847 Tasting Notes
My favorite, favorite breakfast tea ever with the addition of vanilla? YES, PLEASE.
I got a sample of this because it would have been stupid of me not to. In fact, I’m kind of surprised its taken so long for me to get the sample, but I guess I just haven’t needed to make an order until now.
Yes, I definitely like this one. I’m not surprised. I actually had it plain and the vanilla added an excellent creaminess that at the time didn’t need any additives. I may try it with milk and/or sugar at some point, too.
I’m not going to go with a solid 100 yet because I have a few more cups to play with, but the first cup was promising. I’m starting to think that East Frisian anything can do no wrong where I am concerned.
Steep two: 2 minutes.
The tuo cha broke apart completely after the first infusion, which honestly I was glad for. I don’t know why but the whole piece just sitting in water unnerves me – it’s like it won’t distribute flavor evenly through the water. This is obviously not true but it’s something I’m visually going to have to get used to.
Anyway, the hay/pellet smell is back in the steeped liquor. It is still, thankfully, not present in the taste. The semblance is coffee is still really strong, and particularly so in the texture – it is a very thick, chewy tea. As it cools the hay/fermentation becomes present in the taste – boo. If I can get used to that I think I’ll be good as pu erh’s go. This is going to be a slow process but I’m determined – pu’erh is my final tea frontier and I really want to explore it as thoroughly as I have all the other types. More later….
I forgot that Upton sends you samples with your order!
They sent me this one when I replenished my beloved East Frissy and spearmint teas. Given that most of my teas from them are blacks I was not surprised (and was actually very pleased) to get an estate Assam. Assams make great breakfast teas, after all.
The dry leaf in this one was familiar in that in had the malt and raisin notes but also something I really had a hard time placing. I’m glad they mentioned red wine in the description, because – yes! That’s it! I don’t drink wine very much so that explains why it was familiar but not really, and raisiny but…different than straight raisin.
I went straight for 4 minutes with this one as that’s where I like my black teas, and since I knew I’d be adding some creamer to it I wasn’t afraid of how strong it would get. But I did try a few sips plain and I was surprised. While this was astringent, it wasn’t so much so that you CAN’T drink it plain. It isn’t unpleasantly bitter. Not at first, anyway. There’s a chewy malt texture and it’s quite nice for an assam.
Oooh kay. Good thing I got my creamer out though because as it cools it decides that yeah, the astringency needs to be punched up a notch. At this point it requires some milk and sugar to calm it down some. Ah, well, easily remedied, that.
This is still very strong with the creamer added, and is behaving like all breakfast teas should. Strong, bold, and a good start to the morning. East Frisian got to my palate first, though, and its proving to be impossible to displace – this one’s good but it’s not good enough to beat my current staple. It was great to get to try an estate tea, though!
Flavors: Malt, Raisins, Red Wine
Alright pu’erh. Let’s do this.
Recently I decided to try pu’erh and really learn more about it. I timed it perfectly with Black Friday sales, and this is the first tea I wanted to try from Mandala. I figured I’d go with a shou first since it’s darker and I do so love black teas.
Rinse: 15 seconds
Steep one: 1 minute. People mention the term “fermentation flavor”, but maybe that is what I think of (or what my boyfriend mentioned, and now I cannot un-think of) as hamster pellets? It’s kind of woody and hay-y. I’m so inexperienced with pu’erh that this smell is making me nervous. It doesn’t smell – drinkable. But I’m determined to try it, so I take my first sips. At first there is a small amount of this pellet flavor but there is also something surprisingly pleasant. Kind of coffee-like (a dark french roast), but without the acidity of coffee. This is very smooth. I can also get the dark cocoa powder notes. If the fermentation flavor ages out of this I think I will like it a lot, but it’s not bad as is.
I can see how it’s an acquired taste, though. As it is I’ve kind of had my fill with this and want to save the leaves for later. That could also be because I am super tired because I just finished my 12 hour night shift though. Oh well, to be continued in later notes…
Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee
I was honestly convinced this tea had some scent contamination when I first opened the package. I mean, it’s a white tea – why is it smelling like raisins and cocoa? I sniffed the outside of the package and it smelled like plastic, and then moved some leaf to the gaiwan and inhaled again. Raisins and cocoa. Okay. So, not contaminated, and also completely unlike any white tea I’ve ever had. Should be interesting, then.
Steep one notes: 3 minutes, boiling water, 2 g. leaf to 5 oz. water.
The leaves are HUGE. Huge and very minimally processed, which is to say they are unevenly shaped and sized. The liquor is now trying to be much more…green oolong. It’s buttery and floral to taste but there’s still some underlying malt and raisin. WHAT IS THIS TEA??? It is really smooth, is what it is. And curiously addictive – I can’t seem to stop sipping it and I almost feel buzzed. Hmm… maybe this is what the phrase “tea drunk” means?
I like it. I like it alot.
Steep two: 4 minutes
A thinner, lighter brew this time. This was sweeter, less heavy on the florals but still really good. I truly do feel lightheaded- I’m writing it down if only to see if this happens the next time I drink this as well. Must be something about the Hawaiian terroir.
Steep three: 5 minutes
Now the liquor smells flowery again. Specifically, rose, which is awesome because I much prefer rose to jasmine in tea. This infusion is more floral in taste as well. This steeping is more of what I consider an oolong flavor profile. If I REALLY concentrate I can sort of get notes of hay that I associate with white teas as well. It’s quite the chameleon!
Steep four: 7 minutes
I let this steeping cool longer than I should have, but it was still nice. Same floral notes and an undertone of wood as well. I probably could get more steeps out of this, and I may try, but Tea Hawaii recommended only 4 so I’m stopping here for now.
What a fun tea! I loved how complex and variable it was. It is definitely a luxury tea and way too expensive to keep around in large quantities (especially with my inconsistent drinking habits) but it’s a great palate expanding adventure and I will savor my last two servings of this for sure!
Flavors: Cocoa, Hay, Raisins, Rose, Wood
I know most Christmas teas are really an orange spice blend, but the addition of plum to this is what makes it for me. It smells and tastes so warm and comforting. Tonight I’m having it plain and the spiced plum notes are the most prominent.
Absolute perfection- I have maybe one mug left so I know it won’t make it to the end of the year, but it will make the holidays that much more special!
This is a really good Earl Grey Creme – probably one of my favorites. Alas, I keep having these problems wherein I like ONE tea by ONE company – but then nothing else. And then I can’t justify ordering mass quantities of one tea because I drink it too slowly.
So, while I do love this, Upton’s Earl Grey creme will be the one I stick with, simply because I have a few staples there already and it is more convenient. This one will be missed though. And I’m down to 46 teas! Which is good because 16 more teas are incoming… Cyber Monday singlehandedly is filling my cabinet right back up, haha.
I must have underleafed this one yesterday because it was unfortunately pretty tasteless and watery. As it cooled I got a little more flavor but it was nowhere near the bright citrusy ceylon and raisin notes.
Luckily I have more of this, though I do need to hoard it – it makes me so sad to think I’ll never get to buy this again :(.
I love iced tea! Hot tea, too, of course, but I drink cold teas with meals and so it is a much more year round thing for me. This tea is another sipdown sample that comes from the ever generous Sil!
Glad I saw this only needs to be brewed for 2 minutes – I initially set the timer for 4 minutes but then decided to check and was able to yank out the steeper just in time. I added my preferred amount of sugar for iced tea and waited (rather impatiently) for dinner tonight.
I first had lime iced tea at a mexican restaurant around here and I fell for it HARD. Iced tea with lemon has never worked for me but iced tea with lime? It paired so well with the flavors of mexican food (my most favorite of all foods) that it has become my favorite flavoring to add to any iced tea, any time.
This tea was a surprise in that it was kind of creamy lime – like lime and vanilla? Only it’s actually the other way around – you get the vanilla first and a citrusy lime tang later. Like a lime flavored meringue, I guess. More of a desserty tea, actually, so I’m surprised it’s recommended to be iced.
Seriously, it’s kind of like key lime pie iced tea. Weird! Not bad, but not exactly the flavor profile I was expecting. I have had lime teas that worked better iced, so while I enjoyed trying this one I don’t think its one I’ll buy. It was fantastic getting to try it though!
Flavors: Lime, Meringue, Vanilla
Sipdown sample from Sil!
Had this last night with the boyfriend to end a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend. What made it so fantastic, you ask? Why, not leaving the house for 3 days, actually. Tea, the food we had in the house, reading (me), video games (him), and putting together my Cyber Monday orders. (Also known as bye bye monies…)
I’ve had the Fauchon L’Hiver blend and from the description on this I was really expecting it to be similar. Lemongrass and vanilla? Yes, please. But the lemon meringue lightness about L’Hiver just wasn’t present here – it was more tart lemon than vanilla, and I guess the white tea played more of a role than I thought in that one because this was decidedly more herby.It was drinkable, and as the tisane cooled I definitely got more vanilla undertones, but this one isn’t the best of its kind I’ve had. Given how much money I just spent on tea though ($100+… cue heart attack) that is SOOOO a good thing!