206 Tasting Notes

88

I love drinking iced hibiscus, straight. Like others, I usually stay away from blends because it often tends to overpower other ingredients if the portion is off. Might as well drink it by itself! The orange peel in this particular blend challenges the hibiscus, creating a strong, tart and citrus-y combination, each equally showing its character, curbed yet by the cinnamon. Adding cinnamon to sweeten teas has never occurred to me (unless it’s masala chai), certainly not to hibiscus. Hibiscus and cinnamon seem like a strange pairing but it works really well. The dry tea bag smelled nice, too. No sign of the lemon myrtle – too quiet to stand up with these loudmouths. Regardless, I drank the whole quart throughout the day and enjoyed this blend.

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55

Thanks to *Just Organic Teas" for the sending me a sample!

The mango flavoring smells really good! It was like a mango smoothie. As the bag steeped, I could also smell the chamomile, which, as I found out last night, makes a good pairing with mango.

I’m more than wary of boiling green tea. It has this sour, bitter taste, and that’s exactly what I get when I taste the liquor. The more ice, the better. Diluting makes the mango and citrus stand out more. However, that taste stays in the background. Still, I find the entirety of the tea refreshing.

This one isn’t for me, but I very much like the idea of a mango-flavored iced tea.

Just Organic Tea

Thanks for the great feedback! This really helps.

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drank Oriental Beauty by Sanne Tea
206 tasting notes

Thank you so much for the sample, Lulu!

Brewed with the gongfu method, using a ceramic gaiwan. Steeping times: 60, 120, 90, 120, 150, 180.

This is my fist Oriental Beauty. As I waited for the water heat, I took the time to look at the dry leaf sitting in the bowl. Short, slightly twisted leaves, medium and dark brown (lovely shades), with a few having white-ish or golden fuzzy tips.

I didn’t know how to take in the dry leaf aroma. Freshly dried flowers perhaps. The wet leaf aroma after the first infusion was very fruity – starfruit and grapes. Following the other infusions, I smelled freshly dried flowers again, mostly lillies.

The liquor golden yellow. Beautifully clear in my white cup. The liquor also has a thick texture, a medium-body, and consistent very sweet notes. The first infusion is juicy, and there is an apricot aftertaste.

An explanation to the weird steeping times: I MADE AN ERROR. My oven timer can only be set by the minute, so I had to put it for 2 minutes instead of 1 minute and 20 seconds. I lost track of the time while think of the aroma so the leaf steeped for two minutes! I had intended to strictly follow Lulu’s instructions…. Luckily (phew), the second infusion turned out to be more than fine. Pure, unadulterated, organic clover honey. It was an enjoyable cup! Going back to a shorter steep, the third infusion is fruity sweet with prominent mineral note and nutty aftertaste. The fourth is similar, except the liquor becomes even more sweeter as I let it sit in my mouth, allowing the thick sweetness of honey to return. The fifth and final infusions also drip with honey.

A mellow qi. I began to feel like the golden yellow color sitting in my cups towards the end of the session.

This was a good first experience with Oriental Beauty!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 7 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML
Lulu

Thank you for your wonderful tea review! Can I post the review on our FB page? :)

Lulu

KiwiDelight

You’re welcome! Please go ahead.

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81
drank Calm Me by Zhena's Gypsy Tea
206 tasting notes

This is a nice bedtime tea. Vanilla and coconut go well with each other. These flavorings overpower the herbs – except for the Valerian root and chamomile -, but I like vanilla in my tea, and it’s calming and delicious nonetheless.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72

Thank you for the sample, Just Organic Tea!

It’s very malty, to the point in which it’s bitter. I have three cups left sitting in my iced tea infuser, so I would change the instructions to fit my personal taste by adding another half quart or a full quart of water later. For this cup, I put in a splash of milk to temper the strength, and it works. This Ceylon black is nicely decent, an everyday black tea that makes for a refreshing iced tea for when I’d want something more robust.

Just Organic Tea

Thanks for the great feedback! This really helps.

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94
drank DongDing Oolong by Tea Ave
206 tasting notes

Many thanks to Tea Ave for providing me a free sample to review!

Brewed gongfu-style in a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60, 120.

The dry leaf aroma smells roasted and seaweed-y. This roasty quality becomes more powerful once the leaf is rinsed, after which I also get cooked dark vegetables, such as char, kale, and spinach. Using the aroma cup, I’m able to smell the liquor aroma, which is unexpectedly different – fresh strawberries! A little apricot appears later on.

The liquor is pale gold, lovely appearance in a white cup. Full-bodied, very flavorful yet light. Creamy and soft texture. I feel of mid-summer, a sunny and breezy afternoon. Definitely a summer tea.

The first infusion of the session greets me with roasted vegetables and a pure sugar aftertaste. The second tastes of grilled yellow zucchini, which I find to be sweet cooked just right. The third is still vegetal, but this note is but mellower. The texture is at its creamiest, and there is a fruity aftertaste.

Infusions four through six are nearly pure fruit: strawberries, bananas, and peaches. The texture is no longer creamy, but is still soft as ever. Roasted vegetables return in seven through nine (probably because I drank them after an hour break and had to become accustomed to drinking this Dong Ding). A peachy sweetness lingers.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Teaave

Thank you so much for sharing the review at teaave.com, that helps us a lot for the visitors to get to know more about what the oolongs are actually like from the tea drinkers point of views.

KiwiDelight

My pleasure! I post reviews on websites if I can since people aren’t likely to know about Steepster.

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97

From the Sheng and Shou TTB.

Prepared gongfu-style with a ceramic gaiwan. I followed Whispering Pines’ instrucitons: one five-second rinse, then steeping times at 30, 15, 30, 45, 120, 300.

I experienced the aroma the way Whispering Pines recommended. Earthy notes fill the hot bowl, after letting the dry leaf sit in the moisture for some time. Following the rinse, the wet aroma gives off loam, sugarcane, and a bit of mushroom. The sessions finishes with freshly baked raisin bread, and then finally raisins and plums.

The liquor is dark amber early on. Longer steeps yield a more coffee-like color. Right of the bat, this shou is thick and creamy, full-bodied, and incredibly rich. Because I had to rush the session, thereby drinking all six cups within a span of two hours, it made me feel sluggish, and my stomach felt really full. Not just because I’d want to savor it, but the next I drink I need to space out each cup so that I don’t feel like I’ve eaten a huge chunk of triple-layered chocolate mousse cake in fewer than five minutes. Wowee!

The first infusion is very sweet, tasting of pure sugarcane and a little earth, with a chocolatey finish. The second is more earthy, and mushrooms first appear in the third, where I envision toadstools, covered with some dirt, in the middle of a damp rainforest. Sweetness returns in the fourth and fifth infusions – maple syrups, caramel and cocoa. The session would have great to end there on those notes, since I’m a dessert last kind of person, so I was caught off guard when the mushrooms again make their appearance in the sixth and last infusion. I loooove cooked mushrooms. These ones at first were sauteed, and then were those from cream of mushroom soup.

The descriptions I read in the past are not a lie. The cake is genuine. And speaking of cake, when this shou going to be sold again, I’m grabbing one.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Glad you enjoyed this! The cakes aren’t going to be released until late fall, but I’ve got plenty of loose left! :-)

KiwiDelight

Ooooo really?? :O I can’t be in the market for some time…stash too big…but I can wait until fall! (sitting intensifies)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:D hahaha, I love intense sitting! ;-)

ashmanra

I have been wanting to try Whisoering Pines. Maybe this is the tea to order!

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40
drank White Chai by Adagio Teas
206 tasting notes

Another chai sample form Zach S.

I didn’t prepare it on the stove because this recipe has white tea base. Something different!

Other than the white tea, the recipe has unusual ingredients – pineapple and coconut…

I drank without milk first. The only spice I could taste was the peppercorn, which was still rather weak. What also stood out was the pineapple, especially when I added a splash of milk to see how the taste would change. The pepper and pineapple combo strangely works…

It’s alright. Disappointingly, not terribly spicy, but I did the like pineapple aspect. Dad thought it was good, interesting even. With that and the white tea, this recipe is light on the tongue. Seems like it’s good to have on a cool summer’s eve.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Cape Town Chai by Tiesta Tea
206 tasting notes

Another from Zach S.

Brewed on the stove-top. Brought to a boil, simmered for seven minutes, added milk and sugar, brought to a boil again.

The kitchen filled with cinnamon, cardamom, and rooibos as the tea simmered. Makes for a cozy aroma. Even though the spices ratio isn’t equal (there were only a couple cardamon pods to dozens of ginger bits), this blend is nicely spicy. Very ginger-y. Good bite on the tongue, even with two ounces of milk and proooobably two tsp of sugar (I dumped several clumps, not bothering to measure).

This is my first spiced rooibos, which is why I’m withholding a rating and recommendation even though I like it. My dad, for whom this is also first, more than approves. We both commented on how the tea in our cups looked a pretty peachy pink.

I did find it disappointing that the website says this contains natural flavors but the packet didn’t…

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Received in a swap from Zach S. Thank you!

Brewed on the stove-top. Brought to a boil, simmered for eight minutes, added milk and sugar, brought to a boil again.

I didn’t have high hopes when I smelled the dry leaf. It was full of cinnamon. Hence the long simmer, so that I’d draw out the malt flavor from the black tea. I was lighter on the milk and sugar than I normally am, and even so, this recipe is very weak. The only spice I could detect was cinnamon. The “bite” of everything else was pretty much nonexistent. In additional, this is the last time I will try a masala chai with any sort of flavoring.

My dad agrees it isn’t spicy much, but he still likes the taste, as if it were simply a black tea prepared like masala chai.

Preparation
7 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

My favorite teas are shou and Japanese greens, and my favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum. I’m currently exploring shou and sheng pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas. African teas are my babies. I adore masala chai – I share with my dad every Friday (“chai Friday” – hee hee). The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. I do like hisbiscus, especially iced, though. Not much of a fan of milk oolong either.

I’m an MFA graduate who studied nonfiction writing and am now an editorial assistant. I mostly write nature essays. I’m birder as well as a tea enthusiast. I also like exercising, Tolkien, and Ancient Egypt.

How I rate:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).

Location

Westchester, NY

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