956 Tasting Notes
Tea of the morning…..
I needed some spearmint, and Tommy’s review of this caught my eye. I was just going to buy a sample, but knowing how much I love the Golden Snail from Harney, I was pretty confident that I would love a Black Snail tea. Tommy’s review included such great pics, too. It was a no brainer for me. The price is $8 for 250 grams making it a huge bargain.
As expected, there were only a few golden tips in this one. The tea itself is still tightly rolled. One of the things that is so remarkable about a snail tea is how huge it unfurls after steeping. The usual three perfect teaspoons of tea I use to brew a pot expands to fill the whole steeping basket, where most teas I brew in my teapot only expand to about half or less.
The liquor is thick, cocoa noted, malty, and a little spicy like you would expect from a yunnan. I don’t get the sweetness that I get from my Golden Snail, but that is pretty much expected, too. The Black Snail makes a rich cup of tea at a bargain price, and I am thrilled with my purchase. Thank you, Tommy the Toad for your great review. Why does anyone need to spend a fortune for great tea?
Usual teapot method.
Cuppa the afternoon…..
This is really good, but not something I must have in my cupboard. The girl scout in me is probably screaming right now, but I think I prefer others from Della Terra over this one.
I get light notes of chocolate, and I can taste the grahm, but I think I am missing that pow of marshmallow I get from Eight Candles. Really, the marshmallow is the right level for this to taste like a smore with most of the marshmallow squished out. I prefer the double marshmallow versions of smores any day, though. I can’t say I would never rebuy this, but there are just so many other flavored teas to ‘entertain’.
Usual mug method just a little heavier on the tea.
Tea of the morning…..
I know most are reviewing a free sample of this one, but since this one does not fall into the samples offered with a purchase from TeVivre (yet?) I purchased my sample. I received two 7 gram pouches for $4. I personally feel that I give a more unbiased review if I either purchase my samples, or get them with a purchase. It is just one of my quirks at this stage. As a result, I drink the tea more when I am excited about it, rather than feeling like I have to get through them. (Don’t get me wrong, though! The free samplings I received from this company in the past were integral to furthering my tea journey and I am grateful for the opportunity!)
Wow. This is really good. I am on the resteep pot and it is perfect. The leaves are very golden, curly, and a bit fuzzy. By look it falls more in line with the Tan Yang Dinosara brought back from her visit to the tea district in China than other versions of this tea I have tried in the past. I was so lucky that she shared some with me. I will do a little more comparing later because I have not had that one for a while. In comparison to my other favorite Tan Yang (Tan Yang Te Ji from TeaSpring) TeaVivre’s is much more golden tipped and curlier. The leaves are also longer than the one from TeaSpring. I am pretty sure the two are of differing grades just by look with the one from TeaVivre being higher, but they are similar in price.
Smooth, slight malt, super sweet (in fact, I think I need to try this one with out my usual sweetener). There is the perfect touch of earthiness wrapped in the flavor of carmelized sweet potatoes. Yes, caramel…. The TeaSpring Tan Yang is a little heavier on the malt and earthiness. I will do a ‘reminder’ cup of that also, just to be sure.
So far, I am certain I will be purchasing this at some point. I wish my stash was not so overwhelming or I would buy some today. There is just such a warm sweetness with this one. Definitely sweeter than the Golden Monkey, but who should have to pick one over the other? Get them both! A China black tea lovers dream paring….the Golden Monkey for everyday, and the Tan Yang for special days.
Usual teapot method (OMG this was wonderful!….Did I say that all ready?) with my equally as wonderful resteep at 5 minutes.
Tea of the morning……
Thank you to all the Steepsterites who have reviewed this before me. It was those reviews that helped me to buy this one without sampling. I love a great tea at a good price and this seemed to fit the bill very well.
I have had at least three versions of Golden Monkey prior to this one. If memory serves, this one is just as good as the others. It is actually probably better in some regards in that it is a wonderfully smooth tea. I think the version from Adagio was not quite as flavorful and sweet. The one from Harney was probably a little more rich and sweet potatoey. I guess it is probably closest to the version I had from Upton (If I still have some, I will try it sometime this week for comparison.) I know one of them was a little more astringent and earthy than I usually like….hopefully I can review my notes and figure out which one it was! (pretty sure it was Adagio…) *edit to add it was Upton. I think Adagio was the lightest tasting of all of them.
All that comparing really seems unnecessary, though. This is a very good tea. Smooth, slight malt, hints of cocoa and honey, light sweet potato. Definitely worthy of being a staple for me. I have not been as enamored with a Golden Monkey in some time. So glad I just bought some of this one! What a bargain!
Usual teapot method. Second steep at 5 minutes and it was good, too!
Backlogging a cuppa the afternoon from a few days ago……
I have been meaning to log this for about a week now. I have had it twice, now, so I thought I had a pretty good handle on it. Today my the cuppa the afternoon is Della Terra’s Oatmeal Raisin. Really, I am glad I waited, because I feel like I can compare the two flavor profiles and maybe help someone else out when trying to choose between the two.
Fireside Spice is not your usual spiced tea. There are notes of cinnamon, ginger and clove. The main note in the tea is vanilla, though, which is quite lovely. This one comes across more as a spiced vanilla cookie like a snicker doodle, or it really reminds me of those Belgian Biscoff cookies of which I have an unhealthy obsession. Now, I can be happy with them in tea form. This will definitely be a repurchase for me.
Onto how this compares to Oatmeal Raisin Cookie……the spices are very similar. Still, the raisin note is the top flavor note I catch. I do love a good oatmeal raisin cookie, but for me the top note of vanilla is preferred.
Usual mug method.
Tea of the morning……
This was my free sample with my most recent TeaVivre order. I stocked up on the black dragon pearls and purchased some of the Golden Monkey without even sampling based on the reviews of Steepsterverse (thank you for all of your thoughtful reviews). I had been wondering about this one and do appreciate that TeaVivre now allows you to pick your samples along with your order.
The leaves are long, thin, and twisted. It does remind me in look of the Keemun Mao Feng from Harney, but I think the leaves are just a little shorter. I did not brew this according to TeaVivre’s instructions, but used the method by which I usually brew my Keemun Mao Feng as I was hoping this tea might be a good substitution for it. The liquor is lightly noted with cocoa, and a little fruity, floral, and malty. It is very smooth and satisfying. In comparison, this one is lower in smoke and earthiness (which are definitely only slight in the KMF), so this would be a good choice for those who don’t care for the slight smoke and earthiness found in other grades of Keemun. I don’t think I could use it as a substitution for my favorite Keemun Mao Feng, but it is very good on its own. The price on this one makes it into the range of being more of an everyday tea than my KMF.
Usual teapot method.
Cuppa the afternoon…..
One of the teas from my Mystery Box from Della Terra.
Can I tell you how happy I was to see this one in my box? Sooooo excited. I love caramel, I love marshmallow, I love black tea. What else is there to say? The reviews on this one have been coming in very steadily as a favorite among my favorite Steepsterites, so of course I really wanted to try this one.
The caramel and marshmallow flavors do not disappoint. The tea base just hangs in the background with just enough of a presence to remind you it is black tea you are drinking. This is the perfect afternoon pick me up and treat all rolled into one. It definitely helps with a sweet craving and I will definitely buy more once this is gone.
Usual mug method with just a little heaping on the spoon.
Tea of the morning…..
I have at least two tins of Harney teas that need to be on my ‘Drink now’ list. (I sound like my wine friend who was building a cellar!) This and my Keemun Mao Feng have been in my stash since at least May 2011. That means they are coming up on 2 years soon, and that is about my limit for keeping black teas. I am guessing they would still be good for a while, but I did not purchase these for them to sit in my cupboard and lose their flavor. Actually, I am kind of excited about all the great tea I am going to get to drink in the next few months as I try to finish these tins. I have about half of this left, and a whole tin of KMF.
I brewed this up today in my normal fashion. I had forgotten how much the leaves expand. The taste really reminds me of the black dragon pearls from TeaVivre. I do hope one day that Harney will stock this again. Until then, I plan to enjoy every drop. (And I am rebrewing the pot as I type this!)
Cuppa the afternoon……
It is another tea from my Mystery Box from Della Terra. Here is one I probably would not have chosen for myself. I did have an old favorite custom blend from another vendor that I drank quite a bit on the beginning of my tea journey. I probably got my fill of chocolate raspberry tea at that time…..at least enough that it would not cross my mind to purchase more.
All that being said, this one is surprising to me. The chocolate notes are of dark chocolate and they complement the raspberry very well, and it is a very good raspberry flavor. Again, I love that the tea base Della Terra uses is the type that lets the flavors do the talking. Let’s face it….if we are after flavors like chocolate and raspberry, we are not after a tea base that shows up as a bitter interruption. I did use just a little more leaf than I normally would since their base is on the light side for my taste, but that seems to work for me. I am not sure this would be a rebuy for me, but I will say that it did influence my decision to purchase more from this vendor. This is so much better than my older version of this tea. I will thoroughly enjoy it while I have it. Who knows? I might pick up an ounce or so in a later order. I love the size options they offer.
Usual mug method with just a little extra tea.
Backlogging tea of yesterday afternoon…..
I have had a few mugs of this by now, so I feel I can give it a pretty good review. I got it in the first run of Della Terra’s Mystery Boxes. For me, it was an excellent way to get my feet wet for what Della Terra has to offer. I had seen so many great reviews for this company, it had been on my try it list for some time and allure and price of the Mystery Box caught my eye. They were very accommodating in filling my request of only black teas including Earl Grey. I was very pleased with the box, but not sure I would do it again. I am more likely to just wait for a sale and buy specific teas. I am also in the stage of my tea game where I prefer to buy my tea for review. That way I am sure to give as unbiased reviews as possible. Don’t get me wrong in that I love free samples, I just don’t like the pressure I put myself under to review free samples. It is better for me to review a tea that I am in the mood to drink, rather than one I feel somewhat forced to drink in a timely manner. It really is just me……
I have tried 4 of the teas from my Mystery Box. Overall, I do find the tea base kind of on the light side. Really, that just means it won’t be a great breakfast tea option for me. I need something a little heartier for the am. However, they do make a stellar afternoon pick me up. They are very dessert like, and fun. I can tell great care was taken when making the flavor profiles.
For Peppermint Bark, I get a minty, buttery, and chocolate smell. The taste is minty, chocolaty, and buttery vanilla on a light black tea base that allows the flavors to emerge rather than competing with them. I am not usually a fan of chocolate mint teas because most companies completely overdo the peppermint in their blends. Not the case with Della Terra. It is the perfect balance of mint to black in this one. The mint flavor comes in as a complement rather than a majority. I did add just a little more tea to the mug because of the additions. This really seemed to help make a more substantial base tea experience. I will have to try and remember that for the next cup.
Would I buy from them again? Absolutely! (In fact, I have some more heading my way this week!) I think they may be my new favorite flavored tea outlet. Very nicely done.
Usual mug method with just a little extra heaping of the measuring spoon…