695 Tasting Notes
I am sipping on this one today while at switchboard. It arrived unexpectedly yesterday – I had won a Sororitea Sisters contest a few months ago and the prize was meant to be this tea. After a few months I gave up on it, but lo and behold! It looks like it was shipped on May 20th, so it took a little while, but such is the price of being Canadian. :)
I do not know a whole lot about oolongs other than that I prefer roasted ones. This one looks pretty dark in the package with long thin twisted leaves. I thought it was a roasted oolong but it steeped up surprisingly green. It must be somewhere in the middle, maybe? Anyway, I have an amber liquor which has strong sweet and floral notes, like peaches and flowers. The taste echoes the aroma quite strongly with a bit of astringency lingering on the sip (my fault as I thought it was darker!) It is quite nice and surprisingly unassuming. It doesn’t reach out and grab you but when you pay attention it is an experience to enjoy. I would prefer it to be a bit darker but for what it is I think it is an excellent oolong, just not the best one for me.
I got a sample of this one on my Teavivre order a month or two back and am finally taking a moment to enjoy it. I am using the whole packet which is a bit much for my tastes but not nearly enough to split into two cups at work. Ho hum.
The dry aroma is light and sweet, seems floral and with some fruity notes but once steeped it comes across as astringent and bitter in aroma. Very reminiscent of standard bagged black tea. Darn you slightly too large sample!! I even decreased the temp and time to account for it. We’ll see how it tastes.
Luckily I don’t get any astringency in the sip, but neither am I getting a whole lot else. It’s black tea. Maybe some light floral behind it all, but nothing impressive. I am getting a lot of Red Rose associations here. It is drying my mouth a bit so I guess it is astringent, but at least it isn’t bitter.
I was hoping this might be a replacement for Keemun Mao Feng from Harneys which I loved but this didn’t do it for me at all. Oh well!
EDIT to add: Wow, am I the lone dissenter or what? I love black tea but this was a disappointment. I wonder if it was mislabelled or maybe a weird batch as there was no cocoa and nothing I typically associate with keemun. Weird. I know the sample wasn’t very old either.
I tried a sample of this in store and found it way too sweet. Nonetheless, the beau talked me into picking up 50 grams. We made it hot last night (I still don’t really like iced tea) and it was, once again, way too sweet. Davids, you need to cut back on coconut and stevia. Like now. The beau enjoyed it (though he preferred it cooled) but I would be happier to never taste that much sweetness in a ‘tea’ again. I am considering adding some lemon myrtle or maybe a bit of a tart tea to try to bring it from sugar water to lemonade but for now it is just an unnecessary sugar bomb. I should have known better.
Finished these off today. I had saved four of the marbles for one last hurrah and it is proving delicious. If this weren’t so obscenely over-priced ($14.50/50g) I would definitely re-stock but at this price I won’t be. I will remain contended with my dragon pearls from Teavivre even if they don’t have jasmine.
Anyway, this tea. The black base can go bitter so I like to keep it around 3 minutes steep or use slightly cooler water. I know it will go two steeps with solid black tea flavour and fairly dominant jasmine. The jasmine gives it a sweetness that I really like – I never knew I liked floral teas until this one. The black is bold enough to remain present and provide a good base for the jasmine to dance on.
TL;DR: Great tea, too pricey.
So this was my first tea as a married woman – we have been so busy with wedding preparation, setup, enjoyment, take down and aftermath that this may be the only tea I have had in a week. I love mint so it really hit the spot, and it was thoughtful that my mother-in-law made it for me. We have been together for nine years so nothing really changed but it was amazing to get together with our best friends and family to celebrate. It was a true Nova Scotia kitchen party – we are thinking of having a celebration every year in the same style. Happy tea!
Well, the name is accurate on this one. I had been referring to it as mango bubble gum but mango fruit punch works better. This is a very heavy tea that smells delicious, like something you should eat immediately. I ended up using the entire 26 gram packet for our 24 oz teapot as it was very heavy and hard to get enough to flavour up. That basically makes this 1.75 a cup. Yikes!
Steeped, it has a yellow colour and a sweet aroma. The taste matches it closely, with a POW of sweetness, some identifiable candied mango and then bubble gum/fruit punch under that. To be honest, I don’t like it. I am not keen to finish my cup and I definitely won’t buy any more. I don’t know what I expected but the smell was so amazing that I got carried away. What I would want here is to cut the sweetness and add maybe some tartness to round it out. Rare for me! I should probably have used less tea or less time, but I know how difficult it can be to get dried fruit to flavour up. Unfortunately I went the opposite direction. Not for me, but would probably be very good iced or if you’re a huge fan of sweet teas.
Another poorly stored sample, but worth a go, right? This smells tart like hibiscus but I don’t see any of the typical pink tinge. I get some sour rooibos as well, masking what I would otherwise presume to be tart blueberries. At five minutes, this tastes mainly of smoke. Like there is a fire a few kilometres away but a bit of the smoke has blown in on the wind. No tart, nor sweet, nor blueberry at all. If I could get the aroma to match the taste I would be a happy panda.
At 15 – 20 minutes I can finally get some blueberry flavour in there but it is so dominated by smoke that I am not interested in continuing. This is my fault so no rating. I wish I had drank this two years ago when it was still fresh.
Dry, this smells amazing. I am thinking of the horse barn at the exhibition but in a GOOD WAY. Sweet clean hay, damp wood, hard working animals and minimal stink. This is contrasting with the cow barn which always smelled much more of excrement. Blech. I have come to really enjoy the smell and taste of hay and damp wood in my teas, and trying to get into puerh seems like the logical next step for me and my tea journay. Black teas and roasty oolongs still make me a happy panda but puerh might offer me just a little bit more.
Because I am a puerh noob I have used a bit less leaf than I probably should have, but that’s okay. Coupled with 95 degree water, I am ready to dip my toes in. I am using my smallish gaiwan and very small double walled cups. I have also broken out my tea feet (tea pet) to get their tea on too.
First steep at 30 seconds. Because of my conservative leaf and temp, I figure I can up the ante on time. I am tasting this one, though I know typically the first steep is a rinse. Not much about this is typical though. The smell is strong and smoky, like tanned hide or salted meat. Smoked wood, tobacco. I am developing an appreciation for a smoky note so this is actually enticing. The flavour is sweeter than the smoke note led me to believe, and taste more like the initial smell – sweet hay, damp hide and a hint of salt. Perfectly drinkable though not my ideal cuppa. Much more earthy than sweet though.
Second steep at 45 seconds yields the same aroma of smoke and salt. The taste is much sweeter though, more sweet hay, less earth. Much nicer, though it tastes a bit light. This is very sippable, the contrast of the taste and the aroma is very interesting. The smoke really develops as the tea cools.
Third steep at 1 minutes results in a brew much like the second, only amplified. I am getting some floral tastes now. I didn’t get any fruit or spices before now but I hardly know what I’m doing and I’m okay with that. This is my favourite so far, the smoke is mellowing out and allowing the taste to dominate the aroma.
Will likely steep more later but taking a break to put together our corn chowder now. General impressions are that this is a nice tea, but not my favourite. Something to enjoy occasionally. Will try it more traditionally at some point (more leaf/less time) and see what I get. Might do a cup western style too.
This is an impressive tea, especially for it’s cost. For a long time, my favourite black tea was the Wild Black Yunnan from Davids Tea. For me, this one is even better. Stronger, bolder flavours with less (read: no) astringency or bitterness. It holds strong through multiple steepings but is so inexpensive that I don’t mind calling it quits at just one steep. I actually prefer it to the other Yunnans that Teavivre offers, as this one has the cocoa and earth POW that I love. I am very glad to have 100 grams on hand, and will re-stock this one rather than the Davids when the time comes. Mmmm!
The beau and I picked up 10 grams of this last March and promptly forgot about it. Though it smells appetizing, I fear the hibby is strong in this one. So many of Davids blends over the past couple years have been lackluster for me, with the notable exception of Berry Good which I adore.
Steeped, this is a coral liquor which smells very tart, like pink lemonade – that would be the hib, I assume. The taste is a shock of tart with some herby flavour in the middle and then all ginger and hibiscus at the end. I am not really liking it but it isn’t the worst herbal I’ve had. I am not getting any strawberry though, which is a definite problem. Strawberry was the selling point for me but all I have is tart ginger. I will try cold brewing the rest, I think, and see how that goes. If nothing else, the beau likes iced tea.