1330 Tasting Notes
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.
thanks again for the samples, Just Organic Tea! I’m especially up for trying a new assam. JOT’s instructions are 195 degrees. To be honest, their sample sizes look smaller than the teaspoon that I would usually use, so I thought of using less water as I was pouring too much water. :D The cup was delicious anyway! Not too light, not too strong… Even before I took a sip, I could tell this would be one of those assams that are pure tomato soup taste. Even from the fragrance! I finished off a tea recently that tasted this way: Steven Smith’s No. 49 Assam, even though the first cup I tried didn’t taste like tomato soup at all (though that had been six months before the second time I tried it.) I’m thinking my taste buds changed in those six months. Though I’d prefer to have my assam have notes that aren’t tomato soup, this is actually a very enjoyable cup (if there is one thing I can’t stand – it’s tomatoes, but tomato soup is much better.) This cup is rich but not too rich, it’s still very sweet, no astringency at all. I would swear it’s tomato soup made with milk. It almost has that consistency. It’s on the verge of being almost minerally like a volcanic oolong and it tastes a bit like iron. I never brew a cup with less than a heaping teaspoon of leaves, and I don’t usually steep black teas at 195 degrees. But this cup is so perfect, maybe I’ve been going about brewing my black teas all wrong. The second steep is nice too, just a little less tomato soupy. I could crave this once in a while.
Steep #1 // 10 minutes after boiling // 4 min steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 4 min (just half a mug of water)
Additional notes: Trying this one again a few weeks later like I said I would (well, according to my tasting notes, it has been two months and a week. Whoops.) Really, this one still has the same flavor as the last cup from the new batch did. I made sure my infuser had a cashew and plenty of chocolate nibs. The scent from the cup does still smell a bit like alcohol, but it might be better now. I’m getting hints of chocolate and cashew in the flavor, but not really any caramel unless that is what that hint of sweetness is. These flavors make the base black tea better than other flavors might. Even with the second steep, with the flavors decreased, the black base is more bearable. I see 52Teas is using all other bases than this one, like keemun, or even just honeybush, oolong, genmaicha… I love ALL of their other bases. Who even sells flavored honeybush?! Honestly, I think I’d avoid buying or even drinking this base in the future. But maybe that’s just my tastes… I see on the site they have four more pouches available for sale, if anyone wants to try it for themselves! I wish I could buy ALL of the other 52Teas right now. Monies though.
Steep #1 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
Oh my gosh, I just discovered graze.com! Use this code to get FREE SNACKS. Get your first and fifth box for FREE and cancel any time, otherwise they are only $5-$6 delivered. That is eight free snacks and they all look delicious! https://www.graze.com/us/p/2X3PWJ7CU
Also, I get $1 off future boxes if you use that code, so please use that code to keep my broke butt fed. :D
I’m so thankful to get a package of samples from Just Organic Tea! Thank you so much! Quite a few samples. This one is up first. It’s an interesting list of ingredients: green rooibos, blueberries, hibiscus, cinnamon and some flowers. I haven’t seen a blend like this yet. And it’s decaf which is why I picked it tonight. The dry leaves smell sweet. They went into one of my T-Sacs. Just Organic Tea suggests 195 degrees for 4-5 minutes.
Steep #1 // 12 minutes after boiling // 4 – 4 1/2 minutes
I was expecting a red cup, but I realized this is GREEN rooibos. Don’t see many of those! The pinkish color is coming from the blueberry or the hibiscus then. It’s not a red cup, so it’s not a dreaded level of hibiscus. The flavor is a nice combination: I get a hint of blueberry and a little more hibiscus. The hibiscus isn’t an extreme amount, but it is dominant… that’s sad, as I would have loved a dessert-like blueberry and cinnamon cup. There isn’t much of a cinnamon presence either. I don’t like the flavor of green rooibos more than red rooibos, but this works! It’s not a blend I could be in love with, but it’s nice for what is. I’ll love the other teas from Just Organic Tea more…