LeafSpa Organic Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

78

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.

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78

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
Angrboda

Oh yes, the legendary Dawn… I think Laoshan Black from Verdant is coming closest to being a replacement for it these days. I only ever had a swap sample of Dawn, but I seem to recall it being something along those lines.

__Morgana__

I have a package of Dawn that I have been hoarding. One of these days (how many years from now?) I’ll be out of lockdown and can try the equally legendary Laoshan Black.

Angrboda

Oh you can do a comparison then, and tell me if I have a skewed memory of Dawn.

Angrboda

What’s the goal before you’re allowed to order things?

__Morgana__

I am so far away from having a manageable amount of tea that I haven’t yet set one. I’m at 108 sipdowns for the year and haven’t really made a dent, though a lot of those were samples. I think I’ll at least have to get to 250 and probably more like 500 before I even start thinking about it.

Angrboda

Gosh. Things have really got away from you there, haven’t they? O.o

__Morgana__

LOL, yes, just a little bit. ;-)

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82

Sipdown no. 5 of 2016 (no. 226 total).

We drank this one in quantity during the BF’s evil grippe as well. He found it sufficiently gentle and sufficiently hot that it had medicinal value for him. Because it was being drunk in quantity, I mostly prepared it Western style, and I have to say that although I could discern a flavor some of the time, it was pretty much too subtle for me most of the time.

In the gaiwan, which I just tried again with the last little bit, I get more flavor. There’s a sweetness and a grassy/hay-like flavor. With a little bit of wood and something slightly (and oddly) marine-like as well.

I like the idea of white teas, and I think they look pretty, but I am not sure they are for me. I’ve had some really good flavored ones, but the plain ones often either have an eau de dead plant thing going on, or are just so subtle I’m not sure I’m tasting the tea to its full potential.

Perhaps I should have someone who knows how to make a good cup of white tea make one for me. My kids always say the bread and butter tastes better when I spread it than when they do.

Rasseru

3g 3mins 175-180f?

Rasseru

maybe even more, 185f/80c would be fine

__Morgana__

I used 5g for 1 min at 175 and then for 1.5 min at 180 this time per *yyz*’s advice on steeping silver needle.

Rasseru

I always wonder if theres a scientific approach to less leaf & more time vs Less time & more leaf.

I might have to experiment with an excel graph handy one day

__Morgana__

There probably is. If I’m not getting a lot of flavor out of something, I usually bump the leaf up instead of increasing the time first. If that doesn’t solve it, I keep the greater amount of leaf and bump up the time (except with greens, where I’m always worried I’m going to end up with bitterness if I go for more than a minute and a half).

Rasseru

I just did your way, and it is very similar to my way. Its still very much in the nose and subtle in the mouth. Reminds me of a white wine that has been really chilled where the flavour is less prominent the colder it gets.

I dont get the ‘eau de dead plant’ thing, I get dry wine, flowers, soft headfeel, maybe even citrus & bananas. But very much needing to sniff it while drinking

Rasseru

oh and sweetness, a bit of sugar or maybe caramel

Rasseru

I would try doubling the time to see if that helps. You can steep white tea at this temp for a while

__Morgana__

The dead plant is more with white peony than with silver needle. Haven’t had it with silver needle.

Rasseru

Ah ok, i get you now :)

Nicole

Not that you’ve had bad white teas by any means, but for me, pretty much the only ones that don’t taste like water to me are from Shang. I could send you some samples if you wanted.

__Morgana__

Nicole, that’s a lovely offer but I have many more to try and I’ll be disowned if I allow more tea in the house. :-)

Dexter

I’m not a huge white tea (or green or green oolong for that matter) fan. Then I discovered moonlight which led me to aged whites….. moonlight and aged whites are “light” but really flavorful – yeah I like them. If you are wanting to like white tea, I would take a look into them. Shang has a really good aged white brick…. just saying…(Nicole has recommended a good one).
Once you’re allowed more tea in the house of course….

OMGsrsly

Mariage Freres says… 5 g / 200 ml – 85°C – 15 min. It actually does work for some silver needle. Might be worth a try?

__Morgana__

Thanks! Will try the steeping tips with the next silver needle and will keep the recommendations on file for 2018 when I come out of lockdown. lol

Rasseru

Is the shang silver needle really that good? I am down to my last 10g, and wanted to by a decent amount of fresh spring flush when it comes around in a few months

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82

Made a lot of this today at the BF’s request. Steeped hotter and longer, and this time the flavor was noticeably different, so much so that even with his cold he tasted the difference. What I found most interesting was a citrus note, something suggestive of mandarin orange maybe? As well as a very mild nuttiness.

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82

The BF is coming down with something that is doing a number on his throat and asked me to make some tea. He also discovered recently that he can’t drink black tea first thing in the morning without puking unless he’s eaten first. Apparently, that is a thing. I never knew until it happened to him. Then I googled it, and yes, it’s a thing.

Having tons of this and thinking it would be a good alternative, I made some in the Breville. In looking back at my original notes, I seemed to have had trouble getting flavor out of it until I steeped it in the gaiwan.

So I laughed when I handed a cup to the BF and he said, “There’s no flavor in this at all and that’s perfect for how I feel right now.” He later amended his statement to say that despite not having flavor, it was very soothing on the throat.

On the heels of the oolong I just had, this doesn’t make a huge impression on me though I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is flavorless. It’s just leaning much more toward the “mouth full of snow” flavor I thought silver needles had until I had one that wasn’t that way.

Resteeped 10 degrees hotter and 30 seconds longer. Sweeter and stronger, but still extremely subtle. Some bread in the aftertaste, to make things interesting.

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82

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
music27note

I’m of the mind that steeping instructions for silver needle (no matter where it’s from) should usually not be trusted. When I see directions of 5 minutes, I go with 2 or less…

__Morgana__

I’m really interested to try other silver needles and see whether I have the same success, or whether this one just happens to be a very flavorful silver needle.

Anna

I think that should be a Tea Project.

juliebeth

now i wanna try that too. never had a silver needle.

yyz

Yay! I’m glad that this worked for you!

__Morgana__

Yes, a tea project! And thanks again, yyz!

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78

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.

caile

Good news about your wallet!

__Morgana__

I know, I was so lucky!

boychik

You are lucky, you would never find it in Brooklyn

__Morgana__

It was interesting, the guy who got it out of the safe for me said that whenever they find things like that they are careful not to even open them because there are so many security cameras throughout the restaurant they would get in serious trouble.

caile

I wonder how long they would leave it in the safe without opening it. Maybe after a few days a manager would look to see if there was ID so they could try calling the owner.

__Morgana__

Maybe so.

keychange

What an ordeal! I’m glad it was found..that must have been such a relief.

__Morgana__

It really was, thanks keychange!

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78

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.

keychange

omg do you have the lime green timolino?

__Morgana__

No, mine’s the midnight green. I love it!

keychange

fantastic!

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78

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….

Fjellrev

Cool that they’re taking kung fu!

__Morgana__

They really like it!

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78

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.

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78

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.

TheTeaFairy

The tea sounds very interesting and so is the piano lesson, yay for you!!!

__Morgana__

It’s certainly an unusual one, that’s for sure.

Jennkay

Even just the name of it is intriguing.

__Morgana__

I know, right? It makes me think of the giant eagles in The Lord of the Rings.

Geoffrey Norman

I miss LeafSpa. They were the only place (aside from Upton) that sold green honeybush.

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78

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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86

Sipdown no. 40 of 2016 (no. 251 total).

This had been traveling with me to work in my Timolino on a daily basis until I scraped the bottom of the container today.

It was a great tea for work. Easy to drink and not boring even when drunk on a daily basis.

My appreciation for Dragonwell has grown tremendously, in large part because of this tea. I’ve discovered it’s a great choice for when I want something green and refreshing but don’t really want something vegetally sweet.

Kirkoneill1988

i absolutely love dragonwell (longjing) ! have you tried yunnan sourcing’s version or Teavivre’s version or upton tea import’s version yet?

__Morgana__

Nope, haven’t tried those.

Kirkoneill1988

they are quite good! :D

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86

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 8 g 25 OZ / 750 ML
Memily

I love how many other people are anal with/excited by numbers on this site.

I’ve never heard of dragonwell! I’ve got a lot of learning to do…

__Morgana__

LOL—yes it’s like playing video games, cheap sense of accomplishment. ;-)

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85

Sipdown no. 43 of 2016 (no. 254 total).

The latest tea to travel with me to work daily in the Timolino. Scratched bottom on the tin today.

Fresh, sweet, tasty, and pleasant. I’ll miss this one.

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85

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.

TheTeaFairy

OMG, I so envy you right now…wish I could have a bike ride in february…other than stationary bike!!!

__Morgana__

That is one great thing about California for sure. We had a good time. I’m really tired now though. Ready to so my assignment, watch Downton Abbey and go to sleep!

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85

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
keychange

Woohoo for your timolino!

__Morgana__

I’m so glad I got it!

Fjellrev

That is so exciting that you got a Timolino! I love mine too. Which colour did you get?

__Morgana__

They call it “midnight green.” It’s a really intense, deep metallic green color. V. pretty.

Fjellrev

Nice. :)

TheTeaFairy

Sadly, I don’t like their teas anymore but I’m ADDICTED to DAVIDsTEA teaware!! I just find it annoying that they are continuously out of stock on many items…
Glad you are enjoying your new baby, great colour!

__Morgana__

TF, I really love their tea ware, too. They were OUT OF THE MASON JAR at the location I visited or I certainly would have had to get one of those. ;-) As it is, I got this, some bubble cups and a couple of spoons. I really like the way their spoons feel in the hand. Nice weight, nice balance.

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