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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea is absolutely divine! I already knew I loved TeaSource’s Black Mao Feng, so I decided to sample this one when I was in Minneapolis over the weekend. Oh my goodness! The leaves are super long and twisty with TONS of golden tips and the aroma is delicious: malty sweet goodness. Steeped, the liquor is a warm golden brown and the flavor is out of this world: notes of malt and sweet potato with a lingering honey sweetness and just the slightest hint of astringency that keeps you taking another sip…and another…and another. It’s also super smooth, with an almost velvety feel on the tongue. I didn’t have a chance to re-steep, but I’m quite confident from the quality of the leaves that this would hold up to multiple steeps. I can’t buy more tea right now, but next time I place an order this one will be at the top of my list!
Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes
This is very spicy, but also very thin on the ‘black tea’. I feel like its probably 80-90% herbal with a few leaves of black tea thrown in. Even with that, I prefer it with milk. The spice is heavy scent-wise, but there isn’t any heat to it when drinking it. I would have this again for occasional drinking.
I received a sample of this tea along with the infuser mug my sister gave me for Christmas. I’m thrilled about the mug (it will make drinking loose leaf tea at work so much easier!) and was excited for a chance to sample this tea as well. It was quite similar to the milk oolong I’ve had from Teavivre: sweet and creamy with a rich, silky mouth feel. It also stays smooth and flavorful through multiple infusions. Definitely one I’d consider purchasing in the future!
Flavors: Creamy, Milk, Smooth, Sweet
This is a very enjoyable oolong tea, though not my absolute favorite.. The dry leaves smell a little grassy. The taste is faintly floral; on the third steeping, I can no longer detect the floral notes. The liquor is a pale honey color. (In answer to the question “How did you brew your tea?” the steep time was 3 minutes on the first steeping, but increase the time with each successive steeping. I’ve never had more than three steepings, so I can’t tell you how a fourth would work out.
I got a free sample of this tea with my recent purchase at TeaSource. I’ve never had a rhubarb-flavored tea before and I was quite curious to try it. The dry leaf has a very pretty appearance embellished with lots of pink flower petals. While steeping, my kitchen smelled just like stewed rhubarb! After a 3-minute steep, the tea was a warm amber color with a slightly cloudy appearance. I chose to drink it iced and found it to be quite smooth and flavorful with a distinctive rhubarb taste and a bit of tartness in the aftertaste. Overall a very refreshing summer tea!
Flavors: Rhubarb, Smooth, Tart
I may have found my new favorite summer iced tea! The dry leaf smells delicious and the brewed tea does not disappoint. The base is smooth and silky with a nice natural sweetness and the mango flavor is spot-on.
Flavors: Mango, Smooth, Sweet
Flash steeping in a gaiwan with 6-10g of leaf and 120ml of 200+ degree water. Golden straw color. Smoky, mineral and slightly herbal. Easy drinking but boring and only good for maybe half a dozen steeps. Poor quality leaf. Looks like they just compressed a bunch of larger scraps and stems into a brick.
Flavors: Herbaceous, Mineral, Smoke
Brewed a pot specifically for iced tea. Used 12g of tea in about 650ml of boiling water for 30 minutes or so. Sampled the hot tea right after brewing and it was strong but very drinkable. Diluted the brew to make about 2400-2500ml of finished tea. I was worried about it being too watered down but it was not. It has a nice strawberry cream and floral flavor along with a natural sweetness and a very slight bitterness which I think creates a perfect balance. This tea is great if your looking for a nice, fruity, cold beverage. If you’re looking for a high quality tea, try something else.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Strawberry
I agree that this tea does not match the description from TeaSource. I wonder if this could be a newer batch and they didn’t update they’re tasting notes. For this tasting I brewed the tea using a gongfu style. I used 6g of leaves and 120ml of 165 degree water. Steeping times increased from 30 to 120 seconds over 5 steeps. The first showed corn, grass and butter on the nose and palate. The second and third were similar with the addition of a burnt rubber component all the way through. By the fourth steep the burnt rubber is quite prominent and there is a substantial astringency and bitterness. I shouldn’t have even bothered with the fifth. Every cup had the same basic pale straw color and cloudiness. The first three steeps were quite nice but I think using more tea leaves and/or keeping the steeping time low throughout would allow this tea to be stretched a little further.
I was looking for a good fruity tea to drink iced this month and I let the saleslady talk me into this one, even though I don’t like red rooibos or chamomile. My mistake! I do taste the pear in this, but for me it’s overwhelmed by an unpleasantly sharp chamomile flavor. On the other hand, several of my friends have sampled this blend and liked so, so this is probably a personal preference thing. If you don’t share my violent aversion to chamomile, give it a try!
Flavors: Herbs, Pear
I had the opportunity to sample this in-store over the weekend and immediately purchased two ounces. This is one of the best straight black teas I’ve ever had! The leaves are large and twisty with lots of golden tips. It steeps up to a beautiful red-gold color with a malty aroma and tastes full-bodied and rich with an almost caramel sweetness to the aftertaste. It’s so good that my friend who ALWAYS sweetens her tea drank it straight!
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Malt
I’m experimenting with brewing parameters with this tea. For this tasting I used 6 grams of tea and about 120 ml of water at 190 degrees. First steep/rinse was 30 seconds followed by 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 60 and finally 90 seconds for the ninth and last steep. The first steep shows hazelnut and honey on the nose with a mild sweetness and flavor on the palate. The second through fifth steep are the best by far and all very similar. The hazelnut and honey are still present with the addition of apple, pear and cinnamon. Smells very much like an apple pie. Still very light flavor on the palate but has a nice mouthfeel. The sixth steep starts to get lighter on the nose and by the ninth the tea is quite light and watery but somehow still pleasant.
I did try another batch and increased the steeping times to 30, 30, 45, 60 and 90. I had very similar results compressed into fewer cups.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Hazelnut, Honey, Pear
Not sure why this one has had such low ratings from others. I find it to be absolutely delicious and the perfect holiday tea! The black/oolong base is perfectly balanced: deep and rich but with a nice silky mouth feel and the flavor is spot-on chestnut. I find myself reaching for this one on those days when I’m not in the mood for a straight black tea but I also don’t want the sweet/heavy flavor of the many dessert teas I have in my collection. I gave my roommate 2oz of this one for Christmas and she has already finished it and gone back for another 4oz bag!
Flavors: Chestnut, Nutty, Smooth
I am not an oolong lover but I love strawberry so I was left conflicted over whether or not to try this. Clearly strawberry love won out as I am trying it now. I must say, hot, it was 100% oolong flavor which may be appealing to some but not to me. Consequently I let this cool and now it is a nice creamy cup of strawberry goodness. I read the description too late to see that they recommend this iced which I can certainly see why as the cool cup is a great balance between to two flavors.
The dry leaf is lovely: a large strip style oolong with a roasted nut aroma. I put 5-6g in my 150ml gaiwan and rinsed it well (the rinse came out bubbly/cloudy). Brewed for 1 minute at 190 degrees, it produces a honey-colored brew without a very strong aroma or mouthfeel, but it’s pleasant to drink. The 2nd through 4th infusions had the best flavor, after the initial strong roast flavor wore off a bit.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Floral, Roast nuts
Not really a puerh tea because it’s from Hunan province. This is the first Dark tea I’ve ever tried, and still my favorite. I’ve even served it to friends who are new to post-fermented teas, and they loved it too.
It comes in the form of cubes (probably from a Fu Cha brick) with plenty of “Golden Flower” fungus between the layers of leaf. I broke a cube in half with my puerh knife and gave it a rinse with almost boiling water. Then I brewed it in my 175ml clay pot for 4 minutes with 200 degree water.
This is so easy to drink! The brew is a clear, bright dark brown, with only a subtle aroma and medium body. It’s mellow but fresh and woodsy, with a little earthy umami feeling. It’s very pleasant on the stomach, too.
After the first try, I’ve been brewing a whole cube in 8 oz. of water just under the boil, since it takes about 4 min. each time. You can get at least 4 good infusions by increasing the time as you go along. Perfect to drink any time, all the time!
Unfortunately, I don’t think you can get this from Tea Source anymore. I bought a bunch when I noticed it was being discontinued. It will probably age well.
Flavors: Hay, Mushrooms, Sweet
I got a free sample of this with my last TeaSource order. Not sure if it’s the way this tea normally is or just my sample, but the ratio of rice to tea seemed to be 2 parts rice to 1 part tea leaves. I was a bit dubious about how it would taste, but it was actually quite delicious: smooth and silky with a nice toasty flavor and a slightly sweet aftertaste. Genmaicha isn’t my favorite type of tea, so I probably won’t be re-purchasing. But I’ll gladly finish this sample!
Flavors: Smooth, Sweet, Toasted Rice
The small nuggets seem like a regular Jade Oolong. I opened the bag and it smelled very artificial, almost like cough syrup. I brewed western in my tea press. The leaves had a very nice expansion and all were mostly intact. They didn’t smell all that pleasant though. I could only describe it as cherry lipgloss on soggy cigarettes. The brew was a thick bright gold. the aroma was of red Gushers, which was kinda amusing. The flavor was very faint. It was mostly like drinking a regular Jade with a slight hint of neapolitan ice cream. I really am not one for flavored teas, but I tried it and its nothing special. It isn’t horrible either.
Flavors: Green, Rhubarb, Strawberry