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Recent Tasting Notes
It’s been a busy, and tiring week at work! I’ve built up a whole week’s worth of missed reviews, so time to crack into those before I have class in a few hours…
And speaking of class, I finished this tea off as a “cold infused juice” which was an optional recipe for the class I’m currently taking, which is tea and food pairings/cooking with tea. Basically, I just cold brewed a larger than normal amount of tea straight into some orange juice. As someone who’s already very comfortable with cold brewing it was impossible to resist trying this out. It’s something I’ve actually been curious about even before this class.
I picked out this tea because I thought the strong floral/rose notes of the tea would really compliment the orange. And it totally did! The flavour pairing was a really solid choice, and I’m happy with coming up with it all on my own instead of following the ‘guide’ of tea/food pairings we received in class. While it IS nice to have that as a reference, I think coming up with good pairings is definitely a skill and one I want to master without a major crutch.
The only issue, I’d say, was that the orange juice was still very strong and while I definitely did taste the tea there was still a lot of competitive flavour from the juice itself. That’s an issue because cold brewing this way already takes a lot more leaf than a normal cold brew would and cold brews ‘eat’ leaf really quickly already. I’m going to try this again, for sure, but I need to play around with how I’m using my “juice” base. I don’t know if that means I’ll use a different kind of juice or if I’ll cut it first with water but some more experimentation is definitely coming.
As for the tea itself; for one I didn’t actually pick out myself to order (it was a free sample) I was really quite happy with it and I’d be tempted to get more with my next absolutely inevitable Camellia Sinensis order. It’ll depend on whether it’s available in sizes smaller than 50g because I wouldn’t want that much. If I can scoop up 25g I’ll be getting more.
Flavors: Floral, Rose
Freebie sample from my last Camellia Sinensis order!
Today in tea chat I had Oolong Owl pick something for me to brew up that I hadn’t tried before ’cause I was feeling indecisive and this is what she chose. So, prior to and during class today I brewed this tea Gong Fu in one of my gaiwans.
It’s a really interesting tea: I don’t have a ton of experience with Chinese blacks. Admittedly, I think I lean a little more towards Indian blacks but I’m open to learning and exploring and trying new things. I wasn’t the most technical about this session; but really when am I ever when it comes to brewing Gong Fu? I much prefer to just drink in the moment and go with what feels right rather than take a more technical/precise approach. There’s a time and place for that, but sometimes tea is best as an experience.
Seven infusions in total:
Infusions one to three had a very dry, astringent initial mouthfeel but none of the infusions were actually bitter. All infusions except for maybe the last one were quite rose flavoured which was a different experience. I’ve definitely drank my fair share of floral blacks but don’t think I’ve had much experience with ones that taste distinctly rosey and certainly not to this level/degree. I quite liked the flavour, though! Then, the first few infusions were more nutty with a woody undertone; a mix of sort of peanut nuttyness as well as a sweeter almond-like flavour. Both almond skin which has a drier nutty taste and then as infusions progressed a more sweet, marzipan-like nutty flavour. There were honey notes too which seemed stronger as the infusions progressed. The middle infusions had a nice fruity quality to them; kind of like red currants? But the first few and last few infusions lacked this flavour. Faint notes of cinnamon, as well but not consistently throughout steeps.
This was a really interesting, enjoyable tea! I’d have never picked it out for myself either, so I’m definitely thankful that Camellia Sinensis added it to my order. They’re probably just adding random teas as free samples, but occasionally it feels like the samples they toss in are more thoughtfully picked out. Not sure, honestly. I’d definitely brew this again Gong Fu except I’ve already got the remainder of the leaf cold brewing right now in some orange juice as it’s the tea I thought would best work for the optional juice infusion from class this week.
It’s my birthday, so I decided to celebrate with this. I would have preferred some sheng, but this is what was available, so it will have to do. I opened the package and gave these old leaves a whiff. I was picking up some real old tones. I picked up some slight roast, parchment, and just a little bit of dry sweetness. I warmed up my new teapot and cups (Novak :D) and poured these little curls in. The scent deepened into a deep earth and dry minerals. This scent was a lot like a basement in the summer. It’s a good but oddly strange scent. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves had an amazing scent! I really loved the spice, musk, mineral aroma. I picked up some amazing pine resin scent with a background of smoke. The aroma was so good! The flavor was something unique. The taste began drying with some pleasant sour tones. The sip then developed to an intense pine flavor. I got a nice head high and body buzz from the drink. In later steeping I picked up some maple syrup sweetness. I was able to pull only about four good steeping sessions. The session was decent, but it wasn’t all that amazing. I thought that for the price this should be at least somewhat fantastic. However, it was still a good experience, and I still have some to try out. I will hopefully find a better suited birthday tea…
Flavors: Earth, Maple, Musty, Paper, Pine, Pleasantly Sour, Resin, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
Puerh Tea TTB. This tea is excellent. It’s fruity with notes of cocoa. It has very little fermentation flavor left for a 2012 tea. I did not notice a heavy fermentation taste that you might expect in a recent shou. I think I get a slight note of camphor here, but very slight. There are no off tastes or wet storage tastes. Camellia Sinensis must have done a good job of storing this tea. This is definitely one I would look into buying if it is still available. I used a little less leaf on this than my usual because there was only 6.6g of leaf left in the original 15g sample. So I think later steeps were a little weak. Nothing more leaf wouldn’t solve anyway.
I brewed this tea twelve times in a 100ml gaiwan with 6.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. I think with a larger amount of leaf this tea would go twenty steeps or nearly anyway.
Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
A very pleasant asamushi sencha: softly marine with a slight roasted flavour in the first infusion, followed by a surprisingly muted astringency in the second. The third brew produces a refreshingly sweet liquor.
First infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz water, 65 deg., 1:00 min.
Second infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 65 deg., 2:00 min.
Third infusion – 5 g. per 8 oz. water, boiling, 10:00 min.
I spent most of my day drinking this tea.
I bought 50g of it during my last Camellia Sinensis order because I’m seasoning my first ever yixing with Lapsang Souchong and Camellia Sinensis’ version is pretty well reviewed and very affordable. Plus the idea of a “licorice” note present in a LS intrigued me. You can see a picture of my pot here:
Doesn’t the little dragon spout just seem SUPER appropriate for a pot dedicated to smoky/ashy Lapsang? Pretty sure I’ve nailed the “matching the pot to the tea” aspect.
I spent A LOT of time researching the best way to season my pot, which is what I did today, and while I was REALLY tempted to use the boiling in a pot method I ultimately played it cautious and am instead going to be naturally seasoning it through general use. While flavour sucking is the big concern about seasoning a pot that way I figured that LS is such an incredibly potent/strong full bodied tea anyway that some flavour sucking wouldn’t be a terrible thing especially if I just overleafed my first few Gong Fu sessions to compensate. And to be fair, today was my first time trying the Camellia Sinensis Lapsang Souchong but I didn’t feel like much flavour was lost.
It tasted like Lapsang Souchong: strong smoke/ash notes and a defined woody taste as well like described on the website/packaging. Certainly, this wasn’t the sweetest or smoothest LS I’ve tasted (there definitely were NOT licorice notes) but it was enjoyable. Enough so I had at least ten different cups worth. The only reason I stopped making cups was because I had to leave to go do laundry. As well, when is Lapsang Souchong ever really smooth? The first taste ALWAYS slaps you in the face with the harsh flavour. You just have to kind of… settle in to it.
Today was a success though! I loved brewing with my yixing, and I’m very happy with the shape/style of it. I can hold everything comfortably and pour with precision and ease. Already, the desire to purchase another one (or two or three) is bubbling up…
So i laughed a lot when i found this one from omgsrsly in my bag of goodies. Both her and dexter couldn’t drink this one so they sent it along to me. I of course, have saved some so that i can send it along to my tea sister for fun! To be fair, this one doesn’t hit quite the wrong note with me as it did omg and dex. To me, this smelled like carrots that are just starting to go bad. Not sure why it was specifically carrots, but that was my view. This is a really….weird tasting puerh. I haven’t tasted anything like this one before, but i also didn’t hate it straight up. it was just weird.
I had a super fun chance to do a Gong Fu session with my mom and sister tonight. It was a rare opportunity since I typically only share tea with one of them at a time and it’s usually more informal but this time around I picked out one of the samples that Camellia Sinensis added into my giant teaware order and we made more of an occasion out of the experience.
In total, we did five infusions – six if you count the first though we discarded that one/used it to warm and heat all of the cups and Chahai. No one was a fan of the first infusion: it was far too strong and astringent tasting. In fact, I was the only person to finish their cup of the first infusion. Everyone else poured theirs back into the tea tray. The second and third still had some astringency, but were more palatable. My little sister isn’t a huge tea fan (mostly she just drinks sweet dessert rooibos blends) so even getting her to participate at all was a success for me, so we were all quite understanding about the fact she really disliked the first couple infusions. The fact she tried them at all was more than expected. Personally, while I wasn’t paying super close attention to the nuances of the tea (I was just enjoying the experience of drinking it with family) I did notice that these first infusions had a distinct smokiness and underlying sweetness.
The fourth steep seemed to be the sweet spot and everyone’s favourite. It was just so smooth and had a great balance between grassy tones and artichoke-like notes and sort of peachy sweetness. My mom has actually been to China, and participated in tea ceremonies there and compared this infusion to the tea she was served in China and holds as the ‘best tea she’s ever had’. And my sister finished the entire cup of tea; which was a BIG deal. The last cup had a lot of flavor deterioration, sadly, and so we decided not to push with any more infusions.
I should also mention, that during the entire session we were nibbling on broken chunks of DAVIDsTEA’s Red Velvet Cake infused milk chocolate bar. I thought having something to accompany the tea would be nice, and would also be a little more enticing for my sister. I also remembered from the Science of Taste module I did in my Tea Sommelier course that milk chocolate was a good pairing with some green teas. I think the combination did work well; as long as you took small nibbles of chocolate both flavours could be tasted on the palate and enjoyed instead of overwhelmed.
So for anyone who doesn’t know already; I’m currently getting my Tea Sommelier certification which I’ve been paying for primarily through an education fund my grandparents set up for me. Since I didn’t go to University/College after graduation and have no immediate plants to they were ok with me tapping into this fund for the Tea Sommelier certification courses. I’m done about three/eight now, and I decided that at this point I was interested in purchasing some more traditional teaware – and my Grandma OKed me taking some money from that fund to do so! That’s the long story version of my saying, “Recently I made an order with Camellia Sinensis for some teaware and they included several free teas such as this one”.
Personally, I’ve never really sought to purchase an EG blend from Camellia Sinensis; I do enjoy Earl Grey but not enough to need more than one good kind on hand (and currently I’m loving the Liquid Proust’s Peach vs. Bergamot twist on the traditional Earl Grey) and when I’m ordering from Camellia Sinensis, which I frequently do, it’s more for the interesting and often unique straight/pure teas they carry or for the teaware.
That said, I’m grateful for the inclusion: I love the fact this Earl Grey is both organic and fair trade as those as aspects of tea I look to support as often as possible. This sample was a sachet style tea bag, and I ended up making it early in the morning before work. I have to say, I thought the dry leaf smelled fairly mild and quite floral and even as it was steeping up I was noticing more floral traits than anything overwhelmingly bergamot-heavy. However, the taste wasn’t bad! I enjoyed how smooth and clean the overall flavour was in addition to the light floral notes and medium concentration of bergamot flavour. There was also a very natural sweetness which I was fond of. That said, I wouldn’t have minded if the bergamot was a little stronger. For people who really LOVE Earl Grey and drink it on a more daily basis this could be perceived as a little light handed.
Overall, not a ‘stand out’ Earl Grey but a solid choice if you’re already placing a Camellia Sinensis order and want to do all your shopping in one place. And like I pointed out, the fact it’s Organic and Fair Trade (and still reasonably priced) makes it a tea easy to get behind.
yay for interesting teas! thanks for sending me this one omgsrsly i am quite enjoying this this afternoon. we tired the dog out at the dog park and then proceeded to make orange cupcakes with marshmallow cream frosting, dry rub ribs and later there will be awesome potatoes and salad in the house too!
this tea is just different. I can’t place the aroma, though there’s a familiarity to it. there’s a slight almost mint, but not mint taste to this one..the taste kind of reminds me of what outside smells like on the west coast…those early mornings on the island when the tide’s going out, it’s rained over night, and you’re walking through the trees on the trails… inhale….breath deeply…that’s what this tastes like. so good.
my other half better appreciate me. We got him a bike before the wedding, now he’s getting a car and he volunteered to dog sit for 4 days…at our place. sheesh! lol the things i let him get away with. Finished off this tea today and it was an enjoyable cup. Still have a bunch of sipdowns i want to try and get through over the next three days. but i’m glad that some of those cups will be tasty cups of tea like this one.
Another one from VariaTEA I was looking forward to trying this one because it’s a favourite of the girls and yet, i’ve never gotten around to ordering it or trying it from them. Sadly, this one fell a little flat for me. It’s a decent coconut black, but i was not getting any real sense of the pinapple – which i think would have made it a much more interesting blend for me. that being said, still tasty and i did enjoy finishing this one up!
This tea feels cutesy to me, with its teeny tiny mini chocolate chips. The aroma of the dry tea is straight chocolate but more like bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate. Maybe even cocoa nibs. It smells kind of nutty too, like coconut. The taste is rich. The vanilla is more prominent to me now than the chocolate. I did notice that the chocolate chips had only just begun to melt so perhaps subsequent steepings will have more chocolate flavor.
8 ounces water + 200 degrees + 6 minutes
The chocolate chips still have not completely melted. I will try to steep this until they are gone. The flavor and aroma is still vanilla.
8 ounces water + 200 degrees + 16 minutes
I finally got all of the chocolate to melt but the color is weaker with this one. The taste is still good but a little light.
Flavors: Cocoa, Coconut, Dark Chocolate, Nutty, Vanilla
It’s been a lazy Sunday after what was a fun and family-filled Saturday afternoon. I love having my family close, all of us coming together to meet in the center and be whole again. We sat around the table with big steaming bowls of spaghetti and meatballs in front of us, slurping noodles and telling stories we’ve each heard a thousand times but that never get old. My family brings me back to myself and I always feel a little homesick when they leave. It takes some time for me to adjust to the quiet again. That being said, I’m also a pretty classic introvert so I relish the quiet after such a full day.
My husband made several types of tea for everyone yesterday, but every time I went to pour myself a cup I became distracted by something and never quite made it to the tea pot. Today I meant to be deliberate and pour a cup of tea for myself to enjoy in leisure. I’m very close to finishing my task of tasting each of the teas in my cabinet and one sip of this puts me just a little closer to the finish line.
The aroma of the dry tea is mostly pineapple, but I also smell the creamy coconut. My husband said right away that it smells like the beach so I knew I would love it. This tea is lighter in color than I expected but it’s definitely not lacking in flavor. It isn’t bold, but the tea is the prominent flavor with the fruit acting as more of an accent.
This tea was a very generous gift from Amoda with my first monthly box. Thank you, Tegan, for sharing!
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Pineapple, Tropical
Okay… so I’ve drank a decent amount of tea and to date, I have never came across something so funky.
I have no idea what I was tasting when I drank this.
I read the description and chuckled at the “Not recommended during pregnancy” as I thought about just writing a review saying: ‘thank goodness I wasn’t pregnant when I tried this one!’ but that would be odd, though technically I still did.
I’m not sure if i like the flower in this one. The aniseed and pear combination is a good idea with a white tea, but this flower in seems a bit overpowering for me (but I’m also picky with my flowers)
Drinking this at work today. That means it’s probably over leafed and over steeped – that would be my normal work parameters.
This is an interesting China black. I want to say chocolate, but it’s not – more like caramel. I think it’s a touch smoky, just a little coffee ish, and something resembling old library book. This is a big bold black tea. It does mellow a little as it cool, and then there are some stone fruit notes to it. It would probably be better if steeped properly, but for a work tea, this is making me happy today. I haven’t been drinking much tea lately and am really enjoying the caffeine (oh how I’ve missed you).
My laptop is fixed! I dropped it off yesterday morning, and got it back this evening. The hard drive was, indeed, shot but thankfully because it’d only been a year and a half since I replaced it I was still covered under warranty so I didn’t have to pay to replace it. Also, because it hadn’t completely failed they were still able to recover all of my information/files so when I got it back this evening everything was exactly like it’d been before all of the issues. And it’s running super smoothly now!
Plus, the whole headache cost less than $100 in total so I’m a happy person right now.
Because I had no internet last night, I took advantage of that and drank a lot of tea. More than I normally would in an evening since I didn’t have the distraction of Steepster, Tumblr, Facebook, or Youtube. Part of that mass tea consumption included a plain, Western-style sipdown of this tea. Admittedly, it’s kind of nice to be clearing out more Camellia Sinensis teas since I’ve got more on the way as well as many I’ve yet to taste at all. Plus, they’re always so generous with the free samples when I order. The last order I placed probably had close to 50g of freebie tea.
This was definitely the worst cup I’d brewed up of this blend though. Would it make sense if I described it as kind of “hollow” tasting? Like, the initial top notes of the sip were fruity raisin/lemon type notes and the finish kind of malty but the body of the sip was just very lack luster with a really, really neutral/plain sort of mouthfeel and no defining flavour notes. Not awful but just so boring. It was a disappointing way to finish this blend off, to be perfectly honest. If I had more leaf left I’d be sticking with Gong Fu: while the cold brew was nice that’s definitely the most delicious way this one tasted.
This is a queued tasting note.
For whatever reason, at some point I removed this tea from my cupboard despite not actually having yet sipped it down. That made finding it a huge problem because I couldn’t for the life of myself remember how to spell the name (sure I’ve nailed the spelling of Idulgashinna but not yet Meghalaya). You don’t ever want to see the list of misspelled attempts at finding this in the database. It’s embarrassingly long.
This cold brew was interesting: at the time I was drinking it I didn’t really remember what my first initial Gong Fu session had really tasted like so I was pretty much trying it for the first time, again. I basically got a jumble of lemon/lemon peel/lemon zest type flavours are a medium astringency (no bitterness though) as well as cocoa, malt, and raisin notes. Then I went back and read my tasting note for the Gong Fu session…
The overlap of flavours is notable and impressive. So even if I didn’t really love this tea at least I’m seeing that no matter how I’m preparing it it’s tasting consistent. That’s a great thing; because when someone tries this who does like those flavours they’re going to love that it’s coming out the same way each time it’s made!
And looks like I’ll be trying it a third way, because at this point the leaf I have left will really only be enough for a Western style cup or mug.
Camellia Sinensis added a small tin of this to my last order (which was mainly supplies for class) and I’ve been meaning to get to it for a while – I’ve pulled it out of the cupboard only for it to find its way back in without getting tried many, many times now. Finally I decided that tonight was the night to drink it. Procrastination be damned!
I had a nice, soft of informal gong fu session with this one during the early evening while I packed my lunch for work and made the syrups for a couple different tea sodas. 3g in my smaller celadon chawan. If I’m being honest, the different cups definitely blurred together and I’m not 100% sure how many I ended up having. Probably about five or six which is quite a lot for me…
That’s why I’m not reviewing this one on SororiTea Sisters even though I had initially planned to; I don’t feel like I drank it ‘consciously’ enough to put a review up for it there. Side note; my celadon ‘winged’ chawan I got from VariaTEA is looking really good now with all it’s little tea filled cracks. When I first started noticing them I kinda freaked out ‘cause I wasn’t aware that was a thing that A) was supposed to happen and B) would happen so quickly what with this being my first celadon piece. I love the way it looks now though.
Anyway; first couple of cups I observed a more distinct smokiness to the flavour and stronger malt and cocoa notes. Initially this was rather astringent (but not unreasonably so) but that faded quickly throughout each cup. There were some soft raisin notes, but they too soon subsided after the first three or so cups/infusions. A little woody; not as much as anticipated.
The last half of the session featured more floral notes, less malt, about the same level of cocoa notes and a light honey and lemon-like finish that was especially prominent with the second last cup, before the leaf was totally spent. Overall, every cup surprised me with the lack of briskness and the instead fairly mellow and well rounded flavour even in the first infusions where there was more astringency and that stronger smokey note.
Very pleasant overall, though not my favourite Camellia Sinensis offering that I’ve tried. This session used about a third (or possibly closer to half) of the small tin I got as an extra sample, and I kind of want to do something different with the rest of it instead of another Gong Fu session. The steeping instructions on the tin are Western style, maybe I’ll try that instead…
This was a perfect fit for this morning. I slept… Very poorly. If you are a fan of rose flavor and rose scent you will like this one. Not only does it smell lovely but the taste is lovely too. Makes me want to make a big cup and go sit in a rose garden. Its a good blend of teas. The rose of course over powers the bases but that’s ok.
This is definitely an interesting looking tea, one I probably wouldn’t have chosen for myself had Camellia Sinensis not included it as a bonus sample in one of several orders I’ve placed with them this year. Personally, I don’t have much experience with Darjeeling teas, and I’m almost certain that this is the first Darjeeling Oolong that I’ll have tried.
The dry leaf of this blend it fascinating to me; it definitely doesn’t look like a lot of oolong I’ve encountered. I know it’s definitely on the lower scale of oxidation, for sure – but it doesn’t even look like they even attempted to roll it which is definitely something I’m accustomed to with greener oolong. More so, it just kind of reminds me of Bai Mu Dan, but a little twisted up.
I brewed this one in one of my Gaiwans because it felt more right to be brewing it that way instead of in an infuser mug, though I did brew it Western style instead of Gong Fu. Normally I’m not one to resteep things, but I got three resteeps of this blend before I decided that was enough for the day.
The first infusion was very soft and delicate with such a lovely silky mouthfeel (which was definitely a consistent trait between all three infusions). The flavours were kind of in line with green teas and greener oolong; crisp and sweet sugar snap peas, lighter fruit notes like slightly under ripe honeydew, some floral notes, and a slight creaminess. However, the overwhelming gentleness of the brew reminds me a lot of white tea as well. I was looking forward to experiencing the “tang” like described by Camellia Sinensis, but I definitely didn’t taste anything close to that. Nor did I taste anything “spicy”.
The second infusion definitely brought about a change in flavour though; while the liquor was still very smooth and delicate and I still got some lovely snap pea notes there was also a touch of a herbaceous quality and the more floral notes were traded in for something quite a bit fruitier. More like over ripe honeydew than under ripe, and with an almost white wine like quality. I also experienced the “tangy finish” like described. I was definitely a little taken aback; the body dramatically and quickly shifted into this long, drawn out pleasantly sour finish that I wasn’t expecting. This was easily my favourite infusion of the three I did; it had a great balance between the flavours of the first and third infusions.
The third infusion was still delicate but that tangy note was even more vivid and instead of just being present in the finish it started to creep up into the body of the sip as well. In this infusion I definitely thought it was much more distinctly like white wine. In fact, I almost immediately was reminded of the few Reisling wines I’ve had (I’m not a huge wine person). It was super interesting, and still quite enjoyable but quite different from that first infusion. I can only imagine how much more interesting this would be Gong Fu brewed.
It’s a shame I can no longer find this on the Camellia Sinensis site; I want to learn more about this tea as it was very different from other oolongs I’ve tried, and quite memorable. I 100% recommend trying it, even if oolong isn’t your jam.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Green Melons, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Melon, Peas, Tangy, Vegetal, White Grapes, White Wine