Simple Loose Leaf

Recent Tasting Notes

80

There is something incredibly soothing about peppermint tea. That is why I always keep some on hand for those days when I’m stressed out or not feeling particularly well. It always manages to lighten my mood and set my stomach straight when I’m sick (or when I have eaten more than any one person should in one sitting.) Lately I’ve been drinking a cup after I take the pain medication my dentist prescribed, it helps ease the upset stomach it always gives me. Since peppermint is naturally caffeine-free it’s the perfect late night drink so I often find myself having another cup before bed. A relaxing cup of hot tea is the perfect way to end a long day, although lately my toddler has been drinking more of my peppermint tea than I have. It’s always been his favorite flavor.

You can read the full review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2014/10/21/tuesday-tea-october-selection-club-simple-loose-leaf.html

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

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drank Formosa Oolong by Simple Loose Leaf
337 tasting notes

This is an alright tea. Tastes ok, kind of roasty or nutty I guess. Not sure what I was expecting but I guess I was craving something else because this didn’t hit the spot for me this morning.

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First note for this tea. Woo!

I took this with me when I went to my in-laws’ place this weekend for Thanksgiving. It was one of only two teas I brought with me (the other being RiverTea’s Golden Yunnan) and there were a few reasons why:

1. I needed a caffeine-free option
2. You just need boiling water for this tea. No worries about temperature-taking with this one.

The flavour when I made this a few nights ago was surprising. I was expecting something similar to rooibos, especially the woody note. However, this was somewhat tart. I didn’t add any sweetener to it or anything. Perhaps I understeeped it slightly?

I’m not sure this will be a favourite, but sometimes you really need a no-fuss option.

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85

I love Yunnan blacks – this one was interesting for its really woodsy flavor kind of a mix of cedar/pine with honey notes. The texture is silky smooth with no dry or bitterness – just as I like my black teas!

Full review on my blog The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/simple-loose-leaf-selection-club-october/

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80

This hojicha is on the medium roast level. Very clean and clear cup of tea! Notes of toasty nuts, hay with a bit a caramel sweet. A good cup of easy to drink hojicha, perfect for fall! I personally prefer a stronger roast, but this one does the job.

Full review on my blog The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/simple-loose-leaf-selection-club-october/

Kittenna

Interesting. I think I’ve only had fairly roasted hojicha before. I probably prefer the roastier ones too.

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85

Mmm pu’er blend. This one is a moderate spiced, mostly sweet ginger cinnamon. The ripe pu’er is good – not fermenty and has a mushroom earth base with a creamy body.
Overall, pretty good. I’d upgrade all my chais to this, though I would like a more spicy chai.

Full review on my blog The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/simple-loose-leaf-selection-club-october/

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88

Woo! A fuzzy tea from Yunnan, it is not a super fuzzy tea, I would put this solidly in the middle on the scale of fuzz. The aroma is quite sweet, with notes of plum and berries with a touch of roasted peanut and a very strong kick of malt at the finish. Giving these leaves a good steeping bring out a brightness that was not present in the dry leaves, of course it is still very fruity sweet and malty. The liquid without its (not so) fuzzy friends is mild, fruity sweet and malty.

The taste is quite mild, there are notes of dried fruit and malt with a really bright finish. It makes for a good wake up tea that is sweet and not too harsh. Once the tea cools it becomes even sweeter and takes on a slight smokiness. I have no complaints, but I have never met a Yunnan tea I did not enjoy.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/simple-loose-leaf-october-subscription_7.html

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81

So this one is a little hard to review, because it is peppermint! It smells exactly how you expect it to smell, very minty, my sinuses are cleared and my throat feels cool. As to be expected I feel quite refreshed. Once steeped my whole room smells like mint, my cats keep sniffing around at it for some strange reason, silly cats.

Tasting the tea, well, it is mint! It is cooling, slightly sweet, and fresh very similar to eating a mint leaf. This would be a good ingredient if you want to blend it with other teas since it is a fresh mint. Also good for sipping if you have a cold or a belly ache.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/simple-loose-leaf-october-subscription_7.html

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77

I have a confession, I am a little afraid of this tea, I have never had a pear tea that I liked, probably because pear is my favorite fruit. Hands down. So take this review with that little caveat. The aroma does not bolster my enthusiasm, it smells like cucumbers, a bit of honeydew melon, and pear candies…specifically those pear gummy bears in a bag of Amazing Fruits. Brewed there is still a strong candy and cucumber aroma, but with a sour apple tinge as well.

Ok, steeling my nerves, down the hatches it goes…and it is not terrible. It tastes like pear candy, that is certain, it is not like biting into a fresh pear. Luckily since it tastes like candy that also means it is very sweet, like honey and a bit of melon. The finish is refreshingly cucumber with a touch of fresh leaves. This was not my favorite tea ever, but I am not hating it and have no problem finishing my cup.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/simple-loose-leaf-october-subscription_7.html

Anlina

I really liked the pear flavour in Secret Garden’s Plum & Cottage Pear.

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81

Lewis and Clark TTB #16

My first impression of this tea is that it is delicate. There is a nice blueberry flavor that rests lightly on a white tea base. It works nicely, but my ideas of blueberries are formed from pie and muffins and I expect a bolder taste. The intent of this tea seemed to be to just add blueberry highlights to a white tea.

The concept works. The white tea base is of good quality, and even when I lose the blueberry flavor (it’s subtle) I still enjoy the base tea. When I notice the blueberry, it lifts the tea a bit. I enjoyed the tea, but probably wouldn’t purchase any more.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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84

Nothing says cool weather like teas that are spiced, at least in my humble opinion. This particular spicy blend is made from Pu’er, Cinnamon Bark, Natural Spice Flavor, Orange Peel, Ginger Root, Aniseed, and Safflower. The aroma of the dried leaves is a blend of orange spice, chai, and Christmas spices, it smells really good, if you are in to really strong spices and an underlying citrus and earthy notes! The aroma of the brewed tea is incredibly spicy, lots of cinnamon and ginger with a sharp note of orange and a rich earthiness. My tea area smells like Christmas, Christmas just always smells very spicy to me.

The taste is surprisingly sweet, not what I was expecting from a Pu’er, call me pleasantly surprised. It is a warm and tingly tea, like being wrapped up in a blanket fresh from the dryer, but inside of your stomach, it has a blend of bright orange and rich spices, with an earthy finish. The earthy notes from the pu’er give a heaviness to this tea, it makes me want to go sleep after drinking it.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/simple-loose-leaf-october-subscription.html

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92

Woo, Hojicha! Probably one of my favorite roasted teas, coincidentally it was also my first roasted tea, discovered so long ago that I cannot remember in the last 15 years I wasn’t drinking it. This particular Hojicha appears very stick-heavy, but is not listed as a Kukicha, so maybe I just got lucky (I like sticks) and won the Kukicha lottery. The aroma is very distinctly roasted with notes of toast, a touch of smoke, a bit of burnt wood, and a slightly sweet finish. Brewing the tea is INTENSE, lots of strong roasted notes, like popcorn and toast with a burnt stick finish.

Tasting time! The taste starts out with strong toast and roasted tea taste, this moves into smoky sticks and brunt marshmallows. Of all the Hojicha I have had, this one is the first that combines the delicate sweetness of a slightly roasted Hojicha and the really intense almost smokiness of a charcoal roasted Hojicha, it is really quite balanced. Also, burnt marshmallow is a great note to have in tea.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/simple-loose-leaf-october-subscription.html

K S

Besides Hojicha is just plain fun to say.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Yesss, I love saying it :D

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77

Backlog:

I’m not usually all that enthusiastic to try tisanes. Generally, I prefer camellia sinensis, but I can’t drink it all the time because otherwise it’d be difficult to drift off to sleep. This is one tisane that will help in that department. And it is an enjoyable tisane.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/07/05/insomniacs-dream-herbal-blend-from-simple-loose-leaf/

Lovely, light apple-y notes from the chamomile marry nicely with the lemony notes of the lemon balm and lemongrass, and the cool peppermint is quite refreshing. It’s a mellow, relaxing herbal. Nice.

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88

Backlog:

I am excited about the changes that Simple Loose Leaf is making to it’s format. Then again, I’ve always enjoyed this company. I hope that these changes are something that works well for them.

Here’s my full-length review of this tea: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/07/03/pu-erh-tahiti-blend-from-simple-loose-leaf/

I’m not always excited to try pu-erh teas. It’s a thing … that goes back to my earliest experiences with pu-erh teas that were not exactly “positive.” Since then, I’ve learned a lot about the best ways (for my palate) to brew pu-erh and I’ve learned to appreciate them and even actually like more of them than I’ve disliked. But there’s still that … memory of the bad. You know?

Anyway … if this had been the first pu-erh I tried, I think that I would have fallen in love with Pu-erh at first sip. This has a really lovely tropical flavor to it. Earthy, sweet, juicy, tropical. Lovely! Notes of mango, papaya and coconut.

Really tasty!

The Cookie Lady

I think I’ll have to try this since my earliest experience has thus far been my only experience because it was, as you say, not exactly “positive.”

LiberTEAS

How have you been steeping your pu-erh? I find that the way it’s steeped is the single biggest factor in pu-erh enjoyment.

The Cookie Lady

Well, to be honest, I had a bagged Emperor’s Pu-erh from Numi. Maybe that was where I went wrong…. I’ve also never had anything smokey and didn’t realize that a pu-erh might be smokey. So, I think it might have also been a case of not knowing what the heck I was getting into and then being totally thrown off. It’s something I really want to try again.

LiberTEAS

I can’t recall having a pu-erh that is smoky. It’s more earthy than smoky. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had a pu-erh that is smoky … one just doesn’t come to mind immediately. You should definitely seek out a good (loose leaf or caked) pu-erh and if you have a gaiwan, that’s the best way to brew it. First do a rinse (15 seconds in hot water, strain the water and discard it) and then start with a 30 – 45 second infusion. The biggest reason that my earliest pu-erh experiences were not exactly positive was because I wasn’t brewing it correctly. Or perhaps I should say that I wasn’t brewing it the way my palate likes it.

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87

I drank this prior to writing the review so I can’t go too in depth (I usually review while I’m drinking). Overall this tea had a very clean, sweet floral quality, the kind you’d expect from a high quality Taiwanese oolong. It was very spring-like and fresh and produced several very pleasant steepings. Very good stuff. I’ve had a lot of Taiwanese oolongs and can’t always differentiate their flavors a lot, but I can usually notice differences in quality and this one was very good in that regard. Seriously, how many times can you use the words “floral”, “vegetal” and “sweet” in a review before you realize you aren’t really pointing out anything that distinguishes it from other teas of its kind? I struggle to part with these descriptors in favor of more precise ones, but at times like these, they’re all I’ve got.

Flavors: Floral, Honey

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Anlina

Ah I know what you mean. Sometimes I can pick out really specific flavours, but othertimes really broad categories is the best I can do. I figure it’s better than nothing. I really hate when all I can think is, “This tastes like tea. Just… tea.”

Lion

Haha, yes. That happens to me the most with some black teas. I just think, “well, this is tea”. And can’t describe it any other way

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74

Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #32
This might just be the favorite I’ve tried from Simple Loose Leaf. Not sure! I seem to love anything to do with combinations of white tea and plum. There is a lovely floral quality… not sure where that comes from, but it isn’t the jasmine to me. Underlying that is a plum flavor. Maybe a little artificial with the plum but I liked it anyway. It’s tough to taste the white tea under that flavor, but I like shou mei anyway. This is similar to the 52Teas Sugar Plum… but this one is slightly more floral despite not having the lavender that the 52Teas blend has. The second cup wasn’t very good, but to be fair, I did leave the steeped leaves overnight.
Steep #1 // 25 min after boiling // 2-3 min
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 4 min

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75

Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #20
A nice solid black tea from a combination of three different teas. To me the blend tastes like an assam. A mid level of briskness while there is still a sweet malty flavor. This is like the olden day assams that didn’t taste like tomato soup to me. I don’t think anyone has tried this big pouch from the tea box!
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // few min after boiling // 5+ min

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66

Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #12
I decent white tea (that I wouldn’t recommend steeping at 200 degrees as the label says.) The blueberry flavor is more like blueberry candy. Big ol’ twigs in the dry blend but the cornflowers make it pretty. Maybe I SHOULD have used 200 degree water as I couldn’t taste the white tea.
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 2-3 min

A string of five tasting notes but I’ve been on a tea box spree.. no second steeps with teas I don’t LOVE.

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89

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89

Backlog:

As I mentioned in my full-length review of this tea – http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/24/sleeping-dragon-green-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/ – The aroma of this tea as it brews reminds me of the smell that fills the kitchen when I’m steaming broccoli. Perhaps with a bit of seaweed in the steamer. Not that I’d ever do that. I probably wouldn’t because I’m not a big fan of seaweed.

Fortunately the tea doesn’t have a seaweed flavor to go with the aroma.

The flavor reminds me of something between a green tea and a white tea. It has some of those sweet, melon-y notes of a white tea but not quite as delicate as the white tea would be, although it is a little more delicate in flavor than most green teas.

I also experienced notes of citrus, light vegetal notes, and a subtle smoky note. A really lovely green tea experience and it offers several infusions.

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80

Thank you for this one, Cheri!
I had a good day day today, I am getting to take a free class and career counseling for the unemployed due to a program sponsored by the City of San Francisco. And, I may have a potential consulting gig coming up… anyway we shall see!

I don’t have any 2nd flush darjeelings in my stash currently so it’s definitely nice to get some samples. I was looking forward to purchasing one or two this year, but then heard it was a bad year for the 2nd flushes due to a drought. So maybe I need to look at the 2013 teas from Upton if I really want one.

Anyway… this smells very nutty/roasted, almost like a wuyi oolong. Interesting! I definitely get a fruity/grape note with this, a bit of spicy, with a bit of a pungent bite in the finish. Nothing too overwhelming, however. Overall this is a nice 2nd flush, well rounded and easy to sip on plain, though better with a tiny touch of organic coconut sugar. I’m glad I didn’t steep it for longer, I think 3 minutes was fine and at a slightly lower temp than boiling. Thanks again, Cheri!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Sami Kelsh

Oh man, I loooooooooooove a good 2nd flush darjeeling. Disappointing that this year’s a bad vintage! Ho hum.

TeaBrat

yeah, droughts all over the place, blah

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90

Backlog:

Bold and robust, just as promised in the description of this tea. This is the kind of tea you want to reach for first thing in the morning when you need that kick in the pants.

Invigorating!

Sweet, like thinned molasses. Earthy, rich, somewhat woody (like slightly smoked wood) with notes of stone fruit – plum? – and black currant. Zesty, peppery. Moderately astringent.

This takes to the additions of milk and sugar well (try it with a little brown sugar to enhance those molasses notes!) A really fine breakfast tea.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/18/yunnan-breakfast-black-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/

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80

The first steep of this tea was lighter in flavor, but packed a sweet, yet floral punch which became stronger in subsequent steeps. By the time I reached my fourth steep of this tea it developed a somewhat vegetal flavor with hints of floral mixed in. While earlier steeps of this tea were somewhat creamy in texture, later steeps began to develop a hint of dryness. I was impressed not only with the flavor, but also with the number of times I was able to steep the tea. Even my fourth cup had wonderful flavor, I could very likely have gotten a fifth steep out of my leaves, but in my sick and clumsy state I managed to drop my steeper sending my tea leaves flying everywhere. This week is already starting off on the wrong foot, but at least I have a great oolong to help me on my road to recovery.

You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2014/9/16/tuesday-tea-september-selection-club-simple-loose-leaf.html

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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