Steven Smith Teamaker

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Recent Tasting Notes

The weather here has finally started to get a little bit cooler and I’m really starting to crave some good fall weather so I can start drinking down my tea stash again without overheating myself. I’ve been hearing thunder on and off all afternoon today and the dark clouds have been ominously threatening but have yet to release a single drop of rain although I think that may change in the next hour or so. Its the perfect afternoon for a book and a cup of tea and I decided to give this a try. It came as a free sample with my order of Smith’s latest Makers Series and since it was sitting my my kitchen counter it wins the sip down lottery this afternoon. Its a decent tea, I could see myself drinking it in the morning with milk and sugar but its nothing so special that I’m going to run out to buy a box of it… If your looking for a good breakfast tea give this a try… it hits the spot.

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69

I’m backlogging just a bit with this one. I received a free sample of this tisane back in July and drank it three nights ago when I needed a sleep aid. I then promptly forgot about it. Since I have a little time, however, I figured I would go ahead and post a formal rating and review.

I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion. I steeped the silken sachet (approximately 1 teaspoon of material or so I’m guessing) in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. As usual, I did not attempt a second infusion.

First off, I have to say that this smelled absolutely wonderful. Floral, herbal, straw-like aromas from the chamomile blossoms mingled with zesty, lemony hyssop, woody, floral linden blossoms, rose, and a mild toastiness and woodiness from the rooibos. In the mouth, I noted dominant notes of hyssop, linden, and chamomile. I also noted subtle notes of toast, malt, and cream undoubtedly provided by the rooibos, though I failed to note any rose presence. The aftertaste was very lemony, floral, and minty, perpetuating the dominance of the hyssop, chamomile, and linden in this blend.

I’m kind of torn on this one. I love the way it smelled, and the combination of herbs and flowers used was rather novel to say the least. Still, I found it to be rather unbalanced in the mouth. There was way too much chamomile, hyssop, and linden for my taste. If the individual presences of the rooibos and rose petals were a bit more pronounced, I may have liked this blend considerably more. As is, however, I found this to be just decent and nothing more.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Herbs, Lemon, Malt, Mint, Rose, Straw, Toast, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Have you tried it with honey?

eastkyteaguy

Daylon, I have not had the opportunity to try this with honey. I just had the one sample sachet.

Evol Ving Ness

This sounds like something I might like. I will keep it in mind for future.

eastkyteaguy

Evol, I found it to be a more or less okay tisane. I will say, however, that I am serious when I claim that the smell is wonderful. The rose petals, hyssop, lemon myrtle, and linden really give this tisane some depth on the nose. I think there may be some kind of natural flavoring in this one too (they do list natural flavors in the ingredient list on their website), but it is not obvious. Even though this is not my favorite of theirs, Steven Smith Teamaker produces some excellent tisanes. Their No. 45 Peppermint Leaves may be the best peppermint tea I have tried to this point. I even like their hibiscus teas and their straight chamomile, which is saying something as I am normally indifferent to chamomile and openly hostile to hibiscus.

Evol Ving Ness

A wonderful smell accounts for a lot. One of my very favourite tisanes is this one: http://www.mightyleaf.com/loose-tea/chamomile-citrus-loose.html

Isn’t that interesting! Peppermint is near the bottom in terms of herbals that I reach for. Or non-herbals, for that matter. There are a few minty teas that I like, but they are rarities.

On the other hand, send me all the hibiscus! Not only do I like it, but recently my naturopath has suggested that I include a cup or two in my day. Each day. So not only do I like it, but I have been actively seeking it out. I’ve been purchasing straight up organic hibiscus and blends with rose hips, but now I am looking for good blends with hibiscus so that I can change things up.

I will take a look at what they offer. There is no mention of whether they ship to Canada though, or I haven’t come across it, or what their shipping costs might be. Always a factor when dealing with American companies, especially now that our dollar is suffering so.

If they do ship here, Black Friday is coming soon. :)

Daylon R Thomas

I second the smell. Honey was able to diffuse the herby taste of the tea with sweetness.

Evol Ving Ness

How would you rate this one, Daylon?

Daylon R Thomas

I think I did rate it, though mine now is totally different. Between a 70-75. It’s a solid tea for calming you down with good ingredients, and with the added bonus of the bag having whole chamomile flowers and rose petals. You can brew it at least twice, and the only criticism is the price. In U.S. dollars, the average I’m seeing is over $12 bucks for 15 bags. The taste is closer to a 75-80, but because of the price, you could get more of the same quality herbal for cheaper.

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81

So, I am slowly accomplishing my goal of finishing off the teas I have accumulated from Steven Smith Teamaker by November. I have 7 to go at this point, and should be able to finish at least 1 more before the end of the month. This blend of Ceylonese and Chinese black teas was the most recent sipdown.

I prepared this tea using the one step Western infusion I tend to favor for many black teas. I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. Obviously, no additional infusions were attempted.

After infusion, the liquor showed a dark, rich amber in the cup. On the nose, I detected a mixture of roasted nuts (black walnut, chestnut, hickory, and almond), leather, caramel, toast, malt, and cream. In the mouth, I detected complex notes of caramel, toast, malt, cream, roasted nuts, molasses, leather, smoke, and orange peel. I also noted a slight floral undertone that I could not quite place, as well as a hint of cocoa.

This tea is a blend of Steven Smith Teamaker’s Keemun Hao Ya B, Ceylon Uva, and Ceylon Dimbulla. All were teas that I rather enjoyed, and here they combined to produce a good, solid, respectable blend. Unfortunately, I feel that the combination of Ceylonese teas overpowers the admittedly small amount of Keemun used. I think I would have enjoyed this blend more if there were slightly more Keemun in it. The Keemun could have provided a little more fruitiness and richness to balance out the natural briskness and astringency of the Ceylonese teas. Though I still rather enjoyed this blend, I think people who are maybe a little more interested in Ceylonese teas would enjoy it more than someone like me.

Flavors: Astringent, Caramel, Cocoa, Cream, Floral, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Toast

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

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94

This is the other jasmine tea I have been drinking lately. It is yet another one that I like. I am beginning to find that floral teas don’t bother me as much as they used to.

I prepared this tea using the two step Western infusion I tend to use for many Chinese green teas. I first steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 190 F water for 3 minutes, and then followed up this initial infusion with a second infusion of 4 minutes. I can also say from experience that you can use a slightly shorter second infusion and this will still come out good. I have yet to try this tea gongfu, but I am assuming that it would do well.

After infusion, the liquor showed a delicate, pale gold in the cup. On the nose, I picked up a strong scent of jasmine, as well as subtle scents of straw, grass, and squash blossom. In the mouth, the jasmine flavor was strong, but was capably balanced by notes of squash blossom, peach, nectar, honeysuckle, gardenia, bamboo, straw, grass, soybean, and green beans. The finish provided a delicate swirl of floral and vegetal flavors with a hint of pleasant minerality on the back of the throat. The second infusion dialed the floral and fruity tones down a few notches and really emphasized the underlying grassy, vegetal, and mineral aromas and flavors. I still noted, however, that there was just enough lingering jasmine to provide a semblance of balance and depth.

This is yet another impressive tea from Steven Smith Teamaker. It makes an extremely effective contrast with their No. 99 Jasmine Pearls. To me, this Jasmine Silver Tip has a stronger floral aroma, but a more defined and complex green tea taste, while the Jasmine Pearls had a more balanced nose, yet a more robustly floral flavor. To be frank, I really like both, though I think I still like the Jasmine Pearls slightly more. Again, I’m seriously impressed. I would have no problem recommending this tea to any fan of floral teas.

Flavors: Bamboo, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Beans, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Mineral, Nectar, Peach, Soybean, Squash Blossom, Straw

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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96

So, it has been quite some time since I have reviewed a jasmine tea. There is a reason for that. I really don’t tend to like them. It’s not that I dislike the aroma or flavor of jasmine, it’s just that many of the jasmine teas I have tried have gone too heavy on the jasmine for me. I tend to dislike one-dimensional teas, so when all I get out of a tea is one specific thing, it tends to be a huge turnoff for me. Well, I have recently found a couple of jasmine teas I really love and figured I would go about providing the world with reviews for each of them. It should come as no surprise that both come from a vendor I tend to rate highly. This is the first of the two.

I prepared this tea using a Western infusion and I actually tried several different variations on my usual method. Keep in mind that on the rare occasions I choose to drink floral teas, I don’t normally perform additional infusions. That is not always the case, but I usually just limit myself to one. It is a personal choice based on my previous experiences with floral teas. Usually, the floral aromas and flavors are so overwhelming to me that I have no desire to press on with additional infusions, or when I do, there is not much else left to discover, so I tend to be let down when I attempt additional infusions. That was not the case here. For my first preparation, I steeped 1 teaspoon of pearls in 8 ounces of 190 F water for 3 minutes. I have also attempted a longer infusion of around 4 minutes and two step infusions going from 3 to 3.5 minutes and 3 to 4 minutes respectively. All have been very good. This review primarily concerns itself with the initial preparation, though I will briefly comment on the others.

The first thing I have to say about this tea is that the uninfused pearls smelled lovely. The smell of jasmine was clear, distinct, delicate, and natural. I also picked up very subtle aromas of ripe peach, grass, and straw. Following the infusion, the liquor showed a pale gold in the cup. Soft aromas of jasmine, grass, straw, and peach were very obvious on the nose. In the mouth, the jasmine was immediately evident, though it soon allowed traces of squash blossom, ripe peach, nectar, straw, and grass to show themselves. The finish presented a delicate integration of peach, grass, and jasmine notes with the slightest hint of minerality. If one were to choose to attempt a longer infusion, then one would be rewarded with stronger, more distinctive peach and jasmine aromas and flavors. If one were to attempt a second infusion, one would be greeted by more pronounced grass, straw, squash blossom, and mineral notes, though the jasmine would still be evident as a balancing factor.

This is a truly fantastic jasmine tea. I have had jasmine pearls from other vendors in the past, and I have usually been let down on some level, even if I know the vendor is at least semi-reputable and even if the particular tea I am trying has a good reputation. This tea, however, is delicate and poised. There is more to it than the jasmine. It has just enough depth to remain intriguing, but is just simple enough to remain approachable and drinkable. That is a tough balancing act to pull off, but this tea manages with ease. If you are a fan of jasmine pearls or any sort of jasmine green tea, then you owe it to yourself to try this one. I highly doubt you will be disappointed, and even if you are for whatever reason, I can’t say that I would care. There would just be more of this lovely tea for me.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Jasmine, Mineral, Nectar, Peach, Squash Blossom, Straw

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

It’s time to celebrate another sipdown with a review. Honestly, I’m having trouble believing that I am only the second person to review this tea. Considering that this one has been around awhile and that Steven Smith Teamaker is an established name in the tea world, it is kind of hard for me to accept that this one has been passed over this much on Steepster. Anyway, this is a good, solid black tea.

I prepared this tea using the one step Western infusion I favor for non-Chinese black teas. I steeped approximately 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions with this tea.

In the cup, the infused liquor showed a dark, somewhat brownish amber. On the nose, I picked up aromas of roasted nuts, leather, molasses, caramel, toffee, brown toast, flowers, and malt. In the mouth, this tea presented a rush of roasted nut, leather, molasses, caramel, toffee, brown toast, malt, stewed fruit (raisin, prune), and indistinct floral notes. The finish was heavy on caramel, nut, toast, and malt flavors, with just a hint of fruit and flowers lurking in the background. I also got that pronounced leafiness I get from many black teas from Sri Lanka.

All in all, this is a rock solid black tea. I wish the aromas and flavors were a little clearer at times, but still, this is good. I will mention that this tea comes off as being both strong and brisk, so if you are not a fan of those two qualities, this tea may be just a little too much for you. Even though I am not a huge fan of Ceylon black teas, I can appreciate this one with little effort. It would not be a tea I would pick for everyday drinking purposes, but as a strong and flavorful breakfast or afternoon tea, I could see this really hitting the spot. I think I would recommend this one to fans of stronger, brisker teas and/or to fans of Ceylon teas in general.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Toast, Caramel, Floral, Fruity, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Raisins, Roasted nuts, Toffee

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

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87

I’m slowly, but steadily catching up on my reviews. This past week was an absolute killer for me. I have been put in a position where I am forced to put in extra hours at work, and to top it off, I have been dealing with an absolutely brutal heat wave that has rocked this area. It wouldn’t be such a big deal for me if I weren’t very sensitive to both light and heat, or if I worked a job where I did not have to spend so much time outside. I spent Friday on a mandatory outing with my vocational rehabilitation clients that required me to spend more than four consecutive hours outdoors in direct sunlight. The temperature was a little over 90 F, but with a high UV index and high humidity, it felt more like 111 F. Needless to say, I came home sick and exhausted. Saturday was about as bad. I already wasn’t in the best shape from the day before, but when I went out into 89 F heat that felt like 108 F to do my weekend errands, my body decided it had enough after only a couple of hours. I spent the rest of my Saturday curled up in bed, fighting off persistent nausea, stomach cramps, and an unbearable headache. Times like these make me wish I could move back to Canada, or at least a little farther north in the U.S.

Okay, so I got all of that out of the way. The conditions above have kept me from drinking much tea lately, and on the occasions I do allow myself the opportunity, I haven’t had much time or energy to write reviews. Just one more to go after this one though, and I will be caught up for the past week. I prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion. I steeped 1 teaspoon of this tea in 8 ounces of 212 F water for 5 minutes.

In the glass, this tea showed a brilliant gold. Mild aromas of straw, herbs, toast, malt, lemon zest, and Muscat grape were present on the nose. In the mouth, I detected well-integrated notes of honey, malt, cream, toast, herbs, straw, lemon zest, and Muscat grape. The finish was delicate and mildly astringent, offering lingering impressions of herbs, malt, lemon zest, and Muscat grape.

This is a nice, straight-forward Darjeeling. It is a little fruitier and maltier than I was expecting. I typically tend to associate first flush Darjeelings with grassy, spicy, herbal, and straw-like aromas and flavors, but this one is balanced and offers a somewhat greater Muscat presence than I was anticipating. As far as I’m concerned, this is another respectable offering from Steven Smith Teamaker.

Flavors: Herbs, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Muscatel, Straw, Toast

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Evol Ving Ness

The humidity here in Toronto has been so oppressive this summer that I think you need to rethink your escape to Canada plans. Truly relentless.

eastkyteaguy

I’ve heard it’s been awful up there this summer. Perhaps Yellowknife is nice this time of year? I would honestly go anywhere to escape the feeling of being cooked every time I step outside.

eastkyteaguy

To be fair though, the heat and humidity you guys are experiencing now is like an average day from May-October here.

Evol Ving Ness

We have had the humidex of over 40 degrees Centigrade.

Evol Ving Ness

Edmonton is nice this time of year. Little or no humidity.

eastkyteaguy

That is truly disgusting. I lived in Quebec briefly as a teenager and can only recall maybe 5 or 6 days like what we are both experiencing now.

Evol Ving Ness

Toronto tends to be far more humid than Quebec and far more often. The humidity here appears to be getting worse and staying for longer. Global warming is no serving us well.

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This was my breakfast tea today and it was kindly supplied by another steepster (thanks!).

This had a sweet smell though it didn’t translate into the taste. Like most of the black teas I’ve tried I ended up needing to add a bit of sugar, though not too much. Wit the sugar is was very nice and quite warming. Overall, very enjoyable!

Flavors: Malt, Sweet, Tannin

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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76

Earlier in the year, I was both surprised and delighted that Steven Smith Teamaker was again dabbling in oolong and pu-erh teas. Normally, I think of this particular vendor when I think of high quality black teas and black tea blends, although I also have a soft spot for some of the tisanes, green teas, and white teas they offer. This year, they have three oolongs and one pu-erh available. This Taiwanese high mountain oolong is the only one of the bunch to come from anywhere outside of mainland China. It is produced from the Golden Lily tea cultivar, which I tend to associate with the creamy, buttery Jin Xuan oolongs I tend to love.

I prepared this tea using a slight variation of the gongfu method I used to prepare the Jade Oolong from Tealyra. I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 190 F water for 20 seconds following a quick rinse. I kept this session short. I only performed 5 additional infusions at 22, 24, 26, 28, and 30 seconds.

The first thing I noticed about this tea was that the aroma of the wet leaves really betrayed that this oolong was prepared from the Golden Lily cultivar. The aroma was very light, but emphasized a combination of cream and butter underscored by sweetgrass and a melange of fruits. In the mouth, the first couple of infusions offered light, airy notes of white peach, papaya, mango, apricot, cantaloupe, honeydew, honey, cream, custard, sweetgrass, and something very much resembling flower nectar. The middle infusions offered a more balanced array of aromas and flavors. On the nose, I picked up a slightly heavier fruit presence to balance out the cream and custard aromas. I also noted a slightly more pronounced vegetal scent, as well as a hint of very light minerality. In the mouth, I noted light notes of cream and custard balanced by fruit, nectar, and honey with more pronounced notes of sweetgrass, as well as leaf lettuce and minerals toward the finish. The last two infusions offered a milder and more vegetal nose with a more pronounced mineral aroma. In the mouth, I picked up on extremely delicate, fragile notes of sweetgrass, lettuce, and minerals underpinned by incredibly light floral, nectar, melon, peach, and honey notes.

I kind of liked this oolong, but I do have to say that I have had better. For me, the aromas and flavors were a bit too timid and delicate. I enjoyed the range of aromas and flavors displayed by this tea, but I would have liked to see greater depth. I was also slightly disappointed that the aromas and flavors faded so quickly, as I was kind of hoping for (but not entirely expecting) a slightly longer session. Still, I could see this being a good introduction to contemporary Taiwanese high mountain oolongs and would not really hesitate to recommend this tea to someone looking to get into them.

Flavors: Apricot, Cantaloupe, Cream, Custard, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Honeydew, Lettuce, Mango, Mineral, Nectar, Peach, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

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91

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77

An interesting mix of Dimbulla, Uva, and Nuwara Eliya black teas, this is a versatile, flavorful blend that I could see going over well with those who enjoy teas that are lighter in body. I brewed this one a couple ways. I first prepared this tea using a one step Western infusion. I then made a big jug of iced tea with this blend using a very simple overnight infusion in the refrigerator.

In the glass, the infused liquor showed a dark amber. Aromas of honey, malt, toast, flowers, orange, molasses, and sweet potato were heavy on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up notes of spice, honey, malt, toast, brown sugar, caramel, tobacco, leather, molasses, sweet potato, orange, flowers, and walnut. The finish offered notes of sweet potato, brown sugar, molasses, orange, leather, and spice before displaying a touch of astringency on the fade. Cold steeping this blend resulted in a lighter golden liquor that offered less spice, nut, and leather and more honey, malt, flowers, and orange.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this blend, but I do not think that I will rush to reacquire it. The more Ceylon black teas I drink, the more I am finding that no matter how much I enjoy the flavor, I really do not care for the astringency and the lack of body. You see, to me, so many Ceylon black teas, and especially blends, seem so slight in terms of body. I can certainly say that I found that to be true of this blend as well. And it is not just me. As at least one other reviewer has noted, this blend does not seem to have much of a body; it is very light in the mouth. In my mind, the light body undercuts the complexity of flavor in such a way as to make this tea seem lacking in depth. So, while I wouldn’t go out of my way to avoid this blend and think that the type of people who generally enjoy Ceylon teas might very well appreciate it, I doubt that I will push myself to spend much more time with it.

[To be clear, I think this blend is pretty good for what it is. It just really isn’t my thing.]

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Flowers, Honey, Leather, Malt, Orange, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Tobacco, Walnut

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

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86

Yesterday, I finally finished my sipdown of the exquisite No. 9 Yunnan Full Leaf Black Tea from Steven Smith Teamaker. That tidbit has no real bearing on the present review, but I felt like sharing that nonetheless. Possibly due to my recent drinking preferences, I decided to keep the Steven Smith train rolling. This morning I cracked open the Keemun.

The dry leaves show a jet black prior to infusion and produce delicate aromas of toast, smoke, leather, molasses, and tobacco. After infusion, the resulting liquor is a dark, coppery amber and offers aromas of caramel, molasses, leather, toast, wildflower honey, tobacco, pipe smoke, and grain. In the mouth, I am picking up rather well-integrated notes of wildflower honey, leather, grain, toast, tobacco, smoke, caramel, molasses, and especially leather. The finish is surprisingly smooth and a bit rich, playing up notes of leather, molasses, toast, tobacco, and smoke.

All in all, I like this tea. Keemun has never really been one of my primary things (I really enjoy it, but I don’t tend to have it very often), but this one is approachable and well-rounded. Most importantly, it displays just enough complexity for me to savor. Still, I am grading somewhat cautiously because I still cannot really see myself reaching for this one very frequently. As a change of pace though, this is quite good.

Flavors: Caramel, Grain, Honey, Leather, Molasses, Smoke, Toast, Tobacco

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93

Prior to last night, it had been quite awhile since I had enjoyed a Yunnan tea. I used to adore them when I was younger, and not being in the mood to continue my Earl Grey and Darjeeling binge, I decided to crack open this container of Yunnan. I needed the change of pace, and as it turned out, this was exactly what I had been missing for years.

Prior to infusion the dry tea leaves showed a mixture of dark green and black with pretty gold tips. The aroma was a mixture of must, leather, and cocoa powder with just a hint of an almost mildewy, grassy aroma. After proper steeping, the liquor showed a beautiful dark amber with an aroma of caramel, malt, leather, must, cocoa, and grass.

In the mouth, I detected distinct notes of cocoa, caramel, molasses, tobacco, leather, malt, must, wood, grass, wildflower honey, and slight floral, herbal notes (perhaps similar to a mixture of anise, licorice, and ginseng, but I could not quite put my finger on it). This tea was distinctly smooth and rich in texture with a satisfying body and a finish of cocoa, caramel, malt, honey, leather, and wood.

Overall, I was very impressed with this tea. It reminded me of why I used to love Yunnan black teas so much and how much more frequently I need to revisit them. I think fans of Chinese black teas will be satisfied and perhaps even pleasantly surprised with this one.

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Herbs, Honey, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Musty, Tobacco, Wood

Teatotaler

Steven Smith has some amazing tea. No. 9 Yunnan is definitely on my wish list!

eastkyteaguy

Obviously my review is evidence to the fact that I think this is a really good tea, but I really stand by my judgment of this one. I spent a lot of time playing around with steeping methods and temperatures, and I got fairly consistent results across the board. For the record, I think I settled on a Western one step infusion at a temperature of 208 F and Steven Smith’s recommended steep time of 5 minutes, but this is one of those teas that really seems to stand up no matter how you prepare it.

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83

It looks like I’m getting to this one first. So, Steven Smith Teamaker has recently been including oolongs and pu-erh in the lineup. It also looks as if this vendor has introduced a new white tea too. Anyway, right now Steven Smith’s oolong and pu-erh selection is limited. It seems as if this one is the only pu-erh currently available.

In the glass, the liquor is an extremely dark brown. Aromas of sauteed mushrooms, wet leaves, wet wood, moist earth, wet hay, and forest floor are evident. Notes of mushroom, hay, straw, wood, wet leaves, and moist earth are most evident in the mouth, though they are balanced by traces of roasted nuts, malt, toast, and dark chocolate.

All in all, this is an earthy, woody pu-erh that I rather like. It is definitely not an everyday tea in my opinion, nor is it the most complex pu-erh I have tried, but it is still quite good. Hopefully, this tea will go over well and Steven Smith Teamaker will introduce more pu-erh teas in the future.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Forest Floor, Hay, Malt, Mushrooms, Musty, Roasted nuts, Straw, Toast, Wet Earth, Wet Wood

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91

So far, I have been experiencing an absolutely miserable weekend. The last couple days at work have been brutal in all kinds of ways, I’m prematurely feeling the pressure of an upcoming career change, I’ve been helping my parents deal with a sick goat, I’m behind on housework, and I’m in the early stages of what is looking to be an awful sinus infection. Still, I’m pushing on and distracting myself with more pleasant things. Right now, I’m typing this review. That is much more pleasant than focusing on sinus pressure. Last night, my pleasant distraction was the long-awaited sipdown of this tea.

In the glass, this tea is interesting, as to my eyes it appears to be a little more yellow than green. On the nose, I get mild aromas of wet grass, hay, straw, bamboo, and melon. In the mouth, this tea is very light-bodied, offering lovely notes of wet grass, hay, straw, bamboo, melon (not quite cantaloupe and not quite honeydew, almost like a bit of both), cream, and vegetables (I’m picking up asparagus, green beans, and garden peas). The finish is mild, clean, and soothing, with lingering traces of vegetables, cream, grass, hay, and straw.

In the end, I really liked this tea and do not understand the low reviews on this site. This is a very simple, clean, elegant, straight-forward green tea that rewards repeat visits. It is perfect for a cool evening or a sunny afternoon. It may not be the most complex green tea in the world, but its easy-drinking approachability and nice separation of flavors are really admirable.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bamboo, Cantaloupe, Cream, Garden Peas, Grass, Green Beans, Hay, Honeydew, Straw

mrmopar

You have a full plate going on my friend!

eastkyteaguy

No kidding. At least the tea helped break up some of the sinus crud.

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84

Lately, I have been going out of my way to try more Ceylon teas. Until very recently, the only Ceylon teas I was familiar with were the readily available Orange Ceylon Pekoes from major commercial tea brands, teas I find to be very basic-in other words, somewhat bland and boring. From my previous encounters with these Pekoes, I came to the conclusion that Ceylon tea did not really have much to offer me aside from a quick pick me up when I needed or wanted a tea I didn’t really have to spend much time analyzing. I have recently, however, come to the conclusion that this assumption is unfair, and in order to rectify my own ignorance, have been greedily snapping up Ceylon teas that are unfamiliar to me. This is one of the more recent additions to my growing collection of caffeinated Sri Lankan goodness.

In the glass, the tea shows a deep, clear orange. Aromas of brown toast, caramel, and malt mingle with mild earthy, floral, and citrusy scents. In the mouth, the tea starts off with a nice maltiness accompanied by gentle notes of earth, caramel, and brown toast. Around mid-palate, notes of wildflower honey, lemon rind, and lime zest become more apparent. The finish similarly flits from bready, malty, and earthy to tart, floral, and citrusy before a wash of not entirely unpleasant bitterness and astringency is left in the mouth.

Honestly, this tea is rather difficult for me to rate, as I have little with which to compare it. Still, I do find it to be very appealing in its way. Compared to the more readily available Ceylon teas, this one is lively, bright, floral, and citrusy with a nice balance of earthiness and maltiness. The bitterness and astringency I find to be so typical of Ceylon teas is also not quite as pronounced and distracting in this tea. In the end, I would comfortably recommend it to fans of no frills South Asian black teas who are looking for a little more complexity without venturing too far outside of their comfort zone.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Brown Toast, Caramel, Citrusy, Earth, Floral, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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90

I ended up with a sachet of this as a free sample with my most recent order. Normally, I tend to avoid herbal teas. It is not that I truly dislike them so much as I just do not go out of my way to buy them all that often. Still, since last night was unseasonably cold and windy, and quite frankly, I felt like utter crap, I decided that maybe a cup of peppermint tea would not be a bad thing.

The tea shows a yellowish green in the glass. The first thing I noticed on the nose was the exceptionally pure, clean smell of peppermint. It’s an unmistakable aroma and one that is extremely pleasant and soothing. In the mouth, I immediately detected clean peppermint notes. Around mid-palate, I picked up some mild grassy notes and a little bit of cream. The finish was clean, smooth, and mild with a soothing mixture of peppermint, grass, and cream.

Honestly, I do not understand the relatively low score for this tea. It’s true that it isn’t the most complex tea in the world, but then again, what peppermint tea is? This tea does exactly what it’s supposed to do: deliver the aroma and taste of fresh peppermint. Compared to so many other readily available peppermint teas, this one is clean and smooth with no muddiness or off flavors. What more can one really ask for from a product of this type?

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Peppermint, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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83

Thanks for this one from your sale, Ost! This is definitely a unique blend that I really wanted to try. I wouldn’t say it tastes exactly like ice cream, but there is certainly something delicious about it. I just wish the flavors were more pronounced. The oolong itself is definitely of the creamy/milky variety. The oolong becomes more noticeable with more steeps but it never gets too powerful. Probably because there are so many other goodies in the blend. The sarsparilla is the most noticeable. But like I said, I wish the other ingredients would have made more of a presence. (Like the sea salt! or the almonds! or the vanilla! or the jasmine!) But this was stored in a thin baggie, so maybe that is what happened to it. I should mention that anyway. I wouldn’t say no to a cup of this though. I’ll try stronger parameters next time.
Steep #1 // 10 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 6 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 1/2 minute steep

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86
drank Bungalow by Steven Smith Teamaker
1625 tasting notes

Why have I not had any bungalow in so long? Its just gorgeous!
My cup this morning went down smoothly, with a lovely mouthfeel and a lovely flavor.
This has got to be in more constant rotation for me.

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86
drank Bungalow by Steven Smith Teamaker
1625 tasting notes

I love the weekend. When I want a pot of tea and a few little tea biscuits in the afternoon, why then I can brew a pot and bring out the cookies!
So I decided to brew this up, as its been in my cupboard for a while, but untasted. And now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long, as its lovely. Its rich, but with a honeyed smoothness at the bottom, which makes it go down an absolute treat.
Highly recommended.

Teatotaler

Darjeeling perfection! Bungalow is one of my all time favorite, must have, can’t imagine life without teas! It’s become my usual Sunday afternoon pot of tea. I can’t wait! :)

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85

If you like mint, you’ll like this tea. It’s strong without being overpowering, as creamy as the box claims, and leaves you with a fresh feeling in your mouth. I didn’t pick up on the chocolatey notes, but unlike other mint teas that are weak or synthetic tasting, this was strong and pure. I liked it.

Flavors: Creamy, Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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60

This tea taught me that I’m not a big fan of flowery teas. The hibiscus taste is, well, big. If that is your thing that you’ll love this tea. It’s sweet and slightly sour, smells like medicine at first, but doesn’t taste that way. It’s complex and I’m sure there are some that would really like it. I could drink this if I had to, but wouldn’t choose to. Just personal preference.

Flavors: Flowers, Hibiscus, Sour, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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