Tao Tea Leaf

Recent Tasting Notes

First sip down of the day, first sip down of my FL trip.
This is one of the teas included in the BBBB box on the most recent round, & I brought most of those remaining teas with me to drink up before the next box shows up (no rush, however). Earthy, with elements of chocolate, wood, & floral.

Dexter

I love this – I still think this is my number one favorite black tea….

Sil

i shared this one BECAUSE of you dexter haha

Dexter

LOL I think I’ve put it into every swap package I’ve sent to people who drink black tea – share the love. :))

MzPriss

I’m gonna go check it out

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85

This is one of the extra samples in my review box. I so like how it smells, very natural. The flavour is nicely green and floral without being over powering.

Flavors: Green, Jasmine

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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50

This was my first and only Yellow tea. I didn’t expect the smokiness, so was quite shocked. I expected it to be more gentle… in between green and white, but it was quite strong and smoky. It wasn’t terrible, but not a big fan so far, but would like to try other yellows for comparison.

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100
drank A Li Shan by Tao Tea Leaf
15 tasting notes

I brew it Gongfu style. A quick rinse of the leaves, and then steep for 30 seconds. It smells super sweet and warm and fragrant… still a bit toasty and… corn… but just a wonderful aroma! (hmm…. can’t lift the cup with my gimpy arm, so must go left!) First sip… MMMMM!!!! Sweet!!! Creamy!! It’s really reminding me of fresh creamed corn. But then, there is a layer of fruity aroma over the top. It’s kind of perfume-y and fruity-fragrant. Really good!! This is one of those teas that doesn’t taste like it smells. The flavour is so much more layered and full!
I steep the second cup for 55 seconds. It’s quite a bit darker. The leaves, BTW are HUGE! How can those little balls hold so much leaf? The flavour is now totally different. This one has a deeper, sweet, fruity, nectar-y flavour, with tones of toasted almond. It’s much deeper and richer, and the fruit comes through. It’s just delightful in the mouth!! It’s a wee bit astringent, but with no bitterness at all.
Cup #3… 90 seconds. Creamy and toasty, with a surprising little twist of perfume near the end of the gulp. My goodness… it’s almost like Lychee!! Where did that come from??
This tea is amazing! It doesn’t look or smell all that spectacular out of the bag, but steeped, it is full of surprises! I highly recommend this one!

Flavors: Almond, Lychee, Perfume, Toast

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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100

I steep it for about 25 seconds. It’s a nice light yellow colour. Mmm… very light. It has a mild fruit taste… like berries or currants. But it’s very subtle. I’m going to need another cup! Yes, the second cup is a bit more developed. It has just a whisper of fruity/raspberry taste. Yet, it’s so light! It evaporates on your tongue, leaving a very clean finish. Almost like it wasn’t there! This is a very nice summertime tea. Nothing at all like artificially flavoured “berry” tea, this one is fresh, clean, light… like raspberry scented dandelion fluff! Cup #3 is still delicious, but it has changed a bit. A little more floral, mixed with the fruit. I don’t know how many infusions it will take, but it shows no sign of stopping with the deliciosity!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Raspberry

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90
drank Golden Monkey by Tao Tea Leaf
340 tasting notes

Leaf- Whole, and a very pretty gold hue
Aroma- Cocoa, Honey Scent (brewed)- Sweet Potatoes
Liquor- Dark amber
Taste- Smooth, Sweet, Honey and Yam flavours

Flavors: Honey, Yams

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec

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My first cup of the day, one of Sil’s offerings from the most recent round of the BBBB.
I already finished off the cup, while I was reading other people’s reviews, so although I enjoyed this, I don’t really have much to say regarding it’s taste profile, other than I recall a milk chocolate essence in there, and now that the cup is gone, I have a lemony tart lingering mouth, although I don’t recall the tea itself being tart like that, Lol.

2nd cup – light chocolate, wood, a little floral, & coffee. And the lemony after taste.

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84

I not sure what this mint is , but I shall assume this is peppermint. Smells really nice. The mint goes out well, there is more vanilla in the flavour. And somehow it makes me grave ice cream. (Mint chip with cream soda maybe.)

Flavors: Mint, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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85

I am on a quest to try as many Chinese black teas as possible. This smells really, I like the honey scent. There is a sweet, malty flavour. (It went well with my doriyaki.)

Glad I finally got to try a Golden Needle tea. Thanks, Tao Tea Leaf.

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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87

I had so much green tea yesterday, it was time to try something different. This one smells really nice, like toasted coconut. It has a light, sweet flavour. The coconut is less prominent on the second steep, but it’s still nice and creamy.

Thanks for the bonus sample, Tao Tea Leaf.

Flavors: Coconut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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73

Earthy so earthy. Not my alley but a pretty nice full bodied tea. Thanks Dexter for sharing

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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Dexter3657 sent this sample my way so I’d have another sheng to try. I wonder why there’s only one review on here for this tea…
I brewed it up, quick rinse and then 20 sec. It was strange but I didn’t taste much of anything (like Sil in her review). I tried another infusion but still wasn’t getting anything. By the 4th infusion, I figured I would use up the other part of the sample and do gong fu brewing like on the Tao Tea leaf website. I thought I must be doing something wrong. On the website they say this tea has complex flavour with hints of chocolate , vanilla and the tartness of raspberries and a bit of white wine. It sounds wonderful. Maybe i don’t have a refined palate for tasting but to me all I got was a weak pu-er earthy flavour with a bit of bitterness. I suppose there MIGHT have been a hint of chocolate. Even doing gong fu brewing didn’t bring out all those flavours for me. I’m puzzled that a tea described sounding so wonderful was nothing like that for me.

Glad I got the chance to try it though. Thanks Dexter3657!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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85
drank Dragon Well by Tao Tea Leaf
190 tasting notes

I had this tea yesterday. I took it in my Timolino. Don’t know why I made that crazy decision since the Timolino is not the best thing to brew and drink tea in. I usually stick to mildly flavoured teas that I’ve had before. I had never had this one before. It was a sample from Tao Tea Leaf. Even from my Timolino I could tell this was an excellent tea: buttery , mild vegetal. I don’t think it’s from 2014 crop but it’s still good. Wish I had brewed this up properly as it’s all gone now but I still enjoyed it for the day.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Normally when I have a cup of this I just sit back, relax and enjoy the bold malty deliciousness. In previous cups I have found that almost burnt toast flavour that gmathis had noted. I thought that this one will find a permanent place in my cupboard, it was just so good.

Today, I’m not feeling the love for this tea. It tastes a little stale and off, and it shouldn’t be stale since this is one of my newer tea’s. But I didn’t steep it as long as I normally would, so I’m not writing this one off just yet. Off flavour is probably user error.

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So I cheated a little…

Nxtdoor’s last review inspired me to make some iced chai latte. I don’t drink cow milk, and her version with coconut milk spoke to me. She infused the chai in hot water first and then mixed with the milk.

I cold steep my chai, it tones down the heavy spice and makes it a more appropriate beverage for summer. So I’ve decided to try something new: cold steep it in one part coconut water, one part coconut milk.

I steeped for 13 hours. (Couldn’t wait any longer!)

This is so decadent good! Don’t know how I would feel about this chai straight, it seems to have a little too much black pepper in it for my taste, but cold stepped in the milk made the ginger and cardamom shine a lot more than the other ingredients. I barely get the clove, which is a good thing cause I’m not crazy about it.

This was a very successful experiment and it will have me revisit my chai collection this summer…maybe try almond milk next, yum!

Dexter

Fantastic!!!! So glad this worked for you!!! I did toss some chai into some water and put it in the fridge last night. I’m hoping it’s going to be strong enough to add milk to it make iced latte – but will have to see.

TheTeaFairy

Hmmm. Me think it might be a little watery if you add milk but it’s worth trying :-) let me know how it turns out!

Dexter

I’m hoping to mix it about half and half. I don’t want it to be JUST milk – I find that too thick and heavy for my tastes (even skim milk – I don’t want just milk). It will take some adjusting and playing to find the right ratio. Good think I have a MOUNTAIN of chai in my house. :))

TheTeaFairy

Oh, and sorry Dexter, I completely forgot to thank you for this wonderful sample in my note :-)

boychik

Sounds fantastic . I should do more cold steep.

CrowKettle

That sounds amazing, and now I know what to do with the rest of this chai I have. :)

TheTeaFairy

Boychik, I cold steep everyday during summer. It’s a great way to use some teas I don’t drink enough of. But cold steeping in milk is new to me, and I realize I,m on to something, lots of possibilities!

Crowkettle, hope you like it, let me know how it turns out for you :-)

Nxtdoor

I never cold steeped chai! I shall try it next time. I too like it a little less spicy.

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71

I drank this and something else before leaving the house….but i ..wait nm now i remember what it was lol. Testing is well underway so far but man, this is going to be a rough night. things are progressing slow, so there’s like 14-16 hours left of being in a cold-ish room, in the middle of nowhere, close to nothing else not much to drink/eat that is delicious. this tea gets more and more average the more i drink it. on the whole, i’m pretty much done with drinking it i think. just not a long term tea to have a around, but nice enough from time to time..

bizbee1

I am looking for a nice daily vanilla to replace one from a now defunct company but maybe this isn’t it. I like a daily vanilla to add some sweetness to the day

Sil

this isn’t sweet vanilla. this is a darker vanilla. check angrboda’s notes for vanilla teas :)

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This is another sample I received from Ubacat – thank you – really nice to get to try more teas from Tao!!

This is just ok for me. It’s seems more generic berry than actual strawberry. Not much wrong with this – nice fruity green tea. I liked the raspberry one I had earlier better.
Best thing about swaps is that you get to try a bunch before you commit to buying.

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I received a sample of this from Ubacat – thank you so much!!!

This is a nice light fruity green tea. It’s not artificial and in your face raspberry. Lighter and more natural than some I’ve had. I really like, this is how I like fruity greens. I steeped at 80C for about 2.5 minutes – not bitter, no grassy, just nice green raspberry. Works for me.

Ubacat

Glad you liked it! I think I liked the Strawberry better but I do agree that Tao Tea Leaf does flavours very nicely without tasting artificial.

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71

this is one of my oldest teas at the moment – purchased last September. I ended up getting “extra” because of mishaps with my order but now i’m wishing that I hadn’t lol I mean i didn’t pay for it, so i could just get rid of it but that’s a waste considering i like this tea well enough :) Soooo i’m trying to drink this up at least once a week to work my way down. it’s an interesting vanilla, though i find i like it best when i mix it up with a more chocolatey blend :)

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85

«This is my #1 favourite black tea» Dexter3657 wrote on this sample she so generously shared with me.

I won’t let this influence my note, but it’s always nice to know you’re drinking someone’s favourite tea :-)

Oh…it’s a nom-nom-nom tea. Sweet and malty, it’s what I call a comfortable tea. I’m sure it’s the type that does’t require much care in the brewing method and always comes out delish, no matter how bad you’ve treated it. I’m having it in the glass Gongfu pot. I forgot how long my first brew was, and it did not affect the taste. No astringency whatsoever.

It’s a Fujian and it wears that beautiful golden robe.

Yes, it’s fruity and nutty, with hints of baked potatoes. But it also has a saltiness and spiciness to it, almost brothy and savoury.

I like it cause it’s different and brings a different dimension to some other similar teas I have tried.

Thank you so much Dexter3657 for sharing one of your favourite with me :-)

Non tea related content:

It’s bird season, and as you know, I’m a fan, I feed them all over the yard. Since this morning, I have identified 17 different spicies. In a few weeks, I’ll have over 40 different species coming and going in the many feeders I fill with love every week…

I thought I’d mention them cause they are beautiful and really gave me joy today.
As I’m writing this, I’m watching a male Rose Breasted Grosbeak, just stunning!

Kat_Maria

That’s great about birds, thank you for sharing! Would you recommend any book for identifying birds?

TheTeaFairy

You are welcome Kat_Maria!
I hardly use any books now, I converted to the iPad app iBird Pro, the best tool ever. You get so much more info, and you can hear the sound they make, that’s a big helper with species that are very similar to one another like Sparrows.

The book I would recommend is the one I used for years, North American Guide by Donald & Lillian Stokes. Very complete guide an easy to use with real illustrations of males, females and immatures. They sell it on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Stokes-Field-Guide-America-Guides/dp/0316010502

Happy sighting :-)

Kat_Maria

The book looks really interesting! Thank you! I am more interested in a simple, physical book rather than an app or a website because the place where I see most unique birds is where I don’t get Internet access. This app sounds great, though!

TheTeaFairy

Lol, yes, the fact that I live by the forest makes it easier for me. You can’t go wrong with the book. I still carry my book when I go on vacation or on lakes and rivers.

(but just so you know, the app doest require an internet connexion, it’s like an encyclopedia download, once it’s done it’s always available on your device, just the updates require a connexion, thought I should mention it :-))
Dexter

Happy that you enjoyed this!!! Happy bird watching too – tea in the back yard watching the birds sounds like a really nice way to spend an afternoon to me.

gmathis

This sounds great. I’m always a fan of teas that gracefully take abuse! (Would love to enjoy watching your feeders, too.)

TheTeaFairy

Thanks Dexter, it was a lovely rainy day :-)

Gmathis, I abuse my tea constantly!

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97

I often say that this is my favorite black tea. But is it really? This is the first black that really blew me away, but since then I’ve tried lots more great black teas. Is this really the best black that I’ve tried or am I just emotionally attached to it?
I have been drinking it at work for the last couple of days. HHHhhhhmmmm – yep I love it. Awesome, fantastic, perfect. This is everything that I LOVE about black tea. Emotional or not – I’m still calling this my favorite and need to get more of it in my cupboard.

TheTeaFairy

Was waiting for a special occasion to drink my sample, but reading this made me decide that my special occasion will be tomorrow morning :-)

Dexter

I hope you like it – it is possible that I’m just nuts, but I loved it then, I’ve drank it awhile ago, I still love it now.

Sil

This one is pretty darn good…just wish it was a. Little less pricy….but I stock up every sale lol

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80

Had this tea this morning. I enjoyed it but it doesn’t seem too much different from any other Jasmine Pearls I’ve had. I really can’t tell the difference from one to the other. I might have to brew them all up and have them side to side to see which one I like best.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C

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80

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One of the samples I ordered from Tao Tea Leaf. I took this in my Timolino yesterday. I like taking white teas in the Timolino as it keeps them nice and hot. They are brewed at such low temperatures and I hate it when my tea cools down too fast. So keeping in mind the Timolino also does not make the best tasting enviroment for a tea , I enjoyed this tea but cannot remember anything remarkable about it. It was delicate and not bitter…..

Darn! Just can’t remember much about it. No rating but I’ve had White Peony tea before from other companies and it’s never been my favourite unflavoured white.

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