The Tea Smith
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Recent Tasting Notes
My first thought when I opened the bag was dried apples. Its that concentrated aroma that you smell on dehydrated apples. There is a bit of that apple flavor in a tea. It reminds me of a weak apple cider. It also has a natural sweetness to it which is nice. I like it and think next time I will add some cinnamon to keep the cider thing going.
Decided to start tasting my teas from my steepster select box, starting with this one (mostly because it’s 10:30 pm right now, and I think if I were to brew a cup of guayusa, I’d be up all night).
It’s tasty enough. But, it’s a plain, unflavored, rather boring honeybush. I’m glad it’s organic, as I find that organic tastes better than conventionally grown when it comes to rooibos and honeybush. And it’s … alright. But, I’d have been a much happier camper if it were a flavored honeybush. On it’s own, it’s got basically what I expect from honeybush. I light sweetness, nutty tones and woody notes. Tasty, but nothing all that exciting.
SPOILER ALERT FOR THE STEEPSTER SELECT BOX READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
After finishing that last tea I thought, “What the heck! Let’s try another!” I’m saving the guayusa for tomorrow morning (getting up at 5:45 five times a week really kicks your butt) so I decided to make this.
I’m going to maybe be the first to actually come out and say it (or at least the first that I’ve met here on Steepster): I Like Honeybush A Lot
I don’t think it tastes like honey like you would think, but I actually really do like the taste.
This is no exception to that! It’s pretty much just a generic honeybush. There’s a nice…… “dampness?!?!?!” to it and it has a good woody flavor, with a nice and natural sweet flavor that remains in your mouth. This is very nice and a good late night tea!
I believe this is the tea I’ve recently enjoyed as a part of this month’s installment of steepster select, however I don’t see any mention of it being Organic.
As I don’t see a non-organic version of this on here, I’ll assume this is the correct one.
This is a beautiful tea. I have previously only utilized honey bush to add a sweetness to my brisker black teas. I tend to blend them in with my morning tea, or add them into whatever I’m bringing in my travel mug to get me through the workday. They’re always the perfect accomplice, but I never before allowed it to be the star of the show. I was skeptical because I tend to go for full-bodied, complex teas. And while I have nothing against caffeine-free blends, I usually prefer rooibos, and don’t often go for herbals.
This changed all my ill-begotten misconceptions. This was exactly the full-bodied, multilayered tea I enjoy and appreciate. It was like a black tea, not syrupy or overly sweet, or watered-down and weak with a hint of honey on the finish, as I was expecting. An overall treat that was enjoyed for multiple infusions ranging from after dinner to later tonight. Hats off, once again, to steepster select for broadening my perception of tea.
I wasn’t a huge fan of this. It smelled like chocolate- then at first it just tasted like a nice light black tea. But then all of the sudden the spiciness really hit the back of my throat and it was almost painful. I had 3 sips and then had to dump it out. I might try it again and steep for only 4 minutes and see how it is. I must admit, I ended up steeping a couple minutes longer than I should have because I got distracted…
Normally I absolutely love this tea but I felt like experimenting some tonight with another Rooibos (Market Spice Rooibos) that I like to see how the flavors would combine… unfortunately the flavor combated too much for my tastes. I could taste the mint but not really the chocolate in the beginning and it slowly gave way to the spices and the surprising pleasant aftertasteof mainly the MS, but overall not a fav.
Today I rolled a “1” in the fabulous Geek Pride game created so wonderfully by RABS. Right now I have only two packets left and both are “8’s”. I was, of course, thrilled to see a Lapsang Souchong because that’s my personal favorite default tea. But because it had a label of “1” I thought that there might be a flaw.
Lapsang Souchong does not always work. It ALMOST always works but not always. I don’t know, for example, what that stuff is that Tea Farm sells under the name. This is better, but I gave Tea Farm a rating of “3” out of “100”. I wanted to give it a “0” but the furthest to the left I could go was a 3. I digress.
This is a better Lapsang Souchong, but I would call it only marginally better than Tea Farm. This one does have some taste but I kept drinking it and hoping to get something more. I felt a bit like a Marlboro smoker who was suddenly trying the lightest cigarette out there—-(not having been in the situation, my metaphor may not work). Sometimes you see smokers frantically sucking on their cigarettes as if they are trying to pull in even more tobacco. Well, I was slurping at this tea trying to find more flavor, more smoke, more something. It’s got enough taste to remind me that I love a good Lapsang Souchong but not enough taste to provide any satisfaction.
I felt glad to sample this tea because I am collecting Lapsang Souchong experiences and it’s good to know the gamut.
Thank you, Rabs for giving me a new one to try!
I’m actually backlogging this one from 2 days ago before I realized that this tea was already listed in Steepster. I just wasn’t feeling motivated to add a tea.
I had this tea to go at The Tea Smith and really enjoyed it. It had the asparagusey aroma I associate with oolongs along with a pleasant floral note. I really wanted more and was sad that I didn’t get to try more steeps of it – it seemed like it had amazing potential. So when I returned to the shop I picked up a packet. I now wish that I had only bought a small sample.
With many of the oolongs that I’ve had the tea grows in its complexity and yumminess with each steep. This tea’s brightest moment was its first steep. Each consecutive steep got more and more bland and my mouth never did do the “happy dance of joy” that many oolongs create for me. Maybe this is typical for Jade Oolongs – this is my first one. But I’m not impressed. M
This had a lighter smoke scent than what I’m used to. I’d put the scent as even mellower than Golden Moon’s LS. The fragrance of the cup was also smoky, but without the fragrance of pine that I enjoy.
Oh my. Um…so it’s lacking the sweet undercurrents that I love in the few lapsangs that I’ve had. It has a harsh, almost stinging bitterness that’s assaulting my mouth – especially at the back of my throat. I keep clearing my throat. That astringency comes and goes (one time I came close to tossing my cup), and it’s the first time I’d call a LS “ashy.” It’s like I rinsed out an ashtray and drank the runoff water. I am very glad that I only purchased a sample. I’ll finish it off over time, but there will be no resteeps here (I did do a resteep today with very little change in taste). My temp accuracy (or lack thereof) should be fixed by next week when my new electric kettle arrives (squee!) – so I will try this again with the for sure recommended steep temp and will update if my rating changes as a result. GA
So, to sum up:
Adagio’s LS = RAWR!
Golden Moon’s LS = Meow
The Tea Smith’s LS = a dirty alley cat hacking up a furball
Gong Fu Cha Style I used:
Rou Gui, Cina oolong, 4,5gr in Yixing 5oz (~150ml); water Sant’Anna sorgente Rebruant 95° (most easy to find water in Italy).
0 – foot’s water
1 – 30’’
2 – 30’’
3 – 1’
4 – 1’ 30’’
5 – 2’ 30’’
6 – 4’
Not more. From 1 to 3 infusion the tea was in his upper moment. It was austere, during 3 steppes it changed from a hard impact with flower dry and spice to an absolutely equilibrated mouth with note of mature summer fruit like apricot and peach. Since 4 infusion the tannins slowly rise to come up and it will be the dominant.
I like this tea. I suggest to try every one to like oolong tea.
Oh wow, this is quite a different tea indeed. Take the Dancong Aria tea base flavor, and replace the flowery orchid taste with strong roasted coffee and chocolate tones, and that’s what this tea tastes like. Moderately astringent, high on body, yet light on mouth feel. The leaves are whole, large and very dark, but the brew is relatively light considering this…maybe I used too little? It tasted fine though. Definitely one of my favorite exotic flavored oolongs.
Shorter steeping times are the key to good 1st flush Darjeeling brews!! I was unaware of this at first, creating very bitter brews, but since I corrected my prep methods, I’ve found a new love for them. This one is excellent. For all of you who know the taste of 1F Darjeelings, this one has all the right characteristics in the right quantities…the sweet floral hints (different than those of light oolongs) light mouth feel, light astringency, not bitter at all, with that lovely Darjeeling “trademark.”
Ooooooh this is a good one! While adding the water, I noticed that natural sweet aroma that makes a malty black tea wonderful. It has a much heavier mouth feel and maltier taste (I love both qualities in a great Assam) than Ceylon Sonata from Adagio, my other daily black drinker. I accidentally oversteeped a cup yesterday by two minutes. I was surprised to find that the extended steep time did not make it bitter, but made the tea that much more malty. Excellent! :)