956 Tasting Notes
Second tea of the morning….. (SRP #22)
This is pretty good. I love coconut teas. I can tell this has a different tea base to the Black Jasmine Cream. This tea base complements the flavor rather than competing with it. I will definitely enjoy what I have in this sample. Sweet and slightly nutty.
Usual mug method.
Tea of the morning……. (SRP #21)
Initial thoughts: I am undecided on this one. It definitely comes across as jasmine vanilla, but I think the tea base is too smokey (which does not really mean it is all that smokey, just too smokey for this flavor profile.) When I imagined this tea, I imagined the flavor of jasmine and vanilla on a lighter, sweeter black tea base. This one seems a little heavy. In my opinion, jasmine and a heavy black tea base just don’t seamlessly blend on the palate. I taste the distinct flavors. They did do a good job of matching the depth of the jasmine to the vanilla. I might have to play around with the steeping parameters a little. I did go with slightly lower temps on the water just because there is green tea involved in this blend.
Usual mug method with slightly cooler water.
Edit to add: I am going to try adding some jasmine pearls to my Vanilla Black from Harney. I have a feeling that this one will be rehomed. Surprising, because I love the Earl Grey Jasmine Monkey King.
Tea of the afternoon….. (SRP #20)
Yes, new tea samples from a new company for me. New Mexico Tea Company is currently having a free shipping offer until May 31, 2012. I decided to jump on that and try a few things, so I got this, Black Jasmine Cream, Rosie Earl Grey, and a free sample of Coconut Dream. Since I am on a jasmine and Earl Grey kick, these seemed fitting. They offer their teas in 1 oz amounts for sampling, plus 4 ,8, and 16 oz amounts, and they send a free sample that is probably a half ounce of your request. The service was prompt and shipping turnaround was very fast. The samples are packaged in a silver cello bag with a resealable zip closure. So far, I am impressed. I also ordered a round latch tin that will hold about 4 oz. of tea. I like the tin, too.
This tea is Springtime in a cup. There are jasmine notes intermingled with a light bergamot. It is definitely light and airy, floral and lightly citrusy. I definitely like it!
Brewed at about 160 for 2 minutes by the mug method.
Second tea of the morning…..
And I made a whole pot worth. I think it is time for me to come clean. I am well on my way to becoming a serious tea snob. I am reaching a point where the only teas I want to keep in my stash are the more expensive ones. I do have a few bargain loves, but my tastes are evolving into something pricey. Luckily, my husband is a craft beer drinker…..that means my expensive tea is still likely less expensive than his beer. Except that he does not have a stash……
I am pretty sure this tea was my first tea splurge. I bought my first tin a little over a year ago, and I thought I was nuts spending $24 for 4 oz. of tea. Now, it costs even more ($20 for 2 oz) and I am so thankful I did, and someone bought me a spare tin of this for a gift before the price change. I love this one, but I always forget it is back in the back of the cupboard. Notes of dark chocolate, the slightest bit of smoke for complexity, and just oh so smooth. My first true love in a black tea.
Usual teapot method.
I think part of my problem with my stash is that I am always trying to find less expensive versions of tea that I love. Maybe that is not such a great pursuit. By just enjoying the more expensive one, I will have better turnover. By seeking out the bargain, I have a half a tin of expensive tea, and another half a tin of inexpensive tea sitting in my cupboard…. In reality, that sounds like a funny kind of math for cost and space. Yep, I am still learning.
Tea of the morning……
I spent part of the weekend making a spreadsheet of my teas in more than sample amounts (over 1 ounce). What a rude awakening. I do seriously have a tea shopping problem. This was one I found buried in the recesses. Now, with the spreadsheet, I have a better idea of what I am replacing and what needs to be consumed to make more space. Such a handy tool.
This is good, but sweet. It was very fun blending my own tea as I got to put in all of the things I thought I would like together. I may blend my own again someday, but for now it is on the exit list.
Usual teapot method with a three minute steep.
Tisane of the evening……
I need to get back to curtailing my evening snacking. Somehow, Frank’s honeybush blends always make it easier as they are the best out there. This one is very good. Light chocolate, something creamy, and of course mint. The honeybush base just adds sweetness with a slight woodsy flavor. I definitely prefer honeybush over rooibos.
Teapot method with an 8 minute steep. Yum!
Tea of the afternoon……
For some reason this one tastes really good today. I would not call it my favorite Earl Grey because I think it leans slightly too perfumy for me, but it is still good. Even though the price is pretty reasonable by the pound compared to my two other favorites, this is one type of tea where a splurge is worth it to me. Not sure this will make the rebuy list, but it does make an awesome iced tea.
Usual teapot method.
Tea of the morning……
I think I would call this more of a Purposeful Combination. I have been wishing for a good jasmine black tea ever since sampling the Jasmine Golden Yunnan at thepuriTea. Kind of like Rosy Earl Grey from Teas Etc. without the rosy or Earl. I tried getting some at Harney, but they are out of stock with no immediate prospects because the recent offerings were not up to Michael Harney’s standard. I would order some from thepuriTea, but the thought of spending $16 for 4 ounces of tea and then another $7.50 for flat rate shipping is a little pricey for me when I know there will be a shipping sale sometime this year. (I did break down and order 100 grams from Dragon Tea House on ebay for about $12 shipped. I have ordered teaware from them before, but it just takes so long to get here….economy shipping from China.) Then I remembered that I likely had something close in my own cupboard.
Jen’s Jasmine Black
I started to prepare a mug (12ish oz.) of Zhi Gong Fu Black (Bailin Gong Fu from TeaVivre is a great sub if you have it), but I also added a scant tsp. of jasmine pearls. This time I used the ones from the Asian Market, but I am guessing any sweet jasmine tea would do. Then I steeped by my usual method for my mug, but at a slightly cooler temp than boiling. The result is very good! It is not as heavily jasmine flavored as the tea from thepuriTea, but it is still very enjoyable. I could probably add a full teaspoon of the jasmine pearls next time. This will be a habit. In a way, I almost like it better than the Jasmine Golden Yunnan, because I could pick my most chocolatey tasting unflavored tea and run with it. Yes, I do get more chocolate and lighter jasmine, but still reminiscent of Cadbury’s Mini-Eggs. I am also thinking the JGY will be taken off the shopping list….. I am so excited that I have three teas for the price of two, and the Frugal Fanny (tm JacquelineM) in me is loving this.
Usual mug method just a little cooler than boiling. Lightly sweetened.
Tea of the afternoon……
I bought this one without sampling from TeaVivre in my last order. I love black pearl teas. They are so fun. This one is very similar to my Red Dragon Pearl from thepuriTea, but at a much more reasonable price. If you are buying a pound, they are close, but if you want smaller amounts, thepuriTea charges quite a bit more per ounce and their price per ounce decreases siginificantly with the increase in amount purchased. Also, TeaVivre makes it much easier to get to the level of free shipping which is always a bonus, and usually means I will order more often. It might take a little longer to get a package from China than California for me, but I can usually wait.
The tea is great. I used 6 pearls in my ForLife Tall Tea mug and it came out perfect. The liquid is a dark amber, there are notes of chocolate and malt, and this is just begging for a resteep. Very good, and I am very happy that I just ordered 100 grams, rather than sampling first.
(I did sample a few others, and just to let you know what the packaging looks like….since the samples for sale on the website are 10 grams, they came in 2 small pouches that are well labelled but not resealable. The small pouches are similar to the size of their other samples that come in 5 gram amounts, but the packaging is silver with the TeaVivre logo on it, rather than the individual packs from the tea packer. I also got a free sample of Da Hong Pao.)
Tea of the morning…. (and my daily hard core black)
I picked up some of this on my recent order to Mountain Rose Herbs. The price was very good for an organic and fair trade tea at $4.50 for 4 ounces I was really wanting it for smoking up my Franken Breakfast Blend a little. (And the Assam at a similar price will be used to kick it up a notch….by the time I am done blending, I will be smokin’ and jittery.) I needed to try it on its own, though, just to see how the flavors would blend.
I have to say I was a little apprehensive on trying this as I am not super knowledgeable when it comes to this kind of tea. I have only tried a few varieties. It is not Hu Kwa, but it is very good. Definitely a campfire smell, but the tea itself is smooth and very easy to drink, like Keemun on overdrive. I am not sure a Lapsang noob like me would need anything fancier than this. It has me rethinking my planned purchase of Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon from Upton in the Fall. Yes, when I sweeten this, I get toasted marshmallows….or maybe I should edit that to read the burned torch-like marshmallows that you blow out before you eat them. Is that more accurate, Cheryl? ;)
The packaging is interesting. It is a cute cubical box with some kind of flip top arrangement. Then inside the box is a cello bag with a long free end that is rolled up and secured with tape. I am pretty sure by half way into this, the tape won’t hold much from resticking. I think I will end up transferring to a tin.
The only thing that really bugs me about this company is the price of shipping. It makes it so I can only shop there about once a year. They are in OR and I am in OH. Shipping starts at around $10 and goes up from there. I do like their stance and business practices. I do recommend having your order well thought out before your submit. I have seen online reviews of issues with returns and they do not allow you to change your order once it is submitted.
Usual mug method.