Chi of Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
Help, I’m suffering from internetshop-initis! I’ve had an A C Perch’s order come in recently and now a Chi of Tea order as well. I couldn’t help it. It was like the mouse jumped me and twisted my arm or something. And it gets worse. The Chi of Tea order? Two things of substance. One a stock-up of the Keemun and the other a smaller pouch of Lapsang Souchong, because I’m always moderately interested in sampling a good LS. That doesn’t sound so bad until we come to the actual unpacking and putting away of new loot, and finding in the Bits’n’Bops Basket one half pouch of Chi of Tea LS that I had clear forgotten I had. I could lie and say I was stocking up, but that would be all too easy to see through as neither the quantity of the new pouch nor the old one corroborates the story. Let mocking commence.
So I confessed to the boyfriend and was indeed mocked. “You have bought so much tea,” he said, “that you’ve tried everything in the world and are now starting in on the second circuit.”
All in all, I got off easy.
Anyway, with the Chi of Tea order was also the three random samples, which has led me to consider when exactly it is one can say to have won the Sample Lottery. Is it when you get samples of something good you’ve tried before and know for absolute fact you’ll enjoy, or is it when you get something you wouldn’t otherwise have considered and have never tried before? My personal jury is still out on the issue.
At any rate, I got some good samples. Two tried, tested and true and one new one which I considered when making the order but ultimately decided to wait with and think it over.
This was one of the Triple Ts. It’s funny, this one actually. I have a pouch of them and everytime I’ve made an order I’ve received three more hearts in a sample. They’re quite nice so I’m not complaining, but it puts me in an amusing situation where it seems like the more I drink, the more of it I’ve got. (This is because I haven’t had it often, mainly around the times when I’ve received an order)
I was afraid today’s brew, first steep very nearly forgotten, was going to be ridiculously strong. It’s possibly that I’ve managed to put my tastebuds in a coma with throat lozenges (am still apparently attempting to expel own respiratory system via oral orifice), but it strikes me as incredibly smoooooooooth today.
It has that honeyed note on the finish that I’ve described before. A rather interesting note of strongly flavoured honey. I know it’s just a pseudo-note, that honey, but it still feels really nice in a throat that is quite sore from repeated expelling of air in a forceful manner.
You know, every time I have one of these I wonder why I don’t have one more often. I suspect it has to do with the fact that whenever I do have one, it keeps me in tea for the rest of the day.
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.
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 haven’t had this for a while, but I remembered that I wanted to try it with cooler water and a shorter steep time, so I settled on 190 degrees and 3.30 mins. It still had a sort of unpleasant bitterness to it, so I added a little sugar but that just made it a little sickly. I didn’t really enjoy this at all today, especially the sugar, so I am knocking the score down from 73.
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.
Seeing as I’m quite enjoying the black currant flavoured black I bought from A. C. Perch’s, I found it natural to include the same flavour in my Chi of Tea order. It was actually my intention of trying this one yesterday in celebration of my newest cousin (a girl) being born. Huge age gap there! But in preparation for the upcoming UK holiday, I didn’t find the time for it. (Leaving sunday, returning monday next, is out of reach during that time, btw)
So, I’m having it tonight. I do have a few chores to do, but I can manage. I have to manage or I’ll go nuts. Therefore the choice of tea to have this evening was incredibly easy to make.
I tried comparing the aroma of the dry leaves between this one and my other black currant one, and I found this one to have a slightly sweeter, slightly floral character, while the Perch’s one was more tart. I can’t tell, though, if it’s a difference in the base tea or if it’s a difference in the flavouring. I can’t know for certain but I don’t think Perch’s uses Nilgiri as their base.
Actual side by side comparison of Chi and Perch’s will have to wait for another day though, and I’m counting on memory to see me through here.
After steeping there’s a slightly tart aroma, almost lemon-like, but although I can’t seem to pick out any aroma from the tea base, the fruit notes are surprisingly mild and discreet. It doesn’t seem to really be entirely logical, but nevertheless.
It seems like the Perch’s one is actually more heavily flavoured than this one. This seems milder, a little more subtle, where Perch’s strikes me as average flavour strength. It’s definitely berry, but I don’t think I’d be able to identify it correctly if I didn’t know what it was. I think I would be more inclined to guessing forest fruit. It seems light years away from the Perch’s variant, much sweeter and much girlier.
I can’t say which of the two I actually prefer. I’m finding it hard to compare them like this. My experiences with them are so different from one another that a direct comparison doesn’t really strike me as entirely fair. I do like this a great deal, though.
The latest victim of PostDanmark’s incompetence has been located and delivered to my door within half an hour of them calling me to tell me and get my street address. So obviously they’re not completely useless, but I’m still not feeling all that inclined towards trust at the moment.
Receiving it was exciting partly because it had actually been found (which I hadn’t been 100% convinced that it would) and partly because I simply got taken in by the awesome deal Chi of Tea offered on that day to the point where today I only had a vague recollection of what I had actually bought.
I made sure to make everything ready to brew a cup, pot ready for the insertion of leaves, kettle filled with water to be turned on when the package was here and opened and clean cup with strainer placed on top. All I had to do when it got here was choose one.
So I picked this one. The dry leaf smelled a lot of dark chocolate. Sweet and chocolate-y, not dry cocoa which some brands tend to think would be the same thing. It’s the same thing after steeping, only now the aroma of the tea is also shining through. It’s a warm, red smell with a strong malty note to it. I haven’t paid attention to that note before in other flavoured Nilgiris, but it does remind me somewhat of a sort of mixture between generic Ceylons and the Tan Yang Te Ji from TeaSpring that I like. One of these days I really ought to go hunting for a plain Nilgiri. It’s just not a very common type around these parts.
The flavour is… hard to describe, actually. I’m getting a lot of a sort of nutty note and a sort of wooden note that I also generally see a lot of in the Tan Yang. I’m not really picking up a lot of chocolate, though. I like it when a flavoured tea is subtle in it’s flavouring. When you drink some tea and the flavouring pops up on the swallow and the aftertaste. As a sort of extra feature rather than running the whole show. But I’m not even really getting that. It’s possible that I’ve managed to make it too strong, that somehow this particular tea doesn’t tolerate as much abuse as other flavoured blacks, but all I’m really getting here is tea. An interesting one, yes, but I was expecting a little more than that.
After several sips, my mouth feels like I’ve eaten a ton of nuts, and only now at the back of my throat am I beginning to detect some chocolate. It’s not really an aftertaste of chocolate, it’s more like an aftertaste of the idea of chocolate. I’m sorry, but that’s just wee bit too subtle.
I’ll have to experiment with it a little and based on that I might add or take away some points, but this is where I’m landing on the first go. This is not in the running for perfect chocolate tea. (In fact, so far my local shop is just about the only place I’ve found a chocolate flavoured black that hit all my right spots. We have it at work.)
Back after awhile,
This tea is fairly dark with a creamy texture to it. Smells very vanillay, but not so much for taste. Personally i prefer a little more vanilla taste.
The tea is very mild, which would have lended itself to more vanilla flavor in my opinion.
I received this as a free sample a while ago and I don’t quite know why I haven’t tried it before now.
The scent of the dry leaves is very soapy and the orange overwhelms the chrysanthemum. Hmm. Not a good sign.
The liqour is a very glossy dark brown but it still smells very soapy (I can smell the chrysanthemum a bit more now though).
I wanted so much to like this, but I just don’t. I love pu-erh and although I can taste a lovely pu-erh base, the flavouring tastes a bit like parma violets (which I really can’t stand). Pretty much everyone else seems to like it though – did I just get a bad batch? Hmm.
I’m not really sure about this tea. I’ve had three pots over the last few days and I keep forgetting to log it. I don’t know why – but if it was really bad or really good, I’d have remembered.
Anyway, going off my notes, this had sort of a generic fruity taste and I couldn’t pick any of the individual flavours out, but a nice tea to sip absentmindedly.
I wonder how this would be iced…
Today was one of those mornings where I was really in the mood for a Yunnan black.(*) Only to discover that I hadn’t got any. At all. Not a one. Not even a sample! That’s just typical. When I really want one, I can’t have one. When I mostly associate them with a mouthful of hay, I’ve got lots.
I went for this one instead because it seemed to be the closest I could come. I expect I’ll probably be drinking this all day until the boyfriend comes home from Copenhagen tonight, at which point we will hopefully have something extra nommy to celebrate that particular wedding hurdle being over with (because he’s not a Danish citizen, there are some documents that he needs from the British embassy. It’s a formality, but a really silly one). Gong-fu-ish method get the leaves used up. :)
(*)ought this actually be ‘. . . one of those mornings when I was really . . .’
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.)
I probably ought to experiment more with the Daughter Rings and see if I can coax some more flavour, or just some flavour out of subsequent steeps, but honestly, I just wanted something that actually has a flavour in the first place.
So we’re staying in the same region although not the same tea type.
This was given to me as one of two free samples in my Chi of Tea order, and one I thought was rather well chosen for me. If I had been paying proper attention to how much I could actually get from Chi of Tea for so little, I might actually have ordered it myself.
The aroma of the dry leaf surprised me. It wasn’t just the usual earthy sort of musty notes, there was a surprisingly floral layer on top of it. It made me sniff an extra time, but it really was there. Sort of sweet and sort of floral.
After steeping, however, it smells more… um, normal. Earthy, slight notes of livestock. There’s a strong sweetness to it though. It reminds me of the aroma of the Vanilla Nilgiri black, also from Chi of Tea. It sort of hints at vanilla and cream, but not in a way that would make you think either of them are in there. A note of custard, is really what it is. (I like custard!)
Shame it doesn’t taste like custard also, but I wasn’t really expecting it to either. We can’t have everything, can we? Truth be told, I’m not sure I really want a tea to taste like custard when it’s unflavoured… Naturally occurring notes of this and that are great, but I don’t think it would work with custard.
The taste is more your average standard pu-erh. It’s earthy and dark, but while it doesn’t have any custard notes, it has retained a note of vanilla which I’m finding to be very pleasant. Come to think of it, wasn’t it Chi of Tea that gave me that tip of keeping an eye out for pu-erhs flavoured with sweet things such as vanilla or caramel? I can definitely see the potential of vanilla here!
The flavour here seems a bit watered down and thin, but I was bound by the size of the sample, so I think that’s something one can experiment one’s way out of.
I’m very pleased with this! Really very pleased indeed. It’s not impossible I’ll make a purchase of it in the future. For the time being I’m putting it on my shopping list so that I don’t forget about it.
Yeah, I totally caved and ordered this sample. And so far, all I’ve done is smelled the brewed tea, but just from that aroma – it was well worth the purchase!
Oh WOW! This Darjeeling is AWESOME! One of the best – if not the best – second flush Darjeeling teas I’ve experienced. Yum!
Now… if you don’t mind, I need some private time with this tea.