The Tao of TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
While continuing to clean out my backlog of reviews, I came to this rather unique green tea. I’m pretty certain most of the people who read my reviews will not be familiar with this tea. Honestly, I wasn’t either until I tried it. Indian green teas don’t seem to get much recognition here. This tea comes from Arunachal Pradesh in northern India. Compared to many green teas it has a heavier, smokier, more pungent flavor and a fuller body.
To prepare this tea, I steeped 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 165 F water for 2 minutes. I resteeped the leaves two subsequent times for 2 1/2 and 3 minutes respectively. The results of each infusion are chronicled below.
First Infusion: In the glass, the liquor was a pale gold. The color reminded me a little of white tea. I detected strong pungent, grassy aromas on the nose. In the mouth, notes of freshly cut grass, hay, lemongrass, squash blossom, spinach, tulsi, and corn husk were underscored by traces of fruit, oak, smoke, and minerals.
Second Infusion: The infused liquor was slightly richer in color. It still looked more like a white tea than a traditional green tea to me. The aroma was cleaner and much more mineral-laden. I detected notes of cream, minerals, grass, hay, corn husk, squash blossom, and herbs balanced by more pronounced notes of oak, smoke, and fruit (cherimoya, mango, and guanabana).
Third Infusion: The infused liquor was paler. The aroma was very mild. I picked up fleeting scents of flowers and minerals. In the mouth, I detected mild notes of minerals, oak, smoke, corn husk, and fruit with slightly more pronounced floral, grassy, and hay-like notes.
I was really surprised by how much I liked this tea. I picked it up for very little and wasn’t expecting much, but it really floored me with how good it was. It was nothing like virtually any other green tea I have tried to this point. If you are looking for a different green tea, then you may want to give this one a try. Even if you don’t end up liking it nearly as much as I did, you won’t be out much.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Cream, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Hay, Lemongrass, Mineral, Oak wood, Smoke, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Tulsi
Since I have gone absolutely crazy with Chinese black and green teas for the last week, I haven’t been sleeping well. In order to fend off the jitters, I decided to detox for a few days and picked out a nice range of tisanes to help get me through it. This organic spearmint from the The Tao of Tea was first in the lineup.
I steeped one teaspoon of this in 200 F water for 5 minutes. The infused liquor was a delicate, pale gold. A strong menthol aroma was easy to detect on the nose, but there was something else there too, almost like a mixture of straw and licorice. In the mouth, a strong spearmint taste was present (as one would expect), but there were some other faint flavors too. I thought I detected a little bit of straw, cream, and licorice.
Honestly, while I absolutely adore peppermint tea, I am not a huge fan of spearmint tea. To me, spearmint is too sweet and lacks sufficient character to succeed on its own. Also, the fact that I get a little bit of licorice flavor in the mouth bugs me. I really hate licorice and don’t feel like that flavor should be there. In the end though, I’m going to go easy on this one in terms of numerical rating because I’m not huge on spearmint and I’m not really sure I could pick a good spearmint tea if I tried. At least this one offers a little more in terms of flavor than just spearmint.
Flavors: Cream, Licorice, Spearmint, Straw
Sipdown no. 70 of 2016 (no. 281 total).
Is there a word for the reverse of when something grows on you?
After drinking this as a daily go to work tea for a while now, I got to the point where I wasn’t finishing the Timolino-full during the day. That never happens.
Bumping it down a bit.
P.S. I’m almost level 10 on team Mystic. How about you?
I haven’t had kukicha before and it was a pretty interesting experience. I steeped according to info found on the internet, but I think next time I’ll go a bit hotter and a bit longer. There’s an interesting flavor there, but I’m not sure I’m getting the best of it in this cup.
The leaves aren’t so much leaves as little sticks. Sort of reminds me of very fine mulch or tambark, but more uniform in size, shape and color. I do get a bit of a chocolately aroma from sticking my nose into the tin. And it’s there in the steeped tea, too, a sort of toasty chocolate, like a very subtle ’smores aroma. The tea is almost copper in color, pink/brown/yellow.
I say I’m not sure I’m getting the most flavor out of this because it comes across as subtle, a sort of houjicha-ish flavor but a darker note. It’s classified as a green tea, and it does have that character in a houjicha-ish way, but I think I expect more flavor because of how it looks.
Which has no basis in anything other than some weird association in my brain.
I like it. I think I would prefer houjicha if I was going for a roasty green tea, but perhaps this will grow on me. It leaves and interesting coolness in them mouth. It has a barky, bamboo like aftertaste.
It’s fun to try something new and different for a change.
Flavors: Bamboo, Bark, Chocolate, Green Wood
So, this is my second experience with an unflavored Vietnamese black tea. The first (Simpson & Vail’s Vietnam Black) didn’t quite do it for me, so I was eager to give another Vietnamese black tea a shot. I’m glad I did. This one is really nice.
This tea comes to us from the province of Ha Giang in northern Vietnam. This part of the country is heavily forested, and Ha Giang is particularly known for its tea forests. To be clear, these really are forests of wild tea trees! This tea is harvested from these trees. I brewed this tea a couple of ways. I tried a range of temperatures and steep times and got pretty consistent results across the board. For the purposes of this review, I will be reviewing my favorite preparation (1 tsp of dry leaf steeped for 5 minutes in 208 F water).
Prior to infusion, the long, twisted leaves produced an aroma of wood, spice, dried cherry, leather, tobacco, smoke, and cocoa. After infusion, the resulting liquor was a dark amber. Robust aromas of dried cherry, brown toast, caramel, molasses, tobacco, leather, wood, smoke, and spice were evident on the nose. In the mouth, I detected intriguing notes of dried cherry, wood, smoke, tobacco, leather, caramel, molasses, chocolate, herbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, malt, and brown toast, as well as a subtle earthiness. The finish was woody, sweet, smoky, and spicy with a slight dryness and astringency.
Again, I quite like this tea. It is not something I would want to have every day, but the rustic, woodsy flavor profile is really pleasant and intriguing. It definitely beats the last Vietnamese black tea I drank. I would have no problem recommending this to fans of quirky, unique black teas.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Earth, Herbs, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Nutmeg, Smoke, Tobacco, Wood
Needed to add a couple of things on to an Amazon order to get the free shipping, so of course I ordered tea, rooibos in this case. This is a rooibos that tastes very much of that rooibos flavor. It is the first note in this tea and the dominant one. To some degree I can taste the orange peel and the lemon from the lemon verbena. I don’t really taste the spearmint or the chamomile. This is a nice enough tea but if it wasn’t for insomnia I would rather be drinking puerh. But by now I have cut out all caffeine. This is not a tea for someone who doesn’t like the taste of red rooibos.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 5 minutes.
Flavors: Lemon, Orange Zest, Rooibos
Before I begin this review, allow me to state that I am not particularly familiar with Nilgiri teas. For the most part, my Indian tea adventure has been limited to Assam and Darjeeling teas, both of which I quite enjoy. With the abundance of teas from these two areas on the market, I never got around to spending much time with teas from the south of India.
After infusion, the resulting liquid is a pale golden amber. Very mild aromas of toast, malt, honey, wood, menthol, and flowers are just barely detectable on the nose. In the mouth, I was able to immediately detect notes of menthol, wood, toast, malt, honey, flowers, and grape skin. The finish was fleeting, initially allowing only the subtlest traces of honey, malt, menthol, and wood to show, though I did pick up interesting tulsi, papaya, and mango notes at the end.
I wasn’t exactly blown away by this tea, but I also wasn’t horribly disappointed by it either. I really just tried it for the sake of trying something new. I did, however, appreciate the subtle complexity of the flavor and the smoothness of the body. This is a very approachable and unique tea, but surprisingly for a black tea, it is all about subtlety. I normally prefer my black teas to be robustly flavorful, filling, and lively, but this one is not anything like that. As a matter of fact, this is by far the lightest, most delicate black tea I have ever tried. Given my preferences, I probably will not reach for this one again, but I would encourage those who are open to new drinking experiences to give this one a shot simply because it is so unique.
Flavors: Floral, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mango, Menthol, Toast, Tulsi, Wood
Back to Earl Grey for the time being, I have been working on a two ounce package of this tea for a little while now. I am always surprised (though I don’t know why) that every vendor’s Earl Grey offers something a little different. For example, the Earl Greys I have had from Adagio are smooth with a tart citrus kick, the Earl Greys I have had from Simpson and Vail are toasty and balanced, and the Earl Grey I recently tried from Rishi was sweet and spicy. At some point, I need to round up a bunch of the Earl Greys I have tried and/or rated and do a shootout to see which one(s) I prefer. Compared to the others I have tried, this one is earthy and somewhat leathery with a tart citrus punch.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves display a lovely aroma of earth and bergamot and show a pretty blue-grey. After infusion, lovely aromas of caramel, leather, chocolate, toast, malt, honey, earth, and bergamot are evident. In the mouth, I can detect notes of caramel, leather, honey, toast, chocolate, and malt up front with tart bergamot, earth, tobacco, and must flavors becoming more prominent from mid-palate on through the fade. The finish is tart and earthy, with slight toast, chocolate, tobacco, honey, and caramel notes underpinning the dominant bergamot and earth flavors.
To me, this Earl Grey seems a little busier and more assertive in terms of character than some of the others I have recently consumed. I like that. Actually, I really admire it. I love blends with a lot of character and this one certainly fits the bill. If you are a fan of heavier, more complex Earl Grey blends, give this one a try if you have not already done so.
Flavors: Bergamot, Caramel, Chocolate, Earth, Honey, Leather, Malt, Musty, Toast, Tobacco
Bought this tea recently with an Amazon order. It has dark black leaves that smell intensely sweet. The tea is roasted in taste but only slightly. I added sugar to this tea so I’m not sure if it tastes without sugar as sweet as it smells but I think so. Overall this was an excellent value. I think I paid less than $9 for three and a half ounces in a nice tea tin. It will probably be one that I finish off rather than see go to waste. I buy too much tea and never get around to selling any so too much of it gets stale.
I steeped this tea one time in a 160z Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for three minutes after a 10 second rinse.
This tea is pretty tasty. I was going to review this yesterday but my computer crashed. This tea has a sweetness from the mango flavoring and little in the way of bitterness or astringency. I detect no notes of malt. Overall this is pretty good. The mango flavoring does come off a just a tiny bit artificial. I don’t know if it’s natural or not. I do like this tea.
I brewed this tea one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
Decaf and Herbal Tea TTB. This is an interesting tea. It is billed as an Ayurvedic blend. This as I understand it is a Hindu concept of herbal tea, but I could be wrong. There is a strong note from the hibiscus in this. To a lesser degree I think I taste the chamomile. I’m not really getting the peppermint. I ended up adding sugar to this simply because I like sugar in a lot of tea but you could certainly drink this straight. It’s not particularly bitter. There was only enough of this in the box for one large pot of tea so I used the whole sample, just over three teaspoons. I have never bought from The Tao of Tea but would consider this if I ever put in an order. I don’t even know if they are a Canadian or US company, or even Chinese for that matter.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Glass Teavana Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 7 minutes.
A good chai, more authentic than many of those sold in the US. However, you need to be careful with steeping it, as it’s easy to end up with a drink that’s excessively astringent. I recommended using only a simmer, rather than the full boil on the package directions.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger
Beorhthraefn included a sample of this in the Secret Pumpkin package. Thank you!
For those who dread hibiscus in their teas, this is one herbal blend to try. The hibiscus is so light that it’s barely noticeable. It’s the rose that stands out. Relaxing evening cup.
Used more milk and sugar than in my other chai’s, and threw a cinnamon stick in there while it boiled stovetop. I think it came out a LOT better than my first two attempts. :)
I forget how caffeine-punched this tea is (you’d think the story behind the name would remind me). I’m half-way through my huge mug and already feeling the kick. :D
I steeped this not quite how you would traditionally make chai—I just added boiling water to the loose leaf and let it brew for five minutes. This is very strong tea! I used about twice the sugar, and added cream (which I rarely do). I pretty much treated it like coffee. The spice felt a little bit lost, and that might be because of how I steeped it. Next time will be stove-top boiling, for sure. :)
It’s been a while since I tried a Nilgiri tea, so I’m hoping this will be a pleasant re-acquaintance.
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/23/nilgiri-blue-black-tea-tao-tea/
The Lincang Maofeng tea from the Tao of Tea is one that I enjoy drinking in the morning. It’s my go-to tea when I can’t think of anything else I want to have. It has a light smokey flavor, but other than that it’s not particularly special. It’s like that pair of jeans that you wear when all of your others are dirty. It’s not bad at all, but it’s not a “favorite”.
Flavors: Floral, Smoke