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Recent Tasting Notes
This is today’s newly opened tea. I don’t drink a lot of oolongs, but this one sounded too good to pass up! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 190 degrees. The resulting liquor is pale yellow-brown, and smells mostly of oolong (i.e. a little like wet rock, perhaps a touch vegetal).
The real surprise with this one is the flavour. I was expecting quite a strong oolong flavour at least, but actually the flavouring is very prominent. The initial sip is all about the apple – crisp, fresh, with just a touch of floury floral somewhere in the background. Summer apple, shall I say. I have a feeling the oolong base might be assisting with the flavour here, and that pleases me immensely. It’s so good! The mid-sip is somehow deliciously creamy, and reminds me of a Butiki tea (although I can’t put my finger on exactly which one at the moment…Traditional Plum Pudding, maybe?). The end of the sip brings out the spiciness – ginger, cinnamon, maybe a little nutmeg. It’s a nutty, warming flavour and really complements the apple.
By the end of the sip, this one really is putting me in mind of mulled cider. The apple and spice notes are just right; crisp and warming at the same time – a real comfort tea! The only thing that’s a little jarring is the creaminess, but I like what it adds so much that I don’t have the heart to complain about it. It doesn’t fit with the cider aspect, but it’s certainly smooth and delicious. I’m wondering whether the creaminess is a by product of the oolong base, rather than an added flavour in itself? Either way, it’s delicious!
I’m surprised no-one else has got to this one before me. It’s a great autumn/spring dessert tea, great for those who are a little leery of oolong as a gentle introduction.
I’ve managed to drink most of this without ever having added a tasting note. I’ve always meant to, but it’s just not seemed to happen. This tea is obviously my busy tea! I use 1 tsp of leaf for this one, and give it about 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
The thing I like most about this one is the banana flavouring. I find with a lot of banana teas that the flavour just isn’t really very strong, or it gets lots among other (stronger) flavours. It’s clearly the key player here, and it’s a nice over-ripe, squashy banana. There’s a hint of chocolate to this one, although its by no means strong. It adds a nice creamy cocoa note to the background, and the combination reminds me a little of banana hot chocolate. The rooibos is a little prominent, but not terrible. I have a feeling a splash of milk would take that down, but unfortunately I don’t have any with me at the moment. Something to try before the last cup of this one is gone! The pink peppercorn adds a spicy note to the aftertaste (it tingles on my tongue), which I think is pretty unnecessary. Still, it’s a pretty good choice as far as banana teas go – not the best (that would be 52 Teas Banana Pudding!), but definitely up there. A yummy mid-morning treat.
Being desperate for some black tea, and unwilling to finish off my imperial golden monkey, i grumbled, resigning myself to a bitter cup of the crushed stuff i got.
Remembering how when i first bought this from teavana, steeping this differently messed with the flavors. So i decided to pretend that these crushed pearls were actually green tea. So i loaded up my gaiwan, forgot about rinsing, and steeped at 170. The first steep was the longest to open the leaves, around a min or so, and then i was able to do the 30 second steep, 45, ect.
It wasnt AS bad! The bitterness is still there, but there is a memory of the lovely cocoa, malt, and molasses that i fell in love with in this tea. Sadly the honey notes are still on hiatus. BUT this is a drinkable brew! Score one for the home team :)
I think that this is my last order of… anything from this company. The sample i got from this company was nice, it had flavor. The 7 oz i ordered, however, came half crumbled, and the whole pearls are flavorless. I even tried brewing in my gaiwan, and these pearls either go from quite watery to bitter. No pleasant cocoa, molasses, anything. If this bag of pearls were my introductory to this tea, i would have passed it up.
SO. Im in a pickle. I just recieved a 7 oz bag of these. As such, i went through the last of my tea before i opened this. When i did, i noticed that half of the bag was filled with what looked like opened tea bags. So now i have to ask for a refund and most likely ship back the last bit of this tea i have. /cries
Got this one from Terri!
Soo not sure what to make of this one…it mainly reminds me of wood…not like the normal wood I usually get in black teas…but like….a more drinkable wood? Like the wood isn’t the only flavor. The texture is really thick, almost kinda creamy in fact. And there’s hints of bread in the background of each sip. It’s a very odd tea for me.
I’m honestly not sure what to make of it. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It’s just interesting. I would try it again, but I don’t think it’s something that I’ll ever crave.
Thank you so much for letting me try this one, Terri! Glad i tried it! :D
Flavors: Baked Bread, Creamy, Thick, Wood
Im so glad i still have some of this tea. I went to open my new bag of black dragon pearl, only to discover over half of the bag was crushed in shipment. I know, right? So, now down 7 oz of tea, i turn to my extremely low stock of samples, and see this. I now regret criticizing it in my earlier review for trying to play as a white tea while being a black tea. I am extremely glad now for this.
As in my earlier tasting note, this tea is a nice light bodied black. Even though im brewing it western style now, which i am BAD at, it still comes out tasting lightly of straw soaked in clover honey, and is perfectly helping me through the disappointment of the loss of 7 oz of tea. Its just sad i only have about 4 more first brews left…
After breaking my heart and drinking the last bit of golden eyebrow in my cup, i regretfully move on to this next tea in my sample shipment from tealux.
Opening the bag, i notice just how beautiful this tea is. This tea looks like large silver needle… only instead of being silver, this tea is gold :). The smell is a nice mix of clean, dry fall leaves, and clean, dry hay. The liquor has a nice smell of clover honey :)
I scoop out 2 tsp of buds into my 4 oz gaiwan, and infuse for 30 seconds at 195.
As i was somewhat expecting from the appearance of this leaf, this is a lighter tea, despite its rich dark almost mahogany coloration. This tea is smooth and delicate like silver needle, but with a bit more flavor. Not without surprise, this tea is the first tea since silver needle i have tried (not that that is saying much) that tastes almost exactly the way it smells dry. It has a pleasant taste of hay that has been soaked in clover honey. The honey taste lingers somewhat, tempting you to take that next sip.
To me, this is the “evil twin” of silver needle. I highly enjoy both, but will rate this slightly below silver needle, as somehow, this tea just kinda seems like its trying to be something it isnt supposed to be, but manages to get away with it. This is a perfect black tea for when you want to step back and have a nice, soothing tea that wont run around the room screaming its name (not that that is a bad thing, thats what i LIKE about black teas lol) but also want a break from the uuber delicacy of silver needle.
Flavors: Hay, Honey
I just unwrapped this weird tea steeping device that i ordered online, it looks like a french press for tea. kinda. so, after being so much in love with this tea from last time, i decided to infuse some in this… and promptly tossed the brew. and again. and again… so, it seems like with this tea, it is SO much better to use a gaiwan, vs western steep. ecleast for me. if i would have tried this tea the first time in my nifty new infuser, i dont think i would have kept the tea.
See my other review for what this tea can REALLY taste like, properly infused.
This is the second tea i am giving my attention to from the shipment of samples i got from tealux. I had to wait through 4 hours of work after discovering the package in my mailbox during my lunch break. It was not fun.
Opening the bag, my mind races back to my childhood. My parents live in the country, with 6 acres, completely surrounded by cornfields. We had lots of animals, and we fed them mixtures of alfalfa, straw, and clover. While not exact, the smell of this tea comes very close to that feed. This tea definitely has my attention.
This time, i chose to only use 1.5 tsp of this tea, because the leaf is so small and needle like, a tsp amount of this leaf is quite dense. So in it goes with about 195-200 degree water (im getting good enough at judging the water temp based on the sound/bubbles that form on the bottom of the pan im not bothering with the thermometer anymore, ecleast not for blacks) and i infuse for 30 seconds, increasing 25 seconds each infusion.
Ooh… ooh MY…the taste… i thought i was in love with innocent little Black Dragon Pearl… now i meet her older, more experienced, and FAR more playful sister. This takes everything i love about the pearl, and does it better. The first sip is the greeting that i know well, but slightly different from the Pearl; the light taste of the base black tea, a lighter taste of cocoa and molasses, and barely a hint of honeysuckle. No bitterness what so ever. Hmm. So i sip some more, and the more i sip, the more bold and playful she becomes, the sweetness and molasses flavors building and cuddling my taste buds. Well now! This is getting interesting. The flavors peak and hold at a lovely mix as you sip, giving a lovely honeysuckle nectar-ish finish that lingers for an extremely long time, teasing you back to take another sip. And another.
As you can guess, this tea is simply… divine. But as is with anything worth having, it demands some respect. Being considerably more expensive than the pearl, i am going to have to definitely keep myself in check when it comes to this tea. Which makes me die inside.
This tea deserves to be an every day tea, but unless you have a GREAT job, it is not viable.
But if you even remotely LIKE black teas, please, do yourself a favor, and buy an oz of this. You will thank yourself… and also hate yourself for not having more money.
Flavors: Cocoa, Honeysuckle, Molasses
So, i just got an oz sample of this in my shipment from tealux today. I came home on lunch (at 2 am lol i work the graveyard shift) and there was my package of samples, sitting pretty for me to find. The last 4 hours of work were difficult.
When i open the bag, all i can think of is NORI. Yes, roasted seaweed… and i immediately have a flash back to my first experience with an oolong, a bad sample that smelled and tasted like raw seaweed… and nothing els. But trying to be brave, i load my standard 2 tsp into my now trusty little 4 oz glass gaiwan, heat up some water, and steep for 30 seconds at 195, increasing steep times by 15 seconds every infusion.
Now, i have to say this… i really, REALLY wanted to fall in love with this tea… all of the reviews i have ever read on milk oolongs have been spectacular. Based on what apparently everyone gets from this tea, this was exactly what i am looking for in a tea. Sadly, reality isnt always kind to us :(
The color of the nectar was of a clear, light jade. If i wouldnt have known better, i would have thought this was a beautiful, crystal clear green tea. It tasted VERY lightly vegital, with a simple sweetness to it, sorry i dont really know how to describe it. It was quite smooth, and easy to drink, and the sweet taste lingers in your mouth for a LONG time. But it was boring. Boring enough that i honestly cant even describe the taste any better for you guys, and i have no desire to infuse more to be able to describe it.
I can see how alot of people would like this tea. I WISH i do too. But for how light this flavor is, and with how it failed to catch my attention, i have to stick with Silver Needle. I only hope this isnt a trend for me with oolongs… i have heard alot of good things about them, and i really hope i can find ecleast one i like.
I wanted to try these after having the Black Dragon Pearls from Teavana. I got them in my first Tealux order and I like them; the lychee isn’t overly prominent but it’s there and the base tea is good. What I’m wondering though is what people’s experiences have been with resteeping this tea. I usually steep the other Black Dragon Pearls three times but I’m not sure yet how these will hold up. I’m on my second steep right now, so we’ll see I guess! But I’d love to hear others’ experience with resteeping this one.
Edit: Second and third steeps were good!
Flavors: Cocoa, Lychee, Tea
I seem to have lost my taste for roasted oolongs. I used to really enjoy them, but nowadays it seems like the roasted flavors are just overwhelming. This one is supposed to have notes of “rich stone fruit, caramel and honey”. But it just tastes roasty with maybe a bit of vague fruitiness if I concentrate. It doesn’t seem to be a poor quality tea, but my tongue just muddles all the flavors.
It’s a bummer because I have a bunch of roasted oolongs laying around that I used to enjoy with no interest in drinking them anymore. I guess that’s a sign I should probably drink up my teas as I buy them instead of hoarding them!
Flavors: Char, Fruity, Roasted
I’ve had this pu-erh sitting in my cupboard (my pu-erh cupboard) for awhile. I can’t even remember if I’ve had it yet. I must have – or at least once! Anyway, it was my early morning brew this morning. I did two quick rinses on it with boiling water. It seemed to be a pretty basic ripe pu-erh. Woodsy, earthy. It’s strange Tealux doesn’t give much details on this tea like where it’s from other than the fact that it’s from Yunnan. It’s also supposed to be aged 5 years. Hmmm – reading the package, it’s supposed to have floral notes with a lingering hint of honeysuckle. I think I discarded the leaves too early. It probably would have gotten better if I did more steeps but it was gone after the first steep because my 2nd cup of the day is always green.
I think I will go back to this tea another time soon and give it multiple steeps to see if it really is as good as they say.
Flavors: Earth, Wood
Sample from Kittenna. Thank you! :)
Sooo, Tealux fails with steeping instructions (I was curious because this is a blend…). “Steep in hot water for a few minutes…” What? That’s not vague at all. :)
Because this is quite a smoky tea, I decided to preemptively add some maple syrup. 1 tsp in my 16 oz mug. I also added a little milk, but it didn’t need it.
Although the tea smells super thick and smokey and heavy, it’s actually fairly light. Yes, it’s smokey, but it’s not as rich and thick as I was expecting.
It reminds me of my dad’s smoked jerky, honestly. Really smokey, almost kinda meaty. So weird. I haven’t had a tea like that before.
Thank you for sharing, Kittenna! I don’t think I’ll pick this up when I order… one mug is probably enough.
This one came with me in a timolino yesterday, since I was out of the office hosting events all day. I tried it first at home in a cup and wasn’t that struck, but yesterday I actually really enjoyed it. The cherry and cocoa are the stand out flavours, and the cherry in particular was wonderfully rich and syrupy. The white chocolate chips added a sweet creaminess. My only complaint is that the rooibos was a little prominent, and maybe a little peppery, for my tastes. Still, an enjoyable cup.
I really like this tea. A very light and sweet oolong, and very milky. I’ve brewed this in my gaiwan as well as a normal western infuser. Both are great however I might prefer the gaiwan and the character of this tea really changes over the multiple infuaions.