17 Tasting Notes

90

Whoa, this is a surprisingly decent Thai Oolong tea for the price.

I picked up a box of 20 individually wrapped tea bags for $1.89, on sale at 99 Ranch Market. In the past, when I’ve purchased tea for this cheap, it’s been pretty awful, but I’m so glad I tried again. This tea is totally decent! For the super cheap price, I’d even say it’s excellent.

I poured the contents of two tea-bags into my strainer basket, and brewed a delicious cup, followed by 2 re-steeps.

The flavor is similar to much more expensive Thai oolong teas I’ve recently enjoyed from Steepster Select, although maybe not quite as complex. I enjoy the mineral, floral, and grassy notes, as well as the natural sweetness I expect from Oolong teas from Thailand.

The tea has a few stems, but is mostly tightly rolled leaves. During the second brewing, the whole tea leaves unfurled beautifully.

I’m going back to 99 Ranch to buy another box (or 3) of this awesome deal.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Flowers, Grass, Hay, Mineral

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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90
drank Laos Black #05 by Steepster
17 tasting notes

This is a superb black breakfast tea, not too bitter, gentle tannins, and great body. I could easily see keeping this as my new standard breakfast blend.

Tooch summed it up very well: A very warm and cozy tea, like a fuzzy blanket or a hug in a cup.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90
drank Laos Black #05 by Steepster
17 tasting notes

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90
drank Hunan Dark Tea by Tea Source
17 tasting notes

This is the first high-quality pu-erh I’ve tried and it’s unlike all that came before it.

It doesn’t brew nearly as dark or pungent as the previous ones I’ve tasted.

The first sip tastes of malt, maple syrup, and vanilla. Further tasting reveals peaty, mossy, and earthy flavors.

Overall, this tea is quite enjoyable.

Something about this tea reminds me of going to Dickens Fair at Christmas time. I can’t quite place it, it’s not cinnamon or cardamom, nor douglas fir trees. It has a holiday spice quality that I really like but can’t name. Roasted butternut squash with brown sugar maybe?

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Earth, Malt, Molasses, Peat Moss, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Oh wow. I mean…WOW.

This is the first tea I tried from the March Steepster Select shipment and I’m blown away. During the first steeping, the large whole leaves unfurled beautifully and danced in my mug.

The flavor is of a very high quality mountain oolong tea, with notes of vanilla, honey, and flower blossoms.

As promised, I was able to get 4 flavorful steepings out of just one little packet.

I’ll be ordering more of this tea for sure.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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100

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30

I found this tea at Marshalls (sister store to TJ Maxx), at the low price of $5.99 for 100 bags, what a deal! I picked up a box of the Organic Oolong, as well as the Organic Green and brought them both to share with the office.

I’m happy that the tea is certified USDA Organic, and comes in an unbleached teabag. That is more or less the extent of the plusses column.

The flavor is stale tasting, but I am able to detect hints of wheat, roasted barley, malt, and earth.

Similar to the TO green tea, there’s a high level of bitterness and tannin in this tea that make my tongue feel like it’s growing fur.

This is an unoffensive but unremarkable bagged oolong tea. I guess I got what I paid for.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Malt, Roasted Barley, Tannin

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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25

I found this tea at Marshalls (sister store to TJ Maxx), at the low price of $5.99 for 100 bags, what a deal! I picked up a box of the Organic Green, as well as the Organic Oolong and brought them both to share with the office.

I’m happy that the tea is certified USDA Organic, and comes in an unbleached teabag. My happiness ended once I brewed up a cup.

The brewed tea looks more brown than green, the color of a fish-tank that somebody forgot to clean.

It doesn’t really smell or taste like much of anything. Hot water? The inside of my ceramic mug? I get a little bit of bitter and tannins, but that’s it.

The box is stamped “Consume before Dec 6, 2016”, which is nearly 3 years away, but it tastes old. The flavor lacks all honey or fruit notes that I expect from green tea.

I used 2 tea bags the first time, I’ll try 3 bags next time, to see if I can tease out more flavor, but my expectations are fairly low.

This is an unoffensive but unremarkable bagged green tea. I guess I got what I paid for.

I imagine I’m getting the antioxidant benefits of green tea, and probably the caffeine, but I certainly won’t drink this one for the taste of it.

Update: I tried brewing 3 bags, plus 2 more from the first steeping, for a total of 5 tea bags in my mug. I got more bitter and more tannins, but still no flavor. I still have 95 bags left, so I might try using cooler water next time, but my expectations are pretty low.

See my review of the TO Organic Ooling: http://steepster.com/teas/touch-organic/17976-organic-oolong?post=227544

Flavors: Tannin

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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67

I generally prefer lighter less astringent teas, but this one is interesting enough and complex enough that I’m definitely glad I tried it.

Reading the reviews from my fellow Steepster members teabird, Lee, and Jace Lion Repshire really added to my enjoyment of this tea.

In addition to the wonderful honey flavors that are abundant and obvious in this gorgeous red tea, I also enjoyed the complex dried apricot, malt, tamarind, and dark wheat bread flavors.

BrewTEAlly Sweet’s description of the cinnamon flavors helped to identify those bitter flavors that other reviews did not detect, as well as the mint tea mouthfeel.

I probably won’t seek this tea out again, but I certainly am happy to have experienced it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
teabird

I love reading about the flavors other people pick out of a tea :)

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Profile

Bio

I’ve been a lover of tea for as long as I can remember. A hot cup of Bigelow Constant Comment will bring back a flood of memories of working at a summer camp outside Yosemite when I was 18. When I’m sick with a cold there’s nothing that helps more than Celestial Seasoning’s Lemon Zinger with a heaping spoonful of honey.

Now that I’m older I’ve learned to appreciate delicate and complex oolong and green teas. Right now I’m discovering I really like teas from Thailand. (Going beyond Thai Iced Tea, which I’ve always loved).

Location

San Francisco Bay Area

Website

http://about.me/callipgyain

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