Hi Steepster! I miss you. Being incredibly busy and lots of travel isn’t really conducive to sitting down with a cup of tea. I’m back home at my parent’s house and I decided I wanted a cup of tea tonight. I brought some sachets of this with me, and it seemed appropriate. There’s no kettle in this house, and I’m not about to use the microwave, so boiling water in a pan it was. No clue how long I steeped it for, but it came out nicely anyway. I do love having the Harney sachets for traveling since they seem almost fool-proof under any conditions.
1210 Tasting Notes
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I wanted some tea this afternoon, and I wanted it to be spicy and holidayish, so I went digging through my boyfriend’s mom’s small tea stash and came up with this bag. I knew that there was no way I was going to enjoy this one straight since I always find spicy chai-type teas too strong and overwhelming without additions. As I was looking for some sugar I espied the world’s largest cannister of instant hot chocolate in the cabinet, and I thought about the fact that I haven’t had hot cocoa tea in a long time. I love hot cocoa tea—basically steeping a tea bag in a cup of hot cocoa—but I rarely think to make it. It’s best with strong teas that have enough power to get through the hot cocoa, and spicy chais definitely qualify. I ended up with a tasty caffinated, spicy hot chocolate with strong notes of cinnamon and clove. I could tell even through the chocolate that the tea bag tasted a little dusty, though I don’t know if that is a characteristic of the tea or it’s likely extreme age. Still, I enjoyed it enough that I’m making a second cup.
Oh Tower of London, always there when I need you. I’m going to be traveling for the next month basically, so I will be away from my all my lovely teas. I haven’t quite gotten the hang of travelling with loose leaf (especially since I dislike using t-sacs because I can taste the paper!), so I rely pretty heavily on sachets, especially of tea that is hard to mess up. I drink a lot of Tower of London when traveling, and I travel a lot, so I rarely drink it back home, but I don’t love it any less. So glad I have an easy travelling tea that I adore!
Ahhh so busy! I am exausted but have had no time to sit and have a cup of tea, which would certainly perk me up. But I finally have a brief moment now, so here it goes.
I wanted to try this tea because it’s a flavored tea that is supposed to have a very high quality, single-estate base. Indeed, the dry leaf is dark and the leaves are long and curly with some golden tips here and there. The dry leaf smells like chocolate, but I’m also definitely getting molasses and more specifically it smells like horse feed! Basically grains covered in molasses.
Steeped, I don’t get quite the same aroma profile, but there is lots of chocolate and some honeyed, malty black tea underneath. The pairing is perfect, and that extends to the flavor. Chocolatey, rich, delicious. I don’t have time to ramble on today, but suffice to say that this tea is awesome. I was very sad to see the bottom of my cup.
When I saw this tea on the site I new I had to try it. Getting a sample of this was really the catalyst for the order. The anticipation was also the reason I wanted Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong and/or a milk oolong the other day. And even though my tasting conditions aren’t optimal with a slightly stuffy nose (but still with my sense of smell!), I can’t wait to try it.
The dry tea smells oh so sweet and coconutty, and it’s hard to tell where the creamy coconut ends and the creamy milk oolong begins. There are long strands of coconut mixed in with dark green rolled oolong leaves. After steeping the tea smells more like the slightly fruity, creamy smell of a milk oolong. The coconut is there, but kind of melding with the creamy scent.
The taste is fruitier than I expected; it’s slightly peachy with a background of vegetal oolong. It’s nutty and a bit creamy, but not as creamy as I might have expected. Also I think I should drop the steep time to 2 minutes. It’s definitely very tasty, and I think I’m missing some of the subtleties due to my sickness. I’m going to hold off rating it until I can do a proper tasting, but it’s looking good so far.
I recently got another shipment of tea samples… I couldn’t help myself! But this one should be the last one for a while. I got free shipping for this company so I took the chance to order samples of some of the teas I’ve been interested from them. I have a somewhat stuffy nose right now, but I can still smell enough I think and I really wanted to try this one.
The dry tea has notes of orange, bright bergamot, and cream in the scent. Steeped, the black tea definitely comes out to play as the main note in the aroma, accompanied by that bright bergamot and then underlayed by that lovely cream note. Most of that comes through in the taste as well. The black tea base is pleasant, and a myriad of citrus notes complement it… bergamot, lemon, orange, grapefruit, though I don’t forget it’s an Earl Grey. At the first part of the sip all I get is the Earl Grey, and then the creamy notes bloom at the end of the sip and in the aftertaste, leaving a sweetish (the licorice root I think, though there’s no distinct licorice taste in this), creamy, cakey, lovely flavor in my mouth. All in all a nice, solid Earl Grey cream.
Of the three remaining unflavored high-altitude oolongs from my sampler, the dry leaf on this one had the most butter/cream in the aroma. That’s not to say it was a lot, more like a whisper of those notes among the greenish oolongy scent. Brewed up, there’s a lot more of those buttery/creamy notes in the scent, though they’re not really sweet like a milk oolong. Somewhere in between very vegetal and very sweet, like the aroma of sweet corn. And now I just sneezed a bunch and totally clogged up my nose so I can hardly smell anything! :( Sickness not allowed, go away!
Ok my nose as cleared a bit. The flavor is richly vegetal, like thick, leafy greens. It’s very smooth and a bit buttery. I feel like it’s a bit strong (it seems a little “overcooked”) for me at these steeping parameters, which is surprising since I went with a 2 minute steep (usually I use 3 minutes for green oolongs), but it’s not bitter or unpleasant, really. There’s a hint of florals (osmanthus?) at the end of the sip. Overall a very pleasant oolong, and I do want to try it at 1 minute to see how it turns out then. I also plan on trying all of these in a gaiwan (hopefully I’ll get one soon!) with the steeping instructions Naivetea gives.
I am a little stress ball lately with a million things due at work right before the holiday. Not to mention this morning I woke up with a sore throat. UGH. I was looking through the samples I had and considered a Black Currant, but then decided what I really wanted was the last of this medley of red fruits sample. This really is a very nice blend, and I enjoy the black tea base they use as well. I really need to try more Kusmi teas!
I kind of hate that this tea is so good. I’m having the last of my sample today, which means an investment if I want more (which I will). For some reason I craved it today; well, it was this one or Golden Moon’s Coconut Pouchong, which I don’t have any of. Guess I’ll be resteeping the heck out of this one…
Not your typical Christmas tea! But it just might be a nice one for thinking of warmer times when it’s cold out. It’s just so bright and cheery! I love the jasmine in combination with the mango/passion in this one. This is also a black/green blend that really works. Some people might be missing some of the black tea notes, especially when brewed a this temperature, but I’m cool with them laying low in the flavor.
This afternoon is our departmental holiday party (yay!) but that means I have a lot of work to get done this morning before it starts (boo). So I chose a tea I wouldn’t have to think about too much. Bonus points for holiday-ness! I really forgot how sweet this one is. And it’s almost more clove-y than cinnamon-y. I don’t crave spice blends a lot these days, but this one is a really great one for the upcoming winter.
Love this tea so much. I brewed a cup, had a few sips, and then got distracted in conversation for half an hour so it cooled down to lukewarm. It is still so delicious… it’s like drinking jasmine honey. Mmmm.
When I was putting my Naivetea order together I almost went ahead and ordered 2oz of some oolongs I was sure I would love (passion fruit, lychee) instead of the infused sampler pack, but I really wanted to try this tea so I went for the sampler instead. Plus as much as I may want it, I don’t really need that much oolong in my stash right now.
I read that this had a grapefruity aroma/flavor, and that’s certainly what I smell from the dry leaf, but it also reminds me of some other less common (in the US at least) citrus fruits that I occasionally find in the grocery store. Pretty sure I’ve never found yuzu though! The steeped tea smells incredibly sweet-butter-creamy with a hefty dose of florals. I don’t get so much of the the citrusy yuzu in the aroma now.
Flavor-wise, this is another top notch tea from Naivetea. This is definitely the most subtle of the flavored teas that I’ve tried; the grapefruit/yuzu citrus notes are hard to distinguish and seem to blend into all the other flavors of the tea. They do seem to give the tea a certain something that just makes it taste a bit different, though. Otherwise, the tea is a little buttery, a little vegetal, and a little sweet, with big floral notes. All around a very nice tea.
Definitely love this one. I think the golden buds base is just a fantastic match for the citrusy bergamot. Lately I feel like I’ve been running up against black tea bases for flavored teas that are at best uninteresting and at worst taste bad. I would love it if more tea bases were like this one!
I wasn’t feeling an oolong this afternoon so I decided to dig out my big box of MBSC samples and try something I hadn’t had before. Of course this one jumped out at me as fairly seasonally appropriate. It is getting chillier, though overall it’s not really as cold as might expect for this time of year.
The smell of the dried leaf on this one is very orangey/appley, and surprisingly not very spicy. The steeped tea actually takes on the aroma of mulled cider, with a little black tea added in (actually that gives me a fantastic idea… black tea in the mulling spices for cider!). It actually smells really good, but I worry that I’ll get disappointed expecting mulled cider taste, especially the sweetness.
Wow, I really really like this one! Even though right before I take a sip it seems like I’m going to be drinking mulled cider, and afterward it’s clearly not. The actual flavor is similar enough to mulled cider yet different enough that I’m not disappointed. And the big apple chunks in the blend do lend a light appley sweetness to the tea. The spices in this are not individually distinct in the flavor but definitely add up to a nice blend, and I think that adds to the mulled cider feeling. I think I get a faint hint of rose in the aftertaste, but it is barely there.
I haven’t been super impressed by the blends I’ve gotten from MBSC not because they were bad, but rather because they just weren’t fantastic and I’ve been drinking some really fantastic teas lately. Also their black tea base was a little meh, which I can tell is the case here as well, but there’s enough other things going on here that it’s not as distracting. I do wish this blend had a higher quality tea base, because it’s one of my favorite “winter” blends I’ve had so far. It should be called Spiced Apple Cider!
This is another green tea that I requested from Teavivre with my samples based on its description so that I could broaden my tea horizons. So thanks again to Teavivre for providing me with these!
The dry leaf has that kind of “green tea” scent that I associate with a standard green tea. The leaves are fairly long and twisted but they also are relatively curly so they pack fairly well and I think my measurement of them should be fairly accurate. They are dark green when dry but after steeping they have turned a very bright yellow green, and the liquor is a medium yellow color. The steeped tea smells really good, and not like I would associate with a green tea. The description mentions chestnuts, and I definitely am getting the kind of nutty aroma I might associate with them. Also maybe roasted sweet corn? It is a scent that is familiar but that I’m having trouble placing. As it cools a definite buttered cooked veggie aroma is coming more forward.
I definitely get sweet, nutty, buttery, cooked vegetable notes in the flavor as well. It’s a hint bitter, so I’m wondering if I used a tad too much leaf (or maybe I should have done a 1 minute steep). Either way, it’s not too bad and I definitely love the other flavors going on. This one actually has the same combination of flavors that add up to a cookie-type note like I experienced with Verdant’s Jingshan green (in a blend), which is totally unexpected for me but I really like it. If I can figure out my optimal steeping parameters for this tea I might just fall in love.
I just finished putting all my french teas into brand new tea tins, so I grabbed this one to have this morning while it was out. I really do love the combination of aromas in this tea with the citrus/bergamot, strong vanilla and floral jasmine. However, I have found that the combination of vanilla and jasmine, which sounds awesome, just tastes a bit odd to me. It’s not so odd here as in Golden Moon’s vanilla jasmine tea, possibly because it’s tempered by the bergamot and orange.
Also I can’t seem to make this tea not bitter, which again makes me wonder if it’s Mariage Freres’ black tea base that I just can’t deal with. This is a black/green blend, which are usually tricky anyway, but I brewed it basically like a green this time and it’s still slightly bitter to me. Then sometimes I think it’s just that vanilla jasmine combo that is giving it an off, bitterish flavor. Whatever it is, I’m not sure that these type of blends are really for me, even though I do love the idea of them.
After an afternoon of jasmine tea I didn’t really feel like another floral or somewhat floral tea; I wanted something nutty or sweet or… caramelly. Yup, that works. Now I’m finishing off my sample of this tea.
The fact that this one has a medium-roasted formosa base gives it that nutty, appley flavor that I’m really coming to appreciate. This one isn’t so appley as apple-skin, actually, and I do think I’m getting chestnuts this time, though I’m not super familiar with the flavor of chestnuts. And then over everything a caramelized-sugar flavor. I’m really enjoying this one and I bumped it up a few notches. I don’t know if it’s a rebuy (maybe if it came in quantities less than almost 4oz), but it’s a possibility if I’m already ordering other things.
Back to floral teas, eh? I am very excited to try this one because I loooove jasmine pearls. My favorite so far has been Harney & Sons, but I honestly haven’t gotten to try too many different ones (which is partly because I am so pleased with Harney’s I don’t seek them elsewhere). Thanks to Teavivre, I get to try these pearls!
And it seems like I’m in for a treat; when I opened the package I was greeted by the most amazing jasmine aroma. Seriously honeysuckle aroma there, and rich, heady florals like sticking your head into a jasmine bush in full bloom. Yum. The liquor steeped to a pale golden yellow color, and it retains that honeysuckle-jasmine aroma, though in a more subdued way. There’s also something different about this jasmine aroma that I can’t quite articulate. Let me try: most jasmine seems “high” and “bright” in the aroma, like the equivalent of a soprano voice, but this jasmine has some serious “low” and “dark” notes in the aroma, like the equivalent of an alto or tenor, in addition to the usual high and bright notes that really make it a lush experience.
I was writing all that about the aroma, but it holds true for the flavor as well. The soprano notes are present right at the front of the sip, while the tenor notes grow at the tail end and in the aftertaste. The jasmine is lovely and fresh, and not overpowering or perfumy at all. I always look for a natural sweetness in the tea that reminds me of eating honeysuckle nectar, and it is lightly present here (especially as the tea cools), but not as much as I would have expected. Still, these are top notch jasmine pearls, and at just over $3/oz, they seem to be a bargain for the quality.
Added note: I had three extremely flavorful and tasty steeps (12oz each) of this tea before I got jasmined out. This tea definitely keeps going strong!
Winter really does put me in a spicy tea mood, I guess. All this summer and fall I’ve gotten really into green oolongs and floral teas, which is pretty much the exact opposite of a spicy black. This offering is another thanks to maisonlula. It’s another in the orange-and-spice genre of teas, and this time the spices are ginger and cinnamon, both of which I can smell distinctly in the dry tea along with the orange. There’s supposed to be some vanilla as well, but it’s not obvious in the dry leaf.
Steeped, the tea smells very gingery… I haven’t yet had a ginger black tea (most of my ginger teas come in the form of lemon-ginger greens), so I am intrigued. It definitely smells very spicy. The flavor is less spicy than I would have expected. I can taste the ginger, but I don’t really get a bite from it or anything. Unfortunately a bitterness from the tea base here seems to overwhelm other flavors besides the ginger/cinnamon notes. Even then, I would wish for those notes to be stronger. This may be a tea that is a good candidate for taking home to drink with additions so I can brew it really strong and still drink it.
I got a small sample of this tea with my order from ZenTea, and I was pretty sure I’d want to drink it with milk and sugar because it smelled quite spicy. Actually I might not have had any issue with drinking this straight, but I decided I wanted to have this fairly Christmasy tea (cinnamon, clove and orange, which is standard Christmas-tea fare) with additions anyway.
The spice bend is pretty nice with both cinnamon and clove distinguishable and robust but without being overpowering. The orange isn’t super strong and instead just adds a light fruity note, which is fine because it keeps this tea as one focused on the spice, instead of one focused on the orange. The black tea base seems pleasant enough and it is certainly a major player in the flavor. Overall a pleasant spiced black tea and a nice holiday cup of tea.
Of course I’ve wanted to try this one for a while now, so I was glad when it came back in stock after being out of stock for so long, and even more glad when I got a fantastic deal on samples on cyber monday. I finally got airtight pouches that I can put this tea in after I open my sample pack, so I was finally able to break into this one. A lot of people really love this tea, so my expectations are high!
The dry tea smells much like other milk oolongs I’ve tried, with that buttery, creamy, slightly caramely, condensed milk aroma. I have to admit that I’m busy and was distracted drinking this one, so maybe it wasn’t the best conditions for a review, but also it kind of says something that I was able to somewhat distractedly drink this one. I wasn’t wowed. The flavors are a little weak, so I’m wondering if a steep temp closer to what I usually use for oolongs (~195°F), or a longer steep time would improve it. What’s there is nice… a little buttery, a little peachy-creamy, with a nice sweet taste, but I just can’t really get excited about it. It doesn’t blow me away like I was expecting. I have a decent sized sample, so maybe another time.
This is another tea from my swap with The DJBooth, and another Teavana tea for me to try. Thanks so much!
I often find that almond “cookie” teas like this aren’t nearly as almondy as I would like. Of course, I want super intense almond flavor, so it’s not to be unexpected, but a lot of times all I taste is cinnamon or other spices and not enough almond despite the slivers in the tea. I don’t know if my expectations are slightly different or if the blend of this tea is a bit better than others I’ve had, but I’m really enjoying this one. I feel like it has a nice balance of almond, which is present but not at marzipan-grade intensity, and the cinnamon-cookie flavors. The black tea base is a little meh; especially as it cools I’m getting a hint of bitterness right at the front of the sip but then it goes away, so I’m not quite sure what is going on. Still, a very enjoyable cup of tea.