184 Tasting Notes
Working on my 2nd steep of this delicious tea. Is there anything better to start a Sunday morning off with? I have been freezing inside my house wearing winter clothes thanks to drafty walls and poor insulation, but this tea is doing nicely to warm me up with its dark chocolaty malt goodness. Now if I can only motivate myself to make a hot breakfast after enjoying this hot cuppa. :)
Dry: Well, this one contains my favorite Laoshan Black, so I love the sight of it with those long twisty leaves. It doesn’t contain as much as you might think though for the name- there was more Wuyi oolong in the infuser, along with toasted rice, cacao nibs, and I don’t know what else in the lovely dry leaf concoction. It smells like puffed rice and rich dark tea leaves.
Steeped: Brews into a light-medium brown clear liquor. Smells heavenly with aromas of malty chocolate and toasted rice.
Taste: Delicious! This tea tastes as good as it smells and lives up to its name and reputation. Smooth, rich, malty, dark chocolate blended with warm toast/starch flavors with an almost nutty aftertaste. No bitterness, no astringency, just pure goodness in my morning cup. I drank this straight and I am sure it would be equally delightful with something sweet added to coax the chocolate to the forefront, though it already makes a lovely statement alone. Holds up to a couple re-steeps, but then starts to become watery. I still think I prefer straight Laoshan Black as my first choice, but this is also delicious and will be a reorder for sure.
Dry: This is my first time drinking a sachet tea, but it looks like shorter black tea leaves in a silk or nylon-based teabag (I think I read it was silken on the wrapper) with a string and the H & S logo. There weren’t any directions, so I just plopped it in boiling water like normal English Breakfast teas.
Steeped: Dark brown clear liquor. Smells mellow, slightly malty, and sweet. I added a dash of whole milk as this kind of tea is usually meant to be taken with milk and/or sugar.
Taste: This is a nice breakfast tea, though I was surprised to learn it is 100% Keemun. I must be spoiled by Teavivre’s Keemun as this one was somewhat unremarkable. It is smooth, easily drink-able, somewhat malty, and has a sweet aftertaste. No smokiness or astringency noted. I like it and I’d drink it again, but it wasn’t my favorite breakfast tea ever. Thank you Harney and Sons for the free sample!
Dry: Ceylon leaves blended with orange-y bits and darker pieces- presumably cinnamon nibs and pumpkin flakes. Smells like cinnamon candy out of the bag almost, very sweet with a warm spiciness.
Steeped: Pretty darker red-brown clear liquor. The brewed tea smells heavily of sweet cinnamon with a nice black base.
Taste: I have had this one several times now and have held off on reviewing it until today because I can’t really get the pumpkin notes to come out more than a tiny bit. I love pumpkin teas, but this one has been challenging so far. I have adjusted the steep time and overleafed to no avail. It is still a good tea, just not very pumpkin-y to my palate. This morning I am primarily tasting cinnamon and Ceylon with a hint of nutmeg and a teeny, tiny squash note. I don’t really get the sugar crust and creaminess that I associate with Creme Brulee either, even after a dash of whole milk is added. That said, I still like it, but more as a cinnamon-spice Ceylon tea. I will try it with maple syrup next time and see how it goes. Happy Tuesday, ya’ll!
I am on a Butiki kick right now. I’ve tried most of what I ordered recently, but I have been withholding reviews on some of them until I feel like I get the tea right. I’ve discovered (thanks Steepster!) that some of the blends really need to have ingredients shaken or stirred (tea martini anyone?) in the bag to get the true flavor to come through once steeped. I am guessing bits just settle in shipping or something. Just thought I’d toss that out there in case it helps anyone like it did for me. Now on to a review of Caramel Vanilla Assam.
Dry: Long luscious dark and twisted Assam leaves with flower petal bits. Smells very rich, almost buttery, with clear caramel notes wafting from the infuser. This has a very strong dry fragrance and I was worried the brewed tea would taste artificial.
Steeped: I shouldn’t have worried. This brews into a red-brown clear liquor and the brewed aroma is heavenly. Vanilla beans meet oozing caramel with a rich black base. It smells exactly like its namesake.
Taste: This tea can easily be a morning staple for me. With an almost thick mouthfeel, this tea delivers creamy vanilla and rich caramel blended with that famous Premium Taiwanese Assam base. I have struggled to find something vanilla that I truly loved and something caramel that I was a fan of (particularly after my bazillion attempts with David’s Salted Caramel), but I can safely say that this one is both amazing and delicious and will be a re-order for sure. I am having a very good tea week so far!
Dry: Dark army green twisty tea leaves blended with lotus stamens and nut pieces. Smells lovely! The savory aroma of the dry leaf underlies a sweet cream and roasted pistachio fragrance.
Steeped: Clear golden liquor. The scent is primarily creamy and rich and is making my mouth water before I even take a sip.
Taste: This tea is flavorful without the base being overwhelmed by other notes. The mellow Mao Jian is lovely and it blends well with roasted pistachios and that decadent creaminess that is in each sip. I am having it straight with nothing added and my husband and I are both loving it. I am super picky about flavored greens, but this one tastes natural and delicious. Yum!
Dry: Long twisty leaves and buds that are a high percentage golden-orange. This tea is so large that it came in a bigger bag than my others and is a bit challenging to measure, but the quality is there. Also, the dry leaf smells fantastic- rich, sweet, and malty with a touch of spice. Like roasting sweet potatoes blended with a touch of cedarwood.
Steeped: Golden brown clear liquor. The first time I brewed this I didn’t review it because I think I underleafed with the size of the leaves. If your liquor looks too watery or if this tastes pale (for lack of a better description), try again before deciding if you like it. This time I was more careful and the liquor looked more like what I would expect from Verdant. Smells rich and and woodsy with that lingering roasted sweet potato fragrance.
Taste: This is a lovely straight black and is lighter and more complex than some of Verdant’s others. It is not meant to be slurped down in a rush or it can’t really be appreciated. Velvety on the tongue, there are still strong roasted sweet potato notes initially with hints of rich spices that mellow out in subsequent steeps. There is the vaguest hint of cocao and perhaps a touch of honey as well. Savory and sweet, no wonder this makes a nice base for other blends. I still think my very favorite is Laoshan Black, but Zhu Rong and Yu Lu Yan Cha both make me happy, too. :)
Dry: A beautiful tea blend by Verdant. This would not look amiss sitting out in a decorative bowl with its long and luscious tea leaves, orange peel bits, coriander, vanilla bean pieces, and other lovely ingredients. It smells spicy, sweet, and citrusy- very potent from the bag. My husband could smell it several feet away when I was preparing the infuser.
Steeped: Clear golden brown liquor. The fragrance wafting from the teacup is nothing short of potent between the spices, citrus, and a nice tea base as well. If you like flavored teas with only a tiny touch of non-tea flavors, then this is not for you. The name for this tea perfectly describes the lovely aroma around my kitchen right now. :)
Taste: This tea has a nice AM kick! Sparkling orange meets cinnamon and coriander zest. I swear there is even a tiny touch of cayenne to the flavor, though that might be the Zhu Rong peeking out between the layers of actual spices and vanilla. After the initial wake-up sip, it mellows out and the creamy vanilla and sweet potato-y flavors appear blended in with the other notes. This is complex and lovely (as I’ve come to expect from Verdant) and has an almost bakery quality. I feel certain it would make an interesting iced tea as well once it warms up outside. I am enjoying this experience quite a bit!
Dry: Short black tea leaves. Unremarkable look, but smells very strongly of stone fruits (most notably cherries) in the dry leaf.
Steeped: Medium brown clear liquor. The rich fruit fragrance lingers around the tea pot and tea cup and is more lovely with the added scent of the brewed leaf.
Taste: This is a nice fruity dessert or afternoon tea. It is fresh and sweet with dominant cherry and apricot notes. I am not tasting any plum and I can’t barely taste the black tea either. I’d not be able to identify what kind of tea went into this if my life depended on it other than noting that it is very mild-mannered. That said, the steeped result is still quite pleasant and I bet it would be brilliant iced. I am enjoying my sample, but I don’t think this would be a reorder. When I am looking for a stone fruit-based tea, I almost always reach for Harney’s Paris.
Dry: Long and luscious twisty black leaves. Some of them have a touch of rust to mahogany at the tip of the twist. They smell subtly sweet, dark, and malty. It is unassuming in fragrance, keeping its true flavorful nature hidden within the twists and turns of the lovely leaf until brewed.
Steeped: Clear dark brown liquor. As the leaves unfurl, it is apparent from the lovely aroma of rich honey and malt wafting from the teapot that something something special is happening. Good morning, indeed!
Taste: Oh, this tea. Rich, dark, honeyed malt with a lingering sweetness that reminds me of oozing caramel. Each sip is a new experience of warm, smooth, sweet flavor profiles. Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black, how can you be so lovely? I used to have just one true love in a straight black tea when I found Laoshan Black, but now there is a tea love triangle in my life. This one is just as amazing in an entirely different flavor profile and I love it!