Various Artists

Recent Tasting Notes

I mixed Zhena’s Chocolate Chai and Republic of Tea’s Good Hope Vanilla and drank it iced.

These are two high-quality rooibos teas that mix quite well together. It tasted like earthy- spicy dessert. I would do it again, except that I like the vanilla rooibos better by itself.

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Mixed Saffron Chamomile by Taja Tea with Classic Sleepytime by Celestial Seasonings.

It made two relatively unexciting chamomile-based teas taste really good. The spearmint from the Sleepytime is especially prevalent, and the saffron adds a certain richness that wouldn’t otherwise be noticeable. It’s kind of like a chamomile bouquet of gentle goodness that makes me feel much better about life.

Mmmmmmm, perfect bedtime mix!

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This is quite possibly my first “Random Steepings” entry. Tada! The beau and I had Chinese food “in town” tonight and I was curious about the tea. The waitress said there was a loose leaf oolong and we asked for a pot of that. It came loose but was brewing up really dark so we investigated. Turned out, this is definitely shu puerh. She had no more info about it but we told her a bit about puerh and how she might like to brew it if she wants to try it again. It was actually really nice and held up to Western steeping really well. This encouraged me to try more of our pu Western style. Yay!

Also excuse the (many?) Typos. I’m on my phone and Steepster won’t let me see what I am typing so I am just hoping it turns out legible…now it’s letting me. Grr. That was pretty bad. I think I got most of them.

Cheri

Isn’t that frustrating, that on the phone the text entry field doesn’t like to show everything?!

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Next Design a Tea sample is Blueberry Chestnut with a black base. The black leaves are very small, and there are pieces of some kind of dried fruit-like thing along with decorative flower petals. Dry scent is very sweet and nutty, I don’t get much blueberry but it still smells really good! Once I poured the water over the leaves, I got a nice whiff of blueberry aroma. Steeped for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

Brewed aroma is still very sweet and rich with lots of nutty scent. I do get a bit of blueberry jam, but it’s in the background. Hmm… I get a lot of the black base (malty, generic) with some nuttiness mixed in. The blueberry mostly shows up at the end of the sip. Tried it with a bit of sugar added, and while it definitely helped to bring out the blueberry flavor, I think I’m just not a fan of white sugar in my tea anymore. It adds a weird aftertaste that reminds me of artificial sweeteners… Maybe next time I’ll try brown sugar. Overall, a decent tea, and I imagine it would be good with milk. Rating would be mid-70s.

Flavors: Astringent, Blueberry, Chestnut, Jam, Malt, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Starfevre

or honey? maple syrup?

Cameron B.

Usually I find honey adds too much flavor, but it depends on the tea. I haven’t tried maple syrup because I don’t have any, but I have heard it’s nice in smoky teas. :)

Starfevre

Depends on the honey and depends on the tea, but yeah it works better in some teas than others. Trying to taste nuance and for delicate teas it doesn’t work so well. I drink my tea with unprocessed cane sugar crystals and I haven’t had an artificial taste problem and I’m pretty sensitive to artificial sweeteners. YMMV.

Cameron B.

I’ll definitely pick up some raw sugar or German rock sugar to try next time I get a chance. :)

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Time for another Design a Tea sample! This time, I’m trying Apricot Caramel with a green tea base. The green tea leaves are smallish and steamed flat. For some unknown reason, there are rosehips mixed in (and flower petals). I must say, I am getting pretty annoyed with the unnecessary added ingredients (that I didn’t ask for) in these blends. I do not enjoy rose hips, I find them tart and not much else, similar to hibiscus. So please don’t put them in my sample when I didn’t ask for them… Grumble. Anyway… Dry scent is tart apricot with something else I can’t place. I steeped for 3 minutes at 175.

Brewed aroma is apricot with a strange powdered sugary scent. Meh the green tea base is pretty much just grassy and kind of tastes like leaves (imagine that, lol). There’s not enough flavoring here for me, and I mostly just taste the base. Tried adding sugar, and while it did help it taste more like caramel, it muted the apricot. It’s now only present as a sort of apricot jam aftertaste. Meh! Rating would be in the high 60s.

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Caramel, Grass, Jam

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Next sample up from Design a Tea is Vanilla Nutmeg Black! This one was kind of a safe bet for me, as I love vanilla black teas in general and nutmeg is amazing. Visually, this one looks similar to Butiki’s Nutmeg Cream but with smaller leaf pieces (they’re small but not quite fannings like the last one…). It also smells pretty similar – strong nutmeg with lovely vanilla/cream undertones. I’m steeping this one for 4 minutes at 200 degrees.

Once brewed, the vanilla/cream and nutmeg scents are more equal. It smells like some kind of amazing nutmeg vanilla custard pie! Okay, now I need to make one of those… Happily, this cup did not come out bitter at all. The beginning of the sip is mostly nutmeg, and then the vanilla shows up near the middle and continues to the end, which reminds me of creamy vanilla pudding. I actually dared to add some vanilla almond milk to this, which just pushed it over the top. I think I prefer soy milk, but I bought a carton of almond this time to compare. Overall, I’m pleased with this blend! Rating would be in the low 80s. :)

Flavors: Creamy, Custard, Nutmeg, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I ordered 5 samples for $5 from Design a Tea, and I feel like it would be silly to add them all into the database, as they’re custom and I will probably only drink them once. So I’m going to log them all under “Random Steepings” and just list the rating at the bottom of the note instead.

First up is “Maple Cider Oolong”. The oolong itself is an oxidized variety. I must say, I’m pretty disappointed by the leaf quality here, my sample is almost all tiny pieces and fannings. These samples come prepackaged in a tea bag, but I cut mine open and used my infuser instead. Well, I definitely regret it now… For some unknown reason, they decided to add chamomile to this blend, and if I had known that, I would have left it in the bag. Chamomile pollen likes to stick in my infuser, even though it’s super fine, and it’s a giant pain in the ass to clean it out. Not off to a good start here, Design a Tea…

Anyway, dry it smells nice enough, sweet and apple-y with maple undertones. I let mine steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees (the instructions said 3-4 minutes but I didn’t want to go longer with such tiny leaf pieces). Brewed aroma has a lot of chamomile… Now I’m grumpy. I can smell apple and sweet maple too, but the chamomile is strongest.

Even though I only steeped for 3 minutes, it’s a little bit bitter. I do taste some chamomile, but at least it’s not as strong as the smell… The cider flavor is nice, but I don’t really taste maple. I even tried adding a little sugar to see if that would bring it out, but it didn’t seem to help.

Overall, the cider flavor is good in this one, but I don’t taste maple and I’m somewhat upset by the chamomile… Rating would be somewhere in the 65-70 range probably.

Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Flowers, Roasted

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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66
drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
186 tasting notes

So here’s quick reviews about two unnamed oolongs that Albertocanfly sent me. Oh how I love mysterious oolongs. :P This is the kind of tea I’m used to drinking-haha!
Also, steeped both of them grandpa style. Just like I used to all the time before I realized steeping times existed.
So the first one is pretty roasty. Not overly so, but enough to be the main flavor of it.
Second was pretty green-y. Pretty grassy. Definitely not my kind of oolong. xD
Not my favorite oolong but I definitely enjoyed trying them! It’s been a while since I drank oolong. But it’s nice to go back to my first love in the tea world :P

Flavors: Grass, Roasted

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83

In addition to the indian white, I also got a Chinese black, a Kukicha, and a matcha covered Genmaicha. The Chinese black, labeled only as such, is smoky, woodsy, and floral. I expect it might be a Keemun. Nevertheless, it reminds me of spring in the Olympic mountains. Wild flowers abundant, evergreens standing crisply in the chilly air, perhaps near a campfire. Lovely tea so long as I am careful not to steep it. The Kukicha tastes like a warm chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate, and it can take some steeping abuse. A wonderful tea, as well.

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Went to the farmers market this morning and drank a cup of genmaicha chai from the GreenBean coffee stand. It was a great choice for just walking around with a take out cup with the leaves in it. The chai spices complimented the light, toasted flavours of the genmaicha perfectly. I definitely need to get this tea or one like it for my cupboard.

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81

Cookies sent me this mini tuocha, but I’m not sure where it hails from.

Rose Ripe Pu’erh-

Scent- Earth, Floral
Flavour- Rose, Sweet

I brewed for about 30 seconds after a couple rinses. The rose flavour comes out nicely, it’s sweet and on the mild side. There is some Earthiness still, but it is mostly floral.

Flavors: Earth, Rose, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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81

Early this week I went to the local tea room while I was waiting for the used book store to look through books I was wanting to sell (for more tea, of course.)

So I went to this place called Hidden Peak Tea Room. I really like the atmosphere there. Nice teaware, art, and some pretty background music. They were out of the Keemun tea I wanted to try, so I got a Yunnan Gold instead.

Hidden Peak Tea- Yunnan Gold

scent- malty, sweet, hints of citrus
flavour- malt, honey, smooth (there were some mild notes of yams as it cooled)

It was a nice place to visit, and I got some gaiwan brewing practice.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet, Yams

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Today I felt like having something a little different, so I mixed together three different Yunnan blacks.

-2013 Hong Yun Yiwu Mountain Wild Arbor black tea cake from Yunnan Sourcing: A very fruity, floral, almost sheng-like hong cha
-Some cheap dian hong from an AliExpress seller: A very earthy, malty black with a honey sweetness
-And bit of Adagios Yunnan Gold, which is a very silky and smooth tippy Yunnan

Three different extremes of Yunnan black tea that balance each other quite well :)

Brewed in my black tea yixing, which has started to take on a really gorgeous patina

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
Terri HarpLady

sounds good to me!

tperez

It really was! The results were better than I expected. I think I liked it more than any of the three by themselves

Kirkoneill1988

what exactly is random steepings and various artists? is it where you post custom blends?

Starfevre

Basically the misc of steepster.

Terri HarpLady

Kirkoneill, I started the random steepings category a year or so ago, as a place to post whatever: teas that are no longer available (so why bother creating an entry for them), home made blends, or whatever you feel like using it for, LOL.

Kirkoneill1988

oh! i get it now :D

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Today I’m having something black and delicious and Fuijan-esqe. Though i’m embarrassed to say I don’t know what it is. It was in a plastic baggy, probably the last of a sample from Teavivre or Yezi or something I got in a swap.

Very sweet and thick with a slight salty note. Yammy and chocoalty and has a good buttery pastry-like quality. Needless to say I’m enjoying it

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Pastries, Salt, Yams

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
247 tasting notes

This purely a personal note, so feel free to skip it

I had a mental meltdown today. So were really tight on money, and my financial aid is messed up, and I just found out that the tax forms that I need to fix it can’t be retrived electronically, and instead have to be shipped to my mom. So since I can’t even accept the loans I need to pay for the rest of my tuition until that’s straightened out, I can’t afford my classes.

Then, the cable and internet was out all day, and 75% of my classes are online, and classes started this week, but I couldn’t even look to see if I had any assignments.

Then, my car battery died, and I lost it. I waited until my boyfriend left for work, and then I broke down. Unless I’m alone watching a sappy scene in a show/movie, or reading a sad part of a book, I don’t really cry.

I called my dad, because he’s the one who fixes my car when it breaks usually. Since my boyfriend has work all night and works both jobs tomorrow, he came out to help me get the battery out and take it to get charged. Gets to my place, turns out that when I replaced my battery last time, I didn’t didn’t tighten the connectors all the way. He tightens it properly, the car starts no problem.

At this time it’s dinner time, and he suggests we go to this Thai place right next door that I’ve been dying to go too since I moved here. Over dinner, he tells me he’ll give me the money I need for tuition, so I don’t have to quit school.

And I got a Thai iced tea, which I’ve never had, and it was sweet and creamy, and vanilla and delicious.

And then when I got home, my internet was back on. So after such a hard day, I feel much better knowing that a lot of my problems have been handled. (:

Cameron B.

Hooray for (mostly) happy endings! And I love Thai iced tea. :D

Mandy

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted (: And it’s so yummy! The waitress brought me a sample and I was just like yes! Yes please! I need this! haha

Cheri

I’m sorry the day was soooo horrible, but I’m glad that things are getting better. And that Thai iced tea is DELISH!!!

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So. Full. Of. Tea.

I have been drinking tea all day long today. I got two tiny little double wall glass tea cups from Teavivre last week. I have never been a huge fan of glass for tea cups without handles, but these were just too cute to resist. And I’m so pleased that they don’t get hot at all. Great double wall insulation I guess!

I started the day with Bi Luo Chun Black (or Golden Snail Yunnan) from Whispering Pines then moved on to Golden Fleece from Verdant – both were delish though I think I’m somewhat over Golden Fleece for now. I’ll still never turn it down, but my palate is trending towards heavier teas lately. Next was Ailaoshan Black from Whispering Pines, Yunnan Gold Tips from A&D, No. 9 Yunnan from Steven Smith – all reliable and good, though the Ailaoshan was by far my favorite of the group. Finished up with Golden Tippy Yunnan from Tealeaves, which unfortunately didn’t really improve much with the short multiple steeping style sessions I was using.

Almost all of the steeps were done with 1 teaspoon of tea, spring water cooled from boiling, rinse leaves, 20 seconds for 1/2 of a little cup, 45 seconds to top off the cup, then 1 1/2 minutes for second cup and leaving the tea in the pot until I was ready for the 3rd & 4th cups.

While that sounds like a lot of tea, I guess in retrospect it isn’t that much since they were all done in 6+ ounce tiny gongfu (not sure this is really gongfu) short steep sessions. I did resteep the Golden Snail so that’s…um… 42+ ounces?

Cameron B.

You must have the slosh belly! :P

boychik

And it’s all Yunnan ! I’m not that excited with GF lately. Maybe I should change the parameters.

mj

I got those double walled cups too! They’re adorable :)

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I have recently become the owner of 5, yes 5 different keemuns. For a girl who barely knew what keemuns were a month ago this astounds me how they have gravitated to me. So here is a quick summary of how my taste buds viewed all of them in comparison. I will start by saying I actually loved all of them. There are a few I would pick over others to re-buy, but all were worth drinking again and again and again.

Teavivre – Ha Ya Black Keemun
– fruity, complex flavors, smooth, rich,

Teavivre – Grade 1 Keemun
– less fruity than Ha Ya Black, middle of the road as far as the taste profile went, not fruity, not smokey. well rounded and smooth.
– most like the Pine Peak

Teavivre – Grade 2 Keenum
– tad bit of smoke, woody rich flavor
– most like China Keenum from Zen Tea Life

Zen Tea Life – China Keemun
– tad bit of smoke, less body than the Grade 2 from Teavivre
– most like Grade 2 from Teavivre

Whispering Pines – Pine Peak Keemun
– less fruity, no smoke, good body, smooth
– most like Grade 1 from Teavivre

All teas were steeped per recommended instructions. They were all great and I can see lots of keemun drinking in my future. Thanks to those that contributed to my ability to do this comparison!

At the end of this comparison i dumped all 5 together and drank the cup. The resulting brew was also amazing! I can definitely say I am a keemun convert!

boychik

i want to get some Keemun fr Teavivre. i think im going to grab samples. too. much. tea.

mj

I always love head to head comparison notes. Thanks!

TeaTiff

boychik It was fun to be able to do the comparision of all 3 from Teavivre. Do they offer that option for sample packs? mj I like doing the side by side comparisons. It lets me really decide which one I like best, or in this case it led me to believe I like nearly ALL keamuns.

Tea Sipper

Love this tasting note! I’m glad you like the keemuns I sent over. :D Do you know which harvest your Hao Ya is from?

donkeytiara

Have you tried the superfine fragrant from teavivre or Congou Keemun from Butiki? Amazing keemuns…..

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I finally finished tasting and reviewing the red leaf matcha samples. Now I’m heavily caffeinated! Hopefully this gets me through cleaning my place today :)

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
37 tasting notes

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I should have been tasting teas from the TTB today, but I didn’t. This morning was a trusty, well-loved jasmine tea. Lunch included Twinning’s Breakfast tea. This evening I decided to try my hand at Morrocan Mint tea, which has been bouncing around my brain since I heard about it.

Yesterday I was in the 99ranch to pick up some stuff and I wandered over to the tea area, I always do. I was looking for Gunpowder green tea. You know, despite stories of it being very popular, I had a heck of a time trying to find it, most of the teas available were sencha or long ling or some other green. No Gunpowder to be found. I actually drove over to SF market (another Asian supermarket) to go through the tea selection there. I finally settled on a ‘China Green Tea’ whose characters seemed closest to the ones Wikipedia showed me for Gunpowder. Eh, it was cheap. $4 for about 8oz? Does it remind me of gunpowder tea? Hmm, I’m not sure. I’ve only had it Gunpowder a few times, but at this point I’m just going to finish off what I started even if it’s not completely right.

My mom planted some mint in a pot in on my patio and it really really likes the weather here. The mint is thriving! (I wish I could say the same of my sad little Basil plant) I grabbed a bunch of mint and did my best approximation of Morrocan Mint tea. You know, for not knowing if I have the actual right tea, and lacking the beautiful tea pot, settling for a pot on the stove.

Well, it tastes nice. I would probably try it again.

donkeytiara

Which Ttb?

Flyawaybirdie

I’ve got Another Traveling Tea Box?!?! (round 2). It’s great fun! Except there weren’t too many teas I really really wanted to try. I’m probably going to have more fun filling it up. =)

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I’m very thrilled to have had a try with the Butiki traveling teabox! thank you for starting the box! I will be writing everything for the Butiki samples in this one LONG tasting note, since there aren’t any tea shop/company names. Hopefully this teabox will educate me on the differences between some teas. I’d really like to be able to tell the difference between autumn/spring and first/second flush Darjeelings. I think the only thing missing from the box would be at least one of each sheng/shu pu-erhs for pu-erh newbies to compare. I’m not enough of a fan of raw pu-erh that I have more than one teaspoon in my possession though. I’ll be trying some of the same type side by side, especially if I want to try both.

BLACK TEAS
+*Kenyan Orthodox* – 4 min after boiling // 3 min steep
I’ve tried a couple amazing Kenyan teas before. This one is good. Hints of plum and cherry that I associate with the few I’ve had. Not too much flavor, but I love the flavor that is here. Also, tomato soup, but I wish it would leave the plum and cherry alone.

+*Assam – India #1* The leaves here LOOK like the Hattialli I love from Butiki, with a ton of golden twisty leaves, but though the cup is dark, it is very difficult to even figure out with this tastes like. Definitely not like the Hattialli that I could find so many flavors. I don’t think I’ll ever taste another tea like that one again.

+*Assam – India #3* The leaves here are much darker than #1. The flavor is also darker, but still very sweet and mellow like #1. This one has plenty of that dry grass flavor.

+*China Keemun #2* A decent black tea but it lacks all of those keemun characteristics for me. I’ve had many great keemuns lately though.

+*Kenyan CTC* I accidentally left this to steep for more than the minute I wanted. I expected undrinkablity but it actually wasn’t that astringent for a usual super-strength CTC. Just like rye bread. A nice CTC.

DARJEELING
I’m using one teaspoon of each Darjeeling but not filling the mug to the top as I usually do. I know some Butiki Darjeelings suggest two teaspoons, so maybe not filling the mug will make up the difference. I’ve also recently found out that Darjeelings are usually ruined for me with boiling water. I guess it depends on the Darjeeling.

+*Darjeeling India Autumn 2013 #1* 27 min after boiling // 2 min steep
Very squashy, which is fitting for autumn I guess! I haven’t tried this sort of tea yet. Second steep: half mug // 4 min after boiling // 2 min – completely different cup and not oversteeped so I’m still not sure what temp Darjeeling should be steeped at.

+*Darjeeling First Flush #4* 14 min after boiling // 3 min steep
I think first flushes just aren’t my thing, unless I’m steeping them wrong. The flavor is just not that great for me… what flavor there is anyway. This happened with all the first flushes I’ve ever tried. If anything with this teabox, I guess I learned which type of Darjeeling I like better!

+*Darjeeling Second Flush #6 & 7*
Maybe second flushes aren’t my thing either! These weren’t much different from the first flush, but there was slightly more flavor. But I’m not really inspired to steep a second cup OR even finish the first.

OOLONG
+*Dong Ding #1* 1 tsp // 25 min after boiling // mug 3/4 full // 3 min
No idea what temp to brew certain oolongs. I remember the Mandala milk oolong was a completely different tea brewed at just boiled or waiting around 20 minutes and I know with each oolong it’s different. Ooooo….I could try waiting 20 min for the first steeps of oolongs and then just boiled for the second steeps. I think this one brewed correctly though. The dark leaves of this one were bundled much bigger than the second Dong Ding. The flavor is like roasted chestnuts. Smooth but with a tiny bite to it. Second cup: nice as well.

+*Dong Ding #2* 1 tsp // 25 min after boiling // mug 3/4 full // 3 min
The leaves of this one were smaller bundles than the other Dong Ding. I wonder if that is why the brew was slightly darker. The flavor is stronger as well. More bite. Second steep: even more flavor but it also reminded me of kerosene for some reason.

+*Tie Guan Yin China Oolong* 15 min after boiling // 2 min
I should have went for the parameters of my favorite tie guan yin but I realized that 15 min after boiling (just boiled, 2-3 tsps.). The flavor is lighter and it isn’t a flower garden like I expect from a good tie guan yin, but this is good. Buttery, kind of more like a milk oolong.

+*Tie Guan Yin Traditional #1* 15 min after boiling // 2 min
I’ve already learned that smaller bundles and darker color means more flavor. This happened in both oolong tastings so far. This one also has something that tastes like kerosene again. Hopefully my tastesbuds aren’t like this now, but I honestly never loved roasted oolongs in the first place.

+*Mei Shan Taiwan #1* 25 min after boiling // 3 min
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Mei Shan oolong, at least that I’m aware of, so I had to try this one. The oolong are the biggest bundles I’ve ever seen. This has such an odd flavor that I don’t normally taste in oolong. It’s kind of like tomato soup but also tangy like some other fruit or vegetable. Not floral, milky or peachy like other oolongs. The cup color was light like an oolong usually is though.

+*Mei Shan Taiwan #2* 25 min after boiling // 3 min
The bundles with this one are slightly smaller and darker than the other Mei Shan. This one had a tomato soup flavor too, so it wasn’t just the other one. I guess it’s the characteristic of the Mei Shan. Interesting! The second cup had a really nice floral flavor to it I really liked.

+*Champagne Oolong* 15 min after boiling
This certainly is a flavor I haven’t had before. Very unique. I can’t really describe it but it’s sweet and it does have a creaminess to it. Really good.

+*Oriental Beauty Oolong #1*
I’ve had one kind of tea like this before. It supposedly had bergamot in it, but now that I’m trying this one, the base tastes like it has a sort of bergamot to it already. I wouldn’t guess this is an oolong looking at the leaves.

+*Ali Shan* I tried two of the Ali Shans but I’m not sure if either one was different from the other. It tasted like if a ton of different oolongs were mixed together – not very distinct flavoring.. hints of floral when it cooled. That’s too bad because I think these were the first Ali Shans I have tried.

+*GABA oolong #1* 10-15 min after boiling // 3 min
I’ve never tried a GABA. It’s supposed to lower anxiety, but I don’t think it helped mine. This looks like a roasted/charcoal oolong. With darker bundles with tinges of red. The flavor is so interesting, definitely not what I expected from these types of leaves. To me, it’s like the acorn squash that gets cut and half and baked with brown sugar and butter. Those are the flavor notes: tangy squash, butter, brown sugar. I like it.

+*Wen Shan Bao Zhong #1* 10 min after boiling // 1 min steep
Hmm.. this tastes very similar to the Bao Zhong I tried from Butiki a couple years ago! It’s very nice – light and buttery. The leaves aren’t actually bundled like a typical oolong. The leaves are long and twisty.

+*Milk Oolong #1* I wouldn’t say this is a very distinct milk oolong, and I certainly couldn’t guess it was a milk oolong in a blind taste test. I don’t think anyone should use this one to say if they like milk oolong or not.

GREEN
+*Bolivia Green* 35 min after boiling // 2 min Not sure if I’ve ever tried a Bolivia green, but this one is sure interesting. Some of the green leaves are actually compacted together… I haven’t seen that before. The taste is certainly distinct but I couldn’t even say why, so I’ll leave it at that. Good though.

+*Bi Luo Chun #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
This one is really nice. Super creamy breaded corn, as all the green teas seem to be to me. Good thing I love that flavor.

+*Bi Luo Chun #2* 30 min after boiling // 3 min
Even though the leaves look pretty similar, the taste on this one is much different. Weaker flavor even with a longer steep time. Seems tangier. Not terrible but the first is amazing.

WHITE
+*Chinese white* 32 min after boiling // 2 min
The leaves here are all so different! The scent from the cup is lemony. The flavor is nice but not extremely distinct. Hints of lemon and cream. Must be like a bai mu dan.

+*Bai Mu Dan #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 steep
This one is kind of pickley. Not really my thing. The leaves look really nice though. Reminds me of confetti. Not the best bai mu dan now that I’ve tried some nice ones.

+*Kenya White #2* Little sickles going here – not much flavor and a lot of fuzzies in the mouth. No flavor means the fuzzies aren’t worth it. Not a fan.

+*Kenya White #1* 30 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min steep
This is surprisingly the winner in the teabox for me! A WHITE TEA. My least favorite type of tea! It also figures, that this seems like the rarest tea of all, only nine results for ‘kenya white’ in the Steepster search and none of them look like this one. The leaves actually look like a black twisty Yunnan with plenty of gold. I certainly haven’t seen a white tea like this before. But the flavor that results from these leaves is definitely a white tea and possibly my favorite white tea. It has hints of lemon but the best thing about it is the syrupy texture. Not at all like those fuzzy white teas. This is the texture I wish all white teas would have. The cup of the color is a darker yellow. Two really nice steeps. I really wish Butiki would have sold this tea, or at least one like it.

OVERALL I’ve learned:
+First flush darjeelings, not my thing.
+I should look out for Kenyan white teas and GABA oolongs. I really liked being able to try a few different oolongs I haven’t knowingly tried before.
+Wow, two year old teas taste way better than I think they would. :D
+This teabox was a fantastic experience – also better than I expected! thank you so much!

Courtney

Great note! The kerosene oolongs sound bizarre. But the GABA one sounds intriguing. White Rhino shocked me, and sounds similar to the Kenyan White you tried here – I wasn’t expecting a white tea to rocket to the top of my favourites list.

Tea Sipper

thanks for reading that book. haha. Thank you for mentioning the White Rhino because that definitely looks like the tea I tried. Shopping list! :D

Courtney

Yes! I love convincing others on White Rhino. I hope you enjoy it as much as you did this one. It sounds really similar.

Kaylee

White Rhino is fabulous. I’ve never had another white tea quite like it.

Butiki Teas

The White Rhino was in the box. Only a few of our current teas made it to that box and they were Kenyan teas.

Tea Sipper

Ah, good to know! I had a feeling something that good would have to be in Butiki’s stock.

Butiki Teas

So glad you enjoyed it! :)

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My husband loves sweet tea. Lately I’ve finally gotten around to start making it for him, mostly because I got an awesome tea brewing pitcher at a sale at Teavana. I’m alternating making it with dirt cheap black tea, and more interesting (and expensive) stuff. This time I used 6 teaspoons Vanilla Oolong (Adagio), 5 teaspoons Cream flavored Black tea (Adagio), 1 teaspoon ground Vanilla Beans (Mountain Rose Herbs), 1 teaspoon Xylitol, 7 Tablespoons sugar, and 8 cups water. I cold brewed it, and it turned out quite nice. It was too sweet for my personal preference, but aside from that the flavor was very interesting. My husband said it tasted like a sweet vanilla coffee drink where you can’t really taste the coffee. I think I would really like the combination with less sugar. The cream and vanilla flavors complemented the black tea very well.

Flavors: Coffee, Cream, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 12 tsp 64 OZ / 1892 ML

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Tried a variation on my pregnancy blend. I used raspberry leaf, apple chamomile, a honeybush/rooibos blend that I had added some vanilla extract to, a bit of ginger and some xylitol. It was somewhat sweeter, and the hay notes were much stronger. I really couldn’t taste much of the grassy flavor of the rasberry leaf this time. I was pleased though, since the apple chamomile and honeyroo were blends that I didn’t really like on their own.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’ve almost finished the Pregnancy Tea I ordered, and I have a bunch of raspberry leaf from Rose Mountain Herbs, so I decided to try making my own blend. For my first attempt I added a bit of peppermint, a few small pieces of clementine peel, and a couple dashes of ginger. The flavor was fine, but it immediately triggered my heartburn, so I took a few sips, then dumped the rest and tried again.

For my second attempt, I added 1 tsp raspberry leaf, 1/2 tsp honeybush, 1/2 tsp chamomile, and a couple dashes of ginger. It was quite good, with a mild yet complex flavor, and it cleared up my heartburn right away. It tasted like a warm summery meadow- grassy, with undertones of hay, wood, flowers, and a hint of ginger. I think I’ll keep this base recipe and try adding different variations to it.

Flavors: Flowers, Ginger, Grass, Hay, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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