Simple Loose Leaf

Recent Tasting Notes

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I brewed this two ways: hot-brewed via Western style and cold-brewed.

The dry leaf mostly smells of ginseng (at least I think it does – I have never had ginseng before but it would seem obvious considering), with floral and seaweed notes peaking out from underneath. First infusion (3 mins) produces a very lightly flavored liquor, but by the second infusion (4 mins), when the leaves are even more unrolled, the ginseng flavor, too unrolls. It’s quite strong. I’m not sure if I like ginseng; it’s a new taste for me, so it’s probably neutral at best for the time being. I like third infusion (5 mins) the most. The ginseng calms down, allowing itself to be balanced with the floral note. The tea tastes like an average lightly oxidized oolong but with something extra.

A cold-brew (2 tsp, 16 oz, ~14 hours) yields a much different liquor. Besides having the same ginseng and floral notes – both of which are in perfect balance and taste not too weak and not took strong – it is thick, buttery, full-bodied, and most refreshing.

Cheri

I love cold brewing oolong. I don’t do it nearly enough.

KiwiDelight

Do you have a preference for a certain level of oxidation? Lighter oolongs seem to work best with cold water.

Cheri

I have only tried a few oolongs cold brewed, mostly more green.

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89

Last up is the black tea hailing from Kenilworth Estate in Sri Lanka (or Ceylon if you are a bit old fashioned) the label on my tea package says this is bold and strong black tea, perfect for my breakfast tea. Fun fact about me, even though I can have many gongfu sessions during the day, my English roots show through with my first cup of a strong black tea, usually accompanied by loud music, today it was this tea and my Best of Queen collection. The aroma of the loose leaves is pretty rich with strong notes of malt and molasses, there are faint notes of roasted nuts and cherries, yum!

Pip pip, cheerio, and all that, the brewed tea smells quite delicious! With bold notes of malt, sweetness that is a mix of various dried fruits, molasses, and a nice brisk oak note at the finish, I was certainly woken up by the sniff! Upon the first sip I notice this tea has a nice dry mouthfeel and brisk taste, well if the sniffing did not wake me up, the tasting certainly did! This tea is robust, with strong notes of sweet molasses, malt, oak wood, cherries and a finish of pepper. Going full English and adding cream and sugar, the briskness is mostly replaced with boldness for a very smooth and strong cup of tea, an excellent wake up tea, but I expect nothing less from Kenilworth.

For blog and Photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/07/simple-loose-leaf-july-subscription-box.html

Flavors: Malt, Molasses, Oak wood

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80

Plum Blossom White, it is a blend of Shou Mei White Tea, Jasmine Special Grade Green Tea, Safflowers, Sunflowers, Plum Flavor, and Jasmine Flowers. I have to admit, I have never seen plum and jasmine mixed, but I think the idea is stellar. The aroma of the dried (and rather fluffy) leaves is rich, a blend of heady jasmine, honey, and candy. Specifically it reminds me of these delicious plum gummies I used to get from my local Korean market back in high school. They were all the rage with my friends and me, they have a distinct fresh plum aroma along with a grape aroma, it blended the candy smell with fruit smell really well. After that little bit of nostalgia I also picked up on fresh vegetation and a touch of earthiness.

Steeping the tea brings out more of the honey and plum aroma, really it smells like fresh plums drizzled in honey. There is an undertone of heady jasmine and fresh vegetation, along with a touch of plum candy and earthiness. The taste starts out honey sweet which transitions to fresh vegetation and growing things. This fades to heady jasmine and lastly a nice pop of fresh juicy plum and plum candy, this lingers on as an aftertaste. On a whim I tried this tea iced and let me tell you, that was an excellent idea, it was sweet and fruity on its own, but with a little bit of added sugar, it was like drinking a fresh plum.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/07/simple-loose-leaf-july-subscription-box.html

Flavors: Candy, Green, Jasmine, Plums

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85

Tropical Sunshine Herbal is a blend of Cardamon, Red Peppercorn, Lemongrass, Organic South African Rooibos, Cornflowers, Cinnamon Chips, Orange Peel, Cranberries, Apples, Papaya Flavor, and Grapefruit Flavor, quite the list! It blends the aroma of tropical fruit, citrus, spices, tart, and woodiness in a really interesting blend. The strongest notes were wood, citrus, and pepper, usually I would not think to put them together but the aroma really works.

You might notice I am not using my usual steeping basket for this tea, that is because Simple Loose Leaf was nice enough to include a pair of Muslin Cotton Teabags, which is awesome. I love these things, they work like a steeping basket allowing the leaves to expand and properly steep, but since they keep all those annoying little leaf bits out of my cup of tea. I especially recommend using these with herbal teas because they tend to have smaller bits. They are also a reusable and eco-friendly alternative to teabags, so extra points in my book, but enough about bags…how about more tea? The brewed aroma of this tea wakes you up! Those bright citrus notes, warm spices, and sharp woody notes blend together for a sunshine filled cup of happiness. This combination of smells really rocks my socks off, especially with the added notes of tropical fruit.

And now for the real test, how does this unusual blend of ingredients taste? Interesting (or eeeeeenteresting as I said out loud on first sip) certainly in a good way. The mouth feel is a bit dry, typical of rooibos, but the slightly tart notes and slightly sour notes of citrus cause a salivary response so the dryness transitions to smoothness. Oh yes, I said tart, but it is the tartness of dried cranberries (which I love) and not the tartness of say, hibiscus (which I loathe) and it is mild with a sweet finish. The spice, citrus, sweet fruit, and honey rooibos notes blend together in perfect harmony.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/07/simple-loose-leaf-july-subscription-box.html

Flavors: Citrus, Pepper, Spices, Tropical, Wood

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What a strange tea. Unfortunately I was expecting coconut—mom read some names out to me and I heard “coco cream”—so this is pretty much the last thing I expected. This is like a watery mocha in tea form, which I’m not sure I understand. It’s very strongly coffee with a little bit of chocolate. I don’t notice the creme brulee flavor at all, which is sad, and the yogurt is also missing for me. Not sure I like this, but then my stomach has been off today and this is not at all what I was hoping it would be so I’ll hold off on rating it until I can appreciate it for what it is.

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80

I hate ginseng oolongs, but this one is okay. This ginseng oolong has a rolled appearance instead of the dust chunks. I made it iced, but found it to be mild on the elements I dislike with ginseng oolong – weird licorice notes and sweet. It’s a buttery, clean, vegetal oolong with little floral. This oolong made for some good iced tea with multiple western style infusions.

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

Preparation
Iced
Indigobloom

I can’t stand ginseng. It tastes like rocks and licorice.

Awkward Soul

I feel like it should be a tea I’d like (oolong and ginseng) but most of them I feel like I want to sandpaper my tongue to get the flavor out.

Indigobloom

hahaha that sounds about right!!

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70

From the July Simple Loose leaf selection club!

This herbal was interesting – very colourful dry leaf, lots of refreshing citrus and lemongrass flavor, but with a medium warm spice finish. I made this iced, and the spice made my mouth feel warm, like being in the summer sun! Another way of thinking of this herbal is it’s a tropical citrus chai.

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

Preparation
Iced

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75

Overall the flavor of this green tea is mild with a slight astringency and slightly vegetal flavor. This is the sort of uncomplicated green tea that I like to seek out for everyday drinking because I don’t feel the need to dissect what different flavors I taste, I can simply sit back and enjoy it. While it isn’t what I prefer for the hot days of summer it will be something I can enjoy the rest of the year.

You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2014/7/15/tuesday-tea-july-selection-club-simple-loose-leaf.html

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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The description of this tea says Tropical Sunshine Herbal is an explosion of flavor and I can’t think of a more apt description for a tea. The citrus flavors do seem to explode on your tongue every time you take a sip. The first thing I notice about this blend is the combination of lemongrass, orange peel, and grapefruit. They give this herbal tisane an strong citrus flavor that contrasts perfectly with the spicy additions of cardamom, red peppercorn, and cinnamon chips. The addition of these spicy ingredients may feel odd at first, but when combined with the citrus flavors and slight sweetness from the apples and papaya flavoring we’re left with an incredibly well balanced blend that just screams summer.

You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2014/7/15/tuesday-tea-july-selection-club-simple-loose-leaf.html

Preparation
3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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