So, verdict, I rather like it, although mildly, my aunt does not. Not because she disliked the taste, but because there’s not enough of it—she complains it’s like having hot water. Admittedly, this is a common complaint for her with Green and White teas, but she did like the Darjeeling Green a bit more, and the Clouds & Mist a lot more. This doesn’t have the vegetal taste that puts me off so many Green teas. It’s mild and sweet and refreshing with almost an almondish and minty note.
62 Tasting Notes
This was—Okay. And believe me, after trying the Chun Mee tea yesterday and having my aunt compare it to sewage, not a bad thing. But this is a very light tea—a kind of uber green. Not vegetal, which I dislike, and one we can tolerate enough to get through the two ounces we bought, but not one I’d order again. I found it rather bland. So far, of the five new green teas we recently purchased, the Cloud & Mist is the one we liked best. Tomorrow we’ll see if Pi Lo Chun can beat it.
I share these teas with my aunt, so I try to buy ones we’ll both like. Her reaction was this reminded her of “sewage.” Hardly how I’d describe it. Trying to tease out why she reacted that way, well it is slightly vegetal. I don’t detect the plum-like taste in the description on the packet. There’s an aftertaste that’s a bit metallic and smoky, a sour bite that makes it rather astringent. It’s … well my aunt called it “tolerable” but I think I’m probably going to give this away to my tea-drinking friend and give it another chance to be loved. Definitely not one we’ll order again.
I enjoyed this. I should say, that by and large I’m not a fan of green teas. I’ve ordered a bunch, thinking my tastes in tea might have been refined a bit after a year of drinking fine loose leaf teas. I do like Hojicha, but that’s an atypical green tea, being roasted. I hated the Sencha and Dragonwell I’d tried, which I thought tasted like water in which spinach had been boiled. This particular Clouds and Mist, there is a slightly grassy note, but it’s subtle. It’s a light, refreshing tea, if one perhaps with a little less character than I’d like. My aunt did like this one far more than the Anhui Yellow Flower we had yesterday. For that matter, so do I. (And having now tried the other Green Teas in our order this beat Pi Lo Chun, a Darjeeling Green and Chun Mee.)
I’m not crazy about this one. I prefer the other Yellow tea Tea Source offers, Wild Kwan Yin. That one reminded me a bit of a cross between green and white teas—in a good way. That one interestingly called for steeping at 190 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 3 minutes, like an oolong. This one called for 160 degrees Fahrenheit for two minutes, more like a green tea. It’s certainly very…er… subtle. Too much so for my tastes. Not quite as bad as Silver Needle. It’s not like drinking hot water, but too close for my tastes. There’s also an odd aftertaste. I don’t know how to describe it. Not quite metallic, but not really vegetable. Maybe this is what the description means by a note of “sweet roasted cornhusks.” My aunt out and out disliked it. Not a tea we’ll order again, although drinkable.
This tea is on the black side of oolongs. In fact, I read that Brandy Oolongs are oxidized from 85 to 90 percent. So if Pouchongs embody the green exteme of oolongs, Brandy Oolongs are at the other end. Personally, I loved the tea, and would rate it at the high end taking only my own tastes into account. But I share these teas (and the expense) with my aunt, and she didn’t like this one at all. The label and description on the site says this tea has a “phenomenal floral/stone fruit aroma.” My aunt doesn’t like flavored teas. I could swear I tasted peach in this. It definitely had a floral/fruity quality more pronounced than in an unflavored tea I’ve tried. Which is a lot of what I did like—and I suspect precisely what my aunt did. So, since I try to rate these to help me decide which teas to purchase again, I’m docking this so it’s just out of that high rated range. But personally, I thought it a winner.
The package label describes this as “medium-bodied, smooth, and slightly fruity with a toasty note in the finish.” Given the name, I thought this might be the TeaSource version of Adagio’s Formosa #8. Like that one it’s certainly one of the darker Oolongs; if I didn’t know better, I would think this is a black tea given the color and taste. I’ve seen Darjeeling and Ceylons that have steeped up lighter in color. I wouldn’t mistake this in taste for either though. The Adagio Formosa #8 is described as “raisiny.” I’d say this makes me think more of caramel or cinnamon. I’d agree with the “toasty” in the description but really am not tasting a floral or fruity note as described. More than a little astringent, too. I think I prefer Adagio’s version. The TeaSource version is enjoyable, but not one I think I’ll order again. Maybe it’ll improve on a second steeping (I’ve read with repeated steepings the astringency is reduced, and the fruity/floral note more pronounced), but I prefer to order those teas that steep up well from the very first.
Description on package: “This classic tea is aromatic with fruity undertones reminiscent of fresh plums, and a toasty flavor in the aftertaste.” I can’t say I taste anything plum-like, but I do agree about the toasty flavor. Otherwise this tastes like what I think of the generic, typical ur-oolong. Very similar to Iron Goddess, in that not-green but not-black way with that astringent, mineral note. It’s a tea I’m certainly enjoying, but not I think distinctive enough that I’d buy it again.
The description on the package says: “This lovely greener oolong steeps up floral, sweet, fresh, with a noticeable silky/smooth/creamy quality usually only found in much more expensive teas.” I definitely appreciated that creamy, milky/buttery quality in it. I didn’t have the mineral taste I don’t adore in oolongs, and despite being described as a green oolong, it didn’t have a vegetal quality either. I just got in a bunch of new oolongs from TeaSource to try. I’ve tried four out of the seven, and so far this one is my favorite. Not just because I like the taste, but it has a taste that sets it apart from the generic Tieguanyin/Tung Ting Oolongs. It doesn’t displace as a favorite oolong Pouchong, Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) or Oriental Beauty. But it’s definitely one I’d order again and would like to have as a regular in my cupboard.
The description on the package calls this a Fujian oolong and says it “steeps up light to medium-bodied with a sweet silkiness and a hint of fresh, floral flavor.” It’s on the green side of oolong, but I liked the lack of a mineral taste. It’s a smooth oolong reminiscent of a Tung Ting or Ti Kwan Yin. It didn’t rock my world, and I doubt I’ll buy it again, but it was very enjoyable for all that.
The label on the package describes this as a “fine Tung Ting style oolong…medium-bodied and silky with sweet, fruity notes, and a lingering aftertaste.” It’s definitely on the green side of oolong, and really is quite pleasant—at least on first steeping, with a bit of the mineral note often found in oolongs. It’s a middling tea, one I’ll enjoy while I have it but not one I’m likely to reorder.
The description on the package says: “This is the classic Taiwanese oolong: wonderfully aromatic, smooth, silky, slightly sweet, and floral. Made from the Jin Suang cultivar, this tea is enjoyed all over the island.” We tried a Jade Oolong from Adagio that by and large we liked, even if not a favorite. My aunt frankly hated this one from TeaSource, and that’s not a word she has used before for Oolongs. She said she rushed drinking it to get it over with. I wouldn’t say I feel as strongly, but like her this isn’t one I’d order again. It had almost a fishy smell to me, and it’s a lot more astringent and mineraly-than the Jade Oolong from Adagio—a disappointment.
Description on package: “These rare downy pearls have an aroma like a spring meadow, and the liquor has a very smooth, sweet, creamy note, with just a hint of garden fresh just-picked vegetables.” This to me tasted like a cross between Yinzhen (Sliver Needle) and Bai Mudan (White Peony) since it struck me as not as strong as the last. It’s just strong enough to have my liking—my complaint with too many white teas is that they’re barely discernible in appearance, scent or taste from hot water. I do taste something faintly vegetal about it, which is my complaint with green teas, but had that smooth, faintly floral taste I like in white tea. Still a bit too subtle for my tastes though. When it comes to White Tea in the future I think I’ll stick with White Peony.
The tea leaves are curled with light tips and it steeps up as dark as coffee. It’s a bit earthy, reminiscent of some Keemuns and Yunnans I’ve tried. At times I’ve dislked such teas, I found a TeaSource Empire Keemun and Dian Hong nigh undrinkable to my tastes. I tend to prefer Indian to Chinese blacks by and large. I quite enjoyed this one—mellow enough in that earthy note for me not to be put off, and I imagine this might pair wonderfully with milk, but it’s quite nice plain. I have enough of this I might feel different with more acquaintance, but for now I’d say this is a tea I could enjoy everyday, but not a favorite.
This is the first time I’ve tried a yellow tea, and it’s funny, it’s exactly what I imagined it might be like—a cross between white and green tea. It has white tea’s mildness, its lightness, but there’s a slight grassiness (not in a bad way, and that’s a taste that usually puts me off.) I like it—a very refreshing tea somehow, although not I think destined to be a favorite.
This was a more pleasant experience—preparing and drinking—then I had expected. I had heard all sorts of things about pu-erh and was rather intimidated when I received as a Christmas gift this cake of pressed tea inside a dried mandarin orange. I had never tasted pu-erh before, let alone prepared it, and expected it would be difficult just getting the tea out. It turned out to be easy. I sliced into the peel with a knife, and it turned out inside is just…tea—which I could pick out with my fingers.
I usually use an infuser—a rather roomy tea ball essentially but instructions I’d read said to make this loose in a pot. So that’s what I did. Also as instructed, I poured off the first steeping of 30 seconds (some sites say as little as 15 seconds for this step.) Some sites also say the next steeping should be only 30 seconds, but I went with the guide that suggested 3 minutes.
I expected something much darker, since I’m told pu-erh is the “real” black tea. (What we call “black” the Chinese call “red.”) But this is described as a green tea. Pu-erh is supposed to come in two varieties: ripened (shou) and raw (sheng) types. The Silk Road Tea site doesn’t specify which this is, but I assume since it’s green it’s the “raw” type?
My aunt and I quite liked it. I’ve heard all sorts of things about pu-erh. That it has for instance a “fishy” taste—which didn’t sound appealing. To me this one tasted like a really nice green tea, but without the grassy taste that puts me off. It’s somewhat oolong-ish to me. A bit of a woodsy note, and I think I can detect a bit of that mandarin orange, but so subtle is it I’m not sure it’s not my imagination. My aunt thought it a bit “flowery” but “very nice.” All in all a much more enjoyable tea than I expected.
(The second steeping at 3 minutes, 30 seconds was rather bitter.)
Having only gotten into fine loose leaf teas this year, I’ve avoided buying flavored teas while I’ve gotten acquainted, especially since I often share this with my aunt, and she prefers her tea unflavored. This tea was given me as a Christmas gift. It’s basically Earl Grey with vanilla. The Silk Road site says it’s a blend of Ceylon, Indian and China black teas with bergamot and vanilla. Maybe that’s why this tastes like dessert to me. A rich indulgence—I can really taste the vanilla and it really compliments this blend. I imagine this would partner well with milk, but I really don’t want to in any way hide the flavor. A real pleasure.
The site doesn’t give a lot of information about the tea. Just that it comes from the Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province. The leaves look curled up, reminiscent of tiegaunyin teas I’ve seen and it steeped up a dark yellow and tasted very much like Iron Goddess of Mercy. That’s an oolong I like, but not as much as Big Red Robe or Oriental Beauty especially given the mineral-y note to the tea.
I’ve had Moroccan Tea before—and I’ve also had its base tea, Gunpowder China Green. I don’t care for Gunpowder tea—it’s too…flinty in taste for me. In general, I don’t care for unflavored Green tea at all—too vegetal, at least those I’ve tried. I do like Moroccan tea with its mix of gunpowder tea and spearmint. This one is a nice blend, with the mint very much there but not unduly dominant. It’s impossible at several months remove to really compare this with the other cup of this tea I had from Alice’s Tea Cup. Then though my impression was that while I wouldn’t turn down a cup, it wouldn’t be a tea I’d buy again. I find I like Moroccan tea more this time. I just had a second steeping and it was a lovely treat while recovering from a cold.
The tin calls for 1 tsp per two cups of water “just before the boil” and steeping for 3 to 5 minutes. That just didn’t sound right to me, so poking around the net I decided to steep with water at around 176F—and I added about twice as much tea as called for. Despite that, this had the problem I’ve had with most white teas. It’s barely there. This is why I prefer (the more affordable) White Peony over the celebrated Silver Needle. As far as I’m concerned there is such a thing as too subtle. I think I can detect the muscatel taste of darjeeling here, but the taste is so faint I wonder if it’s my imagination. This isn’t as wimpy as Silver Needle or Snowbud, but I definitely prefer my tea stronger. It did strangely improve on a second steeping, with the flavor a bit more pronounced.
Listed on the tin as ingredients are lemongrass, peppermint leaves—and seaweed. Given that last I didn’t think I’d like this at all. I haven’t liked the taste of seaweed when I’ve tried it, and the entire reason I haven’t liked the unflavored green teas I’ve had is because of a vegetal or seaweed like taste to them. However they blended this though, they did a wonderful job. Looking at the mix in the tin the lemongrass definitely predominates, and that citrusy/gingery taste is what’s most obvious in the brew, but the kick of peppermint is certainly there too. I can’t really detect the seaweed, though no doubt it makes its contribution. It’s light, soothing. I really liked this!
(Or rather I really loved the first steeping. I resteeped it for about 9 minutes and didn’t like the result at all—dumped half of it undrunk. On that second steeping I could really smell—and taste—the seaweed and it wasn’t to the good. Less of a minty taste and far more bitter, even with increasing the sweetener. Guess that this is a one-steeping tea.)
Looking at how this steeped up I get why the Chinese call what we know as “black” teas “red.” Because that’s exactly how it looks—red. And I wouldn’t quite say it tastes that way, although there is a spiciness to it—more than what I remember of the other Ceylon Vithanakanda I tried. Otherwise, like that one, this makes me think of the most basic of basic teas. A Lipton or Tetley with substance and class. An ur-Black tea that could stand for the entire class. A very enjoyable tea, although lacking the kind of character that makes me want to order it again.
Reminds me of the Hong Mao Feng I’d tried and very much liked. There’s this smooth almost chocolate note to it, together with a spicy bite to it. Not unduly earthy or smokey—a very enjoyable tea.
My aunt was put off by the smell—she likened it to cat piss. I wouldn’t quite put it that way, but it is pungent—very smoky. It does taste a lot better than it smells though. A bit chocolate or caramel in taste, with the earthiness I’m beginning to realize is very characteristic of most China Black teas. I think I’m getting more used to that taste, but I think its absence is precisely why I tend to prefer Indian teas.