I knew I would love this tea! Yunnan black tea! Vanilla! Belgian dark chocolate! It’s the perfect combination. I would pick dark chocolate over regular chocolate every time (you know… it’s healthier anyway… I have an excuse!) The chocolate pieces look like little shavings from a giant chocolate bar. The black tea itself looks perfect, definitely “midnight” as the leaves are very dark. The steep color is more red than a pitch black cup of tea. After steeping for five minutes, the cup certainly smelled like chocolate! I peeked in my infuser and most of the chocolate pieces had melted away. With another steep at boiling, it should take care of the rest of the chocolate! I think even if there wasn’t chocolate included, this is the type of tea that would taste a bit like chocolate anyway. It’s very malty! It has the perfect mixture of bitter and sweet, both from the tea and both from the chocolate. I don’t mean astringency… there is none of that. The vanilla definitely makes itself known too! This was reminiscent of another tea I had… I just can’t remember which one. It might be my beloved Phoenix Pearls from Zen and maybe something else… So so good. I think I might have to order this one when my sample is gone. I’m so glad I got the chance to pick samples from naturestealeaf.com this time around! thank you! A tea like this just makes my day a little bit better. :D
581 Tasting Notes
thanks so much Naturestealeaf.com for the samples! I loved choosing which samples I wanted this go around. I picked these interesting little green stones because I’ve never seen any tea like this before. This is little oolong bundles wrapped in powdered ginseng and liquorice grass. They reminded me of the rock tumbler toy I had as a kid, where ordinary looking rocks are tossed around in a toy tumbler and out come colorful gems! (I tried to link to an example but it doesn’t seem to be working.) The smell of the leaves is very grassy and oaty. The taste is exactly the same in the best possible way, but after the sip, there is a unique slightly spicy sweetness that is probably mostly the liquorice but might also be an awesome combination of the oolong and the liquorice grass… and maybe the ginseng… not sure what that is supposed to taste like! I wanted to gulp it right down. The steep color was a golden color, but the second cup was much darker. With the second steep, I used just boiled water for five minutes and a ton more of the liquorice flavor made itself known. And much like the rock tumbler toy, the leaves are like little shells with precious oolong inside, the outer coating kind of crumbles apart to reveal the oolong. It’s amazing this tea seems so simple yet is so tasty and addictive! It also looks like there are a ton of health benefits for this one. I can’t wait to try this tea with a brew basket I’m planning on buying after the new year when I have some cash to spare. (It will be a nice excuse for an Upton order!) I think this tea would really benefit with room to stretch out, rather than being crammed in my tea dipper. The oolong leaves were still curled up in my infuser! Very nice choice and the price is great! I’m honored to write the first tasting note for this “gem”. haha.
I needed some black tea this morning! I’m realizing I don’t have many strong, deep flavored black teas in my stash. Zentealife.com’s Phoenix Pearls are an example, but I can’t drink those everyday… I’ll feel spoiled! But those have the flavor profile I’m talking about. Something like the Della Terra black teas have a great base for the awesome DT flavors, but not enough kick that will wake me up. The leaves here are medium sized, dark and dusty. The brew color is deep and dark. I haven’t had many “English breakfasts” so I’m not sure what to compare this to. The flavor is a bit sweet, punchy, spikey, tougher. I love the fragrance. As it cools, there is something marshmallowy about it. But that may be because I was sipping it with some sweet potato pie.. but that didn’t have any marshmallow on it! The next cup will be my last so consider this an advanced sipdown!
thanks again Dinosara for the trade! First, I must mention there are too many tea companies with the word Zen in them. I am getting confused. (But I must also mention that my very favorite is Zentealife.com!) Also, suddenly I have so many oolongs to write tasting notes for! Where did they all come from?
This one is good! The leaves smell like a sweet ripe raspberry (my favorite!) The first steep was three minutes. The raspberry tastes like a raspberry candy, rather than a tart raspberry. The oolong is hiding! I really can’t taste any. With the second steep (at five minutes), somehow the raspberry tastes more genuine, but maybe that is the oolong helping with that. The oolong flavor is much more present this steep. It is very vegetal but sweet. Not very floral or peachy. I’ll have to try this one iced…
Thank you Momo for sending a sample of this one in your sale a while ago. I recently discovered that maple & brown sugar oatmeal is DELICIOUS and has much less sugar than I assumed it would… less than half of the typical yogurt even. I knew I had this tea waiting to be tried, so a few days later, here goes. Sadly, I would never after a billion guesses think this is maple & brown sugar oatmeal. Maybe it is because my samples have been in tiny sample bags all in one bigger ziplock bag… maybe they have melded together. There is a sweetness to the tea, but that is about it. No maple, no brown sugar, no oatmeal. I brewed it for three/four minutes, not really boiling, so I don’t think I oversteeped. Maybe it should have been boiling. I really wish the instructions would be listed on the steepster descriptions, or at least on the 52Teas bag, since the picture is almost always on steepster and sometimes I can read it from the picture. Overall, this is a good tea, but not if you’re judging it from the description. I’d say this is the least accurate flavor profile in a 52Teas blend that I’ve tried.
Thank you Infussion.eu for the samples! I’ve never had a dragon well before… so I thought this would be the one to choose! The leaves are flat, green and fresh. I waited for the water to cool way down…the steeping instructions say 140F. I steeped for 40 seconds. Don’t worry, the flavor is there! The taste is delicious. It kind of reminds me of an oolong, but that may be because I’ve had plenty of oolongs, not many green teas and no dragon wells. It has the bright, fresh, vegetal, sweet, silky smooth flavor of an oolong. The flavor really lingers in my mouth and it has a bit of a quality like a milk oolong. I don’t drink green teas often because they aren’t usually interesting enough, but this one could easily become a green tea staple. Definitely not boring and definitely very tasty! I wish I had requested more of Infussion’s actual tea samples rather than things in the herbal category, since this one is so good.
The catuaba that Infussion sent me as a free sample didn’t seem to wake me up this morning, so I thought I’d try steeping these… they are supposed to do that to. I thought about mixing these with the catuaba, but I wanted to steep them by themselves first to give them a fair chance. They look like tiny blueberries. I steeped them for ten minutes with just boiled water. The steep color is a pinkish pale color — for some reason I thought it would be red, but I guess that is what hibiscus is added to tea for, and this tea is only berries. Sadly, the taste is like hibiscus anyway. It seems like a mixture of blueberries, cranberries, hibiscus, rosehips… and something else that I can’t place. They are very tart and sour. The berries seem like they should be an ingredient in a blend and not just by themselves. I don’t think this significantly woke me up either. This isn’t really my thing, but I’m sure it is the best for what it is.
Thanks Infussion.eu for the samples! I had this one this morning. I wanted to try this one because at small amounts, it will wake you up and make you more alert. My brain needs all the help it can get. So I steeped 3/4 of a teaspoon. Infussion says 1-3 grams is supposed to wake you up, 3-9 grams is for sensitivity increases and “aphrodisiac uses” and 10+ grams make you sleepy. I’m not exactly sure how one tea can both put me to sleep in higher doses but wake me up at lower doses. (And yes, I had to look up how many grams are in a teaspoon… one gram = 1/4 teaspoon… I think I need to drink this tea before figuring out any math at all.) But I really hope I did this right… I really don’t feel like being sleepy all day! Infussion said to steep for ten minutes at boiling. The “leaves” look like very shredded light-colored wood chips. The steep color is a very interesting orange! It looks like it should be orange flavored. But the flavor is really like wood chips and slightly bitter. It isn’t terrible at all (to me anyway) and if it wakes me up, it will be worth it. But I can’t see people who don’t like rooibos liking this tea. I think rooibos is delicious. There is also a bit of a flavor profile here that tastes like a cappuccino to me. I don’t have those often though and that’s probably just my tastebuds…just something there that reminds me of cappuccino. I wonder if this tea will wake me up more than a black tea though. I had this plain today because I wanted to review it fairly, but I’d much rather mix it with something else in the future. The Schisandra Chinensis berries that Infussion sent will probably come in handy for that, especially since I kind of requested those two together for that reason. They are both supposed to keep you awake! (And it was funny logging into steepster to see the infusion times for these and seeing that Momo had the same idea: to brew them together!) The only problem with this tea is that I’d rather grab something more fun and tastier to wake me up in the morning. But it’s an interesting change! This is getting a good rating because I can’t see a tea made out of wood chips getting any better than this.
Two and a half hours after drinking: I was yawning more than usual, so I don’t think this tea woke me up very well. So if it doesn’t wake me up, I can’t see drinking it. I guess things affect me differently.
thank you Nicole for sending me some of this in the stash reduction! I brewed this for 3 or 4 minutes. It says one minute! What? I need to be awake! It may be slightly oversteeped tasting, but that’s the way I like my black teas. The steep color is a deep red-hinted brown. The flavor is delicious. It is a full black flavor, with a hint of something fragrant. I think assams are a bit sweeter than other black teas, based on the few assams I’ve tried. I think I like they better than other black teas, just as long as they still have a kick to them. This one does! Upon the first sip, I definitely felt more awake!
ETA: I tried this with some oatmeal today. That was before I saw Momo had Celestial Seasonings tea with oatmeal today.. but it was an idea I had from her a few months back. I haven’t had maple &brown sugar oatmeal since I was a kid and I forgot how good it is. I’m not sure if I got much of a tea flavor with those flavors. I’ll have to try it with the steelcut oatmeal that I usually have. I almost also chose 52Teas Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal today, when I was choosing a tea this morning. So I can’t wait to try that one!
This is my first Chance Combination! I wanted to have a sip down of something… and I knew I had a tiny bit of the 52 Teas Sheri’s blend left… not even a teaspoon. Then I had been wanting another cup of that delicious 52 Teas Date Nut Muffin Rooibos I had only a couple weeks ago. Then I thought they would taste great together! They are both 52 Teas and they both have fruit after all! They are pretty darn good together. The date nut’s awesome flavor lends some to the Sheri’s that I thought didn’t have much flavor the last time I tried it. The blended teas feature: dates, apricots, walnuts, cinnamon, a bit of butter flavor and rooibos. It sounds as amazing as it tastes! I’m so glad that Momo sent me some of the Date Nut because I just read her tasting note and I definitely love it more than she does. It’s one of the teas that will be regularly haunting me, begging for me to steep some up. I have enough for a few more cups! This one will be treasured a bit more than some of my other teas…
thanks again, Dinosara, for a great trade! I think I drink Earl Grey Cremes on a twice a month schedule or something, so this is a welcome addition to my Earl Grey Creme collection! But I saw the way the packaging was: it looks like a paper bag! And it doesn’t have a zip! I just feel like teas are going to age faster in this sort of package. But the taste is pretty good. I steeped for three or four minutues. I don’t think the flavor is as strong as it should be. But there is that lovely flavor I’ve gotten to love in the earl grey creme. (Oh who am I kidding with the “gotten to”? I loved it the first sip I tried.) It was interesting when I saw a big vanilla chunk fall into the infuser! The black tea seems to have a stronger flavor that might be overshadowing the bergamot and creme. I agree with Dinosara: no coconut here!I like this, but it isn’t my favorite Earl Grey Creme. But Earl Grey Creme is one of my favorite discoveries this year!
Additional notes: Sipdown! Yes, it’s a sample. Yes, I’m counting it anyway. This is a couple years old now, but it’s still VERY good. I like that this tea proved that teas are NOT too old after a couple years… at least this one. Some reassurance! I think I appreciate it more that I did before. Tealiciousllc.com says to steep it 3-4 minutes at 205 degrees, but that seems like a bit much for my new knowledge of oolongs. So I did a little experiment and tried it at 30 seconds, took the infuser out and tried a few sips. The flavor was already there. Then I put the infuser back in for another 30 seconds, and the flavor was even deeper. I infused for another 30 seconds and decided to leave the infuser out with this steep, since it almost tasted like a milk oolong.I’m not sure how that is possible… unless maybe this is the sort of oolong that many milk oolongs are based from. The flavor is light, a bit floral and sweet. (So it technically totaled around a minute half.)
Second steep: There were a bunch of oolong crumbs (it was the bottom of thepouch) in the bottom of the cup that were making the first cup bitter, so I poured those out for this cup. Steeped for two and a half minutes. Delicious! More of a peachy and floral flavor!
Third steep: Hotter and 3-4 minutes. This was even stronger and still delicious. I think this has many more good steeps in it. This cup did have a slight drying affect on my mouth though.
It is impossible to ruin this tea, and each second it steeps will give it a completely different flavor. On my new oolong flavor rating scale, this one is a three (1=lightest flavor 5=strongest flavor). It’s interesting how the more tea you drink, the more you know about them.
thanks so much Dinosara for the trade! This sure smells chocolatey, both in the leaves and steeped. The steep color is a lighter brown, which seems too light for a black tea! It seems to me that Tabott doesn’t have that much flavor. I tried another of their teas before. I actually didn’t want to write a steeping note before giving that one another chance. This one basically tastes just like that one, even if it’s a different flavor. It’s hard to tell if I’m steeping it wrong, since there are no instructions on their site. But this smells more like chocolate than it tastes. The strawberry flavor is just hinted at. It seems there should be more flavor for the price. On the second steep, I used just boiled water and steeped for a LONG time. The result was the same… but at least it never had any astringency to it. I think when I use fresh leaves the next time I’ll just go for the long steep with just boiled water the first time. Disappointing, but I appreciate being able to try it!
Additional notes: My original notes for this were in June? Wow.. it seems like it was forever ago. I must have wrote a billion tasting notes since then. Anyway, I’m sipping this again while reading my second favorite internet thingy about books: The Millions Year of Reading: http://www.themillions.com/2012/12/a-year-in-reading-2012.html (My first favorite internet book thingy is the Tournament of Books, but that isn’t until March ( http://www.themorningnews.org/tob ).
Anyway, the second steep seems better than the first this time. But I think I remember liking it better back in June (maybe because my sample package was just opened.. or because I have been spoiled with even more teas since June.. is that even possible? This tea is pretty high up there.) I steeped for four minutes after letting it cool a while. Second steep was just boiled and for five minutes. There doesn’t seem to be any smoke this time, just a solid black tea with malty lingering medium flavor.
I was seeing many reviews for this one from you Steepsterers lately, so I thought I’d dig out one of a couple bags I have around! I haven’t reviewed it somehow! Or had it in a while… It seemed like a good pairing with some pumpkin pie…. my midnight snack. It’s just as good as I remember it and one of my favorite bagged teas. It seems like a combination of Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride — another two favorite bagged teas and my favorites from CS. The steep color is dark. It is creamy! The scent is sweet but it smells sweeter than it tastes. I don’t think splenda is in here to ruin it. GOOD. There is only a slight eggnog flavor (but maybe this teabag is older?) but the rest of the tea doesn’t disappoint, so I don’t think its a big deal. The blend of black and green teas is perfect for not overpowering the flavor. I think that was why they combined the two. I love having only a few cups at the most of so many different teas, that way if I only drink a tea once in a while the rest of it doesn’t go to waste. I’d much rather have more teas in smaller quantities! One bag of this left…
Thank you so much Dinosara for the trade! For some reason I can’t find the steep temps for any of the Georgia Tea Company teas. Not even on their site! Pouring this in the infuser, there are two big ole vanilla chunks! That is rare in a tea… usually it is just “flavoring”. The black tea base is a perfect pair with the vanilla. The silky smooth vanilla with a stronger brisker black tea… the black tea has a full flavor that reminds me why black teas are my favorite, and a bit of astringency to it. The vanilla really lingers. It’s kind of like the ESP Emporium Vanilla Black but I don’t think it has vanilla chunks THIS big.. however I just looked at the pictures and it does have bigger vanilla pieces. I’ll have to try that one again soon to compare. I think I’ve only sipped that one twice in the year that I’ve bought the tea! Yikes. That is why I don’t like having more than two ounces of one tea (except for maybe Earl Grey Creme!) I love this one though!
thank you momo! Another sample! Fruit is one of my favorite things, so of course I love fruity teas. The few cups sample here didn’t look like it had many flowers OR fruit chunks, so I would imagine that would affect the flavor. I steeped for three minutes after letting the water cool way down. It’s good! A nice fresh flavor. I think I can smell peach more than I can taste it. And the kiwi and watermelon seem a bit hidden to me. But the green tea base makes up for it. I had another cup a few weeks ago where either the water was too hot or I steeped too long and the flavor was bitter. The fruit flavor wasn’t any different this time around. I’m glad I waited until I brewed it the correct way to write a review though!
I wanted to try this one quick in case the Cantaloupe & Cream sample stored with this was affecting it. It might be. It did have a slight cantaloupe flavor, like the other samples. Not good! Anyway, I must first mention that I was supposed to steep two teaspoons of this. I didn’t, as it is impossible with my infusers. (I know.. I really need to get a brew basket!) But the tea tastes great anyway. The leaves are black and twisty. I assumed all keemuns are slightly smokey, but this one isn’t. It has a lovely fragrance to it… a bit perfumey in the best way possible. The flavor is a bit sweet. I’m not sure about the mushroom comparison others are making — I’m not a fan of mushrooms! I’d say this is a medium bodied black tea (but again, I didn’t use the correct amount of leaves.) Somehow this is complex yet simple at the same time. I wish I could describe it better! thanks Butiki — I’ve never had a tea from them that wasn’t very high in the ratings from me!
Additional notes: I know I really like a tea when I’m steeping it again a month or two after the last time I had it. I usually have so many choices, that doesn’t happen unless a tea is really calling me! I appreciate momo’s generosity while drinking this one! I love its dark malty molasses-like goodness! I had three great steeps of it. Somehow the first cup was a bit more astringent than the other two, even though I steeped that one less. So good!
thanks again Butiki for these samples! Always appreciated! Guayusa is usually delicious… well guayusa doesn’t really have much of a flavor, does it? But they are nice energy boosts. I assumed this Killer’s Vanilla would be a bit more “killer”. For some reason it is tasting like cantaloupe… didn’t I say that about the last Butiki I tried? I do have a cantaloupe sample with those, so I hope it didn’t affect the other teas. So I’m getting more of a cantaloupe flavor than vanilla. There is an interesting flavor here from the…. oh wait.. I just looked at the description and it is lavender?? How did I miss that? I did add sugar, which Butiki suggested (and I NEVER do that… I added maple syrup to a tea once.) The sugar to me just made the tea tasting more like splenda. Not what I was going for! The second steep didn’t have sugar, and I preferred that one… but that’s just me. This is a good one from Butiki, but honestly I expected more! Especially since I love vanilla teas. But like I said, I’m really hoping the cantaloupe didn’t affect my other samples. Maybe I just don’t like this flavor combo… but it’s still a delicious tea.. it’s Butiki! I don’t think this was a fair review, seeing as how I wasn’t even aware there was lavender. Where were my tastebuds? Another cup for another day…
I sipped this one yesterday (just writing tasting notes now) and I wanted that energy boost from the guayusa for sitting outside with a book.. in December.. at 65 degrees… in NY. Wow. I must say that hours after I drank this, I was hyper! I felt like I could run a marathon. But then again, that also could have been from enjoying the outdoors!
Another generous sample from zentealife.com! They are quickly becoming a favorite! I wanted to try this one because I wanted to try one of their vanilla blends and I knew the flavor profile of a pu-erh is very giving to other flavors it is paired with… I thought the vanilla would be stronger here than with a black tea, for example! Also, I LOVE Zen’s Chocolate Mint Rooibos, surprisingly for the mint (usually not a mint fan.) I steeped for five minutes after waiting a couple minutes after it boiled. The steep color looks like a cuppa coffee! The most interesting thing about this one was seeing the tiny pieces of crushed vanilla bean around the rim of my cup and the slight crunchiness of it in my teeth! Yum! As I expected, the pu-erh is very generous to the flavors. I can smell the pu-erh more than I can taste it. Which is why I think I prefer black teas to pu-erh… I’d rather have that flavor kick of a black tea! But I think I have heard pu-erh has more caffeine? The most prominent is the mint with the vanilla making it taste like a minty ice cream. The little bit of cinnamon flavor helps smooth it out as well. With the second steep, the pu-erh flavor was more present. This is another scrumptious tea from Zen! Any tea fan needs to try zentealife.com. I know as soon as I get some tea moola, they will be the next tea company I order from.
I’ve been spoiled with samples lately! I love oolong, so I appreciate these samples. The dry leaves here smell like SPINACH. I don’t mind it.. I eat enough of it! The steep color is a bright yellow. I let the water cool for quite a bit and steeped for 45 seconds. The taste is lovely! The flavor maintains a bit of that spinach flavor, but I’d say the dry leaves smelled more like spinach than the tea itself tastes like spinach. But it’s like spinach that is buttery and slightly sweet and also a tiny-tad-hint of spice, very silky… it really lingers. I’d say this oolong has more of a vegetal flavor that the usual floral.
But oh no! I just looked at the description and this was the tea that was the milk oolong. I had David’s milk oolong a few weeks ago and this definitely doesn’t taste like that one. The David’s was distinctly milky. This one is just buttery and sweet. I never would have even considered it was the milk oolong if I hadn’t looked at the description!
Second steep: Water was still cooled down a lot // steeped for 50 seconds. This cup is MUCH more like a floral oolong but mostly very peachy! Most of the spinach flavor is gone. I love the evolution of oolong.
Third steep: Water was much closer to boiling // steeped for one minute. I would say this steep is closest to the milk oolong flavor, but that may be because both the spinach and floral/peachy flavors are less distinct. It’s still good!
I think the first steep was my favorite because it was different as a buttery spinach oolong! On my oolong flavor rating scale where one has the lightest and most floral flavor and five has the strongest flavor, this one gets a two. But I think I’ll take a couple points off the rating just for not being what I’d call a milk oolong. A very delicious tea! One of the steeps (or all of them) is bound to be something any oolong fan would love.
thank you yet again, momo! I love genmaichas so this was a nice surprise! I’m the first to review this one? I thought the sencha itself was interesting here, as the leaves are darker, skinnier, and less uniforrm in shape. And of course you’ve got the rice that genmaicha is known for, and a few pieces of the rice have popped to look like popcorn. The steep color after two minutes is a light yellow. The flavor is buttery with a bit of that roasty toasty flavor. The flavor is pretty light. With the second steep, I forgot to take the infuser out… so it went for twelve minutes. But the flavor didn’t get bitter! It was just a little bit more roasty toasty. I like this one, but I feel like the flavor is too light for me, even if it is oversteeped. I love tons of flavor!
Additional notes: I’ve tried this tea bag before.. it was terrible but I kind of assumed it was ancient (it was from a long ago tea box — nothing to do with Steepster.) This tea bag is from a different tea box actually (also nothing to do with Steepster), and it is MUCH better. There is a ton of flavor here and it is interesting that the last time I thought it tasted like plain water. I guess it shows it definitely matters how old tea is! And it keeps my worry alive that I might not be giving some teas a fair chance just because I’m not sure how old any of the teas that didn’t start with me actually are. I’m upping the rating for this poor tea bag that no one else has even rated yet!