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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Ah! Rose and Cherry!
When I brewed it I didn’t know what I was making really. I just figured I’d look it up later.
I’m not a huge green tea person, but I’m starting to enjoy them in the evenings more often. The change in weather helps. The warmer days just call out for greener cups.
This tea is yum. It’s a green I will easily look forward to drinking the rest of the week.
I’m watching Shield in the student lounge at work.
I’m trying to savor it.
Also, it’s Hawkeye comic day. I’m goin shoppin at lunch :)
VariaTEA sent this to me labelled “just enough for one 12 oz cup”. So that’s what I’ve made!
Steeping, it smells SO GOOD. Many spices. Lots of spices. Spices, spices, spices. This is gonna be great with that whipping cream. :)
Yeah, this is seriously spice-heavy. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be this way, as my sample was fairly powdered, but I kinda like it. Loads of cloves, some cinnamon. No chocolate. What? Chocolate nibs? I thought those were cardamom. Oops.
I still prefer my Mariage Freres Chandernagor, but this is still a nice chai. Different. And different is good!
Assam Banaspaty from the plains of Assam, Banaspaty garden. India.
The dry leaf smells like malt and cacao beans. They are tiny dark black-brown twisty threads but broken into halves and tiny bits. There are a few blonde ones mixed in too.
I steeped this at 200F for 3 minutes. It created a deep red liquor with scents of malt and hints of orange.
The wet leaves look like chopped reddish brown fall leaves and smell like baked brown bread.
The flavor is good. It has a touch of astringency from a taste like orange zest but just a touch,,, not overbearing at all and would be good for people who add a splash of milk. I love this tea, it really tastes like malt and orange zest. Delicious.
I added some of my homemade almond milk to this and it is heavenly!!!! I see this as a good base for when I make Chai since it has that orange hint in there and blends with milk.
Having a bit of this today with milk. Bold, citrus, malt, good.
Having a cup with milk in it. It needs the milk and can take sugar too though I didn’t put any.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt, Orange Zest
From gardens in Nepal; short distance from Darjeeling.
Dry leaves are nice twisty, thick threads of light brown, cream, and dark brown with an interesting scent of a light ginger snap but not heavy on the ginger—more snap!
As it brews, it is smelling like Oriental Beauty and come to think of it,,,,those leaves look like Oriental Beauty.
I tasted this at 3 minutes and it was still faint in color and flavor so I left it steeping a total of 4 minutes at 200F.
This is a black tea that wants to be an Oriental Beauty. It has all of those qualities that are sort of indescribable about that tea. The wet leaves are mixed fall colors and the liquor is that golden orange clear hue. I think I will play with this tea because the tasting notes on Camellia Sinensis promote fruity apple and chocolate accents along with honey and rich floral perfumes. I want to bring more out of this tea. I do catch the apple as the liquor cools off a bit.
Very interesting and unexpected flavors.
Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey
From Nan Mei Valley, Lincang Region, China.
Absolutely Gorgeous, spicy-scented, velvety-soft, wild downy buds.
Brewed Western style at 165F. I tasted this at five minutes and it was starting to gain some lovely flavor so I steeped it for a total of 7 minutes.
The liquor is spicy-scented with notes of citrus, fresh-grated nutmeg (which is lighter and more fresh than already grated jarred nutmeg).
These wild whites are some of my favorites!!!!!!!!!!!!! So cool in appearance, scent, and of course taste!!!!
Brewed, the wet buds take on a deeper green color with accents of brown on the edges and a spicier scent.
The flavor is honey, fresh nutmeg, touches of orange zest. Very fresh and delicious. I love these wild whites in the morning, so cleansing and delicious!!!
Second Steeping – this has one more brew in it and I steeped for same temp and amount of time and it still tastes lovely!!
I have been aging this one and I brewed some Western style today at 165F for 5 minutes. Boy has this progressed well! It is sweeter and creamier. The spice notes are still present but it is getting a great mouthfeel and more depth. Love!
I live in a very dry climate so this one is aging well for me.
Flavors: Honey, Nutmeg, Orange Zest
Very strange. In the same order, I received this, the Creme des Earl Grey, and Green Earl Grey. I cannot get enough of the green and the creme and am slurping them down (and have reordered larger quantities of both). This one… I first tried it cold brew, and it was undrinkable. So, fair enough, I probably over steeped it. I tried it again, normal brew, 4 minutes, and I had a similar result. I taste a faint lemon rather than the more rounded bergamot I prefer. This isn’t working for me.
From China and Xue Ya means Snow Buds. This is exquisite tea.
The dry leaf smells like white tea with sweet notes and looks like a White Peony made from Silver Needle. The color has that silver/green loveliness.
I brewed this at 175F since it is a green and was able to steep a long time with no bitterness or harshness. I tasted three minutes in and it was very light so I kept in for 5 minutes total. Now the dry leaves may have tried to trick you into thinking they were a white tea,,,,the brewed leaves totally smelled like a Dragonwell-type green tea. All the leaves were two leaves and a bud,,,gorgeous and a very faint clear spring green colored liquor.
Presentation gets a very high score and no bitterness either so next time I try this I know I will brew it to bring out lots more flavor :)
Pairs lovely with chopped salad!
- O.K. this is definitely one for the Gaiwan. I couldn’t wait so I got new leaves and first added a bunch to the other leaves to completely stuff my gaiwan. This wasn’t the answer bc it had the same flavor notes as Western brewing but just less time.
I got new leaves and put the recommended 2 tsp into my Gaiwan and steeped for 30 seconds, then 15 seconds, then 30 seconds. Each session produced a light spring green liquor with more color than Western and light green flavors of spring pea to honey. This is definitely a green tea that wants to be a white tea. Don’t change!!!! You are fun and delicious and beautiful the way you are!!!!
Steeped some in my gaiwan this afternoon and I caught a note of cinnamon that I didn’t detect last time. Peas, cinnamon, honey, bit of cream. This is lovely tea!!
Having a cup of this in the morning. Very light and probably more of an afternoon tea for me usually but wanted a lighter tea than a black this morning. It is very good with subtle notes of cream, pea, spice, sweet honey. Very good white.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Honey, Peas
From Hunan Province, China.
The dry leaves are little twisted loose golden thread balls with highlights of black. They smell like malt and honey.
I tried the liquor at 3 minutes at this brew temp and it wasn’t strong enough so I kept it in for 4:30. This created a dark brown/golden liquor with scents of caramel sugar, dates, brown sugar cake.
The brewed leaves are chocolate brown perfectly unrolled needles/bud looking leaves. Fantastic!!
The flavor is smooth malt, dates, honey. Very delicious. There are subtle subtle vegetable notes as Camellia Sinensis suggests in their tasting notes. They say corn, tomato, and artichoke hearts. I can taste a tiny tiny bit of acid tomato and starch corn. This is a really balanced and complex tea. Wonderful.
Tried a bit of this Gong Fu style today,,,,this tea gives LOTS of steepings!!! Used 190F water with short steeps,,,,6-4-6-8-8-10-10 created a deep, rich, auburn light mahogany liquor with notes of crème brûlée sugar top that has been really torched so it’s not super sweet, dates, a touch of smoke. Very delicious and rich.
Tried this one Western style this morning and put it up against a cup of Yunnan Sourcing’s Black Gold Bi Luo Chun from Spring of 2014. They are different size snails and the one from YS has larger snails.
This tea is bright and citrus focused when brewed this way but it is well balanced with the subtle malt and sweet notes. The YS snails had more of a focus on smoke and malt.
I found that the two size snails have completely different flavors which of course they would. It is cool to see how the different size in leaves and rolling can bring out such different flavors!
Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Dates, Honey, Malt
Whoa there is a lot of stuff in this tea! I’m surprised by the five minute steep time, too. I’m tasting mostly cherry in this cup. A little lemon grass in the beginning of the sip. This is interesting! And is that a strawberry aftertaste?! I bet this would be great cold brewed and iced!
Thanks for this sample VariaTEA!
A lovely, well-made tea that has a full-bodied taste. But there is also a subtle tartness in the first infusions follwed by sweetness in the final ones for those who are paying attention.
First infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 2:00 min.
Second infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 3:00 min.
Third infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 5:00 min.
Fourth infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.
I really loved Twinings Blackcurrent in college. I was pretty sad when it started tasting a bit chemically to me. This is a great replacement. It’s a deep but still brisk base tea with a less-pronounced but deeply delicious berry note. It’s less fruity than Twinings, but in a really nice way. I bet this would make a terrific cold brew too.
This is it, my winning Earl Grey Creme. No doubt there are plenty I haven’t tried, but no need to move on from here. The dry leaf smells like a fruity marshmallow, then brews up to a well-balanced, creamy, fruity, floral Earl Grey. The base tea is Celyon but not one of the tangiest – still, a nice offset to the creaminess. It has none of the chemical notes that can put me off some Earl Greys.
Last tea of the night; and yeah I know I made six cups at once (shhhh, I do not have a problem) but this actually truly was the last of the night because it’s the last of those six cups that I finished – not because it was bad or anything, but because I knew this was one that would still be very good once it had gone cold, so I didn’t feel rushed to slurp it all down.
Tonight all the fruits in this really, really stood out on their own; like more so than usual, and especially after it had gone cold. The star was the very plump, ripe tasting strawberry in this but it was accented magnificently by the tropical tasting pineapples and the bright, sweet cherries and rhubarb. I even tasted the pear and lemon myrtle, both of which I find normally get lost under all the other amazing, contributing fruits.
It was like a cup of very fresh fruit salad! Or mixed fruit pie filling…
I put the tin away in my closet, but I feel like I may have to bring it right back out again; the one is calling out to me, telling me I better cold brew it sooner rather than later and I really don’t think I can argue with it.
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
I made two cups of tea when I got home tonight; I’d have loved to make more, but I work again tomorrow at 9AM and I need to go to bed right away so I stuck with simpler, lower caffeine blends.
This sample comes from Dexter3657, though I’m pretty sure she got her sample from VariaTEA – so this works out nicely because, had Dex not sent me some, I’m sure VariaTEA would have eventually (or I’d have requested it).
I really like this though! It reminds me of Tea Desire’s Buddha Bamboo in the fruitiness of it – mostly the pineapple, which is really strong. The rhubarb is a little less strong, and hides in the background, though not enough where I can’t find it. The aftertaste is so potent – it really makes taking the time to enjoy this really easy. Mmm!
I find it funny that it reminds me of Buddha Bamboo, though! I’m buying Buddha Bamboo for VariaTEA because Tea Desire is local to me, and I’ve now requested she do the same for me with this blend, which is local to her. What a nearly comical trade off.
This is surprisingly tasty. I say surprisingly, cause I did not expect it to be so tasty. “Ombrelle de papier” evokes something fragile, shy, and innocent.
This tea is bold and fruity, despite its white base. I brewed all at once the big sample Dexter3657 sent me. She wrote that it had a hint of rhubarb so it fitted my likings. Well she was right, it does (I love rhubarb!!) But pineapple and rhubarb, who would have thought? I started having it hot, but as it was cooling down, I got the impression this would be better cold. So I put my mason jar mug in the fridge and got busy…
We’ve had a tremendous amount of snow here in the last two days. Winter is not ending, it’s still very cold on top of things.
I’ve had a lot to deal with for many months now, health and emotional issues. Still not over. All those circumstances have made me tired and lazy. I haven’t worked out in a long time, putting it off until I feel better or waiting for more clement weather. Excuses, really. I know I’m tougher than that. Weather issues? Really Fairy??? How bout having access to a full gym…downstair in the basement! What’s your excuse now? Pain, fatigue? Some people train with serious injuries, some have serious handicaps and still train… So there. No more excuses.
I used to find relief and pleasure in exercise not so long ago. In a few weeks, I know I’ll
be back on my bike, ready to ride, but I have to get back in shape first. So today was the day. Treadmill, spin session, and Pilates recliner.
Lol, all with moderation of course, I do have to be able to walk tomorrow! It feels so good right now, I got the fix of endorphins I’ve been craving so much, and mostly, I feel proud of myself, something I haven’t felt in way too long. Yay for me :-)
Time try this iced tea! So good, juicy and quenching, my training tea of the day!
Thank you Dexter :-)
Another sample from the lovely Dexter3657
what a nice medium bodied roasted Oolong with cereal and bread notes.
I am enjoying it with pancakes and Maple syrup before leaving to go to my niece’s birthday.
Not especially happy to have to take the train again for more than an hour and during the week end but this is a special occasion and I’m glad to celebrate her 17 years the right day.
Thanks to VariaTEA for sharing some of this with me! The name instantly grabbed my attention, and I was hoping for Turkish Delight or something along those lines. And it basically is. First sip was candied rose, but the more sips I took, the more the cherry came out.
The base is a little on the dry side but I like it here. The only drawback is the more you sip on it, the more the cherry starts to morph into a cherry cough syrup note. Part of me still wants more, and this reminds me of how I’ve been meaning to order from this company for quite a while. Despite the cough syrup note, I can still see myself enjoying this every once in a while.
I was just feeling out of sorts, with an upset belly, and the description on this one made it seem like a good bet. It was. You’d think a Campari drinker would know better than to expect sweetness from a bright red tea, but I was still surprised that it was so…grainlike? If I closed my eyes I thought of basil and millet while actually tasting neither. Only after reading the description did I pick up on the anise – and I really hate anise in tea. But not in this one. It steps to the back and doesn’t leave that Ouzo stickiness. And it did settle my belly!