58 Tasting Notes
It’s Monday, and I’ve got a cupboard bursting with untasted teas! I’m going to try comparing some milk oolongs later this week, but for now, this seemed like a nice way to start.
I got this as a sample from Tao Tea Leaf when I met up with Indigobloom last week – just a little paper pouch.
Dry leaf: Long, dark, and quite spindly. It smelled faintly sweet, but I couldn’t quite compare it to anything. They were a bit hard to measure, but I tried to get 3 tsp of leaf as closely as I could. There should be at least as much leaf left in the sample.
Steeping parameters: The sample didn’t come with any instructions, so I fell back on the default green steeping parameters that I’ve seen others use: 1 tsp for 8 oz of water, 80°C for 3 minutes.
Liquor: The wet leaves smelled very heavily of salt, butter, and vegetables. After steeping, they were a nice olive/jade green, and I hope to get at least one more steep out of them. The liquor is a pale golden colour that shades down to a deeper amber as it sits in the pot. The taste is similar to the wet leaf aroma: buttered vegetables (I’m getting asparagus) with a slight taste of honey at the beginning of the sip. There’s also a bit of astringency as the sip progresses, leading to a bit of dry throat.
Verdict: I quite like this! It’s smooth and slightly sweet, while still retaining a lot of the crisp flavours I associate with green tea. I hope that this tea turns out to be characteristic of Bi Luo Chuns in general. I’ll edit the note once I get a second steep out of the pot.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butter
Ok, I’m re-rating this and moving it downwards. It is far too easy to oversteep this tea and get a bitter, cloying mess.
I had a huge tin of this that I whittled down over the weekend while visiting my in-laws. I don’t know what it is about this blend (which I mixed myself from the peppermint and spearmint that I had in my cupboard), but this blend just doesn’t work. It smells nice, but the taste is really chemically and not that minty at all.
Anyways, I drank enough of this over the weekend that it’s now approaching sipdown status. When I empty the tin, my remaining spearmint (which I like a lot more) will go in, and my cupboard will be a place of happiness and light.
Lovely. Absolutely lovely.
I did a tea swap today with De and aisling of tea (if you ever get the chance, swap with them as they will give you BUCKETS of tea) and we used the local David’s Tea as our meetup spot. They got some dried teas and some brewed teas to go, so I followed suit. And let me say, this was one lovely blend.
The flavours of the white and green blend really well together, so you can’t tell which type of tea is dominant. There wasn’t much jasmine flavour in my cup, but it smelled sweet and floral and fruity – almost like peach juice. There was a hint of peach flavour on the back of my tongue, but no one flavour won out over the others. I’m definitely going to add this to my cupboard when I get the chance.
This was one of the free samples on offer today at David’s Tea, so I had a sip. And oh boy, I did not like it.
It smelled like cough syrup. It TASTED like cough syrup. I do not want to drink a shotglass of warm cough syrup.
After I finished, there was a long aftertaste of blueberries. That wasn’t so unpleasant. But I’m glad I didn’t actually have to pay for the sips I took.
A sample from my first-ever order from Teavivre. Thanks, Angel! I’m sure there will be more.
I’ve never had a Dragon Well tea before, but I’ve often wanted to try. I’m going to hold off on a rating for now, because I want to see how the second steep goes. Anyways:
Dry Leaf: The leaves are long, flat, and thin, like feathers, and are a beautiful grass green. The smell is kind of like seaweed, though I do see what others mean when they mention buttered vegetables.
Steeping parameters: 3 tsp of leaf to 24 oz of water, 85°C, for 2 minutes. I think that was the problem – I think I should have steeped it for 3. Next time, though.
Liquor: A lovely light yellow-green that shades down to light amber as the tea sits in the cup. The wet leaf smelled surprisingly sweet and grassy (rather reminiscent of my Shincha Kuro from Capital Tea Ltd), and this transferred over to the taste. The taste is part seaweed, part sugar snap pea. Unfortunately, I think I understeeped this. I think I really should have gone for a steep of 3 minutes rather than 2. I’ll report back once I steep it properly.
Verdict: I like it, but I don’t want to give it a rating yet – I really need to see how this tastes with a 3 minute steep.
EDIT: I steeped the same leaves again once I got back home, and did an extra-long steep of 4 minutes. Unfortunately, the tea still tasted rather weak. Kind of sweet and hay-like, but nothing that really wowed me. However, I still have at least half of the sample left, so we’ll see if I can get it to work the next time I try.
I finally used my last bit of leaf to make a pot of this. And I’ve finally accepted that this tea does not resteep well, so once this pot is gone, that’s it.
It’s sweet and cinammon-y, but I think my tastes are maturing, so I won’t restock on this. The question is, should I still try to keep some sort of mate blend around for days when I need a caffeine hit?
Sipdown (kinda)! I got 2 sample packs of this from Teavivre, but since I wasn’t too enamored of this, I’m going to give the second sample to Indigobloom. So this note is me finishing off the sample I already opened.
I stuck with the same steeping parameters as last time: rinse first with hot water, then steep each time for 1-2 minutes using 85-ish degree water. I got 3 steeps out of the last remaining bit of leaf.
Despite the strawberry flavouring, I did not like the oolong base in this. Too earthy, and the earthiness became more prominent as it cooled. I had the Osmanthus Oolong from Teavivre this morning and that was much better, so I’m not sure what the issue here is.
This review is going to make me sound like such a shill for David’s Tea, but oh well. Also, it’s a sample sipdown.
So, this is a sample that I got in my recent order from David’s Tea. Not only is the tea from David’s, but I brewed it in a David’s Tea teapot, measured out the leaf using a David’s Tea’s perfect spoon, and sweetened it with some of David’s cinammon-flavoured creamed honey.
On top of that, I’m drinking it at the same time as I’m tasting a bar of David’s Coco Chai Rooibos-infused milk chocolate.
I don’t work for them, I swear! Anyways..
Dry leaf: Bits of rooibos, cardamom, and peppercorns were visible. I was surprised by how fruity this smelled when dry – I thought I detected something lemony. Looking at the ingredients, I was probably responding to a mixture of the ginger, cardamom, and coconut. Quite refreshing, actually.
Steeping parameters: I know that I underleafed this. I only had enough in the sample to make 2 8-oz cups of tea, but my teapot is 24 oz instead. I let the kettle come off the boil for about 5 minutes, then steeped the whole lot for 6 minutes.
Liquor: Orangish red, like a dark terra cotta. The ginger and the rooibos combine here to make a smell that’s surprisingly lemony/fruity. Definitely unexpected. The liquor and the dry leaf smell very similar, and the strongest taste is of ginger and cardamom. I was hoping to get more coconut out of this than I expected (though the coconut flavour is much more present in the tea-infused chocolate). However, because I underleafed this significantly, it’s entirely possible that there are several layers of flavour I’m missing.
Verdict: I think I like the chocolate version better? I’ll definitely finish off this pot, and see how drinking a properly-leafed cup from the store would taste.
I’m surprised that I’m the first one who’s reviewed this chocolate on Steepster!
Anyways, I ordered all of David’s Tea’s chocolates a few weeks ago, and I saved this one for last. There was the white chocolate Matcha Matsu (blech), the dark chocolate Hot Lips (subtle and cinammony, but not much tea flavour present), and the dark chocolate Cream of Earl grey (dark and smoky, with a fruity undertone). This one rounds out the quartet.
Now, the nice thing about the order was that I also got a sample of Coco Chai Roobois, so I get to taste the tea and the chocolate side by side. So there’s definitely an affinity between the two. However, I think the tea blend has more of a ginger/cardamom flavour, while the chocolate tastes more of coconut and cinnamon. The rooibos flavour is also more present in the tea.
This chocolate was a bit sweeter and not as milky as I expected, but overall, it’s quite nice.
I drank this tea while having a phone interview for a job I applied for last week. New tea, new job perhaps? Anyways, fingers, eyes and toes crossed for good luck!
Dry leaf: The leaves were dark green-brown, tightly curled little nuggets. They smelled sweet, kind of like apricots. I’m guessing that this is the osmanthus talking.
Steep parameters: I steeped this 3 times, and each steep lasted between 1 and 2 minutes, with about 80-85°C water. I used a teaspoon of leaf and 8 oz of water each time. Before the first steep, I rinsed the leaves with hot water for 10-20 seconds to wake them up.
Liquor: The first 2 times the liquor was a nice sunny yellow with green overtones. The third time, it looked a bit more amber toned. The aroma and taste were fairly similar all three times, though I admit I haven’t developed a subtle enough palate to detect the variety of different flavours in different steeps.
There was a sweetness kind of like apricots, but it was very subtle. All three times, the steep was light and floral, with a hint of oolong nuttiness. I liked this much better than Teavivre’s Strawberry Oolong that I had a few days earlier – that one had a much muddier, earthier taste to it.
Verdict: I’ve still got two more oolongs to taste from the sample pack I ordered, but this is pretty satisfying!
By the way, the phone job interview went well, and I’ll hear back within a week about whether they want to interview me in person. Any and all good employment vibes from my fellow Steepsterites are appreciated. :-)
Flavors: Apricot, Nuts