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Nothing But Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

95

I’ve been enjoying this very much with two-minute infusions (I did buy a proper quantity, as I threatened in the earlier note). It’s a really excellent oolong: but I decided, just for curiosity, to try a brew with three-minute infusions.

First, an attempt I made yesterday, with a well-heaped teaspoon and water several minutes off the boil.

In the nose I’m not getting a lot. There’s a hint of that smell of ironing shirts and, perhaps, a faint hint of aromatic herbs which I can’t narrow down any further – just generally in the rosemary-thyme-sage area. This latter note is stronger as the tea is cooling and the level falling. Also, as it cools, I’m starting to get that tiniest hint of chocolate.

In the mouth there’s a slight earthiness to it. There is a hint of high cocoa mass chocolate. There’s a slight bite to it, something like aromatic herbs but not quite – this gets just a fraction bitter in the lingering aftertaste – something like when you find yourself chewing on a well-cooked piece of rosemary needle in your food. Actually, this bitterness has disappeared – whether as the tea is cooling or as my taste-buds are getting used to it I don’t know. As I’m getting to the bottom of the cup and the tea is much cooler, the chocolate is a lot more noticeable – a proper note in the flavour, now – and there may be, just on the very edge of my tasting, the faintest hint of liquorice.

Overall, this seems somewhat blander than in my regular brews – which seems a bit odd as it’s been infused a minute longer. I really can’t understand that. Perhaps I let the water get too cool?

I forgot what I was doing and poured boiling water on the second infusion – so that’s buggered this tasting.

Now for today’s note:

Okay, I’m having another go – three minutes with water several minutes off the boil, again.

It’s a clear, medium-intensity (I can see the bottom of the mug), reddish brown brew – nearer the brown, really. There was a lot of tea still floating when I took out the infuser.

In the nose I get a slightly musty earthiness with hints of green vegetation and dark chocolate.

Sipping it, I’m not getting a lot of flavour. It’s a mild balance of chocolate and good garden soil, often in the aftertaste more than in the immediate sip. I’m not getting the aromatic herbs. The flavour doesn’t seem to live up to the promise of the nose. The basic tea flavour doesn’t seem very noticeable, either.

It seems rather odd that a three-minute steep should strike me as blander than a two-minute one – don’t know what to think of that.

When it’s cooled down there is just the smallest hint of aromatic spices in the flavour, but nothing I can pin down more precisely.

I made a second infusion, same way.

This was less intense in colour and weaker in smell and flavour. There was a little more flavour as it got cooler; but it was really rather watery.

This quite bemuses me. I know it to be an excellent tea with two-minute steeps; so, I’m quite at a loss as to how it should be so disappointing with three-minute steeps. Three minutes is not an experiment I’m going to try again.

Bonnie

how much water? What method? I’d use a gaiwan and if you don’t have one handy a mug,and 4-6 oz water then shorter steep. Try 170 degrees if boiling isn’t working.

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74

Thanks to a friend I remembered that I had some unusual handmade white teas on my shelf from Nothing But Tea. In their white tea Jade range they have various shapes (ring, lilly, spiral, bamboo) and then they also have butterfly. It’s not your typical butterfly shape (nothing like you would draw if asked) but they are cute to look at.

Pale green and slightly furry to touch with a slight floral scent, these little butterflies are a wonderful little novelty. To think that these have each been hand tied for my enjoyment is rather thrilling.

10 Butterflies are needed per cup with multiple re steeping encouraged. I will be using my small Gongfu for this which equals a nice cups worth of tea. Also just to note the leaflet states this tea is to be steeped at 70°C for 3 minutes.

Once steeped the tea is a very pale yellow colour with a gentle sweet floral scent.

The flavour is also very subtle with the same sweet floralness as the smell. So far it’s reminding me a little of Silver Needle tea. Slightly nutty and dry but the sweet floweriness almost like Peony but not as strong is the strongest feature. It’s very fresh tasting and easy to drink.

Lets try another steep of 7 minutes. The tea has fully expanded now during the steeping process and most have untied themselves from their pretty form to be long and thin.

Very much the same as the first steep put perhaps a little sweeter. The colour is very similar to the first steep but the scent is more floral.

It was a nice novelty of trying this white tea for not only it’s subtle sweet taste but also it’s aesthetics. Being hand tied and created makes it seem even more special which in turn made me special for drinking it. It may be something I try myself in the very near future.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C

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75

I had another free sample of this (NBT were very generous last year – many thanks to them), so I thought I’d do another note and try to properly get to grips with it. As with the last one, I made this brew with a heaped teaspoon, boiling water and three minutes’ steeping. Didn’t work though – it’s just as elusive and challenging as last time.

In the nose I – at different sniffs – got all the same stuff as last time – good basic tea, grass, pizza dough, butter, boiled cabbage. I even, at least once, got a definite hint of Christmas pudding! But they’re always the olfactory equivalent of fleeting glimpses – at one point I was leaning over the cup and got a strong whiff of good, old-fashioned basic tea; picked up the cup and held it to my nose and got something quite different. It’s a very, very elusive aroma to try to describe.

The flavour is the same. On the first couple of sips I had a touch of buttery, sweet biscuits and that seems to be the one constant note; but, other than that, again there are the fleeting little hints coming and going – just the tiniest hints, but – dried fruit, green vegetation or grass, a spicy hint, even a touch reminscent of the smell of hand-rolling tobacco.

I made a second infusion the same way and, just like the last tasting note, I couldn’t detect any difference to the first one.

On the one hand, as someone wanting to write a tasting note, it’s rather frustrating not being able to pin down a handful of definite and constant flavour-notes. On the other hand, turning my brain off, as it were, and just sitting back and drinking it, it’s a rather enjoyable tea.

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100

This will be my fourth cup of flavoured Pu Erh today. The snow has stopped falling but a few inches have settled, for how long is anybodies guess. The snow is beautiful to look at but it’s cold and dangerous. Last year it snowed on my birthday but it doesn’t look like there is much chance of that happening this year, it’s arrived too early. (My birthday is 6th February).

The tea whilst raw is dark brown with small red strawberry pieces and it smells absolutely amazing! It’s real strawberry and it smells so sweet and juicy, very natural like and thankfully not the leaf. I’m licking my lips due to the smell alone which for the record is quite potent.

Once the tea has steeped it’s dark brown in colour and smells just as strong, fresh and naturally delicious as it’s raw form.

Wowzers this tastes as lovely as the smell! The first few sips reveal sweet strawberry which is then followed by a rich and smooth Pu Erh after taste. The strawberry is slightly more dominant but with it being so sweet and fresh I put that as being a positive thing. Besides I can taste the Pu Erh fairly well despite being overtaken. This is another blend that reminds me of sweets.

Earlier I drank Mother of Pearl- Della Terra and noted that was mostly strawberry flavoured (and Pu Erh based) and I think any fan of that tea would love this. This tea is stronger than MOP and sweeter without having to add anything extra.

I think this tea alone would be worth placing another order from NBT for but considering I also love their Orange Pu Erh and Orange Black I’m thinking I should do so sooner rather than later.

In a few words this tea is … Tantalizingly strawberry tastic!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

mmmmm sounds tasty!

Steven

I can almost smell it from here.
I MUST try this!

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64

“If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are excited, it will calm you.”
― William Ewart Gladstone
Maybe that is why I love tea?

Following my next cup with another flavoured Pu Erh after catching the Pu Erh bug today. Well it is hard for any tea to follow after a delicious cup of Pu Erh after all. The snow is still falling and after walking (carefully) through it a moment ago to post jewellery to my wonderful customers at my local Post Office I am cold and in desperate need of being warmed up. The exotic part of this sounds nice right about now (shivers).

While raw this tea is a mixture of brown, yellow and blue in colour with a refreshing woody and orange scent. Not quite as exotic as I had imagined.

Once steeped the tea is dark brown in colour with the usual woody and earthy Pu Erh scent. I can’t pick up the fruit by smell alone which is a shame.

There is a hint of orange in the flavour but the Pu Erh is much stronger than the fruitiness meaning the balance is not quite right. It says their are raspberry pieces in this tea but I can’t taste anything remotely berry like, just the waxy orange and thick woody Pu Erh.

I have Nothing But Teas Orange Pu Erh and it’s nothing like this tea, this is a much weaker version and not as tasty. It’s a shame that it’s disappointing but it’s still good enough to drink and finish my sample pouch. Still I feel the word exotic is a little misleading..I was sort of thinking pineapple or melon…not just orange and raspberry that I cannot taste.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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87

I’m loving the sound of flavoured Pu Erh at the moment so I dove into my Nothing But Tea Pu Erh sampler box and pulled out this orange Pu Erh. That sounds delicious! I have had a different brand of tangerine Pu Erh before and that was very tasty and I imagine this would be similar.

As I snipped my way into the packaging I was greeted with a super strong orange fragrance that was natural with sweet and waxy highlights. It smells like fresh orange, as though one had been cut in half and I have taken a huge sniff. Luckily I love orange and this is certainly not for the faint hearted. :)

Appearance wise this looks like normal loose leaf Pu Erh, small and thinly rolled dark brown leaves in various squiggly shapes. Other than the smell I would not be able to tell any different.

Brewed in my gongfu with boiling water for 2 minutes to give me a lovely large glass full. I’m hoping it’s potent enough for a second cheeky steep (I used two tea spoons of leaves).

The tea soup is browny red in colour (standard ripe Pu Erh coloured) but it carries the same strong orange fragrance but with a more noticeable Pu Erh astringency and earthiness. Yummy.

The flavour is not as strong as the smell but the orange is strong enough to be as expected. It does taste very natural and the mixture of sweet and sour citrus is very pleasing, it matches this ripe Pu Erh perfectly. It tastes like an orange tree: earthy, fruity, natural, sweet, sour, woody, fresh.

It’s a very nice tea and the balance is perfect. I bet this would be a great summer drink.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Ha – I am doing flavored pu-erh today too. :)

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80

Green Anemone (also known as a tea rose or Mu Dan – White Peony) are tea leaves that have been sewn together by hand and layered to resemble a flower. It’s similar to a blooming flower tea as this is said to grow and blossom once emerged into hot water.

The Anemone is a mixture of light and dark green leaves that are dry and crisp to the touch. It smells sweet and floral with a slight fruity edge. Based on the smell I would say that this was Bai Mu Dan tea which is a Chinese white tea suitable for multiple infusions.

Since this is a white tea we will need to use hot but not boiling water so around 85°C/185°F. Steeping time will be 4 minutes for the first infusion.

Two minutes after the water has been introduced the Anemone has doubled in size to become more of a ball shape with beautiful leafy detail.

The tea is pale yellow in colour with a sweet and vegetal fragrance, almost like sweet pea.

My first steep is very pleasing, it’s naturally sweet and fresh with vegetal yet somewhat fruity tones. It’s also a little floral but it’s sweetness is what makes this tea. Think of a mixture between melon, cucumber and very weak jasmine all together in your mouth and you will have a good idea of what this tea tastes like.

My second steep will be for 6 minutes. During the second infusion it has picked up a perfumey and almost toasty effect but still remains sweet. The stronger it gets the more fruity it becomes also. As far as the quality goes this example is fair, not the freshest I have had the fortune of drinking but good enough quality to still be enjoyable and suitable for every day.

It was a very nice novelty to have a blooming version of Bai Mu Dan and it would be something I would buy again in the future. My rating for this would be an 8/10. My sample was a very reasonable £1.75 (roughly $3 USD) and for that price this makes a wonderful surprise at the end of any day. :)

For pictures please view my blog. http://kittylovestea.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/blooming-green-anemone-bai-mu-dan/

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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72

From my Nothing But Tea Pu Erh sampler that I bought myself for Christmas. I popped two of the little cakes into my gongfu and steeped with boiling water starting with 1 minute and increasing it by the same for each steep.

The toucha’s had a slight earthy fragrance whilst raw. Once rinsed the Pu Erh has broken down into small finely chopped parts that resemble grounded coffee that has an earthy, strong and sweet almost leafy autumn smell. I have never had such finely cut Pu Erh before.

The colour once steeped also resembles coffee as it’s deep dark brown.

As for the taste it’s very earthy and astringent with thick richness and depth. It’s also a little fishy in honesty. The quality seems to be standard, it’s just your bog standard Pu Erh to be drank everyday. In other words it’s cheap and cheerful.

Preparation
Boiling

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87
drank Orange by Nothing But Tea
984 tasting notes

With my decorations now up (mostly…we some how misplaced our tree and are without one this year) and me and my husband are sat down happy with our lazy decorating skills we are theatrically dying of thirst. Then with my new found Christmas frame of mind (which is easier now with the decorations up) I thought about Christingles and the fun that was to be had around this time as a child.

Since orange was already on my mind I thought I had might as well enhance our Christmas experience with a mug of orange tea. As I opened the packed a very strong orange fragrance uplifted me. Brown in colour with the same sweet orange fragrance, this feels like a treat. :)

“Yummy yummy noo noo” is what my sister would say when she was a child when she liked something and that phrase came instantly to mind when I took a sip. The orange is sweet, a little waxy and citrus fresh with the black tea making it a thicker and earthier blend. It remains the same strength throughout with no bitterness.

A very nice orange tea that features both orange rind and orange leaf to create a delicious all around orange black tea. I may have to buy some more of this. :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

sounds delish!

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71

It’s late I know but my husband finally got the Christmas decorations down from the attic and all it took was a week of harassing him to do so. :/

I need a cup of tea before attempting to decorate my house with an appropriate amount of decorations and I immediately thought about the samples I got from this company. Chosen to continue my ‘something fruity’ mood as of late thanks to Frank from 52 Teas and his breakfast smoothie blend.

As I opened the bag for a quick sniff I was met with a sweet fruity melody with a mango and pomegranate medley going on. Very interesting.

Brewed for the recommended time and length this has created a light yellow tea soup that smells of sweet and slight sour fruit. The green tea is nice and mellow with only a touch of bitterness but unfortunately the website doesn’t say the ingredients so I can’t tell you which green tea it is. Behind the green tea is a subtle fruitiness that is both sweet and slightly tart/sour but it’s a nice gentle balance.

This is definitely something I will drink but I’m not so sure I would ever specifically crave it, it’s your basic fruity green tea with the only novelty being that this did sort of taste like pomegranate.

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

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95

As I brewed this as a black last time, I’m making another tasting note brewing it as an oolong; so I’m making a brew with water several minutes off the boil, steeping for two minutes.

The aroma is still quite strong. It’s hot green vegetables, mixed with the smell I get when I’m ironing shirts and trousers.

In the mouth I get green vegetation, freshly-turned soil and chcolate. It’s not quite the same as when I was brewing it as a black tea, though. The notes are a little less intense and a little less sharply defined – more blended together. The soil and chocolate become dominant over the greenery in the lingering aftertaste.

It’s still a pretty good cup of tea, though; but a little more subtle and rather less ‘in-your-face’ than the black-tea-stroke-boiling-water version.

I made a second infusion same way.

The aroma is noticeably different. It’s somewhere between green vegetation and liquorice – not two notes, but a strange hybrid between.

In the mouth, it’s a bit of a disappointment. There’s a rather firm – though not bitter – note reminiscent of boiled cabbage but leaning slightly towards liquorice. Again, it’s one note not two. I’m not getting anything else.

I made a third infusion, same way.

In the nose this is difficult. One sniff I get boiled cabbage, another I’m doing my ironing, another I get a hint of nettles.

In the mouth I’m not getting anything much immediately, but then I get a rather firm note, not bitter but edging towards it, that I can only describe as similar to spearmint but without any sweetness. There’s almost a tingle to it. Also, beneath that, I’m getting a touch of that thyme or rosemary, herb thing I mentioned in my previous tasting note.

It seems to be trying to make up its mind to go somewhere, so I’m trying a fourth infusion, same way.

The aroma is starting to get a bit weaker, now. It seems changeable like the last infusion, though. One sniff it’s ironing and one cabbage and one the herbs and one the not-sweet spearmint. I’m not sure if I don’t detect the faintest hint of warm butter.

Now, this is a bit of a surprise, again. There’s chocolate and warm butter, with that tingle I mentioned for the last infusion underpinning it. The herbs are definitely there, too. I think there’s just a hint of liquorice.

This is as enjoyable as the first infusion, I think.

I’ve actually been throwing this stuff away after I’ve had a good taste, to make way for the next infusion (got to get one of those gaiwans); but I’m very loath to part with this one – it’s intriguing. But I’m equally curious to see what happens next, so, infusion number five, made the same way:

Oops! I’m really not getting anything in the nose with this one. Unless it’s the faintest hint of a heavy-duty shirt being ironed. This may be an infusion too far. Actually, aftre taking a few sips I’m getting the herbs in the nose, too – perhaps because it’s cooled a bit.

And the flavour surprises me again. In the mouth I’m getting vanilla and aromatic herbs. I’d don’t know if anyone’s ever tried to make thyme and rosemary flavour ice cream, but this is what it would taste like. The green vegetation is there as well, but subdued and in the background. There is almost a pepperiness to it – very faint.

Obviously, I’ve got to try a sixth infusion.

I don’t know what I’m smelling now. I thought for a moment I was picking up the smell of something else and not the cup in my hand. What surprised me were fleeting little hints of a floral perfume. But now it seems to have disappeared. There’s a hint of chocolate, too,

I think I’ve broken the back of it now. Surpisingly, I’m not getting anything floral or chocolate in the mouth. I’m not getting the herbs or the vanilla, either. There’s a faintly buttery, biscuity note, and possibly the tiniest hint of that unsweet spearmint bite; but, though it’s pleasant enough, it’s rather bland and uninteresting and doesn’t stand comparision with the last two infusions.

I can’t help wondering if more surpises would turn up with further infusions, but I really can’t face any more tea, despite the stuff I’ve thrown away, so I’ll call a halt. I have to say this has been quite an eye-opener to me. This is an excellent and really remarkable tea.

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95

My sample of this was mislabelled as Golden Spiral and I first put the following note under that tea, so I’m transferring it here. Note that, as this is an oolong, in this note I’ve brewed at the wrong temperature:

This is from a small, free sample.

First of all, I have to say that this doesn’t look much like its picture. The strands are rather straighter and uniformly dark in colour – they’re quite big, coarse strands.

The instructions say two to four minutes so I brewed a cup for three minutes, boiling water, with a heaped teaspoon.

It made a clear, light to medium intensity, orange-brown brew, looking yellow-brown round the miniscus.

There was a quite strong aroma. It reminded me of green vegetation on a warm, damp day with a touch of freshly-turned soil, or, perhaps, the racks of vegetables in the supermarket – cabbages and various greens mingled with the smell of soil from the potatoes and so forth. It’s one of the strongest-smelling brews I’ve had for quite a while.

In the mouth it was a little bit of a surprise. The notes of the aroma are there, but mixed with a definite note of chocolate or cocoa. So it’s a combination of basic tea, earthiness, green vegetation and cocoa. It’s actually quite complex as I’m detecting elusive little hints, underneath. There’s a very, very faint bite, possibly that ‘smell of nettles’ note, or, perhaps, some herb, like thyme or rosemary. Again, I’m not sure if there was the tiniest hint of orange – vanishingly small, if it’s there.

This is an excellent mug of tea.

I tried a second infusion, though the website doesn’t mention multiple infusions – boiling water and three minutes again.

This was noticeably less intense in colour – a clear yellow-orange.

In the nose the green vegetation was less noticeable – the aroma was still unusually strong, but more earthy.

The flavour was much the same overall, though slightly ‘thinner’; but I couldn’t detect those tiny hints of orange and herbs.

This was quite a good cup of tea, but not as good as the first.

On the whole, I think I’d call this an excellent tea and I’m going to seriously consider buying some next time I put in an order to them.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
alaudacorax

It didn’t look like its picture because it was mislabelled, of course. Now this note’s in the right place it DOES look like its picture.

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74

There was no brewing info on the website; but their code for this is ‘BS07’ and on their instruction sheet they give two to three minutes and boiling water for ‘BS0x’, which I assume is a ‘cover all’ for Ceylon teas, so I steeped it for two and a half minutes. I used a moderately-heaped teaspoon.

It made a medium-intensity, clear, slightly brownish, red brew.

I couldn’t get much in the way of nose from it.

In the mouth it was a pretty straightforward sort of tea. There was plenty of good basic tea and there was a touch of richness there which I struggled to describe, but which I eventually decided was nearest to a tiny hint of rum.

That was about it, really – it struck me as a good, basic cuppa, suitable for everyday drinking with meals.

I made a second infusion, brewed the same way.

This wasn’t any weaker in colour, and I did get an aroma this time. I can best describe it as a rusty sort of smell.

In the mouth, it seemed a little lighter but I don’t think it was a noticeably weaker tea. In fact, it struck me as more complex. I thought the basic tea and rum were a little less in evidence, but that may have been because there now seemed to be the tiniest hints of orange peel and chocolate.

I think this was a little superior to the first infusion. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it excellent, but it was good stuff.

I don’t really want another mug, but I’m curious to see what a third infusion will be like, so I’m going to make one – I’ll brew the same way.

Well, the colour’s barely weaker. I’m not so sure about the aroma, though; I can barely detect it.

In the mouth, there’s basic tea and the hint of rum – but the latter is barely there, now – and a touch of digestive biscuit, perhaps; but it’s definitely a a bit on the bland side – it’s a bit watery – and I don’t think it was really worth bothering.

So, to sum up, I think this is a really good ‘everyday cuppa’ – the sort to have with the toast and boiled egg at breakfast or similar.

ETA something I’d completely forgotten. When I was taking the infuser out of the third infusion, the brew was quite pale but I could see the rich colour draining out of the infuser – it was very noticeable – so I dipped it in and out a couple of times. So it’s just occurred to me that the third infusion might have been better if I’d steeped it for a while longer. I’ll experiment with that next time.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

As far as I can tell you deciphered the instruction sheet correctly. I believe the code for the tea simply means ‘Black, Sri Lankan, number 7’

alaudacorax

Yes. I’ve been buying from them for a couple of years, now, and it’s the first time it’s occurred to me to wonder what the occasional small ‘x’ on the sheet means. Doh!

Angrboda

Me too. I’ve always looked at that sheet and made a face like this O.o
It wasn’t until the last time that I finally worked out how to decipher it, in spite of the fact that I cottoned on to their coding system fairly quickly after the first time ordered. (But then I ordered sample sets then, so that made it a bit more obvious)

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I’ve removed this note. This tea didn’t look that much like its picture on the Nothing But Tea website; so I enquired with them and it turned out that what I actually had was a mislabelled sample of Wuyi Yuan Cha oolong. So I’ve transferred this note to that tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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72

This is the combination of my tasting notes for three separate days.

There was no info on the website so I brewed with a moderately-heaped teaspoon steeped for two minutes, boiling water.

It made a medium intensity, clear, orange brew looking greenish-yellow round the miniscus.

I got very little in the nose but there might have been the very faintest hints of chocolate and digestive biscuit.

The flavour-notes were very weak. There was a slightly metallic touch, but not unpleasantly so – it’s too weak for that. There might have been the slightest hints of basic tea, chocolate and a sweatiness (I imagine some gnarled old tea-master rolling the leaves between sweaty palms); but they were so faint I wasn’t sure I wasn’t imagining them – really, I was struggling for flavour-notes to write up. Actually, with the basic tea, I should probably say that I wasn’t really getting it but that it was not noticeable by its absence – so there must have been some there.

It was quite a bland tea, really.

I made a second infusion, the same way, but it wasn’t really any different.

I tried another brew with a moderately-heaped teaspoon again, steeped for three minutes, this time.

It was a slightly more intense colour, but I didn’t get any more in the nose than with the previous brew.

In the mouth my immediate impression was of digestive biscuit – or some similar biscuit – it was still very faint, though, but a fraction less so than the previous time. The chocolate wasn’t any stronger – it was still just the faintest hint – hardly there. The same went for the metallic hint. I didn’t really pick up on that sweaty thing.

I used all that was left of the sample today – at least a well-heaped teaspoon. This time I steeped for three and a half minutes.

This time there is more of an aroma. It’s difficult to pin down. It’s not exactly the smell of nettles, possibly the smell of nettles blended with either a hint of dark chocolate or a hint of something roast-meaty. There’s the faintest hint of that sweatiness, again.

In the mouth I’m getting that digestive biscuit, again, and there’s a hint of warm butter. There’s some good basic tea and the tiniest hint, right on the edge of taste, of that sweatiness again. Then there’s that ‘metallic’ note. This is a really difficult note to characterise. It’s somewhere between metallic, spearmint and smell of nettles. There’s the very faintest bite to it and it’s not metallic enough to be unpleasant; it’s firm rather than sweet, but that’s balanced by the digestive biscuit, so it’s not a problem.

I made a second infusion but this was rather bland, rather like the first brew I made.

This strikes me as a rather unusual Darjeeling. I’m not sure that it’s really to my taste; but I’m not sure that I can really fault it and I’m not sure that I really got to grips with brewing it properly – it doesn’t interest me enough for me to get any more to experiment with, though. To sum up, this is a pretty good tea, but nothing special.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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75

The instructions were for two to four minutes so I steeped this for three, boiling water, of course. I used a heaped teaspoonful. In the mug it made a clear, medium intense orange-brown, with a hint of yellow-green round the miniscus.

This is one of those odd teas where I seem to get a different aroma each time I take a sniff at it. First sniff, I got good, basic tea – a proper, old-fashioned cuppa. The second time I thought I got a hint of boiled cabbage. So I’ve been sitting here sniffing at it and, at various times, I’m sure I’ve had basic tea, boiled cabbage, digestive biscuits, pizza dough, warm butter … baffling!

Now to actually drink the stuff …

Tasting it is as much of a struggle – it’s shifting and elusive. There’s definitely enough good, basic tea in there – it’s a quite ‘satisfying’ brew. I get a hint of the digestive biscuits, too. There’s something firmer in the background: it’s something like cut-grass but not quite. Actually, I probably haven’t chewed on a blade of grass since my childhood, but I think that’s what I’m getting; it’s the actual taste of grass rather than an equivalent to the smell of new-mown lawns – but very faint. There’s a buttery smoothness to it. There’s something else faint in the background; not a bite, exactly, but some sort of richness that I just can’t pin down. It’s not dried fruit; it’s more savoury than that – perhaps like cakes or biscuits with ginger and cinnamon in the mix, or some sort of spicy pudding (dessert, not the meaty kind).

I made a second infusion, though the website doesn’t mention multiple infusions, and I really couldn’t detect any difference – it was pretty much the same cup of tea as the first one.

I wouldn’t class this as an outstanding tea, in the sense of standing out from lots of others; but it’s a perfectly good, enjoyable cup of tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80

I just rushed around doing my cleaning up and thought I would relax with some Darjeeling, even my husband took up on my offer for a cup.

The leaves are a lovely mixture of brown colours that smell slightly musky and earthy.

Served with a sprinkle of demerara and drop of milk. Not usually my standard for first review but again I want something I can drink in a few gulps.

Despite having the milk and sugar I can still strongly taste a mixture of musky perfume, green grass and thick earth. It makes for a very unique drinking experience as with all good Darjeeling’s as the flavours change with each sip. The milk adds a nice creaminess to make it lighter and the sugar adds to it’s already natural sweet frame to smooth out the flavours.

I find Darjeeling is a fantastic drink to have on lazy days. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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73

It’s been a busy Friday and while my husband is away at poker I thought I would stay up late and have some tea. This was a new item that arrived the other day from NBT’s sale.

The loose tea is rather cute with medium green short, twisted leaves with small yellow/orange Osmanthus petals dotted around. The mixture smells fresh and green, perhaps a little bitter.

Once brewed the tea soup is a cloudy golden colour that has a slightly sweet and ricey fragrance.

I’m loving the natural sweetness and slightly ricey and grassy tones that dance on my tongue. It’s similar to Genmaicha but not nearly as gluttonous or stodgy and this is also sweeter. I can taste the green tea which is slightly bitter yet vegetal but nicely manageable with the sweet floral Osmanthus. It’s quite strong and I think next time I would try a 2 minute steep rather than the 3 minutes I have done this time.

The tea picks up in strength as it cools and it becomes thicker and heavier to drink but the slow gradualness of it all makes it easier to manage.

Overall I like this blend, even more so than the Genmaicha. It’s light (to start with), sweet, green and quite relaxing. Very happy I bought this, my only negative point is the bitterness which increases more and more but this was only a cheap version.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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87

This morning I received 4 tea parcels from Teavivre, Tea from Taiwan, Dragon Tea House and Nothing But Tea which has left me drooling and busy putting things away. Unfortunately Steepster is not letting me add new tea’s so I’m stuck with reviewing tea’s that already have a page.

I ordered White Plum purely for it’s aesthetics and you must all agree that the little tied flowers look ace. I try this first as it was the first thing I added to my shopping cart on NBT and it already has a page.

As I open the bag I can smell light and fresh grassy tones. Each piece is tied as pictured with a beige coloured cotton cord and it’s a nice novelty to have such beautifully hand crafted tea.

The instructions state to add 10 flowers per cup and use 70-75 degree water for 4 minutes. I put the flowers into an empty tea sac and despite the steeping time the flowers have still managed to stay tied together.

Once brewed the tea is a very pale yellow colour with a fairly strong astringency. It smells similar to a black Yunnan tea..but this is green tea…how bizzare! It does say this green tea comes from Yunnan so perhaps it has gone through similar processing as their black?

The taste is the same as the smell, dark and smoky with a floral kick. If I was blindfolded I would never have guessed this was a green tea. Definitely a surprising punch from such pretty flowers.

All in all it’s very nice. Smokier than Gunpowder but a much cleaner taste. It gets a little stronger further down the cup and mimics Lapsang Souchong. Very pleased with this unique little ditty. :)

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 4 min, 0 sec
K S

Sounds awesome.

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85

A very pretty-looking green tea that I found to be sweet and nutty, as promised, with a silky texture. Transports you to the mountains.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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