2198 Tasting Notes
After feeding the chickens and doing a few outside chores, then cooking breakfast, I had a few quiet moments to drink a cup of tea. Well, actually it was a whole pot by myself!
The aroma of the dry leaf is largely fruity, and the steeped tea starts out mostly fruity but as it begins to cool a little the coconut comes out more and more, taking center stage. Very nice!
My sample was enough to make about 16 ounces of tea on the first steep. I drank eight ounces of it hot and plain. It was one of the best Earl Grey teas I have tried. I added some simple syrup and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
For my “dessert” tonight, I poured the cold sweet tea into my Zoku slush and shake maker. It. Was. Heavenly. The bergamot in this is so nice that instead of getting a mouthful of cologne (which is how some EG makes me feel) I enjoyed a fruity treat with lots of tea flavor.
My friend who had ordered Earl Grey dropped by and I found out that she has only tried the sample so far, as her order has not yet arrived. She loved her sample though! Of the five samples I just received, two are teas that I already own a tin of and have already reviewed, so I passed them on for her to taste!
Earl Grey lovers, this is a very nice tea with pure, natural tasting bergamot and best of all, a great tea base that isn’t covered up by the flavoring! And it is awesome frozen, so if you make tea pops or tea ice, it is a great summer tea!
This is a sample provided by “Nina’s Tea” for review.
I had encouraged a friend of mine to order some samples from Nina’s back when the first offer went out. She did, and she ended placing an order of her own, and this is what she wanted most. She and her daughter love Earl Grey and they couldn’t wait to try Nina’s version. And the when I was at her house last week I forgot to ask if we could try it! Argh! So I was happy to see it in my Nina’s samples that Laurent chose for me.
I steeped this not knowing anything about it but that it was Earl Grey, so….tea plus bergamot. I liked the aroma right away. This isn’t the kind of EG that assaults my nostrils and makes my nose burn. The bergamot is very present but it is a nice moderate level that doesn’t kick you in the face.
I was most happy about the tea base, though. The color deepened quickly on steeping, and the tea smelled smooth – not too strong, not astringent, but not disappearing under the bergamot, either. And it tastes great. When I looked up the tea I saw that the base is Keemun, a favorite of mine. No wonder I like it! This is not a strong, smokey Keemun whose roasty and chocolate notes scrape your tongue. (I like that in a plain or chocolate Keemun, by the way.) This Keemun carries the bergamot but then you are left with an aftertaste of just tea, and then little whiffs of light bergamot come back.
I have given away a lot of Earl Grey tea that I just couldn’t stomach because of poor base tea or bitter flavoring. This is one that I would be glad to keep on hand just in case Captain Picard ever drops in….
My samples from *Nina’s Tea" arrived today! If you missed it on Facebook, Laurent invited those who are pretty active on Steepster to request more samples as there are a number of teas which have never been reviewed. I received five two teaspoon samples today.
I chose this one to be my first from this batch because I wanted something caffeine free this evening. I have not been a huge fan of rooibos but I don’t despise it, either. I had one or two that were truly awful and some that were rather nice.
I tried this hot and with no additions first. I found it to have a very clean flavor, with the rooibos being a nicer cherry taste than some that I have had. The blood orange flavor is very nice and I would say the two flavors are evenly matched here – neither one drowns out the other. It really didnt need any sugar for me. It was sweet enough naturally.
I wanted to experiment with it a bit, too, so I chilled it and added a little sugar to try it as an iced tisane. This was very nice, and a refreshing change from the many hibiscus laden iced teas.
I took it one step further and put it in my Zoku Slush Maker. NICE! This made a great little slush and the cherry flavor of the rooibos seemed to lean more heavily toward real cherry flavor this way, mixing nicely with the blood orange. I think rooibos fans would really enjoy this, and it is a great summer drink iced!
Thank you, Laurent and Nina’s Teas!
This is a sample sipdown, and I am ashamed to say that I have probably had this for about two years, maybe longer. I really want to place some orders, but I have SO. MUCH. TEA. My bestie busted out laughing a few days ago when I made tea for us to share. I asked what was so funny and she said it was because there are all these tea tins on display in the kitchen, and then I bend over and open a chest and it is full, too! Oy.
Even though this was old, it was quite good. The base was smooth, not very strong, though it may have been stronger long ago. The bergamot is moderate here and I can smell and taste another citrus here, maybe orange? But I can not find blueberry in this cup at all. Other reviewers mentioned it being in the forefront and being quite strong. It is probably because my sample is old, or the food was competing with it. We had brownies with a dark chocolate drizzle, sugared strawberries, and homemade vanilla ice cream with white and semi-sweet chocolate chips in it, also drizzled with homemade dark chocolate “Magic Shell.”
I have enough for one more cup, so I think I will try it again sans food and see if I can detect those blueberries. (My other blueberry teas taste like violets to me.)
A couple of times I have made this tea forgetting that there is green tea mixed in with the black. I treated it like a black tea and it became astringent. My fault, not the tea’s fault. Since I have messed it up several times, I decided I would give it a chance as a cold steep. It stayed in the fridge for one whole day! The color is so light, clear, and pure. The flavor is light and good, too. A tiny bit fruity, a tiny bit floral.
I add simple syrup and pour it into my Zoku Slushy and Shake Maker and VOILA! I have a beautiful tea dessert! YUMS! I can’t wait to try lots more tea like this. Tea slushy on a sticky summer day? Yes, please!
I am loving my Zoku stuff. It is so hot and humid where I live that you have to do something to cool off!
A good friend of mine has a really sweet daughter-in-law who lives near this shop, and sent her this because she knows how we love tea!
My friend was surprised that the color in the cup was so light and wondered if she should steep it longer. I opened the tin, and nary a tea leaf did I see. I looked at the label, as I hadn’t seen the name of it yet. Ah. No need to steep it longer, this is the right color. There is no tea in this!
She was surprised and I had to explain what it means when the tin says tisane, and how it must have camellia sinensis of some sort in there to be called “tea.” This is why it was classified as a tisane on the tin.
This had a very true, rich, chocolate aroma, as it consists of nothing but cacao shells. It is fairly light and we drank it without additions. We paired it fruit – blueberries and melon cubes.
I think real chocoholics would love this. This is not a rich, creamy, hot chocolate-y type of tisane so don’t think of things like Florence from Harney and Chocolate Cream by Tea Frog. This has lots of dry unsweetened cocoa flavor and a slight edge of bitterness that coffee lovers would enjoy. It was good, but I do prefer TEA!
Once again this spring, Teavivre sent a box of amazing samples to try! Thank you, Teavivre!
I have held off on a detailed review of this tea because Huang Shan Mao Feng is one of my favorites, and here is one that purports to be “nonpareil”. I wanted to try it while I could focus on the tea alone, with no food distracting from the flavor.
With food is actually how we usually serve Huang San Mao Feng. The first time I ever tried it, I sipped it by itself and thought it was very mild and was not going to be a good choice with our meal, but I served it anyway and was surprised to discover that it went beautifully with the meal. The tea seemed to change to suit the situation.
With this batch, I put the leaves in my hand as the water heated and I breathed on the leaves again and again, checking them for the light, wafting aroma. At first there was very little, but gradually I began to smell fresh spring plants, and then….smoke. Not like Lapsang smoke, but more like a beloved grandpa was smoking some fine, cherry pipe tobacco and left the room ten minutes ago. So I guess a sweet tobacco aroma is what I was getting.
The liquor is pale. The aroma is soft, but it is mostly the ghost of the scent of buttered steamed veggies and a hint of nuttiness. I did not pick up on any astringency, and though briskness was mentioned I didn’t get that either. There was a mineral flavor that is crisp and clean to me, and I believe that is what makes this tea pair well with food.
When the tea is alone, the mineral flavor serves as the front of the sip and gives way to the mild, fresh vegetable taste and nuttiness. When paired with food, the mineral flavor sweeps away the taste of the food, cleansing your palate and allowing you to taste the gentle freshness of this tea even with the richly seasoned food that is sold here as “Asian food” at the buffets. So while I agree that this one is palate cleansing, to me it seems to accomplish that task through the mineral freshness rather than what I think of as astringency.
The leaves are so pretty after steeping that I had to eat one before drinking the second steep! They look Ike tiny string beans in the basket. There is a bite to the leaf even after two sweepings, and a briskness is definitely present in the leaf itself.
I am most of the way through steep number two. This still has nice flavor. The memory of the leaf I ate is still with me, adding a little kick to this as I sip. This is a mild tea, like my other well loved Huang Shan Mao Fengs, but they present mild versions of delightful flavors that are some of the most desirable flavors of green tea.
Mild, buttered steamed veggies, nutty, soft, the barest hint of astringency if you look for it, and delicious.
Thank you, Teavivre!
Good heavens, it looks like I haven’t logged this in almost a year! Well, the flavor of the tea has not suffered one bit! Also, it looks like I only logged it once, and I know I have had it more than that!
On one occasion, this got a little astringent on me, so today we steeped at 203F for 3 1/2 minutes. This was the second tea served at tea party, and since all three tied for how good they were, this one wins “most interesting” for today.
I made a couple of cheesecakes and some home made Magic Shell chocolate topping, and put strawberries on the cheesecake, then drizzled everything with the chocolate. That was served with Zhen Qu Super China Black from A Southern Season. This came next!
The reason this gets called most interesting today is because it managed to cut through all of that flavor, all that sweet richness, and assert its own flavors without being harsh. I tasted the strawberry, of course, but somehow the white wine flavor really shone through and took the stage. This was a great tea to finish the dessert plates and start the cookie plates!
Sad sipdown. I made the very last of my Moroccan Mint today, and this is just the season when I NEED it! I tried a lot of Moroccan Mint teas last year and did side by side comparisons, and I came to the conclusion that I love spearmint much more than peppermint. I will definitely be buying more of this. It is great hot and iced, sweetened or unsweetened. The mint is so cooling, and where I live it is consistently in the 90 to 100F range and sticky icky humid. I do have some plain gunpowder green, and I just started growing mint last year. Until I can get an order placed for more of this, I shall have to make my own, even though I don’t have a whole lot of mint yet.
As for Egyptian mint, I don’t know what that is. Off to google!