220 Tasting Notes
This is my first proper cup of Earl Grey tea. I went straight from Lipton and Teavana to Yunnan blacks, Oolongs, etc. so I was very intrigued by the scent of real Earl Grey!! I also got a proper British style bone china teacup and saucer (bc all I had was Asian style tea ware) which I absolutely think is gorgeous and adds to the experience.
Origin: Sri Lanka
Dry Leaf: Black and twisted leaves with the scent of the Bergamot Orange oil
Method: 212F 1 tsp tea for 12 oz water steeped for 3 minutes
Wet Leaf: Cut with scents of the essential oil
Liquor: Smells of some light smoke and has a beautiful light orange color. Very clear.
Flavor: Light with touches of the Bergamot Orange oil that gives the tea a subtle citrus taste. This tea is meant to have milk and sugar if you like. I don’t ever add sugar but I added a splash of milk. How delicious when you do that bc this makes the citrus notes come to the forefront and blend into a creamy citrus tea. There is no astringency or bitterness in this tea so I am very pleased with my first experience with a true Earl Grey. Thank you Steepster!!!
From the Steepster Select Box; June, 2014
Flavors: Citrus, Citrus Zest
Just got back from Seattle and Northwest Washington state. We even crossed the border into Canada for a bit. It was so nice and cool and it’s tea and coffee country so I had a blast!!!!
Here are my tea notes from the week!!
6/22 classic chai tea latte hot Starbucks/Teavana PHX Sky Harbor airport
Nice tea and spice blend…not too spicy but very sweet additives so I would like less sweet
6/22 Vital Tea Leaf in Pike Place Market- Seattle- sit down tasting —http://www.vitaltealeafseattle.com
They have tastings complete with bamboo tray and gong fu style brewing. Everyone gets a little cup and you get to experience some of their most popular teas. We tried a sheng that had been aged in bamboo, a five year old shu, jasmine green tea, and a ginseng oolong. I loved all of the teas and I bought some of the ginseng oolong to take home. It had a sweet flavor and the energy and focus that it gave you was crazy awesome!!
They have cool apothecary jars filled with teas, osmanthus, giant tea pearls, flowering teas, Chinese medicine herbals for health, and so much more. They also have a wonderful selection of yixing pots, cups, bamboo gong fu trays, tea pets, and tools.
It was so fun and will definitely go to this tea room every time I am in Seattle.
6/22 – they have a big Dutch section in the grocery store in Lynden Washington,, I found a fun Fruits of the Forest tea by Pickwick that I can’t wait to try at home. I brought an infuser with me for morning tea and I have been drinking Rishi White Peony and saving the teas I buy for when I get home so I don’t open all the packages and make a travel mess in my suitcase lol.
6/22 Hotel evening- Farmer Brothers herbal tea Enchanting Moments- teabag with ingredients: chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, and orange blossoms. For a tea bag from a commercial delivery coffee co.. This was really really good.. Very good balance with no overpowering from any of the ingredients. Had a natural sweetness and a plum hue from the hibiscus.
Wood’s Coffee right by Canadian border in Lynden, Washington- iced blueberry white tea – delicious, refreshing, and you can taste the white tea with a sweet accent of blueberry. Very yummmm! Woods coffee is so nice too..staff so nice and interior is like a Cabin in the woods with dim lighting; huge, comfy leather chairs, evergreen tree, moose, and rock fireplace decor.
6/23 Hotel Farmer Brother’s herbal tea Lively Lemon teabag with ingredients: rose hips, lemongrass, lemon peel, lemon Verbena, natural flavors, hibiscus, peppermint, citric acid.
The scent is definitely lemongrass and the hue is light pink punch color from the hibiscus. Flavor is not a fruit lemon but rather a lemon more close to citronella. But hey,,this is a tea bag from a commercial delivery coffee co and I’m on vacay so it’s still pretty darn good !
Later the citronella note steps back and allows sweetness from the rose hips and hibiscus to step up. There was a refreshing feeling (but not flavor-which was good) from the peppermint so it develops into an enjoyable cup:)
6/23 Hotel Farmer Brothers herbal tea Misty Mint tea bag with ingredients: peppermint, lemongrass, spearmint. Dark golden color. Nice creamy spearmint flavor with a tiny tiny bit of a lemon accent. Nice cleansing after dinner tisane.
6/26 Starbucks Teavana shaken iced tea
ParTea!! They had half off their new shaken iced teas today and I tried the shaken green Blackberry Mojito iced tea w/o lemonade. Very good blackberry flavor and the green tea had an herbal quality to it with the mint Mojito flavor.
Then I tried the green tea iced peach lemonade . Very good peach and lemonade flavors , sweet but not too sweet. Third flavor will have to try next time, it is a Black tea lemonade
6/26 found fun teas at the local Haagen grocery store which are nice. I found Huckleberry tea from the Northwest and Harney and Sons Vanilla Comoro
Fun can’t wait to try at home
Camano Island coffee and tea shop
Apricot Black tea. I could smell the apricot but by this part of the trip,, I had caught a bit of a cold and the type cold where u can’t taste which is my big hate in life. I hate not being able to taste. lol We are flying back tonight so luckily I didn’t catch this until last day lol. This tea is a dark black tea with apricot scent. It has a creamy texture and hint in the taste. I can detect a touch of bitter but my cold is not making tastes come thru correctly :( Very good even though I can’t taste it completely like I want :). The tea is making my cold feel better tho so yay! The decor in the shop is red crabs and it is close to the Skagit Bay and Puget Sound,, very cute. It is drizzly & nicely chilly outside too which, being from the desert,,, that’s what I’m here for!!!!!!!! It’s awesome!!!!!!!!
Then I tried English Breakfast w/milk. Got my two cups for the day and my cold sort of started going away. I feel lots better. yay! Attached gift shop so cute too with sea and crab items plus garden stuff,,love!
This is one of three Mighty Leaf teas that they offer at this little bakery and café that we have near our house. It is also an Organic tea that they sell at Whole Foods so I love that this little café serves this.
This tea was super refreshing and delicious as an iced tea today for lunch!! It has a great, not too harsh, strong, or any bitter flavor. It is very smooth and just right as iced tea.
OR-187 Black Tea
by: Camellia Sinensis
I got a sample with my purchase from Camellia Sinensis (thank u C.S.!!) a few months ago and have not tried it until today,,,I am putting it into Random Steepings bc I can’t find enough info. on it (especially which flush it is) and it is out of stock now on their website so not sure which year, probably 2013.
Well I can see why it is out of stock! Deliciousness!!!
Origin: I do know that this is from the Marangi tea estate, India. I think it is a second flush but I have not had enough Assams to know for sure and am still learning.
Dry Leaf: Scents of roasted chocolate Malto-Meal cereal, dark dark brown and golden twisty threads.
Method: Western – 22oz classic shaped teapot – 1 tsp tea per 8 oz H2O – brewed 2 cups at a time at 200F for 3 minutes 10 seconds.
Wet Leaf: Roasted Idaho potato peel, dried apple, chocolate, and cherry scents. Leaves are chopped buds and young leaves all turned milk chocolate brown.
Liquor: Deep, rich amber color. Scents of chocolate, dried apple, cherry, smells delicious!
Flavor: Deep, rich, smooth, touch of cream, tiny tiny bit of orange peel, malt, hint of chocolate.
Very well balanced. As it cools, more malty goodness. I feel alert and ready for the day. So good and I like the tour of India I have been taking this last couple of days. I am definitely interested in this type of tea and this estate. Yumm.
Having most of the rest of this sample this morning,,,yummmmm. Going to get some more from this estate.
Having the last bit of this sample today. This is really delicious, especially with a splash of milk. I only had 1 tsp left so only got to have one cup and am very sad it is gone. Gonna order more in the fall.
Origin: Arya Estate; Darjeeling, India. April, 2013
Dry Leaf: Scents of dried peach and apple, nutmeg. Twisted threads with multi-colors; moss greens, cream, dark brown, light brown.
Method: Western – 22oz ceramic classic shaped teapot – 1 tsp tea per 8 oz water – 200F – brewed 2 cups in the pot – steeped 3 minutes.
Wet Leaf: Delicate, young brown/green colored leaves—small to medium size. Scents of hay, spices, vanilla, and dried apple peel. Somewhat chopped.
Liquor: Golden/light orange color with scents of honey, vanilla, hay, spice.
Flavor: Very multi-flavored!! Notes of nutmeg, vanilla, dried apple, honey, maybe a tiny touch of dried pineapple as well. There is also a champagne-like brightness, making this the ultimate Darjeeling lol!
I haven’t tried too many Darjeelings but this is definitely the best one I have tried. Very delicious, many layers of flavor, nicely balanced, no astringency (maybe because this is a 2013 and it has mellowed out). Would love to try a new first flush from this year to compare. Will have to taste some more to gain knowledge of this lovely tea!
Later in the day, I resteeped these leaves at 180F for 4 minutes. Delicious and still carried lots of the tasting notes, especially pineapple!!! I would not resteep them a third time bc they have given their best now :)
Having a pot of this with an Indian dish today! Today, I brewed Western at 190F for 3 minutes.
The wet leaf has the scent of pineapple rind bc it’s not quite as sweet-smelling as the fruit but has that scent.
Liquor is golden color also with scents of pineapple rind.
Flavor also has the pineapple rind with cashews, a tiny tiny touch of saffron and turmeric. It’s funny how the spices of India are really coming thru in this Darjeeling. I AM eating Indian food, however. I tried the tea before my food and I cleanse my palate with water when tasting the tea in between bites but it could be influencing my tasting today. It certainly pairs perfectly with the foods of its origin!!!!
After my Indian dish, I kept drinking the tea as I ate a Black Mission fig fresh from my garden and a vanilla cookie. This tea sang with the fig, another food from his homeland!!
Oh and also, my tea is now gone. I see people using the term “Sipdown” and I do not use that term bc it seems to imply that they are happy the tea is all gone and with this tea,,,I am certainly not happy that it is all gone :( More like “Saddown” to me.
Flavors: Apple, Champagne, Dried Fruit, Fig, Hay, Honey, Nutmeg, Pineapple, Saffron, Vanilla
Origin: Yingde, Guangdong Province, China; Summer 2012
Varietal: No 9 (big leaf variety cultivated in Yingde area in the late 1950s from Yunnan tea seeds)
Dry Leaf: Black (not dark brown) and gold little twisty threads. Looks like a Yunnan type tea that has the typical malty scent but it doesn’t have that scent. It has a smoked BBQ scent leaning toward Lapsang Souchong. It looks like the black twists have been smoked a bit longer.
Method: Western- 22 oz ceramic classic- shaped oval pot – 194F 1 tsp tea per 8 oz H2O – Brewed 2 cups in the pot for 3 minutes.
Wet Leaf: Young leaves, very tiny and all individual, turned milk chocolate brown now with scents of light smoke. They used the young leaves of this big-leaf varietal!
Liquor: Clear deep amber. Smells sweet. This tea is very intriguing bc it likes to change it’s spots everywhere.
Flavor: Smooth, nice balance of light smoke, sweet malt, dark honey but not too sweet. No bitter or astringency.
Wow! A really delicious flavor-filled tea. This is cupboard-worthy to me. Love this. Wish I had more—only got a sample pack :( and Canton is in London :( :( :(
Yay! Glad I had a bit left of this sample to try this on Gong Fu style today!!!
Dry leaf is smoky like Lapsang Souchong.
Did an immediate rinse then 10-8-10-20
The wet leaf smells just like toasted marshmallows in my little 6.42 oz gong fu pot.
Liquor is clear orange and has a smoky creamy toasted marshmallow scent.
Flavor at 10" is smoky toasted marshmallow but not super sweet. Like the crunchy part of the marshmallow in a s’more.
8" – more smoky now that the leaves have opened up. Less marshmallow. Wet leaves totally smell like a s’more now with notes of chocolate, smoke, & graham cracker.
10" – Lighter in flavor but still s’mores.
20" – Still clean flavors with no bitter or astringency. Very good.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Smoke, Smooth
Origin: He Huan Shan, Taiwan.
Thank u to Yezi Tea for this sample with purchase!!!
Dry Leaf: Tiny, tightly rolled green pellets with a mineral scent.
Method: 3.38 oz ceramic gong fu pot, 200F, 1 tsp tea
Wet Leaf: 2 fairly large leaves on a stem, very spinach green colored. Light floral with candy Sweet Tart scent.
Liquor: Light champagne – spring green color. Very light scent—not too floral, more of a light Sweet Tarts scent like the wet leaves.
Flavor: Thick mouthfeel. Not overly floral or creamy, very subtle. There are flowers, butter, spring peas and a nice balance. Not bitter or astringent at all but it is recommended to drink this tea after meals and I drank it 3 hours after a meal and did get a mild stomach upset (very very mild though) so one should heed this advice bc it’s pretty green.
Flavors: Butter, Candy, Flowers, Garden Peas
Origin: Yunnan, China. Early Spring harvest, 2014
Dry Leaf: Cute, tiny, twisted threads that are golden and dark in color and sweet-smelling like brown sugar with malt.
Method: I played with this one a lot before finally switching from a small 3.38 oz gong fu pot to a tokoname kyusu pot that I use for gyokuro. These leaves are so small and delicate that I found it best to brew it like gyokuro to bring out its best. So this is immediate rinses and pours. I used 1 1/2 tsp/2 grams tea in my tiny 2oz tokoname pot.
I brewed it at a low temperature as you would a delicate green tea as well, 170F. These are all very delicate buds that were picked a few short days after sprouting so they do not like heat and sitting in hot water.
Wet Leaf: Still tiny and thin after opening up, all very tiny buds. When I was using my other little gong fu pot, the leaves were escaping and causing uneven brewing by getting into the little pour holes. My tokoname has a fine mesh strainer built in so it was perfect to achieve an even brewing exposure for the tiny leaves.
Liquor: Golden orange color with scents of honey and malt.
Flavor: Lightly and subtly sweet and malty. Very lovely and delicate tea!
Had some Gong Fu style this morning. Good stuff!!!
Gaiwan style this morning!!!!! This is a good method to brew this one. 185F
Flavors: Malt, Sugarcane
Origin: Spices from India, Egypt, and Spain; Then Hand-blended in Bristol, UK.
Dry Leaf: Such a pretty colored herbal with light greens and pinks!! Spice-a-Rama!! There are pretty rose petals and pieces, whole green cardamom pods, green fennel seeds, small dried ginger pieces and it is all so pretty and smells exhilarating!!
Method: 2 tsp. herbs – Large infuser in an 8oz Pyrex cup – 200F for 3 minutes
Wet Leaf: Spicy and pretty rose and green spice mixture that smells like a spice blend with a good balance of vanilla.
Liquor: Golden daffodil color. Scents of fresh spices and vanilla. Smells warm and comforting.
Flavor: This is a lovely Ayurvedic blend because all of the spices are in harmony. There is licorice but it is not overpowering which is very important. There is a warmth from the ginger pieces. There is a creamy and sweetness from the vanilla and rose petals. There is a peppery kick from the fennel and cardamom pods. This is so visually appealing and a very tasty nighttime comfort herbal. I really enjoyed this blend.
Flavors: Cardamon, Ginger, Licorice, Rose, Vanilla
This one has changed names a few times but this is the description of Black Pearls by Canton Tea and they have also been called Yunnan Gold Pearls.
Origin: Feng Qing Mountains; Lincang, China.
Dry Leaf: These pearls are large,,,the size of small gum balls. The pearls are black-brown and gold threads woven together to look like a little ball of yarn. Very cool looking. Smell like malty sweet black tea.
Method: Have played with these pearls a few times and definitely Gong Fu is the way to go over Western or any other method. Used a 3.38 oz porcelain ceramic pot with 2 pearls at 200F. I have tried this tea using 1 pearl and it was weak.
Double rinse 10"/10" (Pearls are very tightly rolled)
Wet Leaf: Medium size leaves that have been twisted like a rope then rolled into the pearl shape. Woody scent.
Liquor: Golden and clear.
Flavor: Sort of starts out roasty and as it cools some vanilla comes out but it is not sweet. Further steepings bring out a cooked woody flavor. It is reminding me of the couple of Shou puerhs that I have tried and this is why I enjoy Sheng puerhs much better.
They worked so hard on rolling this tea that I respect it and it is beautiful to look at but it is really one note and hard to brew for me. It is very woody :(
Flavors: Wet Wood, Wood