541 Tasting Notes

Clearly, I killed this one. I got the sample size of this tea, and thank goodness there’s enough for another try, because I killed it. I know the steeping instructions were all about shorter steep times, gongfu style, but I thought since I’d steeped other oolongs western style, that it would be okay. I was wrong. I’m new to oolongs, as you can see. Well, so I steeped it for 3 minutes, and it smelled and tasted like I oversteeped AND burned it. Oops. So I did another steep of the same leaves for 1 1/2 minutes, and it was better, but I think I ruined the leaves in the first round. I added honey in the second round, so I’m not really sure if it just tasted better because of the sweetener or the shorter steep time. Overall, it tasted like an oversteeped toasted green tea. Lesson learned: will do short steeps!

Bonnie

I wouldn’t add honey the second time either if I might suggest. Honey has a flavor and you’ll have a hard time finding the true oolong taste when you use it. Most people only use honey with spicy tea like chai or black tea or a non-delicate blend.

Tealizzy

Thanks, Bonnie. Good tip! Especially since I’m intrigued by oolongs right now and would like to try more. :)

Kittenna

Omg. Sounds like my first attempt with a Verdant dark oolong. Yeah, I killed it. They are very finicky sometimes, and either require very reduced leaf and/or shorter infusion times. Glad to know to watch out with this tea – I have some en route :D

Tealizzy

Kittenna – I’m glad I’m not the only one and that I could help on this tea! Haha!

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Got a sampler size of this, and I’m now wishing I had more! This is an exceptional chai. It’s earthy and well-rounded. I loved it!

Update: Just re-steeped this. I think this may be the best chai I’ve ever had at home (my favorite being Samovar’s). I think I need more!!

Chizakura

Ooh, maybe I’ll try some eventually. :) I’ve been in the search for a yummy chai (besides pumpkin ones xD) and this could be it. :D

Tealizzy

You should check it out. It’s not one of those strong cinnamon chai’s. More cardamom. The laoshan black rounds it out well!

Chizakura

Well I do like cinnamon quite a bit, actually. :) But I’m excited to hear about cardamom and the rest though. Hoping the ginger won’t be terribly strong, but here goes nothing! I’m tossing a 1oz size into my cart. :D

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
541 tasting notes

This is one of the most interesting black teas I’ve had. The leaves look like brambles and thorns, like something that grows in a dark scary forest! For a tea that’s not flavored, it sure tastes like it is. I totally got the brownie batter taste and smell that everyone is talking about. Not the store-bought mix, but the from-scratch kind. The flavor is extremely robust, complex, and lasts through multiple steepings. It’s very malty, and the malty-ness seems to linger at the end of the sip and gives me the urge to clear my throat. Weird. Maybe I should steep this for less time? I did western style (1 TBSP at 3 min).

I must admit, I added sugar and a splash of soy milk. I really can’t get myself to drink a black tea without those.

On the second and third steepings, I noticed a stronger honey note. I like that! I’m thinking I actually like the third steeping the best….interesting.

Even after feeling very full from this tea after 2 steepings, I decided to make scones to enjoy with the third! I feel like I cheated, because I made them from a mix, and I usually make them from scratch, but the mix was a Christmas present from my husband. He’s so sweet! The scones were a cream-type scone….maple cinnamon…and I’m used to buttermilk-based scones, but man, those cinnamon chips were delicious!

Chizakura

Sooooooo jealous! I’m so terribly excited about my first order of Laoshan Black to get here that I almost can’t stand it. XD It’ll be here any day now. My fingers are crossed for tomorrow :)
This note just makes it sound even more delicious!

Tealizzy

Ya, the hardest part for me was waiting until I had time for multiple steepings! I hope you enjoy it!

Fjellrev

I have that same problem. I think that’s why I haven’t been drinking ones like this and sticking to flavoured ones which are only good for one steeping anyway, because when you’re constantly on the go, you don’t have to waste tea like this one on just one steep. :)

Bonnie

Save the leaves. Also, as the weather warms up I throw the leaves in water and then in the frig for cold brewing. I have some right now!

Tealizzy

I will have to try that!

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drank Chocolate Malt by 52teas
541 tasting notes

I was a little wary to try this one because the dry leaf smelled a lot like that cheap wine you buy in a box. I know that sounds terrible…maybe it’s the honeybush? This is only the second honeybush tea I’ve tried. I was so looking forward to a super chocolate shake-like tea that didn’t have caffeine, so I could drink it at night. The taste was better, more chocolate-y, but it still had that sweet wine smell and taste. At the bottom of my cup was a malty chocolate residual, so I know it’s in there. It’s not bad, and I feel like it might grow on me. Sometimes, what you expect a tea to taste like doesn’t mesh with what it actually tastes like, but you get used to the new taste. We’ll see.

Fjellrev

Oh weird, but I can see how honeybush would smell sour.

TastyBrew

Hmm… I’m having a similar reaction to this. I’m going to make it with some sugar next time to see if I like it any better. Did you find a way that improved the flavor for you? Maybe I just don’t like honeybush…?

Tealizzy

Hey TastyBrew. I don’t think it’s the honeybush because I love the strawberry pie honeybush. I added sugar and a splash of soymilk, but it didn’t help. Maybe as a latte? I haven’t done one of those yet.

TastyBrew

I’ll try that some time. Something about the flavor just doesn’t work for me. I’ll try the strawberry one tonight. See if I can pick out what exactly honeybush is!

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drank Strawberry by Lupicia
541 tasting notes

I really wanted to try my new Verdant teas, but my husband wanted to go out fairly early, so I don’t have time to drink multiple infusions, so I decided to try this one instead and save the Verdant teas for when I have lots of time :)

I got this as a sample with the Lupicia newsletter, which I FINALLY received after signing up for it around October of last year! Geez! I’m happy it’s finally coming now. Anyway, this came as a teabag, and although I really like the little pyramid teabag (so cute and silky!), I was disappointed that it would only brew one cup.

The smell of the dry leaves and the steeped leaves smelled great! Juicy, tart strawberry, and pretty natural. The taste, however, left something to be desired, in that it was a significantly weakened flavor compared to the smell. Oh well. It was nice to get a free sample!!

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This was a yummy intro to 52Teas! The dry leaf smelled really good, and it was nice to be able to distinguish the strawberry pieces…you can even see the seeds! I steeped it for 10 minutes, based on reviews, and it worked. I was a little worried that I oversteeped it because the liquor was really dark. It smelled strongly of cinnamon. At first, I tasted lots of spice. What was interesting, was that the tart, juicy strawberry hits at the back end of the sip. I think I am liking this honeybush over rooibos. Really delicious!!

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I cannot express how much I LOVE this tea! Every time I drink it, I feel all warm and fuzzy. :) I shared some of my little 1 oz. bag with a coworker today, who liked how natural tasting it is. I now want to hoard the rest of my little bag, and probably buy a whole bunch in the future. Stacy – I hope you plan on keeping this one around! I would be pretty devastated if I couldn’t get more! I am also realizing that you get less of this one because the pecans add to the weight….hmmm, a lot like another nutty tea I love!

Rachel J

It’s on my shopping list. Sounds so yummy, and I’m not even that into flavored teas!

Tealizzy

It’s very light and natural….doesn’t taste flavored. I think that’s why I like it so much!

Butiki Teas

Tealizzy-Yes, we definitely plan on keeping this one around!

Fjellrev

Yay! Year-round warm and fuzzy feelings for us all. I definitely get the same vibe from this one.

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drank Creamy Eggnog by Butiki Teas
541 tasting notes

Got this as a sample in my Butiki order. Thanks, Stacy! I unfortunately had the same experience I had with the pistachio ice cream tea in that the vegetal note was strong for me. I did get a custardy vanilla note, and even a hint of nutmeg. I got more as it cooled. I would have liked more spice though.

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I REALLY love this dragonwell tea from China that I got from my husband’s friend. Stinks that I don’t know where he got it, but I have a lot of it! It is extra yummy with honey. Funny how my tastes have been changing. Lately, I’ve been developing a better appreciation for green tea!

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I am laughing my butt off right now and I must tell you this story! You know I bought my first Timolino travel mug last Thursday, the purple one. I brought it home and washed it that night and left it on the drying rack. In the morning, I had this terrible thought about losing one of the pieces….there are SO many little pieces! I went to work without it, and when I came home, my husband had put it in the cupboard, but the lid was missing! I knew it! So, trying not to blame my husband for losing it, we searched everywhere. I thought, maybe it fell into a bowl or mug and he put it away without noticing. Then I thought, maybe one of our kitties got up on the counter in the night and played with it. We looked everywhere….even the litter box….and we found nothing. I was really upset because I never lose anything, and I hadn’t even gotten to use it yet! We tried looking a few other times but couldn’t find it until today…..I did a thorough search under our couches, and there it was in the last place I looked! It WAS the kitties! LOL!! Guess I better not leave small plastic discs lying around!

On to the tea…so, I applied my new rule of thumb to steep banana flavored teas for less time, and it worked! This one was a lot better. Still wish there was more of a chocolate note. Maybe white chocolate would be better? Thinking this might be good as a latte, although I have yet to make a latte…we’ll see.

Kittenna

Ahahaha, that’s great! Btw, you need the little rubber piece that goes with the lid in order for it to properly seal. Otherwise it leaks! Trust me…

Tealizzy

Like I said, too many little pieces! Thanks for the tip!

Alysha

Luckily they sell replacement lids now on their own, which is kinda reassuring.

Tealizzy

I know, but the replacement lids only come in grey and wouldn’t have the cute purple ring on top! ;)

KiwiDelight

I steeped this tea less than the minimum recommended amount of time (4 mins) for the second try and it still tasted funky. It bummed me out because I was really looking forward to finally having a taste. What’s your rule of thumb?

Tealizzy

I did just under 4 minutes, whereas I normally steep black teas for 5 minutes. I added sugar and some soy milk. I agree with you though…it’s okay, but I probably won’t buy more.

KiwiDelight

Bah! I don’t have soy milk. Now I have a “teas I wish I could like but can’t” list. And I love banana/chocolate teas.

Chizakura

That is so hilarious! xD Little mischevious kitties :D They pick such random things to play with. My cat will just find a random speck on the floor and start going nuts all over it.

Once when I was staying the night at a friend’s place, I didn’t have my glasses case so I just put my glasses on the table, and sure enough, her cats confiscated them during the night! Thankfully they weren’t too far away, but it sure was an interesting choice for a toy. xD

Tealizzy

Chizakura – haha! That’s too funny about the glasses! And those are important! One of my kitties also whisked away a bunched up paper towel the other day…still haven’t found it! (At least that wasn’t important!)

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Bio

I thought my profile needed a facelift, so here we go:

My obsession with tea really started around October 2012 when I discovered DavidsTea. Before that, I had the occasional cup and enjoyed going out to afternoon tea with my mom. I was really into An Afternoon to Remember’s creme brulee tea, since they had an afternoon tea place at that time, which has since closed…so sad and I haven’t found a good replacement.

So, I kinda went nuts when I discovered both DavidsTea and Lupicia in the SF mall, and I still frequent them, though my tastes have substantially changed over time from wanting to try all the teas to being a bit more particular.

Once I discovered steepster, literally by looking up reviews of a DavidsTea tea, I was hooked! So many tea companies I never heard of and everything sounding so delicious!

I found I still love dessert teas, like flavored black teas, but I also really enjoy oolong (both green and roasted). I occasionally enjoy flavored rooibos and white teas. I’ve had a rough time with puerh, and still think it tastes like leather. Recently, after having some really amazing teas from Teavivre, I can now say I love unflavored Chinese black teas and green teas.

Favorite tea companies right now include: Teavivre, Golden Moon, Butiki, Lupicia, and DavidsTea.

Just a note: I don’t rate my teas numerically because my iPad doesn’t like the scroll bar. Maybe someday that will change…hint hint, steepster! ;)

P.S. My profile picture is of one of my 2 cats, Holly, who is a little princess but very photogenic, and she loves boxes, including those that bring me tea! :)

Location

San Francisco Bay Area

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