1914 Tasting Notes
This is truly one of the last tea samples I’ve gotten recently that I haven’t tried yet. Guess I’m going to have to go back to drinking all the teas I actually have, oh the horror! But seriously it will be good to go back to some of my favorites again.
The dry leaf of this tea smells a bit fruity, and definitely like green tea, but it also has some unexpected minty notes. Brewed, however, those minty notes disappear (thankfully), and it’s a much more straight up green tea with fruit in aroma. The fruit smells not like pear or apple individually, but some kind of hybrid pear-y apple-y fruit. Like, it’s not berry, and it’s not citrus, and it’s not tropical, so what’s left? Apple-pear.
The taste is much the same. It’s pretty light; a bit of green tea and a bit of fruit, but not much. I really prefer my tea to be more flavorful than this, so perhaps I will up the leaf or steep time next cup to see if I can improve it. Otherwise it’s pleasant enough, but not very satisfying.
The handle of the steeping basket of my Kati cup just broke off! Boo! Getting that thing out of the cup now requires a knife and hot fingers. :P
I really loved the sample I got of this tea before; the lavender and the Earl Grey were in a good balance, and the addition of the jasmine really rounded the whole thing out. I ran out a while ago but it was always on my list, so I ordered 2oz of it with my last Tea District order.
Upon opening the package I was a little concerned. This didn’t really smell like the tea I had before! The dry leaf smells very very lavendery, in a very herbaceous way, but there’s also a lot of other things going on in there that I can’t quite place (but don’t really smell like just bergamot and jasmine!). The brewed tea is similar: lavender, yes, but also almost spicy?
Um, what?? This is horrible!! WTF is this?? This is totally not the delicious Lavender EG I had before. It’s bitter and kind of like a spicy lavender, but overall just terrible to me. Like they mixed in a chai base instead of an Earl Grey. There is no hint of bergamot whatsoever. What on earth happened?!
ETA: I have sent this package of Lavender Earl Grey back to Tea District for replacement by another tea. They claim that there could be no error as far as the blend goes, so I’m going to have to remove my previously high rating of this tea.
Ahh, floral oolongs: my latest obsession. I’ve always loved jasmine teas, and then I discovered rose-scented teas, but my world opened up when I discovered that other flowers can also be used to scent teas, and that high quality oolongs can be incredibly floral on their own, and the combination of the two is often spectacular. This is another courtesy of the lovely QuiltGuppy!
The dry leaves smell slightly floral, but it seems like it’s a very different floral than the brewed aroma. I think I’m getting mostly the oolong itself: vegetal but darker and richer than a green.
It’s definitely a very floral tea, but it’s not overpowering (for me at least). In the aroma of the steeped tea you still get the green, vegetal notes of the oolong base, which also come through in the flavor. The orchid flavor reminds me of the magnolia oolong I had recently, and thus reminds me a bit of jasmine as well. This tea isn’t one of those florals that is so floral that it’s sweet; that’s tempered a quite a bit by the oolong notes. I think the two play off each other well, delivering a floral tea that isn’t too overpowering. Overall I’m really enjoying this tea; thanks for another awesome experience, QG!
I like going back to teas from the beginning of my tea journey and tasting them now. This tea is really so uncomplex, and so good because of it. The dry leaf just smells like bergamot, that’s it! And brewed it’s just a nice, well-blended mix of the bright, citrusy bergamot and the smooth ceylon. Is it my favorite tea? Well I’m really getting into the more complex blends, so no. But whenever I want to go back to a nice, classic EG, it’s nice to have this one in my cupboard to turn to.
This is the other oolong from my Tea District order. I think I chose it before I realized how much stuff it really has in it; it’s not just plum and oolong, but all kinds of other things including some crazy berries I’ve never heard of, hibiscus, rosehips, black tea(!) and osthmanthus flowers. It’s a dark oolong, and the leaves are long-ish and twisted, but not super long. I can see the smaller pieces of black tea fairly easily in the steeped leaves. The dry tea smells fruity and berry-ish, but with some other hard-to-place aroma; it’s almost medicinal, like berry tums? Which doesn’t sound very pleasant, I admit.
When steeped, the color of the liquor is a medium reddish-amber, and it smells a bit like pot smoke. Seriously. I wasn’t really expecting to feel like I’m at a rock concert in the city when smelling this tea. I’m not a fan of the aroma of weed, so it really doesn’t make me want to try it. I doesn’t taste like it smells, which is probably one of my first experiences with that; often people talk about pu-erhs smelling awful and tasting fine, and I wondered how it could be, but here’s an example (though not a pu-erh). I wouldn’t say this tastes quite “fine” though; the pot aroma does leak into the taste, which otherwise is very, very tart (hibiscus-y) and somewhat plummy, with a bit of a smoky aftertaste. I even like hibiscus but I don’t see why its necessary in this tea. Maybe if you didn’t mind the smell this tea could be enjoyable. Overall, I feel like why would you take an osthmanthus oolong (ostenstibly), then throw all this stuff on top of it? A couple of plums, maybe, would be fun, but it all seems extraneous.
A tl;dr side note: Tea District says this is their own blend (which is what they say with all of their teas), and they really go out of their way to mention it in the description of this tea. They make it seem like the blend was completely designed in house by their tea blender. However, this tea minus the black tea is identical to teas of the same name from Rishi and Arbor Teas, and similar to others with less complete descriptions. I mean, how many people could really think, “I know, this plum tea needs schizandra berries!”?? I could believe they sell the blend wholesale to other companies (though it’s not exactly their blend that appears elsewhere) but not to a huge company like Rishi. And I really doubt the small amount of black tea does much for this blend.
I understand that every tea company has to make teas seem like their own if they want people to order from them and not just some other company that offers the same tea, but I don’t like it, I feel like I’m being deceived. If you didn’t blend that tea, tell me who did. It’s up to you to distinguish yourself by your customer service, your packaging, other offerings, whatever. I’ll still order from Tea District because their Lavender Earl Grey does seem to be unique and I love it, and I’ve had good experiences with their teas and the company otherwise, plus they constantly offer groupons. Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I like to know where my tea actually came from!
Cold brew of the day, and delicious. I previously speculated that this would be good iced, and it definitely is. I think the hunks of dried apple in the tea totally make it. Incredibly appley in a fresh way, and with just a hint of natural sweetness. I had a bottled apple black tea a while ago that was way oversweetened, and this tea is what I wished that tea had been. I will definitely be cold brewing this one again!
I usually don’t go for an oolong in the morning, but I wanted one anyway. This is another one of my samples from QuiltGuppy, thanks! The dry leaf smells a little bit vegetal, and a little bit floral. Unlike the other oolongs I’ve had recently this is a dark oolong and the leaves are long, spindly and twisted. This made it difficult to portion out into my cup, so I don’t know if I quite got the right amount of leaf; I think perhaps I should have added more. I brewed it “traditional” style using the instructions they gave on their website for that method, as opposed to gong-fu style.
Brewed, the liquor is a medium dark yellow and it smells quite floral with a hint of fruit. There’s also that deeper “oolongy” aroma there too, but I can’t quite pick out some of the darker more complex notes they mention. Despite the fact I think I didn’t add enough leaf, I am very much enjoying this cup. It’s sweet and floral and all around delicious. I’m glad I have enough leaf to brew some more cups and do a better tasting note. Thanks again QuiltGuppy for another fantastic tea!
I was going to dive into a multi-steeping oolong tea this afternoon, but then I had to walk across campus and decided to stop at the shop that carries the Teas’ Tea teas (heh). Of the ones they carry, this is the last of the bottled teas that I was really interested in trying, so I went ahead and picked it up.
It’s definitely seriously rosey. Even though it’s unsweetened, it almost seems a bit sweet from the florals. The green is a light base, which isn’t really the best green; it’s a little bitter at times, and at others it’s just plain. Still, it’s pretty tasty and I like that it’s unsweetened as a bottled tea. I think I prefer rose blacks because the black tea tends to keep the rose from getting out of control, and I’d like to try some of my rose blacks iced I think!
Lunchtime cold brew of the day. This tea is extremely vanilla-y when cold brewed. It’s kind of mind blowing! The other flavors are much more muted; there’s a general hint of floral flavor, and a slight bitterness from the bergamot, which is contributing to a slight Earl Grey creaminess of the cup. I think I enjoyed this one better as a hot brew, but I certainly wouldn’t turn away a cold brew. I think many of these French teas lose some of their complexity when cold brewed; it really takes the heat to bring out all the intricate flavors.