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91 Tasting Notes

95

I was in one of those moods today where I didn’t really want to try anything new and risk the possibility of an unpleasant brew. At first I wanted a straight tea, but couldn’t think of anything that appealed to me more than this lovely blend. Such a perfect melding of flavors and a wonderful creamy-juicy mouthfeel. I think I’m going to have to keep it permanently stocked for days like this.

Flavors: Cream, Melon

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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94
drank Earl Grey by Clipper
91 tasting notes

I seem to be coming down with a cold again, so today I’m reaching for my comforting teas to soothe my scratchy throat. This is so damn nice brewed strong (2 bags for a mug) with milk and sugar/agave. It’s like a hug or a fluffy blanket for the soul. I feel so much better now than before I started the cup. Upping the rating!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec
KittyLovesTea

I love this Earl Grey, the bergamot is pretty full on and fresh. I hope you feel better soon.

italiastar

I must have a duff batch – hardly any bergamot

adagio breeze

Well mine is pretty old (best before date is April 2013) so maybe they changed it?

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86
drank Jade Cloud by Lahloo Tea
91 tasting notes

Not sure what I did differently this time, but it tastes quite a bit different from how I described it in my last note. The dry leaf still has the lovely chestnutty aroma, but the liquor is more astringent, more beany, and less umami than I remember. It resteeped better than last time, though. I added some salt toward the end of the second cup, thinking it might bring out that brothy quality I noted before, but oddly enough it seemed to only bring out the bitter notes.

Dropping the rating a bit, even though I doubt it’s the tea’s fault. It’s probably past its peak, and my tap water is HARRRRRD. Might be time to start using the Brita pitcher again, or at least descale the kettle.

Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Ugh, this RAIN. I normally don’t mind it too much, but this has been one of the wettest winters on record, and the drizzly greyness is totally sapping my will to do any of the things I need to accomplish. So I’ve been rummaging through my stash looking for something to boost my mood.

I go for a sachet of this, in part because it means I don’t have to wash any of my dirty teaware. The scent is unimpressive, even after steeping for 5 minutes, and the liquor is quite weak (“gentle”, if you prefer). The flavor is mostly orange peel with hints of peach and oolong, turning tart at the end of the sip. Aftertaste is quite nice. Next time I’ll try steeping it longer, or may even use 2 sachets.

Flavors: Orange Zest, Peach

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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89

Finally, my first Verdant experience! I’d been holding off on trying them because I wanted to get some more brewing practice under my belt, but the other day I just said “screw it” and snipped open my sample packet of the 2012 harvest.

It’s intensely vegetal & beany every which way (dry & wet leaf, liquor aroma, and flavor), probably more so than any other tea I’ve tried. There’s a taste of char that gives it a somewhat aggressive edge. I searched for the pumpkin but couldn’t find it, which is unfortunate because the tasting notes of pie and biscuits played a big part in drawing me in.

I can tell it’s a very high-quality tea, but I’m not sure how much I personally liked it. I’ll definitely try it again and use bottled mineral water (and get around to reviewing it less than two days after the fact).

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Sil

good luck with them!

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91

The dry leaf doesn’t smell of much, but when the hot water hits, it releases the citrusy aromas promised. The liquor is sweet, fruity, and smooth with a lovely, lightly floral aftertaste. There’s absolutely nothing bad I can say about this tea (except for a somewhat unpleasant tingle at the bottom of the throat, but it’s barely worth mentioning). Granted this is the first example of an Oriental Beauty I’ve tried, but I’m very impressed.

ETA: Second steep had an interesting lemony tartness, which was overtaken by woodiness in subsequent steepings.

Flavors: Apricot, Fruit Tree Flowers, Lemon Zest

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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72

Made up a pot of this for breakfast (2 heaped tsp for ~450 ml). The first cup poured was frankly too weak for milk, and the second cup (poured only seconds later) needed more milk & sugar than I expected. Maybe I need to stir the pot before pouring, or strain into a pitcher and then pour into cups, or just use the one-cup brewing basket like I did last time.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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72

1 heaped tsp dry leaf to ~7 oz water. I must have used a different leaf:water ratio in the last note, because at 3 minutes I found it pretty unpalatable plain, but quite nice with 1/2 tsp sugar and a restrained splash of soymilk. Goes pretty well with peanut butter & raspberry jam on toast. Bumping up my rating a bit.

This tea is now a year and a half old, so I’ll see if I can swap it for my normal breakfast tea and use it up within the next few weeks.

EDIT: Resteeped nicely – 4 minutes produced a mellow oaky cup complemented by a little agave. Bumping the rating a bit more.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Amber by Lahloo Tea
91 tasting notes

Another one of the older teas in my stash. Dry leaf is tightly rolled like gunpowder; aroma is charcoal and lightly burnt toast, which turns more towards freshly baked bread crust while steeping. In my first taste I immediately picked up dark chocolate, although it didn’t stick around very long. Mineral notes are also present, becoming a metal-like tang in the back of my throat and sides of my palate. I’m not getting any fruit, but maybe some kind of wood instead? Sandalwood perhaps?

The flavor isn’t really wowing me, but it is giving me a bit of a happy warm fuzzy feeling.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Picked two bags of this up from a cruddy little London hotel I stayed at a few months ago. I prepared it the same way as I do any new bagged black: boiling water, 3-4 minutes, 1 tsp sugar, splash of soymilk.

It had quite a malty aroma while steeping. I was a little dismayed when the liquor turned a muddy brown after adding the milk, rather than the usual warm coppery color, but that’s just cosmetic.

The taste isn’t much better – it’s definitely black tea, but a weird mishmash of flavors I’m unaccustomed to (is that lemon I’m picking up?), and way too much sugar for the strength of the blend. It was okay when I was sipping it along with my morning toast, but I’m not a fan of it by itself. I’ll try the other bag lightly steeped & plain to start with. Apparently this brand is based in the Netherlands, so maybe they take it differently there?

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

Big brand in Denmark as well. And no, it probably just is that poor. I find it sort of on the same level as Lipton.

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Profile

Bio

I grew up in New Jersey drinking Celestial Seasonings, and now I live in England, where I developed a taste for a good builder’s brew. Sometime in 2012 I bought my first loose teas, and my collection has since spiraled out of control. Still quite a novice, due to not drinking enough tea to keep pace with the amount I keep buying.

Some things I’m pretty sure I do like:
- most florals (jasmine, orange blossom, osmanthus, etc)
- buttery, vegetal greens
- malty blacks (usually with milk & sugar)
- oolongs that aren’t too heavily roasted

All tasting notes use unfiltered hard tap water, unless otherwise specified.

No real method to my numerical ratings yet, but we’ll see what develops.

Location

Bristol, UK

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