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17 Tasting Notes

63

Got a sample of this with an order. Was surprised by some of the things discovered from this.

This is not a blend, it is just ground mint leaves. If you like the smell of mint, the dry leaves are awesome. The scent is powerfully strong. The scent is present in the brewing in a very present way and carries over into the liquor.

Surprisingly, for those who are used to mint gum and candy having a sharp bite to it, this is amazingly smooth. The mint aroma is present as you drink and there is a touch of sweetness (which is even more noticeable on the resteep).

The liquor is smooth and easy drinking, not at all like our preconceptions that we often have about mint. The liquor is not minty in the ordinary sense and the flavor is mild. Cooled down, it becomes very refreshing.

The body and mouthfeel is in a light to medium range, the liquor does stick to your tongue a little giving a you a nice after taste.

All in all, a good drink and something worth keeping in the house for times when you want something different.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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85

This is a really tasty black tea that has a fresh, light taste. Brewed well, it made for a great daily drinker that literally gets gulped down.

OP (Orange Pekoe) teas are pretty much the most basic form of black tea. It is pretty much a medium grade of tea, making it affordable. Upton is charging only $5.20 for 200 grams for this tea. A good deal on a tea that makes a fantastic breakfast tea. There is nothing remarkable about this, but at the same time it manages to satisfy in a way that some better teas cannot. There is some special about “normal” teas like this that we find particularly satisfying.

We drank it plain, without milk or sugar and found it very refreshing. Drinking a pot of this was a great way to start the day.

For an inexpensive, everyday tea with a very fresh taste, this one is recommended.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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60
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
17 tasting notes

After reading the reviews here, we wanted to see if we felt this tea lived up to the hype so we ordered up a packet.

52teas ships in 2-ounces packets which are solid silver on the back and see through on the front. This is a nice touch, especially when you have such a visually-appealing tea like this one. Those great images that 52teas creates (the one above) are actually the labels generated for the teas. We like these, but the labels are small on the packet and really don’t do justice to the work Frank and Company put into creating them. On the web and 52teas website, they look awesome, on the packet (printed on an ink-jet label printer) they look boring.

Our advice for this would be to simply leave the label off the packet and have those incredible images printed up as small glossy cards or inserts to be mailed along with the tea packet. It’ll add a bit of glitz and really show off the hard work done in creating the images and labels. The other upside is that there will be no label covering the front of the tea packet obscuring the beautiful tea inside.

Now, to the tea: the dry leaf really does look and smell awesome. The shavings of coconut are monstrous and the scent wafts up wonderfully. The shavings are supported by added flavorings, no problems there because it really gives a great smell. There really is no other tea on the market that we’ve been able to find that uses such enormous pieces of coconut.

In brewing, the tea brews up like a standard black tea. The tea leaves themselves are fairly small – nothing exciting. They are not fannings or dust, it appears to be machine-processed black tea that is commonly available and often used as a base for flavored teas. This is typical and we did not expect otherwise.

The liquid has a unique taste to it, we also found the “mint” flavor that Jason noted – though it isn’t a flavor inasmuch that it is a “bite” that appears as the tea dries on your tongue. It didn’t come in the back of the mouth, it comes at the front marking it as a mild bitter snap. The coconut flavor never really comes out in the liquid, but we are certain that the unique bite this tea has is a result of the coconut pieces. We did not try the latte recipe so we can’t comment on how it enhances the flavor of the coconut.

One interesting aspect we noted was the presence of the coconut oils visibly in the tea. Since oil rises to the top and separates from water, little spots of oil can be seen floating on the surface. We liked this, while we couldn’t taste a strong present flavor of coconut (beyond that unique minty-like bite) being able to see the infusion of the coconut was nice. This is a product of the large shavings used; this has not been noticed in other coconut teas.

That said, the coconut shavings do make this an interesting tea to drink plain; the snapiness that it has certainly sharpens the flavor profile. Because of the uniqueness of the tea, we did several tastings of it on several different days (ultimately consuming the entire packet just to come to our conclusions). We wanted to ensure we were thinking about it correctly.

It is an interesting tea, but as coconut goes, this batch/blend didn’t quite make it into the liquid. The dry tea is absolutely amazing, practically a work of art. If you want a decent cup of tea and don’t expect something wonderful from the cup but it is certainly worth buying just to look at the leaves and to shove your nose into the packet to inhale the smell.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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79

This tea is probably one of the best examples of a Vanilla tea that we’ve encountered. It is a standard black tea, very much in line with the generic term, “China Black”. That said, it is a good quality tea base with a full black tea flavor.

The tea is advertised as a full-leaf tea, however, when wet, it reveals itself as a machine processed tea. The leaves are broken, cut and relatively small. This is in line with the tea being a standard China Black. Even though it does not appear to be a proper full-leaf tea, the base is still substantial enough to support the vanilla flavor.

This tea uses actual pieces of vanilla bean along with some artificial flavoring. The beans are exactly as they appear in the image, chopped pieces. In a sealed container, no doubt the oils from the bean pieces infuse with the tea. The flavoring is added for extra punch and works wonderfully.

Some drinkers may flinch at the use of artificial flavorings, however, Upton makes clear that the products they use are labeled according to FDA regulations which are fairly specific. However, Upton’s marketing material states, “…the so-called nature-identical flavorings which are used on most of our flavored teas, must be listed as artificial.” In other words, nothing to worry about here. Drink your tea.

The vanilla aroma is strongly present in the dry tea, and the liquor is properly infused with it as well. The subtle sweetness that vanilla offers is found throughout the sip and even lingers in the back of the mouth. The bean pieces really solidify what the added flavoring may not add, thus this tea has a creaminess to it.

We would go so far to say that this is one of the best Vanilla Teas available.

Note: Upton Tea is an importer, they repackage and sell teas from around the world. They are not blenders. This tea is a product of Germany and is blended there. Some members of the Leafbox staff are familiar with numerous German tea blenders and merchants. Vanilla tea is a standard tea in Germany available from numerous sources, this one ranks among the best of that segment as well.

Our tasters found this tea to be complimented well with a bar of good chocolate nearby.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Miss Sweet

How strange that they have to label nature-identical flavouring as artificial! Our teas are either flavoured with natural, artificial or nature-identical and are just labeled as ‘flavouring’. I realise it will vary country to country, but its still odd considering people are so turned off by flavouring labelled as artificial these days!

Jillian

Everything is better with chocolate! ;)

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59

This is a perfectly ordinary and drinkable tea. It doesn’t come across as anything spectacular. The oolong is basic without any fanfare and the vanilla is present in the dry leaves and continues to come through in the liquid itself.

The vanilla seemed slightly on the weak side with this. Along with the temperate oolong flavor this tea is decent but uninspiring.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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56

This is an ordinary tea. Simple, but good, black tea flavored with coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

The coconut flavor and aroma is present and will certainly please coconut lovers. It could, perhaps be a little bit stronger. The biggest disappointment is the chocolate. Silver Leaf uses mini-chocolate chips to flavor their chocolate teas (probably the bittersweet kind). Chocolate chips are far too weak to properly give tea a chocolate flavor.

The biggest disadvantage they have is their size and weight. Chocolate chips don’t blend well with dry tea leaves. In scooping out the tea for the pot, we found that we only had 2 chips in the mix. This required reaching back into the bag and plucking out the chips individually to ensure we had some more in the pot. On top of that – how many is the right amount? The fact that we have to think about the balances of tea blending in a tea that is already supposed to be blended is a no-no.

Lightly ground cocoa beans would be a more refined and flavorful way to add a chocolate flavor to tea. The size and weight of the ground cocoa would blend more thoroughly and easily with the tea leaves giving the drinker a more consistent cup.

On average, because of the issues with blending chocolate chips with tea this tea if much more often a coconut tea than anything resembling a chocolate flavored one.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Carolyn

I very much agree. I find chocolate chips in tea bothersome. They don’t flavor it all that well. They’re never as darkly chocolate as I’d like. I worry that they will add calories and I won’t know how much. And finally, I never know if they have dairy in them.

Christa Clark

Absolutely agree! I’ve been disappointed lately with my flavoured teas, figuring that I should perhaps just buy myself some decent black and add my own chocolate or coconut shreds or whatever! Most of the time it’s not worth paying extra for the “extras”!

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81
drank Pu-erh by Golden Moon Tea
17 tasting notes

Very dark amber in the cup. With most teas, the bottom of the cup can be seen – not with this, it is very nearly opaque. This tea tastes exactly as most people describe, strong and earthy. This is a tea that one generally has to get used to – it will be an acquired taste for most people.

The “earthy” taste – some people just call it strange – comes from a unique ingredient that appears during the curing: fungus, bacteria, or mold. Anyone who has ever scraped out the deep blue veins from a strong Danish cheese and licked the mold off the knife is going to recognize the source of the “earthy” taste in Pu-erh immediately.

Extremely old (40-50+ years) Pu-erhs are known to have visible strands of blue mold. Even on younger Pu-erhs, the mold is still present, just not visible. It is that fungal growth that gives it the unique taste.

The age of a Pu-erh is important when thinking about the tea, Golden moon does state what year it may be from but they describe the ingredients in the tea as: Aged Chinese Tea from the Last Century. Pretty vague, but given the price, the tea probably a recent vintage from the last 2-3 years.

We brewed this for 2 minutes, 30 seconds using boiling water.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Carolyn

Thank you so much for the information on Pu-erhs! It’s invaluable to me since I’m trying to feel my way around them.

Micah

That’s very interesting that the flavor is caused by mold. I suppose that’s why pu-erh ages like it does, right? The only pu-erh I’ve had are the tuochas from Tea Source so I’m excited to try the sample of this that I ordered.

Pamela Dean

If it’s from the Last Century, wouldn’t that mean it’s at least 10 yrs old?

How many infusions did you try?

Leafbox Tea

There was no way of knowing how old it was. Given the price of the tea and what we’ve seen of Puerhs from other vendors this is probably from the last several years and not anything ancient. Even 10+ year old Puerh would be more expensive than this giving us the idea that it is much younger.

We did three infusions and each one was full of flavor. Puerh is reported to be good for about 5-6 depending on the tea. The third infusion we did was smooth and mild but still had plenty of that unique Puerh taste.

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61

Our taster was disappointed with this tea. Vanilla Black tea is her number one favorite tea of all time (as in – vanilla tea must never be missing from the cupboard) but this one was found lacking in the vanilla flavor.

Golden Moon uses Vanilla extract and pieces of bean. Our taster said that it seemed like the vanilla flavor never took. There is a method for making vanilla bean-based teas that goes far beyond simply blending the ingredients together. The dry tea leaves need to absorb the vanilla oils and aroma and this takes time (about a month) and a sealed container (similar to making vanilla sugar) – using that method reduces the need for extracts which is a shortcut method.

Using extract to flavor vanilla tea is acceptable practice but it doesn’t always work well; some blenders manage it better than others. Whatever batch our sample came from; the result was disappointing.

Our taster also thought the tea as a whole seemed a little stale. It came to use in GM’s usual heat-sealed packaging so if it was stale or off then there may have been a storage issue at some point in its handling.

Golden Moon’s brewing instructions were followed: Infuse 3-4 minutes in freshly boiled water.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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78

This Green tea has a very classic Green tea flavor. Not plant like the way some greens come across. The flavor profile is subtle with still a significant flavor – there is a simple, clean and mild sweetness to this. The liquid is light, as is the color in the cup. The flavor of this tea is such that it could be used as a baseline for other green teas.

Interestingly, this tea no longer seems to be in TG’s catalog. So as of this review it isn’t available. While teas literally come and go on a monthly basis, hopefully, TG will be able to secure another shipment of this or an equivalent tea next year.

We followed TG’s excellent brewing instruction to the letter on with this and the result was satisfying and refreshing. On a test to push the limits, we did let the steep time go a little over 3 minutes and the result was bitter reminding us again that Green teas are not as forgiving as black teas.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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68

The dry leaves of this are fragrant with the smell of coconut; that smell translates well into the aroma of the liquor but not into the taste. The leaves of this oolong unfurl during the steeping, but despite their size remain on the milder side of teas.

The color is a light, transparent green,and the aroma is full of the scent of coconut. The coconut flavor never really comes out even after an extended brewing; though coconut is a rather mild taste, and may not be strong enough to make itself present against the tea. This may be the reason the blender chose such a mild tea.

Nevertheless, the smell of coconut is strong and present. If you don’t mind the lack of flavor, you will find the coconut filling your nose with each sip (drink it while its hot to get the full scent). This will not satisfy coconut lovers, but it makes a good effort.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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Bio

http://leafboxtea.com

You drink tea. Frequently, occasionally, or passionately with abandon. You also do a lot of other things. You listen to music, read big books, or cool magazines, watch movies; all-action or avant-garde, admire pictures; maybe Rembrandt, maybe your girl. You work, you’d rather play, you talk; just nonsense or about saving the world. You might also do a lot of this stuff while drinking tea.

That is what Leafbox Tea is for. We think of it as a café, your local hang-out for fellow tea drinkers to gather and chat not only about tea, but all the other stuff you care and think about.

Sleek tea leaves are hot. No more pudgy coffee beans, tea is in.

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http://leafboxtea.com

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