The Tea Smith

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Cold brewed this last night, but not for long enough, and then foolishly added coconut milk, which was a poor decision. :(

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This was sent to me by a friend, along with an awesome haul of hair products she was desperate to get rid of, in exchange for me sending her teas to try (as she is getting ion tea more now since she stopped drinking coffee as much). She listed the few she had from this local merchant (to her), and most had ingredients I could not do, but I picked this one and two others to try, even though this is a rooibos. She had said this one was not as woody as some, and she is right. There is , iirc, a wee bit of hibiscus in this blend, but it’s actually ok, and used very very moderately. I’d have to say it was actually quite tasty, though I did add milk to it, which I think helped cut out some of they woody aspect of the rooibos. I don’t think she is on Steepster yet, just lurking for now, but once she gets my package o tea, she’ll have quite enough to enter into a cupboard and make notes on.

So yeah, rooibos and hibiscus in this one, and I actually like it! It just goes to show that sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to try something new every now and again. Thanks Tara!

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drank Dark Goddess Oolong by The Tea Smith
42 tasting notes

Very nice. A bit more of a dark/roasted flavor than I generally prefer, which overwhelms (or maybe replaces?) the flowery/fruity oolong flavors I like best.

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Thank you to Skysamurai for including this in her Secret pumpkin package!

I must admit that if I didn’t know it was a Milk Oolong I wouldn’t have been able to identify it as such. At all.

It is a smooth cup. With a light florally oolong fragrance, but nothing really in your face. No bitterness or astrincey that I could detect, although the recommended steep time is really long comparitive to what I usually brew an oolong (Rec: 5min. I brewed 1st steep @ 5min, 2nd @ 6min). I definately don’t get the creamy notes or the bready notes I’ve gotten from other Milk Oolongs, flavored or unflavored.

Just a mild and non offensive cup. But not much to remember either.

There’s a bunch of other teas I got in my Secret pumpkin package, BUT I just received the Here’s Hoping TTB R5 today and it is massive. I’ll probably be working on that for a bit until I get back to my Secret Pumpkin teas.

5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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drank Milk Oolong by The Tea Smith
769 tasting notes

Trying some of this from the Matcha TTB.
The first thing I notice is an almost earthy grain taste, but it is gone before I can pin point it. This tea is smooth with a very light taste. I’m not a huge fan of oolongs, but I’m trying to understand them better. This one doesn’t captivate me, but is a nice cup none the less.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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This was none too special. The leaf was mostly BoP; I could spot few whole leaves. The flavor was diminished. I was not able to finish a gong fu session with this. The leaves carried a burnt oak and sweet grape aroma. I warmed them up and this scent became sweet like s’mores over a campfire. The flavor however was none too sweet. It was a bland non-textured experience. I could feel a slight headache coming on as well. This just ins’t something I’d jump on getting more of. Lately, I’ve been craving smoky and dark oolongs, but I just can’t seem to find one that is satisfactory… I guess my search continues.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Coffee, Grapes

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Have you tried any Tao Tea Leaf Yancha?


I haven’t tried their Yancha before, but I’ve tried most of their roasted oolongs. I just got a few others of theirs to try for the review program.

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drank Shui Xian by The Tea Smith
563 tasting notes

Well… I’m a lil disappointed because the person behind the counter told me this was closer to the green tea spectrum then black, but he was wrong. This definitely has properties closer to black. Amber color. Twig, slight hsy and subtle sweet flavors. Definitely a black oolong. It’s not that I don’t like them I just much prefer green oolong.

2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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drank Milk Oolong by The Tea Smith
563 tasting notes

When the store clerk told me that no Milk Oolongs come without milk flavoring I should have stopped and bought a different tea but I couldn’t help it. It’s not as good as Davids but but steep time is long and the taste isn’t all that bad. I’ve only been able to get one steep out of the leaves.

4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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drank Ceylon Star by The Tea Smith
88 tasting notes

Received a sample of this tea with a purchase and just noticed it in my pile. Brewed two teaspoons in about 100 ml gong fu in a kyusu pot for 30 second steeps.

I didn’t notice any special flavors to this tea, to me it just tasted
Iike a regular black tea. Ceylon tea is in many tea bags I’ve had over the years. But the caffeine kick in this is pretty powerful. I had taken an ibuprofen for a pinched nerve in my back and have been doing this for days now. This tea had a sort of Excedrin effect and really boosted the ibuprofen tab.

Honestly this is the best pain relief I’ve had in days. Gonna hoard my little Baggie of this tea. Will recommend this for the caffeine because it is definitely one of the stronger teas I’ve had lately.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML

Tea and advil helping your pain? that’s awesome! Hope you are able to get more relief!


I repeated this again today and found it worked. I think I need to have a higher caffeine tea so I can take half the dose of ibuprofen, and save my stomach for sheng!


That’s really awesome! :D

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drank Lapsang Souchong by The Tea Smith
88 tasting notes

I ordered two ounces of this tea for a crazy low price of $3.55, along with an order of Lin’s Teaware. The Teasmith’s Lin’s collection is mostly half price right now, I find the cups amazing with their heat distribution qualities. So I ordered cups, then turned around and ordered one more cup and this tea as well as some Rou Gui I have yet to try.

This tea blasts my nose with pine smoke when I open the bag. Western style steeping produced better results for me, my gong fu just ended up too light. I tried two different infusers after that, the Eva Solo and then just one from a Nissan insulated thermos which would likely classify now as vintage since I’ve had it 20 years. Finally I just dumped some of the leaves loose into the teapot and this produced the best brew. My son came downstairs to get a brownie from the pan I baked earlier.

“Mom come out here.”

“What,” annoyed because I’m drinking tea and typing which means leave Mother alone.

“I smell a brat cooking.”

“It’s my tea.”

“It’s not your tea, just come out here.”

But it was the tea. While I was thinking of the piñon incense I used to buy in New Mexico, my son who has never been to the southwest identified the scent of Wisconsin cheesehead childhood. It is his reference. I had him smell the bag of tea, and he was uncertain. He continued to hang a little on the stairs with a little wistful and crestfallen look, he kinda wanted that German brat he smelled to be real. He felt so sure he smelled grilling. Well of course we use wood briquettes to grill, or I cut green maple branches for smoking fish.

Because of my experimenting with parameters and adding water along the way, I can’t say exactly what I used but about 2 tbsp of tea for 28 ounces of water in a 31 oz Bonjour glass teapot. This was more tea than I really needed so I dumped less than half into the pot after the gong fu didn’t work out. Brewed at 208 F, my kettle is set for that temp.

Smoke is long and loud and the tongue tingles. Sweetness from the tea follows only with the long steep. The pine smoke is strong now and needs time to integrate more with the tea. I plan to tin up this tea and let it rest. The vendor site has a couple reviews on using this tea as a rub for meats and fish prior to cooking the meat. One person dried out the used tea and saved it for cooking too.

Flavors: Oak wood, Pine, Smoke, Smoked

205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 15 sec 6 tsp 28 OZ / 828 ML

I love good LS. The cups, the pot…. You are tempting me again ;))


I know, we have that bad effect on each other. I have bought way too much teaware in the past month, heh.


BTW, Lin’s ceramic is forcing the resellers to sell at their target price. This is why the Lin’s products prices at Camellia Sinensis doubled (actually, it was even more than that) a few months ago.


Yeah I had a post up on the Teaware topic about that. Even at the target price, for similar capacity and quality, the teapots are fairly ballpark. What I find to be pricey are the accessories, gong bei and so on.


Update: used the steeped leaves as part of a rub mix for roasted chicken legs. Yum!

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drank Green Quince by The Tea Smith
1610 tasting notes

Wow. Floral much? Geeeze, this one is floral like the Queen is British.
But I don’t mind too much, I though it’d be more overpowering than it is.
The fruity note seems to cut right through it all in just the right way. Its almost tart, in an apple way, but the way it pairs… well its unlike any other apple tea I’ve had before. Somehow, the crispness is captured, not the sweetness – though there is some sugary aspect, I can’t say that its definitively apple-ish. More vaguely so.
Anyhow, thank you MissB! what a lovely cup :)

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drank White Darjeeling by The Tea Smith
257 tasting notes

Nice tea. Doesn’t have a year, estate, or varietal so unsure of its origin.
Slight sweet fruit skin flavor but flavors not as complex, just staying consistent.
Did bring about a cleansing heat, so this tea has a stronger prana.

Flavors: Apple Skins, Honey

180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’m sipping on a cup of this evening, it’s very soothing and calming. I’ve had a very busy, very frustrating day. My husband needed to go to the doctor, and the doctor would not address the issues that were bothering my husband, he wanted only to talk about other issues, and so tomorrow I will be spending my afternoon shopping for a new doctor. After the frustrating trip to the doctor, we ran over a metal spiky object that got lodged in our tire, which meant an hour at the tire shop. Not much went right today.

Anyway … now this tea seems to be making up for it, because it’s lovely. Sweet, beautiful, the lovely notes of a darjeeling but with the light, delicate qualities of a white tea … so wonderful.

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drank Blue Shadow by The Tea Smith
4846 tasting notes


Thank you Azzrian for sending me some of this tea!

This is really interesting … I’m very unfamiliar with the lulo fruit. I described the appearance of this fruit in my full-length review as a fruit that looks a bit like an orange that had a funky twisted romance with a kiwi fruit. You can read my full-length review here (and see the photo of the lulo fruit):

A very interesting tea. I taste strawberry, black tea, and berry notes. I also taste notes of citrus. Quite a unique tea, I liked it.

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I think this was in a little package from azzrian that arrived while the weather was still cold—tried a cup and then set it back thinking it’d be tasty in hot weather.

And it is. Tasty. Not hot—we’re having a lusciously cool and sunny day in late July (mid 70’s).

Cold steeped this in the fridge, adding a little extra straight-up lemongrass from local herb place. Tart, but not unpleasantly so.

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This is a fantastic tea – it’s very gentle, floral and sweet, not exactly what I would expect from a Darjeeling but in very good way.
It tastes even better because I’m drinking it from my new cup:
(I have the blue and white one). I also have a small scone from a local bakery with my tea.
So good!


It is super cute and in real life looks even better than in the picture.
Thanks to this purchaseI have started my own collection of mismatched blue and white tea ware. I love the blue and white combo: Dutch, Japanese and Chinese, German, Russian, Swedish – I intend to collect all of that :)

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This is one of the most flavorful unflavored white teas I’ve encountered—had a teeny bit of a sample from azzrian left to enjoy this evening. After cleansing my palate with Braum’s ice cream with caramel topping (sorry, no fancy sorbet available), my taste buds were all vanilla’ed out and I could catch the grapey, fruity tones bouncing around in these big ol’ white leaves. Wouldn’t add ice, but I bet it’d be good chilled.

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When I pulled this up to read the description, I saw Darjeeling in big letters and missed the white tea in little letters. So my first sips surprised me some…typical Darjeeling this isn’t.

Of course it isn’t, silly … it’s a white tea, and a fine one at that. Held up well to nearly-boiling water and a 3:30 steep time. Nice satiny feel on the tongue. Light on the flavor, but then again, I was light on the leaf, not realizing what variety I was making.

My thanks to Azzrian for the sample. Enough in the packet to add a little leaf and give this a more informed tasting.

(We’re 2 for 2 on Tea Smith varieties. Further investigation pending.)

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drank Blue Shadow by The Tea Smith
1953 tasting notes

This smells heavenly—like blueberry pastry or blueberries and marshmallow. Which may be a clever trick or a sign of my own olfactory incompetence. Not a blueberry in it. Strawberries and lulo. I wouldn’t know a lulo if I stomped on it :)

But at any rate, this is a wonderfully sweet tea—berries drizzled with powdered sugar glaze. Belongs to the Tower of London/Marco Polo family of fruity goodness. My thanks to Azzrian!


I had to look up lulo and I’m still not sure what it is. Looks like a cross between an orange and a tomato. The taste I saw described as rhubarb/lime. Your blueberry marshmallow sounds far more delicious.


Sounds delicious! And I have never even heard of lulo!


Not a bit of tartness in this. Pretty fair second steep, too.


Thanks for sharing the link. Now I’ll know what I’m stepping on :)

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