127 Tasting Notes

60

One of the least favorite teas I ever received in a Steepster select box. Perhaps I received the “bottom of the barrel” scrapings, but the mere teaspoon sample in the pouch was not identifiable as any type of oolong. More like a musty mess of really poor grade leaves. I like earthy teas, but this really was sub par. Rethinking the cost of Steepster Select with the tiny size of samples recently.

Flavors: Decayed wood, Dirt, Earth

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Very pleased with this tasty, aroma filled Assam. A very pleasant maltiness in the background and a sweet, fresh flavor and aroma up front. Much less dark and dense than many similar teas that are picked later in the year. Clean and crisp.

Flavors: Dates, Honey, Malt

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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88

Loved this hot last fall when I first tried it, put a few notes on the pouch that simply said: “Very good, Nice Spice, Try Iced.” I was overloaded with chai tea blends at the time, and put it away, only to have it resurface this week. I used the remainder of the pouch to make a full pot of tea a few days ago for breakfast and was pleasantly surprised by green cardamom pods and other spices that blend so nicely with the Sri Lankan black tea base. I reserved enough to have iced later in the day and it was excellent. Invigorating and refreshing.

Flavors: Cardamon, Clove, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95

I forgot how wonderful Verdant Teas could be. I haven’t been able to afford them for awhile, and this sample came with a recent Steepster select shipment, so I brewed up and re-steeped several times to make the very best of the leaves.

Nice clean taste with excellent tones of Cacao, honey and dried fruit. Golden brew with a heavenly aroma and flavor. Three steeps, and more joy in one cup that you really have to savor slowly. So very, very good. :)

Flavors: Cacao, Dried Fruit, Honey

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

The past few weeks I have been working my way through a nice assortment of Taiwanese Oolongs from several companies, including this nice light roast from Drunken Meadow. There is something so refreshing and pleasant about it, that I can’t seem to put my finger on, and makes me want to try just one more steep…

I love watching the leaves of this traditionally rolled oolong gently unfurl in the water, releasing light flavors and aromas of peach, plum and spice tones. More than 4 short steeps and the leaves keep giving … A perfect tea for spring.

Flavors: Peach, Spices, Stonefruits

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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89

A great deal right now on Yunnan Sourcing’s China website. I purchased 100 grams of this last month, along with a number of tea ware and puerh items that were on my wish list… Such wonderful natural flavor. I am a big fan of Autumn pickings, that are often more robust and filled with stimulating energy.

The hand processed needle like tea leaves unfurl gently and yield a cup of light amber/green tea that has a distinctive aroma not unlike some dragonwell (long jing) teas that I have enjoyed, but the flavor is more robust. Nutty, toasty and very pleasant. A real winner here for a bargain price.

Flavors: Almond, Chestnut, Roasted nuts, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 45 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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89

Spent a nice afternoon sipping this tea yesterday. This sample was part of March 2015 Steepster Select box featuring different teas of China. This Wuyi Oolong is a deep roasted version from Fujian Province, yielding a bold, earthy flavor and aroma quite different from other regions. I definitely taste the fruity, floral and sweet tones I remember from a few years back when I drank quite a lot of this tea. A really bold yet smooth oolong that doesn’t disappoint.

I really am pleased with so many of Rishi’s loose leaf teas, and they really made a good impact on the tea world by making sure their teas are truly organic and fair trade certified (more than 90% of their teas). Their flavor consistency is also really impressive over year to year harvests.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Raisins, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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88

This sample was included as part of my March 2015 Steepster Select box, celebrating a variety of teas from China. I was happy to see this sample among the others as it is a bit like seeing an old friend whom you enjoy the company of, and can’t remember why you have been out of touch.

Steeped in accordance with the instructions on the packet (1 tsp/4 g per 8 oz, 185 F), in a small glass teapot so that I could watch the leaves dance over the 2.5 minute brewing time. Aroma is delicate and refreshing, Sweet Grass and Sunshine with a hint of nuttiness. The taste is wonderfully much the same. A very beautiful example of the green tea of the Hubei Province. Much tamer and more sophisticated than Yunnan greens, and no astringency like you find in many Japanese greens. A truly wonderful cup of tea.

Flavors: Chestnut, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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68

This used to be one of my favorite teas, always fresh tasting and a tea I enjoyed drinking all day long. Ordering direct from their site assured you of getting the freshest available. Unfortunately the sample I received in the March 15 Steepster select box just tastes a bit old and stale. Bleh. Maybe it is the packaging? Anyone else have this experience?

Flavors: Dry Grass, Dust, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Received a small sample of this in my Steepster select box a month or two back, and waited to try it until yesterday. As a German-American, I felt really put off by Andrews & Dunham’s asinine marketing that surrounds this tea (as well as all their other teas) so I missed out on a pretty good blend.

Assertive and bold. The sample I had was mostly Indian Assam, with no smoke detectable. Tannin and malt dominate. Very pleasant, but definitely lacking the smokiness which would have added character. I blame this on the small size sample packaged by Steepster who probably didn’t think to blend the tea before packaging. But that is a rant for a different post.

Flavors: Malt, Spices, Tannin

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

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I have been drinking tea for most of my life, and enjoy learning about Tea Culture from all around the world. I learned early about Russian and British traditions first, since my parents came from Europe, followed by the teas and culture of Ceylon/Sri Lanka and India. Since I have been a practicing Buddhist for the better part of 25 years, I have strong ties to Asia, and have slowly been learning about the teas from each part of the world I encounter. It is a wonderful and interesting journey.

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