Simple Loose Leaf

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drank Sheng Cha Oolong by Simple Loose Leaf
1493 tasting notes

Moving slow today but moving.

This is my last sample from Simple Loose Leaf. I didn’t save it back on purpose but I’m glad it did get held back. This tea I would rename The White Rabbit. It took me way down the rabbit hole. I’ve read several reviews. They are all over the place. I recall them being positive but everyone found something different. Here is my take:

The dry nuggets remind me of the scent of strawberry tops. Too subtle for scented but present. The moment the leaf hit my warm damp press I could smell American biscuits. After steeping the leaf was more baked bread with strawberry and apricot marmalade along with more typical lightly roasted oolong notes. The scent of the white grape colored brew was lightly floral and fruity.

Once the leaf unfurls it is humongous.

Then I tasted. Yeah, caterpillars smoking questionable pipes and Cheshire grins abound. The flavors flew by so quickly. First, I tasted biscuit and baked bread, then strawberry tops. I have not seen any other reviews that caught this same note, so it is just for me, and I appreciate it. The next flavor to fly by is a brief moment of walnut shells. Then it settles into a fruity and floral oolong flavor. Mixed throughout I catch brief roasted notes. This has an interesting kind of tart that leaves a little tingle around the lips and gums. It is also a bit sweet. The feel is a bit milky or almost foamy.

It is a very curious cup.

gmathis

Reminds me of the tunnel in “Willy Wonka” … there’s just no way of knowing—which direction we are going—-

K S

You have a dark creepy side – cool. ha

gmathis

You started it with the smoking caterpillars :)

carol who

No kidding, right?

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Smells: sweet, grassy, smooth, buttery, finishes with sweetness and a hint of grain

Tastes: very vegetal, similar to steamed spinach.

Flavors: Spinach

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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The blend I was most excited about in this month’s tea co-op box was the Senna Leaf and Anise Herbal Pu’er. I don’t see pu’er blends often and I think this is the first herbal/pu’er blend I’ve come across. The small amount of pu’er added a slight earthy flavor, although the dominant flavors were orange, anise, and ginger. There where were a few flavors I couldn’t quite pinpoint (probably the senna leaf or slippery elm which were both new to me.) The only negative I have about this blend is the fact that it gave me one heck of a rash. Apparently I’m allergic to one of the herbal ingredients.

You can read the full review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2015/3/17/tuesday-tea-tea-co-op-march-box-simple-loose-leaf

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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71

I’m surprised they can call it Thai tea without any black tea in it… I just went and looked it up and it does indeed have black tea. Generally a Ceylon but sometimes Assam is used. According to the Wiki. I’d be very tempted to try this with the thai tea I have.

Regardless this is still pretty good. Not quite chai and not quite thai but it does have the flavors of both. Creamy and slightly spicy.

Edit: So curiosity got the best of me and I brewed a tea bag with this tea. Turned out better then I expected. Bet it would be pretty good with some nice frothy almond milk too.

Anlina

The Thai tea mix I usually buy is made with green tea, though I would have guessed black without looking at the ingredients list.

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This tea has a pretty mild scent when brewed. The taste was the opposite though — very strong, bold, but lacks the astringency usually associated with breakfast teas. It has a nice, even, rounded, smooth and deep flavor.

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Actually had this a few days ago. Just now posting. When I opened the sample I thought I was smelling a Peppermint Patty. I know there is no chocolate in it. I handed it to my wife who said the same thing. Can’t explain it, but I liked it. Tasting, this is first peppermint, but it doesn’t assault you. It quickly steps aside and a creamy sensation kicks in. Then I notice the apple like notes of chamomile. The flavors work together nicely. The rooibos I notice last. It adds a fullness to the cup without dominating. I found this to be a well balanced and enjoyable herbal. Typically this would be a good late night treat. I think I wouldn’t mind it most any time of day.

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drank Lemon Grass Herbal by Simple Loose Leaf
1493 tasting notes

I have never tried straight lemon grass before. Who knew it had a ginger note to the dry scent? Steeped up for 5 minutes, it makes a sunny yellow cup. Its spring in a cup. The aroma is as expected, quite lemony. What I didn’t expect was how pleasant lemon grass would taste all on its own.

Since this is decaf my wife had to try it. I thought it strange because she claims to hate lemons. She says lemongrass is different. Whaaat? ;) All I know is she claimed the rest of the bag for her very own.

DeliriumsFrogs

(It’s like when my husband says he doesn’t like flavoured tea, but then drinks Earl Grey! Whaaaa!? lol)…
This sounds really interesting. :)

K S

Haha. Don’t tell him otherwise – unless he is pilfering yours.

Tealizzy

Ha! That’s hilarious!

Cwyn

I wonder if you can cook Thai food with this.

K S

I wondered if you could make lemon cookies. Since my wife loves to make cookies and hates lemons, it could work out well for me ;)

Cwyn

Looks like you’re all set, KS. :D

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Tried this twice since it had time and temperature instructions, but no instructions for amount of leaf. I tried it first with 1 tsp/8oz and it tasted like water with a faint aftertaste of tea. I tried it again with 3 tsp/8oz and it was much better. Lightly sweet and juicy. It’s a very nice white tea, but I’m not really getting much pear out of it. I don’t really mind, since I’m definitely developing a taste for white tea, but I do really like pear and could see it working really well with this tea, so I do kind of wish the flavor showed up.

Flavors: Sweet, Tea

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Chris Cataldo

Have you tried the oolong paradise from Teavana? I’m waiting for some to arrive in the mail,I hope it will be good.

Chris Cataldo

I mean Pear a dise

rosebudmelissa

No, I haven’t. I haven’t really enjoyed the Teavana teas I’ve tried since they tend to have artificial sweeteners.

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76

GCTTB

I don’t seem to mind hibby as much as some people so i actually quite enjoyed this cup of tea tonight. While i didn’t cold brew it, i did have it both hot and cold and found it to be fairly tasty with just a pinch of sweetner. I’m not sure that i’d buy this one, but it was a tasty cup to go with awesome dinner tonight with the other half!

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drank Gyokuro Green Tea by Simple Loose Leaf
1493 tasting notes

My very first ever gyokuro. Know what I love about the reviews for this one? Every one has a very different take on it. Here’s mine – One of the reviews said the leaf looked like confetti. Yeah, that’s it. To me it has a grassy aroma with some citrus notes. When I read the instructions for this tea I thought, man that’s fussy. It requires more leaf and waaaaay cooler temperatures than anything else I recall brewing. As fast as a kettle heats, it is hard to get it right. Then 5 minutes for the first steep? Crazy.

Turns out this is worth the fuss. This is probably too cool for most people’s taste. It is perfect to me. I taste of grass at first. My brain adjusts and then I pick up on citrus. Then cucumber. I love that flavor in a tea so it jumps out at me. Others mentioned this being sweet. I don’t really get that. To me it is savory. Not salty but that sensation. And there is a note that reminds me of dill. There is no bitterness. It is kind of drying. It’s OK because the cucumber and dill linger in the aftertaste. With the next cup it added a touch of earthiness.

Sil

haha glad you had a great experience with it!

Mikumofu

A great review, glad you enjoyed it too! I always wish tea could cool faster so this is just right :)

Hillel

“To me it is savory. Not salty but that sensation.” I’m pretty sure that the word you’re looking for is “umami.” We don’t have a word for that in English, but you’ve described it perfectly.

K S

After some thought I do believe it expresses my take on this tea better. Thanks.

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80

In the morning, cold
On my tongue pleasantly sat
such forgiving tea!

This tea was wonderfully forgiving! I think the best I’ve found for work. Drink it hot, drink it cold. Accidentally steep it for a half hour? Still drinkable without being metallic or otherwise gross! Forget to drink the last half of the cup before going home? Still drinkable cold the next morning! So great. Unfortunately, I’m writing this review after I’ve used up all of my sample, so I’ll not even try to trip over myself getting technical with taste. I just liked it, okay? xD

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82

Last one from the Simple Loose Leaf box. The leaves are dark green, with a sweet, intensely green, slightly seaweed-like aroma. It reminds me a bit of the matcha I had the other day. Brewed at under 140F as recommended. The taste is crisply sweet in a fresh-vegetation way. I see cucumber in the description, and that seems about right! The nori seaweed undertone is savory and subtle at first, emerging more on second steeping. It’s a light-bodied tea, especially with the low brewing temperature, and something that needs to be appreciated slowly. I am happy to have tried it!

Mike

I loved the Teavana gyokuro! I’ll have to try this one…nice sweetness with just a little grassiness. :)

Mikumofu

I’m fairly new to gyokuro and it’s definitely a type of tea I will enjoy exploring more!

Mike

I’m new to it as well! The Teavana one was my first one…I finished the first 2 oz way too quickly! :P

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Thanks to SLL for the sample! This is a very unique oolong. It tastes grainy, buttery, with a hint of honey, which makes me think of cream of wheat. Unfortunately, both times I tried it, There was an unpleasant chlorine aroma. I thought maybe it was a fluke the first time, but it showed up again, and I don’t detect that aroma when I drink other oolongs. Kind of a bummer, since the other flavor notes are so nice. Oh well, can’t like them all!

Kittenna

Chlorine aroma makes me gag. Sometimes it’s from the water, but it sounds like in this case, perhaps the tea was contaminated somehow? Idk. Gross, either way.

Tealizzy

Kittenna – Ya, I thought it might be the water, so that’s why I tried it again, but the same thing happened and I don’t have that problem with other teas. Weird.

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drank Lapsang Souchong by Simple Loose Leaf
1493 tasting notes

This one has a far more intense dry aroma than it does once steeped. It remains definitely a lapsang souchong, yet lighter and thinner than many I have tried. The taste, to me, is not overly smoked meat or bacon. The sweetness does mingle with the smoke to give it a savory touch. What I get is an initial smoky blast that quickly mellows into a mineral note before a menthol coolness kicks in. This finishes with a solid smoky sweetness. Solidly campfire without overwhelming. What sets it apart for me is the menthol cooling.

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Scent: grassy, minty hay, hint of citrus and honey from chammomile
Tastes: smooth, light and sweet with a hint of floral honey on the finish

Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey, Mint

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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87

So, remember how I used to hate lemongrass in tea and recently found out that by itself it makes a pretty fantastic sipping experience? Well it is deja vu time because here is Lemongrass Herbal tea, though this one has a slightly sweeter tone than the previous one I had, which is neat. It smells like lemon juice, a bit of lemon leaves, and a touch of flower nectar sweetness. Brewing them up brings an aroma of lemony sweetness and a bit of fresh hay.

The tea itself is delightfully sweet and lemony, like a mix of lemonade, a touch of fresh hay, and a distant floral note. I am still enjoying lemongrass as its own little entity in tea, apparently it is good for digestive woes. I did drink this after feeling ill (I over indulged in chocolate, like I do) and it did settle my stomach, plus it is mild enough that drinking it if you feel a bit queasy is not unpleasant.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/simple-loose-leaf-co-op-box-day-2.html

Ubacat

Lemongrass also goes good with fresh ginger.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

oooh yes!! That sounds like the ULTIMATE I ate too many sweets and have a stomach ache tea ;)

Ubacat

Good for colds and flu too!

Kirkoneill1988

I’m not much for lemony teas

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95

Just looking at the name of this tea, I knew I was going to want to drink it before I went to sleep, it is my favorite use for herbal teas after all. This one is a blend of Rooibos, Chamomile, Mint, and Natural Vanilla flavoring, opening the bag I am greeted with the aroma of straw-like flowers that is chamomile, vanilla, woody caramel that is rooibos, and a gentle coolness of mint at the finish. I like that the mint does not slap me in the face like some blends with mint can do.

Brewing the tea is very similar, with a fairly equal blend of Chamomile, Rooibos, and Vanilla, with mint being the least noticeable of the notes. This tea tastes delicious! It is a blend of chamomile and vanilla at the front, this transitions to woody sweet rooibos. and lastly a mild hint of mint. I really like how I didn’t really detect any mint until the end, it was very refreshing and cooling on my insides.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/simple-loose-leaf-co-op-box-day-2.html

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33

Yay! A smoky tea, in fact it is THE smoky tea, the one that started it all, Lapsang Souchong. Black tea smoked over a pine fire, imbuing the leaves with its smoky essence. The aroma of this one is certainly smoky, though honestly I am not getting much of the usual piney camp fire in this one, I am getting more of a smoked meat aroma. There are also notes of leather and malt, an interesting smelling tea. Brewing it up I notice that the notes of smoke loose some of their meatiness and have more of a liquid smoke aroma, along with maltiness and a touch of sweetness.

So, I once said I never met a Lapsang Souchong I didn’t like, and sadly I think I have to change my opinion on that. This tea tasted like liquid smoke, beef jerky, and malt. It has a bitter finish that I was not most fond of, so I foisted it off on Ben who was also not a fan but wanted tea and drank it anyway. I am not quite sure what went wrong, pretty much immediately after drinking this tea I developed a splitting headache, so maybe it was something wrong with me, since I am not sure I am ready to admit I did not like a Lapsang.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/simple-loose-leaf-co-op-box-day-2.html

Kirkoneill1988

beef jerky, sounds lovely

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90

From the Simple Loose Leaf box. This is a unique-sounding oolong, and it did not disappoint. The tea comes in tightly wound “pearls” that unfurl a bit after rinse and one infusion, and expand fully after two. The first infusion (2 min) has a flavor and aroma of sesame seed and grains, like wheat crackers or maybe toasted rice. It’s savory but light, and went well with a sweeter afternoon snack. (Red bean paste and mochi wrapped in a sponge-like sakura pastry—yum!) The second infusion (4 min) mellows out substantially, making for a completely different experience. There’s a more floral, vegetal undertone from the leaf, as well as a sublimely smooth honey sweetness to the finish. It’s unlike any oolong I’ve tried before, and I feel like it has quite a story to tell!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and Valentine’s Day!

Mike

This sounds like a good one! Have a great weekend! :)

Mikumofu

Thanks and you too! :)

Mike

Thanks!

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I got this in Ost’s stash sale. I was a little uncertain about it since it contains Rooibos which I don’t really care for, but I’ve been looking for more floral herbals so I decided to give it a try. It’s certainly an appropriate tea for St. Valentine’s Day. It smelled overwhelmingly floral in a way that reminded me of soap, but it tastes really good. It’s sweet, with a prominent rose flavor, and a lingering aftertaste of rose and honeybush. I’m not sure why, but I’m often surprised when I find a flavor that works really well with honeybush. This certainly does. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a good rose herbal tea!

Flavors: Rose, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

Imagine my surprise at seeing Gyokuro as one of the teas for this month, then imagine my surprise when I actually looked at the leaves, it looks nothing like the needly Gyokuro leaves I am familiar with! It kinda looks a lot like Tencha, the leaves that are ground into making Matcha, but that is crazy rare, since it is wanted to make said powdery goodness. The aroma of the leaves is a blend of green notes and a tiny bit of toasted rice crackers. You know, those delicious Japanese crackers that have bits of seaweed and such? I used to be addicted to those once upon a time. The green notes are a mix of fresh hay, sweetgrass, actual grass, and a tiny bit of seaweed.

I brewed this in the standard Gyokuro way, lots of leaf and cool temperatures, it is always fun brewing gyokuro, though I do wish I had a shiboridashi! The aroma is a mix of green growing hay, freshly cut grass, a bit of Nori, and a little like rice. As expected the mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, the taste is so sweet it is almost syrupy as well, that is a potent sweetness! Like honey and sweet hay, this transitions to a more umami seaweed and lastly a bit of bok choy. A few minutes after the sipping and there is a sweetness in my mouth from it. Hilariously I did another steep but got distracted…came back about 20 minutes later, I drank it because YOLO and it was actually pretty tasty. Super green and umami, but tasty!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/simple-loose-leaf-co-op-box-day-1.html

Mike

Nice, it’s gyokuro day! :P I just finished my Teavana gyokuro…I’ll have to try this one next! Great review!

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96

It has become a bit rare that I run into an Oolong I have not heard of, so yeah, I went into immediate research mode while drinking the Sheng Cha Oolong. For the most part I could not find much, mostly I kept finding information on Puerh and since I do not know what version of Sheng it is, that made searching even harder. What I did find is that it is from Taiwan, specifically they are from trees left to grow wild for decades, which is pretty cool. The aroma of the leaves is delectably toasty, it smells like baking super grain heavy bread, you know, like one of those 20 grains breads. Now take that loaf of bread and drizzle a bit of honey on it and you have the aroma of this tea. I am salivating, but I am in a constant state of craving bread, so that could be why.

The aroma of the first steep is so grainy! Like someone is toasting grains right next to me, it is honestly a little cruel how much this tea smells like toasted wheat, sesame seeds, and barley. The taste is banging hot, and not in a ‘oh god I burned my tongue so bad’ way, I mean this is the new hotness. It is like drinking honey drizzled whole grain bread while sitting next to a vase of wildflowers. The majority of the taste is toasted grains and yeasty bread, but there are delicate notes of flowers and honey, which I really liked.

Second steep is very similar in aroma, there was a touch of toasted peanuts as well this time around. The taste is more grain and less sweet, it is definitely like eating toast. I am a little wowed by the grainy aspects of this tea, I could see it being a good bread replacement when I am shambling around the house moaning graaaaiiiinns like a gluten craving zombie.

Blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/simple-loose-leaf-co-op-box-day-1.html

TeaTiff

This is the second glowing review of this tea I have seen. Maybe he will bring some to KC when he comes?

Tealizzy

Yum! I haven’t tried this one yet! Maybe tonight!!

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65

Debating origins
But I drink in the morning
A spicy wake-up

I’m curious because there’s nothing in the description, but on the tab title when I go to this tea on their website, it says “Chai Green by Adagio”. So perhaps they’ve some type of deal with Adagio and this isn’t a unique blend at all…?
Either way, this tea blew my mind. It is currently my favorite morning tea and I’ll be sad when I run out—tea #2 I’ve considered buying from the ones they’ve sent in my subscription box. The first thing that blew my mind was green chai—never thought of it! Chai was always black in my mind. Old box=blown.

This morning I brewed it for 3 minutes and the liquor is a light yellow. It’ll probably be drinkable for another two steeps, depending on how distracting my work gets. The green tea sits below the spices as a background note to the spices that get almost dusty and harsh when the tea cools. Not one to let sitting around, really.

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64

Liquid biscuit dough:
Like an airplane heard
After it’s passing.

The second tea of our tea party took up the rest of our too-short time together.
The dry leaves have the dusty scent of crackers and hay. We steeped it for the suggested 2 minutes and we a bit surprised at how light the liquor was: a very green oolong. The initial flavor of the liquor is very light and green. The real body of this tea is at the end of the taste, even after swallowing. A taste that reminded me very like biscuit dough (without the heaviness) blossoms in the mouth, especially as you talk. We decided that this was a conversation tea, as to fully experience the flavor we had to keep talking. My mother kept going on about the sweetness whereas I kept tasting the doughy flavors more.

For our second steep, we went for 1 minute. The liquor color darkened(though still green-light) and had much more scent-bready, crackers. The flavor experience is evened out, where there is more green in front and less doughy sweet in the back. We decided that this steep took less involvement to enjoy, and would be a decent reading tea.

Our third steep lasted 45 seconds. The color was somewhere inbetween the first and second steeps. There was more bloom than the second steep and we wondered if the second steep had not been quite long enough. There are notes of toast as we sip-stronger as the tea is hotter and less prominent as it cools. The bloom is like biscuit dough-sweet and bready.

The fourth steep was 30 seconds and we decided wasn’t worth drinking.

Overall a very interesting taste-trip.

Flavors: Sweet, Toast

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