141 Tasting Notes
So when I first went to DavidsTea, after the girl brought down a bazillion tins (not really but it felt like it), I got a few teas to bring home. So did my Mom. When I was checking out, I think I mentioned to my Mom that if I was ordering these online I’d be getting some free samples, but this was so much nicer to be able to get smaller amounts. The lady then tossed a bag of this in with my stuff for free just because, which was awesome. It had been one of the ones I was considering getting, but decided on some fruity oolongs instead. Lol.
That was months ago and I finally decided to try this one today. Mostly I was putting it off because I had an awful experience with the last chocolate orange tea I tried (burnt orange, yuck). But I was going through my swap bin and realized I hadn’t yet tried it. So I figured what the heck.
This would also be the first puerh that I’ve ever tried, though I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t use it as a comparison for what a puerh should be. At least I hope not.
Anyway. The tea in the bag was powdery with little chocolate curls and orange pieces. I think it was so powdery because of the chocolate, or something. I can’t imagine it was the tea causing it. I measured out a tsp and a half-ish into my steeper, poured boiling water over it and waited the minimum 4 min.
The wet leaves had that orange-y smell that I was expecting, but it didn’t assault my nose or smell burnt like the other orange chocolate tea I’ve had.
The brew wasn’t bad. The orange wasn’t overpowering, but it was definitely there. It had almost a spiciness to it that I wasn’t expecting, but it wasn’t strong. Just kinda a faint note at the back of the sip. I didn’t really get a strong distinction of chocolate from this, which I’d expect something given how much was in the mix. But I think it added maybe a richness to the cup and helped to tone down the orange. I’m not sure what a puerh is supposed to taste like so I couldn’t exactly pick it out of this, but it certainly didn’t adversely affect the brew.
I went for a second steep since, from what I’ve read here, puerh can take multiple steeps, usually this is encouraged, so I figured what the heck.
I should’ve stopped at the one steep, and certainly not tried to drink the second one. The wet leaves had a fishy smell to them, which I’ve heard sometimes a puerh will have. It also had a minty smell to it. Actually, it reminded me alot of the chiclet gum my Mom chews for her heartburn. (Just to note, I don’t think her gum smells fishy, just that these leaves reminded me of that. Lol) I scraped the leaves out of my steeper immediately before adding baking soda and hot water to it, since the steeper stank of this. Hopefully it’ll go away. Lol.
The brew had the same fishy smell to it, and the taste. UGH! Like fish. And mint. And orange. BLECH!
Maybe the third steep would’ve been better, but I didn’t even want to try it since what’s the point if you can’t get through the second steep?
Overall, for me this is a one steep only. But I’m not really planning on keeping this around. Maybe I’m doing something wrong because it seems like other reviewers for this have gotten multiple steeps out of it. But it’s just not for me I guess.
I won’t let this spoil my interest in trying puerh teas though. I’ll still, eventually, be giving that section of teas a try one of these days.
This is….actually not as bad as I was fearing. I picked up a 25g package of this from a 2 for $5 bin my last trip into a DavidsTea, after smelling it and finding it not too bad.
I got home and after trying another tea of their’s with coconut (Fantasy Island) and really disliking it, I nearly threw this in the swap bin before trying it just because it had coconut. But I figured why not.
Opening it, all I saw was the star anise, so I poured the bag into a bowl and all the tea was at the bottom. I measured out as evenly as I could 1 1/4 tsp (though it was probly closer to 1/2), dropped two of the star anise into the steeper and steeped 4 min @ 208*.
The smell of the wet leaves especially reminded me of the sassafras I get at the Renaissance Faire. I don’t always like licorice, but in small amounts it’s alright. I rarely have a taste for it. But the taste in this one wasn’t overpowering like I worried with the two giant star anise in the pot.
Taste wise it was licorice-y, but mellow, and the coconut accented this pretty nicely. It wasn’t all in your face like the Fantasy Island. This one was also just mildly spicy-esque and makes me think it’d be good for a morning tea. I added a bit of brown sugar and smidge of truvia and it was very nice indeed. I can imagine this would take milk well if I were so inclined.
I couldn’t really tell the black tea here, but then, I was so busy with the star anise and coconut I didn’t really give much thought to the black tea base other than ‘there, but not strong’. I didn’t get any astringency that I could tell.
Didn’t try a second steep, though I probly should have. Maybe the anise would’ve been toned down so I could taste the black tea. Ah well. Next time I make it.
I actually like this quite a bit. Enough that I’d consider picking up a bag to keep on hand when it goes on sale. Which was certainly surprising to me. Lol.
So I actually drank this last night, but Steepster was still being a butt so I decided to just write down my notes and post them later. I picked up a notebook from work with this image on it, http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/hasegawa/process_wb_c1953_fuji-wave_13-1.jpg, so I can start keeping notes on tea/swaps/companies/etc (mostly of blends I want to make on Adagio. Lol!). But that’s a different tangent.
I can’t remember if I got this my last order or the order before that. But I wanted to give it a shot because I love lychee (when I can find them), so a tea with lychee sounded wonderful.
1st steep – 4min/180* – I was surprised at the color of the brew. A very bright yellow. And floral smelling. Tasting it, it was greener than I was expecting, though I knew this wasn’t a roasted oolong so it would be lighter. But it wasn’t the grassy taste of, say, a green tea or even a ti kuan yin (I think I’m spelling that right). But a nice, well, green taste. Lol. I need to work on my vocabulary I think. There was also a nice floral taste, not overpowering, but light and just overall very nice. I didn’t really get any definite lychee flavor though. The leaves were still mostly curled/unopened, so I tried another steep.
2nd steep – 5 min/180* – Darker yellow brew this time. The taste isn’t really as green as it was the first steep. It’s alot more faint and mellow. The same with the floral flavor. I think I get a vague lychee flavor on the back of each sip, but I’m not sure if I’m imagining it because I want to to be there or not. Lol. By now the leaves are mostly uncurled, though I think I still could get a third steep out of it. I opted not to because I didn’t really feel like drinking this anymore. It just didn’t really do it for me I guess.
While this was a nice tea that I might reach for if I was wanting something light, I’m not sure it’s one I’d ever want to reorder. It might just be because I’ve been drinking alot of blacks and oolongs at the moment trying to learn the palate for those that the nuances of this tea are whizzing over my head. But what I could get from it, it was nice and certainly a better experience than I’ve had with any of the greener oolongs I’ve attempted to try.
Steepster is being a butt tonight. It ate this review twice before posting it. And it keeps giving me the kettle page when I click anything.
So I grabbed this to make tonight ‘cause I just felt like making it. It smells just like what I’ve been craving the last day or so and I made a big double cup to sit with me while I go play some Diablo 3.
Unfortunately the taste was not what I was hoping or remembering. It tasted very watered down, and the few mouthfuls I had left my mouth feeling funky. I think next time I make this I’ll try two tsp per cup, or 1 + 1/2. I can’t remember what I used last time and I seem to have misplaced the little notebook that I kept all my earlier tea notations. /frowns/ It’s here….somewhere. >>
Totally unsatisfying tonight and completely killed my urge for tea at all. /sigh/
I suspect there may be something wrong with my tastebud? I had such high hopes for this, especially after reading the description on the website and the reviews here. Chocolatey, a bit of roastiness, caramel, sweet malty black tea goodness. It sounded so good I almost bought the 1oz bag straight off. But I settled on just the sample because I’ve bought an amount of a tea thinking I’d like it and then not caring much for it.
So I’ve been saving this tea for a time when I can enjoy it/treat myself. And a crappy day at work counts in my book (of which I had a really crappy day today and I expect to have another one tomorrow, so more special occasion tea for me). Opening the sample package, I got a whiff of the rice, but also the cocoa nibs with that bittersweet chocolate smell that practically makes my mouth water. I adore bittersweet chocolate, especially in cookies….Mmmmm, cookies……/clears throat/ Anyway, I poured the package out so that I could get as even a measurement as I could since I didn’t want to scoop out all the tea and have no rice.
Into my ingenutea, boiling water, 3 min and I could hardly wait. The brew smells chocolatey, but with that rice/grainy smell from the, well, rice. Not offputting at all like I would expect since, come on, it’s rice in tea. It was nice and comforting, if that makes any sense.
Taking a sip, I expected malty cocoa rice sweetness or something to that effect, but all I got was a kind of strong burn-y roastyness. I took another sip, rolled it around and got the same thing. I went through half the cup trying to find tastes other than that one, kinda got maybe a cocoa taste now and then, before I tried a bit of sugar in it just because. Now it had a sweetened roasty, burn-y taste to it.
Alright, maybe a second steep will bring out a different flavor. Steeped same temp water for 4:30 this time. The burn-y roasty taste had toned down, but I still couldn’t find much of any other flavor.
Not to mention I got a headache about halfway through the second steeping/almost at the end. Which I wonder if it was caused by the tea or something else? I’ve only had one other tea induced/related headache (Butiki’s Hattilli Golden Lion Assam and I’m not really convinced the tea was the cause really), but this headache wan’t like that one, it was kind’ve more of a broader ache this time which has since gone mostly away with a glass of water and my medicine. But has anyone else ever gotten a headache after drinking this tea? I just wonder if it’s maybe something in this specific tea or something completely different. But I’m off on a tangent now. Sorry.
So now I wonder are my tastebuds broken? Am I doomed to forever be shunned from the wonders of the unflavored black/oolong majesty. I had this same sort of ‘Meh’ reaction from the straight Laoshan Black (and actually quite a few other unflavored Verdant/Other company teas). /hangs head/ It’s almost vaguely depressing to me actually. Lol.
I have enough for one more cup, so maybe I’ll try a lower temp. I’m hoping that the burn-y, strong roasty flavor is because I burnt the leaves or something. Though it’s a black tea. I didn’t think you could really do that? Or should I try a gaiwan? I’m open to any and all suggestions/comments about this.
Because I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t operator error, I’ve refrained from putting a rating for now. I’ll edit with a rating after my next brew.
EDIT: Holy cow. I didn’t realize this was so long and I apologize. Lol
So after the horrible luck I’ve been having with teas tonight, I decided on a tea that I’m almost positive I’d like. I mean, you can’t (very rarely) go wrong with vanilla. This was one of the teas I got in the Try-me sampler on my last order.
The smell in the bag reminds me of Love in a Cup, which is great because I love that tea too.
The flavor was very nice. Smooth vanilla taste that increased after I added a bit of sugar. I used 1 1/2 tsp of this, but next time I might try 2 tsp to see if I can get more vanilla taste.
This is one I’d definitely consider reordering next time, unless I find a better vanilla tea before that.
So I actually picked this up at the Chicago Adagio location after the blender of this tea, Cara McGee, had a tea party there during C2E2. I wasn’t there for the party though. I ended up stopping by about a week later and Adagio still had some blends lurking around, so I grabbed this since it sounded interesting and I had been considering buying it online. I wish it had been in the Sherlock sampler set a friend of mine that was there with me ended up picking up, since I would’ve loved to try this first. Or at least smelled it. If I had, I probly wouldn’ve bought this to be honest.
The dry blend smells of cinnamon, cardamom, a hint of coconut, ginger and very faintly either caramel or vanilla. Not so sure on that since everything else is so much stronger, but it’s faintly there. It’s not unpleasant, but definitely makes you (or at least me) proceed with caution. Lol.
The taste, however, doesn’t come close to having all these great smells present. For me, the Thai Chai completely overpowers everything else in this blend. And specifically the ginger is all I taste. Well, cinnamon versus ginger, with the ginger coming out mostly on top. It’s so strong that it actually made me a little ill and I had to pour out the rest of my cup. If I want a ginger tea, I’d rather drink the Shieldmaiden blend I have instead.
It’s not really a bad blend. If you like stronger, spicy-esque flavors, especially ginger, this is the tea for you. If you were looking for something mildly spicy, or something that you can taste the tiger eye or assam melody teas, you might consider trying another blend. It’s definitely not one of my favorites. Swap bin for this one.
So this is actually the second time I’ve made this, but I was so underwhelmed by it the first time I made it that I decided to just toss it back in my untried bin and after awhile, try it again. Lol.
Great pineapple smell in the bag, in a mouthwatering way. So I was pretty excited. And the brewed tea smells pretty pineapple-y also.
But after sipping it, I don’t really get much actual pineapple taste. Maybe I’m expecting too much, but if a tea is labeled pineapple, it should at least be pretty strongly pineapple. Even with sugar added, not much pineapple.
It could also be that this tea was so astringent to me that I couldn’t drink much more than half of it before pouring it out. Even 5ish minutes later my mouth is still all wonky from the astringency.
I’d keep this and finish it out, but that astringency is just too much. Ah well. One day I’ll find a good pineapple tea.
So this second time around I poured my whole bag into a bowl and made sure the teaspoon I got wasn’t heavy on fruit with no tea.
It’s definitely not as tart as it was when I first made it. But I didn’t really get any sort of definite oolong taste from it either. No hint of maple sweetness that I could tell, but I wasn’t really expecting much from that to be honest.
It was just a kinda fruity/berry, lightly tart-ish tea. With sugar it was a bit better, but kinda meh overall.
Going into the swap bin…which I really need to empty out soon. Lol.
So I’ve been looking forward to this tea since I read about it on Verdant’s website. It sounded so good that I almost got a full ounce of this, but managed to contain myself (just in case) and just get two samples of it. I’ve been wanting to make this tea for awhile, but found that I didn’t have enough time to be able to fully appreciate all of the steepings I was bound to get from this, so I kept putting it off. Finally I decided to go for it since I have a late shift for work the next day so I could possibly stay up late if necessary to drink through this. Lol. Originally I was going to use my new gaiwan for it, but Verdant had western style brewing suggestions on the site and I felt kinda lazy.
I used the one tablespoon per cup recommendation (that’s alot of tea, yeesh), which was exactly what I had in my sample packet. Into my ingenutea it went, followed by 205* water. Then to sit and wait. The following steeping opinions I wrote as I made them over the course of a couple hours. (Yes, I was a slow tea drinker tonight.)
1st steep – 205* / 3min – I can understand the wheat bread descriptions since that’s what I first thought when I opened the sample packet. Kind’ve a grain-y, roasty smell. The steeped leaves have the same smell. For the brew, the same roasty flavor, but this is bordering on more of a burnt flavor. Actually I can’t really get past this to find any other flavors. The burnt taste really overpowers everything else for me, which makes me kinda sad. But hopefully it’ll get better in the second steeping.
2nd steep – 205* / 4.5min – Still roasty, but the burnt flavor has died down quite a bit. Don’t get much more than that roasty flavor still.
3rd steep – 205* / 6min – The roasty flavor is gone mostly, not in your face, but kinda chilling in the background. I’m not quite sure what to think of this third brew really. It’s sweet by itself, but I can’t really associate any particular flavor or impression to it. It’s not a weak tea flavored water. It’s more than that but I can’t figure out what. It’s very frustrating actually.
Originally I had done this for 5.5min, but found it watery and dumped it back in the leaves for a bit longer steep, which came out much better tasting, all things considering.
4th steep – 205* / 8min – So I think this is the last steep I can get from this. I probly should’ve stopped at the 3rd, but I couldn’t resist at least trying. After all, it’s only water I’d be using, not like money or my bottled fairies (kudos if you get the reference). This brew is just slightly roasty in an oolong-ish sort of way, but mostly just watery and getting unpleasantly astringent. I actually might just pour this one out since it’s definitely not appealing to drink at this point. If it weren’t so late I might try just dumping the brew back into the leaves and letting it sit awhile longer. But alas, I have to have a cutoff sometime and quarter past 1 in the morning seems as good of one as any. Lol.
My impressions overall are that I don’t think this one is for me just yet. I’ve decided not to leave a rating on this one since I think my dissatisfaction with this tea might be more my own taste than the tea itself, especially since there’s so many other people here that it’s such a big hit with. Normally I’d probly have rated this a 48 or 49 on my own opinion scale (which is at the higher end of my ‘good to try, won’t reorder’ area), but I feel it’d be unfair to potentially bring the rating down because my taste buds are uncooperative. Lol.
I might try my second sample packet later on down the line to see if I can find the nuances of this better. Or I might just try this with cooler, more oolong temperate water and see if that helps. We’ll see, but for now, this isn’t going on my reorder list.