1489 Tasting Notes
MzPriss’ Unflavored Tea Box – Tea #1
I’m very excited to have MzPriss’ unflavored tea box make a stop at the house! This is like the classy, no nonsense, fancy restaurant of tea boxes… some of the best of the best are in this one. This is what tea boxes are for: sampling a ton of amazing teas. No offense to the other fun tea boxes (including the one I started!) So thank you to MzPriss, the other participants, and Single Origin Teas for adding a few teas to the box!
This is the first I went with. The leaves look oddly enough like Verdant’s Laoshan black. The flavor seems to be similar, but it has more tanginess rather than the chocolate & caramel that is supposedly in Laoshan Black, but is something I haven’t found too much. I wouldn’t say that this tastes like what I would imagine a keemun should be, no smokiness. But it is an interesting flavor. Not a bad cup, but not a keemun I would choose to stock. It’s a lighter brew, which I think is my problem with Laoshan. The steep suggestion is fairly long too… I know that over three minutes ruins Laoshan. Here I go comparing a tea to Laoshan again. Sheesh. I will never say no to trying any tea though! :D
Steep #1 // few min after boiling // 5 min
Steep #2 // half a mug // just boiled // 5 min
Oh, I’ll like this one! A neighbor’s blackberries were pretty much a highlight of my summer last year AND there are even more this year! So so good… in yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal and shortcake! Paired with a Shou Mei, blackberries sound perfect. There isn’t too much cream flavor, but plenty of sweet ripe blackberry flavor. The pouch says there should be actual blackberries here, I don’t see them, but at first glance I didn’t see the blueberries in the Blueberry Danish either. The white tea is a perfect pairing with the blackberry. I don’t think it really needs the cream anyway, but I love fruity creamy teas.
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // 30 min after boiling // 1 min steep
Steep #2 // 27 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min
I don’t know why I keep writing tasting notes for pu-erh if they are always so darn tough for me to describe. They are just… pu-erh… pu-erh is pu-erh. Mainly, I guess I’m giving them a number rating so I remember how much I liked them. This is a very nice pu-erh, loose this time. It even has some hint of extra flavor but could I tell you what that is? No. Just another level of flavor. There isn’t any of that hint of pond though, so if that is what scares you from pu-erh, this would be a good one to try. The flavor is dark enough, but not darker than the darkest pu-erh. No bitterness with this one. I was worried with it already being loose and didn’t need to unravel that it might be bitter. Nope. I’m very glad I bought it.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // rinse // few minutes after boiling // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 2 or 3 min? Don’t remember
This is from a while back — I bought a few samples from them when they were going out of business. Yes, I’m just trying it now. I’m trying to get to know my tea collection better for possible teabox or sale/swap pile possibilities! It’s a pity because this oolong is really good.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // rinse // 17 min after boiling // 2 min
Though they suggested 180 degrees, my favorite oolong in the past was steeped using just boiled water, so I didn’t want to wait too long. I think I’ve just recently started with this type of oolong and they seem to be a little like ti guan yin, but a little bit different. Flavor notes here: pineapple, sugar, something that reminds me of licorice but doesn’t make it weird. Super smooth and very tasty!
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 2 min
This cup was too bitter. I think the ideal steeping was the last cup. Oolong steeping is too tough to figure out! The leaves here look exactly like the Teavivre Ti Guan Yin but it steeps so differently. This one wasn’t undrinkable but the bitterness killed it. I probably didn’t need to use two teaspoons either.
Steep #3 // 22 min after boiling // 2 min
Still a hint of bitterness, probably because I only steeped half a mug this time. I don’t have enough leaves to ruin this nice oolong! The first cup was delicious though.
Another one from the 52Teas grab bags! I didn’t think I’d like this one with the watermelon… I think watermelon is my least favorite fruit but I LOVE fruit. There was a big chunk of fruit, I think apple, that went into my infuser. If it were the black tea base, I’d pass, but this sencha would be delicious on its own! Then once in a while there are wisping flavors of fresh green apple and watermelon. Not enough to drown out the green tea which I really like.
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 1 1/2 steep
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 2 min
Thank you Teavivre for the awesome contest! I won a whole cake of pu-erh and I don’t think many other people would be hoping for a pu-erh among those other amazing teas they could have won! Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s Teavivre’s fault that I’m almost addicted to pu-erh as much as black tea and I REALLY love my black tea. I love that this came wrapped and then in a manila envelope type thing with a string to close it.
Steep #1 // rinse // few minutes after boiling // 2 min steep
It looked like a teaspoon and a half or so of leaves that I broke off. There are hints of gold in these black leaves. At first taste: Oh this is a good pu-erh. I’m already very happy with it! The flavor is already very deep with no astringency – it has hints of the pond flavor when first sipping, but then it’s hints of dark chocolate and even the things I like about coffee. I feel like I’ve tried a pu-erh like this before, probably from Teavivre that tastes very similar. I have sampled a FEW pu-erhs from Teavivre, so it’s tough to tell which one.
Steep #2 // 2 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
Another really lovely cup, of course. More chocolate, more coffee. I really love this pu-erh.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4 min
I’m surprised at the sweetness of this cup! I didn’t expect a longer steep time to make it sweeter! I think these leaves could keep steeping, and it seems like if it’s a longer steep time it will just keep getting sweeter? It seems like a sweeter pu-erh rather than a deeper, darker tasting pu-erh, if that makes sense. Very delicious! If I had sampled this before I won it for the contest, I probably would have bought it. I think Teavivre’s Fengqing Zhuan Cha Ripened Pu-erh Brick 2006 is still my favorite pu-erh from Teavivre by a tiny bit over this one though.
I HAD to participate in the 52Teas mystery bags, even if that meant splitting three bags with other Steepsterers: thank you Mandy and Marzipan! Marzipan did an awesome job splitting the winnings and Mandy did the math for what I owed. haha. I’m terrible with numbers. Also, thank you 52Teas for such an awesome sale! SOMEHOW I previously tried only one of the teas that we received and I have been able to sample many 52Teas! I got one I wanted: Rumchata Genmaicha but I was really hoping for Fruit Hoops. I’m willing to buy/swap some of Fruit Hoops if someone is willing!
The dry leaf here actually has a butterscotch scent. Surprisingly butterscotch. I didn’t see any banana pieces in the pouch, but the fruit is always hiding in these pouches. I will probably only ever drink the banana teas from 52Teas, since I love them! (Butiki’s banana walnut is good too though.) This is the black tea base I don’t love though. I don’t mind the black tea with these flavors though, some of the flavors make the black tea better. Oh, I just remembered I said this with Bananas Foster. The butterscotch flavor isn’t as strong as the scent and lends a sweetness. It isn’t a cloying, distinct banana either. Both steeps were good, but there are better banana teas from 52Teas (Banana Pudding, the Hojicha blend I miss and Bananas Foster).
Steep #1 // a few minutes after boiling // 2 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
I removed this from the Here’s Hoping teabox a few weeks ago. I loved the Little Red Cup teas I was able to sample. I had to try their keemun. Usually keemun doesn’t have the hint of smoke that they should. This one does but it seems like it isn’t naturally within the leaf itself but added later. It does remind me a bit of some of those artifical lapsang souchongs but with a lighter smokiness. The smoke kind of tastes like leather. The black tea itself is slightly sweet but then there is a flavor here that reminds me of stevia with a hint of cherry. The brew is on the lighter side. Not much of a fan of this one, but I’m always up for trying a tea.
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // 10 min after boiling // 3 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
I had a half teaspoon of this I took from the Here’s Hoping teabox. So I brewed a half a mug. It’s an interesting half mug! It’s a very bright green with a surprising amount of flavor for half a teaspoon and the lotus adds an interesting flavor… tough to describe… kind of sweet. Should it remind me of jasmine, just less distinct? The second cup is even better but very different. More marine like. More floral. I wouldn’t mind some more of this in the ol’ cupboard. Maybe I’d be able to describe it better. haha.
Thank you so much MzPriss! This one sounded amazing: bergamot, cream, lavender on a base of assam. Cornflowers make the blend look gorgeous. And the scent makes me want to drink it… now. Maybe I didn’t steep it well enough, but the flavor isn’t as strong as I’d wish it was. Everything is kind of mild here… just hints of the bergamot, cream, lavender and even the tea which should be stronger because it’s an assam. At least none of the ingredients of the blend overpower the others. The second cup accidentally steeped for six minutes but it was a bit tastier anyway. I love the name. I had a Violent Femmes song in my head yesterday for some reason.
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // few minutes after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 6 min