Steven Smith Teamaker

Recent Tasting Notes

94
drank Silent Night by Steven Smith Teamaker
541 tasting notes

Licorice and Peppermint.
I never thought that those two would mix.
When Rosehips sent me a sample of it, and I smelled the tea bags, I still wasn’t sure. But man was I wrong!
Those two flavors together made for an excellent cup! I can’t even explain how amazing it was! I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of either of those flavors alone, but I haven’t had many teas with those flavors in them. I really never could imagine they would mix so well.
PLUS! It’s a chamomile!
I desperately wish that I had tried this before all of this tea was sold out. Now I have to wait a whole ‘nother year to get more of this tea! I’m so sad! Thankfully Rosehips was so generous and gave me three tea bags. I will savor the two I have left!
I seriously had such a horrible day yesterday, and an even worse night. This tea was seriously the best part of my entire day last night. It helped me relax and actually smile and feel a little happier inside.
Ahh! I’m just so happy to have gotten to try this! And it really did cheer me up some last night. And writing this makes me smile because I’m really happy that I still have two more tea bags left! I should save them for the really bad days so they will help me feel more relaxed and a bit happier! (: I can’t wait till Next Christmas to get more!
Thank you, Rosehips!! I’m so excited and happy about this tea! :D

Flavors: Licorice, Peppermint, Smooth, Sweet

Red Fennekin

Mmm, I know what you mean about liquorice and peppermint! It sounds really odd, but they work so well together as a tea! I’ve never tried this particular one, but the Teapigs one is ace :-)

Rosehips

I know! When I smelled it, I was also unsure, but its fantastic! I’m so sorry its all sold out. Enjoy the other cups!

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70

Sample Sipdown!
Had the last of this tea last night. Not bad-all three times I had it it made for enjoyable and relaxing cups. Always happened to be when I needed it the most! I don’t think I’d buy this tea in particular, but it was pretty nice. Thanks again for the generous samples, Rosehips!

Rosehips

Glad it was well timed tea, anyway!

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70

I really really needed something to calm me down after this morning when I had to go to the dr to have a horrible test done. My body hurts like hell and I can barely swallow. Seriously have been such a mess today.
But this tea.
This tea totally calmed me down when I got home. Hurt tons to swallow, but it was definitely worth it. Helped me to be able to sleep for most of the day. xD Which was good for me because this monitor in my throat is killing me. xD
Also I really do think that the blend of lemon and chamomile is pretty nice in this tea. One tea bag left. :O

ashmanra

Oh no! Saying a prayer for you to feel so much better, and quickly!

TheTeaFairy

Feel better soon sweet girl…

Dexter

((hugs)) feel better

Ost

Thanks you guys. I’m sure that if the dr lets me come back and get this thing out of my throat himself it will be better. But kinda doubting he will. But fingers crossed! >

Rosehips

Feel better soon, Ost!

dragondrool

I hope you’re back to spiffy soon!

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70

Got a generous sample of this tea from Rosehips! I really did need a relaxing tea, and this one totally worked! ^^
I love how much chamomile relaxes my muscles, it’s like I feel it between the sips. It’s the perfect kind of tea for me. It inspires me to try all of the chamomiles!
I wasn’t sure if I’d like this one when I looked it up on Steepster, but I tried it anyway.
It’s definitely interesting.
The main flavors are lemon and chamomile. They taste almost the same since chamomile is generally pretty sour tasting. Kinda a weird combo since it was a little hard to tell them apart, but I look forward to trying the other two tea bags of this one. It’s interesting. Not something I’d go out and buy, but it really does make for a pleasant cup when you want to relax.
Thanks for the samples, Rosehips!

Flavors: Lemon, Sour

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80

Another cup this morning. Really enjoy the bright citrus note from the bergamot. Put a little extra sugar in this time and, well, it was sweeter as one might expect. Just right for my mood this morning.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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80

Like this tea quite a lot. Really my first taste of a bergamot but it was fantastic. I’m always a fan of Assam teas which is the base of this tea (with Ceylon). Just fantastic in my opinion. Impressive especially for a bagged tea (though they call them “sachets” which I suppose is accurate as they’ve got plenty of expansion room).

Flavors: Bergamot, Earth

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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77

This has got such an interesting hint of pine floating around at the tail end of the sip. It bumps up the otherwise unflavored tea, which enhances it, rather than distracts.
Also, its a quick cup to brew up and to drink- important this early in the morning.

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77

Tea of the morning.
I was very interested. A rich blend of black teas, and a hint of pine? What would that be like?
I’m pleased to let you know it was not at all like a pine tree. I was afraid it might taste like a Christmas tree lot, but the pine note is lovely, subtle, and well blended with the black teas.
Good. I’m quite glad.

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88

There is a very modern sweetness too this. Not an old fashioned, sugary sweetness, but something crisp and cool, and a little unexpected. It makes it much more than a mint tea, with the flavors running around and making themselves hard to identify.
I have a headache, and ate too much dinner, but this tea has helped take the edge off. Good!

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88

Backlogged from the other day.
I brought this and a few other mint teas of mine over to my friends house, for a tea and knitting date. It was good! I’m getting so much progress done on the very basic scarf that I am learning to knit.
She picked this one, and so I had another chance to mull over my thoughts.
Still like it! Complex and layered. I think it will be great if you are not feeling well, which may sound clinical, but I think is a high bit of praise. You don’t always want something this good when you don’t feel well.
My friend was a little more meh about it, but thats alright!

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88

So, I was starting to feel slight pangs about the amount of mint and peppermint based teas that I ordered from the Black Friday sales. Had I ordered too many? Would I get sick of similar flavors?
I was feeling slightly worried about this one, as I’ve jut discovered a love of the ROT Peppermint Bark. Would this taste the same?
I should not have worried. This is worlds different.
The smell was very light and sweet, and, when sipped, proved to be the most complex mint based tea I’ve ever had. Is that cinnamon in it? Orange? What were those other flavors? Whatever they were, they were fantastic. I will need many more cups of this fascinating blend to really pin it down.
Sophisticated may not always be the word used about peppermint tea, but it can be used without hesitation of Silent Night.

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78

Thanks to boychik for this sample. I ended up steeping it for 3 minutes at 205 f and that was definitely overkill because I got really intense tobacco notes that made it difficult for me to drink this without milk. I also noticed spicy pepper-y notes and a bit of the sweet potato type of flavor that seems characteristic of yunnans.

I tried a 2nd steep for 90 seconds and now it seems like it doesn’t have enough flavor… it could be I steeped all the flavor out of it at the 3 minute mark. :) Anyway the 2nd steep isn’t bad but I’m still getting tobacco notes with some caramel. Tobacco isn’t really my favorite flavor in tea.

this doesn’t seem to be my favorite yunnan to date but it isn’t terrible. If I had more tea I feel like I could hit a sweet spot with the brewing parameters. I wish I had more to play around with but probably not worth placing an order.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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80

Very sweet, with a hint of raisin and lots of caramel. I can see why this is a favorite for so many on here, but, weirdly, I prefer my black teas on the harsher side—this Assam actually reminds me of some of the popular Chinese blacks I haven’t cared for on grounds of having too much in the way of sweet dessert notes going on, though I can’t think which ones exactly. Thanks for the sample, Cameron B.! I’m happy to be able to knock this off my wish list, since it’s a tea I’d been curious about for a while.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

Hah, I love how we’re complete opposites. I love the sweeter fruity black teas! :P

greenteafairy

Yep, I think I must have the least refined tastes of anyone on Steepster, but I’ve learned to just go with it!

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65

This was a bonus sample from scribbles. Mine is in sachet form. The leaves inside are black and somewhat thin, and surprisingly not very broken. Dry scent is sweet and malty with hay and molasses notes. I let my sachet steep in 8 ounces of 200 degree water for 3 minutes. The string escaped into the cup, harumph!

This one is pretty “meh” in my opinion… The main flavor of it is generic black tea, and I don’t know how else to describe that. It’s somewhat malty and quite astringent, especially as it cools. There is a bottom note of molasses-like richness, and a touch of dried apricot-like fruitiness, and these help to balance it a bit. Still not very impressive for me.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Malt, Molasses, Tea

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

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70

This is going to be a lazy note for a lazy morning… Boychik sent me this sample, thanks dear. The leaves are fairly broken and dark with only a few scant golden pieces. I did my general black tea steep.

Meh, this one is just okay for me. It’s fairly generic with just malt and some bread notes, along with a fair amount of astringency, which I do not enjoy. Maybe just a touch of honey sweetness on top. Overall, it’s drinkable, but not something I would reach for.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Honey, Malt

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

i didnt like it either. too finicky. either too bitter or flavorless. not going to restock.

Cheri

It’s disappointing when one wants a tea to be good and it’s just maybe mediocre.

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88

Thought I’d have this one again since they have a free shipping deal again. Had to see if I needed more. :P This really is a wonderful assam. I really do enjoy it. But I don’t think I need more than 2oz for now. Maybe once I sip these 2oz down I’ll be ready to buy more!
Still a very strong, malty assam. Enjoying this one!!
If you haven’t had it yet and like malty teas-you should definitely take the free shipping offer up now and get some! It’s not super expensive too!

Flavors: Malt

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88

Decided to order this one since Steven Smith Teamaker is having a small sale, and since i’m working again I have more money! Glad I took a chance and got this one.
It’s delicious! :O
Rich. Strong. Malty. Fruity. Honey.
A lovely tea!
And guess what! NO WOODY TASTE!
Yah! I’m so excited! :D

Flavors: Caramel, Fruity, Honey, Malt

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this tea is excellent. made gongfu method
6g 100ml glass teapot 205F
rinse/5/10/10/15/15/20sec etc
its rich, malty with stone fruit notes. Surprisingly no sweet potato note, i expected it. tell you the truth im getting tired of all Yunnan blacks having sweet potato profile. Nice and very potent.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Yang-chu

Hmm. I wonder if what you’re calling “sweet potato” is what I associate with yams. hahahaha. Actually, I’ve noted a bit of split pea in a few of them. I think it’s the umame.

boychik

I heard that sweet potato and yums are not the same. I never tried yums. They say its not popular in US supermarkets. Split pea-interesting. Maybe l’ll get this note one day;)

Kirkoneill1988

black teas are ok to me :D

TeaBrat

this would be nice gong fu’d

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67

Tea of the morning here in a pyramid sachet. It’s difficult to believe I am the first person to log this particular blend.

When it comes to ceylons, I am a bit fussy. I’m not a big fan of this (Sorry Steven Smith). The flavor seems kind of muddy and brisk and if I am drinking a plain ceylon, I like them to be more flavorful and fruity. I believe this might be the base for their Lord Bergamot, which I do like. It just doesn’t do a whole lot for me when it’s plain. Perhaps I will try this as an iced tea before I give up on it. I’ve had it a couple of times prior and it’s just a solid “meh” for me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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66

You have to really love hibiscus to enjoy this tea – the name does not lie, it is certainly big. 1 sachet can make a whole pot of tea in fact. I love hibiscus and Steven Smith brings out the flower’s tart cranberry flavors.

Flavors: Hibiscus, Rosehips

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

Drinking the last of this sample from Terri. Thanks, again, Terri. This was super tasty. And I followed the instructions to the letter, regarding the playing of opera in the background, while the tea is brewing.

Yesterday’s two cups were accompanied by “Faust” and “La Boheme,” respectively. Today’s cup is accompanied by “Le nozze di Figaro.”

Spencer

Got so caught-up in the music that I forgot to take the infuser out of the tea until eight minutes into the brew.

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88

Thanks to Terri HarpLady for this sample! I really enjoyed it.

An excerpt from my full review:
“The aromas of mixed Ceylon and Assam are touched by very gentle citrus. Truly, the smell of this infused tea does not remind me of Earl Grey in my experience. When I start sipping No. 55, the complexity of this not-Earl Grey surprises me. I say it is complex due to the different flavors, which I notice as separate but cohesive. It is at this point that I ‘lose myself’ in thoughts and tea. When my mind returns to the present, half of the mug of tea has been consumed – a sure sign of enjoyment.”

The full review will be available, later today, at CreateWriteDrink.com.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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4 oz. Sipdown: I thoroughly enjoyed this caramel-flavored assam. Please see my previous review & its comments for brewing recommendations as appropriate parameters are essential to enjoy it: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/259294.
I won’t promptly restock as I’m currently well stocked, there are a few Chinese teas i enjoy more, & there are so many other black & pu’er teas I want to experience!

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt

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

Link added for convenience.

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I’m very pleased to present a multi-morning review of No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 from Steven Smith Teamaker, Western style without sweeteners, milk, or cream.

Intro: I confidently ordered this tea based on LiberTEAS excellent recommendations 2 years ago:
- http://steepster.com/LiberTEAS/posts/104708
- http://steepster.com/LiberTEAS/posts/135003

After placing my order, I saw that boychik cautioned 7 months ago that the recent batch of this tea maybe on the bitter side: http://steepster.com/boychik/posts/211831#comments. I then began to wonder … Does this Assam have a consistent taste profile from year to year? … Should I have blindly ordered 4 oz.?

Per: http://www.smithtea.com/shop/black/assam
“Preparation
For best flavor, bring freshly drawn filtered water to a boil. Steep five minutes. A good time to practice the sitar.”

Note: The incomplete instructions do NOT specify how much tea or water. Is one supposed to assume 1 tsp. (level, rounded, heaping?) and a 6 oz. teacup, an 8 oz. cup, or something larger?

Given boychik’s warning and the incomplete brewing instructions, I was now less certain how much I would enjoy this Assam.

Leaf: Thin twisted dark chocolate-brown leaves 1.5 cm long or less with many golden tips.
Fragrance: Rich high-quality pipe tobacco
Liquor: Clear brilliant copper
Aroma: Malt, caramel & sweet potato – ah!
Flavor: Malt, caramel, honey

1 tsp. (2.6 g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 5 min:
Aroma: Robust and malty.
This is a smooth, rich, malty and satisfying Assam. However, the malty flavor overshadowed any hint of caramel and there was woodiness at the end of the sip.

Having not yet achieved the same results as LiberTeas, I then looked at previous tasting notes for this Assam and tried the following brewing recommendations:

Scribbles: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / “just off boiling” (I used 208F) / 5 min:
To my taste buds, the bold malty Assam still overshadows the caramel. Near the bottom of the cool cup, the sweet caramel was more obvious. There was a dry finish with some astringency near the front of my tongue. Fortunately, the woodiness was no longer present with the lower temperature.

Resteep:
6 & 7-min. – not yet. 8-min – ? 10-min. produced a light-bodied cup with a similar flavor profile.

Nicole: 1.5 tsp. (3.5 g) / 10 oz. / 205F / 2.5 min:
Aroma: Malt with hints of both caramel & sweet potato – ah!
This preparation provided a bold, rich, and malty with a definite caramel sweetness and a dry finish. The cup was very invigorating.

Terri HarpLady: 1 tsp. (2.6g) / 8 oz. / 212F / 3-4 min:
3 min. produced a rich, smooth, full-bodied malty Assam with a yummy caramel sweetness. There was no hint of bitterness and minimal astringency. As the cup cools there is a honey-like sweetness. Very satisfying! Now we’re talking!! Terri’s experience reviewing this tea 12 times truly paid off!

Resteep: Not recommended.

Impression: I’m very pleased to have finally found exactly what LiberTEAS so accurately described in her tasting note. No. 49 is apparently consistent and definitely Carmalicious!

Thanks to all who contributed detailed brewing tips in their tasting notes or the comments of the No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 thread. Your guidance was very helpful for this tea especially given the incomplete brewing instructions.

Recommendation Not having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” would be very helpful and greatly appreciated. Having to do so is very inefficient, wastes valuable tea, and IMHO impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration. In retrospect, it’s a very good thing that I ordered 4 ounces!

My favorite tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea every year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

Method:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39311-perfect-tea-spoon
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/37731-my-weigh-durascale-d2-660-digital-scale
Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a brew basket http://steepster.com/teaware/royal-albert/45581-old-country-roses-afternoontea-mugs
http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket
http://steepster.com/teaware/teavana/39312-perfect-preset-tea-timer (for 212F brewing)
http://steepster.com/teaware/davidstea/36677-thermometer-and-timer

Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt

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

I’m glad you have managed to achieve satisfactory results with this tea. I really love Steven Smith’s teas. I realize that I’m not at all precise with my eyeballing of the parameters … I guess after having brewed tea for as long as I have, I just … sort of get a feel for it, and that’s where I work from. I’m not good with timers, scales, measurements or anything like that. That said, I am happy that you found some satisfaction from this tea because it’s a good one!

Nightshifter

Wow, outstanding review!

Veronica

Great review! My grocery store sells the bagged version of this tea, but I think I want to give the loose leaf version a try.

looseTman

LiberTEAS, Agreed, SST No. 49 Assam FTGFOP1 is a good one! Thanks for your recommendation!
I would be curious to know how many tsp. or Tbsp = one bamboo tea scoop?
Since you use a Breville One Touch, it provides the brewing temperature and time. Per the owner’s manual, the “glass jug” has markings for 500ml / 2 cups, 750ml / 3 cups, 1000ml / 4 cups, & 1200ml / 5 cups and a max of 41 oz. of tea.
Adding any of the known brewing parameters to your reviews would helpful. Thanks again!

looseTman

Thanks Nightshifter!

looseTman

Thanks Veronica! The SST bagged and loose tea should be identical. However, the bagged version probably more $/oz. for the convenience. Also, with bags you can’t fine tune the amount of tea per cup unless you cut the bag open.

Doug F

Great analysis!

looseTman

Thanks Doug F!

boychik

I didn’t like it. I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters. I didn’t find mine. it was either too bitter or too weak. I had 2oz, maybe 1 or 2 tsp left

looseTman

“I don’t think Assam should be so complicated to find best parameters.” Agreed! That’s why I’m a big fan of companies like TeaVivre that provide complete brewing instructions which are optimized for each crop year.

boychik

I was annoyed when I called them up to ask what am I doing wrong, the lady was keep telling me same thing over and over 5 min 212F. I love Lord Bergamot and Fez, but I’d rather buy my Assam fr Harney. Mike Harney is very helpful

looseTman

I agree, there’s no substitute for great customer service.

LiberTEAS

@looseTman – I don’t think I had the breville back when I had this tea. I could be wrong, in which case, I would say that for an Assam I probably used 205°F water and 500ml for approximately 2 bamboo scoops of tea. I would estimate that the bamboo scoop equals approximately 2 tsp. So yeah, I probably use more tea than I need … but then it’s always been my own personal preference to want a tea strong and as fully flavored as possible.

@boychik – I’m sorry that you encountered poor service from Smith Teamakers. I usually shop in their Portland tea shop, and I’ve always encountered very good service. But, yeah, it can be frustrating when you encounter poor service and I don’t blame you at all for your frustration.

looseTman

Thanks LiberTEAS! I too like strong full-flavored black teas. I’ll give your brewing parameters a try.

LiberTEAS

Oh … and with an Assam in the Breville … I always brew for 2 minutes. The reason is that the Breville does keep the water warmer than the process of pouring hot water into the tea pot does, even if you temper your tea pot and cover the tea pot with a cozy to keep it warm. This is something that I did learn from Trial and Error because my Assams would always come out bitter after steeping for 2 1/2 minutes, I realized that it’s because the Breville temp doesn’t drop the way that steeping in my tea pot did.

LiberTEAS

After making tea just now, I took a step to measure how much tea fit into my bamboo scoop. I would say it’s closer to a generously heaped teaspoon than 2 teaspoons. Of course, this also depends greatly on the leaf itself. Which is why I suppose the most accurate way to get the right amount of tea is a scale. Unfortunately, my stubbornness won’t allow me to get all accurate when it comes to tea measurement. Tea should be simple. No scales.

Nicole

Excellent review! I’ll have to try Terri’s parameters next time.

looseTman

LiberTEAS, It’s always good to know what was learned from someone else’s Trial and Error experience. Why reinvent the wheel?
OK, 1 one bamboo tea scoop = 1 generously heaped teaspoon. does this = 1.25, 1.5, or 1.75 tsp.?
Any thoughts on this one? http://www.theteamerchant.net/teaware/accessories/tea-scoop/tea-scoop-and-tong/. How does it compare to yours?
Thanks again!

looseTman

Thanks Nicole! Yes, Terri’s parameters were a big help! Steepster is a definitely wealth of info!

LiberTEAS

@looseTman – my bamboo scoop is very much like that one.

I think it would probably be closer to 1.5 tsp.

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