Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

This morning, courtesy of Aubrey at Arbor Teas, I’m very fortunate to enjoy and pleased to be the first to review a 2013 Tonganagoan Estate, 2nd flush Assam SFTGFOP1, USDA Organic, premium black tea, Western style: 8 oz / 1 tsp (1.6g) / 212*F / 3-5 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Leaf: Approximately a 50/50 mixture of dark chocolate brown twisted leaves and golden tips, both thin & thick, 1 cm long.
Fragrance: A wonderfully rich scent that reminded me of hay / straw
Liquor: Clear medium amber
Aroma: Same as fragrance but not as strong.
Flavor: Malt with hints of barley and sweet mushroom

3-min: A very smooth, moderately full-bodied, rich, complex Assam with hints of barley and sweet mushrooms. The hints of mushroom persist long on the tongue. There was no bitterness or astringency.

Re-Steeping:
4-min & 5 min: Smooth & medium bodied w/no bitterness or astringency.
6-min: Smooth & fuller- bodied w/no bitterness or astringency.

Impression: A smooth, rich, unique, and intriguing organic Assam. Definitely not a typical Assam! Well done!

Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for including this gracious sample with my recent order.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket.
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer

Flavors: Malt, Mushrooms

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Brooklynsheep

Oooh, this sounds nice.

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I must have made this way too concentrated because the first taste was horribly bitter and grassy! Watering it down helps a lot! Much smoother now. Half way through the sip I get a wheatgrass type taste that holds on into the after taste. I get that same mouth sensation that I do when I take a shot of wheatgrass juice. Almost a slight puckering. The first part of the sip is different and a little more mellow, but I don’t know how to describe it. Interesting tea, but not one I need to seek out.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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95

Good for dessert. Cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, black pepper. All of the flavors come through, but I wish it were a little stronger. I could fix that by using more scoops, but then it would have more caffeine than I want; I can tell that the finely chopped black tea yields a high caffeine brew. The spice and caffeine means it’s a good way to wake up in the afternoon. When soy milk and agave are added, it’s pretty substantial and works on its own instead of having tea plus a snack. I’m going to shop around to see if I can find something a little stronger, but I still give this a very high rating.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

This tea immediately reminds me of fruit – maybe plums, peaches, and strawberries. I remember Arbor Teas’ Keemun having a hint of prunes, and there is some of that here. However, this doesn’t have any of the smoke than Keemun had. There is some maltiness, but maybe not as much as the Nam Lanh or Assam. Overall, this Yunnan is excellent, but it’s similar enough to Nam Lanh that I don’t want to buy both. I can’t decide which I prefer, so maybe I’ll alternate between buying the two? The Nam Lanh is caramel with a little bit of fruit, and Yunnan is fruit with a little bit of caramel. I’ll probably just cave in and buy tins of both. :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Another favorite. This one is smooth, dark, and malty. The maltiness of this tea reminds me of dark beer; if Darjeeling is said to be the champagne of tea, then I guess this is the stout. Other tastes include caramel and dried fruit. Similar to Arbor Teas’ Assam, but I don’t have any more of that one to compare. I like this one better, because it’s sweeter and doesn’t have the hint of spice that Assam had. It’s also similar to Yunnan, and I haven’t decided which I prefer. Finally, there is a hint of Darjeeling in this. So, this tea has a lot going on. The mouthfeel of this one is heavy and thick, giving the impression that this tea is more filling. The brewed smell is comforting and might be my favorite of any tea. I could drink this every day!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

One of my favorites. It’s naturally sweet and reminds me of agave and grapes. It’s good by itself, but adding some light agave really brings out the flavor! I would call this a “medium” tea, good for any time of day. It’s refreshing and has a mild aftertaste with no bitterness. Overall, this tea is interesting enough for slow, contemplative sips, but it’s light enough so that just guzzling a whole pot works, too.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Every get so distracted by crafting that you forget to update you blog? Well that happened to me last night, I was working on the Pokemon Challenge (at number 54, Psyduck!) and I was hit with inspiration to finally break out the mini melty beads. They make some awesome things, problem is they are really time consuming because placing the tiny beads takes a level of precision that I am very out of practice for. I kept having flash backs to jewelry making and bead weaving, and of course my arch-nemesis, the seed bead. The siren call of crafting is strong, so before I even though the beads, I am blogging first!

Today’s tea hails from the Uva District of Ceylon, Organic Ceylon Greenfield Estate Black Tea by Arbor Teas. Grown between 5-6,000 feet above sea level, this tea is both organic and fair trade certified. The aroma is exceptionally sweet and fruity, blending notes of fresh grapes, scuppernongs, and a hint of fresh figs. There is also a very mild note of roses and malt, giving this tea a delightfully complex aroma. This might be the best smelling Black Ceylon that I have had the pleasure of sniffing.

The brewed leaves retain their sweet fruity aroma, but they take on a brisk quality that is very typical of Ceylon Blacks. There is also a faint hint of citrus at the finish. The liquid is still quite fruity and sweet, less like grapes and more like lychee. The aroma is quite good.

The taste of this tea is very brisk and bright! The mouthfeel is bold, it is one of those teas that seems to fill up the mouth with a smooth flavor. The taste is earthy and nutty, with a boiled peanut quality (though not salty like the traditional Southern style boiled peanuts….oh man, now I really want some) that gives the tea a really rich taste. There is a malty finish that ties in well with the other qualities. The taste of this tea is not at all sweet, which certainly makes it a bold tea. Quite a tasty tea!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/03/arbor-teas-organic-ceylon-greenfield.html

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85

This is one of the very first teas that I tried when I started with loose leaf. I bought several green tea samplers from Arbor teas and from the Tea spot (having drank bagged green tea exclusively before, I wasn’t going to venture too far from my comfort zone). This was all about three weeks before I joined steepster, so most of these teas were never logged here unless I repurchased them later.

This was not one of my favorite green teas. However, it is one of my mother’s favorites. Her birthday is coming up so I ordered some (she doesn’t often order her own tea). 4oz is the first available size up from the sample size (which contains 5 servings), so I got the 4oz and decided to take some of it for myself, because why not? I didn’t remember hating it. I sort of remember that it had a citrus flavor, but I must have confused it with another tea, because it is not citrus at all.

The flavor is extremely mellow. It’s pleasant to drink for the sake of being a hot beverage. Sometimes, thats all I need. I’ve had a few cups since reordering it and I’ve tried 2 and 3 minute steep times as well as adding an extra teaspoon this time around. The flavor is only slightly stronger. It is a good tea when you don’t want to be picky about time and measurements, I suppose.

Besides the lack of strength, theres nothing to dislike about the flavor. It’s sweet, not very grassy (for those that have green-tea issues :) ) and doesn’t seem prone to bitterness. The sweetness is hard to describe exactly but it is different than similar non-grassy greens that I have had before and disliked.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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30

I love plum, and I love oolong tea, so I was curious about this organic offering. The dry tea smelled very strongly of berries. When brewed, the tea in my cup is still very fruity, and the dominant flavor is the that of hibiscus. It is certainly tart, but not unpleasantly so. The plum flavor does not come through for me. I am not a big fan of hibiscus, so this tea will not become a favorite. While I expected some hibiscus, I would have appreciated a better balance of the flavors in the blend.

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70

I’m not a big fan of Green Teas, but this one is quite nice. It has a subtle sweetness to it and the roasted flavor also adds a bit of smokiness. I went through the sample quickly, so I’ll have to update this once I’ve ordered more =) Definitely worth a try

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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77

I was a little reluctant to try this tea fearing it would be overly fruity or tart but it turned out to be surprisingly good. It has a nice mellow raspberry flavor with floral undertones and a natural sweetness. The liqueur was a barely noticible faint pink but that’s probably me using the wrong tea to water ratio. I got two good infusions out of this

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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69

Just got my tea sampler set from Arbor Teas and this was the first tea I tried. The tea leaves have a wonderful potpourri like aroma of pineapple and tropical fruit and when brewed the flavor of the tea is true to its scent. Pineapplely and tropical with a hint of bubblegum flavor. Although it’s a tad fruitier than I prefer, it’s not overly so like Teavana teas tend to be. Second infusion was equally good. Next time I would brew it with regular green tea to tone down the fruitiness. A very nice tea overall.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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50

I think this is a good tea. I can tell it is high quality and the taste is good; however the tea is just not agreeable with me for a couple reasons.

I really want to like this tea but the flavor is “off” from what I usually drink at restaurants. Perhaps in this case, I am better off ordering from restaurants even though I am sure the leaf quality is lower ><

I also found that this blend didn’t agree with my stomach at times; nothing major, just rumbling stomach. (I tested the tea by itself and still had gurgling stomach) I might be sensitive to one of the ingredients.

In general I don’t like spicy teas but I’ve always liked Thai Iced Tea for some reason. This is an aromatic tea with a smooth vanilla taste. I’d definitely recommend it to chai tea drinkers. It goes well with organic condensed milk, half & half, and white sugar. I experimented with raw honey and brown sugar but I definitely think white sugar is best.

I want to score this higher but I have to score this purely on taste, but don’t let that dissuade you from trying this tea. I generally don’t like chai teas, plus I have a very picky palate; additionally they have a sample of this tea for only $2 =)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

I was in need of a mid-morning snack and cuppa and the genmaicha was on the counter in “comforting standby” mode so I went for it.

I steeped at a slightly lower temperature this time and more of the vegetal green came out to play as a response. Still nice and light and toasty.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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88

Was hit with a sudden bout of extreme anxiety and went to this tea. Genmaicha isn’t a tea I normally use to battle anxiety, but it is a comfort tea to me…something I love to sit and sip at.

Arbor’s Organic Genmaicha is nice and mellow. Very light and delicate. I like to think this is a traditional green for people who don’t like green tea. Some of the astringents from green tea are present but it is nicely complimented by the sweet, somewhat nutty flavor of the toasted rice.
When steeped correctly, this tea will give you a true tea feel with a sweet and mellow finish.

Thank you so much for the sample of this particular genmaicha, moraiwe

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
music27note

Normally I’d steep it at 175 and do a taste test at 1 minute. Was originally thinking of having an oolong when I remembered and reached for this.

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96

My favorite morning tea. Very forgiving of my early morning slapdash tea making style which consists of click, dump, pour, steep until I remember I already made tea, pour into cold milk. To me it tastes like wet redwoods smell and summer camp. It smells like clean leather and munched autumn hay.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Leather, Malt

__Morgana__

Yay! Great to see you here!

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Travelling Tea Box C

Backlog from yesterday. I really enjoyed this genmaicha! The base wasn’t too see-weedy and the roasted rice didn’t over-power the green base like in some genmaichas. I shared with my co-worker, but thankfullly no fights this time.

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85

I used a smidgin more leaf and brewed for less time than before. The resulting flavor: #2 pencil. Not sure how that happened, but I’ll know to keep the steeps longer on this one in the future.

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85

My Arbor Teas order arrived yesterday and I brewed two cups of this oolong, but was too busy to log it then. It’s a very creamy oolong, not too heavy in the floral department. I’m rarely disappointed with Arbor teas, and this is yet another pleasurable cup of tea from this company.

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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.)

TeaBrat

How hot was your water?

MegWesley

It had just started to make a light noise, so barely starting to bubble. The normal temperature I make my green teas.

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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.

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97

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.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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84

Backlog:

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/

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92

Backlog:

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/

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