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Nothing But Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

77

I love the name of this tea despite not being crazy about walnuts. Actually, I take that back.. I like walnuts when they’re in baked things – chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, oatmeal cookies. On their own, I’m not crazy about ’em. Anyway, back to the tea! The scent of this is of a rather tame green tea – smooth, only a tiny bit grassy – and walnuts. When I say walnuts, I mean the whole darn thing including the shell. I can smell the bitter skin and starchy inside. Wow!

Sipping… hm, not as bitter as I was expecting. The green tea is light, very smooth and actually the sweetest part of this cup. The rest of the sip is pure walnut which is overwhelming, but quite impressive. I actually don’t mind this tea, but I wish that there were something layer cakey about it. To me, it’s a walnut and sencha blend, with no other flavors. If someone adores walnut, I can see this being a top choice. Thank you, KittyLovesTea, for this one. I’m quite glad I got to try it and will finish the cup!

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60

A sample from KittyLovesTea, and another one I left for fear of messing it up. I’m still not entirely sure how to treat it, “it” being a white tea left to oxidise. I plumped for treating it like a while for my first go, and I think that was probably right. It tastes smooth, anyway, so it certainly didn’t do it any harm.

Hot, I’m not sure whether I like it all that much. As it cools, however, it’s a lot more pleasant. More of the flavour seems to come out, and it takes on more of the natural sweetness white tea can sometimes have. It tastes very honeyed, and slightly hay-like, but there’s a deeper edge to this that I suspect is caused by the oxidisation. It’s pretty unique, I think. The dry leaves are pretty unique, too, retaining some of their white downiness, but largely being very fine, needle-like, and almost black in colour. The liquor is a deep honey colour.

It’s not a strong flavour, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I’m tasting. A stouter, sturdier version of a white tea, with a slightly fruity edge. When I say fruity in this case, I’m thinking of orange fruits like peach and apricot.

I think this is one that will grow on me, and I can actually imagine it tasting really wonderful iced. It’s certainly one I’ll continue drinking at a lower temperature. It’s an odd creature hot.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

A sample from KittyLovesTea. I was intrigued by this one, but completely clueless about how best to treat it. For this reason, I went with the steeping parameters indicated in the description on this page – 5 mins at about 180. I like Darjeeling, on the whole, but green tea and jasmine flavouring have always been borderline flavours for me. That’s probably why I wasn’t expecting to like this a whole lot, and so I took myself completely by surprise when it turned out that I did. Like it a lot, that it.

It’s sweet, for starters, and I wasn’t expecting anything like that. It is a little bitter at the end of the sip, but the initial sweetness is just phenomenal. It smells delicious, too. Sweet, again, and slightly floral. Juicy, somehow. It’s quite perfumey to taste, but somehow this isn’t a bad thing. Usually, heavy jasmine scents or flavours aren’t my thing at all, but this is something else. Although the jasmine is both strong and heavy, I actually don’t mind it. It works really well with the base Darjeeling, perhaps because it’s a “green” Darjeeling. In addition to the jasmine, there’s a strong grassy flavour. Again, sweet, but it cuts through the floral a little in the middle of the sip, and reminds me of some of the more delicate green teas I’ve tried recently.

Looking at the leaves, the majority are a medium green colour, with some darker leaves (approaching black) among the mix. They’re quite small, and some are broken, but the majority actually unfurl to a reasonable size once steeped. The liquor is a bright yellow, very sunny looking. I needed things to cheer me up today, and this has done the trick admirably.

Overall, a huge success! I’m going to resteep the leaves, as recommended, to try and lose some of the bitterness. I might also try my next fresh infusion with a slightly shorter brew time. I’d put off trying this one because I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I’m glad I finally took the plunge. A reward if ever there was one!


2nd steep isn’t so great. The bitterness is still there, only this time there is significantly less flavour. The jasmine is more subtle, but in this case I don’t think that’s an advantage. I much prefer this at full strength.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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55

I had no idea how to brew this, so I checked the other (two) reviews for pointersand went with 3 minutes at 80C. I barely ever read individual tasting notes right before trying a new tea, though, and I have Dag Wedin’s ‘powerfully fruity’ comment with me as I sip this. Heh. Let me just say it’s pretty obvious which one of us drinks flavoured Japanese fruit teas on a regular basis.

In the bag, this smells so sweet; there’s a special sweetness to it – a new, hay-like sweetness I haven’t encountered before. I don’t know if it’s even possible to get this to come through in the steeped tea, but I did not succeed. As has already been pointed out, this doesn’t look like the average white tea, and, in my opinion, nor does it taste like it. It’s light, but it has a bit more depth than I’ve come to expect from whites. Flavoured or unflavoured, they often come off very light and fluffy to me – much like drinking a cloud.

The contents of my cup went down smoothly, but there is not enough personality or character for me to be intrigued or excited. I won’t remember this tea. My rating reflects this, rather than the quality of the tea – I’m sure this leaf would be very pleasing to someone who enjoys a clean, fresh, uncomplicated white.

[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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83

From KittyLovesTea´s european travelling box, and this is a really intriguing tea. Whole, but small, copper leaves, full of unfurled tiny leaves. (you bet it will be high on polyphenol and a bunch of other goodies).

I did not make it too strong, made it european style and I am glad I didso, this was just right for my taste – I have no idea how many grams I used because the leaves are whole and large and difficult to estimate and my scales just are not precise enough for this).

It is quite a strange tea to describe, though undoubtedly a lovely one. It is quite astringent (am glad I did not make it any stronger though will resteep a few times more). It has natural fruity notes, like raisins and, like another reviewer mentioned, ripe peaches. The wet leaves smell like berries with peaches. A really interesting tea.

PS – just to add, going by my reaction to it, I think it packs quite a caffeine punch.

TastyBrew

What is European style?

cteresa

By european style, I mean not traditional asian ways, not gongfu or anything of the sort, just the old european standard of adding a tea spoon of tea leaf for a cup of water.

TheTeaFairy

Haha! Makes sense! If you’re in the western area and you brew non asian, you say western style, it wouldn’t make sense to say western style if you’re European, we’re so used to it, reading european brew seems like a novelty, I understand why you asked TastyBrew :-)

TastyBrew

Ha ha. Totally.

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30

This one was an easy swap pick – I wanted to try some more flavoured pu’erhs, and this had that good old, bad old pu’erh smell. I didn’t get much orange then and still don’t, but it’s clear that some kind of flavouring is at play, rather than this being a straight-up pu’erh.

It brews up murky and a little filmy, with surprisingly little presence in the cup. While I understand why people frequently seem to characterize pu’erh as fishy (that is, smelling of fish, rather than being shifty and unreliable) I don’t really agree, but I guess it’s more fit for polite conversation than my own scent analogy that ties in with summers spent next door to a big farm in the country. While there are certainly hints of that organic, earthy, sun-warmed farm animal urine scent, this, overall, mostly comes off a little flat, with no traces of orange.

This might just be one of those flavourings that fail to register for me, but I enjoyed trying it out – if nothing else, it has inspired me to keep looking for flavoured pu’erhs to enjoy.

Thanks, Ang!

[Sample from the EU Travelling Box, autumn 2013.]

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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74

I brewed the last of this tea in a pot to serve with brunch. Since my husband is working at home today so I did a ‘fry up’ (soy burger, fried eggs, baked beans and toast) which will keep us going until dinner time.

Last time I didn’t think an awful lot to this tea, while it was nice and smoky it was not quite at my desired strength for a breakfast tea. Today I steeped it for longer and received much better results.

The tea is served with a drop of milk. The longer steep has created a much stronger and more robust tea than previously. It remains malty and smoky but so much so now that it is definitely more like a breakfast tea. My husband said he really likes this one, I may have to get some more for him.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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74

My first tea of the morning, I dug it out of my cupboard yesterday to use up.

Served with milk and 2 sugars. Tea is malty, thick, dry and smoky in flavour. It has some strength but not enough for my personal taste for a breakfast tea. I will perhaps try it tomorrow morning without milk and sugar.

A standard black tea, I would say it was more like an afternoon tea than a morning one.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Me too

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68

I’ve been meaning to try this for a while but I haven’t much been in the right mood for green tea. Time to ignore that and just go for it instead.

It smells like strong, dry walnut with a sweet off maple finish. By off maple I mean it’s similar (dark, treacly) but just not quite right. Not sure it smells like cake but the walnut is a dead certainty.

Once steeped the tea is light yellowy green with a the same strong walnut scent as it’s raw form. Possibly the most nuttiest tea I have ever sniffed.

It smells like walnut and it tastes like walnut. Toasted, dry, sweet yet slightly creamy walnut in liquid tea form. I can’t taste the sencha as such but it appears to be keeping the walnut on the light side. At least it’s drinkable. Not sure what to think of this blend, walnut is one of my favourite nuts but this edges on being bizarre. Also it leaves my tongue a little dry in the after taste.

Only a rough rating for now, it may change. I have perhaps two cups left of this plus another unopened 10g pouch if anyone is interested?

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

Hey, I just placed an order with NBT this morning. I was considering this one briefly but decided that I drink so little green tea it would be a waste, really. I did get a sample of that new Scotch Acorn Ceylon or whatever it’s called for husband. :)

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71

These spikes are super cute, they look a little like caterpillars. They are a little furry and smells sweet and nutty exactly like Bai Mu Dan. I think their range of unique shapes are all Bai Mu Dan..or at least the few that I have tried were.

It has a delicate aroma once steeped with hints of sweet flowers and grass. Flavour wise it’s stronger than the aroma but still on the delicate side. It’s sweet and very floral with a dry and nutty after taste. It’s also rather grassy and green tasting but most of it is dominated by the sweet floralness.

It’s a nice novelty tea but in terms of quality I don’t think it’s anything special.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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49

I suppose I must have eaten coffee cake at some time, though I can’t remember doing so, but the dry tea really does smell as I imagine a coffee cake would – a combination of instant coffee granules and digestive biscuits. There is also a slight piquancy there, perhaps some citrus but I can’t pin it down any closer than that. There are actually some small beans in it. They look very lightly roasted.

I used a well-heaped teaspoon and brewed for two and a half minutes, boiling water.

It made a slightly yellowish, brown brew, clear but almost opaque in its intensity.

It did smell like an instant coffee. My references to ‘instant’ are not meant to be complimentary; I’m a ‘buy-good-quality-beans-and-grind-them-myself-man’ (yes, I’m a coffee nut too, but I tend not to mention that around here). Again there’s that slight piquancy to the aroma – it lifts it a little from being just an instant coffee smell.

It really does taste like a mix between coffee and tea. That’s okay as far as it goes – though I’d say they were not particularly special tea and coffee, but there is also that same astringency I mentioned for the Walnut Layer Cake Sencha. It’s something more bitter than the citrus piquancy I got in the nose from the dry and the brew, but it’s not as strong as with the Walnut Layer Cake and is not strong enough to spoil the brew. Having said that, the overall brew is nothing special.

As I said for the Walnut Layer Cake, the smell I get when sipping is more enjoyable than what I get in the mouth. The brew is okay but uninteresting.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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18

The dry tea has a fairly strong and really rather pleasant aroma. I get coconut, lemon, thyme and a general perfumed note like you get when you walk by a shop like Lush, selling scented soaps and so on.

I brewed pretty much as in the dealer info – five minutes, 80° and with the weight of tea adjusted for the capacity of my mug.

I didn’t get so much in the nose as with the dry tea. It smelled rather like one of those coconut cakes or coconut biscuits.

In the mouth it was rather sour – the lemon note, I think. I added two sweeteners, as I do with ordinary tea. This cancelled-out the sourness, but the result wasn’t really sweet. It was rather a disappointment compared to the aromas of both the dry tea and the brew – a note somewhere between walnut and coconut and an astringency that I just can’t pin down – it’s not lemon, more bitter than that – and that seems to linger in the back of the throat and rather dry it. Perhaps five minutes was a bit too long. I’m not at all sure that I’m detecting any actual tea flavour.

Actually, the smell I get as I sip is much more enjoyable than what’s in my mouth – don’t much care for this.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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52

Un thé aux notes incontestées de darjeeling. Je l’apprécie moyennement. Manque de caractère et de franchise. Ne me fait pas rêver.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79

These rings are so cute :) And they smell floral and gentle like a spring breeze.

Once steeped this tea is yellow in colour with the same gentle floral and grassy scent as it’s raw form.

This tea is sweet, grassy, floral, vegetal and fresh. Flavour key words would be sweet pea, jasmine, grass, cabbage and peony.

It’s a nice novelty tea and the rings have fully opened up to show it’s long, needle pointed leaves.

A nice green tea with unique charm. :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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87

More Darjeeling please :)

This tea is bright green and dark green in colour with a sweet and floral jasmine scent. The leaves are mostly finely chopped for the most part. I can see a little bit of twig but very little and no marks or discolouration on the leaves.

Once steeped this tea is dusky yellow in colour with a sweet yet soft jasmine aroma. Not as strong as say Jasmine Pearls but strong enough to be fresh.

Flavour is gentle and sweet with minor astringency. It’s sweet but also slightly musky and perfumey so it still has that true Darjeeling feel about it. Not as sweet as some Jasmine teas can be but it’s sweet enough for me.

Overall it’s a nice Darjeeling green and a nice jasmine green so as a Jasmine Darjeeling it’s pretty darn tasty! Two happiness meters for the price of one can be filled thanks to this beauty :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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83

SIPDOWN! mwahahahahaha i feel like the count today! in any case exciting eventual and productive work and tea day today. Made some baby steps forward with someone who i find challenging to work with (she likely finds me the same way so no issues there haha); got some things off my plate, drank a bunch of tea and i’m one day closer to vacation! woot woot!

I have relaly enjoyed drinking this one so thank you bunches angrboda!

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83

figured i might as well try this one again tonight after having the zen tea version last night. Ill stick to this version thanks! could be the same supplier for all i know but this version seems so much creamier and raspberrier for me. I’m really enjoying this as an end to the evening. I didn’t get as much tea drinking in, but what i’ve had tonight has been delicious!

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83

Other from angrboda that I’m enjoying. Now if only my dashboard would behave! Th initial smell of this one had me a bit worried because behind the delicious aroma was a hint of something artificial. Turns out that my worries were unfounded because brewed, this is simply a delicious raspberry vanilla tea. Makes me think of raspberry creamsicles a little :) the icecream mixing with the raspberry…mmmmm

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77

Thank you Kittylovestea for this sample.

8g / 400ml glaspot
3m @ 80C

This tea does not look like a white. the tealeaves are dark. Almost like they dried in the sun for to long.

The tea itself is powerfully fruity. I think ripe peaches? Kind of pleasant, i think it would be good as an iced tea.

Interesting to try something as odd as this :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Coffee Cake by Nothing But Tea
4040 tasting notes

SIPDOWN! thank you kittylovestea for this one. I’m always intrigued by tea+ coffee blends since i do enjoy a nice cup of coffee every now and then. This isn’t exactly cakelike. there’s a hint of a creamy sort of taste going on, in addition to the clear coffee taste (likely from the coffee beans in this one). I don’t mind this one at all. It’s nothing i’d need to drink all the time but i certainly go for it now and then. :) thanks a bunch kitty!

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70

sipdown! Thanks kittylovestea I managed to get this one to work out on my second attempt. This is a pretty decent cakelike honeybush and i’m quite enjoying my cup. It’s nothing i feel the need to restock but i am happy to have tried this one, especially now that i got it to work better :)

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70

Thank you kittylovestea for this one! I totally didn’t steep this one for long enough tonight…it’s been a VERY long day and i’m semi out of it. Long story short i’m glad i have more of this to try again. I can tell this will be one that i enjoy quite a bunch from the small cup i had tonight. Just need to steep it for longer to bring out the flavours even more!

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