LeafSpa Organic Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
I just realized that if I do this right, my 800th tasting note will coincide with the 500th individual tea about which I’ve written notes. I just have to make sure my next several notes are all on teas I haven’t written about yet.
So to start off that process, I’ve got another tea from the now defunct LeafSpa that I believe I’ve tasted but not written a note about before.
Dragonwell is something I’ve really wanted to like and haven’t had great luck with. The person who works next to me is from China and the only tea he drinks is Dragonwell, and he brings in a container of it every day. He really likes the sweet aftertaste. I am hoping this is one I’ll be able to relate a good experience about in our daily tea conversations.
One thing Dragonwell definitely has going for it is gorgeous dry leaves. Long, with pretty color variation. The liquor is pale yellow and clear.
I’m really liking the aroma of this one after steeping. It’s less like green vegetables than a lot of the other green teas I’ve had lately (not that I don’t like the green vegetable smell and taste) and more like a sweet, buttery grass. And that’s what I get in the flavor, too. There’s just the slightest roasty note as well, though sometimes it seems to meld into a smoky note like that of gunpowder but not nearly as strong.
The aftertaste is fresh and just slightly sweet-hay-like.
I think I probably used a lot more leaf than I’ve used in the past and that may be the trick for me and Dragonwell. In any case, this time I get it. Too bad this tea won’t be available after I drink it down. I now believe there are other Dragonwells that I’ll like, though.
This is really yummy today. There’s a thick, chewy mouth feel. There’s also a bready thing going on.
In fact, drinking this is reminding me of eating a piece of warm sour dough bread.
That’s an awesome thing for a rainy day like today.
It may not be like this next time, but for now, I gotta bump the rating.
Flavors: Baked Bread
This was, again, my first morning tea.
Today was the first day in a while that I didn’t have as an initial tea something I wasn’t wild about and was trying to sip down. Not having that hanging over my head made for a very pleasurable tea experience.
I have a full sized tin of this and I hit the halfway mark today, so this is becoming a candidate for sipping down. But this is the way it should happen—naturally, as a consequence of being enjoyed, not because its owner is on a mission. ;-) It’s still a solid, middle-of-the-pack Earl Grey that I enjoy drinking, but it isn’t off the charts in any respect. That’s fine, though. Sometimes I just want a tea that isn’t so incredible that I spend all my time thinking about it while I’m drinking it. Sometimes I want something that doesn’t call attention to itself with every sip. That’s this tea.
We have finished our bike ride and will soon be heading out to laser tag. I’m having this in the interim.
I didn’t really get to see it the last time I had it because it went straight into the Timolino. This time I’m having it in a cup, and I can see a sunshiny yellow clear liquor. It smells like sweet, buttery, fresh hay.
I forgot to steep it shorter (I see in my previous note I meant to do that). I’m not getting as much of a bitter note this time, though. It may be because I used a bit more leaf? I’m also getting just a tad of roastiness today which is pleasant. Not quite as strong as a roasted veggie flavor, just a nice note under the surface. I’m still getting buttery vegetables in the sip and a green nuttiness in the aftertaste.
Quite nice, and feels like the right thing to put in one’s body after an hour of cycling.
Another of the many LeafSpa teas I ordered a while back (before they closed their doors).
I steeped some of this in the Breville and poured it into my brand new Timolino to take to work. (One of the several tea ware items I allowed myself to buy at my recent visit to DAVIDSTea since I wouldn’t let myself buy any tea other than what I could drink there.)
Really loving the Timolino. The best travel gadget I have. I love the fact that you can sip it from any direction without taking the lid completely off, and you don’t have to push or poke anything to get the tea to come out. But that’s beside the point.
I didn’t spend a lot of time with this prior to pouring it in the Timolino so I’ll have to do a more detailed note later invoking other sense perceptions, but for now I wanted to record my first experience of the flavor.
I think I might steep it a bit shorter next time because I get a little bitterness around the edges, but other than that, this is a very refreshing tea. It has a vegetal flavor that isn’t overly sweet or buttery but has a little of each. I’m thinking a very light bok choy? Maybe a little spinach, too. There’s a pleasant aftertaste that’s vaguely nutty, in a very light, greenish way, like the aftertaste of Brazil nuts.
I’m going to enjoy getting to know this one.
My first Earl Grey in a few days. It’s nice to change things up every now and then.
Had a terrible scare this morning. Okay, I probably over reacted, but no. 1 got into an argument with his dad and left the house without saying where he was going. I figured he’d come back in in a few minutes, but he didn’t. Took no. 2 to President’s Week Camp figuring that perhaps no. 1 had walked over there. He wasn’t there. Came back ready to call the police, but cooler heads prevailed—got in the car with the BF and started to cruise the neighborhood. Got out of the car to ring the neighbor’s bell and no. 1 was coming out the front door right when I walked up.
We had a long discussion about leaving the house at age 9 without asking permission or saying where you’re going.
My throat was a bit tight from the length of the discussion and from the panicked tears.
After my two highly flavored experiences this morning I needed a palate cleanser.
Gosh, I’m looking back at my original note on this and I see that the exterior lighting project that we just recently finished was started four years ago. OMG! We started the project, we got busy with other things and dropped it, then we went back to it. I have to say if I was the only person whose opinion had to be taken into account it would have been done faster. ;-) But it got done and it’s amazing, so there’s that.
In any case, this is tasting pretty much as described in my original note. Except the cola I noted before… well, I’m not getting that this time. ;-)
It is an excellent palate cleanser, though. I can feel its briskness cutting through all the stuff I tasted this morning and replacing it with a nice, medium strength, naturally sweet tea flavor.
I have some untasted Earl Greys and some I’d like to revisit and do a better job of documenting, but I learned my lesson yesterday: don’t try something new you want to write a note about when in a rush. So today I’m returning to a solid Earl I’ve tasted a number of times. I have a lot of this, but at the same time once it’s gone it’s gone because LeafSpa is gone.
This remains a good, solid Earl without bergamot that is too strong for me. Today I am tasting the “orange” finish which livens up the flavor.
We were in a rush to get out of the house this morning because No. 1 had an appointment to get braces on his teeth. So basically, I put this in the Breville and forgot about it until we were halfway to the orthodontist. When I got home after dropping him at school, this was only slightly above room temperature. Which is actually interesting. I can almost imagine it as an iced tea, and I think it might be a good one. The bergamot doesn’t seem to become stronger with cooling and the flavor maintains its balance. Thinking about trying it iced now, except it’s not really the day for it.
Another Earl from the stash, and another company that is no more.
I have a mostly full container of this. I really couldn’t remember how it tasted before I tried it again. I expected, somehow, stronger bergamot even though I see my original note didn’t find it too strong.
It’s interesting, I think I prefer the Simpson & Vail’s tea base, but this is a better Earl Grey because the flavor profile is more typical. (Sometimes it feels like judging a dog show doesn’t it? The dog is adorable and has a great personality but doesn’t fit a basic criterion of the breed. Not that I’ve ever judged a dog show but I like watching the one that comes on after the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving.) I see I rated this one the same as the S&V but perhaps that’s okay because they’re good at different things.
I almost didn’t go for Earl Grey at all this morning. Lately I’ve been waking up on Mondays with a feeling of dread in my tummy that makes everything seem unappetizing, but this was nice and mild and isn’t making it worse.
The July TeaLog Catchup !
In the beginning, I thought darjeelings were perfectly fine and good tasting to drink, but didn’t see what all the fuss was about. I was pretty neutral on them when it came to black tea loves.
Hankering for a lighter black tea late one afternoon, I pulled the one out again. With the lower water temperature and more leaf than previously used, I found this one winey and delicious. I believe I also drank this one again a day or two later, but it didn’t get jotted down onto my list.