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Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

74

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.

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

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75

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
TeaBrat

Is it the Taiwanese assam you like? I’d love to try that someday.

Shelley_Lorraine

yeah, the Premium Taiwanese Assam (non-upgraded version). I can swap you some if you want.

TeaBrat

sure, send me a PM. :)

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45

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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82

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?

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

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91

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.)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Nxtdoor

Someone should invent little packs that you can put in tins and they absorb flavour. I thought of the same thing when i washed out a “mamma mia” tin. strong, strong smelling tin, it might take a couple of days for it to air it out.

I wonder if it would work to leave baking soda in an empty tin for a day or so and then carefully wash it out. They say it absorbs odours but I never found it to be true whenever I tried to use it in my fridge.
TeaKlutz

I agree! Hmm, that baking soda thing might be worth a try, at least. For some reason, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of the aroma from the dry leaves lingering in the tin until the incident.

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86

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.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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79

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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88

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.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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85

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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65

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!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Shelley_Lorraine

I think I remember that you had a bad experience with a DavidsTea pu-erh (or maybe I’ve mixed you up with someone else. . .). If that is your only pu-erh experience, don’t stop there! DavidsTea pu-erh blends are mostly quite nasty.

wheezybee

That was me – I have tried DAVIDsTEA The Skinny, Arbor Teas Wild Tree Mini Tuo Cha, and a tin of something we picked up at an Asian food market. They’ve just been a bit earthy for me. I’m willing to try something else, and if I don’t like it I know Jake would probably be delighted to add to his stash. Do you have any recommendations?

Tealizzy

Try cinnamon swirl bread tea by sTEApshoppe. It’s a puerh blend and it’s delicious!!

wheezybee

Okay – I’ve added it to my shopping list and will check it out next payday. Thanks!

Shelley_Lorraine

DELETEless than a minute ago
Chocolate chai pu-erh from Della Terra is pretty good if you’re looking for a blend that really masks the earthy aspects of pu-erh. It tastes almost exactly like the original dentyne gum to me. I happen to really like pu-erh though, so I go mostly for the unflavored varieties, but it’s not for everyone. My husband won’t go near it unless it’s heavily flavored. :) Bana Tea company has some of my favorite straight pu-erhs. They offer various sampler sets. Also, maybe you just don’t like cooked pu-erh? Raw pu-erh tastes quite different. Okay, I think I’ve rambled on enough now (^^)

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70

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!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75

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.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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85

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 ;_;

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

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100

Backlog:
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…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Hahaha, I love associations like that! I have a couple… although they aren’t coming to mind at the moment.

Shelley_Lorraine

And just so fitting that I should associate a Japanese tea with a British program :p

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I really enjoyed this green tea. It was very full flavored. Buttered vegetables. Yum!

Thanks Shelley_Lorraine!

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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!

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70

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.

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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!

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85

This is a decent green tea. I think after my encounters with Laoshan green, I’ll rarely be so kind with my descriptions of other greens.

This one has a delicate vegetal flavor. It’s not bitter or astringent. A good every day green.

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

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85

So i was thinking I’d make a black tea and I pulled this out of my unopened samples box, not paying too much attention and kind of in a hurry. After a few minutes, when I was going to take the leaves out of the cup, I thought, “hey, thats a funny colored black tea!” It’s not exactly green though either, more like amber. I thought maybe I didnt use enough leaves or something. Oh well. Then I took a sip and it was definitely not black tea flavor. haha. Still, very good. Once I overcame the state of confusion, I decided that I like it quite a lot. It’s a very unique flavor of Green Tea.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

No notes yet. Add one?

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

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96

This was what I was looking for from Arbor Teas!!! I ended up getting a sample from Silver Tips Tea of their Assam Organic tea and was trying to find a similar one from a company that sells organic Moroccan Mint AND organic Assam. Unfortunately, Arbor Teas regular Assam tastes nothing like Silver Tips but this English Breakfast one is a close contender! I love how deep and robust it is WITHOUT a hint of astringency…unlike Arbor teas Assam, Nillgeri, and Irish Breakfast(this one is a runner up to English Breakfast). Two thumbs way, way up!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

Backlog:

Had this tea yesterday. Not much to say, it’s still a favorite. I did brew it cooler this time, though. 165deg seemed to give it a richer flavor than 175deg.

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84

This is a very solid example pu-erh and its comparatively easy on the palate. Earthy, full bodied mineral “cave floor” mineral/mushrooms without any gnarly leather notes. Brings a nice Qi to boot and is friendly enough for daily drinking. A good introduction to the world of ripe pu-erh; mellow enough, yet brings a full bodied genuine pu-erh experience.

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