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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you so much, cookies! this is not what I would pick for myself as a lover of the lighter side of oolong, but I am happy to have received it!
This tea is so glossy and deep, dark purple. The miniscule rolled leaves are lovely to look at and sniff at. They look like little round eggplants. They kinda smell like roasted eggplant as well. Breaded and broiled in an oven.
The liquor is unmistakably from the purple varietal. It’s a grey-gold thin liquor. I detected some fishy aromas from the cup, but I couldn’t place it in my sip. Ah, but the usual dry, burning prairie grass is there once again.
Next two steeps I used hotter water. From 95C to 100C. I’m getting scalded milk and a deeper roasted flavor. Coffee note abound!! The fishiness intensifies ever so slightly. I am getting faint notes of dark chocolate and caramel. I’m talking 86% dark chocolate. And caramel that is almost burned on the stove. This tea is merciless. It dares me to like it, or to spit it out. I can’t say that I like it, and I am on my 6th steep, and I have finished each sip.
Still. I am glad to have tried it, even though it was definitely not for me.
Flavors: Coffee, Fishy, Hot hay, Roasted nuts
One of the last samples from my first Tealux order. I’d heard good things about this one, and it’s one of the rare fruit blends without hibiscus, so I was interested to give it a try. Visually, it’s an impressive sight. The pieces of fruit in this blend are HUGE! The banana chip in my bag was about three inches long and a centimeter thick, the orange a full half slice, and the mango/papaya pieces an inch square. There were also generous strips of coconut, and a scattering of rooibos. The bag says to use 2.5 tsp, but it was impossible to measure so I just dumped the whole lot in my infuser basket. It got about 6 minutes in boiling water, and came out about right.
The liquor is a bright orangey colour, with a slightly oily scrim on the surface. It smells beautiful, like a fruit smoothie, and it tastes equally strongly of fruit. It’s hard to believe I’m actually drinking tea! The main flavour is banana, followed by pineapple, and rounded off beautifully with the creaminess of coconut. The banana and coconut are quite sweet, but the pineapple provides a slightly tangy note that cuts through some of the “mushier” fruit flavours. Right at the end of the sip, there’s a touch of pepperiness that I typically associate with mango and papaya. All told, it’s a delicious combination.
The main thing that strikes me about this blend is how it’s so incredibly fruity – more so than any other “fruit” blend I’ve ever tried. It’s also by far the best “tropical” flavoured tea I’ve tried. High accolades from me! This is definitely one I’ll look to repurchase in the future. I can imagine it being wonderful cold-brewed in the summer.
Today’s mid-morning cup. I’ve been neglecting herbals a little bit lately, so I figured it was time to try a couple of new ones again. I’m always on the lookout for a good fruit tea – particularly one that actually tastes of fruit. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium pink-red. Hello, hibiscus!
To taste, this is a very “herbal” blend. I can taste lemongrass, and the slight coolness of eucalyptus. Then it’s all hibiscus, pretty much, with an earthy hint of beetroot. The end of the sip is surprisingly sweet. Clearly this is where all the orange is hiding! There is a noticeable spark of orange at this point, although it reminds me most of tinned mandarins than actual fresh orange. The apple also adds a touch of sweetness, and is just about there to taste.
This struck me as a rather odd blend. There’s a little orange, but it’s mostly a hibiscus dominated herbal with a few too many additional flavours. I don’t really get the “lemonade” aspect at all. It’s a pleasant, mildly fruity herbal, but unfortunately it’s not entirely what I hoped it would be. One to try cold-brewed in the warmer months ahead.
This afternoon’s new tea, and another Tealux sample. The description of this one really appealed to me – it’s an almost-mild, spring-like day, and I’m finding myself in the mood for white tea and relatively light, refreshing flavours. This fits the bill perfectly. As usual with a new white, I went for 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180.
To taste, it’s what I hoped it would be. Light and juicy tasting, with a mild edge of sweetness. I did fear for a moment when I saw jasmine mentioned in the ingredients, but I can’t taste it so that’s okay. The main flavour is actually melon – cantaloupe for sure – and it’s wonderfully refreshing. This would be perfect on an even hotter day, and maybe more perfect still iced. It reminds me of Butiki’s Cantaloupe & Cream a little, so might be a good replacement now that that’s gone forever. Sweet, juicy and delicious! A sample I’ll have no trouble polishing off, and even a potential repurchase!
Today’s new start. I’m glad I finally broke in to my stash of Tealux teas, because they’re actually pretty good (in other words, a lot better than I was expecting). Sometimes I think I might actually have flavoured tea fatigue. Anyway, today is almost a Spring day, so I decided a white might finally be appropriate. I used 1.5tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, and smells remarkably accurately of butterscotch!
To taste, this is a slightly odder story. What I’m picking up on initially actually tastes more like coconut than butterscotch. It’s also really creamy and a little vanilla-like, and reminds me of buttercream cake frosting. I’m reminded more of butterscotch towards the end of the sip, once the coconutty flavour has faded a bit, and what’s left is sweet, smooth and buttery. It’s not butterscotch from the word go, though.
Based on this impression, I had another look at the bag. Apparently, this contains cinnamon, but I wouldn’t know it. It also contains peppercorns, but they do make themselves known in the aftertaste, after a couple of sips. A spicy warmth is building up at the back of my throat, and it’s not entirely pleasant or suited to my image of “butterscotch”. Hmm. Somehow, now I’ve detected the pepper, it’s suddenly all I can taste. Bad that.
My first couple of sips were really encouraging, but I think over the course of one cup, my enthusiasm for this tea has waned. It’s pleasant initially, but it’s not really butterscotch, and the pepper is just plain odd. Not a favourite for me.
Went into this one expecting there to be honey notes mainly. But it ended up having more nutty and buttery notes. The nutty notes made it more drinkable, but still really wasn’t my thing :S
Oh well. I probably would have bought this one otherwise, so I’m glad that Cookies was generous enough to send me a sample! Thanks again! (:
Flavors: Butter, Nutty
What an interesting tea. The dry leaf looks like a white tea with lots of jasmine flowers, so the intense caramel scent on opening the package is quite a surprise.
The wet leaf and tea soup maintain that intense caramel, but there’s also a vegetal note that’s green beany, which I’m not really loving.
However, the flavour is excellent. Nutty and caramel sweet, with enough of the white base coming through in a vegetal note. Clear golden soup with a medium body and not even a bit of bitterness or astringency.
Definitely not what I would have expected from looking at the leaf – there’s not a hint of jasmine to be found in the flavour or smell, but all in all really lovely.
Flavors: Caramel, Green Beans, Nuts, Sweet, Vegetal
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