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Recent Tasting Notes
Er…. I don’t remember who sent this tea to me :( It was whoever the last person I swapped with was… who I also got some 52teas from…. maybe if I check my Steepster messages I can figure this out…
Anyhow! My first tea from Cornelia Bean, and unfortunately I’m not overly impressed. The strawberry flavour is very similar to a bunch of other strawberry teas I’ve had previously, which is ok (of course, I’m completely blanking on their names. One I had a sample of from *Sil*… and sometimes teas with this flavour are labelled as “strawberry + papaya”, I think… bad memory today, it seems.). It’s kind of light though, but that’s to be expected as a consequence of old age. I’m more disappointed in the meringue bits – they didn’t even fully dissolve for me, so I have no idea what they really add. I may try a second infusion in less water, adding the other half of the packet into the infuser, and see what results. Otherwise, this tea is probably very similar to those other ones I mentioned, that I’ll have to look up.
ETA: I believe the tea I was referring to would be “Yaya Strawberry” by Steep City, and I believe the swapper in question was Courtney, although I am nowhere near 100% sure about that.
Oh this is so nice. There’s a hint of the medicinal note that some roobos has, but it’s very faint, and mostly, there’s just a very pleasant apple and currant flavour. The currant is particularly distinct and delicious.
I think I might need to try steeping other rooibos blends for a shorter time. I did this one for 4 minutes, which is shorter than usual, and I’m really pleased with how well it turned out.
Flavors: Apple, Black Currant, Medicinal
This is weird. It smells like it should be fantastic, with citrus peel notes and lots of spices. The smell really is evocative of sitting by a fire all cozy and bundled up. And there’s lots of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg flavour. But at the start of the sip there’s also this odd taste that’s kind of dry and minerally, almost woody but not in the way that rooibos often is. My partner said it tasted like chard and I can see that – the iron notes of it.
So I dunno, very weird.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Mineral, Nutmeg, Spicy, Wood
I’ve had a few excellent honeybush blends lately, and so during my last visit to Cornelia Bean, I grabbed one of their only honeybush tisanes.
The dry leaf smells amazing – very fruity and tangy, like citrus peels.
Steeped though… I’m not sure what to make of this. There’s the citrusy fruit notes like the dry leaf, but there’s also this really odd fragrance of olives. There’s a bit of tropical fruit flavour on the sip, notably papaya, and the fruit intensifies on the finish, but then transitions to an olivey taste that fills the back of the mouth. It’s weird and off putting.
It’s like there’s two competing things going on in this cup – fruity honeybush and then olives trying to horn in.
I’m going to let this cool and see if it gets any better, because right now, I feel reluctant to finish this cup.
Flavors: Citrus, Olives, Tangy, Tropical
I’m grumpy as hell because the water is off in my building again, and all I’ve eaten for breakfast is cookies, so I’m rapidly becoming over caffeinated which does not bode well. So, trying out the decaf Earl Grey.
This is not bad for a decaf and it’s not a bad Earl Grey. There’s a good amount of bergamot, and also a black currant note, which is interesting. There’s a kind of juiciness on the finish, which is not something I really look for in an Earl Grey, typically, but it works. Very faintly astringent.
This would not be my go to Earl Grey, but it’d be awesome to have in the evening, if you want that black tea flavour without the caffeine.
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Black Currant, Fruity, Sweet
This is a nice CTC. A bit brisk but not overly astringent, and very bready tasting. More dry than sweet. Not as bold as most Assam CTCs I’ve had, but this is a nice afternoon tea and would be a good first cup of the morning too.
Nice to drink straight, but also good with a bit of milk and sugar.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread
This is such a beautiful jasmine tea. The dried leaf is just gorgeous. Deep green, shiny spears of sencha, with the paler green angular bamboo leaves and a scattering of white, pink and blue from the flowers. It’s fluffy and the different colours and shapes combine artfully.
On the nose the jasmine is the dominant note, but there’s also a juicy, sweet fruity note from the bamboo leaves.
This has quite a delicate flavour. The jasmine is very present but not overpowering, with some rose and the sweet fruitiness of bamboo leaves. The base blends beautifully with the rest of the flavours, and for a sencha, is surprisingly not vegetal.
Flavors: Bamboo, Fruity, Jasmine, Rose, Sweet
I haven’t had this in a while, but I’ve been craving it for a bit now. My palate has improved a fair bit since I last made a cup, and I’m excited to drink this again.
When I was first getting into loose leaf tea I lucked into a package of gyokuro on clearance for incredibly cheap, and I fell in love with it, not knowing what I’d picked up. I was shocked to discover how expensive this tea is when I went to go restock – figures, I always tend to have expensive taste by accident.
My first steep of just over 30 seconds is definitely over steeping this. It’s so incredibly rich and thick, with an almost overpowering flavour. Not at all astringent though. The liquor is a bright yellow green . Umami, seaweed, grassy and roasted flavours coat my mouth. It’s broth-like and there’s an almost meaty quality to this. The finish is seaweed and roasty. Delicious, but almost too much.
Second steep, and I’m wondering if maybe I just overleafed this. 15 seconds and this cup is almost as intense as the first, with a hint of bitterness. The flavour and nose doesn’t really change from steep to steep – seaweed, umami, roasty. Very delicious. I can already feel myself getting over caffeinated.
For my third steep I pulled half the leaves out of my gaiwan, and did a quick pour on and pour off. This is still very flavourful but light and delicate compared to the last two steepings. Better.
I’m really enjoying this, but I think I will have to take a break and revisit it later. It’s a little bit like eating a rich meal first thing in the morning – tasty but a bit too much.
Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Grass, Roasted, Seaweed, Umami
I’m trying out a rooibos for my morning cup, instead of tea, since I’ve been having a lot of tension headaches and I’m thinking about tinkering with my daily caffeine intake to see if that makes a difference.
It’s been ages since I’ve had this one, but I’m reminded of why my bag is almost empty. This is delicious. It both smells and tastes very almondy, with a sweetness that makes me think amaretto or angel food cake, rather than nuts.
I’m not really getting the chocolate in this, but I think it may be helping to mellow the woodiness of the rooibos (in a very good way) and to just make this taste incredibly rich.
Mmm, love it! And boy did that cup disappear fast!
Flavors: Almond, Sweet
I’ve finally picked up a gaiwan, gongbei and small tea cups, so I can prepare this tea properly. We tried it once, ages ago when we first picked it up, and brewed it western style and it just wasn’t that good, so probably about a year later, I’m revisiting it.
I don’t know anything about this pu erh. It’s pressed into mini toucha, and there’s no details provided about it. Next time I go in I’ll have to ask the shop if they can say anything more about it.
3o second rinse with boiling water, and then a five second first steep.
The liquor is a deep, clear, reddish brown. It smells robust and earthy, with a bit of malt and a bit of mustiness. The leaves themselves have these notes, as well as a fragrance I can’t quite pin down, but that reminds me of cool, humid early mornings in Mexico – coffee, petrichor and jungle?
First impression on the tongue is earth, must and smoky. There’s some sweet, dried fruit notes that are a delightful surprise. This has a wonderful, full mouth flavour, and is very rich tasting. The finish lingers on the back of the tongue and is a bit sweet. There’s a touch of licorice on the finish and a pleasant hint of bitterness.
Second steep, 10 seconds. Haha, oh dear, nothing about this steep was done with skill. I shifted the lid of the gaiwan mid pour and dumped tea and leaves all over the outside of the gongbei. Still, most of the tea was salvaged.
The licorice notes come out even earlier in the sip now. There’s more sweetness, and a touch of astringency and acidity that wasn’t in the first steep. This one has less of a full mouth flavour and is more focused on the front and sides of the tongue. There’s a brief floral note mid sip, which then shifts to lots of licorice and some juicy fruit on the finish, perhaps apple and grape?
Third steep, 15 seconds.
This steep smells musty and medicinal. There’s a lot of licorice lingering on my palette from the previous cups that almost overpowers the notes of this one. Lots of earth, drier, and with a woodiness that comes up mid sip and lingers into the finish. Again there’s licorice on the finish, which fills my mouth more and more as I continue to sip, and is starting to take on some more medicinal notes. I’m experiencing a slight numbing feeling at the back of my tongue and roof of my mouth, similar to szechuan pepper.
Fourth steep, 20 seconds.
Liquor this time around is redder and paler. The leaves have a more vegetal fragrance now, combined with something that I can only describe as library. The sip is musty, earthy and a bit on the weak side. The numbing and licorice continue to build, though they’re not distinctly present on the sip anywhere. They’re just filling my mouth. I’m starting to get a slight jittery feeling from the caffeine, so the next steep will be my last for a while.
Steep five. 25 seconds. Pale amber liquor. We’re back to a bit of malt and must, and a whole lot of licorice. Again, a little weak as I can taste my water a bit; probably should have done this one for 30. There’s a sweetness in the back of the throat again that’s building. The numbing effect is pretty pervasive. In amongst the licorice finish there’s a hint of something that reminds me of the finish on coffee, before the sour aftertaste kicks in.
I don’t have a lot of experience with pu erhs, but I really, really enjoyed this. I’m so glad I gave it a second chance with a more appropriate brewing method, and I’m looking forward to trying out more pu erhs.
Flavors: Apple, Astringent, Bitter, Coffee, Dried Fruit, Earth, Floral, Grapes, Licorice, Malt, Medicinal, Musty, petrichor, Plants, Sweet, Tart, Wood
Mmm tasty. I haven’t had many mate-rooibos blends before. It’s woody, earthy, sweet and toasty, with lots of amaretto and caramel. There’s something vaguely like sweet coffee on the finish, that’s surprisingly nice.
It’s nice to be able to change up my morning cuppa, and still get a bit of caffeine. I’ll have to try this with milk and sugar, too.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Coffee, Earth, Sweet, Toasty, Wood
Oh this is an absolutely delightful tea.
It smells sweet and creamy, like a lemon candy or dessert.
The sencha base is fresh and grassy. The lemon flavour is delicate at the beginning of the sip and then in the middle builds to an almost candy-like sweetness that’s creamy and bright but not at all artificial tasting. For all the lemon, it’s not tart, just delicious, through and through.
The finish mellows out, with just a hint of sweet cream on the back of the tongue, and hay notes. There’s only the slightest bit of astringency that’s not noticeable until well into the cup.
I love this tea in the afternoon. A cup goes down incredibly easily and it’s just sunny and fresh tasting.
Flavors: Astringent, Candy, Cream, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Sweet
Part of my morning of chai/find a replacement for Bollywood Chai line up.
This is bold. Very strong and astringent brew, with ginger, fennel and coriander forefront.
I think of the cups in front of me, this comes closest in flavour profile to the Bollywood Chai, though it’s a bit hard to tell how similar they are because this cup is just so, so much stronger. The Bollywood Chai has a clear, amber brown liquor, and this is almost thick and dark enough to be mistaken for coffee.
Definitely more pepper.
With milk, it’s clearer that this has more pepper and coriander and less ginger and fennel than Bollywood.
I really like this but it’s still pretty different.
Flavors: Astringent, Cinnamon, Clove, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Pepper, Thick
Well. I bought this chai thinking I would be trying something new, but then I looked in my cupboard on Steepster and there it was. Then I looked in my physical cupboard and couldn’t find it. Eventually I found an empty bag tucked in the corner, so I guess I must have liked it before, and I like it this time around too.
Of all the masala chais I have right now, I think this one is my favourite. It’s heavy on the fennel, cardamom and coriander, and it’s a bit peppery, which are some of my favourite notes for this type of tea. The dry leaf smells strong, complex and spicy, and while I think I catch a hint of cinnamon, it’s not a dominant fragrance or flavour.
This one is also very pretty. In amongst the CTC tea fannings there’s a lot of orange peel, fennel seed, coriander seed and broken green cardamom pods. A little sparser is cinnamon bark pieces, whole clove, broken star anise and ginger. I don’t actually see any peppercorns, but they’re definitely there in the flavour.
I drank this with milk and quite a lot of sugar. I steeped it for 7 minutes, at which point it was quite strong and definitely had some bitterness and astringency which needed mellowing out. I used more sugar than I usually do to soften the bitterness, but it didn’t end up overly sweet tasting.
Flavors: Anise, Astringent, Bitter, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Coriander, Fennel, Pepper, Spicy
Oooh this is nice. The toffee caramel notes are very strong on the nose and on the palette, but there’s still a bit of the white tea that comes through. Very delicate and subtly floral. Just a hint of vegetal on the finish. The liquor is a beautiful pale gold, and matches the flavour of this cup perfectly.
Though there’s a lot of toffee flavour in this, it doesn’t actually taste sweet to me. Very pleasant.
The tea leaves are very fluffy, so I pulled two scoops out of the bag, but there was probably more air than tea leaf in each scoop.
Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Toffee, Vegetal
Hmm, interesting. Steeped, the tea smells very creamy, but tastes very tart. It’s a weird mismatch.
I tried it plain first, but I was mostly getting tart an not much else. A teaspoon of sugar helps it, though I think it’s too much sugar. Sweetened, the flavour of pear and maybe vanilla comes out a bit. Still very tart, but better.
I steeped this quite a long time, so I think I will experiment with more tea and less time next cup. And sugar, but only a little.
Flavors: Pear, Tart, Vanilla
I really love strongly herbal, dry tisanes. This one is powerfully rosemary and woody. The citrus notes come in behind the other flavours and are fairly subtle. There’s nothing sweet about this tea, in fact I could almost imagine drinking it with a pinch of salt, as I associate rosemary with savoury meals.
Flavors: Citrus, Herbs, Wood
Finished off the sample from VariaTEA – I debated adding milk to this but I’m really glad that I didn’t because that would have been really, really weird. This cup was pretty significantly different than the last one I had.
To start, the rosemary was very strong and intense in this cup. In fact, it was very close to being too much; but it kinda worked with the sweetness of the fig and the floral of the rose. Overall, it sorta made the mug especially herbal and borderline savory, though and that weirded me out. The caramel was kinda missing in this cup though. I feel like I’m not totally ok with that. I like caramel…
But on the whole this was a good cup; very weird and definitely memorable. I must say though, I think I’ll be good if I don’t have another rosemary heavy tea for a long, long while. It was maybe too different; but I’m so happy I got to experience it especially when it was so lighthanded in the first cup.
I guess the rosemary in the sample must’ve sunk the the bottom of the little baggie?