1461 Tasting Notes
Thank you Teasenz for the samples! This is a pu-erh sampler containing four different types of pu-erh mini tuochas, so I’ll be reviewing each of the four types. They are only distinct to me because the color of the writing on each tuocha wrapper is different, so that is how I will tell them apart.
+ RED wrapper: This is such a tightly compacted tuocha! I went for a longer rinse than usual because even after the rinse, it still wasn’t unraveled very much. The tuocha reminds me of a chocolate truffle, but it has a fragrance of hay. This is certainly a ripe pu-erh but rather than be one of those dark muddy coffee brews, the color of the cup is copper. The flavor is lighter than I’m used to as well, actually sweet and fruity without many hints that this is pu-erh in flavor. The second steep is much darker and deeper like I usually expect. Pu-erh can only be PU-ERH but it seems to have so many flavors wisping throughout: earth, pine, maple syrup. The third steep is still going strong. I’m shocked that such a tiny truffle of a tuocha can have so many long pu-erh leaves.
25 sec rinse // just boiled // 3 min steep // 3 min // 4 min
+ BROWN wrapper (disc shaped): Even though the steeped leaves looked the same size as the leaves in the last tuocha, the cup got dark very fast, so I shortened the first steep to two minutes. Maybe this tuocha had more leaves or was less compact. The flavor is delicious – very deep unsweetened dark chocolate. The last tuocha had many flavors, but this just has the one. None of the “typical” pu-erh flavors are found in this cup.. it kind of tastes more like coffee. This would be a good pu-erh for newbies. My first cup was sipped too quick! The third steep was a bit weaker than the other two, but the other two cups were delicious.
Just boiled // rinse // 2 min // 3 min // 4-5 min
+BLUE wrapper: This one seems to be rice scented! Love those! It was tough for me to tell at first that it was rice scented. I’d say it’s more in the dry leaf aroma and the mug scenting up the room rather than in the flavor. There were also quite a bit of things floating in the infuser. I’m not sure if they are what imparts the rice flavor (tiny little sticks and one leaf I’ve never seen in any tea) or there by accident. The actual pu-erh leaves are surprisingly big for such a small tuocha, steeped almost the length of the tuocha itself (bigger leaves mean higher quality!) The flavor is deep, dark, sweet. Very tasty. The second steep is even deeper and even better. No complaints here, but I’d like to know if the pieces are supposed to be in the tuocha or not. I’ve just started noticing these pu-erhs really help my appetite, which probably isn’t a good thing for me!
Just boiled // rinse // 2 min // 3 min // 4 min
+BROWN wrapper (rounder shaped) – Another surprisingly big-leafed tea for a mini tuocha. It seems like I’ve had this type of tuocha before – a solid tuocha with none of the qualities of pu-erh that might scare anyone away. Smooth and sweet flavor, the kind of mellow dark flavor that could only be pu-erh! The first two cups were very dark but the one I left accidentally steeping for ten minutes wasn’t that strong. But that’s another lovely thing about pu-erh – they never get bitter!
Just boiled // rinse // 2 min // 3 min // 10 min (accidentally)
+OVERALL: This is a delicious pu-erh collection! I enjoyed all four tuochas. All of them seem slightly different, with very big leaves for a tuocha. I could definitely buy this when I’m looking for tuochas to stock up on. Everything I’ve tried from Teasenz has been delicious!
This one promised to be a favorite as I love flavored white teas. I’m loving white teas more and more. I’ve never actually tried whatever the inspiration for this one is. But raspberries should work for me! There is certainly plenty of buzzy lingering raspberry flavor here that balances with the flavor of the white tea. I didn’t see any actual raspberries in the blend. Does it taste like anything dessert? Not really… it’s raspberry. But then I don’t really know what other ingredients SHOULD be in this dessert, so I’m fine with the raspberries.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 30 min after boiling // less than 2 min steep
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min
Additional notes: Another sipdown. So many sipdowns of good teas lately… including many Bluebird samples. I wish I could buy so so many of their teas, including this one. I love it. It reminds me of a spicy fruity chutney… but I’ve never had chutney. But I love the idea of chutney. The Butiki Pumpkin milkshake sample I finished today was better than I remembered too.
Thank you Maria for the sale a while back! I love the tiny little flowers in the blend. This certainly doesn’t taste like decaf, just a lighter black tea. But that works for the lovely flavors. The scent of the dry leaves is identical to the flavor: mostly lychee and sweet strawberry. Not really peach to me. Very tasty, crisp and refreshing. Not a boring decaf at all! I should have more to say about this one with so many elements to it…
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min
Thank you DigniTea for this one a while ago! One of the teas I have yet to try… this one has been waiting a while. The dry leaves certainly have a sweet scent… has to be more than just those little caramel cubes (do they really have that much caramel flavor?) The flavor is certainly sweet too (and it might be hiding that cardboard flavor black tea I don’t particularly love). But with this caramel flavor it’s close to one of the MOST caramel teas I’ve tried. Well, if it’s sweet then it’s caramel, I guess. The color of the cup looks like caramel too.
Steep #1 // few min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 min
Thank you Teasenz for the generous samples! This one was calling me this morning. My first Jinjunmei! I’m not sure what the difference between this one and a Golden Monkey is. They look very similar: golden and black, thin and twisted leaves. Even the dry leaves are intoxicating. The fragrance of the mug of tea itself is one of my favorites: honey sweet potato. Even the color of the mug is perfect — a coppery red. This Jinjunmei is perfect on many levels… and so so comforting. The taste is very tasty: hints of honey, sweet potato, tiny amount of chocolate. In flavor, I’d say the difference between a Jinjunmei and a Golden Monkey is that the Monkey has more chocolate flavor. The Jinjunmei is more sweet potato. I think every tea enthusiast needs a chocolate and sweet potato tea in the cupboard! The few samples I’ve tried from Teasenz are AMAZING. They have very nice variety.. they are a good shop to order from if you want to try out certain types of tea, but the quality is there if you are a tea drinker who has tried these types of teas before. This will not be my last Jinjunmei!
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 10 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // 5 min after boiling // 5 min
Flavors: Sweet Potatoes
Here is an autumnal one…. Someone else on Steepster gave this one a high rating after steeping for five minutes, so I tried it that way. I’m not sure how old this pouch is (I’m starting to wish all tea shops would put dates on their teas just so I’m not misjudging any teas that are really old and I don’t know it). The flavor isn’t very distinct – not very caramel or apple. Hints of apple and maybe a little sweetness. I could always use some honeybush blends around though. I love the pinkish color of the mug. I’m glad it isn’t rooibos anyway!
Steep #1 // just boiled // 5 min steep
Additional notes: I was trying this one again (only one teaspoon of my sample left!), to see if I liked it as much as I remembered. It is better than I remembered! I don’t know if it’s the time of year or what, but it just WORKS. The spices are very nice, hints of squash/pumpkin even from the one piece in my infuser. The black tea is lighter but it lets the flavor shine. The cup was even an amber pumpkin orange. I’ll definitely be ordering this one. ONE teaspoon.. not even heaping. So so good.
Just boiled // 3 min // 6 min
If anyone is interested, there will definitely be a bluebirdteaco.com group order happening! A chance to try these amazing teas (haven’t tried a terrible one yet!) and split the $15-20 shipping costs. More info here: http://steepster.com/discuss/9558-bluebird-tea-co-group-order-accepting-orders
Thank you for this one, TeaTiff! The name is a little promising, but it’s kind of tough to live up to…
Steep #1 // rinse // 15 min after boiling // 50 second steep
I used what looked like a tablespoon of these very long, dark, twisty leaves. Dark oolongs aren’t usually my thing but this one is lovely. There are only hints of that charcoal flavor rather than being the main note. It doesn’t scream cinnamon but how could any tea without actual cinnamon? Mainly I find peaches in this pale yellow brew.
Steep #2 // 10 min after boiling // 60 second steep
This one definitely rewards with shorter steeps. A little longer and this would have been too much. As it is, it’s a lovely peach nectar! Even fuller flavor with a syrupy texture and somehow even the charcoal that was there is missing now.
Steep #3 // 10 min after boiling // 60 sec
Another delicious cup. Much like the flavor of the second steep. I think this one could keep going without getting an oversteeped leaves flavor.
It’s the oddest thing… I always end up sipping a few 52Teas blends right in a row. I’ve done that a few times now! This was from the mystery grabbags that Marzipan, Mandy and I shared. No one wanted this one, so I bought the entire pouch. I didn’t mind.. I love 52Teas banana blends and I have quite a few! Banana might be my favorite flavor from 52Teas just because no one else really attempts or does a very good job with it. Combined with the newer black tea base there are plenty of strawberries and banana pieces! The taste and fragrance is mostly sweet strawberries. I wouldn’t mind more banana flavor… a big piece of banana landed in my infuser too! Not a terrible blend… meets the strawberry craving anyway. A cream flavor could have made it a sundae or smoothie blend… imagine dried ice cream pieces! This blend certainly deserves more than one rating.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min