Arbor Teas

Recent Tasting Notes

77

I bought this sample to have another lighter tea for the summer, and for the pomegranate (doctor recommended it could help with joint stress). Of course, in my enthusiasm I failed to noticed there was no actual pomegranate in the tea-just natural flavoring (which may or may not be pomegranate).

Anyhow-Dry leaves are broken into large pieces. Something red is making this tea very colorful-the rosehips, I guess? Dry leaf aroma is mild and pleasant, smelling mostly of pomegranate. Brewed leaf smells strong and floral-kind of un-pleasant. Glad I took a sip before smelling this.

It has a pale yellow liquor. This tea is sweet, but not cloying. Light. Mellow. Smooth. Not too tart. Consumed straight in a mug. Might be nice iced. I don’t know that I would buy a regular size amount of this tea, but I think I’ll enjoy finishing my sample size.

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

I find pom. flavored things can be a bit too tart for me…

ScottTeaMan

Seems too tart with a white tea.

Scott B

Yeah, I was concerned about that, but this wasn’t. Of course,maybe I am less sensitive to it than others.

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85

Getting caught up on reviews. I consider this my 50th review since 2 of my 52 notes are still backlogged.

Decaff for my reflux and just to have more tea drinking options later in the day.

I agree with the other review-this seems like just a regular caffeinated tea. Actually, every quality tea I’ve had decaffeinated by the carbon dioxide process has tasted normal to me. I love that it’s organic. I also like that all the spices have purported health benefits.

I brewed this by adding boiling water from my tea boiler into a pre-warmed cup with an infuser basket in it. Almond milk was added after steeping. I know it’s not “proper”, but I did buy a boiler for convenience-not to always be “proper”.

So, this cupping is tasting a little different than last time. Previously, I used soy milk and sugar. Tonight I am using vanilla almond milk with sugar. Not normally a huge vanilla fan but it is working very well here. The spices seem to be drawing out the vanilla. This is supposed to have extra pepper, but I don’t taste an inordinate amount-perhaps because of the vanilla. This is really good with the vanilla almond, but it does change the character of the tea-so I’ll probably have to review it using unflavored soy next time.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard quality masala chai. Like the addition of cloves though, as that is not always in masala chais. I can add this to Upton’s Rooibos Chai as another very good dessert/evening tea option.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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81

This reminds me of the Vietnamese tea I had from TG. Dry leaves are tightly rolled, dark brown with some golden tips. Dry aroma-somewhat malty, with a note of orange citrus. Didn’t notice how much the leaves unfurled the first steep, but upon second steep they are completely unfurled. Brewed aroma is fairly malty. Liquor is nice and coppery. Tastes much like an Assam. Malty. Maybe a touch of citrus. Getting just the faintest note of cinnamon on occasion-wonder if cinnamon is grown nearby? Strong, but not bitter or astringent. Definitely a good solid morning tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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81

Nilgiri’s are supposed to make good iced teas, so I decided to try some before my sample runs out.

I used 2 teaspoons instead of one and hot brewed. Then I poured the brewed tea over a cup of ice until melted.

The tea is very clear, as promised. Strangely, I tasted a little bit of a floral flavor that isn’t there when consumed hot. There is also a little bit of a bitterness in the finish. This really called out for 2-3 teaspoons of sugar-although I only put in one. If you are a fan of lemon, I think it would take well to this.

It’s good, but I prefer it hot. I also don’t like to add more than a teaspoon or so of sugar-if any. I can’t say that I wouldn’t ice it again-but it’s not likely to be my top choice.

Rating number is for the hot tea.

EDIT – I couldn’t stand the thought of throwing the leaves out after one steep and I made a second steep. Same parameters save for a touch more ice. I’m enjoying this cup more. The bitterness is no longer noticeable and the floral note is gone. I’m tasting more spicy, woodsy notes now. This cup is a little sweeter and does not require any sugar at all. Very nice.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
TeaBrat

yes, I had a tea from Tao of Tea called Lemon drops, it was lemon myrtle mixed with Nilgiri and I liked that combination!

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81

This is my first Nilgiri.

Dry leaves are dark brown and twisted. Dry leaf aroma is a little malty and similar to an Assam. Liquor is lightly copper-maybe just a bit darker than a Darjeeling.

I really didn’t know what to expect from this tea-I bought it because I had never had a Nilgiri. I like most Indian blacks, so it seemed to be a reasonable choice. I agree there is a resemblance to a Ceylon tea-in fact, until I’m more experienced with Nilgiris, I’m not sure that I could tell this apart from a Ceylon in a blind taste test. I don’t taste the Assam notes I detected in the dry leaf. I don’t taste the floral notes that Arbor promises-which is fine, because I’m not big on floral. I also disagree in Arbor describing this tea as “delicate”-when I think delicate, I think of a white tea. I think it’s rather full-bodied and brisk. It’s fairly smooth, however-is it possible for tea to have characteristics of both briskness and smoothness?

Although I disagree with Arbor’s descriptions, I did enjoy this cup and look forward to drinking more of it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I’ve always heard NIlgiri makes a good iced tea. Regardless, I’ve only had one that was from the Tao of Tea…

Scott B

Yes, Arbor says it’s nice for iced tea because it won’t cloud. Hopefully, I will get a chance to try it that way.

ScottTeaMan

I’ve only had one or two Nilgiri teas-years ago, and at the time I didn’t really care for them. They do tend to be brisk, and the one (s) I had were citrusy-like lemons. I don;t really like lemon in my tea, so that’s why I didn’t really go GAGA over it. I may like a good Nilgiri now though, because my tastes in tea have evolved, so I should try some soon.

Amy, everyone says they make good iced tea, so it’s probably true. Did you like the one you had from Tao of Tea?

Scott B

Scott-I don’t really care for lemon either and I did not taste any citrus notes of any kind in this. It didn’t really hold up well to a second infusion,though.

ScottTeaMan

I don’t really remember what garden my Nilgiri tea came from, but it was brisk & lemomy. I’m sure they’re all not the same though.

TeaBrat

I had the plain nilgiri and the Lemon drops which had lemon myrtle in it. I liked them both but it sounds like I’m more of a lemon fan than either of you Scotts. :)

ScottTeaMan

At some point-soon, I need to try Nilgiri tea again, b/c my tastes could’ve changed. It may be that I like these teas more now. I was sort of a loose tea newb, back then. :))

Scott B

Scott-Yeah, Nilgiri seems pretty adventurous for someone just starting out. Tastes do change, so there might be a Nilgiri you like.

Amy-I like strawberry or raspberry lemonade, but otherwise, can’t think of much I like with lemon. Perhaps that’s why I don’t like Earl Grey-bergamot tastes too lemony to me.

ScottTeaMan

Interesting…….I like Earl Grey, & bergamot doesn’t taste lemony to me. At least I never noticed it before. Well, I’m off to try to brew my Goomtee Darjeeling gongfu style. :))

Scott B

Oh, I hope I didn’t put lemon in your mind while your drinking Earl Grey! I wouldn’t say that it tastes exactly like lemon to me-but bergamot does taste more like lemon than any other citrus I am familiar with. Enjoy your brew.

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99

I am new to puerh and this is just the 3rd one I have ever tried. So far, this is best puerh I have ever tasted. The first 2 that I have tried are too fishy. I tried to simulate some “rinsing” as in the gaiwan, and it took me about 4 or 5 “rinses” to remove that fishiness. But with this one from Arbor Teas, I really didn’t have to. And yes, it gets better after every infusion! What a revelation! No astringency. I have experimented to cold brew the spent leaves in the refrigerator for my own iced tea (that makes about the 5th infusion). What a wonderful tea! In the iced tea, by the way, I have recently infused it along with some hisbiscus petals. The possibilities are endless!

Preparation
0 min, 45 sec

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88

Difficult taste to describe – it’s like tea with honey already added. Slight dryness, it tastes like what I always wished coffee would taste like… Some sort of dark, licorice smooth flavor. Sweet. Good to drink at night.

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

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90

Just finishing up a cup of this now…not as good as the last time I tried it but I think my water was too hot…I’ll let the rating stick. See previous notes…

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90

MATCHA-THON MATCHA #7

CREAMY! Woooooot! I’m not flying high…YET
See previous notes!

DaisyChubb

It’ll kick in ;)

Autumn Hearth

Oh dear, 7? I think I would be ill. More power to you though!

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90

Special thanks to LiberTEas for this one!

I agree with her in saying this is smooth, slightly vegetal, but more importantly CREAMY. No grit which is GREAT! Very nice! Extra points for that! This is a matcha for the books!

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94

This subtle brew may not be for Everyone, esp those who like English Breakfast. (Should I presume they also do tea English, w/ milk and sugar?) This tea with wonderful name (i promise myself to practice saying it before talking it up) has subtlified me back to Darjeeling days and a tea from local Persian restaurant that made tastebuds drunk on hints of fruit. Oh that I could chew stems these’d be they! Steep time: 3.5 min, next cup’ll be 4.0. Temp 195-ish.

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79

The first time I brewed this, I didn’t add enough leaf to my steeping vessel and it tasted just a little too hibiscus-y. This time, though, I added a little more leaf, and the flavor of the cup is infinitely better than the first go-around. The hibiscus flavor is still there, but, it manages to mingle with the other ingredients of this tea well enough so that it doesn’t taste too hibiscus-y (just be sure to use a little extra leaf so that you can get something from those other ingredients!)

Usually, when it comes to teas with hibiscus, I sort of groan about this inclusion… but I actually understand why it was added here. The hibiscus adds a pretty plum-red color to the cup and more importantly, at least from my perspective, it adds a plum nectar-like texture to the cup. This tastes a bit like a plum cider (without spices! But I think that some cinnamon would be amazing in this).

A very nice Oolong. Not my favorite from Arbor Teas, but they can’t all be my favorites, can they?

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60

Very mellow, grassy, vegetal. Buttery and smooth- Not bitter at all and rather savory. A more “chilled out” green tea (vs. say, intense & bitter sencha)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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92

It always surprises me when I say this about decaffeinated tea, but I’m LOVING this! I have had more than my share of decaffeinated teas that are thin and chemical tasting, but this is NOT one of those. This has such a beautiful, unified flavor … the spices and tea are so well-rounded. Spicy and very comforting! If I had brewed this “blindly” without the knowledge that it is decaffeinated, I would not have been able to tell. It is really, REALLY good.

Jillian

I think it at least partially has to do with the decaffeination method that’s being used. Some of them will leave a taste ‘residue’ while other won’t.

LiberTEAS

I’m certain that is it. I also think that the overall practice has improved greatly since the time I first started exploring decaffeinated teas.

Missy

In my search of all things tea like, I stumbled across how to decaffeinate tea. Since caffeine is soluble, one can simple steep for 20-30 seconds and discard the water. Resteep and you have your decaff tea. I used to drink a lot of coffee so its very hard for me to tell if I am feeling the effects of caffeine or not. I do not have trouble sleeping when I do this but I didn’t have trouble sleeping right after drinking a cup of coffee either.

LiberTEAS

There are some who believe this, I don’t know it to be true. I have read conflicting studies that suggest that this process does not remove all of the caffeine. In fact, if I remember correctly, this was a topic of discussion in the forum at one point.

Anyway, I don’t have difficulty sleeping due to caffeine intake, this was merely a sample that was given to me so I sampled it. :)

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92

Organic Vietnam Nam Lanh OP

Dry aroma: Soft exotic scent, resembling tarragon, muted 5-spice and the scent of the woods in Autumn.

Wet aroma: fruity currant, raw sugar, subtle spice

Appearance: Dark umber leaves and stems with fully-oxidized, fairly uniform cut and sort, some lighter blond accents

Cup: Dark caramel-cola colored liquor. Smooth, rich flavor with distinct notes of coriander, blushingly sweet finish, with lingering notes of hickory wood and ethereal smoke. Moderate bodied and exceptionally clean.

I managed to brew 3 extractions on 3g in a 6oz celadon gaiwan and each had a similar strength and profile.

I received this sample from what I believe is the importer/distributor of this tea and so I can’t rightly say it came from Arbor Teas, but I do think it is the same tea and tea source. Either way I think this is a great offering and worthy to show case as a tea outside of the normal production arenas. Having had a few teas from Vietnam, I find them wonderful to share and I think they do have a natural terroir all their own and this shows itself even more clearly in the green and oolongs, where the mellow, smooth character displays distinct notes that grow more elusive in the black’s oxidation. A great tea for anyone who thinks black teas are all tart and tannic, bitter, or biscuit-like.

This tea blended well with the day in an unexpected way.

It’s a unseasonably warm March day, lingering on the Ides of March, which were made ominously haunted by the death of a good friend of mine a few years back. He was the best cowboy hat-wearing, coffee slinging, cycling-nerd, generous soul, and military hero that I have every known and one of the few people I would ever have considered a mentor. In addition, I learned that I buddy of mine’s ex-wife passed away, too young and too gentle a person to have gone so soon. So the overcast weather, dreary warm and unusual day has had in its swirling center, a cup equally elusive, mercurial, and worthy of celebration and remembrance.

“beauty is that which unrepeatable” – cherish each moment, each connection, each sip.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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83

I really have enjoyed this green tea. It is very smooth and pleasantly sweet, with a light vegetal tone and a lovely citrus-y overtone. Very mellow, relaxing, calming… and at the same time, restorative.

I notice some similarities to a Darjeeling in this tea, as it was grown in the same region. It has the lemon-y note, and even some woodsy tones in the background that are very Darjeeling-esque, however, this tea lacks the astringency that I usually would experience with a Darjeeling. It isn’t as crisp as a Darjeeling, instead, I find this to be rather smooth and mellow.

A very nice offering from Arbor Teas.

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95

What a wonderful Matcha. So bright and vibrant! The color is such a bright, vivid green! And it froths up well and stays frothed up long after I’m finished whisking.

This is a ceremonial grade Matcha so it is thick, rich and creamy. Very smooth – VERY smooth – no grit at all, not even when I reach the bottom of the chawan. it is buttery and vegetal and sweet. Very energizing too.

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79

Part of an ancient sample I found in my tea stash, I decided to finish it off this morning and mixed it with a bit of plain assam. I believe this is the older formulation of tea, without the cloves. Even mixed with the assam it still has very assertive and sweet cinnamon notes. This was better with a bit of stevia which brought out some of the cinnamon sweetness. Enjoyable enough but don’t think it will end up as part of my permanent collection.

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79

I decided I had to have a cup of this after lunch for something dessert-y.

Steeped at 212 F for 4 minutes in an infuser mug. It is pretty potent when you steep it that long, I might try for a little less next time around. The cinnamon is pretty strong in this blend but it is definitely a bit on the sweeter side. I didn’t love it plain but it was perfect with a bit of soymilk for a kind of dessert tea. If I really wanted a cinnamon tea on hand at all times I would probably pick some more of this up (it’s a sample size), but I might be more of a chai person. I do wonder what he Indian tea is they’re blending this with here, I don’t think it’s a ceylon. I’m thinking perhaps it’s the Singampatti Oothu Estate?

An enjoyable afternoon cuppa… for cinnamon lovers only. :)

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68

I do like this tea. The orange does over-power the other spices, so it’s not as “chai” as I thought it would be be. But with just a touch of sweetness added, I like it a lot.

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84

This is one of my favorites. I love the fruity flavor with the oolong, but the color is what really makes me love it. I always use a glass pot because I love to see the colors of my teas, and this one is stunning. I don’t get as tart of a flavor as other reviewers have, maybe because I am using a lower water temp or less tea per pot.

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92

It’s amazing! Great taste, fresh spices, the balance between the spices are excellent. Used 2 tsp, steeped in half water, added the other half of boiled whole milk {served lifting the milk way up while serving it in an attempt to froth the milk as a latte} & added honey. Such a treat, made my day. I sometimes worry about the strength of the clove & peppercorns but they blend perfectly.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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