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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown! This was a sample that came with my purchase at the Coffee & Tea Festival. Frankly, I like this a whole lot better than my actual purchase. The roomy pyramid teabag contains whole chamomile flowers. Dry, the leaf smells like apples. Brewed, it smells like crisp golden apples. The flavor is very nice. It’s sweet and slightly savory. This actually reminds me of Bonomelli Camomile, although these flowers come from Croatia and those come from the Lombardy region of Italy. I would happily keep this on hand.
My awesome husband gave me my birthday present today, and it was…drumroll, please…a Wagenfeld teapot! So exciting! It’s gorgeous! Nice, heavy glass, Bauhaus design, perfection! Cannot wait to try it! But…not with this tea, which is in it’s own bag, or tea temple, as the people at Teapigs like to call these things. I picked up a small sample at the NYC Coffee and Tea Festival last month, and thought today would be a good day to give it a shot, as I am a confirmed chocoholic. Not much in the way of scent, dry or brewed. It’s a nice, pleasant black with a subtle earthy chocolate flavor. This will absolutely NOT bowl you over with chocolatey goodness; it’s a lightly scented black, but the chocolate is there, albeit faintly there. Very nice with my breakfast. No sugar, a bit of milk, as always. I like it, but most likely won’t be getting more.
Lemon? Check. Ginger? Check. Both flavors are present and accounted for and couldn’t be more true to their source than if I had cut up a lemon and a ginger root and steeped them in water myself. With that said, typically I reach for sweeter teas so this isn’t necessarily for me but for those who like this sort of thing, I can see this being a great option. Thank you MissB for sharing it with me! 200
After my bad experience with the tung ting oolong this morning, I went back for a second pick from my TeaPigs sample pack. OH myyyyy this good. The recommendation says to drink it with milk but I didn’t add anything to my tea. The first sip was wonderfully creamy and delicious. The after taste of my first sip was as if I drank cream — my mouth felt a coating of fat. Sounds gross but it was rather nice. As I drink the tea the earthiness gently emerged — I’m new to this so I’m going to look at the suggestions for the flavour I’m tasting. I will definitely be ordering some of this wonderfully delicious tea.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Cream, Frosting
MY background and disclaimer: Brand new real tea drinker here, having just switched off coffee so I know very little about tea. I grew up drinking Tetley tea bags with milk and sugar so tea is indeed a comfort for me. I have gotten educated on how to make a proper cup of tea. I got a sample pack from Tea Pigs and this is the first one that I am reviewing.
tung ting oolong tea completed underwhelmed me. I’m going to give it another try but it seemed almost flavorless to me. It’s very subtle and perhaps that’s something I just haven’t learned to appreciate yet. It seems to have little of the earthiness of green tea and none of the flavour of black tea. It just didn’t do it for me. Many of the teapigs teas really DID and I’ll be posting more reviews.
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As this box is quite old, I thought I’d start to get through it more quickly, particularly whilst I’m appreciating oolongs so much.
Nothing has really changed about my opinion of this tea – it’s genuinely really good! The infusions (I got ~10 in my 100-120 ml Gaiwan) were all buttery, sweet and floral, with just a hint of a delicate, vegetal flavour.
I have noticed, though, that this tea lacks some of the complexities of the best oolongs I’ve tried so far – even when prepared with lots of leaf and with short infusions, I get little variation. Each infusion is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it pretty much remains the same throughout the session.
Admittedly, this might be a consequence of this bag’s age – I’ve had this tea opened for around 12 months.
Perhaps, once I work my way through my cupboard, I’ll order another box and test it again, when it’s “fresher”. Goodness knows it’s worth it, for the price – it’s an absolute bargain, compared to other such teas. Perhaps, though, it’s cheapness is a sign that it isn’t necessarily the finest quality oolong…
Either way, I really enjoy this tea – there’s nothing wrong with it and it helped keep my mood really high, despite my on-going toothache :P
I seem to be swimming against the current of popular Steepster opinion on this one, but here goes…
When I first started to “get into tea”, per se, 18 months ago, this was one of the teas that I tried that really convinced me to branch out more. Teapigs have a great product on their site where you can order 12 lots of 2x tea bags, from across their range (and you can choose the samples). I picked this one because I’d never tried an oolong and was curious. I loved it in bag form, so bough a box of loose (it’s ~50 g, I think). I brewed it Western style, a number of times, over Summer and have always really liked it.
But I never finished it off and I still probably have a good 30 g of it left. And with my recent oolong kick, I thought I’d give it a try with fresh perspective and a new method – in my Gaiwan! So, I prepped it in much the same way that I usually do with greener oolongs – water that’s no hotter than 90 degrees, covered the bottom of the Gaiwan with the dry leaf, and then rinse and leave to steam for about a minute before the first infusion.
What a difference! It’s virtually unrecognisable from the tea in my (admittedly quite murky) memories. Drinking it like this really brings out the best in it – each infusion was floral/orchid-like, with that lovely buttery note and mild vegetal flavour.
I was worried that with its age (it’s probably been open around 10 months, though I do keep it sealed with a clip and well out of sunlight), it would have lost some of its flavour. But it seemed to have been totally unfounded – the leaves lasted excellently well through around 9 short steeps (the longest I needed to get to was around 10 seconds). The ninth was milder and I had to stop drinking for boring personal reasons*, but I have nothing majorly bad to say.
I think my only critique would be that, unlike Verdant’s TGY for example, it was slightly bitter in steeps 5-7 (or maybe 4-6. Or 6-8. Who knows XD). That may, though, have been me slightly oversteeping, overleafing or using water slightly too hot (I usually just eyeball it, so it may not be too precise).
I think tomorrow I’ll do a blind test to compare this Dung Ding with the one that I was sent by the London Tea Club. It’ll also help me to score them more ‘accurately’.
*I went to the dentist to get a small, usually painless cavity filled. But they messed up and, without me even eating on it, the filling came out a few hour later. I’m in absolute agony. I’ve never had toothache before, but I swear – this experience is enough to put me off chocolate/sugary food/drinks for life. T_T
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Orchid, Vegetal
Well, I’m moved into my dorm (finally). It took way longer than I thought it would, and after all that stress I wish I had longer to relax before classes start tomorrow. As it is I’ve been drinking copious amounts of tea and catching up on comics. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday, I guess!
This is an interesting blend, and surprisingly I don’t mind it—usually I hate peppermint! It’s just minty enough to be minty, but for the most part this is a tea with a very strong licorice flavor. To me the licorice isn’t offensive, just strong, and it’s nice after dinner. I’d probably drink it again.
Sipdown! (20/287) still a long way to go.
Honestly I’ve had better. Not bad, but not great either. It’s a good quality rooibos, smooth and without that weird chemical taste you sometimes get from the poorer quality varieties. The flavour is sweet, and a little creamy, but I think I would sooner call this vanilla rooibos than creme caramel. It is good without sweetener or milk, though, which is a plus. In fact, when I did add both they did very little for the tea so I would probably recommend this one plain. The flavours blend together well, and it could almost pass as unflavoured.
This tea, I believe, is another name for Dong Ding. Now that’s a tea I have tried, albeit, only once and really enjoyed it. It was in my favourite tea shop and was loose leaf, whereas this is in teabag form. I have already reviewed Whittards Tong Ting (a box of 15 tea bags) and found them pleasant enough. However, here I have only had one tea bag, and it was a couple of days ago now, so I only have a vague memory of the tea and no notes to aid this review.
Anyhow, I found the tea to be on the lighter side of flavour; it had a relatively short burst of fresh greenness, and was generally quite mild. I would say it’s not as good as the Whittards version, but who knows, my opinion of it may change if I ever decide to purchase a box of this.
Flavors: Floral, Green
One pyramid teabag used.
I have been wanting to try this tea for some time, but either it never happened to be in a tea shop that sold it or they had another tea that I choose instead. Anyhow, having drunk several different green tea bags for years, mainly at work, I was pleasantly surprised at how good this tasted.
This tea has a fresh, mild, grassy, seaweed flavour early in the steep before becoming fuller and – pardon my only trying this tea once in another tea shop – similar to Dragonwell, which unlike any other green tea I have come across so far, has an unusual aniseed/metallic flavour. I also thought of a very light version of sencha, with only a bit of that seaweed taste.
Flavors: Grass, Metallic, Seaweed
This is another tea that MIssB sent to the group – only about 6? more to go for me to try so that i can bundle the packages up. I would love this a lot more if it didn’t have licorice in it. I don’t actually mind licorice, but ever now and then i can’t take the sweetness that it add to things. the ginger is nice and i enjoy the lemon. with a little honey this is better, as it takes the edge off the licorice sweetness that i am not digging. thanks again MissB!
Final Count: 85
Sipdown (18/254)! So my cupboard may have exploded again…
and there’s more coming
I went home this weekend for my mam’s birthday and have been too busy to post anything for a few days. This is a backlog from Friday night. This sounded really warming, so I had it on a cold night waiting for my dad in the rain. It was nice enough, although I got absolutely no chilli whatsoever. I brewed it for ages, too, as I left it steeping while I was making sure I’d packed everything. The cardamom was pretty strong in both the initial sip and aftertaste, which is probably one of my least favourite chai ingredients. The other spices came through a little after the initial whoomf of cardamom, but the chilli itself was nowhere to be found. I would probably have been happier with it if the ‘chilli’ was omitted from the name.
Another one I forgot to remove from my cupboard a while ago. If I’m remembering right, this was the first time I tried a jasmine tea, a flavour which I still love. Despite my usual indifference to/slight dislike of green tea, I can drink it all day when paired with jasmine. For now, I have a few better loose jasmine greens, but when I first tried this, it was mind-blowing to me. The jasmine isn’t so subtle the green tea overpowers it, but it also isn’t too strong that it’s offputting or perfume-like. A delicate and tasty match, overall. Possibly my favourite of the Teapigs teas I have tried.
At some point, I really must pick up another bag of this to try again. I bought only one from a teashop nearby, and didn’t realise I hadn’t logged it until now.
This was very early on in my tea enthusiast days, and (I am ashamed to admit), I poured boiling water straight onto it, completely ruining the delicate tea. At the time I hated it, and wondered why anyone would enjoy drinking such a thing, but I now realise that I messed up and it had nothing (or very little) to do with the tea itself. A fair review is in order in the future. This cup just tasted bitter.
I have a box of this, loose-leaf, and it really was the tea that turned me on to drinking leaf-tea.
I just love it. I’ve only had two other jasmine teas in my time, but this one is such an easy-brewing (and extremely forgiving), deliciously floral tea. It’s exactly what I want from a Jasmine Green.
It works well as a ‘mug’ tea with a basket (I tend to use a generous 1 – 1.5 tsp in ~300ml and brew it for two mins or so) or as a more refined, lots-of-short-steeps tea (again, I’ve used ~1 tsp in ~150ml and brewed for 30-45 s at a time). It does get very bitter if you oversteep, I should add, but this isn’t a problem I tend to encounter.
I love this as an everyday Jasmine tea. The jasmine is delicious and strong, without becoming cloying or excessive. And the green base that they use adds a really nice floral, fruity undertone that just rounds off this great, bargain tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Jasmine
I have tried this tea so many times, always in single serving sachets, and never gotten around to reviewing it for reasons unknown. Now that I have an official sipdown box, and have put it in my kitchen right next to the kettle, I am far more inclined to go for the teas I need to get rid of over the favourites I seem to keep going back to. This was right on the top, and as it was my final serving (I don’t plan on buying more), I guess the time has come to review it!
I actually drank this a couple of days ago, so the note will probably not be too detailed. It wasn’t really that complex to begin with, though, so I don’t think it will be too affected.
Each time I try this tea, I convince myself that this time I will be able to taste the chocolate, and each time, I am wrong. I have tried different steeping times, different amounts of water, different additives and even used two bags on one occassion. I have had it prepared in-store and I still couldn’t taste any chocolate! The Tea Pigs black tea base is fairly pleasant, with little astringency, so I can drink the cup easily enough. It smells sweet when brewing, and actually reminds me of cocoa butter rather than cocoa itself. The taste also reminds me of cocoa butter, perhaps a little more vanilla than chocolate. I have found it to taste pretty similar no matter how I drink it, and the additives don’t really seem to alter the flavour much. A pretty average tea, disappointing if you are expecting chocolatey chocolate.
I have a long way to go…
EDIT: I’ve just realised that this is my 50th tasting note! Wooo! If only it were a more positive one ):
This is a delicious herbal infusion of lemon and ginger. It’s not too tart from the lemon, nor is it too spicy from the ginger. The balance of both form the perfect flavor combination. This is a light enough tea to enjoy any time of the day.
The ingredient list includes whole forms of: ginger, lemongrass, lemon peel, and licorice root.
Although I typically prefer loose-leaf, If you’re looking for a well balanced, flavorful herbal blend though, and enjoy the convince of tea pyramids/temples, then I’d really recommend, “Lemon and Ginger” from TeaPigs. Also, I had a very good experience with both shipping and the company in general, so I find them to be an excellent company! Some, not all of their teas are also available in Fresh Market, if you have one near you.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon, Lemongrass, Licorice
I love this fruit blend! I’ve already polished off an entire box of it and can’t wait to place another order. It is sweet, yet not cloying. The fruits used all meld together in a terrific burst of flavor. This is one I can enjoy throughout the day and the evening as well. This is my second favorite fruity tea blend. The only one I’ve tried that outranked this would be the fruit blend from Storm Tea, which I found once in a Homegoods, and haven’t been able to find locally since then. If you’re in the market for a nice fruity tea and just want to try something different, I highly recommend this blend. (Trust me, you’ll want the larger box!).
This is my favorite English Breakfast Tea! It is bold, yet never bitter. It is excellent on its own, or paired with milk and raw sugar. This is my go-to morning blend. The combinations of the leaves used it this tea give it a rich, strong flavor and maybe even a hint of sweetness too. Definitely give this blend a try!
My only complaint is that this isn’t available in loose-leaf form. I wish Tea Pigs would offer loose leaf for those of us who prefer not to use the sachets.