1173 Tasting Notes

75

I see now at the Mighty Leaf Organic Breakfast profile page that the black teas used are sourced from India. So that would be Assam and something else, probably something similar to Ceylon or Keemun (the usual English Breakfast suspects—but those are not from India). Or perhaps there is a more complex multi-tea blend involved here. Anyway, this tastes good. Definitely a solid English Breakfast tea. I’ll try this steep-off again soon and make sure to compare the Mighty Leaf with the Harney & Sons BEFORE adding cream!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Angrboda

Nilgiri perhaps?

sherapop

That seems a likely candidate, Angrboda!

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75

Annoyingly, I just lost a lengthy tasting note relaying this afternoon’s steep-off chez sherapop between Harney & Sons English Breakfast and Mighty Leaf Organic English Breakfast. I’ll try to reconstruct what I wrote.

My first observation was that the tea in the Harney & Sons sachet was ever-so-slightly darker than in the Mighty Leaf sachet. Both smell like classic English Breakfast, with a hefty dose of Assam—or reasonable facsimile. Harney & Sons has used Kenyan Milima in place of Indian Assam. Not sure what Mighty Leaf is using. Perhaps it is just good old-fashioned Assam! The lighter coloring of some of the tips in the Mighty Leaf sachet leads me to suspect that they may be using more Ceylon or some other tea lighter than Assam as the mixer. I believe that Keemun is often used.

The brew of the Harney & Sons was slightly darker than the Mighty Leaf liquor—also dark amber. The scent was characteristically English Breakfast. I cannot smell or drink English Breakfast tea without thinking of Tazo Awake—no doubt because I consumed so much of it in the past.

As far as the taste is concerned, I began thinking that I preferred the Mighty Leaf. Then it seemed that I preferred the Harney & Sons. Basically I seemed to go back and forth from sip to sip! I mistakenly added cream before starting the sip-off, so probably I’ll need to do another steep-off in order to determine the winner in this case!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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63
drank Cherry Blossom by Harney & Sons
1173 tasting notes

This afternoon I have confirmed that the cherry flavoring of Harney & Sons Cherry Blossom is too strong for me. I don’t want to hold it against Harney & Sons, though, since I also prefer the second infusion of the Kusmi flavored green teas. It seems that, with rare exceptions, I really do prefer my green tea without adulterants…

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 45 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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65

Despite containing pineapple as the fruit, Mighty Leaf Green Tea Tropical reminded me a lot of Kusmi Thé Vert à la Fraise. I wonder whether strawberries and pineapple are related somehow? So, yes, this is a fairly fruity-flavored green tea with probably a bancha base green tea. I’ll try another sachet soon to get a firmer idea of what may be this tea’s unique virtues…

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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80

I received two generous samples of Bi Luo Chun from Teavivre (thanks!), and I just brewed up a nice-sized pot. I’m not really sure what the dose of this tea should be, as it is extremely light and airy, filled with spaces. It almost seems weightless! I ended up using about three teaspoons for the pot, but I’m not sure whether the samples are supposed to be measured as pot portions. Perhaps Angel could weigh in? ;-)

Anyway, this was my second experience with a Bi Luo Chun tea, the first having been one from Tealux. So now I know: this tea has a very subtle flavor, not at all vegetal, but still tasty and thirst-quenching. I like the comparison to flaky pastry, except that the texture and flavor are not at all buttery to me. Bi Luo Chun strikes me as a very neutral tea, which would work well as an accompaniment to any meal—or dessert!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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66

My computer seems to be on the verge of dying, after nearly five fun-filled years of me writing tons of text on it. The screen keeps flashing white, and I just lost a lengthy tasting note on this tea, a box of which I found while continuing the seemingly endless excavation of my apartment as I prepare to move hopefully this coming Sunday. I’ll attempt to reconstruct what I just wrote and lost.

I recall always having found something slightly discordant about Organic Good Night, which is of course why I still have some around. I bought a box of six boxes from Amazon, but it was never my first choice for pre-bedtime brew. Something about the lavender and the coriander—or was it the hawthorne?—always struck me as a bit odd. I suspect that sarsaparilla may be among the “natural flavors” mentioned in the ingredient list. I must not have been alone in finding this brew a bit less inviting than some of the usual bedtime suspects, since this blend appears to have been discontinued, as it is no longer found at the Good Earth website.

Interestingly, the company taster notes don’t really mention the ingredients which I notice. They do say something about a “calming floral bouquet”, so maybe that includes lavender and hawthorne. But they also mention lime and apple, which are not a part of my experience of this infusion at all. Maybe I just don’t know what tasting notes are, as the list at Steepster is bizarrely abridged and—shall I be frank? (quoi d’autre?!)— arbitrary and tends to omit everything which I actually notice. I mean, why isn’t almond on the list? Or salt? Why cannot chamomile and lavender be tasting notes, I wonder? Seriously, who wrote the list? Why do I have to taste apple when I am tasting chamomile, when in reality I taste chamomile???? Is it allowed to taste chamomile as a note if it is not among the ingredients, I wonder? I mean, are tasting notes always supposed to be of substances not listed as ingredients? So if I can claim to taste spinach in sencha, then why can I not claim to taste chamomile in a honeybush blend? (As an aside: the “suggest a flavor” function has never worked on my computer for some reason… Does it work for anyone else, I wonder?)

Anyway, of late I’ve been exploring lavender and chamomile blends, of which this is one, except that here there are many other ingredients as well. Tonight I find this brew much less discordant than my memory of it, and its sheer oddity is the reason why I still have some of this creation still hanging around these parts though it cannot be purchased anywhere—at least as far as I can tell. After training on some hardhitting lavenders, Organic Good Night now seems mild to me—even somewhat harmonious!

Bonne nuit.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Angrboda

Jason wrote somewhere in the thread about the new tea page something about them not having actually turned that on yet.

sherapop

Thank you, Angrboda! I’ve been trying to figure this out. It makes any report of notes rather abridged and in some ways inaccurate…

Angrboda

I’ve never tried using it myself. I can see what it is they want to do with it, but it doesn’t really appeal to me. :)

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95
drank Golden Monkey by Tazo
1173 tasting notes

I really needed to drink something delicious this afternoon, so I brewed up a big pot of Tazo Golden Monkey. Yum, yum, yum! My current favorite China black tea, bursting with delicious burnt caramel flavor coming only from the leaves.

I noticed that the leaves are still tightly rolled in the bottom of the drained pot. Now I’m wondering whether I should be making multiple infusions of this tea. Have I been dumping precious servings down the sink?

Flavors: Caramel

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML
boychik

I always resteep Chinese tea multiple times.

Cheri

It sounds like this one could be resteeped at least another time or two.

Kirkoneill1988

i thought monkey picked was a kind of oolong lol :P

sherapop

I’ll definitely try to resteep this one next ime, boychik and Cheri! I have always simply assumed that black teas are not reinfusable. I’m not sure why. I guess that I never knew that any tea could be multiply infused until I went to Japan, but then I learned that green tea could be. I regarded it as an exception, not the rule. Later, a friend informed me that white tea could be reinfused as well. Now it appears that black tea can, too! ;-)

Cheri

Not all blacks can be. It’s more a trial and error. But everything I’ve read about golden monkey is that it can be.

boychik

I never resteep Darjeeling and rarely Assam. I’m lucky if I brew it right at first place, pretty finicky. Chinese teas are wonderful to resteep. Especially if you do short steeps like gongfu style in gaiwan or even in a cup w/strainer

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66
drank Almond Green Tea by Kusmi Tea
1173 tasting notes

This Almond Green Tea is another of the flavored greens featured in the Kusmi sample set of mini tins. The base green tea appears to be the same as that used in the Rose Green Tea, so maybe it is green Congou? Not sure. Once again I find that the flavoring is very marked (as in the case of both the rose and the strawberry, which I tried yesterday—though I believe that the base was bancha).

I’m not sure about this combination. I may be so accustomed to drinking my green tea unadulterated that it will take some getting used to before I feel that flavored greens are a good idea. Well, I have the rest of this tin—several pots more—to find out!

The almond flavor is unmistakeable, but I feel as though it has been applied so as to mask, not to complement, the base tea. Maybe these teas are intended for people who do not like green tea?

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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92
drank Gyokuro Imperial by Teavana
1173 tasting notes

C’est fini! J’y reviendrai!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 11 OZ / 325 ML

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90

I had no business brewing anotha cuppa—I should be asleep!—but I could not resist comparing Stash Licorice Spice to Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint. Turned out to be another apples and oranges scenario—so not really a steep-off.

Full disclosure: Licorice Spice is a tea of which I have consumed hundreds of bags. I also sent 100 bag boxes to my sister when she needed some moral support with her dieting. Let’s face it licorice is an able dessert surrogate. That’s because licorice root is one of the sweetest natural substances there is.

As promised, this blend combines yummy licorice with … spices! In just the right proportions. It’s so satisfying that a cup easily serves as a dessert surrogate. Don’t believe me? Try it! If you’re really hungry, brew two cups!

Back to the steep-off (not), there is no mint in this blend. Nor is there any ginger (as in the Harney & Sons Licorice Ginger blend). I should add that I believe that Stash does have a Licorice Mint, though I haven’t had any in quite some time. Now that would make a great steep-off with Teapigs Liquorice & MInt! Well, except that it would be a filter bag vs. sachet steep off, clearly favoring the latter.

Or not. Stash Licorice Spice tastes very good to me, despite being in a filter bag. Perhaps it is true that herbal infusions are less fussy than are caffeinated teas. Or perhaps it just does not matter whether one uses chunks of licorice or fannings. Indeed, the smaller the particles, the greater the surface area to volume ratio, which would lead one (me!) to expect an increase in the intensity of the flavor.

Flavors: Licorice

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 2 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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Profile

Bio

Update: 28 September 2014.

I am officially going on strike. You have lost another contributor, Steepster. Two months is too long to endure total site dysfunctionality. I’ll be writing about tea-related matters at a new blog, sherapop’s tea leaves, from here on out. I cannot waste any more time here.

Désolée.
-——————————————-

A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

I participate at fragrance community websites, and I care about tea as much as perfume, so why not belong to Steepster as well?

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2300+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):

http://sherapop.blogspot.com/

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