s a universe in which we are oblivious to animal cruelty and the evils of the Tsar. Maybe we even are the Tsar? Or would that be the Czar?
This is the best Russian Caravan I have had. My typical response to Russian Caravan is that it stops short of its full smoky and flavorful potential. Not in this case! This one is no shrinking violet. As Rabs says in her review, there is a natural sweetness underlying the smoke (a delightful combination). Both the sweetness and the smoke are bold interpreters of the Russian Caravan concept.
Georgia Tea Company and this tea are on the top of my “to be ordered” list.
What a magnificent cup! Thank you, RABS! You are a genius!
Thank you so very much to RABS for sending me this. I cannot imagine living without it now.
I rolled the die two times today for my GEEK PRIDE contest and came up with numbers that had already been used. Mindful that I could only take 3 rolls a day, I focused hard and came up with a “7” and this is the delightful result.
I don’t adore maple sugar. In fact, if given a choice between candied maple sugar and chocolate, the chocolate will win 100% of the time. I grew up in a family of 8 and packages of maple sugar candy were the default gift chosen by friends, family, and other unfortunates who had to find a gift to appease the gift-giving gods. I always thought that maple sugar was TOO sweet and used to give my pieces away to younger siblings who, in return, had to sign up for a tedious length of indentured servitude in making my bed, cleaning my room, and. my favorite of all, being compelled to speak in a French or English accent. It was the time of the Cold War so sometimes I made them approach a stranger on the street and announce that they were Russian as payment for the maple sugar. It was also the time when approaching a stranger on the street and speaking of your antecedents did not seem to shockingly creepy and dangerous as it does now.
In any event, the dry tea smelled like the maple sugar candy on quaaludes: the sweetness was muted so I was gung ho. I do like maple sugar when it’s taste is softened by a sufficiently of waffles, pancakes, etc. and you don’t feel as if you are applying cavities directly to your teeth.
I liked the aroma and was optimistic. But then I went crazy. Black tea is the BEST delivery system for maple sugar! This tea is sweet and filled with the great flavor of maple sugar but it is never cloying. That’s what I don’t like! Cloying and treacly! This is perfect. Now I totally “get” why people love Maple Sugar so much.
And I will place an order! This is simply the best use of maple sugar known to humankind, in my opinion. Totally and outrageously deliciously sweet but not too much at all. Just right! It’s a Goldilocks moment.
Thank you so much to RABS!
Yesterday I could not roll a number on the Geek Pride D & D die that RABS had so thoughtfully provided in her magnificent package—see pictures at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/destro/4675973000/
Today I rolled a “1” and opened a package with two offerings in it—who doesn’t love a bonus? I’ve chosen to try this one first and will write a review of the second one within 24 hours. I was away from home for quite a bit and discovered that using tea bags is not the death of Western Civilization nor of me specifically so I was happy to try Stash tea. I’ve not had it before as far as I know.
This Breakfast Blend is a bit mysterious: it contains a “blend of organic black tea” and I cannot pick out a single black tea that I could swear is contained herein. It’s a good tea bag, but does not have the strength of some of the kickier blacks I like to drink in the day time. I used 6 ounces of water and steeped the tea for 4 minutes and a few seconds. Perhaps I should have used less water or steeped the tea longer, because this tea is going to end up with the strange verdict “Pleasant”. A ruling of “pleasant” is not fatal, but I guess it’s damning with faint praise.
Nonetheless, I am very happy to have tried this tea and can attest that it’s a nice, pleasant brew.
What a magnificent tea!
I’ve been away (and life with tea bags is not fatal, actually, it’s just not nearly as much fun). I returned home and at the first opportunity rolled the die I got from RABS in the ongoing enchantingly marvelous Tea Geek Game. I rolled a “4” (I still have not rolled a “1” or an “8”) and got this tea: Organic Yunan Gold.
The dry tea has a pleasant aroma—earthy and a bit spicy but the dry aroma does not really give up the multitude of nuances the steeped tea will reveal.
It’s an exceptionally good Yunan and Yunans are amongst my favorites along with Lapsang Souchongs and Keemuns. I loved the play of flavor: the characteristically malty taste of a good Yunan is always a deep pleasure for me. In addition, I picked up on the peppery taste (before I had read the notes of others here) and loved it. It seemed as if each sip was a little bit of a yeasty pepper dancing a tango with some fleeting but at least momentary distinct overtones of chocolate and/or chestnut.
Overall, however, I’d say that this tea is unique in that I know of no other tea that brings in so much pepper in such a graceful way. It’s a bit tangy but not so much that the other tastes are overwhelmed. Although I didn’t need it, I think that this tea would do very nicely with milk and/or sweetener.
Another great selection from RABS, my teamonger of choice!
This tea came packaged up with the Number 3 brew I enjoyed so much yesterday, thank to RABS and her incredible, creative, ingenious, wonderful Geek Tea Prize. In following the rules of the game, I have certainly consumed this tea within 24 hours but it may be longer for me to have posted this tasting note.
(Parenthetically: my mother in law is visiting and I’m feeling slightly deprived of computer time: I won’t have much access to the computer for the next week but I will be peeking in. We are going to take her on a road trip to meet up with another one of her sons. If you had told me a year ago that my biggest fears and trepidations about a roadtrip would not be car crashes or bed bugs, or a diet of fast food but rather no control over water temperatures for my teas, I may not have believed you). I hope that this deprivation will be good for my moral fibre.
This is a WONDERFUL tea. All of the tasting notes rave about this tea. I am now on infusion 4 or 5 and it’s going very strong. For those who do not like green tea, this might be one to sample. This tea never seems to get that bitterness that some greens have if they are not coddled. Perhaps because it is Chinese instead of Japanese? I am not sure.
As others have written, I can attest: this tea opens up to a floral/vegetal buttery aroma that is simply devastatingly wonderful. It seems to have a lighter touch than many greens in terms of going full-fledged vegetal—that is, I don’t have any sense that there is spinach or asparagus in my tea (are you listening to me, JacquelineM?). At the same time, perhaps paradoxically, I taste this tea as richer and deeper than many greens but more towards the floral side.
Like the An Xi Tie Guan Yin Charcoal Oolong of yesterday, this green counterpart is a miracle of tea growth. This plantation must be a spectacular place. This tea comes in a small package and yet contains within it a full canvas of artistic splendour.
I really have to agree with Morgana: newborn babes really smell exquisite. They have not accumulated bacteria. IF they sweat or burp or engage in other bodily functions there is a pureness to it. Stench is acquired with age! And this tea has that kind of brand-new purity and freshness and lightness. It tastes as if it has never been contaminated with man-made “stuff”. Other-worldly, I would say.
I really cannot thank Rabs enough for her kindness. Life in Teacup will hear from me, eager to place an order, when they return from holiday in August.
Thank you so much to RABS for sending me this. Yesterday in the Geek Contest Game I ruled another “2” and there was no corresponding package left—I had already had my “2”. Today I ruled a “2” again and decided I could give myself another rule of the die. After all, 3 a day are permitted. My next roll of the die yielded a “3”.
This beautiful package contained two tea samples and I’ve only had one at this point. I just finished my first infusion of this oolong. When I opened the package from “RABS” I got very excited at the word “charcoal.” For me “charcoal” is one of those magical words like unicorn and rainbow and cat and miracle and antidisestablishmentarianism. It’s a word that make my heart leap up, as Wordsworth would put it.
And this tea is worthy of leaping hearts! I have had only one infusion and hope that there are more. Before I started to write this review, I went to the web site of Life in Teacup to place a full-blown order. That in itself should tell you, reader, how much I was enjoying this tea. (Note: They are on holiday until August 1st).
The “charcoal” does not produce a deeply smoky tea, but it does produce what I would call a very “savory” tea which intensifies and focuses fruit and flower and nut aromas. This tea offers an intoxicating dance of flavor. The “charcoal” must refer to the way of toasting the leaf or preparing the leaf. There isn’t much real smokiness in evidence. The play of flavors is very delightful. It’s as if I were sitting at the New York City Ballet watching a quick succession of soloists sequeing their dances precisely: first there is a floral: lavender or lilac in sensation followed by a nice earthy nut which gives way to a pluot (plum/apricot) or a peapear (peach/pear) duet or fruits.
This is one of those teas, similar to Dawn by “The Simple Leaf” that seems to have an outrageously wonderful assemblage of natural flavors which mix and mingle on the palate with the precision of trained performers. It’s wonderful! And I am off to do another infusion.
Rabs, I cannot tell you how spectacularly you have delighted me and thrilled my palate. The Geek Day prize has been a smashing hit. It’s sensual impact is incredible: the visual presentation, the aromas, the tastes of the teas, the heart and soul and spirit that went into the selection; along with the playfulness and the randomness. What you have done is true “performance art”.
Resteeps 2 and 3: Strong, fresh, vigorous. Delightful as the first time. I already know what to anticipate so a bit of the “WOW” factor is down, but I would not change my rating at all. I am going to steep number 4 for 4 minutes.
After spending some frustrating hours engaged in work, I looked forward with the keenest of anticipation to playing a round of Tea Geek, thanks to the ever-generous RABS.
Today I rolled a “5” on the die and opened the package with keen anticipation.
And what did I get? My favorite tea ever. If I were held hostage and asked to limit myself to one kind of tea and only one for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t need to think. Lapsang Souchong would be my unhesitating choice. I am addicted to the smoky, tar-like aroma and taste of a Lapsang Souchong. Once you get the addiction and try several different kinds, the variations can be startlingly diverse. That’s a real plus as far as I am concerned. For me, two different Lapsang Souchongs can be as varied and different as a lemon rooibos might be to a Keemun Hao Ya A to another drinker.
Life in Teacup will get an order from me. This Lapsang Souchong is incredible! The aroma is intense and smoky which bodes well. Drinking the tea evokes all the pleasurable smoky, warm, bonfire taste but this has more of a tar taste than any other LS I have tried. And I love the tar with a passion! It’s like cedarwood smoked bacon served with tar and it’s simply delicious.
I really must thank Rabs for introducing me to one of the best Lapsang Souchongs I have ever loved. There are quite a few decent but taste-alike LS teas out there. I love them, but not all of them have a totally distinctive taste. Or, as I like to quote from Randy Jackson, my taste and discernment mentor, Life in Teacup has made it their own.
Utterly delicious, smoky, mysterioso and glamoroso, this tea quickly won a place of pride in my personal Pantheon. Thank you, RABS!
This tea is from RABS and her wonderful Geek package. The rules stipulate that I not try more than three a day. I’m trying to limit myself to just one a day so that the bliss lasts longer.
Today I rolled a “2” on the die. The beautiful package yielded a most generous sample of Adagio’s “Golden Monkey.” I like Adagio a lot. Although they can sometimes be “off” a bit or even a lot, they offer some really exquisite teas for what I consider a most reasonable price. I also think that the “blend your own” tea can make a wonderful gift and have used it four times thus far….but I digress.
I wanted to have this tea hot. I know that I could have opted for iced, but I was feeling a bit urgent. I love the image of monkeys high in the tea trees, gripping the bud in their little hands (while a primate compadre carefully and contemplatively picks the fleas off his tea-picking amigo).
This tea is malty and earthy in all the best ways—not too much, but sufficiently pronounced that I like it a lot. I detect some chocolate notes and I see how this tea can be, like The Simple Leaf’s justly celebrated Dawn, one of those miraculous tea shape-shifters that manages to mix and mingle a panoply of tastes and aromas.
I also sense a range from what I would call the buttered grape/prune/current range—perhaps I’m referring to what others call a “wine” taste. For me this taste often, but not always, comes with some overtones of date. (By the way, I love dates and anything cooked with dates). So far we are hitting most of the major tea notes I love aside from the tobacco/tar/roof pitch family.
This really is an exquisite tea. Approaching the bottom of the cup I added one sugar crystal and a dash of milk. I would say that the tea can stand up to the milk and sugar well and that they only enhance the flavors. But the tea is superb without them.
I really love teas that are AD/DC: great black but also supportive of a bit or milk and sugar and this is one of these. I am thinking of ordering a full bin of this and also small sample sizes of chocolate, current, and plum. I’ll probably place an order with Adagio soon and get Golden Monkey and Mambo and add a dash of the flavors from time to time.
Thank you so much, RABS for this excellent choice. It happened to be the perfect tea at the perfect time for me and I continue to be so very excited about being a winner of your Geek contest.
I just sampled this wonderful tea thanks to AmazonV and her generosity. What a delicious spicy chocolate tea. Like AmazonV, I am not at all certain which spices are used. There’s a peppery taste that is not too hot; in fact it’s perfect.
I love chocolate teas and this one is a perfect example of a basic chocolate enhanced beautifully by the addition of something extra: this is certainly one of the best chocolate spices I have had.
I really am disappointed in chocolate teas where the chocolate flavor is not detectable; this one really delivers. Thank you so much!
This is a delicious tea. The dry aroma is dominated by the orange but the brewed tea liquor nicely balances the orange, apple, and the spices of the blend. The vanilla is not shy either.
As I drink this I think that it’s one of many, many teas I have sampled which are exceptionally strong. How do I distinguish them? American Tea Room has one of my favorite blends in its Brioche and I think that their one flavor orange and vanilla teas are exceptional. This tea is an exceptional orange/apple lightly spiced and there is most certainly a niche for that in my life.
American Tea Room never has disappointed me yet; I don’t know if they add something to the blends but they seem to end up with a better product than so many of the really fine but not brilliant tea companies out there have. I wonder if most of those companies rely on the same blends/different packaging. I am convinced that the American Tea Room is adding a je ne sais quoi that is thoroughly delightful.
I was very lucky and won in the supremely entertaining, intelligent, and creative Geek Day Tea Giveaway that Rabs planned.
The tea package came with intriguing instructions and each tea beautifully wrapped. I had to wait to procure my camera from my son and then took some pictures: the pictures do not do justice to the elegant packaging.
I hope that the above link will show you the beautiful and drop-dead gorgeous packaging. I am certain that this is the way gifts are packaged in the Tokyo branch of Tiffanys.
Today I rolled the die that RABS included and came up with an 8. The tea is Evening Escape by Tea Guys. Even though it was close to 3 in the afternoon, I decided to drink it instantly because the packages says “black tea, flower petels”. I opened the package and smelt——my sorely missed morning Lapsang Souchong!!!! Really! I wouldn’t consider Lapsang Souchongs an “evening escape” unless enjoyed with an opium pipe. The smell really stoked me to expect a great tea and this one did not disappoint me at all. I see that the Tea Guys are from Massachusetts and I can visualize them having Arlo Guthrie over for tea, music, and a pipe on the evening. They are on Adirondack rocking chairs on the wrap-around veranda of a retropurposed farmhouse which is now a tea blending company. As I wait for the tea to steep my mental image of the tea guys is complete. There were those lovely purple-blue flowers in the tea as well—-I believe that they are mallow flowers—and I like them. Anyhow, I see the Tea Guys as looking a bit like Crosby, Stills, and Nash of 45 years ago. “Carry On” they sing as they pick their mallow flowers.
My first impression is that this tea is a light Lapsang with the sweet floral highlights. I really like it a lot because I start to slurp it eagerly. It does taste a bit like a combination of Leland Lapsang and Mariage Freres Eros and in the combination it becomes unique. I know I will have to order this tea!
I felt as if I had been prudent enough. I waited almost 24 hours before the lovely package from RABS arrived to roll the dice so I decided to have a second cup and to try the sweetener/milk combination. NB: I do end up preferring most teas with a bit of whole milk and a few little brown/amber sugar crystals. This tea stands up to the milk without compromising any of its integrity and the sugar if anything enhances the sweetness of the floral element.
All in all, I pronounce this tea a quasi-divinity and pronounce Rabs a tea-Goddess for coming up with this lovely and alluring competition.
Evening Escape by the Tea Guys is very versatile: it will taste like bacon in the morning; like a robust lapsang with flowers in the afternoon. And the evening? It might just be an escape, but it is no soothingly lazy herbal blend. This is a daytime tea for me and a delicious delight.
May thanks to RABS for her exquisite inventive imagination and her superb good taste.
Although tea pleasure awaits me later on today, I started today with a new, to me, Lapsang Souchong. I’ve been drinking these for months and trying to find my favorites (that would be YOU, Narien, Upton, and Leland thus far).
This tea does not seem to exist. I use a lot of tea leaf==more than most people do so I typically use 2-3 tablespoons and I have large mugs. I use a spoon designed “for a perfect pot of tea” (it makes 2 or 3 cups). That has always worked out for me. Today I got dark, tasteless, flavorless water. Then I retreated back to bed in despair and slept for a few more hours and then tried again: one small (8 ounce) mug; two over-scooped spoons of tea-leaf (that would be 6 tablespoons). And the result barely registers.
This is an historic nadir: I’m throwing out the rest of the bag. I don’t think that this tea will do for those who like tea light on the smoke—this tea just isn’t there. I don’t know what is inside the bag!
Worst experience ever. At least with rooibos you know what you are in for. On to fresh fields and pastures new.
This is a good strong Breakfast tea. It’s not superb but I liked it well enough. As Randy Jackson might say, “It was just a’ight”. I like this type of tea in general, but nothing here “popped” specially for me and nothing said “You must buy me again.”
On the other hand, I would be perfectly proud to serve this to anyone at all. I just would not be likely to think of it instantly if asked to select my favorite English Breakfast brew. But I cannot think of any other I would name first. I guess I have not found my English Breakfast to die for; my English Breakfast that I would be devastated if it were not at my finger-tips; the English Breakfast I would call a romantic fervor.
I am a big fan of Harney & Sons and I like their Paris and Florence teas. I ordered Boston! I forgot that the tea has cranberry flavors. When I opened the tin I was overwhelmed by an aroma that was not entirely pleasant: i put my finger on it: Paregoric soaked in cherry and stored in a humidor! I was a bit surprised by the intensity of this aroma and after sitting with it for a few minutes, I had to conclude: this is a concoction of paregoric, cherries, and some cigar tobacco.
Steeped, I smell the cranberry quite clearly. And the enticement of the paregoric has gone, taking with it my opium dreams (I was of the generation where mothers used paregoric as a catch-all medicine for their children—indeed I can remember trotting off to the drug store to buy her a bottle of paregoric and a package of Parliament cigarettes all for less than 50 cents).
So aside from being a blast to the past, Boston Tea proves to be a reasonably strong, robust black tea with cranberry aroma and flavor. I cannot pick on on the almond flavor specifically, but I do recommend this tea. After the moments of strangeness, the tea itself offers a generous tea/cranberry experience which is much more authentic than some of the other cranberry flavored teas I’ve sampled before. I think this would be a great tea to serve with a holiday dinner and a good tea to keep in stock. The aftertaste is delightfully cranberry too.
Au fond, my only disappointment is that the paregoric seems to have been a temporary illusion! I could also see mixing this tea 50/50 with Florence to sample the result.
This is a very perfumed tea and its aroma evokes being at a busy, bustling perfume counter where a bunch of youthful girl scouts are spraying the air with all kinds of different and not necessarily complementary scents. Trying to deconstruct the riot of flavours and aromas is not easy.
Perhaps this tea is too much of a good thing: it’s as if a master builder had only one opportunity to create a building and tried to do a Bauhaus structure with Gothic gargoyles, rococo flying buttresses, and Frank Lloyd Wright glass.
Perhaps it’s not wise to gather up so many sages for one single tea. But it’s not cacophonous—-just a bit busy. I think that the citrus looms larger than the rest.
Or maybe a decent Earl Grey got loose in the kitchen one night and added all of the loose ingredients it could find to itself.
Sweet and nutty, this tea fulfills its promise. It is very good but does not pop quite as much as other 52teas have done. I want to go and eat the tea leaves, however. This impulse is unusual and indicates the nutty goodness of the tea.
Much gratitude to ANGRBODA for sending me this tea. I have been a fan of the Queen of Denmark for decades—since she was a young girl with her lovely parents and her two younger sisters. I was, therefore thrilled to try the tea that she drinks expecting a intelligent and feminine blend.
The aroma of the dry tea is magnificent: it’s like stepping into an exquisite flower shoppe. The floral scent is multifarious. The tea itself is like a fairly strong Earl Grey with added floral oomph.
What a pleasure!
I liked this tea quite a bit. If you like Irish Cream, you are likely to like this tea because it’s a superb replication of the aroma and the flavor of a good Irish Cream. True, they did not add the alcohol but everything else is there.
The dry leaves are very attractive and colorful. The aroma is quintessance of Bailey’s Irish Cream. The taste is lovely and I cannot disagree with anyone who would give this a rating of “100”. I don’t because I am using that rating for the flavors that make me lose control—-as Patty Duke reputedly did with a hot dog—-. I have always liked Irish Cream but never loved it.
I got the French label which seems to think I’ll engage in an Irish jig (gigue) upon drinking this. I feel as sedentary as ever, but I also enjoyed this tea a lot. I would not make a special order just for this tea, but next time I order from David’s tea, I will probably purchase Irish Cream again.
I could not find an English translation of this. I ordered this tea from Mariages Freres in Paris because it is smoky. As a lover of lapsang souchongs, I expected to like this and I love it.
It’s not as purely smoky and peaty as some Russian Caravans can be: there is a touch of a kind of perfumed sweetness which reminds me a bit of Upton Tea’s Black Dragon and which highlights the smoke very nicely. I feel as if I am in a Parisian bistro surrounded by a glamourous smoky atmosphere but the smoke is all sweetness and not the least bit offensive.
I’ll have to place another order with Mariage Freres in France later this year; they have so many delightful blends that I don’t think are available in North America: (Vivaldi, Confucius, Elixir d’amour, etc.) I also ordered their Lapsang Souchong jam which is just extraordinary.
What a delicious tea! It’s beautiful dry and the steeped tea has a very sweet liquer. I can most certainly taste the marzipan/almond flavor. The pistachio is a bit more remote, but it’s there. I also pick up on a big coconut flavor which is not puzzling considering that the written catalogue I have mentions the flavour of “Parisian macaroons”.
This is a perfect pick-me-up afternoon black tea and it would also be perfect for a special meeting…. Simply lovely! The flavors are exquisite but the black tea does not compromise its strength.
This is a tasty tea, no doubt, but I needed to use a LOT of dry tea for a decent cup and I don’t know how cost-effective it is.
There are dried apples in the tea: I tasted and tasted. It’s not caramel. It’s not caramel-covered apples; it is apple. But the tea does not taste much like apple, in any event.
It’s a nice tea—don’t get my wrong—but at the price, I don’t think it is worth it. I’ve had much better caramel teas and much better chocolate teas.
I’m also starting to realize that I don’t much care for teas named after desserts.
ANGRBODA very kindly sent me a generous portion of this tea. I had not had any since it was first released and I like it more than most people here do. The cherry taste is a bit muted, I agree. But there’s something about the “cola” taste that I love. Indeed, I’ve been known to wear cola fragrance: L’Aromarine Cola Eau de Toilette is the best inexpensive scent I have. This tea tastes like the liquid scent.
There are a bunch of complex notes vying for attention here, I think, which is why it might not seem utterly successful as a cherry tea or as a vanilla tea or as a cola tea, but I like the mix very much.
What a delicious blend! I’m swooning with delight. Many many thanks to Angrboda for introducing me to this tea. I love smoky teas and this one refuses to wimp out. It’s a strong and serious drink with smoldering yet clear intentions. This tea offers uncompromising deliciousness to all lovers of smoky tea. Many Lapsang Souchong blends tend to add sweetness or lightness to the mix but this one reinforces and enhances the strong smoke.
Absolutely, devastatingly perfect—a tea to love!