Simple Loose Leaf

Recent Tasting Notes

20

This is a blend of orange peel, Shou Mei White Tea, Safflowers, Sunflowers, and Orange Flavor for a citrus themed twist on a classic white tea. The aroma is very citrus heavy, it is a little on the artificial side and sadly reminds me of the orange bathroom cleanser I used to use. Underneath the heavy swath of orange there are notes of lettuce and delicate floral.

Once the leaves have steeped in their little basket, the wet leaves’ aroma is intensely orange, still too artificial for my liking. There is also a bit of tartness and lettuce to the aroma. The liquid smells pretty much the same, I am afraid!

Tasting the tea sadly confirmed my fear, this tea tastes like air freshener. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not such a tea snob that a candy flavored tea puts me off…just certain flavors do not necessarily work. I find that any citrus that is a flavor and not all natural tends to taste too much like cleaning chemicals, but it could be that I have a preference for citrus scented cleaners. Other than the air freshener taste there are notes of lettuce and a tiny bit of orange sweetness. I really like the idea of an orange white tea, just maybe I will hunt one down that just has orange bits in it.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/06/simple-loose-leaf-june-subscription-box_7.html

Flavors: Lettuce, Orange

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78

For this tea we have a blend of Pu’erh, Apple, Coconut, Natural Coconut Flavor, Marigold, Mango, and Papaya Flavor. Long ago I had a tropical themed Pu’erh and was not the biggest fan, so lets see how this one compares. The aroma is a blend of mango sweetness, nutty coconut, and a tiny bit of earthy and metallic Pu’erh. The coconut has a bit of that ‘old’ coconut oil aroma, it is not off putting and it is very faint.

The aroma of the wet leaves is very, very sweet. Lots of tropical fruity and coconut. It is very evocative of summer time! The liquid has the coconut nuttiness and the fruity sweetness with a much stronger Pu’erh presence with notes of earthiness.

The taste, oh man, it is so sweet! Very strong notes of mango and papaya. This fades into very strong notes of coconut, and this lastly fades to a mild earthiness at the finish. I certainly enjoyed this one more than my last tropical Pu’erh, it is very sweet (which I like) and tastes like some of my favorite fruits.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/06/simple-loose-leaf-june-subscription-box_7.html

Flavors: Coconut, Earth, Mango, Tropical

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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82

Ah, sleep and dreams, ever illusive when the cruel grasp of insomnia has you by the Morpheus. This herbal tea is a blend of Chamomile, Catnip, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, and Lemongrass. Hmm, catnip, that explains why my cats were so friendly after I drank a cup…and tried to sleep on my face. The aroma is quite minty and also quite lemony. It is very refreshing and wakes me up…hmmm. There are also mild straw and herbaceous notes at the finish.

The brewed leaves have a refreshing (less wakefulness inducing) blend of mint, lemon, and fresh green vegetation. It reminds me of a summer evening on the porch while living in the South. The liquid is much the same but with a stronger lemon presence.

Tasting this tea was a fun experience. First the sip is sweet, lemony, and warm and then BOOM! Cooling mint that flows through my mouth, esophagus, and into my stomach, cooling my entire core. The cooling sensation is oddly not accompanied by a super strong mint, as one would expect, instead it is delicate and soothing. The finish is herbaceous with a hint of chamomile’s straw like taste. I really liked this tea! I would say that it is perfect for sipping on a night when insomnia is caused by the summer heat, it cools and refreshes without waking you up.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/06/simple-loose-leaf-june-subscription-box_7.html

Flavors: Herbs, Lemon, Mint, Straw

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37

Thanks again for that month that was a whole dollar, Simple Loose Leaf! Unfortunately, I like the name of this one better than the blend itself. It smells fruity, lemony and refreshing… but it brews up a deep red cup color of a warning: hibiscus. The dry leaves are actually smaller than I expected… I thought it would be giant fruit chunks but the tea is very fine. I guess rooibos is an ingredient too. It isn’t very citrusy. Too much hibiscus to be for me. I forgot if I learned last year that hibiscus works better when it’s iced.

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18

Samples Only TTB If I have one area of expertise in teas, it’s Earl Grey. I’ve drank as many Earl Grey variants as I could find so far. I am always looking for more varieties as I love seeing the subtle differences between one recipe and another.

That said, this is the hands-down WORST Earl Grey I’ve ever tried.
It is, admittedly, the first decafinated variety I’ve had, but it tastes just terrible.

The oil of bergamot is way over-used in this blend and it has a sharp, unpleasant chemical tail. The aroma is delightfully excellent for what I expect of Earl Grey, however, sadly, this tea is best used as potpourri and I daresay I might rather smell this and drink that. :/

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Orange

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
carol who

Good to know! Potpourri, hummmm? Not a bad idea.

Arshness

Haha :) Earl grey smells so good I’d actually do it.

carol who

I agree!

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90

This became a sipdown last night. I would seriously consider purchasing this again. Each time I had this in the evening I really looked forward to drinking it.

Last night I curled up on the couch with my sore muscles, a cup of this, and a DVR full of TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? episodes. That show is pretty much my favorite. I always look forward to its return because I love genealogy anyways, but that show makes it kind of like a detective show too. Such a brilliant combination.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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90

Herbal Traveling Tea Box

mmmmm…. this tastes like a raspberry honey stick from the county fair. I really love how everything plays off on another to make such a distinct flavor combination. Definitely a favorite so far from this box. Good thing I have a lot of teas to add… because I think this is a keeper for me.

As a side note, my fiancé promptly stole this from me before I could finish the cup and drank it…. without any sweetener which is very abnormal for him.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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87

Backlog:

The hazelnut aroma was noticeable from the moment I opened the pouch.

A really tasty blend. I’m not big on pu-erh and I’ve never really made any big secret of that, although I find that as I continue to grow as a tea drinker, that my appreciation for pu-erh has grown too, and I don’t dislike it the way I once did.

This pu-erh blend has a nice balance of earthy pu-erh and sweet nutty and fruit notes. The way the earthiness of the pu-erh melds with the hazelnut flavor creates a really intense nutty flavor. I like it.

The strawberry is less obvious than the hazelnut but I notice them more toward the finish. I get that tingly berry note in the aftertaste.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/04/20/hazelberry-puer-blend-simple-loose-leaf/

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84

It is a black tea from Yunnan, China, meaning that there are a few delightful gold fuzzy leaves. Since I was brewing this in my gaiwan I ignored the instructions and used my usual technique for brewing Yunnan Black/Red teas (195, 30 seconds and add 30 for each steep). The aroma of the dry leaves is a mix of pine resin, pepper, stewed cherries, and an aged oak cask. It smells like fruit, scotch, and smoke-less Lapsang Souchong. What an unusual tea!

Brewing the tea brings out more of the woody quality with the oak/scotch aroma and pine resin aroma being at the forefront. There is still a hint of fruit sweetness, but it is more an afterthought. The liquid is pine smoke and molasses.

This tea is brisk and strong! Breakfast blend is a perfect description because I am certainly awake now. The taste is a blend of molasses, pine resin, oak wood, and lastly honey. For all this tea’s strength, it is not bitter or unpleasant, it is sweet and intense.

The second steep, I have gone from awake to vibrating so fast that I have torn a small hole in reality. That is the mark of a good breakfast tea. The taste is very brisk, though not nearly as sweet. This steep has a bit of smoke and pine resin. There is a midtaste of molasses and a finish of pepper.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/06/simple-loose-leaf-june-subscription-box.html

Flavors: Molasses, Pepper, Pine, Smoke

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75

These fuzzy, tightly rolled, green tea leaves are grown high in the mountains of Fujian, China. Apparently this tea is a good introduction to novices into the world of green tea, I left the novice group a while ago, but I am certainly not one to turn my nose up to a new tea. The aroma is a blend of chestnut, green bean, and spinach. It reminds me of a very vegetal oolong, or like an oolong tea and a green tea had a clandestine affair and this tea is the result. The aroma is a bit faint, but the notes are pleasant.

The aroma of the brewed (and now not as tightly curled) tea leaves is very vegetal, lots of spinach and green beans with a finish of artichoke. The liquid’s aroma is sweet and chestnut like with a buttery and vegetal finish.

The first steep is fairly delicate with notes of toasted sesame and nutty chestnut. This fades to green beans with a bitter green, kale like finish. It is like a walking tour of the vegetable aisle in my mouth, and I am ok with that.

The second steep starts off quite sweet with notes of toasted sesame and a touch of honey. It reminds me of Halva, a delicious Persian dessert. This almost immediately switches into green beans and spinach, and this quickly fades to kale and green bitterness that stays on until the end. This is a strong tea.

The final steep left a bit to be desired, it is dry and almost entirely kale. It really feels like I am drinking warm kale juice, and while I really like the taste of kale, I do prefer a bit of moderation. Out of curiosity I chilled this tea, the results were very strong and very vegetal bitter, so the kale juice comparison stays. I really enjoyed the first and second steeps, the third, well in the future I will stop at two.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/06/simple-loose-leaf-june-subscription-box.html

Flavors: Chestnut, Green Beans, Kale, Spinach, Vegetal

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53

Hmmm. The chamomile was distinct, and the peppermint wasn’t overwhelming. I would have liked this more, I think, if it had a stronger lemon flavor.

I found this to be a nice, soothing cup before bed, but I’m just not big on mint, even in small quantities.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

This was the sample in my June SLL box. I wanted to try this before placing my July order, after reading all of my options.

this is really citrusy, which for me was a good thing. Lemony, grapefruity, tasty. I like it a lot. I honestly wasn’t expecting to, but I thought I’d give it a chance. Now I can’t decide what I’m going to order next month.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
KiwiDelight

I chose the Blueberry White for my July sample.

Cheri

That’s actually what I’m planning on getting for my sample in July as well. I need to figure out what teas to get because there are three I’m interested in, and two I am not. If there are four, it’s easier because I get the sampler of all five and give away the one I don’t want. Three is harder. Gah.

KiwiDelight

I just got the sampler just in case. If there’s a tea that I don’t like, at least I’ll have less of it.

Cheri

That’s true. Like I said, I can always share the ones I don’t like, too. That’s my plan for the peach white from the May box.

But two to ditch….it seems like a lot. Maybe I need to get into more traveling tea boxes….

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85

Method: 1 heaping tsp, 200 degrees, grandpa style

Dry Leaf Aroma: Amazeballs. This smells like ripe fruit and candy. This is the 2nd time today I have felt that a tea tasted like some candy from my past. But not the SAME candy as that first tea. This smells like plummy candy.

Brewing Aroma: Same as above, only quieter

Flavor: This is so good. I drank it unsweetened at first, then added a pinch of rock sugar. This tastes mild and pleasant. It reminds me of a warm spring day. It’s very light, but the flavor is still fully present.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
carol who

GO FIREFLY!!!!

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78

This one is interesting.

Method: 1 heaped tsp. @ 200 degrees, grandpa style. Added more water near the end of the first cup and the 2nd cup didn’t taste weak.

Dry Leaf Aroma: Smells like citrus, but not orange. This smells like bergamot, tangerine, and neroli had a baby. It also has a smell like a familiar candy, but I can’t quite place it to say which one.

Brewing Aroma: Pretty much the same as above.

Flavor: Oddly, I liked this, overall. I’m not always a huge fan of citrus in teas. This one is mellow and pleasant. I could detect some bitterness in the 2nd cup, but that’s probably due to the brewing style, so I can’t fault the tea. I plan to try it as a cold brew tonight.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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It’s still a Sunday, which means that I’m still able to talk about my latest Sunday Tea and Books tasting.

The tea was medium-dark brown and smelled earthy and slightly fruity. Simple Loose Leaf describes this tea as being “raisiny” and “leafy”. I can kind of taste those flavours if I squint, but instead I sense elements like leather and tobacco, and possibly apricots. Those flavours are really faint, though – overall, there isn’t whole lot going on. This is a weird tea in that it doesn’t seem like other oolongs: it doesn’t have the floral character I associate with green oolongs, or the malty, bready kick that I associate with dark ones. In fact, it reminds me most of houjicha. If I had to describe this tea using a single word, it would be “inobtrusive”.

But which fictional character did it remind me of? Well, if you happen to like books by Guy Gavriel Kay, I think you’ll find my choice, and the reasons behind it, a pleasant surprise: http://christinavasilevski.com/2014/06/sunday-tea-books-formosa-oolong/

Flavors: Apricot, Leather, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 3 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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I really liked this one, much more than I thought I would! It wasn’t bitter at all, and I definitely got the blackberry taste with hints of sage that made it just yummy savory.

One thing that surprised me was that when I looked at the steeped leaves, they looked like blackberry leaves – not tea leaves. That made sense since I know sometimes blackberry leaves are used, but I went to look it up on the site and they aren’t listed. Weird!

Maybe another cup is in order so I can investigate this more…

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81

Sipdown!

I’m really sad to see the end of this packet from Simple Loose Leaf. The tea here was so relaxing and gentle, a good way to get used to things. I’ll have to find teas similar to it when I go on my buying spree in September. I’m sure Yunomi.us will have something as good as, or better than this. Bumping the rating up accordingly.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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81

Backlog from yesterday morning.

I tried this using a lower steeping time yesterday, and the result was pretty good – green, vegetal, nutty, slightly astringent, but very tasty. Unfortunately, since I was out yesterday, this was the only tea I got to drink. At least it was a good one!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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81

I was really craving a straight green today, and figured that since I had fond memories of this one, it was the way to go.

I think I overleafed it a bit this time, as it was more umami than I remembered it being.

Still, a good straightforward tea.

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81

It’s time for another installment of Sunday Tea and Books, and Simple Loose Leaf is on the docket again.

I’ve had a few other sencha teas lately so it’s quite interesting to drink this one in comparison. The ones I tried before were rather savoury and marine/mineral in flavour. This one is much lighter and sweeter – buttery, slightly nutty, but not very savoury. In fact, it reminds me more of a Chinese green tea than a Japanese one, which is really interesting. I tend to like teas on the sweeter end of the spectrum anyway, so this is pretty good. The dry leaf was a light emerald green, but it was a little dusty and broken-up; despite this, the tea isn’t bitter or astringent at all. The colour of the brewed tea is a light yellow-green, like tender young shoots.

But which fictional character did it remind me of? Well, considering the new issue of “Saga” just came out, and I just finished reading volume 3 of the series, perhaps the choice is obvious: http://christinavasilevski.com/2014/05/sunday-tea-books-japanese-sencha-saga-green/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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78

Backlog:

With my subscription to the Selection Club from Simple Loose Leaf, I have thus far always chose the sampler pack. Hey, I’m a taster, and I find the smaller sizes of five teas to be much nicer for my needs than larger sizes of just one or two teas.

I don’t know that if I were choosing just one or two teas for the month of April, that I would have selected this tea, because generally speaking, herbal tisanes like this (with lots of hibiscus) are not my favorites.

That said, this is a pretty good tisane, and I found that the hibiscus and cranberry seemed to marry much better than some other berries with hibiscus. They are both tarty type of flavors and they meld together in a seamless way.

I liked this better iced than hot. It’s a tasty tisane. Not my favorite, but they can’t all be my favorites, and I liked it enough to not only finish the hot cup when I reviewed it, but also enough to brew a full half-gallon pitcher to enjoy iced the next day.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/04/11/cranberry-breeze-herbal-tisane-simple-loose-leaf/

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85

Backlog:

I just realized it’s been nearly two weeks since my last tasting note! Yikes. Rest assured, I’ve not given up drinking tea, just … have been otherwise distracted.

Heavily smoked teas like a Russian Caravan don’t usually elicit a great deal of excitement from me, but, as far as smoky teas go, this is pretty good. I enjoyed it.

I like that I can taste components from each of the teas in this blend. I could taste the sweet, wine-like notes from the Keemun, the rich, malty notes of the Assam, and of course the strong, smoky character of the Lapsang Souchong.

Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/04/04/russian-caravan-black-tea-simple-loose-leaf/

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72

There is something about the vegetal flavor green tea has that has appealed to me lately, which is why I selected this tea for my May box. I had hoped by now to be enjoying warm weather and iced tea, but instead enjoyed Japanese Sencha Saga Green as it is traditionally served, hot. With the first sip of this tea I was a bit surprised, while it has the characteristic sweet grassy flavor I expected, it wasn’t nearly as vegetal as many sencha teas I’ve tried. It did have a strong seaweed-like flavor and a tinge of bitterness, but both of those flavors dissipated as the tea cooled, leaving behind a cup of tea that was incredibly easy to drink. This particular sencha will likely appeal to anyone who doesn’t like the strong vegetal or bitter flavors commonly found in this type of tea. It was by far the most mild flavored sencha I’ve come across to date.

You can read the full review on my blog
http://www.notstarvingyet.com/index/2014/5/20/tuesday-tea-may-selection-club-simple-loose-leaf.html

Simple Loose Leaf has provided me with a free subscription to their Selection Club

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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