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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog from last night.
So. You know how you’re supposed to be really, really careful when you steep white teas because they’re so easy to overdo? Yeah, well. I did mine last night while I was washing strawberries at 11:15 at night, because that’s what every cool, responsible grown-up does. And I poured the tea over the leaves, forgot, and then had an OH SH— moment ten minutes later. I braced myself for the taste of horridly rotted turkey – but it tasted fine. A bit duller than the first time I tried it, even. But fine.
I have no idea what happened.
I’ve had this many times hot, but this is the first time I cold -steeped it. I like it better this way. It cuts down on that menthol-like taste I find in a lot rooibos and brought out the creamier aspect of the tea. Also the blackberry flavor seemed much stronger. I will have to make it again soon .
I’m on a unflavored black tea kick right now so I’m hunting though all my swaps to find some to try. Yunnans seem to be pretty reliably ok enough tea, never my favorite, but never really awful either. This one is a classic Yunnan. So I liked it enough. Thanks Shelley_Lorraine!
My first ceylon. I have been sleep deprived pretty much the whole week before, and today I’m driving to a friend’s place to spend the weekend (incidentally, the same friends who are responsible for my tea addiction!)
Thin, dark leaves that are very easy to handle and measure. Golden amber liquor. Mild sweet aroma (so it smells like a black tea should.) Not really sweet tasting at all; it’s fairly astringent and actually a little grassy, but not in a way that’s off-putting. Tastes British. :P Not bad by any means, but I don’t think it’s going to become a favorite.
EDIT: The flavor got a little maltier the longer I drank it. I started to like it more and more. I’m gonna give it a second try!
The first time I reviewed this tea I brewed it for just 3-min. to minimize the potential for any astringency and was very favorably impressed.
Today, I decided to brew this tea following Arbor Teas’ recommendation: “one generous tsp.” / 8 oz. / 212*F for the maximum of 5-min.
The longer infusion did allow the aroma and flavor to more fully develop. The clear, lively, coppery liquor yields a sweet floral/fruity aroma. The initial taste is very smooth and has a delicate caramel sweetness. There was no hint of bitterness. However, there is a medium amount of astringency in the middle of my tongue.
Next, I tried 1.5 tsp. / 8oz. / 195*F / 4 min. Wow, now we’re talking! The clear, lively, coppery liquor is now medium dark. The aroma is more fruity than floral. The flavor is now very smooth and rich with a definite caramel sweetness. There is no hint of bitterness and only a very mild drying effect on the finish. As my cup cools, the first part of the sip is fruity and is followed by a sweet caramel finish.
The increased amount of leaf produced a stronger aroma, a much richer sip and a solid caramel sweetness. The decreased temperature and reduced time significantly reduced the level of astringency. This is one Indian black tea you don’t want to miss!
Thanks to Aubrey at Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.
Had this one for the first time the other day. I’ll have to save a more detailed review for my second go-round, but I think this one’s the favorite from the black tea sampler I ordered. Deep, rich, malty flavor like what I enjoy from a black tea. Good stuff!
Opened the bag and went, “What the hell – citrus?” The smell reminded me of lemon; my dad thought more like an orange peel. Brewed the tea, which became a pale liquor typical of white teas; the aroma of the brewed tea was much more subtle.
I… am going to hold off on rating this tea for now. The taste I’m getting so far is really, really subtle. I get a mite of citrus, and then something that’s really more of a physical sensation than a taste. Maybe I understeeped it, maybe it really is that subtle, maybe my taste buds are numb, maybe it’s because I made the mistake of eating a snack first. Yeah. I think it’s the last one. Dammit.
A sipdown for this one. I think I like my Assam from Butiki better than this one. Not that this is bad at all, but with so many choices I’ll be picky. This assam is heavier on the fruit and not so much on the malty (though it is there). It has similarities to the Golden Yunnan that I also have from Arbor teas. I like Golden Yunnan, but I don’t need two teas that serve the same purpose so I probably won’t be restocking this one. . .but it could happen.
Welp, it’s a gray yucky morning, I have things to run around and do this morning before I go to work, I got to bed too late last night, and I’m still feeling the burn from my first bike ride in 15 years yesterday. Good a time as any to try my first keemun!
This was the tea I was the most excited about in my new order. The leaves are fairly fine, as far as tea leaves go, dark, and sweetish-earthy-smoky smelling. The liquor is a pretty amber color, which surprised me because I was expecting a darker color. Guess not all black teas look red in the cup. Newbie lesson, newbie lesson.
I’m not quite sure how to describe the flavor profile. It’s a bit of an earthy taste, but not like you’re drinking dirt. It’s not malty; maybe just the sliiiiiiightest bit smoky. The item description compares it to wine, but I don’t drink alcohol so I couldn’t tell you. But it’s a satisfyingly deep flavor and a good, solid breakfast tea.
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting: the first white tea I have ever had that wasn’t an earl grey.
The leaves caught me off guard; they’re large and flat, a lot like carrot leaves or something. They smell grassy and kind of sweet. The liquor is a light yellow and smells grassy. That got me worried for a bit; I’m not a big fan of grassy flavors, especially when they’re in white teas which I don’t associate with being grassy. Then I took a sip…
The first taste that hits is a vegetal sweetness, a little dark but mild. Then the grassiness, which overrides the vegetal sweetness. “Dammit,” I think for a second, “It’s a grassy white tea.” And then there is an overtone of another flavor – this one is a floral sweetness that fades into focus out of the grassiness. And that’s when I go, “Wha what?”
This tea may have to take a little while to grow on me, solely because of the grass factor. But it is certainly an interesting and unexpectedly complex white tea. Worth a go.
…Why is it I only write a few sentences about some teas, and write freaking novels about others?
My first darjeeling! I’ll write more in detail later, but I wanted to get some quick notes down to remember the taste experience. Deep, warm, woody (not woodsy, not smoky) comforting flavor with a tasteful floral note. A slight astringency that I wouldn’t even call “astringent”; more just good. I am suitably impressed!
Edit a few hours later:
Soooo… I realized in retrospect that I may have goofed this tea. I poured it out of its (neat little!) sample bag into a tea tin that had JUST previously been home to some masala chai. I had rinsed the inside of the tea tin out, but unless this tea smells a LOT like chai, I didn’t rinse the aroma out.
Since the chai aroma still lingered, I don’t know how much that would have affected the taste. I didn’t really taste chai; I just tasted a combination of a dark, comforting base (which could possibly have been influenced by the chai) and floral notes. One thing I will say for it is that if it wasn’t labeled as a black tea, I would not have guessed it as such; the leaves look like “green tea” leaves (well, they’re green at least, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything), the liquor is a much lighter color than many classic black teas, and the taste is more plant-y than… well, at least the other black teas I’ve tried. Not that that’s a bad thing. Just unexpected! (…Tea newbie here, mind. Tea newbie.)
Sweet aroma, and a grassy flavor like most Sencha and Gyokuro teas. It has a nice green color. I think I might have steeped it for too long. I’ll have to try it again next time with maybe only 1-2 minutes.
I love Dragonwell from Teavana, but this one didn’t quite meet my expectations. It’s still good, but it doesn’t have the same sweet grassy quality.
Very similar to Monkey Picked Oolong from Teavana. I just recently made the switch to arbor teas b/c it’s based in my home state and they organic fair trade tea so I thought I’d support them! Light floral aroma and taste, but not too much. I only bought a sample, and I will definitely plan on getting more.
Hmm, I thought I’ve logged this one before. Guess not. Well, this isn’t the first time that I’ve had this tea. I like it more this time than before. Sometimes teas need time to grow on me. It’s smooth, slightly malty, and fruity. A very good every day black when you don’t want something too bold.
After reading the reviews for this tea, I was very excited about it. I love spicy chai and it sounded like this would be excellent. I made some last night, then tried it again this morning just to be sure. As much as I wanted to love this chai, I simply don’t.
I used about 2 tbsp in my 3-cup teapot the first time and steeped it for five minutes as directed. It was so weak that my husband and I actually ended up dumping most of it.
This morning I used the other half of the packet (it was a little more than 2 tbsp) and steeped it for more than twice the time. It’s slightly stronger, but I really feel like I had to push it to get it this strong. It’s still pretty weak. I can taste the spices, and the promise of them, but they’re still feeble.
This is the end of the sample, and I don’t know if maybe I got a bad or older mix, but for me this just doesn’t live up to the hype. I’m disappointed. Of the four teas I got from Arbor, the only winner was my husband’s Mini Tree Pu-erh – the one I won’t touch!
Mmm… tasty! I ordered a sample of this on a lark, and I’m glad I did. It’s a delightful and sweet cup to enjoy on a lazy weekend afternoon.
Dry, the fruity smells overwhelm the white leaves, but when steeped the fruit takes backseat to the tea leaves. I made up a pot of this in my 3-cup teapot, and added two tablespoons each of tea and Sugar in the Raw.
I’ve had pomegranate before, and this doesn’t remind me of it at all. My husband says it tastes more like peach to him, and I have to agree. It might not be a white pomegranate but a white peach still sounds good to me!
The only other Ear Grey I have to compare this to right now is my Teavana Earl Grey Black, so I opened them up and sniffed them side by side. Of the two, this is less sweet and more sharp. I can’t detect the slight licorice flavor of the Teavana in it, and while it smells a little more… I can only think of the word astringent, it doesn’t shout bergamot at me either. Huh. I don’t know what I was expecting, but so far this isn’t broadcasting any kind of “Wow!” factor.
Today felt like a mug morning, so I loaded a tea ball 1/2 way and steeped it for five minutes. I’m trying to get better about not over-steeping things, so I set my most annoying timer. When its shrieks brought me back into the room, I was surprised at how dark this one came out. Even after I put in a generous pour of milk, and a tablespoon or so of Sugar in the Raw, it is only the color of hot chocolate.
I did sample it before I put in the milk and sugar, and I found that its sharp dry smell had been blunted rather decisively. This tastes a lot milder than I had anticipated, and while it’s a nice and even EG I guess I’m just craving something… different. I love everything this company stands for – organic, free-trade, bio-degradable packaging – and I wanted to love their tea as well, but it’s just not grabbing my senses and sending them whirling. It’s a nice standard cup, but probably won’t be a staple.
trying to fit in a cup of tea before I leave to see my piano teacher for a short rehearsal. So hard to find quality tea-time ;_;
I don’t know what it is, but ever since summer break started for me, I feel like there is less time in the day than before, and I don’t even have homework to do! I can rarely brew tea and actually sit down with it. I am up and down doing house chores or tending the dogs and cats or running errands. I think chores are inventing themselves now that I have time for them.
I brewed a cup of this yummy kukicha, determined to force a proper break on myself. My husband watched Top Gear during his lunch break and I left the television on after he left and I went to the grocery store. When I came back, I brewed this tea and sat down on the couch, planning to change the channel at first. But I was curious about what was already on. It was Dr. Who!
I commented somewhere recently (somewhere on Shmiracles log I think) that I am not a Dr. Who fan as it seems so many steepsterites are. There was some strange show on the TV a few years ago and after watching it for 5 or 10 minutes, I asked my husband what it was and he said that it was Dr. Who. He also said that he wasn’t a big fan of the series (I think he refers to the older/original shows that his mother liked to watch). I don’t know exactly what episode was playing, but I think it might have been part of the 1996 movie. Whatever it was seemed creepy weird in an x-files sort of way (and I am not a fan of that type of sci fi). Since my husband didn’t have a a gloating recommendation for it, I never considered watching any more and wrote it off as an “other people” show.
Thanks to leaving the TV on after my husbands guy-tv lunch break, I discovered that I might actually enjoy Dr. Who. I added the 2005+ series to my Netflix cue and had time to watch half of the first episode before my break had to be cut short for more chores. Stupid chores! and stupid OCD that wont let me leave them be!
But lovely tea. I will always remember Kukicha now as my Dr. Who tea (^^) and now I wonder if I should watch some of the older shows too…
I really enjoyed this green tea. It was very full flavored. Buttered vegetables. Yum!
twig tea! i definitely get it!
and not super grassy for that reason. but still very greeney fresh.
i’ll try to make sure my sister drinks the rest with me. i think it will help give her an appreciation of more greens.
thanks very much Shelley_Lorraine!
Whenever I drink this tea, I’m always struck by a of menthol sensation and I don’t know what would cause it. The flavor is more rooibos than blackberry. Earthy, almost clay-like rooibos. Defininitely an aquired taste, but it’s grown on me.
brewed in my small glass gong fu, so pretty. half of the leaves slowly float to the bottom. expanding slightly and turning fresh. the tea is a bright greenish yellow. i even brewed a second steep and it was only slightly less green tasting than the first. very very nice. i have another cups worth and i might even just go and brew it right now. thank you very much for this tasty cup Shelley_Lorraine!