Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

84

The aroma of this tea is fantastic. One of the best orange spice teas that I think I’ve ever had the opportunity to smell! I almost want to set a bowl of this out in the living room so that the house smells like this! Orange-y, cinnamon-y and cloves! It smells divine!

It tastes good too! The orange and spices are strong but do not overwhelm the cup. The black tea is strong and delicious. The overall effect is very comforting which is nice after spending the afternoon at the mall.

Yummy!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
LiberTEAS

My full-length review of this tea will publish in a couple of hours at:

http://sororiteasisters.com

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91

Finishing up the sample pack of this very fine pu-erh, so I’m using a little more leaf than normal in order to avoid a too-weak cup next time around. At this strength I’m getting more of a roasty flavor, as well as something akin to a dried dark cherry flavor, both of which are a good after-lunch complement. And though it may just be psychosomatic, it does feel like it is having a positive effect on my digestion!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

OK since I’ve seen you mention pu-erh’s often, I will appeal to your expertise, if you don’t mind. I have an aged pu-erh sample; looks like a little hunk off a compressed cake. No prep instructions. Rinse it first? Water temp and steep time recommendations? Thanks.

Adham

I’m no expert, but I have found that rinsing a compressed pu-erh brings out the flavor nicely. I put just enough boiling water to cover on top, slosh it around for about 20 seconds tops, then pour out the water before resteeping with freshly boiled water. Pu-erhs can be so varied, it’s hard to give steeping parameters that will work every time. With regards to water temperature, I think most people are happy with boiling. Steeping time is trickier; may be best to start with a short steep in case you’ve got a strong one (like CTG’s camel’s breath), about 30 secs to one minute. Other types of pu-erh, especially loose leaf like this one from Arbor, can go several minutes without problem. Pu-erhs also take multiple steeps really well. Good luck!

gmathis

Thanks. Will error on the side of caution to keep it light. I don’t mind essence of potting soil, but I don’t want to drink mud either :)

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90

having a kati cup, boiling water, 2 min + 1 stick of honey
lovely! i think this is the best of 3 steeps i’ve done so far
orangy, cinamon smell and a smooth black tea taste with a follow up of cinnamon citrus on the tounge

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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94

Lovely! Squeaky-Clean, Crisp Green! This smells like veggies…almost like green peppers along side a lighter aromatic spinach. The taste is creamy but also a lot like asparagus or Brussel sprouts which I LOVE. This has a buttery end sip on to the after taste and it’s great. There is a hint of nuttiness to it too…maybe chestnuts or maybe almonds? Chestnuts!

YUM! One of the best Dragonwells I have had so far!

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90

Steep Information:
Amount: 2 tsp
Water: boiling 12 oz
Tool: kati loose tea system (my Review here.)
Steep Time: a little over 2 minutes (http://steep.it/)
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: orange, clove, the cinnamon I had to look for
Steeped Tea Smell: black tea
Flavor: black tea with a nice background of cinnamon and clove
Body: Full
Aftertaste: citrus, astringent, toasty (hard to describe but like the baked part of the tea stays with you)
Liquor: nearly opaque dark red-brown

Post-Steep Additives: + 1 honey stick = a little more of the spices come out.

At first was expecting more spice, from the name, but I was pleasantly surprised by this being a nice strong black tea with hints of spice. They play second fiddle to a lovely cup of tea. The smell does make you

think of the holidays, and overall i drank about 3 cups of this today at work – they kept disappearing before I could write my review.

I believe I could have used one heaping spoonful instead of two in the 12 ounce mug.

I love that i got a hand written note! It makes me smile when people include notes in packages. The note gave a little information on the Arbor Teas commitment to the environment – including information about their 100% backyard compostable packaging. The note was printed with vegetable-based ink on FSC-certified paper containing 100% post-consumer waste and processed chlorine-free.

This tea is organic and Fair Trade Certified. That would be worthless if the tea was not good, but this tea is delicious so it’s an added bonus for everyone. It is a lovely tea and only missed out on a 100% rating because it’s not something I MUST keep stocked at all times.

Pictures http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/12/arbor-teas-loose-leaf-black-tea-holiday.html

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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85

So, this was the Dragonwell that I actually meant to grab from the cupboard. It’s amazing how quickly samples amass, and how little attention I pay sometimes.

This one is much better. I’m not a big green tea connoisseur, but it has its moments. The vegetal taste (which was also present in the Adagio, but in a less pleasant way) reminds me of something I can’t put my finger on. Not grass or hay. Almost… asparagus? Or some other green vegetable. That one is going to bug me until I figure it out.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89

Holy spices! This has to be one of the most potent smelling chais I have come across! VERY SPICY! VERY!

Now…most of you know I never add anything to my teas – even chai…but…you know what they say…never say never, eh!?

Here’s a first – Mark it on your calendars!

I added chocolate milk to this today…just a little…

I was actually looking for my peppermint stick soy milk – it’s seasonal – but I couldn’t find it at my local herb store…bummer…

Even with the chocolate milk this is pretty spicy but it’s also nice this time of year, I suppose. I really can’t add milk to regular tea…it grosses me out…but this worked. I’m not saying I will do it often but I did it today.

Stand alone this was very spicy – mostly pepper, cardamom, and ginger. With adding milk it was nice a smooth with a nice amount of spice…it was hard to pick out the chocolate in the actually chocolate milk part but I suppose it helped sweeten and even it out a bit and it all worked out in the end. This is alright!

CaraTobe

Never thought of adding chocolate milk to tea! Might have to try that someday…

gmathis

Ooh…a cocoa/tea hybrid…I smell an experiment coming on!

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75

I’m still looking for a back-up to the Infusion Tea’s Plum Oolong…this really isn’t it…but there are a few completely different tasting notes and thoughts I have on this Oolong…

This smells and tastes wine-like…a very sweet and tarty wine or alcoholic beverage. I like the way this one starts but then it turns a bit too tart for my liking. I will give it some ‘props’ tho because it’s not as tart as it could be and I can certainly drink the entire cuppa! Yup! You got it! It’s because of the hibiscus! Ug.

It’s also because of the schizandra berries and rosehips, too! I, personally, would have preferred just straight-up Oolong with chunks of plum. Because this isn’t the case…I am ok with it…but I would have tweaked the name of the tea…maybe Plum Berry Surprise or “Plum & Then Some” Oolong or something…because it’s not just plum…there is more than just the plum.

Okay…so…now that I have gotten that out of my system and that my hot tea is cooling at rapid speeds today because it continues to be at tundra-temperatures…I’ll switch gears!

COLD or ICED

This is where it is, folks! At least for me, it is!

I’m completely looking at this flavored oolong in a different light when it’s cold. I can totally take the level of tartiness with the hibiscus! I prefer this one cold! There it is. :)

When I review this one over at SororiTEA Sisters I will most likely do it from an Iced Tea Prospective…of course I will say why I prefer it this way in the post but it will be less of a rant and ramble than I am doing here. I guess it’s just been one of those days or weeks…I have finally decided to CRACK

I can’t take much more snow and storms and cold and crappy roads!

Anyhow…back to the tea…

This iced or cold is MUCH BETTER and I am rating it mostly on the iced – since that is my personal preference here! It’s sweet and a little sugary and fruity and berry but smooth at the beginning with more tart at the end of the sip! It remains quite wine-like…maybe starting off more like a sweet and ending more like a fruity-dry. It leaves a drier fruit aftertaste as well.

So…how was that for a ramble and rant!?

Don’t get me wrong…this is a great tea for those who love their hot teas tarty and don’t mind hibiscus. For those like me who aren’t fond of the hibiscus – especially in hot teas – try it cold or iced. There are differences between the hot and cold versions. I, personally, prefer the iced in this case. I will say it has a nice wine- like color to it as well…comparable to some of the Arbor Mists colors…or wine-cooler type drinks.

End result for my preferences…fairly good cold.

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89

If there is a stash of teas that make up your morning cuppa’s – this one should be in that stash! It’s strong and bold. It’s a solid black tea. There is something that slightly reminds me of an Earl Grey without the bergamot or something like that. I can taste the allusion of molasses that was mentioned in the description, subtly.

A wonderfully bold morning cup!

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95

This smells wonderful! Black Tea, Orange, and Spice! VERY NICE!

Taste…
The orange is more prominent than the other flavors which I LOVE. The Black Tea tastes and the spices are about equal in strength and they are great together!

Even with the spices this has a lovely smoothness to it

WOW! I’m REALLY enjoying this…maybe a little TOO MUCH…ahhhhh!

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94

The aroma is intense and I assumed it would be over-the-top in taste…by that I mean ‘hard to handle’ but it certainly was NOT hard to handle. This was very easy to handle…it’s also the most forgiving Earl Grey I have come across…I over infused and it was very generous not to get bitter which I am very grateful for! This is a medium strength black tea as well as a medium to medium-strong Earl Grey…which is fine by me because it tastes very good! I was pleasantly surprised and Arbor Teas EG and I have quickly become friends!

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90

Made a huge mug of this with soymilk and vanilla sugar this morning. There is a very noticeable spice left in my mouth after every sip, which I absolutely adore. The spicier, the better.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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85

This is now the… sixth? Earl Grey in my cupboard. It’s a sickness.

This is a good, solid Earl Grey. The bergamot isn’t too strong, and doesn’t have that sort of perfumey or soapy taste to it, which some of the… lesser blends can have. I think it’s balanced well with the tea… it’s bold, but not overpowering. Yum-o.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

I collect Darjeelings in the same way.

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80

This reminds me of an orange spice tea I used to drink as a kid, only better quality. I’ve kind of lost my taste for orange teas, to be honest… and I wish this had a bit more spice to it, but it is a good blend all the same.

The first real snow of the year is blanketing everything outside, and I’m sitting here drinking this tea and reading The Princess Bride by Christmas tree light. This tea definitely lends to the holiday atmosphere. :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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86

Just as an experiment, I thought I’d bring down the temperature another couple notches for this one to see what would happen. So far I’ve used 205, 200, and 195, but this time I’m bringing it down to 185 – all at three minutes.

The result seems to be less emphasis on the roasty notes, and more on the juicy – combined with the slight hitch of astringency still present, it’s reminiscent of biting into a tart Granny Smith apple that somehow still has just a bit of oven-baked flavor in it. A really nice cup of Darjeeling.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Your notes are just flat making me hungry today.

Adham

I’d justify that by saying that since it’s winter (at least in the northern hemisphere), we need more calories to keep our metabolism going through the cold days and long nights…

Jaime

I’m not going to say what this note did to me…besides clicking on the “add to shopping list” button!!

gmathis

It’s OK … around my work, the open buffet starts around Thanksgiving and doesn’t end until we’re down to the last grains of tinned flavored popcorn in mid-February.

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91

Started my day with a couple pleasing steeps of this. It was sweet and earthy, and very forgiving on steep times – I did about 4 minutes the first time around and longer than that the next time, and neither cup was overly strong or bitter. I also like the subtle notes that are wrapped up in the earthiness; today I got a very subtle spice tone as well as some cherry jam-like flavors.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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82

This is one that I hesitated trying until now… because, well, it’s Pu-Erh, and that’s my typical response to Pu-Erh. Hesitation. Apprehension. FEAR! Mostly because I am still “acquiring” my taste for it.

This one is actually quite good (for a Pu-Erh). The earthy aroma and flavor are not as strong as in many of the Pu-Erh teas that I’ve tried, and it has a very pleasant body and sweetness to it.

I’m off to write a review for this one.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Lori

I have a sample of this and been hesitating to try this one!

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85

My last bit of this sample pack too, and again a little more than my usual amount of leaf. This is a really nice example of the oolong style, hewing pretty much straight down the middle of the green/black tea divide. There’s a bit of green vegetal flavoring, and some black roastiness, along with the typical rich mouthfeel of a good oolong.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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81

The Final Sipdown: Day 16
Decupboarding Total: 31

And it’s another sample gone! I really like this tea – it’s got the sweetness and smoothness of a yunnan but there’s a little bright Darjeeling-like kick to the end of it that shows up sometimes. It’s a nice tea to drink straight, which can be a challenge for non-Chinese blacks (at least for me). If I had a larger container of this it would be very easy for me to drink though it is missing just a little something that would push it into the ‘must run out and get more of this!’ category. Still, a good tea that is definitely worth a try!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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92

The Final Sipdown: Day 15
Decupboarding Total: 30

I’m definitely going to have to pick some of this up when I made my Arbor Tea Earl Grey order. It’s nice and smooth and sweet and very forgiving – I meant to steep for about 35s but kind of forgot about it…. A minute and a half later and it was darker than normal, but still smooth and tasty. I think I can say I’m definitely a fan of the green pu-erhs. So good.

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86

I cooled off the water a bit from last time and found that helped eliminate the burnt notes I had encountered. Instead I got a full-bodied, rather raisiny tea with just a touch of astringency and no bitterness. I was reading a little yesterday about the differences found in first flush vs. second flush teas, so now I’m interested to try two side-by-side to see if I can taste the same things. The descriptions made me think that I’d probably enjoy second flush more, as it’s said to exhibit more of the muscatel flavors that I enjoy in Darjeelings – we’ll just have to see about that!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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