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Recent Tasting Notes

100
drank Gen Mai Cha by Unknown
9 tasting notes

This is one of my all time favorite teas. In fact I’m enjoying a cup of it right now.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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51
drank Vanilla Black Tea by Unknown
1015 tasting notes

I am finishing this up tonight. In the past I have had issues with this tea not really having a vanilla taste, so I decided to assume that would be the case this time and added a spoon of chocolate malt powder and a splash of milk. It actually turned out decent. I will most likely finish out this tea with a second infusion made the same way. I think I am still on the lookout for a great vanilla tea though.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec
Lori

You should try Upton Teas Vanilla – it is quite good and no artificial flavoring…

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51
drank Vanilla Black Tea by Unknown
1015 tasting notes

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51
drank Vanilla Black Tea by Unknown
1015 tasting notes

Had this with breakfast. Its good, just not strong enough for a breakfast tea, much better suited to afternoons and evenings.

Preparation
3 min, 15 sec

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51
drank Vanilla Black Tea by Unknown
1015 tasting notes

Third infusion – a bit weak for my taste. Not bad, just weak. I will probably continue to infuse this tea 3 times, but not a fourth.

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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51
drank Vanilla Black Tea by Unknown
1015 tasting notes

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51
drank Vanilla Black Tea by Unknown
1015 tasting notes

The smell of the dry leaves is a very sweet vanilla with barely a noticeable amount of black tea. After steeping, you smell more of the black tea, but the vanilla is still there. The black tea is not overwhelming, you can still taste the vanilla. I notice a toasted nut taste that I wouldn’t have expected from the scent. The tea is very smooth and full-bodied like coffee.

Preparation
3 min, 30 sec

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88
drank pearl by Unknown
19 tasting notes

Very simple and delicious!

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4
drank China Tea by Unknown
328 tasting notes

This tea seemed to have good intentions. On the outset, the tea had a strong, pleasant, light flowery scent. Flavor initially very sweet which became more elusive as tea cooled. Overly-flowery aroma and flavor grew in unpleasantness with each infusion. Very bitter aftertaste. A good (bad ?) example of why some may avoid green tea. A most unpleasant experience.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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68

…it is slightly scented with jasmin.The tea leafs itself don’t have a very strong flavor or taste.A remark that I put in the tea’s describtion.It is quite a prizy purchase (125g for 20$US…bought in China)that,without the jasmin scent,would leave one quite disappointed.
However…the awakening effect that this tea has is simply incredible.It’s like after 3 cups espresso…I can feel my blood busily pumping through my veins…WoW!
The brews that one gets out of one portion of leafs seem endless…the color of the tea gets stronger after each brew.
I was very carefull with the water temperature.Next time I will go higher.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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15
drank Breakfast Tea by Unknown
216 tasting notes

Yes, okay, this tea is clearly well past its useful life. I might as well dump the rest of it out and use the tin for something better.

The frog-shaped infuser is still pleasing, though!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Sencha Ashikubo by Unknown
5 tasting notes

I tend to make tea at work and I have a tendency to over steep my leaves. While for me this tea has hints of grassy-ness its not over powering. I find I like to slightly sweeten this tea on the first infusion and brewing a second infusion afterward adding to the first cup.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Roasted Barley Tea by Unknown
1112 tasting notes

I had some roasted barley tea at a Korean Restaurant this afternoon. It was delicious! Our waiter brought out plastic water drinking glasses, and served it out of a plastic pitcher! (the tea was hot). I am so interested in getting some more of this type of tea to have at home. It was wonderful with our meal of Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap with various sides and extras (including of course Kimchi!). If anyone has a brand that they have tried and loved, please pass it on :)

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67
drank Lao Shan Cha by Unknown
57 tasting notes

A good Chinese green tea. No magnificent qualities that would be worth writing about…
It reminds me of Japanese Bancha, as it can be drunk to anything at anytime.
It is a tea that is quite awakening. I have a feeling that it will turn quickly bitter if one goes to high with the water temperature.

I am using it, portioned in a tea bag, in the office…I don’t waist time on it at home.

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C

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34
drank Huo Shan Huang Ya by Unknown
57 tasting notes

My first yellow tea. Definitely one of the mildest teas that I ever had. Quite shallow actually. One has to be very generous with the portioning to get some flavors out of it. Water has to be quite hot. No bitterness will appear. Only a hint of grassy notes there…leaves one quite unimpressed.
Goes well with thinly sliced ginseng roots.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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68
drank Xi Huang Cao by Unknown
57 tasting notes

…that’s a tricky one as it is quite a challenge to get it right. I went to a tea shop in Zuhai, China and was asking for a white tea. The shop owner pre-paired his tasting utensils and gave me the first brew to drink. Well, that was quite something. The color of the tea was a very pale yellow. Not much fragrance…mmmh, first sip. Bitter, almost unpleasant and rough. Second sip…unpleasant on the tongue but then it hit me…the aftertaste is from a intense sweetness that one gets from a ginseng Oolong. This sweetness gives plenty of warmth to the throat and left me with astonishment as I did not expect that.
As more brews were done with this single tasting portion as stronger the sweetness got.
I bought 500g…went home and failed big time. I only produced bitterness.
I took me a couple of trials until I got it right. Never on the first infusion though. This particular aftertaste that one wants to achieve only develops during the 3rd and fourth steeping…very hot water, long infusion (longer then the big master in China did it). Worth to try if one gets his hands on it.

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98

Great blend which is very common in Germany. One of my first teas/herbal infusions that I started my collection with a couple of years ago. Great in winter time.
Lovely flavors…you just have to find the right tea shop as some tend to overdo the hibiscus part a bit.
There are no big brands of the industrie involved in producing this. But is available in every German tea shop ( including Swiss & Austria)!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Turkish Tea by Unknown
1298 tasting notes

Okay, this is not at all what I wanted. What I wanted was that Samovar from Kusmi that ~Lauren posted about. Unfortunately, I was not in luck there. I checked the places on my way home from work that I knew carries Kusmi, but none of them had the Samovar.

After a little indecision, I decided instead eventually on some of this stuff that I got from my turkish colleague and some of the german fruit potpourri that Lexitus bought for me in Germany. Two parts tea, one part fruity mix.

When I tried this combination before it was the other way around, but this way feels more logical to me, with more tea than fruit.

I’ve steeped it a little too long for this ordinary western brewing style and the tea is warning me to not do it again.

Apart from that, it really is a win-win situation. The black tea is made more interesting without being brewed turkish style, and the fruit mix is kept from being too… fruity. Or something.

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79
drank Turkish Tea by Unknown
1298 tasting notes

This one again. It’s in my to be finished pile. Some of you will remember my first experience with it. Well, my colleague gave me the rest of what she had since she would never get around to using it herself anyway, not being a very big tea-drinker.

So I got the rest in a cleaned marmalade glass and can now inform you that she must have stored this in her spice cupboard. It’s the only explanation I can come up with, because she swears the glass has only ever contained marmalade before and I can’t really imagine that anyone in their right mind would make curry flavoured tea.

I sincerely hope it only took on the curry in the aroma and that it will go away upon brewing!

I’ve used more leaf this time, for a more authentic experience, and am steeping the bejeezus out of it at the moment. One heaping teaspoon per cup (and then some, because the leaves are large and my teaspoons don’t heap that well) and at least a fifteen minute steep in only half the amount of water.

The result is nearly as black as coffee, even when diluted half and half with freshly boiled water. The aroma is very tea-like and very very dark. Just by smelling it I can almost feel my tastebuds cowering in fear. There is, unfortunately, still a note of that blasted curry. Woe ruined leaves!

Authentic turkish tea is always taken sweetened with sugar, which I’m sure you could guess from the steeping parameter and dosage of leaves, but I am either fearless or remarkably foolish (the latter being more probable) so I gave it a test sip before sweetening.

ARGH! Astringent! My tongue is dead! I think it just turned to dust and disintegrated or something! Astringency, however, should not be confused with bitterness, of which there is none. As for the curry, I’m not sure. I feel like I can pick up a hint of it, but I’m not sure if that’s not just because I know it’s there and was half expecting to find an unauthorised flavour.

One teaspoon of sugar helps. Two is better. Three is perfect. There’s still a lot of astringency there, but it’s sweetened so much that the sugar go rather well with it. Like the astringency means it can handle more sweetener before it gets cloying and the sugar and astringency in combination sort of bring out each other’s best qualities. Bit like in a sweet and sour sauce.

My tongue is all prickly and confused, though. It can’t seem to decide between AAAAH! Astringent! Shrivel!’ and OOOOH! Sugar! More!’ It’s a strange sensation.

Also, having tasted carefully, I definitely can’t pick up the curry. Maybe smell contamination isn’t such a serious thing when you give the leaves such a harsh treatment.

I stand by my initial rating. It’s much different from what I normally understand to be tea, but it’s still quite nice. It’s not a brewing method I’ll be using very often, but it’s fun enough to do once in a while for the exotic experience.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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79
drank Turkish Tea by Unknown
1298 tasting notes

Gather round, Steepsterites, because I am going to have probably one of the most interesting teas of a long time now.

I have a colleague, a turkish girl, and she asked me, “Have you ever had Turkish tea?”
I told her I had once. I’ve never been to Turkey, but I’ve studied with a turkish girl and once when we were writing a paper to do with some questionnaires she had asked her uncle to take a stack with him to the mosque next time he went. He invited us for tea, so she could explain to him what the questionnaires were about. Her aunt made traditional turkish tea for us.
Then we talked about about how to brew it and my colleague told me that while they do drink a lot of that apple tea, they also drink a lot of plain black tea, taken with sugar. They brew it so strong that it’s nearly undrinkable without sugar, and my colleague gave me this that she had and never drank at home and explained to me how to brew it like a turkish person would. Of course I didn’t write it down at the time, thinking it was easy enough to remember, but when I came home I still had to google it. I found this site (http://turkish-food.suite101.com/article.cfm/turkish_tea) which has guidelines for brewing. It rang a bell, so I feel pretty confident that this is also how my colleague told me to do.

_QUOTE
1. Prepare a small teapot by adding about one heaping teaspoon of good, black tea (Keemun, Assam, Russian Caravan, English Breakfast all work well) per cup.
2. Boil about 1 cup of water per cup of tea (either in a samovar – or on a stove top).
3. Pour HALF of the steaming water into the teapot and let it steep for at least 15 minutes, keeping both the teapot and the remaining water piping hot. (Without a samovar, you can accomplish this with a good tea cozy for the pot and a very low flame for the water. (I almost hate to admit it, but a microwave works pretty well, too, for keeping the water very hot…. but I “didn’t say that…”).
4. Pour the tea into a small glass cup, about halfway up, and add the water to fill the remainder. Add sugar to taste – BUT NEVER MILK OR HONEY.

Read more at Suite101: Turkish Tea: Brewing and Drinking Tea in Turkey http://turkish-food.suite101.com/article.cfm/turkish_tea#ixzz0chWxExdO
END QUOTE_

So now I’m wondering what sort of leaves she has actually given me. They don’t have a very strong aroma. Ever so slightly smoky-ish is about the only characteristic I can pick up. It’s a quite large leaf size for a black though. Since my colleague actually travels to visit her husband’s family in Turkey at least once a year, I wonder if I could be so lucky that it was actually a tea produced in Turkey. Think about it, it’s not that unlikely. It would be cool if it was. I may have to interrogate her some on this matter. She gave me a relatively small amount. Big for a sample, but small for an amount to have lying around when one never takes tea. I’m not sure if that was what she meant but it did sound like, if I liked it, she had more that I could have. Anyway, the leaves look a bit faded in colour, so they’re probably getting a bit on in age. With this method of brewing, though, I can’t imagine it would spell disaster.

Five minutes still to go of this extremely long steep!

Okay, ready for the next step! Obviously, I don’t own the proper tulip-shaped tea glasses, so my cup with the farm animals on it will have to do. I tried a sip of the tea before adding more water to the cup. It had a nice reddish amberish colour and while it did have a strong flavour, it wasn’t undrinkably strong. Not at the one small sip, anyway. Quite astringent, but it didn’t taste bitter or oversteeped.

After adding water the taste was a little less astringent, but still not undrinkably strong. I was expecting something almost tar-like here and I’m actually wondering if I didn’t add enough leaf. I think I was supposed to have made it with another spoonful.

I feel pretty certain that I could easily have taken it without a grain of sugar and enjoyed it, but I’m trying to be authentic here. I did wonder about whether the type of sugar used was important since the instructions said to not use milk or honey. I’ve decided they probably would have said if it was, so I used cane sugar.

The aroma is very similar to the dry leaf. Not as smokey, though, which I think must be because of the sugar in it.

It’s definitely sweet to the taste. If you want a dessert tea, forget about any odd additives and flavouring, because this is a dessert in a cup. I can’t really pick up anything underneath the sweetness though. It’s a flavour where you’re aware that there is tea there, but apart from a light astringency, I can’t really tell you anything about it. I know it’s odd to my colleague that I can drink tea at all without sugar in it, so it’s supposed to be very sweet, but the unobtrusiveness and the lack of strongness of the black tea, only strengthens my belief that I should have used a spoonful more leaves.

Still, I used a third more leaf than usual (should probably have been double) and I steeped it for a quarter of an hour. I’m shocked that it didn’t turn out stronger! I’ll have to try again though, but for now… I don’t know if I’m really a big fan of tea turkish style, but I think I might rather like it as a rare treat rather than a regular occurence.

eta: why is it the quoted bit refuses to be in italics? What am I doing wrong? squints at it

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Heyes

Thanks for taking one for the team.

Angrboda

Hey, it was fun. :)

Cofftea

There was a lot of good stuff in this review! I’ll have to come back to it later and read it a 2nd time to let it all sink in. I wonder what she’d think of UTI’s turkish apple?

Angrboda

She doesn’t really drink tea much at all, so she probably wouldn’t be particularly interested. I gather it’s mostly something she drinks when they’re visiting or when they have guests in a more formal sort of way.

teaplz

Super-interesting! I love how it’s so super-concentrated that you need sugar!

Angrboda

It worked a lot better on the second cup, but then that one had had a half hour steep. :p

Cofftea

This is where the making 2 teas at once would come in handy. I can’t wait that long between infusions lol.

Angrboda

The second one had steeped longer because of the way I brew. I always have the leaves loose in the pot, so when I don’t drain it completely, there will be some stewing while I’m drinking the first cup.

Cofftea

Gotcha. I do that too, but I have a reverse french press so there isn’t any left. I do have a problem getting my pot from Dr. Tea’s Tea Garden to drain completely though.

takgoti

Huh. This sounds incredibly interesting. I’ll try this sometime when I’m feeling brave.

Also, I’m unsure on the italics, but perhaps try removing the colon? Or maybe the URL is throwing it off. Just thoughts.

Angrboda

You should, it would be fun to see what you think. :) I’ll have to find out what sort of tea this is, since it would be so cool if it was turkish grown, but since you can use any good black, there’s lots of room for experimentation. :)

Cofftea

Yes! Suggest a good Turkish tea for us:)

Angrboda

According to the website I quoted above, Turkey grow tea in the Black Sea regions, but the production is all for the home market. So you would probably have to go there to get some.

Ricky

We’ve been gathered! =], I LOLed at the end. I stupidly put my face close to the screen and started staring or maybe squinting at the words squints at it OH, I think I was thinking it was a command. Sort of like, come closer so I can finish the story. =P

Angrboda

Ricky, LOL! No, I put it in *s because that’s how I’ve always been used to denoting an action. It disturbs me a bit that that’s also how I make it bold here. I suppose I should try to get used to using ::s at Steepster, but it just looks wrong to me. I like the *s better. (And it’s probably going to make a large portion of this comment bold now too)

And yes, you have indeed been gathered. :D I don’t recall any of my posts ever having been this popular before. O.o

takgoti

Speaking of which, I meant to click the heart. Today is not a good brain day for me.

Angrboda

Bad brain days suck. I hadn’t even noticed you hadn’t clicked it the first time you were here. :)

Jillian

That sounds really neat. My friend’s boyfriend is from Iran and that’s how they drink their tea there aswell.

Angrboda

It’s probably a general middle eastern thing, then. I had a colleague from Iran, who said that the next time she went to Iran, she would get me some Iranian grown tea. Unfortunately she was in a temporary position and left before she had the opportunity to do so. But then again I’ve since read somewhere or other that the iranian grown tea has a little trouble measuring up to the quality we’re used to from India, Sri Lanka and China.

sophistre

Interesting! Why did my updates not clue me in about this? It sounds fun. This is going on the To-Do list!

Angrboda

It was definitely fun to try. I’m not done experimenting with this method of brewing by far, but I’ve decided that it would be awesome to have a real samovar in my living room. :D The brewing method after all is pretty similar so far as I can tell. A real old-fashioned russian one, that would be so cool. But I’ll have to keep dreaming. :)

sophistre

They’re very pretty. I was in NYC recently to visit friends and went to the Russian Tea Room, and the ones they had displayed were gorgeous…I was sort of disappointed that they didn’t actually have any samovars in use, as I’ve only ever seen them from afar.

Angrboda

I only googled briefly and apparently you can get some electric ones that have that oldfashioned look, but you would have to shell out some 2-400 dollars for it. I tell myself they probably use a dreadful amount of energy anyway. ;)

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79
drank China Gunpowder by Unknown
159 tasting notes

A nice way
to start the day;
I’m reflective
it adds perspective;
Today there’s no bitterness in this tea
And I’d hope, none in me

Last night I met a group of skilled migrants who were looking for jobs. I took them tea and hope, I hope.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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79
drank China Gunpowder by Unknown
159 tasting notes

Hmm, good midday boost. Had it with diet jelly and diet yoghurt.
Smooth, not very bitter. This time, I just dumped the leaves in a cup and sipped off the top, about 100ml at a time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec

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79
drank China Gunpowder by Unknown
159 tasting notes

In a pensive mood after responding to someone’s troubles. It would be nice to fix everything that’s wrong with the world.
So I need a tea that might offer some optomism.
So, China Gunpowder gets a go.
It’s dark today (the tea, not the gloriously sunny day outside) and the aroma from the cup is very deep foresty. A liitle sugar to take the edge off, and mmmm the smoothnes comes through.
A little cup of sunshine, the world a little lighter.
I think “Make tea, Not War” might be today’s credo !

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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79
drank China Gunpowder by Unknown
159 tasting notes

Lunch is a Turkey, lettuce and cranberry sandwich, so a nice green is most suitable!
Brewed up nicely, with plenty of flavour. Saved the infuser for another cup.
Very fresh today, still an amber colour and plenty of flavour after not a real long steep. Picking up a grape aftertaste today
Now for that sandwich…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Keemun

Turkey sandwich and a Gunpowder tea…the world is your oyster,Sir.

Robert Godden

Indeed. And I felt like it had a cherry on top!

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