I am doing a gongfu brew with this tea and it is blowing my socks off!
I was not expecting it to be so complex, but my word! I’m onto my 6th steep, and previous steeps revealed a sweet coco malt flavour… it’s now transformed into a creamy maltiness that is so pleasing to me. Nicely rich, though the body is still mellow. Highly enjoying this tea right now!
All other black teas tend to take on a savoury flavour to me, even if they are supposed to be sweet and chocolatey (not complaining.. I highly enjoy that..) But now, I have finally found one my taste buddies think is coco and I am so excited about that!
198 Tasting Notes
I am doing a gongfu brew with this tea and it is blowing my socks off!
Hello my fellow lovely Steepsterites! I have missed you (and tea) to be honest. It’s just been a crazy few weeks with extremely lastminute wonderful adventures all around this lovely Vancouver Island. For that reason, I am not so bummed about not being able to drink as much tea as I normally do.
On one of the adventures, I managed to pick up this tea as I am an absolute sucker for salted caramels. Therefore, this tea was on my list from it’s initial release (it wouldn’t have mattered if it got the worst reviews.. I would have still tried it).
This is my second round of this tea.. my first was lastnight as I was researching phage therapy for an undergraduate independent research project I’m doing this summer. It was rather mild as I kept the steeping times around 3.5 minutes. This morning.. after checking the recommended parameters, I bumped up the steeping time to 5.5 minutes. The result? Lovely. Still not as salty as I would like, and the caramel is a little muted, but overall it is a really really smooth tea. Wonderful black base (that obviously can take a longer steep time without turning bitter).
Notes of caramel, possible hint of salt… with a wonderful, full black tea base. I think I’ll be keeping a bit of this around. It’s not knock my socks off, but it’s darn good!
I hope you are all having a lovely summer thus far =)
EDIT:… one thing I forgot to mention as a down side is the scum that is in my cup from one steep of this tea. I’ve never really experienced it being that bad or unappealing as this tea.. hmm.. Still very drinkable though.
My 100th tasting note! How exciting.
I decided to celebrate with this tea as I have been very interested in it since I started drinking tea. I got caught up in oolongs though and got swept away from this beautiful green tea.
I did 4g of tea per 4 oz, with water temperature around 60ish, for 1.5 minutes. It smells incredibly sweet and vegetal. YUM. Beautiful color to the liquor too – like sunshine in a cup (with a slight green tinge). Oh yummy. The taste is thick and vegetal with some bright sparkly tastes at the end of the sip that I cannot place. Perhaps I am sensing some nuttiness too. Really nice sweetness to round out the vegetal flavours too. I’m giddy
I am not quite getting the butteriness, but maybe that is because I brewed it at a lower temperature? All the websites I looked at recommended 50-60C for water temperature so I wanted to stick to that.
Overall, this tea is nice. I will play with the steeping parameters a bit more before I’m dead set on the rating.. but currently I’ll put it at 85 due to the price and the fact that I am not blown away in buttery lovely flavours (.. perhaps I was looking for something more astounding like a lovely TGY type flavour intensity).
Edit: The 3rd steep is buttery veggies! Or creamed asparagus. Either way. YUM!
Mmm late night strawberry pancakes. Thank you Kittenna for this sample.
The smell of the dry leaves is surely strawberry, and maybe a tiny bit of starchy something? If I stretch it.
The taste? Well.. Wow. I went to take a sip and I thought I was biting into a strawberry. The image of a big, juicy strawberry flashed in my mind. The taste is creamy buttermilkish/buttery something smothered in freshly made strawberry reduction. There is also a slight tartness to the strawberry.. which made me think of cranberry.
The green tea, from what I can somewhat taste.. is nice. Not a shoddy green tea (not that I am an expert).
Overall, this tea is pretty good. I enjoy the strawberry syrup taste that has slight creamy buttery notes.. though I am missing the really starchy pancake delightfulness that I was looking for. A delightful cup all the same =)
Thank you to Kittenna for this sample! I have been fighting a food poisoning for the past few days so I have been trying to drink various teas and hope they agree with me as food surely isn’t. Sadface ‘cause I’m thinking I really should eat something right now..
Sweet Merlot tea it is! In the dry leaf, I do smell some layers of fermentation, as I would in wine.. same with some juicy grape. There happens to be a big one in my tea (or raisin I should say..)
The liquor after 3ish minutes is lovely. Nice red hue to it and smells malty/grapey and almost wine like (impressed!). The taste is a little more subtle, and takes a few sips to build. There is definitely a grape flavour present, though not fully artificial (Yay!)
I wouldn’t say this is a wine tea if someone handed me a cup of it, though it would be very easy to pick out the grape presence, but wine would be a different story. The black tea has a nice round/smooth body, which makes me think of a nice rich full bodied wine.
I have a little of the sample left so I will try this one as an iced tea next time.. though I am very much enjoying this hot. A lot.
I have been playing around with this tea to figure out the best way to steep it. Definitely more leaves and more time if you want a richer cup.
I iced some buds a few days ago and have been french pressing them in the fridge. Once there is about 1/3 of the liquid left, I refill it with boiling water and put it back in the fridge. This gave me a really refreshing delightful brew with sweet pine dew notes and marshmallows with sweet cookies. Perhaps sugar cookies? The taste is very smooth and thick.. it’s quite thick tasting actually. This is really surprising due to the extremely pale liquor. The sweetness is amazing also. The first steeps, it was definitely more sugary sweet, now it’s nectar sweet.. pine nectar. mmmMmm
Who knew these little buds would taste so good? And be so cost-effective. I’ve done 4 really long icing steeps for one set of leaves and I’m onto number five now. I have a feeling I will get many more too. So happy I have these lovely buds for summer time!
Edit: Honestly, I keep drinking this iced, and as it warms up, the sweetness increases. It’s at the point now that my mouth is coated in sweetness, like a simple (but extremely complex tasting) sugar syrup. Each sip stokes the sugary fire. So much goodness.
Edit #2: Here’s the thing. Still making iced tea from the same buds (this is about the 6th or 7th looooong large steep!!) and I still get flavour from them! I had to give you all an update of this as I just got the most delightful sweet rock sugar taste in the middle of my tongue and it made me giddy! ohhhh I love tea. :D
Thank you very much to Teavivre for this lovely (huge!) sample.
I finally have a chance to sit down and review a tea. It’s been crazy lately and so I am very very happy to have the chance to try this amazing tea.
Dry: Leaves are very soft.. not crunchy. They smell like umami and cocoa. Yumm I am in for a treat!
Liquor: 5.0 grams, 5 oz just boiled water, 5 seconds reveals a cup of light amber/ orange broth. Its smell reminds me of mushrooms. The taste is mineral with a little malty smokiness thrown in there. I pick up a bit of an odd spiciness too. I can’t place it…
2nd: 25 seconds revealed a brew that reminds me of cocoa. The color has a chocolate tone to it. The smell is screaming umami and cocoa.. saltiness too? The more it cools, the better the malty/cocoa/umami/smokey flavours come out. Very good.
Overall I am enjoying this tea, but I do think I like the BGB by Teavivre more as the flavours are more intense I feel. Still a really nice drinking tea.
I had this lovely tea on the ferry to the mainland. My feet will touch real mainland shortly!
I was very happy with this tea as I could steep it for a long time (aka forget about it for 10 min) without it going bitter. It was deliciously malty and sweet with a creamy edge on the third steep. I really enjoyed this as an easy black tea for on the go. I don’t have to worry about it… Put the water in and forget without consequence. So glad I picked this tea up <3
I was so absolutely excited the day the lovely samples from Teavivre arrived. I had just finished the final exam for my long, drawn out genetics course and it was finally a beautiful sunny day! I knew these little gems were in there so I was actually giddy with joy when I picked them up.
I haven’t had very good timing lately to try this tea as I wanted to pay very good attention to it, as well.. the sample bag is larger than an individual packet, and therefore I needed to be somewhere where I could repackage them immediately. So here I am.
Dry: I get that same strong umami flavour smell as I do with the Bailin Gongfu Black (BGB)…. but then I huff the bag a little more and float to a dark 80% chocolate cloud. Malty too. Yum I-am-so-excited!
Liquor 1 min: Amber liquor tastes like cream..then the flavour builds to the umami that I get which is slightly salty and sweet. Soy sauce like… it then melts into some 60% chocolate. Delicious
2 min: I’m excited because the balls are still 75% intact.. This steep is much darker. Closer to a blonde coffee. It tastes like cream still and umami with the salty sweet. Similar to the BGB. Interesting.. I just had a red berry flavour pop up and then disappear. If anything.. the chocolate flavour in this is minimal to the creamy umami to me. If it were chocolate it would definitely be 60%.. therefore more sweet malt than cocoa punch. I think perhaps if I used 5 pearls instead of 4, I would be picking up on more of the chocolate? I dont know. All I know is that I am in love with the umami sweet salty I get from some blacks. This being a big one.
2.5 min: I was putting on some sun screen when I waited for this next cup to cool and found I was getting a fishy aftertaste. Odd.. I haven’t eaten anything yet. I’m not apposed to it, but my taste buds are so weird. Did anyone else get a slightly fishy aftertaste? I kinda like it with the whole umami theme. Reminded me of fish sauce. Back to the tea. A sweeter, more malty side has come out. With a cocoa edge and still some saltiness that I am loving on. No big umami presence anymore.. it’s like they switched roles. Delightful!
I am going to stop posting now as the tea is inspiring me to paint for a bit before I go biking. Such a lovely day here! I hope it is for everyone else too =)
Thank you Kittenna for this lovely sample!
I was surprised by the state of the tea leaves.. rather small and tattered with some larger pieces. I think this is the older tea base. Either way.. The dry leaf smelled of cherries and sweetness.
The liquor after a 3 min steep for 1sp/cup was a nice reddish amber. Smelled greatly of cherries. The taste is cherries with a creamy layer. I can definitely taste a black tea base. Not bad.. slightly malty and I can see it could go bitter if the parameters are not watched.
Overall this is a tasty tea. I’m not sure it will be my favourite but I am really really glad I got to try it! Yum!
My first actual swap ever! Thank you so much Kittenna for the generous sample! I have been wanting to check out 52teas for a while after seeing all the amazing reviews, but being a student has prevented that from occurring. Now I have all these lovely samples to try so I can get a feel for the company (though from the glowing reviews.. I already know what to expect!)
Dry the leaves smell like blue swedish berries to me. Delightful.
The first steep revealed more swedish berry flavour to me with a warm and fuzzy tongue feel. Very random and hard to compare to anything other than warm white bread. Except this tastes nothing like bread. Just the feeling in the mouth. Random… but very lovely. Must be the white tea. Definitely jammy and a little creamy
The second steep was bright and jammy with a sparkly edge to it. Really lively and a lovely swedish berry flavour again.. Very odd.
I went for a third steep with this tea and it was not too bad. Definitely faded in flavour, but was still pleasing. If all 52teas are like this – I am in for such a sampling treat! I’m excited to check out this company =) Thanks again Kittenna!
Great big thank you to Teavivre for this sample! I was very surprised at their generosity. Always a pleasure dealing with them.
I really wanted to try one of the samples of tea from Teavivre, but I had a friend with me who was a novice and so I did not want to turn into a tea geek and start taking notes while drinking my first steeping. Since only two short steepings were done with the leaves throughout the visit, I decided to resteep the leaves the next day. Multiple times. End result? Delicious.
The broth is sweet veggies.. almost like sweet peas that have been concentrated down to their sugar juices and infused with a florally bouquet teeming with nectar. On the previous steep (would have been steep 5), there were buttery tones throughout the cup. All of the steeps were outrageously delicious and very pleasing on this hot day.
I will be posting a gongfu style review soon as well because I think it would be an amazing oolong for it.
I haven’t really had time for anything but study cards (so here I am?)…
I have had this for a couple of months and just recently decided to try it iced. It’s a bit creamy with some apple flavour hanging about and vanilla just being mellow and not trying to take the stage (as per usual I find with vanilla teas).
This is not too bad. I don’t really find a very strong rooibos base, which is really exciting because I do not really like red rooibos (too woody for me sometimes). Green however is a totally different story.
The more I drink this as I write, the sweeter of an aftertaste I get. Vanilla puddingish with some apple bits skattered throughout. YUM.
Thank heavens for iced tea. It takes less time to make then multiple hot infusions (plus, summer finally arrived. And I’m stuck inside. FREEDOM TOMORROW!)
The flavours just keep getting stronger and stronger. I’m enjoying this a lot. Method was 4 tsp for 4 cups, boiling water, stuck in fridge overnight.
sorry if this note is a little skattered. I think I have cabin fever. Check on me if I don’t post in a few days – it would mean I have drowned in the 1000+ study cards that have surrounded me.
I picked this up as a sample a while ago and haven’t written a note about it yet. I think this would be so delicious iced! But hot.. Delicious! To me it tastes like a tamed red heart candy. Not really spicy, but it somehow has a berry flavouring or deep rich berry taste. Like a swedish berry? I dont know but it is very random. Maybe it’s due to the sugar in the mix. Who knows.
It also reminds me of Christmas a lot. With the clove/orange flavours. It’s beautiful to watch as well.. a fun tea to sip and relax with. I’m enjoying this thoroughly.. a nice change from unflavoured.
Ah! Finally! I find Lapsang Souchongs to be special occasion for me. Typically, only when it’s cold and rainy. Since the summer has mysteriously disappeared and it’s torrential downpour, I am finding myself looking for some smokey comfort!
Hello A C Perch. And thank you so much Angrboda.
I used about 1tsp of leaves for ~5oz and steeped for.. ~3 minutes? All approximate, but I’m busy and just enjoying being able to sit down and have a cup of tea finally!
The taste is wonderful.. smokey pine with a nice black tar flavour. It’s got a sweet caramel layer to it as well. Not so much caramel in the taste, but the feeling (thick). Though it is sweet for sure. Just a mysterious sweet.
mmmMmm yes. This is exactly what I needed on this cold rainy (summer) day. Delicious LS.
Short short review of this as I should be studying for my final (worth 50% of my mark)..
I’m on the 3nd steep and was trying for the life of me to figure out what this sweet burnt honey sugar taste was… Caramel Brule. Spot on in my mouth.. playing hide and seek with my taste buds on a magical journey. I’m loving every minute of this.
That is all for now.. I will give this a better review later on, but I know that I will need to have something to quickly help me identify that delightfully mysterious flavour that likes to play hide and seek when I try this again =)
I have played with this tea a few times before rating it because at first I couldn’t figure out the right steeping parameters.
I think I have it now =)
1st: boiled water that is now down to steaming only, 12 seconds as I was nervous about the bitterness, 1tbsp or a bit more of leaves. Creaminess beyond belief on the sides of my tongue. Brussel sprouts and a creamed leek soup maybe? I can see the comparison to a Darjeeling as it has a similar astringency to me. My tongue also reacts the same way to a mouthful of this tea as it would to a mouthful of citrus juice.. except its not citrus. Its sparkly and bright after the creaminess.
2nd: The leaves smell of sweet cream. Yum. Sweet cream with marshmallow and vanilla. The taste is mild, but reminiscent of a custard. And a nice Darjeeling.
I am enjoying this tea.. though I do find it a little mild and I am having a hard time picking out flavours sometimes. Though when I find them, they are lovely!
I have had this tea for a while and have been sharing it with friends.. mostly a friend from shanghai who really enjoys it.
The smell of the leaves remind me of sweet peas. I did a rinse of the leaves to open them up a touch before proceeding with a 3sec steep. The results you ask?
A very faint golden green liquor that smells of sweet peas and honeysuckle. Taste? Honeysuckle and sweet peas. With a mineral velvety edge. My taste buds keep yelling for more and I completely agree! This tea is scrumptious!
What does the second steep (6sec) taste like?
….my gosh it tastes like rock sugar and honeysuckle. There is a drying on my tongue, almost like honey has when it covers your tongue and kind of tingles in sweetness and thickness. The taste lingers in my mouth for a while too.. and when breathing through my mouth, its like my mouth is coated in something warm and thick. A sensation that lingers.
For the third terrific steep (of 10 seconds)… there is a lovely vegetal edge that is creeping into the tea ever so subtly. It tastes like a slow transition between sweet floral to vegetal butteriness. I will have to see what the future steepings bring to me.
This is a truly lovely tea. I hope anyone who likes TGY’s gets to try this one!
I have been taking a break from hot tea lately because it’s been so nice out, and therefore I have been drinking mass amounts of genmaicha ice cold. Delicious. Today it’s been cloudy and cool so I am back to hot tea! Yay! Have I ever missed you =)
Dry: It smells malty and complex. Cocoa with a hint of umami. Why do I always get umami in the chocolately teas? Random. The leaves are beautiful though.
35 s: Beautiful amber/cocoa color. I taste hints of red fruit, cocoa mmmm something at the end of my sniffer cup is so good. Oh my. Maybe ….I had glimpses of chocolate meringue.. which now have faded back into nestea powdered drink. This is the second time it’s happened to me.. such a funny smell association.
45s: The leaves are just starting to loosen up a little now. It smells like floral honey.. but thick rich intense honey.Whoa.. beautiful mineral/buttery notes coming out and hugging my tongue. While hot – this steep is more sensations than tastes. So delicious it reminds me of a milk oolong almost. I get mushroomy tastes as it cools.. like a rich mushroom risotto. Very delicious! The more it cools, the more savoury it becomes.
1 min: Mmm malty. Savoury malty goodness. Hints of honey again too. Rich, thick, and dark honey.
I’m loving this black. It’s so delicious and reminds me of Bailin Gongfu black, except more savoury with lovely mineral/buttery qualities to it. I am very happy I took the time to do short steeps with this tea and see what it had to offer. I have enough to do one western style steep.. but.. I think maybe I will just do another gonfu-ish style session again. Perhaps a true gongfu style next time? hmm.
So tea-drunk I forgot to say Thank you so so much to Fong Mong Tea for this delicious sample! I am so grateful and am definitely loving this tea. Perhaps I should take a break and eat some breakfast now.
Today I thought it would be good to dig around in the sample box and try a new tea. This one caught my eye as I have been experimenting with some green tea lately and would like to try what there is to offer (slowly of course – I still have so much to try).
Dry: The leaves are very small, smooth little black rolled leaves that smell strongly of jasmine. Delightful and interesting. I have never come across a tea like this.
1st, 1.5min: Very delightful jasmine flavours coming through.. possibly a touch of the green peaking in under the jasmine. There is something strong that pops at the back sides of my tongue if I take a large sip and let it mull around. Surprising, as the tea seems so well behaved almost. Nice sweet lingering to the aftertaste too. Mmmm mellow.
2nd, 1.45min: Tastes the same as the first steep. No change what so ever in the intensity of flavours either. I can definitely get a lot more steeps out of the leaves.
Really nice jasmine tea… though I do enjoy more complex flavours, this tea satisfies the times when I just want a cup of tea and not have to think about what I’m tasting really. I probably will purchase some when LIT is back up and running (and when my tea stash diminishes a little)
Edit, 4th steep: This tea is actually really nice. I am pleased that it is changing a bit… not as strong of jasmine (not that that is bad to me), but more vegetal and ‘green’ buttery layers are present. Really nice.
Still as malty and slightly smokey as I remember. I really enjoy the Darj and Ceylon they use for this blend. Slight bitter edge, and looking through my past note, I realize this may just be the tea. I don’t mind it, though I may just keep the water below boiling next time and see if that helps with the bitterness.
Still very good and I am now going onto my 3rd cup! It was my morning, afternoon, and soon to be evening tea today. I am dropping the points just slightly due to the bitterness… though please don’t be discouraged as it’s very faint and can easily be dealt with by changing the steeping parameters. I will always have a spot in my heart for you Russian Caravan =)
I had this delicious wonder last night with a friend who is not really into tea (yet). They really enjoyed it and could pick up on the buttery vegetal layers in the tea… making for a very enjoyable tea experience for the both of us. It’s hard to really appreciate a tea I find if the other person is just slurping the tea as a drink, rather than a shared experience with the tea.
I picked this up as I had a credit at Tea Desire and thought the original review was a little intriguing. I really love black teas so I couldn’t say no!
The tea itself was rather nice as far as I remember. Malty black with a little creaminess. I do remember wishing the 2nd steep was stronger.. that may have been my fault or the leaves may have been done already. I have a feeling its a bit of both as the 3rd steep was rather thin.
I will have to play with this tea more and see if it will provide me with more than just one delicious cup of tea! For that reason, I am going to hold of rating this =)
So I asked the nice sales person to show me the chai’s they had.. and he started to rave about this one. I had already gone in there dead set on picking up the marsala chai (is that the name of it?) from them, but then got sidetracked into this tea instead (as he said.. I can mix it with whatever I want).
When I was digging some of the tisane out to boil for a while, I realized there really wasn’t very much to this tea at all. at all. As in I just wasted my money on cinnamon bits pretty much. I ended up adding extra tricolored pepper corns, ginger, star anise, and cardamom because the tisane was so boring looking.
It didn’t help. I boiled that tea for 40 minutes and it was sooooo delicate. So delicate. Which to me is the exact opposite of what a chai should be. By the time I added my almond milk (unflavoured and unsweeted) and a little sugar (only way I like chai hehe).. I could barely taste the flavours of the chai. I proceeded to try to boil the water off even more so it would be even more concentrated…still didn’t work.
Safe to say this is not the chai for me and I am still dreaming of the Republic of Tea’s chai. sigh