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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m working on sipping this one down. It’s a fairly close thing. Preparing tea samplers for Christmas did wonderful things for the numbers of tea in my cupboard… and allowed me to find new homes for some of the wonderful apple teas my husband hadn’t yet finished!
This is pretty much as I remember it – a little light, with a bright little burst of bergamot. It’s not going to be a hardship to finish, but I’m also not going to be ordering more.
Thanks to Teavivre I have a lot of new samples and a lovely little gaiwan to try out. I figured I would try it on something that I know first.
Wow! Bitter! Either I used way too much leaf or this was not a good first tea to try with this method. Or a little of both. I tried five steeps of this, each with a shorter and shorter steep time getting down to pouring out the steeps as soon as I got the little bowl covered. Still bitter, bitter, bitter.
Not the teas fault, just my inexperience.
On the other hand, the gaiwan was really easy to use. It is the perfect size for my hands and it wasn’t awkward at all to use. And it is amazingly fast to clean up. I didn’t even spill any water anywhere. As soon as I figure out the right tea to use and the right steeping times, this little thing might be my new best friend.
I’m going to try an oolong next as soon as I research a little bit about leaf amounts and steeping times. The bigger leaves should be easier to handle in the gaiwan than the small leaves in this green. (I thought the leaves were bigger, but no! They are small.)
Part of an ancient sample I found in my tea stash, I decided to finish it off this morning and mixed it with a bit of plain assam. I believe this is the older formulation of tea, without the cloves. Even mixed with the assam it still has very assertive and sweet cinnamon notes. This was better with a bit of stevia which brought out some of the cinnamon sweetness. Enjoyable enough but don’t think it will end up as part of my permanent collection.
Fair warning: my first cup of this was actually the second steep because I gave the first steep to my dad at his request for a green tea with a bit of sugar to help his sore throat.
When I first smelled the leaves, it smelled like matcha tastes. Full and green and seaweedy. It was fantastic! That would be another smell I wish I could bottle up and wear it around my neck in a perfume locket.
The second steep is just smooth and mild and buttery. It is my first Japanese green and compared to my Chinease greens, it would be much too buttery for my fiance. But it is just so creamy that I love it. Smooth and relaxing and calming.
And to think I saved this from my fiance’s mother who just wouldn’t appreciate it. (or to be fair, he stuck it in my purse as a surprise for me a few months ago) She had a total of three packs and I don’t think she even drank any of them. Oh well, I will appreciate the heck out of this sample packet.
This is one of the best, if not the best Masala Chai Teas I have ever tasted, though I wouldn’t have said that after the first sip.
It started out VERY subtle. As this is my first tea to have tasted from Arbor… I sighed, and resigned myself to a weak cup of tea. Boy was I wrong!
Each sip compounded the flavor of the tea, and I started to taste notes the cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. What really makes this blend brilliant however is the addition and perfect quality of black pepper added to the tea blend. As I was drinking I started to notice the slight spicy after taste. At first I thought it was the ginger, but that ginger is SO beautifully subtle, it couldn’t add that sort of flavor by itself.
Checked the packaging: Black pepper. Brilliant. Not only is this tea fantastic straight out of the package, it is great with a little milk (used whole milk, and then tried some coconut milk. Both were fantastic) As well as with a little added stevia for sweetness or vanilla to give it a very latte like taste.
I imagine this would be very good mixed with a little bit of apple cider, as it already conjures apple notes (despite not having any apple in it).
Overall a great, rich tea. Lots of flavor, and a lot of adaptability and great usage for all sorts of spiced tea drinks. Loved it.
A very nice pu-erh. I usually find pu-erh to be very earthy, but this has a mild earthy note and I like that. No overwhelming earthy, brine-y, or fish-y tastes to this tea and I like that.
The flavor gets deeper with the second and third infusions, although it still maintains the mellow earthiness. It is sweet and almost hay-like, reminiscent of a Shou Mei rather than a dark Pu-erh.
Smooth and tasty. Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/06/05/organic-ancient-green-tuo-cha-pu-erh-tea-from-arbor-teas/
It’s been FOREVER since I had this!
It’s not a tea I crave. Being a white tea, it’s too delicate for me to really feel like I’m “in the mood” for it. But it’s still sweet and light and soothing and delicious, and I have a fair-sized bag that I need to get through. And when I thought, “Dangit, I WILL make myself a cup of tea tonight!” this seemed like the logical choice. Mmm!
A very good tea. Then again, I’ve come to expect really good teas from Arbor Teas. Smooth, caramel-y (the caramel tones are light but delicious in this!) and I taste notes of fruit and flower. Warm and robust without bitterness.
This one is a good, strong tea that would work as that first cuppa of the day if you’re looking for one. I really like it.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/05/01/organic-singampatti-oothu-black-tea-from-arbor-teas/
I love, love Jasmine Green Tea. It smells so fresh. It turns a pretty golden color when it is allowed to steep. I usually steep it 5 minutes. It doesn’t ever taste bitter like some green teas can. I always put a good tablespoon of honey in with my tea. I have it every morning for breakfast.
This tastes like a very, very mild sencha to me. It’s savory but only faintly vegetal, and the mouthfeel is nice and buttery. I’m really enjoying my cup, and I could definitely see myself keeping some of this around – I’m not always in the mood for very vegetal or seaweed-y greens, but this strikes me as something I could enjoy more or less anytime. Thanks for the sample, Shelley_Lorraine!
Last time I logged this, I said it didn’t compare to Laoshan green. I take it back. This is currently my favorite green. I think I had this whole psychosomatic response to the Laoshan, being the first fresh-from-the farm tea that I purchased. I made up my mind that is has to be superb, therefor it was. Well of course, it still is a good green, but most of my enthusiasm was the novelty of it.
Anyhow, back to normal daily tea life, this five peaks is the star of my cupboard. It’s such an easy tea to work with. Doesn’t go bitter if I look at it funny, doesn’t have that textured/granular flavor (yes, Im referring to a texture as a flavor, because to me it does have a flavor :p ) that some of the heavy vegetal greens get. Its pleasant, sweet and juicy without overdoing it.
So there is a lot of DAVIDsTEA hype going on up in here, and until Steepster I’d never even heard of the place. I went onto their website to check locations – none in Ohio! Damn you Canadians and your densely DAVIDsTEA-populated areas! Well, to be honest, most of their stuff doesn’t sound like what I’m really into, but still! It would be nice to have a tea store besides Teavana within driving distance from me! Also, not gonna lie, anything pumpkin is about to get really tempting within two weeks…
This, again, is me working on sipping down my Arbor teas. I think I like Arbor, but I don’t love them. There are many good things to be said about them. My favorite thing about them is that they have by far the best selection of Fair Trade Certified teas I’ve found from any of the tea manufacturers I’ve seen, and I looked through quite a few of them. Also, they’re one state over from me, so they’re close, and all of their tea packages come with a handwritten little note (the second one said “Thank you again!” They keep track of their customers!) But as far as the teas go, I’ve tasted one or two I’ve really really liked, and the rest are all just… good but not making the floor drop out from under me. Of course, I’m saying this having tried these particular kinds of teas for the first time. So who knows, I could turn out to be utterly apathetic to nilgiri and ceylon in general.
This one’s not bad. At first, it was disappointing because it was too straightforward green flavored. Tonight, I’m kind of okay with that.
Our stores are now creating little micro-sites where you can go to a website for each individual location and see stuff like the employees (including pics, bios, and stuff), events scheduled in the store, etc. It’s a little daunting because I don’t want people looking at my page and assuming I’m THE EXPERT OF ALL THINGS TRUMPET, but I’m having a lot of fun working on it. Man, I miss playing trumpet…
I’ve been drinking this the past couple of days, mostly because it’s the only black tea I now own that isn’t earl grey (which, with Teavana’s version, I have to be in the right mood for), Irish breakfast (which is nice, but not something I want every single day), or pu erh poe (which still smells and tastes like FIIIIIIIISH!) The fact that I’m still not in love with this tea is beside the point. I wanted some time to sit down with this tea, dump music into my iTunes library, and work on whatever non-stressful project I wanted to at that time. Mmm, tea moments!
Got it! I need to figure out the exact water temperature I had this at, but it’s just barely hot enough to hear the faintest hissing of the water in the kettle, then I steeped for 3 minutes. I’ve had hit-and-miss luck getting the flavor of this thing to come out, and I think I’ve finally got it down.
The first line of the first tasting note you see on the Steepster page of this tea is me squealing about swimming anime. God in heaven why.
Waking myself up from my Benadryl grog. I was going to do some earl grey or Irish breakfast, but then I noticed I had just enough of this left to do a sipdown.
Backlog. I had this at work this morning. Good thing I did, because today wound up being a busy, busy day! It’s at the point where it’s busy in a good way, but it’s going to get crazier over the next two months. We’re a music store that rents instruments for band, and this is back-to-school time… do the math.
I’ve been trying to log this for WEEKS, and every time I try, Steepster’s down. It’s OK. It’s a fairly brisk tea, and unless I’m mistaken, I got a hint of smokiness or something of that effect. A bit vegetal. Another it’s-not-a-restock-but-it’s-good tea.
Sipdown! Gotta be honest, I’m not especially heartbroken. This was a good tea, but it’s not one I’ll miss, and frankly, I’m happy to have an excuse to make room for my new teas coming in. Speaking of which, oh lord I have been telling myself for months I’d organize my tea stash. Right now it’s a bunch of bags on one of my bookshelves.
I think my boss hates me today. She thought she had the day off, and then I let her know last night that she’d misread the schedule and it was my day off, not hers. Then she snapped at me via text because the internet died last night, and I unplugged and misplugged some things in trying to fix it. Guilt complex! Guilt complex! Aaaaargh!
Moving on! Moving on! This is still a good casual tea, and it goes well with cereal. Don’t think I’m gonna keep the rating quite that high, though.
EEEEE the new episode of swimming anime is out!!!!
(shifts eyes) Of cooooourse I wasn’t obsessively looking forward to new swimming anime. What ever are you talking about?
This is the first time in almost a month I’ve had this tea (!!!) I figured it’d been a while, and the absolute last thing I need right now is lots of caffeine (work got busy right at the end and I was drinking black dragon pearl.) Think I understeeped it; it’s a mite weaker than my ideal, even for a white tea. Of course, I just decided it was of critical importance to eat cheese, bread, and cherry tomatoes as a late-night snack, so the effect is being undone anyway.
The one nice thing about waking up two hours before you’re supposed to get up and not being able to go back to sleep is that you get the opportunity to get up a few minutes early, take time to fix a semi-substantial breakfast, and sit for a few minutes with a cup of tea. Last night at work, I stressed myself out with a customer situation that I think I goofed, and teaching myself to handle these kinds of things better is like reinventing the wheel. I’m having the most trouble getting the idea out of my head that feeling stressed and guilty is the only way to properly address the problem with the other person’s interests in mind, and that NOT stressing about it is selfish and inconsiderate.
I’ve still got the super-nutritious (NOT) breakfast taste in my mouth, so I don’t taste it quite as much as I normally do. Will probably take some to work with me today to help me stay awake. Mmm black tea.
I believe this is the one I have. They had to discontinue one of the nilgiris and replace it with another.
This is a backlog; somehow, I’ve had this tea three times and never managed to log it. It’s a “classic” black tea, if a little on the vegetal side. The third time I did it, I only steeped for 3-ish minutes instead of my usual 5, and I seemed to get more of the honey flavor. Good enough to enjoy; a little too standard to restock in favor of others.
No rating, because that just wouldn’t be fair ;)
I am proud of myself – I finally made it through my first cup of pu-erh! I’m trying to build up a taste for it, but right now it still tastes like a fish tank smells. My husband assures me that this is much better than the tin he got at the Asian market, and it was fun to pull out the new gaiwan, but I’m not quite up to enjoying it yet. Someday!
I don’t make sense.
How is it that I am disappointed to the point of mild irritation with teas that taste like grass and barley – scents and flavors which I don’t really mind, yet I find enjoyment in drinking teas that remind me of mushrooms, which I do actively dislike?
This tea is astringent as hell. Even a bit bitter. And that dirt-like, mushroom flavor isn’t a deep mossy bed flavor, it’s right here and right now and HEY! Stop daydreaming and wake up! Coffee substitute tea? Oh, yes. Why do I enjoy it so?
At the end of the day, I think it’s because mushroomy-tasting breakfast teas were some of the first things I tried when I began my giant tea experiment, and for better or worse, I now have that flavor engrained in my mind as “tea.” And I came to this tea expecting a stroooong breakfast tea. It’s kind of in the same category as lapsang souchong – it’s a really strong flavor profile that I know I’ll either enjoy or have fun thinking of ways to describe how goddamn strong it tastes.
And this brings me back to my ever-recurring theme with tea: expectations are everything. I wonder what would happen if I never read a product description before buying a tea again?
Anywho, in conclusion. Irish Breakfast: my go-to for those mornings I cannot drag my ass out of bed – and my head out of my ass – to save my life!
Per Aubrey at Arbor Teas:
“We are no longer sourcing our Assam from the Rembeng estate … because they are no longer Fair Trade Certified.”
“Our new … “Assam Black Tea” is now sourced from the Banaspati Estate and is both Organic and Fair Trade Certified.”
Brewed per Arbor Teas’ recommendation: 1 level tsp. / 8 oz. / 212*F / 3 to 5-min. – without sweeteners, milk or cream.
Dry leaf: uniform short length, dark brown
Fragrance: Reminded me of pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear & coppery
3 min. Initial taste: I’ll steep it longer.
4-Min.: The tea was smooth and medium-bodied w/o any bitterness or astringency.
5-Min.: Medium-to-full-bodied with a delicate sweetness and w/o any bitterness or astringency.
1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 212 F / 5 min. The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark and full-bodied, without any hint of bitterness or astringency. The malty character and caramel-like sweetness are now better appreciated.
10 min. Resteep: Produced an enjoyable cup.
Impression: This is a very smooth organic Assam. For those who enjoy a more robust cup of Assam, more than a tsp. is recommended.
Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.