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Recent Tasting Notes

90
drank Rhubarb Oolong by TeaSource
290 tasting notes

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

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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100
drank Green Mango by TeaSource
290 tasting notes

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

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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83

1 square in a 120ml gaiwan with 200+ degree water. I always get campfire and sausage on this tea. It pretty basic but quite nice and very consistent for numerous steepings.

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76

Multiple flash steepings in a gaiwan with 7g of leaf and 120ml of 200+ degree water. Golden straw color. Smoky, mineral and slightly herbal. Nice and easy drinking but somewhat boring. Hopefully this will improve with age.

Flavors: Herbaceous, Mineral, Smoke

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec

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73

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

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73

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.

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60
drank Scarlet O'Peara by TeaSource
290 tasting notes

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

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100
drank Black Mao Feng by TeaSource
290 tasting notes

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

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Nicole

Mmm… I haven’t tried anything from TeaSource yet. This probably should go on my wishlist.

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77

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

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Preparation
3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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95
drank Roasted Chestnut by TeaSource
290 tasting notes

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

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Strawberry Oolong by TeaSource
2372 tasting notes

HGTTB

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.

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75
drank Big Red Robe by TeaSource
6 tasting notes

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

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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88
drank Hei Cha by TeaSource
6 tasting notes

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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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75
drank Genmaicha by TeaSource
290 tasting notes

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

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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60

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

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec 6 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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63
drank Dark Rose Tea by TeaSource
6481 tasting notes

this one came my way stephanie via terri. I was a little hesitant about drinking this one. Flowers and i don’t really get along….esp not rose. That being said, once this one is brewed, it’s much more tea than rose. Still though, not something i really need in my life, though i’m always happy to try out random teas haha :) thanks ladies!!

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63
drank Strawberry Oolong by TeaSource
464 tasting notes

Don’t smell the wet leaves unless you like the smell of cigarettes. Yuck. Luckily the dry leaves smell good. Maybe I’m imagining it but I thought it smelled like a strawberry rollup. Light amber color. Flavor of strawberry, some floral accents and not a whole lot of oolong flavor. This is a hard flavor to mix into tea. My first steep was hot at 3 mins. Second steep cold still not getting much oolong flavor.

Preparation
1 tsp

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63
drank Strawberry Oolong by TeaSource
464 tasting notes

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85
drank Candy Apple White by TeaSource
290 tasting notes

I tried a cup of this at my former roommate’s house and really enjoyed it! It literally tastes like a taffy-covered apple. At the beginning of the sip, I mostly notice a smooth, natural apple flavor that reminds me of a crisp, tart Granny Smith. In the aftertaste, there’s a wave of licorice sweetness. Another great option if you’re looking for a dessert tea with a white base!

Flavors: Apple, Licorice, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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89

Cooking TTB #7

Wow I’m really powering through the TTB today but then it is the perfect weather day for sitting around the house with tea and a book. We don’t get much winter weather here in SoCal and it’s foggy, drizzly and about 12C outside today which is a nice change to the usual sunny skies. If you combine the weather with the fact that I’m about a quarter of the way through the fourth outlander novel, Drums of Autumn, and that this is the first free time I’ve had all week, it all combines to mean I’ll be creating a me sized dent on the couch today!!

This tea is delicious! It’s the perfect malty breakfast tea with a surprising and delicious touch of smokiness! Such an unassuming tea in its packet, I picked it it up on a whim because of the name and was very pleasently surprised by just how complex it actually was! Yum!

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74
drank Apple Cider Spice by TeaSource
1162 tasting notes

Thanks to Lala for the Apple Cider Spice experience! The leaf smells just like how its name suggests, although the spice aspect is fairly faint. You can tell that there is cinnamon in it but it melds into the acidic aroma of the cider. Once brewed, the cider really pops out. It smells like a Yankee candle in here. The spice is nearly absent in the flavour, as well, but I’m enjoying the cider note in this.

No bitterness or astringency to be had either. Thanks again, Lala!

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drank Blue Beauty by TeaSource
199 tasting notes

Cooking TTB #13

Once again, I tried a tea without knowing what it was supposed to taste like and was left saying, “Seriously…what the heck?”

Now, if I was held at gunpoint and forced to give an answer to what this tea tastes like, I would have said a hot bath. I am well aware of the fact that I should not have tasted a hot bath before in order to even be able to compare a tea to a hot bath, but I’ll be damned if I could compare it to any other thing in this world. (For the record, I am now attributing said bath-like taste to the ginseng) It’s like when you eat something that tastes like horse (like pork chops—forgive me if you like pork chops)…only you’ve never eaten horse and what you really mean is that it tastes the way horses smell when they’re hanging out in a barn after racing….no? Am I the only person who totally associates smells with tastes? Those two senses sort of run on connected systems, so…I can’t be the only one.

Anyway, this tasted the way a hot bath smells when you don’t put any soap in and the water is all steamy. Yeah. So, this tea and I will probably never meet again, and that’s okay by me. But, I can appreciate its ability to give me a very strange sensory experience.

Angrboda

No, you’re not alone in that. A smell can totally smell like a taste.

Tealizzy

I have an oolong that tastes like a hot bath to me…yuck. It’s blue unicorn by tealux. Maybe it’s something to do with teas with blue in the name! Ha!

Fjellrev

I get that a lot too, experiencing something like tastes like the smell of something else. A hot bath though? Must be crazily unusual.

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81

Cooking TTB #12

This was so cool because the flavor of this tea changed like three times just within one sip. It smells distinctly of strawberry and tastes quite fruit as it hits your tongue…but, then it goes straight oolong while it hangs out on your tongue..and then, oh joy!, the strawberry sweetness is there in a different way as you breathe in after you swallow. Lovely. I enjoyed this for sure. I’ll be keeping some more cup’s worth of this!

Flavors: Strawberry

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