Joy's TeaspoonEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Happy first day of 2016! My tea themed resolutions for this year involve creating a pumidor (I have a few ideas on how to do it with limited space) explore as many types of Dancong Oolongs as possible, get some work done on my much neglected tea book, and lastly keep my stash of tea more organized. Pretty much all doable things, even if I failed at celebrating New Years by going to be before midnight. I will just have to make up for it by partying really hard for Chinese New Year, but I always do!
Today we are looking at a tea from Joy’s Teaspoon, Milk Oolong! There are two different kinds of Milk Oolong, ones that are naturally creamy and ones that are scented/flavored, both are exciting in their own way, this one is in the scented/flavored department. As much as I love my straight Jin Xuan, having a well flavored Milk Oolong is like having a bowl of ice cream, not something I want everyday, but when I am craving it watch out. The aroma of the leaves is all sorts of whoa, this tea smells like dessert. Notes of vanilla ice cream, sweet cream, coconut milk, gentle distant honeysuckles, and a finish of sesame custard. Fun fact, sesame custard in Japan is known as Kuro Goma Purin and made from black sesames…since I cannot for the life of me find black sesames (which are a bit earthier than regular golden ones) I made the custard out of toasted regular ol’ sesame seeds. I am telling you this because that is what it smells like.
Gaiwan time for the leaves, and now my tea area smells like an ice cream shop. Let’s just say I was not surprised by the hovering cats and a hovering Ben, because the aroma really permeated the area. Notes of sweet vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, and sesame custard rise out of the leaves, and the liquid is much the same but with a nice addition of honeysuckles and a touch of vegetation.
From the first sip the ice cream comparison is still solid (note to self, come summer time cold steep this tea) it starts with a creamy mouth feel that goes very well with the creamy sweet taste. Yes, this is a sweet tea, strong notes of sugar cane and vanilla ice cream and a finish of sesame seed custard and lingering sweetness.
Second steep time, and the aroma is still going strong with note of ice cream. Along side the ice cream sweetness is honeysuckle, sesame custard, and a bit of vegetation, which mellows out the sweetness a bit. The taste is very similar to the first steep, a little less sweet but still just as rich with strong notes of vanilla ice cream, coconut milk, and sesame custard. On a whim I let this cup chill a bit (ok I got distracted) and wow, super sweet when cold…good to know.
Third steep, the aroma is still very creamy and sweet, but with stronger notes of honeysuckle and vegetation, the under Jin Xuan shining through. This steeping is still very creamy and sweet, notes of mineral and vegetation blend well with the sesame custard and a very distinct note of toasted coconut, reminding me a bit of coconut custard pie, yum! Like with ice cream, this is not a tea I can indulge in all the time, but it makes a wonderful treat when I am in the mood for a decadent pile of creamy goodness.
Something is afoot in my aquarium! Two new creatures have moved in and are busily acting as vacuum cleaners, a pair of Black Mystery Snails! My combination of happy warm water, decent lighting, and fake plants has created a bit of an algae problem, and I thought…I need snails. Back when I had ALLLLLL the aquariums I had very little algae and all the snails, clearly my problem this time was a serious snail deficiency. Jace is confused by his new tankmates, he keeps slowly following them, and Liliana just drapes on them because she is a Kuhli Loach, draping on things is her favorite hobby. To keep with the Magic The Gathering naming convention, they are named Sorin and Nahiri, though I have no idea which gender either of them are because snails are notorious hard to sex.
Today I am looking at a black tea from what just might be my favorite Ceylon tea estate, presenting Joy’s Teaspoon Amba Ceylon OP1! This tea is a bit on the special side, since it takes the black tea and blends it with flower from the tea plant, and I absolutely love tea flowers. They are both beautiful and taste really good, mostly I have had them solo, but blending them with tea just makes sense. The aroma of the leaves and flowers is quite delicious, notes of sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts (minus the salt) honey, asters (giving it a bit of a straw and pollen quality) and a finish of gentle malt. Usually I am not a huge fan of Ceylon black teas, because for some reason they smell and taste vaguely metallic to me, except for the ones that come from Amba Estate. They share similar qualities (more robust less sweet and chocolate) that I really appreciate in the Gongfu Red Teas from Fujian. The addition of tea flowers give it a flowery depth that makes it quite unique.
Brewing this tea in my steeping apparatus is quite a treat, the heavy tea leaves sink to the bottom and delicate blossoms dance on top of the liquid. The aroma if the leaves is sweet, with gentle notes of sweet potatoes, boiled peanuts, straw flowers and aster, with a finish of bright malt. The aroma of the liquid is sweet potatoes, honey, boiled peanuts and a nice finish of malt. It has a slight briskness to it, as well as a tiny distant floral note.
Sipping this tea, the first thing I noticed was a nice briskness, I mean a very nice briskness, not astringent or dry, it is lively on the tongue while also being smooth. The tasting starts out with notes of malt and sweet potato, with subtle sweetness. This moves to boiled peanuts (again minus the salt, because that would be unpleasant) and moves on to a touch of woodiness. At the finish the tea flowers really shine, bringing in notes of wildflowers, aster, and gentle honey, the honey notes lingering long after the sipping, it also finishes with a thick mouthfeel contrary to the brisk and smooth beginning. Luckily this tea holds up to another steeping, though it is not very strong, however the second steep really makes for a sweet and floral cup, and is very mellow.
It is a sad day today, my nice shiny new camera took a bit of a tumble and now I have a serious problem. See, my room is rather dark, so I use flash and a diffuser for my photos, and now my flash is not working. Something broke in the fall and it will not register that the flash is a thing that exists, and there is an unnerving rattle. I am still within the warranty time, so tomorrow I will be finding out if it covers it…if not, well, I am not entirely sure what I am going to do. Adjusting the ISO and such does not get it to the level of crispness I like, so far the only thing that works at all is holding my phone’s flashlight above the camera, but that is not an optimal solution. Fingers crossed about the warranty!
Tis the season where I have to scare off the sniffles, whenever someone around me so much as sneezes, I pretty much jump to the other side of the room like a terrified cartoon cat, and I am only exaggerating a little bit. So seeing the ingredients in Wellness by Joy’s Teaspoon, I had to have some of it: apple pieces, carrot flakes, blackberry leaves, eucalyptus leaves, beetroot pieces, hibiscus flowers, lemongrass, flavoring, freeze-dried tangerine pieces, orange slices. I adore blends with eucalyptus, it makes my lungs happy, and it is so refreshing. And I know, usually I shy away from hibiscus teas, but lately I find I don’t mind it as long as it is a very light amount…you know, making the tea pink instead of livid crimson. The aroma of the tea is immensely citrus, strong notes of grapefruit, lemon, oranges, and tangerine. It is tangy and bright, with undertones of eucalyptus and a touch of sweet fruitiness from the apples. It smells like summer!
Into my steeping apparatus the tea goes, it is such a colorful blend, and immensely aromatic…and the aroma of citrus and eucalyptus is filling my entire tea area. I think that this could be a great steam treatment next time my asthma gets fussy. The aroma of the herbal and fruit bits once liberated from the liquid is pleasantly citrus, lots of orange and grapefruit with underlying honey sweet and a touch of apples. The liquid has a tartness to it, the hibiscus has shown itself at last, though it is only a touch, and it goes really well with the tangy, almost sour grapefruit, the sweet oranges, and the underlying crispness of the eucalyptus.
In full disclosure of things and stuff, I drank this sweetened with a Chambre de Sucre Diamond Sugar Stick, because I have learned that I only really like hibiscus teas if they are sweetened or chilled, though I did sip it before I sweetened it and you know, the hibiscus does not overwhelm at all, it adds just a hint of tart and slightly metallic (hibiscus always registers as metallic for me, not sure why) notes, so the sugar was not really necessary since the tea is already delicately fruity sweet. But you know, sometimes it is the difference between eating an apple and wanting baked apples, that extra sweetness is just soothing, so I still went with the sugar. The primary note in this tea is the citrus fruit salad, a triple threat of grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine, this blends wonderfully with the crisp cooling eucalyptus. I can see why this tea is named Wellness, I just felt refreshed and clean after drinking it, it is a cheerful blend, that come summertime I think I shall try cold brewed.
Today is a day of primer and ooze, so much primer and so much ooze. With the official completion of the Christmas minis that are being mailed away (I still need to varnish them, but not on such a breezy day) I can take a break from painting presents to working on some of my personal side projects. Namely I primed alllllllllll of the ships and terrain and other sundries from Dreadfleet and applied copious amounts of Nurgle’s Rot to my Bathalian and Well of Chaos. In a perfect world I will have Dreadfleet painted by my birthday next week, but I doubt I will get anywhere close to finished…Dreadfleet has a lot of really detailed pieces and I am such a perfectionist.
Enough about my painting shenanigans, it is time for tea rambling, today I am looking at LiShan Oolong from Joy’s Teaspoon! Ah, Taiwanese Oolongs, one of my oldest tea loves, this tea hails from the Yi Ping Chun Tea Garden by master Zhi Xing Chen in Nantou, Taiwan, on…you guessed it, the mountain called Li Shan, a very famous tea mountain indeed. The aroma of the curled up green leaves is sweet and floral with nice notes of lilies, hyacinth, orange blossoms, and a touch of sesame seeds and a delicious undertone of custard. Mmmm custard!
Into my XiShi Teapot the leaves go, and the aroma is so sweet! Notes of custard and lilies, ricecakes and honeysuckles, sesame seeds and a gentle note of green at the undertone. The aroma of the liquid is sweet, that is a definite theme with this oolong, with notes of custard, orange blossom, lilies, and a gentle note of toasted sesame seeds.
The first steep is light in both taste and mouthfeel, a gentle start to a tea I always enjoy for its gentleness. It starts with gentle creamy custard and sesame seed notes and blooms (heh) into a heady blend of honeysuckles, lilies, and a touch of lilac. The finish is a gentle note of vegetation that adds a crispness to the end.
Second steeping brings heady notes of hyacinths, lilies, and lilacs to my nose, with a finish of creamy sweet custard. The mouthfeel of this steep is thicker, much like that custard note that pops up from the first sip, it is rich and creamy, and super sweet. After the initial custardy goodness it moves on to flower nectar, blending notes of lilies, lilac, orange blossoms, and hyacinth. At the finish is the green, with notes of sweet peas and a touch of cooked turnips, it lingers on for quite a while.
Third steep, and you know what, that heady aroma is something else, notes of lilac and hyacinth, with a really great custard sweetness. The taste and mouth is rich and creamy, still holding strong with that custard sweetness, ever have Bird’s Custard? Because that is exactly the kind of custard it reminds me of. This moves on to flowers again, a bit of lilac and honeysuckle which pretty quickly moves to sweet peas and again that touch of cooked turnips. I went on for several more steeps and found this tea was a great accompaniment to painting.
OK, I think I must be crazy. This very much reminded me of a not-as-good Whispering Pines Cocoa Amore. (Don’t misunderstand, it was still excellent, but Cocoa Amore is an all-time favorite.) I’m not going to put numbers or anything on this rating at this time, since I feel like my tastebuds must be confused…
This is a well rounded earl grey crème with a natural vanilla flavor. The tea has the deep brown color when brewed and the flavoring is just right with a nice, subtle balance. Many teas like this have a fake vanilla flavor or worse. If you are a fan of earl grey crème, order this tea as it has that full bodied, smooth taste with the right hue. I have tried many different brands, and Joy’s teaspoon is my go to for this tea. Naomi the owner gives great service, and always sends a thank you.
I’m not going to give this one a numerical rating, because the reason I don’t like it isn’t their fault. :) This has a super strong anise scent and flavor, although there are other spices and tea in the background. I’m not a huge anise fan, and for some reason thought it would be a bit more subtle. I didn’t get the orange flavor at all. I think if you love anise and a nice spicy tea, this would be lovely – it’s just not my thing. It did get a little bitter, but not terribly so.
Flavors: Anise, Bitter, Cinnamon
I actually drank this and wrote a note a while ago, but I can’t find the note, so I’m thinking Steepster ate it during one of its tantrums. So let’s try again.
I don’t remember what I used last time, but this time I did 1teaspoon, 8 oz water, 200F, 2 minutes. Sweetened.
Unlike some teas that develop most of it’s flavor in the middle to end of the sip, this tea seems to lay all it’s card on the table, so to speak. Front of the sip presents malt, a dark fruity note, cherry, maybe craisins, and some dark honey like flavors. The mid to end of the sip is a dark bread like taste. A very smooth tea.
As it cools, the flavors seem to spread out a bit, still the same notes, but spread out throughout the sip. I liked this steep a little but better than the first time, so 2 minutes seems to be my sweet spot.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Honey, Malt, Raisins
The dry leaf of this smells fantastic. Like cocoa and malt. The flavor is malty and sweet. And there’s a dark earthy almost smokey background. There’s also a sweet, almost molasses note.
The second steep gets more earthy and less sweet. And the third becomes sort of honeyed. This steep is simple, but sweet.
This is a nice companion for my Doctor Who marathon.
I’ve been drifting away for green teas lately, which is a shame because I used to love them so much. I decided to try a genmaicha to see if they too are in that same predicament.
Good news! They’re not. This is an exceptionally good contender because there’s quite the abundance of genmai in here. Roasty toasty comfy goodness in a cup. The toastiness holds up to 3 steepings before fading out. Yum! I’m really glad I haven’t drifted from genmaichas.
I have to say, even though for the most part I’ve been drifting away from flavored teas, I seem to prefer flavored milk oolong over unflavored. I’ve found that unflavored milk oolongs can be a bit too floral for my taste, and the added cream flavors help mask that in the flavored versions.
This is no exception. Sweet, creamy, buttery, almost candy like, without too much floral notes. And the cream flavors hold up and keep going strong through the 3rd steep and beyond.
If you like creamy, milky, buttery teas, then this is worth a try.
From my July Tea Sparrow box.
I was not expecting to like this tisane as much as I am. It’s what I wanted Lemon Chiffon to be and wasn’t. It’s the perfect amount of lemon, creamy and sweet. I think the rooibos is the perfect background for the flavors. (I like rooibos. I know not everyone does.)
I’m definitely glad I got to try this one.
I’m posting this from my phone and it really doesn’t like the Steepster site at all, especially not the tasting not pop-up screen, so please excuse any typos I missed.
dexter sent this one my way and i made sure to try it before reading any notes on it or figuring out what was in it. For me – this is a REALLY cherry green tea. I’m not getting much in the way of almonds but this is refreshing and very much a cherry cup of tea heh. On the whole not a bad cup of tea, especially since i am a fan of cherries! :) thanks dex!
dexter sent this one my way and i am a fan. I was thinking this would be very similar to the roasted nut tea i have from tea gscheweriweprwem….but it’s different. this one is a little sweeter but still that same weirdly pink brew. i am a fan of this! if i was in the mood for a nutty, sweet tea, i’d be sure to pick this one up again. thanks dexter!
It is officially enjoy your teaware day in my house, so I’m drinking this tea out of my new octo travel mug from Davids…
I’m not so sure about Black Forest Cherry Cake – but is a really nice cherry, almond, green tea. I really, really like it. It’s on the mild side, but the cherry and almond shine right through. Really happy to be drinking this right now, and my new mug is fun. Good experience all the way around.
(loved both the Joy’s teas I’ve tried – still have two that I haven’t – really happy I ordered from them)
Another tea from the BBBB, uh…from Sil? Or TB?
Oh well…either way, it’s an Assam, & I have to confess, after eating breakfast I ate a piece of crystalized ginger, thinking it would make a good palate cleanser. Actually, it didn’t.
I’m not really tasting the tea much, other than the bold tart shiny quality, typical of Assams.