388 Tasting Notes

89

Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending me a sample of this! I brewed it Western style, 1tsp/8 oz of water. I got three solid steeps. All of them were at 185f.

First steep – about 3 minutes
The brew is a very pale green. It smells fresh and spinachy. Maybe a hint of asparagus. It tastes like butter and spinach. This actually quite reminds me of Obubu’s Kabuse Sencha, which was smooth, creamy, spinachy, and fantastic.

Second steep – about 4 minutes
There’s an unexpected and delightful toastiness here, especially as it cools. However, it leaves my mouth feeling somewhat unpleasantly dry.

Third steep – length of steep unknown, I got distracted
This tastes like roasted spinach. Dry mouthfeel with a mildly sweet, fresh aftertaste.

Overall, I find this wonderfully green and springlike. However, the dryness is detracting from my enjoyment because it undermines the smoothness of the sip.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87

Many thanks to MissLena for sharing some of this. I originally intended to try blending it with other teas, but ended up just drinking it on its own as an evening tea. Hot, the ginger/sage combo is soothing. Cold, it’s brisk and refreshing. This is a smartly done blend, albeit not a must-have for me. There are just other herbals I like more.

sipdown

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82

This smells like ripe, juicy peaches, in an over-the-top way that verges on the artificial. The flavor is peachy with a veneer of tart hibiscus. Or is it hibiscus with a veneer of peach? Either way, it’s very drinkable. Blunt, sweet, simple. Tasty iced. I don’t think of it as particularly exceptional, but then again I made it to the bottom of the mug awful quick.

sipdown

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88

The “Flavors” category on this tea’s page lists caramel, cream, mineral, and espresso. I have no idea what folks are talking about. I am not picking up on any of those flavors. Instead, I’m getting honey and roasted rice. The brew is even a light honey color. The first steep reminded me of genmaicha because the roastiness was so dominant. Subsequent steeps were sweeter. Four steeps in all, made western style. Loads of honey goodness. I wonder why my experience of it is so different from everyone else’s. I know tastes differ, but this is a pretty substantial difference. Hmm.

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80

I made a big ole’ teapot of this just so I could get the sipdown. It’s nice today. The strawberry is here, more like strawberry hard candy than the fresh fruit. I’m not getting much of the cream. There’s a dryness here that lingers long after the sip. I’m generally not a fan of dryness in teas, but it’s drinkable.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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drank Milk Oolong by Mandala Tea
388 tasting notes

This is my first milk oolong. Thanks Stephanie!

I first tried this gong fu style. ½ tsp for 4 oz at 195f. The dry leaf smells creamy and sweet. After a quick rinse and a 20 second steep, the first cup smells the same as the dry leaf. The tightly rolled leaf has started to unfurl. There’s a creamy fruitiness in the smell of the brewed leaf. I can’t place it; pit fruit maybe? The creaminess of the tea hits right up front in the sip, followed by a green flavor…parsley or spinach maybe?… and a creamy finish.

Second steep, 25 seconds. Yup, creamed spinach. Well, cream and spinach. I’ve never had actual creamed spinach, so I can only guess what that tastes like.

Third steep, 45 seconds. This steep is more green, less cream. Parsley? Other than the creaminess, this tastes more like a green than an oolong.

Fourth steep, 1 min. Fifth steep, 1 min 30 seconds. Sixth steep, 2 mins. All taste basically the same – creamy and vegetal.

Seventh steep, 2 mins 30 seconds. A bit of toffee comes out.

Eighth steep, 4 mins 30 seconds. Starting to lose flavor. A touch of creaminess, a hint of toffee, and a lingering green flavor that I’m calling spinach right now. The leaves are gorgeous. Big, brownish-green, with slightly jagged edges.

I also tried this Western style: 1 tsp/8oz, 197f, 5 mins 30 seconds. The taste was about the same as I got from the gong fu brewing. Creamy, slightly sweet, vegetal. I don’t know that I have a preference between the two brewing methods for this tea, except that Western style takes less effort/overall time.

I haven’t decided how I feel about this tea. The creaminess was weird at first but grew on me after a while. I think I need to try a few more milk oolongs before I can meaningfully rate this one.

sipdown

TheTeaFairy

Nice review! I love this tea…

Stephanie

Glad you had fun trying it :)

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67
drank Bombay Chai by Tea Forte
388 tasting notes

I had a Single Steep pouch of this. I think there was about 1 tsp of tea in it.

The dry leaf smells nice, primarily of clove with a cardamom undertone. The leaf is extremely fine. The brew is an opaque orange-brown. The taste is blegh. Bitter? This is definitely not a chai that can be drunk without some version of milk & sweetener.

I was able to improve it substantially with almond milk and honey. The optimal ratio seems to be 2 parts almond milk to 1 part chai. I also added about a tablespoon of honey. It’s still not great, but it’s decent now. Heavy on the clove. Some ginger comes through, along with a hint of something minty – maybe that’s the star anise?

This leaves a dry, clove-tingly aftertaste. The sweetness of my additions comes through but doesn’t linger. Even with loads of almond milk and honey, though, this is meh at best.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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93

I’ve been trying to get through more of my Butiki Teas (mostly so I can justify another order in June). There wasn’t much of this one left, so I figured I’d finish it off tonight. I managed to pour all of it into my steeper before realizing that there was WAY more than 1 cup’s worth of leaf left in the bag. I ended up making a whole teapot (~32 oz) and it was still a very rich cup. As always, this blend is smooth and well-balanced. It’s definitely on my optimal rotation list and will likely be part of my next order. In the meantime, sipdown.

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86
drank Honey & Spice by Della Terra Teas
388 tasting notes

I like this more now than I used to. Maybe the spice mellowed out over time?

This blend is not especially complex – basically it tastes exactly like its name suggests – but it is quite pleasant and soothing. I think this is what chai would taste like with a honey base. I have found that rooibos is rarely a good base for chai because it just can’t stand up to the spice. Della Terra seems to have solved that problem by covering up the rooibos base with honey sweetness that complements the spice. So, yeah, this is aptly named.

I practically gulped this down. Sadly, I have no more as this is a sipdown. And I once again forgot to try brewing it in cider. D’oh!

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90

This was part of my massive Black Friday haul. I’m increasingly realizing that there is a law of diminishing returns for good sales on tea. The more tea you buy, the less likely it is that you will be able to enjoy all of your teas at their freshest and tastiest. Pu’erh can be the exception that proves the rule.

Anyway, I can tell from my first tasting note that this tea is capable of being very good. And I would expect it to be, since I still adore Della Terra’s cream flavoring. Alas, I think this tea’s gone bad. I have brewed this up several times over the past few days and always run into the same problem: no matter how much leaf I use or how long I steep, I can only eke out the tiniest bit of flavor from this blend. Mostly it just tastes like rooibos. I had this happen once before with a chocolate-flavored rooibos from another company. It was delicious when I first got it, but when I came back to it again after a few months it had lost all its chocolaty goodness. Neither blend actively tasted bad. It’s just that the flavoring had gone bye bye.

I mixed 2 tsps of this with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon chips and let it steep for 20 minutes. The result was a smooth, slightly spicy, woody brew. I think the best use of this tea now may be as a base for playing with add-ins. Perhaps some dried orange peel next time?

I’m not changing my original rating because the loss of flavor is my own darn fault for letting it sit in a cabinet for 6 months.

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