38 Tasting Notes

81

So I bought this in early 2021, but judging by the other reviews here, the tea has not changed much in five years. Except that the price has risen considerably! It starts off with a punch of smoke and astringent bitterness, but after five steeps or so, it mellowed out to a very enjoyable brew. Even at steep #10, the leaves were intact and dark green in shade. It seems this tea is aging very slowly, I’m not sure if I live long enough to drink it at its prime! So I will just enjoy it now. :-)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
mrmopar

I remember this one having smoke and bbq to it. I need to resession it for sure.

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73
This has been quite a nice tea. Very smooth and enjoyable, round flavor and nice aroma. No astringency or bitterness, no smokiness, no fish, no compost. After the first five steeps, it required longer infusions of several minutes. I’ll be buying more.
Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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77

Ahhh, puer is an acquired taste! I bought this four years ago, broke up the cake and tried to brew it, with immediate buyers remorse. So I dumped it into a mason jar and threw it on the shelf and ignored it. Now, with much more experience (but far from any expertise) I have brewed this 22 yr old sheng again (gongfu) and find it quite nice! It still has some bite to it, and a little smokiness, but now I look forward to steeping some up every few months as we mature together. Even the badly over-steeped 7th cup wasn’t bitter, and #8 has
nutty notes with sawn lumber and leather tones. I stopped after 12 steepings, though the tea might have gone on a few more. Thank you Hilary (owner of the shop) for providing this experience to the denizens of your community—I’m loving it! You and your shop are appreciated. (Photos are of my actual tea cake in 2017)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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59

I’ve had this in dry storage for 3 years and it is supposedly a 2013, so now an 8 yr old ripe (wet pile process) tea. Rinsed 2.5 g in hot tap water for 10 sec, then steeped in 8 oz boiling water, in a steel straining basket. Odor of fresh fish, compost and forest floor at first put me off, but my persistence was rewarded with a smooth sweet taste. As I sipped down the second steeping of this portion, the fishy aroma had mostly dissipated, and halfway through I got a distinct flavor of chestnut, much to my surprise! My third and final steeping continued to be smooth and presented leather and toasted hardwood (not smokey).

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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59

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80

Well… this tea was a hot item 5 years ago. As it happens, my stash of this came from summer 2016 too, but it’s been stored sealed for years. And NOW it tastes strongly of honey and is just lovely. I’m glad I bought more recently and I’ll follow up here when I tuck into that! Very pleasant and non-astringent.

Flavors: Honey, Yams

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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74

What I like about this Earl Grey is that the flavorings are more subtle. I can actually taste the Ceylon tea in the background. The bergamot is tame and the vanilla is tamer. I like this one more than Tealyra’s EG Classic. The sachets are convenient.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Two important issues with this tea: (1) Set aside your expectations of how “earl grey” should smell & taste; (2) Expect inconsistency with this blend. I’m drinking this now from sachets recently purchased in very late 2020, and find the aroma “heady” as stated by Tealyra. I do think I can discern the base Ceylon tea, the bergamot, and the “French vanilla cream” as components of a very unique blend. But when Tealyra says “just a hint of French vanilla”, they are way off-mark—it is THE dominant flavor. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying this lots, and will sip it down as a dessert tea.

But remember I mentioned inconsistency? I had ALSO previously bought this loose-leaf from Tealyra 4 years ago and my experience mirrored that reported by rand0m1s in their note below. The french vanilla was so overwhelmingly strong that it was nauseating and saturating other stuff in my kitchen and I sealed it up and disposed of it. My guess is that whoever is blending this isn’t able to properly modulate the addition of a very concentrated flavoring ingredient. Maybe this flavoring gets sopped up especially well by the tea on the top of the pile and it’s not being post-mixed very well. They should try flavoring the cornflowers first, and using them to carry the flavoring into the final blend.

Anyway, it seems that with this tea, “your mileage may vary” is an understatement! As such, I’m not giving a numeric rating or a recommendation. Finally, yes this is “organic” but that is not of interest to me. And Tealyra doesn’t use the term in the name, so I’ve edited the listing and added a photo from their website as well.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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71

This is an okay quality Earl Grey, built upon a nondescript, blasé Ceylon base. Ironically, Tealyra writes “there is absolutely no need to change something that is perfect as is!” and yet they add blue cornflowers to it. Why? For color and marketing purposes, I suppose. Cheaper than adding gold leaf, right? Anyway, the tea is overwhelmed by the bergamot flavor, which itself isn’t all that powerful. But if you like bergamot as I do, you might not mind a “cuppa bergamot”. Ultimately this version of the classic is boring but quaffable. I used the loose-leaf form, but nylon sachets are also available. Both are priced affordably.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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69

This is a decent English Breakfast, which I bought in convenient sachets. Mild, but the keemun base shines through. Otherwise, the review by eastkyteaguy is spot-on. I don’t give a rats tail about it being “organic”. I would prefer Tealyra’s slightly more expensive Keemun Mao Feng Premium sachets for routine drinking, so that will be my future purchase for his type of tea. I’ve added a new photo fromTealyra’s site, but for some reason it isn’t displaying in the listing.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

Left-coast reared (on Bigelow’s Constant Comment and Twinings’ Earl Grey) and right-coast educated, I’ve used this moniker (and Email) since the glory days of AOL in the 90’s, reflecting two of my lifelong loves—tea and ‘Trek. You can call me Earle. Now a midwestern USA science guy, I’m finally broadening the scope of my sippage and getting into all sorts of Assamicas, from mainstream Assam CTCs to Taiwan blacks & TRES varietals, to varied Pu’erhs. With some other stuff tossed in for fun. Love reading other folks’ tasting notes (thank you), I’ve lurked here from time to time and am now adding a few notes of my own to better appreciate the experience. You can keep the rooibos LoL!
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Photo with a cake of 2007 Liming “Everlasting Aroma” raw Pu’erh tea bought Jan ‘21 from YS.

Location

Chicagoland

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