104 Tasting Notes

I had Golden Orchid yesterday evening, and this morning I had the base tea for GO! North Winds is unmistakably the base blend but it lacks the smoothness and the creaminess of GO. (Those vanilla beans make a huge difference.) It has notes of cocoa, honey, fruits, chocolate, and grain. It’s chocolate but it’s not a DARK chocolate. The fruity notes are simultaneously like plums, cherries, and raisins, but then it’s not quite any of them. There’s a hay-like flavor as well. Some caramel sweetness peeks out in the aftertaste, but it’s subtle. I want to say there’s a somewhat mineral quality to it, too. Maybe I’m crazy!

Now that I’ve had the two, I think the main differences between GO and NW are texture and sweetness. While GO is like satin and velvet—soft fabrics—NW is like freshly sawn wood. It’s soft, but there’s a graininess to it. GO = glossy. NW = matte. I hope that makes some sense.

I hate to compare the two because they are not the same. They are teas for different occasions. (At least for me.) North Winds is for mornings; Golden Orchid is for evenings, a time where you can devote your attention to something luxurious. I now have a greater appreciation for the latter.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Hay, Honey, Malt, Plums, Raisins

Sarsonator

Lovely review. I enjoyed your textural descriptions!

pyarkaaloo

wow, thank you so much. this is perfect. your descriptions & comparisons of texture are so helpful. i recently had Verdant Tea’s Laoshan Black (which i love) & it sounds a lot like what you’re describing here, though i don’t doubt there could be a world of difference between them! i read so many rave reviews about Golden Orchid which naturally drew comparisons to North Winds. i was dying to know the real difference. your review answered so many questions, again thank you :) both go on my wish list!

kimquat

Thanks you guys!

@pyarkaaloo I’m so glad I could help you out! There is bit of difference between LB and NW. NW is a little darker and heavier, as far as texture and flavors go. I prefer it for that reason. I do hope you enjoy it!

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91

Chai was calling my name tonight. I shouldn’t drink tea so late, but it seems that I’ve been reverting to a nocturnal schedule over the past weeks. I’ll just embrace it. Also, why has only one other person reviewed this tea?! Get on it people. Brenden’s chai is the best.

I used almost 1.5 TB for 10oz of water which, after brewing, I realized was potentially crazy. It made a STRONG cup of tea. Fortunately it doesn’t overwhelm! It’s quite tasty. There’s a lot of warm, tingly spice that’s refreshing and invigorating. As teataku pointed out the cardamom is a little strong. Luckily I like cardamom. A lot! And the base tea, my god. It’s thick and malty with notes of cocoa, caramel, sweet potato, and the suggestion of dark red fruits. Plums and cherries and things of that nature. It’s creamy like pudding; luscious, visceral! It’s a sexy sexy tea. This is the first time I’ve used “sexy” to describe a tea, ahaha…I think it’s appropriate! “Intoxicating” is another good word for it. Plus, it’s good for resteeps. The spice and the cocoa pull back a little, the caramel and fruit come forward. Mhmmm. I’m all about it. I love Yunnan blacks and I love chai spice. This is just a marriage of awesome. Bravo Brenden!

Flavors: Caramel, Cardamon, Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Red Fruits, Spices, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick

TheTeaFairy

Ravishing review :-)
(And why is it that I din’t have this tea yet???)

MzPriss

I don’t have this :(

TheTeaFairy

What, both of us???? What’s wrong with us, thought we were gonna have ALL the TEAS!!!

MzPriss

I don’t even know how it’s possible. And this is a GREAT note

Terri HarpLady

Sounds wonderful

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96

Wow, did this tea get better? I’ve had it once or twice since my order came in a couple of weeks ago, and somehow it seemed…lacking. Maybe it was because I wasn’t in the right mood, maybe it was because I had different expectations. (It does seem different from the old version but it’s not just the vanilla bean.)

Oh! I just realized, the last few times I brewed I forgot about drinking it until it was lukewarm. It could be an issue of temperature…I’ll take note of that. It’s much better when it’s still hot.

The dry and wet leaves smell absolutely decadent, like cocoa and sweet sparkling vanilla. The tea liquor has an aroma of chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and cherries. Mouth-watering delicious. The taste is very similar, too! It tastes like dark chocolate! Thick, rich, wonderful dark chocolate. I for one think that the darker the chocolate, the better, so this is heaven. It’s so smooth too. Mmmmm. The vanilla bean adds an element of sweetness and smooths out the tea base. Makes it velvety soft, creamy. It’s like a liquid chocolate dessert. I’m noticing fruitiness but it’s not quite cherry. I was thinking plum, then I second-guessed myself and read the tasting note. I guess it is plum! Neat. It’s not very strong, it’s just a subtle hint beneath the chocolate and vanilla. After sipping there’s a slight nutty aftertaste and caramel sweetness. The notes of cocoa carry through. Oh my, my, my. This is so good and I can’t get over how SMOOTH and RICH and VELVETY it is! It’s a keeper. I was unsure, but I’m convinced now. AND it’s good for resteeping. I am so on board.

Upped my rating.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla

TheTeaFairy

Great review!! And you will never want to be without this tea again. I think the vanilla bean makes this tea even better with time, that’s why you might see a difference. I know MzPriss (who’s GO is the absolute favourite) prefers it when it’s older :-)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I love lightly aged GO. A month even makes a HUGE difference :)

Dexter

Then mine should be AMAZING by the time I get to it ;)

kimquat

That might be! I believe it. It seems much smoother and sweeter today than before. After this, I’m trying North Winds again to compare. (:

TheTeaFairy

Haha! please dex, don’t wait 6 months before trying this one!!!

Dexter

I’m working on getting better at that… ;))

MzPriss

Yes kimquat – it DOES get better as it sits a little while. The vanilla infuses more and it gets smoother and smoother so it is even more excellent in my mouth.

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82
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
104 tasting notes

…I have a confession to make. I love Verdant Tea, but this is my least favorite black tea from them. It might be my least favorite tea of theirs that I’ve had, period. I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to love it. Sadly while others have been fireworks and cymbals, LB has always been “Ehh, it’s alright.” I don’t get the hype. But then again, everyone is mad about WPT’s Golden Orchid right now and I’ve had nearly the same response. “Ehh, it’s alright.” There are others I prefer.

On to the tea. It smells divine, I’ll give it that. The taste isn’t quiiiiiiite the same but it does parallel the aroma. It tastes faintly of cocoa with grain, toasted rice, wood, honey, and a creamy taste/texture. It’s a light- to medium-bodied tea, but there’s heavy malt in the aftertaste. A little bit of caramel. And I swear I taste soybean.

In theory, I really like this tea! It has a lot of elements that I enjoy in a straight black. But when I’m sipping…I can’t help but think of other teas I would rather be drinking. The mind wanders. It doesn’t captivate me. I do, however, like it in blends. (Laoshan Village Chai and Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black specifically!) I’ll finish what I have, but I doubt I’ll stock back up when it’s gone. And it probably won’t be missed.

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Creamy, Grain, Honey, Roasted, Soybean, Toasted Rice, Wood

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93

From my pre-order package! I finally got into it today. Aw yes. I haven’t had this tea in a good while. Probably a year, when I ordered my first five teas (sampler!) from Verdant.

I used almost 2tsp in 10oz of water. First steep: 1min. Second: 1min20. Third: 1min40.

The tea has an aroma of cocoa, grain, honey and malt.
It first tastes like honey and sweet potatoes. Next, there are some flowery muscatel notes that remind me of a Jin Jun Mei or a Darj but then, are nothing like those at all. Kind of fruity-winey but juicy instead of dry. There is a hint of chocolate as well. It’s not strong, it’s not heavy, but it’s there. This IS a very light tea. It feels smooth and soft, like…silk. Yes. Airy and lovely. Persisting throughout is a sweet, juicy honey flavor. It grows stronger before being joined by notes of grain and light, buttery pastry. Those are the flavors that linger behind: buttery bread, honey, and sweetness. It leaves a malty feeling without being thick, heavy, or “dark”. Difficult to describe.

This is a truly exceptional tea. In later infusions it gains a woodsy, spice dimension to it as well. It has a lot of flavor…especially for something that feels so light and delicate. I think it would be perfect as an evening tea, something to enjoy while curled under a blanket at home, reading a book. It’s something special. Many thanks to everyone on the Verdant team for bringing such a lovely tea to my cup!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Flowers, Grain, Honey, Muscatel, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

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86

Revisiting this tea after many months! I think that, like the Sleeping Bear Blend, I only had this one once or twice before I put it away. It wasn’t the right time for me to appreciate it…but that time is tonight!

Each sip starts bright and minty sweet. Clean, calming, refreshing. Like breathing fresh mountain air. There are notes of soft, delicate jasmine as the tea unfurls in its full glory. It’s buttery with a somewhat honeyed taste. Thick mouthfeel, medium body, creamy and somehow slightly smokey. (At least at first.) I’m a sucker for buttery green tea, and this one is not really vegetal or grassy at all. So it means AWESOME in my book! I don’t like grassy greens; the vegetal factor is the reason I hardly drink green tea. I don’t even like vegetables. Anyway, getting off topic. Everything is quite well-balanced. The finish is buttery sweet, lingering on for a few minutes until the cleanness of the mint takes over again. It’s not a definite mint flavor, per se, it’s more of a texture. And it’s just barely there.

This tea re-steeps well, too. I infused it for 4min 20 the second time; the mint is toned down a little and the butter-honey notes of the green tea seem more intense. This is a good blend, a very good blend. Of course I would get into it after it’s discontinued. I did this to myself. At least I still have a decent amount left to enjoy…

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honey, Mint, Sweet

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec
yyz

I liked this one too.

kimquat

Yeah, I didn’t expect to like it so much. Greens are usually meh for me.

yyz

I like greens, but I don’t like the overly grassy, or vegetal ones either. For straight greens I tend to keep the brewing times short, starting at about 45s, though sometimes less. It tends to play up the sweet and fruity aspects of the teas for me.

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88

This one is really growing on me. It’s cozy and nice. I get strong cravings for it, sometimes.
Taking back what I said; it’s a definite re-order!

(For poetic ramblings see previous notes.)

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97

“Wee snaily yums” is right.

This tea…what is this tea? It’s a slice of buttery, perfectly toasted bread, drizzled with sweet honey and maple syrup. Lightly dusted with powdered sugar. There’s a tiny hint of spice that makes me think there’s cinnamon on top too. Visualize it. Mmmmm. There’s some malt and chocolate in there, towards the end. I mean GOOD chocolate, none of that Hershey’s bullshit. My college roommate last year was a young woman from Kazakstan. She brought me a bar of milk chocolate from her country and it was better than any milk chocolate I had ever eaten. That’s what I mean. It was creamy, melt-in-your-mouth delicious. This tea is exactly that. It’s the best, buttery flaky croissant I’ve ever had. It’s the best milk chocolate and the lightest, loveliest honey.

You better have a good reason for not having this in your cupboard.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Chocolate, Creamy, Floral, Honey, Malt, Maple, Smooth

TheTeaFairy

Yummy :-)

kimquat

I’ve been drinking WPT on the daily! I think I’m addicted. Best addiction EVER

TheTeaFairy

BEST EVERRRR!!! Lol, welcome to my world..

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Backlog! From SEVERAL days ago, so all I have is the stuff I jotted down while sipping.

Here goes:

Bitter nut shell.
Citrus.
Maple.
Sour.
Lime.
Rum.

I remember that it did taste more like an oolong than a black tea. The weight of the liquid, the lightness of body and the almost sparkling texture…it was very bright. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I’ll try this again soon, and I’ll make sure to be more precise in my description! Thanks for sending this my way hapatite!

Flavors: Chestnut, Citrus, Lime, Maple, Rum, Wood

hapatite

Glad you enjoyed it!

Single Origin Teas

hearing Lime and Rum makes me think I should re-name it Cuba Libre!

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drank Lemon Chiffon by Della Terra Teas
104 tasting notes

Lemon pastry! Cake! Buttercream icing! Mmmm!

There’s no icky, medicinal rooibos taste here. The lemon is not tart or sour—it’s smooth, and it’s paired with a soft, creamy vanilla flavor. It’s a little drying on the tongue but I have no real complaints. I tried Lime Chiffon right before this, and this one lacks that distinctly citrus note. It’s more like lemon candy or lemon cake than actual lemon. That’s fine with me though! I expected lemon pastry and that’s what I got.

I can’t help but wish there was a version of this with white tea. Maybe black tea. Though it’s nice to have something caffeine-free before bed, it lacks a certain depth of character that belongs only my beloved camellia sinensis!

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Cream, Frosting, Lemon, Meringue, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec
Cheri

I find it interesting reading others reviews of this and the lime chiffon. People generally think they’re both okay, but definitely prefer one over the other.

kimquat

I didn’t notice until you pointed it out, but that seems right! I actually preferred the lime to this one. It was a little less artificial. It looks like most people prefer lemon, though…

Cheri

I loved the lime one hot. I have some I cold steeped in the fridge that I plan on having later today.

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Profile

Bio

I have been drinking tea all of my life, but I have only been drinking loose leaf since 2013. It has been a journey! I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, sweet individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

My cupboard is reflective of the teas I have on-hand. (Though, of course, not quantities.) I’m always up for swaps so if you want to trade teas just send me a message!

I love, love love pure black teas. Definitely my favorite. I also quite enjoy white teas, puerh, and darker/roasted oolongs. Matcha is a secret love that I neglect too often. I try to stay away from flavored teas, but I do enjoy a well crafted blend. I drink dessert teas on occasion—usually when I’m craving something sweet. It’s a mood-driven decision. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, artificially flavored teas, straight greens.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well. It’s basically me saying “I hate it” with varying intensity and inflection.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea
-Butiki Teas

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