Featured & Popular Tasting Notes
I’m skipping the queue with this one because THE TIME HAS COME! I have opened the tin. I have sniffled it. Happy birthday to me! (I thought that would be an auspicious day to try it, don’t you?)
I should make some preliminary introductions to this one and tell why it’s so extremely special to me that I had to have it, shipping fees be damned. This tin right here was the very thing that made me order from JW at all. Everything else that I got to taste from the company was purely coincidental and taking advantage of the fact that I would be paying shipping charges anyway. I’ve been looking at the unopened tin of it for weeks now, simply just enjoying that fact that I had it. Petting it now and then and enjoying looking forward to it while waiting for the right time to taste it for the first time.
As you all know (or ought to know at this point!) I’m partial to a Chinese black, and if it comes from Fujian, it simply cannot go wrong. Fujian is my most favouritest tea growing area in the world and has been for a number of years now. My very very favourite tea is Tan Yang. It is the benchmark of fabulousness to which all other black teas must measure up. Another favourite type is Keemun, usually grown in Anhui. Life-giving and delivering a solid cup of tea every single time.
What we now have here in this tin is both a Keemun and a Tan Yang, and it is not a blend. It was grown near the Tan Yang village in Fujian, but the bushes are the Keemun variety transplanted there from Anhui. The very idea of this awesome on an epic scale!
The leaf smells both Keemun-y and Fujian-y. It has the Fujian cocoa note and the Keemun-y grain. Mind you Fujian usually also has a lot of grain in it, but I tend to find it more prominent in Keemuns. There’s something else in here that reminds me vaguely of some kind of tart berry or something. Perhaps one which has been dried. Like dried cranberry, I think, but not nearly as sweet as those are. If I take a little leaf in my hand and breathe on it before sniffing, I get a strong note that reminds me of when Husband makes beer, just at the point where he puts the hops in.
Okay that it, I can’t wait for Husband to start cooking breakfast (full English, yay!). I need to make a pot of this NOW!
After steeping it doesn’t smell so beer-y, but rather more like freshly baked rye bread. Courtney understands this note fully. I suspect Marzipan does as well. It’s grain-y and dark and also somewhat sweet. There is some of the Fujian cocoa notes there as well, but they are under the grain and so I have to really look for them.
I’ve started sipping way too soon. It’s far too hot still and I can barely taste anything. I did, however, pick up the fact that it’s a strong tea we’ve got here. It even seems to have a rather smoky note to it, which ♥♥♥♥♥
I can sip a bit more now. It’s quite cocoa-y with grainy notes underneath and a fairly large amount of smoke and then finally quite sweet on the swallow. I can definitely see the characteristics of both types in this. It’s like the best qualities of one combined with the best qualities of the other. It’s hard for me to even come up with anything to write at this point.
Mind = blown.
I have been excited to try this since my favorite Teacret Agents: TheTeaFairy and MzPriss, posted their reviews from the samples they received. So here we go…
Method: 1.5 tsp, 8 oz, 200 degrees, 3 minutes, brew-in-mug strainer & Dr. Who mug
Dry Leaf Aroma: I do not work for WP and I am telling you the honest to goodness truth – this smells EXACTLY like those gooey chocolate covered cherry candies, specifically the ones with the cherry surrounded by cherry goo and vanilla goo, then covered in chocolate. I brought the bag of tea into the living room, and I’m sitting on the couch, opening it and smelling the tea, then closing it to let the aromas accumulate again, then sniffing. It’s like a cherry-vanilla-chocolate heaven.
Brewing Aroma: Oddly, this just smells like tea, with a light creamy note. I don’t smell cherry. I start to get a little sad.
Flavor: I take a sip. Tastes like black tea, with a lovely sweetness, but WHERE’S THE CH…
Ooohhh. There you are, sneaky monkey. The cherry is hiding on the end of the sip, and it’s not on every single sip. However; when it’s there, it’s just lovely.
I have a feeling that this one may even get better with a little age. I have about 8000 lbs of pu’erh to keep me busy for awhile, so I’d like to try not to drink this, let it sit just a couple weeks, then see what’s what.
Even though I know this isn’t scented or flavored with cherry, my mind doesn’t seem willing to believe it. What tea magic is this??? :)
This is mighty good.
I’m inaugurating a new bright yellow and blue Gaiwan, I love it!
I don’t drink Dancong as much as I should. I like them only Gongfu style. They are so full of nuances and surprises, I find it all gets lost in a large cup.
This one is super fruity. Roasted bittersweet citrus notes are the stars here, at least during the first 3 steeps.
Have you ever grilled Ruby Red grapefruits on the BBQ? You caramelize them slowly and brush them with honey. They get sweeter, but they remain bitter at the same time. This is what is tastes like.
The taste lingers and lingers…
Then it gets more roasty and woodsy, I get incense and sandalwood notes, that’s even more present in the scent than in the taste itself. It also becomes spicier and richer, but the finish is a nice floral. Told you it was full of surprises!
It also gets sweeter, my lips tastes like honey after each sips…(it’s not my lip gloss, not wearing any!)
I made up my mind, this is the dark oolong I’m choosing to season one of my yixing pots this week end…
It is totally worthy!
Those two tigers are head to head and create magic in my cup this morning!
Thanks to the wonderful and very generous Terri Harplady, I finally get to experience what Devotea is all about.
I chose this tea first cause with the name, I assumed it would be a good tea of the morning. If this stuff is an accurate representation of the company, well I am impressed!
The smell first. My grandfather was a farmer and worked really hard. At noon, he would come to eat lunch and my grandma always prepared a nice pot of strong black tea with sugar for him, just the way he liked it. The aroma took over the whole kitchen and I loved it so much as a child. My grandpa would let me have a few sips, winking at me.
The smell of this tea just reminded me of those special days, and I am already thankful for that…It’s super fragrant.
It says “a blend of Indian and Chinese teas” in the description…Assam for sure, and I am assuming Yunnan cause this tea offers boldness and mellowness at the same time.
First I taste a “bang” from the Assam and a light astringency, but I immediately get some comfort and softness from the earthiness and sweetness of the yunnan, (if that’s what it is).
There’s a very light touch of smoke in this tea, and though I’m not a fan of that usually, in this case it’s not offensive, it rather brings all the flavours together.
I am delighted I got to try this wondrful tea, thank you so much for choosing it for me Terri :-)
One of my requested free samples from Angel at Teavivre. I was very surprised when I saw this tea. Usually when a tea is called golden tips it means there are golden tips included. This one looks like it’s almost all golden tips! It smells malty and there is a strong apricot scent along with some honey.
First time, I did a 4 minute steep at about 190 degrees. The aroma is very malty with honey and a light stonefruit note along with some raisin. It tastes like yummy toasty bread with some honey over the top. Maybe a tiny bit of peach or apricot jam. Very tasty!
I saw that a lot of people had mentioned sweet potato so I tried a 3 minute steep. The flavor is definitely lighter, but it’s still primarily malt. I can see how it might be a little sweet potatoey. The honey is still there but I don’t really taste fruit anymore. Overall, I think I preferred the longer steep, especially with a touch of sugar. And it doesn’t seem to be astringent in the least.
Thanks again TeaVivre!
Edit: I forgot to mention that I also received a sample of this from TeaTiff! Thanks lady! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Stonefruits
Georgia Tea Company sent me a little bit of this and I’m eager to try it because most weight loss teas I have tried thus far have been very herbally tasting to me. Let’s see what this is like, shall we!?
First I must say – it smells WONDERFUL! :) The Papaya and Mango really MAKE it! Tea-wise I can smell the Oolong a little more than the green as far as the actual tea aromas go.
It’s medium brown in color.
WOW! This is nice! It’s hard to describe because everything meshes together so well. The Green Tea, Oolong Tea, Papaya, and Mango all come together to form it’s own taste, really. It’s just enough fruity and wood to notice both…it’s sweet and refreshing.
I really like this especially because it tastes good AND it’s for weight loss!!!! NICE!
Thank you Stacy (Butiki) for this sample tea!
…..we all know how good Stacy is at creating tea’s that
not nasty and artificially flavored…the really special tea’s that we love! Shhhhh, listen up!…..
…..This one is my favorite Butiki Tea Flavor of all!)
I want a pound of this tea already. I ONLY HAVE A SAMPLE! STACY!
The wet leaves had the softest aroma of green beans and sweet grapefruit as though the clock had been turned back and Spring was here once again.
I had just enough tea leaves for one precious mug full.
I took a sip of the pale yellow liquor and was amazed at the restrained taste of the grapefruit next to the more robust but smooth savory bean flavor. This was a juicy tea.
I added a little sweetening (as Stacy suggested) which brought more of the grapefruit flavor to the forefront, still perfectly complimenting the savory base flavor of the tea.
I used to make a grapefruit salad years ago with ruby grapefruit, carefully removing segments of ice cold fruit from it’s membrane, then mixing it with chopped avacado, salt, olive oil and lemon. The acid and sweetness of the grapefruit with the smooth creamy avacado were perfect compliments to each other. (It was an 1980’s popular California salad.)
This tea embraced that idea of combining crisp grapefruit and the creamy savory tea in a similar way. It worked really well!
There was that Umami thing happening in my mouth when I added some sugar (but without the bitterness, and the sour was just the normal grapefruit tang).
Yes, this was/is the best flavored tea in my Butiki book! It hits all the marks for me! Bravo Stacy!!!
Sooo…I could reach for the cognac bottle early in the day, but I don’t do hard liquor much. If you guys want to know why, just read passed the line.
I really need something powerful. Wicked good. Must also smell heavenly. Please.
Golden Orchid, sorry to pick you at such an irreverent moment, but I need you.
This tea…please, really? I dare anyone not to like this. For real, if you don’t like this tea, I’ll take it personal.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that this has vanilla. This is not just vanilla. Nope.
This is high end vanilla and fudge ice cream mixed together. It’s creamy velvety and gooey fudgy.
This is vanilla/chocolate perfected to the 10th power with soft notes of cherries and honey.
Can I be more clear? I don’t think so.
Have this and be happy. Life will be good again.
So this was my 5:00am ordeal:
Doggy needs walking, it’s early morning.
Leash unnecessary, obedient doggy.
Beautiful day, forest is calm.
On our way back, dog takes the lead.
See from afar, black and white critter.
Is it a cat? No time to think.
Dog is now running, I stand there frozen.
Eww, I can smell it, this was no kitty.
Sprayed by a skunk, doggy now crying.
That’s what people. This was his second time. You’d think they’d learn, but noooo, doesn’t work like that apparently.
Good thing I now keep a few litres of peroxide around. After spending nearly one hour washing him, the smell is now all over ME!
Beautiful fragrance, really. I call it “Skunky Fairy Funk”, a mysterious and pungent musty-earthy-woodsy scent that lingers and lasts for-everrrr…we guarantee it.
I just slipped this into our sample section for those of you that want to try before buying. To buy it by the ounce, though, you’ll have to wait until the 1st! :)
Having a cup now since I love it so much. Always hits the spot with that salted caramel note :D
Here I am again. I’m sorry I haven’t updated, but I also haven’t been drinking much in the way of tea, although that’s a lie because I have been drinking iced tea. No excuses.
Actually, I’m just hear to say that this tea is terrible iced. It tastes like strawberry yogurt milky water, and I never want to be made to feel I’m drinking watery yogurt. It’s ok though, because this used up my entire sample, so onwards and upwards, I guess. I’m going to be tossing what’s left in the pticher (which is pretty much all of it actually), but ’aint nobody got time for bad tea, I say.
carry on, folks. Let this week end.
I hate it when a picture is missing from a tea, so I always try to do a screen capture and add one. This time, it seems a bit messy. (Boo). Hopefully when Frank gets a chance he can change it.
Anyway. This is my second attempt at steeping one of Frank’s SBT blends. I really, really wish they came loose so that I could parse out the amount I wanted, as there are few 2-quart containers in my neck of the woods. I will definitely message him to share this, as I think I’d buy more if I could measure it, instead of getting one huge tea bag.
Anyway. Steeped it exactly as shared on the bag: 3 minutes, then added cold water to fill my Teavana glass pitcher. I found it a bit weak, and am going to let it sit in my fridge overnight to really cool. I did notice that as the small amount that I poured for myself cooled, the black base was less apparent, and the orange took over. Initially, all I got was cream and black base.
Also, a question for all you experienced SBT-ers, or at least those experienced to cold steeping: should I leave the tea bag in the water overnight, or use it again for another steep?
I’ve been boring for what feels like months now, where I just want to dwell a bit on old favorites every day and rediscover why I fell in love with them in the first place. Means a dearth of logging but wonderful tea time as some I feel I almost appreciate more upon revisit. This is a good example. What an excellent tea. This morning was slow going for no good reason at all, and one of those where you wake up having to do approximately a billion little tasks before you can even make your first cuppa. When I finally had a second to do so I wanted it to be failproof satisfying and this fit the bill and how. I’ve had something like 6 cups—I figured I’d waited so long I deserved to do this in the gaiwan and set myself free for 15 minutes, whee—and it’s still going strong, smooth and sweet and clean but rich bordering on hearty. Present but refined. Delicious. Teas that offer so much flavor and depth in a matter of seconds when it comes to steep time still amaze me.
You know when you place an order, there’s a point when and you realize your cart is really getting full and you need to slow down…but there are so many good ones that you just can’t leave behind, right? Then you think sample size. Yes! Yes! That’s the answer, give yourself the illusion you’ve got your act together, you’re NOT out of control, not at all. You suddenly feel much better about adding 10 more teas, seems like the reasonable thing to do. (Not!!)
That’s how I came to order this tea. I should have been less reasonable and order a larger quantity…That’s the other thing about large orders. Somehow, the full size pouches are the ones I wish I had ordered in sample sizes, and the sample pouches end up being the ones I should have ordered in full sizes. Ugh???
Not a secret, I love pretty much all types of oolong, and the aged ones fascinate me.
Don’t let the Ginseng part keep you away from this if you’re not a fan, (coughDexter) this has nothing to do with regular ginseng oolong. If it wasn’t for its name, I wouldn’t even know it’s supposed to be there.
This is not smoky at all, but roasty and caramel like. If you’d smell the infusion without knowing it’s tea, you would think it’s a dessert, very creme brûlée, custard like. There’s that faint mineral taste in the background I have come to appreciate. The ending has a cooling effect in the mouth, fresh, but not in a minty kind of way, just like when you inhale and it’s cold outside. That might be the ginseng part. But it has non of the eucalyptus notes traditional Ginseng oolongs have.
I had to basket brew cause there wasn’t enough for me to use the gaiwan. It will be interresting to try short infusions when I get more of it.
And yes, I will definitely buy a larger quantity next time.
This is a sample from the wonderful Dexter3657.
Oh, this is a good one.
I keep Bailin Gungfu from Teavivre in stock at all time, I drink it often and it’s easy to compare the two for me without having to do a side by side. Teavivre is more chocolaty and this one more caramely.
It’s grainy and bready with very sweet notes. It’s almost a dulce leche kind of caramel, it lingers in the mouth. I made a strong infusion and there’s no astringency whatsoever, very smooth.
How do I know I really, really enjoyed a cup? In no time, it’s empty, so I run out of words for a proper description cause it’s all gone.
Thank you Dexter3657 for allowing me taste such a wonderful tea :-)
sipdown(183)! I needed a tea to cleanse my tastebuds but wanted to try and get another sipdown in. So i picked this one since the flavouring feels very natural. While not a huge fan of oolongs, this is one that i can get behind whenever i’m craving that strawberry flavour that isn’t artificial. This tastes like the strawberry aftertaste of freshly picked garden berries :) Always love this one from teavivre!
Ok. It’s 2:30am.
Do I want more tea? Pfff, of course I do.
I want Bi Luo Chun Yunnan Black. I can have it if I want to. I still have a little bit left and I’m expecting more soon.
Cause ya know…I’m kind of addicted to a certain tea co. that makes delicious tea.
(That’s his fault, the Tea Whiz of the Woods).
So it all started the day I bought WP BLCYB. I like this type of tea, I have supplies from other brands.
So now, BLC from WP, why should I make YOU my BLC of choice, the one and only, the absolute best I’m now going to keep in stock and make me say farewell to the others?
I’m already addicted to several other little friends of yours. Ailaoshan Black, Golden Orchid, Port, and now Elderwood… You should know that technicaly , I don’t really need you…
…But, but… I WANT you!!! You taste so good, damn it!
I see myself writing the following, and I quote «This is like having candy».
Uh??? But, I don’t like candies all that much…so what does it mean?
It means that this tea is MUCH better than candy…that’s all.
There. That was my review.
If you really want to know how it tastes like, see previous notes ;-)
Merry belated, Steepsterites!
We had English Christmas this year which involved roast turkey dinner, Christmas pudding (Americans, what do you traditionally eat for your Christmas dinner?), lots of presents, Morris dancing in a pub carpark in the village and a pantomime in Ipswich during which I even took part in the shouting and booing (Oh yes I did!), and my bestest best present this year was a Kindle Paperwhite which I’ve been playing with today. I’m still at the stage of learning how to use it, but I have discovered that I can charge the battery using my phone charger and how to download classics for free from Project Gutenberg. And in case anybody was wondering, we were nowhere near any of the flooded areas and had power the entire time.
Before Christmas, however, I received a very sweet Christmas card from Sil who had decided to spoil me with a couple of samples of vanilla flavoured black tea. This is one of them.
It smells very sweet and vanilla-y, but also, I think, a little caramel-y. There is also an aroma as if it has a very powerful base or possibly a slightly smoky base, but I think that might be something to do with what I’ve had in this mug earlier today, so I don’t think it really belongs. (Mind you, it does smell rather like a sort of base that would be lovely with some added flavouring.)
Upon sipping… regards cup suspiciously it does actually seem to have a rather strong base. It tastes very Black Tea. All grain-y and full bodied. It’s a bit Assam-y and the vanilla is also coming out in the same sort of way that it often does on an Assam base, so if this is not Assam, I think it might be something fairly similar. And yes, I know I mentioned something earlier about having had something in this mug earlier this afternoon that may have ‘bled’ aromas into this cup, but I don’t think this experience has anything to do with that previous cup. That one was nothing like any sort of Assam at all, you see.
Anyway it strikes me as something along the lines of a vanilla-flavoured Assam, and I think Assam makes a really good vanilla base and provides a generally good experience. I’m very pleased with this tea.
So, Sil is safely on the other side of the country, so what better time to do the Great Earl Grey Tea-Off Competition!
I have A&D’s Mount Gray, Hugo’s Grey Line and Justea’s Kathyrne Earl Grey… who will win as the best EG? Will I even notice any differences? Let’s find out!
I started by pouring ½ a perfect DavidsTea’s spoon into 3 different color coded cups. The I poured in roughly 6oz of 205F water, and I steeped them for 4 minutes.
I had to re-pour them into different cups because I realized they needed to have the same color inside for comparison. Whoops! So now that they are all in white cups I can tell that the Hugo tea is a much darker colour than the other two. It’s a reddish orange, while the other two are yellow-orange. Justea’s is probably a bit more orange than the A&D.
I sniffed them and they all smelled pretty much the same, except for Justea which was a bit earthier.
A&D’s – smooth EG. Nothing to complain about. Bergamot lingers but doesn’t quite cross that too perfumy line.
Hugo’s – not quite so smooth – feels like there’s a little more going on in this cup, although it’s hard to put my finger on it. Bergamot is not quite as present as the A&D cup. I almost get peach or something with it.
Justea’s – this is quite a different animal! It’s musky and dark and the bergamot is fairly strong. Not a subtle cup!
Finishing the cups:
A&D’s seems to be the least complicated of the three. It’s an EG and it knows that and it’s not going to mess around. The base makes me think of a Yunnan black with the subtlest of honey notes, but maybe that’s because I’ve had the other two to compare it with. Overall? A solid EG that I’m guaranteed to enjoy! I know that this one re-steeps well but I’ve only re-used the leaves once.
Hugo’s almost has woody notes to it. At least after trying it after the A&D, that was the most obvious thing I noticed. It smells like lemon too! Along with the woody notes, I still feel like there’s a peach or some kind of fruit note in there. It’s a complex cup. Apparently it’s good for 3 re-steeps too!
Justea’s tea is better once it cools. It loses some of the musk (or whatever it is?) and mellow just a bit. I also can really smell the lemon and it makes me think of lemon cake because of the richness. I definitely enjoy this cup the more I drink of it, but the base tea is one that I’m still not completely used to and it distract me a little bit until I’m at least 1/3 done the cup.
OVERALL: Hugo’s Grey Line seems to be my favourite, although A&D’s Mt Gray is nothing to dismiss. Justea’s Kathryne Grey is enjoyable but one I crave less often due to the base.
Kamyria’s review yesterday about the forest inspired me to go have a long walk today and write this review.
By now, you probably know that the forest is my backyard. I’ve written many times here on Steepster about my little adventures and how lucky and privileged I feel when I look outside my window or go for a walk, it never gets old.
This lifestyle is Nature’s gift to me, and that gift keeps on giving as long as I care for it in return. It’s pretty simple and yet, I wish more people could fully grasp that concept. The tea I’m reviewing today also keeps on giving…
I tell you, my snow shoes really get a run for their money this winter. I made my own trail and I try to go as often as possible. There’s a spot that we always stop at. It’s on top of a small hill and a huge rock stands there, under the trees. it is shaped as a loveseat, I call it my rocky chair.
I take a break as I watch my dog Dexter chase squirrels, his favourite sport. They like to tease him and sometimes, I think they’re playing with him, knowing full well he’ll never catch one of them!
The day is magnificent, sunshine coming at me from all directions, immaculate snow everywhere you look at, pine trees with heavy arms from all the snow weighing on them…
When I got back inside, I was freezing and seeking warmth, I love that feeling. My head still felt clear and peaceful from all the beauty I had just laid eyes on, and of course, the right tea amplified that feeling and made it linger a while longer.
I was waiting for a special moment to choose this sheng pu’erh, sent to me by the generous and wonderful Dexter3657. She read on a post that I wanted to experience more with shengs, and offered to send me this one. She wrote that this tea is the highest rated on Steepster, so I read nothing about it, not wanting to be influenced by other reviews.
I used 7g, 5oz yixing pot. The piece of cake is tight and compressed. Quick rinse. Already the aroma brings me somewhere, but I don’t want to go there yet, I want to take my time with it.
I pour the very light coloured liquor, close my eyes and smell, have my first sip.
Sweet sugarcane is what I notice first. Then, a feast for the senses. The smell that comes out of the pot can’t be ignored. I can describe it easily, cause it’s leading me there. If you’ve done camping in your life (most of us did), you have to think about the next morning, when you get out of the tent.
The smokey scent from the firecamp is still in the air, but it’s just a shadow of what is was the day before. It mixes with fresh morning dew, humid grass and moss. Earthy and smokey tones, fresh menthol. Take all these “ingredients”, gather them in a cake, and later, when you hit it with hot water, the memory trap is released and you experience that moment again.
I choose not to describe more. As it happens when I drink something really special, I give in to the tea, not wanting to think anymore but just be in the moment and feel the pure energy. Cha qi. The best thing that can happen. I’ve had these moments before, but not often enough. I plan on having a lot more in the future…
Thank you so much Dexter3657 for wanting me to discover how special your beloved Mandala truly is. You were right :-)
(Cough, Implacinganorderscrewthehiatus, cough, cough)