Just a quick note on this one. I’ve been working on a sample I got with my last order. This is very floral — too much so for my taste. I love this company’s Amethyst, thought, and will be ordering more soon.
116 Tasting Notes
I bought a tin of this at the same time I bought the Numi Chocolate Pu-Erh. I’ve been sampling it ever since, wanting to love it and just not managing. Too floral for me, no peachy flavor at all. I know, I just said almost the same thing about another tea from a different seller. Maybe it’s just me. But it is what it is. I think there are better oolongs out there, probably even some available at a lower cost.
Well, this is odd stuff. I think I like it. Not sure whether I’m going to buy more when it’s gone, though.
Was that confusing enough?
Yesterday was one of those seriously frustrating days filled with interruptions and tangents and distractions and delays and stubborn people and by the time I hit the grocery store after work I was ready to purchase and eat an entire Key Lime Pie all by myself, washed down with a bottle of cheap bubbly. So I wisely headed for the tea aisle instead.
I decided I would get one, maybe two, boxes of Really Serious Tea. I had in mind some Yorkshire Gold but the only box was badly crushed. Then I thought, maybe some killer Earl Grey. But there were none I hadn’t tried already, and they were all in bags. So I wandered over to the brands I don’t look at too frequently.
I noticed that every single Numi in the store was a pu-erh. I am seriously nervous about pu-erh. That seemed a good reason to take the plunge, so I picked this one because it was the single weirdest-sounding one on the shelf. When I got back home I found it was actually on my shopping list, although I’ve since taken it off.
I am finishing up the second cup. I drank the first one without additives. The dry bag had a whiff of something vaguely fishy, but I plunged on. Surprise! Brewed, it really id taste like tea+chocolate, rougher than Florence but really kind of interesting. And no fishy aroma. On the other hand, I was looking forward to the hint of orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and I didn’t get the orange at all. I drank most of it pretty quickly but was not fast enough to get to it all before it went stone cold. Drinking it black and stone cold was not a good option for me. Although, weirdly, I think I got more of the cinnamon and nutmeg then.
Second cup, I added a splash of half-and-half and sampled it. Hmm. Weirder still, I think I liked it better without additives as long as it was hot. So I added some rock sugar, and decide yes, counter-intuitively, the stuff is more interesting to me without anything added.
Now the second cup has cooled off, and I’m getting a lot of chocolate following a rush of sweetness. This is the most changeable, wibbly cup of tea I have tried so far. If it piques your curiosity, go for it. I think you will have a very individual response to it, but I truly cannot say where it’s likely to fall on your personal continuum.
Not going to assign a numerical rating.
No notes yet.
No notes yet.
Not bad for a breakfast blend. I didn’t get the toasted grain or citrusy notes mentioned in the H&S description.
Unlike Choco-Nut, I probably won’t buy this again but only because it isn’t a standout.
It looks like I have the original version of this tea, with a gunpowder base rather than bancha. I’ll press on anyway, because I like this and I suspect I will like the bancha version even better!
This is mildly smokey, present in the scent of both the dry leaves and steeped tea and as an aftertaste but not necessarily when held on the tongue. (I tried Daniel’s technique of exhaling, holding the tea in my mouth, and inhaling.) It would be a good introduction for someone who is not sure whether she would like a smoked tea. It would also appeal to someone who would like to try a lighter version of lapsang souchong, perhaps someone who is trying to increase consumption of green tea and cutting back on black.
Smooth and basic, subtle like the other blends from Whispering Pines that I’ve tried. Not sure whether the suggestion for multiple steepings would apply to the gunpowder version so I think I’ll skip a second steep from these leaves. I also think I’ll be ordering the new, bancha version soon!
UPDATE: The website says this is out of stock. Am hoping this is a temporary situation!
It’s been years since I tried yerba mate, and I don’t have any clear memories of my reaction. I must have been underwhelmed.
So when I picked up my packet of Black Bear Breakfast and reminded myself of the ingredients, I thought, “OK, time for breakfast, let’s try this out.”
I think yerba mate is still not my brew of choice. I can’t seem to single out what the mate is contributing to the flavor, but mostly I’m getting mild, slightly sweet, with an aftertaste of mint. Not getting the elderberries.
This is reminiscent of Manistee Moonrise but not as distinctive, a wakeup tea with a refreshing afterbite and probably a good introduction to yerba mate blends for the slightly mate-phobic like me!
Looking forward to trying my final two samples from Whispering Pines.
I’ve been MIA again because of work and a mild (probably stress-related) puniness so I am somewhat behind in tasting and in tasting notes.
Madam Potts has scored again! This is really uncanny. For those who don’t know about www.madpotsoftea.com, [CORRECTED! So sorry!] if you go there and choose Personalitea, you can fill out a questionnaire that Madame will then consult and anaylze to blend a tea specifically for you.
I felt like my questionnaire responses were all over the place, but in the note I got back with my tea Madame said that she had focused on a favorite scent family (chypre) because it was one she hadn’t worked with extensively, and on my fondness for Santa Fe.
When I read the ingredients (see above) I thought, hmmm. They didn’t exactly proclaim “Santa Fe” to me. Then I prepared my first cup, and guess what? Santa Fe.
The chypre must be coming from the lavender and cornflower. I’m getting a little coolness that must be from the valerian and clover. The pecans may be the source of the slight smokiness. And then there’s the orange peel, carob, cinnamon, and ginger, none of which stand out sharply, but all of which seem to blend into something subtle and exotic like a mole sauce — the classic Mexican sauce based on unsweetened chocolate and cinnamon and chiles.
I’ve had two cups so far. Both times I boiled the water, steeped 5 minutes, and let it cool to almost-tepid before drinking most of it. (I wanted to try the second cup hot, but my boss came up to chat with me.) Using an Earl Grey as the base ties the flavors together in a way I would never have guessed it could.
This is mysterious and seriously addictive for me, and I’m planning to order more.
I wish I could show you a picture of it. I have resisted moving into the smart phone era and do not have a digital camera. The bright blue of the cornflower petals and the pale lavender buds really stand out against the black tea leaves. And then you see the little chunks of orange peel and pecans and carob.
You should try the questionnaire. I am amazed by and very happy with my blend.
Very watermelon-y. I drank it hot; definitely think it should be iced instead. But surprisingly tasty and accurate flavor despite that!
I just bought this last night and tried it out today. I am completely satisfied with its performance and I love being able to see the color of the brewed tea. It’s a little more difficult to see what’s happening with the leaves, but I could see well enough to get the idea as they unfurled and sank.
I deliberately picked a white tea with what I hoped would be subtle accents to find out whether the filter contributed to the taste in any way. It did not.
This one’s going to live at work but I think I’ll probably get one or two more — one for home and one to stash at my sister’s place until she begins to understand what she’s been missing, at which time I MAY get her one, too.
Another from my introductory samples. I christened my new Bodum Tea For One set with this — it’s a double-walled glass cup with no handle and a nylon mesh filter.
The dry tea smelled more of ginger than orange, and so do the steeped leaves. Dry, the sample packet looked like it may have been crushed a bit in the mail even though both the outer paper envelope and inner plastic bags were intact. But, I’m pleased to report, none of the finer particles made it through the Bodun’s mesh.
The liquid is a lovely medium gold, a glowing orange when I hold it up to the light (yay clear glass cup!) And I really catch the scent of orange as well as ginger when I sniff it. Sweet! Literally.
I may have been too impatient to let the water cool enough. I brought it to a boil but let it sit for a minute before pouring — maybe should have waited two minutes. That’s why I put the water temperature at 185, below. There’s just an edge of bitterness in my first couple of sips.
But ooh, pretty. I was afraid the ginger might overwhelm the orange, but it hasn’t done so. It’s more of a background note. Mind you, I like ginger. But I didn’t want it to be the strongest flavor in this, and it isn’t. Again, as I found with Manistee Moonrise, the flavors added to the tea are very delicate and subtle. Yet there seem to be a lot of bits of orange peel and chopped, dried (NOT candied, bless Brenden) ginger in the mix.
Now I’m getting a very sweet orange taste in the back of my tongue. I almost don’t want to take another sip until it goes away. It isn’t cloying. Nothing in this tea is overdone.
As it cools a bit, the ginger is coming out a little more, replacing some of the thermal heat with gingery heat. But again, not overwhelming.
This stuff is fascinating, and I’m looking forward to trying more of my samples over the next few days.
First, thanks to Brenden for the opportunity to sample your teas!
This tea is wonderfully subtle and calming. It does, indeed, evoke a feeling of being in the woods. There’s the slight hint of smoke, the freshness of the lemon grass and spearmint, and the barely-there suggestion of sweetness.
I am not a big fan of spearmint, though I’m learning to enjoy it in blends with other flavors. This way it just tastes wild, in a good way, without the cloying flavor I’ve associated with it in after-dinner mints and chewing gum.
Somewhere Brenden recommended a second steep, six instead of five minutes. I’ll definitely be trying that too.
This is not something I’d drink every day, but it is definitely going on my shopping list. Some people dream of tropical vacations and the beach, but I dream of deserts and pine-covered mountains. This tea takes me right there to the high country. I’m looking forward to the rest of my samples.
Update: re-steeping per the recommendation in comments on Amy Oh’s tasting note. The liquid is still dark, dark, dark, but the smoky taste is just about gone and the lemon is predominant with a minty aftertaste. I was not expecting such a strong flavor from a re-steep. I think I prefer the smokiness in my first cup, but this is also good — just in a different way. And there is no bitterness at all despite the two rather long steeps. This is a winner.
Well, hmmm. So far I’ve tried 4 genmaichas: Numi’s bagged, loose tea from The Path of Tea, Genmaicha from David’s Tea, and this one.
I instantly loved Numi’s and continued to do so despite the bags. I instantly loved the first cup I made from The Path of Tea, but subsequent cups not so much. I did not instantly love either David’s Tea Genmaicha or Den’s Genmaicha Extra Green with Matcha.
I feel these extremely inconsistent results are mostly my fault. I haven’t achieved the correct temperature and steep time for any of the loose teas yet, and haven’t been able to reproduce the good experience I had with my first loose genmaicha. So I am not going to rate Den’s yet.
The instructions say to use boiling water, 1 tsp leaves, steep for 30 seconds. This is quite different from what David’s Tea recommends for their Genmaicha (165F and steep 2-3 minutes.)
I was interrupted by my boss so the water was probably more like 175-180, but I was careful re: the quantity and steep time. What I ended up with is not bitter, but it is a bit insipid and lacking in sweetness or toastiness. I’ll try for boiling water and a 15-second steep on my second cup, as recommended by Den’s.
Second steep: I also used less water. We may be getting there.
Thanks to ashmanra for the sample! I now have a 20-sachet tin of this stuff on order, along with two of the other varieties offered by Harney’s Ambessa Tea. (The Lingonberry Green is out of stock, boo-hoo.) If you go to the Harney’s website, search for the keyword Ambessa to see all 4.
I guess I am a sucker for chocolate teas. This reminds me very much of Florence, which I love. Maybe after I get my tin of this I’ll have a chocolate tasting day between ChocoNut, Florence, and Love Tea #7.
I drank this without any additives like sweetener or milk or cream, and it’s so smooth and rich that it doesn’t need any. It is best before cooling, but I’ll bet it would make an excellent iced tea latte with a bit of agave and some half-and-half.
I left the sachet in the cup and it never got bitter on me. Of course, I drank it pretty quickly…
And the dry tea smells lovely, too.
Not tea. Not coffee. Not chocolate. Not bad!
This is very weird stuff, but I like it — maybe more than I expected to. It’s also kind of a historical research project for me, as something similar to this blend was apparently used in the American South when real coffee wasn’t available because of the blockade during the Civil War. Roasted grains + chicory was a common coffee substitute.
It looks like coffee. The half-and-half sank into it the same way it sinks into coffee. It definitely doesn’t taste like coffee. I get the carob a bit. Can’t find the star anise or allspice or even the cinnamon. I was thinking the cinnamon would be quite strong.
HEY! This is my 100th!
This is the last of the samples I got with my order and I put off trying it because…because…because the name was boring! (I mean, come on. They sent me Love Tea #7 and Strawberry Shortcake and some kind of milky oolong?)
I was so wrong. I’m on my second steeping now and am going to pop for the 100 gram tin. Then I have to stop buying tea for awhile.
Buttery, creamy. Just like everybody said before. So interesting! How can tea do this? I started out on Steepster thinking I wanted to learn about black teas but the oolongs and some green teas are really fascinating.
Having this with coconut lemongrass chicken and I almost don’t want to eat because it might disrupt the tea flavors.
Oh, and why does the packet say to steep 4-7 minutes? So glad I didn’t pay attention to that.
Decided to try this one because of the repeated mention of “light smokiness” because that’s one of my favorite elements in tea.
So I was surprised that the aroma was sweet and flowery! I still can’t identify the specific flower it reminds me of — just a sweet, old-fashioned nosegay, I guess.
I added a little fat-free milk and sipped. Oh, I do like this. Still flowery, but with the expected faint smokiness and a totally unexpected chocolate something at the back of my tongue. I was truly surprised and disappointed when I relized I had finished the first cup.
Another sample that came with my David’s Tea shipment. I appreciate the opportunity to try it, but I don’t think I’ll buy it — it was fairly ordinary sweetish, kinda fruity, but it did not proclaim either strawberries or shortcake to me.
Got this as a sample with my David’s Tea order. I thought it was Daniel Scott, or maybe Daisy Chubb, who recommended using the entire sample and brewing strong. Now I can’t find who said that. But that’s what I did!
I don’t know that I can add much more but this is delicious. I actually brewed it a little too long, more like 5-6 minutes I estimate, and it’s not bitter. I added half-and-half after a single sip but that’s mainly because I wanted it to be as decadent and dessert-y as it could be without adding sweetener, which it does not need. I think I would also like it just fine plain.
The roses are coming in as an aftertaste. The fresh-strawberry-with-chocolate is definitely prominent. I’m struggling not to gulp it down because it’s so good and I don’t have any more.
Until the next order. Mwa-ha-ha!
Stunt tea, strange and wonderful. Drinking it plain, there’s a tinge of sweetness from the apple pieces but mostly I’m getting peppermint and juniper. Very palate-cleansing!
And very weird. But definitely worth at least sampling, if the description appeals to your taste, imagination, curiosity, whatever.
Hmm. Sweet, not unpleasant, but doesn’t rock my boat. I tasted plain, added Sugar in the Raw and tasted again, added half-and-half and tasted again.
Not as delicate as I expected, not as distinctly cherry-flavored, no discernible tea flavor. I will withhold a numerical rating for now — maybe the cherry bits settled in the packet and that’s not why I’m tasting them in this first cup. The packet was very full.
I poked around in the wet leaves left in my infuser and didn’t spot anything except tea leaves and coconut pieces. That tends to bear out my theory that I didn’t get any cherry bits, rose petals, or bits of rosebud in the basket — probably just the aroma absorbed by the leaves.
The dry scent was fruity-floral. That’s sort of what I’m tasting, too. I can tell it isn’t jasmine, but I would be hard-pressed to identify it as rose in the background.
I’ll try this one again and post an update in a day or two.
Yay, I got my David’s Tea shipment!
Just awhile ago I wrote about my errors with The Path of Tea genmaicha, which was lovely brewed in my French Press at home with an appropriate amount of tea and a carefully timed steep. When I used my Tea for Life set, the curved blue cup with the metal infuser, I blew it.
So, mindful of that, with David’s Tea I used the Tea for Life set again, but measured only a gently rounded tablespoon and steeped for about 2 1/2 minutes.
The dry tea looks like it’s about half tea (fairly regular, needle-shaped leaves about 3/4 inch long) and half toasted rice, with a fair amount of popped rice kernels. It looks pretty much like the photo. Could not really detect a toasty smell in the dry form.
Steeped, I have the lovely toasty aroma rising from the cup, not with the buttery note I found in The Path of Tea version, but pleasant.
First sip: seem a bit weak. I think it needs a bit more in the filter when made this way. I’ll try increasing the amount of leaf slightly next time and steep it for the same amount of time. I may try a re-steep, adding another teaspoon of fresh dry leaf. And I’ll try it in the French press tonight or tomorrow.
Going to withhold a numerical rating for now, but so far it’s quite nice and I’m looking forward to more tweaking.
Update: I just tried Daniel Scott’s discovery of this technique and I’m getting much stronger toast notes this way even though the tea has cooled down quite a bit:
1. First, exhale completely.
2. Take a sip of tea.
3. Hold the tea in your mouth across your entire tongue and inhale deeply through your nose.
Update 2: Re-steeped as planned, with addition of another tsp or so. Pleasant but still not there. Next time will try with more leaf to start with.
Took this to work with me yesterday and blew it. I used my Tea For Life set with the metal infuser and WAY too much leaf. The leaf soaked up a good third of the water and didn’t turn it loose, and I think I oversteeped by about 30 seconds to a minute, so I ended up with strong, bitter tea.
I cut it with a dash of half-and-half, which helped, but locals reading this beware: this was definitely user error. Exercise moderation in all things!
I got my David’s Tea shipment so will be reviewing that genmaicha shortly.