SpecialTeas

Recent Tasting Notes

85
drank Vienna Winter Green by SpecialTeas
1604 tasting notes

Another blend that I’ve been drinking but never got around to logging. This tea reminds me a bit of Davids Tea’s Toasted Walnut with its rich nutty flavours. It’s sweet with hints of creamy white chocolate and the green tea base is light and refreshing enough to keep it from being too cloying. By all the rights the camomile shouldn’t really belong in a blend like this, but somehow it works.

I’m glad I bought a big bag of this tea – I’ll be able to enjoy it for awhile yet. :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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74

Deeply jasmine with the nuttiness of great white tea, and multiple steeps! It’s amazing in a tea jar with continuous hot water poured over it, for most of my afternoon pick me up. But I really have to be in the mood for a perfumed cup to drink it.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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4

not sure if this is because it’s an old tea but um no. gross.

Terri HarpLady

LOL, I hate when that happens!

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92

Flavoured teas are all very well and good, but I was craving a nice, plain black tea today. This tea comes from the now-defunct Special Teas (another casualty of Teavana). It’s a very nice-looking tea – small twists of black and gold and it has the classic malty Assam scent with a hint of smokiness. The tea is robust but not bitter and at a steeping of 3.5 mins it’s fine without milk. It has wonderful fruity notes underneath that maltiness that give the tea a layered subtly you don’t normally get with Assams.

I stocked up on this tea but I’ll have to see about finding another source for when my stash runs out.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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From the HHTTB

Very lightly scented, not much flavor. I would probably get more strawberry flavor if I sweetened it, but I didn’t.

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48
drank Sunny Dream Organic by SpecialTeas
4942 tasting notes

stupid steepster ate my note again…i should know better. bah! bah! wasn’t impressed with this one.

Nicole

Tell me about it. I can’t even like reviews tonight. Bah.

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Another tea from Mercuryhime that I unfortunately can’t entirely recall, haha. I remember a bit of green beaniness, but not much else, as I don’t think I paid a great deal of attention while drinking it. Oh well. Again, I have enough for a second/third shot, which I will hopefully be more attentive to.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Rooibos Savannah by SpecialTeas
1718 tasting notes

It has been a generally crummy week and a particularly rotten evening. I am tired and out of sorts. Do you know where one goes to find more sorts?

So I grumpily grabbed this, and knowing it’s a bit on the elderly side, goosed it with a quarter-teaspoon of bulk cacao bits. Pepped up the taste a bit; made me think of Cadbury dried fruit-and-chocolate candy bars.

Michelle

I often find my sorts in the tea cupboard and my yarn stash… :)

TheKesser

Aww I hope your week gets better! When I’m out of sorts, I tend to take some time and do something that makes me happy… biking, photographing stuff, writing, reading a good book with a cup of my favourite tea… Anything that will make me feel better. That’s where I find my sorts :)

gmathis

I think many of my sorts will return when the sun comes out…we’ve had dreary skies for more than a week. My solar battery is in need of a recharge. (It’s in the back of my neck :)

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drank Rooibos Savannah by SpecialTeas
1718 tasting notes

I can’t remember which one of you fine folks mentioned mini marshmallows as a tea additive, but when my husband brought home a container of mini chocolate marshmallow bits, I decided to get a little adventurous.

This is a nice chocolatey-almondy rooibos on its own, so I reasoned it would welcome said marshmallow bits. It wasn’t bad, but there’s something a little, uh, sharpish about the rooibos flavor that doesn’t combine smoothly. Two separate flavors on your tongue instead of one lovely smooth chocolate mishmash. Does that make sense?

However, I shall persist to find my favorite marshmallow friendly tea. (Doesn’t that sound like a rotten task? Doggone it. More teas to taste. More marshmallows to chomp.)

K S

mini chocolate marshmallow bits? Now I know why my wife won’t let me go to the grocery store with her. lol.

gmathis

They have peppermint, too.

K S

I love this country!

Nik

I think we all got the idea from Stacy of Butiki Teas, who once mentioned getting marshmallows for her blends and polishing off a bag before ever getting anywhere near the tea. Since then, I’ve read a bunch of tasting notes involving the addition of marshmallows to the steeped tea to discover a new flavour or enhance an existing one. I actually got a bunch of different, flavoured marshmallows (toasted coconut, strawberry, etc.) to try this myself, but, um, I ate them all before I got to the tea. =(

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drank Rooibos Savannah by SpecialTeas
1718 tasting notes

This was a pass-along from Nicole; a really pleasant rooibos with a bit of chocolate and almond in the background. I should have tried it straight first to get a better read on the base flavors, but the half-and-half was calling my name. Made a nice, creamy after-dinner treat on a chilly evening.

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I must thank JacquelineM for this sample. I’m not going to write a lengthy note on it because I ended up becoming disappointed. I did not start out as such, but let me explain.
I’ll start by letting you know that there is no tune to be paired with this note. We were watching Snow White and the Huntsman… the film proved to be the undoing of this tea. You see I found it to be delicious from the first sip. I have less to say about the Earl Gray part and much more of the de la Creme portion.
The Earl Gray was smokey but not as bold as I would have guessed, my assumption being that it would take something with kick to be coupled with the sweet vanilla notes that are so prevalent in this tea. The de la Creme part was so creamy and smooth that the only thing I can think to compare it to is actual cream, maybe with honey as well.
Now back to the movie…It starts out a captivating film with wonderful special effects, an intriguing character (evil queen), and an unpredictable twist on a classic tale. And here lies the problem with the drink. I was drinking happily away on this juice when I got pulled in by the movie long enough for my drink to cool just a bit. Before that happened I was sipping on it while it was still plenty hot yet once it cooled it became bitter. I’m talking hard to continue bitter. Tis a shame because it started out so good.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Aiko

Wow, what a shame. I’ve had some teas like that, that start out wonderful and full-flavored and then turn into something else as they cool. I wonder what causes that?

MsWhatsit

I had something grow bitter as it cooled too. Strange, I thought that only happened if you left the tea in it to oversteep. I guess you learn something new everyday.

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What wretched weather! Upper 30’s, sky like a wet gray blanket, threats of snow tomorrow, haven’t seen the sun since last Tuesday.

A copious tea day, but trying to lighten it up a bit this afternoon so I can sleep.

This is deliciously light, silky, and a little bit fruit-juicy. Is aging well; doesn’t seem to have lost any of its elegant punch after all the months I’ve had it.

K S

We have low 50’s and not a cloud in the sky :) Of course we are scheduled for 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow late. Seriously – does spring not know its late March!

gmathis

I am aching for the first Saturday I can hang rugs and bedding out on the clothesline to air.

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Subscribing to the it’s-going-to-be-stinkin’-hot-so-make-your-one-good-cup-count theory today. This is light and sweet, but enough so that the flavor makes itself known to you—your taste buds don’t have to hunt it down. What I wish all white teas tasted like (if this were a white, which it isn’t).

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I had this one misfiled as a green/oolong, and I believe it’s a Darjeeling — and wow, what a nice one! Big old fluffy leaves that are, indeed, silvery. At just 2 1/2 minutes, it’s a light copper color with what I think is the fruitiest flavor I’ve ever encountered with a Darjeeling. Almost apple cidery. Medium weight and very silky to the tongue.

Since SpecialTeas is obsolete now, I’ll have to putter a bit and see if this variety is available under another umbrella.

Azzrian

Hope you find something comparable!

TeaBrat

Check Upton Teas, they have a ton of darjeeling…

SimpliciTEA

It’s a bummer that they went out …

gmathis

Amy, my Upton catalog is rife with highlighted longings and desires; unfortunately, my available funds for longings and desires keeps getting eaten up by necessities and unexpected unfortunatenesses ;) Soldiering on with my summer plan to use up scraps and stuff that’s getting old, with a nice treat-y order in time for good tea weather.

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Age of leaf: I wish I knew; unfortunately, as I bought this over three years ago, and as SpecialTeas is out of business, and I have no record of it’s production date, I can only guess: it must have aged a few years before they put it up for sale, so my guess is this must be 6 or 7 years old, at the very least.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 4 cup teapot, no sweetener, 5 gram toucha, 2 cups of water.
……….1st: Just under boiling, 2.5’
……….2nd: Boiling. 5’

Aroma of tea liquor: Smelled just like the dry leaf: strong, and for now (I am wanting for better descriptors here) I will call it ‘fishy’—in a good way, not a bad way (although my wife smelled the dry leaf, and reacted as I thought she would: “Yuck!”).

Flavor of tea liquor: Again, I am wanting for better descriptors here (I hope to increase my arsenal of more precise Pu-erh flavor and aroma descriptors over time), so for now suffice it to say: earthy, fishy.

Appearance of wet leaf: Tiny little dark bits of tea.

Overall: Good. I vaguely remember trying this about two years ago (my first Pu-erh ever), and I think it may actually be smother now (however, I may just be perceiving what I expect). There was no sign of bitterness, and it was heavy on the mouth—enjoyably so.

For comparison purposes I also decided to steep another toucha today (brewed with the same parameters) that I bought through a seller on Taobao (again, little information on its age: the rice paper wrapper had a number appended with “-2008” on it, though) to compare with the SpecialTeas toucha. The Taobao toucha was a tinge bitter, and not as full, or heavy, on the tongue, as the SpecialTeas toucha on both the first and second steepings. This was a meaningful comparison, as it at least begins to give me an idea of what I am looking for in a Pu-erh. In this case, I prefer the SpecialTeas toucha: smooth, with a heavy mouth-feel.

This is my first real foray into Pu-erh tea. I recently bought a Yixing, and I am trying out a few Pu-erh teas I have on hand (I have a number of samples) in my ceramic before I decide which one to use to season my new Yixing with. So far, I am enjoying it. I hope to have the time and energy tomorrow to try at least one more.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
boychik

thru your note I don’t know if you rinse for 15-30 sec? This step is essential.

SimpliciTEA

boychik: Very good question. I forgot about that step; silly me. : }

I did a ~5 sec. rinse on the last toucha though, and I plan to do that going forward.

Thank you for your suggestion. : – )

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Backlogging

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought eight ounces of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off.

This was my first pu-erh, and with the exception of a blended pu-erh from Teavana, my only one to date. I don’t have much to say about it, except that I did only one steeping with one Tuo Cha in my teapot and three to four cups of boiling water for five minutes, almost a year ago (my notes show that I rinsed it), and I remember thinking the flavor was earthy, and the liquor was black (I have never before or since seen ‘black’ tea). I am simply stating this here for my records before I forget. I am deliberately staying away from pu-erh, because I have plenty already to keep the tea enthusiast in me happy concentrating on green and oolong teas (at the moment). But, some day, some day …

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Backlogging

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought eight ounces of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off.
This was my first Honeybush. The rich red color in the pot blew me away. Although initially I found it so different than anything else I had ever had, over time I came to appreciate the tobacco-like flavor and aroma of it (my wife, sadly, has not). I have had red rooiboss since then, and I seem to prefer it over this honeybush. I will leave off the rating (this being my first honeybush, and since I have yet to try any other ‘unflavored’ ones).

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Java OP by SpecialTeas
171 tasting notes

Backlogging

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought two pounds of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off (I think we paid roughly $6 for it; yeah, that makes it less than $0.20 /OZ; I don’t think we’ll ever get a tea for less than that).

I think I only brewed it once on it’s own. It was decent tasting. It was also my first loose-leaf black tea. From then on out I have been ‘blending’ it with the flavor-added black teas we have, usually in a ratio of 2 parts flavor-added tea to 1 part Java OP (I have also blended it as 1-1); it seems to blend very well with every tea I’ve tried, such that I can’t tell the difference between not using it and using it ( I always brew up any flavor-added tea w/o the Java the first time). That helps to ‘stretch’ our flavor-added black teas. For that, I am really glad we found this tea! We still have plenty of it (it takes a long time to go through 32 ounces a few teaspoons at a time), and I think it will be around for quite awhile longer. I am leaving off the rating (my first black tea).

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Backlogging big time and based on my long term memory

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought four ounces of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off.

Other than the name, I couldn’t find a picture or a description of this tea anywhere. This was my second sencha (my first was from a local spice shop). Other than the fact that the lemon scent reminded me of Lemon Pledge (strangely enough, that wasn’t all that bad), I really don’t remember much else. I do remember that it was of a better quality than the local stuff. Although I thought it was drinkable, my wife did not (too ‘grassy’, I think). I don’t think any of the teas from SpecialTeas were really all that bad, which is more than I can say for some other unnamed behemoth tea shop that bought them out; ah well, what are you gonna do? All-in-all, from what I what remember I judge it was a decent quality flavor-added Japanese tea. As it was my first quality sencha, I’m leaving off the rating (It’s actually kind of nice not having to assign a rating to some teas).

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Lemon pledge with honey or iced might be nice!

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Backlogging and based on my long term memory and some on my notes

Experience buying from SpecialTeas http://steepster.com/places/2931-specialteas-online-stratford-connecticut

I bought two pounds of this during SpecialTeas’ going-out-of-business sale at the beginning of 2011 for 75 % off (I think it was around $24 for the two pounds). This is a very ‘leafy’ tea, so the bag was humongous, as you might imagine was needed for 32 ounces of fluffy white tea. It was basically a flavor-added bai mu dan white tea. The leaf when taking it out of its bag was so dry I thought something was not quite right (I believe that’s called, bake-y) and I’ve never seen that quality in a tea before or since. Still, I don’t think it was stale or ‘bad’, maybe just a bit over-baked when it was processed?

I tried brewing this starting at lots of different temperature ranges: starting points ranged from 160F all the way to 200F (increasing the temperature about 5F each steeping for a total of five steepings, as at the time that was what I was told to expect out of a white tea). It seemed starting at somewhere between 165 and 190 was best, otherwise it came out flat (little to no flavor). I used my standard white tea brewing times (start at 2 min, then add 1 min for each addn’l steeping).

The liquor had a very light strawberry color. I don’t really remember much about the aroma, other than it was mild, and a little unusual (this was my first exposure to white tea, so it was probably the standard sweet hay aroma). Finally, we come to the flavor; ah the flavor. At first we liked it. I don’t exactly know what happened, but after drinking it off-and-on for a couple of months (maybe less) it didn’t taste as good. It was like, there was something ‘off’ about it, and I started to think the flavors didn’t really belong together. I don’t think the change was due to the tea itself; I think it was our drinking preferences that had changed it was as if it lost its appeal to us, somehow.

After that I tried brewing it up every now and then (I could still drink it, although just barely), and every time I tried slipping it by my wife this is basically what happened: “What is it?” “Uh, a white tea.” She would then give me a suspicious look, and I would either smile, or walk away before our eyes would meet. Upon returning, “How did you like it?” “I didn’t. < pause > Is this one of those teas I don’t like?” It didn’t take long for her to ask me, as I handed her any tea, “Is this one I like?” Smart woman. : /

I gave some of it away, but we still have quite a bit of it (I estimate at least a half pound, or 1/4 of what we had originally, and maybe even more). One positive thing that sticks out in my mind about it: it was a somewhat colorful looking tea, with little blue corn-flower petal and red cranberries mixed in with the white tea tea-leaves. I am currently storing what we have left of it on the top shelf way in the back of our cabinet; and there it sits until I figure out what to do with it. We have talked about adding it to her bath water (similar to Missy’s idea of the foot bath), but we haven’t tried that yet.

Overall I’m disappointed that we stopped liking it. Yet, as with any interesting tea, I’m glad we at least tried it, as it was our first white tea. Since it was my first white tea, I’m leaving off the rating, as I don;t know what to expect at the time. I have tried other bai mu dan’s since, and although I like them, it seems my wife does not. So, maybe she simply doesn’t like the flavor of the base tea, and it wasn’t the flavoring. If I ever get around to swapping I would be more than be happy to give this away to as many that are interested (I just got two separate shipments of samples today—woo, hoo!—and although I was hoping to look into swapping this summer, I don’t see that happening for some time yet). As a final note since it has an odd name (for a dorky English speaker), I used to call it ‘Casablanca’. Can’t beat the classic with Bergman and Bogart, now can you?

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec
nutmeg

Hello
I saw your older post regarding cassis white tea and noted you were not in love with the tea and would be willing to trade/give away. I know it is a long shot but do you still have this tea? Thanks!

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drank Almond Cookie by SpecialTeas
1 tasting notes

How do I purchase almond cookie tea by SpecialTeas??

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