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Recent Tasting Notes
Had a rather odd sensation just now as I took the steeping leaves from my cup. Somewhere in my brain there was an idea that if I licked the leaves I might be able to taste more maple. Must be what happens when you have a kid. Perhaps it was the sweetness of the maple scent that compelled me to think as I did.
I’m not very good at naming bases for black tea but I know I like this one. Woodsy. Slightly twiggy. I taste the maple coming through first and the black base finishing.
A big shout out to the wonderful Nicole who organized the group buy that allowed me to get this and a few other tasty sounding teas I will be getting to soon.
I love the smell of this dry leaf. There is no question that there is maple flavor and black tea and only that in this tin. The brewed liquid certainly smells like black tea. I’m a little stuffy this morning so am having a harder time finding the maple in the scent. The first sips make me think that this needs more leaf than what was suggested on the tin. The addition of sweetener coaxes out more flavor.
Although the Pear Oolong smells like I need to buy another tin before I even try it, I had to make the decision to drink this one first and save what I believe will be best for last.
The first thing I noticed about this tea was the size of the rolled oolong. It lands in the large size which makes me happy. The smell is fantastic. Upon drinking the first brew it reminded me a lot of Goodbye Butiki, A LOT. This is a good thing :)
This tea is quality as far as the leaf goes and the flavoring. Some of the leave has 3 buds on it which was awesome to see at it unrolled. I resteeped this six times and then stopped because citrus flavoring always dries my mouth out in an odd way. Overall, this was a beautiful tea that I’m wanting to cold steep so I will probably try it.
From the amazing Nicole. I hesitated to review this one, even after drinking it a couple of times. All those sips and I’m still finding it hard to describe in a succinct manner. There’s definite notes of pear in here, and it’s floral in a way I didn’t expect. I’m leaning toward dubbing it honeysuckle, but there’s an almost-vanilla finish lingering in the aftertaste. Anything that’s flower-verging-on-perfume is usually a huge turn off for me, and I’ve tossed teas aside for less. Yet I keep coming back to this one, possibly because of the base. There’s also an inherent bitterness beneath it all that mellows out with repeat steepings, but that might just be me oversteeping again. It’s definitely a unique oolong to my mind, and I think I’ll keep playing with it to see if my feelings toward it solidify further.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Pear, Vanilla
1) Before: Another tea from Tealeaves, hoping it will be as good as the Chamomile I tried last night. Not an overpowering peppermint aroma, so it’s not intensely packed with peppermint oil. The color of the leaves could be confused for green tea, but this is definitely an herbal infusion. Brews pretty dark after recommended brew time of 5 minutes at 212 degrees. I’m also getting subtle hints of menthol and eucalyptus.
2) First Taste: Nice mouthfeel right off the bat, and a cooling aftertaste. It’s a bit menthol-y if I’m going to be fair. Again, much like the chamomile I’m going to wager this is a decent standalone, but might serve better as a blender teabag.
3) Second Sip: I got a bit more peppermint on this sip, but again, it’s a bit subtle and might not be as powerful as their loose equivalent (different blend number but probably the same plant/herbal ingredient). I’m wondering why they make their herbal infusion so weak— maybe it’s a selling point on value? Who knows.
4) After: Would probably trying again, but only to blend with a spearmint or something in the gunpowder green family. But if we’re being honest, this doesn’t bear as much praise as their bagged chamomile. That could stand alone and this…just disappoints.
Flavors: Eucalyptus, Menthol, Peppermint
1) Before: This is a teabag (which they call a sachet, but it’s not). The tea is also available in loose leaf/herbs/flowers whatever you call it. Obviously the company describes this as having apple notes (and you can always tell what the company wants to give you so all you smell is what they mentioned) but apple is literally the only pre-taste aroma I get. It’s almost not floral at all, but it’s insanely apple. Almost like a mulled cider.
2) First: Okay, I get a little bit more floral with the taste, but still strong apple flavour. I’m surprised they don’t have some sort of apple ingredient. Maybe the Egyptian chamomile is from and area where apples grow? Unlikely, but it’s such immense apple it’s almost un-chamomiley (read: not a word).
3) Second: I get a little bit more of my stevia that time, which admittedly is my own fault for tweaking without tasting additive-free. But I taste the chamomile more also, so perhaps it’s not a strong floral flavour in Egyptian chamomile. Still pretty tasty, but you obviously have to like apple.
4) After: I’d recommend this to anyone who is looking to blend with other floral-turned-fruity tastes, like maybe a honey-infused or a baked good of some type. I’d even recommend it by itself, but as above I would make sure to disclose the strong aple notes first. Not bad and I wonder if it’s more floral as a loose herbal as opposed to a tea bag. Warrants a trial in future perhaps.
Flavors: Apple, Flowers, Fruity
Had a cup of this with milk and sugar today! It’s my favorite gingerbread tea so far. (I’ve tried three; the others were from David’sTEA and Adagio.) The dry leaf smells delicious, with lots of sharp ginger root, plus notes of cinnamon and allspice. There’s also chicory root and roasted carob, and vanilla. (Plus something called crystal malt? Interesting!) Once it’s steeped, the notes blend together well, and give the tea a sweet “baked” sort of flavor. I like that it has a definite dessert quality, instead of being just another holiday spice tea. I wouldn’t say it tastes exactly like a gingerbread cookie, but it has a good mix of spices and sweet notes that remind me of that.
I also like that this is a black tea. The spices work well with a strong base, and it’s nice to be able to add milk and sugar. Both of which are delicious with this, by the way… I’d like to experiment more with it in the future, maybe make a latte. I also tried a cup without anything added. It wasn’t as dessert-like, but very balanced—not too spicy or too dry.
Overall, this is a great tea! I’m a fan of gingerbread (my family has Russian and German ancestry, and we make the cookies every Christmas). So far, this tea is the best I’ve found when it comes to capturing that flavor. I’m excited to enjoy it during the holidays.
Story time! About a year ago, I was on vacation with my best friends at Disney World. We had afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian hotel, where one of my friends ordered this tea. She’s a big fan of Earl Grey—and from her first sip of this one, she was swooning. She had all of us sample it, and we even went so far as to ask our server about it. (We noticed the vanilla note was especially good, so we were curious where it came from.) Anyway, I finally ordered some a month ago. I was curious to see if it would live up to the memory.
Long story short, it does. This is the best Earl Grey with vanilla that I’ve tried so far. It’s also one of the few teas I own where I can see grains of vanilla bean mixed in with the dry leaf. (Golden Orchid from Whispering Pines is another.) This tea smells delicious in the bag, and when it’s steeped. The vanilla is soft and creamy, and the bergamot is sharp and bright; neither overpowers the other. It’s clearly a luxury tea (and expensive), so I feel pretty lucky to have it in my cupboard. Since this is a black tea, it’s a good idea to watch the steeping time to avoid dryness (I try to keep it to 3 minutes max). My friend visited a week ago, and I surprised her by making her a cup of this. It was just as delicious as she remembered.
I’m not a fan of oolongs as a general rule, but i do love pear. Nicole sent this one my way to try as such. Dry, this smells amazing..love it. Brewed up however is a different story. This is too floral for me, but when i DO get the pear flavour for that split second, it’s amazing. I just wish that this was on a green tea base or a black base lol thanks for the share nicole! :)
One of the exclusive blends offered at the Garden View Tea Room at the Grand Floridian Resort in Walt Disney World. Fell in love with this blend immediately, came back the next morning to purchase a tin of my own from the Tea Room staff. Also available on Tealeaves.com, this is a custom-blend herbal rooibos tea with vanilla and strawberry flavors. Very fragrant and rich in flavor. I tend to brew this at a lower steep time than recommended (4 mins) as I feel it gives a smoother taste, but I have a personal preference for light-to-medium-bodied teas.
Flavors: Rooibos, Strawberry, Vanilla
I tried this tea while I was on vacation at Disney World (managed to snag a reservation for afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian!). It had a delicious aroma, very fruity with a touch of vanilla. As for the taste, I found it a bit dry for the first cup or two. But the brightness of the Ceylon complimented the fruit notes well, and when I added a little sugar to the third cup, it enhanced the sweetness and improved the flavor. So I’d recommend drinking this tea with sugar, or some other sweetener. Overall, this was a sophisticated black tea that went well with sandwiches and pastries, which made it a great choice for afternoon tea.
Hooray, my new Finum filter baskets came today! I left my other one at my mom’s house like a moron… I got the two-pack this time, and it comes with one green and one blue. I expected the green one to be the same as the one I originally had, which was opaque and a dark forest green color. To my surprise, this one is different! It’s a lovely jewel-tone turquoise and it’s slightly translucent, which makes it all the more beautiful. What a lovely surprise. :) And the blue one is very pretty too! Sorry, clearly I’m easy to please.
This is another tea from Nicole. It’s a black tea blend with jasmine. Now I’m not normally big on floral teas, but I do enjoy a jasmine tea every once in a while. The leaves of this tea are short and dark, and there are a couple of jasmine petals in mine. Surprisingly, the jasmine scent is not super strong, but it is quite sweet. I steeped mine for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The brewed aroma is much stronger in the jasmine department, and still quite sweet. Now, I was an airhead and added sugar to this for some reason… I’m not sure whether I was thinking “flavored tea” or what, but it was definitely unnecessary. The jasmine flavor isn’t too strong, which I appreciate. It also doesn’t taste like perfume, it tastes like fresh flowers! I don’t really get much black tea flavor out of this, but honestly I’m okay with that. It just provides a nice mellow base for the jasmine to play upon, and the two meld together well.
Off-topic! The taste of this tea with the sugar in it makes me wonder if there is such a thing as jasmine candies. If not, I think it could be a tasty idea! :)
Flavors: Jasmine, Smooth, Sweet
Another sample from Nicole! I’m not generally a fan of green oolongs, so we’ll see how this goes! The pellets are fairly dark for a green oolong, and they’re somewhat small. I get a vague fruity smell along with a “green” scent. I did a 3 minute steep at 185 degrees.
I definitely get crisp pears from the aroma, which is lovely. The green oolong scent is also still there, unsurprisingly. Yum, pear! This is definitely a pear tea. The flavor reminds me more of cooked or canned pears than fresh, which is not a problem. There’s a lovely honey note that melds beautifully with the pear. I’m always unsure how to describe the flavor of green oolongs – it’s not really vegetal and not quite grassy. The only thing I can think of is that it tastes like leaves, which just sounds stupid to say. :P There’s a bit of a floral note here, which I pretty much expect from a green oolong. It’s rather mild though, so I’m okay with it! The pear is the star, and it’s very tasty! Thanks Nicole, this one surprised me!
Flavors: Floral, Green, Honey, Pear
I got this sample from the lovely Nicole (thanks dear). It was two servings originally, but I sent one to Roswell Strange in our recent swap. So technically this is a sipdown, I guess. Hah. Visually, it just looks like short, dark black tea leaves. The smell is vaguely sweet and vanilla, I don’t get any orange. I checked Tealeaves’s website and used their recommended parameters. In hindsight, I feel this should be steeped longer than 3 minutes.
Ah, there you are, mandarin! I can definitely smell it in the brewed tea, along with sweet vanilla. I’m surprised by how specifically mandarin the orange flavoring is, usually I find orange to be rather generic “orange”. But this time it’s definitely mandarin oranges, yum! The vanilla is sweet and creamy, and it rather reminds me of vanilla pudding or custard. There’s the tiniest hint of floral near the end of the sip for me, but it’s a very mild floral.
If I tried this one again, I think I would do a 4-5 minute steep instead. Otherwise, quite delicious! Thanks Nicole! :)
Flavors: Creamy, Custard, Floral, Orange, Vanilla
Last tea of the night! I’m ending on a sipdown from my swap with Cameron B. I must have really been in a pear mood when picking teas from her, because I chose three different pear teas! And, I know I was in a pear mood today too because this is the second pear tea for the day, I’m cold brewing a pear tea for tomorrow, and I pulled another pear tea from my cupboard to have later this week.
Somewhat disappointingly though, the pear is this tea is far too light for my tastes. If I didn’t already know this was a pear tea, I don’t think I’d be able to identify the flavour and that makes me kinda sad. However, it still has a very nice oolong base even if it is a really, really green oolong (I tend to like my oolong somewhat darker). The very faint floral notes compliment the light, sweet and generic fruitiness and the mildly vegetal base.
So overall this really isn’t bad; just very disappointing and not what I was hoping for. Kinda bittersweet to end the night on, but I’m still very happy I tried it (how would I know, otherwise?) and I do feel like I got a fair bit accomplished today in regard to doing stuff around the house, cooking, tea drinking/logging everything I drank, and updating social media and stuff like that!
I think I put my day off to good use!
Flavors: Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Fruity, Vegetal
Another from Cameron B.! The name of this is what compelled me, but when I saw what the tea was flavoured with that’s what really convinced me I wanted to try it. Also, this is a new company for me!
I have to say, this was a pretty good introduction to the company for me; dry this smells very, very fragrantly of mandarin oranges and flowers and steeped up this is still very flavourful! To me the mandarin flavour comes off very clearly, which seems like that’s a bit of a challenge to accomplish given how watery mandarin oranges can be. It’s also accompanied by notes of vanilla, flowers, tangerine, and maybe even some very generic melon notes (in that order of prominence)? That last one is a little iffy, but I swear I tasted that in a few sips. The black base was also nice; it was smooth with no bitterness/astringency and light enough that it really let the mandarin be the most stand out flavour.
Honestly, my biggest gripe with this one is that by the time I was nearing the last few sips of my mug it was almost far too "mandarin-y’. Like, the flavour just built in my mouth to the point where I was really losing out on the other notes I had picked up earlier. But overall this was not bad, and I think it’ll be a really memorable cup. Thank you Cameron B. for sending some my way!
Another Yunnan from (who else?) Nicole. The leaves definitely have a lot of gold in them, mine are almost all golden. So that’s a good sign! :) I can’t comment on the dry scent because mine kind of smell like Maple Moose Chai, hah! Which is my fault, not Nicole’s. I did my usual Yunnan method – 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Aw, man… The aroma is very earthy and woody with smoke undertones. Sad face. Another forest floor Yunnan! The taste is basically the same as the smell – earth, wood, and smoke with some malt. I guess leaf color isn’t everything! Kind of disappointed by this one. :(
Flavors: Earth, Malt, Smoke, Wood
While this is woody and spicy and without bitterness, it is an overall disappointing cup. I can get Yunnans I like much better, with much more depth of flavor, for less or equal price from other companies. It’s not awful enough to not drink but I can tell it will be a long time before this gets to a sipdown.
First cup was at work. Filtered water, probably around 190F and for 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. Second cup was here at home with unfiltered water just off boiling for 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. I’ll keep trying with some different parameters, but for now there just isn’t much there there to this tea and it won’t be the first or even fourth thing I reach for when steeping a cup.
Wow, the leaves unfurl to majestic proportions! I do love that about oolongs. :)
Light and delicate with some of those buttery notes that I like in oolongs. The pear is subtle – as with most pear teas I’ve had the scent is stronger than the flavor. I’ll have to try this one at work with filtered water. And I perhaps had the temperature a tad too high as there are small bitter notes leaking in around the edges. I thought I let it cool down enough but I am fairly impatient. :)
No rating for now, but I have high hopes.
Okay, this doesn’t count against me for my July hiatus since my mother bought it. :)
This is very nice. Scent is very jasmine but a sweet jasmine, if that makes any sense. Sometimes the jasmine scent in tea is a sharp floral, but this one is not. If I were to guess at why I’d say that the Yunnan part of the base is softening it. There is mild malt in the background but it all melds very nicely together. Not in the least bit astringent or bitter, though I did watch the time pretty closely because of the presence of the Ceylon.
This will be a pleasant tin to get through.