Simple Loose Leaf

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Recent Tasting Notes

Yeah so I screwed this one up really badly this morning. I hate that about making tea, honestly. I love that you can tinker with the parameters, but that also leads to brewing disastrous cups of tea when you really never meant to. And “but at least you learned something” doesn’t work here, because now I only have enough left for one more cup. And anyway, I didn’t screw it up because i was being creative; I was just distracted and careless and put in too much sugar and it just sucked. Oh well, one cup’s worth left and then I think about putting a milk oolong into my cupboard at some point.

Happy it’s almost Friday!

0 OZ / 0 ML

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Backlog, as I had this yesterday morning.

I was part of simple loose leaf’s monthly subscription program for a few months last year, but then the tea sort of just started piling up and I felt overwhelmed. But the idea of a milk oolong has always entrigued me, mostly because I like my drinks to be milky, so I thought I’d give it a shot yesterday. The dry leaf smells “milky”, although it’s underpinned by what I imagine to be the hallmark roasted sort of nutty oolong smell. I brewed this for three minutes, which I think was on the longer end of the steeping instructions. The resulting brew retained the smell of the dry leaf, and it was even more intense if that’s possible. Tasting better and better as it cooled, I felt as though I was drinking a cup of hot, slightly nutty and deeply creamy milk, and I actually think it would go into the category of a comfort tea for me.

Now I want to try more amazing milk oolongs, because I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get this exact one again. Any suggestions? I wasn’t a fan of the one from davids tea, if I remember correctly.

And thanks weet f*** it’s Friday.

0 OZ / 0 ML

Agree, I thought the David’s one was vile.


it truly was. I don’t drink any of their straight teas.


Teavivre has some good milk oolongs, both flavored and unflavored. I also just had a great tea that I suspect is a milk oolong, but I don’t know what it is. The package is only in kanji. :(


mandala has a good one..


..and you know how much i love oolongs.


Oh, is Mandala still around? and charoma, darn those teas we can’t identify! Oh well, it was there for a season, I guess.


Second the mandala. Love it.


I have some from a few companies, including the now defunct Teaopia (I stocked up when it was on sale as they closed). I also have some Osthmanthus oolong from Bird Pick which is a nice milk oolong. Let me know if you want me to send either your way.


For high quality (but expensive) straight Jin Xuan oolong, there’s Tea Ave:
For an affordable, more sweet/milky oolong (I’m pretty sure it is actually scented) I recommend this one from Tealux:


Thanks so much for the suggestions/offers, guys!

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I had this tea some time ago so forgive my lack of specific details! I do know that i really was fond of it. I thought the gingerbread flavour was quite authentic and tasty. I only had enough for one cup so I wasn’t able to try it cold-brewed. This is more of a hot tea anyway, at least in my mind. I may have to seek this one out when the weather gets colder. :)

Flavors: Ginger, Molasses, Nutmeg, Spices

Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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K S, I don’t know why it took me so long to get to this sample you sent. Even after unintentionally abandoning it at the bottom of my sample basket, it smells like Mom’s homemade strawberry jam. Flavor is spot-on, not a bit of artificiality.

It’s so hot this week (upper 90’s; air thick and syrupy) and so busy this week (VBS at church—kids, choreography, and climbing flight after flight of stairs to activities), I’ve been getting only one small cuppa in the morning. Glad this was it!

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drank Milk Oolong by Simple Loose Leaf
45 tasting notes

Brewed Gong Fu style. This smells so creamy and buttery dry. Even when brewed, it smells almost exactly like movie theatre popcorn butter! There’s no way that this is natural, definitely the added milk flavour, but it’s so good! I adore popcorn butter. The mouth feel is thick too, which adds to the enjoyment. This only lasts for a couple of steeps, after which this starts to taste like a more natural milk oolong. Peachy, sweet, and more green the more steeps in you go. I’m not sure just how far this would go, since I had to stop (didn’t want to be up all night, and it was getting late.) As much as I want to prefer all natural milk oolongs, I really enjoyed the boost of flavor this one has. I’m not sure I’ll go out of my way to order it, but it sure is tasty.

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drank Pu'erh Tahiti by Simple Loose Leaf
538 tasting notes

I loved this tea back when I first bought it, so I stupidly hoarded it. Now a lot of the tropical flavor has faded, which makes me super tea-sad. To rescue it, I had to add a bit of rock sugar, refrigerate, and then mix with an equal amount of seltzer. The result is actually a pretty tasty tea soda. The tropical flavors are still pretty muted and there’s more earthiness than I generally like, but it’s quite refreshing.


Ooh, that reminds me I have some of this from last year that I need to finish off. I’ll see about icing it.

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Thanks for this one a while back, Ost! I think this is the third pu-erh based tea I’ve tried from Simple Loose Leaf. It seems to be the same one, not a bad pu-erh, not the best pu-erh. Mid level flavor though the color of the cup seems dark enough. There are a couple spices in the teaspoon and a half that went into the infuser (and orange peels) but I’m not sure they add too much to the flavor. I don’t know why! Not a bad cup but if I want a spicy pu-erh, then it better have spices in it. Not much more to say on this one.
Steep #1 // 5 minutes after boiling // ? min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 min steep

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I have been craving jasmine and rose teas lately. Have no idea why. I have been searching them out in my tea stash and came upon this. It was good and hit the spot. Simple green with jasmine. This is one that I could see picking up at a later date but not one I need anymore of now. I grabbed this when there was a sale at Simple Loose Leaf for one of their boxes for $5. Can’t go wrong with that price.


Maybe you’ll find that you crave florals in hot weather.


Maybe you are on to something. That might be it.

Roswell Strange

I craved florals all Spring

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What an interesting mixture… unfortunately I’ve been drinking away at Crimson, W2T, and YS pu’erhs these last two weeks so my taste for pu’erh is refined in a different way.
The nutty flavor is done quite well.
The fruity notes are nowhere to be found (from my sample)
The pu’erh is ‘eh’ grade.
Overall this is a tea I resteeped three times to see what happens with the flavor to find that it isn’t something I would entertain a guest with; though, at the same time I would’t give someone pu’erh if they are not a casual tea drinker because it’s like stomped on hay from a farm when you first try it… well, it was for me
Please note that when I first drank pu’erh I steeped it for 5 minutes…


Bahaha! That would be so nasty!

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I’m not sure how I came upon this sample, but I actually found two of them with different handwritings while I was cleaning today! So Thanks to whoever it was that sent this to me!

This is a nice, sweet, lightly roasted oolong. The flavor was bright and clean, and not very complex or nuaced. But that could be because this sample is old. Take that as you will. I enjoyed it for what it was.

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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I’m the first to review this. I’m actually surprised about that.

This is a loose BoP Pu’erh, which did not put me off to a good start. I did lose slight interest when I opened the package, in all honesty. The dry leaf consists of small black and gold curls. I placed these inside my warmed yixing and shook them up. The aroma was a very clean forest floor and fungal scent. I commenced to begin my brewing. The steeped leaves actually smell exactly like the warmed leaves except hotter. This consistency of aroma gave me a hint to the lack of complexity to this brew. This was a good Shou, but it was lacking in a lot of areas. I could see this being nice for someone new to Shou. The flavor was slightly sweet and dry. I could taste the classic forest floor, earth, and fungal flavors. The brew was a thick black soup. This session did end in a smooth qi feeling, which was pretty nice. However, this feeling faded quickly after completion. I liked this pu’erh, but I feel my palette has surpassed this quality of Shou. Although, I was reminded of the Divine Comedy, and it was nice to explore some of my favorite literature during this session. :)

Flavors: Drying, Forest Floor, Mushrooms, Wet Wood

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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First Sip Thought: “Forest.”

Smell: It has a woodsy aroma along with a golden amber liquor. You get a stronger scent than you would from a first flush. After steeped, a sweeter scent is evident that is also brisk and quite inviting.

Taste: Ahh…the champagne of teas! Harvested in June, this Second Flush Darjeeling makes an exquisite, uplifting cuppa. Second Flush simply means the tea was plucked in the Darjeeling region of India during the second growing season. Second Flush Darjeeling leaves generally have a richer, darker taste. This is perfect for me as I really enjoy bold teas and I can never get enough of Darjeeling. With the earthy and musky after taste the flavours in this Darjeeling are quite distinct and reminiscent to a forest-y getaway (hence my “first sip thought”. Due to the prominent earth and stonefruit flavours, this tea would be a match made in heaven for some cheese pairings. Within a few tastes, I gather a smooth and unique grape like flavour – something that may be enhanced with a nibble of cheese. After having this tea, I realized second flush is my favourite kind of Darjeeling!

3 min, 0 sec

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Iced tea sipdown

It’s been so lovely for the past few days that I finally got my iced tea pitcher out of the curio cabinet, rinsed it out, and got some coldbrew going. I ended up using the whole sample of this tea along with the last half the remaining bit of Blueberry White that Simple Loose Leaf sent me a while back.

However, I think that I didn’t use enough water in the steep, because the mix tastes quite dusty and somewhat bitter.

Although I will enjoy certain blends, I’ve never been a huge fan of white teas in general. I’m just glad I’ve got two fewer types in my cupboard.


Oooh this sounds interesting as an iced tea!! Dust can unfortunately create some bitterness :(

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drank Sheng Cha Oolong by Simple Loose Leaf
1579 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.


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


You have a dark creepy side – cool. ha


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

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:

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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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.


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
1579 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.


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


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


Ha! That’s hilarious!


I wonder if you can cook Thai food with this.


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 ;)


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

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


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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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
1579 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.


haha glad you had a great experience with it!


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


“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.


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

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