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Recent Tasting Notes
Here is another one from the traveling tea box. I grabbed this one because I tend to enjoy ginger teas. This did not disappoint. It was a think mouth feel with a base that had the deep coco flavor mixed with the ginger. I am still not used to ripe pu-erh and so the earthy/mushroom smell the tea was really enjoyable.
Has a very mellow and earthy flavor with coffee and cacao overtones. I don’t particularly care for the woodsy flavor, but I think it would be good for people who like darker coffees. I would like it more if it had a more complex flavor because it almost reminds me of a red wine, but it’s lacking the depth I typically associate with a good glass of red. I don’t detect any floral undertones (maybe I burnt it? I’ll update when I try steeping another glass.) It’s not a bad tea, just not to my liking.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bitter, Brown Toast, Burnt Sugar, Cacao, Coffee, Oak wood, Wood
This tea is not my favorite. I keep tasting more of a crisp minty taste and I feel like I should be tasting something more sweet. If you are going to go green, I feel like there are so many better options. “Cloud Mist” being one.
Flavors: Green, Mint
This tea is a really good pu’er blend. Lots of wine flavor with grape, cedar, blackberry and fig notes. Bit of tart and dryness. The pu’er isn’t heavy, fermenty or weird – but quite woody and creamy. This blend is pretty good iced too!
Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/pu-erh-bordeaux-rishi-tea-tea-review/
It is a tad bit concerning when I open a bag of tea at work and the next 5 people to pass my room ask me what air freshener I am using because they can smell it down the freaking hall. Yeah. That’s this tea. Blueberries everywhere. I only open my cabinet door when I absolutely must because when I do, I know that I will unless the blueberry fury.
Now, the taste? You’d never guess by the smell but this tastes exactly like…..oh yeah, blueberries. Like so many of them. Stuffed in your mouth. And quite possible up your nose.
I promise this tastes better than I’m making it sound. I’ve had it hot and iced and I’m not sure which I prefer. There is just a slight hint of something I’m not completely fond of…maybe something that tastes too close to artificial? Or maybe it’s just the rooibos sneaking into what might otherwise taste like juice.
I don’t know….I don’t even know what to do with this air freshener tea except keep saying thank you when people comment on my new perfume….
Forgive me, it’s been more than two years since my last tea review. The new job pretty much ate my brain — and all my free time. O.K., so enough about me. Let’s talk tea.
Technically, you can’t call Himalayan Class Black a Darjeeling because it’s grown 150 miles (245 km) to the west. But for all intents and purposes that’s what it is, a Darjeeling grown just over the border in Hile, Nepal. Darjeelings have this amorphous quality about them. They’re technically a black tea, but they’re kind of green. And they’re made with Chinese varietals and Assamicas.
Himalayan Classic has that typical Darjeeling quality. It has very little body and that classic apricot-peach taste that Darjeelings have. (Rishi also says it has a malty quality, which I’m not tasting.)
If you like Darjeelings (particularly second flushes), you’ll like this.
You wouldn’t want to put milk in this tea. Well, let me rephrase that — I wouldn’t want to put milk in this tea. There’s no accounting for what you might want to do, but the tea doesn’t really have enough body to handle it. And I’m not sure milk goes well with teas with floral qualities either.
The tea is quite green, as is the wet infusion. The liquor has that greenie-oolongie thing that Darjeelings tend to have. Quite frankly, Darjeelings have been mediocre the past few years, so this is a good alternative.
First steep should be about three minutes, just like a Darjeeling. Go four to five minutes for the second steep. And I don’t think you can coax a decent third steep out of this.
Flavors: Flowers, Peach
This is my first White Peony experience outside of Shang Tea, owned by Zehua Shang, who specializes in white tea, has won pretty high awards for his White Peony, and farms the tea himself, so his tea is direct from the source to the customer. Thus, beware of my bias.
That said, I’ve never felt compelled to purchase Bai Mudan from any other vendors since Shang’s is top notch, and even better I live near the store so I can go and purchase it firsthand and enjoy some tea with the awesome employees. This Rishi white tea only landed in my cupboard because I was at a local grocer to try samples of some loose teas they had in bulk bins. I saw this and thought I’d give it a try since I could sample it very cheap this way.
After a steep or two, the leaves are very green and smell perfumy. I drank the first steeping before starting my review, so my review will start with the second. I am brewing this Gongfu style. This infusion is more yellow than the last, which was a bit pale.
The aroma of the liquor is lightly floral and I’m picking up hints of camphor, to my surprise. The flavor is smooth and lightly green with just a touch of nectar-like sweetness. There are very subtle green and juicy notes like a fresh cucumber. As it cools more and as I get into the third infusion and beyond, there is a copper-like mineral taste, subtle, but there.
The flavor overall is somewhat soft though, bordering on too soft, even after allowing the tea to cool some. I know not all teas are created equal, but I’m using the same amount of leaf I always have with White Peony. I think perhaps I’ve been spoiled on amazing white tea and now that I’m trying one from a less-specialized vendor (meaning their company doesn’t have a specific specialty for white tea), I am seeing now why so many people claim that white tea “tastes like nothing” to them. Indeed, if this white tea from Rishi is more indicative of what white tea is like outside of the high-end vendors, I can see that white teas can be very subtle. I have had a few silver needle teas from sources other than Shang Tea and some were very lacking in flavor or depth, while others were quite robust, so I guess the amount of flavor in white tea can really vary.
While I don’t think this White Peony from Rishi is particularly complex or thick in flavor, I do think it is good, and I think that for the mid-range loose tea market it is a good offering. If you aren’t looking to pay top dollar for your white tea or are looking for the convenience of being able to purchase it at some grocers nearby (currently I only know of Whole Foods selling this, but there may be others), this tea is worth the money. The flavor is pleasant and mild. It was a pleasant experience to drink it, and biases aside, I feel happy to have drank it.
Flavors: Camphor, Cucumber, Nectar, Perfume
I purchased this tea while I was in western New York on vacation this summer. I desperately needed a good cup of black tea to get me going in the mornings, because for once in my life, I hadn’t packed a suitcase full of my tea from home (we flew this time, and I had limited space in my luggage for tea canisters and such). Anyway, this tea was delicious during my vacation, and it is delicious now.
I am very partial to Yunnan black tea, and this one met my expectations. Smooth, malty, robust, with that nice little peppery bite to it—mmmm love it! On the box, the description states that it is “Malty and rich with a mellow, jammy sweetness and subtle accents of plum and raisin.” Yes, yes, and yes! All of the above! A very nice cup of tea, indeed.
Now I just need to try this side-by-side with Gong Fu’s Emporer’s Gold and see how it compares. I will try to save the last teaspoonful I have remaining for just that purpose.
Yerba mate is a little the same color when I steeped it. I get a lot of peach and Valencia orange as fresh as hand zested citrus. And the first was so elegant and sweet after all if fifty seconds on the pot of clay. Some of the brews are less and less but the nice smell and small batch just reminds me how well yes it is that, and the importance of that is that. I might not be saying anything to someone without a 3-4 oz xing-yi from shou-Shang. I’m probably sleep depriving from skipping water in favor of thus hydrationable you know ..
So mauve too much of a good thing is hazardous too your health, I won’t be finishing this bag anytime soon. Bit. Of a quandary, quite a quite a quagmire . What points I set out to address have since been absconded by dat creativity., by teh reinvention of a classic. Again . Too with being honest I’m more a fan of the store where I get the peach blossom tea: Delhi urban bodega. I could spend all day scouting out new hangs to make and people watching, then ride the subway for an hour to get here and it’s still totally bank. These little treats I give myself get a little pricey, but that’s why I graduated from the school of pharmacy and dealt with the constant torture by pharmacy tech books For them I take a day off, play a game of thumb war, oh dadgum Sam-€ you won, I’ll just keep on tea bagging and stirring.
This has been one of my favorite tea experiences! The first cup I made was a sensory delight – notes of smoky sweetness, dried fruit, autumn maple forest, and even an umami sort of meatiness making for a rich mouthfeel – it was strong and complex, but perfectly balanced and also refreshing. Somehow I have never been able to recreate the strength and depth of that first cup, but I’ve enjoyed each brew nonetheless (ok, maybe just a bit the less, but still a favorite!)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dried Fruit, Maple, Meat, Smoke, Umami
Queued post, written June 22nd
This one also came from Auggy and if the LS I wrote about earlier was really more of an afternoon thing, then this is the one I should have chosen for the smoky wake-me-up in the morning.
The aroma is quite earthy, reminding me a bit of puerh, actually. Not nearly as much earthiness as in puerh, but something along those lines.
It’s really quite smoky in flavour, but also with a little sweet honey in the aftertaste along with that hay note. There isn’t too much of that hay, actually, which is the note that I don’t really appreciate much in Yunnan blacks. That’s the second Yunnan I’ve had where it’s been there but not super prominent. Either Auggy has a good idea of how much or little of that hay note I like, or I’m learning to appreciate it more than I used to. It’s not strong here, but it’s there. The primary note in this tea really is the peppery smokiness.
I found this quite enjoyable. I suspect if you enjoy shu, you might like this one as well.
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.