Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

82

It has been FOR – EV – ER since I’ve had this tea. Which is funny, because right about a year ago I drank it all the time, to the point where I got a decent-sized bag of it, of which I still have most left. It used to be my go-to calm-down tea, but after a point all I ever wanted to drink was black tea.

I still really like this one. As I’ve mentioned in notes before, it’s light and grassy tasting with a bit of sweetness that’s kind of fruity and floral. The perfect white tea.

I’m really excited. I’ve been wanting to find some way to organize my tea collection from the mess of little sample bags sitting on my shelf, in the little shipping boxes they came in, on the floor, etc. I finally went to Garden Ridge and got three wooden boxes with absolutely GORGEOUS designs: one for my greens and whites, one for my pu-erhs and oolongs, and the biggest one for the black teas (and I still may need a bigger one!)

I’ve been holding off on getting new teas because of various expenditures in recent history, but now that I’m starting to get not-broke, I really, reeeeeally need something to pique my interest in tea again. And to get me back on Steepster. To Mahamosa! Or Verdant Tea! Or DavidsTea which I’ve never tried! And those French companies I keep hearing about! (And in the future I may be able to read their websites. I’m learning French!)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec
TheTeaFairy

I love boxes for tea, glad you found nice ones :-)
(Et je suis disponible pour pratiquer ton Français!)

Nxtdoor

See, tea fairy, I can read and understand that, but there’s no way I would have come up with it on my own.

TeaKlutz

Merci, TeaFairy! Comment-allez vous? Side note 1: I’m a beginner, so I’ll probably be making an idiot of myself for a while, and 2) it made me disproportionately happy to get a comment addressed to me in French.

TheTeaFairy

Nxtdoor, I think you are better than you give yourself credit for…

TeaKlutz, you are doing amazingly well! Je suis heureuse que mon commentaire t’ait plu ;-)

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82

It’s been FOREVER since I had this!

It’s not a tea I crave. Being a white tea, it’s too delicate for me to really feel like I’m “in the mood” for it. But it’s still sweet and light and soothing and delicious, and I have a fair-sized bag that I need to get through. And when I thought, “Dangit, I WILL make myself a cup of tea tonight!” this seemed like the logical choice. Mmm!

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82

Got it! I need to figure out the exact water temperature I had this at, but it’s just barely hot enough to hear the faintest hissing of the water in the kettle, then I steeped for 3 minutes. I’ve had hit-and-miss luck getting the flavor of this thing to come out, and I think I’ve finally got it down.

The first line of the first tasting note you see on the Steepster page of this tea is me squealing about swimming anime. God in heaven why.

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82

EEEEE the new episode of swimming anime is out!!!!

(shifts eyes) Of cooooourse I wasn’t obsessively looking forward to new swimming anime. What ever are you talking about?

This is the first time in almost a month I’ve had this tea (!!!) I figured it’d been a while, and the absolute last thing I need right now is lots of caffeine (work got busy right at the end and I was drinking black dragon pearl.) Think I understeeped it; it’s a mite weaker than my ideal, even for a white tea. Of course, I just decided it was of critical importance to eat cheese, bread, and cherry tomatoes as a late-night snack, so the effect is being undone anyway.

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82

I’m upping the rating on this one on account of it officially becoming a standard.

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82

Guesstimating on the steep time and temp, as usual.

Just the right amount of honeysuckle sweetness with light undertones of something more complex.

Perfection.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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82

Bad day at work. Good tea. Done.

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82

Methinks this is turning into my go-to white tea for my pre-bedtime routine.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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82

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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82

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.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 8 min or more

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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

Yup. I knew it. I did goof this tea by putting it in the tin that used to have chai. Oh well. Still tastes grassy and sweet – until I knock it over with my bass guitar and spill it all over my guitar amp. Damn!

Terri HarpLady

I hate when things like that happen! :)

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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

I’m working on sipping this one down. It’s a fairly close thing. Preparing tea samplers for Christmas did wonderful things for the numbers of tea in my cupboard… and allowed me to find new homes for some of the wonderful apple teas my husband hadn’t yet finished!

This is pretty much as I remember it – a little light, with a bright little burst of bergamot. It’s not going to be a hardship to finish, but I’m also not going to be ordering more.

Preparation
Boiling 3 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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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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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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