1273 Tasting Notes
thank you CharlotteZero for a sample of this one! I had no idea how to steep this one, so I just wung it… but then I realized I had a Phoenix oolong from Verdant before. Verdant’s suggestions: Use 4-5 g of tea per 8oz or water. Rinse leaves once with 205 degree water. Steep for 25-35 seconds. Enjoy at least 5 infusions. Yeah, I kind of knew I was overdoing these steeps. Definitely should have looked it up before I steeped, as I usually do. I used two teaspoons and forgot the rinse.
Steep #1 // 8 min after boiling // 2 min
Almond oolong sounded interesting, but I don’t taste the almond here. The dry leaves are twisty, dark and dusty but once steeped they turn green. This cup wasn’t terribly overdone, but it did have hints of astringency. Rather than almond, the flavor was like juicy honey peach.
Steep #2 // a few min after boiling // 3 min
The first cup tasted like it probably should have, but this one was sadly ruined. Too bitter. I was tasting peach from Verdant’s phoenix oolong and really enjoyed that one (looking at the tasting notes), so it’s too bad I ruined this one. I have a few steep sessions worth to actually do this tea some justice…
Thanks again for the samples, Just Organic Tea! I’m always up for trying a new chai! It’s STILL annoyingly cold in MAY, so it’s still perfect chai weather. Just Organic Tea suggest 195 degrees for 4-5 minutes. I went with that, though I usually think chai should be boiling for maximum spiciness! The sample size wasn’t as much tea as I’d usually use. The dry blend looks like it has mostly orange in it (along with the black tea). I also added some of the Organic sugar that JOT sent along!
Steep #1 // 11 min after boiling // 4-5 min steep
I like my chai robust and SPICY, and this one isn’t quite that. (Then again I’ve never found a chai that was spicy enough.) But the flavors in this one lead to something unique. I don’t think it’s just the sugar in this that are making it taste like a dessert – I think it’s the combination of the cinnamon and the orange. The sugar reminds me of brown sugar flavor unless it’s something in the tea itself. The base tea has a squash or pumpkin aspect to it. Very interesting! I’m not sure if the pumpkin would be there if I had used boiling water.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 min
This cup was fantastic as well – had that pumpkin flavor even at boiling. The cinnamon was stronger – still tasted like a dessert. This is really an exemplary chai. Again, not as spicy as I’d like, but it’s probably impossible. I think many people could stock up on this to fit the ‘chai’ spot in their cupboard!
Additional notes: Sample sipdown! Sad to see this one go. This was actually 2 1/2 teaspoons. I probably could have halved this and had two smaller steeping sessions. Ah well. The cup was perfect anyway. It’s a super sweet tea, not a strong tasting assam. It even had the texture of a thin caramel.
Steep #1 // 2 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
Steep #3 // just boiled (half a cup) // 3 min
From Teavivre, I’m planning on eventually ordering one of the Keemuns, Bailin Gong Fu which I just can’t live without and with every steep I seem to remember that, and maybe even that brick of ripened pu-erh that just happened to be my favorite. I should have one brick of pu-erh, right? But I also want to place an order from Bluebirdteaco.com at the end of the year, Steap Shoppe’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread, AND a few from Butiki. I must have resolve that these will be the only four tea companies I will buy from the remainder of this year!!! And all of these orders will be a while from now anyway.
I was excited to try one month of Simple Loose Leaf for a dollar! I went with the five samples instead of picking two. I’m actually kind of surprised at how big the samples were. I might not be able to subscribe to Simple Loose Leaf right now, but at least I learned that the sample sizes are bigger than I expected. I used two teaspoons of leaves – not sure if I should have, but I think I’ve had another Formosa Oolong that recommended two teaspoons. The dry leaves are dark and flakey, not like the little green bundles an oolong usually consists of.
Steep #1 // 2 min after boiling // 3 1/2 min steep
It’s always difficult to say what a Formosa Oolong tastes like. It’s autumn leafy. A bit of charcoal.. but not to the amount I usually dislike. Maybe hints of cherry, a bit smoky. It seems like two teaspoons was the right call because it doesn’t seem overdone. It’s such a different flavor than other teas. I like it, but I think the discontinued Whispering Pines Formosa was slightly better.
Steep #2 // just boiled //5 min
This cup was less spectacular, the leaves had that oversteeped taste (not sure if anyone understands what I mean when I say this – not astringent, but the cup has had a slightly leafy/bark taste). It’s probably my fault though, and the not the fault of the tea. I enjoyed it anyway, as that flavor was mostly at the top of the cup. When it the cooled, it tasted like cucumber or some sort of melon.
I wanted berries! Time to try this one! (Better this one than the last couple of teaspoons of my Vicky’s Cake from Bluebird before I place an order at the end of the year!) I used a teaspoon and a half. Fusion suggests 180 for four minutes.
Steep #1 // 28 minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Brewed, this one actually has a scent like it could be shampoo? In a good way? The slight strawberry flavor and whatever makes it seem like a flowery shampoo combines really well with the buttery oolong. I think this is the first oolong I’ve tried from Fusion and I like it. The flavor just lingers. I bet this one is really niced iced. Niced iced. hah.
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 4 min
This steep seemed a bit harsh – tough – oversteeped. There was still some strawberry flavor left. But I think I should have steeped it like the first cup. The leaves were too unraveled for such a steep. I’ll enjoy the rest of my sample of this one!
There was only ONE tasting note for this blend, other than KittyLovesTea who just happened to send me a sample (thank you so much!), so thought I’d remedy that! This was one of the Bluebird blends that were discontinued. It’s a nice blend, but at Bluebird, this blend has some tough competition. The green tea itself is a little odd – it looks like tree leaves you’d see out in the yard. It does have a nice lemon scent and flavor to it from the verbena. The green tea doesn’t get bitter and pairs well with the lemon. It’s good but I’ll start crying if some of my other Bluebird favorites disappear before I get to order. bluebirdteaco.com
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 3 min steep
Steep #2 // 32 min after boiling // 4 min
Thank you for this one in your sample sale Janelle! I really like this one. It’s a mellow no caf choice. If there wasn’t so much rooibos in the blend itself, the flavor is like a mild Joy’s Teaspoon’s Almond Cookie (though it really didn’t seem like a strong rooibos tea – I wouldn’t even guess it was there in a blind taste test). There are big coconut flakes and apple that come through in the flavor. It’s a bit nutty, a bit fruity, very sweet. It reminds me of another David’s Tea – maybe Sleigh Ride? I’ve been drinking a ton of teas that are next to the last teaspoon! Plenty of sipdowns in the future.
Steep #1 // 10 min after boiling (accidentally) // 4 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
Additional notes: I woke up thinking of this tea! It is even better this cup around (first cup was six months ago), especially with a raspberry danish. SOSOSO good. It is just perfect. The black tea base is the right amount of flavorful/astringent for the flavors. I used exactly one teaspoon and there was even an entire half of a teddy graham in the mix. A couple minutes after boiling for three minutes. Perfect. I have one teaspoon left from my sample but I definitely need to order from Butiki soon. I’m thinking of ordering some others too, but I’d really like to sample some of the new ones before I order.
Thank you Tea At Sea for the samples! I’m just trying this one now, sorry! I used half my sample package it looked like — 1 1/3 teaspoon. I’ll mention right now that the looks of these leaves and the way they taste is more like OOLONG than a green tea: the green bundles. I’ve never had a green tea like this that was so much like an oolong.
Steep #1 // 30 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
The steep color is a very light mellow yellow. If this is a green tea it tastes like the mao feng types: like creamed corn or breaded corn. But the mao feng is also crossed with an oolong. There is a butteriness, a sweetness, a nuttiness, hints of vegetation (well, maybe because tea is.) It’s really very tasty. Almost like a milk oolong…
Steep #2 // 22 min after boiling // 2-3 min steep
This was another delicious cup. Less like a milk oolong this time around. But the leaves didn’t get that “oversteeped” flavor. The flavor of this one didn’t change like an oolong typically would, it was like the first steep but with slightly less flavor. I’d rather have that than the sharp oversteeped flavor. I really like this one, but I’d consider this an oolong and not a green tea.
Sidenote: I wrote this note before I noticed I mentioned most of the flavor notes that Steepster mentions! I guess my tasting is getting more refined!
Thanks again for the samples, Teavivre! Always appreciated! I’m always willing to try another ripened pu-erh, especially from Teavivre. They would definitely be my source for pu-erh.
Steep #1 // 8 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep after a rinse
I used an entire sample package of leaves. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to. The steep parameters say 10 grams, the sample size for sale on the site says 10 grams, but that could be for the 17 ounces they mention and not my 10 ounce mug. It looks like plenty of leaves: two big pieces and then some loose in the package. The cup doesn’t taste overdone anyway! The dry leaves look like a Yunnan with hints of yellow leaves in this pu-erh cake… that’s because it is a Yunnan. The flavor is nice, but probably not my favorite pu-erh from Teavivre. This deep red cup has a HINT of cedar flavor, even though I usually expect that from the raw pu-erhs. It’s very sweet though! But it’s still better than raw pu-erh in my opinion. It’s tough to explain what a pu-erh tastes like!
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 2 min steep
This cup is much darker – it has lost the red color of the cup because it’s almost black. The flavor is the same, yet deeper as the leaves unravel. I really love Teavivre’s ‘Fengqing Zhuan Cha Ripened Pu-erh Brick Tea 2006’ and I’m considering buying a brick with my eventual next order. I can’t really remember why I liked that one SLIGHTLY more… but I don’t think it has that cedar flavor at all.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min
Just like the second steep! The more I drink pu-erh (even three big mugs in a day) the more I WANT to drink in the same day! Such a value with pu-erh leaves too… since I never get that “oversteeped” flavor with them… the third cup it’s just getting more delicious. I love pu-erh because it has the ability to be super dark and robust yet still have a mellowness to it, that doesn’t seem to ever get astringent. It’s a nice change from black teas. I’m not sure why so many people are scared of pu-erh: they deserve a chance.. give at least one ripened and one raw pu-erh a try… Teavivre is the perfect place to start sampling them.