Featured & Popular Tasting Notes
I’m drinking this tea out of my new birthday mug, and it’s been poured from my new birthday teapot. I have named the latter Freddie, after the character Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley, because it’s fat-yet-elegant, showy and has weird colouring. Birthdays aren’t very gifty to me, unlike Christmas – I’d rather get together with friends and chosen family for activities and Symbolic Things. I prefer getting myself birthday gifts – small things I don’t really need, but that make me happy. So on Monday I was out all day on a magpie spree with my special sweetface Em. When I got this, they offered to deliver it for me. I mean. It’s a tiny teapot. It was hilarious. When it had been settled that it did, in fact, fit quite easily into my bag, they knocked €2 off. It really cracked me up.
My friend T. inspired me to pick this up (Hey T. – good news, I have enough to share!) She’s been ogling it for a while and I figured I’d do us both a service and act as a test subject. I wanted something fit for spring – complex, floral, but yet light and not too overwhelming. Mariage Frères definitely delivered on all accounts. First of all, this is a beautiful tea. Long, thin, needly leaves in various dark shades of green, the occasional light leaf breaking it up nicely, and an absolute abundance of lovely petals.
Scent wise, it excites me a lot, because to me, this is the spring counterpart of Marco Polo Vert – and that, to me, is the ultimate green tea for autumn, with its thick fruity ripeness. This has the same boozy character, but it’s a light, floral booziness. A perfect spring tea party tea – when I close my eyes I see tiers and tiers of dainty sandwiches and cakes.
I’m sometimes frustrated by teas that have no discernible, individual flavours, but in this case the multifaceted florality present in each sip is like a lovely, delicate veil of tea. It’s perfectly achieved, and I’m very pleased with this one. Like most Mariage Frères teas in my collection, it has a very clearly defined personality that grows on me with each sip.
Anyway, one of the Symbolic Things I did yesterday was to dye my hair for the first time in… well, forever. I have never altered my hair colour, ever, in any manner whatsoever, during my 34 years. We went with chocolate, tobacco and a dash of gold. In other words, just like my own hair, only without the greys that emerged overnight some time in late November. http://tinyurl.com/qe7jd58
I love my pervy old uncle Rick.
[Purchased at Dagnino in Rome, March 2014.]
Sad, sad sipdown. (157)
My caffeine-free options seem to be dwindling by the minute. This is one I really enjoyed. the marshmallow leaf base makes this fluffy and sweet and helps to keep the mint from being over powering. Furthermore the chocolate in this is a nice milk chocolate flavor that helps make this creamy and smooth.
I may have been checking Butiki’s website daily (okay, hourly) waiting for Nutmeg Cream and Eggnog & Pralines to be posted. Once that happens I can place an order and get more of this tasty treat. Hopefully, I will also be able to add a fair amount of Birthday Cake to that order as well. Then I would be in caffeine-free heaven.
Drinking a small pot of this today. Smooth, mellow with earthy sweet potatoes and a bit of caramel.
The last time I drank this I got some citrus notes which I don’t get now; this is more lightly earthy… still really good and easy to drink, and I like it.
Steeped at 190F for 2 1/2 minutes.
Yay! I’m home, and drinking tea, and watching Supernatural! I’m halfway through season 5. OMG. It’s so intense. And I have so many episodes ahead of me. I love those Winchester boys, but I gotta say I feel pretty bad for Cas. (No spoilers there.)
My friend found this on tumblr and was awesome enough to pass it on: http://yelloweyedcrowley.tumblr.com/post/75890779259 (YES. Destial support. :P)
This is a pretty decent cuppa. It makes me want to try Mint to Be as the non-green scum caffeinated version of this!
Also it’s going to be 3:00AM by the time I’m done this episode of SPN, but I still feel it’s worth it. I went out to a party and we brought the toddler, which meant I was on high alert all night from making sure she didn’t get into something she shouldn’t, and then I had to talk to strangers and be nice…. Eeek. So, I feel this is a just reward. She just went to sleep at 2, so she’ll probably let me sleep until noon. #fingerscrossed
Oh and I’m at 126 teas after doing a bunch of sipdowns and packaging swaps and just being awesome! :D I… I do have 48 teas coming in though so I still need 24ish more sipdowns for the month. Could happen! A lot of the incoming ones are small! :D
Oh, holy horror.
So my friend K is a sweetheart in every possible way. We were talking about tea at some point in December and she said she had this amazing tea I had to try, which, in fact, was Italian. And I was delighted, because hey – some Italian looseleaf company I had yet to hear of, awesome.
And then she brought me a bag of this.
I obviously felt like the biggest tea snob, but it was like someone telling you you had to taste the most delicious meat dish on earth, and then they drop an unskinned, smelly polecat in your lap.
Bagged hibiscus tea.
All accompanied by this ‘Oh, this is the best thing ever!’ bounciness. It was hilarious.
But of course I decided to try it! K is awesome, if she loved it, it couldn’t be all that bad, I figured.
First of all, this is the most potent tea dye I have ever seen. I don’t know if I’ll dare look in the mirror after my first sip, for I fear my teeth will turn a deep crimson. This tea bag bleeds in the most unsavoury way possible. I swear I could paint a wall with it.
Steeped, it smells of… absolutely nothing. But it’s very, very red.
This is the worst tea I have had in my life. It tastes like sour blood. There’s this vile, metallic tone to it, which is disturbingly meaty, and the sourness is completely out of hand.
I am laughing so hard right now, but I have to take one more sip for science.
Yes, still equally bad, if not worse – it tastes like sour, juiceleaky meat wrapped in paper.
What have I learned from this?
a) Tea snobbery can save lives.
b) I love my friends, maybe especially when they’re trying to kill me.
[Assassination attempt by K, Rome 2013.]
This white should be lo-caf enough for the evening. Lupicia are just too good – whenever I open this bag, I have an instant, irrational, want-to-turn-around-and-check, ‘But where is the melon hiding?’ type reaction. It’s just that melony. I honestly can’t think of anything that could make this better or more melon-esque.
And to continue my general praise of Lupicia, I think I could probably pour 300C water on their most delicate teas and let them steep for five minutes and they would still taste good. I mean – every single tea I love of theirs have boiling/1.5-minute steeping instructions. And they taste fresh, natural and amazing.
I swear they’re not paying me to say this. It’s more like I’m paying them, and I still say this.
(Lupicia, I love you.)
I’d already committed to this one before realizing it was one of those nightmare samples.
1. It’s not in the database.
2. It’s barely googlable and not available to purchase online.
3. It turns out it’s an in-house (but possibly sourced) blend at this three-locations-in-the-entire-US coffee chain.
4. If I love it, there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to be able to score any more.
So let’s steep this sucker and hope for the worst!
In the bag, it smells really, really delicious. It’s strongly coconutty, but also a full-on, really gorgeous pistachio. I know it’s supposed to be almond, but this smells exactly like Sicilian pastry filled with pistachio cream. Sorry, almond flavouring – you and pistachio were switched at birth. In addition, this is a really, really beautiful tea – long strips of coconut, lovely shades of green. I’m sold.
In the cup, incomprehensibly, this just gets better. Coconut wise, this is as fresh as it comes. David’s Tea’s coconut always has a slight oiliness to it – I’m not saying it’s stale, but it’s mature coconut. Lupicia’s coconut is all coconut cream, a complete piña colada experience. But this? This is all fresh, crisp, pale, natural coconut.
Flavour wise, it’s not over the top, but definitely present. It’s a complete mouthfeel experience – I love how some teas are there, unapologetic, throughout the entire sip. This is definitely one of those – tongue tip-to-aftertaste delicious. It might just be the natural sweetness of the coconut, but I also get a vanilla-esque smoothness right at the end of the sip.
Well, this was completely awful. Who has an uncle in Blowing Rock, NC?
I would have loved to hold on to the remains of this, but since it seems so rare, I’ll drop it back into the box – I’d say the sample is good for about three more cups. Thanks a lot for sharing this one, KittyLovesTea!
[Sample from the second round of the EU Travelling Box, spring 2014.]
So, nothing against it, but I’m not much of a Valentine’s day type of gal. I much prefer unexpected love days throughout the year :-)
But since today is supposed to be about love (and not about picking up some cheap flowers last minute at a grocery store cause you feel you have too), I chose to do things I really love.
Drinking this tea was one of them. Top 3 favourite tea of all time for me. Discovered Da Yu Ling last year, I keep two from different companies, equally good. Learned that it is grown at the highest plantation in the world, 8500 feet altitude!
This green oolong is similar to some of my favourites Tie Guan Yin, but brings it to the next level.
I’m using the yixing pot I dedicate to fragrant green oolongs. The brew is a beautiful bright yellow colour.
The aroma is breathtaking. I picture a vast garden with luxuriant vegetation all around as I sip on it. Think orchids and lilac scent, mixed up in a twirl of honey and fruity notes. Not sure what’s the specific fruit I get, but it feels like apricot to me.
It’s very sweet, and yet, the finish is minty fresh. Not in your face mint, more of a sweet faint spearmint. The most fabulous phenomena about this tea is how long the taste lingers in the mouth. Long after I’m done drinking it, I can still feel its imprint.
This type of thick buttery mouthfeel always reminds me a silk ribbon dancing in my mouth!
It’s pure liquid gold, but I rarely see people reviewing any Da yu ling at all.
Is there other Steepsterites out there that are as taken by it as I am??
I’ll end this note with a little love story…
It might have been the side effects of the snowstorm, but my cat Happy today was such a little bugger. Dexter (my dog) and I were trying to chill, me having tea and reading a book, him all curled up next to me. Happy likes Dexter’s ears. He’s obsessed with them . He keeps toying with them while Dexter tries to nap. Eventually, Dexter wakes up and gives me the helpless puppy look while Happy takes over his whole head. So what does a 100 pound dog do to an anoying kitty you ask? Well, have a look here:
No worries, although it looks like it, Dexter is not having a “Happy meal”, lol!
Here’s how it usually ends:
As the song goes «…so “happy” to-ge-therrr…»
When I sent majority of this package off to Veronica, I decided to save a few tsps just to make sure my initial dislike was not just a fluke. So this afternoon I grabbed out my packet and brewed up a cup. This time around I get the faintest bit of what could be called cotton candy if I stretch my imagination and concentrate but realistically it is just a sweet black tea and not much else. I am glad it went to a home where it has been given far more love than I ever could. As for the last tsp, I am opening up the swap to Roswell Strange (yet again as I may have added stuff last night at 3 am when I couldn’t sleep :O) so that she can give it a try.
Quick recount of the last two weeks…
1) New puppy
2) Toddler gets sick
3) Preschooler gets sick
4) I get walking pneumonia over spring break (luckily at home, but no school for kids and a mom with pneumonia is a bad combo for all participants…)
Things are finally calming down a bit. I’m over the bulk of the crud, but the cough is driving me nuts. Throughout the the last two weeks I’ve lived off mostly Laoshan Black, Wild Mountain Black, and Tawainese assams.
It was time to change it up a bit today, but not by much. This is still my favorite English Breakfast tea, and Verdants Imperial Breakfast Blend is my other favorite breakfast blend. Probably because they each have a base of my two favorite teas. Laoshan Black and the Taiwanese Assam.
I have a million teas, I’m too afraid to count the actual number, but over the past few months since life has gotten so busy, I really only drink about 10 of them. Not sure what to do about that, but it is what it is. I don’t want to get rid of any that I like, but I don’t drink them very often. What to do?
I believe this is what they call a first world problem…. :-)
MissB is a star! I have been equipped with no less than four boxes of this one AND a myriad of other samples. I counted them. There were nineteen different teas in the box. Nineteen! Many of them are herbals, so I’ve got a lot of choice in my Before Bed Beverage now. (As has Husband, of course. I’m not that selfish) Some of them are from companies I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of before. How exciting!
So, yes, this is intended as a Before Bed Beverage, but as I’m writing this it’s only actually mid afternoon. I just couldn’t wait. I have high hopes of this one. I’ve come to be quite fond of the normal Sleepytime before bed, so in my mind adding vanilla to that couldn’t possibly go wrong. The worst that could happen, that I can think of anyway, is that I can’t actually find the vanilla in it at all, leaving me with something that tastes much like regular Sleepytime and then… what have I lost, really? Not much, the way I see it.
Well, I can detect the vanilla in the aroma, definitely. It’s rather peculiar, because it depends on how close I put my nose to the cup. I do have a bit of a cold, but my nose isn’t completely incapacitated at this stage (and I hope it stays that way!), so I can still smell things. If I put my nose close to the cup, I can pretty much only smell mint. If, however, I’m sitting normally upright with the cup in front of me letting the steam waft up past my face, it’s all sweet and vanilla-y. It’s almost as if the mint is a heavier scent and doesn’t make it all the way up to my face. I’ve never noticed this happening before. Isn’t that odd?
I tend to like steeping Sleepytime for a pretty long time so I’ve done that with this as well. It must have got at least six or seven minutes I think. Now that it’s stronger I can also smell the vanilla among the mint when putting my nose closer to the cup. It smells wonderful!
I’ve tried a few sips, but I can’t really taste anything. Still too hot. I’ll have to be more patient, I suppose… Ah yes, that’s better.
It still tastes like Sleepytime. I’m not sure I would have been able to tell that it’s a different variety had I not known, but as I do know, I can find the vanilla. I can find it because I know it’s there but that doesn’t mean that it’s not done properly, if you know what I mean. Sometimes you don’t need to be able to taste everything. Sometimes just a hint is enough to enhance an overall experience. Just think of a sauce which has just a pinch of salt versus the same sauce with too much salt in it. The pinch of salt enhances the flavour of the whole, but too much of it just takes over. I tend to like heavily flavoured vanilla teas, but in this particular blend I think the vanilla works much better as that enhancer. It smooths the whole thing out and adds a touch of sweetness.
I’m really glad I decided to ask for someone to play middle-man so I could have some. I don’t usually like doing that because it seems such a lot of bother for everybody involved. I shall have to put together a really great box to send back to MissB after we’ve moved now.
It’s been so long since I’ve had any tea!!!!!! After holiday travels to distant lands, battles with various viruses/viri, and a good heaping of “damn those people on Steepster really love their tea and while their love of tea makes Steepster possible it also makes me quite busy,” I just haven’t found myself with a nice warm cuppa in hand in quite some time.
Luckily, my gf saw our feature of 52Teas’ Coconut Cream Pie and knowing how much I love that sh** (even though we just had Strawberry Rhubarb pie) she sneakily got a pouch for us to enjoy. Now on to the tea!
I opened the pouch and was pleased to see plenty of large coconut shavings mixed throughout. The black tea seemed like a pretty good quality, albeit a little on the smaller side (I’m assuming because of the plastic pouch it travels in). What surprised me the most is the very noticeable mint smell coming out of the bag. I read the other reviews of this and nowhere do I see mention of mint, but I get a ton of that…I think it’s a natural part of the coconut (or maybe I’m just coco-nuts) – sorry.
The brew has a nice darkish browny amber-likey color a you definitely get that punch of coconut and that mint thing I mentioned. Sip time :)
Ok, I feel this is more of a coconut tea than a coconut cream pie tea. There are some more subtle cream/dairy undertones that compliment the natural flavor of the black tea, but I’m still feeling like it’s not quite a slice of coconut cream pie. Great coconut flavor though (if you’re into that, def give this a try)! I’m still getting that after-dinner mint-iness a little, which surprises me but isn’t unpleasant.
Overall, a great experience, good flavor, nice to sip. Not quite a coconut cream pie flavor explosion in your mouth, but I see the potential. I’ll definitely be trying this again soon and I will most certainly be attempting their tea latte recipe with this -it’s supposed to deliver the greatest pie flavor you can get. (speaking of that…if a certain someone happens to be reading this and they are planning to stop at the store on the way home, it would be pretty cool of them to pick up 3 (14oz) cans of fat free sweetened condensed milk :)
This is my first experience with puerh of any sort.
After rinsing, the aroma is reminiscent of seaweed, which unfortunately is not pleasant to me in a culinary sense, and the brewed color is surprisingly dark. Tastes also of seaweed or perhaps more of moss, with a somewhat lingering clean juiciness. Tried a second cup after more rinses (amazing how dark this is), and could not get past the earthiness of this even when not breathing in the aroma.
Interesting, and glad to have tried it, but don’t think it is for me.
First tasting note! I went in to the store early today, mainly to pick up the awesome whale perfect mug. I still have an unopened perfect mug from last spring (the elephants), but whales are the love of my life (shh don’t tell J :P). I was really only interested in this tea and Blue Lagoon, but Blue Lagoon was shipped to the wrong store, so I only grabbed this one.
This smells amazing. It smells just like a body cream I ran out of ages ago, that was my favourite. Something about cucumber melon is awesome. The steeped scent is (mint?) all cucumber melon. The flavours are light here and don’t come through too strongly. But the base also isn’t overwhelming. Overall a light tea. The scent is definitely what makes this tea amazing. Every time I bring it for a sip, the smell is just delicious.
P.S. I’m not supposed to tell you guys, but apparently Coconut Oolong is making a reappearance in April. They said it has lemongrass this time around though.
I get my vanilla from Penzey’s, & when you get to the bottom of the vanilla bottle, there is harp of a vanilla bean in there. The main thing I used vanilla for is almond flour pancakes, so I usually squeeze out the seeds into the batter. Today I dropped the bean into my cup of this tea, just for fun.
At first I thought it might be a fail: I could smell the remaining alcohol from the vanilla, but I let it sit for a few, added a little sweetening, & it was damn right tasty! We had pancakes, so this made for an after breakfast treat.
I woke up with a stomach that was out of sorts, felt nauseated, stood outside for a while and inhaled the (temporarily nice) fresh air, and came to work. Now I’m sitting here nauseated again. How annoying. I think I’m just going to try and hang in there as long as possible, but I really hate stumbling into my boss’ office and letting her know I won’t last the day. I just feel I should generally have better discretion than that, and just not go in as opposed to going in to try your best and just look as though you’re trying to prove a point. ugh I’m overthinking things. What else is new.
Anyway, this tea is just lovely. A touch of astringency in the most refreshing way possible, and I never thought that a straight black tea could taste refreshing. But there’s also a fair dose of malt and sweet, and a hint of apple woodiness from what I’m assuming is the Darjeeling. This tea really does taste quite complex, but is so effortlessly beautiful in your mouth. I got 8 oz of it (what? it didn’t come in smaller amounts!), so am happy to share, but also don’t anticipate having any issue at all finishing it. I like it a lot better than Scottish Morn, because I just found that tea to be astringent and strong but not much else. And I don’t know that I really like very strong but otherwise uninteresting teas. This is a lot more complex, while still having enough strength to be a legitimately awesome morning tea. Absolutely recommend!
Don’t you hate when you are about to click on a tea and the drop down list just changes? It took me like three tries to finally get to this page but I did it so yay!
Anyways, this is a tasty, tasty white. Thank you Roswell Strange for sharing. It really comes off as though I am feasting on some delicious berries. It is sweet, but with just the right amount of berry tartness. The white base is the perfect match to highlight the mulberries and the flowers add almost a butterscotch note to the whole cup. I am sad all the leaf was gone with just one (very large) cup. You shall be missed Mulberry White, until we meet again.
Ok, so this isn’t actually going to be a tasting note about this tea, because I’ve written about it enough for you to know that it’s a lovely EGC, and that’s about all you need to know.
But last night, I decided to take a timolino full of this to a friend’s place for dinner and hanging out. And instead of using my Keurig to dispense the hot water like I typically do, I used Watson (Watson is the name I’ve given to our Culligan water cooler, that has both a hot and cold water tap—we named him Watson after the computerized jeopardy contestant! /nerd). Anyway, from my understanding, the water dispensed from Watson is around 107 degrees F, while the Keurig website says that the Keurig dispenses water that’s 192 degrees f, so that’s definitely a noticeable difference. The thing is, however, that I never never successfully brewed a cup of satisfactory tea using Watson, and it seems odd to me that a temperature of about 207 (ETA—sorry, I originally wrote 107, which explains the general wtfness in the comments below, but it really was 207) would be too hot for absolutely every tea (especially since I drink mostly blacks, which are reputed to almost always take extremely hot water). As for the water I use, the Keurig takes filtered water through my brida filter, and Watson uses Culligan’s water—both are filtered, but are provided by different companies, so perhaps that has to do with it. But last night’s tea tasted bitter and horrible, just horrible. No vanilla cream notes to speak of—only an amped up bitter bergamot note that was bitter and gross.
But this has me terrified to ever get myself a variable temp kettle, because what if the Keurig is the only acceptable source for hot water for me in this universe? this is actually really upsetting to me! Because i so badly want the Bonavida goose-neck one liter variable temp kettle, but like, if I drop 100 dollars on it but it makes all my tea taste like bile, then…then…then what?!?!?!?!!?
Please comfort me.
having a couple of my “green” teas before i switch to some of the caffeine free options i have tonight. Not because caffeine bothers me but because i feel compelled to also drink those up. I just finished looking at my cupboard list/spreadsheet and it turns out that i’ve tried 1600 teas! (well that i’ve logged anyway). I like even numbers… I’m also having a great night because the snow has been falling all afternoon and it’s fluffy and beautiful outside tonight! And i might just work from home tomorrow…so that’s always a good tea time! I’m seriously itching to place an order but i am TRYING to hold back. It’s hard….i want more cacao…and some verdant staples…and mandala…and damn fine tea and new companies… sigh resistance IS futile…but maybe i can manage to hold out for one more week to get me into late march! Especially since not having samples (though some are inbound in swaps) has me able to focus on my older teas! Only 14 teas left before i’m within 6 months of my oldest tea…i won’t make it for the end of March i don’t think…but it’s always a possibility :)
Oh the games i play with myself to encourage me to do this, that or another thing and have fun doing it!
Backlog from last night.
I’ve been waiting to dig into my sample of this since getting it, but I didn’t want to have all my matchas samples open because I thought that would probably A) be bad for the matcha and B) be a little overwhelming. However, I’m done to about 2 cups worth of Pineapple Matcha and maybe 3 worth of Eggnog Matcha now, plus I was having an awful day yesterday so I decided it was finally time to try this one out. I love caramel and that is definitely what I was in the mood for – plus, Tre had made brownies to make me feel better and I thought cold, caramel milk would be something that would go fantastically with that.
I guess that you’re supposed to use 1 tbsp. of MATCHAccino for a cup as opposed to the about 1/2 tsp. one would normally use with regular matcha. To me, that seemed like a lot so I just went with 2 tsp. to kind of compromise.
Sweet baby Jesus, it was yummy! It was very, very smooth and like drinking liquid gold! I never want to be without this ever again! For a caramel lover, I was just in absolute heaven. That said – despite being super delicious it was a little weak, but that’s probably completely from my being stubborn and under leafing – so next time I’ll go with the proper instructions and measurements.