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Recent Tasting Notes
This was the most expensive FF black Darjeeling that Camellia Sinensis offered; which set a high standard in my book.
Luckily this tea followed through. While a little more light and delicate than I usually appreciate in my FF’s, this had a lovely floral aroma, that had a soft sweetness to it that I would describe as nectar.
Jasmine and roses and faint honey suckle, with a honey crisp apple astringency/sweetness. As it cooled it gained a bit more nutty/full bodied taste that I would describe as dried walnuts.
Dry, this smells SO GOOD. And also comes in the CUTEST tin. http://instagram.com/p/qNXgDdR5FA/
Unfortunately, steeping it at 85C as recommended has resulted in a bitter mess. There are some neat flavours there, floral and herbaceous/spicy. Maybe it would be better as a mini cold brew? I’ll have to try. (Maybe. If my bladder can handle it.)
Flavors: Floral, Spicy, Wood
This arrived as a sample in my latest CS order. Usually I drink pure tea all the time (with the exception of rooibos sometimes at night). When I first got into drinking loose leaf tea I liked having chai. So it is a type of drink I like to have, but not something I’ve been craving lately.
I’ve prepared this a few times already with the generous sample they mailed, and today’s infusion turned out just as satisfying. The loose leaf tea and spices have a strong scent (heavy on the ginger and cardamon). Chai liquor has an agreeable black tea flavour that isn’t too bitter, and the spices taste energetic.
Overall I found it to be interesting, zesty, and not dull in any way. It met my expectations by not being bitter, bland, or too off balance.
Queued post, written May 7th 2014
I got this one from MissB, who doesn’t seem to know very much about it, judging from the information on the tea page.
It’s a rooibos blend and it has been flavoured with… something. I think it seems very similar to the rooibos blend I have from Nothing But Tea which has vanilla and raspberry, so this is my first instinct. It definitely smells and tastes like some sort of berry, perhaps several kinds of berry. I can’t really pinpoint any that I think it’s more like, so I’m thinking perhaps it’s some kind of forest fruit or four red fruits blend on a rooibos base. These are not usually mixed with anything else so far as I know, though, and I’m pretty certain there’s something in here that adds sweetness.
Which leads me back to vanilla and raspberry.
Curious, I then went and made up a small cup of the vanilla raspberry blend from NBT that I mentioned earlier so that I could compare it directly. They are indeed extremly similar, the NBT blend being a little more berry-tart and this one more evenly blended.
Having thus determined the mystery of this blend, I can move on to inform you that I find it a very pleasant blend. Of course, it’s already a blend that I like on a rooibos base (who are we fooling, I’d probably like it on almost any base), so perhaps I’m a little biased. I’ve been drinking up the NBT blend for my before bed beverages as it’s getting very old. I expect I’ll be using this blend in the same way. This is not at all a bad thing. :)
My friend ordered this in their teahouse. I had a sip of it and had to bring home some for myself.
Large, stiff, tightly rolled leaves. The aroma of raspberries and cream rises to meet your nose.
Brewing retains those berry aromas and a touch of sweet milkiness, while adding a bit of maltiness and a little bite of astringency and bitterness. The texture is silky smooth and medium-thin.
This would be an excellent breakfast tea, if you like yours a bit on the lighter side. Superb with milk (and sugar, if you wish). A nice example of an Indian black tea with that touch of tart berry giving it something unique.
Flavors: Berries, Malt, Milk, Raspberry, Sweet, Tannic
The super lovely VariaTEA picked me up a bunch of this before leaving Montreal, so I’m pretty well stocked for the time being but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like I should be hoarding this special, special tea! I broke it out today though because today seemed like a fancier occasion, and I was craving something sweet and juicy.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I wasn’t paying the closest attention to how I steeped it. The water temperature was low but how low I couldn’t tell you. I used lots of leaf, but how much I couldn’t tell you. I steeped it maybe more than I should have but again, how much more I wouldn’t be able to say. What can I say? Well whatever combination of things it was it was the perfect one!
This was to die for, succulent mouthwatering strawberry/rhubarb and sweet pineapple. I enjoyed every last flavourful drop of it and had ZERO regrets about making a quantity tea instead of choosing to take an easier sipdown.
Tyrell also liked the smell of this one a lot, so maybe I’ll make it for him sometime…
Flavors: Pineapple, Rhubarb, Strawberry
Origin: High mountains, Taiwan
Thank u to Camellia Sinensis for this sample with purchase!!
Dry Leaf: Tiny, rolled dark forest green pellets. Scents of hazelnut, cream, honeysuckle. Smells so delish!!
Method: 10 oz ceramic gong fu pot – measured out 100ml/3.4 oz water – 2 tsp tea – 200F
10 " rinse/ 15"/25"/25"/30"
Wet Leaf: Roughly chopped medium size pieces and then very tightly rolled forest green leaves. No stems. Very bright green and leaves open fully after 3rd steeping.
Liquor: Light, clear pearl. Mostly floral scent. Hazelnut scent has gone :(
Flavor: Flowers and cream. Not a very creamy mouthfeel, just a tiny tiny touch. Unfortunately, I didn’t detect any hazelnut in the flavor as I had in the scent of the dry leaf. There was a tiny touch of nuttiness after the leaves had fully opened but not as much as the dry leaf scent had teased me with :(
Very good Oolong though, with no bitter, astringency, or stomach upset.
I have a bit more of this sample and must try it again to see if I can coax out the rich cup with a touch of nutmeg and an edge of fresh vanilla that are expressed in the tasting notes. They do say an explosive floral nose and an echo of caramel in the aftertaste. I do detect that from my tasting. Gonna use one of my smaller gong fu pots now that I see these leaves are smaller and chopped and don’t need a super large expansion space,,,that might be where I can get those flavors :)
Flavors: Cream, Flowers
Just ordered some new 2014 teas from Camellia Sinensis, this is the first one I decided to try.
First steep struck me as very crisp and refreshing (didn’t expect that). With subtle buttery and vegetal flavours, also a bit of sweetness, spice (cinnamon).
Second steep brought out a floral flavour (jasmine) and a nice velvety texture to the tea liquor.
Finally on the third steep the terroir came out. I expected to taste it a lot sooner, but I might just need to change the tea amount/steep time a bit.
Fourth through sixth steeps were consistent on the flavour. Overall they were a nice balance of the previous cups but still light as opposed to strong/bold on the flavour. I decided to stop on the sixth steep because the dryness was starting to dominate the mouth feel.
My expectations were met with this tea, but I still feel that some changes to the tea parameters (amount and steep time) might yield better results. I’m looking forward to many more short steep sessions to get my perfect cup of tea.
Tea steeped: rinse, 30s, 45s, 1m, 1m 30s, 2m, 2m 30s.
This one is from MissB. Thank you for sharing!
Sadly, not for me. It’s the green pea and spinach flavours that just do me in with so many of these green teas! I’m sure that it’s a lovely example if you like those flavours in your teas, but unless I’m pouring the tea over rice and salmon, I’m not interested.
Now, I wonder whose bag I can put the other half of the sample in. :)
Flavors: Peas, Spinach
Hong Jing Tian (Latin Rhodiola rosea) is an herb supposedly used in Tibet traditionally by monks engaged in physical labor, stronger than, but similar to ginseng. Used as a tonic, warming herb, balances qi, liver, cardio- genital. It is unclear to me from the store description of these 5 gr mini tuos if this herb is actually present in the tuo, whether the tea name is actual or just marketing. Rhodiola is usually sold as a powdered root or twigs.
Having said that, I think the twigs or root powder might really be in here. The tuos look hand formed rather than molded. The smaller 5 g size is perfect to toss in a Yixing. Opens up right after the rinse. I used about 200F temp. Dark red liquor, straddles the edge of musty to a little fishy in the aroma but not the taste. Viscous, bubbles stayed in the cup. Broken leaves and really cooked black twigs, but some fairly green leaves showed up in the pot for me.
Not bad for a shou, rolls and tingles the entire tongue and I definitely taste the black earth/ scorched bark with a touch of sweetness, not mineral quality or fig in the description. Not much change in the steeps, which is expected from a shou.
The real kicker of this tea though is in the heat it generates in the esophagus, upper stomach and heart. 8-10 steeps I was breaking a sweat. This tea is how to get your Yang on. I am really Yang anyway, and I will be treating this tea as a medicinal. This is a good tonic for jet lag and too much airplane food, or the salad someone makes for dinner in the winter. That clammy, cold feeling of too much yin food. I am overly warm anyway and had to chase the whole thing with half a glass of milk and I am still feeling the stomach and heart heat an hour later.
Like I said, I don’t know what is in this tuo, if it doesn’t have Rhodiola it is a darn good imitation in a puerh. I am going to treat this as if that herb is in there. However, it does concern me that the website description doesn’t tell people outright that an herb is in the tea you might not need. If you want a risk, would recommend for brave men, caution in women, check with your doctor or herbalist about Rhodiola to be sure.
Flavors: Burnt, Decayed wood, Earth, Fig
Brewed in gai wan for a tea ceremony, light green in the cup. Grassy, vegetal, fresh taste. Strong for my ceremony participants, I was the only one left drinking when the tea was steeped out at 8 steepings. I used short 15 second steeps, gradually increasing until I was well over a minute at the end.
Sorta sipdown as the rest of this is being passed along. It is nice but I really don’t reach for it enough so hopefully it will find love somewhere else. As for this cup? The base is smooth and the peony is the prominent flavor with just a hint of lychee sweetness. At the end of the day, I really just prefer black teas when I make caffeinated cups.
I got some more of this tea from a friend, and was a little hesitant from my last experience…but wow! I’m convinced that the last batch I got must have been stale (even though I got it as a sample from an order direct with Camellia Sinensis).
These leaves are nice and long, beautifully dark green and a good shine. Lovely smell of seaweed and ocean salt. Taste is nice and smooth and sweet.
I love my Ceylon, but this one was a bit of a disappointment. Didn’t have anywhere near the complexity that the Amba did. That being said it smelled delicious when it was being brewed, roasted chocolate, pecans, and a nice malty orange aroma. Just not much of that transferred to my taste buds.
Hoping that I just brewed it wrong, and will try again…but definitely no where near as good as the Amba.
Thanks VariaTEA for the sample! I decided to cold brew it and take it to work.
Basically, this came off as the “green version of Des Roses et Des Bonbons” to me; same cherry flavour, same light rose flavour, same almost candy sweetness to it. However I didn’t like the green base and I thought it kind of detracted from the yummy flavourings: it was very grassy. But that’s ok; I have lots of Des Roses et Des Bonbons and I love that one so I’m still set and not sad to see this one go at all!
And hey, at least it didn’t taste medicinal.
That’s always a plus with cherry tea!
I’m roasting some baby eggplant and eating some lovely heirloom tomatoes so I thought I would try this Darjeeling sample that I got from Camellia Sinensis,,thanks!!
Camellia Sinensis has some maps for the growing location of your teas and the Darjeeling garden map showed that the Seeyok growing area is right on the edge of the Mirik Valley region next to Nepal. It is interesting to see the seven valleys and many gardens of Darjeeling. Cool.
The dry leaf looks like tiny brown wood chips and smells a tiny bit of ‘walking in the woods’ woody and like baked sweet roll.
I brewed this Western style at 200F for 3 minutes.
The wet leaf smells like baked dark bread and is in little brown flake-like shapes. I smell a scent of sweet relish as well.
The liquor is a deep clear amber color with scents of baked sweet roll; citrus, especially orange, and raisin.
The flavor is raisin bread and orange zest, which gives a tiny, tiny bit of bitter. On a scale of 1-10 for astringency,,,there is about a 1 or 1.5… so it is cleansing but not harsh at all.
I was drinking this as I was preparing lunch so it was heavy on my stomach and needed to eat a bit of my lunch immediately to curb that,,,so I wouldn’t drink this one on an empty stomach.
I am glad that I got to try another Darjeeling tea to gain more experience with them!! Thanks C.S. !!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Orange Zest, Raisins, Wood
Welcome to day 6 of little terri’s Ultimate Sipdown Extravaganza!
I’m starting the day with a tea from Sil (anybody surprised?) that I’ve had for quite some time, from one of our many awesome trades. I’ve been avoiding this one for awhile, not really sure why, maybe because it’s the first tea I’ve ever had (to my knowledge) from Camelia Sinensis, whose website I’ve loitered on quite a bit lately, drooling over teas I might order, & a yixing I really want.
I was originally thinking, “gongfu”, but then I read some of the other reviews. (I’m not ashamed to admit it. My ego isn’t tied into coming up with my own unique take on a tea, or being able to recognize some taste nobody else noticed, so although I don’t always read others’ reviews before drinking a tea, I occasionally do, to see what kind of steeping parameters they used.)
Having said all that, I went with 5G + 8oz X 4min. There was enough here to drink this tea one time, and that sounded like the most promising formula.
This tea is not particularly exciting to me. It’s very smooth, with a kind of vanilla feel. There is a gentle sweet spiciness to it, perhaps cinnamon, & kind of a bland wood taste, with a growing but light coriander in the background. So, although there is nothing wrong here, & it doesn’t taste bad, it just doesn’t really do it for me. But I’m still glad to have tried it, & maybe on another day (if I had more), I would be in the mood to enjoy a tea such as this.
Sipdown – only 370 to go!
Thank you, VariaTEA, for letting me try this tea :)
The aroma and flavor remind me so much of some sweets from my childhood. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I think it was, surprisingly, some hard candy! Very unusual flavor combination, I haven’t experienced these notes in any ther tea. It is kind of similar to MF’s Marco Polo in that respect. Because it’s so unique.
There’s rose in it but kind of… fruitified. More like rosehips? Also a note of caramel… But there’s also some balanced citrus in here! Very interesting.