Camellia Sinensis

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Recent Tasting Notes

76

This is a queued tasting note.

So I had this one as a commute tea a few days ago, and while I’ve definitely enjoyed this one in the past I think this was the first time I really got a flavour profile that actually matched Camellia Sinensis’ description of the tea’s flavours.

It started off sweet with a mix of timothy hay and fruit notes. Not really anything distinct in regard to the fruit; but more than fresh natural sweetness that most fruits have. I guess if I had to say it tasted like anything in particular it’d be apple skins though? Body flavour was more floral; but not perfumey floral – think fresh Spring time flowers in a field instead. More in line with that same soft sweetness present all through the cup.

The finish was a bit more robust; it had a tender malt flavour to it but the best part was the sweet, nutty hazelnut. The aftertaste wasn’t very lingering; but the nutty and sweet hay elements of the tea were both briefly present within it. For a tea with such a softness overall, it’s certainly not lacking in flavour. This tea was sort of on the fence with me, but this cup definitely cemented a positive impression in my mind.

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76

This is a queued tasting note.

Drank this one as a commute tea this week. I haven’t been sleeping well this week because of tooth pain that wakes me up several times a night so I’ve been savoring as many minutes as I can possibly get in my bed each morning – that means out of all six days I worked this week I actually only made my normal morning cup of tea twice because I haven’t had the time to make tea and catch the bus…

This was good though; I’m glad that the morning I made this I convinced myself to get out of bed in time to actually make myself some tea. It was a bit different than the last time I tried it; definitely not as fruity this tea. There were similarities too though; last time I expressed that I tasted hay notes. This time that was almost ALL I could taste. Specifically, it tasted the way that the timothy hay I feed Eilert (my guinea pig) smells. I love the smell of Eilert’s timothy hay (not enough to taste it though) so it was really enjoyable having it transferred into tea form. Other than that, I mostly just picked up on a bit of nuttyness in the top of the sip which faded quickly. It was pleasant as well though.

I wish I’d been more alert while drinking this so I could have registered the flavour a little more properly, just to see how this compared to last time I had it. I was SO tired though – on the bus that morning there were moments where I was holding the mug and nearly dropped it because I was dozing off and, as I did so, my hands were relaxing their grip. Thankfully I DIDN’T drop it though! That would have been a miserable first time experience on the bus.

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76

From my last Camellia Sinensis order…

- Western style infusion
- Smooth, malty/hay top notes
- A light vegetal body with sweeter fruity/peachy notes
- Finish is playfully nutty; hazlenut/marzipan
- Smooth, silky mouthfeel

I imagine Western brewing doesn’t do this one justice, not that it tasted bad. In fact, it was really enjoyable – but I feel like it hadn’t reached its “full potential”. I definitely look forward to trying Gong Fu in the future.

VariaTEA

Gong fu brewing will be my next experimenting step with teas, I think. Wanted to try forever but I’m lacking the proper equipment to do so. I will eventually get around to it.

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90

This started out as creamy and kind of buttery with a hint of raspberry but then developed an intense pineapple flavour that was at first very sweet but then very sour. I have to say I’m kind of loving it! I’m a huge fan of sour and this is definitely quite lip puckering. The first time I had this I found it good but nothing special but I can really see myself missing this when it’s gone — uping my rating!

Flavors: Butter, Pineapple, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Sweet

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90

This was nice, but it didn’t really wow me. I could see myself sipping down quite a bit of it if it happened to be in front of me but can’t imagine actually craving it. There’s a slight citrus note with a hint of raspberry that gives it a slight sour vibe, but I’d like something a little more intense. There’s also a light undertone of sweet vegetation. Good, not great.

Side note, this is surprisingly similar to the Cote d’Asur Garden blooming tea I had the other day but a little less raspberry-y.

Flavors: Citrus, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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80

If you could package up the feeling of summer and camping into a tea, this would be it. There is the smokiness of the campfire, which gradually merges into a smoky bacon note. There’s a hint of sweet corn, which I find so typical of white teas. Finally, and most surprisingly, there’s a strong marshmallow note with a hint of chocolate. S’mores in a cup. The notes are subtle, to be sure, and I don’t think this tea would be for everyone, but I rather enjoyed it.

Flavors: Chocolate, Corn Husk, Marshmallow, Smoke

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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90

My first oolong (not counting some of DAVIDs’ crazy blends that hardly count), and I’m happy to say I’m really enjoying it. Wonderfully light with a prominent butter note and complementing floral and grassy notes. I can see the hint of pine nut as well (one of my favourites). All in all, very nice!

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral, Grass

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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72

Sipdown (134)!

Had a short and very casual Gong Fu session with this one spaced out over two days. All in all only like six steeps; I could probably have gotten more but I’m not big on drawing out green tea sessions since I’m not really big on green tea either. I mostly just wanted to have a taste of the tea since CS was nice enough to send me a free sample of it, and now I’m happy to add the rest of the sample into the GCTTB.

Didn’t pay super close attention to this one if I’m being honest; but I remember that the mouthfeel was thicker and almost more creamy than your typical green tea and the flavour was quite grassy with a bit of nuttiness in the first day’s infusions. Day two I don’t really remember observing that quality so strongly.

The description says it tastes like fiddleheads and I definitely thought that was interesting ‘cause I’ve never tried fiddleheads, but then I wound up not tasting anything different or “out of the ordinary” that I could describe as possibly having the flavour of what I’m told fiddleheads are supposed to taste like. I mean, of course it’s hard trying to identify a flavour you’ve never experienced based on a concept but I still was kind of hoping there’d be something “extra” here.

Fjellrev

Had to look up fiddleheads since I’ve never tried them before either.

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85

This is a queued tasting note.

Had this one cold brewed the other day, but I was so tired when I drank it that I mostly did so without any real conscious thought. The only thing I wrote down for notes was “pleasant fruit and Gaga”. At least I remember enough to know the last part of that statement is a reference to the fact I was listening to this song while drinking it…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB94lvJbETE&index=1&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ

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85

Cold Brew!

I need to stop telling Trey when the pitcher of tea is ready in the fridge ‘cause I swear he’s drinking almost all of it and I’m getting like a cup of tea out of each pitcher…

Still enjoying this one, though it felt a little out of touch with the season tonight. It’s very floral but that smooth, romantic floral quality is equally matched by pleasant red berry notes, fresh red apple, and a hint of sweet lemon. I really like that this brew had the brightness of the added ingredients like rosehips and hibiscus without the tartness of it. I mean, I’m thinking about it right now – and I can’t recall ever having a problem with Camellia Sinensis over doing it on the rosehip or hibiscus?

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq5ItFCyg9E

Evol Ving Ness

Beautiful reworking of this song. Really lovely.

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85

This cold brew was really floral and fruity in a really fragranced and almost perfume-y way but it wasn’t bad by any stretch. It’s kind of hard to describe, but the way the floral notes come off is almost effervescent in a way – and it reminds me strongly of CS’s (discontinued) Des Roses et Des Bonbons blend; the rose in the two blends must be the same or similar? I definitely think I’m also tasting the white hibiscus though, which presents differently than the garish hibiscus tea drinkers are more commonly presented with.

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85

This is a queued tasting note.

Tried this one hot the other day;

I think I liked the cold brew a little better because the flavours were a little smoother/ran together a bit more seamlessly but the hot cup was good too. This is sweet and fruity in the same way that I get from Sweet Tart candies. Probably the lemon providing that playful, light tartness. However, it’s also VERY floral – in particular quite rosey. In the hot cup there was some disconnect between the floral and the fruit but still both aspects were enjoyable nonetheless.

Flavors: Candy, Citrus, Floral, Hay, Pleasantly Sour, Red Fruits, Rose, Rosehips, Tart

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85

Definitely surprised this one wasn’t already reviewed here on Steepster…

- Cold Brew
- It’s very interesting to me this tea doesn’t have fruit other than lemon or apple
- Because the flavour is like a jumble of red fruits/berries with lemon/citrus
- Very summery, sweet, and rich with a balance of natural and candy like notes
- Kind of reminds me of Sweet Tart candies?
- The hibby DEFINITELY doesn’t read as overly tart or gross
- In fact, it’s a little hard to tell it’s there?
- There’s more rosehip sweetness/tartness than anything else
- Also a floral undertone; but definitely more fruity than floral
- Definitely, as far as the ingredients are concerned, a bit of an enigma?

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86

First order of 2017 may end up being a Camellia Sinensis order because I’m running pretty low on this, and I want more…

Trying to have some will power though because I already have orders from five other companies on the way to me right now, and plenty to drink already.

This was wonderful though; it always is. The herbaceous/savory taste of the basil is really wonderful and different, and then there’s sweet raspberry notes and fresh, floral rose that keep it feeling “tea like” and not kind of soupy/brothy and too savory.

Best part of all though? I got the right proportion of ingredients in this cup to really nail the drop dead stunning purple liquor colour. It feels almost magical drinking purple tea…

Evol Ving Ness

Trying to have some will power though

oh hello.

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86

Nothing quite like the caffeine crash that comes after drinking nine different Western cups of green tea for class…

Yup; that was my early afternoon today: this is my last class/term/module whatever you want to call it before I have to take the exam to get certified, and it’s all about tea types. This week was specifically centered around Japan (and Vietnam to a small degree) and that meant A LOT of green tea. Boo; fuck that. Green tea is my least favourite type. So, nine cups in about two hours. I felt pretty buzzed after I finished them, but now I’m crashing HARD. Regardless, I figured I shouldn’t have anything else caffeinated for the rest of the night so now I’m having a mug of this one.

Pro tip: if you want the liquor to actually like beautiful and purple and breath taking don’t drink it in a grey mug – pick something glass. ’Cause now it just looks like a disappointing, muddled mess. It still tastes really good though; very strong on the basil notes but with a softening floral sweetness to the undertone.

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=881g2CY6UVs&index=15&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ

Kind of one of those word association pairings, to be perfectly honest.

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86

This is a queued tasting note.

Can’t remember which tasting note I said it in, but recently(ish) I said that I have a particular love of basil lemonade. Well, that got me thinking and that resulted in me cold brewing this and then cutting it 50/50 with the remainder of the lemonade I used to make that Jasmine Silver Needle infused lemonade.

I mean, at the core of things, I could probably sum up the experience by just saying “delicious”. But I feel that doesn’t quite do the concoction justice. The strong basil notes of the tea were the perfect savory contrast to the tart and sweet lemonade and it really, really did taste exactly like the fresh/homemade basil lemonade that my Step Mother makes in the summer that’s so good. Just less thick/frothy in mouthfeel, is all. This had the added element of rose/floral notes from the tea, which were largely masked. However, the light floral component that did come through in the taste was just an added element that made this seem more elegant/elaborate and flavourful.

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86

This is a queued tasting note.

Made this up as a pitcher of cold brewed tea, and I wasn’t totally sure how the flavour would come across cold since I’ve just tried this hot. It wasn’t so bad, but you do lose some of the ethereal quality of the liquor since it’s more of a weird maroonish colour than purple. Something to do with the leaf to water ratio, likely.

The flavour is definitely REALLY herbaceous with the most prominent flavour being basil. I like cold basil infused drinks in general; basil lemonade being my favourite cold drink that uses basil or really any type of herby ingredient. It’s also floral with rosey undertones, and a soft sweetness to this sip. It’s one of those drinks that you’re instantly immersed in when you drink it. Very refreshing overall. Makes me think of the summers I spent at my Grandma’s house as a child; a lot of playing outdoors, and being immersed in all the nature around me…

And the song I paired with the tea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDVW81bXo0s

That was the first time I drank the cold brew. Second time around this is what I was listening to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZX6Q-Bj_xg

VariaTEA

OMG I was obsessed with Take a Walk for a while a few years back <3

Roswell Strange

I’m not super familiar with the band; I just know a couple songs from a friend who liked them. This is my other favourite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDuwmU1a1kY&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ&index=4

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86

This is a queued tasting note.

Made a cup of this; got a lot more basil in the leaf I measured out this time around than I did last time so the colour wasn’t quite purple but more of a really lovely deep blue/green colour. Kind of a tealish hue? Still absolutely GORGEOUS but not the same as last time.

The flavour was actually very similar though despite the different ratio of ingredients in this cup. That’s sort of the problem with herbals that use such huge pieces like this one: it’s hard to get the same balance of things each time. But strong, sweet basil notes regardless – little bit of a floral body. Very soothing!

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86

If I’m being perfectly honest, I bought this tisane solely because it’s supposed to brew up purple. Not “Hibiscus” purple, mind you, but honest to goodness purple purple. When it showed up today, I did crack the bag open out of curiosity though; while I was totally suckered in by aesthetics, you have to admit that taste is still probably the most important factor…

The smell of the dry leaf is incredibly powerful and pretty darn unique; it’s like a blast of your grandma’s garden: very fresh and aromatic. However, the only part of good ol’ nana’s garden you’re smelling is the patch where she’s growing all her own spices, and then maybe the roses in their planters across the lawn since the breeze is carrying their scent over your way too. It’s very particular, and very unique.

As far as the brewing process goes, I was totally skeptical but as soon as the water hit my tea (I of course used a clear, glass mug) it started to infuse a kind of grayish blue which then gradually became a deep, sultry sort of blue/purple. Very brilliant and touching on “royal” in hue while still having that darkness that screams “It’s not a phase, mom!”. It’s a little hard to explain and holy fuck do I wish I’d had my phone with me and charged because it may just be the most beautiful infused liquor I’ve ever seen. Actually; no, it IS the most beautiful steeped liquor I’ve ever seen. Honestly, it’s incredibly stunning!

But of course I still wondered about the taste: would it taste like dear sweet Gammie was shoving her summer bumper crop of spices up in my gullet? Actually; given the intensity of the aroma I found this was pretty soft all things considered. You absolutely get a clear taste of the basil in the blend meaning this is definitely a more herbaceous/savory profile. However, that said, I also get some sweetness that reminds me of fennel or anise and there’s the soft, rose/floral undertone as well that cuts in and keeps this from literally being a mug of brewed up spices. At moments I also felt like I was getting the refreshing feeling of peppermint as well, though that’s maybe a bit of a stretch. Still it’s nice, it’s layered and it feels very romantic and poetic to be drinking it. Like I’m in my ivory tower waiting for Prince or Princess Charming to come and sweep me away.

I mean, the fact I was drinking it at near midnight on my balcony while listening to the drizzle and pitter patter of rain probably doesn’t do a whole lot to hinder that imaginative imagery but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this is just a really enchanting and unique tisane overall.

Super Starling!

Oh my god, I need to get in on this action. Purple’s my favorite color, and I was a ridiculous Goth. Sipping this while working on a mostly-black painting and scowling is now on my list of priorities.

Fjellrev

Freaking awesome! This is definitely on my list if I ever order from them.

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44

No matter how many times I brew this tea or how many different measurements/water temperatures I try, I can’t get it to be very flavourful. What flavour it has is pleasant, but it just doesn’t taste like much. Trying hotter water than recommended only brought out a blandly unpleasant bitterness, as did increasing the steep time too much. I’m used to better from Camellia Sinensis; their teas are usually quite exciting. Best results at 85c / 3 minutes 30 seconds.

Flavors: Hay

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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This is certainly the highest quality Indian Assam I’ve tried, though most of my Indian Assam consumption was through bulk bins at health food stores. That’s not to say this is only good by comparison. This is clearly quality tea, though it is fairly straight forward. Malty assamica notes are clear and present, but a muscatel character reveals itself along with notes of minty herbs, as well as fruity tones I normally associate with Taiwan-style black tea. The leaves are not whole, but that doesn’t affect my enjoyment, even in a gaiwan. Nice for a slightly more refined Assam experience.

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77

Sipdown (153)!

Wow my cupboard jumped up this month! That just means I need to focus more on sipdowns and trying all the new goodies I’ve got, though. I’m finishing this one off tonight Western style because I wanted to use the tin for one of the new teas I just got – and I’ve been holding off on this sipdown for a while anyway.

This is just a nice, enjoyable tea overall – I absolutely adore the roasty quality it has and how that’s supported by flavour notes that are maybe just a bit more atypical for a roasted oolong. Things like the crustacean and mushroom notes I’m getting, and the intense umami. Of course, there are more common notes as well that tie everything together in a more complete way: wood, nuts specifically peanut, barley, maybe a little cocoa? It’s still very salty – but today I’d say less buttery/creamy than I observed last time.

I don’t know that I’ll order this one again; there are so many lovely aged oolongs out there that deserve attention as well. However, I loved having this Orwellian feeling tea on hand for the time I did!

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77

Hard this one on the commute to work because I found myself craving a darker, more roasty oolong this morning…

This was Western style, so it was a bit different than my Gong Fu session. Still, I found it very enjoyable and I was even able to pick out (in my sleepy early morning haze) some flavour notes that were pretty unique. The big thing with this one is that the start of the sip starts out very roasty with mineral, slight char, nutty, and wood-y notes accompanying. The body is definitely pretty unique; there’s a subtle creaminess but also a lot of more savory/umami notes like dill, sea salt, and salted butter. So much salt. Also, this is MAYBE a weird observation coming from a vegetarian who has no actual memory of what real crab/lobster tastes like and I’m told the vegetarian version doesn’t do the real flavour justice but I found the finish of the sip rather marine with crabby/crustacean-y notes. I felt like I was drinking the broth/stock for a crab based soup or stew, to be honest. Totally not a bad thing, though – it was delicious!!

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