15 Tasting Notes

100
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
15 tasting notes

Fourth cup, ninth steep since Tuesday. I think I’m hooked.

Watch it, Steepster. I might have to order the rest of their supply.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec
Angrboda

Ha! I stocked up recently. I tend to get 200g at a time of this one. I’d get more, but I’m not made of money. Not when I also want to get other things from TeaSpring. :)

Matt

Yeah; if this tea is so spectacular, they must have something else worth drinking, eh?

Angrboda

Definitely. In my experience, they sell a very good quality. If I were you I wouldn’t bother too much with the more expensive Tan Yang Jing Zhi. I tried it one, and found I actually enjoyed the Te Ji more. I didn’t think the Jing Zhi was really worth the increase in price.
You should also have a go at their Bai Lin Ju Hong, I think you might enjoy that one as well. I think it’s very similar to the Tan Yang, but smoother and sometimes, not always, I’ve found an uncanny note of oranges or tangerines in it. I haven’t tried the Bai Lin Jin Zhen, but I suspect it might be the same sort of story as the two types of Tan Yang. If you enjoy Keemun, I’ve also been very pleased with the Keemun Hao Ya A. I haven’t explored their oolong section very much recently, so I can’t give you any suggestions there. I’ve got some standing around though, it’s just a question of finding a good time to give them the proper attention.

Matt

Thanks so much for your recommendations! I’ll be sure to add them to the wishlist. Bai Lin Ju Hong sounds very intriguing. :)

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100
drank Tan Yang Te Ji by TeaSpring
15 tasting notes

OH MY GOOD LORD

Let me just say, I love you, my steepsterites. Without you, how would I ever known about this lovely, lovely tea? It took a month to get here, but WOW, it was WORTH THE WAIT.

Love at first smell. Very sweet aroma, dark and lovely after only a minute of steep time. It has a very robust initial flavor, reminiscent of chocolate, smoke, and plums followed by a lingering warmth on the palate, followed by a smokiness that tastes sweet? on the back of the tongue. Is that possible?

Oh my god, resteeping. This second cup is even better, if that’s possible. The overwhelming sip has mellowed, and there’s an even stronger smokiness on the backend.

I love it. I love it. I know I just opened it, but should I order more?!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I TOLD YOU SO! ♥ Tan Yang ♥

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97
drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
15 tasting notes

THIS TEA IS SO GLORIOUS.

I feel like a millionaire drinking this tea. So refined, and it’s a flavored tea!

The thing that I really love about it is that the flavor of the tea itself is not obscured. The caramel flavor is subtle, adding a smooth, creamy sweetness that lightly flavors a solid, malty black tea. It’s really fabulous, and quite forgiving. I’ve only had it for a week now but I’ve brewed it about 6 times (addict addict addict). It tastes best at about 4 to 4 1/2 minutes—it takes a little longer than other flavored blacks, in my opinion, and I’m not sure why—but if you go under or over, it doesn’t make that much of a difference.

Everything. The tin, the tea, the smell of steeping leaves. This is a great tea. Thanks MUCH to Angrboda for bringing this one to my attention!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Angrboda

It’s my perfect caramel tea. While I do appreciate that the flavour is not overwhelming and cloying, I suspect it’s actually the base that pushes it the rest of the way for me. The Chinese blacks are my favourites.

You are quite welcome.

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81

Captain Assam! I seem to be drowning in A&D’s Damn Fine Tea these days (not that that could possibly be a bad thing). A very lovely gift from a secret santa, and I brewed it straight away.

I went ahead and tried the full 4-minute recommended steep, and boy, it was lovely. Brisk as can be, with a very even flavor, reminiscent of raisin and wet branches. (Sorry, that sounds strange, but it’s pleasant, I swear!) I gave the leaves a second steep, but I’m afraid the resteep was rather weak. Maybe I’ll try a 3 minute first steep and the second cup will come out alright?

Anyway, A solid cup. It’s certainly worth your time.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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73
drank Black Dragon Pearl by Teavana
15 tasting notes

Call me a snob, but I’ve never stepped into Teavana before. Something about tea in the mall turns me off.

This year’s secret santa gave me a big ol’ bag of this, and it turns out that I’m really glad they did! At first I was worried because the pearls smelled flavored, but I suspect that it must be because they were stored near another tea, because the tea itself tasted nothing like the smell.

It’s not the most profound tea, sure, but there are certain aspects of it that really stand out. It’s incredibly malty and smoooooooooooth. A very very strong note of chocolate. The first steep is very mild, but the second one comes out with a much more intense flavor. Must be the rolling method.

Anyway, I’m very pleased. Clearly, I should get over myself and try some other Teavana teas. Anyone have a recommendation?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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97
drank Boston Blend by Harney & Sons
15 tasting notes

I’ve never been so wooed by a flavored tea before. Really.

This tea must’ve just hit me at the right time. It steeps very quickly—I got two very even steeps at 3 minutes and 5 minutes respectively, and both cups came out full-flavored.

The cranberry is the first thing you notice, but it’s mellow and not at all in the way. The almond flavor adds a roundness, very calm and creamy. The tea itself acts simply as a carrier for the flavors that are added to it and do a fine job of not getting in the way.

This is just wonderful. I note the almond more intensely as I start, but as the cup cools, the cranberry comes to the forefront. It’s the same story with the second cup. It’s a perfect combination and I approve heartily. :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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94

Earl Grey! My love. There’s pretty much nothing better to fix a morning where you’re really dragging your feet. There’s something about bergamot that gets me GOING.

This one is exceptional, which at this point, is no surprise to me. I’ve been drinking tea exclusively from A&D for the past several days and the world is so very blissful as a result. Another day, another review above 90%! God bless you, A&D, for procuring and selling wonderful tea in such a creative and interesting way.

This EG is not shy; one whiff of the dry leaves will make your hair stand on end. Indeed, after brewing my current cup (4 minutes is better than the suggested 5, by the by), the bright scent of bergamot is everywhere! The bergamot is certainly more citrusy than perfume-y in this case, which is much appreciated, and is much more subdued post-brew, which is a GOOD thing! The chocolate-coffee flavor of the base tea is just right. This is a cup that will demand your attention. Good for rainy days. A little milk and a biscuit makes it even better!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

I have to admit, I had reservations after smelling the dry leaves. I’m still kind of new to smoky smoky blacks, and it had a smell reminiscent of… smoked ham? Okay, that’s not quite right. I warmed up to the smell the second time—more like leather, aged like an old theatre, quite rusty. How is this going to taste, I wonder?

Well, nothing like ham, I’ll tell you that. After a proper steep it tastes deep, smoky, and quite sweet. It’s really something complex and wonderful. You know that smell in October that reminds you of a candle that’s just been put out? It’s like that, but with a rich sweetness right at the end. Really wonderful, and perfect for a fall day.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

Okay, friends. I’m really trying to contain myself here.

This tea is ridiculously good. I’m sensing Keemun, Darjeeling, and something sweeter? Yunnan? It’s smoky in a very smooth way with a sweetness and spice that is hard to describe. How did I fit that many adjectives into one sentence? But seriously, it’s all the right amounts of those components wrapped up in a warming cup that will truly complete you. I’m overwhelmed, really.

Shout out to Charles and Erik, who had two fine artists (Paul, age 10 and Maggie, age 6) decorate my shipped boxes with fantastic pictures, as per a silly special request in the shipping notes. Thank you, young artists, and thanks for such a lovely cuppa as well! Truly inspiring.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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71
drank Earl Grey by Taylors of Harrogate
15 tasting notes

This is a pleasant EG, but like others have suggested, the bergamot is strangely perfume-y. I’m a big fan of EGs on mornings where I need a zing to get me going and I’d much prefer a fresh, citrusy bergamot to this one. I don’t think it’s nearly as bag as people here are suggesting—in fact, it’s quite satisfactory, but it’s not top-shelf. Trust me, you can do MUCH worse than this one.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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I’m an elementary school music teacher with a rabid tea obsession. I typically go for green oolongs and sweet blacks on a typical day, but I’ll try anything, really!

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