484 Tasting Notes
Somehow, in all my oolong tasting, I have never tried a Ti Kuan Yin. Considering that a lot of people love TGY and it’s very popular, you’d think I would by now! Luckily when packaging up a swap for Jennkay a few days ago I remembered that I should make a cup.
In the bag this smells, well…grassy. Alarmingly so, actually. However as it steeps it smells less like grass and more like a green oolong I’m familiar with. So far so good.
The taste is different from any other oolong I’ve tried, and while it is good I’m not sure I’m in love with it. The grassy (hay?) smell comes through in the taste, and while it is layered with that smoothness I’m used to it’s much sharper than most oolongs I’ve tried. I can tell it’s good-quality tea but I’m not feeling it right now.
I can’t believe I haven’t touched this one yet! Since Den’s food pairing suggestions haven’t steered me wrong yet, I paired this with a fatty lunch (French onion soup!). The dry leaf smells very nutty, much more so than the Bancha Houjicha. The brewed tea smells very similar, and it’s so roasty that it almost reminds me of a campfire.
Surprisingly, the taste is mild and a little sweet. It’s much mellower compared to the other houjicha I tried, and now I’m glad I got this one in a large size. It’s delicious! There’s some roastiness to it, of course, but to me it’s gentler. I still like the Bancha, but I think I’d restock this quicker if I had to choose.
Sipdown #2 for the day. I was browsing the herbals in Steepster’s “explore teas” function and found that half of the ones on the first few pages are “black-herbal blends,” “green-herbal blends,” “white-herbal blends,” or even “pu-erh-herbal blends”! Let me tell you something: if a black tea is blended with green tea it can still be called black tea (or green tea), but if an herbal mix is blended with black tea it can no longer be considered herbal. I made a cup of this in protest. My next tea search is probably going to be herbals, but that might wait for summer. Right now I’m happy with my oolongs and blacks.
Overleafed compared to what I’ve been doing, but apparently it’s closer to the suggested preparation. Oops! As a result this is stronger and even more delicious. When prepared like this the apple and ginger are stronger, whereas the last cup was mostly lemongrass. Sad to see this one go!
Sipdown! There wasn’t enough for two cups so I made one big one, which feels right this morning because I’m dragging a little. I decided to brew it about where I usually brew oolongs (190-195), which is what I did last time and it seemed to bring out the best of the flavors.
The smell of this is really relaxing: there’s the grape smell of Darjeeling but it’s mellowed by the oolong preparation. See previous notes! I’m not sure that I’d buy this particular one, but I’ll be looking out for other Darjeeling oolongs in the future.
My cupboard is severely lacking in non-caffeinated teas. Or perhaps I should clarify that there are few decaf teas that I love. I just spent at least ten minutes puttering around the kitchen trying to find something I wanted to drink—I kept eying oolongs, because I seem to have a taste for them right now, but after a certain time of night even that seems like too much caffeine.
Finally I lighted on this one: thank you again to MissB for sending me a sample of this! It smells great as it brews, very fresh. Again I’m surprised by how gentle the ginger is!
This is slightly different than I remember, which probably means my tastebuds are still confused, but it’s still delicious and I’m glad I decided on a cup. I think the best way to describe this is clean: nothing takes over the cup, and it all blends into something refreshing and pleasant. If I focus I can definitely taste the lemongrass, ginger, and apple separately, but if I don’t focus it’s just nice and smooth. Will have to grab some of this whenever I do a Zen Tea order!
I’m going to go ahead and call this a sipdown (126) because the last cup is going to my mother tomorrow morning as per her request. Of course the logical way to compare this and Tower of London is to have this one next, right? Turns out they do get the same rating.
Although it’s not in the description, I’m seeing some white tea leaves mixed in with the black. This might be why this tastes so wonderfully light to me. I’d say that while I would drink both this and TOL with breakfast and in the afternoon, TOL is more like a breakfast tea to me and this is more of an afternoon one. In fact if I was in a place where people regularly drank afternoon tea I’d probably reach for this one! However since I’m not I’ll just drink it at whatever o’clock like I usually do.
Sipdown! (127) There wasn’t enough leaf for two cups so I dumped the rest (about 1 1/2 teaspoons) into a 12 oz. mug and hoped for the best.
This smells so delicious. It’s like jam or some sort of fruit salad with plums and berries. I’d say this and Diamond Jubilee are tied for my favorite H&S blends so far, which is a little strange because I rate them differently! Maybe next time I’ll up Diamond Jubilee’s rating again, because I do love them equally for different reasons. There are several others on my list to try (looking at you, Vanilla Comoro), but I’m very happy with these as both EGs and flavored black teas in general.
I am in love with this tea! I have trouble remembering it’s an EG because there’s so much else going on. The fruit is strong, and the honey notes in the description are also present. There is a little EG bite at the end, both from the black tea base and the bergamot. Love, love, love!
Oh, boy. This smells tart. I’m starting to be wary of anything that brews up this kind of red, probably because of all the hibiscus things I’ve hated over the last month or so.
This is extremely tart. The cranberry mostly takes over, although the orange and rooibos are there at the end of the sip. I wish the cranberry was toned way down, because the orange/rooibos mix is really nice! Yet another one that’s not for me, I think.
This time I’m getting more of the “pie” idea behind this tea. It’s definitely pumpkin-y and the spicing is spot-on, but the crust notes are more subtle and only come in when the tea is steeped 4 minutes or longer. Now I’m getting a little bit of graham flavor or something like it. Very nice! Upping the rating.