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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
A friend gave me this tea and I’ve been working my way through it. It’s not as subtle as I normally like my tea – it really only has one level of flavor, which is strong and dark. The chocolate is there but it mixes with the black tea. It’s an okay tea but not one I will be in a hurry to buy after I finish my supply. It is caffeinated though, which is all I really need in the mornings some days.
This may be better as a latte with milk and whipped cream on top.
I had been drinking rooibos semi-regularly for a while, until one day my usual dealer was out of stock. Desperation made me turn to an impressive but expensive little tea and coffee bean shop just off Aberdeen’s high street – http://dft.ba/-9PBo (not my image, twitter account or self).
Anyway, I was in a rush so i had a quick look around and grabbed the only rooibos i could find. I’ve seen teapigs for sale in a few other shops, mainly cafés, so i wasn’t sure what to expect, but i gave it a chance anyway. And i’m glad i did, the tea is a delightfully smooth drink with slightly fruity, earthy tones. The caramel isn’t overpoweringly sweet, it’s a good compliment, something i wouldn’t have expected. And it’s only really present on the first steeping.
That was another pleasant surprise – yes, these are teabags, but they’re triangular based pyramids made of some high quality silk like material that doesn’t stain or absorb water like filter paper ones. And as long as you don’t rip it when undoing the string, you can re-steep them at least three times. Supposedly biodegradable too. I added five minutes per steeping, starting at roughly five minutes with water fresh from the boil. But since rooibos doesn’t contain any tannin you can be pretty lax with your timings. This more than made up for the somewhat meagre fifteen bags included in the pack.
All in all a good, convenient, staple tea if you can find it for a reasonably price. I’ve been drinking it probably more than anything else lately so i’ll definitely be looking to get some more.
I don’t know if it’s just that tea after a long walk in the chilly rain is good, but right now this is the BEST tea I have had so far in the UK! We needed a couple of things for the flat, so I decided to walk to the big Tesco. It took longer than I thought it would, and the day is grey, chilly, and rainy. I got two of the items I needed, forgot one (d’oh!), and added this and a couple of other items to my basket as well. Trudged home like a local with my bags on my arm – very tempted to get one of those wheeled shopping carts I have seen the older ladies with.
Anyway… Got home and brewed up a cup, immediately followed by another. I am now warm and dry and still enjoying it immensely. Very smooth, not overwhelmingly spicy.
This is another from the amazing Nattie (thank you!!!). It reminds me a lot off DAVIDs Creme Caramel rooibos which I did not love so much. The rooibos is just too strong and medicinal for my tastes and I find I am always searching for the caramel. So far Teapigs have failed to impress but that’s alright since you can’t love everything and if you have to not like something, best it be something you can’t get easily anyways :). I am grateful for the chance to try it though.
I bought this expecting it to be at least average given the pricing. Teapigs usually has good teas, albeit bagged, but this matcha is terrible. I have had low grade matchas far cheaper than this one that were far superior. I felt a bit conned when I opened it, the colour was off and the grassy, nature fresh notes were just missing. I still prepared it in my chawan, and not soon after found myself with a displeased frown on my face, bitter and stale.