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Recent Tasting Notes
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
Dry, the scent of this tea reminds me of chewing gum. It’s likely the combination of spearmint and peppermint, but it smells exactly like mint gum and rooibos! There is a tiny bit of vanilla, but the mint really takes over. After it’s steeped, the rooibos, vanilla and mint seem to be of similar strength as far as scent is concerned.
Sipping… I’m liking this more than I thought I would! Usually mint overpowers everything, but it’s rather toned down in this blend. The main flavors are mint and wood from the rooibos. The brûlée part of the tea is really just a vanilla note for me, but it adds a bit of something smooth. It actually keeps the tea from being too much like toothpaste or a splintery, dry mint rooibos. Without it, I don’t think I’d like this cup as much.
I didn’t know if I should add this to my most recent order with Art of Tea, but it seemed like I should just give it a try. As much as I like rooibos, it seemed like this blend wouldn’t be all that special. I definitely taste sweet, woody rooibos, but there is something fruity that I can’t seem to identify. I can sort of pick out mango and some kind of tropical fruit if I try, but it’s really just a general kind of artificial fruit punch flavor. I think this is a very interesting combination to try with rooibos, but it doesn’t sit well with my tastebuds.
I’m not a fan of banana as a flavor, so this tea was a bit of a risk for me, but I’m very happy to have tried it since it’s an excellent desert tea! In fact this may be one of my favorite teas, after a few more cups we’ll see but it’s just so delicious! When my family goes camping we make sweet treats in the coals of our campfire, we start with a banana cut down the middle and add bits of chocolate and fruit, seal it in tinfoil then pop it into the fire. This tea tastes remarkably like that treat, it remind me of summer and campfires and laughing and all the good things from my childhood! So glad to have found this tea!
Smells delicious in the tin. Smells delicious while steeping. First sip was delicious.
Then the aftertaste comes marching in. It’s a hostile take-over folks. Currant leads the charge and the final blow is the medicinal taste that’s left when the dust settles. Ug.
I had such high hopes for this one based on the smell fresh out of the tin. Adding “currant” to the list of flavors I don’t care for.
I’m thrown off by the score here, which I suppose shouldn’t matter except that I really like this and it rated so poorly I feel as though I’m missing something. Regardless, I think this is one of the smoothest vanilla teas I’ve tasted with a nice berry finish. The truffle gets a little lost under the primary flavored but it comes through in the very pleasant aftertaste. I did under steep this a little after reading some of the reviews, about 2:30 with water at around 205f, perhaps that made the difference? I just love this one, 64 or not.