Backlogging from yesterday when I had a toddler with a fever attached to me all day. I also brewed this in the recommended Dragonwell style. Took a bit of getting used to but got easier when I was half through my first glass (I actually had a place to blow the leaves to) and the subsequent refills only got easier as the leaves sank and tastier! In fact toward then end I found myself getting lost in the glass. Love love love the cherry aftertaste in this one, it’s amazing! The green was a bit intense for me at times, especially as the leaves kept trying to get into my mouth. Thankfully I have over an ounce of this left (pre-ordered a sample size and then added an ounce). Will be picking up some good spring water for my next session with this, at which point I hope to provide more detailed notes. Still feel very blessed to be able to drink this wonderful tea. Thank you Verdant and Mrs. Li!
298 Tasting Notes
So there I was lying in bed this morning, wishing for a nice breakfast tea to begin my day that I wasn’t committed to having a long gongfu session with so that I could move on to Mrs. Li’s Dragonwell from Verdant. I was actually hoping for something fun like hazelnut, though I had already tried Adagio’s the other day. When lo and behold there was a clank below my window. The mail man had come by early and when I made my way downstairs I found my prayers had been answered in the form of a package of samples from Zen Tea! Thank you Zen Tea
Not only that but when I opened the package I found that I had indeed order a hazelnut tea! And to top it all off I had seen this tea on the menu yesterday at the tea studio and had wondered why it sounded so familiar, I knew I hadn’t drank it before, but felt like I had ordered it. This is the same description and ingredients as the Bossa Nova hazelnut oolong from TeaGschwender so I can only imagine they get it from the same source.
This has a much nicer base than Adagio’s Hazelnut, no bitter ceylon, just a nice roasted oolong, good looking leaves as well, though it is hard to differentiate where the natural nut note in the oolong end and the hazelnut flavor begins, which may be a good thing. I have to admit I was a tad disappointed that this wasn’t darker, sweeter and richer, but it does taste like hazelnuts, like eating the nuts themselves and in this way the blend is successful.
I may just have to try this with extra leaf and bit of sugar the next time I make it, to try to meet my unrealistic expectations. The samples were generous enough for multiple servings. Glad I got to try it, will write my review on Zen Tea’s website after a second session. Thanks again to Zen Tea for their generosity, I’m looking forward to the roasted Tieguanyins!
Edit: enjoying this today, following the given brewing parameters for 12 mins, I also put in two rock sugar crystals. It is better, the hazelnut is fully present and it has a touch of sweet, but the oolong still feels “thin”. May end up blending my last teaspoon with Adagio’s hazlenut black oh wait I didn’t like that one at all or a straight black for more body. Edit edit: I did add a bit of Bailin Gonfu Black Organic from Teavirve to the second steep and based on the smell I thought I had created a delicious Nutella tea, but alas tis bitter, until the last sip which is dark and cool and sweet. So there is promise there, just probably need a lower temp, steep time and make it a first infusion. Yeah this aftertaste is quite delicious.
So today I had a very special tea date with my friend and former co-worker Michelle. We went to a Bavarian Tea Studio! Sanctuary on Green: http://sanctuaryongreen.com/home is located on the east side of Cleveland (I live on the the west) and is studio, gift shop and cafe in a grand old house. They have two sittings Wed-Sat, reservations are required (last Friday I called in the morning and they were booked) and the tea portion is only open half the year (ending next week!) For such limited time open they sure do have a large selection of tea. I pursued the menu before hand and cross reference on Steepster and found many were form Art of Tea and TeaGschwender.
Michelle chose this one though it was actually on my shopping list and we shared a pot. It does have a honeysuckle like sweetness but also nice savory, herbaceous and woodsy qualities. It felt very cleansing and was a good pre-meal tea. For lunch I ordered the Seascape, three preparations of heron: in dill, dill cream sauce and mustard sauce. Oh my goodness, I’ve never had herring before but it’s true what they say, it’s like Scandanavian sushi (by which I actually mean sashimi cos no rice). The sauces were terrific, yum!
We chose a Plum Oolong for dessert and split a rum raisin poppyseed cake, great pairing! I should probably do a separate review on that and a review of the place, but I am tired. Up earlier than normal to shower before fencers came over (by which I mean fence builders not people that fence, of which my brother-in-law is the latter). Also I drive a Prius now, Prii are cool. 200th tasting note, whoo!
Summer Harvest! You are finally in my cup! 199th tasting note! Woo hoo! Ahem. This tea smells of caramelized figs, dipped in chocolate and baked into a dark rye beer bread that was made from stout (so not a rye beer, a rye bread, made from stout, got that? I have to be clear on these things). Sorry I have a case of the sillies this morning and it is all because of this tea! I was grouchy before this I swear! Sweet malty black tea where have you been all my life?
Oh no my mug is empty! Off to rebrew, then some food, then vacuuming and shampooing the old Buick Century. I have been driving a grandma car since college, but that all changes in a few days. My mom is buying a new Prius and giving/selling me her “old” one, payments are cheaper than any lease, so it feels like a gift. Enough rambling, back to the tea!
Not a fan. The Ceylon gets bitter (I was warned and I was careful but then I got next to no hazelnut flavor). I prefer the caramel but will have to find another breakfast tea this morning, David’s toucha bon bons? Oh hey I have the new Laoshan Black to try! drops everything
I’ve had a few smokey green tea before but this one is unique. It has a cool tingly sweet aftertaste that reminds me of orchid and ginseng oolongs. It didn’t come out till the second steep and is most strong in the third. I hadn’t experienced it in a green before neat! It is a bit bitter at the front and charcoaly, but the lingering taste on my tongue and in my throat are worth it. Thanks Michelle for sharing this one!
Swoon this tea is heavenly. They had me at “delicately scented with the flavors of fir” though I am wondering if that was done by the tea master or if it was naturally picked up from the mountain air. I didn’t get those notes in the first steep, but I what I did get was sweet creamy smooth oolong, it really reminded me of milk oolong and I thought perhaps that is why I picked it out, but no, just a happy happenstance :)
I think I am getting the fir in the second infusion though. It’s richer and greener and slightly resinous with just a tinge of astringency, but not enough to be at all unpleasant. I love breathing in this cup, I’m getting lost in it. Third infusion is sweet and creamy and pure green mountain oolong. I may have to spend the day with it or at least save the leaves for this evening as I have many other teas to try including two more from Nuvola and a few other Taiwanese teas, but first a few more sessions with this now. Wonderful! Thank you Nuvola Tea
I keep trying to get around to this tasting note and I keep getting interrupted, in good ways mind you but still. I have spent three session with this lovely Dong Ding and am sending it to two people and I still have enough left for a few more sessions myself!
The first session was the best, I got this really lovely sweet tingling feeling on my tongue on the third steep like I get from orchid and ginseng scented oolongs, but I haven’t been able to replicate it. I’m still a little unclear as to whether or not this is scented with osmanthus. The description on the website says “a subtle Osmanthus note with a naturally sweet finish that leaves the palate an impressively long lasting aftertaste. The scented Oolong tea helps to…” however it is just called Dong Ding.
Either way it is delicious. I have only had four Dong Ding/Tung Tings so far. Two were small samples (one of which was crushed) and the other was a long gongfu session in a yixing pot at a tea house. This did remind me a bit of the later, though its really hard to compare especially since I think one was greener and the other two more roasted, this is a nice balance of fresh mountain floral with a slight charcoal raostedness which I love.
The leaves are in pristine condition and are wonderful for multiple infusions, a really quality tea. But right now I’m sipping on their Shain Lin Xi and I have to review that because it’s excellent! Thank you Nuvola Tea!
Last tea from the traveling tea box brewed up this morning! This tea is sparkly, there are pink shimmering flecks in it, dry tea should not sparkle, nor should vampires. I felt better when I realized they were candy pieces, caramel “candy”, okay I can live with that. So this is another lip gloss tea. Not Lip Smacker this time, no, this is a very particular lips gloss I got in a set of lip glosses years ago, there were in tiny clear hard plastic cases shaped like candy wrappers. Yeah. I see the apple pieces once they have plumped up, but I barely taste them. Not bad just not conjuring up caramel apples for me. But its definitely not the thai curry that Amanda tasted. Farewell Traveling Tea Box, it was fun while it lasted! I just got my order from Verdant in the mail today, as well as another pair of free samples from Nuvola and I still have to review one and brew the other. Plus samples from Michelle and Allison. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the tea right now. Going to go curl up with with my cup. Oh who am I kidding? I’m going to log it, after I backlog. Thank you Amanda!
The name on this was one was very tiny so I didn’t realize it had matcha in it. I did notice the leaves were a little dusted, but it wasn’t a shocking green like Teavana’s Gyokuro Matcha. I’ve only had a couple genmaicha’s and this one is by far my favorite. Yes at first it tastes like burnt popcorn, but this gets really smooth and buttery and its just very yummy. In fact I based my dinner on it, ramen with roasted veggies and soy crisps. Resteeped well a second time. Yum. Thanks Amanda!
Ah a mystery tea from The Traveling Tea Box! This one came from Sare, from a swap with Rachel Sincere. No company nor ingredients were indicated, just the name “December”. This is made up of short fine black leaves with shreds of spices and possibly fruit. Brewed up this smells like mulled wine and the taste is not that far off, though I would say it is more like mulled cider. But it tastes more familiar than that, like another tea I’ve tried. It took me some time, wracking my brain trying to thing of similar blends I’ve tried, then it came to me it wasn’t a blend, this is Ceylon! Winey, cidery, Ceylon. The other ingredients are really just supporting the tea in this blend. There are some things a like about Ceylon but unfortunately it easily can turn astringent, which is what this one is doing, boo.
This tastes like Lip Smackers! Chocolate, strawberry, cherry and maybe even Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers. Husband took a sip of it, said it was too hot, but smelled like coffee and tasted “like that rice thing with the, the sencha!” Sigh, no dear, I’ll brew the genmaicha next, but this is certainly not it. Chocolate covered strawberries in lip gloss form, no doubt. Thanks Traveling Tea Box for bringing up late elementary school memories.
I didn’t expect to like this and thus was not disappointed when I didn’t. No harm done. Also didn’t really see much of the fruit in this, though I did taste it. Good prep for Love Potion #7 though me thinks. Must get the timing right to have it brewed right as the husband comes homes, otherwise I’ll never get him to commit… to the trying the tea that is. Thanks Amanda
Okay this is the only tea from The Traveling Tea Box I am using all the leaves up on. It really was only enough for one serving, but ironically it is the one I would be the most likely to keep if there was more. I love Big Red Robe, namely Verdant’s but this measures up pretty well and it is much better than Adagio’s. It’s got the nice mineral sweetness, roastyness and woodsyness with a hint of cassia, caramel and cocoa. I have steeped this around 5 times today, but I really need to move on to another tea so I can get the box on its way tomorrow. Yum!
Last cup from last night. This one smelled quite lovely, I should have known those were jasmine petals. It smelled of peaches, but the flavor was lighter but still naturally sweet with a soft fruitiness, it reminded me a bit of honeysuckle as well. I steeped this for under a minute and I think I had better result than those below, but toward the end of the cup the green notes tasted a bit off. shrug Ah well, thank you Amanada
I have been wanting to try some teas from Whispering Pines and while this one wouldn’t necessarily be at the top of my list, I’m glad for the chance to try it thanks to The Traveling Tea Box and Amanda I drank this one last night after dinner and it made a very relaxing evening cup. It reminded me of some other jasmine blends I’ve had namely Teavana’s ToLife (Jasmine Pearls and Rooibos Tropica) only much better and a bit of Verdant’s Eight Treasures Yabao only not quite as good. It did not resteep well, in fact the husband commented on the face I was making when I sipped it. I think this company’s smokier teas would suit me better.
I feel like this tea has seen better days. It has this weird taste that I’ve experienced in two or three other teas, one of which was an oolong, another was black. It’s hard to describe, but its a kinda fishy metallic quality. Tis stale me thinks. Plus the leaf quality isnt that great, lots of stems, small broken leaves :( Me thinks I shall take the liberty to dispose of this and replace it with another oolong. For the good of the box. Glad to not be rating these.
Orange Blossom Oolong after lunch? Don’t mind if I do! In fact make this one a heaping tea spoon, I’m in the mood for multiple infusions. Many thanks to Amanda for this. In searching for this is seems this is a very popular combination. I knew peach oolong was, but orange? Who knew? Looking forward to this woodsy base.
So the scent of this actually reminds a bit of rooibos, though I might not being saying that if I hadn’t had a couple earlier today. It’s quite light, I do think it needs a longer steep, but it is otherwise pleasant, I get citrus and pine notes with a bit of pepper and spice toward the bottom of the cup, but I’m looking for leather ;)
Steeped for a minute and we have achieved orange liquor! Much more woody oolong in this yes I am getting the leather, but it’s just not the kind I’m looking for. There is no natural sweetness in this, no, mineral notes, just dry as my other two TeaGschwender oolong have been. Ho hum.
Yay another obscure tea from the Traveling Tea Box. Thanks to Sare for this one, though I would be very curious to know what she thought of it when I’m done. So this has everything and the kitchen sink in it. The base is white, black and red (rooibos) when every flower imaginable in it (okay not really, just four of them, though I swear I saw cornflower petals in there, I guess it could have been the lavender, nope nope double checked definitely cornflowers and lavender) plus black currant, raspberry and peach!
This smells fruit and floral, like a garden, in a fantasy, or like a Venus Gillette commercial, picture the flowers popping up and the trees fully blossoming, colors swirling and an incredibly smooth legged woman draped in periwinkle silk gliding through it all, you know you can. That is this tea.
It has a good amount of flavor going on, but it is very difficult to dissect. It’s a bit lemony and I’m definitely getting chamomile, but beyond that just generically fruit and floral. It also brews up beautiful tangerine color that turns peach as you sip on it on it.
I can imagine young girls in floral dresses and maybe even gloves, out to tea with their mothers or grandmothers like this. There’s nothing offensive about it and it naturally sweet. Quite nice for what it is though it turns out the smooth legged goddess decided to put on some stockings, a frock and a hat and showed up at high tea and sat down between two ten year old girls and told them stories that make them giggle.
Holy roses! This smells just like a Victorian gift shop! Not like a gift shop in Victorian London but a gift shop selling Victorian inspired things, perfumes, powders, lotions, lace and tea cups! Bit overwhelming actually…
This brews up golden orange and has little tiny white particles floating on the surface, must be the white chocolate, though the tea I got looks nothing like the picture, no white shavings or full rose petals, just a choppy blend. Again smell is much the same, the first sip is quite nice actually, its sweet and a little salty too, it tastes like cookies! Delicious black tea and rose infused snickerdoodles!
However as I swallow, in fact each and every time I swallow this, I want to cough, it’s irritating my throat. Yes it has a nice lingering aftertaste, but not worth it. Nope not for me, nice try, moving on, mine as well tackle another floral tea, coughs up perfume Hope someone likes this, it’s at least worth sniffing.
Thanks to Amanda and the Traveling Tea Box for this obscure blend. This melange is certainly pretty, lots of hibiscus, ruby indeed though the liquor is like hot pink wine! Yep that’s hibiscus alright, relying much to heavily on it. I kinda get the blood oranges but really there is supposed to be pear in here? It reminds me a bit of Raspberry Zinger, minus the raspberry. So this is all zing and no fruit. Alright my tea cups are being stained pink, cannot have! Rowan has taken this tea and made a pink concoction with his raspberry lemonade and was about to add peanut butter. Oh three year olds. The lemonade blend is good though!
Thanks to the Traveling Tea Box I finally get to try a 52tea blend! Unfortunately this one doesn’t seem to have much love on Steepster and may be meant to be drank cold. Not setting my hopes high. So level teaspoon with this one, steeped for 5 mins, boiling water, in a tiny 3-4oz tasting cup.
The dry leaf does smell berry like and can you even smell tart? It seems I can. It reminds me of something, some kind of bath product or candle. The liquor smells very sweet and reminds me a bit of a fruit wine or mead. As I pull the basket out it looks like its almost going to be wine colored, but there is definitely rooibos orange here. Hmm such a familiar smell.
Now the taste, oh! This is familiar in a different way, this is like blackberry frozen yogurt! No mistake! And I’m drinking this hot! I’m guessing Frank is known for stronger flavors and perhaps his followers come to expect that, but this is really quite nice to me! Again bar set low so pleasant surprise! I do get a bit of cranberry but this is mostly blackberry yogurt to me, frozen and not. Fun!
I don’t drink many fun tea. Incredibly amazing complex teas yes that can be joyful to drink, but not straightforward fun. Then again may be part of the Traveling Tea Box experience! Toddler says quote “Mmmm, that was very good!” after remarking that it too is orange. He’s taking a second helping and requesting a third, Rowan approved!
Thanks to Amanda and the Traveling Tea Box for this! MustTryAllTheTeas! And I have a strategy! Okay then, chocolate rooibos here we go! Been awhile since I’ve had a rooibos and boy is that liquor ever orange! It also smells quite nice, not chocolately, no, more like warm honey and something a bit floral.
There’s that familar taste, but better than I’ve had before. There is a tinge of tobacco yes, but its smooth and non-abrasive. At first I didn’t get the chocolate on this but as I move my tongue between my lips, there it is, just like licking chocolate off my lips, only I didn’t eat any…
Very interesting. This tea is kinda sexy. And it does feel very Belgian chocolate, not dark chocolate, its creamy and warm and yes I think I’m going to have to stop there lest this note get more racy! Definitely better than Teavana’s Cocoa Praline Tart. Oh and this one is toddler approved!
Yay Traveling Tea Box many thanks to Amanda for coordinating and to Sare for including this one. This initially found itself in the pass pile on two accounts I haven’t had the best experience with chocolate blends and I thought it was a rooibos (silly its dark brown not orange). However I found myself starting with a chocolate mint tea so that opened myself up for this, try all the tea!
So this is actually a mate! That makes so much more sense and explains why I am filled with rocket fuel and the nice smokeyness I noticed from the very first sip. This is a very interesting blend and I actually kinda like it. The only teas I didn’t try at Teavana were a couple of mates: My Morning, MateVana and JavaVana except when my co-workers included them in blends that they wanted everyone else to try and they were drowned in rock sugar. But this does taste a bit like how some of them smell.
I think I shall try one more tiny cup and kick up the temp and time, I am caffeine sensitive but it is very tastey and this is for science, or erm something! Maybe it will make me want to do that laundry and then I can reward myself with more tea! Don’t like this second infusion quite as much but its not bad actually its getting better as it cools and it leaves a wonderful campfire feeling in my mouth. If I was into mate this would be a winner, but if anything I am most amused at how aptly named this blend is! Thanks Sare