Radiance Tea House and Books

Recent Tasting Notes

61

Thanks DCS for the sample!

This is a good tea, and I should rank it higher, because despite being in a tea bag it was quite lovely. My problem however was that it did not taste anything like an Oriental Beauty to me.

It does have some subtle hints of stone fruit and a nectar like sweetness. It is a pleasant tea to drink…I’m just fairly confident that it is not an Oriental Beauty (or “premium grade”)

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17

So I didn’t think that this would be my cup of tea, and it REALLY wasn’t.
This tea is dark, smokey, and horsey. I couldn’t drink it and didn’t want to smell it.
Point of reference: I literally cant swallow lapsang souchong. But my Uncle loves that tea and really enjoyed this one as well, I’ll just steer clear from now on.

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42

I bought this tea sample on impulse.

This is a very light VERY floral Oolong. I have had greenish Oolongs before, and they just really aren’t my thing at all.

Objectively speaking, if you like green Oolongs, I think your will like this. The tea in this teabag is high-quality full leaf tea. Strong aroma, light, subtly sweet, FLORAL, and not at all bitter.
I just cant get myself to like this type of tea. I find them so floral that they verge on soapy – kind of like biting into a cardamom pod – too much of a good thing.

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88

So I’m almost out of my sample of this tea. I just couldn’t stop drinking it. These leaves are so flavorful you can just keep on re-steeping them and they never get bitter or overly floral.

I really enjoy drinking darker Oolongs (I dont care for the greener ones) any suggestions on which Oolong I should try next?

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88

Yesterday when at Radiance I bought some sample sized packages of teabags. One of them was their Oriental Beauty.

This tea was wonderful. It has a sweet honey aroma. It’s smooth, milky, and buttery in your mouth with just a hint of fruit as you swallow. Really yum.
The second brewing was just as good as the first – I steeped for about three minutes each time – there was no bitterness in the second steep.

ALSO, the tea in the teabags is high quality, no tea dust.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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65

This tea was ok. I found the tangerine overpowered the white tea.It was also on the sweet side for my taste. I like teas that have a hint of sweetness, but the tangerine was too sweet.

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Steep Information:
Prepared after the official tasting, during the Steepster meetup and tea tasting

Tasting Notes:
Smell: Sweet pineapple, apricot
Medium body
Taste: Smooth, fruit juice
After taste: mint/menthol

Sorry my notes are so short and cryptic but we were having fun chatting it up. (Thanks again to everyone from Steepster for hosting this.)

Rating: I am intentionally not rating these teas as I didn’t really have a chance to sit there and sip on them and think whether I would by them again, like to play with them more, although none were awful (1 leaf) or fabulous (4 leaves)

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/radiance-tea-house-and-books-loose-leaf_22.html

Stephanie

But did you like this tea? Was the flavor good?

AmazonV

I enjoyed it, it was a very fruit-juice kind of beverage, but it wasn’t a new favorite and I don’t think i’ll buy some / get it again next time i make it to NYC

Stephanie less than a minute ago Got it! Thanks for elaborating. :) I’m looking for good fruity teas and tisanes (and I discovered that honeybush is a great vehicle for fruity flavors!)
AmazonV

tried the hibiscus pineapple lychee republic of tea?

Stephanie

Oops sorry about my correction above!
No I haven’t tried that one—sounds so tropical! If you think it’s good, then I will have to try it! :)

AmazonV

it’s delicious! not really re-steep friendly but sweet and fruity and a nice night time tea

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Steep Information: Prepared after the official tasting, during the Steepster meetup and tea tasting

Tasting Notes: From Japan, medium body, taste-vegetal, rough (gritty?), slightly astringent and bitter

Sorry my notes are so short and cryptic but we were having fun chatting it up. (Thanks again to everyone from Steepster for hosting this.)

Rating: I am intentionally not rating these teas as I didn’t really have a chance to sit there and sip on them and think whether I would by them again, like to play with them more, although none were awful (1 leaf) or fabulous (4 leaves)

images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/radiance-tea-house-and-books-loose-leaf_6294.html

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Steep Information: Prepared after the official tasting, during the Steepster meetup and tea tasting

Tasting Notes: From China, medium body, flavor-nutty, woody, maybe a little smoky?

Sorry my notes are so short and cryptic but we were having fun chatting it up. (Thanks again to everyone from Steepster for hosting this.)

Rating: I am intentionally not rating these teas as I didn’t really have a chance to sit there and sip on them and think whether I would by them again, like to play with them more, although none were awful (1 leaf) or fabulous (4 leaves)

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/radiance-tea-house-and-books-loose-leaf_11.html

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Steep Information: Prepared as part of the Steepster meetup and tea tasting

Tasting Notes:
From China

If the origin is Fujin it’s great, it has the most sweet flavor, use only local pine wood

Second brew is known for a dragonfruit or lychee flavor

The tea was prepared in a purple clay Yixing teapot seasoned for Lapsang Souchong – and so was sweeter for it

Smell: Campfire
Liquor: Translucent brown
Taste: smooth black tea, smoky, sweet
After-taste: smoky

Sorry my notes are so short and cryptic but it was a whirlwind tasting of so much information and flavor!

Rating: I am intentionally not rating these teas as I didn’t really have a chance to sit there and sip on them and think whether I would by them again, like to play with them more, although none were awful (1 leaf) or fabulous (4 leaves)

http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/radiance-tea-house-and-books-loose-leaf_3715.html

Stephanie

That’s interesting about the clay Yixing teapot enhancing the flavor!

Rabs

I have an oolong yixing, and I really want one for Lapsangs.

Wow, if you would’ve told me six months ago that I was going to write that sentence in the near future I would’ve laughed in your face. I love tea. :)

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Steep Information: Prepared as part of the Steepster meetup and tea tasting

Tasting Notes:
Medium Roast from Taiwan
Huge full leaves
Oolongs should always be full leaves with twigs and chunks as they are harvested in chunks (grab the steam and leaves and bud)

Milky smell
Nutty, not floral, sweet
Light body
Slightly vegetal
The tea is smooth, then rough

Fake milkyness could come from soaking in milk or adding milk powder but this is natural flavor – part of the leaf

There are machines that roll the tea inside canvas bags into the tight balls in Taiwan, people need to swap out the bags but they can do more at a time. Some are still done by hand, specifically China, and can take many tying, ballings, twists and turns and much time. This is where cost comes in.

Sorry my notes are so short and cryptic but it was a whirlwind tasting of so much information and flavor!

Rating: I am intentionally not rating these teas as I didn’t really have a chance to sit there and sip on them and think whether I would by them again, like to play with them more, although none were awful (1 leaf) or fabulous (4 leaves)

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/radiance-tea-house-and-books-loose-leaf_06.html

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Prepared as part of the Steepster meetup and tea tasting
There was a rinsing steep, about 2 seconds
Then it was steeped approximately 2 minutes

It smelled vegetal, it has a light body, the flavor was milky

We learned that higher temperatures (and shorter steeps) lead to sweeter flavor with this brew.

Over all we reviewed that you can come up with whatever method works for you to do temperatures, just be consistent so it’s repeatable (boil the water but pour from arm height if this bring it down to 195 for example)

With a good silver needle there is supposed to be buds, and the leaves should not turn black after brewing. If they turn black then it is old or poor quality / not first pick

We did a second steep that was sweet and milky

For the larger pot we had we could have gotten away with about 3 quality steeps

You should be using 2-3grams per 6-8 ounces

Milky teas should never have been soaked in milk, or contain condensed milk, as this is a mark of fake or low quality.

Sorry my notes are so short and cryptic but it was a whirlwind tasting of so much information and flavor!

I am intentionally not rating these teas as I didn’t really have a chance to sit there and sip on them and think whether I would by them again, like to play with them more, although none were awful (1 leaf) or fabulous (4 leaves)

Images: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/05/radiance-tea-house-and-books-loose-leaf.html

Stephanie

This note was very informative—thank you I never knew white tea can taste sweet and milky! Sounds yummy! I guess it really is all in the steeping.

AmazonV

the person running the tasting said if you go really hot, do shorter steeps – I have never managed to make it happen but now i have a goal!

Rabs

I too enjoyed the note – it makes me really want to attend a future meetup even if it means moving heaven and earth! Or buying a plane ticket and stuff. ;)

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51

Steep Information:
Amount: 4 tsp
Water: 2c at 212°F
Tool: make your own paper teabag
Steep Time: 5 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: Cinnamon and Ginger
Steeped Tea Smell: bakey and a little cinnamon
Flavor: mostly ginger, and a bakey tea
Body: Medium
Body: Full
Aftertaste: astringent, and ginger
Liquor: translucent dark brown

I made some plain, and some I then kept on the stove and triple boiled (brought to a boil, then removed from the heat three times) with almond milk and one spoon of honey

The milk and honey version was closer to what I expect from a chai taste, but with no pepper.

Nothing remarkable.

Rating: 2/4 leaves

Blog: http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2013/07/radiance-tea-house-and-books-loose-leaf.html

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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this song goes out to Sam and Dean.
cuz this tea is pretty romantic.
“please just save me from this darkness”

Snow Patrol – Make This Go On Forever
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4giE9QhJ48

mock me if you want, but if this song gets stuck in your head you’ll be sorry.

Shmiracles

i once ran a marathon while listening to only this song on repeat. i started to become crazy and change the lyrics to the song. don’t ask, you don’t wanna know.

Nicole

Sam & Dean? That makes me think of Supernatural, which you surely don’t mean… :)

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66

I picked this up because I was interested in the “spice” the taste notes promised. I did not really get that, although, I may have not made it strong enough (rookie mistake). Overall a decent flavor…nothing astringent or sharp…very smooth in my opinion. I just don’t get any major flavors with it. I like a really strong black tea, so I will try again with more leaves next time.

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84

A few friends gave me a lovely gift of assorted teabags from Radiance. Oriental Beauty was included in the box. The aroma is wonderful- honey and floral.

Just like the previous poster, I am surprised that it has such a sweet flavor! Honey is the predominant flavor, and I also taste some apricot. This tea is very soothing, and gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling! I’m not getting much ‘oolong’ flavor though, since the honey is so strong. I will try another infusion to see if that changes. Still a lovely tea.

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67

I usually don’t do herbal teas, especially floral ones, but I was at Radiance with a friend in the evening, and didn’t want any caffiene. I have to say, it was quite tasty. Mostly fruity, I didn’t taste any flower notes. It was juicy and tangy, with the strong taste of juniper berry, and refreshing. I had a second infusion, and it was just as juicy and bright. It tastes like it looks- a lovely bright red/pinkish color.

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100

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Radiance Tea House and Books in NYC! This is the tea we chose to have there. No preparation details as it was lovingly prepared in house.

1st infusion:

Amazing golden apricot color and the fragrance was so sweet. Honey, honey, honey! I couldn’t believe the rich honey notes I was getting from this tea. Each sip was heavenly. I’ve never had a tea, yet alone an oolong tea, with so much sweet flavor. I feel like I’m doing an extraordinarily poor job of describing this tea – I think it must be experienced!! It went so well with the buttery tea crackers with black sesame seeds that were served with it. This was my husband’s favorite infusion.

2nd infusion:

This one was heavy on apricot. Slight honey notes and some of what I associate with “oolong” flavor coming out – and a fine oolong flavor it was. I’ve never had anything so fine. We had this pot with our dumplings and entree (me: Teriyaki Salmon rice bowl with mushrooms and bok choy, Husband: Rice bowl with shrimp and avocado) This was my favorite one and it was PERFECT for food.

3rd infusion:

More fantastic tea flavor, slightly floral, not as sweet, not as fruity. Still delightful. We had it with more tea crackers. It was a great finish to the meal and perfect for digestion.

Photos here:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/steepster/pool/

and a couple more of my day here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackiemania/sets/72157623565672780/

Cofftea

It’s so freakin awesome to be able to give a tea a 100 when you have absolutely no control over any of the steeping parameters!

JacquelineM

Agreed!!! They so very know their stuff there! I didn’t even take any leaves home because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to make it as carefully as they did!

I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Thanks for sharing your photos, Jacqueline. It sounds like an awesome tea shop experience.

Ricky

Jealous! I have to go there sometime. All I had was a some bubble tea yesterday =(

Haha, picture in the bathroom!?!?! Hahaa that was hilarious.

teaplz

Lovely photos! Hahaha, and my friends and I have taken pictures in some pretty awesome bathrooms. But this sounds delicious! I definitely would try an oolong because of the multiple infusions.

JacquelineM

Ricky – :P !!!!

teaplz – if you are having food, oolong is def the way to go (and the food was sooooo good! Simple and perfectly prepared). Although there was a table near us having some kind of bubble tea concoction which looked like it also had ice cream in it with spicy cold noodles and they looked very happy! The other table near us had tea with tea cookies and they looked happy! There was also a man out front with tea, cookies, and a novel and boy if I lived closer that would be me every chance I got!!!

LadyLondonderry

The tea (and the entire experience) sounds marvelous! I’m still planning my first visit to
Radiance — it will most likely be one of their tea tastings, as soon as I can find one that fits into my weekend schedule.

JacquelineM

The tastings look like so much fun!

takgoti

Lovely pictures! Next time I’m in NY I’ll need to give Radiance a look-see.

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34

Steep Information:
Amount: 3 teaspoons
Additives: none
Water: 170 filtered, boiled
Steep Time: a little over 2 minutes
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Smell: vegital, smoky, reminded me of a garden
Flavor: grassy, vegetal
Body: Light
Aftertaste: sweet and tangy
Liquor: light, nearly clear, green

As I’ve said before I don’t really love the grassy vegital taste of greens, but I keep trying them anyway. I was worried the leaves didn’t unfurl enough – was the water too cool? too hot? Did I not steep long enough? I tried a little at 2 minutes and it was still too weak, then decided at 3 it was enough as I didn’t want it to get bitter. I think adding anything would overpower this tea.

Resteep:
I tried 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes. All were too weak and by 7 it was too bitter.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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84

Served: Hot in a glass teapot
Smell: Mint, Roses, garden
Flavor: Lemongrass and Mint, sweet and smooth, medium bodied
Aftertaste: none

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67

Served: Hot
Smell: smelled like black tea
Flavor: much like the house tea at many Chinese restaurants we’ve ever been to, full bodied. We thought it tasted green.
Aftertaste: bitter

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