The Simple Leaf

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
1691 tasting notes

One farewell cuppa before this goes in the Junkyard Tea jar. Even as old as it is, the dry cocoa vibe is still there.

Perfect as I watched the ridge of sunlight outlining the last of a renegade bunch of storm clouds that sneaked through early this morning.

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69
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
18 tasting notes

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drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
1798 tasting notes

I am tasting this tea thanks to the amazing JacquelineM who miraculously produced a sample of this long unavailable tea. When I first joined Steepster, this tea was all the rage. I put it on my wish list, but the company that sold it – sob! – closed before I could buy any. I think losing the opportunity to try this legendary tea bothered me more than any other that “got away.”

And here I am with a generous sample. She could have sold this on the black market to some tea head for lots of money, but instead she sent it to ME! And I saved it for my birthday, which is today! This is my evening cuppa, a treat for myself in the quiet now that the day is winding down.

This is beautiful, beautiful leaf. Dark, long, twisted leaf that is highly aromatic, especially when you scent your cup first. (Thank you, Garret, at Mandala Tea for teaching us to do that. It adds so much to the experience. Pour your hot water in your empty pot, let it warm a moment, then pour out the water and add the leaf. Put the lid on for a moment. Now, lift the lid and take a long, deep sniff of the pot and leaves. Once you have experienced the aromas, add your hot water and steep.)

This is an extremely complicated tea. I am so glad I tried the hojicha first because my thoughts went something like this: Cocoa! Rough cocoa! Roasted cocoa! Roasted….something….coffee, caramel, smoke like hojicha, and…was that a hint of cinnamon? Chicory, yes, it is there also.

No wonder everyone loved it. Thank you so much, JacquelineM, for blessing my birthday with “the one that got away.”

On another note, when I looked up the plantation on google I saw an article that said a tea garden manager of that area was abducted in fall of 2012 and held in the jungle by some group – I forget now exactly who – but had been rescued. Oh my! Glad to read that he was rescued.

Sil

Happy birthday! So glad you had a special tea to enjoy on this great day :)

Terri HarpLady

ooh, that does sound like an interesting & tasty tea! Happy Birthday!!

Azzrian

Happy bday! Yes it is great you got to try it if only once. Its sad though to find a tea like this then its gone :( Im sort of glad I never tired it lol not really but ya know.

Josie Jade

Hope you had a wonderful birthday! :0

Bonnie

Happy Birthday!

ashmanra

Thank you! It has been lovely!

looseTman

Happy Birthday & many more!

JacquelineM

Happy birthday!!!!!!! Happy, happy, happy! Woody cat purrs Happy birthday too !!!

This one is also nice with a little milk and sugar in the afternoon. I am really glad the tea manager is rescued too – my word!

gmathis

Belated, but still sincere. Happy day to you!
(I am hoarding a teeeeeeny bit of this myself like it was gold.)

KiwiDelight

Happy Belated Birthday! I’m glad to know you had such a lovely birthday present :)

K S

Happy one day late Birthday!

ashmanra

Thank you, everyone! :) I am sitting here drink Keemun Hao Ya A and licking the spoon from my youngest daughter’s first cake experience!

Indigobloom

Happy Birthday!! Hope you had a great one. It’s my bday to :P

ashmanra

Happy Birthday, now belatedly, to you as well, Indigobloom! I hope you had a lovely day!

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drank Mamma Mia by The Simple Leaf
1691 tasting notes

This one is getting old, but it’s still juicy, not too acidic, a little cocoa taste at the very bottom of each sip. (Have been doing much troubled philosophical pondering this week on the validity of the “it has to be new to be good” mindset, so this was a good fit.)

I don’t give Darjeelings enough time and consideration. This is good.

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drank Mountain Malt by The Simple Leaf
1691 tasting notes

Surprise to me! Had a little bit of this left that had woodged down to the bottom of my “loose ends” packet. First sip just after steeping made me wonder if it’d lost its oomph, but it strengthened considerably after driving with me this morning.

Dark, just on the edge of a bitter bite, and a little grapey on the finish. Sticks to your tongue long after you’ve swallowed.

Here’s to “oh, I forgot I had that!” serendipi-tea.

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100
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
350 tasting notes

So I’ve been sitting on this one for almost a year thanks to Tamm. I’ve tried some here and there and well…it’s one of those teas that you don’t want advertise that it’s in your cabinet. I also have realized that after being a steepsterite for two years now and that The Simple Leaf ceased to be before I became an avid tea drinker. To my dismay, but I’m also realizing the freshness window might be waning. I’ve been making cups here and there just saving it for special time or when I just really want a good tea(like the Imperial Pu-Erh I keep on hand). Today I felt like I needed a pick me up. It’s been really crazy at work. Which happens every year at this time because we are a station that goes all Christmas music for a month. Oddly enough we are one of three radio stations that goes all Christmas music every year. How Cleveland became a Christmas music battleground…I don’t know. It also means it takes me longer to get music logs done as the music director because I have to look over the logs more with a fine tooth comb. Besides that this is time of the year that things get tight financially in our house(which also means drink what ya got because not too many new purchases are going to be made). This year more so than others since my wife is working part-time instead of full, and there aren’t nearly as many wedding gigs as there are during the summer. The wee man has been battling his first cold the less sleep he gets the less sleep mommy and I get. This seemed like a good idea this morning to make a full pot. So I pulled out the pouch and breathed in the goodness. I breathed in an aroma of cocoa that was just outstanding. I could feel an endorphin rush that brought a smile to my face. I have seen this one compared to a black oolong, beans, raisins, chocolaty. Yes it’s all the above. Like Assam and his cousin Ceylon were hanging out a swanky jazz club. Listening to the band do their best rendition of Brubeck’s-Take 5 and throwing back Scotch on the rocks(Macallan not Glenfiddich). So what I needed today. Normally I’ll make a cup of Mate, Pu-Erh, and Coffee in the morning. Today only the coffee and Dawn. I don’t know if there is too much to say but this is just an exceptional tea. After searching the internet high low for other places that carry tea from Arunachal Pradesh sadly there is only one. It is very much like an Assam Oolong. So good.

Tamm

I’m so glad that you loved this one! :D

ashmanra

This one was on my wish list long ago and the company closed before I could get it. It sounds a lot like my beloved Emperor’s Red from Premium Steap. Which reminds me that I really should order another tin of that…

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drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
1691 tasting notes

I know, I know, it’s way past its prime now, but I hoarded my last 1/3 packet of this for cold weather sipping; even when it’s elderly, it’s heavy and luscious and cocoa-y.

When (ha!) I get time to be scientific about it, I’d love to put this side-by-side with my new favorite Fujian Congou from Nature’s Tea Leaf. I think in previous notes I whinged a little about not having an equivalent once my Dawn was Done, but I’m thinking that there may be some strong similarities. (Which would explain why I am so crazy about the FC.)

The DJBooth

Well I have hoarded mine for a while being saddened that The Simple Leaf was gone before I even became a steepsterite. So I understand.

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90
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
370 tasting notes

I’m drinking the very last of this, and trying to make it count.

This is still my favourite black to date. Made it slightly strong (using up the last of the tea leaves/fannings at the bottom of the bag), but still delicious.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Shanti by The Simple Leaf
1680 tasting notes

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75
drank Shanti by The Simple Leaf
1680 tasting notes

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84
drank Firefly by The Simple Leaf
370 tasting notes

I think I can taste the age creeping into this one. I really shouldn’t put off finishing off my Simple Leaf teas. I love them to bits, but it’s best to enjoy them while they’re still good.

I always need the right mood for tea types. I need to be in the mood for a Darjeeling, or I don’t like it. I definitely can’t have them in the mornings. I enjoy them best in the afternoon, I think, after I’ve already had a cup or two of something else.

Still nutty—walnut—although less sharp than I remember it being. It’s still got a wine-like quality, but I’m obviously not the best person to be describing anything to do with wine, being a teetotaller.

As always, going more bitter as it cools, but not a dislikable astringency. Reminds me of the taste of the ‘skins’ on cracked walnuts. Clings a bit to the mouth afterwards.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Chloe by The Simple Leaf
2307 tasting notes

Thanks so much to Jillian for this one who answered my swap request for some more green darjeelings to try! I’m sorry abut the now defunct Simple Leaf because I never got to order anything from them but at least I get to try this one.

This reminds me a lot of a Chinese green tea and I don’t think there’s terribly much about it which would cause me to suspect it’s from darjeeling. It is nutty and slightly vegetal, very mild in flavor with some astringency in the finish. I think I am picking up a few delicate spicy notes – or is that just wishful thinking? In any case I was just sitting here reading JacquelineM ‘s note thinking I might try cold brewing some of this as well. I generally prefer my green teas to be slightly more flavorful but this wasn’t bad at all.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
1112 tasting notes

I’ve not had this tea in awhile, since it’s not for sale anymore, and I am not very good about coming to terms with that fact. Still. After all this time.

My husband requested something “different” for our afternoon tea and since I had been thinking about this one a lot lately I thought it was time to have some. I have perhaps an ounce left? Whimper.

It’s just as wonderful as I remember it. I still can’t get over how much chocolate and caramel flavor is in this single estate, pure tea. As we drank our cups, I and my husband kept repeating, “I can’t believe how good this is.” like a broken record.

It’s really a tragedy that the Simple Leaf is no longer in business. Has anyone heard anything?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

This was on my list to order, and I missed out! If ANYONE hears what the source was and how to get it, I would love to know!

Stephanie

Me too! I loved this tea!

JacquelineM

My understanding is that it was from Arunachal Pradesh (location) and the Abali tea estate but my searches for another importer were not successful! I remember wanting to get into the tea business when I heard that the Simple Leaf was no longer in order to keep this tea coming to America. I am only half kidding!!

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80
drank Honeybee by The Simple Leaf
314 tasting notes

Honey-like sweetness, mild and smooth. Faint notes of honeysuckle and toast.

A pleasure to drink!

I miss you The Simple Leaf!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Mamma Mia by The Simple Leaf
1691 tasting notes

We all have our reasons for morning tea selections, some sensible, some a little less so—today, I had a wicked sore in my mouth and needed something that would be compatible with a jawful of Orajel.

Don’t know why this seemed to be the one, but it’s been gentle and non-acidic and a little fruit-juicy this morning. (My previous note called it “cereally;” either the goop has really flipped out my taste buds or it’s just an all-purpose breakfast Darjeeling.)

ashmanra

You can swish Pepto-Bismol or chew the tablets and spit it out to make a soothing coating to relieve the pain for awhile. It can make your tongue turn black sometimes, though, but that is harmless. Oh how I detest mouth sores! They are so painful!

gmathis

Never heard that one…this is CVS house brand and isn’t too nasty.

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75
drank Shanti by The Simple Leaf
1680 tasting notes

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75
drank Shanti by The Simple Leaf
1680 tasting notes

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69
drank Honeybee by The Simple Leaf
370 tasting notes

Finished this off. I’m sad to see it go. It was great in my Libre.

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drank Mamma Mia by The Simple Leaf
1691 tasting notes

A vintage treat—this one has been stored well and sealed until this morning. First taste after a 5 minute steep was a surprise. Much sweeter than I expected for a Darjeeling, even a little cereally.

After cooling, the sweet backs off a little, but still good.

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90
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
370 tasting notes

Drinking this tea makes me so happy and so sad at the same time. I don’t ever want to run out of it, but I’ve only a few teaspoons left. Every time I drink it while in front of the computer, I have to run a search on google for sites that sell black tea grown in Arunachai Pradesh, India.

I never have any luck.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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I was d-r-a-g-g-i-n-g today after my restless night. An afternoon tea with some power was required. The crisp weather had me craving one of my milk and sugar favorites, Mountain Malt! So hefty, malty, and flavorful. I taste a slight…lemony character to it, too. I don’t think I noticed that before. Truly delicious, and truly fortifying. I was able to do all of my homework after my cup!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

What is your rating, or maybe you don’t want to put a number on it…..and that’s…OK.

JacquelineM

He hee – are you making a joke about my loooooong tasting note about how I don’t numerically rate teas? :) :) :)

ScottTeaMan

Hahahaha….it is ok if you dont ….I thought maybe you forgot. :))

JacquelineM

Delicious and in-vig-or-a-ting! Wheeee! I think it is called Mountain Malt because it is so strong that when you are finished your cup, you truly believe you have enough energy to climb a mountain ;) I love the bready malty flavor with the underlying earthiness. I really, really love the strength on days like today when I will be going, going, going til 9pm!

You may have noticed that I took the rating off of this tea. I have recently read a book about wine called Liquid Memory by Jonathan Nossiter. It has really made me think about a bunch of things, not just wine. One of them is numerical rating systems.

Warning! This is going to be long! :)

This is what he has to say:
Of course one has to distinguish between classifying wines – expressing hierarchies of preference – and scoring them. There is a profound difference between the admirably restrained critic Michael Broadbent’s purposefully malleable five star rating and a pseudo precise one hundred point scoring system. …These stars are explicitly variable and general and he insists that the expression of preference is dependent on the precise circumstances that the wine was tasted in …

… The numerical point system inherently implies a mathematical certainty, whether out of twenty or one hundred points. However absurd, this ersatz scientificity is perfectly suited to a culture uneasy with the notion of informed critical judgement coexisting with ambiguity and complexity. This culture prefers specious absolutes, an infantile and incomprehensible language for which no real engagement is required and a falsely pedaled sense of democracy, the fatuous reassurance of pseudo facts and factoids. This has been true from the dominant political discourse since Reagan, across the globe’s television screens, right into the computers of the self appointed custodians of our wine culture.

… Consumers all over the world have now become accustomed to seek out “Parker 95 wines” or “Wine Spectator 90s” no longer sure of, or necessarily interested in, the wine’s origins, makers, or contexts. Parker, the Wine Spectator, and other “serial scorers” reassure people who are insecure about wine but who want to be “winners.” … Hence, there is a gradual inflation of 90 point wines, as the Christie’s director said about the contemporary art world, to increase the supply of winners and keep everybody in the game renumerated. Imagine: Matisse! 95 points! Chagall 99 points! Jeff Koons 100 points! … But poor old dirty, messy, edgy George Rouault wouldn’t get above a 75. To assign numbers to a wine, given that a wine is fully living and infinitely mutable, is almost as repugnant to me as assigning numerical worth to humans. (pgs 148-9)

You get the idea. Long story short – I’ve always been uneasy about my numerical ratings, and after reading this book I want to get rid of them! I am going to stop giving numerical ratings to teas, and as I drink teas that I have logged before, I am going to delete my numerical ratings.

I was debating putting this up in discussions, but I was afraid it may cause a ruckus – which is not my intent. I simply want to explain why I personally am not doing numerical ratings anymore. I’m going to link to this tea log in my profile so my explanation will be “public.”

I highly recommend this book, and Nossiter’s film Mondovino if you are interested in not only wine, but globalization, taste, culture, art…

gmathis

That’s so scientific! I quit putting numerical ratings on my simply because I’m wishy washy and inconsistent :)

ashmanra

JacquelineM’s post inspired me to quit numerical ratings, but largely because I just didn’t like Indian tea much and felt it was unfair for me to put a low score based on my preferences when it may be in fact an excellent tea for those who like that particular kind. Now I just try to communicate what I tasted and readers can form their opinion of how they think they would like it!

ssajami

JacquelineM, that is a very interesting thought. I must admit that I am thoroughly convinced and might just quit the numerical ratings myself. I have always felt somewhat uncomfortable with the numerical ratings as taste and preference are so subjective and context dependent. I have long since stopped paying attention to the numerical ratings of others, I just read their thoughts, and even then I often decide that I need to taste for myself.

At any rate, thank you for the long fascinating comment

ScottTeaMan

I always knew ratings are subjective and not absolute. I often find it hard to rate a tea specifically b/c the tea may vary even from cup to cup. To date I have rated every reviewed tea, but may not do so for all my teas. To me, my ratings remind me of how much I like a tea. I dont log every cup or change my reviews often. I try to give a descriptive rating, because the characteristics of the tea and the experience are, to me, what’s most important. I will read both rated and unrated teas.

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drank Honeybee by The Simple Leaf
1 tasting notes

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drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
1691 tasting notes

Golden cocoa. Doesn’t need more of a descriptor than that, unless you want to put “heavenly, light, ethereal, chocolately” in front of it. Even when I inadvertently skimped on the leaf.

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90
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
370 tasting notes

Dawn, don’t ever leave me again. Even though I know the hard water of Up North would have reeked havoc on you. And I’ve only a few teaspoons of your deliciousness left.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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