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Recent Tasting Notes
I made this for my Mom today, since she was visiting. I know she likes mint, but normally I do not, so I figured she would be able to really appreciate this. I brewed it at 208 degrees for 5 minutes. I added about a tsp of rock sugar, but no milk.
My Mom really liked this! It smelled so great that I took a sip and you know what? Even I liked it! The chocolate and mint flavors are there, but neither is overpowering. It tastes more like a light mint chocolate chip ice cream than a peppermint patty (the worst candy EVER!).
I would absolutely drink this again. It would make a lovely dessert tea, and that’s saying a lot coming from me. Normally the only mint I tolerate is spearmint, but I would make an exception here.
I thought I was really in the mood for this tea this morning, but it isn’t quite hitting the spot. I’m having it with a little cream and sugar and it is good, but I want something else this morning… after I finish this cup. I’m finding that as I try and collect more teas, I’m less likely to know what I want to drink. Too many choices!!! It’s a good thing!
I’m on a black tea binge this morning which my husband agreed would suit him well this morning. I’ve visited India with a cup of Darjeeling (which wasn’t logged) and now I’m off to China for a pot of this Yunnan black. The tea smells wonderfully musky and autumnal, and the leaves are long and twisted into knobbly shapes with some golden tips present.
Flavour is rich with classic Yunnan musk, wood and fruit tones. Also has some smoky tones in the after taste and a little bit of dryness. It’s slightly astringent too but in a nice way, it’s medium strength which helps keep it strong yet on the lighter side, otherwise it would be too astringent. I still prefer the golden tips but this makes a nice change to my usual Yunnan black teas.
“What’s in your cup?” This morning’s tea was truly a new experience – Keemun Orchid by Tea Horse courtesy of KittyLovesTea. Premium Keemun Hao Ya is my usual morning tea. By comparison, this Keemun is quite unique! I brewed 1 tsp. (3g) / 8 oz. & 6 oz. / 212*F / 4 min. without sweeteners, milk, or cream.
- Fragrance: A lush but gentle smokiness that reminds me of fine pipe tobacco & a light floral scent.
- Liquor: Golden amber
- Aroma: Lush, winey, & smoky
8 oz.: A smooth, winey, med-bodied Keemun, with a pleasing velvet-like orchid aftertaste that persists long on one’s palate – truly special. At 8 oz., the lush winey Keemun character is more potent than the cocoa notes.
8-min Re-steep: Nearly as enjoyable as the first cup. With a little less potent winey character, the orchid notes are easier to appreciate.
2nd Cup – 6 oz.: With this higher leaf-to-water concentration, the orchid flavor is much more obvious and the cocoa notes are easier to appreciate.
8-min Re-steep: Nearly identical to the first 6 oz. cup.
An exceptionally unique Keemun.
Thanks to KittyLovesTea for providing this delightful generous sample. Unfortunately, per KittyLovesTea, “they have recently closed down. :( “ Thus, I feel very fortunate to have tasted this Keemun Orchid, which was also my first orchid tea experience.
- RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter
- Brewed western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a Finum brew basket http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket.
This is a very delicate Darjeeling. It’s sweet, dry, musky and floral. Also very smooth and almost creamy. Also showing elements of wood, honey and misty.
A nice Darjeeling but it’s much too subtle for me, I prefer a darker Darjeeling. Though this did accompany my porridge well this morning.
I’ve spent three hours today making a four tier chocolate fudge and banana cake with chocolate sprinkles for my husband birthday. Luckily I had some candles saved in the cupboard for a birthday cake I made last year and forgot to use so that saved me a trip to the shops. My dinner prep is also done, we are having home made spaghetti with vegetarian soya balls and my super strong garlic bread. It was going to be three course but with such a huge cake between just the two of is I don’t think we could eat another course. Plus with all that chocolate it’s going to be super rich.
Tea Horse sent me this blend in the monthly club so it’s yet another little treat for us to share today.
The blend smells like sweet apple with a soft, smoky background. The chilli also adds a bit of a kick which tickles my nose.
It tastes like a normal smoky black tea at first but in the after taste it offers sweet apple and gentle spicy chilli. It picks up in strength a little as I drink more of it and whilst the black tea is rich and strong it’s not astringent.
A nice gimicky tea that’s tasty and festive. Thanks Tea Horse. :)
My first cuppa of the morning and this one is served with milk and sugar. I received this tea as part of my monthly package.
Flavour is wooden, musky and dry. Quite strong and very suitable as a breakfast tea, baring in mind I have milk and sugar in it it could always be stronger if needed by having it black.
My husband is not a huge fan, says it’s nice but not brilliant. He can’t elaborate on that though other than to something is missing as a strong black tea for him.
Evidently this is a mixed review. I will have to try it again another time but keep it black and see if it makes much difference.
I’m mostly getting cocoa, and there’s a fair bit of sweetness. I’m not getting any smoke, although I think a hint of it would add some welcome complexity here. This tea is very nice for what it is, but I’m more and more convinced that Chinese black teas are never going to number among my favorites. That said, I could see myself enjoying a cup of this or something like it once in a while. Thanks for this sample, Nicole_Martin!
Quick notes on this one for now. It’s a very light strawberry fruit tea with a toasted after taste. It’s sweet but not unobtrusively and the overall strengths work very well together. Much lighter than I was expecting but it will suit my fruit and sweet tea moods. Not quite a breakfast tea for me but still a nice unique blend.
First Sip Thought: “Just what I need to beat this heat!”
Smell: Usually I find one ingredient particularly stronger than another when I open the package to give it a smell. However, in this case I found that each scent was fairly equal except for the vanilla. I think that the equal aroma of each key ingredient really helped me get excited (and slightly impatient) to wait for this blend to brew. I’m extremely thankful that the ginger does not over power any of the other flavours too. Weeeee!
Taste: Delicate strength of flavours come with this unique punch blend. My favourite addition to it are the orange and lemon peels for the citrus hit. The hints of vanilla is not too noticeable to me but that’s fine because I think the blend is amazing without it. I prepared this blend iced as I thought it would be appropriate for a very British punch cocktail. No milk, no sugar – just a dash of organic honey. What I especially loved was that when this tea was sent to me, Tea Horse also sent a recipe on how to make their Crown Jules Punch. Punch Blend No. 1 is the main ingredient as well. The recipe card will be sent out with any purchases of the tea from their shop. Another plus!
I can be nothing but honest from the start when I say “I dislike pistachio”. So having a pistachio tea was not that exciting for me but if I look past that and see the rose word behind the dreaded pistachio then I was able to say “Alright I might like it”. Most rose teas I adore..in fact I don’t think I found one that I didn’t like.
In raw form this has wonderful colours…yellow, light green, dark green, pink, brown. It’s nice to steep colourful teas. :)
This unique little blend has an unbelievable rose and marzipan scent that is so thick and sweet I could almost taste the marzipan pieces my nan used to buy us to share. No pistachio as such but there is that sweet nutty feel about it, more almond though than pistachio. Hey I’m not complaining!
The temperature and steep time are taken from the guide lines on the front of the tea package. I admit it’s a much shorter steep than I was anticipating but I shall try it all the same. Also qty is 2 teaspoons of blend in a 4oz or 5oz mug.
Once steeped the tea is light yellow in colour with a soft and sweet rose fragrance. The marzipan has definitely toned down along with the sweetness which has left it much more floral.
Flavour is light and soft but with sweet rose and a dry nutty (a mixture of pistachio and almond) beautiful tones. It’s stronger than I thought it would be for such a short steep and it seems to have left it so fresh and gentle, it’s a beautiful touch. If steeped for any longer I believe the rose would be too thick and would outweigh the nuts.
Also has a buttery/creamy style effect the more I drink of it. Like floral silk that pans out to a subtle dry but sweet nuttiness. Very delicious and original.
Side Note – This also came with a cocktail recipe.
2tsp Pistachio Rose
2tsp of golden castor sugar
35ml VSOP cognac
Zest of one orange
Small bunch of mint
Plenty of crushed ice
(Optional) 3 drops of rose water
I don’t have cognac but that cocktail sounds amazing!
My talk about Keemun with looseTman reminded me that Tea Horse sent me some in the monthly club.
This Keemun has a dark, smoky and wooden scent in it’s raw form. The leaves are finely chopped into roughly 2-3mm pieces that are very dark brown with a few golden tips.
I shall be brewing one large teaspoon of tea into a small mug which I estimate to be around 4oz. The temperature and steeping time are as suggested by Tea Horse.
Once steeped the tea is golden honey coloured with a beautiful smoky, cocoa and floral scent. Very beautiful.
Flavour is very clean tasting and smooth with essences of smoke, sweet flowers, fresh wood and very dark cocoa. It’s rich in dark flavour but light in consistency which makes it refreshing. Also picking up increasing malt flavour which is a personal love of mine.
Very delicious, looks like this is a new favourite Keemun to add to my cupboard. :)
VERY strong, dark cocoa, malty-goodness! This is a solid tea! There is a touch of smooth – much like honey – playing around on the tongue – while I sip.
The 2nd infusion isn’t as brash. I do like both infusions, however. I like the sturdiness of the first one but I like the toned-down cocoa notes paired with a sweeter honey or ‘mead’ taste in the 2nd infusion as well!
This is a mighty-fine tea!
In appearance the small Oolong balls consist of both dark green, light green and brown coloured leaves and measure roughly 3-4mm. The balls look shiny and fresh.
They have a strong floral scent similar to Lily of the Valley. Imagine sitting in a field full of flowers on a warm Spring day and taking in deep breaths. That’s what I think of when I smell this tea.
Tea Horse Brewing Suggestions – 2tsp of tea 90°C 3min
I shall be using my Gongfu teapot for this steep which holds 200ml (aprox an average cup size worth). Re steeping is encouraged for this tea so I shall do three steeps.
First Steep – 3 mins – Once steeped this tea is yellow in colour with a buttery, sweet, floral and lightly toasted aroma. In flavour this tea is very similar to it’s beautiful aroma. It has a gentle buttery taste with hints of toasted flowers (honeysuckle and lily), grass and kale. A very refreshing and delicious start.
Second Steep – 3 mins – Tea tea remains yellow in colour but smells a little sweeter than the previous steep. It tastes that way too, definitely a touch sweeter and grassier. It’s lost some of it’s buttery and toasted charms but picking up with the touch of spring feel. Lighter than the first steep but still with lots of flavour.
Third Steep – 3 mins – It’s the last steep and I’m sad that the end is near. On the plus side the sun has come out to perfect my drinking experience. In flavour this is very subtle and all that I can taste are fragments of sweet grass and flowers with hint of butter. A very nice, refreshing steep that cleanses the pallet wonderfully.
After the steeps the balls heave been fully expanded to leave behind dark green leaves with a slight red edge. For the most part the leaves remain whole but some have broken into smaller pieces.
Overall this has had flavour and freshness which has made it very pleasurable to drink. I would recommend this tea for Oolong lovers everywhere.
For more information and pictures please visit my blog. http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2013/08/08/having-an-oohh-moment-with-four-seasons-oolong/
As I open the packet I note dark green, brown and silver leaves that are thin, roughly 3mm long on average and squiggly in shape. On closer inspection I can note there are no stems or sticks.
In scent I can detect hints of wood, earth, musk and a subtle hint of sweet flowers. As a whole it reminds me of being in a woods or forest as it rains, the rich musky scent of those surroundings just reminds me very much of this tea.
In the booklet it has little notes to recommend 1tsp of tea with 95°C water for 3 minutes steeping time.
My teapot holds just over two cups worth of tea so I shall be using 2tsp of tea but shall keep the same water temperature and steeping time for the sake of this review and analysis.
Once steeped this tea is golden in colour with a delicate but sweet, floral and wooden aroma.
The first few sips reveal sweet wood with flowers which finishes as a dry nutty, muscatel combination. Very clean and on the lighter side but with real wood and muscatel tones. It does get a little sweeter and more floral as my taste buds adapt to it’s beauty but as a whole I would still say the wooden musk combination was the most dominant in flavour.
A second steep increases the wooden musk but is now not as dry as the previous steep. Whether that is because I am used to the musk or not I don’t know but it definitely seems less so. Still very wooden and sweet.
Overall I believe this to be a very nice First Flush Darjeeling and an excellent example of one being muscatel. First flush varies a lot to me to the point where some taste more grassy and floral than muscatel at all, it’s refreshing to be taken back to what I expect.
For more information along with pictures please view my blog entry.
I grabbed my press to dump the leaf this morning and this still look abundantly refreshing so another round before this gets composted. Way toned down from yesterday. Of course I kind of oversteeped yesterday on purpose. Today is mild and malty. Not noticing the chocolate today. Very smooth. Still really liking this one.