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Recent Tasting Notes
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?
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample of this one! I pulled out a few black samples out of my closet to work on since my sipdown drawer was looking a little lonely, and this is one of them. I must say, the sample section in my closet is looking awfully empty right now; I’ve been doing a great job of keeping my cupboard at a reasonable number lately.
Also, I have to admit that I don’t remember much about this cup though I do strongly remember the second one I had of it (the sipdown one; which I’ll write about later – there’s more stuff in the queue to get through first). Because of that I’ll just have to rely on my notes to summarize what my thoughts were when I had it…
- Made in my timolino
- Visually lots of interesting things going on in the leaf
- A little hard to pinpoint what’s in this/the flavours based on sight and smell
- I don’t taste any rosemary… Thank God?
- Why does Rosemary instantly remind me of lesbian alien lovers!?
- Oh, this is why: http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdykbgfLmJ1rb5pqfo4_500.jpg
- It’s a Homestuck thing…
- Back to tea: Even if I don’t taste Rosemary I do taste the rose, which is well balanced
- The fig is stronger than I expected it to be
- The caramel just makes the fig seem richer, like some sorta glaze?
- Is caramelized fig actually a thing?
- The black base is JUST A TOUCH bitter, but nice overall
- Yeah, this is better than anticipated
- Just weird; like canon alien lesbian lovers…
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Fig, Rose
It’s really weird that in this pumpkin spice black tea, the dominant flavour I’m getting is chamomile, and it doesn’t even contain chamomile. Behind the chamomile flavour there’s pumpkin and cinnamon and spices, but they’re definitely secondary. The black tea hardly merits a mention.
I initially steeped this for 5 minutes and it was so light, I threw the basket back in my cup for a while longer. With a longer steep and some sugar it’s better, and the non-chamomile flavours come out a bit more.
It’s kind of tasty but not really noteworthy, and I just want so much more from it. Pumpkin spice makes me want lots of pumpkin and allspice and cinnamon and pie crust and cream flavour. Something really rich and warming. The name evokes cool autumn days, the smell of dry leaves, rich food for cold weather and the melancholy of summer departing in a blaze of colour. Maybe I’m asking too much of a tea, but I want that feeling from something called Pumpkin Spice.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Pumpkin, Spices, Sweet
The lime is very dominant in this cup, with plenty of sage to give it some intense herbal notes. Very refreshing and crisp.
I let it steep for quite a while and then slowly sipped it till it was cold. Lovely at any temperature.
Flavors: Floral, Herbaceous, Lime, Sage, Tangy, Wood
This tea is my relaxing after a whirlwind morning. I got up, made coffee for my sweetie, made french toast for three and then when all that was done, took the hot water left in the kettle and made tea. I steeped this cup for a cool 9 minutes, and even when I took the leaves out, they were only beginning to unfurl, still all crinkly from being rolled up.
This tea really benefits from a long steep, though I think it brews up better with slightly hotter water than I used. It has a beautiful, full mouth buttery flavour that overlays a light, nuttiness. There’s a hint of dry mouth feel on the finish, but no astringency, and the faintest floral note.
Such a lovely cup, and a lovely way to start the day. I’m looking forward to my second steep of these leaves, and what comes out.
Definitely a more complex and full mouth flavour than the milk oolong from DAVID’s Tea.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Nutty, Umami
For some reason this extremely flowery, dry tea reminds me of Earl Grey, even though there’s none of the signature bergamot notes of Earl Grey. But the flavour has a similarly elegant and sophisticated feel to it.
I like a cup of this to start my day. It’s a pleasant bouquet of flowers on the nose and a delicate but full mouth taste.
Flavors: Floral, Rose, Soap
I love how beautiful and fragrant this tea is. The scattered lavender blossoms in the dried tea and the way they float above the tea leaves while steeping is lovely, and the strong lavender and bergamot fragrance carries nicely from bag to cup.
This makes a very dry, floral cup. The lavender flavour is strong but doesn’t overpower the Earl Grey. The lavender lingers longer on the tongue than the other flavours.
This is another one of my favourite teas to start the day with.
Flavors: Bergamot, Floral, Lavender, Smooth
This tea is amazing. It’s bold and full bodied and has all the characteristics that make a London Fog latte so delicious.
Just straight, it’s creamy and sweet, with strong bergamot notes. The roobos flavour comes out only subtly, not distracting from the flavours that say London Fog. It’s also excellent with milk and sugar, which punch up the flavours even more.
It’s a tea I can drink over and over again, and it satisfies every part of my palette.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Cream, Sweet, Vanilla
On its own this tea isn’t bad – strong chocolate mint flavour without a lot of sweetness. It really shines with milk and sugar though. The sweet, creaminess enhances the chocolate and mint, reminding me of an After Eight chocolate.
Flavors: Chocolate, Mint