Steven Smith Teamaker

Recent Tasting Notes

85

Pass the Stash TTB 2.0

I’ve been rather curious about Steven Smith’s teas. I have browsed his website many times and there are definitely several things I would like to try. I was excited to see that my local The Fresh Market has a sampler box of his teas, but it’s different from the one listed online and it’s missing a couple of the teas that was really interested in trying. So poo! This was actually one of the teas I was curious about. Luckily for me, there was a single individually-wrapped sachet in the box! Sorry guys, I had to try it. :P

I really really like this tea! It’s a lovely mix of the soft hay-like flavor of bai mudan and the lightly floral honey tones of chamomile. I have no idea what osmanthus tastes like, but I definitely get an extra floral element in here. I’m finding this extremely delicious with a little bit of honey! I would definitely buy this as a nice calming evening option.

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Honey

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I’m kind of a grumpface today… Our new roommate (and my boyfriend’s friend and coworker) has only been here a week, and he already bought tickets for some girl to come visit him. For a week. And they’re not even dating, and she’s 19 to boot (no offense meant to the younger people on here, but I generally do not like or get along with teenagers)… Seriously? And since he and my boyfriend generally work from about 8 to 5 during the week, I will most likely have the pleasure of entertaining this person all day long. Seriously? I am at a loss as to why this is going down… But you know, clearly my opinion doesn’t matter as long as he asks my boyfriend about it, who is never going to say no. So yes, grumpface.

So, on to the tea then. The leaves are what I would call “medium-sized” and twisty. They’re mostly dark with little spots of gold. They smell mildly malty with honey sweetness, yum. I did a 3 minute brew just out of habit.

The aroma is quite dark. Very malty, with a syrupy deep raisin note and something somewhere between honey and molasses. Wow, the flavor here is deep. I definitely agree with Terri about this being a manly tea. That dark raisin aroma carries over into taste, but it’s not sweet at all. Needless to say, this is quite malty. There’s tobacco and soft leather, maybe a touch of earthiness. There’s also an interesting almost bitterness that I feel is inherent to the tea (meaning not a result of incorrect brewing). It melds nicely with the leather and tobacco notes.

Nicole mentioned maybe a bit of smoke in here, and although I wouldn’t call it smoke, I can see what she’s talking about. It’s definitely dark and intense, and the earthy quality could definitely be described as almost smoky.

I quite enjoyed this tea. It’s amazing to see (or rather taste) the wide range of flavors and experiences that can come out of one region (Yunnan). The golden, fuzzy Yunnan teas are light with pastry and honey-sweetness, while the darker varieties can be very assertive and rich, with deep and developed savory flavors. Amazing! I’m so glad I’m getting the chance to try all of the different kinds, especially since most of them were from swaps! Thanks everyone, and Nicole in particular, who provided this sample, along with many others! :)

Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Tobacco

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Marzipan

You know the saying, fish and guests stink after three days.

Cameron B.

HAH! I have never heard that, but you made me laugh with it. :P

mj

Totally justified in your grumpface, in my opinion! I had a friend who was in a very similar boyfriend + roommate living situation and it is tricky to say the least!

Sami Kelsh

One of my flatmates currently has her parents visiting, and while I super don’t mind at all (as I’m barely home myself on weekdays) I have to be super noise-conscious as it means my flatmate’s sleeping on the living room couch. And her folks decided to stay on an extra week, poor dear!

TeaBrat

ugh, maybe you should go somewhere while she’s here. :)

Nicole

That would make me a grumpface also. That’s just rude.

Cameron B.

Honestly, I’m sure it’ll be fine, hopefully the time will go by fast. And after talking to my boyfriend about it, I think they might work from home while she’s here so I don’t have to babysit all day. I’m just a bit peeved over the whole thing. :P

sherapop

I would recommend spending the week visiting all of your local tea houses! Carpe Diem! ;-)

Ost

Oy. Yeah, teenagers suck. Good luck you ya!

apt

teenagers are horrible

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Day 3 in Florida, 1st sip down of the day. Thanks for including this in the BBBB, TastyBrew. It is, in my opinion, a manly tea: Leather, wood, a little musty. Not as sweet as some of the Yunnan’s Ive enjoyed, but still a decent tea to drink.

Cameron B.

I have a sample of this one that I haven’t tried yet. Manly tea! :P

boychik

Terri, what’s your parameters for this tea? Hope you enjoying the trip!

Terri HarpLady

Boychik, I’ve tried it a couple of different ways:
1 tsp X 3 was ok, but kind of weak, IMO
1TB gongfu…it just wasn’t that interesting that way
1 TB 1/2/5 not much better than the gongfu
1 TB X 3 good, but a little strong
I probably should have gone with 2 t X 3. I think that would have been the sweet spot.

boychik

I should try when I get home. It’s still unopened . Thanks for the advice!

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66

After my sub par cup this morning, I wanted a proper cup. So I have cranked up the ac, made some toast with lemon curd, and poured this.
This tea is so smooth, with light and delicious layers to it. Not even a little bitter. And this pares so well with the bright aftertaste of lemon curd in my mouth from my toast. I recommend that combination!

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74

This tea definitely has a floral element. Floral and leather. Pleasant but not my favorite. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to try it so thank you Sil!! (165)

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66

My eyelids are practically glued shut. Argh. I hope this morning goes smoothly.
On to the tea! This is really good. Its smooth, and not at all bitter, with warm notes layered on top of each other.
I think that this will really come into its own when its the fall. But I’ll enjoy it until then.

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Cup from last night. Made it latte style with tiny bit of maple syrup. While it was good I probably had craved something else. If only I knew…

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

Hate when that happens

boychik

Right. Also my water is different now since I’m in PA. Nothing beats NYC tap water.

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66

I am being bolder and trying more “plain” blacks. I’m a lover of flavored tea, but I can see that there is great deliciousness hiding about in their unflavored sisters.
So I picked this up. Its bagged, which is not super ideal, but I’ve liked what I’ve had from Steven Smith before, and am willing to put my tastebuds in his hands.
This is pretty good! I’m delighted with how smooth it is, and, while its not exactly sweet, it is light and refreshing and quite good indeed. I’ll enjoy having this, on the days I feel more like a classic cup of tea.

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83

Queued post, written May 18th 2014

Here is another one from my recent Auggy parcel. I’ve seen this one around before on Steepster, but it never really caught my interest enough to check it further. It just got lumped automatically into the ‘sounds nice but unavailable to me’ box and so I put it from my mind.

Now I get to have some anyway. I find the name of the blend attractive for reasons that I don’t even understand myself. If I were shopping somewhere and saw a black blend of that name, it would make me have a closer look.

This is one of those rare blends, where not only have they listed what goes in it, they’ve also done it in a more detailed way than usual. Many companies would just have put ‘Indian, Ceylon and China tea’. Some would go a little further and put ‘Assam, Ceylon and Keemun.’ This one actually specifies the two Ceylons used (Uva and Dimbula)! It made me go YAY! I wish more companies would take heed of this.

Now, Uva is a highgrown tea and Dimbula is as well. I don’t actually care much for the high-grown Ceylons although I find them easier to drink than a Darjeeling. As is my experience, though, a Darjeeling in a blend can become quite acceptable in a blend because it is tempered by the other ingredients, and this is the case with the high grown Ceylon in this blend as well. Assam and Keemun are both fairly strong teas for me. Some people classify Keemun as mild, but for me it’s not that mild. I think maybe I measure strength differently. Something with that much flavour in it feels strong to me. They both do an excellent job with keeping the Ceylon in line in this blend. It is primarily a Ceylon blend, though.

I’m actually getting very little of the characteristics of the Keemun and Assam. No grain-y notes, but a little bit of floralness which may or may not be part Keemun and part Ceylon. No cardboard-y notes from the Assam, but a great deal of body. It’s like the Assam and Keemun work to enhance the deeper notes of the Ceylons rather than add their own flavour to the mix. I find I quite like that. It makes the blend taste very balanced. It reminds me strongly of low-grown Ceylon actually.

I’m quite pleased with this one.

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85

This smells pretty much like Earl Grey to me, which is totally fine, but it meant I got out the almond milk to splash in it before even brewing. Without, bergamot tastes super soapy to me.

Anyway, with a bit of almond milk, this was fantastic. I could taste the tea, bergamot, AND almond from my milk (something I really enjoy, and why I buy almond milk in the first place). Win.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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64
drank Bungalow by Steven Smith Teamaker
4736 tasting notes

this was in the BBB grab bag and since i try not to let things get back to TB, i pulled it out, figuring that if nothing else it could be shared by the numerous tea folks here. I figured i really ought to try it sooner than later so i could knock it off my list if i decided i didn’t really like it. As expected, this one’s not for me. there’s a floral note in this one that just doesn’t sit with me, and as it cooled it took on a taste that i really didn’t care for. In to the swap box it goes for others to try!

whatshesaid

You sent me some of this, didn’t you? You hadn’t tried it?

Sil

haha nope. you said you wanted to try steven smith teas so i just pulled it out :)

whatshesaid

Aww thanks, you’re magical! I think I liked it more than you, once I did it right :)

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75

This is a tea that I drink rarely, mostly because between the licorice and the stevia it is so sweet and really strong. I seem to remember that licorice is very helpful for sore throats and coughs, so I thought I would drink this one today and see if it helps. I have another licorice tea from Yogi tea, maybe I will break that one out as well. Can’t really taste much so this isn’t offending me at the moment…lol

Flavors: Cinnamon, Licorice, Peppermint

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

I hope you feel better! Gross licorice. XP

TeaBrat

Thanks, it’s such a weird time of year to be coming down with a cold. Licorice can be gross but there’s nothing better if you have a sore throat and a cough.

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drank Bungalow by Steven Smith Teamaker
349 tasting notes

I had this tea yesterday and it seemed a little bit uninspiring , so I decided to try it again brewed at a higher temperature. Darjeeling’s often seem to have different characters depending how you brew them. This one was no exception, although it did not go through as extreme a transformation as some I have had. I prefer this one brewed at boiling.

After 3 min @92 °C, I had a tea smelling of bright muscatel notes, cocoa, grainy malt and honey with a maple coloured broth.

The first note was a muscatel note that was quickly overtaken by grainy malt with a hint of honeyed cocoa and an underlying bitterness. It seemed a little more rrobust, substantial and warming than some Darjeeling’s I’ve had. Brewed this way this is not really a morning or afternoon tea for me I can picture having it when I want something soothing on a crisp night.

Brewed with boiling water for 3 minutes, the sharp fruity notes of muscatel were much stronger, the tea tasted lighter and a little bit sweeter with a touch of sharpness and a milder but slightly more bitter maltiness underneath. There is a bit of a slightly spicy and bitter floral note underneath the muscatel. At this temperature there is a more interesting blend of fruity muscatel, grainy and slightly buttery grain notes, honey and malt. It’s more of an afternoon tea now, and certainly more refreshing.

This tea doesn’t resteep exceptionally well.

Thanks Sil for the chance to try this one!

Sil

np just tried to find a few things you hadn’t tried :)

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No new notes. This is from the BBBB, courtesy of TastyBrew
A decent yunnan: earth, leather, little spice.

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77

why hello there tea that i see a certain someone hasn’t tried yet….looks like it’s one more cup of you before you go visit that person mwahahahaha. Still enjoying this one, though not nearly as much as the first time i had it. still though, happy to enjoy a nice straight cup of black today. this afternoon. it’s almost stop work time!

Final count: 208

Stephanie

Woo Friday almost quitting time!

Nicole

This is so good!

Terri HarpLady

This is from the Grab bag in the BBBB, right? I have some of this, which I brought with me to Tony’s. I’ll probably drink it tomorrow, so I hope you aren’t planning to send the rest of yours to moia… ;)

Sil

Yes Terri :)

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80

Success!

Well, sort of.

I stuck this in my mug to brew for a couple minutes (at about 85 degrees) and totally got distracted and forgot about it for at least 30-45 minutes because I wasn’t able to set my oven timer because I was cooking chicken.

So I came back to bitter town – buuuuuttttt – I poured half out in another mug, replaced what was missing with fresh water and it was great!

Last time I didn’t know I was supposed to treat a Darjeeling like a green, so this time I was prepared temperature wise. I almost totally effed it up by oversteeping but my trick saved it.

It was nutty and toasty in a way that is different from Laoshan Black (for example).

I couldn’t tell you in what way, I’m not really there.

But done right, I’d totally buy this!

Thanks Sil!!

Raising my rating up from 67.

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88

I got this sample from ifjuly – thank you.
She supplied me with some awesome samples some time ago. I haven’t finish her sample box, lotsa tea samples left. Feel guilty.
This tea is very good. I didnt read a description or reviews before I brew it(i do normally). my son had Field trip today, i left my house earlier without breakfast. As soon as i got home i had it, it was almost lunch time. i just couldnt figure out the flavor. its smooth malty creamy sweet (black tea sweet) and something. Well when i read its pine needles. Oh, its so good, who could imagine i would love some pine notes in my tea. Anyway, its a Christmas season tea, its not available right now. I can wait. My stash is huge anyway.
Btw, today is Steven Smith Bday, they offer 15% off(doesnt happen often) the code is Happy Birthday Steve
resteep was surprisingly good. More pine came thru. at 4 min

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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94

Sipdown!

This is a tea I will miss having in my cupboard. It is a wonderful blend of black tea with douglas fir needles. Would definitely get this again if they offer it next holiday season. On the other hand, it is nice to actually be purging myself of some stuff.

boychik

I happen to try this tea today. its soo good. Will pick up at Christmas time. Today is his Bday, they have 15%

TeaBrat

Thanks for letting me know! :)

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80

Thanks to Sil for sending a sample of this my way!
After discovering Steven Smith’s amazing Lord Bergamot, I knew I’d want to try some of their other teas, including Bungalow.

Made it this morning for breakfast…it’s good, but a bit too astringent for my tastes. That’s not a quality I enjoy in a tea.

I steeped it for only 3 min at 96 degrees to play it safe, but it was still quite bitter.
The resteep was a little better but still left quite the aftertaste. I think I do prefer something smoother and less toothache inducing (is that a normal thing? Bitter teas make my teeth hurt…)

Glad I got to try it rather than blindly buying it one day! Thanks Sil :)

Indigobloom

Odd I didn’t find this one bitter at all. Maybe try cutting the steep time?

whatshesaid

What parameters did you use?

Sil

This is a Darjeeling……treat it like a green….or just not a black

whatshesaid

Soooo even less than 96 degrees? I will try tomorrow!

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94

Oh man this is good! Thanks for the sample TeaBrat!
It isn’t your typical Darjeeling at all. No its much richer than that.
I was pleasantly surprised to actually taste all the things listed in the description. Usually I get one or two, but not all of them, or atleast not strongly enough that I could ID them on my own. But this! Well this is just bursting with layers of nut, fruit, butter, and toast. Kinda reminds me of one of those chocolate bars with the fruit and nuts in it, only without the cocoa. But not like a trailmix bar, because its milder and creamier than that.
This is definitely one I would reorder one day.

TeaBrat

Yay! glad u liked it :)

Indigobloom

Thx! I really did! yum

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92

Found a sample sachet of this, and since I’ve seen some Steven Smith reviews floating around lately I decided to give it a try.

First off, a little background info.

Earl Grey is my first tea love. It’s my go to if I need to drink a bag in public (like at a work conference or something, for example), and I don’t think I’ve met an EG I haven’t enjoyed. Not that I LOVE them all or anything, but they are easy to please me.

Anyhow, all that to say – this might be the very best non cream Earl Grey I’ve ever had.
The base is so delicious, it’s rich and smooth and silky and flavorful. The bergamot is perfect.

I added milk like I always do with EG and it was the very thing that I wanted to drink at that exact moment in time.

I do indeed foresee a Steven Smith order in my future, I’d love to be able to try some more sometime before I order! The Bungalow and Assam intrigue me especially.

They’ve been added to my future shopping list!

Dustin

Oh! I think I tried this tea at a local shop recently! Didn’t get a chance to log it or look it up, but I remember it tasting good.

whatshesaid

Oh yeah, delicious

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70

Sipdown!
Tea. Good.

Roommate wanted to use her coupon for a free drink at Starbucks so I just ordered hot water and this was the only caffeine-free tea I had with me haha.
Beating the system aww yiss :)

((Look at previous notes for the actual tasting note bit of this. Grande sized hot water, drank it all the way back home. Decided to roll out my yoga mat and sleep on the living room floor as my roommates watched tv. Oh it was great.))

VariaTEA

Hahaha. “Tea. Good.” Straight to the point…I like it.

jump62359

I seriously wrote this a couple hours ago and today has been EXHAUSTING. I was like half asleep when I typed it up.
Oh well, I’ve had this tea before so I have better tasting notes than this one hhaha

VariaTEA

Well not every note needs to be elaborate of course. I quite enjoyed reading this one.

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88

Happy Earth Day Steepster…

I made some of this earlier today thinking it would be my tea to try iced today. It is good iced but I think I prefer it hot with sugar. I taste more lemon and mint than green tea this afternoon. It might be better to cold brew this one because ice dilutes the flavor a lot.

Speaking of Earth Day I should get my butt up off my chair and go outside for some exercise. I have been feeling so unmotivated today so far and just plain tired. I think allergy season is officially here from the way I’ve been sniffling this morning.

Hello.Kiki

It doesn’t help that the weather is in that in-between stage. Here in MI one day it’s sunny and 75F the next it’s a cold and cloudy 35F… like today D’:
Feel better!

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No 72 White Petal is my very first tea from Steven Smith Teamaker. I picked up a box at Whole Foods this afternoon out of curiosity. The liquor is light gold and the flavor only barely floral. A very subtle blend. I’ve been noticing of late that white teas sometimes remind me of the second infusions of green teas…

I do not really taste either the osmanthus or chamomile as distinct. Instead, there is a more general and very light floral facet to this tea.

Kirkoneill1988

although im not much for chamomile, ill try this. can I buy it in Canada?

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