Featured & Popular Tasting Notes
What a lovely easy to drink tea! Thank you MERCURYHIME (capitalizing since I don’t know how to bold) for sharing this sample with me! Also thank you for sending enough for a second cup – I really like it! This has been on my shopping list It think since I joined steepster! Don’t know why I have not picked any up yet. Some things just got stuck on the list.
It is indeed chocolaty and I also happened to have a bit of chocolate here to eat while sipping! YAY! Also tasting the nuttiness!
Now I am not saying it is THE most complex tea ever but it is nice, it is exactly what it says it is and we need more of those teas out there in flavored teas!
As for the base, I am not sure what kind of black tea they are using, but it is very light which is fine, I think I would not mind a bit bolder of a black tea though.
All in all – I am pleased with this one!
Ever since I’ve been ordering from Red Leaf, I feel like all my matcha purchases had been “desert type matchas”. So, when I saw that the Boysenberry matcha went on sale again (since I missed it the first time), I knew I had to grab it. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had boysenberry on its own, but I definitely know I’ve had it in yogurt form. There are several companies that make boysenberry yogurt, and it’s delicious.
I ordered the 30g of Boysenberry Matcha, Starter (Basic Grade), Flavor: Robust. I really really like berries, and thought about upping the flavor even more, but decided to keep it at robust for now and see how it goes.
For all my previous matchas, since they were desert matchas, I had been making them hot the traditional matcha way. Usually, after my first sip, it was a little too intense for me, so I added some milk to help bring out the flavor. But for boysenberry, hot and milk added just didn’t sound appealing to me, so I thought I would try something new. On the Red Leaf site, under all the matchas, they have a “steeping” tab that talks about how to prepare them. There’s the traditional way, and the “traditional with a chill”. I’ve always wanted to try this, but none of the matchas I ordered sounded appealing cold, so I was excited to finally try something new.
I took my water bottle and measured 1/4 teaspoon for matcha, per the instructions. I then filled my bottle with 16oz of water. You can also use a water bottle, but since I want to be environmentally friendly (and I like my filtered water), I decided to just use a regular bottle. I debated whether or not to sift the matcha, but decided I wouldn’t the first time around. I shook my bottle vigorously, and then sipped the results…
WOW!!! I was really impressed. With all the other matchas, I had a hard time tasting the flavor just straight, but here I can definitely taste both the matcha and the boysenberry. The matcha is not overpowering, but there are definitely berry undertones. I didn’t need to add any sweetener, although I bet if I did it would bring out the flavor even more.
I can’t believe how easy this is to make. It sure beats using a whisk (no pun intended) and making water on the kettle. Those are good too, but this is better. I’m thinking I need to order some more fruity matchas in the future, since I liked boysenberry so much. I’m not sure how this would taste hot, but it’s definitely delicious cold.
As a reminder, you can get the matcha here: https://www.redleaftea.com/matcha-tea/boysenberry-matcha.html
I know by this time of day I usually move on to Greens, Whites, Rooibos, Minty, etc types but I can’t stop tasting the lovely teas AUGGY sent me! So…here’s another one!
This doesn’t smell like FAKE Caramel…that’s a plus. Not that I am a Caramel Pro by any means. Actually, I’m not really one to usually choose caramel flavored anything…but…there have been some teas I have had recently that have been quite good and they’ve contained Caramel! So…
This flavored tea is soothing and somewhat sweet. The black tea isn’t overpowering nor is it bitter. The Caramel isn’t too in-your-face and it seems to go with the Black tea perfectly. What a union! This is nice!
Didn’t get to have this at work so I’m having it now that I am home.
Holy crap does the dry leaf smell like pears! Big, juicy, mess-making pears. Wow! That’s a slight, possible floral smell added to it that is maybe the honey? No idea. 98% of this is full on pear smell.
So my timer went off and I went into the kitchen to pour my cup? HOLY HONEY MONKEYS, BATMAN! I was still a few feet from the counter when I got slammed with succulent fruit juiciness and honey. The honey smell is very obvious now and makes it smell like pears, soaked in honey. Quite why they are soaked in honey, no one knows, because it stops them tasting like pears and makes them taste like honey… and if you wanted honey, you could just… buy honey. Instead of pears.
ahem But I digress.
Sipping on the tea though and the BAM ness of the honey pear is in the scent and the actual taste is much more normal and sane. There is honey, then tea, then pear, then honey again. It is like a lightly flavored pear tea was sweetened with honey. Or maybe a gentle tea was sweetened with honey and then had a splash of pear juice added.
This is smooth with a little dryness showing up right after I swallow but quickly fading. It’s sweet but in a wild, honey/musky fruit way. And the body is pretty light. No desire or need to chew the tea here (which I might actually enjoy…) I really want to see how this will turn out when cooler, but I may be too impatient (and it may be too yummy) for me to see. I think a bit more pear is coming out, but again, I’m impatient.
So this all sounds great, right? So why is my rating just at the lime green happy face and not higher? This seems like it has all the elements of wonderfulness: strong and recognizable smell, no chemical taste, the flavoring doesn’t overpower the tea, no additives needed to make it yummy….
I dislike honey.
Yeah, I know. I’m weird. Just not a big fan of honey. Sure, I’ll mix it with mustard and dip chicken into it. I have occasionally put it on a biscuit. But generally, I’m pretty particular about my honey. I go for the lighter, sweeter honeys – orange blossom over plum (which strikes me as a very dark-tasting, wild honey), the local wildflower honey over sourwood honey. I don’t even really like the taste of the ‘typical’ clover honey. And this honey strikes me as a slightly-darker-tasting-than-clover honey. So while I recognize that this is a good tea, this is just something that’s not up my alley.
However, those that like pears and honey both? Will probably love this one. Now I vote that GM makes a pear tea (I don’t think there is one in my sample box, right?) because this tea minus the honey, I think I’d LOVE.
Monday morning tea success!
And much needed too! My office Bigwig will soon be arriving. You know the type, right? The Bigwig lives in a totally different state and has no idea how to do your job, yet is in charge of “suggesting” and then implementing their ideas on how to do your job better. Of course their “suggestions” only add to the number of steps you already take to do the exact same thing…thus causing a major pain in your butt and making you wish you could transport them back to their office…or better yet, some awful frozen tundra of doom? Yeah, I thought so.
So, how about this tea? :)
My first whiff of the liquor resulted in mostly roasty toasty notes, but also a light fruit smell. I’m not quite sure what type of fruit it is, but it’s juicy smelling. That’s right…juicy smelling. That same juicy note comes over in the taste as well, albeit in the aftertaste. The taste progression goes a little something like this: roasty toasty, mineral-y, OOLONG, juicy. The juicy effect actually made my mouth water. Crazyness. I’ve never had a roasted oolong quite like this one. It’s quite delicious. I’m glad I ordered a large tin. Nom nom nom!
More H&S to come!
If Jane Austen Mafia were a band I’d buy every song in their catalog, and I’d wear my band tee long after they sell out and go mainstream. That’s the kind of dedicated fan I’d be!
Jane Austen Mafia isn’t a band even though it is the best band name ever. Jane Austen Mafia is a tea. A pretty damn fantastically grand flavored black tea! Vanilla and blackberry combine with black tea for a marriage built on equality and true love worthy of a 19th century novel penned by an idealistic forward thinker.
This tea sample tasted particularly sweet because it was given to me with sacrifice in the spirit of true tea-friendship. Teawing sent me the very last bit of Jane Austen Mafia that he had left and it’s one of his favorite teas. Who other than a true gentleman would do such a thing? I owe him a huge debt of gratitude!
The dry ingredients smell Marvelous!!!!
Most of these ingredients I wouldn’t normally choose in an herbal because I usually don’t care for full flavor tarty herbals…but…I’ll try anything once…
Based on the ingredients and being able to see everything obviously when looking at it…and the powerful smell I really thought this would be tart, but, altho it’s quite juicy and fruity it’s more of a smooth and pleasant herbal and it just maybe because of the green rooibos pairing!? Not sure…but what ever da.u.de did with this blend I sure do like it! So much so that I might just have to say this is my FAVORITE Fruity Herbal I have ever had…and guess what…it has hibiscus in it! BUT…it doesn’t seem to be bothering me! WOW! I’m so surprised with this one!!!! Great job on this!!!! I’m drinking it hot but KNOW it will be great cold/iced too! Again…I just can’t get over how much I like this one (based on the ingredients and my previous attempts with other brands and ended up being not so good) WOW!!!! I’m liking this :)
I’m adding more points to my rating because I’m so blown away by how much I like it based on the ingredients!!!! Seriously! I’m shocked!!!!
Ahhhh….now this is great tea! I’ve been really impressed with the teas I’ve sampled (thanks to *Jaime) from RoT’s Raw Green Bush line.
This tea smells heavenly, sweet coconut water with plantains. It is blended so harmoniously the taste is just like velvet, but lighter. This tastes like a flavored water version of a coconut banana smoothie. I will definitely be buying more of this tea. This is sooooo good!
I’m giving a bump up to the rating of this one. I keep thinking, “Ah yes, a nice caramel tea.” But no, it’s not. It’s really a great caramel tea. The smell is fantastic – thick and silky and just guh. Like those candy commercials where they have caramel flowing into caramel-colored silk? Yeah, it smells like that.
But if a tea tastes like dirty socks I’m not going to fall in love with it, silky rich smell or not. Thankfully, no dirty socks here. On the first sip of this tea I’m always reminded of Lupicia’s English Caramel because this is surprisingly unsweet. Unlike English Caramel, however, it thankfully goes nowhere near bittersweet. Instead, it’s silky (but not too heavy) straight caramel chew that somehow manages to be candy but not be sugary-sweet.
Then the sip ends and that’s where the sweet seems to really hit me – it expands in my mouth and suddenly I feel like I’ve been sucking on caramel-flavored nectar. When I had finished with my 12oz I actually felt like it had coated my mouth with a post-caramel-chew flavor/feeling.
It’s just an all around delightful tea, thus the rating bump. I think it’s a grand feat for a tea to manage such smooth, silky dessert-tea-ness, especially without sugar or milk. I’m already dreading the day I run out.
This is very good and the smell is delicious. The rum raisin aroma is the pervasive one. I was hoping, a bit, that this tea would be very similar to my beloved “Brioche” from the American Tea House, but it is more like rum raisin and Brioche is much more cake-y.
The NecessiTeas and I have a troubled relationship: we are in a repetition compulsion that goes like so: I make an order of $90 or $45 dollars and pay them promptly via Pay Pal. Three weeks later I call them and nobody answers. I then send a plaintive email and get a response that my package is in the mail. Package arrives shortly thereafter, always post-marked one day after my bewildered email. I honestly do not have a dysfunctional relationship with any other tea company.
So…anticipating that this would be a problem, I placed a reorder for this tea a week before my first order arrived. It’s nice that they offer sample packs for $2.00 but I really feel as if ordering from them is a huge imposition for them. I feel like some sort of tea mendicant who is as annoying to them as a panhandler. It’s too bad that their tea is so good.
Backlogging the epicness of last night with this tea.
Because Four Seasons, lemme tell ya, it’s epic.
I wanted something yummy. Something delicious. Something that has high marks, and that I could get a lot of cups out of. Enter oolong, which is quickly rising to become one of my favorite go-to teas when I want a sustained tea drinking experience.
So Four Seasons. It smells at first pretty non-descript, which I think a lot of oolongs have trouble with. It smells slightly floral, maybe juicy-ish, but mainly vegetal and not very interesting. The leaves are rolled into tiny, irregular pellets.
So I steeped this one up at first with boiling water, at 2 minutes. The smell coming off the cup was amazing. It’s one of those things that you want to breathe in, inhale, surround yourself with, become ONE WITH THAT CUP, cause yeah, it’s delicious. Buttery and full and rich. And the taste was pretty awesome, I have to say. It mainly tasted like flowers with a buttery edge. There were cocoa notes at points, savory end notes, and the hint of some sort of milk protein at the end of every sip. There’s a pretty heavy mouthfeel, which I’m enjoying immensely.
But I have to give it up to the Second Steep (3:00, boiling) which pretty much stole the flavor cake. Man. It smells just as strong, has that rich buttery color, but the taste pretty much throws this one into the OMG WANT MORE AMAZING category. Especially as this one cools. This one tastes lighter, but fuller, if that even makes any sense. The flavors are sugary sweet and overwhelmingly creamy, with milky notes that are in full force. The cooling effect only thickens the mouthfeel and brings the sugared-milk notes into prominence. The floral notes are still there, but they’re not as strong.
Steep Three (3:30, boiling) I probably should have done for longer. This one had a slightly thicker mouthfeel than #2, and was fairly similar to two, but had more of the savory topnotes that were in the first steep. I want to say this one tasted a bit “greener” than the other two.
Steep Four (4:40, boiling) had a much higher savory component, but a lighter flavor overall. There was an almost green bean taste to this one, that crispness you get when they’ve been steamed. But the flavors are pretty much muted, and the smell is a bit disappointing.
Steep Five (6:00, boiling) is where I ended. This one was even more savory than the last, the sugary tastes fading away, and oddly enough, I was getting the taste of fresh baked bread at the end of some of the sips. But this one was definitely not as flavorful as the past ones, so I dumped the leaves.
I really, really want to try this one with less-than-boiling water, as I feel it might be able to sustain those rich milk-buttery notes for a bit longer.
Also, I need to give a shout-out to the leaves because man, are they BEAUTIFUL. This is actually the first time I took leaves out of the pot to inspect and hold. They expand at such an exponential rate and unfurl so beautifully, that your entire pot is just completely stuffed with evergreen goodness. The leaves are all pretty much intact and full, and you can clearly pick out the buds with the leaves still attached. One was so big it took up half my palm (please note: I have tiny hands). But still, really, really awesome. The quality is just written all over this oolong.
So YES, SAMOVAR, YES. You have stolen my heart. Please keep it safe. Because I was in oolong heaven last night!
I am excited to see if my temperature tweak improves this tea. I am making it 10 degrees cooler than last time, but keeping the steep time the same as last time. I was having trouble with bitterness.
sip, sip, sip…
Yes – it is definitely less bitter. It also has a little less flavor than I remember – but I’ll take it rather than have bitterness.
The second steep is more of the same. I am disappointed because these were not cheap.
I don’t know – I think these plain ole jasmine pearls stuck a few feathers and scales on themselves and are masquerading as jasmine dragon phoenix pearls!!! I have definitely had better. I will drink my little tin up, but I will not repurchase. Rating downward! I still think Adagio’s Jasmine #12 were the best I’ve ever had!!!!
EDIT: I have one more tweak to try before I get tooooo mopey – making them in my lil oolong pot sans paper filters (maybe they couldn’t unfurl properly with the paper and that is why I’m not getting great flavor?). In any case I’m getting some bitterness as it cools, so I’m not getting my hopes sky high… ah, ya can’t win em all.
EDITAGAIN: Ooooooooh the end of this second steep is so bitter I just can’t even finish it. How very sad. I think this tea is going to have to hit the highway!
EDITONCEAGAIN: I gave it to my coworker for his partner who loves tea – bleh bleh bleh! Life is too short.
A big thank you to the quiet life for this sample!!
First sniff of leaves – cloves!! Ahhh! Reminds me of being 14 years old and going to all ages punk shows full of clove cigarette smoke. To this day, all I have to do is smell cloves and I’m instantly full of Anger and Too Much Eyeliner!!! I can’t keep up, I can’t keep up, I can’t keep up! Out of step! With the wooooooorld!!!! (ooops, it’s not 1983! step AWAY from the Minor Threat record (yes I still have it. yes I still listen to it. Shut up!!)
I steeped it at two minutes because I planned to have it with no milk and just a touch of sugar. That was a good call – it’s definitely a “without milk” tea. I’m getting cloves and caramel in a smooth tea base. I’m not tasting any citrus or any of the other flavors that are said to be blended in, which is ok by me :) I’m enjoying Clove Nostalgia Land. But! I think it can take 3 minutes, and I will try that next time.
I decided to do a resteep for the heck of it, at 5 minutes. Not bad! Less tea. Clove-y! Just added another small pinch of sugar.
Final thoughts: Great tea for work where I sometimes want a black tea but don’t want to worry about having milk around. I want to look into some more Kusmi teas for exactly this purpose! Very very very enjoyable!
My sample from Chicago Tea Garden just arrived – now I get to try the tea that so many have raved about here.
The smell of the dry leaves is really vegetal and fresh, which is a good start.
1st steep: 180 degrees, 60 seconds. A prominent vegetable/seaweed aroma. Now for the first taste: Wow, this is possibly the best oolong tea I’ve ever had. It’s got some amazing flavors in there, so it’s going to be hard for me to describe it adequately. And what a sweet aftertaste. Okay, I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say rice pudding. It’s creamy, silky, rich, and sweet. I want more!
2nd steep: 180 degrees, 90 seconds. Oh, the anticipation while it’s steeping – will it deliver on the promise of the first cup? More of a floral note in the aroma this time, reminiscent of jasmine. The flavor is still sweet and now juicy too – I’m really reminded of apple juice. Amazing.
3rd steep: 180 degrees, 90 seconds. I’ve never made a habit of more than two steeps but what the heck, I’m throwing caution to the wind today. Now the aroma is new-mown grass. The flavor is mellower now, but still rich. The rice is back, but more savory this time. I’m reminded of the cartoon where Wile E. Coyote pulls down a chart of the roadrunner and explains how each part of the bird has a different, delicious flavor – this tea has so many flavors it’s unbelievable.
Must. Have. More.
Thank you so very much to RABS for sending me this. I cannot imagine living without it now.
I rolled the die two times today for my GEEK PRIDE contest and came up with numbers that had already been used. Mindful that I could only take 3 rolls a day, I focused hard and came up with a “7” and this is the delightful result.
I don’t adore maple sugar. In fact, if given a choice between candied maple sugar and chocolate, the chocolate will win 100% of the time. I grew up in a family of 8 and packages of maple sugar candy were the default gift chosen by friends, family, and other unfortunates who had to find a gift to appease the gift-giving gods. I always thought that maple sugar was TOO sweet and used to give my pieces away to younger siblings who, in return, had to sign up for a tedious length of indentured servitude in making my bed, cleaning my room, and. my favorite of all, being compelled to speak in a French or English accent. It was the time of the Cold War so sometimes I made them approach a stranger on the street and announce that they were Russian as payment for the maple sugar. It was also the time when approaching a stranger on the street and speaking of your antecedents did not seem to shockingly creepy and dangerous as it does now.
In any event, the dry tea smelled like the maple sugar candy on quaaludes: the sweetness was muted so I was gung ho. I do like maple sugar when it’s taste is softened by a sufficiently of waffles, pancakes, etc. and you don’t feel as if you are applying cavities directly to your teeth.
I liked the aroma and was optimistic. But then I went crazy. Black tea is the BEST delivery system for maple sugar! This tea is sweet and filled with the great flavor of maple sugar but it is never cloying. That’s what I don’t like! Cloying and treacly! This is perfect. Now I totally “get” why people love Maple Sugar so much.
And I will place an order! This is simply the best use of maple sugar known to humankind, in my opinion. Totally and outrageously deliciously sweet but not too much at all. Just right! It’s a Goldilocks moment.
Thank you so much to RABS!
I felt like celebrating with Rijje today. And for that we need a good old favourite that, to my surprise, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had.
If it’s been so long since I’ve had it, HOW COME THERE’S SO LITTLE LEFT IN THE TIN, HMMM???
Who nicked it? Fess up!
Today has not started out all that awesomely. Had issues getting up, kitties decided that the light timer in the bedroom didn’t really need to come on, ended up running late and then I went into the kitchen to make tea before I was (finally!) out the door and oh no! The Zojirushi was not plugged in! Augh! Either I forgot to plug it back in after refilling it last night or one of the cats had gotten on the counter and managed to unplug it. Either way, water for tea was not ready. So I boiled some. Which meant I was really running late but hey, I can’t be without tea.
I decided to try this one with a little sugar and milk since I haven’t yet. I used a teaspoon-ish of sugar and maybe a teaspoon and a half of milk for my 12oz. Something like that. And OMG, why didn’t I do this sooner? So good. Have you ever taken frozen strawberries, sprinkled them with sugar, poured a little milk over them and then eaten them with a spoon? That’s what this tea was like. But instead of regular strawberry, this was a tea strawberry. Tea-berry. Straw-tea? Strawbetea? Strea?
Anyway, it was a perfect blend of tea and strawberry dropped into a bowl, sprinkled with sugar, splashed with milk… and served at boiling. Okay, so not exactly like frozen strawberries with sugar and milk but that’s what it made me think of and it was so good. Fresh and tart but still sweet and dessert-y. The fresh berry taste was still there and kept this from being overwhelmingly sweet but the sugar and milk (okay, half and half) added a great dessert quality to the drink.
The tea didn’t make me show up to work any earlier or make traffic bend to my will or anything but I sure was in a better mood while dealing with all that and I was smiling when I showed up late to work. So go tea!
I’m sitting here in Philadelphia enjoying a little bit of Florence, Italy. Two lovely, nostalgic, delicious steeps. I’m surprised more people don’t like this one! I am always the oddball :) I’m so glad this one is part of 52teas permanent collection because I’ve never tasted anything like it, and want to keep it in my cupboard continuously!
I feel like I am really starting to get in my groove as far as the teas I absolutely adore. I’ve done a lot of experimenting over the last 6 months, and have come to a few realizations:
-I love unadorned Chinese black teas!!!!!
-I continue to love Assam teas.
-I will always have a weakness for flavored teas with milk and sugar, but they are no longer my main focus. Give me a good Chinese tea that I can take plain, or a flavored tea that I can take without additions, such as this tea or Kusmi’s St. Petersburg, and I’m as happy as a clam!
-Earl Grey = ♥ Jasmine = ♥ Earl Grey, jasmine and rose together?? ♥ times 100!!!!!
-I love oolongs, both darker and greener!
-I have not fallen in love with green tea, no matter how I try. I adore the French greens that are flavored as a once in awhile afternoon treat, but if I never had another plain green tea I have to be honest – I really wouldn’t be all that put out!!! I will continue to try them hoping for some magic, but…
-I think 52teas Black Currant Bai Mu Dan is the only white tea I have flipped for.
-I am so surprised how much I am loving the herbals and the rooibos and honeybush tisanes. About 10 years ago I declared that if I couldn’t have a caffeine tea, I would not drink tea!!! My husband starting to not be able to sleep because of the teas this year (ah! Aging!) changed my mind real quick. I am delighted by so many of the flavors I’ve been experiencing. The key for me is NOT to compare them to TEAS and just think of them as their own flavored beverage things.
I actually gasped when I first tasted this tea! It is so completely delicious to me! Thomas is sweet and strong, malty and earthy…and what a body! Some milk and sugar bring out his best qualities. What a fine example of a black tea from India!!
P.S. Excellent customer service from Andrews and Dunham Damn Fine Teas. I ordered series 2 in the middle of all the snow the East Coast was getting, and I got an email from Erik Dunham explaining about the insane amounts of snow and how it was hard to get to the post office. Seeing that my area was hit almost as hard and we missed 2 days of mail delivery ourselves I of course assured him that it was just fine, but how nice is that?!?!
P.P.S The labels are fantastic! The shipping boxes are even fantastic!
P.P.P.S I am about to go to bed and leave him and Jackee Muntz in my tea cupboard. I could have sworn I heard Jackee called Marco Polo “fruity” and I think Thomas tried to pinch Florence!!! Who knows what I will wake up to tomorrow!
P.P.P.P.S I am absolutely sick that series 4 sold out so fast – I think I would have loved that tea!
I’ve finally made a cup of my Winter Holiday Cheer blend! As I put in my description, it’s a blend of bits and bobs of different holiday blends from Harney, Upton, plus the last of my Vanilla Assam and some Kusmi Prince Vladimir! Since all of the teas were good individually, I had a lot of confidence that the blend would be yummy. I even included a 2 oz tin of it in my Office Secret Santa gift (along with some hand knit fingertip towels and home made vanilla extract!) because I knew it would be super cozy for Winter Break.
…and it IS! It’s sort of like Constant Comment only way, way, way, way better. Spicy, clove-y, orange-y, and the hint of vanilla has my name all over it :) I had it with a little sugar and milk, the way I like my Constant Comment, and it’s warm and comforting and now I want to go listen to Leonard Cohen sing Suzanne (…and she feeds you tea and oranges, that come all the way from China).
(I’m feeling a bit better today! I can taste what things are supposed to taste like! Last night my husband was worried because he brought home chocolate covered pretzels and I had one and said “OH these are good! I never had peanut butter ones! and he was like uhhhh they are plain chocolate!!” but today things taste true and I’m sitting up a bit etc.)
First off, I need to say thank you to Doulton! I was one of the winners of the Dragon Ball Giveaway (see thread here: http://steepster.com/discuss/501-dragon-ball-giveaway ). I had never heard of Silk Road Teas, but after tasting these balls, I will be sure to place an order from them. [Also, I need to give a preemptive “that’s what she said,” because this tasting note is going to be nuts – no pun intended]
I also need to say that these balls were alarmingly huge. Everyone – my self included – who has ever had Adagio’s Black Dragon Pearls remarked about how large those are. These are easily 2 to 3 times as large! Like I said, it was startling. As you can see here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/47736372@N04/4531751436/ – they are about the size of an iPod Classic scroll wheel.
Doulton enclosed a note with the package (written using what appears to be a lovely fountain pen – I do love fountain pens) saying that the balls would need a bit of prodding to get them to open up completely. This is true; I plunked them in the water and they just sank to the bottom and sat there until I took out a spoon and knocked them around a bit. When they were done steeping, the water had turned a lovely orange color – http://www.flickr.com/photos/47736372@N04/4531755036/ . No, that isn’t an ice cube in my mug. It’s the reflection of the beaded lampshade I was using for light (my photography skills leave much to be desired).
This is a black oolong, my favorite kind. It’s extremely smooth and slightly buttery. It is sweet on its own, no sugar needed. The aftertaste is slightly woody. The tea as a whole is more than slightly delicious. As I said in the beginning, I will be ordering these for myself.
Doulton, I know I have said this many times before, but thank you! Your tea giveaway was a lovely idea!
On Saturday I peeped into my mailbox, and there was a Tiger in there!!!!!!! Ricky was kind enough to send me some Series 4 :) I gave the tiger his own little area in a nice basket in the tea cabinet so he wouldn’t hurt Florence and Marco Polo (Thomas Sampson and Jackee Muntz acted all brave but I could see it in their eyes that they were a little scared – what with that blue tongue and pointy teeth!).
He brewed up so dark and strong! Almost like coffee! I was frightened out of my wits! Imagine my surprise when I took a sip, and found out he’s just a pussy cat!!!! A bit feisty (I am definitely getting some pepper!) but purrrrrringly smooth and sweet. I of course used some milk, him being a cat and all. A little sugar too. Very very delicious!!!
2nd Steep – 6 min It’s Grrrrrrrrreat! (Tony the Tiger humor! Please forgive me!)
just a little lighter in body and taste, and no pepper. Thoroughly enjoyable.
The Tiger is now curled up in the basket in my tea cabinet. (There is enough for at least one more pot!!) I saw Florence furiously knitting him a toy, and Marco Polo somehow produced some catnip (most likely from his vast spice travels around the world). I was totally SHOCKED to see Thomas Sampson and Jackee Muntz huddled over the basket talking “wickle puddy tat You so cuuuute awwwwwwwww!” baby talk to the tiger! NOW I’ve seen EVERYTHING!
Tea shared with a friend is all the more sweet….. Thank you to ashmanra for sending me this sample. Once again, it goes to show there are Lapsang Souchong blends out there that I like.
The tea is more smokey than I am used to. I know some comes from the Lapsang, but I think some comes from the Keemun, too. I do think this one is a little more tobacco-ey and a little less sweet than the Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon that I really enjoy. Since I am not usually one to add milk to tea, this is probably about my limit on smoke. I may have to do some experimenting with milk again. I am finding that things that did not appeal to me at one point in my tea journey work quite nicely for me at a later date. If anything, this has taught me to keep an open mind…
I’ll confess: I’ve been drinking this as a latte.
Someone else (Ricky? Cofftea, perhaps?) was posting about matcha lattes, and since drinking a cup of just plain matcha doesn’t often appeal to me (sometimes it does, but only very selectively and only every now and then, as with almost all green tea) I thought I would give it a try. I haven’t the first idea what the temp or steep time are. My method is to mix water and milk (I use 2% for almost everything) at a 1:1 ratio in a pot on the stove, heat it until it’s hot but not so hot that it seems likely to bitter the powder, then I sift the matcha through the bottom of one of my mesh basket infusers to reduce it to fine powder and clear lumps, whisk it, and pour it into a cup into which I’ve already added a tiny bit of raw honey. The results are delicious. It’s a non-standard way to drink matcha, obviously (though my Japanese friend tells me that taking matcha with milk is pretty common in Japan, so I don’t feel like an utter heretic), so I’m going to avoid trying to review this matcha as compares to other matchas (especially as I’m hardly a connoisseur)…but I do like it. It seems tolerant of the method of preparation; I have yet to make a bitter cup. The caffeine content is fair, the color of the powder is rich and bright enough to promise that whatever their processing methods or sources are, they’re (more or less) legitimate, the aftertaste is sweet and grassy. No complaints.