228 Tasting Notes
Now this is a white tea for white tea lovers. Or at least it has everything I love about white tea! I decided to brew this gongfu method, but the tea didn’t really vary between the steeps. However, I still think it was the right choice because I got 10 great steeps out of the leaves. I brewed 3g at 190F for 15/15/30/40/60/90/120/150/180/210 sec. Since the taste was consistent throughout, I won’t review each steep separately.
The leaves are just gorgeous! They’re all silvery green, covered in white fuzz. They’re extremely plump and soft to the touch. They’re pretty cute. They smell of sweet hay, which happens to be a smell that I enjoy a lot. The liquor is a very light yellow and the taste does not disappoint! It’s incredibly delicate, airy sweet hay accented by honeysuckle. Drinking it is such a calming experience and it feels like a real treat. Pretty much everything I want in a white tea! I’m sad I only bought one ounce.
Flavors: Hay, Honeysuckle, Sweet
This is my #1 favorite tea, hands down. I’ve already had it many times Western style, but I thought I needed to experience it gongfu style too. Let me tell you, that experience deserves its own review too! Here’s how I brewed: 3g at 205F H2O for 15/15/30/40/60 sec
steep 1: This steep is all bread and chocolate with a honey sweet finish. Chocolate croissant, anyone?
steep 2: The chocolate hides for this steep, but caramel comes out to play and brings its friend butter, all over the bready base. Mmmm so buttery and smooth!
steep 3: This was a repeat of steep 2. I’m not mad about that at all.
steep 4: This steep is where it’s at. OMG. Dying. Caramel + dark chocolate + honey. So sweet and so smooth
steep 5: And we finish up with buttery, scrumptious bread. Steep four was my favorite, but this is actually a really nice way to finish the session!
Everyone, do yourself a favor and get your hands on some Ailaoshan Black. You’ll be in total tea love too :)
This has become a great favorite of mine for mornings. It’s bold enough to stand up to breakfast, but still has a complex and defined flavor profile. Plus, did I mention this chai requires no milk or sweetener? I actually prefer it au naturel. That’s how good it is! Of course, starting with a Golden Snail base, how could it not be? The leaves are the aforementioned adorable snailies plus some spicy chunks :). It just smells warm to me, with ginger definitely coming through as it brews up a golden brown liquor. In the initial sips, ginger is definitely the star. It’s bold without being offensive in any way. Underneath that, buttery baked bread and cardamom really come through in a taste that is extremely close to cardamom rolls (those are a Norwegian thing: kind of like cinnamon rolls but breadier and with cardamom – duh – and savory instead of sweet). As it cools, more the chocolate and honey notes come out to play and the tea becomes much sweeter and more buttery. Yum! If you have the self control to let it cool for a while before drinking (I usually don’t), you will be rewarded with the full flavor profile this delicious tea has to offer.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cardamon, Chocolate, Ginger, Honey
These leaves are dark and a little shorter than most I’ve come across recently. They smell just like pumpkin pie! The color of the liquor is also a pumpkin color as well. Well played, Stacy :). The taste is pumpkin pie too! Yum!! It is less sweet than pumpkin pie, but I enjoy that. The flavor is also very creamy, but I don’t get that caramelized sugar taste that I associate with crème brûlée. Still, I’m not at all upset with creamy pumpkin pie tea!
Flavors: Creamy, Natural Pumpkin Spice Flavor, Pumpkin
More dark, twisty leaves! I have to say I do enjoy an oolong with rolled leaves just because it’s fun to watch them unfurl. It’s like watching a time lapse video of a plant growing :) The aroma was not very strong, but the leaves brewed up an orange-brown color of decent strength. The taste didn’t blow my mind. It was prune-ish, without being nearly as sweet as an actual prune, although it was somewhat sweet. I also thought I picked up an oak note in there. I feel like I might not be being quite fair with this oolong because I just recently tried Butiki’s oriental beauty, which was completely amazing! Now I compare all fruity oolongs to that one and the purple sunset just isn’t dynamic and flavorful.
This oolong is a long, twisty oolong with large pieces of pecans, or “pea-cans” as we say in the panhandle of Florida. Brewed, it smells very maple-y and is a light burnt orange color. The taste is all gentle maple and nuts. As someone who’s not crazy about maple (not that I dislike it at all), this tea has the right maple intensity for me. You do get to taste the oolong at the very front of the sip before the other flavors take over. It would taste exactly like a pecan praline if there was a buttery element to it. If that were the case, I’d be all over it!
Flavors: Maple Syrup, Pecan
This tea is dark green with pistachio slices. Mmmm pistachios! The smell is very nutty with a vanilla background and when brewed the liquor is extremely light green. The taste is all pistachio! There is a creamy element to it, which I quite enjoyed, although I think I would have liked just a tad more vanilla. With that addition, it would have tasted almost exactly like pistachio ice cream :)
Flavors: Cream, Nutty
Now this is a pretty tea! The leaves are dark, medium length, and twisty, but also blended with beautiful coconut shreds and some sort of fruit zest? For those who don’t know, I’m OBSESSED with coconut. It even rivals my chocolate obsession, which says something! When brewing, this tea smells of coconut(!) with an overall tropical aroma. The liquor is a warm red clay color. When sipped, the coconut comes out first (yay coconut!), followed by what tastes exactly like bananas foster. Seriously, it tastes exactly like that! Now, I am extremely picky about my banana flavors. Basically, I like bananas, but have never liked something that was banana flavored until now. The banana is overall incredibly natural tasting. The only thing holding me back from going bananas over this tea (sorry about the horrible pun; I just had to) is the transition from the coconut to the bananas foster. Just for a second, I get a hit of banana candy flavor before it transitions to real caramelized banana. Considering just how picky I am, this is a super impressive banana tea!
Flavors: Banana, Caramel, Coconut
I was very excited to try this tea, given all I’ve heard about it from my dear Steepster friends :). This tea is a total spider-leg tea! (dark, twisty, looooong leaves). It smells very tannic and brews up a burnt sienna color. The main impression I get upon the first sip is that this tea is different- I’ve never tasted another tea like it! Points for that :). The flavors that pop up are honey and raisins, with a hint of cinnamon against a malty backdrop. This is actually the first tea I’ve gotten raisin notes from. The flavors all shine quite clearly- is this a classic assam flavor profile? I’m not sure as I’ve only had a spiced masala assam.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Honey, Malt, Raisins
This tea is very attractive: large chunks of what I assume is pineapple among short, flat, green leaves that smell sweetly of cilantro. They brew up a light-greenish yellow. The taste, however, was a bit disappointing for my personal tastes. It was mostly herby (cilantro) and the pineapple was quite hard to find. I guess the lingering sweetness was contributed by the pineapple, but in a blind taste test I wouldn’t be able to identify it. I don’t like very vegetal teas, so I won’t rate this one but I do think it’s well done. The flavors just aren’t to my tastes.