1300 Tasting Notes
This was a free sample I received a while ago as part of my Tea Buffs subscription. Having a break from cleaning and sorting, been at it all day and I’m knackered.
The loose blend consists of large leaf pieces and small mixed pieces, it had a sweet pear and almond scent. It was amazing, pear is hard to capture scent wise but this is fab.
Once steeped the tea is amber in colour and is very sweet and almond rich. In flavour it is more mild in comparison to it’s strong scent but it is just as pleasing. After my husbands first sip he said “Yummm that’s nice” and it takes a lot for him to say that. I can’t taste the Rooibos other than it’s sweetness but that matches well against both the pear and the almond/marzipan. It’s not tart like ie crusty or bready in any way so that is just a play on words I suppose, make it sound more appealing. The pear is pure tasting though it’s stronger than it would be to actually eat a pear so I think it may have some artificial flavour present, or something to aid it anyway.
The strongest element is by far the almond, if you like almond tea then this is worth a try. It’s nice to have an almond tea that doesn’t make me think purely of marzipan (despite this blends name).
Right, I’m going to finish my tea and then I need to carry on, such is life.
Flavors: Almond, Pear
Another aged tea in my line up today. I’m doing bursts of house cleaning whilst cooking a large pot of chilli to aid my craving of chilli cheese fries. So I want aged teas and chilli cheese fries….an odd but pleasurable day.
These Oolong balls are medium/large in size and are very dark brown in colour. A quick sniff-spection reveals a sweet wood, leather and dry earthen concoction that leaves my mouth salivating in anticipation.
Ok this is interesting, it tastes milky but not overtly sweet or creamy which I usually find with fresh Tie Guan Yin. Milky but also buttery though mild and not fresh, which sounds horrible as non fresh milk is sour and disgusting and this is not like that but I can’t think of another way to describe it. Perhaps to say like uht milk, not fresh but still ok.
Enough about milk. It has a little sweetness to it and is more floral than I was expecting. Also has a toasted quality which comes through more in the later steeps, though it remains lighter than you expect an aged Oolong to be.
A nice Oolong but unfortunately it doesn’t stand out as much as I was hoping, it just tastes like I bought a pack of Tie Guan Yin and left it in the cupboard for a few years before finally digging it out and trying it.
Yay it’s a tea that’s older than me :) Always fun to try mature teas, though I am used to those being in Oolong or PuErh form rather than black.
The raw leaves are small and thin which look sticky and wooden, dark brown in colour and bares a musty, damp, rain, forest sort of smell…or like beetroot. It is rather like a PuErh in scent funnily enough, also getting sweetcorn (like sweetcorn that has been cooked on a bbq and is starting to burn). Perhaps not my favourite smell but I’m still intrigued.
My first few sips reveal an array of flavours, taking particular note of: damp soil, beetroot, damp wood and sweet potato. It’s highly earthy and with some sweetness. As a whole it doesn’t linger in the after taste and nor does it leave me with any dryness. It’s also somewhat refreshing, like clove but just without it’s flavour. A few steeps in my gaiwan reveals more of the sweetcorn flavour.
Honestly….I HATE beetroot! I cannot stand the stuff, never have and never will. This tea tastes just like beetroot, it smells like it too, and that puts me off it a little. I can drink and stomach this tea and tried to find things about it that I found pleasurable such as the sweetness but I am still taken back to the beetroot notes in each sip.
I will reserve my rating for now but I will try it again in the near future.
Thank you Scheherazade for this sample from our recent swap.
The raw blend smells strongly of vanilla and maple sauce, at first I thought cocoa but then the maple grew and lingered in my nostrils. It’s beautiful.
Flavour is sweet and thickly like maple with buttery notes and a lingering after taste. I was once gifted some maple shaped sugar treats by someone that were soft and crumbled as you sucked them…this reminds me so much of those sweets. It’s not so much cupcake like as it treacle/maple sponge cake like but I suppose the fact that it is rather cake like at all is a triumph. Not as thick as you would think being a black tea either which is a plus considering it’s so super sweet.
A lovely tea, too mild for my husband (though he agrees with me about the after taste and treacle sponge cake) but I quite like this blend. It tastes much nicer than I was expecting.
Flavors: Maple, Sugar, Vanilla
I have not written many new notes recently as I’m in the process of trying to use up samples that I have already reviewed. As I am part way through buying a house my next step is to start packing in anticipation of the move, my tea cupboard needs a jolly good sort out and I have many that I really should finish before I move. So that is what I have been doing with my time. In turn I’m finishing the last of this Hot Cinnamon Orange tea, previously I said it was more of a night time tea yet this morning it’s my first pot of the day. It rained last night very heavily and it still smells thickly of fresh rain, it reminds me of cinnamon hence why I chose this tea for my first pot. Another sample down but many more to come. At least it’s giving me the space I eagerly wanted on my tea shelf, plus the new house has an amazing kitchen with lots of space and I can hold even more tea!
I remember having strawberry cream hard boiled sweets when I was younger though I cannot remember the brand, anyway this tea reminds me of those sweets. It has a mild strawberry flavour and focusses mostly on the cream element and it certainly is creamy and somewhat sweet. Not quite vanilla like in terms of cream but not far off. That gave it a light consistency and volume which made it easy to drink and perfect for hot days. Though it was mild it was still enjoyable and I shall be sharing the rest of this box with my craft friends at the club tonight.
Flavors: Berries, Cream, Creamy, Strawberry
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for my sample of this.
This is my husbands tea of choice for us to sample while we watch the World Cup (Brazil vs Germany) and I carry on with my cross stitch.
The raw leaves are a mixture of dark brown and golden colours which are thin yet long and rather curly/twisted. They have a pure wood scent with a hint of tobacco, at a nice almost mature level.
Leaf – 5g
Vessel – Gaiwan 100ml
Water Temp – 90C
7 Steeps : rinse,10s,20s,30s,50s,70s,90s,120s
First Steep – 10s
Colour is mahogany and it bares a mild yet sweet, malt and wood scent. Flavour is wonderfully smooth and sweet with light malt, wood and maple tones.
Second Steep – 20s
Increasing in strength but still rather smooth and the malt tone is the most dominant. Still traces of light maple too.
Third Steep – 30s
Very smooth, even to the point of slipping down my throat like silk. It’s so very light yet full of flavour, it makes the three steeps so far refreshing and very easy to drink while not compromising on flavour. Still getting dominant malt tones with sweet maple and a touch of wood. It’s holding nicely so far.
Fourth Steep – 50s
Getting lighter in flavour and also less smooth, though only a little. As it’s not as sweet nor smooth the malt and wood tones are equal in strength which make a heavier steep.
Fifth Steep – 70s / 1m10s
Still a nice level of flavour left and with minimum astringency. It’s acquired a light leather flavour at this point.
Sixth Steep – 90s / 1m30s
I’m surprised this still has so much flavour left at this level steep. On the whole the colour is much darker and reminds me of light soy sauce but apart from that this tea is still very sound. It even tastes light enough to be smooth once again and have a little sweetness like rock sugar and malt.
Seventh Steep – 120s / 2m
It remains light and sweet with wonderful malt tones. There was no dryness in this tea and I was left with a refreshed mouth between each steep, a rarity I find with black teas steeped in the gaiwan.
Overall – I wasn’t sure what to expect with this Golden Monkey, it’s a tea I’ve had from many other companies and they tended to be smoky and very strong with lots of astringency and dryness. This was the opposite to others I have tried, throughout it remained flavourful and refreshing with a smooth/silky body. I can’t remember the last time I had a tea remain so consistent throughout a full gaiwan session, it was a very nice treat that pleased both me and my husband. The next time I order from Teavivre I will certainly keep this tea in mind.
Flavors: Malt, Maple, Tobacco, Wood
I tried the 2013 harvest of this tea and adored it (as my rating shows) which makes me happy to get my hands on a sample from this year to note any changes. It’s very hard to do…all I have are notes from last year and I only had one sample, the comparing is more or less impossible, but I can at least compare notes and see what differs (if anything).
The leaves are thin and needle like with many silver tips present, last years were more curly and these are straight. Also there are a lot of little hairs present on the silver tips which were not noted last time. Scent remains the same, kale was previously noted and I agree with it still ‘kale mixed with peony and a dash of grass’.
‘Being steeped in my Gongfu teapot three times for 1 minute, 2 minutes and 3 minutes.’ As I did previously.
The resulting liquid is yellow (yep still the same) but it also mentioned it being thick which this is not, it’s very mellow and appears fresher.
First steep is nice and sweet, light yet floral and grassy. Not at all astringent (as was previously noted). Also tasting less vegetal tones than was indicated from last years batch, this is more floral and grassy. The second steep is thicker and comes across somewhat perfumed which gives it some vegetal thickness (which I would liken to broad beans or something similar). So that is a decent change, though from what I remember it is still very similar. My final steep mimics the first one and once again it becomes mellow and freshly grassy.
Some notable changes yet also a lot of similarities, my rating would have been around the same mark regardless so at least that keeps it consistent. I would not say this years batch was better nor worse, it was just different though it remained as much a pleasure to drink as was last years.
Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Kale
I had this last night and forgot to review it so please forgive my lack of a full review for this tea. It’s my fault for getting the drawers mixed up, I have one for Teavivre samples I have not tried and one for Teavivre samples that I have tried, in my sleepy state I got this Puerh from the wrong drawer.
The leaves (from what I remember) were wonderful and musky smelling, very earthy and wooden. Dull-ish dark green and twig like in form compressed to a small piece.
I served this in my 200ml glass Gongfu teapot over three steeps (1 min, 2 min, 3 min).
The resulting flavour was more or less identical for the first two steeps, it had a deep, earthy flavour that reminded me of damp wood. Very musky and musty type of feel from it with some smoke. In a sense it tasted like rain from a forest, at least that is what my tired mind thought at the time. It might not sound nice to some people (musty and damp are not usually flavours I personally like) but it was very pure and that made it nice, it wasn’t too much or too thick. Well until I got to the third steep which was very thick and had to be watered down a little, it became too strong and almost unpalatable.
I enjoyed it as did my husband but it was not a favourite of mine.
Flavors: Musty, Smoke, Wood
I’ve had this on two occasions including at tonight’s craft club yet I’ve held out on reviewing it. I can’t say that’s for any specific reason, just to make sure it was the same throughout. My reason being that as this is Dragonwell ie a green tea it is hard to taste it, and as I’ve had this specific Dragonwell on it’s own I know it’s delicious, in that sense it seems a shame that I cannot taste it. What I can taste is lemongrass and it’s sweet, strong and crisp which dominates everything else. Undeniably it is very nice as I happen to love lemongrass but it is disappointing not to be able to taste anything besides that. In retrospect it’s a fancy blend that tastes like your bog standard lemongrass, again it’s nice and I want to enforce that but it doesn’t live up to it’s ingredients list. For that reason I will not rate this tea as it’s hard for me to define but it is a sample I can happily finish and am thankful to have tried.