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Recent Tasting Notes
mmmm i can get behind this tea as a tea from the select box. To have a box full of teas like this, i would maybe pay the 25$. This is a slightly smoky tea..in that it comes across as the memory of smoke…rather than being smokey..combined with the sweet caramel notes, it’s perfect. I don’t get much of the sour cherry from this, but i am a fan… yes..this is lovely. Except, i can’t buy it..soooo booo!
First tea out of my first Steepster box! I brewed as recommended on the package. I am not very versed with drinking that many oolongs. I will say that I agree with the tasting notes on the package, there was a very slight caramel sugar/grain taste and I couldn’t put my finger on what the finish was but floral seems right. I drank this with no milk and sugar, to start my day. I usually have English Breakfast with sugar and cream but I am expanding my horizons. I enjoyed this but I am not a tea drinking purist if you will so because of my own personal tastes, I did not rate it higher. If you are into oolong tea, straight up, I think that you will enjoy this more than myself.
Scent of leaves/stems: very strong notes of roasted edamame, straw, and grain/nuts
Infusion: golden amber with a scent of popcorn kernals
Potent brew. The tea is good, but the flavor is a bit powerful. Makes the room smell heavily of edamame and popcorn kernals. Tastes about the same. Smooth with no bitterness or astringency, but very powerful. I’d drink it if it was offered, but I wouldn’t brew this myself…way too aromatic
OK, I do like houjicha. That being said, it seems the houjichas that are made with a lot of stem* are not for me . I brought something similar to this back from Japan and didn’t like that either. The woodyness, hay? flavor of this type of houjicha is just not for me. I don’t like the taste it leaves in my mouth. There are some other notes in this tea that are pretty pleasant. There is a caramel taste somewhere in there, that LIES to me and says “oh, this tea is actually pretty good”, right before the taste of wood punches me in the face.
*Is there actually a difference in houjichas being made from stems vs leaves? I feel like I’ve had hojichas before that I have LOVED, but they weren’t like this. What is the difference here? Am I confusing the “leafy” hojicha with something else?
Until Steepster Select, I had not tried many straight black teas. I’m just an oolong & green girl, and never really wanted to be trying plain blacks. I am a changed woman after experiencing the black teas in this first steepster select box.
I loved this tea. The smokiness was nice. The caramel and sour cherry notes were phenomenal. I had no idea I would like a black tea so much. I brewed this gongfu style to really enjoy these flavors, and I’m quite glad I did that.
This is one of the best jasmine teas I have had. The flavor is quite delicate and easy to enjoy. The jasmine notes are sweet and mild, not too bright or “in your face” and they intermingle beautifully with the green tea, which is also quite light in flavor and on the sweet side, just a little bit vegetal. This reminds me of the Jasmine Snow Dragon White Tea from Shang Tea, mostly in the sense that the jasmine flavor comes through quite delicately and the tea itself has a light and clean flavor. This is not a really hearty green tea. It works very well. Simple and clean.
This was my first time with Houjicha. I can appreciate the idea behind this tea, but it’s not for me.
I brewed for only a minute and a half and the first steeping was very strong. It actually tasted more like coffee than tea to me. This being the first time I have brewed Houjicha, I’ll take the blame for that first steeping. I probably used too much leaf. On the second and third steepings the liquid was less orange and more gold and had a much more mellow taste, so I feel it tasted how it was supposed to in these steepings. The overall flavors and scents are of popcorn and roasted nuts, and yes there is a very strong hay or straw aroma as other reviewers have mentioned. There was a very subtle sweetness in the later steepings. Seeing that this tea is made from the twigs and stems of the leaves, it has a very different flavor than other teas. Though it is a green tea, the picking and roasting of this tea makes it taste nothing like other green teas. It’s much more like an herbal tea in flavor.
I enjoyed this tea enough to drink three steepings of it, but the scent lingered in my room for hours after I finished, and I did not enjoy that. It smelled like someone had burnt a bag of microwave popcorn in my room. I wouldn’t suggest this tea unless roasted flavors are your thing. I’ve had light roast coffees with more delicate flavor than this tea.
The aroma of this tea reminds me of the smell of the air here in the Pacific Northwest on an early evening in autumn. You step outside and there is a crisp edge to the air and it is scented with the fragrance of smoke rising out of chimneys … it smells rustic: like wood and smoke and crisp, cool air. Not overly smoky … just like this tea.
In my first cup (infusions 1 and 2), I got that burnt hazelnut caramel sort of flavor that Steepster suggests in the tasting notes. There is a deep, nutty note. A lovely caramel-y flavor to this. There is some smoke to the flavor too, but not an overpowering presence of smoke. This Da Hong Pao has a pleasing, clean finish.
Subsequent infusions offer more flavors. I still taste the smoke and woodsy tones, but they are softer now. A sweet-tart fruit note in the distance that begins to emerge and come closer in later infusions. Those fruit notes later reveal themselves to be a bit like a cross between a nectarine and a plum … there are some tart notes but mostly sweet.
A really nice Red Robe.
This is from the Feburary 2014 Steepster Select Box.
This is my first Keemun so I have no idea what I should be tasting. I have had one other tea that I would describe as “smokey” and it hit you in the first part of the sip, almost like breathing in smoke. This was more of a smokey flavor as it settled in your tongue. I would describe this as smokey/woody flavor. I really enjoyed this.
2nd sample from the steepster select box. Never had a Keemun before, so I lack the knowledge of what I should be looking for.
Didn’t really care for this one all too much. I found that towards the end, it was getting rather bitter, and the smokey wood taste was starting to get to me. I’ m not a big fan of smokey tea (Lapsang Souchong…blecchhhhkkk). Not sure if it was just this Keemun that was smokey, but if they are all like that, I’m definitely gonna have to pass
Obukucha, you are so tasty. I could almost have you for lunch instead of miso, you remind me that much of a brothy salty seaweedy soup.
I am so sad that this is only sold around the new year. I placed an order with Obubu tea to try and get another sencha and a sample of their sakura so that I can sort of have some kind of salty beverage in my future, but I am still going to miss this cup.
It is my ideal green. From the flavor profiles it almost seems like I should be looking more for a gyokuro if I want something similar, so I suppose my next step will be to research that. In the meantime, does anyone have any idea who supplied this tea for the Select Box? I love them so much for it. If you have any recommendations for similar tasting teas I’ll take that too.
So so SO good, and now it’s all gone. I hope my sencha gets here fast..
The final selection from this month’s Steepster Select box.
I used to drink a lot of jasmine pearl teas, & I find them adorable, & generally tasty. I don’t drink them often now, as I have to be in the mood for such a thing. So today we’re just sitting around in our PJs, watching back to back episodes of various shows we’ve gotten behind on (while we were watching every single episode of Supernatural except the current season), & drinking tea. I’ve been perusing tea sites & almost talked myself into buying another yixing, but I just closed the page…sigh…
This is a pleasant afternoon tea, lightly vegetal, gently mineral, & judiciously jasmine.
Here’s a youtube video showing somebody making jasmine pearls, for those who might be interested…
The first thing I noticed about this tea is the appearance: it reminds me of Oatstraw, all chopped up & fluffy. The aroma is awesome, at least to me. It’s roasty, toasty, inviting.
When I got my first steepster select box, I scoffed at the brew bags they include. I’ve used some of them for brewing the occasional rooibos, & I have to admit I haven’t had any pieces of rooibos stuck to my tonsils lately, so I guess those bags have a place in this world.
So I’m actually using one of the bags this time. I have no idea why, I just decided to.
And I am really enjoying this tea. I used to drink a lot of Houjicha, years ago. I’d say it was a big part of my transition from green to oolong & black teas. I love the roastiness. I’m a big fan of roasted walnuts, & it tastes a lot like them. There is a light charcoal bitterness, but it is off-set by a sweet caramel. This would make a great genmaicha.
This does smell sweet and sugared- when raw. More of a cotton candy lightness than, say, a sweet bread pudding. However, once steeped (gaiwan style, but following the package directions for time and temperature) a roasted grain note that screams hojicha takes over the smell. This is sad – I would have preferred the candied sugar scent to remain.
Sigh. The first steep is ALL toasted bread. Incidentally, I am eating freshly baked bread with it and the two mirror each other well. It is also REALLY strong, because I’ve never quite figured out how many cups each envelope in the Select box is meant to serve. I’m going with each envelope being for 2 servings, since whenever I use just one on one cup its come out too strong. So that could be why I’m being walloped over here with the toasted grain notes. At the same time, though, its not like there’s any bitterness or astringence, so…I don’t know! I like a lot about the steepster box but that’s a huge frustration for me.
The second steep – done for 2 minutes in boiling water, is surprisingly much lighter than the initial one. That punch of roasted wheat has gone away so now I smell and taste a much milder, more honeyed tea. I much prefer this, actually, so I’ll give it another go to see where the tea evolves from here.
Third steep, 3 minutes – the spent leaves smell like toast again, but the liquor smells very spun sugar sweet. Unfortunately the taste doesn’t measure up – there is definite astringence now and not much else flavorwise.
So I wasn’t really impressed with this one. It could have been user error, but I know I’ve had Da Hong Pao before and the fact that I’ve not had it since could be that it just isn’t the tea varietal for me. Eh. Put me in the camp of people that consider this ‘just ok’.
I absolutely adored this sample and was pleasantly reminded of how enjoyable jasmine can be when done right. This is one of the cleanest-tasting, pleasantly vegetal and floral green teas I’ve ever had. I’m normally not partial to a tea that’s so delicate, but this is a winner and I hope to buy a ton for my roommate and me once it becomes available for purchase on here. Great job this month, Steepster Select!
Flavors: Flowers, Grapes, Green Melons
After the success of the Obukucha (SO bummed that that is only sold around the new year) I decided to order Japanese for lunch and make the other green tea in the Steepster box as a companion to it.
Dragonwells are easily my favorite Chinese green, if only because I find them very similar to senchas, albeit a touch more…nutty? Earthy? Something like that. There’s less of a salty ocean tang here – just vegetal green. Not necessarily grass, more of a spinach undertone. The liquor is a pretty light green, almost colorless, despite my longish steep time. Still, it does hint at broth – just not the seaweed senchas tend to evoke.
This one was good but there’s just less going on than there was in the Obukucha. A solid green tea that I could see as being well suited for an every day cup, though.
I love a Japanese green.
Chinese greens always have kind of a soil/dirt undertone (not unpleasant, just part of their terroir, I guess) which makes them have a brown-green liquor. But Japanese greens – they have a translucent peridot liquor and they taste like the ocean. It makes sense – Chinese greens are not really grown by the sea, but Japan is an island so I imagine the salt in the air has no choice but to become a part of the tea plants themselves.
The smell of this dry! It was like… like spring. Like chlorophyll and freshly cut grass, but also seaweed and salt. Its leaves turned emerald after steeping and it was such a wonderful sight – I haven’t seen green in nature for what seems like forever so it gets high marks alone for making me forget about February for a bit.
The taste is savory – think salty spinach broth. It is gorgeous. And now I really really REALLY want udon. Even though its 10 in the morning.
I didn’t really get the tree notes – pine or eucalyptus – in the flavor but I certainly didn’t feel as though I was missing out. Yum. I am going to have to look into more of this for sure.
Flavors: Grass, Ocean Breeze, Seaweed