LeafSpa Organic Tea
Popular Teas from LeafSpa Organic TeaSee All 58 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Wow, it’s been five days since I posted a note. Which goes to show how crazy it has been.
The kids were on spring break and going to a day camp, so our schedule got all discombobulated from that, plus work has been such that I come home every day feeling as though I’ve been crushed and ground into a fine powder. And then some nights, I had to get back on the phone for calls with Asia. My left eyebrow has been twitching intermittently for the last week, which sometimes happens when I’m overtired or stressed.
I have been feeling unmoored and I think it is because all vestiges of routine have been abandoned. I haven’t even been having breakfast, really. No morning coffee or tea, or at least not on a regular basis.
Also, it’s been warm-ish here, so I haven’t been craving hot drinks.
But as I mentioned in the last note before the lapse, I cold brewed some of this.
I don’t think my palate is very refined when it comes to tasting iced teas. I mean, I can taste a difference between this and the other cold brewed blacks I have had lately, but not a great difference. I suspect that the fact that the difference isn’t that great is reason enough not to brew this cold, unless I try it hot and it doesn’t send me. Darjeeling may be too complex a flavor to translate to iced tea readily? There’s a little more sharpness to this than there is with the cold Assam but sharpness isn’t really the right word because the cold brewing has blunted it. Otherwise, it’s pretty much a decent black iced tea and does the job of being a refreshing cold drink.
Continued apologies for not reading/commenting as much as I’d like.
Made some of this cold brewed using the same formula I used for the Grapefruit Black. It was quite good, a great thirst quencher which is really one of my main requirements for cold tea. No. 1 liked it as well.
I’m now trying cold brewing the LeafSpa Goomtee Darjeeling. I’ll let you know how it turns out sometime after 5 p.m. tomorrow.
Sipdown no. 148 of the year 2014.
Home network has been reinstalled and is back up as of this morning, but I am woefully behind in reading/writing notes. Apologies.
I got a lot of enjoyment out of this tea while it lasted. I am not sure it’s the end all and be all of Irish Breakfast blends as I haven’t had enough of them (and haven’t had any recently enough to compare this to), but it consistently struck me as a tasty, brisk, medium-bodied black tea that was almost never heavy on the stomach when drunk first thing in the morning. If I didn’t have a ton of other black teas yet to try that I’m looking forward to tasting, I’d certainly miss this one.
I cold brewed this because it’s been rather on the hot side here lately, which now that I think about it may be one of the reasons I’ve not been craving tea.
8 teaspoons of loose leaf to 2 quarts water, steeped in fridge for approx. 20 hours.
I think I could have gone longer. Next time I’ll try at least 24.
It’s a nice “iced” tea, but not very grapefruit-y at all. In looking back at my original note, I see that it wasn’t very grapefruit-y on the first taste either, when I tried it hot.
I’m a little disappointed. I’ve changed my view on grapefruit tea in general. I really like the way it works in tea, and in a variety of teas—black, green, oolong, white—even though grapefruit isn’t my first choice of citrus at the buffet table. (Perhaps because as a kid I was forced to eat it for breakfast, and there were times when it was somewhat frostbitten or otherwise unpleasant in terms of texture.) I had hoped that this would come out with a stronger flavor done cold. But it wasn’t to be.
Question for the cold brew veterans since I haven’t done this much, maybe three times. Is it unusual for the tea to float at the top of the container? By about hour 20 most of it had sunk, but there was still a fairly thick layer of floating tea at the top of the container. I put the tea in after the water. If I put the tea in first, would that make a difference?
Back to the old stand-by this morning. I woke up this morning feeling really rested for the first time in recent memory. I also had an incredibly bizarre dream, which probably explains while I feel rested. I must have had some decent REM sleep last night.
Alas, I am now off my daily sipdown count again as I logged nothing yesterday. I only had one cup of tea yesterday and (horrors) some Diet Coke, which may also explain why I slept well. But I doubt this has much to do with it.
Not to worry, though, as I have two lined up for today, if I can stay awake long enough to do the decaf one tonight.
Today this is really nice to wake up to. Nice and brisk, and very flavorful. I appreciate it more when I don’t drink it daily. I find that’s true of some teas, whereas with other’s it’s the opposite, almost like you have to build up to a certain critical mass before your enjoyment of it peaks. I wonder why that is.
Sipdown no. 138 of the year 2014.
Woke up with a headache, so I started the day with coffee for the first time in a long time. Just this minor break in routine was enough to derail my tea drinking for the day. I had big plans for getting a number of things close to sipdown, but now they’ll have to wait.
In keeping with the theme of not following routine, I am drinking this now at about 7:30 at night. I have no fear of caffeine tonight because I have a lot of work to do.
This was a really delicious blend, so rich and full and malty. I will miss it.
On another note, last night I finished watching a re-watch of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip’s only season. I was trying to figure out why I get such a feel-good sense from watching Aaron Sorkin’s various series-es [what’s the plural of series?] and I realized that one of the reasons is because even when everything goes wrong for the characters they love their work. Something to think about.
Sipdown no. 133 of the year 2014. Another biggie, more than 4 oz of tea. Huzzah!
I had intended to do some methodical morning tea drinking today, but everything went pear-shaped because around 9 this morning I realized that I had left my wallet somewhere yesterday. Ugh. I had visions of spending the morning calling everyone under the sun to cancel cards, etc. Fortunately, the BF remembered seeing me holding my wallet at a place where we stopped for lunch after taking the kids to shoot baskets. I called the place and they had it! Even more impressive, everything was still in it. Crisis averted.
But as a result, I only had a cup of English Breakfast this morning, followed by this. It was an interesting tea, and it turned out to be a good commuting tea despite my misgivings given it’s hearty, almost black-tea flavor. It’s goodbye, and it’s goodbye for good because LeafSpa is gone, but because the LeaftSpa Blink Bonnie has a similar flavor, I’ll at least get to visit with a similar flavored tea for a while longer.
I started with green tea today (not this one) because I have lots of butterflies in my stomach. Today is certificate of merit testing day for no. 1—we went early for the theory test because his piano performance exam is at 1:20 followed by a baseball game and we weren’t sure he’d be able to get back in time for theory.
I’m more nervous than he is, of course. We’re about twenty minutes away from leaving for the performance part so I’m having something I hope will be both invigorating and calming.
I love the whole idea of pearl teas and while I’m more familiar with them in the oolong world, I’m just as happy to have them elsewhere. In the tin, these are pretty dark green with silver streaks in them. They have a light jasmine fragrance.
They steep to a clear pale yellow that leans more toward the golden side than the lemon yellow side but with a hint of green. The aroma of the tea is a delicate jasmine that smells like my backyard on a summer evening (we have a lot of jasmine bushes lining our deck).
The flavor is delicate as well. Some jasmine greens have a much stronger jasmine scent and flavor. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it isn’t.
What I like about this one is that even though the flavor is delicate, it’s a very natural flowery scent and flavor. It doesn’t smell or taste sprayed on like jasmine sometimes does.
While I think in ordinary circumstances I’d want a bit stronger flavor on both the tea and the jasmine side, this is really nice in terms of flavor and balance. I will enjoy sipping it down.
Today’s commuting tea. It would have been today’s commuting tea even if it wasn’t a GREEN tea in my GREEN Timolino in my GREEN car in keeping with the St. Patrick’s Day theme. But the fact that it is all those things is a bonus today. I am nearing sipdown on this one, probably later in the week at the rate it’s going.
And I’m secretly already planning what I’m going to drink on le quatorze juillet, for which I have myriad contenders already.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Not that I really need one, but what a great excuse to do a thematic tea drinking experience today. You don’t have to be Irish to miss the celebrations in NYC, the parades, the green beer, etc. It’s not that there isn’t an Irish community in the SF Bay Area, it’s just not very big by comparison.
After having the English Breakfast for a number of consecutive mornings, I can say there’s a big difference between the two. I go back and forth on which I like better. Initially I thought it was slam dunk English, then I thought it was hands down Irish, and now I think it really just depends on what I’ve been drinking more frequently—the more I drink each of these, the more I like it.
No. 2 sipped this this morning and said, “I like the breakfast teas because they’re plain.” By which he means unflavored and taste like “tea.” This doesn’t have the body of the English Breakfast, but if anything, that just makes it easier to drink in the morning when the stomach still hasn’t gotten with the program.
Drinking this while at the kids’ kung fu class. I’m a little conflicted about sipping it down, which it appears will happen sooner rather than later now that it is the default commuting tea. But for a really dumb reason. I just love the name.
It’s got the sour dough bread thing going today. It’s not a heavy breadiness such as I sometimes get from black teas. It’s more like the aftertaste of eating a really flavorful piece of hot, freshly baked sour dough.
I have to stop talking about bread now because I’m getting hungry….
Woke up this morning tired, not hungry, not thirsty, went through most of the day that way. Finally having my first tea of the day at almost 3 p.m.
It’s a little on the cold side because it sat for 44 minutes before I was able to get off the phone to drink it, but it’s pretty tasty. I think it would be good iced.
Now I want a nap.
This has become my commuting tea of late somewhat by default. I had hoped to co-opt the Tavalon Great White for that purpose but was disappointed by the flavor I got steeping that one western style. I suppose I could do a bunch of short steeps to toss into the Timolino but I’m usually pressed for time in the morning and that seems like a plan that would be frequently foiled.
I’ve found that in general, I tend to prefer somewhat lighter teas as companions for commuting or bopping around running errands. Greens or whites, mostly. This one is a green, but as I have mentioned, it’s a strange green in that it is much more substantial than most. It’s almost like a black tea in body and flavor.
But because of its unusual attributes, I’m not really sure when I’d drink it if I didn’t drink it in the car. It’s not hefty enough for a first morning tea, and its too hefty for an evening one. Hence the default commuting tea.
It’s actually lasting well beyond the commute because it isn’t as smooth of a sip as a Chinese or Japanese green. It’s a good tea. I’m just a little annoyed with it because I don’t like it enough to create a special time of day category for drinking it, and I’d much rather be drinking a lighter weight green on the commute.
This morning it is rich and smoky and malty and sweet and borderline chewy and all kinds of complex. And very good with half of an unadorned banana bread bagel (onion or garlic or salt is ordinarily about as far away from plain as I’m willing to go with bagels, but the BF bought these and the kids were going on about how great they were so I had one and they were right). And I just realized I’m still writing in the mode I used for my writing exercise of last night, with all the and and or connectors. LOL. Fortunately I haven’t been doing that in my emails for work.
I’m really tired. I didn’t sleep well and I think I was over-caffeinated, so today I’m going to make an effort to stop the caffeine by 4 p.m. or so and try to get to bed early. Daylight savings time. Ugh. It will put a crimp in my tea-drinking style, but I need the sleep.
Don’t read this part if you don’t like to read about medical ailments. ;-) Over the past week I’ve developed a rash of some kind on my foot. I have attempted self diagnosis via the internet and I believe it to be dyshidrosis, which can be brought on by stress, and apparently by inhaling dust if you’re allergic to dust. (And I did get a big whiff of dust during the weekend before last’s cleaning project.) Or nickel. (Does tea have nickel in it?) It looks awful, though it doesn’t feel that bad. I am not sure whether it’s going away. If it doesn’t go away by the end of the week, it’s medical appointment time. Great, just what I need.
Started the morning with this one, without having had the Irish before. It is indeed “stouter” and more full bodied, but without the Irish precursor, it has it’s own malty sweetness (which shows up as non-sweetness by comparison to the Irish). I also taste something of what I associate with the Yunnan blend flavor that I taste in Earl Greys with Yunnan base. I wish there was a word for this quality. Maybe there is and I just don’t know it. I have had Zinfandels that also have this quality and they are my favorite wines.
In any case, it’s a toss up with regard to rating the Irish vs. the English. I can’t say I like one more than the other as they’re very different. I think the Irish may be more of an every day drinker, because it is generally milder and sweeter. But all of this is moot of course, because LeafSpa is kaput. So it’s really more of a question as to which I’ll feel like drinking more frequently on the journey to inevitable sipdown. Now I’d say the Irish, but as an experiment I’m going to do the English for the next few days and see if I’m still saying that by Wednesday or so.
I started the day with a cup of the Irish Breakfast (no notes on that one today because I’ve nothing new to say) and then decided to see how this compared. I see from my previous note that when I drank it way back when, I used boiling water. I’m going to lower the temp this time because LeafSpa recommended it, and also because that’s how I’ve been steeping the Irish Breakfast.
I’m doubling up on the bold breakfast blends today to get the day kick started after spending the morning in bed watching Catching Fire on pay per view. I have wanted to see it for freakin’ ever, and I’d invited every single family member to go with me to see it in the theatre but no one was excited about it except me. So we ended up going to things like the Lego movie instead. The lot of being a parent, I guess. I really enjoyed the movie. Not surprising, because I quite liked the book. In fact, it may have been my favorite of the three because I really liked the arena design aspects. Also, I didn’t know Amanda Plummer was in the movie, which was a pleasant surprise. I am so glad she’s working.
Anyway, there’s a definite difference between the Irish Breakfast and this, it is very apparent when drinking them back to back. Judging from my earlier notes I would have said I preferred the English version but now I’m not so sure. The the Irish is definitely sweeter. It has the natural Ceylon sweetness. The English is maltier, has a fuller body, and is less sweet. I’m definitely getting smokiness this time, particularly compared to the Irish. I’m wondering whether there might be a little Keemun in the English. It has a bold flavor, and while I wouldn’t say it tastes like coffee it announces itself in a similar strong and no nonsense way.
Now I need to try it by itself again to see what I think about it on a clear palate.
I usually give points for consistency of flavor in a tea. There’s something comforting about being able to rely upon a tea delivering a particular flavor when you’re looking for that flavor.
Some teas, though, are inconsistent in a good way. I don’t perceive them as tasting the same each time, but the differences are always enjoyable.
This is one of those teas. It’s not as fresh-baked-bready today as it was the last time I had it. It’s quite sweet today with a dark honey note heading toward molasses. The aftertaste is very nice and tea-y. This might not sound great to most people, but it’s a flavor that reminds me of the smell of those freeze dried tea crystals from Nestea or the like, which is a smell I associate with summer as a kid, when I could make my own iced tea from those crystals and feel so grown up.
In this tea, not tasting the same each time is definitely a strong point.
Steeped this one longer this time, and it did come out with a color closer to honey. It also came out tasting an awful lot like the Eagle Nest Ever Drop. The same bready flavor, which I’m now recognizing also has a sort of a sweetness to it, like a touch of honey.
I’m vacillating on this and on the Eagle Nest, because they really do have a distinctive flavor, but it’s more of a black flavor than a green tea flavor, and when seek out a green tea it’s not really what I’m looking to drink.
I’m going to knock both of them to the same rating and call it a day.
Sipdown no. 113 of the year 2013, and it was a big tin. Almost 5 oz. Yay for progress!
It’s also my first LeafSpa sipdown and I suppose I should be sad because once these are gone, they’re gone, but I can’t be sad about getting out from under more tea. And it’s a nice big reusable canister, too. If I can get the gum off after removing the label. My Samovar canister repurposed from the Yerba Mate was a sticky mess. Last night I took the nail polish remover to it and it only marginally improved the situation. The BF said he was breathing the atmosphere of planet Acetone.
In any case, this was a perfectly fine example of an Earl Grey. It didn’t make it into my top tier but I drank it happily.
Oh, and I realized I do have tea from one more company that has disappeared. The Chicago Tea Garden, which had those little tuo chas in the mandarin oranges. Sad.
I felt like having an unflavored black tea and realized I hadn’t yet tried this.
In the tin, the leaves have an earthy, almost cocoa smell to them which made me think Assam, but it wasn’t until steeped this that I was sure. I also did a Google search for Banaspaty to confirm, but it’s pretty clear from the aroma alone that this is an Assam.
It has what I consider to be a typical Assam aroma, sort of a sharp almost coffee ground-like note across the top with a malty undercurrent. It’s a pretty color, almost a Ceylon red.
The description says this is delicate, but to me it’s not. Then again, it’s not overly heavy either. Its got a medium-full body and is very flavorful, without being super astringent or having a lot of bite like some Assams. Something about it makes me think of trees, deciduous ones, not evergreens (it’s not piney, but it is leafy). There is a cocoa-like note and a honey-like one, and there’s a light maltiness.
I’ve honestly forgotten how and on what basis I’ve rated the Assams I’ve had in the past so I’m rating this one in something of a vacuum. It’s very nice, definitely in the high very good/low excellent range.
Another LeafSpa tea I’m pretty sure I bought because of the name. I thought it was cute. And the tea itself is cute, too. Like little twisty sticks of tea. Unicorn horns of tea.
I steeped it like any other green tea, and I don’t get the honey color that other notes have described. I get a standard issue pale yellow with green tinge green tea liquor with a vegetal aroma and a light, buttery vegetal taste. Lighter even than the bi luo chun of yesterday. It’s pleasant, but not terribly distinctive or interesting.
Just for laughs I think I’ll steep it longer and hotter net time and see if it produces a honey color in the cup.
I decided to look through my tea collection and see whether any of the other companies I bought from have gone out of business besides SpecialTeas, Andao and LeafSpa.
I found one more, The Simple Leaf, a much beloved company here on Steepster years ago for its Dawn, Mountain Malt, and other teas. I think everything else is still standing, though. That makes me happy.
Last time I made this in the Breville and tossed it into the Timolino and never really saw the liquor or smelled the aroma of the tea.
The liquor is actually pretty shocking. It’s a very deep, almost golden yellow and clear, but it really made me think of melted butter. The aroma made me think of baked bread in the same way the Irish Breakfast did the other day.
And the flavor today was very much liked baked bread, which is pretty amazing for a green tea. The dry leaves are also quite pretty, a dark tangly nesty looking mess. Maybe that’s how it got part of its name?
It was yum today on a rainy, rainy afternoon before no. 1’s piano lesson.
Bumping the rating. Still not sure I would really buy this again (even if LeafSpa was still around) because it’s more like black tea than a green, but I can’t penalize it for my buying decisions.
Thank you so much yyz for your suggestion on steeping silver needle. I was definitely doing it wrong.
There’s flavor in them there leaves!
Steeping in the gaiwan at a minute a steep using water that started at about 175 degrees, I’m getting a definite nutty, slightly woody flavor with a sweet aftertaste. The second steep was definitely thicker, a very nice mouthfeel. No bitterness, no planty-ness, but not just like a mouthful of snow either. It’s less dewy and nectary, which is what I thought silver needle tasted like.
I now know there’s much more to it.
I heart Steepster.
Another LeafSpa that I apparently never tried and never posted a note about.
This will be a sort of a placeholder note because I can’t really see or smell the tea as it’s in my Timolino, sitting next to me while I watch kids do kung fu classes (and homework for the one not currently in class).
I’m pretty sure I bought this one because I liked the name. What’s not to like about Eagle Nest Ever Drop? I am not sure I’ve had an Indian green tea other than a darjeeling. Maybe I have? I’ll have to check my notes.
What’s interesting to me about the taste of this is that to me it tastes like a green equivalent of an Assam. It has a bold, malty flavor and a full body for a green tea. The description mentions muscatel, but I don’t get a darjeeling-y flavor from it.
Very interesting and worth spending more time with when I have some peace and quiet to do a more full review. The one thing I’m not sure about is whether it’s really what I’m looking for in a green tea. When I drink green teas, I’m usually drinking them as alternatives to blacks, and this is a very black-like green tea.
For now, it’s a great contribution to the project of hitting 800 tasting notes at the same time as hitting 500 separate teas on which I’ve posted notes.