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Recent Tasting Notes
An excellent example of the form, Earl Grey White Tip is by far my favorite EG.
Yesterday I tried it gongfu cha style. The resulting brew had a strong bergamot flavor, more forward than the western style brew. I started at 30 seconds and increased it a bit each time, until about 2 minutes for the final, 5th infusion.
Flavors: Bergamot, Tea
I bought this months ago, but finally remembered to buy a can of sweetened condensed milk so I could try it this weekend! This is an interesting product: basically, just a blend of fresh spices that you are instructed to mix with sweetened condensed milk and then add to black tea. I followed the directions on the bag to the letter, mixing 1 tablespoon of the chai into a can of sweetened condensed milk and letting it sit overnight, then mixing 1 tablespoon of the resulting “goop” into a brewed cup of their Breakfast Assam. This resulted in a sweet, creamy, spicy cup of tea with a fair amount of heat…a bit more ginger than I would personally prefer. While this is definitely an easy way to make a chai latte, the flavor leaves something to be desired for me. I prefer their (sadly discontinued) Reena’s Chai tea over this one.
Flavors: Ginger, Milk, Spicy, Sweet
I bought this for making Chai, but decided to try drinking it straight yesterday. It’s a CTC tea, so I was expecting a strong, bitter flavor. I was pleasantly surprised! The flavor is definitely robust and malty, but only slightly bitter. With a splash of milk, it made for a lovely breakfast tea! Still need to try it with their Chai mix, though.
I’ve tried this one both hot and iced and really haven’t been impressed. It brews up to a beautiful lime green color and it smells like limes, but that distinctive lime flavor I was hoping for just isn’t coming through for me. Instead, I get a bit of the herbaceous green base, a touch of indeterminate citrus, and a lingering tart aftertaste. Disappointing.
Flavors: Citrus, Herbaceous, Tart
Several years ago, I sampled an Irish Breakfast tea from a (now defunct) Etsy shop called The Great British Tea Store. It turned out to be one of the best breakfast blends I’ve ever tried: rich and malty with an unexpected note of sweet caramel in the aftertaste. While this one isn’t quite up to that standard, I am enjoying it! It has a robust, slightly bitter flavor that is perfect with a generous splash of milk. This one will get you going in the morning!
Flavors: Bitter, Malt
I got this as a sample during my last purchase. This is a nice flavored and fragrant tea but it finishes with a floral lotus taste I don’t care for at all. I tried cold brewing this and it was crisp and refreshing but it brought out more of the lotus flavor. Bummer.
SUMMER SIPDOWN! got a packet of this in some long-ago Steepster Select box, intended for iced tea – so that’s how i made it. although i must admit the instructions called for 1 tsp/4g tea to 18 oz of water, i just used ALL the tea (8 grams) to an entire IKEA pitcher (3/4 gal?) of water, let sit overnight, served cold. i must say quite a nice iced tea, very refreshing here in the land of SweetLiptonIcedTea. however, as i’m not the biggest iced tea fan, this was most likely a one-off. i’ll enjoy while it lasts.
I got this as a sample with another purchase a few weeks ago. I then had it as a prepared cup for their sample day. They brewed it western style for that and while I thought it was good but not nessesarily “choicest” and I didn’t find it interesting enough to buy 2 oz. Now that I had a chance to try my sample brewed gong fu style I can see what all the fuss is about. The leaves have a very fruity smell reminding me of either a type of candy or dried fruit snack…can’t quite put my finger on it. The first steep was light and very fruity and sweet and in subsequent steeps toasty notes from the roasting started to come out.
I’m cold brewing my other half of the sample now since I saw that recommended and I could definately see this one as refreshing.
Another tea I had as a sample and had to buy. I’ve passed over this before because of the name as I thought it was some sort of flavored tea, but one sip showed me how wrong I was. It’s very oxidized so it’s wonderfully dark but doesn’t have the astringency of a black tea. I found it to be a bit peachy without much roasted flavor. I was a little put off to the description mentioning Ruby 18, but after trying the two side by side they do share some of that complexity that makes Ruby 18 so wonderful just without any of the liqiorice notes.
I had this as a part of a sample day sampler and walked out with two oz of it. Going in there I definately did not expect to be walking out of there with such a green oolong, but it had such a super silky mouthfeel I had to take some home. It’s very fragrent and floral with a bit of green tea bitterness. And.so.very.silky.
I’m also shocked by the number of resteeps I’m getting out of this. It’s like enough that I’ve lost count. Not bad for a green.
Flavors: Floral, Green
Picked a small bag of this up at the Tea Source after hearing intriguing descriptions of milk oolongs.
The tea taste is quite green, and mostly buried by the milk flavors. They impart a buttery, creamy flavor and texture. It’s an enjoyable drink, but not in the same way that most teas are enjoyable to me.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Tea, Vegetal
I love pearled tea. So easy to travel with and measure out. Nice large leaves when it’s all done. I’ve been looking for a black version for awhile so I had to snag some of this, and it ended up being an interesting tea in its own right. First off it smells rather amazing like dark dried fruit. In playing with this in the past few weeks I’ve found it to brew kind of light so I go heavy on the leaf and steep for at least a full five minutes. It has a bit of tannins that keep it bright, but don’t seem to make it undrinkable if oversteeped so this is definately a travel infuser candidate. The tea has a bit of cocoa notes and dark sugar plus a long lingering aftertaste as well as the feeling of a bit of tannins on the teeth.
This is a lovely rich oolong. If you would like to try something a bit darker than a typical Ti Quan Yin, this one does not have the lighter, vegetal taste. Very smooth, nice aroma and a nutty barley flavor. Perhaps adding some honey it reminds me of a puffed cereal but can’t recall the name of it. There is a dry slightly tannic mouthfeel after.
The leaves look to have a couple more infusions in them. As a good oolong should.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Grain, Hay, Nutty, Roasted Barley, Smooth
Hmm, not quite sure what to think about this one. The scent and flavor of a honeydew melon are definitely present and the smooth, light white tea base is a good match. But for some reason, I’m smelling and tasting a slightly yeasty note as well…unbaked bread dough is the best description I can come up with. No idea where this is coming from, but it makes for a rather disconcerting experience! Wondering if cold-brewing would amp up the melon and knock out the yeast? I’m going to have to do some experimenting!
Flavors: Hay, Honeydew, Melon, Sweet, Yeast