90 Tasting Notes

71

The dry leaves of Taiwan High Mountain Oolong Tea put us right into floral mode. Something rosier than a jasmine, though–most oolongs just hit you with white flowers and call it a day. This one, however, has got a promise of peony. Maybe even actual camellia. Once steeped, the aroma really softens up to yield greener, veggie-er notes.

For the first infusion, don’t be afraid of taking your time with it. Even if it’s rapid-fire gong fu, a solid minute should do–any less and the taste is out of sight, still stuck in the high mountains from whence it came. That initial cup is as light as dancers’ tulle. If you prefer growly, heavy-bodied oolongs, this sure isn’t one of them. Its liquor just barely blushes with color, that pale shade of an open lime. Might as well give into the temp-tea-tion to… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/15/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-3/

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74

Our Superfine Taiwan Moderately Roasted Dong Ding Oolong Tea, however, caters right to the mouth-pleasure of ethu-tea-asts who crave a heartier cup. Dry, the roasted leaves are nutty goodness in the bag. But since they’re only moderately roasted, you still get the underlying vegetal base, so the resulting nut is a bright pistachio. Maybe even a Brazil nut or macadamia as well in there; soft-toned stuff to keep from overshadowing the garden leaves. Strangely, all the nuts disappear from the tea’s scent once steeped.

The first infusion has… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/15/snooty-tea-review-teavivre-round-3/

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86

Margaret’s Hope offers a very different experience in the bag. The dry smell is lush and woody, which becomes noticeably brighter once steeped. As we saw with Nudo, this Second Flush Darjeeling takes on a manner of being sun-warmed, evoking brighter weather and a more engaging cup.

Definitely all warm tones here, to complement the golden liquor. Whoever Margaret may be, it’d seem that her hope was that the world would be pulled into everlas-tea-ng summer. Unfortunately, she may get her wish, but luckily this cup is so good-humored that, at least for the next little while, you’ll be content to forget about the impending roast-ification of our planet. Each sip brings you… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/29/snooty-tea-review-palais-des-thes/

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88

The dry bundles of Jasmine Pearls, our tiny curled-up snow dragons, immediately lambast you with their flowery breath. It’s beyond walking into a perfume store. It’s walking into a sauna full of botany and someone’s locked the door behind you. No escape. Such heavily scented teas may mellow out once steeped, but this one has hardly such amicable in-tea-ntions. Until you’ve let it sit for a while to collect itself, the fragrance continues to invade your senses with everything its got.

And then some magic happens… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/29/snooty-tea-review-palais-des-thes/

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21

The St. John’s Wort Tea dry bag carries with it a smell like sour chamomile. Mm. Tasty. When you’ve got it steeped and sitting in the cup, that scent doggy-paddles around until it becomes something less off-putting, but still… off. The liquor is dirty yellow, not unlike the dubiously sanitary lake at your old sleep-away camp.

Now, here’s the thing: St John’s Wort is a natural an-tea-depressant. So if it turns out to be a disappointing tea, then at least you’ll feel too content to care. (By the way, gotta wonder about a sample set that includes teas which help out lady-functions and induce happy feelings. What could Buddha’s Herbs be insinua-tea-ng?)

But as always, we’re here for flavor first, and the flavor you get is… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/08/snooty-tea-review-buddhas-herbs/

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41

Now, if you don’t hate honey-sweetness and warm-tone floral in your cup, then get your face in this Chamomile Tea. The dry bag is like walking into a beehive during peak season. If you’re drinking chamomile before bed, this is one of the rare times that you actually want to go for a bagged tea. (What?!) This is simply for efficiency–bagged herbal teas are nice and heavily processed, so the shock of boiling water sends the flavor and medicinal properties shooting straight into your cup, rather than slowly emerging as they do with the full leaf. In short: sleepytime comes pronto. (The reverse is true with caffeinated bagged teas–you’re getting an energy boost immediately with those chopped-up leaves.)

The liquor here is the same color as the St John’s Wort, but luckily the smell and taste are… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/08/snooty-tea-review-buddhas-herbs/

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35

Pay attention to the tiny print on Green Tea with Herbs, where it says, “(Contains Chamomile, Thyme, and Peppermint).” These are the herbs that come through immediately with the dry bag. Very pungent, like a Wiccan midwife’s kitchen. In the cup as well, no green tea aroma at all–it’s just herby herbaciousness.

Hoo, what a sip. The thyme turns it into a chicken soup tea. Li-tea-rally. If it weren’t for the heavy balancing act that the green tea has going on here–pulling all these savory flavors into a more thoughtful direction–then you’d swear this was some fancy broth de poulet, where the chef took his grandma’s old cure-all recipe and then added some extra herbs and spices for pizzazz. Seriously, next time you’re in a culinary bind à la Bridget Jones’s Diary… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/08/snooty-tea-review-buddhas-herbs/

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34

The dry bag of Raspberry Tea smells nothing like raspberries. No fruitiness. Zip. Nada. Of course, this is what happens when there isn’t actually any fruit in the tea–we’re just doing the leaf here. So the smell you get is on the mulchier side. Think mildewed Lipton. In the cup, it evens out a bit as it loses some of the mustiness, but the aroma is still fragrant with, “Drink this because its good for you” rather than “Drink this because it’ll taste good.”

“Supports female system,” we’re told on the box. It also mentions something about helping testosterone-deficient men as well, so why not say that it supports the system in general? Let guys enjoy their soggy not-Lipton with just as much excitement as the ladies!

Or not enjoy, which is more likely, as Raspberry Leaf tastes like… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/08/snooty-tea-review-buddhas-herbs/

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84

This isn’t “Chai Ho.”

This is “Chai Whoa.”

You are getting spices that you’ve never heard of before in here. In the dry leaves, where the ginger attacks your olfactories like an eager-but-inept makeout partner, the aroma is peppered with the rich layers of fennel and cinnamon. This smooths way out in the cup as the latter takes over completely: “Ginger, stop embarrassing yourself.” “Yes ma’am.”

The very first sip is a call to throw away your sugar. That cinnamon joins forces with safflower and rose petals to form a band called Natural Sweetness. Unfortunately, this means that the ginger gets left behind–maybe there wasn’t enough room in the van. You can still smell it in the aroma, but as you drink up that dusky ochre liquor… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/01/snooty-tea-review-justea/

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73

With JusTea’s Earl Grey, you’re immediately pummeled with pulverizing pungency. There is nothing “just tea” about this. The bergamot is BERGAMOT but even louder, sharp as cut glass. And this is only the dry leaves! Once in the cup, the aroma tames itself marvelously and the underlying black tea comes through, all smokey gold and playing with the idea that it’s really a Keemun from China. We are reminded that no matter where tea leaves may be grown, they are still the same Camellia sinesis plant. (‘Cause we are all connected in the great Circle of Life, baby.)

The bergamot just does not let you go. Ever. It latches onto your ankle and pulls you into the amber depths of the liquor. Highly insis-tea-nt; constantly badgering you with its presence. In fact, it’s honey badgering you. Because not only does it sass, “Bergamot don’t care!” but… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/10/01/snooty-tea-review-justea/

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Bio

Tea blogger and pun-dit at the Snooty Tea Blog.

At the moment, I don’t have enough time to keep Steepster cup-dated with reviews, so if you’re looking for the latest leaves in my Snooty cup, hit up snooteablog.com. Most of the teas I review end up on there.

Some people drink tea because they think it has nine thousand-plus health benefits and saves the rainforest while eliminating world hunger and solving the energy crisis.

I just drink it because it’s good.

Location

New York

Website

http://snooteablog.com

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