972 Tasting Notes

88

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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83

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

I did resample this one recently. It is probably the most floral Keemun I have ever had. To me, it was not really a good combination.

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88

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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92
drank Golden Snail by Harney & Sons
972 tasting notes

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!)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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85

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Agreed! The size options are great, so if you like a tea enough to want just a teensy bit more in your cupboard, there’s a sample size! Or a full package i.e. 2 oz. Or an in-between for those who are indecisive. Wish all vendors allowed this.

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86

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…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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89

Tea of the morning…..

I had completely forgotten about this one. (Yes, admittedly, my stash is a little cumbersome at this point!) I think I am at the point where I need to take inventory again. I have given quite a bit of tea away (due to the fact I can’t drink as much tea as I used to) and I have added a select few things here and there to my stash. I have almost given up on green teas and oolongs because black teas are where my heart lies. It is not that I don’t appreciate them, I just can’t seem to make myself crave them. It is time to just accept that I will always be a black tea lover/western brewer. I am also at the point where I need to just drink all the expensive stuff by the pot instead of saving it for a rainy day.

Notes of light cocoa (as opposed to dark cocoa), slight caramel, and a hint of astringency at the end. Definitely something fruity in there, too. I am pretty sure it will not become a staple, but I am happy with the purchase.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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87

Chai of the evening…..

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have had any form of chai! It is typically a cold weather choice for me, but for some reason, I have not been into the spicy teas this winter.

As far as chais go, this is good. I get lots of cinnamon and coriander. Definitely some clove and a hint of anise (mind you, a hint). I also catch the nutmeg which makes it really cozy tasting. This is definitely a good rooibos chai.

It was yummy! Hmmm. I think I will have some more chai tomorrow…. Hopefully, it will be memorable enough to log it!

Usual pan method for chai.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

coriander and cinnamon, that sounds amazing.
missed seeing you round here!

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83

Tea of the morning…..

I am trying to decide what to cut and what to keep, and have a few that I need to try again as it has been so long. While I doubt I will try much more from Talbott, this is definitely drinkable, and even enjoyable. Smooth black tea base that does not fight the flavors, light caramel flavor with a hint of chocolate. Pretty sure it is not quite hefty enough to stand up to milk or cream. I don’t think it is worth the price for what they charge regular price for a tin of this, but if you can score it in a gift set on sale, it is worth it.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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97

Tea of the afternoon…..

I finally made it to my winter break! We have a few little side trips to make, but mostly we will be home for the next few weeks. Bliss! This is my celebratory cuppa, and I just realized that I still have a whole tin of it left. More to celebrate! Also, winter looks like it has officially arrived at our house. I think we got round 9 inches of snow yesterday. Bring it, Old Man Winter! I have my tea to keep me warm!

This is my tea first love. It has been so long since I have had a cup of this, I was worried that it would not appeal as much. Some of the teas I thought I really liked over the past few years are pretty much in the ‘meh’ category as of now. This one, however, has stood the test of time. I love it just as much today as I ever have. It is my tea perfection by which all other black teas seem to be compared. I do reserve this one for special days, and I definitely think that might be contributing to my feelings about it. Whatever it is, I am going with it! Notes of cocoa, malt, slight smoke, and just…..magic.

Usual teapot method. I do measure the perfect teaspoons on the scant side for this one.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Tea Sipper

ooo…sounds like I’d love this one!

looseTman

I wonder how Keemun Mao Feng by Harney & Sons comapres with what I’m drinking now, Keemun Panda #1 from the Whistling Kettke? Have you also tasted KP#1?

SimplyJenW

Not anywhere near Keemun Panda #1. If I recall, KP#1 is much more earthy and slightly astringent. Keemun Mao Feng is smooth with just a hint of smoke and lots of cocoa.

SimplyJenW

Keemuns come in several grades. I am pretty sure the KP#1 is stocked by many tea sellers….if I had to guess, I think it comes from Metropolitan Teas, a wholesaler. The more tea I drink, usually you do get what you pay for. KP#1 runs around $15 a pound….this one currently sells for $10 for 2 oz.

looseTman

In your experience, which of the Keemuns is the best value – highest Steepster score for the cost? Thanks

SimplyJenW

It all depends on your preferences. Tea is a personal journey. There are definitely teas that are not worth the money to me. If you are happy with the KP#1, enjoy it and don’t let anyone talk you out of it! I remember it being too smokey for me at the time I tried it, but it might be different now. (I do think there are less expensive places to buy it than the Whistling Kettle, but it is always good to support them if they are local to you.)

SimplyJenW

Oops…misquoted the price on this. It is $20 for 2 ounces. When I bought mine in 2011 it was $24 for 4 oz.

looseTman

I’m currently enjoying KP#1. Yes, it’s slightly astringent, and a little smokey, but nothing like Lapsang Souchong. However, I’m open to suggestions & new tea experiences that are afforadable enough for an everyday tea.

looseTman

No, the Whistling Kettle is not local, but they do have quantity discounts & free shipping with a minimum order. I’d be interested in more cost-effective dealers.

KMF $96/lb – 2011, Now – $160/LB. That’s inflation! The average US salary didn’t increase that much during the same period.

ashmanra

LooseTman: check out Dyland and Missy’s reviews of all the Teavivre Keemuns, they are a bargain, and tasty, just depends on what sort of Keemun you like best. This Mao Feng is excellent, though. If you sign up for Teavivre’s free tasting and review program you can request a same of each Keemun and try it for yourself!

looseTman

ashmanra: Thanks for the heads-up about Teavivre’s Keemuns & their free tasting and review program!

looseTman

Ashmanra, I’ve greatly enjoyed Teavivre’s free tasting and review program. What a great concept – a win-win for TeaVivre & their customers! Thank you for this recommendation!!

NEWS: TeaVivre will be offering Keemun Mao Feng next year.

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Profile

Bio

My motto: Drink the good tea!

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)

Location

Ohio

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