114 Tasting Notes

Sample package label:
Ingredients: Organic Chinese Black Tea, Fair-Trade Certified, USDA Organic
Steep 212*F, 3 – 5 minutes.
8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 23 ppm, boiled
1 level Tevanna teaspoon, no sweeteners, milk or cream

This tea has a subtle earthy fragrance.
Dark reddish hue
First Infusion:
3-min: Initial taste – Very smooth. I then steeped it an additional 2-min.
5-min: Very smooth & rich, with a wonderful cream-like mouthfeel. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.
2nd Infusion (5-min): Very close to the first cup.
3rd Infusion (6-min): Similar to the 2nd cup, but with lighter body

Impression: This is my first Golden Yunnan and it’s excellent! I enjoyed the first cup even more than the Arbor Teas Assam I drank yesterday. It has a soft mouth-feel that I didn’t experience with yesterday’s Assam. It also has a subtle wine-like taste similar to Keemun tea and a light natural sweetness – no sweetener needed.

Plan on re-steeping – your teacup will be empty before you know it and it’s too good to waste after only a single infusion.

Thanks to Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Sample package label:
Ingredients: Organic Indian Black Tea, Fair-Trade Certified, USDA Organic
Steep 212*F, 3 – 5 minutes.

8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 30 ppm, boiled
Note: Arbor Teas web site specifies 8-oz (not 6) – more tea to enjoy w/o additional cost! However, the sample package doesn’t list this important point – one level teaspoon in 6-oz is too strong.

1 level Tevanna teaspoon

This tea has a rich earthy fragrance.

Vibrant reddish hue

First Infusion:
3-min: Initial taste – Very smooth. I then steeped it an additional 2-min.
5-min: Vey smooth & full-bodied, with a clean finish. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

2nd Infusion (6-min):
Much lighter than the first.

Impression: This is an excellent Assam! It’s a robust, full-bodied, malty tea without any bitterness or astringency. Plan on brewing a full pot, your teacup will be empty before you know it! I could sip this Assam all day long.

Thanks to Arbor Teas for providing this generous size free sample.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Sample package label:
“Ingredients: Organic Black Tea, and natural oil of Bergamot.”
Fair Trade certified – USDA Organic
“Suggested serving size – one level teaspoon”
“Suggested Steeping Guide: 212*F, Steep 3 – 5 minutes”

6-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 15 ppm, boiled

1 level Tevanna teaspoon:

Introduction: I understand Arbor Teas Earl Grey organic base comes from the “Assam and Dooars areas of India. Most EG teas come from Shi Lanka formerly known as Ceylon. Having a different base tea, was a significant reason for wanting to sample this tea. Our current EG has a Ceylon base and I can’t get past the astringency. Other primary reasons: My wife loves EG and prefers organic teas.

This tea has that classic lemon Earl Grey fragrance – quite fantastic!

Amber hue

5-min Infusion: A mild lemon aroma, medium-bodied EG without astringency – Excellent! The taste of lemon does not linger too long on the tongue.

Impression: An excellent classic Earl Grey tea.

Additional thoughts: I would like to encourage Arbor Teas to develop a well-balanced organic Vanilla Earl Grey or EG Cream. Why you ask?

Per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange):
“Citrus bergamia is a small tree which blossoms during the winter. The juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than grapefruit. The distinctive aroma of bergamot is most commonly known for its use in Earl Grey tea.8

The tartness of citrus bergamia is a common characteristic of most Earl Grey tea. Adding a creamy vanilla should smooth out the natural tartness of the oil of Bergamot. Other tea companies have tried this approach. Many of them are not organic and at least one uses artificial flavoring. Only a few have discovered a pleasing balance of among all the ingredients.

Thanks to Arbor Teas for providing this very generous size free sample.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Silk Dragon by The Tea Merchant
114 tasting notes

Sample package label:
“A unique blend that is exotic, balanced and complex it will engage you from the second you open the bag with its intoxicating creamy vanilla aroma to your first sip. Creates a smooth, rich flavor with hints of cream, vanilla and a stimulating citrus finish.
Ingredients: Oolong tea, Organic lemon Myrtle, Marigold Petals, Natural flavors. USDA Organic – Caffeine: Medium – Steep 3 – 5 minutes – Fair Trade certified”

6-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 24 ppm, boiled, left to stand so only steaming hot.

1 heaping Tevanna teaspoon – Not easy to do as the leaves are sooo long! Thus, I made certain to fully fill one side of a spring-loaded mesh ball infuser.

This tea has a wonderful vanilla fragrance!

Silk Dragon also has a festive colorful appearance with the contrast of Marigold Petals against the oolong tea.

Very light hue as one would expect with an oolong base.

3-Minute Infusion: I took a quick taste and decided I would enjoy this tea more with a full 5-min infusion.

First 5-min Infusion: I think The Tea Merchant has accurately described this tea.

2nd 5-min Infusion: I was surprised that the “Silk” flavoring was still present and enjoyed finishing this cup.

Impression: Silk Dragon achieved just the right delicate balance between the oolong base, the natural creamy vanilla flavoring and the other organic ingredients – well done!

I truly enjoyed Silk Dragon even though I’m used to drinking full-bodied black teas. While this oolong-based tea is not as full-bodied, it‘s a very smooth rich tea. Silk Dragon is an enjoyable change of pace for the afternoon or evening that should not to be missed!

The Tea Merchant 4 Organic Tea Sample Series Conclusion:
Of the four organic teas I’ve tasted: English Breakfast, French Earl Grey, Earl Grey, & Silk Dragon, the English Breakfast black tea was my favorite breakfast tea and the Silk Dragon oolong tea was my favorite choice for afternoon or evening.

Thanks once again to The Tea Merchant for providing these generous size free samples.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Earl Grey by The Tea Merchant
114 tasting notes

Sample package label:
“Our blend of hand picked organic black teas from only choice gardens in Sri Lanka. Precious oil of bergamot is then blended with full-bodied leaves to create an excellent citrus bouquet with a great finish. Ingredients: Organic Black Tea, organic oil of Bergamot. USDA Organic – Caffeine: Medium Steep 3 – 5 minutes – Fair Trade certified”

6-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 24 ppm, boiled, left to stand so only steaming hot

1 heaping Tevanna teaspoon:

This tea has that classic Earl Grey fragrance.

Reddish hue

First 5-min Infusion:
Lemon aroma followed by a smooth, medium-bodied taste. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency. The taste of lemon lingers on the tongue.

2nd 5-min Infusion:
I was surprised that a mild lemon flavoring was still present – quite enjoyable.

Impression: An excellent example of classic Earl Grey tea.

Thanks to The Tea Merchant for providing this generous size free sample.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Sample package label:
“Organic high grown estate black tea hand blended with fragrant oil of bergamot and a hint of French Vanilla. Fresh citrus notes followed by a rich and robust finish complete this remarkable blend. Ingredients: Organic and Biodynamic Black Tea, organic cornflowers, organic oil of Bergamot, natural flavors. USDA Organic – Caffeine: Medium Steep 3 – 5 minutes – Fair Trade certified”

6-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 24 ppm, boiled, left to stand so only steaming hot

1 heaping Tevanna teaspoon: (After yesterday’s tasting of The Tea Merchant’s English Breakfast.)

This tea has a fragrance that’s different than classic Earl Grey.

Somewhat darker reddish hue than yesterday’s English Breakfast

First 5-min Infusion:
Stronger vanilla + citrus aroma followed by a smooth, rich & full- bodied taste. There’s also a note of cinnamon. There was zero hint of bitterness. There is almost no astringency, as compared to our current Earl Grey Cream from Whistling Kettle. Initially, I did not notice any. As the cup began to cool, there was a mild sense of it. The taste of lemon lingers long on the tongue.

2nd 5-min Infusion:
I was surprised that the French flavoring was still present.

Impression: “It’s complicated.” The unspecified additional natural ingredients that give this Earl Grey its rich full-bodied taste are stronger than the classic Oil of Bergamot EG flavor. Achieving just the right balance must be quite a challenge as the number of ingredients increases. For those who prefer a classic Bergamot flavor, try The Tea Merchant’s organic Earl Grey. (See my next review.)

Thanks to The Tea Merchant for providing this generous size free sample. It’s a good thing that Joey Landford provided enough tea for more than one cup! My wife loves EG and could not wait for me to return home to try all his EG teas herself.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Sample package label:
“Our Traditional blend of organic and biodynamic fair trade black tea. This provides a superior organic black tea creating a robust flavor perfect for beginning the day. Brews a smooth malty cup with a clean finish. Ingredients: Organic Black Tea. Steep 3 – 5 minutes.”

I did not read The Tea Merchant’s website marketing description of this tea prior to tasting.

6-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 24 ppm, boiled, left to stand so only steaming hot
1 rounded Tevanna teaspoon

This tea has a fresh clean smell that reminds me of something more than just tea. But what is it?
Vibrant reddish hue

First Infusion:
3-min: Smooth but light-bodied with a clean finish. I then steeped it an additional 2-min.
5-min: Smooth & medium bodied, with light floral/fruity notes and a clean finish. At this point I can’t identify the floral/fruity notes. There was zero hint of bitterness or astringency.

2nd 5-min Infusion:
Lighter than the first infusion, but still very enjoyable. I debated whether to try a 2nd infusion. However, I’m glad I did.

First Impression: I typically think of English Breakfast Tea as a strong, full-bodied, wake up breakfast tea. While I am now more alert, I find myself craving something more full-bodied. Perhaps this truly enjoyable tea deserves a new name that better describes its character.

2nd Cup:
First 5-min Infusion:
Prepared as above, but with a heaping Tevanna teaspoon. Now we’re talking – much more robust! This definitely is English Breakfast Tea! Best of all, there is still zero hint of bitterness or astringency. My teacup was empty before I knew it. Well done!! Time for a …

2nd 5-min Infusion:
As you would expect, the heaping teaspoon also improved this infusion – definitely more full-bodied, but of course not as much as the first infusion of the 2nd cup.

Final thoughts: Thanks to The Tea Merchant for providing this generous size free sample. It’s a good thing that Joey Landford provided enough tea for more than one cup! I would urge The Tea Merchant to specify a heaping teaspoon on their packaging since they describe this tea as providing a “robust flavor perfect for beginning the day”. Such information may prevent tea drinkers from forming a less than favorable first impression of this excellent tea.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

75

We enjoyed this Assam enough to purchase at least 4 lbs of it. Probably Frontier’s best black tea.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

51

There are better choices for Earl Grey. Neither my wife or I were impressed.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

80

An excellent black breakfast tea – full-bodied & smooth. I look forward to waking up! Accurately described by The Whistling Kettle. I ordered samples of 6 black teas from TWK: Kambaa, KP#1, Kenya Black Natural, Irish Breakfast, Mokalbari East Assam, & Scottish Breakfast. The KP#1 was clearly the most enjoyable tea of this group.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

I am passionate about teas that are full-bodied, rich, & smooth. I joined Steepster to explore Multiple Infusion Teas (MITs) such as Pu-erh.

Currently, my focus is on un-flavored orthodox black & pu-erh teas. Cost-effective organic teas or teas that meet the EU Food Safety Commission Pesticide Maximum Residue Limit EUROFINS are also of interest.

I especially enjoy teas with a natural rich chocolate flavor profile as opposed to natural bittersweet cocoa.

Complete steeping instructions on the bag are greatly appreciated:
tsp. (g) / oz. / temp. / rinse? / min. for both Western & Gongfu brewing.

Incomplete, non-specific, or cutesy instructions such as: “Just add water and enjoy.” significantly reduces the possibility that I will purchase that particular tea.

Having to discover the optimum brewing parameters through “trial & error” is too time-inefficient, wastes valuable tea and impairs the progress and joy of tea exploration.

The best tea suppliers evaluate each crop / batch of tea each year to determine the optimum brewing parameters. This insures the best possible first impression of their tea, greatly increases customer satisfaction, and thus increases word-of-mouth advertising – the best form of advertising that money can’t buy. You never have a 2nd chance to make an Outstanding First Impression.

My wife is an Earl Grey Fan. We enjoyed Twinings for many years – mostly Earl Grey, also English/Irish Breakfast, & Prince of Wales. Several years ago, TEG no longer tasted as good.

Rishi EG & China Breakfast then became our regular teas. However, after winning Tea Expo awards, the prices kept rising.

Our most recent orders were from TeaVivre, Verdant, Zen Tea Life, & Mandala Tea. Kudos to Angel Chen, David Duckler, Kenneth Son, Garret Sorensen who have been extremely helpful.

High quality water is essential for excellent tasting tea.
Our 450’ well provides hard water. For details see: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/176233#comments.

Solutions:
#1. Rainsoft water softener with
Q2 computerized control valve

#2. Abundant Flow Water
Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with re-mineralization filter
Model: Zeta RO: https://www.afwfilters.com/drinking-ro-systems/6-stage-alkaline-zoi-zeta-reverse-osmosis-system-16.html
Includes:
- Dow Filmtec TFC R.O. membrane
- Omnipure Inline Post filter
- Puregen Aptera Alkaline Filter: http://www.puregen.com/products_detail.php?id=301&lang=en

Options:
- Aquatec ERP-500 & ASV 2000
- 3/8" Output
- HM Digital DM-1: http://www.tdsmeter.com/products/dm1.html

My profile picture is a Red-Breasted Nuthatch, an annual winter visitor to our woodpecker feeder.

Location

Mid-Atlantic, USA

Following These People