1412 Tasting Notes
This tasting note is for a tea I tried last night… but guys… MY ELECTRIC TEA KETTLE FINALLY BROKE!! I was expecting it. I’m very proud it has lasted this long. I’m not sure how many times it was used, as I’m not the first owner, but I’ve been using it about 2 or 3 times a day for nine years so that is 9×3×365 = 9,855 times I have hit the boil switch at least. Poor little tea kettle. I have adored this kettle… it’s a sad day. I am definitely getting another Bodum kettle and I really don’t expect the next one to last this long, even if it is a Bodum! I think I will have to sell some tea to pay for it though!
Even though I’m not a huge Teavana fan, I’ve heard this one mentioned a few times. I love the idea of fig teas, so I had to try it. A one cup sample works for me! Of course the flavor here is neither fig nor rose. Sheesh. It isn’t terrible… the flavor is more like a buttered kettle corn… with something fruity. I expected worse actually. Though there is hibiscus in the ingredients, at least in my sample it just adds enough tanginess to the cup rather than turning it into a deep red cup of undrinkableness. Maybe the fruity flavor could be interpreted as fig? But it seems like it would be the apple that is mentioned in the ingredients. Not bad, but it’s odd to get popcorn flavor in a fruit/rose tea.
Another from the grab bags! I wasn’t too happy about the watermelon, but I wanted some of this one to try anyway… turns out I could probably drink this on any hot day! Luckily for me, this one doesn’t taste like watermelon, but plenty of cantaloupe! It tastes like the Butiki cantaloupe tea… but there is so much cantaloupe that I can’t even taste the white tea. I was craving white tea today. I’m happy with this one: oodles of cantaloupe, no watermelon. Drinking the second cup, I was LOVING the flavor in this one on a hot day and more of the white tea made itself known: fruity, juicy, a burst of flavor. This is GOOD. I’ve only seen cantaloupe with white tea and that is the way it should be.
Steep #1 // 32 min after boiling // 45 seconds
Steep #2 // 32 min after boiling // 2 min
Got this one as an extra from the 52Teas sale that Marzipan organized. SHHH I don’t actually brew these cold, as I wish I had some mason jars I could actually clean or a pitcher to put a whole ton of iced tea in. I couldn’t really drink that much iced tea that is in one teabag at once anyway. SO I open up the tea bag that has about five teaspoons and take out one teaspoon to brew up like your typical hot tea in my infuser. Even without the CTC black tea base, I usually steep the first cup of any 52Teas for 45 seconds to let the flavors shine without letting the black tea take over the cup. At 45 seconds, the CTC wasn’t astringent like a typical CTC. I think it sure is premium for a CTC! But these are iced teas that supposed to be in large amounts of water anyway, so I can see wanted as much black tea flavor as possible. The lime is delightful, especially in a summer tea. The lime is very flavorful, but I wouldn’t say I noticed cheesecake (the rating will be missing a few points for that.) The second steep still has some lime!
I also recently sipped down 52Teas – Almond Happiness and another one from 52Teas. It’s one of my most precious last teaspoons of tea, so once that one became a sipdown I think there will be an avalanche of sipdowns. Maybe I finished that one for that reason!
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // 5 min after boiling // 45 seconds
Steep #2 // just boiled // 1 min steep
This is the last of the oolongs I needed to try from Teavivre’s oolong pouch. They have all been amazing. I used an entire pouch of these leaves: two flat teaspoons and not even half of another teaspoon. Another gorgeous green leaf color and the fragrance is mostly creamy vegetables with a hint of flowers.
Steep #1 // just boiled // rinse // 1 min
As usual, the flavor is amazing. This one is mostly butter. Not cream or milk… just BUTTER. Hints of floral in the flavor as well. A little savory like the oolong I tried the other day, but not as much. Very delicious.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 1 3/4 min
I was going for one minute on this steep too, but it ended up steeping more than I would have liked. It didn’t ruin the cup though! Another flavorful cup with just a touch of astringency to it. Otherwise, the flavors are identical to the first cup, just stronger. I think I’ll try all of these oolongs again with just one teaspoon, to see if they don’t get just that hint of astringency. They are very flavorful with two teaspoons though. So much oolong flavor!
Steep #3 // just boiled // 1 3/4 min
Another delicious buttery cup… still extreme amounts of flavor! I could probably steep this one 30 more times.
All five of the oolongs in this sampler have been the highest quality, most flavorful oolongs I’ve ever had the honor of steeping up. They are all slightly different and I loved brewing them all with the same parameters to make sure I could tell the differences. I have loved all of the oolongs that I’ve tried in general from Teavivre… except for the Anxi Monkey King for some reason (That one isn’t to my tastes unless I steeped it incorrectly the one time I had it.) My absolute favorite is the Iron Goddess TiGuanYin. Just mentioning it makes me want to steep up a cup right now! I’m so glad I started drinking tea. It’s something small that adds happiness to each and every day. There is always tea!
I think ginseng gives me an extra brain boost, so I wanted to try Teavivre’s offering. This oolong looks like little jade pebbles: a ginseng and licorice coating that slowly dissolves with each steep. I know I shouldn’t have put a teaspoon of this in my cramped one teaspoon infuser, but I did anyway. I didn’t think I should use more than a teaspoon because of the ginseng. I wouldn’t want too much.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min
Even though the water is at boiling, opening the infuser, it seems like the ginseng as hardly dissolved, yet there is plenty of flavor from the ginseng even if the oolong hasn’t been able to soak up the water yet. Again, I should have used my basket infuser, but I didn’t want all of the ginseng to dissolve into the first cup anyway. This flavor is very intriguing and different to me, so I could sip down the entire mug really fast if I’m not careful. I’m usually not a fan of licorice but this is delicious. Maybe the flavor alone is refreshing enough to wake up my brain.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Another cup where the ginseng has barely dissolved, but the color of the cup is a dark gold, so I know something is happening! The flavor is obvious anyway: it tastes grassy, with hints of minerals, the sweet licorice is a nice addition… I think it would be worse without it anyway.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min
I think this could be the tea of a hundred steeps! The ginseng is still mostly there, so I’ll have to try it again in the basket infuser another time. I’m getting hints of the oolong anyway. I’d buy some of this tough ginseng oolong so each steep slowly releases more ginseng for boosts of brain power throughout the day!
Steep #4 // half mug // just boiled // quite a few minutes
This didn’t get too strong at all, even with quite a few minutes. As usual, I think I should have went with Teavivre’s parameters of a few minutes to steep in the first place… they always know how to steep their teas!
Edited to add: Apparently there is no licorice in this one. I wish they would say what it is. Is that just the flavor of ginseng then?
Additional notes: sipdown! I just think of this as the strawberries covered in caramel tea. Yes, that good. Caramel strawberries don’t even exist because they would be too sweet. It seems this tastes the same delicious way every time… I’m not sure if I’ve tried a couple different harvests. A very odd assam in the best way possible, and it has to be my favorite Taiwanese tea.
Thank you so much TeaTiff! This is the first of many to try from our swap! I decided to go with this one, since some of it dumped all over so I ended up with only about a teaspoon to try anyway. :/ So it’s a little over a teaspoon that went into the infuser.
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // 1 min
I love my short steeps with 52Teas. This seems like I steeped it perfectly. I like it! Strong toasty roasty goodness with hints of strawberry… it’s like that nesquik stuff? Strawberry milk. I’m not sure how else you could get strawberry marshmallow treats. There is SOME marshmallow flavor here but in any blend, I always wish for more mallow root.
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 2 min
This steep just seemed like a plain genmaicha (I certainly won’t complain about a nice genmaicha like this one anyway). It seemed that all the strawberry went into the first steep. So the low steep time is almost always the way to go with these 52Teas. How could so many Steepsterers not like this sweet little tea?
The leaves here are unique, shades of purple, hints of orange. Since Darjeeling is from India, I think this is China’s answer to that type of tea, but of course it can not be called Darjeeling. Everything about it reminds me of a Darjeeling, so I’m not sure why this is called an oolong. I used two teaspoons of these lovely leaves…
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // rinse // 1 min
Juicy like a fruit, succulent comes to mind which is a word I don’t usually use, light, honey, sweet, autumn leaves, a hint of muscatel. A lighter Darjeeling type.
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 2 min
Another very smooth cup – honey like! It doesn’t seem as flavorful as the first steep. Not as a tough as a typical Darjeeling but I kind of like if for that. I probably could have used more than two teaspoons. I hate to keep comparing it to Darjeeling, but I imagine most people have tried more Darjeeling than these Beauties.
Steep #3 // 20 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min
Yet another smooth cup – no bitterness. More autumn leaf lite. It’s almost more like one of those Kenya white teas like White Rhino from Butiki. Very nice, but I’ll have to try it with more leaves next time. I’d say the first cup was the most complex.
Additional notes: Having this one again to think about ordering it for Teavivre’s sale. It’s so so good. I’m just happy this one isn’t tasting like tomato soup like other black teas have been lately. It HAS seemed to adapt that maple syrup like quality I noticed in the red dragon pearls the other day. How nice! It adds a sweetness to that dark. malty, chocolate deliciousness. I love how this one evolves: the first steep is for breakfast: sweet, malty, chocolate. The second steep is much different, almost for lunch or afternoon: a little bit brisker, tougher, bready, hints of cedar. The second steep doesn’t really have the maple or chocolate. Would I like the second steep to be like the first? Yes. But the second cup is really good too. This one will be difficult not to order.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 10 min after boiling // rinse // 2 min
Steep #2 // 2 min after boiling // 3 min
Flavors: Chocolate, Maple Syrup
Another sample from the oolong sample set! I may or may not be trying some more teas from Teavivre this week in advance of the sale. I am definitely getting one those pu-erh cakes before they are gone entirely… it’s my favorite pu-erh! I used an entire sample pouch, two heaping teaspoons. The bright green tightly rolled bundles have the scent of creamed vegetables.
Steep #1 // five minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 min
I was going for boiling on this one, but I was a little late. The flavor here is similar to the Ali Shan I had yesterday from Teavivre. Super milky and creamy. The smoothest oolong ever. It lingers like butter long after taking a sip. There are subtle qualities here that remind me of some of those green teas that have that creamed vegetable flavor, but only hints of that! Another savory oolong, but then there is a sweetness that lingers at the end of the sip. The smoothness with this tea is unbelievable.
Steep#2// just boiled // 1 1/2 to 2 min
As I was sipping the first cup, I was thinking how perfectly brewed it was, or maybe it was just a perfect oolong. Sadly, this cup steeped closer to two minutes and was a little on the tangy side. I really don’t like when a good oolong gets tangy/oversteeped! I think even maybe a minute steep would have been better for this cup, almost because the leaves are already unraveled. I don’t think two teaspoons is too many leaves because the first cup was absolutely delicious.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
I didn’t really think to shorten the steep time more by this steep, sadly. Another cup of slightly too astringent. I can’t really taste anything past that but dream of the deliciousness of the first steep. That is too bad. By the first steep, this one might have been my favorite of the Teavivre oolongs that I’ve tried lately (other than the Iron Goddess anyway) but it is a very sensitive oolong. Hopefully I remember that for the next steep session. It’s odd it went from the smoothest oolong to the most sensitive about steep times. I have certainly been oolong spoiled lately though!
Note to self: a minute steep for each steep, first steep was perfect