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Old Wilmington Tea Co

Recent Tasting Notes

We were in Wilmington and went to a fabulous cupcake shop on the way out of town. Much to my surprise, they had a bunch of tea from this “Old Wilmington Tea Co” that I hadn’t heard of before. Thinking it’d be fun to have some tea from a local tea company, I started looking through all the teas they had. Each tin of tea had a clear glass bowl showing the leaves, and when I came across this one I knew it was the one I was meant to buy. It’s cupcake tea by the Old Wilmington Tea Co in a cupcake shop in Wilmington!

When we got back home, I opened the tin to see a few sprinkles scattered throughout. The smell is incredible. 4/5 people I’ve shown it to said it does smell just like cake. The fifth said it was like maple syrup. Still a good smell!

The tea itself was delicious. It’s super sweet. The sprinkles nearly melted, giving the tea sweetener without any doctoring up. I don’t always love vanilla tea, but it really works in this cup. I’ve already had a second cup and can tell that it’s going to be a winner in my collection!

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85

I tried having this yesterday and completely miss-read my previous notes on it. Complete disaster. The only thing more guaranteed to ruin my day than not having tea at all is ruining good tea, especially one of my favorites. Determined to have a better day today I decided to take another shot at this. So glad I did. I’m on my fourth infusion and looking forward to even more.

You know, this makes me think of a certain spot I used to visit when I was a kid. Hidden away in an area of pine woods, granite outcroppings lifting out of the hillside, a little area with tumbled granite boulders and a comfortable dry granite cave tucked into the hillside. It had obviously once housed human occupants because someone had hollwed out a shelf large enough to sleep on and there were large rocks wedged together over the doorway to fill in a natural gap.

I think I might have to try finding that place again so I can bring my kids. I’ll have to bring a thermos with this tea along as well.

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80

I am giving this tea a second chance, since my last tasting of it was less than favorable. I am hoping this time will prove to be tastier than my last.

Yes… this is much better. I can taste the sweet-yet-tart blueberry as well as jasmine notes and they play off each other very well. Not as bitter as my last cup of this. I shall up the rating a bit to reflect this change in my opinion of this tea.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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75

The dry leaf does smell amazing. It smells more like orange than bergamot (which I know is actually an orange, but you know what I mean, right?)

The brewed liquor loses some of that aroma, which saddens me a bit because I really love the smell of the leaf.

The flavor is quite different from Earl Grey. The bergamot is altered by the addition of the orange, and this becomes a fruit flavored black tea as opposed to an Earl Grey (I guess that’s why they call this John Grey instead of Earl, eh?) There is also a faint bitterness that tastes rather odd when this tea is unsweetened – this one is so much better with a sprinkling of sugar or a drizzle of agave or honey… I chose agave.

It’s ok… not great… but not terrible either.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaEqualsBliss

Another one I haven’t tried! LOL

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80

This is my first time trying this tea. I ordered this sample a while back but I’ve so much tea that I had forgotten about it (as well as a couple of others from Old Wilmington!)

The aroma is blueberry with a soft yet pleasant jasmine note.

The flavor is blueberry with a delicate vegetative backdrop, and jasmine flavor lingering throughout the sip. It is delicious – although the flavor is softer than I would like. It is almost like the flavoring of a white tea on a green tea, if that makes sense. Perhaps that could be remedied with a slightly longer brew time… I need to play with this one again to see if I can get the flavors to reveal themselves better.

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

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89

LiberTeas sent me some of this and I’m grateful!!! :)
Thanks girl!

The sprinkles in this are adorable!

They melt quickly. It smells JUST LIKE a cupcake would! It infuses to a dark brown. This is sweet and sugary. This is VERY YUMMY. It gets sweeter as I continue to sip! Also very creamy! What a neat tea!

Kristin

You had me at ‘cupcake’.

Angela

^ ditto!

Rabs

^ triple ditto!

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86
drank Amethyst by Old Wilmington Tea Co
255 tasting notes

Thank you so very much to Jenn-Cha for sending me a sample of this.

The tea is really a sort of dark purple-brown color when brewed. And it’s also that rarity for me: a truly unique tea. It’s delicious and I’ve never tasted anything quite like it. The Old Wilmington Tea Company describes it as being musky, which it is—in the very best sense. It smells as if the tea had been grown in the middle of a vineyard, with a rich, deep fertilizer. I would not say that the tea is like wine, but it does leave an after-taste quite reminiscent of a big Tuscan wine. It is not merely the color! I also note a particular taste which is NOT unpleasant but which I can only describe as Korean buckwheat noodles served with an Italian wine.

This tea is clearly cosmopolitan and sophisticated!

Preparation
2 min, 15 sec
Kristin

I’m intrigued!

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85
drank Cupcake by Old Wilmington Tea Co
4231 tasting notes

Oh… my 200th tasting note! A cupcake to celebrate!

I am almost out of my sample of this tea, I will say that even though Old Wilmington’s sample prices are a bit… pricey, they are generous and speedy with their shipping, and extremely courteous in their communication as well.

Today, I did not brew it as long as I did yesterday, and this has helped immensely with the flavor – no more bitter, but it is a very robust black tea! – I also decided to make mine a latte today, and it brings out the creamy flavor of the tea very well.

This tea possesses a caramel-y vanilla flavor to it, I don’t know if I really taste “cupcake” as much as I taste a sweet vanilla caramel with a nice malty backdrop. It is rich and tasty though, and I quite enjoy it, even if it isn’t quite as cupcake-y as I was hoping for. And as I continue to sip, I notice that the flavors really come into focus.

A very nice cup of black tea!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 15 sec
S

Yay, congratulations on your 200th note!

__Morgana__

Congrats!

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

WooHoo 200 is a good number!

SoccerMom

Yay and Congrats!

LENA

Yay for cupcakes and congrats on 200 tasting notes!!! :)

TeaEqualsBliss

I’d LOVE to eat…I mean drink – this one in the future! LOL

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85
drank Cupcake by Old Wilmington Tea Co
4231 tasting notes

When I placed a samples order from Old Wilmington a while back, I just had to order this one. I love cupcakes. (who doesn’t, right?)

Old Wilmington does not specify what type of black tea is used for this blend, I suspect that there is some Assam in it though, because I steeped my first cup for not more than 3 minutes, and there is a bitter note to the tea – it isn’t off-putting for me, but, I would rather it not be there. This is supposed to be cupcake flavored tea. Know what I mean?

So I am going to refrain from including a numeric rating until I’ve played around with this tea a bit and get the brewing parameters just right… I do think that I will quite enjoy this tea… The vanilla is sweet and I can taste a note of caramel as well. I think that this will be one that will be quite nice as a latte.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

How dissapointing! A tea named “Cupcake” just can’t be bitter! :)

LiberTEAS

Right? From a tea artisan’s perspective, I can understand why they would use an Assam in the blend. The malty quality of the Assam would really enhance the cupcake idea, and the depth of flavor would give it a sort of “baked” flavor.

Stephanie

I love teas with a “baked” quality! There should be a tea named “Baked Bread”. (Now I’m hungry—time for lunch!)

LiberTEAS

OMG “baked bread” would be absolutely yummy. I think that Frank should make me a cupcake tea for my birthday.

Cinoi

Oh no!! Cupcake tea should be nothing be fantastic. See what you can do and let us know how it turns out!!

Miss Sweet

There really needs to be more teas that taste like baked goods. I hope you nail the perfect brewing parameters!

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96
drank Amethyst by Old Wilmington Tea Co
4231 tasting notes

Time for some Oolong!

I am enchanted by this Oolong. I think it is the darkest Oolongs I’ve yet to encounter. The leaves do look like a deep, dark purple and even the liquor has an interesting, purple-ish color.

The first infusion possesses a slight smoky quality – not heavy, just a hint of smoky presence – woodsy, slightly earthy, and buttery… with some nutty notes too. LOVE this tea.

Off to write a review of it for Tea Review Blog!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

OK… now that I’m finished with my Matcha with lime break… it’s back to my Oolong! Wow… as I reflect on this Oolong tea, I’m really taken with it’s color… it’s so deep and rich. And after having a sweet/tart bowl of Matcha, the roasted flavor of this tea really comes out. If I didn’t brew this myself, I’d think I was drinking coffee! It has a really rich, bright, brisk flavor. VERY GOOD!

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96
drank Amethyst by Old Wilmington Tea Co
4231 tasting notes

Today has been kind of a crazy day, and I haven’t been able to take a moment to make myself a cup of tea! This is the first cup of the day for me!

So for my first cup, I decided I needed Oolong! I received my package from Old Wilmington Tea the other day, and I was just thrilled with their presentation. And not only did I get a free sample of tea, but a free sample of tea mints too! I like it when a company pays attention to the little details like this – it’s so special … it’s better than getting something I ordered … it’s like getting a gift!

Fun!!!

Anyways, THIS tea is the reason I placed the order with Old Wilmington in the first place. I saw someone else write a tea note about Amethyst tea… and I knew I had to get it. I probably would have even ordered it if it were a Lapsang Souchong! haha! You see… my daughter’s name is Amethyst. :)

But… as a bonus… not only is this tea named Amethyst… but it is an OOLONG tea too.

A very deeply oxidized Oolong, it possesses a delicate smoky quality to it and a slight earthy quality as well. There are buttery notes as well… but it is more of a savory buttery flavor rather than a sweet one. A very pleasant nutty tone as well. I’m really liking it.

Delightful!!!

Many more happy infusions to follow!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

After the second infusion, I looked at the leaves, and they still have at least one more infusion to go (they aren’t even completely opened up yet!) The tea is still very flavorful – delicious… and I can definitely see why they called it Amethyst. The leaves look quite purple… as does the brewed liquor. A very pleasant Oolong.

Jenn-cha

I’ve gotten up to six infusions from it. Glad to know someone else is enjoying this too!

Your daughter has a beautiful name :)

LiberTEAS

Thank you Jenn-cha! I managed five infusions out of it last night before it was time for bed. I think I could have gotten another infusion from it. These leaves are so slow to open up completely – telling me that they have so much flavor in them. They’re so beautiful.

~lauren.

Ohh, loving Amethyst as a name for your daughter!

TeaEqualsBliss

Do you have any of this left by chance!?

LiberTEAS

No… sorry… I only had a small package of it (sample size) and it’s gone. :(

TeaEqualsBliss

No worries :)

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I recently received an email from Kim at Old Wilmington Tea Co with some steeping suggestions for this tea and today we finally got a propane delivery so I could run the stove to boil water. Huzzah!

1st Infusion: 4 minutes, boiling water
Here goes the campfire again. I love the bright amber color of the liquor. The smokiness is accented by a strong astringency. It’s a great compliment to the lemon chicken I got from the local Chinese restaurant though!

2nd Infusion: 8 minutes, boiling water
This time the liquor is a bright golden-honey color. It’s still smokey but the bitterness has been replaced by a surprising sweetness. Wish I had some rice left from lunch to go with this.

I don’t think I could drink this very often but I’m kind of glad I gave it a try. It has definitely helped round out my tea experience…and taught me that I will never EVER try Lapsang Suchon!

Edit: oops, didn’t mean to hit the rating bar on this. Please ignore the rating, there’s no way to reset it unfortunately :(

Preparation
Boiling
Cofftea

I wouldn’t bank on their steeping suggestions. You might want to try 1g of leaf per 1oz of boiling water (or just below boiling to save health benefits) rinsed for 10-20sec. Dump and boil more water (same amount) and steep for 20sec. You can drink this infusion. Continue steeping using the same steeping parameters til you find the flavors to be too weak, then increase the steeping time by 10 sec.

Jenn-cha

This wasn’t the directions on the site, she emailed me directly after reading my review from my first try with this tea for which, incidentally, I used a very similar technique as the one you just described. While the first steep this time tasted very much like the three steepings I did before I did prefer the second steep of this session with its sweetness.

Auggy

Always nice to see green pu-erh reviews. One day I’m going to man up and actually try one! (Also, I think if you edit the log, a little gray X will show up next to the Your Rating label and if you click that, the rating bar will reset.)

Cofftea

Auggy, you should take advantage of this http://steepster.com/discuss/507-free-with-puerh-puerh-knife-or-southeastern-enthnic-art-mini-tote then you have the Pu Erh knife right away (and free!). I got the $9.99 4 sheng (20g ea.) sampler.

Jenn-cha

Thank you Auggy! I never noticed that little x before, probably because it’s so tiny!

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85

I think I might love this tea.

Every time I make this I discover something new about it. It’s almost as if I were drinking a different tea every time. I will definitely be exploring the world of dark oolongs more because of this tea, in fact I have now dedicated my first yixing to dark oolongs and have a second dark oolong on it’s way.

But anyway, on to this tea.

I must admit that I have absolutely no idea what the water temperature was. It was warm enough to be steaming but certainly not boiling or even simmering. To be quite honest I had intended the water to be warmer but…um…ran out of propane to run the stove. Heh. Oops.

Knowing I’d only manage one steeping, since there was no propane left to heat the water again, I did a 15-20 second rinse to open the leaves a bit and warm the pot. Oh yes, did I mention I was using the yixing for this? Anyway, after a 10 minute steep I poured the liquor out into my cup, this one was a bit deeper than the cup I had been using before, and what do you know…the color was a deep red-brown. I could definitely see how someone could call that purple. The flavor was lighter than my previous experience with this tea, likely because of the lower water temp. It was sweet, mellow, a bit malty, earthy, and a tiny bit nutty.

I have saved the leaves so once get some way to heat water again I’ll update this with subsequent infusions.

Preparation
8 min or more
LiberTEAS

This is a tea that I MUST get! Sounds delightful!

Jenn-cha

Huzzah for electricity. I rescued the old coffee-maker from my husband’s truck (hasn’t been used for coffee in years and has had at least three good scrubs and many many gallons of plain hot water through it since) so I could continue having tea this weekend. The following notes are from Friday morning.

2nd Steep: 10 minutes, temperature around 200F
The liquor is still the deep red-brown as before. The taste is malty, earthy, slightly smokey. I think the smoke might be because the water is warmer than before but I steeped for the same amount of time.

3rd Steep: 8 minutes, temperature of about 200F
Again, dark red-brown but the taste is mellower, rounder, with a hint of fruit and a touch of fresh baked bread.

4th Steep: 8 minutes, temperature a bit cooler, perhaps 180-190F
The color of the liquor is a bit lighter; the taste, sweeter, malty, like tasting an early summer day in mixed forest.

Jenn-cha

The following notes are from Friday evening.

5th Steep: 8 minutes, temperature of about 200F
A slightly lighter red-brown than before with a lighter flavor. Sweet, malty, smooth, with a slight hint of honey

6th Steep: 10 minutes, temperature around 180-190F
The liquor has lightened now to a lovely amber but the taste has remained the same as the last steeping.

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68

I’m bumping my rating on this up a bit. I over-steeped my first pot, a 5 minute infusion results in a MUCH better flavor. I doubt I’ll drink this very often but it IS a very nice tea, probably something I wouldn’t mind keeping a sample packet of around for “just in case” :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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I was feeling adventurous this afternoon and decided to give this a try. I’ve seen so many different directions on how to steep pu’erh, I was quite confused on where to start so I figured start short and work my way to longer steepings if necessary.

1st infusion: 30 seconds, temp just under boiling
The liquor is a smokey gold, rather appropriate considering it smells, and tastes, like wet campfire. Like the smell you get when you pour water over the fire to douse it. It is like nothing I’ve ever had before. And for some reason I can’t stop sipping at it. I’m not sure if I actually like it or if I’m drinking it in the hopes that the flavor will change. It’s like…going camping but without the dirt/bugs/weather/lack of amenities/ever-present dampness/too-noisy kids from neighboring campsites that constantly race past on their bikes.

2nd infusion: 30 seconds, boiling water
The wet leaves now smell like wet, canned spinach dumped over hot coals. The liquor is slightly darker and tastes a bit more bitter.

3rd infusion: 30 seconds, boiling water
The same as the last except the campfire taste is slightly, VERY slightly abated…or perhaps I’m just getting used to it. There is also a slightly sweet vegetal flavor just hovering at the back of my mouth.

I could probably get a few more infusions out of this but I’m really not sure if I want to. Is this how pu’erh is supposed to taste or am I doing something wrong? It it just from being a young pu’erh? Would I get better flavor with a longer steep time? So many questions left unanswered!

Preparation
0 min, 30 sec

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63
drank Harvest by Old Wilmington Tea Co
103 tasting notes

I must figure out what kind of cinnamon these companies use. The look and aroma is completely different from what you can get at the supermarket.

The liquor on this is a deep red. It tastes a bit thin but the flavor fills out if you roll it around in your mouth…kind of like eating freeze-dried apple bits. There’s a little bit of a tang that saves this from being too light and sweet, definitely a good just-before-bed tea.

Edit As I get farther down in the mug it turns out the liquor is more of a deep rose color.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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85

I have no idea what the water temp was but it was definitely cooler. I poured boiling water into a glass measuring cup, then into my (cold) tetsubin, and then into the cup with the strainer and tea leaves. I also used twice the amount of leaves as last time.

1st infusion:
Steeped for 9 minutes. The liquor still wasn’t purple, I’m very disappointed with this fact, it was more of a dark brown and slightly murky. The taste however absolutely wowed me with how much it had improved. It was rather malty and earthy with a slight metallic aftertaste. Holding a bit in my mouth there seemed to be a clearness on the center of my tongue compared to the rest…like a gemstone surrounded by mud.

2nd infusion:
Steeped for 10 minutes, the liquor was a brown-tinted amber. The metallic aftertaste was gone and the flavor clearer and smooth, still earthy but not as malty. There was also a slight taste of honey.

3rd infusion:
Steeped for 10 minutes the liquor was the same brown-amber color as the last infusion. the taste was the same but a bit lighter in body.

Definitely a better experience with this tea this time around. Sill disappointed by the lack of purple but I’ll get over it.

Edit
4th infusion:
Steeped for 10 minutes again for the same brown-amber color. This infusion seemed a bit sweeter and lighter. Not quite as earthy. A faint tartness to the aftertaste.

5th infusion:
10.5 minutes steep and the color is more amber, less brown. The flavor is lighter too.

6th infusion:
The color definitely looks weaker. And after one sip I can tell this tea has hit it’s limit.

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84

I started this steeping and then totally forgot about it in all the evening bustle. I’m not sure how long it actually steeped for but it was probably between 10-15 minutes. Didn’t seem to effect it the taste at all. I also put less sugar in this time. Wish I had put more in though, the creaminess didn’t come through very well without it.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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68

Oops! I over-steeped. But it turned out OK for all that anyway, so…shrugs

The liquor was a bright amber with a very lively, brisk flavor. Strongly lemon with a bit of a floral note and a slight astringency. It reminded me of Earl Grey but tasted a lot better, in my opinion anyway (my first, and only, pot of Earl Grey got poured down the drain and the package swiftly disposed of to a more…interested party). Although I usually take my black teas with sugar and milk I decided to forgo the milk with this one because of the strong lemon flavor.

It is a pleasant afternoon tea. It didn’t wow me but I would consider drinking it again.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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84

This fruit melange steeps to a gorgeous purplish-red. Very lively flavor, full-bodied, pleasantly astringent and tart. I like this one more with every sip I take. And yes, there is a touch of creaminess. Glad I bought a full tin of this one!

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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85

1st infusion:
After a 5 minute steep time the liquor was nowhere near the “intense purple” touted in the description, more like a dingy peach-gold. I did try drinking it without sugar but my taste buds are too trained towards the sweetness for me to be able to taste anything complimentary without it. So, after adding sugar I had another go. It was not at all what I had been hoping for. The only term I could think of to describe it is “dishwater”. Perhaps it was just my disappointment speaking.

2nd infusion:
I used cooler water this time and steeped for 8 minutes. The liquor was a dull gold color, a bit brighter than the previous infusion. The flavor had definitely improved. Fuller, sweeter, and smooth.

3rd infusion:
The water was about the same temperature as the previous infusion, steeping time was 10 minutes. The liquor was more of an antique gold this time, a bit lighter and brighter than the last. The flavor also was lighter, slightly vegetal. I think I could also taste a bit of the amber note this time.

The leaves could probably stand up to a fourth infusion but I didn’t have the time.

Next time I try this tea I’m going to try using a bit more leaf, cooler water, and a longer initial steep time. I really want to like this tea, the description of it was so lovely, so I’ll hold off my rating until the next time.

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