Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

75

Our stores are now creating little micro-sites where you can go to a website for each individual location and see stuff like the employees (including pics, bios, and stuff), events scheduled in the store, etc. It’s a little daunting because I don’t want people looking at my page and assuming I’m THE EXPERT OF ALL THINGS TRUMPET, but I’m having a lot of fun working on it. Man, I miss playing trumpet…

I’ve been drinking this the past couple of days, mostly because it’s the only black tea I now own that isn’t earl grey (which, with Teavana’s version, I have to be in the right mood for), Irish breakfast (which is nice, but not something I want every single day), or pu erh poe (which still smells and tastes like FIIIIIIIISH!) The fact that I’m still not in love with this tea is beside the point. I wanted some time to sit down with this tea, dump music into my iTunes library, and work on whatever non-stressful project I wanted to at that time. Mmm, tea moments!

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75

Take 2. Brewed this a bit long, but mmm! Nice and malty this time around, but still with that bit of fresh astringency. My opinion of this tea is going up. We’ll see if it becomes a staple.

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75

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!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 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

It’s one of those days you gotta laugh a little. So it’s my Friday off, a day I’d been really looking forward to. So far, my hair appointment for today, which I’d scheduled 24 days ago after needing it for two months, got cancelled; I agreed to go to the bike trail with my parents after we’d already ridden our bikes around the neighborhood, only to get rained on once we got to the trail; and when I went out this afternoon to catch a brief bit of sun, some painful buggy thing got under my shirt and stung me twice ON THE BOOB, both times hard enough to draw blood. So right now, I am sitting in my room, trying not to make Mother Nature any angrier than she already is, with an ice pack wrapped in my crappy tank top and tucked under my bra, listening to this one Parliament song I really should have previewed before I sent it to my bass teacher saying, “I wanna learn this! I think I can do it!” And drinking my keemun.

So. This keemun. I don’t remember it being so smoky the last time I made it. It’s not a good smoke like my lapsang souchong, either. It’s burnt-rubber smoke, in the aroma as well as the flavor. I hope it’s not the influence of the yunnan noir from yesterday and today. There’s a dark fruity? taste that I think I got more of the first time around, but it’s only an undertone. I know there are different grades of keemun; I’m wondering if this is a lesser-grade one. I need to pour it into my clear bowl to look at the liquor, but the impression I’ve gotten is that it’s fairly light. Knocking the rating way down.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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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

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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