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Recent Tasting Notes
I smelled this in store yesterday and just had to have some to try! The leaves smell amazing, like seriously good enough to eat. Brewed up, the coconut is beautifully creamy while the pineapple adds a nice tart bite to the sip. The base tea is definitely present, and a little stronger than I like my black bases to be. I like a lot of things about this tea, I think I just need to drink a few cups to get a bit more used to the presence of the base tea notes. Overall, I am glad I have some of this to try and I could see it becoming a tea I am very fond of.
Sipdown! Thanks for sharing some of this, VariaTea! This reminds me somewhat of Tsaa’s Sweet Temptation (or whatever it’s called), although even in my teeny package of this, I think there were far more little bits of nougat than I had in multiple cups of the Tsaa version. Result? Pretty yummy! Sweet, light, nougatty blend. This (and the next tea I’m reviewing) got an epic 28 minute infusion, and I’m happy to say that this tea didn’t suffer one bit. The rooibos is at that good level where it’s acting as a base flavour for the sweetness, but not contributing it’s own woody or medicinal flavours (and I’m not getting too much of the usual scratchy-throat feeling, which is also a plus).
Anyways, overall a pretty good tea! I prefer Bayswater’s Divine Temptation because I don’t care about caffeine, but this is a pretty good alternative.
Mmm lovely. The dry leaf smells very strongly of pineapple and coconut. Steeped for 4 minutes, the pineapple and coconut flavours are strong and well balanced with each other. The black tea is there but not really distinctive, it just carries the flavours nicely.
I added a wee bit of sugar to this which was a good choice. Straight there are some hints of sweetness but not quite enough for these flavours, and the coconut felt a bit oily. With sugar, the oiliness became creamy.
Flavors: Coconut, Creamy, Pineapple
Thanks again to mystery swapper! This tea is kind of a bust – tastes just like a rooibos cream to me. Seabuckthorn is pretty sour and astringent, and I’m not picking up any of that here. Probably for the best; although I wanted to try this tea, I’m not entirely sure I thought it would work anyhow. Kind of makes me think curdled… Anyhow, average rooibos cream, and that’s about it.
This is really great. It has a lot of chai characteristics but is really unique. The start of the sip is sweet but is balanced by the charred notes of the gunpowder green tea. Distinct notes of cinnamon and clove, with pepper spiciness, and then a mouth full of juicy, slightly tart apricot that lingers long into the finish.
I usually add a lot of milk and sugar to my chai, regardless of the base, but I really don’t think this one needs it, or would really be improved by it.
Flavors: Apricot, Char, Cinnamon, Clove, Spicy, Sweet, Tart
Meh. This tea is not for me. This is the second time I’ve had it and been unimpressed. There’s a strong soapy flavour to it that’s off putting, and dominates the malt. I thought maybe it was soap residue, but I think this happened last time, and I know that this time the tea ware was rinsed before using.
Ah well. It’s not terrible. I’ll still finish it, I just wouldn’t reach for it, and I wouldn’t buy it. Without the soap flavour it’d be fine.
Edit: This improves as it cools. The malt and a fruit note become more prominent and the soap fades out a bit.
Flavors: Malt, Soap
Yum! Used three tsp (as per what OMGsrsly wrote right on the sample bag – thank you!) and it was delicious. I got less fluffy orange and more smoked orange though. No, wait. Sage orange. Yes, that’s definitely it. I’d order more of this were I to grab a bunch of things from Cornelia. Must admit I have a soft spot for them.. my first ever Tea & Coffee exchange on RedditGifts gave me a huge Cornelia Bean package of a variety of teas. Gosh, four, five years ago now? Someday, I’ll visit in person. Someday soon.
Flavors: Orange, Sage, Smoke
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.
ETA2: This also ended up being a sipdown. Loved the strawberry flavour, but didn’t find any real meringuey-ness, and as I’ve had that same fruitiness before, this is a bit of a miss for me for sure.
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 cold brewed my left over leaf from my gong fu session last week, and this has been sitting in my fridge ever since. Not bad. Pretty mild, as I made almost 2 litres. It’s very light and refreshing, which is a great quality for cold tea. There’s a great umami, sea weed, nutty finish. I’ve been putting off drinking it because I’ve been worried about the caffeine content, but now seems like a good time for a bit of extra caffeine.
Flavors: Nutty, Seaweed, Umami
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