Teabox

Recent Tasting Notes

Another sample from my trade with Dag Wedin. I’ve had these teas for awhile, a few months or so since we did our trade, & it’s about time I got to sampling them!
I’m mostly working from home today, with students coming & going, & then a nursing home Tea gig in the afternoon, followed by more students, & then Tai Chi class this evening, so I can slip in a few tea reviews here & there.

So this tea? I don’t drink a lot of Darjeelings, & have never been a huge fan of them. I don’t know why, they are pleasant enough, but I think the main reasons being that they tend towards astringency (IMO), & they don’t sit well on an empty stomach for me.
Luckily my stomach isn’t empty, & I have learned that if I brew a darj at a lower temp, it’s less likely to be astingent. The dry aroma of this tea almost has a minty quality, & in my opinion that carries over into the actual cup of tea, not quit mint, but an herbaceousness that leans in that type of direction, if that makes sense to anyone out there.
“Hello….is there anybody out there?”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd13L7r07og

Anyway, I can see why people enjoy this type of tea, I’m picking up some interesting layers. Cinnamon, lemon, & a rich floral quality, also a sweet kind of pastry quality.
Thanks Dag!

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Ok folks, I’ve put my big girl panties on to attempt to try some “big girl” tea. Darjeeling? Big girl tea? I admit, it has always scared me. “The champagne of teas”…..and the price! This tea currently sells for $33 for 100grams. That seems pretty fancy to me. Well, Teabox was kind enough to send me a sample of Jungpana summer flush organic darjeeling with my Assams, and it’s been sitting in my cabinet, chiding me whenever I reached into my tea cabinet…like it knew I was afraid. But today…..today is big girl panty day and here I am with my first darjeeling.
In the packet, the leaf smells of sweetness and fruitiness and a touch of what I think is malt, as the first thought that went skidding through my mind was “fruity malted milk balls”, but since this is my first darjeeling, I have to put a DISCLAIMER here that these notes could be imprecise, as I’m tasting this tea via a “black tea” developed palate. Wet, the leaves and liquor smell of sweet and fruit and dry….dry like the skins of grapes. It smelled very bright and cheerful, compared to my beloved earthy black teas, which wasn’t quite scary at all! The taste of this tea….wow…. how to describe it? It IS fruity, it IS sweet but also dry and NOW I understand what “muscatel” is when describing tea! The dryness is very grape-like in character (skins and all) and lingers on the tongue wonderfully….so wonderfully, in fact, that it makes me want another sip….and another…. wow.

Jungpana Sumer Darjeeling is a bright, fruity tea with very obvious muscatel notes that stay long after the teacup is empty. Perhaps I was lucky, having this as my first darjeeling (Jungpana is a sister plantation to Goomtee, after all!) but suddenly I’m not afraid of darjeelings anymore. This is big girl tea. and it is gooooooood.

Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Sami Kelsh

Ohhhhhh yes. There’s not much more joyous than a really good Darjeeling. I’m a big fan!

donkeytiara

Sami, we’re having a darjeeling discussion on the boards….you should come join us! I’m learning loads from the serious darjeeling drinkers!

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drank Assam Masala Chai Tea by Teabox
1 tasting notes

This is a great tea, but I would expect it to be even more spicy. I used the instructions when it comes to the combination of water/tea, but would recommend using more tea if you would like it to really taste like a strong chai tea. The ginger in there didn’t really work that well for me, even though I usually love ginger.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 1 OZ / 20 ML

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81

My journey with tea is one of my favorite parts of the week. New samples lead me to new places in my education, but for me, assam tea always taste like “home”. I started drinking tea when I lived in Ireland in my early teens….milk, sugar and a lovely dreary day was all that was required for inner sunshine to come flying through the magic cup of tea. I made a lifetime of friends over cups of tea at Bewleys… friends that when I speak to them 34 years later, it is like no time has passed. Tea can do that for us. It’s ritual gives us time to connect…either with friends, strangers or even our own thoughts. A gift to be treasured to be sure! Oh! Tea Review! That’s right! Onward!

Jaipur Second Flush Assam is a 2nd flush assam with charcoal colored leaves and gold tips. Dry, this tea is nice and malty, with a chocolate undertone that is reminiscent of dark cocoa powder. Steeped for 4 minutes, this tea gives a lovely deep reddish brown liquor that gives a solid malty cup of assam. The cocoa is definitely the base note in this tea. The middle of the flavor profile is a nuttiness that joins the hallmark maltiness of assam to make this tea a very welcome addition to my cup! There is some astringency to this assam, but it isn’t going to strip the paint off any walls….just enough to tenderly dry your tongue a touch so that you crave another sip. It’s working…..as I’ve suddenly looked down into an empty cup. With Jaipur Second Flush, Teabox has found another assam worth drinking ~ and for that I am always grateful!

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Nutty

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

Lukwah (Summer) Assam is from the Harmutty plantation and a second flush, so it already has 2 oooooooh points in it’s favor even before I got it in my cup! The leaves are a very healthy size for an Assam, and the smell in the packet was deep and chocolatey…one more OOOOOH point for that! There is a heavy mouthfeel to this tea, which is unique, because the notes of malt and chocolate aren’t sitting heavily at the bottom of this cup (like the earthy taste of a keemun would). The malt and chocolate fill your mouth from top to bottom with a touch of astringency that keeps them buoyant in the middle of the flavor profile. This is a strong representation of all the different things that an Assam can be, and as I explore the offerings of Teabox, I realize how many things that can be!

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 17 OZ / 502 ML
pyarkaaloo

An assam with chocolate notes?? i’ve never had one! this sounds decadently rich and yummy.

Sami Kelsh

Oh, hot JAM this sounds delightful!

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82
drank Himalayan Blend by Teabox
386 tasting notes

There is a refreshing tanginess to this tea, as well as some dryness and a pleasant sweetness. A great intro darjeelings.

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88

What an extraordinary Assam. This is so wonderfully different, that I just checked the label to make sure I was drinking what I had intended to drink this morning! This tippy dry tea, which gave a gorgeous deep red/amber liquor, has just made my palate very happy. For me, malt is usually a heavier bottom-note in tea, that anchors the mid and top notes and give a solid base to the tea. Nokhroy Assam has an unusual maltiness that spreads through the cup, not just anchoring the base of the tea, but also gently joining with the mid note of peach to bring a smoothness and a baked biscuit note to the tea. The top note is a sensation of floral, but I can’t quite tell you if there is a floral note or if the peachy maltiness is causing a happy floral sensation in my mouth. Wow. There is some astringency present, but it is just enough to bring some magic to the teacup…and there is a lot of magic to be had here.
This is the kind of tea that makes me panic and order more immediately. Nokhroy Assam is one of the best assams I have had and though it is not currently in stock, Teabox assured me that they will have it in September. And that’s when my birthday is. Guess what I’m getting? :)

Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Honey, Malt, Peach

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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18

This is supposed to be a black tea. It looks like a green tea, it smells like a green tea, and it comes from an estate that specializes in green tea. Does it taste like green tea?
Kinda.
It is very vegetal, with a strong perfume-y element as well, that makes it almost bitter. I brewed it as recommended and chucked the cup after three sips. This is not for me. It has all the elements of green tea that I tend to not enjoy, without the sweetness of green tea.
First true disappointment from Teabox.

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82

We are having another strange day of weather in Southern California…Usually when I look at the fan in the window and see an 8 and a 6/9 (the fan sits in the window vertically, not horizontally) it means 89 degrees….today, with another strand of thunderstorms off to our west, it means a lovely 68 degrees!! ASSAM DAY!!!! Rhymes with YAAAAAAAAAY!
This selection from Teabox is a blend of second flush assams. Low in astringency at a 4 minute steep, this is a great malty cup. I’m not detecting any smoke (as the website states) but I am drinking the 2013 version of this blend…Teabox is currently selling their 2014 blend, so it might be different. There’s not a lot of complexity to this cup, just a honeyed maltiness. Simply, it’s just a nice assam for a ridiculously gorgeous August day in Southern California.

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Cameron B.

Luckily (?) for me, I live with two boys and they keep the thermostat too low for my tastes, so I never have an issue drinking hot teas. :P

I also wear many sweatshirts…

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96

One of my coworkers asked for some white tea, as he is trying to cut down on his caffeine intake. So this afternoon I offered him a selection of white teas, and he selected this one because he like the name. I was intoxicated by the deliciously sweet scent of the dry leaves, so I happily brewed us a batch. This white tea brews much darker than other, more delicate whites (silver needle, ya bao, bai mu dan), but is still a white tea. It is bready, with a hint of cucumber in its aftertaste, and a wonderful sweetness to it that still leaves a but of tanginess on the mouth. If you aren’t a white tea fan because of its generally underwhelming complexity and depth of flavour, then this tea may yet satisfy you. There are a lot of elusive flavours wafting in the background, inviting you to spend more time with them.

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86

Assam Morning to you! It’s hotter than blazes out here, but my mouth wanted assam, so assam it gets! I reached into my box of samples from Teabox and I was the lucky winner today! This tea was black, tippy and wonderfully malty smelling in the packet….which turned into a gorgeous deep amber red liquor that smells malty and vaguely deeper…. my first sip was a glorious mouthful of malt, but not quite the usual malt note from assams….this is a TOASTY malt note!! What a brilliant surprise! The tea has a medium mouthfeel and is quite smooth. I steeped for 5 minutes, which is sometimes quite daring with assams when you don’t like astringency, but it all worked out beautifully with this Bokel. This would be a lovely cup to have on any given day…..but especially on a damp winter morning when you want a blanket in a cup. I hope Teabox will have this in stock again soon!

Flavors: Malt, Toasty

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Sikkim Temi by Teabox
496 tasting notes

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This tea is a perfectly fine darjeeling. It’s a very modest tea and a good example of an typical darjeeling. A bit heavy on the tongue and has some nice malty and floral notes to complement the weight. It is perfect for when you just need something medicinal and comforting. This tea was exactly what I needed last night and currently to combat a swollen throat/esophagus.
Please, anyone who is reading this, drink lots of fluids, especially when taking vitamins or any other pills, and especially if you have asthma. I have a very long tea related story related to this… To sum it up, tea can be a life saver.

Fun setup photo:
http://tea-pet.tumblr.com/post/94559331008/double-double-toil-and-trouble-fire-burn-and

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85

Described as an oolong but brewed as a black – whatever one calls it, it is a lovely tea. First brew is tangy like a FF Darj, with noticeable tannins. Later brews produce softer tannins, and a bit sweetness, similar to a muted Ceylon.

First infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz water, 90 deg., 2:00 min.

Second infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 4:00 min.

Third infusion – 3 g. per 8 oz. water, 90 deg., 10:00+ min.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I like white teas, but this one failed to impress, despite the “wonder” in its name. Could be that the temperature was wrong, could be that it needed more steep time, but it tasted like a watered down green tea, just a little sweeter. Teabox recommends 10 min steeping at 85-90 degrees, so I will give it another try with those parameters, instead of my standard white tea ones.

Ceasefire is thankfully continuing. Here’s to hoping that it becomes permanent.

yyz

I hope so too! Hope you had a good and relatively quiet day!

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