532 Tasting Notes
I really really disliked this one last time I tried it. Per Stacy’s suggestion, I steeped at a lower temp this time around.
I made this gongfu style, 2.5 tsp for 5 oz with a 5 second initial rinse. I ended up drinking this tea over the course of three days, ultimately getting somewhere between 15 and 20 steeps. I never did grow to like it. I just wanted to see how many steeps I could get out of it. I took notes on the first four steeps, but after that the cups were so similar that it seemed redundant to take detailed notes.
first steep – 180f, 30 seconds
It’s hard to find the right word for the smell. Mineral, maybe. It tastes of dirt and that mineral(?) note. There’s almost a saltiness to it. The mouthfeel is heavy.
second steep – 180f, 40 seconds
While the first steep was very pale, this one is a deep orange. It has the same earthy mineral scent as the first steep. Just like the color, the scent is deeper in this steep. The flavor is about the same.
third steep – 185f, 60 seconds
This steep is actually slightly paler than the second one, almost a honey color. The smell is earthy now. That mineral/rock note has scurried off from the scent. Aaand apparently it ran right into the flavor. Ugh. Somebody recently asked on the message board what a mineral note tastes like and the first response was “go lick a rock”. Yup, this tastes like licking a rock. Or, more accurately, what I imagine a rock would taste like. With the exception of thoroughly washed fruits, veggies, tubers, and legumes, I make it a general rule not to lick things that come off the ground. So there’s that.
fourth steep – 180f, 30 seconds
This steep is SO much better! More earthy than rocky, with a hint of sweetness at the end. It’s actually better when it cools to room temperature. It takes on a more toasty character with a smooth mouthfeel and pleasantly fresh aftertaste.
I found that the brew consistently came out best at a 30 second steep between 180-190f. The flavor was always earthy and rocky, but it got smoother over time. It did grow on me but never quite got to “delicious”. I am very impressed by the high number of good steeps that I got out of it. No rating because I’m not sure how to split the difference between blegh taste and impressive steepability. Also because I think someone who enjoys dirt & rock notes would totally enjoy this tea.
I keep putting off writing a tasting note for this one because I want to be thorough. Meanwhile, I’ve already drunk most of it. D’oh!
This is easily one of my favorite mint teas. I consistently get 4 solid steeps out of these leaves. The flavor is crisp and clean, but the oolong base gives it more depth than most mint teas. The tingly mintiness lingers long after the sip. Mmm.
Stacy, this is conspicuously absent from the site right now. Please tell me that this is either an oversight or you’ll be restocking soon!
I know I’ve reviewed this tea before. The note and rating have gone bye-bye though.
I ended up with this tea by accident. I can’t stand eggnog. Still, since I was stuck with it, I gave the blend a try. It’s not bad. Normally, it just tastes like a creamy vanilla tea.
Today I decided to get adventurous and added a crushed-up cinnamon stick to my brew basket. Big mistake! Somehow it really brought out the buttery, eggy, custardy elements of the blend. Blegh! Blegh blegh blegh! If you actually like eggnog, you’ll probably enjoy this blend with some cinnamon added in. Personally, I barely managed to finish the cup and definitely didn’t go for a resteep. The buttery eggyness lingers forever after the sip too. Blegh.
Hey tea companies, no putting sweeteners in your blends! I bought this in the store because it smelled amazing. I didn’t realize the blend already has sugar in it. Way too much sugar. Substantially more sugar than I would have added to the mug myself. Somewhere under all that sugar there’s the taste of macaroon and maybe chocolate if I really seek for it. Mostly I’m tasting sugar. It’s NOT what I want from a flavored tea. It sort of feels like they’re cheating, actually. Using the sugar to cover up some kind of weakness in the underlying blend. I had high hopes for this tea, but I just can’t get past the cloying sweetness.
Recommending that I try your tea with sugar: OK.
Including a lot of sweetener in the blend itself: NOT OK.
Den’s Tea sent this along as a sample with my order. I’m generally not a fan of powdered teas (matcha excepted, since it’s prepared differently). It’s really hard to get them mixed in properly. With this one, most of the powder settled in the bottom of the mug within a minute or two of mixing. I tried stirring again but the powder settled anyway.
This tastes ok. Nothing spectacular, but not unbearable either. A little seaweed-y. Drinkable, if it wasn’t for all that danged powder at the bottom. Wouldn’t buy it myself.
Stacy sent me a sample of this with my 20 questions winnings. Thank you!
I was really hoping to like this one better than I did. The sip starts out with a tart lemon taste, followed by a bitter almond note and something savory that I can’t quite identify. Maybe it’s the amaranth? I’m not really sure what amaranth tastes like, but the internet says it’s nutty and malty and that sort of describes the weird flavor here. It sort of reminds me of rosemary. There’s a pleasantly tart, almost minty fresh taste that lingers long after the sip. The front and back of the sip are lovely. The bitter and savory notes in the middle kind of ruin it for me. Alas, I didn’t have any sugar around to test out what that would do to the flavor.
The second steep tastes very similar to the first, though slightly less lemony. I added some honey, which brought out more of the lemon tartness at the front of the sip.
The third steep gets closer to a macaron than any of the others. Zingy lemon up front, with a creamy element and some cakiness coming in towards the end. The creamy lemon taste lingers long after the sip. It actually reminds me of Wissotzky’s Lemongrass Cream Infusion, which I love. Towards the bottom of the cup there’s that almond bitterness again. Blegh.
The fourth steep tastes about the same as the second. There’s no lingering creamy or tart notes, just that weird savory flavor again.
I’m sort of doubting my tastebuds here, given how much everyone else seems to love this blend. Rating reserved until I get my hands on a little more so I can play around with adding sugar and trying it iced.
Whenever I visit my family abroad, we go to their local outdoor pool. We spend the morning there, swimming and enjoying the sun before it gets too hot. My uncle always brings tasty food from home. I love it. There are two things that always remind me of those times: garlic toast prepared a certain way, and the smell of freshly cut grass. So it makes sense that I associate grassy teas with good memories and warm weather. Today was definitely warm. Sencha time!
This particular sencha is one of the better ones I’ve had. It is just wonderfully light and grassy. I enjoyed it as my morning travel mug tea today. Mmm.
Cold steeped in the fridge for about 18 hours. This makes a fantastic iced tea. It has a sweet and natural peach smell. The flavor is likewise sweet and peachy. It’s fresh and light and just slightly dry. My dad thinks it’s too light, but he’s not a tea person so what does he know. It reminds me of bottled peach iced tea minus the sugar.
Until I run out of this blend, there’s always going to be a pot of it cold-steeping in the fridge. I like it that much.
I brewed the rest of this hot and stuck it in the fridge overnight. It still isn’t stunning, but it is substantially better iced than hot. The flavor is now natural strawberry instead of generic berry. The end of the sip is grassy and a touch bitter. I’m willing to chalk the bitterness up to user error. Overall, this makes for a decent iced tea. Thanks to Christina for sending it to me!