866 Tasting Notes
Thanks so much, Terri Harplady! She kindly suggested I use the amount she sent me for one mug. So this one has shu pu-erh nuggets, peppercorn, ginger, licorice and elderberries. A mix that didn’t sound very good until I tried it!
First steep // a few minutes after boiling // two minutes
I did a quick rinse first! Two minutes later the flavor is so balanced with these ingredients! Spicy like a chai, thanks to the peppercorn and the ginger. The top of the mug has a hint of tanginess from the elderberries but that disappears as I drink the rest of the mug, probably because the elderberries floated at the top of the infuser. The pu-erh itself is very mild and sweet, and the steep color isn’t too dark – medium brown. A bit of the licorice flavor and this cup is amazingly balanced. Verdant sure knows what they are doing.
Second steep // boiled // 3 min
This cup is MUCH darker… like a deep maroon red. But the flavor isn’t much stronger… the pu-erh is the same! It’s odd that the color changes but the flavor doesn’t. The flavor is so good! I’m not really getting the pastry flavor that the description mentions, but maybe I’m not eating enough pastries. I must remedy that. I’m actually surprised I’m learning to love pu-erh even more than some other types of teas (like white and green) but nothing will ever replace my black teas.
Third steep // boiled // 4 min
I can really appreciate how well the ingredients blend together as each steep progresses. It’s just perfect. This cup is pretty much the same as the last one, another deep red and the flavor is the same. I almost didn’t have a third cup but I’m glad I did! Since the flavor is the same with this one, I imagine there could be many more steeps with the same leaves. I really like this one, so I’m glad I was able to try it!
Additional notes: I’m having this one again. I think I’m trying to have all of my chai and apple teas this autumn. I may have oversteeped this one (4-5 minutes a few minutes after boiling), but I’m so sad for the apple flavor here! If only Nature’s used a different apple flavor, it would be so much better. The black tea, cinnamon and cloves are so nice, it’s a shame to ruin it with this tangy, perfume-like apple. I’m lowering the rating.
Another one Terri Harplady included in the teabox for me in my special baggie of teas. thank you! :D Dragon pearls again so soon? Why yes. I’m not sure why these are called red pearls… maybe only because in China black tea is called red tea? I used four pearls for these steeps.
First steep // 3 min // 20 min after boiling (deciding which tea)
This one is SPECIAL. It doesn’t even seem like a black tea because there is just a honey honey honey flavor! The texture is even like honey! I’ve never had a tea like this before. I couldn’t guess it was a black tea, honestly. Maybe it is just because of the lower temperature? Definitely no astringency.
Second steep // 4 min // right after boiling
The amazing honey is still here, but now there is a deeper flavor — a bit like chocolate with honey notes, a bit more astringency that is just noticeable (but the first cup was just SWEET.) Still not quite like a distinct black tea. So so good. I’m very amazed that even black (or red) dragon pearls seem to be so unique!
Third steep // 3 min // right after boiling
This cup was much like the second but there was a hint of oakiness that detracted from the honey chocolate! So the light honey flavor from the first cup definitely wasn’t just from the lower temperature, as the other two cups would have had a stronger flavor right after boiling. This has to be the sweetest black tea I’ve tried.
I love these. I have eight more pearls – so two more steeping sessions to savor later!
Additional notes: I wanted to try this hot, since I loved it so much cold in the summer. It may have been my favorite iced, among the teas I tried. I’m amazed that even though I let this one steep three minutes a few minutes after boiling and the leaves are so tiny, there really isn’t a strong astringency to the black tea. I was expecting a very strong flavor, but it doesn’t seem much different than when it is just steeped with cold water for a couple days. The plum flavor is a little bit different though… I can’t tell how. I love it either way though! It is reminding me of Harney’s Tower of London or Paris which I vaguely thought of today, so it makes sense I would pick this one today. I have enough left for a couple steeps!
I’m very excited to get my mysterious perk from the 52Teas campaign. I can’t wait to see which 12 teas they are sending samples of (I really hope one is the Candy Corn I’m dying to try since these are being sent in October). I’m guessing the samples will be much like the one this tea is in that were exclusively sold by iheartteas – Rachel? I think? They are paper pouches that have a few teaspoons in them. I just wish the campaign had been more successful for 52Teas! I kind of feel guilty that I’m getting the samples.
Some more samples! Thank you! I have so many teas to try just with samples from companies. I’ll be able to get to the samples now since the teaboxes are out of my hands! I love the name of this one. (And I’m also wondering what rooibos teas are called when black teas are red.) I was worried that the samples I picked out from Yezi would be like Laoshan black. I was trying to avoid the teas I thought would be like Laoshan Black, though I still wanted to try their black teas. Let’s call that the tea for me that everyone else seems to love and I don’t really get. I just feel there are stronger teas that are more like chocolate since Laoshan black is so light it can’t possibly taste like chocolate. I’m writing so much about Laoshan black, because I couldn’t tell these apart in a blind taste test. It’s very light, not like my favorite deep dark chocolate teas. I can see where many tea drinkers would prefer a lighter black tea to stronger flavors. Two teaspoons at a three minute steep right after boiling, yep, I can’t tell the two apart. Maybe my palate isn’t refined enough, but Laoshan black is certainly very unique enough that it doesn’t really taste like many other black teas… really any other tea I’ve tried before. Well, I failed trying to avoid the Laoshan of Yezi, but I hope the other two samples will probably be more to my liking… and I really liked the name of this one anyway!
Thank you for the samples! I recently discovered that gunpowder greens are some of my favorite greens! The dry leaves here are tiny little pellets rolled up, much smaller than the other gunpowder I recently tried. After letting the water cool a while, I steeped for two and a half minutes. It might have been a half minute too long though, unless I used two many leaves. The taste isn’t bad this way, I just know it isn’t what it should be. I mostly get vegetal, sea-like notes, a bit buttery. I wish it were creamier though. But it seems a bit too astringent, so I’ll work on that! I should have figured that since the leaves were smaller, I shouldn’t have steeped them for 2 1/2 minutes. But it will taste better the next cup!
Another one from Nicole I was very eager to try and a sip down! Many of the teas Nicole sent are Earl Greys… it will be great to find new varieties of EG I like. Opening the pouch, this one smells SO strongly of bergamot! I happen to love strong bergamot… if it is an actual bergamot. No question here! I don’t even think there was a teaspoon here, but the flavor might make it one of my favorite Earl Greys! The bergamot is bright, citrusy and strong! The creaminess of the vanilla is most noticeable when the flavor lingers after drinking. It is so smooth. The texture is amazing, really, like real cream. The second steep wasn’t nearly is good, which is odd because with some EGCs I can get three steeps from the same leaves that taste exactly the same if I steep just right. I could easily use this one as an Earl Grey Cream staple! It is definitely in the top three EGCs for me! I hope this one is in the Battle of the Earl Greys…
This tasting note is #800! Wow, already?
Thank you so much for this one, Tasty Brew! I’m amazed you managed to send only one tea that I’ve tried before (Della’s Dubbele Chocolade)! I still wanted a caramel fix since the last tea I had that promised to be caramel wasn’t so caramely! This one features the mild Della Terra black tea base with caramel cubes. I steeped for a while to try to get the caramel flavor melted a bit more. (I don’t think you can oversteep Della’s black tea anyway – it never gets astringent!) The flavor is sweet, not so noticeably caramel, but maybe I let the water cool too long while picking out a tea that would pair well with my cake. Dessert tea with dessert! I hardly ever go wrong with Della Terra…
This had one teaspoon left I removed from the HH teabox! I was intrigued when I saw from the description it’s a CARAMEL chai. Wow does caramel chai sound like a nice blend! There weren’t many spices, just a lot of black tea leaves. After steeping for a few minutes, the flavor isn’t caramel or spicy, which I kind of expected. But the black tea has a nice toughness (without astringency) and very raisin-like! I know this blend would have been better if it wasn’t the last of the sample… and probably not stored in a very thin baggy.
I took the little bit of this out of the HH teabox! These teabags you can fill are so handy for rooibos blends. Much more enjoyable for me when I don’t have a billion wood chips sitting on my throat. I’m glad I bought two boxes of 100 from Red Leaf (two different sizes – but I think the big ones are easier to fill.. even with rooibos it is tough to fill the smaller ones). But I might drink so much more rooibos because of these teabags that I will go through these filter bags fast.
Anyway, this tea is lovely! A nice candy like strawberry flavor… I’m confused by the description mentioning three fruits… and none of them are at all like strawberry. I swear it’s strawberry! The rooibos is a great base for it. Nice!
Also, I should mention I’m such a Steepster geek that I can’t wait until I have time to add all the teas to my cupboard that I acquired from these tea boxes (and also remove the teas from my cupboard that I put in tea boxes!)