Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

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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75

I’m trying to drink this one more often to finish the bag. I went and got 2oz of it originally, when I thought it would be one of my faves. It really isn’t bad, but i’ve been too spoiled with options since I bought this one and it’s hard not to be picky.

I didn’t think much of it before, but this dragonwell has a lot of twigs in the mix, maybe that is what is taking from its potentially more vegetal flavor? It’s very mildly smoky, I think.

Brew notes:
3.5g/12oz water 1.5min@170deg

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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75

I tried different brewing parameters this time. Trying to get it just right! I used 3 grams for 16oz of water and steeped for 1.5min at 175. It was a pretty decent cup. I haven’t been careful about introducing the water slowly at the edge before pouring directly on the leaves. I wonder how much difference that even makes. I’ll have to try it next time.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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75

Dragonwell was one of my favorites in the beginning of my tea adventures, but lately I’ve been craving more savory vegetal greens. I have this dragonwell along with arbor teas less premium variety. I can detect the differences, but neither is particularly ‘better’ to me. I also have one from Adagio that I don’t like so much (it is vaguely reminiscent of cat pee, not kidding). I still like my dragonwells and will keep trying new ones from different sources, but it’s not my favorite green at the moment.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

I tried brewing this that past couple of times according to ‘traditional’ methods (using more leaf per oz, 160-150deg water, 90sec) and it seemes to produce a more bitter cup than when I originally brewed it at 175 for 2 min with less leaf. It’s been a while since that first cup, so I am going to have to try again to see if it makes the difference. It’s still really good, even with the bitterness. I like it better than sencha for sure.

EDIT: I just re-steeped the leaves after a few hours. I used 150deg water like the first time (I meant to use hotter, but I let it cool too long). I let the leaves steep for 60 seconds (an arbitrary choice) and the final product was a lot less bitter than the first cup. This is probably the first time that a second steeping has turned out better than the first for me.

I think gyokuro is going to take a lot of experimentation to get it just right all the time. But I look forward to the task :)

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Sample package label:
“USDA Organic, Fair Trade certified
Suggested Steeping Guide:
One scant tsp. / 212*F / 3-5 minutes”
http://www.arborteas.com/organic-keemun-hao-ya-a-black-tea.html#

Introduction: Kevin @ The Whistling Kettle first introduced me to Keemun tea: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/152917#likes I’ve purchased several pounds from him and have thoroughly enjoyed it. When I saw that Arbor Teas offers two different organic Keemun teas, I had to sample them. This second review is of their premium Keemun.

Technique:
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 25 ppm, heated to 212*F
1 “scant” Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Results:
This tea has a mild smoky fragrance.
Dark brown hue

1st cup:
3-min Initial Impression: The taste is medium-bodied & smooth. It’s not at all bitter or astringent. (I then let it steep for an additional two minutes.)
5-min: Too long – It now has a prominent roasted quality that overshadows the subtle wine-like Keemun flavor.

2nd cup:
4-min: It’s a deep, smooth, rich, full-bodied breakfast tea with a slight smokiness and a subtle wine-like Keemun flavor that’s not at all bitter or astringent.

5-min re-steep:
Still enjoyable and a little lighter as you would expect. In fact, the classic wine-like Keemun flavor is now a little better appreciated.

Impression: A smooth, full-bodied, organic Keemun that is more robust than their less expensive organic Keemun. However, it has a subtle classic wine-like Keemun flavor, which one would not expect of a premium Hao Ya A.

Suggestion: Using teaspoon measurements such as “scant” “rounded”, “generous”, “heaping”, etc. are sometimes too imprecise. Adding the weight of tea in grams to the brewing recommendations would insure an optimum first impression and be more time efficient.

Thanks to Arbor Teas and Aubrey for providing this overstuffed free sample.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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75

After sampling so many different types of tea and then returning to this, one of my originals, I find that it is not as good as I remember. It has a hint of that dirty/muddy flat taste that I associated with my Sencha for a while (until I figured out how to brew it correctly!). But I prepared this the same as I always have, so I dunno why it seems different now.

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Sample package label:
“USDA Organic, Fair Trade certified
Suggested Steeping Guide:
One generous tsp. / 212*F / 3-5 minutes”
http://www.arborteas.com/organic-keemun-black-tea.html

Introduction: Kevin @ The Whistling Kettle first introduced me to Keemun tea: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/152917#likes I’ve purchased several pounds from him and have thoroughly enjoyed it. When I saw that Arbor Teas offers two different organic Keemun teas, I had to sample them. This first review is of the more cost-effective one.

Technique: 8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 21 ppm, heated to 212*F
1 “generous” Tevanna teaspoon, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Results:
This tea has a mild smoky fragrance.
Amber hue

1st cup: I first followed the brewing recommendations and after 5 minutes this Keemun was medium-bodied – not what I expected.

2nd cup: I kept everything the same but reduced the water to 6 oz. and it was too strong.

3rd Cup (8 oz. water & 1 Heaping tsp.):
3-min Initial Impression: The taste is light & smooth. It’s not at all bitter or astringent. (I then let it steep for an additional minute.)
4-min: Improving
5-min: It’s a smooth, full-bodied breakfast tea with a prominent roasted quality that overshadows the subtle wine-like Keemun flavor.

Impression: A cost-effective, smooth, full-bodied, organic Keemun.

Suggestion: With this tea, I used most of the sample to find the optimum balance of water & tea. This results in less of an opportunity to explore the subtleties of the tea. Using teaspoon measurements such as “rounded”, “generous”, “heaping”, etc. are sometimes too imprecise. Adding the weight of tea in grams to the brewing recommendations would be helpful and more time efficient.

(This tasting experience reminds me, I need to find a good digital tea scale. Does anyone have a recommendation?)

Thanks to Arbor Teas and Aubrey for providing this overstuffed free sample.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75

Sipdown

Don’t know if I’ll be restocking yet. It was good, but I want to try out other black teas too.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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