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Recent Tasting Notes
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #12
This one sounded like an interesting combination of ingredients! (And I could have used some happy today.) Upon opening the pouch it smells like super sweet strawberry. The blend itself looks like plain guayusa. I don’t miss the hibiscus.. hibiscus does NOT make me happy,in tea anyway… looking at those big gorgeous flowers is different! But the ripe candy strawberry is a really nice pairing with the guayusa flavors. I would have liked the apple and jasmine to make an appearance though. I’m saving a couple teaspoons of this one for later! Also, since this is guayusa I wouldn’t steep more than a teaspoon at a time.
Steep #1 // 10 min after boiling // 3 min
I happened across a cafe serving various Art of Tea teas while running errands, and decided to try this one since the description sounded nice and inviting. I didn’t get a look at the dry tea leaf blend. The brewed tea is a light amber orange color, with a pleasant floral aroma. As with many white teas, any addition of other flavors overpowers the tea base, even if, in this case, the flavors themselves are quite subtle. The most prominent note is lemon myrtle, which is quite gentle and not sharply citrusy as it can be in some blends. While I’m familiar with goji berry from its use in family recipes (it’s a very nice addition to Chinese-styled porridges), its presence here is very faint, and I would not have been able to identify it without knowing it was there. Overall, this is a mellow tea, floral and slightly sweet, but not interesting enough to warrant being a premium product with matching price tag. I have still yet to find a really impressive flavored white tea blend.
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #2
After making the list of teas, it looks like there are 30 teas I want to try and a few I can remove for later. Somehow the teabox arrived before I set up the next shipping order! I was much better with that last time. Round four signups are in the discussions if anyone is interested (in the US).
This tea certainly requires some work… the stars look hand tied together! Into my infuser went two of the stars that are about the size of a dime and a teaspoon of the black tea. I can appreciate that there is a vanilla black tea base with the stars, since the stars themselves don’t seem to add much flavor, even steeped at a few minutes after boiling. The black tea base has a lighter brew color, but it somehow looks syrupy before tasting and actually is more syrupy in texture! I love vanilla teas and this one is lovely. Very smooth. The second steep is almost the same as the first. So happy to try this one!
Steep #1 // few min after boiling // 3-4 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min
A Most excellent blend from art of tea “as usual” I found it on http://LilysTea.com , actually I “stumbled” upon it lol
Flavors: Berry, Floral, Sweet
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
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:
Backlog sipdown…I’ve really been depleting my stash at this rate! This one took a few months to get through, and right back on the wishlist it goes. It’s a perfect example of a green oolong that is greatly enhanced by the blend into something decadent but still refreshing. Though, my desire for greener teas has been plummeting as the weather gets colder, so maybe I won’t look for this one again until sometime next year.
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.
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!
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!
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…
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!
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. :)
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.
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.
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?