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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!