New Tasting Notes

90

I got some of this for my younger brother for Christmas this year, but I decided to pick up some extra just for me because it sounded good. The tea smells so light and citrus-y that I already foresee this being excellent iced.

So naturally, I made this over ice and I have to say that I’m a big fan. As it smells, it is indeed very bright with delicate citrus notes. They chose a very light green tea base for this, and the orange and bergamot are balanced well with each other.

Overall, this is a very good twist on Earl Gray and I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves lighter tasting teas.

Preparation
Iced 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Drank some 2015 purple wiyu yaobao from The Finest Brew… well, they are no longer around and with no listing this is what you all get to read.
A random note.
Purple is not for royalty when it comes to tea.
Purple is for random.
This stuff is actually quite solid due to its wonderful wild nectar feel to it; not the taste, but the mouth feel. The taste is very much like a yabao outside ontop of some autumn leaf if that makes sense. Looks kind of pretty, taste elegant, brews kind of funky, and it is different which sets it apart as this is nothing like a yiwu sheng.

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75

Advent Calendar Day Nine

Drinking this one in the evening at my mother’s house – I’m crashing here tonight so I can spend some extra time with my siblings. ‘Cause family, and all that; also it’s the first evening I’ve had to myself (between the two jobs) in over a week so I wanted to do something with it.

I was a little bummed to see today’s tea was another EG variant; though I do like the idea of today’s form better than the one earlier in the month that was Bergamot & Orange. Brewed up, I think that I like the flavour roughly the same amount though even if this one sounded better to me. However, that said, that doesn’t mean I’m tasting the same thing either. I mean, obviously the bergamot is something that’s in common – but I think this is something nice, smooth and maybe a little bit softer too because of the Yin Zhen? Like an “Earl Grey Light”? Though, it doesn’t lose nuance because there’s still gentle layers of floral flavour, hay, and citrus. It’s just not “slap you in the face” bold, either.

So, another one which was a nice surprise and pretty solid overall.

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90

Snake Red is an in-your-face, powerful shou. At first it was overly smokey but now, over three years later it’s lost its harshness, smoothed out and the smoke has mellowed into a tongue tingling sensation that really lingers. Deep, dark, complex, delicious and I think it’s still got a ways to go on its developmental journey. So glad I have another cake stashed away!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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90

GCTTB DAY 1

Fourth (and probably final) tea for the day. Since its late now I opted for a herbal tea, and immediately reached for this one. I’ve been eyeing it all day (but drinking caffeinated teas while I could), since it was the first tea I smelled when I opened the box. It smells just heavenly! I made a pot for my roommate and I while she was packing up to leave on a camping trip for the weekend.

Oh boy, this was definitely my favourite of the day. The delicious banana cherry aroma wafted from the dry tisane, enough to almost make me eat it. I brewed a tablespoon in 1L for about 7 minutes in almost boiling water. It was perfect! You know, even without instructions or prior experience with a specific tea, I think I am getting really good at knowing and recognizing general tea profiles and how a new tea would best react to specific brewing parameters, at least for my own personal tastes. (Insert heroic pose) Hooray, a useless skill!

This tea was very very tasty. My roommate also thought it was delicious. The dominant flavour was definitely the cherries, but the sourness was mellowed out by the faintly sweet banana notes, and I thought I detected a hint of cinnamon and apple as well. Not too sour, not too sweet, bursting with flavour and great balance. I think this is a keeper!

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85
drank Colombia Bitaco Green by What-Cha
44 tasting notes

This is an interesting tea. What-cha describes it as “aniseed” and I agree, but it’s very subtle and you forget about the licorice taste easily. It also has a faint, faint scent/taste I’ve come to associate with pu’erh. Earthy/green/barnyard. I am not at all a fan of pu’erh, but the taste/scent here is so subtle I’m intrigued by it instead of repulsed (as I usually am). I wouldn’t make this a daily-drinker, but it’s good if you want to change things up.

Flavors: Anise, Barnyard, Green, Licorice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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75

DAVID’s Tea Advent Calendar Day 8

Oops, I didn’t rate this tea last night. I actually have about 25 grams of this left from last winter so it wasn’t new to me. I like this tea. It is mild and light, and somehow I don’t seem to get too much ginger. That’s a pity, since I really like ginger. In the little tin (by the way, I ADORE those little round screw top tins in the Advent Calendar!) I got a lot of large pieces of what must be pear but not very much tea. I think that contributed to this cup being very pale even for a white tea, with not much flavor. I have a little bit left in the tin, and I think I’ll add some of the older stock to it and see if that strengthens the flavor. But not now, Now I get to brew a cup of the Day 9 tea!

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84
drank Tiramisu by Citizen Tea
1566 tasting notes

UGH I had a note all typed up and it disappeared on me. Not impressed :/

Anyhow. I love this tea. I WILL be ordering more. At some point.
It’s got the mouthfeel of David’s Tea former Banana Nut Bread tea. You know, before they ruined it by changing the formula. and the coffee in lieu of banana note is A-OK in my books!!

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Hmmm. Interesting. It is… what I expected. and yet not. I might try it with milk next time. Or cold. Haven’t decided yet. But I’m curious.
Definitely getting nuttiness and raspberry though!

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80
drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
30 tasting notes

Advent calendar day 9. I am a fan of this tea. It has a subtle flavour of nuts and cinnamon and smells like faint appley cinnamon. Every time I drink it, I forget it turns bright pink and am surprised all over again. Today, mine turned a shade of pink only comparable to magenta. Someday, I want to try this tea as a latte. I would consider purchasing more of this tea as I can see myself drinking it all year long.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Nuts

Preparation
8 min or more 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Fay

Love this one as a latte (literally just finished it off as a latte actually). Highly recommend.

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65

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78
drank Strawberry & Kiwi by Basilur
114 tasting notes

GCTTB DAY 1

Third sample tea today, and I finally got lucky! Mm, this one is quite yummy. I knew pretty much as soon as I sniffed he dry leaf that I was in for something good. The strawberry and kiwi are not overpowering to each other but are nice in combination, fresh and lively. The Ceylon base is a little bold, I’m glad I didn’t steep it longer than a couple minutes. It’s just on the border of getting too astringent, but thankfully still on the delicious side! Quite happy with this choice. Tasty afternoon treat!

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Alright, it’s Friday and I want to drink something unique or good. My first thought was some Pubertea, but I don’t feel so happy about some BS shipping on it so I’ll wait till the sour feeling goes away. I went to the stuff I’ve bought and found this 2016 single tree sample I bought for those who helped with the Sheng Olympiad because I didn’t want to have another year of controversial tea; even if the highest end was great. Whatever I write about this please know that Verdant provides great service to me as a customer and I value the teas they bring to the community regardless of claims. I drink for myself and at the end of this session I’ll let you know how I feel.
First thing, 100g is $49.00! That’s a hefty price on a sheng; not to mention 100g cakes are pretty much just an enlarged beenghole. Opened up my 5g sample and saw this was maocha from which makes sense for sample portions and all but I wonder if that changes the taste. Either way, brewing will be much easier. From the looks of the leaf, this has the look of terrible Dacong or some ugly mocha from 4 years ago; like the stuff I bought on Aliexpress once. Not the best first impression, but shou looks like cow patty so who’s to say looks will determine anything. So here go!
Steep one and I can smell the darker notes on this rather than the lighter ones of fruit. I suspect there will be some medicinal taste within some forest elements of damp wood if the smell aligns to the taste.
It was at this very sentence that I decided to stop taking notes. Then it was this sentence that I got back to my computer to let you know that I ate oreos with milk after the 6th steep because my mouth and throat were feeling dry. Also, just so you know, I decided to go back to this sheng after the sugary snack… what am I doing to myself?

So this session lasted roughly three hours by time I was done and only 16 steeps; not sure if I pushed the heck out of this or if it goes that long. The look of this leaf is just pure ugly. I had a huge stick going through my pot the entire time with many stems showing me their side that the sun never saw. Just not appealing looking. The aroma stays constant of wet leaf steam and light mossy bark. There’s no taste of moss, but the medicinal taste is somewhat like what you get when a little aloe for a sunburn gets in your mouth. A little cooling feeling and a little ‘oh that is nasssssssssssssssssssty’ going on.
For me, this tea is 100% void of bitterness which is awesome for a sheng. Admittedly, I’m not sure if this is the same type of material being picked as others due to the look and taste. With no sort of feel at all, other than wanting some oreos, and the look I’m kind of suspicious. The taste never has a sweet side to it and the to the best of my ability I would say this taste like a girl cologne; you know that kind marketed towards a ‘sporty’ man but it smells kind of sweet like whoever is wearing it wants to smell like the candy at the bar around beers. Anyways, I tried this tea and pushed it pretty hard because I had one shot at it. With that said, I wouldn’t want to revisit it within the next year but I am also curious to how easily the cakes break or if they were pressed very loose like the Bill Clinton I have downstairs. I wonder if someone could name a cake Bill Clinton or Snookie… wait, there should be a loosely pressed shou named Snookie.
Verdant has the best roasted oolong period when it comes to the Autumn Laoshan Roasted Oolong and some great black teas for someone who isn’t a black tea drinker, but this is just not my thing. The tea they put out in the spring that was older than the USA was pretty good and had the notes of fruit I enjoy… it’s just this is for a different set of taste buds.

Mookit

I’m sorry for the unpleasant experience, but I’m glad it allowed you to produce this entertaining note!

eastkyteaguy

L.P., I have to say that I think this is a great note. I have often felt the need to explain my attachment to Verdant recently, and I feel the same way you feel. I think they do a wonderful job of bringing unique, high quality teas to the market, and in my experience, their customer service is exceptional. When I started getting back into loose leaf tea, I stumbled across their website and decided to give them a chance based on their tasting notes. The way they broke down flavor components was very similar to the way I described what I experienced whenever I drank tea. At the time, I frankly could not have cared less about puerh, so I was not aware of the controversy they had generated. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I concern myself more with how a tea tastes than how it is marketed. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about honesty and transparency in marketing, but I ultimately feel that as a customer it is more my responsibility to judge my experience with a given product rather than my perception of the story behind it.

eastkyteaguy

I should also point out that I recently received a sample of this with a recent order. I’m not looking forward to it.

Liquid Proust

Well, I typed two paragraphs and it vanished.

Anyways, I’ll drive to you next spring or summer since you’re not far.

I find Verdant to have great TGY and black products for the most part. When it comes to WUyi and Dancong it is hit or miss. Then with pu’erh it’s more or less something they don’t specialize in; reardless of that, I want to try them out for sure.

Let me know how you find this when you try it

eastkyteaguy

Will do. I find with Verdant that I almost always greatly enjoy their roasted Tieguanyins, though the greener variants I personally find to be hit or miss. Their other Anxi oolongs I also find to be hit or miss. I almost always enjoy their black and green teas. I actually really enjoy their Wuyi oolongs for the most part, but I have yet to try them all. So far, I have really liked their Bai Rui Xiang, Bai Ji Guan, and Qilan. I go back and forth on the DHP. It seems to depend on the year. I have yet to try their Dancong, but then again, Dancong is not really my thing. Of the few pu’erhs I have tried, I find that I prefer the Xingyang stuff over the Zhenyuan.

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60

I enjoy the tatse fo this when it is hot. No real astringency, seesm smooth, etc.

However, when it cools down, and my tea always ends up going cold before I finish it, it has an odd sort of taste. Kind of like that instant iced tea mix that was popular when I was a kid (can’t remember the name). And that brings up negative associations.

The wet leaf is quite attractive. Kind of reminds me of shredded cedar chips that are wet from the rain. Looks very pretty.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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54
drank Root Beer by Simpson & Vail
169 tasting notes

This one travelled to me via MissB ‘s Mystery Box a loooong time ago (verging on 3 years, I think). I have drank it before, I just haven’t gotten around to writing up any tasting notes on it yet.

I definitely think age has gotten the best of this tea, unfortunately, since I remember it tasting more strongly of root beer the last time I drank it. This time I got a lot of smokiness in the scent, so much so that I was starting to doubt my labelling and thought it was a lapsang. No smokiness in the flavour, though, and definitely root beer. It’s mild but definitely there. I actually prefer the root beer flavouring mild, since strong root beer always comes across as medicinal to me. It’s not something which is common here in the UK and I was probably 19 or 20 the first time I drank root beer, and the flavour is still kinda bizarre to me. Anyway, this comes across as more natural to me, which is probably at least partly down to the sarsaparilla root. Is root beer sarsaparilla flavoured? I’m not a big fan of root beer as a drink but I love sarsaparilla tablets (old-fashioned hard boiled sweets). When I tried this tea plain the black tea base was pretty astringent and strong, and pushed the root beer to the back of the sip. I added half a sugar and it brought out the root beer flavour some more, and this was how I liked the root beer flavour the best, but the tea was still too astringent for me to drink a whole mug of so I had to add milk, which helped a lot with the astringency but almost completely erased the root beer. Root beer is also not a flavour I particularly want to drink with milk. I have enough leaf left for one more mug of this tea, and I think I’ll use water below boiling to see if this improves the astringency enough that I can drink it without milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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80
drank Coco Chai Rooibos by DAVIDsTEA
30 tasting notes

I got this tea as a free sample with a recent online order. I was shocked at how much I liked it. The thought of a tea with cinnamon, cloves, and peppercorns put me off for a long time and boy was I missing out. It has just the right amount of spice without being overwhelming and the sweetness/fruitiness of the coconut helps to even the flavour out. I’m not sure this would be something I could drink large quantities of but it is really good as an occasional tea. I would consider purchasing a smaller amount of this tea but I don’t think I’d buy a big tin of it.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Coconut, Peppercorn

Preparation
1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Brrr, it is cold! A brisk 22°F and it has been that way for the past couple days, meaning the dusting of snow is still on the ground. It also means that I have spent most my time bundled under my heated blanket and keeping Espeon and Tao from fighting over my lap, seriously. They both have completely comfy warm beds, but insist on being in my lap, regardless if I want them there, Espeon is particularly notorious for going through feats of acrobatics to get into my lap. These acrobatics usually involve climbing up the back of my chair, over my head, and down my shoulder. I’ve given up trying to stop this and just resign myself to my fate.

Today’s tea is from Origins Tea, their Hong Yun, a fascinating tea from Yu Chi Township in Taiwan. A cross between two different teas, Qimen and the Kyang strain from India, which is an Assamica. You might run into this tea listed by the name TTES #21, its cultivar name from the Taiwan Tea Experiment Station, not as catchy as the name Hong Yun. From the first sniff you can tell there is something a bit different about this hongcha, it is very aromatic, and while that is not unusual, the intense notes of yuzu, orange blossoms, honeysuckle, and chocolate is. It is almost Dancong like in its floral and fruity quality, but you can tell from the chocolate and gentle malty note that this is definitely a hongcha. I spent far too long sniffing it, fascinated by the citrus notes and their play with the other notes.

Into my little yixing pot the tea goes, yes I do have a yixing pot only for Taiwanese hongcha, because dedication. The aroma of the leaves is intensely aromatic, I feel like I can smell it from the other side of my desk rather than just when I have my nose in the teapot. Notes of orange blossoms, yuzu, grapefruit, chocolate, sassafrass, and a touch of menthol. There is a lot going on, and it has similar notes to my much beloved Red Jade, which I found enjoyable. The liquid is strong, but a ghost compared to the wet leaves, with notes of cocoa, orange blossoms, malt, and a bit of grapefruit peel.

Ok, so I had two sessions with this tea, and the first was a fail. I brewed it like I normally do Taiwanese Hongcha, using 195°F water and a steeping time of 30-60-90-etc but this tea was having none of it. The first steep was immensely tannic and brisk (to say the least) so I decided to try again but using flash steeping, which worked like a charm. It still has a tannic and brisk quality, but it is not unpleasant, being similar to a strong Assam in mouthfeel. The taste is very rich, strong notes of chocolate and yams with a building orange blossom and grapefruit that comes to strength at the finish with the orange blossom lasting into the aftertaste.

Next steep time, and like the previous it was brisk and tannic, bordering on dry but puckering, I admit it is not my favorite mouthfeel, one of the reasons I don’t drink a lot of Assam and Ceylon style teas, I like the smooth and buttery stuff. The taste takes its cues from the first steep, strong notes
of chocolate and yams with a steadily increasing citrus note that tastes distinctly like grapefruit. There is an added richness this steep, with malt and a touch of an undertone of menthol and sassafrass. The finish is orange blossom and lasts long after the cup has been emptied.

I was able to get six solid steeps from this tea and three lesser ones, the lesser ones had lost all tannic and briskness and were smooth, though lacking in flavor. This was a fascinating tea, I enjoyed it though I am not sure I can call it a favorite, mostly because of that mouthfeel not being a favorite…perhaps lovers of strong black teas would prefer this one over more delicate, smoother hongchas that I crave. One thing I will say in this tea’s favor that makes me tempted to add more to my stash, that grapefruit note was awesome, I do not run into enough teas that have a natural citrus note, I love its bright quality and wish I could run into it more often.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/12/origins-tea-hong-yun-tea-review.html

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67
drank Cantaloupe Watermelon by 52teas
169 tasting notes

I took this tea to work with me tonight, and sipped it while I poured pints for other people, which was weird but infinitely better than working without tea. I had been telling some of my coworkers about my tea habit during the week and they actually asked me to bring something in, so I opted for this since I had plenty to go around and the water from the espresso machine (the only source of hot water – no kettle) is around the right temperature for white teas. One coworker pronounced it ‘alright’ and the other ‘fruity’, so I’m not entirely sure it was a success, but I think it went better than they expected. I’ve been requested to bring in a chocolate tea next.

I think the water was a little on the hot side, but the tea did admirably considering the less than ideal brewing conditions. The base tea is strong for a white and only a little astringent, and the flavouring quite natural tasting. It’s very juicy and I can taste the cantaloupe clearly alongside the white tea, and the aroma is dead on too. It’s a shame I don’t like cantaloupe! I don’t get watermelon at all, in the scent or the flavour. I’ve thought this every time I drink this tea, but in my opinion watermelon just isn’t a strong enough flavour to translate to tea well. Maybe if it was paired with a more delicate base tea, and wasn’t competing with the cantaloupe flavouring, but it’s just overwhelmed and the name of the tea feels misleading. Butiki’s Watermelon Xylophone did it well, but other than that I really struggle to think of a good watermelon tea which has been strongly reminiscent of the flavour of a watermelon. All of this sounds really negative, but despite everything I’ve just said I always enjoy drinking this tea. It’s not overly complex and while it isn’t exactly mind-blowing it just goes down so easy. Not a bad choice for a workplace tea.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78
drank Sun Moon Lake Black by IDEStea
287 tasting notes

Sun Moon Lake Blacks seem to be pretty good ones for sure. Another randomly selected sample. I really like how the leaf looks with these kinds of teas. The leaves smelled nice and raisiny/malty. There were a lot of flavors going on – a bit of cocoa, malt, and some spiciness. I did get some raisin notes but they were more of a delayed/lingering aftertaste. A pretty good one! Too bad Idestea doesn’t exist anymore :P

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Raisins, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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64
drank Prince Vladimir by Kusmi Tea
666 tasting notes

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Jin Xuan by Zen Tea
287 tasting notes

Another sample slain! I’m going through them at a blistering pace, reducing that mountain! My girlfriend is helping me pick them out at random so I’m not paralyzed by indecision :) This rolled oolong had smaller nuggets than most others I’ve seen. I would say these leaves smelled pretty classically Jin Xuan – with some floral and creamy/milky aromas coming off of them. I preferred this one at 180F, which is lower than I typically go for oolongs.

The flavor was simple but satisfying. Green floral and slight milky notes dominated, though nothing about this tea suggested domination. It was pretty gentle, with a nice smooth and thick silky texture to it.

Flavors: Floral, Green, Milk, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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100
drank Candy Cane by Adagio Teas
2 tasting notes

The aroma is intense and very alluring. We had a whole box of tea samplers and this one was what my fiance picked first. This is an incredibly richly scented tea!

Fresh from the pot and piping, this is a very smooth black tea at somehow, it’s so smooth the tongue lies to me and thinks there’s cream in its ingredients. However, there isn’t- and it’s a very full-bodied flavor. The peppermint is not harsh or in-your-face, but it’s like sucking on an actual candy cane. It’s extremely satisfying warm.

Chilled in our cast-iron tetsubin in the fridge for 8 hours while we slept, we had it again just now and the coolness is accentuated by the temperature. This tea is amazing hot or cold, and only loses slight traces of creaminess while cold. The minty candy flavor comes out as fully as when it was warm. If you want an icy blast of candy-cane while walking on a snowy road- you don’t have to! Brew this tea and drink it cold.

Me and my fiance (who is more an energy-drink person) couldn’t stop drinking this! Definitely a winner. :)

Flavors: Candy, Creamy, Peppermint, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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