2229 Tasting Notes
Semi-impulse buy when I was at DavidsTea today… definitely didn’t need another tea, but I wanted to try a basic tie kwan yin to compare other green oolongs against (e.g. those from Teavivre). I intended to pick up their High Mountain Oolong too, but didn’t see it on the shelf. The wallet thanks the tea gods for small favours. Another reason I grabbed this tea is because although I like milk oolongs, sometimes the milky flavour can put me off a bit, or be a bit too rich, when all I want is that lovely green oolong flavour. Likewise with overly floral oolongs, so this is one in which neither attribute is prominently featured (I think).
Anyhow, I didn’t have the patience for short infusions today (also, cannot justify wasting MORE time), so western-style brewing it is. A generous amount of leaf: prob 2tsp. I kind of wish I hadn’t brewed so many teas at once – I can’t remember how long I steeped any of them! Should have written it down. Although now I remember – I set this one for two minutes, sniffed it, and decided to leave the basket in longer… and then forgot about it. My guess is that it was in there around 4-6 minutes, which is approximately the range suggested by DT, so hopefully I haven’t ruined it.
The dry tea just smells green and grassy. Maybe the slightest touch of floral, but I’m not sure. Steeped, it smells a bit buttery, a bit floral, and a lot OOLONG! Yes! This is what I want! Please please please taste like you smell.
The moment of truth….. and it’s exactly what I wanted! Oh man. This may only be a mediocre oolong for most people, but holy crap it is exactly what my taste buds were craving (I didn’t know this prior, but they’re currently immensely satisfied and pushing thoughts into my brain of brewing up a whole pot in spite of the row of tea-filled mugs crowding my nightstand). The taste is buttery and smooth, barely floral, and OOLONGINYOURFACE. Bahaha, “oolongin’”: a verb describing an intense desire to drink vast quanities of oolong tea, e.g. “I’m oolongin’ so hard today”. Nevermind me….
Anyhow, I’m not going to say that this is The Best Oolong In The World or anything, as I haven’t tried enough for that, but I’m definitely quite happy with it, and need to now compare it with my Teavivre samples… although I just realized that I only have the honey tieguanyin from them… And my Verdant samples. I think that while I may like the more expensive ones better, this will be fabulous for the cheap, western-style-frequent-drinking option, while I can save the others and truly experience them.
ETA: Second infusion, 94C/5min, definitely not as good, but starts off creamy and almost like more of a milk oolong, and finishes with oolong. A touch more astringency is perhaps the biggest difference. Perfectly good though, for cutting that oolongin’!
Just brewed up six different & new teas – I am taking procrastination to a whole new level!
First up is Chocolate Cake, cuz I felt SOO left out since everyone else is reviewing it! (Of course, now I’m seeing more reviews of Ice Cream cake and pouting because I ran out of tea balls to try that one too).
It definitely smells delicious and like chocolate ice cream. Yum. Not as sickly sweet as birthday cake; I’m ok with that. I used a generous amount of leaf (a generous tsp + a generous half tsp, so probably closer to two) since there have been comments as to it being weak.
Seriously… the aroma of this one brewed is FABULOUS. It took over my entire kitchen! (And trust me, it was difficult to smell the pu’erh I was steeping because the chocolate got in the way!) Taste-wise, it’s definitely a successful chocolatey ice creamy tea. Clearly you guys who are saying it isn’t great have not tasted my cup. Admittedly it’s a bit thin-tasting, but only because my tastebuds are convinced that it tastes like chocolate syrup and therefore should be thicker!
For whatever reason, I’m getting a touch of scratchiness in the back of my throat while drinking this… perhaps it’s stevia, perhaps it’s sugar in this tea (it happens when I drink or eat something overly sugary sometimes too). A bit bothersome, but I can get over it.
I like this a fair bit better than I was expecting to. I’ll have to keep a watch on whether or not this one’s kept on permanently, because I think I’d like to have a tiny bit of this on hand for those days when I truly want a chocolatey sweet tea. It’s definitely not an everyday tea, though.
ETA: Second infusion, 5 minutes and boiling water, is worthwhile but definitely weaker and kind of watery. I probably won’t try a third (if only because drinking 4L of water this evening might not be the greatest idea??)
Ok! Giving this one another shot with better parameters this time. I used about 4g of leaf for 250ml of water in my basket infuser.
First infusion (30s/205F)
There’s a light, honey-like aroma to the cup. Delicious! There’s a sweet and malty sort of honey flavour, with an oolong aftertaste. Quite good (and a big change from last time!)
Second infusion (35s/205F)
There’s now a light, almost floral aroma. The brew is stronger, richer, and kind of woody with more astringency than I would like; I probably shouldn’t have increased the infusion time. My bad – I thought it smelled too much like hot water at 30s, and it was a split second decision! It’s definitely still drinkable though.
Third infusion (45s/205F)
There’s a similar aroma to the previous infusion. However, the flavour changes here – there’s less astringency, and I’m getting almost a fruity sort of flavour here. Actually, perhaps it’s wheaty. A flavour I would imagine that sweet dry hay might have (although I have no familiarity with it, just an impression of it in my mind). It’s hard to place exactly what it is. I prefer this infusion over the second, which is just too astringent for me.
Weird! There’s a bit of a lingering sweet aftertaste with this infusion too. Kind of like what fennel can leave behind, but more pleasant.
Fourth infusion (35s/205F)
This time, I cleverly(!) sipped from my cups prior to the next infusion to make sure things were tasting ok, so after tasting the third infusion I decided to drop the time back to cut the astringency (I missed taking a sip between the second and third though, otherwise I would have dropped the infusion time back down then!)
This one tastes much like the third to me, minus the astringency. Maybe I’ll be able to figure out the flavour now?? …nope.
Ok, so this time things were MUCH more successful, and I may have yet another go with the leaves I left downstairs. I realize I made a couple of judgment errors while infusing here, but I think that I need to stop with this tea until I acquire a gaiwan and learn how to use it. Also, I need to take some sort of palate-training course or something, so I can say more than “ok, so this steep is definitely different than the previous but uh, not exactly sure how…”
I’m going to hold off on officially rating this one again, because I still don’t think I’ve experienced all it has to offer. It would currently garner a rating in the low 70s according to my scale, but I believe it’s worth more than that! Looking forward to my future attempt(s).
In an attempt to get through all of the teas in the huge box I received from LiberTEAS, I decided to randomly select one tea to sample whenever I have time to brew up more than just a couple of teas. I think today would qualify :)
Obviously, this is the tea I picked out! I’m a fan of earl greys – they bring back happy memories of getting tea drunk with my best friend back in elementary school. Great fun :) And more recently, they remind me of my boyfriend and his mom, as they both like earl greys and earl grey cream teas; his mom always serves them after dinner. Lately I haven’t had too many though, as I’m interested in exploring other flavours of tea.
Anyways, onto the review! The dry tea, in spite of many lavender blossoms, just smells like an earl grey. However, the lavender comes out quite strongly when steeped. I used a slightly heaping tsp for about a cup of water and am hoping it doesn’t come out too strong!
Not surprisingly, the dominant flavour in this cup is lavender, with bergamot notes and a vanilla finish. At three minutes of steeping, the tea is definitely not overpowering, and quite pleasant to drink without additions, which makes me happy. I think I could use a bit more cream/vanilla, and perhaps a touch less lavender, but this is tasty! Thanks LiberTEAS!
ETA: I realized a bit belatedly that this reminds me a lot of DavidsTea’s Jessie’s Tea, likely mostly because of the strong lavender flavour and creaminess. I think I preferred this tea though. Can’t compare the two because I sent off the remainder of Jessie’s Tea with my boyfriend, but that’s ok.
Also, second infusion of this one the next day is pretty good! 3min infusion. Can still taste the lavender, and am not really perceiving it as an earl grey until maybe the aftertaste. Definitely worth the second infusion though. Not sure about a third as I threw out the leaves to use the teaball for another tea – but they did still have some aroma left, so there might be further potential!
Time for a break from black teas – a brief honeybush interlude! Thanks Amanda for this sample!
Based on Amanda’s notes, I made sure to use an ample amount of the dry tisane and the tea ball has now been sitting in the cup for…. ever. I don’t know, maybe 30 minutes? Maybe more? I want something really desserty!!
Dry, it smells DELICIOUS! Sweet and caramelly with almost a hint of cheesecake zing? Odd, but whatever, it smells good! Not getting chocolate, but I don’t particularly care.
Steeped, I can smell caramel and honeybush. Mmmm.
It tastes pretty much like a caramelly honeybush, too. Ooh, and the caramel taste is lingering in my mouth! Delicious. It could definitely stand to be stronger yet, but I like the flavour. Desserty without being overly sweet. I think maybe I am getting a bit of a chocolatey flavour, but it’s pretty subtle. Thanks Amanda, this one’s quite nice!
Thank you so much LiberTEAS for giving me a sample of your cherished 52teas blend! I’m a huge tomato fan myself, and this tea sounded SO interesting! Perhaps if there are enough of us who swear to buy it, Frank will create another tomato-based tea??
Anyhow, onto the review. The dry tea smells like a slighty smokey, peppery black tea. I wasn’t expecting to smell too much else, so am not terribly surprised.
Steeped, the tea smells a bit smoky and peppery. Not much tomato or basil flavour apparent. Hmm, and it’s pretty much the same as that, flavour-wise. I’m not perceiving any basil flavour, nor tomato, despite intentionally putting in the large piece of sundried tomato that was in my pouch, and selecting out some basil flakes.
Ok, I just dug the steeped tomato out of the tea ball and chewed on it a bit – there’s some flavour left; perhaps a longer infusion would have helped, but I don’t think there’s enough left to have flavoured the whole cup. Eating the tomato chunk while drinking some of the tea helped a bit, but the chewing distracted me from paying enough attention to the flavour, haha.
Ok, so this was somewhat disappointing, but I think there’s real potential in a tomatoey tea! At least for my personal preference though, there would need to be a heck of a lot more tomato, as well as more basil. I still have a couple cups worth left, so might try adding some extra dried basil, and using some sundried tomatoes I have (although they are packed in oil, so that might be a tad gross).
(Alternately, was four minutes of steeping too long, and it made too much ‘tea flavour’ come out, masking the tomato?? There isn’t really any astringency/bitterness, so I thought I had done it correctly this time…)
Another unfortunately-stored sample from my unenlightened days. Here’s hoping I can get something out of it! There were no recommendations for steeping parameters, so I went with two heaping tsp of leaf (it’s rather fluffy and old) and the parameters for TreasureGreen’s ‘Treasuregreen Silver’ green tea.
First infusion (~84C/2min)
As I’ve had a fair bit of luck steeping greens in increments of about 30s, I started with this one at 30s, but after pouring it out, the “tea” smelled like hot water, so I poured it back in to infuse for another 30 seconds. Same deal at this point, so I let it go another full minute. Don’t really have high hopes for it, because the water probably cooled down quite a bit with all the back-and-forth I was doing.
Steeped, this one pretty much has no smell to it. Hoping it tastes like more than just water… Ok, it does, but definitely not very strong. It’s a very mild green tea, I am getting a vegetal taste, and almost a bit of a toasty flavour(?) No astringency or bitterness, but just VERY mild. I like it though! If it was stronger, I think I would quite enjoy it.
Second infusion (~87C/3min)
This one got a solid three minutes. Again, no real aroma. The flavour is a bit more on the toasty side and less vegetal, but still rather weak. I’m pretty sure age and storage are huge factors here.
I’d like to try this one again, freshly purchased. I think there’s potential! It just wasn’t very strong. I think I have enough of this left to give it one more shot, and there might be a bit more leaf left than I used today, so here’s hoping that decreasing the amount of water + more leaf might bring out a bit more flavour. Current rating is based on a bit of speculation that this tea will be stronger when fresh :)
Ok, I’m only trying this one because of my curiousity about 52teas’ blends and the generosity of Azzrian! It’s not something I would typically pick out myself…
The dry tea looks so much like coffee! I suppose that’s because it’s CTC, but it’s really odd. And consequently, requires a filter with teensy weensy holes, or alternately, a disposable filterbag, which is what I went with. There isn’t toooooo much smell to the dry tea. It smells kind of like a… black tea. And perhaps has picked up the slightest hint of Mayan Chocolate Chai in its aroma. Highly doubt it will be present in the tea though.
I’m really hoping I didn’t oversteep this one… used a level teaspoon’s worth in a regular mug, and 95C water for just over 3 minutes… and it smelled POTENT. The aroma actually reminds me strongly of Red Rose, an association I’m only making because of recently having drank some Red Rose. Had I not, I probably would have recognized it as a familiar smell and been frustrated at not being able to place it!
The flavour is definitely not as strong as I anticipated. It really just tastes like a “standard black tea”, which I would use to describe any black tea I had prior to 2012. There is some astringency, and a hint of bitterness – I probably could have used a bit less tea and dropped the infusion time to 2:30 and been a touch happier, but it’s not bad. I am not really caring for this one plain though, it’s just too boring-black-tea-like. It really does taste like a bagged tea. So, I’m sure it will be great once I add some milk and sugar, and I’ll be able to finish it off that way, but not a tea I’d purchase myself!
Continuing my flavoured black tea exploration this morning!
I picked a sample of this one up a while back but just haven’t gotten around to trying it yet, primarily because it’s a black tea. Really, I should have taken it to work, because that’s where I’m looking for caffeine, but for whatever reason I didn’t. Anyways!
The smell of the dry tea is pure peachy goodness. Reminds me quite a bit of Long Life Oolong (no surprise). I suspect that I would only ever need/want one peach tea in my cupboard at a time though. I think I’m going off fruit teas a bit, and being more intrigued by other flavours and straight teas. I’m sure this will turn around eventually though!
Er… I think I’ve let this one cool a bit too much. It looks like there are yogurt floaties in the cup XD Ah well, too lazy to go down and re-heat, so I’ll just try it! Can’t be worse than rooibos floaties (ick!)
Yum!! It tastes VERY peachy. Granted, I made sure that there was a lot, probably a disproportionate amount, of peach chunks in my brewing basket, but it definitely achieved the desired result of MEGAPEACH! With definite yummy creaminess. I really can’t taste the black tea at all, but given that this doesn’t taste like peach juice, I’m sure it’s lurking in the background giving this tea a fuller body than just peaches. Might also be that my mouth is still accustomed to the stronger tea flavours from the previous teas I drank, and so it’s not picking up the subtler taste here.
Ok, drinking more of it I can taste a malty sort of background which would be the black tea. Also – yogurt floaties not an issue at all. They may look a tad odd, but I can’t even tell that they’re in there, so they’re probably re-dissolving in my mouth or something.
I actually am really liking this tea! It’s better than Long Life Oolong (although that tea hasn’t been given a fair shot yet), and as Uniquity says in her review, it does taste like a peach Campino! Maybe a touch less sweet, but that could be remedied with a bit of sugar. Now I’m craving Campinos…. are they still around?!
ETA: Second infusion surprisingly good! Enough that I may try a third (although I’m getting a bit tired of black tea by now… go figure!)
This tea is from my sister’s cupboard – she’s only a fan of rather flavourful/sweet teas, and this one didn’t fit the bill. She had been given a whole box (100g) of it, so when I visited at Christmas, it came home with me! My first attempt at this tea back on my birthday in January wasn’t bad, but since then I have learned quite a bit about tea and steeping times, etc., so I’m thinking this cup will be better! I also feel like I should note that the box for this tea is covered in greek writing – I don’t know if this is a greek company, but the tea was possibly purchased in Greece :)
The instructions for brewing call for one level teaspoon per 2 cup pot, steeped with boiling water. I was just using a mug, so went with a generous half teaspoon and boiling water.
The dry tea looks like a typical black loose leaf tea, with a couple small caramel-coloured chocolate chips. I made sure to get one into my tea ball, but am skeptical that I’ll have enough for one per cup by the end of this bag! It smells a bit chocolatey, but isn’t particularly aromatic. I tend to find that with flavoured blacks and many straight teas, so am not too concerned. Steeped, the smell is of chocolate and caramel… yum!
Ok – this is definitely better than I remember! I can taste a mild black base, mixed with creamy and vanilla-y flavours with a hint of chocolate. There’s no astringency at all, which is lovely. I am getting a bit of a strange taste at the end of the sip, after the delicious flavours have faded. Can’t really place it though. A part of me wants to say cardboard, but that would be very harsh, as that’s not really it. Maybe… it’s a bit woody?
I think I’d try this one again at 1 tsp/cup just to see if I can strengthen it a bit. It’s not really all that weak, but I would like to give it a shot stronger, and given that there was absolutely no bitterness or astringency, I figure I have a bit of room to play around! Overall a pretty tasty straight chocolate tea! I’m impressed :)
ETA: Second infusion is a bit weak, but still pretty tasty! A bit caramelly sweet and smooth. Worth it, IMO.