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Recent Tasting Notes
I finally got a chance to try this from Josie Jade who sent me a package full of goodies.
Boy does this sure smell like Red Hots when brewed?! I’m not a huge fan of them but it didn’t stop me from trying it. The dry leaves smell almost like licorice…VERY candy-like. Eesh.
The taste…is unique.
It’s VERY sweet and cinnamon-y. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it. I had to look on there website to see if any sugar was added and I guess it’s natural and comes from the Chinese cassia?? It might taste a bit better iced. It’s just kinda weird, honestly.
When you take a sip you get a little orange (it’s smooth and sweet) then it zips right to the cinnamon (spicy) then it goes a little sweet again back at the end. It sure is strange to say that THIS is a tea, lol. I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it. Would anybody like to try some??? It’s packed full of flavor for sure! And if you like Red Hots THIS tea is for you!
Originally in my notes as Serpent Mound Masala Chai, this blend was developed as I was asked to recreate the flavor of the discontinued Oregon green tea chai concentrate that some of our friends were using; also known as Kasmiri green chai.
It is not new information to many, but is to some, that Chai simply means ‘tea’. There is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation around tea and the popularization of ‘chai’ in coffee/tea houses has done little to change that with regards to this particular beverage in America. Most think that ordering Chai means a cup of warm, milky, creamy sweetness with a spice note and a mere hint of tea tannins. Many are unaware that traditional chai is variable depending on what regional influences are present and often will be surprised (some pleasantly so) to sip chai at an Indian restaurant and find it unsweetened and without milk: simply Masala Chai- Spiced Tea.
Of course with so many tea companies attempted to add their own signatures and blends, flavoring and spicing, adding fruit, flowers, spices, oils, additives….the terms are not often utilized in a traditional context and can loose a bit of meaning.
I suppose I rest on this point only because it also explains my nom de plume- Kashyap (for more on that try here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashyap) . I became very fascinated by the regional variations of masala chai and the spices, how they were used, why, and the local diets influence. I was pleased with the introduction of the Chaiwala in Slumdog millionaire and thought that the idea of chai might undergo a bit of an evolution, but its seems that is not quite as transforming as I’d hoped.
In any case, I was developing some chai blends and I was also asked to complete a project for one of our customers and in the process discovered some interesting facts about tea, spices, and blending. I also learned some fun things about matcha.
I developed this blend and was pleased when with a small amount of tweeking I found myself with this cup in my hands and these were my original notes:
creamy, verdant, floral, nutty, lightly spicy…mix of jasmine and cardamom creates and illusion of near almond flavor.
In the area of Kasmir, India there is a tradition of making masala chai with green tea, cardamom, cinnamon, and almonds. I wanted to make a blend that would respect that tradition and deepen its distinction. I also wanted to honor the deep roots here in Ohio and draw attention to some of its natural and cultural wonders – in a way bridging space/time, culture, and the love of tea.
The base utilizes the floral notes of jasmine jade pearls and the slow extracting nature they provide – allowing the spices to extract in at a similar rate and for them to achieve some balance. Since milk is often added, I wanted also there to be a strong tea note and perhaps a hint of briskness, and so I added a 2nd flush Darjeeling. The spices are all organically sourced and whole and crushed just before blending and the tea is made in small batches when ordered to preserve the integrity of flavors. The matcha stains it all verdant green and adds a murky, opaque aspect to the first steep, that adds to the creamy and tart profile. It reminds me of the spring here in Ohio at the Serpent Mound when the new growth makes everything an impossible bright green and at the same time illustrates the wet murkiness of the weathers muddy transition. The cup gives way on the second steep to a gorgeous, luminous yellow that has hints of reptilian green. There is an illusion of almond on the finish, which I imagine is the combination of spices mixing with the jasmine and it develops as it lingers on the palate.
Overall I’m happy to present this as a tribute to the ‘year of the snake’ and hope that everyone can renew themselves in this new lunar cycle.
Since I wrote the web description I’m going to instead write something a touch less technical and more personal in my response to this one.
This new lot came in just a few days ago and I just opened the full case today…a large bag standing more than half my height. As I do with every tea when it first comes in and I have a chance to cup it, the first act I do is lift a double handful of the leaves and draw in the scent. I was born with a powerful sense of smell (perhaps a tradeoff for my myopic vision limitation), one that has been known to identify even salmon species apart and which I rely on heavily with tea and coffee.
As the tea’s aroma broke free from its peaceful slumber the deep, rich aroma of ripe Ohio mulberries, with their glistening, just after the rain, purple flesh captured me and transported me to seasons yet to be born from winter’s open arms. So powerful was the aroma that I grabbed a fellow co-worker, whose life revolves deeply with Ohio’s seasons as he grows much of his own food, cures his own meats, processed and cans his own fruit and veggies and is all around in touch with his roots in the Ohio north east Amish Country.
His reaction was one of primal memory and he stuttered to find the words, but the final push of a second pass and he was as giddy as I was…there could be no mistake: Mulberry. Stories of his childhood and the acts of making jams, pies, and compote from those trees flooded out as did my tales of railroad walks and wild roaming.
A wonderful batch of memory lane but also a fantastic cup and one of my winter reminders that spring will come in her own time.
I was excited to see this included in the samples that Kashyap sent, since I like pears and pear flavored teas. This one smells very gingery, and there is a lot of dried ginger in the dry leaves. There is also a smell of chocolate. I don’t know if it’s just the way the black tea base smells against the ginger, but I kept smelling it over and over again trying to figure it out, maybe I am crazy and just wanting chocolate?! The flavor is mostly of ginger, but a warm ginger taste, not the spicy taste sometimes associated with it. There isn’t a lot of pear flavor noticeable, but a tiny amount of it comes out more as it cools, but not a lot. I am getting some hints of chocolate though, mainly in the aftertaste. Typically I am not a fan of ginger teas, but I like this one in spite of the absence of the pear. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen a ginger chocolate tea before, but this combination is actually surprisingly good. It’s definitely just the cup that I needed tonight! Thank you, Kashyap, for the sample!
-Dry blend has medium black tea leaves and twigs with yellow petals, a lot of dried ginger and a few pieces of dried pear.
-Dry leaves smell strongly of ginger and black tea with a hint of chocolate. Tea liquor aroma is of warm ginger.
-Tea liquor is a clear medium brown color.
-Slightly bitter black tea flavor with a strong ginger finish. Very little pear flavor. Chocolate notes in aftertaste.
-Best with the smallest amount of milk and sweetener.
-Good tea. Mellow ginger flavor with hints of chocolate. Little pear flavor.
I am finally getting a chance to try this sample that Kashyap sent me. This blend is interesting – the leaves are very shiny and look like they are wet. The smells is very spicy of cinnamon and it differs from your average orange spice tea in that it is really sugary sweet smelling, rather than just a natural orange flavor. Oh my goodness! This tea is really sweet. I think this is the first tea I’ve ever had that I’ve not been like, oh I’ll just add a little sweetener. I’ve been sitting here since I first smelled it thinking and thinking what the smell and the taste reminds me of and I finally got it! It’s exactly like those little cinnamon Red Hot candies. I am not really sensing a ton of orange flavor, mainly just a really spicy, burning cinnamon flavor. I’m not really sure what to even compare this to, as I haven’t had any other teas like it. It tastes more like some other type of drink rather than tea, since you really can’t taste any tea in the flavor. This tea really leaves a burning feeling all the way down your throat, eh. It does get a little more drinkable as it cools. I’m not really loving this but if you’re really into spicy cinnamon tastes this may be just for you. Thanks Kashyap for the sample!
-Dry blend has shiny wet-looking black tea leaves with pieces of orange peel.
-Dry leaves smell strongly of spicy cinnamon and sweet citrus. Tea liquor aroma is of spicy cinnamon.
-Tea liquor is a clear medium orange brown color with an oily sheen on top.
-Overwhelmingly sweet orange flavor with a strong cinnamon finish. Lingering cinnamon aftertaste that is slightly numbing.
-Best with milk only.
-Fair tea. Overpowering spiciness with no trace of tea flavor. Reminiscent of Red Hot cinnamon candies.
This tea is a drug. I kid you not… I had serious tea chi going on allll day long. It’s like… Peyote! yes, it really is that intense (okay I really have no idea what the big P is like but this is how I imagine it anyhow)
The leaves are pitch black, which isn’t unusual… but normally when you brew a tea like that the leaves lighten up a bit. Not these ones. Dark as the night.
The tea reflects that trait as well. It’s murky and mysterious. The first few sips are so rich and encompassing that one almost gets lost in it’s depth. I swear, I could feel it reaching into my very soul.
You think I kid? I swear, it’s the truth! and you know me, when I find something new, I throw myself headfirst into the leaves… so after four steeps (or was it five? I can’t recall now) I felt as if I’d been engaged in chakkra opening exercises all day long.
Now this is a tea for meditation…
My only concern is that there was a hint of fishiness every now and then, but not enough to bother my senses or put me off, at all.
Whew. I guess now that I’ve actually attended a yoga class today, my chi is all confused. Ha! :P
This isn’t a tea I’d want every day. To be saved for special occasions!
Thank you Kashyap for this sample. This was quite a trip!! Can’t wait to try this one in a Gawain.
Thank you to Kashyap for sharing this with me, you certainly know good tea!
Looking at the packaging, I saw that this is a Ceylon-eque tea and wondered how “black” it would turn out (am I the only one that thinks of Cylon’s from BSG here? Makes me giggle every time!)
Well, it is very much a black tea! surprisingly so. I know it’s processed like an Oolong, but it really does not taste like one. Which I do not mind, I just find it fascinating. I love hybrid teas!!
My second steep, I tried with milk and it was an entirely different flavour. Almost like a Darjeeling. I suppose that was the influence of the Oolong and Ceylon coming together. Still, I could not stop thinking “Darjeeling” with every sip. So that makes three distinctly different teas within one cup! cool :P
I see that you (Kashyap) recommend this iced, so perhaps I’ll try it that way next!! thanks again for the neato experience! x
Thank you so much to Kashyap for sending me a sample of this amazing tea!! It’s very tasty.
At first when I brewed it, the smokiness is overwhelming. That was all I could taste. Maybe I burnt the leaves? What temp do you brew a green pu erh at?
Anyhow, now that it’s cooled somewhat the other notes have come out to play. First there was a distinct spiciness that was a little scratchy but pleasant. As the cup airs, the sweet note is showing more and more. Now that it’s lukewarm, it’s smoky, spicy, sweet and minty all at once! Oh sorry I forgot to mention… for the first time I’m actually getting the “menthol” that people talk about when drinking pu’erhs. It’s quite refreshing!!
I think I’m slowly falling in love with quality pu’erhs. The first few experiences I had were with the fishy variety and had me convinced that Pu’erhs were out of my league in ability to appreciate. So I am always surprised when I swoon, even though it’s been so long.
I’m so grateful to have this cup in front of me. There is a wind storm outside and watching the trees sway and hearing the swoosh of wind roaring past is peaceful somehow. It’s chaos out there, but it’s a natural one that’s comforting somehow.
Well, thanks again Kashyap!!
I am tasting this tea thanks to Kashyap – thank you very much!
I am drinking this non-latte, with just a little turbinado sugar to accent the spice.
So, I am sure most of you know by now, I love chai, and I tend to have an affinity for the spicier chai blends, but, I also like the subtler chai blends as well. This blend falls somewhere in between the two extremes, as it is neither what I’d categorize as super-spicy nor is it by any means subtle. I’d say it is somewhere in between, leaning more toward the spicy than the not-so-spicy.
What I am really liking about this chai is that the spices are very bright and distinct. I can taste the cardamom. I can taste the clove and the pepper. I can taste the ginger, and I can taste the cinnamon. At first, I found that the cinnamon seemed to be the strongest flavor, but, now as I am half finished with the cup, I find that isn’t the case anymore, and the set of spices seem pretty well-balanced.
I like that this is spicy, but not too spicy. I like that I can taste the tea base (a blend of Ceylon and Assam) beyond the strong spices. I really like this. It is a very warm, deliciously soothing cup of chai … and I can’t wait to try it as a latte… perhaps I’ll do that tomorrow!
Today is Columbus, Ohio’s bicentennial birthday and earlier this year I felt it was appropriate to make a chai to celebrate that. There are so many ideas of what chai should be, traditionally and new-fangled, and so many concentrates on the market influencing the public perception with ideas of sweet, spicy, creamy..er…sweet.
The name I chose to wear on here was even influenced by this: Kashyap the mythological ancient sage who was attributed to have written a classic reference book on Ayuvedic medicine and whose name was borrowed for the region of Kashmir – a source of green tea and almond infused chai. Darjeeling is also named after lightning- making all sort of visuals pop into the mind. My first chai blends were named Bihu or celebration and often paired with lightning crashes, so it’s only appropriate to note its influence on Ohio Thunder Chai.
I’m also a big Valentine’s day softy…so when we put together a Valentine’s day promotion…snuggled up to Jasmine pearls and Magnolia oolong, went the Ohio Thunder Chai.
I started this morning on this cup and really I’ve been sharing with friends for weeks, for those who have tried it or even smelled it have fallen in love with the sweet, spicy, slightly fruity complexity. One of the unique aspects is the base leaf, one of the hands-down largest leaves I’ve ever seen, cupped, or handled out of Ceylon; this characteristic makes it a perfect palate as it seem impervious to over-steeping and handles the long extractions that are needed to get the denser clove, cinnamon, and cardamom to pop and develop complexity.
In my musing over this tea during breakfast I was reading a passage by Baisao – the old tea seller and I thought it was a suitable passage to meditation on while drinking a cup of fruity, spicy chai:
Brewing Tea in a forest of Red Maples
White clouds, Crimson Trees,
here I am selling the spring;
if you enter an autumn forest
and enjoy the flowers of spring
sleep demons lower their banners
beat an abject retreat
pure breeze covers the earth
keeping defilements at bay
I also feel the Valentine’s day spirit asks me to share:
a zen master once was asked what is the nature of
beauty and he replied:
“beauty is that which is unrepeatable”….
and like love…so is a cup of tea…namaste
Thanks be to Dinosara, my Earl Grey Queen!
I haven’t had a proper loose leaf Earl in a while, but this swap gave me so many to sample ; 3; truly bless-ed!
This one was not as strong in the bergamot department as I usually like, but it made for a delightful cup. It wasn’t too bitter for me because I drank it at work, and the water machine here makes a less than boiling cup – perfect for pretty much all my work teas. So, yeah! Not much more to say about this one, but that it was classic and made my morning happy. :)
I received this tea from Angrboda. This was such a surprise! I have only had one other experience with Earl Grey and it wasn’t a pleasant one. The reason I haven’t put a lot of time or effort into sampling this kind of tea is that, although it smells wonderful, much of that is simply gone after you steep it. It may smell like fruit loops, but the stuff tastes like black tea.
With this tea the smell has an after aroma of something..tangy? bitter? I can’t exactly put my finger on it. I was actually lucky in that I checked here for some steeping parameters and mine didn’t turn out bitter or astringent at all. Again, this stuff tastes like the Ceylon base far more than the smell of the leaves should lead me to believe.
The taste is pretty good. If I had to say one black tea that I did like it would be Ceylon. It has that very bread-ish undertone that I’ve come to appreciate. The fruit loop taste is there, at the very very back end of the sip. It’s decent, but I guess maybe Earl Grey and me are just not meant for each other.
I guess the only thing I dislike about tasting this and some other black teas is its ability to make me a bit, hm, how to say this nicely, phlegmy? Something about them make my throat react strangely and really changes the flavor of the tea.
edit after letting this cool significantly the other flavors are starting to come out a bit more. I think that I somewhat enjoy this flavor. I think that next time I’ll try taking it with sugar or milk, something that I am not really used to doing.
Another round two tea from the Earl Grey side-by-side tasting. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.
This one also doesn’t have a rating since I messed up my first steeping a bit. I’ll hold of rating until I drink a full cup of it, however. This is another tea that completely surprised me. I don’t know if when I tried it first I didn’t have a good comparison in mind or what, but this time it was incredibly, utterly roasted. It tasted strongly coffeeish, which I suppose makes sense coming from coffee roasters, full of toasted grains, and the bergamot was almost lost in comparison. It really surprised me how utterly different it tasted from the other Earls.
This is another tea from my swap with Angrboda. I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve had a plain Earl Grey, which of course isn’t really true since I had little else but plain Earl Grey while I was in Argentina. But that’s already been a couple of weeks, so I suppose that’s long enough for me to start craving it again.
The dry tea smells a nice, robust Earl Grey. The bergamot is strong and sweet. I steeped it my usual “unknown black” parameters, but I just noticed that they suggest steeping at a slightly lower temp, so we’ll see how this goes. The brewed tea smells nice and balanced between bergamot and black tea, which has a smooth, somewhat roasty, almost chocolatey aroma. I pegged it as a Ceylon, and sure enough when I looked at the description that’s what it was. Maybe I’m starting to get better at knowing black teas! In any case, Ceylon is my favorite EG base, so that’s a good sign.
The first thing I get from the taste is that, yes, I should have steeped it at a lower temp. There’s a fairly decent helping of bitterness to the black tea base. If I can taste past the bitterness… I seem to get a warm, bready flavor from the Ceylon base, a bright, citrusy bergamot note, and a bit of smokyness in the tail end of the sip and aftertaste. I won’t rate this one this time since I didn’t follow directions, but I will say I’m surprised to get that much bitterness (note that I am very sensative to bitterness in black tea) from a Ceylon. This tea seems like it has the makings of a tasty tea if I can get the steeping parameters right.
I was asked for an unusual, but good, green iced tea blend for this changing autumn and I put this together for a sample.
Cold brewed, the clean and rich earthy profile is deeper and the toasted rice note is a woven thread that fades in and out and acts like an elusive wind through the branches…much like the image of the dragon through the bamboo on the Vietnam Service Medal. It has a creamy, buttery profile when brewed warm and a deep, lovely yellow extraction that has an uplifting quality on a rainy, cooling day. The toasted note is still very genmaicha-like, but the smoother balance of green tea undertones and naturally sweet finish is a comforting treat that seems to drink in the autumn changes. Great paired with food.
This tea was a gift from Kashyap, as a sample collection to remedy my terrible experiences in finding a decent lavender earl grey.
Leaf appearance: Small, reddish brown tea leaves, accompanied by blue/grey lavender blossoms and scant citrus peels.
Scent: Strong Bergamot, with wonderfully citrus overtones and the floral lavender playing nicely as an undertone.
Wet leaf: Brown, truncated leaves open among greens and oranges from the lavender and citrus peels.
liqueur: Light brown, almost reddish
Nose: Lavender and bergamot dance about a hearty black tea smell
Taste: It’s earl grey, with lavender. Pretty straightforward, and this balance between the citrus-y bergamot and the floral lavender was heavenly.
I would love to purchase this tea in the future.
A while ago Kashyap had a fund raising contest in which donaters could win a VAST amount of this tea. I was lucky. And I do mean vast. I haven’t seen so enormous a bag of tea since the time the Black Powder blend was taken off the shelf at my then local teashop and they let me relieve them of the remainder of the stock. (I do miss that Black Powder…) Anyway, huge amount of tea. Have tinned some and put the rest away and only now got around to trying it.
Disclaimer: I’m very very ambivalent about EG. The majority of the time I find them slightly unappealing, but there have been a few famous exceptions. Kusmi’s Smoky Earl Grey, for example. That one is made of awesome. This one, in the company description, also mentions smokyness and other related sorts of words. I find that a good sign.
For the aroma, I’m getting mostly bergamot. Citrus-y and sour, but without that dusty dry sort of association that I got from those EG’s I found the most unpleasant. This actually smells like something that is edible, not like licking a storage shelf.
Rather a lot of that bergamot on the flavour too. A little too much for my taste to be honest. It makes a very tart-ish cup, although a deeper sort of tartness than biting a lemon. Also a touch of dustyness right at first on the sip.
It’s early in the morning, and I can’t really get any closer than this. It’s Earl Grey. Those who like EG with lots of bergamot in it, might find this very nice. Me I find it drinkable, probably in the better end of drinkable, but still just that really. I’m sure I’ll get through the big enourmous bag sooner or later, though. Probably I’ll share some of it.
Ok..I will admit I sometimes cring when asked to cup or drink flavored teas. I am so in love with the natural flavors that manifest from terrior, translations of unique places, climates, cultures, companion plants, hand-craft and care. This love often causes me to overlook so many modern adaptations to marketing that I admit that perhaps I overlook experiences and miss out on sharing opportunities with a broader range of tea lovers. So instead of using this as a hard demarcation line, I do save the later part of the day to revisit and cup the scented, flavored, and spiced brews that I sometimes instinctually overlook.
So many of the steepsterites that I follow wax so magically about exotic blends of tea, fruit, and flavoring that I feel to honor them that I should share in some of those experiences. Here is one:
Pomegranate scented White tea.
I was first introduced to this tea as a promotional gift that was donated to a charity event that I have done now for 4 years – the Groveport Ladies Spring Tea Fling. Its a community supported fundraiser that is done through a church group each May here in Ohio. I was initially contacted by the pastor, who found me through being a tea nerd at Staufs. She was a regular at the shop and a new member of the Groveport community and thought I might be able to deliver a tea talk and replace the bagged teas the ladies typically shared from thier closets and cupboards. One of my wholesale tea contacts was smitten with my being part of the event and donated a few teas to the cause and the ladies went wild for this one. It was so popular that it became a permanent part of the tea collection and has been for a number of years.
I will admit the first thing that grabs you is the aroma, its intensely fruity and tart, and once the bag is open or the jar is unstopped, the scent will flow around the room looking for a place to flower. Its soon to be added to the Staufs website, but I thought the least I could do is cup it again and share it with all you lovely steepsters, who are inspiring me with your passion and causing me to reconsider my ‘puritianical’ leanings..
Thank you for reminding me, its more than what in the cup..its also the fellowship of sharing…and the passion of the community
I wrote this cupping today from a sample that is being seriously considered as Staufs house Darjeeling (we currently carry a FTGFOP1 spring flush and a Darjeeling Nurbong Green and they often get confused as the mottled color of the darker oxidized spring flush has quite an expression of green hues and is mistaken for green tea by our customers), this offering I think will thrill Darjeeling enthusiasts and help round the offerings in our Grandview location, helping to make our Darjeeling offerings more distinctive. Its great paired with food and suprisingly rich, fruity, and clean with only mild tannins on the finish. Summer might still be dominating, but it seems this tea will be great on the cooling autumn days in Ohio.
used 4g in 195 degree water in a Taiwanese gawian and first steeping was at 2 min, second at 3 min, 3rd at 4min….
I think this will also work well in a cardamom Darjeeling tea cream recipie that I have…if anyone is interested in traditional English custards.
Thank you Kashyap for sending me such generous samples!
I really loved how the tea smelled when I opened the pouch. It reminded me of chocolate covered dried fruits. When brewed, the tea had an amber color and a faint citrus scent to it with some of that chocolatey goodness still. It tastes very similar to how it smells: crisp, smooth, chocolatey, and slightly fruity. Very well balanced and a joy to wake up with.
Kashyap, thank you for this really wonderful sample! I happen to love Dan Cong, and this is a really fine example. (Another multiple steeper.)
The first thing to notice about a Dan Cong is the color. The leaves, for an oolong, are very dark and long. Upon closer inspection, a deep red color is present, and hints of a lighter amber. It’s like the sunrise, just before the first rays of light stretch out across the sky. Everything is dark, but then there’s just the slightest hint of light coming. Beautiful.
The scent of the leaves is definitely woodsy. Once steeped, however, the aroma of the tea is much more complex. There’s the woodsy element, but something richer, more like raisin, or honey. At any rate, it’s a sweetness that hints at what’s to come in the flavor.
The flavor of this tea is divine. It’s definitely woodsy, with a baked flavor. There is a profound sweetness which develops mid-sip that fills your mouth with a nutty and deeply baked apricot, almost honey flavor that lingers for a while. It’s so lovely and rich. This is what I expect from a Dan Cong. Truly a beauty.
Subsequent steeps, particularly the second, proved to be just as lovely and slightly more fruity in flavor.
Floral tea lovers, unite! I have Kashyap to thank for this sample. Thanks so much!
This is actually the second time I’ve tasted this tea. I’ve really been off my game over the past couple of weeks and need to get back into the swing of things. This is my first big attempt at righting my universe.
This oolong has a gentle, floral scent when dry. It seems very delicate. Once steeped, however, the liquor becomes a bright, golden yellow and the true magnolia scent sweeps over me. It’s really lovely in that it’s a fresh scent, not an overly perfumey one.
The taste is most definitely floral. This is definitely a scented tea, but it’s what one would expect when reaching for a magnolia tea… floral scent and a taste to match. The oolong is lovely. It’s not a heavily oxidized one, more mid to light, but it pairs perfectly with the pronounced magnolia flavor as well. This would make a very nice afternoon tea. As the tea cools, it develops a delicate sweetness that is really pleasant and makes me want to try this one iced.
The second steep (3.5 min) of this tea results in a lighter magnolia flavor and a more pronounced oolong taste. It’s still strong enough that I’d consider it a fairly equal balance of flavors, although the scales are beginning to tip a bit in favor of the oolong tea base.
The third steep (4.5 min)… and I almost never steep a tea three times, which is a shame because this one is still going strong. Now, there is more just a hint of the magnolia flavor mixed in with the tea. I steeped this for a bit longer than usual and am very pleased with it. It really holds up well to multiple steepings.
Thank you again, Kashyap!
Dry Aroma: vitamin/medicinal, carob, fruit leather
Wet Aroma: medicinal, fruit leather, vitamin C
Cup: beautiful coppery-orange liquor that deepens into a deep red/brown umber. Tart front note with expected ‘rose hip’ flavor with a subtle hint of mint and when left to deeply extract, a complex and deep flavor of tart dried cherries emerges. Smooth mouth feel, with light lingering aftertaste that is vegetal and almost fruity.
Brewing method: used 4 grams (2 rounded tsp) per 6oz of 200 degree water, steeped for 4-6 minutes in traditional cupping set and then followed up with 8 grams in 17 oz double walled glass mug from www.sunstea.com
Ok, I admit I had a hand in this description as well, so I stand by it.. But saying more that doesn’t fit on a website simply, is the fact that I’ve never been a big fan of rosehips, but understand thier place in the tisane line up. I have always found the cup they produce to be thin, watery, fruit-stew-like , but I was surprised and pleased to cup this unlikely source of new appreciation.
To begin, the pic shows a almost ‘stone-like’ appearance, lacking the usual uniform luster that you often find in rosehips in bulk; that sort of meaty, homogenous, fruit leather look. I attribute this to the fact that this tea is not only organically grown, but its domestically US produced and has a naturalistic character that says “variation happens” and I appreciate that – even if it means it doesn’t look uniformly pretty. I like when organic shows off its natural flair for variation – not like the uniform grocery apples, but rather like the bushels you hand pick at a farm.
I also think this tea lacks the typical ‘thin’ mouthfeel and flat vitamin C tablet flavor. In longer steeps, I found the tea to develop a meaty, dried cherry flavor that I was impressed by and thought would blend nicely into other mixes and would offer interesting complexity in iced teas.
This was just added to the Staufs list of offerings online and I’m pleased to see progress in their loose leaf selection online – I’m also excited to see that more is to come.