Tea At Sea
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Recent Tasting Notes
Lewis and Clarke TTB
When I placed my order with Tea at Sea, this was on of the only teas I didn’t get, so I figured I’d give it a shot when I saw it in the box since I love black teas now.
The first steep is sweet, with notes of honey, molasses, raisins, and something a little manly, cedar?
For the second steep I added a minute to the time. This time there’s some malt, and a slight smokiness in the background.
Added another minute for the third steep. This one is a little less sweet than the first and second, with more malt, cedar and smoke notes than before.
So, I guess I was just tired from how busy I’ve been lately (I’ve barely been home the last few days, which is why I haven’t been posting much), because I passed out on the couch at around 8:30, right after posting my last tasting note. I usually am up until about 3-4 in the morning.
Sipdown (103)! Ooh, I’m getting close to being under 100 for the first time since I went way over on my fall tea buying spree last year. Anyway, I remember having this as a cold brew just a little while ago, so I was very surprised today when I steeped it hot. As a cold brew, it was light, sweet, and refreshing. As a hot tea, it is totally different, but not necessarily in a bad way. It is definitely much bolder (but that could also be due to a different leaf/water ratio). It’s much maltier and has a touch of smokiness that I did not detect at all in the cold brewed version. I think I prefer the cold brew, surprisingly, because it was lighter and didn’t have the smokiness to it. I did quite enjoy the sample from Tea at Sea, but I do not think I will reorder this one just because there are many other straight blacks that I prefer and/or want to try out.
Edit: As the cup cooled down, there was also some tartness to the tea. Interesting.
The leaf is a mix of light brown and dark brown twisties. Smells like most puerhs: wet earth and pond water.
The directions on the website seemed way too different from what I usually do for puerhs so I just went with my usual 10s rinse, 10s rinse, 20,25,45,60 with the whole sample (4-5g?) and ~4-5oz water.
I actually saved the rinses in a cup, and sweetened it’s not bad (yes I sweeten my blacks and puerhs usually. I find it pulls out the notes I like and softens any I don’t). Very dark and strong, but palatable. I only drank about half, because. Like I said, it’s strong.
The first actual steep is smoother and sweeter than the rinses. This is very earthy. I can definitely believe mushrooms, and even moss. The taste remains constant the out the second steep, and mellows a little by the third steep.
The forth steep is even more mellow, but still enjoyable. This could probably go another couple of rounds, maybe later. This pretty good, and I wonder why they only sell the sample size on the site?
Ah, the power of the palate cleanser… I was feeling a bit ugh after having a few heavier teas this morning in addition to that ridiculously sugary (and delicious!) chai mix. And I’m grumpy because the mailman is late and he has my Butiki order! Grr!
This tea is making it all better. I am reminded that I should always keep a simple sencha around, for this exact moment. Relaxing, tummy-calming, palate-cleansing sencha. Delicious! :)
On an actual “tasting” note, I did a 2-minute steep today. I’m getting an interesting smoky, mineral note that reminds me of gunpowder tea.
Flavors: Mineral, Smoke
I was looking for more tea samples to restock my sipdown drawer with when I realized that I never got around to trying this one. It was much too humid to even think about drinking it hot, so I scooped a touch less than a tablespoon into my water bottle and left it in the fridge for about 12 hours. I was worried that I had let it steep for too long, but the tea is surprisingly light, sweet, and clean with no notes of bitterness or astringency at all. It probably also has to do with the fact that I think I underleafed a bit, but I wanted to save enough to prepare a hot cuppa in the future. Anyway, it was just what I needed to clear my head, and I’m looking forward to trying it hot as well. I will save my rating for whenever that happens.
This sample came from Ost as a freebie in our swap! I had considered ordering the sample pack from Tea at Sea when they had a small sale a while back, but didn’t end up doing it. This little sample packet is so cute! And resealable, how lovely! It’s a bit weird that the instructions are attached to the part that gets cut off, so I just ended up taping them to the front of the packet. The leaves are flattened and they vary widely in size, I also see a few stems in there. The dry smell is alfalfa and grass, which is pretty synonymous with sencha for me. I steeped for 1 minute at 175 degrees.
Whoa, the brewed tea has a strong marine aroma! I’ll be honest, it scared me a bit. However, the taste is nowhere near as pungent. There is a little bit of a marine or seaweed note, but I found it quite lovely. This is a very grassy sencha, with the taste of autumn leaves in the background. I also get a little hint of spinach peeking in at some points. The entire flavor is quite mellow and light, and very refreshing after drinking black and flavored teas all morning.
So… After I had already brewed and sampled this, I noticed the brewing recommendation in the tea’s description… 5-6 MINUTES?! WHAT?! So I had to try it, of course. And as I kind of expected, it came out rather bitter. The flavor is definitely stronger, but it’s those same notes from before. All things considered, I preferred my short steep version. Maybe somewhere between the two would be ideal (2-3 minutes?).
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Marine, Seaweed, Spinach
Home at last after hot hot dry and then damp and full of pollen and an endless drive (the usual 3-4 hours became 6-7) then we have this weird weather with hot and humid and rain?? Rain in so cal in summer? So I’m having more of this wonderful tea that tastes higher drier and cooler than the climate here. I will have to look for tea drops for next time as I could barely get hot water (never boiling) on this trip. And horrors, my electric tea kettle seems to be leaking from somewhere!
From the Unflavored TTB.
Method: Test tube steeper. 1st infusion 5 minutes, 2nd 10 minutes.
First I was surprised that the steeping instructions recommended a five-minute infusion. Then I was surprised to see that the leaves were rolled and looked similar to a lightly oxidized oolong. These were perfect to watch in the test tube steeper. Their color change from lightly brown and muted dark green to a green that look alive as the plants in the backyard garden.
I think this one was beginning to fade – I didn’t get much from the dry leaf aroma. The wet leaf aroma has notes of seaweed and rice. The liquor is pale yellow-green and clear. Texture is creamy. Medium-bodied with sweet corn and floral flavors. The aftertaste is citrus-y and kind of prickly. A very interesting green tea.
I’m excited to try a tea that comes exclusively from Indonesia. Although the dry leaf isn’t the prettiest I’ve seen, the scent is sweet and strong. I have to fight the temptation to add milk since I have a feeling it would take milk beautifully. I do want to try this first cup plain to see what this tea is all about!
Sipping… this is so nice and sweet. I really enjoy how simple this cup is.. it’s sweet, smooth and generally a satisfying cup. There isn’t anything unpleasant that gets in the way — no smoke or bitterness. I could see this being a nice replacement for a morning Assam. I think I might try my next cup with milk, but it’s very nice without!
Thank you to Tea at Sea for a sample of this one.
This tea has been hanging out in my countertop basket for a few weeks, and on a whim I picked it up today.
Thoughts on the packaging: It’s quite adorable! I love the blue and the whimsical pictures. I found myself wondering if someone had to hand tie all of those little strings and what they did to deserve being punished like that. Now, here’s a serious question. I only have these little sample thingies and not full sized packages from them. But are they all packaged this way? Because I was dismayed to find that once I cut the top off of the little zip loc baggie, there went the label with the type of tea. I went ahead and used it all in one steeping since there was no way to put it back with the rest of the sample. And boy howdy, was there a lot of leaf! I also wish there was a recommendation as far as steep length and leaf amount on the tag (it just had temp in C).
So anyway, the tea. I went 3 minutes out of habit, although I was really thinking maybe I should cut it short due to the large amount of leaf. There were quite a few stems in there too, and maybe that’s normal for an Indonesian tea, I don’t know.
But damn, I really liked the end result! I sort of expected it to be just another black tea, but it had a unique flavor profile. I wish I could be better at picking out flavors but I sort of stink at it once we get past the really obvious ones. There are so many people on here who seem to be able to say a tea tastes like a 1972 naugahyde and such, but not me. The best I could come up with was that it tasted maybe a little fruity, but dark fruits, or possibly vegetal. I know, I suck. But the tea was great!
enjoying my third steep of this trying to cool off here. The vegetal and even a bit of smoke flavor are coming out probably because I let it soak far too long while at least completing the shellac on the chair that has been tormenting me for weeks now. I have to put a final coat on just the top of one arm tomorrow then I can find a celebratory tea to complete the project. At first I far preferred the regular green to this oolong but the oolong is now growing on me, I’m so glad I bought more of both and not just the green!
I bought this tea after sampling the free samples. At first between this and the straight green, I loved the green more but now I am really enjoying this. Dry, its tightly wound knots of bright green with stems sticking out and not much scent. 1 tsp rinsed then brewed western style yields this satisfying brew its initial flavor is so light a breath of grass and hay and just a touch of vanilla and orchid but as I keep sipping it unfolds into a substantial bread and butter taste with a vanilla and honey after taste. I had a disturbing afternoon, I was greeted by in injured sea lion as i headed out for my swim, his injuries had me worried for the whole swim. This tea has calmed me down now i can
move on to evening tasks
Oh my god.
Oh my god, this tea.
I didn’t read ANY tasting notes on this before I brewed it myself, and my notes look nothing like everyone else’s. Maybe my tastebuds are whack tonight, but if they’re whack I never want to go back. This is hands down one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted.
I used 1.5tsp of leaf for 10oz of water. Steep times were 2min, 3mind, 3min.
The tea liquor is very light. The aroma is fresh, floral and honey-sweet. It’s a delicate, light-bodied tea that exudes the fragrant greenness of springtime. In some respects it’s like an oolong. (Flavors, body, appearance.) I had a hard time believing this was a black tea. It’s honey, fresh, plantlike…then it takes a turn into caramel-drizzled sponge cake. Light, buttery soft. There’s a creamy aftertaste that’s reminiscent of marshmallows. BLEW my mind. It makes me think of a dark-roasted milk oolong. Pure heaven. It coats your mouth with sort of a malty, creamy taste, but without the dark heavy flavors I associate with malt. (Molasses, chocolate, etc.) There is a wood-like undercurrent. Cedar, I think. It’s slightly roasty and drying like a rock oolong. Only slightly, though. (I keep going back to oolong.) For the most part it’s honeysuckle—green and fresh—like spring. I want this tea around forever.
Flavors: Butter, Cake, Caramel, Cedar, Creamy, Floral, Green, Milk, Roasted, Wood
Oh god, I’ve been terrible at doing my writing up my reviews for samples. My goal is now to do one a day.
I’m really glad I waited on this one till I got my water filter. I think it would have been completely ruined by my tap water. It was actually quite delicate and sophisticated. I’m a bit zoned out right now so I didn’t get many specific notes. Just a general feeling of refined contentment.
I will try to add more useful information next tasting.
I still love this tea. I received my shipment and it tormented me open me drink me. So I did used 2 tsp in a small tea pot with a long soak and once again it did not disappoint. The liquid is quite pale a very light yellow but the scent and taste are such a deep mix of honey and butter and corn and some fruit, more fruit in subsequent steeping’s. This one is taking me thorugh a logn day of head bashing!
My 400th tasting note! And the first tea that I am steeping up properly in my new summer apartment. Honestly, I didn’t put too much thought into it. I opened up my tea box, and there it was sitting at the top. The first couple of sips were gloriously sweet and smooth, probably having to do with the fact that I haven’t made myself a proper cuppa in weeks. As the cup cooled and I got down to the bottom, it suddenly became really bitter. I guess this tea was a little more sensitive than I had thought. Nevertheless, a solid choice for this morning. I really needed it because I’m surrounded by boxes and my new roommates don’t seem like the cleanest of folks (but they are nice!). I would probably not repurchase this one just because I have so many other green oolongs that pull ahead of this one, but the sample was nice to have and taste.
After reading the description and smelling the tea, I knew I was going to like it. As such, I decided to try yyz steeping parameters, my first time trying the little water short steeping method (what is that style called again?), hoping for a more sort of special process.
1 tsp, 4 oz water, 185 degrees, 45 seconds
Boy oh boy is this good. One of the few teas I’ve ever had that I feel absolutely no desire to add anything to (I think theres been 2, maybe 3 so far). Sort of vegetal, sort of nutty, with a very pleasant mouth feel, almost buttery. I enjoyed rolling the tea around in my mouth and just savoring the flavor.
60 sec steeping
Still delicious and nutty and vegetal, and buttery.
80 sec steeping
More nutty, less vegetal, and I’m getting notes of something fruity. I’m also so of noticing a pleasent sort metallic or maybe mineral sort of taste at the end of the sip. I feel like I’m getting better at detecting notes that aren’t specific added flavors (;
100 sec steeping
Oddly this steeping I noticed more vegetal and less nutty. Still buttery texture. The end of the sip this time is super fresh almost like the feeling of jumping into water, if that makes any since. It’s also more minerally. This steeping really reminds me of the ocean for some reason. I don’t taste seaweed exactly, but it tastes like how swimming in the ocean feels, kind of. I don’t know.
I notice that when I write my tasting notes as I sip, instead of right after I finish, they sound crazier, and make me sound really amateurish, haha. Either way I really enjoyed this tea, and I’m going to have to order more!
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Mineral, Nutty, Vegetal
Samples Only TTB
BLECH. This tastes like seaweed. I brewed it according to instructions and didn’t oversteep. It tasted terrible. Even with sugar, it was awful.
Another green tea I can’t stand.
It tasted and smelled of seaweed. Yuck. >_<
I even eat nori with rice or sushi but THIS was just … yuuuck.
Shame. Such CUTE packaging ;_;
Flavors: Bitter, Grass, Seaweed