Chi of Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
This is another tea that I received as a sample with a recent order… Chi of Tea is certainly very generous with their free samples when you place an order! I like that!
This chai is much more finely ground than the picture would suggest. It has quite a strong black tea base, in fact, I didn’t really notice the mint notes until about mid-cup, because the black tea dominates. But now, with all the flavors present, this is an incredibly refreshing chai – I love this one as a latte. Smooth and rich, warmly spiced but not too overwhelmingly spicy. The mint is a lovely addition to this one.
I received a sample of this with my last order to Chi of Tea. I was thrilled to receive it as I love Tai Ping. These leaves are gorgeous: large, flat, green leaves. Beautiful.
The flavor is so sweet and light and fresh. While I have not had a lot of Tai Ping tea, this is easily the best that I have ever had the opportunity to try.
I did not see this tea on their website, so I do hope they decide to start carrying it.
I’ve been enjoying this one this afternoon. I haven’t had more than 1½ cup so far but I suspect it’s going to steep a good many times before it gives up.
I’ve been drinking it while cooking dinner, so I haven’t really paid that much attention to it so far. But it’s not the strongest pu-erh flavour as pu-erhs go, really. It’s quite mild one, this, and pretty sweet actually. There’s an interesting malty, honeyed sort note towards the end of the sip at this point.
That was the second steep. I have now made me a third cup and the flavour, even with the same steeping time as the first two, is more or less unchanged.
Amusingly, I discovered, checking my previous note on this, that I’m using the same unconventional timing system for steeping. It’s a children’s song involving elephants and each verse is just about 15 seconds… Yeah, my tea timer has run out of battery and I can’t seem to find one in the right size, annoyingly.
It’s been a while since I had this one. This was the first tin that caught my eye when looking to see which tea to make. Good choice. I knew exactly then that it was the one I wanted today.
I’ve had a little while preparing dinner, but it was really too hot still then to tell anything about it. Now it’s cooled off almost a little bit too much, but it’s still nice.
It’s got such a LARGE flavour. It’s strong and firm and decisive. If this tea was a job it would be a some sort of boasting management position with tie and suit and private secretary. And a polished brass name plaque on the door. Not snobby, though, and well-liked by its employees. It knows what it wants and how to get it, it’s not afraid of making the unpopular decision, but without being unreasonable or mercyless.
I’m glad I decided to buy a pouch of this after having received a free sample of it in my first order. It’s not something that vanishes quickly from the tin, though. This one pouch of 50g is probably going to last me a long time, simply because it’s not just a tea to have for the sake of having tea. This is the one to have when there’s time to really pay attention to it (which, yes, I can in fact do while cooking, when dinner is as simple as it is today), or when everything kind of sucks and you just need someone take your arm and re-instate some semblance of order and purpose by saying, ‘look, this is what we’ll do.’
I’m not sure what exactly it was that prompted me to have it today. I think it caught my eye by coincidence today, but there must have been some sort of factor involved with making me stick to it and not moving on to something else. Maybe it was the connection to this particular time in my life, now that I’m so close to taking the next step into an entirely new phase with our first shared home.
(Sent a letter yesterday, giving notice on my current place. It felt good.)
A sample of this came in some tea QuiltGuppy sent to me. Nothing really to add to the reviews here. I will say this, I like it. I think the vanilla is just right, the cream effect is perfect
and the tea flavor itself is present in the proper context. Like another reviewer, I had visions of pralines and cream, but then, that should be expected. I am from the South y’all.
Someone on the board had a Keemun related question. I answered it to the best of my abilities and decided it was inspiring me.
So I went and made me a cup. It’s been a while since I’ve had Keemun. The smoky overtone to it and the sweetness and grainyness of the body.
Didn’t come out so awesomely today, though. My timer has run out of battery and I can’t for the life of me find a new one in that size! That’s what you get when you buy a cheap kitchen timer.
I have this one a few times now, from the generous sample included in my order from about a month ago. The smell was very intense, and incredibly orangey – but a good orange, not that sickly sweet orange that some teas can carry.
I steeped this a little longer than my usual oolong, and I really wasn’t getting oolong at all, just ginger and orange as the water slowly garnered a luscious amber tone. It was a very enjoyable cup, stimulating and tastey. The orange and ginger were well balanced, but the oolong was overpowered. I didn’t mind, however, as I really enjoyed this and appreciated the clear tisane-like notes.
O hai Steepsterites!
I’ve been busy since coming home from my holiday. Srs bsnss spring cleaning is underway here and I’ve made great progress. If I’m good and work hard I should be able to finish the last chores this weekend. On top of that, I’ve also been working on the holiday trip report but I’ve only written three days so far. Finished estimate currently lies around 3-4000 words or so. I’ll be working on that during the weekend as well.
This morning, however, I’m going to give myself a slower start and sit down with a cup of tea that I haven’t had before. Sitting down with a cup of tea and taking time to write about it is a treat in itself, as you all well know, but sitting down with a new cup of tea is an entirely different crate of fish.
I chose this one today because… well, I can’t tell you yet, but suffice to say there is a reason why I chose this particular one today. When I originally bought it, I chose it because I’ve previously liked the convenience of touchas and I thought this shape was a new and fun way of doing the same thing. With my second order from Chi of Tea, one of my free samples was also this one, so lucky me has a good supply of it now. :D
I’m not sure exactly how long it steeped, because my way of measuring the time this morning was a little unconventional. Basically, I’ve had a children’s song swimming about in my head for a couple of days, surfacing now and then, and I know four verses of that one is just about a minute. So I sang two verses to myself and decided it was good.
So it must have been around 30-ish seconds, which is half the time I usually do for a black and the standard I usually do for loose pu-erh. I figured I would then pour it into the cup and see how much the heart had unfurled and if it hadn’t much, I could pour it back and steep some more. The heart was completely undone, though.
It’s quite dark in colour and the aroma is good and full. I like it when you can really smell the tea without having to search through a whole lot of steam to find it. It’s a strong aroma and also a bit sweet, slightly honey-ish.
It’s a good thing I didn’t steep it further, because it really doesn’t need it. I seem to have actually managed to hit some magic spot here, where the flavour really unfurls. It’s quite smooth in flavour, and there’s a lot more of that thick honey note in it. It’s a bit earthy in flavour, but not hugely so, and there is a hint of something prickly pepperish which reveals its Yunnan origins. This makes me wonder how it would hold up to the Yunnan pu-erh in a direct comparison. I quite liked the sample I had of that one, enough to go and purchase some more. Right now, of the two, I can’t off the top of my head say which one I prefer, but in the future I probably don’t need to have the both of them.
I’m very pleased with this one.
The scent of the tea when dry is lovely. It’s slightly earthy smelling, but without the pu-erh smell that I dislike. Perhaps mossy is a better word.
205/2 min. Now, it smells just like the tea that I used to drink as a child with my mom. It’s taste is smooth, not bitter, not astringent, just pleasant. It’s a nice morning tea, however, I’m not tasting any natural sweetness in the tea, though, which is always a pleasant surprise.
Having decided to begin my weekend with Earl Grey Windemere, I’m now sitting in front of my cup, looking at a beautiful golden brown cup of tea. As a dry tea, it does give off a strong scent of bergamot. I don’t pick up much else as it is quite strong.
195/3 min. Ooh. I definitely should have cut down on the steeping time. It’s strong. I can smell it the minute I walk into the kitchen. Bergamot. Fortunately, I love the scent as I’m certain it will be around for a while.
The taste, as expected, is pretty much bergamot, but the creamy vanilla flavor does poke through. I’d say that my three minutes were too much for this one and I’ll definitely cut it a bit shorter next time. It is astringent, which surprises me with an oolong. I think the bergamot’s changing the rules here. Still, it’s a nice cup of tea and I’ll certainly give it another (adjusted) shot.
As always, I need to preface this by acknowledging that perfumey teas aren’t my thing. But I love vanilla and caramel, both of which are abundantly present in this tea. Just too abundant for my preference. And I’m not picking up the underlying tea flavor.
Second steep the vanilla arrives at a nicer, subtler level, so as it steamed off the pour I was looking forward to the cup, thinking my strategy next time I pull out this tea will be to give it a quick pre-steep rinse. Unfortunately, along with the perfume, the tea seems to have lost its depth and complexity. It’s got a nice fragrance but it all goes flat and ends with astringency. Tried adding almond milk as an afterthought, but that didn’t help.
I can see how folks who lean toward flavored teas would love this, because the first steep is a nice strong vanilla-caramel, and very true caramel, at that. As for me, I’ll try it again with a quick rinse.
I love chocolate, so naturally I had to buy this.
It smells sooo good, like high-quality, rich, bittersweet chocolate and the nilgiri base comes through nicely. The black tea base smells lovely and warm under the chocolate notes after steeping, though think I might have oversteeped becuase there is an unpleasantly bitter note that lingers after swallowing. Still, a nice tea that I wouln’t mind drinking upon occasion.
This package of tea packs quite a powerful punch in the fab fragrance department. It’s absolutely enchanting! The most obvious scent of which is the coconut. It’s a fresh coconut aroma… very nice.
I cut down on the temp and steep times as I’ve read just how strong this tea can quickly become. 205/1.5 min. The color is a deep chestnut brown. The aroma is still amazing. Rich, deep, alluring. I’m really looking forward to it now. Upon tasting, I’m rewarded with exactly the coconut flavor fresh toasted yumminess that I had been hoping to savor. The ginger is only hinted at in the overall taste, but it’s just enough to add an ever so slight spiciness to it. The tea base is rich and divine, with a very slight bitterness at just 1.5 minutes of steeping time. Overall, the effect is near perfection. I really enjoyed this one.
O hai, steepsterites.
This was one of the free samples I got with the first of my Chi of Tea orders, and I’ve been eyeing it suspiciously ever since.
I’m sceptical about this. I’m not really a great fan of Earl Grey or bergamot in general, and I’m definitely not a fan of Darjeeling either. I find the bergamot flavour easily turns into something that can best be described as perfumed dust. Bit like drinking an attic. As for my Darjeeling reservations, it’s the extreme spicyness of it that puts me off. It’s too grass-y and prickly for me and my overall impression of a Darjeeling tea most often end up being of something sour.
So I’ve been avoiding this sample for a while. Today, I saw that I had to have it though, as the corner of the sample bag had started to tear a bit. Very well, let’s get it over with.
Let’s start with the beginning. Apparently this one is a Darjeeling oolong blend, with bergamot and vanilla cream. That’s three things, only one of which I actually find appealing. That said, when smelling the dry leaves, it wasn’t completely off-putting. The bergamot was rather strong and dusty and the tea aroma itself didn’t show up at all, but there was a touch of vanilla cream underneath all the bergamot dust, which sort of saved the day for me.
After steeping, the bergamot is still strong, but it’s a lot less aggressive. The vanilla cream is clearly detectable as well, and the Darjeeling still keeping its nose out of things. Overall, it’s a quite sweet smell with aspects of dairy, so it’s not unlike something that might have made for an interesting dessert. Like some sort of flavoured panna cotta, for example.
It’s at this point that I suddenly remember that at some point I got to try some sort of cream Earl Grey before, having received it in a swap with… with… uh, with… At any rate, I remember now that I quite liked it. Perhaps there’s hope for this one yet.
The flavour is definitely Earl Grey. The Darjeeling is still sticking to the background, being little more than just a base to carry the flavouring, but I am getting that sour sort of aftertaste from it. If your average Earl Grey is like drinking an attic, then this is like drinking an attic with milk in it.
To go into a little more detail, there’s a lot of creamyness when sipping and a touch of vanilla. On top of that we have the bergamot, most of the dusty flavour of it being weighed down by the cream, so that it’s primarily the citrus-y aspects that are coming through.
The oolong it’s based on isn’t really coming through at all. I’m getting the sour aftertaste that I recognise from Darjeeling teas, but mostly the differences between an Earl Grey based on a black and an Earl Grey based on an oolong are present in absences. The absence of detectable tea base. The absence of notes of astringency or bitterness. The result here is much smoother and much more flavouring focused.
As Earl Greys go, I like it. But I wouldn’t go out and invest in it, as it doesn’t change my mind on neither Earl Grey nor Darjeeling.
Steepsterites, I am f-f-f-f-f-freezing!
And when chillsome, something smoky is (also) good. What luck that I happened to buy a new one when ordering from Chi of Tea!
LS and smoky flavoured black teas in general, be it actually smoked like LS or an naturally occurring pseudo-smoke like Keemun, are some of my favourites. I’ve said more than once that ‘smoky is good, very smoky is very good’ and I stand by that. There is just that little proviso with LS that I can actually get them too smoky. That is, it’s not the fact that there’s too much of the smoke. It’s the other parts of it that there isn’t enough of. I like the sweetness of the finish, and I’ve had an LS where this finishing note didn’t really show up at all until the second steep. That’s just not ideal for me. The perfect LS needs to have both those aspects.
The aroma of the leaves is definitely smoky, even charcoal-y, and after steeping the tea smells strongly of smoke and ashes. Fresh ashes though. Like the site of a campfire after it has almost completely gone out. (I used to be a girl scout. I know what that smells like. It’s significantly better than what your clothes smell like when coming home.)
Taste-wise this is an LS right after my own heart! It’s heavy on the smoke, but that sweet note of fruit, almost sugary, is coming through loud and clear. This is pretty much ideal. I’ve previously named the LS from AC Perch’s my standard LS, but I might have to do some more comparison to see how this one holds up, because this is seriously nice.
The thing about LS, for an LS lover, is that it’s very easy to describe. Or very difficult, whichever way you look at it. It’s certainly un-complicated. At first there’s a lot of smoky notes, slight wooden and just a smidge sour. Then, when swallowing, an incredible sweetness blossoms up. Sweet, yet with a certain quality of freshness.
This, however, in no way means that LS, however much of that sweet note it’s got, should be mistaken for a sweet tea. It’s not actually sweet at all. It’s harsh and prickly. The sweetness is merely there in a finishing note, and seeming all the sweeter still because it’s contrasted with the smoke.
If you like smokies, if you are an LS lover, do ask this one for a dance.