1118 Tasting Notes
Not usually a fan of Tazo teas but I try not to judge before sampling something new. On another note it’s my cat Ivory’s birthday today, he turns 2 and it’s gone by so fast. RIP to Ebony who would have also been 2 today, I looked out of the window half an hour ago and there was the biggest rainbow I had ever seen and I was in perfect place to admire it. I’ve always called Ivory my little rainbow baby. Ebony and Ivory did everything together so I think it’s his way of wishing his brother a happy birthday from cat heaven :)
(sip, sip, sip) Very tart and sour with in a fruity berry like way. Still rather hibiscus heavy overall though. There is some sweetness but it tastes somewhat chemical and just doesn’t cut through the tartness enough for my liking. It does in a way taste like passion fruit but much tarter.
Not a fan of this at all, may have to throw this away and make another tea as I believe I will struggle to finish this cup. Much too strong hibiscus wise for me.
Another sample to clear from my cupboard that was received in the first round of EU travelling tea box.
Wow this tea tastes strongly like vanilla and nuts, sort of like almond. The black tea is not overpowering but has a nice thickness which the vanilla and nut combination lightens and adds some sweetness.
I wasn’t expecting much from this one but it’s very nice, I could easily drink more of this blend. Not sure it would be a must buy but I would order it from a cafe. Lovely, happy I got to try this one.
Flavors: Nuts, Vanilla
I have a pyramid teabag sample of this blend to sample while I watch The Fifth Element this afternoon (I love that film).
Ok this tea is pretty bad, it has very little cinnamon in it! It just tastes like a black tea with a slight dry spicy after taste that lasts a second. The black tastes like a Yunnan so it’s very thick and malty with some smoke, not the best match for cinnamon anyway in my opinion.
Throwing this one away :/
I went through my samples earlier and put them into some little craft drawers to give me easier access to them. I still need to make room on my shelves for my Christmas and birthday teas, but first the samples might as well be sampled.
A eucalyptus grapefruit tea doesn’t sound that nice to me, I don’t like the taste of either particularly, but it smells so fresh and fruity…a nice surprise. The blend has some beautiful orange colours that must be the carrot flakes and/or freeze dried tangerine pieces and large pieces of of dried sliced orange. I can also note the lemon grass and some hibiscus petals. Other than that the other ingredients blend in very well.
The eucalyptus smells lighter than I imagined it would (which again is to my surprise and happily so) but everything else smells sort of herbal like, just generic, but with a citrus freshness. No grapefruit as such.
Once steeped the tea is red in colour (must be the hibiscus) and it has a bizarre savoury scent. I say bizarre but it’s not in a bad way, just one that I’m finding hard to describe. Lets start down with the basics…ingredients… Eucalyptus? Hmmm.. sort of. Grapefruit? Can’t say it does. Citrus? Yes but more like orange. Herbs? Ding, ding. ding. very much so. Anything else? It has some sweetness and what I believe to be the lemongrass present. But the blend as a whole just has a very savoury feel about it.
Flavour is refreshing with some sour citrus fruits and herby sweetness. It’s rather pleasant but still unusual. The more I drink the more I can taste the grapefruit like flavour, it’s not pure by far (which is probably because this blend doesn’t actually contain any grapefruit) but it’s similar. Still getting savoury vibes from it though.
It’s a pleasant and unusual tea but I don’t think it’s really for me. Not something I would buy or likely crave but was nice to experience something new.
The raw leaves are curly and green in appearance. There are also some lighter coloured stems present amongst the leaves too. Some of the leaves are not quite curled and are perfectly preserved, I can see the tips and shape along with the markings, a beautiful rarity amongst most teas.
They have beautiful sweet scent that is very floral, the name and description state gardenia which it very much does but also elements of lily of the valley and a soft fruity yet mature apricot.
I’m not sure how to steep this ‘correctly’ as there are no steeping instructions but I can have a good guess. I will treat it similar to other low oxidised Oolongs and hopefully it will be fine.
So I will be using 5g of this tea in my 200ml Gongfu teapot (not authentic Japanese but works very well). Water temperature will be 90 °C and shall be infused over three steeps. I will also do a 5 second rinse.
First Steep – 30 seconds
Light yellow colour tea with an elegant and sweet gardenia scent. The gardenia is pure and very much present, I used to work with perfumes and pure aroma oils and this smells exactly like pure gardenia oil but on a softer level.
Flavour is soft yet sweet with delicate hints of gardenia, flowers and grass/hay. Lovely for a first steep.
Second Steep – 1 minute
Thicker in strength and resembling gardenia oil even more now. The sweetness has also increased and is somewhat perfumed overall, that is to say it has a little dryness in the after taste. It is also fruity in the after taste, like apricot, it has that sweet yet sour delicate crispness.
Third Steep – 2 minutes
A little dryer this time and with a touch of astringency but still very sweet and floral. The astringency is rather mineral like which resembles more of a green tea rather than an Oolong.
Overall – This tea gave what was promised in the description, that being gardenia. It was present in the smell of the raw leaves, the smell of the steeped leaves and the flavour. Not only was it floral and perfumed throughout but it was also very sweet.
For more information and pictures of this tea please view my blog.
Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Gardenias, Grass
It’s been a nice relaxing day for the most part and I’ve spent the majority of my time playing Civilization V with my husband. Though we haven’t done much today we’re still feeling cream crackered (cockney rhyming slang for knackered/shattered/tired) so I chose this herbal blend as a potential last pot of tea before bed time.
The loose blend smells strongly of peppermint and anise and sort of general herb like smells. It is thick but the mint is sweet enough to stop it being too stodgy and unpleasant.
The peppermint is the strongest flavour which adds a nice refreshing sweetness amongst the anise and licorice. Though I’m not a fan of licorice (in tea anyway) the peppermint lightens it to make it at a nice strength for me personally, sort of getting the flavour of the licorice without the thickness of it. I can sort of taste the apple if I put my mind to it, shares some of the sweetness from the peppermint, but again that’s only if I push myself to do so.
Aside from that the other ingredients blend in rather well, nothing sticks out or tastes out of place so all in all it’s a very pleasant herbal tea. Very relaxing and refreshing, somewhat matching the blends given name. One of the nicest herbal teas I have had in a long while, was a hit with my husband too. (which is amazing as he rarely likes pure herbals).
Note to self – Might be worth keeping regular stock of this one and using as a night time tea.
I wanted gaiwan but my husband pulled a face and said “Can’t we just use a teapot instead”? so I caved in and steeped this into a large teapot. I had to use two packs so hopefully the level of tea to water will be fine.
I’ve had Ginseng Oolong before but it was a while ago, I remember it being tasty but strange, granted that was the best part of a year ago. Time to re-visit.
Thick bready scent once steeped but with beautiful sweet ginseng behind it. Almost like an aromatic ginseng baked bread that you would find in a specialist shop.
Flavour is light, sweet and floral with notes of ginseng, honey, fresh bread and some sort of herb that I can’t put my finger on. Cilantro? Fennel? It has the same refreshing quality as fennel/aniseed does (if you know what I mean).
I’m still undecided about this one, it’s perhaps a little too sweet for me. I never liked Fennel/aniseed and this reminds me strongly of it, though I love the smell of it. My husband wasn’t sure about this one either, he said it’s nice but strange. Am I just too Western for this one? It looks that way, ginseng I’m sorry but I don’t think we are meant to be together.
Thank you Wan Ling Tea House for this sample.
3oz / 85ml 212℉ / 100℃
5 Grams Tea
6 steeps : rinse,15s,20s,30s,40s,70s,140s
Rinsing time is around 5 seconds
The leaves are a lovely blend of brown and gold which are highly reflective. They have a sweet yet highly perfumed scent, rather musky and earthen. Must note there are a fair few sticks present in this sheng.
Picture – http://tinypic.com/r/2ut2aeh/8
First Steep – 15s
Golden in colour with a creamy yet floral musky scent that almost comes across as being astringent. It tastes a little astringent too but in a nice way, like a thick vegetal and floral way. In other words thickly sweet but not too much.
Second Steep – 20s
Still thick and sweet with a slight astringency and mineral tang. Resembling a savoy cabbage or fresh broccoli at the moment but in a lighter and more floral way. Is also a little buttery.
Third Steep – 30s
Ok very thick now, reminds me of raw brussel sprouts. Still very sweet too but the butter has vanished.
Fourth Steep – 40s
The astringency and musk has increased again which as cut the sweetness down. There is still a nice floral after taste though which lightens though has left me with dry mouth.
Fifth Steep – 70s
Not as thick or astringent now (thankfully) but it is increasing it’s floral notes. like peony and tulip. Still keeping the broccoli aspect but a very soft one.
Sixth Steep – 120s
Yes definitely the final steep, all that remains is a subtle waxy flower perfume that leaves the tongue rather dry.
Overall – Honestly I was expecting to love this as sheng is my favourite form of Pu Erh but unfortunately I found this one rather astringent and thick throughout. I love a sheng with full on flavour and I expect some extreme mineral elements with astringency but this was just too much for my personal liking. Still it wasn’t a complete waste on me, while I wouldn’t buy this Pu Erh I did still enjoy trying it today.
Thank you Wan Ling Tea House for this sample.
Water : 3oz / 85ml – 194℉ / 90℃
Use 5 Grams Tea
5 steeps : rinse,25s,30s,60s,90s,120s
Rinsing time is around 5 seconds
The Oolong balls are a very earthy brown colour with hints of red. Medium to large sized balls (mostly) with a rough average of 5mm in length. Due to the high oxidisation the balls are rather dry and crisp. They have a dark scent, like burnt wood and leather.
Picture – http://tinypic.com/r/14o0ojp/8
First Steep – 25s
Colour is medium tan/brown and it has a strong burnt wood yet slightly floral scent. Flavour is smoky and wooden with medium thickness (to start with). I can also taste flowers towards the after taste, sort of sweet and perhaps darkly fruity too, like prunes.
Second Steep – 30s
Still tasting the burnt wood but it’s thicker now and a little dry with some leather.
Third Steep – 60s
Very rich now but also smooth. The leather is more like a clay now but the burnt wood still dominates. A little sweet and floral in the after taste.
Fourth Steep – 90s
The burnt wood has toned down somewhat to allow the sweet flowers to shine through. Also getting more fruity notes this time like fresh, plump raisins.
Fifth Steep – 120s
All that remains is a mild yet still smooth floral Oolong with sweetness and a touch of smoke.
Overall – It was a nice Oolong that offered complexity, maturity and above all an array of flavours. It was very smoky and wooden but smooth in contrast which came across perfectly. With a touch of flowers and fruit at times, this was one very nice Oolong and has made my lunch time extra special.
Thank you Dag Wedin for this tea from the EU travelling tea box round one. It shall be my morning tea, as I have the day off due to everyone at my work being ill I’m going to be using my Gaiwan all day and treat myself to some of my favourite teas. Natural teas will always be favoured over flavoured blends in my house.
I shall be following this table:
Water : 3oz / 85ml – 176℉ / 80℃
Use 3 Grams Tea
4 steeps : rinse,20s,40s,80s,120s
Rinsing time is around 5 seconds
The leaves are a nice medium green colour and are very reflective and shiny. Averaging a rough estimate of 4-5mm long these needles/points are nice and crisp to the touch. They have a beautiful sweet grass scent with some perfume present.
Steep One – 20 seconds
Pale yellow colour with gentle sweet grass scent. Flavour is light and buttery with sweet grass and flower notes and a touch of dry perfume in the after taste.
Steep Two – 40 Seconds
The sweetness has increased and is now heavily floral. The butter is still present as is the perfume. Reminds me of orchid or lily.
Steep Three – 80 Seconds
Not as sweet this time but still floral and with a touch of astringency. Rather dry and perfumed now but still mild overall.
Steep Four – 120 Seconds
Very light, even more so than the first steep. The only thing that remains is a gentle sweet lily that lingers nicely in the after taste.
I will admit that while I adore green tea Long Jing just isn’t one of my favourites, it’s either too dry and perfumed or too astringent for my taste. Luckily this Long Jing really is nonpareil and it made for a very nice tea this morning. Sweet and floral throughout with only a little astringency and dryness to speak of. Definitely something I will be happy to drink more of.