Tribute Tea Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
One more tea from Brett at Tribute Tea (in Chicago). Thanks!
I do enjoy occasional florals, jasmine being one of them.
Like the other teas I received from Tribute, the leaf appears to be of excellent quality, & care has been taken to maintain a lovely appearance.
This is a very nice jasmine tea, naturally scented, & tasty.
This is another sample from Brett @ Tribute Tea, which BTW is in Chicago, not to be confused with another company of the same name in Seattle
This is a lovely sweet cup of yum! Kind of buttery, caramel corn & yellow flowers.
The sweet aftertaste lingers, with an almost apricot mouth.
All of the teas I’ve tried from Tribute have been tasty & of excellent quality.
Another tea from Brett at Tribute Tea, thank you!
I haven’t been drinking that much oolong lately. I blame this on being busy. Oolong is a tea I prefer to drink when I have time to relax, so I drank a cup of this in the bathtub.
This is a pleasantly sweet one, with a fruity essence & a wonderful aroma :)
Here I am…back at my house.
I’d rather be hanging out in my PJs, but I got stuff I have to do, so I came home to do some of it, while Tony went to shoot a little pool with friends (I haven’t shot pool in months, my pool cue has probably disowned me by now, along with my Harley…)
Brett, the owner of Tribute Tea, graciously sent me samples of several of his teas awhile back…much farther back than I want to admit…I’m so behind on things…
I’ve put off drinking the white tea samples he sent, mainly cuz I just don’t drink white tea that much. It’s not even that I don’t like white tea, although I have been known to describe white teas as bland, milk toast, & other words that imply tasteless & boring in the past. The truth is, I have developed more of a taste for white tea, but it’s still near the lowest end of my totem pole of teas I want to drink. The only things lower than white are rooibos, followed by artificially flavored things.
That makes it sound like I would give white tea a low rating, but this is about taste preference, not quality of the leaf itself, & since I don’t actually rate teas anymore, it’s irrelevant. The truth is, I will always choose a black tea first, but I will occasionally want something different, & on rare occasions I actually want white tea.
First off, I can tell that it is of wonderful quality, because it smells awesome, like a super clean barn, newly packed with freshly baled straw. It smells clean, fresh, green, refreshing, & even a little tart.
Next, the leaf material is beautifully intact, & visually it reminds me of freshly dried clover. Very clean & fluffy. White teas such as this one are fragile, & you can end up with a lot of ‘dust’. That’s not the case here at all. I can tell great care was taken with these leaves.
Parameters: I used the entire 5G sample in my test tube steeper at 190F for 1 minutes, with a resteep at 2 minutes. The liquor is a beautiful rich gold. Usually I go with shorter steeps, but lately I’ve been giving whites a bit longer, & I admit, the results makes me happier.
Flavor: Clean & crisp, like white linens, like spring. There is a slight astringency & a tad of mildly bitter cucumber mouthfeel. This tea is refreshing, savory, with a sweet tart quality like apricot.
The 2nd steep also features a creaminess, a little malt, & a green veggie kind of taste, kind of like long beans, with their green & floral flavor.
Brett, thanks for sharing with me, & my apologies for taking so long to sample this!
This one gave me a wonderful surprise toward the end that I hope repeats on subsequent tries. I used a gaiwan 1Tbsp/190°/30/60/90. The dry nose had a bit of fresh mown grass to it, but the first wet odor struck me as seaweed, but also lightly toasted, and with something sweet in the background (raisins maybe? or apricot?). The brew was very pale (did I understeep?), just barely sweet, and with a soft lingering finish. Second steep was slightly darker, not sweet and just a bit tannic, but still has some apricot in there somewhere. The final steep threw me for a loop when I came over a bit lemony. No idea where that came from, but it sure was nice.
Flavors: Apricot, Freshly Cut Grass, Lemon, Seaweed, Toasty
Ahhhhh – how true. Today’s tea of choice was a delicious little number I picked up from tributeteacompany.com called “green smile” (or, more precisely, “hari muskan”) from the Nilgiri Hills region of India. My first impression was the fragrance of ripe, sweet apricots when I opened the pouch. It brews into a pale yellow/green color and is subtle but completely enjoyable. And, not to ruin it for you, but, the leaves are hand rolled to resemble actual smiles. I don’t see it on tribute tea company’s website any more but if you want to try this tea, you might want to email them to see if more will be arriving.
I drank this on Monday, before I realized that steepster was out of commission, & although I didn’t take notes, I’ll do my best to share my experience, because Brett was generous enough to send me a sample, for which I’m grateful.
I do enjoy Da Hong Pao teas, & although this one is a lighter roast than what I tend to go for, it’s a lovely cup of fruitiness, perfectly sweet & fragrant with the aroma of apricot & apple, & with a beautiful clean & fresh kind of aroma, almost crisp, like a sweet tart apple.
This is a lovely bi luo chun style black tea, very golden, nicely rolled up into the classic spring snail form. For my first cup, I steeped a tsp for a minute, which was weak. I sampled it again at 3 minutes, & ended up giving it a full 5 minutes. The resulting tea was tasty, like a pale milk chocolate, a little honey, & pastry. I’m also getting that flavor that translates to coriander for me, commonly found in ‘Beauty’ teas.
I gave it a 2nd try, this time using 2 tsp for 3 minutes. The flavors are basically the same, with a little more pastry, a little more honey, etc. This is a pleasant & gentle tea, nicely refined & sweet. I kind of wish, in retrospect, that I had dumped the entire sample into a Gaiwan & given it the gongfu treatment, but I wanted to save some of it for my dear Sil, and so this is a sipdown. Tea Sister, I’ve officially started a new box for you :)
First off, thanks to Brett for sharing a sample of this tea with me.
The leaves are rolled up tightly & are of a chocolate brown, with a warm honey aroma that is very enticing. After steeping, the tea reminded me of honey nut cherrios, creating a mildly sweet & comforting cup, with a hint of cinnamon. The leaves are slow to unfurl, & resteep on & on. Once they open, they are beautiful, dark, & their aroma is like cinnamon & vanilla, &…well…honey nut cherrios!
I don’t think I’ve ever met a tea from Fujian Province that I haven’t enjoyed, & this one is no exception! I enjoy Rou Gui Oolongs, with their sweet cinnamon & caramelized sugar flavor, & this is a nice one, with a slight hint of charcoal in the background.
1 T in 8oz @ 200, for 2 minutes, enjoying this first cup & looking forward to re-steeps.
Thanks Brett for sending a sample! You’re awesome!
Attention Jasmine lovers!! If you crave the soothing flavor of jasmine blossom, you’re going to love this silver needle/jasmine combo… I’m not really a big scented tea drinker, but the unmistakable scent and flavor of jasmine is very nostalgic for me. It takes me back to my early tea discovering days in Hong Kong, when I would travel with a small pouch of ever-convenient jasmine pearls, soaking in the culture and exploring tea houses in search of something new…
The notable point that I would like to make about this tea is its lack of astringency, especially compared to the more common Jasmine Pearl green tea, which is often slightly bitter. When sipping the green variety, I often find myself wrestling with the dichotomy of the jasmine — which I love — with the bitterness of a base green tea — which I do not love… Some people enjoy the bite of astringency though, so that is just my personal opinion.
In this case, the jasmine comes through very clearly… Truthfully, it’s hard to even taste the silver needle white tea, which is a shame, but who cares!
I tried this before and found that shorter infusions are better for extending the infusion potential (# of times) of this leaf. Jasmine releases quite quickly, so 30sec – 1min for the first 2-3 infusions is fine, with longer infusions following that.
Flavors: Honey, Jasmine
A unique bouquet almost bursts with so many flavors, it’s difficult to narrow down exactly what is being tasted… The obvious notes include various types of honey — I taste buckwheat, tupelo, wildflower, but I’m quite certain that my honey palate is hardly delicate enough to make those claims, but anyway..
When I asked a grower why the process of producing Gui Fei went so deep into the summer, he answered quickly… “Oh, well of course, because we have to wait for the bug bite.” I thought that was hilarious. Wait what? The bug bite?? Was he joking? No. The “bug bite” he was referring to was the invasion of green leafhoppers, which alter the chemical composition of the leaf, and apparently impart its unique flavor profile.
Also, I usually give it a rinse and then jump in with 20-30 second infusions, noting that the 2nd and 3rd infusion result in a unusually thick liquor which is sweet and carries a fairly impressive hui gan… Later infusions, say 4-6 will bring more floral and spicy notes, but the sweet fruits lay off a bit.. Also, the leaves don’t seem to want to unfurl, so I’d add 15-30 seconds in subsequent infusions beyond the 3rd.
So all in all, its an oddly addicting oolong, and highly unique, so please try and let me know what type of tasting notes you are able to pull out, curious to hear!
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Honey, Nuts
I’m more of a pure green/oolong drinker but wanted to step outside my comfort zone and (not to sound cliche but) “boy, am I glad I did!!!” This black tea (which is a fully oxodized green tea – rather like a wolf in sheeps clothing in a good way) surprised me with its hot chocolate aroma and full, but not overwhelming, flavor. Due to its enticing aroma, this would make an excellent after dinner tea for anyone who has a sweet tooth and craves dessert after mealtime but doesn’t want the extra calories. This tea just went on my re-order list. and
I should begin by telling you that I am an avid wine drinker but drinking wine at 9 am is generally frowned upon, even by me so I recently began exploring the world of teas. With my wine “training”, the “nose” ( fragrance ) of the tea is a big deal. In my opinion, the aroma either enhances or detracts from the teas actual flavor. This morning, my toughest decision was which of the new teas I just ordered did I want to taste first? (I love the new “flights” or sampler size packets available from the Tribute Tea Company out of Chicago -so much so that I just received about 14 new teas to try!). Anyway, this morning I opted for a green tea called Dragon Crisp and may I just say, I may not get out of my pajamas today!! . WOW, WOW, WOW, this tea is crazy good!!!! When I tore open the packet, I immediately smelled buttered popcorn or freshly simmered basmati/jasmine rice. It smelled so good that I nibbled on a few pieces to see if my nose was playing tricks on me – it wasn’t. While the aroma may be playful, the taste is pure adult bliss. This tea is a must/will buy again as soon as I finish writing this review. WOW, WOW, WOW.
This particular Da Hong Pao — a legend among legendary Chinese teas — is definitely a lower roast that most others… which seems to deliver a bouquet of various fruits, hard to even say which (maybe apple, cherry, peach, apricot, stone fruits?)… It’s a very popular and easy drinker for newer tea drinkers. My parents and grandparents love it, you really can’ t go wrong!
Flavors: Apricot, Dates, Honey, Peach, Plums, Stewed Fruits, Stonefruits
A fine transition for curious Puerh drinkers between the potency and raw vegetal notes of a sheng and the earthier, mellowed smooth notes of a decades-aged puerh leaf. I definitely recommend short infusions and many… I can get 10-12 without much loss of potency, frequently more.
Flavors: Earth, Leather, Pine, Seaweed, Stewed Fruits, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes, Wood