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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ll use this one for the Vanilla Black tea I have – that I have mixed from vanilla pieces and a none-too-good black tea of unknown origin.
As the vanilla pods were really good, this tea has a nice vanilla taste, covering up the less-than-perfect black tea (it is drinkable, mind you, just not up to my usual standards).
Needs a bit of sugar, but can be drunk without milk.
The tea comes in a metal tin with several single serving vacuum sealed packages of whole leaf oolong tea. Each leaf is rolled into a ball so it doesn’t break when they vacuum seal it.
Before I go any further I will try to better identify the tea I am reviewing. Most of the writing is in Chinese… this is all the English (or roman letters) I have to go on. The tin says “Chinese Tea Processed from the tinest and tenderraw tea leaves rich” (no tinest and tenderraw are not typos that’s actually what the tin says). Then at the bottom it says “JING XUAN’GHA LI”. On the vacuum sealed bags it says: “ZHONG HUA QING” then below it says “Tieguanyin Tea” which translates to Oolong tea. The only other clue I have is that this was given to me by a friend after they went on a trip to Hong Kong.
The tea tastes excellent and very fresh (even though it has been in my cupboard for about 3 years before I noticed it again and started using it). The individual vacuum sealed bags work great to preserve freshness. very few of the leaves are broken.
Even though the tea is packaged in a single serving vacuum sealed package I only used about 1/3rd of it for my cup of tea and although it is a bit mild, it tastes perfect for me.
From my Mom’s stash.
She nabbed this one on sale a few days after Halloween from a local specialty coffee shop and I’m only just now getting around to try it. I’ve got no clue who the supplier is (though I’d wager likely MTC) so I just stuck this under a generic title to review it.
I made this with a little milk and honestly it’s not bad but it pisses me off too because it does that thing that most ‘pumpkin spice’ flavoured things (not just tea) does and that’s this: it tastes nothing like pumpkin. Instead, it’s just got nice notes of cardamom, clove, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It’s also really earthy which I suppose is one thing it’s got going for it that separates it from a lot of other generic-y pumpkin spice things. The milk levels it out as well. Like I said, not bad.
But why would I ever want to order something that just tasted like spices instead of spices AND the thing they’re supposed to be seasoning!?
i tried the puerh in mandarin peel tea Amanda Vermillion sent me, its awesome!
when i smell the tea leaves and peel dry, i smell a little mustyness and orange citrus smell.
when i smell the tea leaves and peel wet, i smell sweetness and orange citrus.
when i smell the brewed tea, again i smell sweetness and orange citrus.
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste orange citrus and sweetness.
i rate this a 100 because of the complext yet tasty flavors/aromas.
this is one of the best puer i’ve ever had. many thanks!
Flavors: Citrus, Musty, Orange, Sweet
Well. You can’t get much more accurate than the title of this tea. That’s pretty much exactly what it is. And exactly how it tastes. Floral/in-your-face tropical. Too much for me, personally. This is also a tea I fed to my sick boyfriend, though I don’t think I added honey. He just wanted something hot. I had a re-steep, and it was so very floral…
Got a jump start on this week’s cuppings for class; something cool about this week was that one of the sets of cuppings was a ‘blind tasting’ where we steeped a bagged and a loose leaf version of the same (or at least very similar) English breakfast for a person of our choosing and had them both review the tea, but also determine without knowing which is which what the ‘better’ was.
Because he’s really the only person I have easy access to, I used my roomie Tre as my guinea pig for this tasting. Just some background information for anyone who doesn’t know: Tre is not a tea drinker, and when he does drink tea it’s what I’ve picked out specifically for him and generally with a lot of added sugar. For the purposes of this tasting, he didn’t get any sugar or milk with the teas. Also, he’s a chef which you would think means he has a more refined palate but in all honestly I’ve never met someone with a weirder one. Anytime I have him blind taste/smell something he’s either simply off base or just not even in the right field to begin with.
So here are the highlights from this tasting:
When it came to the loose leaf version, he said that the colour of the ‘tea water’ (liquor) was obviously a lot lighter, which I somewhat agree with. While I don’t think the difference was drastic, it was noticeable. As far as the aroma he claimed he couldn’t smell anything but hot water. Which… I don’t even know how, but I digress.
When it came to describing the taste, he very accurately described the feeling of astringency without knowing the name for it – which I told him. He said this sensation was “mild” and when I further probed whether or not he liked the feeling he said he did. That it “felt like what tea should feel like”. But I could not for the life of me coax out any other flavour descriptors other than the astringency and the super not helpful “it tastes like tea”. No Tre! Break it down! However, saying that would’ve been like shouting at a wall so we moved on.
When it came to the bagged version there was the obvious flip regarding the liquor; “It’s darker than the other one. Almost black”. Well no, not black – just a nice rich red/copper kind of colour. As far as the aroma goes he claimed it ‘reminded him of Earl Grey’. I’m not entirely convinced he wasn’t just throwing out what tea terminology he does know. Seriously; what knowledge he retains about my blathering on about tea astounds me. The other day he correctly used the term ‘chawan’ while I was making matcha, but he thinks he tastes/smells bergamot with an English Breakfast? He has one weird palate.
But going further into what he tasted with this blend, he said the astringency (at this point he had been taught the right term) was “more powerful and long lasting” and he called the tea “slightly sweeter” but again I couldn’t coax any more out of him other than “it just reminds me of Earl Grey”. Doh!
I then had him guess which cup was which and he correctly did so, and finally I asked him which he preferred, to which he replied… The bagged tea.
What a tea pleb. But seriously; his logic behind the bagged tea was that it was better because it tasted stronger, and more like ‘what tea should taste like’. I guess taste is a subjective thing and I’ve got to understand that, but the way he processed each cup just seems so… Weird. I wish I could experience each of them the way he does. It would surely be an enlightening experience.
Since he didn’t feel like drinking both full cups I ended up taking a sip of each after he’d left. Now, to be fair I knew which was which but I thought the loose was definitely better. The astringency was pleasant, there wasn’t any bitterness and I could taste the nuances, like the malt and bread notes, better. The bagged, on the other hand, was really harsh and brassy and the amount of astringency kind of made me gag. How anyone could interpret that cup as tasting “sweet” has me seriously perplexed.
Also, again, Earl Grey!?
I have an unknown Amaretto tea also. My guess would be that it’s from Metropolitan tea company but I’m not sure exactly. I added some milk and sugar ‘cause on its own it wasn’t quite as nice as I thought it should be. Then it turned into a nice sweet treat. I know this would hold up well as a latte. I might try this one that way soon.
I’m attempting to drink all my teas once through. I have teas that I got and have yet to try. How sad eh? Well that’s about to change. Lots of new tea tastes coming my way!
I went to a bridal shower two weeks ago and a small jar of this tea, loose, was one of the prizes. The lid is painted with slate so that you can write with chalk on it. They scrawled “mint green tea”. No indication of the company. I adore the periwinkle edging. I have mixed feelings about keeping tea in glass, but since my cupboard does have doors on it, should be ok right?
So the tea… Based on the rolled/semi balled leaves and metallic smell, and taste, I’d say the base is Gunpowder. Not my fave, but traditional for Moroccan Mint tea.
Today, I made a big mug iced with half a tsp of honey to cover up the metal note.
I quite like it this way. Not love but definite like. In fact, I may try and turn it into a mojito type beverage. Agave may work better. Need to pick some of that up as well. Throw in some soda water, vodka, mint leaves? Hmmm.
This will definitely hold me over til I find a mint green that tickles my fancy for summer :D. Thanks L for the tea!!!
I’ve fallen into a routine with my tea drinking. Every morning, while I’m blearily puttering around the kitchen, I fill up a 12 oz timolino with a cream earl grey and a 16 oz carry mug with genmaicha, and stash them both in my purse. I have no idea what company the genmaicha is from—I got a ridiculous amount from a Japanese restaurant eons ago and the packaging is long gone—but it’s exactly to my tastes, ie. dominant toasty popcorn/rice notes and no grassiness to speak of. I find it soothing in the afternoons, especially when I hit my 2:30 slump.
I’m almost positive this tea is from Handmade Teas but I can’t seem to find which one it might be. I put it in an airtight tin and never labeled it.. oops… anyways… It’s gone! I used up my two teaspoons and made a pot. It’s delicious. It has a rich malty-ness with dark chocolate undertones and a touch of sweet potato. There is a hint of caramel and a light fruitiness to it.
Well, someone added this into the system, so I’m going to use it.
It’s a mystery oolong, and it’s great. I’m super sick right now so I’m barely drinking any tea at all, but for some reason the idea of this seemed really soothing. It’s a nice green oolong, with just a little bit of roastiness. I can barely swallow it down because I’m so pathetic, but it’s lasted me 2 hours and it’s still great cold.