The Tao of Tea

Recent Tasting Notes

55
drank Smoked Earl Grey by The Tao of Tea
75 tasting notes

Pass the Stash TTB 2
I took a sample of this and never got around to trying it. It’s hard to taste the bergamot past the strong smokey flavor. I love a good earl grey but this isn’t it for me.

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24

I only recommend this tea as a easy to acquire or ‘starter’ puer. I drink it because it’s cheap and labelled organic and fair trade (although I’ve heard that’s questionable and will eventually submit samples to testing labs myself and report results on here.) It’s also become readily available in natural food stores. I like my Puer really dark and thick with chocolate flavors and this one does have that. I do my steeps on this for 3 minutes for the first and second, any longer and it gets a little funky which shows it’s quality, and up to 5 minutes for the 3rd to get it to come out dark. The 4th steep isn’t worth it but I’ll drink it sometimes rather than putting on a whole new pot. All around a decent meal time or work day tea, but not something I’d pick when I want to sit and really enjoy some good tea.

Flavors: Chocolate, Paper

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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77

This is my second order of jasmine pearls, the first of which came from Mighty Leaf. The two teas smell about the same, though when you open the Tao of Tea Jasmine Pearls, you can tell that the jasmine is more subdued, without that saccharine smell that the Mighty Leaf Jasmine Downy Pearls have. The smell of this tea is a little less overwhelming. Both teas steep well, but this one also has a less pronounced Jasmine taste. There is something different about the taste as well if you leave the teabag in to steep, but I haven’t quite figured out what it is. Perhaps it’s just slightly more bitter.

I would assume that most jasmine pearls would have a similar flavor. The green tea in this version is light, so it doesn’t overpower the jasmine. It’s a good tea, and less pricey than some of the other options. This also comes in a tin, which is nice in my opinion, and 4 oz should last a long time.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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80

Had this one stored away for years as well – probably not fair to rate, but I still quite enjoyed it:

While heating water I admire the tippy, delicate, uniformly rolled, black silver-tinged needles. I have to look up FBOPF, and emerge from the rabbit hole of tea grades and lowland Ceylon history only as my timer tells me it’s time to remove the unglazed infuser from my cup.

Very low earthy aroma, but any notes of raw sugar, black currant, or citrus have disappeared probably due to the age of the tea. There is little of olfactory note remaining.

The flavor on the other hand is “deep” indeed, emerging slowly from an abyss to overtake the palate – a woodsy, astringent, distinctive profile that is quite brisk (almost biting) with an extended drying finish (albeit with a vague lingering bittersweet note for balance in the aftertaste). Impressed with the continued pungency of this tea (without excessive bitterness) despite its age – though I believe Paharatha (low grown) ceylon is known for this quality rather than subtlety or complexity?

Nicely revitalizing on a work day when what I really need is a nap.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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92

From Pass the Stash TTB 2.0

This tea has received very little love from other Steepsters, but I am adoring it. There is the classic Earl Grey flavor with a good amount of bergamot. The bergamot is all citrus and very little floral. The smokey flavor follows right behind, and while it is smokey it’s not harsh. It also doesn’t overwhelm the bergamot at any point. This would be an excellent EG to have in my cupboard come winter.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
sherapop

Sounds interesting!

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82

Finishing off a tin that I’ve stored for a long time – the flavors and aromas are muted compared to what they once were, but the smooth, autumnal character hasn’t changed.

Brewed in my black tea-filter-cup, I can’t fairly remark on the appearance of the liquor.

Distinctive almost vegetal aroma (mushrooms, dry wild grass, autumn leaves, etc.) leads into a malty palate entry with smooth almost nutty flavors joining in as we reach the creamy slightly sweet finish suggesting Japanese sweet potatoes with hints of mild honey. A bit more complexity is revealed as the tea cools, and a second steep yields nearly identical flavors as the first, but things quickly fade by the third infusion.

I’m curious about the origin of this tea – since it is from Guangxi I don’t think it is related to Biluochun (the famous Green Snail Spring tea sometimes called Green Spiral); I see Hojo sells a “Golden Bud” tea made from Ling-Yun Bai-hao, also from Guangxi, but that appears to be processed more like what Tao of Tea sells as “Emperor’s Gold” (from Yunnan). Sometimes more research just leads to greater confusion, so I’ll stop here.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Clay, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Mushrooms, Pecan, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
2 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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45

Today I am having this with a lighter steep and some milk, and its much more drinkable this way. Hooray, a way to drink a tea!
Its gonna be a busy day. Its my first day of pet sitting for a friend. I did this last year, taking care of the canaries, the ducks, the parakeet and the cat.
Busy!

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45

I’ve owned this for quite a while. I think my sister gave it to me.
I’m trying to be organized and drink down teas that have been neglected. This one might be a problem. For starts, I have a ton of it. For seconds, I’m not very impressed by it at all.
For starts, its not leaf, but these little weird granules, but hey.
And its a bit bitter. There are undertones of maltyness, but its really dark, bitter and heavy.
I normally drink my tea without additives, but today I filled up my little creamer with milk, and am going to try a cup with an additive, and see how I think of it.
With milk its a bit easier to drink. It cuts the bitter down, but unfortunatly I’m not much more enamored of the taste of the tea.
Oh well. I’ll think of something to do with this.

TeaBrat

What temp are you steeping it at? I find I like darjeelings better if you use water that’s below boiling, like 195 F

Angrboda

RE the granules, it’s probably a CTC sort of deal. Weird, I didn’t think they even made Darj that way. Keeping it at a short steep might help with some of the bitterness.

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93

Thank you to whoever sent me this sample! This is a pleasant oolong. It has a nice earthy base with floral notes. There is something fruity going on with this cup too. It almost reminds me of a dried cherry. It’s sweet but still has that tart bite to it.

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85
drank black mango by The Tao of Tea
302 tasting notes

Nice black base. The calendula petals make the mix look lovely. Mango flavor is pleasant, not pushy. This tea is similar to other fruit flavored black teas that I’ve had. I wonder if the flavors will pop mire if cold brewed. Luckily, the lovely and generous Sarsonator gave me enough to brew some up. I’ll report back with a cold brew update.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

The leaves are visible and not crushed, a bit dry but not bad, a bit less earthy and more honey-like on the second brewing

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80

A nice oolong. Rather impossible to over brew, no astringency. Doesn’t over power you like a lot of oolongs… it is clean and light and has a hint of citrus balanced with roasted earthyness.

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25
drank Lotus Ancien by The Tao of Tea
223 tasting notes

I’m so bummed about this one. The dry leaves have a sharp chemical smell, and the brewed tea just tastes off to me.

When brewed for 30 seconds, the aroma smells like bandaids. Then a little floral, like jasmine. Then minty bandaids. When I taste it after 30 seconds: bandaids

30 more: floral bandaids
3 min: bandaids and pine

I SO wanted to love this. The lotus is the most beautiful flower and I spend my summers at the nearby park whose lake grows American Lotus flowers for as far as the eye can see. They are a creamy yellow and contrast beautifully with the purple loosestrife growing in the lake.

But this tea… a bandaid-like flavor is well-known to home beer brewers, because it indicates that your brew is “off”. Some wild yeast or bacteria has infected it. I don’t know what it indicates in tea, except that there’s something wrong with the tea, or with my taste buds!

I tried this again with one long steep, and this is how every sip goes: chemically start, unidentified floral in the middle, with a bandaid finish.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Stephanie

EW BANDAIDS!

Sarsonator

I know! I’m so sad about this one. I noticed on the ratings that some people seemed to like this tea.

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56
drank black mango by The Tao of Tea
223 tasting notes

This flavored tea has a nice aroma, but I’m missing the mango when I taste it.

The tea was brewed for 5 minutes. It really just tastes like a plain black tea. It’s not bad, but if I wanted a plain black tea, that’s what I would have purchased.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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71

This is a lovely jasmine tea. I just brewed this side by side with jasmine pearls from another company, and these definitely win.

The aroma is strong and lovely. The tea was steeped for 3 minutes and the flavor is strong, without being overpowering. This would be a great choice for anyone who loves jasmine green teas.

I did notice that this particular tea has many more broken pieces than some of the other pearl teas I had tried. But it still tastes better!

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

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60

I got this from Another TTB. It’s a decent Earl Grey with nothing to draw it back, but also nothing to make it stand out as special. It delivers the bergamot and smells decent.

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84
picked this up at a local shop. This is the flavor of chinese restaurant tea. To me this is homey, comfort tea. Perfect for rainy days and a pick me up for down in the dumps moods.

I have read a lot of comments about gunpowder green tea today and it definately has a love it hate it reputation.
I happen to be of the love it persuasion.
Properly prepared this tea is sweet, a little fruity, a little flowery and slighly astringent. Very easy to drink. As the tea cools it exhibits a little more fresh grassiness and a lightly malty after taste. This would be quite good iced.
Many of the cooments I read today note a smokiness in gunpowder tea. I found little when prepared at 170° f but much more when prepared at 180°f. At the higher temp the tea is also more sour and looses some of its charm.

Gunpowder isnt a “fine tea”. But its imminently drinkable, comforting and tasty. Its a good loose leaf staple at a very reasonable price.

I prepared this tea a little differently than the label. I used 1 teaspoon to about 3 oz of water at 170 in a gaiwan. I let it steep for about 1 minute. My first 3 infusions were 1 minute steeps. #4 1.5 minutes #5 about 2.

Package instructions state to brew 1 teaspoon in 8 oz of 180° water for 2-3 minutes- good for 2 or 3 steeps. I tried brewing this way once and found the tea to be as above, a little too astringent, a little too " smokey" and over all rather flat tasting and far too strong, leaning towards bitter.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 3 OZ / 88 ML

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100

I gave these dry leaves a rinse with room temperature water because they are a hearty blossom with lots of little parts, nooks, and crannies. They remind me of popcorn with a tougher outer husk and then a puffy whitish flower inside. They still have the inner stamens or middles of the flowers intact which tells me how hearty the tea flower and tea plant really is!!! There are also the green base of the stem below the blossom still attached to some which is fun. This dry leaf smells very herbal. I love that smell, like a cool local health food shop with all the loose herbs that you can choose from. It really smells like dried basil and subtle amounts of mint.
The liquor is a golden clear color and smells like mixed herbs as well. It really tastes like chamomile tea but a little more creamy than chamomile. There is a note of corn on the cob in there as well.
I am not putting “flowers” in the flavors below because I don’t think dried flowers taste floral. They taste like mixed herbs to me. Floral is a scent and flavor of the living flower and the essences that it gives off ,,to me. There is no floral taste or scent which is good to me.
I like this herbal as a novelty and I wonder if it has any special healing properties? I like it. I am getting an even more creamy note as the liquor cools down. Very fun and delicious!!!
Adding to my cupboard as one to keep ;)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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99
drank Tippy South Cloud by The Tao of Tea
228 tasting notes

Little tiny, cut and curled twisted black leaves with scents of bourbon and orange.
The brewed leaves reveal that they have been very precisely chopped small and have a fall reddish brown green color to them.
The liquor is red and smells very sweet and malty yumm. Malt is one scent but there are also hints of orange and bourbon as well.
The flavor is smooth, sweet potato, roasted potato skins, malt, bit of bourbon and orange. The flavors get better and better as the tea cools a bit. There is an ever so tiny tiny bit of astringency to the back of the throat so to wash this away, I will steep for 2 or 2 1/2 minutes next time because I don’t drink tea with milk or additives. It is hardly astringent at three minutes though, this is a very smooth and delicious red tea.
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5/16/14
Had a cup this morning and it was sweet and luscious,,,wasn’t catching any astringency this time as I read my notes from last time. Maybe it has mellowed out in the bag now that I have opened it. This is an all-around good, subtly sweet black tea :)
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7/8/14
Didn’t add the origin when I first started Steepster so this one is from
Cangyuan, Yunnan, China and it is Organic — The appearance of the dry leaf and wet leaf look like an Indian tea. The leaves are chopped looking and have the multi hues of browns and greens.
The scent is bourbon and light orange and the liquor looks the color of light bourbon. This is a unique Yunnan tea and doesn’t have the typical malty notes that Yunnan teas usually have. I looked up where Cangyuan is in China and it is very close to the border of Burma and this is probably why. I like that this tea has different qualities and influences. It really has essences and notes of Bourbon. Yum Yum lol. I really am enjoying this tea now that I have tried lots of Yunnan teas and am able to compare it to those from other areas.
Tao of Tea’s website includes that Tippy South Cloud is a varietal of plant and that few areas in Yunnan contain these type of plants. Other areas known to have golden tipped varietals Hunan and Fujian in China and Assam in India.
Tippy South Cloud is special during late summer months. Since it is a heavily oxidized (darker) tea, it maintains its flavor well over the months.
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7/10/14
Having a bit of this Western style this morning. So rich and almost tangy today. Put 2 heaping teaspoons into my teapot to brew 2 cups. 190F for 3 minutes. A bourbon flavor with a malty scent. It does have touches of an Assam quality to it as well with a tiny tiny hint of a bitter note with bittersweet chocolate quality to it. This tea is very intriguing in its flavor and where it comes from. Plus it’s organic! Love it!

Flavors: Orange, Potato, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TheTeaFairy

This sounds awesome Lee!

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99
drank Jingmai White by The Tao of Tea
228 tasting notes

The most beautiful silver needle-looking, very long, slender, perfectly uniform sea-foam green colored leaves I have ever seen!!! Scents of spice and a bit of fresh cranberry, lima bean.
The leaves were so pretty I didn’t want to pour water onto them but I placed them into my glass teapot so I could watch them. They danced downward as they brewed. Very pretty.
The flavors are very subtle with this white. I left the leaves in for 4 minutes and the liquor didn’t gain too much color and it has scents and flavors of butter bean. It has the subtlety of a white but a few notes of a light green tea. The fruit I am catching is quince.
Pretty tea.
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6/19/14
Brewed a bit of this Western style today. The dry leaves smell like spices. I am tasting the quince again today and this tea has mellowed out a bit with less butter bean and sweeter notes. Very good. Gets sweeter as it cools.
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7/26/14
Having a cup this afternoon, Western style. Very nice white. The leaves are super huge and fuzzy silver needles. Love it!
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8/7/14
Gaiwan style this morning!! Very subtle and lovely tea. Pretty leaves!
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8/23/14
Western style this morning,,,used lots of leaf,,,170F for 4 minutes. Has a creamier mouthfeel today and is really mellowing out. Will have to get more of this sometime bc I am almost out.

Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Honey, Lima Beans

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100
drank Emperor's Gold by The Tao of Tea
228 tasting notes

The leaf is gorgeous. All uniform mostly golden and some black threads. Very fresh. Scents of orange, spices, golden raisin.
The wet leaves all turn chocolate brown and smell fresh, not briny. Very nice leaves.
The liquor is deep brown and smells creamy and sweet like honey.
The flavor is creamy, rich, not too sweet, no bitter and no astringency. There is a sweet note when you breathe out of dried apricot and a bit of date.
This is a beautiful tea!!
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8/4/14
Had some of this Gong Fu style this afternoon. This tea is not too sweet. I caught a smoky note today.

Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Dates, Honey, Smoke

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Nilgiri Blue by The Tao of Tea
104 tasting notes

1.7 g in 10 oz of water

I give this an 8/10 on the boldness scale. This tea could easily handle a touch of milk and sugar but is sweet enough to drink on it’s ow n. A little woody, a little bit of fruit, and overall very pleasant.

Huh. Apparently this is my 100th tasting note. Took me long enough.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
TeaBrat

happy 100 :)

__Morgana__

Congrats!

Jenn-cha

Aw, thanks everyone :)

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85

4.27g in 4.5oz of water.

Sweet and mellow with loam and malt notes. This is exactly what I adore about Yunnan teas. I always feel like I should be sitting in a summer forest when I’m drinking this.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 4 OZ / 133 ML

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87

Backlog:

A really enjoyable Oolong. Fragrant and flavorful.

The early infusions were soft and honeyed with notes of sweet fruit (reminiscent of a plum.) Woodsy tones and a rustic, earthy note.

The later infusions offered stronger honey tones, and the sweet fruit notes emerged, and by the sixth infusion, I started to notice the flavors soften and meld.

A really nice cup, here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/01/24/royal-phoenix-oolong-tea-tao-tea/

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