Tao Tea Leaf
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Recent Tasting Notes
Another Sipdown from my Sil Box!
Thanks So much for knowing that I love Ginger, Sil! BTW, I ordered a ridiculous amount of Sichuan Caravan, LOL.
I think Ginger is one of the best things with Shu, or really with any dark type of tea. This one strikes a really nice balance, with the ginger & puer both at just the right level. The Shu is a nice one, a little earth, a little semolina. It’s perfect for my day, as my guts are a little out of sync still. I made myself another bowl of soup (chicken stock, chicken, spiralized sweet potato, green onion, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, & a little red curry paste). I’m having soup, the puer, & a bottle of ginger kombucha.
Huge thanks to Sil for sharing some of this with me!
I oversteeped this by a few minutes, so hopefully I’ll do a better job with my timings with the next (and last) cup of this.
This strongly reminds me of the pu-erh that OMGsrsly shared with me that I tried the other day. Soko? It smells earthy and similarly, although it tastes less aged and more… vanilla black. The base is super strong (likely due to overbrewing) and I really only got a bit of sweetness after adding some Truvia. A bit surprised at the flavor here, and the lack of bitterness as well.
Finally got around to trying this one, though it’s a bit silly given that i’m sick. I wanted a vanilla tea though so i pulled this one out. it’s for sure a black tea with a dash of vanilla – the base, as angrboda mentioned is heavily present. I’m ok with that because i like being able to taste the tea bases. :)
Merry belated, Steepsterites!
We had English Christmas this year which involved roast turkey dinner, Christmas pudding (Americans, what do you traditionally eat for your Christmas dinner?), lots of presents, Morris dancing in a pub carpark in the village and a pantomime in Ipswich during which I even took part in the shouting and booing (Oh yes I did!), and my bestest best present this year was a Kindle Paperwhite which I’ve been playing with today. I’m still at the stage of learning how to use it, but I have discovered that I can charge the battery using my phone charger and how to download classics for free from Project Gutenberg. And in case anybody was wondering, we were nowhere near any of the flooded areas and had power the entire time.
Before Christmas, however, I received a very sweet Christmas card from Sil who had decided to spoil me with a couple of samples of vanilla flavoured black tea. This is one of them.
It smells very sweet and vanilla-y, but also, I think, a little caramel-y. There is also an aroma as if it has a very powerful base or possibly a slightly smoky base, but I think that might be something to do with what I’ve had in this mug earlier today, so I don’t think it really belongs. (Mind you, it does smell rather like a sort of base that would be lovely with some added flavouring.)
Upon sipping… regards cup suspiciously it does actually seem to have a rather strong base. It tastes very Black Tea. All grain-y and full bodied. It’s a bit Assam-y and the vanilla is also coming out in the same sort of way that it often does on an Assam base, so if this is not Assam, I think it might be something fairly similar. And yes, I know I mentioned something earlier about having had something in this mug earlier this afternoon that may have ‘bled’ aromas into this cup, but I don’t think this experience has anything to do with that previous cup. That one was nothing like any sort of Assam at all, you see.
Anyway it strikes me as something along the lines of a vanilla-flavoured Assam, and I think Assam makes a really good vanilla base and provides a generally good experience. I’m very pleased with this tea.
It’s drizzly outside, raining on & off. My house is heated with radiators (water, not steam), so it’s nice & toasty in here. I’ve been practicing on & off all morning, taking breaks to teach when a student shows up, & now I’m finishing off my lunch. I’ve drank some other teas, & will try to post them, but for now, I wanted this one, & I’m loving it! This cool weather really makes me want something smokey & rich, & this is it!
Some Lapsangs taste like somebody added liquid smoke to the tea, or like you’re at a BBQ. Not this one. The smoke is subtle, & it’s buttery & sweet! A nice caramelized brown sugar taste, & I didn’t even add maple syrup! Delicious!
Thanks, Sil, for the sample, & if you want to split a larger quantity with me, or with our BBB, THAT would be awesome!
i much enjoyed this tea. after an appreciative umpteenth viewing of the brilliant set builds and costuming skills of hellboy II. not to mention the star himself— obviously there are more famous and graceful stars but ron perlman is colourful and honestly his irreverence entertains me, lol! and for a kid born in 1950 with a cleft lip and palate…. i dunno— could you tell? some of the best speakers come from challenging circumstances. darth vader had a terrible stammer, hellboy had multiple facial reconstructions starting as an infant (can’t have been fun), and the kid from breaking bad actually does have cerebral palsy. it’s good to see real people on the boob tube. if i’m going to pay netflix to babysit my brain ideally it should be babysat by a realistic cross-section of society, lol.
surprise, surprise, i digress and i haven’t even begun about the tea!
this was a very different green than i’ve ever had before. naturally sweetness, as well as a nice light flavour. no earth, nuttiness, musk, sea weed, floral or fruit tones. no wood. no muscat. no rice….. but about half way through my cup something changed and i got a very light, sweet smoke. i am not a fan of smoke. in the least. and yet….. it was as though as essence was captured from incense but without the perfume. a thin stick of sandalwood burned perhaps until nothing but white ash was left and wafted in the vicinity of the tea as it dried.
very nice. i will most certainly reorder. it absolutely doesn’t need sweetener. clear, light smooth with a very gentle segue into the finest smoke i have ever experienced.
I was quite impressed with this—a lot of cream EGs are so creamy-sweet they no longer taste much of “clean” bergamot/classic EG, but this one strikes a great balance. It is sweet and creamy, richer than standard Earl, but you never forget it’s an Earl you’re drinking. I really enjoy Della Terra, Zen Tea, and Upton Imports’ cream EGs but they’re so creamy I don’t tend to think of them as EGs really in that when I crave that particular taste they’re not what I’d reach for (they’re more for when I just want creamy vanilla tea in insta-latte-ish, almost dessert coffee-like form). This is more like, hey, I definitely want EG with all its clean fresh bergamot-y Earlness, buuuut it’s cold outside so I also kinda want it to be richer and sweeter. Really delivers. Also, the smell steeping is heavenly; you get that immediate Earl Grey gratification but also trip all the pleasure center wires with that sweet, smooth vanilla. Yum!
A lovely sample from Dexter3657.
I didn’t read anything about this tea before I steeped it, I just went with the directions included on the sample packet. :) Sil apparently says it tastes like LB, and I’ll agree. The flavours are not to my taste at all. Not really smoky, more roasty and dark with a tiny bit of smoke. Plain it was better once it cooled, but it was generally much nicer with maple syrup. I guess I’m really not into teas with this flavour profile (yet).
The rest of the sample will go to my brother… maybe he’ll like it better!
Smells so much of honey. I admit, I love black teas with natural honey notes (Golden Fleece and Honey Orchid are two of my favorites). Interesting it’s from Lincang; I could be imagining it but it seems to have that clean almost minty quality (albeit subtler) Loose and Luscious Lincang Pu Erh has. I really like it; it sets it apart. You don’t think it will work with sweet and “dark” flavors but it does.
In search of perfect chai quest continues. This one is a little sharper, spicier than the previous one I was drinking. My previous note said that this was clove heavy. I’m not getting that today – must depend what ends up in your tsp. I’m upping the rating some, this is a decent chai, but not as good as Camellia.
A nice basic Earl, not flowery like a lot of the ones most loved here, a bit astringent and rather clean-tasting, more like what I remember growing up and hence what I cherish. I’d say that like the Upton Imports Original Earl Grey it’s an agreeable “don’t think about it” tea choice for, say, travel or some other situation you want your tea to be at least a certain level of good but don’t want to be carrying overly precious cargo lest it get lost or steeped under iffy conditions or had while distracted. Tried this over afternoon tea with the husband (I am seriously in love with this ritual we’ve got going now, especially now that it’s dark so early), went nicely with ricotta marmalade ladyfingers and turkey cream cheese blackberry jam triangles, cut the sweetness so you could appreciate both the tea and the treats more. My husband’s cup of Adagio Tiger Eye meant chocolate and caramel aromas wafted around as a bonus.
The tea itself tasted just fine. My main negative comment goes to Tao Tea Leaf itself, in that the 26g I was provided consisted mainly of crushed dust, with few intact tea leafs sitting on top. Perhaps I got the last bit from the larger bag, but I am very disappointed. That being said, my other teas that were shipped were still intact.
What is happening to me, reaching for a rose tea, ha. Now that I’ve had a couple that were good I’m more open to the idea. And this does a really good job of being balanced, where the rose is fresh and heady and very present but not ACK, POTPOURRI over-the-top. That said after a while as it cools it does seem a bit soapy to me, where I can’t tell if it actually is a taste that’s there or my brain’s associating the rose with soapy bubble bath of its own accord. Also, I don’t taste a lot of strong tea flavor here at all, but maybe a stronger base wouldn’t be very agreeable…this feels like a surprisingly light, fresh tea for a flavored black one.
Not bad though. If you like rose tea this is nice quality one.
sipdown! (162) You know what goes amazingly well with puerh? Pumpkin pie fudge. Yeah…it’s barely lunch time but i’m totally enjoying a small piece of fudge with this puerh. This is a pretty tasty puerh. It lacks some of the intricacies of some of my favourite puerh, but this would do in a pinch anytime! It’s got depth to it, which i really enjoy and it held up well over a number of steepings.
I drank too many dessert tea’s today (but too lazy to log all of them) and really needed something either salty or roasty to cut into all that sugar. This was the choice, and it was perfect – roasty with mineral notes.
I’ve been neglecting my oolongs since being on a black tea and dessert tea binge. I love oolong. I don’t know why I’m not drinking them up.
This is rather lovely, fresh tasting, not musty like dry rose tends toward. Smells delicious and pretty, and tastes pretty good too, if light (it should be though—lightness fits the profile here). It’s sweet and the cherry is definitely present in smell and taste—the aroma alone somehow evokes juiciness and rose gardens. The tea starts out sweet and the tart balance gently comes in, never overwhelming. The lightly sweet-tart juicy fruit elements mix beautifully with the floral. The sencha flavor is definitely not a star; it’s in the background, but it gives the blend a satisfying, astringent heft and likely contributes to the fresh green impression. This is a girly tea. Wonder how it’d be with gin; so many floral cocktails are kind of icky perfume-tasting but this is so fresh and light and sweet, I’m curious. EDIT: And upon further reflection, I think this was so good and so cocktail-flavor-friendly it’d be worth seeing if I could infuse vodka with it. If it worked and the vodka smelled and somewhat tasted like it, wow, that would be fantastic.
i find myself at a cross roads with this puerh. on one hand there are aspects that i find vastly superior, on the other i find some elements disconcerting.
i really like the fact that it isn’t musty as some puerhs i’ve tried lately are. there’s a healthy but not overpowering astringency that balances the flavours out so that i am certain i am drinking tea and i haven’t been whacked in the mouth with a moss pillow.
what i find odd are the smell and taste. it smells like popcorn, and it tastes like sticky rice. makes a certain amount of sense, it’s a rice shu…. but sweet rice in my tea cup is new for me and i don’t know what i think of it yet!
thank you very much to tao tea leaf for the sample. i always enjoy an opportunity to try.
no numbers, not yet. i’ll try another steep and see if i can come to a conclusion!
As with most sipdowns, there’s just one pinch more leaf than you really need for a full cup, but you dump it in anyway…in doing so, the mineral background referred to in the tea description really stands out. I keep thinking it tastes a little like a silver spoon.
Enjoying it with my feet up for an after-dinner gloat. Actually made a plausible facsimile of restaurant Chicken Balsamico without trashing the kitchen or sustaining major grease burns. Score (a rare) one for the kitchen incompetent. http://www.carinos.com/chefsblog/post/2009/09/24/Chicken-Balsamico-Carinos-Recipes-for-the-Home-Cook.aspx
This is not very smoky which is good because I am not a Lapsang fan. When it cools down the smoke becomes more present. But when hot, this is sweet and thick and hay-ey. Reminds me a bit of the Black Pearl from Mountain Tea Co. Also a bit of Laoshan Black but the main difference is that I don’t like Laoshan Black and I really, really like this.
Thanks so much, Sil!
Another sample from Tao Leaf tea. Again, not my favourite but still a good cup of tea. It’s almost time to add all of dexter’s teas to my cupboard and hope that i’ve managed to drink enough today to offset that lol. This is a malty sort of black, though there’s an earthiness here that makes it different from some of the other malty black’s that i’ve had. To be honest though, after the lapsang, this one comes through as a bit on the boring side lol. I need to remember not to drink straight normal blacks after smokey ones :)
I was curious about this one because they mention it being less intensely smokey than most lapsangs. So i figured what the hell. Opening the package i was not convinced, as this smells just as strongly as other lapsangs that i’ve had. However, after brewing this (western) it really does have a milder, sweeter taste than others. While i dont mind drinking lapsangs straight, i’ll be honest in that i mostly cook with them. This one though? PERFECTION…with a dash of maple syrup. I am really enjoying it this tonight with the maple syrup. I’d buy this again :)