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Recent Tasting Notes
Lewis and Clark TTB #16
My first impression of this tea is that it is delicate. There is a nice blueberry flavor that rests lightly on a white tea base. It works nicely, but my ideas of blueberries are formed from pie and muffins and I expect a bolder taste. The intent of this tea seemed to be to just add blueberry highlights to a white tea.
The concept works. The white tea base is of good quality, and even when I lose the blueberry flavor (it’s subtle) I still enjoy the base tea. When I notice the blueberry, it lifts the tea a bit. I enjoyed the tea, but probably wouldn’t purchase any more.
Nothing says cool weather like teas that are spiced, at least in my humble opinion. This particular spicy blend is made from Pu’er, Cinnamon Bark, Natural Spice Flavor, Orange Peel, Ginger Root, Aniseed, and Safflower. The aroma of the dried leaves is a blend of orange spice, chai, and Christmas spices, it smells really good, if you are in to really strong spices and an underlying citrus and earthy notes! The aroma of the brewed tea is incredibly spicy, lots of cinnamon and ginger with a sharp note of orange and a rich earthiness. My tea area smells like Christmas, Christmas just always smells very spicy to me.
The taste is surprisingly sweet, not what I was expecting from a Pu’er, call me pleasantly surprised. It is a warm and tingly tea, like being wrapped up in a blanket fresh from the dryer, but inside of your stomach, it has a blend of bright orange and rich spices, with an earthy finish. The earthy notes from the pu’er give a heaviness to this tea, it makes me want to go sleep after drinking it.
Woo, Hojicha! Probably one of my favorite roasted teas, coincidentally it was also my first roasted tea, discovered so long ago that I cannot remember in the last 15 years I wasn’t drinking it. This particular Hojicha appears very stick-heavy, but is not listed as a Kukicha, so maybe I just got lucky (I like sticks) and won the Kukicha lottery. The aroma is very distinctly roasted with notes of toast, a touch of smoke, a bit of burnt wood, and a slightly sweet finish. Brewing the tea is INTENSE, lots of strong roasted notes, like popcorn and toast with a burnt stick finish.
Tasting time! The taste starts out with strong toast and roasted tea taste, this moves into smoky sticks and brunt marshmallows. Of all the Hojicha I have had, this one is the first that combines the delicate sweetness of a slightly roasted Hojicha and the really intense almost smokiness of a charcoal roasted Hojicha, it is really quite balanced. Also, burnt marshmallow is a great note to have in tea.
I’m not usually all that enthusiastic to try tisanes. Generally, I prefer camellia sinensis, but I can’t drink it all the time because otherwise it’d be difficult to drift off to sleep. This is one tisane that will help in that department. And it is an enjoyable tisane.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/07/05/insomniacs-dream-herbal-blend-from-simple-loose-leaf/
Lovely, light apple-y notes from the chamomile marry nicely with the lemony notes of the lemon balm and lemongrass, and the cool peppermint is quite refreshing. It’s a mellow, relaxing herbal. Nice.
I am excited about the changes that Simple Loose Leaf is making to it’s format. Then again, I’ve always enjoyed this company. I hope that these changes are something that works well for them.
Here’s my full-length review of this tea: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/07/03/pu-erh-tahiti-blend-from-simple-loose-leaf/
I’m not always excited to try pu-erh teas. It’s a thing … that goes back to my earliest experiences with pu-erh teas that were not exactly “positive.” Since then, I’ve learned a lot about the best ways (for my palate) to brew pu-erh and I’ve learned to appreciate them and even actually like more of them than I’ve disliked. But there’s still that … memory of the bad. You know?
Anyway … if this had been the first pu-erh I tried, I think that I would have fallen in love with Pu-erh at first sip. This has a really lovely tropical flavor to it. Earthy, sweet, juicy, tropical. Lovely! Notes of mango, papaya and coconut.
I drank this prior to writing the review so I can’t go too in depth (I usually review while I’m drinking). Overall this tea had a very clean, sweet floral quality, the kind you’d expect from a high quality Taiwanese oolong. It was very spring-like and fresh and produced several very pleasant steepings. Very good stuff. I’ve had a lot of Taiwanese oolongs and can’t always differentiate their flavors a lot, but I can usually notice differences in quality and this one was very good in that regard. Seriously, how many times can you use the words “floral”, “vegetal” and “sweet” in a review before you realize you aren’t really pointing out anything that distinguishes it from other teas of its kind? I struggle to part with these descriptors in favor of more precise ones, but at times like these, they’re all I’ve got.
Flavors: Floral, Honey
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #32
This might just be the favorite I’ve tried from Simple Loose Leaf. Not sure! I seem to love anything to do with combinations of white tea and plum. There is a lovely floral quality… not sure where that comes from, but it isn’t the jasmine to me. Underlying that is a plum flavor. Maybe a little artificial with the plum but I liked it anyway. It’s tough to taste the white tea under that flavor, but I like shou mei anyway. This is similar to the 52Teas Sugar Plum… but this one is slightly more floral despite not having the lavender that the 52Teas blend has. The second cup wasn’t very good, but to be fair, I did leave the steeped leaves overnight.
Steep #1 // 25 min after boiling // 2-3 min
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 4 min
Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #20
A nice solid black tea from a combination of three different teas. To me the blend tastes like an assam. A mid level of briskness while there is still a sweet malty flavor. This is like the olden day assams that didn’t taste like tomato soup to me. I don’t think anyone has tried this big pouch from the tea box!
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // few min after boiling // 5+ min
Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #12
I decent white tea (that I wouldn’t recommend steeping at 200 degrees as the label says.) The blueberry flavor is more like blueberry candy. Big ol’ twigs in the dry blend but the cornflowers make it pretty. Maybe I SHOULD have used 200 degree water as I couldn’t taste the white tea.
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 2-3 min
A string of five tasting notes but I’ve been on a tea box spree.. no second steeps with teas I don’t LOVE.
As I mentioned in my full-length review of this tea – http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/24/sleeping-dragon-green-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/ – The aroma of this tea as it brews reminds me of the smell that fills the kitchen when I’m steaming broccoli. Perhaps with a bit of seaweed in the steamer. Not that I’d ever do that. I probably wouldn’t because I’m not a big fan of seaweed.
Fortunately the tea doesn’t have a seaweed flavor to go with the aroma.
The flavor reminds me of something between a green tea and a white tea. It has some of those sweet, melon-y notes of a white tea but not quite as delicate as the white tea would be, although it is a little more delicate in flavor than most green teas.
I also experienced notes of citrus, light vegetal notes, and a subtle smoky note. A really lovely green tea experience and it offers several infusions.
Thank you for this one, Cheri!
I had a good day day today, I am getting to take a free class and career counseling for the unemployed due to a program sponsored by the City of San Francisco. And, I may have a potential consulting gig coming up… anyway we shall see!
I don’t have any 2nd flush darjeelings in my stash currently so it’s definitely nice to get some samples. I was looking forward to purchasing one or two this year, but then heard it was a bad year for the 2nd flushes due to a drought. So maybe I need to look at the 2013 teas from Upton if I really want one.
Anyway… this smells very nutty/roasted, almost like a wuyi oolong. Interesting! I definitely get a fruity/grape note with this, a bit of spicy, with a bit of a pungent bite in the finish. Nothing too overwhelming, however. Overall this is a nice 2nd flush, well rounded and easy to sip on plain, though better with a tiny touch of organic coconut sugar. I’m glad I didn’t steep it for longer, I think 3 minutes was fine and at a slightly lower temp than boiling. Thanks again, Cheri!
Bold and robust, just as promised in the description of this tea. This is the kind of tea you want to reach for first thing in the morning when you need that kick in the pants.
Sweet, like thinned molasses. Earthy, rich, somewhat woody (like slightly smoked wood) with notes of stone fruit – plum? – and black currant. Zesty, peppery. Moderately astringent.
This takes to the additions of milk and sugar well (try it with a little brown sugar to enhance those molasses notes!) A really fine breakfast tea.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/06/18/yunnan-breakfast-black-tea-from-simple-loose-leaf/
The first steep of this tea was lighter in flavor, but packed a sweet, yet floral punch which became stronger in subsequent steeps. By the time I reached my fourth steep of this tea it developed a somewhat vegetal flavor with hints of floral mixed in. While earlier steeps of this tea were somewhat creamy in texture, later steeps began to develop a hint of dryness. I was impressed not only with the flavor, but also with the number of times I was able to steep the tea. Even my fourth cup had wonderful flavor, I could very likely have gotten a fifth steep out of my leaves, but in my sick and clumsy state I managed to drop my steeper sending my tea leaves flying everywhere. This week is already starting off on the wrong foot, but at least I have a great oolong to help me on my road to recovery.
You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
Chai tends to vary widely in methods of preparation as well as ingredients, but every chai I’ve sampled in the past has one thing in common: it’s made with black tea. The fact that this particular chai is made with a rooibos base didn’t escape my notice, in fact, i’m rather intrigued by the idea. As you know I’ve been drinking a lot of rooibos lately to help with the swelling in my hands. While the flavor of rooibos has slowly grown on me I still find the rather medicinal taste unappealing and prefer heavily flavored blends. In other-words this tea should be right up my alley.
My first sampling of this blend was not prepared in the traditional method (with milk and sugar) as you can see from my photo. I had just opened the package and taken a huge sniff when two things happened. First of all, I caught a good noseful of black peppercorn which caused a huge sneezing fit. Secondly, I discovered that my son had finished off the last of the milk while I wasn’t looking and all we had left was a really old carton of coconut milk. Not to be deterred, I decided to prepare this like I would any rooibos blend and was greeted with a huge burst of flavor on my first sip. The cardamom and black peppercorn were the flavors that were the most prominent and I was happy to find that the cinnamon wasn’t as noticeable, but rather something hidden in the background amongst the other spices. I find that many spice teas on the market this time of year are laden down with cinnamon, so this was a welcome change.
You can read the rest of the review on my blog:
A strong orange aroma in the dry leaf, but the flavor isn’t as strong as the fragrance would suggest. That’s not to say that the orange is absent in the flavor, it isn’t, it just isn’t as strong as the scent led me to believe it would be.
And I’m glad it’s not as strong, because it would have overpowered the Shou Mei white tea. The white tea and the orange flavors meld well together. Sweet, juicy, flavorful, and refreshing! This makes a stunning iced tea!
Sipdown (97)! And a backlog. I just noticed in my previous tasting note that I didn’t think that this breakfast blend was all that special. I still agree that it is a pretty straightforward breakfast tea, but this time around, I got some subtle smokiness in there that I didn’t taste before. That smidgen of smoke actually intrigued me a bit and is the reason I’m gonna bump up the rating a bit on this tea. Like I said in my previous tasting note, I do have quite a selection of breakfast blends, so I probably will not be reordering this one any time soon. I did very much enjoy it while it lasted, though!
Now that I’m completely moved in to my new place and I’ve unpacked my teas, I start my sipdown quest once more. I think my new goal is to get to under 75 before Black Friday. That way, I’ll have enough wiggle room to buy new teas and still be under 100 teas. We will see how this one goes…
Anyway, on to the tea review. I got this in a Simple Loose Leaf box a while ago, but didn’t get around to it til just now. I chose it as a sample from the next month, so I only have a little of this one. I brewed it up hot this morning and it was definitely a nice start to my day. It was bold with that hint of astringency and bitterness yet also somehow a bit sweet as well. When my mom tasted this tea, she said that she tasted frutiness. I’m not sure that I myself picked up on any fruity notes, but the overall message was that she enjoyed it. I don’t think it was a standout breakfast tea, but it was good for this morning. I’m not sure if I would reorder just because I have so many other breakfast teas and this one wasn’t really all that special in any way, but I will enjoy the rest of what I have left!