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Recent Tasting Notes
A seriously yummy rooibos blend. The cardamom and fennel give this a nice warmth. I love the licorice-y note from the fennel. Citrus is noticeable toward the finish.
But the maple is the star of this show. sweet and I love the way it melds with the spices. Really yummy. Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/02/03/red-maple-spice-tisane-shanti-tea/
Sipdown no. 120 of the year 2014. I’m having to do caffeine tonight to get in a daily sipdown… I steeped this one in the gaiwan this time.
Wow. What a difference. It’s like a completely different tea. It must be because of the amount of leaf, because I steeped at a lower temperature (175) and shorter (1 minute) than the first time.
The black tea undercurrent I mentioned in the original note is much more prominent. I’m reminded of the flavor of the green Darjeeling from Shanti, but instead of having the buttery vegetal plus Darjeeling, this one has a fresh, light snowy Darjeeling-y note.
I have a way to go before I feel comfortable that I’m getting silver needle completely right, but I finally feel I’m on the right track at least. Not sure this is the right silver needle for me, though. I have to shop around a bit before I settle down.
I am going to need something comforting after this because I had a disappointment earlier today. I suspected it was coming, because I knew this publisher was in trouble after a merger with another company than seems to have gone awry, but now it’s here. The first magazine to buy one of my speculative stories has announced that it’s releasing all the stories back to the authors. Essentially, they’re shutting down the magazine and all the magazines under the umbrella of this company. My story was supposed to be published (originally) last June, but never was, and then it was supposed to be published sometime before the end of this year. Now it’s been released back to me without seeing publication. It’s rather a saga and I won’t go into it further, but if you’re really interested I posted a note about it on my web site. So sad and disappointing. Such is the world of small presses, apparently.
Sipdown no. 107 of the year 2014. I barely had enough left in this sample for a single cup.
I’m liking this again today, enough to put on the list in case I ever get out of lockdown and order from Shanti again. It’s different from other green teas I’ve had and fills a nice gap in the green tea flavor gamut.
Sipdown no. 105 of the year 2014.
I did a little more research before I steeped this time. I had been surprised to find steeping instructions for darjeelings at less than boiling water temps. Then I read further and it appears that that is a recommendation for a first flush darjeeling, whereas a higher temp and lower steeping time is recommended for a second flush.
This being a second flush, I decided to up the water temp this time and see what happens.
First off, there’s a big difference in liquor color. The liquor this time is the color of maple syrup. Second, the aroma is different. It’s much more sharp and darjeeling-like, and I think for the first time I really understand the muscatel references. I still haven’t put my hands on an actual muscatel wine (the BF is embarrassed to buy any or for me to buy any given its reputation as a wino wine) but for the first time, I am smelling wine and not just a wine-like aroma. There’s still something that is nutty as well.
The flavor is much richer steeped this way, too. Instead of water chestnuts, I get something that is almost cocoa, definitely musky and woodsy, with a grapey tang. It’s astringent, but not painfully so.
I’m fairly sure this is how I should have steeped it the first time. Bumping the rating slightly.
It would appear that this tea is no longer being sold by Shanti, and that’s a shame because I am really enjoying it. It’s a different approach to chai, offering only cardamom as one of the “usual” suspects in a chai blend (I consider the usual suspects to be cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and ginger … there are other spices used often in chai, but usually these are the four that you find in most chai.) There is anise in this which I love and while it is often found in chai, it’s not as common as the previously four mentioned spices.
But the two of these spices together with the Tulsi offer a warm, gently spiced cup. The spices are strong but they aren’t overwhelming. It presents a nice, cozy-tasting cuppa.
It gets a yum from me, but because it’s no longer offered, I’m not going to bother rating it.
A decent chamomile blend. I like the lemon grass, it adds a bright note to the cup.
Soothing, a gentle sweetness with a hint of tartness. An enjoyable “cozy” cup.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/01/07/lemomila-tisane-shanti-tea/
My last Shanti sample. Am I the only person who tries the samples before the actual order? Hehehe.
I don’t think I’ve had a green Darjeeling before. I steeped it as a green tea, though I’m not sure whether that was right. The dry leaves have the Darjeeling sharpness but in a muted sort of way, with an underlying greenish scent.
In the cup, it looks like a green tea—pale yellow, clear liquor. The aroma is very Darjeeling-y, more so than green tea-y. It has the light, clear water scent that sometimes reminds me of water chestnuts as well as that grapey high note that I think is what people mean when they say Muscatel. (I really must get some Muscatel sometime to see what it smells and tastes like.)
It’s a really nice flavor. Very light bodied and fresh in the way a Sauvignon Blanc is but without tasting like one. It is much more smooth and has a slight vegetal undertone. Artichokes, perhaps? A bit of butter.
Sipdown no. 87 of the year 2014. Terri HarpLady is kicking my butt at sipdowns. ;-) I noticed she’s surpassed the 90 mark today and she is only counting from the last week or so, I think, not from the first of the year as I am. What an inspiration!
This part is me thinking out loud about sipdowns so you can skip this paragraph if you want to read my thoughts on the tisane, most of which are contained in my previous note on this. Part of my slowdown is because I am running short of single serving samples and one-off teabag samples so I now mostly have sample sizes that generate at least two tastings worth and more frequently 3-5 and/or full size tins. This is certainly the case for herbal blends and greens and to some extent blacks and whites. I have a fair number of single serving oolong and pu-erh samples still, but I find myself saving them because pu-erhs in particular intimidate me just a bit and oolongs require savoring. I’m still trying to arrange things so that I have at least one and (if things go well) I hope more than one sipdown a day for the foreseeable future.
The Shanti samples seem to be two-serving samples. Or more accurately, four serving samples. But since the Breville makes a minimum of two servings a go, I get two tastings out of this size of sample.
It seems, if anything, much more savory tonight. Almost brothy, as though there’s some salt in there somewhere. It doesn’t taste like bouillon but it reminds me of it.
Not a wishlist item for me, but interesting to try.
Another sample I received when I ordered from Shanti a while back.
I love the look of dry silver needle. The leaves look like they’ve been frosted. Dry, they have an interesting spicy scent.
Steeped, the tea smells very lightly sweet and still has a slight spicy note. It produces a very pale yellow clear liquor.
The flavor is extremely delicate. It’s like the freshest water you can imagine, but fresher, with a subtle almost black-tea undercurrent and a finish that carries through that hint of spice in the aroma. The aftertaste is sweet and something else. Floral? But very subtle.
I’m never a hundred percent sure I’m making white teas correctly. Silver needle in particular sometimes seems so lightly flavored I wonder whether I should be tasting more. I went with cooler water and a shorter steep time on this one and I wonder whether I should go a bit longer next time and see what happens.
I should probably just go some place like David’s Tea and ask them to make me a silver needle so I can be sure I’m tasting it the way it was meant to be. Each time I steep a silver needle I have a different reaction to it. It’s hard to come up with a standard to measure against. This rating is somewhat in a vacuum because I think it’s more pleasant than I remember the Adagio being but I haven’t had another silver needle recently enough to do a fair comparison. It’s nice enough, but it’s not something I’d rush to buy.
Another sample that came with my Shanti order of a while back.
In the sample packet the dry leaf doesn’t smell at all like what I expect a Darjeeling to smell like. There’s a chocolaty smell and not much of the expected muscatel. This opens up after steeping to give more of the characteristic grapey fragrance. The liquor is a dark golden yellow.
It has nice, full mouth feel with a fruity-winey flavor and something creamy and mellow about it, sort of like the flavor of water chestnuts.
I didn’t get to enjoy this as I’d planned because I had to leave to take our cats to the vet. I had a bit of it while it was hot, then had to leave the rest in the car in a tumbler. It’s not bad cold, but it’s better hot. I need more time to sit with this. The rating is provisional for now.
This is a sample I got with my Shanti order a while back, and I believe it may be the first Shanti product I’ve tasted. It being evening, I was looking for something without caffeine, though this may have been a mistake as it is supposedly energizing despite the lack of caffeine.
In the sample packet there’s a sweet cocoa-like aroma which is odd since there’s nothing that should smell like cocoa among the ingredients. The steeped tisane has a savory smell to it which I attribute to the holy basil, sage and pepper. It’s a light brownish orange color.
I expected the flavor to also be savory but it doesn’t strike me that way. There’s still a cocoa-like note but I think it’s the ginger that’s responsible. I’m glad I don’t get a strong licorice taste despite the licorice and fennel in the ingredients. Having had the Upton Holy Basil last night, this is sort of a jazzed up holy basil, with a little more interest going on. I don’t get a strong cardamom flavor, but the ingredient list is similar enough to chai that there’s a sort of faint chai echo to this. I don’t taste the rooibos except in the aftertaste and it’s smooth and lacking enough in the woody department that it isn’t problematic for me.
It’s okay, but it’s not bowling me over. I don’t think I’d buy it, but I’m glad for the chance to taste it.
Holy honking flowers Batman! There are what look like huge daisy heads in this blend, although the ingredient list says Jasmine Flowers. Uh…? Lots of lavender and rose petals too, which scare me a bit as I’m usually a fan of other kinds of tea. I try it anyway. Oh! This is good. Really good! Another sip, and another… this is going down quite nicely, thank you very much. I smell chai more than I can taste it, and it’s a very smooth cup with sweet honeyed cardamom. I think this may be a new favorite. Yep, even I’m surprised.
Thank you to CelebriTEA for this lovely tea gift!
1.5 tsp in 12 oz, with some of the larger blooms removed.
Flavors: Cloves, Flowers, Honey
The catching up thing is going to happen.
This is one of the very best pear flavored teas that I’ve ever tried. It’s sweet and juicy … just like the fruit.
Pears are one of those more delicate tasting fruits that are often difficult to capture in a tea. I think that the white tea was the ideal base here, because the delicate qualities of the white tea allows for the gentle nuances of the fruit to shine through.
The tea tastes gentle, sweet, and slightly earthy. The pear is true to the fruit. Sweet and flavorful.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/12/06/fujian-pear-white-tea-blend-shanti-tea/
Another sample from MissB! I’ve always wanted to try Shanti’s maple teas! All of their teas sound really nice but somehow I never see them around Steepster. Smoky maple though… very promising! Shanti wants you to steep this for 3 minutes at 190 degrees.
Steep #1 // waited 20 minutes after boiling // 3 min
I always associate dark oolongs with charcoal flavor, but not this one! It’s a nuttier base. Sadly, there is only a hint of sweetness from the maple. And really no smoke I can see, but I like my smoky teas SMOKY. I like the idea behind this blend though.. it would be perfect if the flavors were more present, as it’s a nice combination with this oolong base.. maybe even more so than if it were a black tea base. The second steep had less flavor. If I HAD to choose a dark oolong to have in stock in my cupboard, I’d probably go with this one anyway!
From a gift via CelebriTEA. Thank you so much!
I’ll put this out there right now: I’m rarely a fan of florals in my tea, unless perhaps it’s a French tea. They seem to understand how to do them properly, at least to my palate. So, when I smelled this and saw the rose petals, I was… concerned.
So. It smells like oranges and it tastes like orange rose petals. Which could be lovely if you’re into that sort of thing? I’m going to pass.
sipdown! today is a random drinking tea sort of day. mostly, whatever grabs my fancy when i happen to be standing near the kettle. :) MissB was kind enough to send a little of this one my way, for which i am thankful! this is one that i’ve been wanting to try for a while now but keep putting off because i HATE shanti’s website. i hate having to sign in to add things to a cart…i hate that you don’t know whether the tea is in stock or not until you click through to the tea – and they often have a lot of teas not in stock…it’s just not a pleasant experience combines with shipping prices that aren’t great.
Which of course makes me sad because i like supporting Canadian tea shops. So the tea..it’s…kinda bland. There’s a coffee taste hanging out in the background of the cup, but the brew isn’t a smooth blend. I don’t want to say it’s bitter because it wasn’t really but it was slightly dark. The caramel taste is slightly present but not enough for me to say wow. I hope this isn’t what justjames tastes when he drinks caramel flavoured teas lol
Still though, i’m happy to have tried it! thanks missb!
Well, it would seem that Shanti no longer has this tea available on their website.
It was quite lovely, it smells amazing! Lavender and rose made for an extraordinarily fragrant floral tea that was as enjoyable to smell as it was to sip.
Sweet, delicate white tea that was not overpowered by the flowers. Hay-like notes. Not overly floral – a really nice balance of tastes.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/09/02/mamma-mia-white-tea-blend-shanti-tea/
A really good Earl Grey variation. There is a good balance between raspberry and bergamot flavors. The raspberry is very distinct and strong but it doesn’t attempt to overpower the bergamot, which is also distinct.
Really good iced!
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/08/24/raspberry-earl-grey-black-tea-from-shanti-tea/
Back when looseTman told me about this blend, I knew I had to try this. So, I contacted Shanti Tea right away (and thank you to Shanti Tea for sending me some!) Because … I had to try it. Yeah, I know I said that already. But it’s a strong Earl Grey … so you know I had to try it.
This is a remarkable Earl Grey … and after having recently found out that one of my favorite Earl Grey teas is no longer available (Superior Earl Grey from Tealicious Tea Company), I think that this may be the Earl Grey to replace it because it is AWESOME!
The bergamot is strong as the name might suggest, it has a lot of citrus TANG to it, but it doesn’t taste perfume-y. None of that icky soap-y taste. Just delicious bergamot. The kind of deliciousness that makes my toes curl as I sip. Just remembering it … is making my toes curl. I want more of this tea.
The black tea is malty and rich and this is an excellent Earl Grey! Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/07/28/strong-earl-grey-tea-from-shanti-tea/
YUM! Chocolate Covered Strawberries. Did I already say YUM? Because this tea is YUM!
The chocolate … well, if you know me, you know I always want more chocolate flavor. And that is true here. I want more chocolate. But, it’s a nice representation of chocolate flavor in this blend.
The strawberry is sweet and has a hint of tartness. It is a flavorful strawberry flavor that tastes authentic.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/07/13/strawberry-seduction-black-tea-from-shanti-tea/
Thank you TeaEqualsBliss for sending me some of this tea to try. I love Maple, and this is an AWESOME Maple tea. I’m used to maple black teas, and this might be the first one I’ve tried with a white tea base. I think that the white tea base is a brilliant base to use because it really allows the maple notes to come out fully … whereas a black tea base tends to obscure some of the more subtle tones of the maple. This is a great way to fully enjoy one’s love of maple … and I love me some maple!
This is really excellent.
The aroma is delightful, a mellow blend of tea mixed with rich chocolate and coffee and a sweet yet slightly tangy kick of strawberry. The smell reminded me instantly of the Strawberry Chocolate covered Espresso beans I used to munch on.
The taste is hard to explain, it certainly tastes like all the ingredients but since they are ingredients I have never thought about mixing it was surprising. It is a perfect cup for a cool rainy day or for snuggling up with a good book…or if you want to be decadent and enjoy chocolate covered strawberries without the eating part.
Origin: India / Serving: 2.8 grams per cup / Temp. 100*C / Steeping Time 2-5 Min.
“2 min without milk, 5+ min with milk”
“Using a GBOP grade of black tea for this earl grey, and blending it with extra bergamot essence makes creates an infusion especially well suited for london fogs or for those seeking a strong bergamot flavor in their tea. Much stronger than the classic, malty notes, and a lively cup.”
“Ingredients: Tea (Camelia Sinensis), safflower, orange peel, bergamot”
Canada Organic – Biologique Canada: http://www.organicbiologique.ca/en/
Technique: Tea mug with Finum brew basket. 8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 26 ppm, heated to 212*F. 2.8 grams – verified by My Weigh Durascale D2 660. No sweeteners, milk or cream were added.
Introduction: The typical Earl Grey tea has a 100% Ceylon base. Some Ceylon teas used in E.G. can be quite astringent. This E.G. is exceptional in that it has an Indian tea base.
Also, most Earl Grey teas are light- to medium-bodied. While my wife loves the aroma and flavor of a well-balanced EG, she typically does not find them to be strong enough. To compensate, she will increase the amount of tea leaves and/or the brewing time. However, you can only increase those two parameters so much. Thus, we were very interested to taste Shanti’s Strong Earl Grey.
Fragrance: This black tea has a strong floral-type bergamot and fresh orange fragrance.
Dry leaf – Dark brown leaves with obvious bits of orange peel.
Liquor – red / brown hue
2-min.: The Aroma follows the strong dry leaf fragrance. The flavor definitely follows both the fragrance and aroma. The strong floral-like bergamot and fresh orange ingredients somewhat overshadows the malty Indian base tea. There was zero hint of tartness, bitterness or astringency – quite an accomplishment!
Impression: This is a very unique, refreshing, full-bodied Earl Grey with a very strong floral-like bergamot and a fresh orange fragrance & aroma that somewhat overshadows the extremely smooth Indian base tea.
My wife, who has a very keen sense of smell, didn’t find this tea to be “The EG” she’s been seeking. While she enjoyed the full-bodied stimulating breakfast base tea, she’d prefer it to have an equally strong Classic EG aroma and flavor.
Suggestion: We’d like to suggest a second version – a “Classic Strong Earl Grey.” This extremely smooth malty Strong Earl Grey would be an excellent match with Southern Italian natural Bergamot citrus.
Thanks to Safiya Motala and Shanti Teas for kindly providing this generous free sample.