1325 Tasting Notes
Additional notes: Sample sipdown! I should really be sampling the teas Butiki just sent, but I wanted this one. I thought this would age quicker (my sample is over a year old), because of the walnuts, but it actually tastes the same as the last time I had it. Wow! This is a very well done blend, as usual. It could maybe use a little bit more banana.. the pieces are so small! The banana flavor is still there though.
This was from the first round of the HH teabox and also a sipdown! I’d like to focus on sipdowns this week or next-cup-sipdowns. It’s so difficult though because I like holding on to those last teaspoons of teas to savor later.
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // 3 min
This is supposed to be a black and green tea. I didn’t see too many green tea leaves. I waited 20 minutes after boiling to steep it anyway. This is very tasty – it doesn’t really taste like green tea but the black tea tastes like sweet cherries. It’s pretty good! It isn’t the most brisk tea (a “library” tea should probably be pretty strong for focus) but it does have a bite to it.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Since I didn’t see any green leaves in the dry blend, I used just boiled water. I didn’t want to wait! But as I was pouring, I did noticed some green leaves that had unfurled! It didn’t ruin the tea anyway. I still can’t taste the green tea. I think the cherry flavor of the black tea might balance any astringency from the green. This one is unique!
Thank you so much for being so generous Teavivre! Wow. I always appreciate it so much! It really makes my day (or week) to receive a package of teas all the way from China. A sample package just in time for triple review points! I promised I’d try this one as soon as I got it because I insisted they wait to send it with the other teas they wanted to send. As fresh as possible. Hopefully it didn’t affect the teas too much sitting in the 95 degree mailbox for an hour before I rescued them (and probably warmer because it is a brown mailbox).
The dry leaves are a lovely jade green, flat yet wide. I love the look of these leaves – it reminds me of how much I love tea. The fragrance is surprisingly strong! Very sweet.
Steep #1 // 32 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 min steep
I used two teaspoons of leaves. I didn’t exactly use the right parameters for this steep since the 17 ounces of water suggestion always confuses me. The color of the cup is a mellow yellow. The flavor somehow reminds me of the flavor of a Mao Feng – creamed or breaded corn. I love that sort of flavor, it’s very good but I don’t think that is what the flavor was supposed to be. Maybe a longer steep time and hotter temperature WOULD have been better. But I can’t imagine the black teas should be steeped for one minute and the green should be steeped for four minutes.
Steep #2 // 30 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Now it has turned into a tea I’ve never tasted before. Such a garden of flavors this one has turned into: what was once corn is now cucumber and melon. Very interesting. This cup also seems like it should have more flavor, especially with such a strong scent to the dry leaves. Maybe I should have used more of them. There is no astringency at all.
Steep #3 // 28 min after boiling // 2 min
Maybe it was because the leaves sat overnight, but this cup didn’t have too much flavor. It’s interesting that this tea didn’t acquire a strawberry-like flavor, since these types of teas sometimes do. I will definitely try again with Teavivre’s parameters next time. They sent me plenty to sample. I guess I should just consider 17 ounces is double what my mug holds, so just halve all the parameters? I don’t know. This tea is very unique (haven’t had something like this before and I’ve tried a few other dragonwell teas before). Very nice.
I snagged a sample pouch of this one from the HH teabox! I fully plan on reviewing it to get my Teavivre triple rewards! :D These rewards will make it very tough not to place an order. So thank you to whomever included it in the teabox. Other oolong instructions from Teavivre (I don’t like the new instructions since they mention 17 ounces of water):
One tablespoon, eight ounces of water, boiling, rinse, 1,2,3 min
Steep #1 // just boiled // rinse // 1 min
The sample had 2 1/2 teaspoons of leaves, so I went with them all! The green little bundles of leaves have the fragrance of a sweet milk oolong. Very scrumptious. But the flavor is much different. I probably should have waited a few more minutes for the water to cool for the first steep, but the parameters said otherwise! The boiling didn’t ruin the tea, but it was on the brink for being a little too oversteeped. It does have a hint of astringency. But the flavor profile here, instead of being the milk oolong it smells like, is actually pineapple flavored! Front and center, it’s all pineapple. As it cools, it tastes even better. This might make for a very nice iced oolong.
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 min steep
The second steep has mellowed to a lingering peaches & hint of cream flavor! Wow, this is better than the peach tea I steeped at the same time (yes, I do that, it extends the lifetime of my tea kettle a little bit, I figure). I haven’t had a peach flavored oolong in a long time! So this is primarily a fruity oolong to me: pineapple and then peach.
Steep #3 // couple mins after boiling // 2 min
This cup was also very nice, though it had a hint of astringency. Still peachy but less so. The first two steeps were better, but I think two teaspoons of leaves would have worked better or switching some parameters.
Not the best oolong I’ve tried from Teavivre (Iron Goddess is the best ever), though that is a pretty high standard, but also not the worst oolong! If you’re looking for a fruity oolong, this is a great one!
Sidenote: I just ordered six things from puerhshop.com so I’d like to have at least six sipdowns of things in the next handful of days. It shouldn’t be difficult, as a ton of my teas are nearing their end.
Birthday cake! Thank you for the sample, KittyLovesTea! The description says black tea but I don’t see any black leaves in my blend or in the picture of the tea. This is mostly rooibos but whoa is Bluebird’s rooibos some of the best: all smooth and delicious. It’s almost like strawberries! I can see why the rhubarb cream blend works so well. I think the sugar from the adorable star sprinkles are improving the rooibos. Other than that, I only see purple flowers in the blend and there isn’t much flavor other than the rooibos itself. I’m not really sure how this tea could claim to be cake, maybe it should just be called “birthday”. As a rooibos blend, this is a win. Rooibos haters could be swayed with Bluebird’s base, I think. I used a Tsac and there weren’t any rooibos particles in the mug. The second steep was good too, but it lost most of the strawberry flavor for some reason. Not bad, but I’d definitely prefer my favorite teas on my birthday (very well could be many of Bluebird’s blends).
Thank you Dinosara for your sale, with some of them being free. :D This is supposed to be brewed at 195 degrees so I waited for the water to cool ten minutes after boiling. The dry leaves certainly look good. The flavor is a mid-level briskness, it kind of tastes like something fruity, maybe cherry. Not that delicious, and don’t use this blend to judge Fujian teas. It does have the flavor that reminds me of 52Teas new black tea base, so I don’t love this tea, but if 52Teas does use a Fujian base, the fault is completely mine, since most of the time the Fujian tea just isn’t my thing. I usually love most of the teas from Nature’s, so it’s a little disappointing! I know others like this one more, so I might save this for a teabox.
Steep #1 // 10 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
Steep #1 // rinse // 10 min after boiling // 1 min steep
Yes, I will always love the ripened pu-erh more than the raw, but this one works too. I love the dark flavor of the ripe pu-erh, and the sweet rice flavor just seems like it would go better with ripe. But maybe the flavor is able to shine better on the lighter raw leaves. The flavor here is so buttery. I’ve never had sticky rice, but to me the flavor screams kettle corn… which I’ve only had one time and loved. But the cup is mostly sweet, a hint of spicy with the aftertaste. I’m accustomed to raw teas being very tree-like, but it’s possible I was steeping them too long. Maybe even 30 seconds would have been enough like some oolongs.
Steep #2 // 8 min after boiling // 70 seconds
Oh boy, and here is where the bitterness starts. The rice flavor is still very apparent, but the bitter kind of ruins it. Maybe that’s why I like the ripened pu-erh better, it isn’t as sensitive.
Steep #3 // 10 min after boiling // 50 seconds
Still bitter, but so is the rice flavor. I liked the first cup though. I think the first cup was perfect, but this should really be steeped for maybe 30-40 seconds after the first steep. I think I’d rather stick with the ripened until I get better at not ruining the raw pu-erh. I still love the rice flavor. I’m ordering some of the ripened from puerhshop.com…
Whoops. I’m just trying this now from the Black Friday sale.
Steep #1 // 35 min after boiling // 4-5 min steep
I liked DT’s White Chocolate blend, and this one almost seems the same somehow, or maybe even not as good. The steep color doesn’t look like it has black tea in it at all, but I know it definitely has some in the blend. It tastes sweet, creamy, hints of coconut. But I think the White Chocolate blend had more sweet & creamy. It’s been a while since I’ve had the White Chocolate though…maybe I’m misremembering. There is also a bit of tanginess from the white tea itself in this blend. Maybe I’ll try it at a hotter temp next time.
Steep #2 // half mug full // just boiled // few minutes
This cup had more flavor, and not much more astringency. More coconut! Not much “cream” in either cup. I definitely don’t think this one should be such a low temp, but probably not just boiled either.
My Butiki samples have arrived! I’m very excited to try so many new Butiki gems. I’m not sure if it’s just Stacy picking the teas, but someone over at Butiki REALLY knows how to find the right teas. I wanted to start with the Hattialli because the Hattialli Golden Lion was probably my favorite tea of all time.
Steep #1 //2 tsps // 13 min after boiling // 3 1/2 min steep
I waited 13 minutes for the water to cool because somehow that worked better for me with the other Hattialli than boiling water (though it could have also been just five minutes after boiling.) This one isn’t QUITE the same, but it’s still an amazing tea. Maybe better than the second harvest I tried of the Lion, but not the first harvest I tried. The flavor isn’t as detailed to me, it’s missing the plum, apricot, more chocolate, sweet potato. All of those things are very subtley there, and I probably wouldn’t even notice them if I hadn’t known to look for them in the other tea. This isn’t supposed to be the same tea anyway, though it shares the Hattialli name.
Steep #2 // 8 min after boiling // 3 1/2 min
The second steep loses even more of those extra flavors, but it gains a ton more chocolate. I don’t think it’s a very strong chocolate tea compared to others, but I’m surprised at how much chocolate is actually here, since the leaves are mostly golden colored. Golden leaves usually taste like honey, not chocolate. But man this cup was addicting and I just sat there zombie-eyed sipping and sipping. I sure do wish I had bought truckloads of the first harvest of the Lion. High standards with my most favorite tea! This one is still definitely worth trying, as I haven’t tasted this type of tea anywhere else before.
ETA: Steep #3 // half a mug // just boiled // 3-4 min
This steep was an afterthought, but it was still very tasty! I thought it would be a lot worse. I’ll have to remember to do a full third steep with the rest of my sample the next time.
OH and if anyone is selling any of the first harvest of the Lion (I think it was before July 2013), I’ll buy it!
Additional notes: I’m having this one again. I think it’s still my favorite chai though I was wondering why it wasn’t as strong, then I thought I had previously used two teaspoons. Looking at the tasting note says I used 1 3/4 teaspoons. I’m still amazed at the big cinnamon pieces. I love that it has both longer leaves and CTC leaves. Also, I think I noticed some pieces of rock sugar this time around, though it doesn’t taste much sweeter. Maybe it makes it perfect while using 1 3/4 tsps. I’m sad I’m still the only one with a tasting note for this one. All of the NecessiTeas blends I’ve tried have been delicious. I wish they sold their teas in smaller amounts than three ounces. Steepsterers could at least be splitting orders!