New Tasting Notes

93

One of my favourite loose herbal teas ever. I particularly enjoy a cup following my meditation, when I’m in a quiet headspace and have a fierce thirst after hours of reciting mantra. From its delicate floral aroma while brewing, to its pleasing and balanced flavor, to its relaxing effects, Moonlight Lavender offers a near-perfect herbal tea experience. Great before bed or on a lazy weekend afternoon to create that feeling of oasis. Definitely a soothing thirst quencher. I have a cup in front of me now. I enjoy mine on the strong side. Disappointed to discover it is currently unavailable; I came online to check where I could purchase more.

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93

This is tea is consistently incredible! If you need a good black vanilla tea on the to-take this one! The flavor lasted over 6 hours and the tumbler made it stay hot for super long. It was so freakin’ delicious! Think I might have over-steeped it by a minute or two but you can hardly tell! It’s just delicious!

Flavors: Caramel, Creamy, Pastries, Vanilla

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100
drank Birthday Cake by DAVIDsTEA
665 tasting notes

This tea never gets old. Just so freakin’ good! Ughh can’t get over how amazing it is! This was the perfect tea for my miserable morning. I say miserable morning but holy shanghai, so many good things happened today!

Such as:
https://instagram.com/p/14JkspKHHk/?taken-by=ostdalost

And this!
https://instagram.com/p/148XEZqHOL/?taken-by=ostdalost

Hopefully those images work. xD A couple more highlights have happened today but I’ll have to post on instagram about it tomorrow…er…later today since it’s 1am here. :O

TheKesser

That sloth is SUPER cute!!

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64
drank Bai Mu Dan White Tea by Verdant Tea
665 tasting notes

I love that Verdant is having free shipping right now-like it’s just so awesome! Wanted to try a sample of this one and it was only two bucks, so heyy that is helping save tea money xD
I love how soft and furry this tea is-love the look of white teas. For some reason I was expecting a bit more from this tea…so I was a bit disappointed to drink it and find that it was just like all the other white teas.
Very hay-y with a touch of sweetness.
Actually not bad. Won’t mind finishing the sample, but not my favorite either.

Flavors: Hay, Sweet

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77

Yellow tea is a rare creature. It’s not a common tea type because it doesn’t differ too greatly from green tea in a lot of cases, and it is more labor intensive and expensive to produce. This one is unique among yellow teas I’ve seen in that the leaves have a pretty dark appearance, sort of yellowish olive green.

The dry leaves smell really roasted and toasty. After a rinse, the scent of the tea leaves is very complex. It smells really roasty like houjicha but with a note of yellow mustard. The scent of the brewed tea is a more mild roast taste with creamy notes.

The taste of this tea is quite smooth and unoffensive. I think this may be the first “true” yellow tea I have had because it achieves the effect most articles on yellow tea mention the purpose of yellow tea being… to make a tea with similar flavors to green tea but curbing the grassy notes for a more mellow flavor. This tea tastes like a smooth, sweet, mildly roasted green tea, and by golly there is the faintest hint of mustard or dill even in the taste. Maybe there’s a bit of toasted sesame in the flavor. It’s hard to describe. It has a subtle cooling sensation after the sip, and a lingering sweetness.

The liquor color of this tea is a pale yellow. I’m brewing it in a small thin-walled porcelain gaiwan. On the second infusion, I’m getting more toasty flavors with the subtle tanginess of dill. The packaging describes this tea’s flavor as “hazelnut with mango notes”. I can definitely see hazelnut, but I’m not getting the mango notes. Maybe that’s what registers as dill to me. I left the room and came back in and it definitely smells like hazelnuts in here.

This tea reminds me of a lot of houjicha in its taste and aroma, so if you like that, you would probably enjoy this. The flavor doesn’t change a whole lot from one infusion to the next, just becomes more rich. There’s no bitterness at all. It’s mellow, a comfort tea. The third infusion is more sweet and lacking the tangy dill-like note from before.

Infusion times were 15 seconds starting out, then 10 or so on the second infusion and increasing on each one by 10 or so as needed.

Flavors: Dill, Nutty, Sweet, Toasty

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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98

This is my 200th review! Rawr!

So, as with all my other milestone reviews, I want to review something rather special. Here goes.

Okay, so… I love the imagery this tea evokes. I love stags. They are beautiful animals and generally just give me an impression of quiet oneness with nature, of freedom and exploration, and tranquility. I am excited about this tea. Straight out of the bag, the twigs smell like cinnamon and spices, even some fruit. It reminds me of the scent of hardened gingerbread that some of the ornaments on the Christmas tree were made out of when I was a kid. And hey, the twigs do in fact look like antlers. So cool!

I’m a little crazy, so I’m going to be gongfu brewing this similar to how I’d brew silver needle white tea, but with longer infusion times like I use with Ya Bao. Why not? I default to gongfu style even with teas that aren’t particularly made for it.

So, into my gaiwan they go, and I’m not even breaking them up. They barely fit in there with the lid on, they’re so long. They’re in there for 1 minute and back out. This is the longest I ever do an initial infusion with Gongfu style and I only do it with Ya Bao, which are very thick, dense buds, and require a lot of soaking to saturate. I figured since these stems are hard and woody i’d do the same with them. The stems smell a bit fruity and floral after the first infusion. I’m not getting lychee so much like the packaging says, but I can see where that’s coming from, since lychee is both fruity and floral. To me this is more of a plum scent mixed with the scent of a good Japanese sake.

Surprisingly, the infusion is a rich medium yellow after just that short amount of time. The brewed tea smells like sweet cinnamon roll dough, pecan pie, a bit of fig or plum and some other fun decadent things.

Oh wow, the taste comes on really sweet. It’s kind of plum like with a hint of floral and a lingering sweetness. It has hints of cinnamon and spice flavors just like the scent. The sweetness really lingers after drinking, as well as a slight cooling sensation on the tongue. The flavor of this tea has some qualities in common with white peony teas I’ve tried before. There’s a bit of autumn leaf taste and scent that both teas share.

I’m really impressed by the quality of this tea’s flavor and aroma. It’s very delicate but very flavorful, has a really definite presence, and is easy to drink like most white teas are. I could drink this tea daily. I’m feeling a bit of an interesting lightheadedness right now, which could be an effect of this tea, or the effect of this being the third tea I’ve reviewed within a few hours.

Second infusion: okay, lychee. I’m gettin’ it now. The wet twigs definitely have that aroma, but still reminds me of plum wine or a really nice sake as well, and the spice notes are ever-present. The second infusion doesn’t seem to have quite as strong of a taste as the first, but is similar and still really nice. It leans towards a more floral nectar kind of taste, not quite as sweet as before. If you roll it on your tongue there’s a hint of metal in the taste as well. As the tea cools, that note is not detectable anymore and the overall flavor is much more like lychee, with a slight aftertaste of spices. There is no bitterness in this tea at all.

I agree with Alistair of What-Cha, this tea is a game-changer. Who knew that such delicious flavor could come from just the stems of tea? I’ve had Japanese kukicha “stem tea” before, and it was nothing like this, nothing to write home about. This, on the other hand, is something I’ll be after to keep in my collection for years to come. I hope for the continued success of the estate that produces this tea! I’d like to take a moment to say, if you haven’t tried many teas from lesser-known growing regions, you really should give them a chance. What-Cha seems to have a real knack for offering many of those, so it’s a great place to start.

My third infusion of the little tea antlers came out a really deep yellow. This time the flavor tastes a little more green, like young white tea, subtle hints of cucumber in the mix. Overall, the taste is waning a bit, but still nice. Four infusions in, the flavor is still really nice and has gotten more generous again. I could see this one going for many, many infusions before running out of delicious flavor.

For timing, I brewed for 1 minute, adding 15 seconds each time. It worked really well with the amount of tea I used. I ignored the recommendation of 176F water for a slightly hotter 185F, which is what I default to for white teas, and this perfomed just great.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Lychee, Plums, Sake, Spices

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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84

Ah, I’m back to Steepster. I have had so many things to attend recently, that I couldn’t even log my teas. What a waste! :( Who missed me? Nobody? Oh well, I wasn’t a popularity here after all. :p

Let us see this tea. The dry leaves are short and are narrow. It looks like it is a mix of green and black leaves. Maybe with some grass-looking leaves as well. I think Teabox made a good balance with the dry leaves.

Let us brew this tea. The steeping instructions say 5 minutes and 1.25 tsp in a water of around 180-200F degrees. For this sip, I followed exactly what the instructions said.

Let’s sip now! The first thing I saw is that this tea isn’t of the usual black tea color. Personally, I think it looks more like a green tea. But the taste is definitely more like a black tea. Interesting! The tea itself is very creamy and mellow. I can easy distinguish some reminiscence of melon and citrus along with some nut finish. This tea is really full-bodied, if I try harder I can also find some notes of melon! It is also a bit astringent, around 3 out of 10.

Overall, I find this tea really fun to drink. It’s a real treat for an everyday tea!

Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Grass, Melon, Nuts, Nutty

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78
drank Cool Cactus by DAVIDsTEA
1704 tasting notes

I’ve been on a bit of a Davids Tea spree lately and I’ve got a bunch of new teas from them that I need to log and add to my cupboard.

I’ve only tried prickly pear fruit a few times as it’s quite expensive and hard to find here, but it does make for a great mojito. It seems to be the dominant flavour in this blend along with pineapple. The tea is quite smooth, slightly sweet and pleasantly fruity though in a way that’s quite distinct from the myriad of other fruit-flavoured green teas that I’ve tried.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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85
drank Masala Chai by Monstrositea
803 tasting notes

CHAIDAY CHAIDAY CHAIDAY! I’ve been looking forward to a ridiculous day like this for a while. Cold and under blanket, no plans, back to back movies, and a big delicious pot of masala on my lap, brewed up on the stove. And a wee bit hungover.

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79

’Here’s Hoping’ Teabox Round #4 – Tea #19

An interesting decaf choice – it’s supposedly caramel though I don’t see any of those caramel cubes. There are rose petals and apparently a little mint. The mint seems to only be noticeable at the top of the cup with mild rose flavors. There is an odd sweetness, not sure how that happens… apparently the “flavoring”. Both steeps were sweet but on the second steep, the rose and mint somehow disappeared completely.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min

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72

’Here’s Hoping’ Teabox Round #4 – Tea #18

A delicious standard assam but possibly a little lighter for an assam than I’d expect. That’s okay… it means less astringency. A little fruitier and sweeter instead of dark. Not as baked rye bread as some assam can be.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 3 min

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70

’Here’s Hoping’ Teabox Round #4 – Tea #17

I think I’ve tried enough nilgiri type teas to know they just aren’t the flavor for me. The dry leaves have a grassy scent to them but then the flavor is a little too light for me if I want to sip a black tea. The color of the brew is a light amber. The flavor is almost bordering on muscatel with that grassy flavor also. It is very drying to the mouth. This is a great example of a nilgiri tea, but again, nilgiri is not the tea for me!
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // few min after boiling // 3 min

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70

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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80

I found this tea creamy and it has a very nice strawberry flavour to it. I did not find it bitter at all and the second steep was just as good as the first steep.

Flavors: Creamy, Strawberry

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80
drank La Luotuo-De by Tippity
803 tasting notes

No! How did this get so low! Do I really only have a couple of cups left? HRMMM.

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90

After a looooooooong morning (involving a slashed rear tire and extreme tardiness to class), I brewed this into my Aladdin tumbler before heading to work in the afternoon. It was just as great as the first time, and fortify me to power through the rest of my day.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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91

I was immediately drawn to this tea due to the very imaginative description of it as “green sword” tea. Images of the Green Destiny from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon flashed through my mind, along with all the beautiful art and imagery of that movie and its lush, green landscapes, and I felt an instant tingle in my head.

This tea is not from China, however, but from India and was named because the rolled leaves resemble little swords. In fact, I would say they do even more so in person, because what you can’t tell from the photo is that each of those little slightly curved rolled leaves are an inch or two long, really long for green tea leaves. They’re quite beautiful to look at.

The scent of this tea dry is surprisingly fruity, with a tangerine and mango scent, really potent and enjoyable. After a rinse, The leaves have more of a vegetal kind of scent, with the nutty and green bean notes I’m used to in many green teas, and while the fruit aroma is still there, it is not as strong. The scent of the brewed tea is pleasantly nutty, creamy, and green. The taste is surprisingly clean and light, with a slight nutty taste and a bit of a sweet corn taste. There’s a lingering note of mango or orange. It’s mildly sweet, becoming more so as it cools, and it leaves a lingering sweetness in the mouth as well.

I should mention a few things. Firstly, that I’m brewing this tea in the Gongfu style of brewing in a thin walled porcelain gaiwan, secondly that it takes really well to this method, and last that I have gone through many phases in my enjoyment of green tea, from brewing it very strong and robust to brewing it delicate and light, and seem to have settled on a general preference for brewing it light.

The second infusion of this tea offers many of the same creamy, slightly citrusy notes of the first, but I feel the citrus taste comes through more while the vegetal flavors have backed off some.

The first infusions were so light and crisp, I decided to push the third a little longer than normal to see how it might taste if brewed more rich. It has a more similar profile to most Chinese green teas at this point, more vegetal and green bean like overall. The fruit flavors still linger at the end but not as noticably. I diluted it a bit and it came back to a soft flavor with more noticeable hints of orange.

Later infusions unfolded in a more conventional green tea fashion, but the hint of orange flavor never fully receded.

I am really enjoying this green tea. It’s quite different from any others I’ve had, and I enjoy it’s fresh, clean, crisp subtlety and fruity finish. I’m very glad I bought a bag of this. I made a pretty big What-Cha order of teas I haven’t even tried aside from one, so we’ll see how many suit my tastes. So far, this one is fantastic.

Infusion times: 15 seconds, then quick infusions of 10-20 seconds to follow.

Flavors: Creamy, Green Beans, Mango, Nutty, Orange

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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95

Still loving this tea. It kept me company the other night as I finished painting and sanding my coffee table. This was the first time that I steeped it more than once, and both steepings were delightful! It’s continuing to grow on me :)

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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85
drank Dosha Chai Rooibos by Teavana
15 tasting notes

This is very flavorful, but pretty mild on the spice – just the way I like my chai. The cinnamon gives it a little warmth, and the vanilla and coconut a little sweetness. I was impressed that I didn’t have to add sweetener to this at all…I sweeten about 98% of the teas I drink, so that’s saying something. This, along with my Roasted Almond Chai from Tea’se Tea Shoppe, will remain in my regular chai rotation!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Coconut, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Exuma Lemon by Island Rose
252 tasting notes

Monthly TTB Club.

I really, really dislike presweetened teas. Not only are they usually sweeter than I like, they also often use sweeteners that don’t taste good to me. I think I would like this if it wasn’t sweetened with stevia. The stevia just ruins this for me.

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100
drank Earl Grey by Metolius
12 tasting notes

I had some fun making this tea gongfu style in a gaiwan.

I brewed it 5 times. I drank earl grey before I drank any other tea…little kid stuff.

This is simply the best earl grey I’ve had. Definitely high quality ingredients that brewed up a high quality taste.

Share this one with your earl grey loving tea peeps.

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Creamy, Floral

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g

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70

I honestly kind of tasted licorice in my cup of this. Sure it was malty, but I didn’t really like the taste of it. Kinda tasted low in quality to me.

Flavors: Licorice, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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76
drank Almond Oolong by Adagio Teas
20 tasting notes

I am not opposed to almond, but it’s not one of my primary flavor preferences. I got this as a sample from the lovely people at Adagio because I like their Vanilla Oolong.

The almond flavor is nice, but it’s a little bright – as pointed out, it feels a little almond-extracty. Adagio’s oolong is always nice, but it’s just not as strong with such a sharp almost flavor. I’ll finish the sample packet, but I doubt I’ll buy any more when there are other flavors that I enjoy more.

Flavors: Almond, Nutty, Sweet, Tea

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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90

It’s dark and rich with the cocoa being the primary flavor supported by the deeper tones of the pu-erh. It’s not strong or heavy. It smells chocolaty, but there is little to basically no chocolate to the taste. Just a thick brown molasses textured flavor of cacao filling the mouth.

Note: that’s molasses feel, not flavor.

Slight natural sweetness that isn’t defined but is, like the earthy pu-erh, an underlying structural support.

Heavy enough flavor to be satisfying. Noticeable and distinct without a strong pu-erh taste. If you’re a cocoa lover I strongly suggest it. But also light enough that it doesn’t overwhelm the palette, good for any time of day, IMO, or with most foods.

Flavors: Cacao, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Mud, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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