110 Tasting Notes

87

I’ve been wanting to review this tea for a while and I finally got around to it.

This tea is really pretty. Long uniform leaves with buds. The leaves surround the bud in many cases. They are also white tipped, soft, and furry. As the leaves rested in my rinsed glass press they smelled nutty and mildly fruity.

My first cup was a soft yellow brew with a mild sweetness. As I tasted it and swirled it in my mouth, it is warm and smooth with a nutty flavor, and mild fruits of melon on the back of my tongue. I usually equate the melon notes to cantaloupe or honeydew, and in this case, cantaloupe fits the bill.

As I wait for my second cup to cool, the wet leaves smell sweet and nutty. The cup is somewhat darker in color, and a natural sweet aroma comes through. This is the best cup of the three I had. The nuttiness was somewhat stronger, as were the fruity notes. This was still a gentle cup, as white teas tend to be. It was again naturally sweet and smooth. Brewed 195 for 1 minute.

In my last cup (212 for 3 minutes), the nut aspects faded, leaving it more fruity on my palate-but even these were lighter than my second cup. Still a sweet and flavorful cup. Overall a very light, creamy smooth, naturally sweet brew I love.

It reminds me so much of the warmer months. This tea is so appropriate right now, as it has been in the 60’s the last few days, and today in the 70’s! What a nice welcome to what has been a warm March, and an early Spring! :)) Oh, how I do welcome thee…….

Cupped: Thursday, March 15, 2012. THE IDES OF MARCH!

Reviewed: Saturday, March 17, 2012.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

Ahhh… that sounds so nice. And I wish it would warm up here too, all we’ve had is rain!

ScottTeaMan

I can’t believe how warm it has been, and I’m not complaining! I don’t reremember a March, or a winter so warm. :)) That’s good because here winter can be fridgidly cold- but not this year. :)) But this is a great tea. White teas are more mellow [Have you ever been?], and as you’ve probably heard me say-I do appreciate each tea for what they are. Can’t seem to reconcile with Rooibos, or hibiscus right now though.

ScottTeaMan

Although I have never tried green Rooibos yet.

TeaBrat

you might like green rooibos, it isn’t as smelly and weird as the red kind. :)

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85
drank Checkmate by DAVIDsTEA
110 tasting notes

Thank You to TeaNSympathy for a very intriguing sample.

When I opened the bag, the aromas blew me away! The tea smelled AHHH….MAYZING!! If I could do backflips, I would’ve rounded out a couple. :)) I sensed the aroma of coconut and vanilla, and there is a chocolate aroma to this blend. Could it have been coffee? I have read and seen blends where coffee is blended with tea. Maybe it was roasted mate. I remember drinking roasted mate, which gave me a similar sensation when drinking it.

Then I read the ingredients. I couldn’t believe it! There is no chocolate, coffee, or roasted mate listed. Maybe they just didn’t list all of the ingredients?! Yet the choco-coffee, mate aroma is there! Coconut is the obvious and dominant aroma. Then there is the chamomile. Any chamomile I’ve ever had didn’t look quite like the flower in this blend. And I didn’t recognize any part of the aroma as chamomile. The teas listed are Bai Mu Dan and a black tea-probably an Assam. At any rate, these aromas are a dance for the senses (or sense).

The cup aroma was a coconut concoction, filled with choco-nutty goodness, and a sweetness, all of which emanated from the cup. The flavor was really good. Delicious….yes…but, not to the extent the dry aroma would lead you to believe. Still, coconut and that choco-nuttiness played on my tongue! Bai Mu Dan whites tend to have a nutty character to them. The creamy sweetness was brought forth by the chamomile, but I can’t believe when blended, it is responsible for this tea’s chocolate notes.

Check Mate’s shortfall for me is the lack of strength in the base teas. The wonderful coconut and chamomile overpower the base teas for me. Yes, they are present and noticeable, but I just prefer more balance between the teas and the other ingredients in this case.

It is really a very nice, quite delicious dessert tea. If the game of Chess was strictly based on aromas, I would concede to Check Mate, and a match well played. But the base teas didn’t bring their A Game, so I’d have to call this one a draw, and demand a rematch. In this case a rematch (another cup of this tea) is an event worth savoring!

Cupped and Reviewed: Tuesday, March 13, 2012.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

I quite like this tea for standing on its own and being a good cup when your tastebuds have been working hard on strong foods or tea.

Kittenna

Yeah, this tea is pretty awesome, isn’t it? I definitely use it as more of a breakfast tea than a dessert tea though :D

Indigobloom

I had the same reaction with the chocolate/mate confusion. I mean, how is that possible?!

ScottTeaMan

I think the Bai Mu Dan contributed to the nutty aspect, as to the chocolate confusion…….I am confused. :p

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68
drank Spiced Plum by Harney & Sons
110 tasting notes

My mom got this tea from a friend and gave it to me. I’m always excited to try new teas, so I was excited to try this one! I did read that this was an herbal tea, so I thought it might be another delicious late night tea. So I opened the tin, and the bag, and…….

…….smelled a wonderful cinnamon aroma! WOW! This is obviously the main ingredient. I was just hoping this blend didn’t include hibiscus (NOT a fan of hibiscus). I read the ingredients: cinnamon, rosehips, and hibiscus [BIG SIGH!!]. I wasn’t expecting much. :// The cup color was a beautiful purplish-red, and did smell of cinnamon (AAHHH!), and hibiscus [UUGGGHHH!].

I really could taste the cinnamon, and the hibiscus. The hibiscus gave this tea the tart, plum-like flavor. I like a little tartness, but the tartness was a bit too much for me in this blend. I also noted a spicy quality on the back of my tongue, which I originally thought was ginger. I’m not sure. Could it have been the rosehips?

Overall, an average blend; and, thanks to the cinnamon, this will be a tea I will finish-one occasional cup at a time.

Cupped: Sunday, March 11, 2012.

Reviewed: Monday, March 12, 2012.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

This sounds a lot like Rishi’s cinnamon plum which also has hibiscus in it. I foolishly bought 1/4 lb. of it at one time & It has been taking me forever to finish mine.

ScottTeaMan

Yeah I have somewhere between 2-3 oz, so unless I ice it, I wont finish it untill late summer or longer. ://

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91

Thank you to TeaNSympathy for this great sample! I admit it….I am a huge fan of peppermint tea, so I was really looking forward to this one.

The aroma is so soothing, with a good mint and chocolate combo coming through. The mint was slightly more dominant, but the chocolate aroma wasn’t shy either. The wet leaf aroma was even more fragrant, with a good balance of aromas filling the space around me. In the cup, I detected more of the chocolate aroma, but of course the mint was not to be denied.

The flavor is delicious! My palate was filled with minty/chocolatey , and chocolatey/minty goodness! Such a good balance of flavors too. The tea base was there, but the flavors were somewhat stronger than the base tea. In this case I don’t mind it, because it is a dessert tea after all. It tastes like creme de menthe candy, or Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark squares.

I remember quite a few years back, getting this tea for my sister, because she likes Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. She said it was delicious….and she is right! It is very delicious, and a perfect anytime treat! Thanks again TNS for such a tasty sample! :))

Cupped: Friday & Saturday, March 9-10, 2012.

Reviewed: Monday, March 12, 2012.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
Cheryl

eep, yet another Harney to add to shopping list (love your description)

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86

Let me start with a heartfelt Thank You to TeaNSympathy for the sachet samples you sent me, and for giving me a new perspective on decaffeinated teas!

I’m not really a fan of decaffeinated teas. My experiences with them (few that they are), have been bland, nearly tasteless cups of tea with almost no aroma. I have avoided them like the plague…….until now.

I was eager to try this until I saw it was decaffeinated, and I wasn’t expecting much. When I smelled the sachet, I couldn’t believe my nose, so I inhaled even deeper. AAAHHH! What an amazing smell! I’m not even a fan of vanilla teas, because they smell and taste artificial to me. Not the case here…….the vanilla smells so naturally sweet and fresh. I don’t even know if this is an ingredient in the blend, but I was picking up caramel notes as well!

The cup was a medium brown, with a sweet, smooth vanilla aroma. The flavor was a good balance between the black tea base, and the sweet vanilla. What I really like is that the vanilla didn’t overpower the tea, and it tasted so naturally sweet. I was picking up on a lighter caramel flavor as well. A really delicious, sweet dessert tea, and that says alot from someone who loathes decaffeinated teas! :))

I’m so glad I’ve experieced a delicious decaffeinated tea! Now I have at least this ONE tea to drink late at night when I don’t want the caffeine, and when I’m not in the mood for herbals. This tea is great at any hour of the day or night! Thanks again TeaNSympathy. :))

Cupped: Friday, March 9, 2012.

Reviewed: Saturday, March 10, 2012.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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82

Thank you TeaNSympathy for this generous sample! I have always wanted to try this blend, and was so happy to receive this sample. :))

It is nice sometimes to drink a cup of tea that is a good, quality cup if tea, without having to think about it too much. Enter Malachi McCormick’s Blend. It is a decently aromatic blend in the leaf and cup. Well balanced as it is, I did notice the Keemun slightly more than the Assam, which is a good thing because the Keemun aids in this tea’s smoothness. What you get is a strong yet smooth, delicious tea. I drank two cups neat, and was very satisfied.

This tea is perfect in the morning, and I think it could stand up well with a dash of milk (which I will try eventually). Now one of my go to teas when I just need a cup of tea, and don’t want to think about it. Sometimes, there is nothing more relaxing than simply having a decent cup of tea. :))

Cupped: Thursday & Friday, March 8-9, 2012.

Reviewed: Saturday, March 10, 2012.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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77

It was after midnight and I wanted a good loose tea, but decided on something simple, because I didn’t want to be up all night. I had Orange Juice in a cup a few minutes earlier, and decided to add a Red Rose teabag to the “after” cup.

It was really quite good. My cup had an orange hue to it, and I could really taste the orange in the cup. A good citrusy combo, and a decent cup before bed. Me happy! My tea month is already improving. :))

Cupped & Reviewed: Sunday, March 4, 2012.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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25
drank Christmas Tea by Twinings
110 tasting notes

Had a cup of this and the teabag itself smelled of cinnamon and clove. Hhhmmmm, I put on the kettle. As I was waiting for my water I read the box. Cinnamon….check. Clove…check. Artificial flavoring…….I wasn’t expecting much. Still, I gave it a go.

In the cup, I could smell the spices, but I honesly couldn’t taste much of anything. Not even the black tea. Very bland, I will not be having this for Christmas, or any other time. My tea tastings for March can only improve!

Cupped: Thursday, March 1, 2012.

Reviewed: Sunday, March 4, 2012.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

The only “Christmas” tea I’ve found to love is one by Stash, otherwise, they all seem to disappoint! :(

ScottTeaMan

I haven’t tried too many Christmas teas, but I love Stash’s Christmas Morning, White Christmas, & Holiday Chai! Which are you referring to Indigo?

Indigobloom

ummm oh jeeze, it’s in a red packet. I reviewed it awhile back. I believe it was Christmas Morning! White Christmas was just ok for me

ashmanra

I liked the Holiday Chai, sent some to my daughter’s boyfriend in N. Ireland and he loved it. The White Christmas was okay, but I don’t drink much peppermint tea. It is very soothing, though.

Cheryl

I have this to test, and should get to it before summer, huh? Also have Stash’s Christmas Morning and Eve (did not like Holiday Chai, but not a gingerbread/rum fan).

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88

Special thanks to Amy for sending me some really fine coinage! :)) Seriously, the Chinese used tea as a form of currency and barter exchange. I really like this so on to the review.

I used 1/2 a coin for this tasting and drank three delicious cups. In the wet leaves I smelled a toasty and sweet aroma. The cup is very dark and sweet smelling. I just love Puerh teas (the few that I’ve tried). This cup was no exception-velvety smooth, sweet, and delicious! The main flavor note I get here is mushrooms. My second cup was steeped at 1 minute and roughy same temp. An even deeper color greets my eyes. The aromas are slightly deeper as the wet leaves have a more toasty aroma to them. The cup has more depth of flavor too, with even more sweet mushrooms. My last cup (212 for 3 min) was still a delicious sweet cup with good flavor, but not as much depth as the second.

I’m not sure I get the “fishy” quality that alot of people talk of. Maybe it just doesn’t exist here at such short steeps.

For the second 1/2 coin, I decided to do longer steeps to experience the deeper flavors. My first cup steeped at 180 for 3 minutes. Now the aroma really comes out of the wet leaves! Really toasty and wood-like. Deeply inhaling I get intense toasty…….like a roasted marshmallow sweetness. What a toasty sweet aromatic cup before me. Much deeper flavors here-toasty, woody, very sweet and smooth! I’m still getting mushrooms, and….wait…fishy? Maybe some fishiness here. At least I think this is what others describe as the fish-like quality of Puerhs. If so it is mild, and I like fish, so it only adds to the depth of flavor.

My second cup was at a gentle boil for 5 min. I think having only two cups was a good choice as my second cup was similar to the first. Toasty, roasted marshmallows, mushrooms….and fishy?! Maybe a little more “fishy” than the first cup, but still a secondary flavor and still mild to me. What a delicious cup!

What I take with me with this tea experience is that I like to brew Puerhs in shorter steeps like my first 1/2 coin, and with the deeper flavors and aromas of the second 1/2 coin. It just depends on my mood. I like the dark sweetness of the cups. I like all their flavors, and still with the longer steeps-smooth and sweet with no bitterness. A little “fishy” maybe, but not offensive.

I will definitely explore more Puerhs in the future! Thanks again Amy. :)) One coin down, one to go. How should I brew it…….by the 1/2 coin? Should use the whole coin next time? Maybe I’ll flip a coin and throw caution to the wind. :)) WWWHHHEEE!

Cupped: Tuesday & Monday, February 21 & 27, 2012.

Reviewed: Sunday, March 4, 2012.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

Eh, I don’t know. People comment on puerhs being fishy all of the time but I never really noticed it with any of mine. Maybe I’m immune to it, I don’t know. I did have one recently that smelled really weird, I’ve been told that is not a sign of a quality pu-erh.

TeaBrat

I also steep puerhs for 30 -60 seconds usually and I rinse mine first. That seems to be the way the Chinese do it. :)

ashmanra

Some of the puerhs from A Southern Season definitely have that low tide vibe going on. Fish and shrimp shells! Most that I have tried are just earthy though. I just set three tuo chas out to air a bit to get rid of some of that seaside aroma!

Bonnie

Sounds wonderful!

ScottTeaMan

These coins were not really fishy to me…….it’s just that I picked up on a flavor note that others may be picking up on and describing as fishy. I think I’m immune to it too, and besides I like fish, so if it is there I LOVE IT!

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91
drank Tama Ryokucha by Teavana
110 tasting notes

Special thanks to Amy for this delicious tea.

My first opinion smelling the leaves was spinach, creamy (buttery?), and very sweet smelling. The aroma made my mouth water…….seriously. I guess if I’d call a green tea buttery, this would be it. I warmed my tea press so the warm water clinging to the glass intensified the aroma. The steeping info below is what I prefer when brewing most Japanese greens, but the water got too hot (about 185-190 D). So my first cup was spinacy, but way too astringent at 1.5 minutes…….my bad. ://. Wet leaf aroma was so vegetal and sweet and creamy. Second cup per info was much better. Steeped around 165 for one minute, the sweet, creamy, spinach brew was delicious—the best cup. :)) My last cup was more grassy in nature, with less of the aromas, sweetness and spinach, but still very good. (180 D @ 3 min.)

I continued on another night more closely following the steeping info, and the results were much better. Same wonderful sweet…O.K. buttery….spinach brew, with all the aromas. My first cup was very good. Like Amy, I did notice the brothy nature of this tea. I love it when I get this quality with Japanese greens. It totally adds another dimension to the tea. The brothy nature continued into the second cup (165 at 1 min.). This was my favorite cup once again (& usually is), from the wet leaf aroma to the flavors in the cup. The sweet, cre….er, buttery qualitites were awesome! The spinach notes were peaking, and the brothy nature of the cup popped in my mouth! POP POP!! My palate was happy! :)) The last cup was less vegetal and sweet with more of a grassy nature on my tongue. Still a very good cup (195 for 3 min).

I finished the sample on a third night using more leaf than the previous nights, so I was able to get a forth cup! First two cups were steeped at 160-165 for 1 min. Without being too redundant, the aromas and flavors were very consistent with my second nights brews. Spinachy, buttery, sweet, brothy, and my favorite of the four cups! The short steeps allowed for enough of Sencha’s astringency, but not too much….very well balanced. The third cup (185 at 1.5 min), was less sweet and vegetal with that grassy tone I get coming into the picture. Even my fourth cup was good. More grassy and astringent (212 at 3.5 min), it was still pretty good. I drank it with a meal so the astringency wasn’t too much for me at all!

My three favorite things about this tea was the creamy, brothy, astringency in the cup and on my palate. The creamy, butteriness surprised me the most, and the brothy nature is a bonus prize for me! I must admit I do like managed astringency in this tea, and in Senha teas.

Oh! There is one more favorite thing about this tea. It was a free sample from generous, kind Amy. Thanks agaain Amy! :))

Cupped: Thursday, Monday, & Tuesday, February 16, 20, & 28, 2012.

Reviewed: Saturday, March 3, 2012.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

Ah, this is delicious… I agree! It’s too bad Teavana doesn’t sell it aside from the gift set but I will keep an eye out for it elsewhere!

ScottTeaMan

See….this is one I would order from Teavana, but it seems they focus too much on blends &flavored teas.

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