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Recent Tasting Notes
I really liked Rishi’s regular Earl Grey because it had a very robust taste and the flavor was just loaded with bergamot. Therefore, I was quite excited to try the Supreme edition of their Earl Grey after I read that it contained “a smooth liquoring Keemun and a bold flavored Yunnan with 100% natural essential oil pressed from real bergamot citrus fruits.” I’m a very enthusiastic fan of both Keemun and Yunnan. (Getting a nice discount on this tea helped too.)
When I opened the package, a strong bergamot aroma with a fresh quality filled the room. I steeped the black leaves at 212 degrees for 5 minutes. The brewed color was a dark amber/gold. The finished odor also was fortified with bergamot.
The taste of this tea was similar to the regular Rishi Earl Grey that I drank and enjoyed semi-regularly for a year. But, that was my gripe with this blend. At a price of roughly $1 more per ounce than Rishi’s standard Earl Grey, I wanted…no…EXPECTED…something in the quality to elevate it from the basic (cheaper) product that I will be going back to the next time I order Rishi Earl Grey. Nowhere could my searching palate locate the Yunnan or Keemun infusion. I could taste black tea but that part of the flavor was unexceptional. Ironically, there also was a twinge of astringency that I didn’t encounter with the lower grade blend. This attribute remained with the strong aftertaste.
Do I like this tea? Yeah, but (surprisingly and perhaps fortunately) not as much as the lower-priced edition. Rishi’s bergamot in both offerings tastes fresher than several other Earl Grey selections that I have experienced. Rishi also seems to supercharge the bergamot presence in their teas.
This is the first time that I have ever subtracted rating points from a tea due to price. However, I feel that it is my duty to do so for two reasons:
o significantly higher price of this version (when compared to the very good basic offering)
o absence of enhancement over the basic Earl Grey (to justify the cost)
I will recover from this disappointment. I don’t mind being humble. I will continue to enjoy Rishi’s no frills Earl Grey.
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Tea
Picked this up at Wegmans. Steeped at the recommend time and wasn’t a fan of it after trying it three more time to see if it would grow on me but it didn’t. Decided cold brew it and I definitely prefer that flavor but I wouldn’t purchase or drink this again.
I picked up a box of this Rishi Yunnan Golden, identified on the box as Dian Hong, from Whole Foods out of curiosity. It was on sale for $6.99 for 50 grams, usually going for $10.99. According to the reviewers at Amazon (many of whom are irate), Rishi has essentially doubled or tripled the price of their teas since abandoning the metal tins in the supposed name of the environment. Reminds me of when the ice cream companies told us that they were reducing the half-gallon carton size so that we could store our ice cream in the door of the freezer. (Right, and I have some nice land for you down by Alligator Alley…)
And now, at last, for the tea. I may have had elevated expectations from the appearance of the gorgeous dried leaves, which include tons of golden tips. Somehow the final brew seems a bit blunt and brisk. Did I oversteep or overleaf?It’s not sweet, nor is there a baked bread facet. Basically this tastes like stout black breakfast tea! The liquor looks closer to Assam than anything else (dark and veering red), but I do not find the brew to exhibit the same maltiness.
I’ll certainly try again—I have another 46 grams…
second infusion: I decided to try these same leaves one more time… The brew was slightly better, but still not very good. I debated adding cream for about half the glass but then ended up just tossing it into the wind—I was sitting on the deck.
There are so many rave reviews for this tea that I can only surmise that my batch is a dud. I noticed that the infused leaves are quite small, so it looks as though the crispy golden tipped dried leaves disintegrated in hot water.
It’s a nice, full but mild (not bitter) black tea, that’s easy and pleasant to drink straight. I got two 16 oz mugs from it, and probably could’ve steeped a much weaker third mug from it if I’d tried.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Leather, Mineral, Roasted Barley, Wet Earth
This is my mid-afternoon tea today and when I opened the bag I could smell a nice blueberry scent. I drank it after a wait time of 5 minutes. This tea did not deliver in the sharpness taste of the blueberries I was hoping for. Love the color, the smell straight from the package but would not order this tea again. If you are looking for a mild blueberry taste this tea might be for you.
I had this with a restaurant breakfast. The first cup was lovely and delicate, nice and balanced. My second steeping of the leaves was much bolder and full bodied. I drank the first cup straight, as it seemed that milk and sugar would over power the delicate flavour. The second cup was well suited to milk and sugar.
I should have read the ingredients list, but I was swayed by the box label that said the words “chocolate” and “cinnamon”. I’m sure they are present, but the only flavor I can taste is the peppermint. This is a good tea, if you want peppermint pu-erh. If you’re expecting chocolate and cinnamon, look elsewhere.
In related news, I have most of a box of the tea if someone wants it.
Wow – I am a huge fan. This has a way of tasting juicy without being overly sour or sweetened. It is very much an equal mix of citrus and oolong, as opposed to oolong with some citrus in it. In fact, in the jar, I was like “wtf where is the tea??” because of all of the flowers. But once steeped, the oolong unfurls a TON and then it doesn’t seem so crazy. The blossoms are beautiful and prevent it from tasting like cleaning products for me, and I enjoy this hot or iced equally. Bonus, I steeped it three times and all three steeps were flavorful. This is a definite repurchase.
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Campfire, Dark Chocolate, Ginger, Loam, Oak wood, Peat, Raisins, Walnut
Still not feeling so great, and while I had a ginger tea at work, I wanted something less sweet at home. Enter this.
I steeped somewhere around 5 minutes, as I was baking toast and didn’t feel like setting the timer twice. It’s really nice! Earthy mineral puerh, lots of ginger. I added 1/2 tsp honey just to punch it up a little, but although it tastes good like this, I’m not sure it really needs it.
Definitely a decent tea. Not something I need to stock, but I’m glad I had it around this evening.
Flavors: Earth, Ginger, Mineral
This is a funny case—the opposite of Pukka—where sachets are being identified on the box as “tea bags”. In fact, I almost passed on this box, until I saw the image of the pyramid sachet on the side, along with a little blurb, “Introducing our Novel Knit Tea Bag”. Now I’m wondering whether this whole series of sachets is new to Rishi.
The material used for this jasmine green (which, to be honest, reminds me a lot of Sunflower Jasmine Tea!) has much coarser openings than the one they use for the Matcha Super Green. No doubt that is because of the size of matcha particles. Or is it? Now I’m wondering: why not use the smaller-pored material for all of their sachets?
This tea is heavily scented with jasmine. On the box, it is suggested that the tea has been infused nine, count ‘em nine, times with jasmine petals collected at night. I say “suggested”, because here’s how the text reads:
The sweet fragrance of jasmine tea can only be created in the traditional way, involving nine stages of scenting to deeply infuse the tea leaves with the aroma of fresh jasmine.
Is the claim here that any company which does not put its tea leaves through nine jasmine mating sessions is not producing true jasmine tea? Not sure, but I believe that a number of them talk about five or six jasmine-scenting sessions.
All of that aside, I ended up enjoying the second infusion more than the first. The liquor was pale gold and the flavor very jasminy in both cases. There is a touch of nice green tea texture here, but no more than I found in the Sunflower Asian market budget brand, so I probably won’t buy these sachets again. Of course, it’s worth noting that this tea is organic and fair trade certified, unlike the mass-produced and budget-priced Sunflower Jasmine Tea.
On the other hand, I do prefer the attractive Sunflower tin to the clunky Rishi box! The individual envelopes are expansive enough to hold four sachets each! I’ve been noticing that a lot of upper-middle-class (sold at Whole Foods) brands use disproportionately large packaging—usually boxes—which frankly is a big fat waste of dead trees. It’s supposed to convey a feeling of spaciousness and luxury, like going to a museum, I guess. In reality, it calls to my mind forests razed to the ground. But that’s another story…
It will be interesting to see how these sachets compare with the loose leaf jasmine green from Rishi, which looks to be the same tea, but one never knows!!!!!
I saw these matcha-dusted sencha sachets at a gourmet specialty store and decided to give them a try. I consumed quite a lot of matcha-dusted sencha over the course of a couple years of my life, but I have not had any lately. I used to buy two different kinds: Stash Premium Green with matcha, or Kirkland Signature Green with matcha. Both were quite decent, though the Stash was in a filter bag. Kirkland’s was the very first sachet I ever encountered, and I always felt that there was something luxurious about it. Apparently many other people felt that way as well, as now sachets are in virtual ubiquity.
Rishi has changed the name of this tea. I clicked on the link in the company description and was directed to Rishi’s home page. There is no tea now known as Super Green, only this Matcha Super Green, and this batch is said to hail from Kyushu, not specifically Kagoshima. On the box the cultivars are identified (somewhat surprisingly, since even most specialty tea emporia do not provide such detailed information on their teas). Here’s what it says: Asatsuyu, Yabukita, Okumidori, Okuyutaka. Make of that what you will!
The tea brews up bright emerald, as all matcha-infused sencha does, and the texture is super sumptuous. I found the brew itself to be a bit bitter, though I kept the time short (2 minutes) and the temperature low (73F).
Upon examining the sachet, I discovered that there were lots of stems along with the tea leaves. I was very surprised by this, as the Rishi loose-leaf teas have been very good. Slipping stalks into sencha sachets? They must be trying to cut corners.
Note that this new version is not identified as the same tea which won the award in 2010. There is no way that a stem-riddled sencha would win an award. The competition is incredibly stiff among sencha producers. Lest we forget: they live in an honor-shame culture!
Queued post, written May 23rd 2014
Auggy’s shared this with me in the most recent care parcel. I looked it up when I added it to my cupboard, but I don’t recall now what it is. It smells a bit raisin-y and fruity though. Berry-ish, I thought. After steeping it’s more floral, but not very floral like it was scented. Just a thin layer of floral on top. It’s sort of wood-y underneath that, but neither cocoa-y nor really grainy.
The flavour is quite floral as well, and also quite wood-y. Again, neither cocoa-y nor grainy. It’s not hay-y either. There’s a bit of a fruity aftertaste to it, which reminds me of cherries.
I honestly can’t tell what this stuff is. It has none of the characteristics of the areas I know best. Could it be some completely new to me area?
I have to look it up.
Oh, it’s from Taiwan! That is indeed a fairly unknown region to me. That explains why there were no recognisable elements to it at all.
As I drink and it cools a bit, I feel the flowery notes get a little more pronounced as do the fruity notes. The fruity notes actually expands a bit, no longer content to being merely an aftertaste. I still think it’s mostly a dark cherry, but I see on Steepster that others have likened it more to plums. Oh well, they’re both stone fruits. Close enough for jazz.
Cooling a little further, we’re at gulping temperature now, the floral note has changed and turned from floral into something more spicy. I felt like it was reminding me of something particular, but I couldn’t think of what, so I nipped off to the kitchen to have a snuffle around the spice shelves. This didn’t yield any positive results so if it is indeed something I ought to know, it’s not a spice we currently have. I did, however, narrow it down that I think it’s a bake-y spice rather than a cooking spice. Others have mentioned cloves and cinnamon, but I didn’t really think that was a match for me either.
This is a very interesting tea. It’s not that often anymore that I get to have a completely new region’s tea for the first time where it doesn’t remind me strongly of a neighbouring region.
I could have sworn this tea had been sweetened; it’s so sweet! Sipping this is like sipping honey. And, though I’m speaking out of order, the dry leaves smell like raisins. Actual raisins. I love this tea. I’ve gotten resteep after resteep of this tea and overstepped it a few times too, and every single cup has been enjoyable.
This said, this is my first Chinese black tea (shocking, I know) so I’m keeping my rating a little lower before I have another Yunnan to compare it to. But I really like this tea.
Flavors: Honey, Raisins, Stonefruits, Thick
The leaves of this Yunnan Gold smell strongly of honey and raisins after a quick rinse. The brew itself, however, has a very interesting heady quality to it that smells almost “perfume-like” to me. I would say it smells something like patchouli, and it comes through in the taste. If I’m not careful, it can be perceived as an almost “soapy” flavor so I have to tread lightly with my steepings of this tea. Beyond that there are definite notes of malt, and as the tea cools and I take some more sips, the flavor seems to mellow out some. There is something sort of sharp that kind of lingers on the tongue for a while. It’s got a bit of a peppery aftertaste.
Not my favorite Yunnan Gold. It’s not bad, but that heady aroma is a little bright for me. I prefer slightly darker, richer teas when it comes to this category.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Pepper, Raisins
Very good tea! It has a mouthfeel that is almost juicy, like a fresh nectarine. The aroma is part peach orchard and part coniferous forests. The taste is similar to the aroma, but a little bit more on the fresh, woodsy pine forest side, though the peach element is still very present. Anyways, great tea!
Flavors: Fruity, Peach, Pine
With all the teas I have in my cupboard this one has been overlooked for a long time. It used to be one of my favourites and I still like it. I normally do not like chai teas but I can’t taste much chai in this pu-erh tea which is probably one of the reasons I like it. Mint is prominent with vanilla notes. Goes well with the dark earthy pu-erh tea.
By the way, I noticed i didn’t have this in my Steepster cupboard but I’ve had it for awhile. I know there’s probably plenty more I’ve never updated. Sometimes it requires setting up the new tea on Steepster and I don’t always have the time.
Flavors: Earth, Peppermint, Vanilla
MissB sent this one my way and i’m SUPER glad she did. I really like this one. This is tart, sour blueberry – not that sticky sweet sort of blueberry. I suspect adding a little sweetner to this would make it delicious as well, but tonight i am enjoying the tartness of this. it’s not quite genuine blueberry taste but it is really nice. Especially since it’s a rooibos base and not a green base! wooohoo! thanks for sharing this one with me MissB!
Final Count: 174 [ Fake Cupboard at 110 teas with 64 Samples]