Art of Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

81

This is my first Darjeeling, and I’m not particularly a fan of black teas but this one is quite good. Creamy yet with an apple-like crispness, and hardly astringent. Good without milk. I’m drinking this while eating nilla wafers and it’s like a slice of heaven :3

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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69

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69

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69

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69

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69

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69

The deep woodsy flavors of the Rooibos and Honeybush ended up dominating this blend. While I’ve come to appreciate these notes more over the past few years I still tend to prefer blends where they are a bit more subtle. Beyond that there was a tartness to this blend that didn’t quite taste like blueberry, but rather a generic tart berry flavor. I was hoping for a a nice balance of sweet and tart from the blueberry, there are a number of teas that fit that bill, but unfortunately this one didn’t quite live up to other blueberry flavored teas that I’ve had. What was missing entirely were the sweet and creamy flavors of cheesecake. Even the addition of some German rock sugar couldn’t coax them out, leaving me incredibly disappointed in this blend.

You can read the complete review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2014/7/8/tuesday-tea-blueberry-cheesecake-art-of-tea.html

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92
drank Mandarin Silk by Art of Tea
104 tasting notes

My taste buds might be a little fatigued by all the roasty oolongs and black teas I’ve been drinking recently, they’re all starting to taste just a little too similar. So this tea happens to be a wonderful palette cleanser. For an oolong, it’s very green, and it does have that little bit of astringency to it, but in this case it’s not a negative attribute. In the afternoon it’s downright refreshing.

Steeped in a mug Western style. Along with the greeness, this tea is full of the baked-treats goodness I remember from before. It’s very hard to tell from the first steep that it was even blended or flavored with other ingredients, as the overall effect is just so naturally harmonious. Only in the second cup are the citrus notes evident, and it ends up like a creamy lemon meringue pie. Pleasantly surprised, since previously I could only get this from cold brewing.

By the way, any ideas on how to brew oolong/black tea less sweet? Every cup I’ve made with my Verdants in the last few days tasted like it had too much fruit juice in it, whether I’ve tried to make it gongfu style or used Western proportions. The only thing I changed recently is that I started using a larger kettle so that I would have enough water to rinse and do a few infusions. Previously I had a tiny, single-serving kettle that was…cute but not ideal. Due to design issues, I had to watch the small kettle like a hawk, usually stopping it around 160-180F, but I let the large kettle come to a full boil and often wander away in the meantime. That’s all I can think of.

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92
drank Mandarin Silk by Art of Tea
104 tasting notes

I picked this one up at a little coffeeshop near my new place. Art of Tea has some good blends, and this one had won some awards, so I was pretty excited to try it.

The dry blend has large, twisted dark green leaves with a few marigold petals. The aroma is very inviting, buttery with hints of vanilla cream. Once brewed, the liquor is very pale in color. The flavor for this tea is just fantastic, buttery and reminiscent of baked goods, almost like a soft and fresh madeleine cookie. I brewed this one both hot and cold, and the lemon myrtle is only really apparent in the cold brew, as a gentle, citrusy twist that blends into the creaminess.

This is my first experience with a pouchong oolong, and it’s similar to a dancong in some ways. The blend really brings out the best in this tea without distracting or detracting from it. I can foresee drinking a lot of this in the future!

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62
drank 1896 by Art of Tea
1676 tasting notes

Last sipdown for tonight! (unless I’m up to 3am again?) (186)
Thank you Sil!

I’m with you on this one. It’s sorta meh. I get light black tea notes and rose. Mostly rose. I get the impression that this one is mostly scented, instead of flavoured. Still, I’m happy I got to try it! :D

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77
drank Japanese Cherry by Art of Tea
1676 tasting notes

Sipdown! (226)
Thank you to 221tea for sending some of this on! I don’t crave green teas enough, but I finally sat down with this and quite enjoyed it. I’m getting cherry notes, and buttery spinach in the green and it’s balanced nice and now it’s gone. :O So, thank you! That’s always a good sign.

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drank Starry Night by Art of Tea
581 tasting notes

Ooh! A bitter cup! Left this to steep for too long, dang :/
But it smells oh so SO good. All the vanilla goodness :) And there was this weird looking tea mass? I have no idea what it was, maybe just tea rolled up into one massive node but I’ve saved it for next time :)

Thank you QueenOfTarts for sending this my way!

Preparation
3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cheri

I hate when that happens.

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70

Sipdown (167/173)!

Well, this last cup was kinda disappointing. I made it in my timolino after preparing it the exact same way a few days earlier and loving it – but this felt so wrong!

For starters: there was zero mint to be found, and the Pu’Erh was ghastly strong and muddy tasting. What happened to the nice balance between all the different flavours? This was really quite lopsided with maybe the smallest trace of chocolate/vanilla?

Well, I’ve changed my mind about wanting to seek this out down the road. If it’s going to be this inconsistent I don’t want to fuss with it; and just… Ick.

Knocking my rating down a ways to balance between the two extremes: one awesome cup and one awful cup…

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70

Another Christmas-y blend I felt I needed to work on finishing off, so I made it in my timolino for work. I received it back around January as an extra sample from someone’s tea sale: I believe Queenoftarts? I could be wrong though.

I actually thought it was just black tea up until the hot water hit the leaf – and then I was able to immediately smell the Pu’Erh. Of course looking it up now to log it, it does have Pu’Erh in it. Visually I couldn’t tell from the leaf though.

Taste wise I was a little let down but also simultaneously pleasantly surprised. The let down was the the mint was really faint – pretty much only just present enough to realize it was there; and I was expecting more. But maybe moderation was a good thing: the chocolate/vanilla combo was tasty and meshed surprisingly well with the Pu’Erh which was very strong and earthy in a really good way.

At first I thought I was unimpressed with this blend but by the time I was at the bottom of the timolino I was so heartbroken I was out! I have one more cup worth left though; so I’m excited for that to see if it’s consistently good. It’s summer(ish) now so I wouldn’t think about restocking at the moment but I could get behind having more of this back in the winter!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Amariel

Hmmm, pu erh and mint? Interesting.

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drank Mandarin Silk by Art of Tea
517 tasting notes

I’m pretty sure this one came my way from ifjuly! I’ve had it at work forever and lost track of it. Found it today and steeped it up. It’s a nice, smooth oolong with vanilla and a bit of citrus to it. I think I prefer Tea Merchant’s Silk Dragon but this is a pretty nice option and I wouldn’t turn down a cup. :)

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I actually love chrysanthemum tea, all by itself. I used to drink a cup every day while I was fixing dinner. I haven’t been doing that, for awhile. I also haven’t been drinking my Nettles tea, which is probably why my allergies are so bad this year.

So today, after my gig, I drank a cup of this while I was fixing my dinner. I’ve had these flowers for awhile now, but the tea still tastes good to me, & I enjoyed it. End of story.

Charissa

I really like chrysanthemum tea by itself too! It has a really unique, nice flavor. I believe in Chinese medicine it is used as a “cooling” tea, to help balance out the body.

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88
drank Ancient Forest by Art of Tea
58 tasting notes

This tea had a great deal to live up to, having been hand picked from tea tree’s a 1,000 years old found only in an ancient mountain preserve a mile above sea level. I don’t know if any tea could live up to such a backstory but it is a very fine black tea. It actually tastes quite like an oolong, although not quite as malty. Honey is the predominant note for me, with a woodsy body and a nice smooth finish. My only complaint is that it didn’t hold up very well after 4 steeps but that’s to be expected with the smaller leaves used.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

This was the second Yunnan black I ever had :)

Brian

What was the best?

Whispering Pines Tea Company

This one: www.whisperingpinestea.com/imperial-gold-bud.html :D

I’m soooo lucky to be able to import this tea :)

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drank turkish apple by Art of Tea
438 tasting notes

Mmmm, cinnamon apple! I’m not a big apple tea fan, but I wanted to try this anyways and it is good. It is pretty smooth and true to apple taste. It tastes more like cooked or baked apple and that impression is helped along by the cinnamon. I’m not sure what makes this Turkish. Do Turks often eat apples with cinnamon?

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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drank Cinnamon Fig by Art of Tea
438 tasting notes

Fig?! I’m getting more apricot/peach than fig. I can detect a little bit of cinnamon, but not much. It seems a little astringent, but I may have made it a little too concentrated since I’m doing 1/4 cup flight tastings and don’t always have the measurements dialed in. This tea also could be old, having been in a TTB. It doesn’t taste much like what I’d expect, but it isn’t bad either.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Butterscotch by Art of Tea
438 tasting notes

I plucked this out of a traveling tea box to try! It came in a bag that says it appears identical to Tealux’s Butterscotch Potion and it looks about the same as a sample I have of Persimmon Tree’s Butterscotch. It tastes about the same as PT’s version too. It is nice, smooth… a little butterscotch on the sip and more in the aftertaste. I could drink more of this and I think I will!

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

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68
drank Cinnamon Fig by Art of Tea
690 tasting notes

From the Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box #2

After reading some of the reviews on this one I was a little afraid to try it, but I like cinnamon, and I like fig. I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it a shot.

Not bad! Cinnamon is the main flavor, but it’s not a super intense cinnamon. It’s a softer, warmer spice, and it pairs well with the fig which is sweet and gives the tea some depth. The base tea didn’t have a lot to offer, but it didn’t detract from the flavors either.

Given that a couple of the people who participated in this tea box thought this tea tasted like a stinky shoe, I feel like I dodged a bullet. This isn’t a tea I would purchase for myself (although I’d love to find a good fig tea!), but I’d drink a cup if it were offered to me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
carol who

Have you ever tried Fig Rose from Teavana? It’s one of my favorites!

Veronica

I haven’t. Thanks for the recommendation! I have to go to the mall this weekend, so I’ll see if my local store carries it.

Tea Sipper

Oh, I’d love to find a good fig tea too.

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68
drank 1896 by Art of Tea
52 tasting notes

I had high hopes for this tea. I was hoping for a lightly flavored black tea to add to my morning routine. Sadly it did not live up to expectations. It’s not a bad tea, it’s just an “ok” tea. I got hints of grapefruit with a flowery finish. I am finding that I am not a fan of flowers in my tea.

I will save it for swaps, but it won’t be a restock for me.

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89

What initially intrigued me about this tea, other than it’s close resemblance to Mayan Hot Chocolate, is that it uses pu-erh for a base. Finding a pu-erh blend that I enjoy has been a lot harder to accomplish than I thought it would be. I’ve been searching for one that I could drink every day for the better part of a year. The problem is that most of the ingredients in pu-erh blends seem to clash somewhat with the deep earthy flavor, but when I saw the description I knew it was a match made in heaven. The ground chocolate and cacao nibs don’t add a ton of flavor, instead they contribute a subtle sweetness and hint of chocolate. The flavor that takes center stage is the cinnamon. I found this a little disappointing because there is so much cinnamon that it tends to take over and mask the other flavors, including the little kick that the chili flakes add. Even though there is a little too much cinnamon for my tastes it’s still an absolutely delicious blend. Although, if you aren’t accustomed to the combination of chocolate and chilies together it may take some time to adjust to the different flavors.

You can read the whole review on my blog
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2014/4/29/tuesday-tea-aztec-spice-art-of-tea.html

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

Sounds good

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85
drank Banana Dulce by Art of Tea
58 tasting notes

This is a very tasty Rooibos blend that I find hard to categorize. For me the dominant note isn’t the banana at all, odd given the name, but rather the chamomile and the coconut are the dominate flavors for me. It was actually a pleasant surprise since I don’t often care for banana flavoring in anything, much less tea. The banana is very restrained I think, opting to enhance the Rooibos and work with the other flavors rather than scream and shout on its own. Overall it’s a very good and well rounded tea!

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