101 Tasting Notes
Good Day Steepies! Here’s my third iced tea review where I used my cold brew method giving the leaves a 30-45 second wake up call [using water no
hotter than 170-180F], then I added cold water and let the teas steep in the fridge.
Arizona-Green Tea With Ginseng and Honey
INGREDIENTS: Premium Brewed Green Tea Using Filtered Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Honey, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Ginseng Extract, Vitamin C.
Every once in a while I like a quick glass of this bottled, store shelf tea. It is my favorite bottled tea because it is not too sweet. The green tea flavor is there, but it is light tasting and seems barely noticeable. I really like the honey flavor, and I’m sure some of what I’m tasting is the HFCS. The ginseng is very light and barely there. You must be thinking to yourself, “If the tea and ginseng are on the light side, why do I like the tea?”. Well, even though that is the case, the honey and sweetness of this tea is light, yet quite flavorful, thirst-quenching and delicious. :)) Score: 73.
Cupped: Thursday, June 28, 2012.
Reviewed: Monday, July 2, 2012.
AriZona-Arnold Palmer Lite Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade 23-Ounce Cans
*Half iced tea and half lemonade
*Widely known for its refreshing taste and ability to revive senses
*Great tasting tea with 1/3 less calories
OK, here’s one more store bought tea I enjoy. I’ve always liked iced tea & lemonade, and I like this because it is not over sweetened. The tea is good but mellow. The lemonade is lightly tart, and only a little more up front and noticeable on my palate than the tea. I’m sure part of the reason for that is the citric acid. Overall, this is a nicely balanced and refreshing summer beverage that is great anytime. :)) Score: 72.
Cupped: Thursday, June 28, 2012.
Reviewed: Monday, July 2, 2012.
Red Rose-Original Blend
I used four teabags & cold brewed in the refrigerator. I had intended to leave it cold brewing for 12 hours which would have been perfect, but I forgot about it and left it for 19.5 hours! Luckily, Red Rose is a rather mild blend, so the results weren’t terrible. The color was like a murky medium to dark brown. There was a good tea flavor, and the taste wasn’t harsh. The tea and its flavor were not quite as smooth as I would have liked, being somewhat heavy on my tongue. There was a mild astringency, and slight pucker factor on the back of my palate. Dispite my mistake, this experience was worth it and the tea tasted better than I expected. Score: 77.
Cupped: Sunday, July 1, 2012. Reviewed: Monday, July 2, 2012.
Irish Breakfast Tea-Twinings
I used four teabags & left this tea in the refrigerator for 12 hours. The tea is a dark brownish-red and I could really smell the Assam tea in this blend. The Assam was most noteable in the flavor too, giving it a deep malty character. This gave the tea a fullness while remaining smooth. What I found interesting was how flavor clung to my palate for quite a while after my tea was gone. A very satisfying & inexpensive cold brewed tea. :)) Score: 79.
Originally Cupped & Reviewed: Monday, July 2, 2012.
I’m not gung-ho on bagged teas generally, but I was looking for a cheap, decent black tea mainly to try for cold brewing. I had this about 7.5 years ago, and I thought it was O.K. I decided to have a hot cup, and so I did.
Most bagged teas aren’t very aromatic, but I did smell a nice black tea aroma from the box, which stated “Best Used By 2015”. It did smell quite fresh. The cup was a deep brown with a decent aroma too! After cooling, the taste was full and flavorful, but not astringent or bitter. The Ceylon tea seemed to smooth out the more robust Assam character-very nicely I must say. Keep in mind I did carefully watch my steep time and temperature.
Overall, this tea is better than I remember it, and satisfying enough when I need a relatively smooth, hearty cup quickly. A dash of milk could even enhance the flavor if the mood strikes me, and it sometimes does. :)) I will try cold brewing this and posting a review in a couple days.
Cupped: Saturday, June 30, 2012. Reviewed: Sunday, July 1, 2012.
I would like to thank Fong Mong Tea for this delicious sample. I knew I was in for a treat when I smelled the dry leaf aroma. It was FAN-TAS-TIC! This High Mountain Oolong has a deeper roasted aroma, which is exactly what I was looking for. :)) The wet leaves smelled even more A M A Z I N G! The aromas ranged from a roasted quality, stoned fruit, and flowers [like lilacs…….or possibly closer to orchids]. The cup is a yellow-orange color, and I didn’t smell much aroma from the cup-perhaps my sinuses were misbehaving. :(( The main flavors seemed to be lightly roasty, with a decent peach aspect, that was smooth and delicious on my palate!
My second cup was steeped the same as the first cup. The wet leaves smelled even more intense as the aroma seemingly filled the room! All the aromas intensified, but the aroma was sweeter-like that of a sweet ripe watermelon. This additional aroma was not pervasive, but coexisted harmoniously with the other aromas. The flavors were stronger as well. I experienced what I believe to be a mineral quality in the flavor, along with a stronger peach flavor, which balanced quite nicely as each coated my tongue. This was the best cup and a very satisfying, juicy cup. :))
The third cup exhibited less roasted and more fruity/floral aromas, which were still impressive. The cup flavors were less mineral and peachy, but still smooth and delicious, with good, milder stone fruit flavor and minerality [1.5 minutes at 195F].
The last cup sill possessed decent wet leaf aroma, which was quite surprising. After soaking these babies [tea leaves] until they begged for mercy, I was greeted with a light peachy flavor and a light astringency on the back of my palate [6-7 minutes at 212F].
This is the third of four samples from Fong Mong Tea, and the best tea experience from them so far. I really enjoyed the deeper roasted quality of this Oolong tea, with the balance of the stone fruits and flowers too [the flowery aspect was mostly noticeable in the wet leaf aroma].
It was 8 years ago today we said goodbye to my Grandpa [Paps]. I am so grateful his spirit, the memories, and all that he taught me lives on. I am thankful that he gave me a greater appreciation for tea, and a greater appreciation for the music he (WE) loved and shared! :)) Here is his favorite song if you wish to listen:
D. Ellington-Caravan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTzZKtnTnqI
Anything by Glenn Miller-his favorite, String of Pearls:
And of course Frank Sinatra:
Originally Cupped & Reviewed: Friday, June 29, 2012.
I don’t usually wait so long to post a review, and I hate that I didn’t post it sooner. :// I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few minor mental notes. A special Thank You to Fong Mong Tea for this sample! :))
Right away I knew this was a deeper tea than the Jinxuan tea I sampled previously. While still green, this Dong Ding has more of a roasted aroma that really comes out in the wet leaves [which also exhibit floral qualities]. The cup is slightly darker, with roasty, peach-like fruitiness on my palate that is smooth and delicious. :))
The second cup has more aroma and flavor with the most balanced roasty/peachy character. the flavors are so juicy and smooth on my palate! [1 minute at 180F].
The third cup was more mild yet still flavorful. The wet leaves had more of a green floral character reminding me of honeysuckle. The flavors were lighter as well, with lighter peach notes, and the gentle touch of a white tea [1.5 minutes at 195F].
My last cup was like a white tea with light fruit qualities, and serene smoothness that calmed my spirit. :)) [5 minutes at 212F]. Overall, a great tea, that I enjoyed for it’s slightly deeper, peachy flavor, with every steep showcasing a smoothness that is so inviting and enjoyable! :)) I can’t wait to try the rest of the samples. :))
Cupped: Monday, June 18, 2012.
Reviewed: Sunday, June 24, 2012.
Another cold brewed tea review using three different teas! I steeped all teas in my glass press which is 18-20 oz. Also, I rinsed the leaves for 30-45 seconds at around 175F.
Ceylon Silver Striped, Ratnapura, Sri Lanka-The Tao of Tea
Using one level TBSP, with the water just covering the leaves, then I filled with cold water & put tea in refrigerator for 12 hours. This was a really good cold tea. I was getting a dark, full flavor with quite a bit of the molasses character. It also had a malty aspect that I enjoyed very much! This Ceylon had no lemony or minty characteristics that many Ceylons do. I also wasn’t picking up any astringency on my palate, which makes this tea ideal for an enjoyable cold brewed summer tea. :)) Score: 91.
Cupped: Sunday, June 10, 2012. Reviewed: Saturday, June 23, 2012.
Orange Cranberry Herbal Iced Tea-Stash Tea
I found this, and it was old, so I decided to use it up. My teabag was packaged in a silver foil bag and made 1/2 a gallon. I put it in the refrigerator for 8 hours. Here are the ingredients for this blend: hibiscus, rosehips, lemongrass, orange peel, natural cranberry flavor, natural wild sweet orange flavor.
So here’s the deal. As you can see the main ingredient is the dreaded Hibiscus. I hate the way the tartness from the dreaded H overpowered everything! Maybe there was some Cranberry flavor in there, but it was hard to tell where the tartness from the hibiscus ended and the cranberry flavoring began! :-// It took me two days to drink this crap. YUCK!!! Score: WAY below a 40, and after that who cares!
Cupped: Monday & Tuesday, June 11-12, 2012.
Reviewed: Saturday, June 23, 2012.
Ginger & Honey Green Tea-St. Dalfour
I used 5 teabags and steeped in my tea glass for 12 hours. This is another green tea that I like better cold brewed than hot. The Sri Lankan green tea is not astringent or bitter, but does have a full green tea flavor that makes my mouth pucker. I’m not tasting the honey, but the ginger has a stronger presence. The green tea pleasantly coats my palate, while the ginger dances [with chest high kicks] on the back of my tongue bringing a smile to my face. :)) I may use the rest of my teabags strictly for cold brewing refreshment. :)) Score: 88.
Cupped: Friday, June 22, 2012. Reviewed: Saturday, June 23, 2012.
Lately, I’ve been trying to reduce my current stash and visiting more with Brie, so I’ve even been drinking less tea. :-// I received my Fong Mong Tea samples Monday or Tuesday, but didn’t have a chance to sample this until last night. A huge Thank You to Fong Mong Tea for these samples! :))
Right away this tea looked greener. The few green oolong teas I’ve had never seem to infuse as well as a good Tie Guan Yin, but I do like them. My initial smell of the dry leaves reminded me of a milk oolong. When I put them in my warmed tea press, the aroma was more buttery than the two milk oolongs I’ve tried. The steeping leaves were sssoooo buttery sweet. The wet leaves were very buttery to me, and when cooling, they had a flowery sweetness I can only describe as gardenias.
The cup is ecru in color, with a definite sweetness and light buttery aromas. There is also a fruity nature in the cup. There is a very smooth, buttery quality that stands out, yet it is gentle and calming. The flowery sweet flavors are more discernable on the back of my palate after swallowing.
My second cup steeped even more buttery. The wet leaves were most buttery and vegetal-like buttered corn or peas, cooling to a vegetal sweetness. Cup is slightly darker, and more aromatically buttery and fruity. My palate was happy, with buttery goodness at the forefront, so sweet and so smooth. :)) Light fruits seemingly emerge-light peaches, not as pronounced as a good Tie Guan Yin though. There is absolutely no astringency at all!! The best cup of the three. :)) [1:15 at 180*]
Although the aromas in the third cup are fading, it was still quite creamy and sweet. The tastes are also waning, with a light creamy sweetness on my palate. This was the most vegetal of the cups, reminding me of peas on the back of my palate. The fully opened leaves are big & beautiful! [5 minutes at 180*]
I really enjoyed this cup of tea-the buttery nature and smooth cup really stands out. On a sad note, I lost my pet bunny Tchai last Saturday. Such a sweet, gentle girl! *
White teas are great Springtime teas, with such a fresh, gentle character and flavor. Experiencing a white tea is like feeling a gentle, cooling breeze brush my face, soothing me for a little while until the next one comes along. This Formosan white is another pleasant example that makes it a special tea.
The dry leaf exhibits light, creamy aromas of cucumber and pear. The leaves are huge and beautiful, consisting mostly of darker green hues, with some well twisted leaves having lighter white tips. The wet leaves possess light wood notes and buttered greens (beans), cooling to a very light grassy, raw green bean aroma.
The cup is a very light and lucid yellow, smelling of light fruits and having a sweet and creamy nose. The flavors are pleasantly sweet and creamy, with very light fruits that my palate cannot discern. There is also a subtle vegetal quality I can only descibe as green beans.
With my second cup (3.5 minutes at 180) I added 1+ tsp to the previously steeped leaves, hoping to capture a slightly new dimension of this tea.
Aromas were grassy and somewhat fruity; while the hot, wet leaves definitely smelled of corn, cooling to a light grassy, raw green bean scent. These characteristics were deeper than noted in the first cup.
The second cup was a shimmering yellow, with the sweet smell of light unbuttered corn. After continually swishing and swirling the tea in my mouth, corn and light hay flavors pleased my palate. A light grassy character rested on my tongue and remained after swallowing the tea.
This Formosan white tea is quite unique, delicious, and enjoyable! I really liked the differences between the first and second cup. Mostly, the contrasts were very subtle, yet quite noticeable. It is alot like that gentle wind, blessing you for brief moments, seemingly when you need it the most. Like the wind its beauty is fleeting, only to be missed when it is gone.
Cupped & Reviewed: Friday, June 8, 2012.
I haven’t cold brewed green tea before, but I thought I’d give it a try using three different green teas! I steeped all teas in my glass press which is 18-20 oz.
Gu Zhang Mao Jian Organic (ZG54)-Upton Tea Imports
Using two level TBSP, I rinsed the leaves for 30 seconds at approximately 170 degrees—just long enough to wake them up. :)) The water just covering
the leaves, then I filled with cold water & put tea in refrigerator for 18 hours.
The tea looked cloudy until I poured it in my glass. It smelled a little sweet. There wasn’t any creamy, or vegetal aspects I noted in my other review. It did have a full mouth pucker to it-quite astringent, but short of being bitter. It was flavorful and quenching, but not as sweet as I thought it would be. Slightly less tea, and/or cold steep (say 12 hours), would make this better. It was still enjoyable. Score: 79.
Note: The leaves did not fully open, so I had two decent cups of hot tea with the same leaves.
Cupped: Monday, June 4, 2012. Reviewed: Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
Arya Estate Emerald Second Flush 2010-Thunderbolt Tea
This larger leaf tea is harder to judge and measure, but a best guess would be 3 to 4 TBSP at 170-180 for 30 second rinse as above. Refrigerated for 12
hours. Tea seemed only slightly cloudy, and lighter in color. This tea had a sweet smell to it. The taste was clean and sweet, with a creamy nature, & a light tangy grape-like quality. This was a really smooth, delicious chilled green tea. I could drink this cold all summer. Score: 91.
Note: Had one additional cup of hot tea. :))
Cupped & Reviewed: Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
Bangkok Blend-Harney & Sons
I used one heaping TBSP at around 180 and a 30 second rinse as above. Refrigerated for 12 hours. Tea had a nice yellow-green color. I could smell the sweetness of the coconut and lemongrass immediately! The taste was so naturally sweet and thirst quenching! Light, yet flavorful, the flavors of the coconut and lemongrass washed over my palate. The Bancha was in perfect balance, its light quality had strength & very light astringency. This character only added to the tastiness of the brew-adding a pop that rejuvenated my spirit. :)) To me, the ginger was lacking, but overall this blend-dare I say…….excited me!
The only disappointment was that I wish I would have made more. :-// The flavors and strength were not as full as brewing this tea hot, but for a cold brew it earns higher marks. Score: 93.
A cup or two of hot tea will be just right before I fall asleep tonight. :))
Cupped & Reviewed: Wednesday, June 6, 2012. D-Day.
Here’s another sample from Bonnie and a Thank You for another good Lapsang. I think I like this Lapsang using these times and temps, and doubt if I will ever use boiling water. I also used 1+ tsp leaf per 10 oz mug.
The dry leaf smelled instantly of a campfire, with a certain sweetness that was inviting. This seemed less intense than my previous experience with Lapsang Souchong many years ago. As the tea began steeping, I couldn’t help but think, “Holy shishkabobs Batman!!”. The campfire smoke aroma intensified & jumped out at me. Tobacco aromas lingered in the air as well. My cup liquor was a rather translucent brownish-red color, with pleasantly sweet aromas reminding me of those summer campfires, and tobacco smoke.
The wet leaves smelled like tobacco smoke, with a definite ashy quality that cooled revealing new leather aromas and a natural sweetness. The flavors were surprisingly smooth and sweet, with tobacco and mild campfire smoke on my palate and the back of my tongue. Such a full flavor without being heavy.
I steeped a second cup somewhere between 5 to 5.5 minutes. Campfires were still ablaze, but this time with more smoked tobacco aromas. Sniff….sniff…yes, I was actually getting whiffs of smokey bacon! My cup was slightly darker. Wet leaves smelled of deeper tobacco smoke, with a more pronounced ashy quality. Once cooled, there was a deeper leather aroma that was sweeter, reminding me of pipe tobacco. The flavors on my palate were heavier-smoked tobacco/ashy quality, with less campfire notes.
Today I had two more cups yielding similar results. I decided to have a third cup resteeping the leaves, and was surprised by the continuing strength of the aromas and flavors. Through the second & third cups, the aromas and flavors were full bodied and satisfying-yet mild, and not bitter and offensive.
The demons of my previous experience with Lapsang Souchong are now conquered. I would imagine it’s much like the battles the Caped Crusaders would face every day, as Batman would exclaim, “To the Batcave, Robin!”. Sometimes, I wish I had a hermetically sealed cave, if only to store my tea there. :))
Cupped: Monday & Tuesday, June 4-5, 2012.
Reviewed: Tuesday, June 5, 2012.
What a wonderful surprise FULL of tea samples from kind Bonnie, and a special Thank You! :)) Another gift is my beautiful niece Brie on her way from Oregon. Right now she is in San Francisco with a three hour layover. I’ll be glad when she gets here. :))
This morning I must have been over-excited because I misread the tea label-twice. So I opened the pouch and smelled light smokey campfires, and a light floweriness, which is the Jasmine. It smells very light, and I’m so used to straight Jasmine teas where the aroma really hits you. There was a fruity aroma…….huh, orange?! I reread the label: LS, with Jasmine and orange. No wonder I smelled orange zest! Between the Lapsang and the orange, I didn’t notice the Jasmine-only a flowery aroma. The wet leaves only intensified the Lapsang and orange zest, leaving the jasm-aroma hidden. Still, the aromas were heavenly and almost magical, which brings me to my other reading error.
I let my cup cool. I thought the label said, "Lion & the Lamp. So I thought it was quite appropriate, with the magical aromas. The aromas in my cup are rising. I was envisioning the smoke cloud of a Genie rising up bringing me exotic, lightly smoked, sweet Lapsang, together with the sweet, fruity orange zest. Why does the jasmine remain hidden…….like the Genie in the lamp? If I could only rub my teacup and be granted three wishes. :)) Sure I would wish for more money, but there are SO MANY things that are more important for fullness in life! Alas, I tasted nothing but sweet, lightly smoked campfires soothing my palate. Then came the sweet burst of orange zest, and an elusive flowery goodness. My palate was awash with all of this gentle, yet very flavorful tea-not wanting to leave, but I couldn’t stop drinking this tea!
What a truly great blend and the perfect reintroduction to Lapsang Souchong. This tea really hit the spot and is something I could drink quite often and anytime of the year. As I was typing this something occurred to me. I don’t need a Genie to grant me three wishes. I received all this glorious tea, my niece Brie is coming today, and I’m alive, and well enough to see what gifts each day brings! That is three gifts right before me! Now all I need is another cup of this tea. :)) Thanks again Bonnie!
Cupped & Reviewed: Saturday, June 2, 2012.