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Recent Tasting Notes
A bitter smelling tea. Luckily the taste is not bitter like the smell. Its very mellow. Slightly grassy, which is weird because I find most green teas have a heavy to medium grassy taste. And I don’t want to steep it too much longer because of those bitter notes in the smell.
From Fujian Province, China.
Yumm!! This is a delicious Silver Needle tea. I brewed this by the cup in my gaiwan which I don’t usually do with white tea so it was more intense in flavor and creamier.
Always love Silver Needle and this one was very nice :)
Flavors: Cream, Honey
This one was on sale for 50% when I shopped with TeaSource so I just threw it into my cart.
The dry leaf smells like Moroccan Mint style tea and the leaves are forest green twisted threads.
I brewed this Western style at 175F, tasting every minute until I had steeped for a total of 4 minutes.
The wet leaves are very attractive, long slender, slightly opened twists of moss green,,,still smelling like faint Moroccan Mint.
The liquor is very light, like White tea light,,a clear pearl color and has a mineral and light spring mint scent.
The flavor is light Moroccan Mint flavor but very light. A tiny tiny tiny bit of bitter, not vegetal though.
I paired the tea with black quinoa and some beautiful heirloom yellow cherry tomatoes.
This is definitely an everyday type of tea. I think that I might use it for iced tea,,,it would be perfect for that :)
Thanks so much Amanda Wilson for sending me a very generous sample of this tea!
I had an AMAZING day yesterday you guys! HUGE all day outdoor art fair with incredibly beautiful weather, and then a gallery opening in the evening. The theme of the gallery show was a movie mashup- The Big Lebowski in Little China, LOL. Anyway both went great, and my Lebowski piece sold within an hour of the opening starting and I’ve already taken two reprint orders! WOO!
ANYWAY, yesterday was long and good but I reached for this tea because I may have had a little TOO much fun at the gallery opening (it was at a bar/cafe) so I reached for this one assuming the cute little compressed heart was some kind of puerh…
I’m not totally sure it is! It sure tastes more like a black tea to me. Nice and dark and malty. Also I think the rose adds a nice subtle sweetness but is not too overpowering. Very nice tea. I will enjoy drinking the rest of this sample packet for sure, whatever it is :)
This may just be someone’s cup of tea—it’s not mine. It’s made with milk, and I can distinctively taste it, and couldn’t help thinking that if I want milk in my tea, I’d like to add it myself. My aunt who loved the Rare Orchid and Light Roast Tung Tings the other day, found this one “blah.” Not a tea I’ll order again. If I want a tea on the creamy, silky side I prefer TeaSource’s Sweet Silk Oolong.
This has the fruity sweetness of some oolongs and laid over Is the roasted note—earthy, tobacco-y, in a way that makes it smooth and mellow. My aunt who can be picky flat out “loved” this tea. Definitely a keeper (even if I personally preferred the Rare Orchid Oolong we first tried yesterday.
The dry leaf is a fun menagerie of White Peony and Silver Needle teas with scents of after dinner mint & dried basil.
The packaging had low brew temp instructions which I love. I have brewed White Peony at 185 before and it brings out a good sweet and champagne colored liquor. I chose to go with 160 F and then just left the leaves in longer, for 5 minutes.
This created a light silver green clear colored liquor with flavors of Honeycrisp apple, Asian pear, pie crust. Yumm this tea is a mix of fun, delicious and lovely.
Second Steeping – I resteeped this at 185F and it brought out a more colored liquor and deeper flavor. Still lovely with accents of apple and pear.
Brewed this Western style today at a very low 165F temp. The liquor is pearl color and the scent is light light fruit.
Flavor is fruity and creamy. There are notes of pear and peach with cream. This is a nice white.
Flavors: Cream, Mint, Pear, Stonefruits
I’d agree with the description of TeaSource’s site that it’s “sweet, smooth” although I don’t detect the citrusy or spicy note. In fact, my major complaint with the green teas I ordered this time (their House Green and Double Yunnan Needle as well as this one) is that they don’t seem to me to have much personality. In that sense any of the three might make good introductions to green tea—they’re not too grassy, they’re drinkable, and they’re … inoffensive. But none impressed or would have me ordering them again. I like this one slightly more than the other two, but not as much as several other green teas I’ve tried from TeaSource.
The description on TeaSource calls it “herbaceous” and “smooth.” It’s mild and not grassy. My aunt calls it “watery” (and no this didn’t have more water or less tea than usual) but this is a very light tea and to me doesn’t have much personality—not one I’d order again given I prefer several other green teas from TeaSource.
We did enjoy this tea, but I feel mixed about recommending it, since we didn’t love it, prefer other Darjeelings, and don’t intend to order this again. But that might be more about my tastes and my aunt who I share the teas with than this tea itself. Our favorite tea is a Darjeeling, but it’s a Summer flush. This is a spring flush, and definitely on the oolong rather than black side of Darjeeling: light, rather flowery, fruity, honeyed, mellow, but with a bit of astringency compared to most oolongs.
The dry leaf smells like a spice shop. I smell spearmint and caraway seed. The moss green colored leaves look naturally dried with nothing else done to them, minimal processing.
The liquor didn’t gain color until around 4 minutes at 165F. The tea is like white tea, a very light color tint to the water. A very light yellow green.
The flavor is spearmint with a touch of caraway seed just like the leaves smell. I like this because it is subtle. I do not detect the roasted corn notes that Tea Source did so I would be interested in what temp they used because their brew suggestions say between 160-180. I bet they went lots higher than I did. I will try higher temps next time.
Nonetheless, I’m glad I brewed this low and slow because it tastes very nice!! Similar to a mint touched white tea and a good one for the cupboard.
Second Steeping — Kept it at 165 and brewed 5 minutes. There are just small amounts of mint now but still light, cleansing, and refreshing. I am getting a bit of tannin to my tongue now. I think a second steeping is all I would do for this leaf.
Had a little of this today. Very mild and light. Like a green tea in scent and appearance and touches of white tea qualities. Flavor is mostly vegetal I guess but it is so light and subtle.
The dry rolled balls have a subtle scent of dried cherries, a nice natural sweet smell.
The brew instructions had a lower temperature range (155-165F) for this than I’ve ever used for a white tea so I went with 160F because that’s as low as my kettle goes.
The leaves did not unfurl as much as I thought they would probably because of the lower temp. They appear to be chopped and then rolled. The brewed leaves look like chopped cooked frozen spinach. They have not unfurled all the way so they are still in balls that are falling apart. I am gonna give this one a second steeping because more flavor is rolled in there.
The liquor has the distinctive white tea champagne color and this one is a golden and darker white tea.
The flavor is good. It is subtle sweetness and mainly tastes like honey with a tiny hint of dried cherry.
Second Steeping – kept it at 160F for 2 minutes. The leaves have mostly fully unfurled now and the liquor is a deeper champagne color. The flavor has evolved to include a very interesting note. I had to get into my spice cabinet and start smelling because I could not figure out what that note was. It was closest to sumac and blue poppy seeds. A sweet spice note mixed with the dried cherry note. The second steeping turned this into a different tea because the first was devoted to the outside of the balls and then second brought out the surprise of the inside of the leaves.
I really enjoyed this tea experience and a white tea pearl type (non-jasmine) must always be kept in my cupboard now!!!!!!!
I brewed this today in a different pot than I did last time. Still Western but a 22 oz ceramic pot. Flavors are the same and there is definitely a sumac note to this tea. A sweet note too which makes it good!
Flavors: Honey, Stonefruits
Tea #8 from Considering a new TTB
This ended up being much more astringent than I had hoped for, perhaps it would be less so with a lower temperature. I opted for 175 because it is preset on my hot water pot, but the recommended temperature on the package was 160 – 180.
Tea #7 from Considering a new TTB
I had meant to stop by TeaSource while I was in Minnesota last year, but ran out of time, so I’m happy to see a few more of their teas in this box that I can try. This spring oolong is a little more toasty than I prefer, I tend to lean more towards floral oolongs, but other than that I don’t seem to have much of an opinion about this tea. I would drink it again if someone handed me a cup, but I wouldn’t order it for myself.
What a disappointment. White tea with peach, sounds delicious right?
My problems with this tea started in right off the bat. Yes there are nice large unfurled leaves, however there are even larger (2 inches+) sticks (plural) and other smaller twigs in this sample. I was willing to over look this because the leaves had a peachy, fresh, floral aroma. Once steeped the leaves took on a creamy quality.
The liquor tastes like fuzzy peaches – the candy- sans the sugar coating. That flavor was so dominant that I couldn’t get anything else from this tea. I genuinely don’t understand it. How can a tea that has REAL peach in it taste so artificial?
Amount: 6 tsp
Water: 750ml at 195°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 3 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: sweet, floral, vegetal
Steeped Tea Smell: sweet, floral, nutty
Flavor: silky mouthfeel, sweet, floral
Liquor: translucent light yellow green
Co woker with the funny nose: must attic smell
750ml at 195°F for 4 minutes
more roasty and nutty
750ml at 195°F for 5 minutes
still beautiful, floral, honey
750ml at 195°F for 6 minutes
Rating: 3/4 leaves
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone (or Lupercalia if you are reading this from Ancient Rome) I hope your day is filled with love and happiness. Since today is all about hearts and romance…and quite frequently flowers, why not look at a thematically appropriate tea? I do love doing thematically appropriate reviews, though I doubt I will come up with a good one for President’s Day.Dark Rose Tea by Tea Source is a delightfully heart shaped compressed block of dark tea. What is dark tea, you might be asking, well in short dark tea (or Heicha) is fermented tea that is not from Yunnan. Technically Pu Erh is still a dark tea, but it is so specialized that it more or less gets its own category. This specific dark tea comes from Hunan and is mixed with roses, my personal favorite flower to have in tea. The aroma is a bit musty, like dry loam and old wood, similar to a forest that has not seen rain in a while. There is also a touch of leather and a very faint and delicate rose aroma.
Sadly upon steeping the compressed tea it no longer looks like a cute little heart, but this is expected. The aroma has become quite rosy and malty with only a touch of loam and oak wood. It is beginning to smell more like a moist forest floor in summer than a dry one. The liquid without the leaves steeping in them have a bright quality with strong notes of rose and sweet malt. It smells heavy and rich, not at all light and buoyant.
The first steeping of the little heart shaped nugget of tea happiness is quite rich and filling. Drinking it makes my mouth feel smooth and full, it is a slightly odd sensation because it also has a sense of weight to it. The taste is at first rosy and sweet, but this fades to oak wood and a mild astringency. The taste reminds me more of a strong black tea than the dark teas I am used to.
Giving the crumbled heart another dunking causes the mild astringency to vanish and makes the already smooth tea even more so, almost making it feel velvety. It does lose the weighty feel and now is just a bright tea. There is only the barest hint of roses and the tea has a finish of copper. I really do think this tea would be great for people who are scared off of Pu Erhs and other dark teas by their earthy quality, but for people who love that aspect it is a bit of a let down.
Flavors: Flowers, Loam, Malt, Wood
I don’t think TeaSource carries this any more. I am about to admit defeat. I think I have yet—in recent memory; this bag has been around a long time—to steep a cup at any time and temp that results in anything but bitterness. I just want it to work so badly—-it’s an Kopili Assam, which I love in black form. I hate not liking a tea!
I don’t personally enjoy darjeelings. This reminded me of a very high quality bud-only green tea I once had in china, with a slight vegetal astringency but generally not overwhelmingly so. This isn’t the kind of body I’m used to, but it’s not something that takes away from the tea either. As a person who normally turns my nose up at darjeeling, this is an excellent tea. I got this as a sample from some other tea I ordered from TeaSource.
Flavors: Flowers, Grass
1st Steeping: Sweet, almost like a very very sweet Dragonwell (Longjing) and kinda looks like it but did not get any honey taste out of this brew, slight chestnut taste. Might have to steep it differently as I have gotten a wonderful honey taste out of a different yellow tea. Really clean tasting, brewed in a small 21oz cast iron teapot.
2nd Steeping: Brewed for 2 min instead of 3 @ same temp. I am getting a hint of honey taste out of it. Still really sweet. Very similar notes and taste as the first brew.
Not the most exciting tea for me personally, but none the less quite tasty.