Simple Loose Leaf

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Recent Tasting Notes

I really like this. With a little honey, it’s the perfect nighttime tea. Really can’t taste the rooibos at all, which is a good thing, and the mint is not too strong. Really nice blend. :)

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I expressed interest when SLL sent out an inquiry for reviewers, but I had no idea I was going to be one of the lucky ones to receive a box for review, until a box magically appeared in my mailbox yesterday. It was an awesome surprise! I love the packaging of these monthly subscription boxes…it’s like getting a gift box in the mail. The teas are nestled in crimped paper pieces and they include a card describing each tea and a couple of reusable cloth teabags. I’ve never used cloth teabags before, but I’ll have to give it a try and report back. Anyway, on to this tea, the first one I tried from the box!

The dry leaf smells like white chocolate peppermint bark! Yum! The leaf is beautiful with those cute little yellow chamomile flowers. I’ve not been a fan of chamomile, as it usually has a medicinal herb note to it, so this should be interesting.

The color of the liquor is a very clear red…pretty. :) The peppermint is nice…it hits at the front of the sip, then backs off for some creaminess, then hits more at the end of the sip with a refreshing minty spiciness. It clears up my nose a little. This tea is smooth and clean and sweet. I don’t even like mint much, but this is good. It’s nice for after dinner and it would probably be good with some honey if you were sick. I’m not tasting any rooibos and the chamomile is very mild, so those of you afraid of the medicinal taste of either of those should not be worried. You know, the funny thing is that when I saw there were two herbal teas in the box, I made a face, as I’m not big on herbal, but this is actually really good. Probably the best mint tea I’ve had. Well done, SSL, and thanks so much for your generosity!

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76

The first steeping of the tea has a rich, roasted flavor and a slightly sweet finish. There was a noticeable shift in flavors in the later steepings. They developed a deeper roasted flavor, reminding me somewhat of toasted sesame seeds (which I’m not particularly a fan of) and tasted salty. I thought at first my son had been dipping his pretzel rods in my tea again (this has recently become his new favorite game) but I kept noticing the same subtle brine-like flavor every time I prepared a fresh cup. I wasn’t expecting such a radical shift in flavors, it caught me a bit off guard and left me to wonder if I would notice such a huge difference if I had decided to steep the tea at a different temperature. This is one of the rare times I wish Simple Loose Leaf hadn’t decided to decrease the amount of tea in their monthly boxes. The new ¼ ounce size just doesn’t give me enough tea to experiment with if I feel the need, as was the case with this tea.

You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2015/2/10/tuesday-tea-tea-co-op-february-box-simple-loose-leaf

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

The best tea out of this month’s Simple Loose Leaf Tea Club Coop!

This oolong is from wild grown tea trees. The flavor is actually quite different – it’s green oolong, but not as delicate as one. The flavor starts tulips, wheatgrass and creamy sweet. With further infusions, the tea gets less grassy and more savory – with a sesame and wheat cracker kind of flavor, which is quite different and fun.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/february-simple-loose-leaf-tea-coop-club/ Dimetrodon in disguise!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec
TeaTiff

Oh man this one sounds really interesting and really yummy.

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76

Third one from the Simple Loose Leaf box. This is a very fresh and pleasant-smelling herbal tisane. Alongside the mint and chamomile, there’s a hint of vanilla flavoring, which makes for more of a sweet and smooth aroma. In terms of taste, the vanilla is fainter, while the mint and chamomile are both quite enjoyable. The rooibos base is fairly unassuming, and I don’t think there is that much of it in the mix either. Overall, it’s a standard herbal tea that is nicely relaxing.

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Backlog:

I’m not usually a fan of ginseng, but this blend has a lot going on – enough so that the ginseng’s presence isn’t too problematic for me.

Overall, I found this to be enjoyable. I liked the licorice-y notes, I liked the peppermint and the sarsaparilla, and the cinnamon. Not a bad tisane.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/01/06/seven-seas-herbal-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/

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82

This is the second tea I am trying from the Simple Loose Leaf tea box. It’s pure lemongrass, and has a pleasant smell reminiscent of lemon and dried grass (…is that redundant?) In terms of taste, there are no big surprises here—this is an enjoyably lemony brew on the sweet and smooth side. It actually reminds me very strongly of Butiki’s Lemon French Macaron, so I wonder if some of the flavor in that blend is derived from lemongrass as well.

I tried brewing this tea in the reusable muslin sachets that came with the box. The sachet is easy to use, and allows the tea to infuse quite well. The one shortcoming of it is that the smaller lemongrass pieces tend to poke into the fabric, making it hard to clean. This might not be the case with larger tea leaves.

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68

Thank you Ost for this sample. This tea is malty, quite malty. This is strong, a good morning tea. This should wake me up. I think I oversteeped it at three minutes but it is still relatively good.

I brewed this twice in an 18oz teapot with approx 3 tsp leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 3 min and 4 min. I put the second steeping in a thermos to take with me to an appointment.

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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87

I received this tea as part of the Simple Loose Leaf tea box that I won this month. It was an awesome surprise that brightened up my whole day (and probably week)! The box comes with 5 teas and 2 muslin tea sachets, which I haven’t tried brewing with yet. All of the teas are new to the database, hopefully someone who subscribed to the box will add at least a few of the rest before I get to them…

Anyway, this is a lovely, very smoky lapsang. The aroma of the tea is that familiar pine-smoke scent. This one is a little savory and sweet at the same time, almost like candied bacon (I mean it in the good way, I swear!). The smokiness—leaning more toward charred pinewood now—is very much present in the taste, but somehow not overwhelming. Lapsang is a bit of an acquired taste, but it’s really comforting if you’re accustomed to it. There’s also a rich, almost buttery quality to the savory notes of this tea around mid-sip. The aftertaste is lingering and sweet, and a little bit menthol-like, just as the description says.

This is the third lapsang/xiao zhong I’ve tried from a Western seller, and currently tied for the best. I can see the one from Verdant being more of a cult favorite, but this one should have broader appeal. There’s a nice warm-glowing quality to it, like sitting by a fireplace.

Thanks again to the guys at Simple Loose Leaf for the gift, and as a friendly note, you might want to run your tea labels through spellcheck next time. Wouldn’t want any unintentional comedy :)

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Place holder until future steeps

I tried one sencha yesterday, so I thought I’d follow it up with another! The inside of the packet looks like the leftovers from a hay bale, except green. So perhaps an alfalfa bale. These leaves smell a lot sweeter than yesterday’s. Sweet dry alfalfa. I went for the minimum recommended steep time (2 min). The liquor is a pale gold with a tinge of green. It gives off a faint…..dry grass, almost roasted scent. The taste reminds me of high-summer hay. A little grassy, a little roasted, more body, but still light. There’s an almost metallic tang on the end, but it’s swallowed up by the sweetness in the breath. (I probably used too hot of water.)

Further steeps revealed this to be true….

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85

From the January Simple Loose Leaf Tea coop.

Best tea out of the box this month. The assam malty base is a great match to the bergamot. The bergamot is a moderate level, with a bit of a brisk finish at the end.

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

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Spiced Pu'er by Simple Loose Leaf
4823 tasting notes

Backlog:

My first infusion had a nice balance of sweet and spicy. The spices had a chai-like flavor to them and the pu-erh is mellow and smooth. It’s a little earthy but I thought that the earthiness worked because of the spices.

The second infusion, the spices were a little more mild than the first so this allowed me the chance to explore the tea a little more. It’s earthy, but I’m tasting more of a mushroom type of earthiness. I like that I’m not tasting brine or fishy.

The flavor was much deeper and smoother with the third infusion. I can really taste the rich, aged tea now. The spices have softened and are more of a background note, and I like the way they play with the molasses-y sweetness of the tea. It’s quite an enjoyable experience.

here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/11/05/puerh-spice-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/

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92

After looking through the offerings in the box this month it was tough to decide which tea I wanted to review. The chai green piqued my interest, but I’m a sucker for anything Earl Grey (it is without a doubt my all time favorite tea.) This time I was delighted to see we have an Earl Grey with a twist— it’s made with an Assam base rather than the traditional Ceylon. Once I saw that I knew it was the tea for me. I wasn’t disappointed either, the flavor of the Assam was much more delicate than what I’m accustomed to with Ceylon. When steeped at 205°F the tea lacked the astringency and dry mouth feeling I get from many Earl Grey teas. It really allowed me to focus on the citrus flavor from the bergamot. The difference in base teas was a refreshing change from what I’m accustomed to. I could certainly see this tea becoming part of my regular rotation.

You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2015/1/12/tuesday-tea-tea-co-op-january-box-simple-loose-leaf

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92

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92

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Backlog:

I’ve been very busy evaluating the prospects to join SororiTea Sisters that I’ve neglected my posting of backlogs so that I can get caught up, so now I’m allowing myself to fall behind again.

I MUST get this caught up by the end of March. MUST! You’ll soon find out why!

Anyway, this is a good Hojicha! Roasty, toasty, warm. Nutty. Tasty! I love a good hojicha especially in the autumn because it’s got those lovely nutty, toasty flavors that taste so autumnal to me.

The texture is smooth and light. A pleasure to sip.

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drank Yunnan Jig by Simple Loose Leaf
4823 tasting notes

Backlog:

A beautiful dry leaf. The aroma is leathery and evoked thoughts of an old library with lots of leather bound books. The brewed tea smells more earthy than leathery.

Rich flavor, smooth from start to finish. Virtually no astringency, only a slight dryness toward the tail. Notes of cacao and spice. A sweet caramel undertone. A nice balance between sweet and savory. A nicely round cuppa.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/10/22/yunnan-jig-black-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/

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drank Peppermint by Simple Loose Leaf
4823 tasting notes

Backlog:

As I wrote in my full-length article about this tea – http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/10/19/peppermint-herbal-tisane-from-simple-loose-leaf/ – yes, this is plain and pure peppermint, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. The leaves produce an invigorating cup that is crisp and cool and refreshing. It’s nice to sip.

I enjoyed this offering from Simple Loose Leaf. It’s as simple as it gets – pure peppermint – but it’s a quality leaf and it’s a very enjoyable cup. It’s great served with a squeeze of lemon!

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90

GCTTB

Loved this one. Brewed 1 tsp, 185F, 8oz, 1min. It was grassy & sweet. There was a good seaweed & nutty taste to it. This is my kind of sencha!

Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet

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GCTTB

This is almost the same blend as Rishi’s Hisbiscus Rooibos tea. The title is misleading for Rishi’s tea because you would think it’s really heavy hisbicus and it’s not. This one has a stronger hibiscus in it than the Rishi tea does. I think I prefer Rishi’s blend of this tea.

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

This must be an old sample. The coconut has that old soapy taste like coconut gets when it goes stale. I’m getting a combo of that and perfume. The aftertaste is very patchouli like… earthy perfume. I’m not digging it, but I’d give it another go with a fresh sample if I came across it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank White pear by Simple Loose Leaf
4823 tasting notes

Backlog:

This is one of my favorite teas that I’ve tried from Simple Loose Leaf. The pear notes are well-defined and taste true to the fruit. The Shou Mei is sweet and hay-like and I like the way these notes play with the pear. It’s a smooth tea, no bitterness and no astringency. A very flavorful white tea – a really good pear tea! I’d highly recommend this one to those who are looking for the ‘right’ pear tea.

Sami Kelsh

Ooh, shiny. I love pear!

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