500 Tasting Notes

77

I don’t know why this tea appealed to me so much. Normally, I don’t like sweetener in my tea. I supposed I was thinking this would taste like honey but not be sweet. This tea fulfills that ideal.

When I opened the packet, I was surprised to see all the little leaf balls stuck together with honey. I thought it would be only honey flavored! But now that I look at the description, I should have been expecting honey covered tea leaves. :) They come in neat little single serving packs. There’s enough in there for a large pot if you’re brewing it western style. I planned to just take a small portion of the leaves to make a small serving, but I wasn’t sure how the leaves would keep since they were covered in honey, so I had to take out my large teapot and use all the leaves at once.

The resulting liquid is a light brown and slightly cloudy from the honey. It brews up quite strong. This seems to be a medium oxidation. I’ve had greener oolongs, but also darker ones. Honestly, it’s a bit dark for my taste, but that’s purely personal preference. It’s still very enjoyable. It’s not sweet at all, and the honey taste is light but pleasant. There’s a sweet toasty hay flavor and something fruity. It’s all very nice and comforting on a chilly day.

I’ve got a bit of a sore throat so this honey tea is probably pretty good for me right now. :)

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80

This is a very nice tea to wake up to. It’s slightly toasty even though it hasn’t been roasted. There’s a nice sweet hay flavor mingling with a light matcha taste. Both savory and fruity. I’m not sure I taste the mango as the description suggests, but there’s some sort of fruit. Yummy. Made two steeps for me.

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85

Rinsed. First steep is light floral and barely milky. Very smooth. This is a lightly oxidized oolong, which is fine by me. Greener oolongs are my favorites.
Second and third steep is slightly more milky, but it is still quite mild. The peachy flavor is coming through more. It is very floral with a slight vegetal finish. Slightly spicy.
Fourth steep is still going strong. The vegetal flavors are winning out now with peach in the background. There’s a bit of plum coming through as well. Milkiness is diminishing but there’s a stronger buttery flavor at the end of the sip.
This can probably go another steep or two.

I love how the floral flavors just linger in your mouth. Tea is probably the best breath freshener.

It is not really all that milky for a milk oolong. I think their regular Alishan Oolong is more milky than this. The peach flavor is quite a nice complement. It is very smooth and and satisfying. I think I’d have liked it more if it wasn’t called a milk oolong. I have another 50 grams of this and I just keep thinking how much my mom would like it. I’ll be bringing her some on my next visit. :)

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48

The leaves are dark and straight. They’re like little 1" twigs.

The brewed leaves smell like…wet fallen leaves…? I’m not sure what it is, but it smells like something natural and woodsy.

First steep was pretty mild and dark tasting. It was pleasant and tasted of stone fruits. 2nd steep was very apricot-y. I had to take a few sips to figure out the other flavors. Mint, anise and campfire. As much as I love the smell of a campfire, I don’t think I like the taste of one. I have never before tasted these things in an oolong. It’s very earthy and well oxidized. These flavors continue into the 4th steep except the minty character. That’s gone now. I’m really not digging the anise and earthy aspect. Normally, earthy is ok, but this is intensely earthy. It’s also very fruity, but the other flavors stand out more to me. I’m sure there are many steeps left in these leaves, but I’m done with it. I kept steeping out of curiosity, but I’m really not enjoying this tea.
Am I brewing this wrong? Everyone else seems to like it.

I’m smelling the bottom of my cup now and it really smells like autumn in the woods with a campfire in the distance. It smells fabulous because I love autumn, woods and campfires, but those are not three things I’d like to eat. hmm…

I’m learning a lot about oolong these days. I’ve always liked oolong, but I never had more than a few different kinds. Thank you Batrachoid, for expanding my education with your generous sample.

E Alexander Gerster

One of the problems with rating smoked/fired oolongs is that people generally either love or hate the flavor of smoke (as opposed to the aroma). Just like Lapsang Souchong, the smokiness can either draw you in or repel you, and the strength of the individual batches can vary widely. Water temperature and length of brewing also have to be played with to find the “sweet spot” and I have found it to be a bit frustrating at times. But when you find that magical combination of the right tea, the right temperature, and the right brewing time, the journey an Oolong like this can take you on can be quite magical… :-)

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83

Had a sleepless night. My doggie was sick and throwing up. :( I thought I’d have a bit of matcha for the energy. I’ve never successfully made a matcha for myself before. Today was different.
I dont actually have the traditional tools for matcha so I just add the powder and water to a cup and stir with a spoon. Am I a barbarian? maybe a fork would be more whisk-like… Anyway, the matcha is lovely. It’s smooth, vegetal and not bitter all. I love the seaweedy flavor. It’s like a relaxing day at the beach without all the sand.
I’m really just a matcha novice and other reviewers are saying there are way better ones out there, but for me, this was really pleasant.

Thanks for the sample Batrachoid! I had forgotten how much I like Japanese teas. I have all this Chinese tea, which is great, but tea from Japan is truly unique. They are the masters of savory flavors.

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65

Smells a bit like cherry cough syrup and green tea. Like many of SpecialTead flavored greens, this was a toasty grassy base that gets bitter easily. The flavoring is definitely berryish but it’s pretty light.
It’s probably good for at least 3 steeps but I just finished my second pot and I’m done with this flavor for now.
It’s a good tea for casual sipping. Probably good for iced tea.
I haven’t had any inspiring teas lately. :( at least I have a puppy sleeping on my lap. :)

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77

I bought this tea for someone who then gave it back to me. I needed more herbals in my life anyways. The name of this tea is kind of misleading. You’d think there should be a stronger ginger flavor but it’s really mainly lemongrass and citrus with a coolness from the mint. There’s also a sweetness that I’m thinking is the licorice and fruit. I don’t taste the fruit flavors though. The ginger is just barely there. I probably couldn’t pick it out if I didn’t expect it. And I’m actually a huge fan of mint, but I’m not sure how it works in this tea. It doesn’t mesh with the other flavors.
I think I’ll be saving this one for colds and sore throats. The soothing mint and ginger should be great for that. And the cold weather season is upon us so it’s perfect.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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96

Mmm… This tea is lovely. So smooth and rich. It’s savory and sweet and slightly floral. This is not your typical white tea. And the leaves are lovely as well. After steeping they look freshly plucked. So green! They tea itself is a yellow that matches my teacup. Perfect for a sunny weekend morning.

Mercuryhime

Why so much caffeine? :(

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83

Hmm… pretty good! It like an earthy lemon. You can definitely tell it’s a rooibos, but it’s not as strongly medicinal. I think I’m slowly getting used to rooibos thanks to all of DaisyChubb’s samples, this one included. :)
There’s a hint of bitterness. I think it’s from the lemon peel. There’s a sweet sugary kind of background that I’m finding in all my rooibos and honeybush I’ve tried so far. I thought it was part of the flavoring, but now I’m beginning to think it might just be the rooibos. I should get some unflavored ones to taste.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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89

I love this tea. It’s a good lemon green that everyone finds agreeable. Even kids like it. I don’t think there’s any flavoring. Most of the lemon flavor comes from the lemon grass. It’s a solid sencha base. Even oversteeped there is no bitterness. Good for up to 3 steeps. It’s the only tea my husband has actually specifically requested. Usually tea is just some hot drink, but this one stood out to him. Awesome!

:( I’m still sad SpecialTeas doesn’t exist anymore. Is it bad that I feel like I lost a good friend? Why am I still sad about this? I’m only adding this tea to the database cause I want to keep my cupboard up to date. (Let’s see how long that lasts.)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Bio

I came from a tea drinking family, but I never appreciated the different qualities and varieties of tea until older. All that time wasted! But I guess I needed to be mature enough to appreciate the tea experience. :)

My favorite teas are green oolongs and white tea. I also love greens, especially gyokuro. I have a huge appreciation for rooibos and honeybush as they are often that only thing I can drink in the evening. I am a relatively new convert to black teas. This is unfortunate for my wallet but extremely wonderful for my palate. :)

In any case, I have a love for both flavored and unflavored teas. They are different experiences for sure, but both enjoyable. I find that it often depends on my mood.

I am on a quest to find a tea that will win my husband over. I think I’m making some headway…

My profile pic features my two lovable puppies, Mr. Snuggles and Sr. Caliente.

Location

NYC / Westchester

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