Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

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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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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97

I had one of these after lunch today (much thanks to my girlfriend), and was blown away. This was my first tea-chocolate, and it was delightful. All of the tastes were fairly well-rounded, nothing overwhelming or obnoxious. Quite subtle, but very delicious. I feel like it gave me a slight caffeine buzz, but this could just be placebo (or just the warm feeling from eating chocolate!)

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100

OK, I’m glad I saved this one for last. I love the way the bergamot comes through the rich chocolate flavor. This is SO GOOD.

The citrus-y bergamot flavor is perfectly paired with the sweet chocolate flavor. It is sweet and creamy and decadent.

I so enjoyed this collection of truffles! They are absolutely awesome!

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97

Appearance wise, this one is the prettiest in the collection of truffles… It is so pretty in fact I almost couldn’t bear to bite into it… ALMOST!

The grapefruit zest lends a wonderful citrus note to this delicious truffle, and it enhances the jasmine tea notes just enough so that they can be tasted above the strong flavor of the dark chocolate ganache.

I think that this one is my favorite truffle of the five that I’ve tried so far. (hahaha – I’ve probably said that with each one of these!)

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78

You really have to see it in person to admire it, but this tea is just beautiful to look at. There are beautiful reddish-orange flower petals mixed with the silvery and white tea needles work well together. The smell of the dry leaf is more candy like than pomegranate, but either way, it smelled sweet, and reminded me of lollipops.

For a more in depth review and a Time Lapse Steep Video check out my blog! http://wp.me/pQxcK-8f

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79

The Final Sipdown: Day 10
Decupboarding Total: 19

Not much to say about this one that I didn’t say the other day when I finally rated it. But I had to log it to make the decupboarding count official.

takgoti

Another one bites the dust!

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79

Finally rating this one today. If I needed to buy pu-erh for some reason or another, I’d probably pick up this one (or Samovar’s Blood Orange pu-erh, but since that’s flavored I kind of think that would be cheating). I don’t think I’m going to run out and get some of this RIGHT NOW but I do like it and won’t have a problem drinking up the remainder of the sample (which will probably be soon given all the decupboarding required by The Final Sipdown). It’s got the ‘normal’ pu-erh taste (dirt) but it’s not so thick or overpowering so I like that. It makes it an easy drinker for me.

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

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79

I am feeling bold and daring today so I decided to give this one a shot. There was a time that I thought I would never try pu-erh – the idea of it was just too scary. But then Steepster(ites) came along and made me brave enough to try it. I’ve tried a handful of different pu-erhs and don’t hate them, but I haven’t found one that I can really get behind (at least, not a cooked one – I’m kind of loving raw ones so far). I keep trying though! I might be out of luck simply because they all have a taste that I end up mentally calling ‘earth syrup’ and it’s just a little too rich/sweet/thick for me to not feel overwhelmed. But again, I keep trying, so I’m apprehensively excited to be trying this one.

The dry leaf is more ‘hay syrup’ smelling than ‘earth syrup’, but after a quick rinse and then some steeping and the earth comes out. No fishy though, which is another pu-erh smell/taste that can be a bit much for me so the lack of fish equals good. There actually might be a little hint of something spicy in the smell, too, but I’m not exactly sure on that.

Okay, I have to say this first steep is promising. Yes, there is some sweet dirt taste going on but it isn’t thick or heavy enough to reach syrup status. Instead, there is a little almost-Yunnan-like tea taste at the beginning of the sip and a little peppery-type like warmth/spiciness left on my tongue after each sip. The damp dirt sweetness hits in the middle of these two flavors and follows through to the end. And while the tip of my tongue is tingling with spice after the sip, the sweetness expands in the middle of my tongue. The post-sip sweetness is almost into syrup territory thickness but not quite.

Amazingly, I finished off my cup and wasn’t too pu-erh-ed out to avoid more steeping! Second Steep (4:00) is sweet and smooth and edges a bit more towards earth syrup but still doesn’t feel too heavy. I’m thinking the peppery warmth has increased a bit but that could be residual lunch after-spice (but I don’t think so since sipping seems to increase it).

And I’m still up for another steep, so Steep Three (5:00)! It actually tastes a lot like the last steep. Smooth, earthy sweet but not heavy enough to be syrupy. Not as much depth of flavor as steep one and I’m not getting so much of the hint of spicy, but it’s still good.

Fourth Steep (6:00)! Mild, sweet but a little lighter/thinner than the last two steeps and more closely matching the first steep (but without the pepper tingle).

Honestly, I wouldn’t be adverse to taking this tea a bit farther (which is kind of amazing since it is a pu-erh and usually I’m done pretty early in the resteeping process) but I just finished a HUGE blog post about my Hawaii trip (http://pinkness.danzimmermann.com/2010/10/mia-ness-over.html) so I feel the need to celebrate and relax with something green so I’m going to call this tea done. I’m also going to leave this unrated for a little contemplation time. The fact that this never hit earth syrup is huge for me so I actually can say that this is a cooked pu-erh I really like. Shocking, I know. But now the question is: how much do I like this? Will I start craving it’s slightly lighter pu-erh profile? Is this enjoyable enough to break through my anti-cooked-pu-erh mindset to where I would actually buy it? That’s what I need to figure out so no rating for now, but it’s definitely a 75 or over.

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

I have to confess I’m baffled by this whole pu-erh → sweetness thing. But if that’s what you’re getting, that’s what you’re getting.

Not coincidence that pu-erh would share notes with Yunan since that’s where pu-erh is made.

Given how short your steeps are, you could definitely take this tea a lot farther, I think, and keep getting good cups. Everyone says I’m insane, I know, but I steep pu-erhs for tens of minutes at a time with great results. With these short steep times, I’m sure you can get at least a half dozen cups from one set of leaves.

Angrboda

That’s totally not your face in my head! That looked lovely though, especially the aquarium. I love places like that. And zoos. :D

It’s weird that we’re taste twins in almost every other sort of tea except pu-erh. I can’t get over that, really. My brain won’t accept it. (And I suddenly remember I forgot to order a green pu-erh sample when I was shopping at NBT the other day. I knew there was something I’d forgotten. Four green japanese though.)

Auggy

Jim – I’m sure I could too as I have before. I just chose not to on this one because I was ready for something else. As for the sweetness, for me pu-erh like a cane or other very dark syrup, just dirt flavored.

Angrboda – Dare I ask what I look like in your head? :) And I’m really trying to learn to love pu-erh so maybe one day when my taste buds grow up, we’ll have matching tastes in that, too! :D

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100

The very last review of the Tea Infused Truffles form Arbor Teas is the one I was most worried about. As, I haven’t been exposed to very much Lapsang Souchong in my tea lifetime and the times I have it was a strange tea. First off, the smell of the truffle itself embodied the tea and chocolate, smelling like a bitter, high percentage of dark chocolate,but also smelling like pipe tobacco and campfire at the same time. The taste is interesting. Upon first taste,the dark chocolate plays nicely with the smoky and toasty flavors from the Lapsang Souchong tea.

to read a more in depth review of this truffle, check my blog! http://wp.me/pQxcK-92

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100

I love this truffle. Surprisingly, the Masala Chai Truffle was the lightest of the 6 truffles! This truffle is white on white, and is exquisitely creamy and delicious. The chai flavor is light,which balances very nicely with the lightness of the white chocolate. There is a light spiciness from the chai in the truffle, with subtle flavors of cinnamon,anise,clove and the other traditional flavors associated with chai.

to read more- check out my blog post on this truffle! http://wp.me/pQxcK-8T

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90

I’m not a fan of black tea, so I usually stick to the greens and whites. Oolongs are on the edge for me… often too close to black tea to appeal to me. But when I like an oolong, oh do I love it. And I love Arbor Teas Ti Kuan Yin Oolong. One of my favorites.

This tea is nice and subtle. Even if you let it steep a long time, the color remains relatively light, and the flavor maintains a delicate quality. It has a subtle earthy quality that I find pleasant and relaxing. Everything about this tea helps me slow down and relax to savor it.

Highly recommended!

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89

This is very sweet and rich. The chai flavor is not tremendously spicy, although I can taste notes of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The ginger and black pepper of the Masala Chai blend are not as strong, but there is a faint “peppery” aftertaste beyond the sweetness of the white chocolate.

It’s really pleasant, and tastes quite a bit like a white chocolate chai latte might taste from one of those coffee houses. While this one isn’t my favorite of the package, the yum factor here is still very high!

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92

This chocolate was very creamy. The milk chocolate paired really nicely with the matcha flavor. The Green Tea flavor is not over steeped at all and instead taste milky, creamy and a tiny bit bitter, to remind you it’s there! I taste some light green tea flavors of bitterness and astringency, but the sweetness that can be tasted in matcha is also prominent in the truffle, and pairs really well with the milk chocolate!

For a more in depth review go check out my blog! http://wp.me/pQxcK-8g

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90

This truffle smells fruity and dark chocolate-y at the same time. The flavor is very fruity, tastes exactly like pineapple. The resemblance to the sweetness of a pineapple is uncanny. I also taste some green tea notes on the back end of my palate.

For a more in depth review, check out my blog! http://wp.me/pQxcK-8B

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92

Upon first bite( more like first nibble! Since I savored these truffles down to the final bite!), the dark chocolate is quite overpowering in the truffle. However,I do taste some light floral notes after the truffle ganache melts on my tongue, which are sweet, soft and remind me of jasmine. The sweetness and floral notes on the jasmine pair well with the dark chocolate, but i would have loved to have the jasmine flavor be a bit more prominent in this truffle. The end notes of the chocolate is where the jasmine comes into play.

for a more in depth review, check out my blogpost! http://wp.me/pQxcK-8o

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91

This earl grey truffle smells like bergamot and dark chocolate ganache. But, the dark chocolate doesn’t smell as bitter as some dark chocolates, so i think it is a lower percentage of dark chocolate. However, there are lots of dark chocolate flavors, the bergamot flavor almost seems absent and gets lost within the dark chocolate flavor. The citrus is light, and not as overpowering as it smells.

for a more in depth review go to my blog! http://wp.me/pQxcK-8K

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88

Good flavor, light but dynamic flavors, not heavy or muddy. It did not overly stand out in any one area, just really good overall. I would definitely like to get this again since this was only a sample.

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89

The Final Sipdown: Day 7
Decupboarding Total: 14

Per the husband’s request we are having this one again, which works out nicely since it can then be my second tea decupboarded today. However, if he likes it without additives as much as he liked it with additives, I’m thinking this one won’t stay gone from my pantry long as I will be buying a big tin of it.

Honestly, this one is such a nice relief from the Upton samples I’ve been trying to get through. This has a nice smooth and full tea taste with some light but pleasant astringency to the end of the sip. The scent and flavor is lightly but noticeably Earl Grey. And the EG bit is very nice – not perfume-ish, not frou-frou. If I can call a tea ‘manly’ without making it sound like it’s a nasty b.o. type thing, this EG is manly. Masculine, maybe? Strong. Not as in strong tasting but the strength that confident men seem have – noticeably masculine without being a muscle-bound bully. Perhaps because the astringency makes it nicely bracing even with the flavoring, making it not a girlie or soft tea.

Sigh. I need to just face facts. This is an Earl Grey that a man like Jean Luc Picard would drink. Which is pretty much exactly what we were looking for. So win!

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

It’s tea. It’s tea in tights! [TIGHT tights!] It roams around in forests, looking for fights.

Auggy

Wow, blast from the past there! And apparently not near as blocked from my brain as I thought since now that song KEEPS LOOPING IN MY HEAD! AGH!

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89

I need tea before I am operational this morning. Until I have more caffeine running through my blood stream, I cannot guarantee to make sense.

Sample from Arbor Teas that The Final Sipdown has encouraged me to bust open finally. This tea is now officially part of the epic EG hunt for the husband. Okay, maybe it isn’t epic but it sure feels that way since I have so many EG samples in my pantry. SO. MANY.

The smell of the dry leaves is very nice – potently EG in a way that manages to be strong but not OMG-at-the-bergamot-it-burns strong (I’m looking at you, Upton’s Extra Bergamot). There’s even a nice menthol-type whoosh at the end of the sniff which strikes me as fun (and much better than the more perfume-y after-smells that can pop up in EG).

Without additives. This is really nicely done. The tea feels heavy and smooth and clear but there’s no bitterness that sometimes pops up with additive-less flavored teas. The bergamot isn’t as strong in smell or in taste as it is in the dry leaves but it seems to mesh with the tea flavor and smell instead of sitting on top of it. There’s no chemical aftertaste, no tacky-mouth feeling from the flavoring. The bergamot flavor is nicely balanced – there’s a hint of sweetness to the flavoring but not so much that I would say this is sweet (though sometimes the aftertaste is a bit fruity-sweet which is pleasant). The overall taste is noticeably (but not overpowering) bergamot throughout the sip – from initial smell to aftertaste – and a tea tastes that, while not overly nuanced, gives a full, unmuddied flavor and a smooth but somewhat thick mouthfeel.

Honestly? Best EG I’ve had in the EG Hunt. There’s one Upton EG that might compete with it (their premium or supreme or something) but I had that one with additives and this one without so that makes me think the Arbor Tea’s one will win if there is a head-to-head. I do have super-fond memories of A&D’s EG – I recall it being a juicy type of EG and I really enjoyed that. But the husband didn’t and ultimately this hunt is to find his perfect EG that I also really enjoy. This tea officially makes me list of contenders two.

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

I look forward to watching the EG contenders battle it out the TFS. I, too, am on the hunt for the perfect EG.

Auggy

I got a little EG’ed out but we were having different EGs daily for a while a month or so ago. But now with The Final Sipdown, I’ll be finishing those samples off so I’m sure lots of EGs will be popping up again in my logs!

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74

White chocolate then a creamy spiced center – cinnamon, cardamom, clove…not sure I can pick the spices out of the melody of spices but I think this is delicious. The crunchy dark chocolate topper is delicious as well and I enjoyed the nice crunch. Not a strong tea flavor, but a strong spice flavor.

After the Jasmine I was hoping this would be my favorite, surprisingly the Lapsang Souchong won out as the best.

If you know anyone who loves chocolates, I recommend these as a unique and delicious gift (the entire set) – however they don’t carry a strong tea flavor so you might be disappointed if you want tea with chocolate favor instead of chocolate with tea flavor.

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/11/arbor-teas-tea-infused-chocolate_14.html

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