LeafSpa Organic Tea
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Hi all! I’m back from Scotland, though I wish I was still there. We had a wonderful time. We spent about four days sightseeing in Glasgow, three in Edinburgh, and took trips to Stirling, Loch Lomond, Loch Ness and Inverness, St. Andrews, and many other places along the way to each of these. And we rode the Jacobite Steam train, aka Hogwarts express. I have a few pictures up at my web site in my latest post there that show some of the castles and lakes (or lochs, I should say) we saw, and the train. I have about a gazillion other photos, of course. Take a peek if you like at www.jjroth.net
My older son got an authentic kilt and he looks amazing in it. We have many great stories to tell from our travels, and I have some new weird ideas for fiction. Now if only I could move to a cottage in the highlands where I could get away from it all and write them!
But you probably want to know about this tea? (Not that it matters a lot since the company is out of business.) Here’s the skinny. I needed some iced tea, or so I thought, to power the packing before Scotland. So even though I didn’t taste this steeped hot first, I decided to try an oolong cold brew since I had a lot of this.
I dutifully cold brewed, removed the leaves, put it back in the fridge. And completely forgot about it.
Fast forward two weeks later, when we got back from Scotland. I wondered whether I dare try it or whether it would be spoiled. The back of my fridge is pretty cold. Indeed, things have been known to ice up there, and this was in the back. So I risked it. Not only wasn’t it spoiled, it tasted terrific. I am now a huge fan of oolong cold brew, at least the roasty toasty kind of dark oolong in cold brew. I haven’t tried making a green oolong cold brew, but now I want to give it a go.
The one thing I didn’t do in Scotland that I should have was drink tea. I just never thought about it while I was there because it was just me with the two kids and we were on the go constantly, but that was a missed opportunity. We did have some lovely haggis and cullen skink, though. ;-)
Hope all is well with everyone!
Sipdown no. 157 for the year 2014. This is a back log from yesterday when I polished off the last little bit of this as my morning hot cup.
I’m on a sipdown roll with these black Leafspas. Though Darjeeling isn’t really black, they just call it that. This is the third sipdown of a mega tin inside of a week, helped tremendously by the cold brewing that is going on pretty frequently these days given the heat here. I let this one steep a bit too long I think, but it’s still tasty and just a tad bitter. Darjeeling makes an interesting cold brew. I don’t know that I’d pick it for that ordinarily as it’s a little piquant for a cold tea in my book.
Which raises a question. What else do you like to cold brew? Is oolong a good choice? I have a ton of it and not as much time these days as I need to enjoy it hot through multiple steeps. If it’s a good choice, how long should it brew, or does it matter?
Also, what about pu erh? I have a lot of loose pu erh and the idea of cold brewing it sounds kind of yuck, but I dunno, maybe it would be interesting?
Thanks in advance for your suggestions and sorry for my continued sporadic appearances. Things are getting kind of complicated here. The BF was admitted to the hospital last night with raging diabetes, and they haven’t let him out yet, so things are under an unusual amount of stress. Hope everyone else is having a better week. :-)
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.
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.
Sipdown no. 162 of the year 2014. I had two cups worth of leaf left, steeped in the Breville and poured over ice, then took it with me to drink while the kids had their Kung Fu lessons. I spent part of that time reading Dune Messiah on the Kindle. This was a nice accompaniment to the aforementioned activities. Flavorful but not harsh as some assams can be. Stood up well to ice. I just steeped it normally without any effort to make it more concentrated, and it took a good two cups of ice on top of the two cups of water like a trooper.
Why Dune Messiah? I read the first Dune many years ago but never got to the sequels. Now I’m in the midst of a brain cram event, trying to read as much classic SF and fantasy as I possibly can so that I’ll know as much as possible about the genres I’ve chosen for my own writing, but interspersed with more current work as well. For you OCD sympathizers, my current fiction reading regime goes something like this. Two literary short stories, two SFF short stories, an SFF novel, and start over until I finish 10 SFF novels, when I read a literary novel. When I run out of literary short stories in my collection I am planning to turn to non-fiction. (I have way more books than any person should have. Next to tea, they’re my primary buying vice.) And then I work in, as necessary, the books I have to read for my writing classes. Currently reading in literary short stories, Mark Helprin, Ellis Island. Currently reading in SFF short stories, Karin Tidbeck, Jagganath. Recently read SFF novels (the most recent grouping of 10): A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin; The Forever War, Joe Haldeman; Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein. Next up, Flowers for Algernon. I can’t believe I never read that one. I know kids in my junior high had to read it for class, but (not meaning to sound elitist) I was in the advanced classes so we didn’t read it. I think we read Brave New World instead. Or maybe something by Thomas Hardy. I read a shitload of Thomas Hardy in junior high and high school. (Why?)
Ah well. I am off to try to relax for a bit before the next round of errands in preparation for the Scotland trip. I need a carry-on on wheels that will meet airline regulations, and the kids need sneakers. Tomorrow I’m going to start packing them up (two weeks in advance, but it will make me feel more relaxed).
How is everyone’s weekend going?
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.
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.
Hi all! Generally hot weather, combined with end of school year craziness with the kids and the fact that one of my colleagues at work recently departed so (guess what) I am now doing part of his job as well are all conspirators to keep me from enjoying sitting down with a cup of tea, much less writing tasting notes. However, I’ve been coughing for the last couple of days and today, I woke up with a squeak in my voice signalling the beginning of laryngitis. Ugh.
The good news is that baseball season is almost over, one of the kids’ other activities is on hiatus until the fall, and school will be over in a couple of weeks.
This tea has now become part of my work stash, and I’m glad I had it here with me today. There really is nothing like a cup of warm tea for any throat ailment. I see more warm tea and potentially a few notes in my future. ;-)
I was cold brewing for a while and then got side tracked by some other bright shiny objects and haven’t put any up for a while, but I think I will do that tonight as well.
Hope everyone’s doing well!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.