Simple Loose Leaf
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ll admit that I’m partial to blueberry teas, but like all fruit flavored teas they can be really hit or miss. More often than not they taste nothing like the fruit they claim to be, but the Blueberry White from the August box is one of the few exceptions, it really tastes like blueberry. The blueberry flavor manages to capture the sweet and tart flavors of blueberry without drowning out the strong flavor of the Shou Mei White Tea that is used for the base. With most flavored white teas you’ll taste the flavor first and the base second (or not at all,) but with this tea the strong earthy flavors from the Shou Mei really shine. It’s a refreshing change from the norm, but I would have preferred just a bit more blueberry flavor.
You can read the full review on my blog:
Once steeped this tea has a flavor much like I remember from my previous encounter with it. It has a buttery texture, which is partially due to the milk flavoring that has been added. Underneath this is a slightly floral flavor that edges towards peaches and cream once you steep it a second time. Later steeps take on a slightly vegetal flavor that increases with each subsequent steeping. I don’t typically enjoy this tea once the sweetness disappears so I only steep it three times. You certainly could continue to resteep it if you still enjoy the flavors, this tea resteeps very well. Overall this is a really nice milk oolong, one that I would certainly order again if Simple Loose Leaf had a convenient way for me to reorder the teas I’ve enjoyed from the Selection Club.
You can read the complete review on my blog:
Drinking this cold steeped tonight. It’s ok, it’s good. The peach flavor is nice, not fake and candy – I just wish there was a little more of it. The white base is fine, present but not in the way. This is a decent peach white tea. I have a LOT of peach teas in my house and this one is good but not my favorite.
On that note, drinking the last of this puts my cupboard officially at 299. Goodbye 300s, nice to know you, but don’t ever want this much tea in my house again. Operation cupboard reduction continues…..
This was a nice green, not a personal favorite of mine, but definitely nice. The leaves are a bit unconventional for a green, taking on an “eyebrow” shape and being such a dark color it almost resembles a mild black tea. It brews a nice golden color and delivers a rich flavor. Refreshing as it hits the tongue with a fruity foretaste and then smoothly transitioning into a mildly bitter and astringent aftertaste that is a telltale sign of any green worth its salt. I enjoyed this green and it would make a wonderful base for a blend.
**Note: i drank this iced because I live in California and it’s summer.
Backlog note 6 of 13.
I’m backtracking a bit here – I forgot that I drank this on Saturday, not Sunday.
I had a Mary Kay lady over at my house to try on different types of makeup. I thought it would be fun, but I ended up feeling really uncomfortable because I just wanted make up, and she wanted to show me all of these other products involving skin care. I just wanted makeup! And I just wanted her to tell me what colours looked good on me! I’m an idiot when it comes to make up – just tell me what I need to do, and I’ll be fine.
Anyways, I had some of this when she was over. I really want to sip this down – I might as well do it with someone who doesn’t know I’ve got better stuff hiding in the cupboard.
Does that make me a bad person? Ah well. Consider me cheap.
I’ve got a lot of other teas I like much more in my cupboard, but I need to finish this off so I can empty the tin and then put my good jasmine pearls in the same tin (this means that I won’t have to wash the tin since it already smells like jasmine).
I still used a 2-minute steep time.
Happy Friday, y’all. Lots of stuff I need to do before the day is done.
I think I’m finally getting caught up!
I brewed a pot of this tea this morning, and knowing how jasmine-heavy it tastes, I tried steeping at a lower temperature (72C) for 2 minutes.
The result was still very heavily fragranced with jasmine, but it was much more tolerable this time. So note to self and others: try steeping this at around 70C. Also, keep the steeping short to keep the jasmine flavour under control.
The hubby and I had a garage sale this weekend, so now I’m pooped. Catching up on my tea logs for the week is one of the last things I do before I lie down to relax.
Another backlog from when I drank during Steepster’s Day of Server Doom:
The jasmine in this is really strong, even at a 2.5 minute steep. There’s at least 3/4 of an ounce left. I put the leaf into an empty tin to save space, but it is a bad idea that I already know what tea I’ll store in this tin once I finish this particular tea? Gonna have to mainline this over the next few weeks to sip it down.
Happy Sunday, everyone! It’s time for another Sunday Tea and Books review.
Jasmine Special Grade Green was part of Simple Loose Leaf’s August subscription box. I ended up getting a sample of this in the July box, and then unexpectedly got the August box for free. When I told Simple Loose Leaf this, they said that they hadn’t meant to send it out, but that they’ve enjoyed my ST&B reviews so much that I should just consider it to be a thank-you box. Awesome!
When I first opened up the package, the smell of jasmine was unmistakable, but the smell of the green base underneath was unusual. It smelled sort of smoky and leathery, but I really couldn’t put my finger on it.
The resulting tea is similar. The jasmine is very strong, but still somewhat sweet. I was initially worried that I had overleafed it somewhat. I think that because of the strength of the jasmine flavour, this tea would benefit more from a 2-minute steep than a 3-minute steep, because at 3 minutes the resulting liquor was dark and intense.
All throughout, I wished that I could get a better sense of what the base tea was. Neither Simple Loose Leaf nor Maya Tea Company (which I’m assuming is the source supplier for this tea because the photo and the description of this tea is the same on both sites) mention the base cultivar/variety for this tea, which means that I feel I’m lacking some context in order to fully appreciate it.
Despite this, it is still a decent jasmine tea. It edges towards the Wall of Overwhelming Jasmine flavour that I worry I will sometimes experience with jasmine teas, but it stops just short of that unpalatable threshold.
I drank most of this while sitting at the little patio table on the front porch of the house. The weather dallied back and forth between being sunny and cloudy. I just sipped, read a book, and watched my cats wander around the front yard. All in all, it was a nice, contemplative tea session.
So what fictional character does this tea remind me of? This is a tea with a distinctive flavour, but with origins that are somewhat murky. Despite this lack of context, it has a lot of potential for future enjoyment, as I find there’s always something soothing about drinking jasmine tea.
Hm…a character whose origins are unknown, but who has the power to do great things. A character, in fact, whose destiny hinges on the fact that they don’t know their origins, their history, their parents.
This tea makes me think of Taran from Alexander Lloyd’s Chronicles of Prydain series. Although I haven’t read the books myself, thanks to Wikipedia I am an unrepentant devourer of spoilers, and I know that by the end of the series, Taran, despite being an orphan, becomes the High King of Prydain. In fact, his ascension is ordained by prophecy, as it’s stated that only one with “no station in life” would be able to succeed the current dynasty to rule after their passing.
He seems like the perfect character to match to a tea with similarly unknown provenance that is memorable in spite of that lack of info.
EDIT: I did a second steep for 2 minutes, and the result was still very strongly jasmine flavoured. I have to admit that by the end of the second pot of tea, I felt that I had reached my Jasmine Quota for the day.
Let me start by apologizing for the photo. It looks terribly distorted. If you check out my full-length review of this tea, you’ll see a slightly better version of the photo of the tea: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/05/17/darjeeling-second-flush-black-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/ (Even though the photo is kind of small)
Anyway … on to the tea!
My preference for Darjeeling tends to be the second flush so I was happy to see that this was a second flush Darjeeling in Simple Loose Leaf’s May Selection Club box. I prefer the second flush because it usually has more muscatel-ish notes and they make me happy. That said, I would like to say that I’ve tried some amazing first flush Darjeeling teas from this year’s harvests that have made me happy also.
But, I’m not talking about those right now, right now, I’m talking about this Second Flush Darjeeling from Simple Loose Leaf, and this tea made me quite happy. A lovely, well-rounded taste with lots of fruity notes. Lovely muscatel. Woodsy, earthy layers of flavor.
Smooth, uplifting, grape-y notes that transform into a black currant flavor toward the finish. Sweet! A slightly tangy finish but far less astringent than some Darjeelings that I’ve encountered. This is more smooth … with what I’d call a moderate dry astringency.
A fine Darjeeling.
for a white tea, this tea really took me by surprise at just how flavorful it was! Wow! This packs the peach flavor! But even though it’s a strong peach flavor, the white tea is still there. I can taste the sweet, earthy notes of the Shou Mei.
It’s not a fake tasting peach flavor. When consumed warm, the flavor reminds me of the peach filling of a peach cobbler (without the spice!) When iced (you’ve got to try this one iced!) it tastes so much like a fresh, tree-ripened peach that I could almost feel the juice running down my arm.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/05/12/sweet-peach-white-tea-blend-simple-loose-leaf/
This was in my May Selection Club box from Simple Loose Leaf. The aroma is vegetal, sweet and flowery. The fragrance was certainly familiar as I’ve had quite a few Sencha teas, but the gentle floral fragrance was unexpected and nice to discover.
Sweet green tea notes. The vegetal notes are sweet – not savory, not bitter, not even bittersweet. Just beautifully sweet with a soft, smooth texture. Like liquefied silk.
It has a strong vegetal flavor, like something between grass and kelp, but without the savory notes that often accompany those two descriptive flavors. There is also a layer of fruit note, similar to apple with a creaminess that I’d describe as a vanilla-ish note. Nice!
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/05/06/japanese-sencha-saga-green-tea-simple-loose-leaf/
Thank you Cameron B. for the sample! I’ve only had one other Ginseng Oolong prior to this one, so I was definitely excited about the opportunity to try another one and compare. Additionally, I believe this is my first Simple Loose Leaf blend, so that’s kinda exciting too.
This was prepped in my timolino and steeped very carefully; I did not want to burn the leaves. At work, I shared some of this with Bobbi and she made a face; not her cup of tea I suppose (awful pun somewhat intended). Personally, I didn’t think it was awful. Certainly it was drinkable; however somewhat to my surprise I think I liked the DT version better – that one just seems like it was more flavourful overall.
And additionally, I think this one took advantage of a green base oolong, and I’m not so heavily a green tea or green oolong person, so I suppose that contributed to not enjoying this as much. I mean, the ginseng was sweet, natural and relatively woody and that was good – but the base just wasn’t as agreeable to me.
Oh well. I’m still glad for the comparison, and like I said this was not bad; just not as good.
Last night was a good night. I did a lot of reading, I watched the live stream of the Hugo Awards (OMG, so happy that Ann Leckie and Kameron Hurley and Sofia Samatar won awards. And the magazine that I read slush for, Lightspeed, won a Hugo too! I bask in their reflected glory!)
I talked to my sister, tidied up my office, and then went to bed sometime around half past 11.
This meant that when I woke up this morning, I was full of sleepy blerg. The shower helped some, but as I was heading down to the kitchen to make breakfast, I was totally struggling over what to brew.
Then it hit me: I really just want some plain old black tea. And I LOVED this when I first had it a week ago. So into the pot it went.
I steeped it for a tad too long this time, so it’s slightly astringent, but yeah, I don’t regret brewing this. Such a wonderful malty, fruity flavour. I really need to try more ceylons, because if they’re similar to this, I think I’m in love.
I think I’m just going to make the Sunday Tea and Books thing a Steepster-only thing, and get rid of it from my blog.
So today’s Sunday Tea and Books tea is Kenilworth Ceylon Black from Simple Loose Leaf. I’ve probably had Ceylon tea in blends, unknowingly, but I’ve never had one by itself before.
The smell was so nice when I opened the package – just a really comforting, fruity smell. It reminds me yet again of my mother’s avowed preference for “plain old Orange Pekoe” whenever I make tea. This smells like a plain old Orange Pekoe (though not so drab). Fruity, sweet… just… tea-y. I can’t really describe it otherwise.
I let the pot sit for 4 minutes and was greeted with a nice deep red brew that smelled fruity and bready and just…Orange Pekoe-y. Considering the past few days have been hectic in a good way, I think I made a good choice to go with a tea that seems fairly old-school. Something to lean on and relax against. Something warm and furry and comforting.
So, I’m cheating here a little bit today, because the character that this tea makes me think of is not technically from a book. Instead, he’s from a now-in-reruns webcomic that I absolutely LOVED called “Little Dee”.
Here’s the story: Dee is a little girl lost in the woods. She’s rescued by three animals living in the woods – a bear, a dog, and a vulture – and the four of them live in a cave together. The trick is that the animals can talk and are all quite mature with developed personalities, while Dee, the human, is mute. There’s Ted, the bear, a gentle paternal figure who cooks and leads the cave. There’s Blake, the runaway dog, who is loving but rather dim. And finally there’s Vachel, the smart-ass, caustic vulture.
This tea is definitely a Ted: warm, caring, fuzzy, big…just relaxing, and comfortable to hold onto.
Here are a few of my favourite Little Dee strips involving Ted:
Warning: I claim no responsibility if you decide to check out the rest of the Little Dee archives and become completely charmed. I totally will not be responsible for you finding out about this absolute gem of a comic strip. :-D
This is a pretty decent jasmine green. I love jasmine green tea, but I haven’t had it in a while.
It’s quite jasminey and a little bit astringent. I can’t taste enough of the green, though, but maybe another infusion will help with that. (I did say somewhere I’m guilty of resteeping my teas to death….)
A classic tea, jasmine green teas have been sipping in China for an exceptionally long time, far longer than I have been sipping tea (see, I am not a time traveler, I swear) and it just might be a lot of people in the West’s first encounter with green tea. The aroma if this particular jasmine green is quite heady and sweet, it does not have the perfume aroma that some jasmine teas have, instead it has the aroma of fresh jasmine flowers in bloom. Surprisingly there is no aroma of the base green tea at all, the same goes for the brewed leaves. The liquid sans leaves is honey sweet with jasmine headiness and a delicate hint of fresh vegetation.
The first steep is surprisingly sweet, like flower nectar and sugar, there is also a nice heady taste of jasmine that permeates throughout the entire sipping experience. At the end of the taste and into the aftertaste there is a fairly delicate fresh vegetation taste, there is no bitterness at all.
For the second steep the aroma is very jasmine heavy, the fresh vegetation aroma from previously is still present, but it is stronger. The taste starts out sweet and jasmine heavy, this transitions to slightly smoky green, like fresh vegetation and spinach. The smoke is barely present, like a tiny whiff of a distant fire. Again, the tea is mild and not at all bitter. I am always fan of jasmine teas that are not overwhelming.
This tea had me a bit worried before I saw the ingredients, I thought it was a Lady Grey…a tea which I have a very reliable track record of disliking. Luckily this is not a Lady Grey, it is a Lady Earl Grey, made from Nilgiri Black Tea, Bergamot, Vanilla Flavor, and Cornflowers. It is one of those tasty creamy Earls that I tend to like. The aroma is very much so creamy sweet vanilla, bright bergamot, and malty black tea. Not very complex, but still very nice to sniff. The brewed tea is stronger in the citrus department, with the malt and sweet vanilla taking a backseat. And by taking a backseat I mean it sneaked off into the liquid, which is almost all creamy vanilla and malt.
The taste is not bad! It starts out brisk and lemony, just a touch of bitter like lemon pith, this very quickly passes. Afterwards we get a nice, creamy vanilla and malt taste, it is quite sweet. There is a tiny bit of a soapy quality, resident Earl Grey afficianado did not notice it, so your mileage may very on that one. I notice sometimes that teas with bergamot taste a tiny bit soapy to me, that is the only tea ingredient that has every tasted soapy. Earl Greys are not my favorite tea ever, but I still enjoy them ever so often, especially creamy sweet ones.
Oh man, I love blueberries so much, they might be my favorite fruit and they are certainly my favorite fruity additive to various things. This particular tea is a blend of Shou Mei White Tea, Blueberries, Blueberry Flavor, and Cornflowers for a very intensely blueberry tea. When I opened the package I was greeted with a potent blueberry aroma similar to blueberry jam, it is intensely sweet. Under this strong blueberry aroma there is a nice leafy green, like fresh vegetation and lettuce. Brewing the tea turns my tea lair into a blueberry lair! It is sweet and fruity with a gentle hint of vegetation, the liquid without its leafy friends is essentially the same, but with an extra honey sweetness.
The taste is surprisingly gentle and delicate, I was expecting an explosion of blueberries, instead we have a gentle caress of Shou Mei. The taste starts out a blend of fresh vegetation, lettuce, and a touch of earthiness. This transitions to slightly peppery blueberries, but it is like someone squeezed some blueberry juice in my white tea, or I just ate blueberries and then drank some white tea. As the tea chills it takes on a bit of a sage taste to it which goes really well with the blueberries. Absolutely yum!