1946 Tasting Notes

76
drank Chrysanthemum Pu'er by Verdant Tea
1946 tasting notes

This is my other free sample of Verdant Teas’ new Alchemy Label Blended teas. Pu-ers have always kind of intimidated me based on others’ descriptions, but I’ve only had one so far and that was a flavored one that I very much enjoyed. I chose this one as a sample because the floral pu-er sounded interesting. The leaf is dark with lots of whole chrysanthemum buds and pieces of orange and lemon rind. The aroma of the dry leaf kind of surprised me; I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the blend really reminds me of the scent of tea tree oil. Which I like, but was unexpected. I’m not sure I really can think of what a chrysanthemum flower smells like, so perhaps that’s adding to the scent.

I brewed the tea based on the western style brewing instructions for the base pu-er on Verdant Teas’ website, which included two rinses. The resulting cup is very dark, the color of dark chocolate. The aroma of the steeped cup is very different from the dry leaf, which is interesting because during the rinses I was still smelling the tea tree oil aroma from the leaf, but now it seems to have disappeared. But I can still smell it on the wet leaf, which really makes me think its the chrysanthemum flowers that are now sitting, wet, in the steeping basket. Anyway, the aroma of the liquor is woody and earthy and a little piney. It very much reminds me of hiking in the pine barrens (a type of forest environment made up pine trees with little undergrowth) out here on Long Island. When I inhale deeply I am realizing that the tea tree (chrysanthemum?) aroma isn’t gone, it is what’s giving it that piney aroma. It comes out more as the tea cools.

The flavor is light and very reminiscent of the aroma. The first note is really the pine-tree-wood flavor, which mellows into an earthy, slightly minerally flavor in the main body of the sip. Every once in a while I get the faintest hint of sweetness in the aftertaste. It’s a really interesting tea… not one I would drink all the time, but definitely a cup I enjoy. I’m kind of at a loss as to how to rate this one; on one hand, I think it’s probably a very good example of it’s kind and someone really into pu-ers would probably rate it very highly; on the other hand, I think I am not really that kind of person. Then again I haven’t had hardly any pu-ers, so who knows. Anyway, I think I’ll take the average and stick it in the high 80s. I have been very impressed with the new Alchemy line, and will likely try some other blends on my next order!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
David Duckler

This review makes me smile- That woody, earthy and piney scent that you are describing (extremely well, by the way) is actually a flavor note that the pu’er naturally possesses. The chinese call it “zhang.” It is most common in pu’er that grows wild or semi-wild in the mountains of Yunnan, and absorb the aroma of nearby evergreen trees. It is one of my favorite profiles in pu’er, and I was hoping that the cooler lemony notes of chrysanthemum would bring it out. It makes me happy to hear someone who describes not having had much in the way of pu’er pinpoint so precisely this flavor that intrigues me to no end. I am still trying to understand the phenomenon fully.

Many thanks for the insights!

Charles Thomas Draper

I like the sound of this one….

Dinosara

That’s really cool! Like I said, I don’t have experiences with pu-er, so it’s really cool to learn these things and get to try out these cool teas.

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drank Chance Combinations by Custom
1946 tasting notes

It’s time for another sample-busting, stash-cleaning cold brewed iced tea. I was looking through samples for one that would be good iced and that was almost empty, and came across the Coconut Vanilla White from TeaFrog, which I did not enjoy hot but found to be delicious iced. There wasn’t quite enough for my usual cold brewed formula, so I threw in a bit of Vanilla Jasmine from Golden Moon. In the end the blend was about 3.5 tsp Coconut Vanilla White and 1.5 tsp Vanilla Jasmine. It turned out pretty tasty, unsurpisingly. I wondered if the black tea-based Vanilla Jasmine would overwhelm the white even in a small quantity, but there’s still plenty of coconutty white in the flavor.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Charles Thomas Draper

I love cold brewing too….

gmathis

The TeaFrog coconut vanilla is so sweet and strong, I can see it as a really good mix-in for lots of things.

Dinosara

Yeah, it makes a really delicious iced tea!

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68
drank Countess Grey by Fortnum & Mason
1946 tasting notes

Thankfully I’m feeling much better today. Whether I’m actually improving or it’s just all the new cold medication I have now, I don’t know, but either way I’ll take it. I thought I’d dig into another one of my samples from SimplyJenW. Thanks! I know these Countess/Lady Grey teas are usually more of afternoon type blends, but I don’t follow the “tea rules” anyway, heh.

The dry leaf smells very orangey, with perhaps a hint of brighter bergamot backing it up. Steeped, I again get that orange aroma, along with some black tea. The orange is pretty fresh and juicy smelling. The flavor pretty much follows the aroma pretty closely. Primarily orange, but with just a hint of the brighter bergamot in the background. The tea base is smooth and pleasant, with a bit of maltiness, but it’s not a very strong component of the sip. This reads as a nice orange tea with a little something extra!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Four Red Fruits by Kusmi Tea
1946 tasting notes

I did a cold steep of this one overnight for lunch today, and it was definitely a winner for that. Still well balanced, nicely fruity with a solid tea base.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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82
drank Raspberry Oolong by A C Perch's
1946 tasting notes

Yay, I finally get to try this tea! This was really the main impetus for my swap with Angrboda, because of this tea that everyone raves about and sounds perfect for me. Thanks for sending me a sample, I’m very excited!

The dry leaf smells wonderfully like raspberries. Not fake raspberry flavoring (like the other Raspberry Oolong I have from ZenTea), but real, juicy raspberries. The leaf is interesting, and especially when it’s steeped it almost reminds me more of a black/green blend in appearance than an oolong. Hmm, my nose seems to have stopped working properly since I last blew it, so hopefully it will come through for me and let me enjoy this tea! Right now I can get a bit of the aroma from the steeped cup, which has that same lovely raspberry aroma with some roastier oolong notes behind it, I think. Kind of like raspberries baked in a tart or something.

It doesn’t taste quite like what I expected (not quite sure what that was, but whatever), but it’s nice. The raspberry is light and certainly doesn’t overwhelm the cup. My first impression is that of a light, roasted oolong, then I get a hint of bitterness (not sure where that’s coming from), then the raspberry comes out, a little bit tart, and finally back to a somewhat bakey oolong. I don’t really get any sweetness from this one, rather it’s an overall fairly tart cup, surprisingly. Overall it’s very pleasant, and I will enjoy my sample, but I’m kind of glad I’m not blown away by it because now I don’t have to be sad about shipping from Denmark. :) I will of course try it again when I’m not sick just in case my nose was messing with me a bit on this cup.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

And at 84 points, I believe you are one of the people who were least impressed by it. That’s why it’s such a favourite for me to share. :)

Dinosara

Yup, I always love sharing favorite teas to see what others think of them!

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77
drank Lemon Drop by California Tea House
1946 tasting notes

Being sick is getting really old. That is all.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

I hope you feel better soon. I had a cough for months last spring and the loss of sleep was doing me in. I felt like I was in a Bronte novel ;)

Dinosara

Fortunately I can sleep through almost anything, including my own coughing. And I could possibly deal with the coughing if my stomach wasn’t mysteriously bothering me again… :P

gmathis

Blech and sympathy to you. Are you able to stay at home with a blankie or do you have to go out and face the world feeling icky?

Dinosara

Unfortunately I am going to a scientific conference next week and I have to prepare, so I have to drag myself to work regardless. At least I have lots of good tea here!

Jenn

Feel better you! There’s nothing worse than being sick when you have so much to get done. Get as much rest as you possibly can :)

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89
drank Chamana Verde by Chamana
1946 tasting notes

I am having a horrible, horrible coughing fit tonight and I just can’t stop this painful hacking. It sucks. My boyfriend said maybe I should have some tea, that the vapors might calm my lungs a bit, and though I initially didn’t think it would help, what the heck, maybe it would work. This tisane was definitely the one to turn to… if anything was going to help me, it would be the mint and eucalyptus in this one.

And it might be helping a bit. I’m still coughing, but it’s calmed down a bit. It’s just an all around soothing cup. This really is an awesome infusion, and when I run out of the few tea bags of it that I have you can believe I will be trying to find it online.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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73

I wanted a lighter tea this afternoon since I think all that black tea was being a little hard on my stomach, so I decided to give this one a try. Plus it’s supposed to be all health-improving and such, so it can’t hurt, right?

The dry leaf smells pungently of rose and lemon. It’s one of those teas that smells so strongly it’s hard to put your nose in the pouch to smell it. Primarily rose, and that holds over to the steeped tea (though it’s not nearly so strong). The flavor is also primarily rose with an accompaniment of bright lemon. The rose in rose blacks is usually warm, rich, and full, like roses in a vase at home; this rose is fresh, bright and green, like a rose in the garden. It makes me wish that I had a rose green that was actually scented traditionally, as opposed to rose flavoring added like this one, but I don’t know if they make those. The rosemary and sage don’t really make themselves known in the taste, besides probably edging the rose toward a more herbaceous flavor rather than a candy-sweet rose. The green tea is a bit grassy, but not a major player in the flavor. Overall a drinkable, pleasant tea, but I feel like it lacks some depth.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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71

I ordered a ton of fruit-flavored tea samples from this company with a groupon, but I haven’t gotten around to tasting them because I have so many other samples that seem more appealing right now! But I decided I wanted to try this one this afternoon. I was surprised when I really looked at the dried leaf and saw it was made up of what looked like very small pieces of black tea leaves along with some crushed powdered tea in the bottom. I’m still not sure what exactly I’m looking at when I look in the steeping basket; it looks like little nodules of tea leaves, but they don’t seem to unroll or anything.

Anyway, the dry leaf smells very mango-passion, and there’s a lot of fine flower petals in the mix as well. A fair amount of tea and flower dust fell through the steeping basket, so I hope it doesn’t oversteep too much. The steeped tea smells like tropical mango passion fruit, but it’s a bit more subdued. I don’t get a strong black tea aroma like I might expect in that situation, though. The flavor is decent. I must make a mental note to steep it at a slightly lower temp, and try to shake out the powdered tea through the strainer before steeping. It’s a bit bitter but not too much (though I think it’s getting worse as the tea dust in the bottom is oversteeping). The mango and passion fruit flavors are nice and natural tasting, but the black tea base is uninspiring. I can hardly tell what it tastes like other than a little bitter. I certainly don’t get any floral notes. Perhaps when brewed a little more gently it will yield a better cup; this one’s fine and drinkable, but nothing to write home about. I bet it will be tasty iced, though!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Four Red Fruits by Kusmi Tea
1946 tasting notes

Back at work, and back to my collection of teas. This one comes to me thanks to Angrboda! I was deciding between this one and the black currant from Harney, but I decided I wanted more different kinds of berries in my cup this morning. I’m not a huge fan of strawberry or cherry flavored things on their own, but mixed up with other fruits I do enjoy them. The dry leaf on this one smells intensely of berries and those “red fruits”. The Argentinians love the “red fruits” flavor in jams and teas, and this definitely smells like some of the things I had in Argentina.

I brewed it at a lower temp like the Kusmi Caramel, which resulted in a very flavorful and very smooth cup. I’m a little too out of it from my cold to try and distinguish individual berry flavors and aromas, but suffice to say that they all meld very well together. It really is a true “red fruits” flavor… no individual fruit overwhelms the others and sticks out, and they all blend to form a fruity, berry-y, “red”, delicious taste. I was a little worried when other reviews called Kusmi teas “lightly flavored” since with blacks I prefer fairly bold flavoring (though not usually to the point that it overwhelms the tea completely), but this tea is very well flavored (perhaps because of the low steep time) and the black tea base complements the flavors well. Definitely a nice blend!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I can’t usually identify all four in a cup either. Sometimes I think it’s mostly cherry or mostly something else, and the others are either found in the background, identified with a sort of squint, or blurred together into the umbrella-flavour of ‘fruity’. My boyfriend tends to prefer a fruity black in evenings and afternoon, so we’ve always got one. I bought a 250g tin of this one as I’d had it before and knew I liked it. It’s halfway gone already. O.o I need to quiz him on his preference on this as opposed to some of the others we’ve tried because gosh! It’s not THAT long ago I bought the tin… Anyway, that was a tangent. I’m glad you liked this one as well. :)

Dinosara

Yeah, thanks for sending this one! I’m impressed with the Kusmi teas I’ve had, and I’m glad they’re easily accessible to me at the Kusmi store in NYC.

Angrboda

I’ve generally had pretty good luck with Kusmi’s flavoured as well. I had a sample set of their Russian blends once and I really liked all of them, except one which was absolutely horrid.

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Profile

Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-85: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
84-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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