520 Tasting Notes
Thank you to TeaVivre for sending me a sample of this!
The scent of the dry leaf is fresh and slightly seaweedy. The brewed leaf smells of asparagus and freshly cut grass. I used half the sample packet in my ~ 6oz gaiwan/teapot hybrid. After a 5-second rinse, I steeped the tea at 182f for 30 seconds. This first steep yielded a very pale green brew. The immediate flavor note upon sipping was artichoke. The second steep (176f, 60 secs) came out slightly bitter and drying, which was surprising and really distracted from my enjoyment. That slight bitterness was still there in the third steep (180f, 90 secs). The dominant flavor note was asparagus and maybe peas, but that bitterness kept bugging me.
I used the other half of the sample pack for a Western-style brew: 186f, 4 minutes. Much better! The flavor was light, vegetal, and evocative of a stone fruit – maybe apricot? The second steep tasted much the same. I put the third steep in the freezer for quickie iced tea. It was really tasty that way!
I decided to cold brew another sample pack to see if I could get the good notes without the bitterness. It worked! The cold brew is grassy, vegetal, and light. Really lovely for a summer afternoon. Even my dad liked it, and he’s pretty iffy on iced teas.
Flavors: Artichoke, Asparagus, Peas, Vegetal
I loved this tea back when I first bought it, so I stupidly hoarded it. Now a lot of the tropical flavor has faded, which makes me super tea-sad. To rescue it, I had to add a bit of rock sugar, refrigerate, and then mix with an equal amount of seltzer. The result is actually a pretty tasty tea soda. The tropical flavors are still pretty muted and there’s more earthiness than I generally like, but it’s quite refreshing.
Celebrating today’s Supreme Court ruling with something decadent! We got rainbow treats at lunch, but no celebration of mine is complete without tea. The chocolate in this one is stronger than I remember. It’s pretty awesome. The raspberry comes in towards the end of the sip and lingers. I’m not really getting any waffle flavor today. More like a warm chocolate cake with raspberry drizzle. This is just a lovely way to wrap up a lovely day. I actually think this tea has gotten better with age (though I should still finish it soon because of the dried fruit and chocolate chips).
Flavors: Cake, Chocolate, Raspberry
Thanks so much to Inkling for sending me some of this! I couldn’t find brewing instructions online, so I went with the Steepster average of 180f for 3 minutes. This is surprisingly hefty for a white tea. I really quite like it. Very good toffee flavor, smooth and thick mouthfeel, nice savory-sweet aftertaste. This makes for a nice dessert tea. I got a good second steep at 180f for about 5 minutes (didn’t time it the second time).
The dry leaf of this smells like roasted seaweed. Unfortunately, I got distracted and stopped taking notes soon after starting this sipdown gongfu session, so my impressions are pretty sparse. I have no idea how many steeps I ultimately got out of it or whether the flavor profile changed over time. I do know that this brews up a very pale yellow, to the point that it almost looks like water. The dominant flavor note is roasted seaweed, but it’s light enough to still be pleasant. The trick to this one is definitely short steep times, though. I distinctly remember making it Western-style a while ago and finding it too salty to drink.
Thanks to MissB for sending me some of this! I’ve been wanting to try a saskatoon berry tea ever since Roswell Strange started extolling the glories of saskatoon berries. I’d never even heard of them before. I still have no idea what a real saskatoon berry tastes like, but this tea is pretty nice. It tastes like blueberry with a hint of strawberry. Adding a little bit of brown rock sugar definitely makes the berry flavor pop. I suspect this would be tasty iced, but I drank all of it hot with brunch. Sipdown!
Sipdown! I’ve been drinking this one at the office, but I brought the last teabag home so I could do a proper review. This one is similar to Lupicia’s Carol, albeit grassier and less hearty. The brew has a nice thick mouthfeel. The strawberry flavor is candy-like while the vanilla is merely hinted at towards the end of the sip. The package instructions say to use boiling water but I used 180f water because boiling a green tea (especially matcha!) just seems wrong. I did use boiling water for the second steep. Even with a 5 minute steep, though, it came out much weaker than the first steep. Still nice, but weak. The addition of rice milk provides some nice creaminess but I’m not sure that second-steeping this blend is really worth it.
My partner has had a bad cold for the past few days. I’ve been playing nurse and now I am starting to feel unwell too. Time for some herbal tea and LOTS of honey. I downed this very quickly. The lemon tartness hits first, followed by a pleasantly lingering ginger burn which eventually fades back into lemon tartness. Good for a sore throat and generally tasty. Sipdown!
Many thanks to Inkling for sending me some of this! I have been wanting to try it for a long time now and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
For the first steep, I used 1 tablespoon of leaf for 8 oz of boiling water, steeped for 30 seconds. The scent of rich hot cocoa wafts up as soon as water touches leaf. The pale golden color of the brew belies the robustly chocolatey smell and flavor. This blend totally tastes like chocolate rice krispies! It’s fantastic. Except… now my tummy kinda hurts… maybe the base here is one of those black teas that hurts me?
For the second steep, I used boiling water again for a 45 second immersion. This still tastes like cocoa rice krispies, but weaker than the first steep. I added some brown rock sugar in an effort to boost the flavor, but it didn’t seem to make much difference. The third steep, which was 60 seconds long, suffered from the same problem. For the fourth steep, I just let it sit. It steeped for a bit over 5 minutes. Alas, it was still weak even with a rice milk boost.
Thankfully, I have enough leaf to give this blend another try. Next time I think I’ll go with a longer second steep, maybe 3 minutes. Overall this is a very enjoyable cuppa but so far only for the first steep.