New Tasting Notes
How old is this tea!?
It doesn’t taste old or stale; when I cracked the tin open tonight I got such an intense aroma of black jellybeans that I melted inside a little. However, scanning through my tasting notes for this tea I think it must be PRETTY OLD. At least a year old if not older, but it’s hard to say…
The flavour is solid though: it’s basically a simple but rich licorice note with just a hint of the rooibos base underneath. I’m drinking it alongside my late night supper which is shell pastas with a thick sauce made with almond milk, garlic, figs, balsamic, and chevre so I knew that I needed a strong flavour in order to compete with the intense ingredients in the sauce (mainly the garlic). It’s not exactly a perfect pairing but it works well enough.
I had a thought when drinking this though; this is a pretty savory dish and it triggered a memory of salted black licorice that my mom brought back from Norway/Poland when she traveled there for school. To be honest, I fucking hated that salted black licorice BUT I’m wondering if I could achieve a better version by brewing up a cup of this and adding a tiny pinch of sea salt to it. Salt is a flavour enhancer, after all, and my tastes have changed A LOT since trying that salted licorice. I mean, that was like six years ago!?
Food for thought, anyway…
I am so behind on tea reviews! Honestly, all of my time has either been spent at the office, or out playing Pokemon Go with my husband and friends. We’ve worn blisters on our feet and every muscle in our legs is sore. We literally climbed a mountain yesterday to get to Pokemon at the summit. I’m going to look like a goddess by the time we finally catch them all!
Anyway, I think I’ve said it before, but Teavivre changed the way I see oolong. Their stuff is truly great. This tea is another very tasty example. The dry leaf smells sweet and fresh, with notes of springlike grass and vegetables. The little green nuggets hang out at the surface of the water before absorbing it and sinking to the bottom. Steeped, they are long and almost all whole.
The water comes out to a light yellowy tan, sort of like straw. There is that distinct oolong pungency in the aroma, but I know it will be more in the smell than the taste. After five minutes, the flavor is light but complex. I get sweet notes of flowers, grass, and a garden right after it rains. It’s very satisfying and light, with a tiny hint of creaminess. The floral taste reminds me of gardenias, but it’s subtle. Basically, this is something that would really cheer me up in the winter when I was missing spring.
Flavors: Creamy, Cut grass, Floral, Gardenias, Sweet
I’m kinda sad to see this go, because I don’t think it’ll ever come through my hands again. Not that I’ll be avoiding IDEStea or anything, I can definitely see myself going back to them, but more likely for the jade mountain oolong, the honey oolong, or dayulin. But who knows?
Anyway, I did my initial review so long ago and straight out of a vacuum-sealed package, so I’m just going to do a completely new one. I think the first time around, I was disappointed because it didnt seem creamy, and it’s a Jin Xuan. I think it just needed some fresh air, because the cream is perhaps the most notable thing about it now. Lovely, light cream atop delicate florals, and clean lettuce, with thick green beans, the exhale leaves a buttery feeling, and slight astringency. The leaves haven’t unfurled yet, but there’s something so airy about those early steeps that make me feel like I’m floating above a lazy river.
There’s even a bit of a nutty, almond-like taste, with hints of spinach and snap peas, a bit of orange, like a creamsickle. You could get lime creamsickles, orange, .. the pink one, it’s very creamsickley.
After six steeps, it started tasting a bit stale, empty.. not as creamy, not as.. anything. I’m gonna reheat the water.
Okay, well it’s very different now, lots of minerals, and thick grassy leaves, almost reminiscent of a sencha, but with the thickness of an oolong. Still with a creaminess, and almost a bell-peppery quality. it’s less complex than earlier steeps, which is a bit disappointing. The beginning was immensely delicious, and I had all but changed my mind about this Jin Xuan before, but I’ve gone back to my original opinion.
I got like 12 steeps in total, which seems like not very many? considering I used more than average amount of leaf, but I mean i don’t usually keep track of how many steeps I get in a session, so.. Could this be average for oolongs? I hope not.. I’m gonna count next time.
Flavors: Almond, Bell Pepper, Butter, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Lettuce, Lime, Mineral, Nutty, Orange, Peas, Spinach
Adagio’s Ceylon Sonata has a beautiful rich ruby body, and as it cools down different flavors begin to take over very much in the likeness to Adagio’s English Breakfast. The brilliance of this tea would be its soft taste and gentle honey-feeling in the back of your throat after an nice pot of it. It’s a very pleasant tea, I’d recommend this to anyone who loved their Adagio English Breakfast.
This is a queued tasting note.
So, a mutual friend of both my roommate’s and I has never seen the LoTR series so Cathryn and I decided that we’d sit her down and force her to watch it. So far we’ve only watched the first one with her, but it was a blast. She was super into the movie and we had a great time providing our own commentary about the obvious sexual tension between Frodo and Sam. We also had LoTR themed shots! Well, shot. A few of them each, though.
The shot is called a “Hobbit” and for anyone interested here was the recipe:
- A splash of Kahlua
- 1/2 oz of Amaretto
- 1/2 oz of Silver Tequila
They’re not really the smoothest shots in the world, but they’re honestly not bad either. And it was pretty cool having themed “drinks” with the movie. I’ll have to find a different one for when we watch the second movie…
Apart from alcohol, I also had a nine steep Gong Fu session using this tea in my Wuyi dedicated yixing pot. I didn’t take notes during the session like I normally do because I was watching a movie with friends at the time, but I do recall really getting some stronger mineral and char notes with my first infusions and then eventually settling into a nice, roasty medium bodied flavour with most of the following infusions. Nutty notes, cinnamon notes, notes of wood, a touch of malt? But only a touch. Near the end more of a transition to somewhat floral notes and a fruity undertone.
Lovely session overall. Kind of liked the flavour profile paired alongside the movie; I’ll admit to not being the biggest LoTR fan and I haven’t read the books (apart from bits of pieces of The Silmarillion) so I don’t know if there’s a tea that the hobbits drink in ‘canon’ during afternoon tea or elevenses but I feel like I can see them enjoying this one. Those first few, rougher infusions also made me feel like it captured the overall feel of the grimy, ‘abandoned’ mines of Moria we see in the movie. You know, prior to when shit hits the fan and the fellowship gets attacked.
This makes an excellent iced tea. I find many fruit teas to be overly sweet or artificial tasting, but this one is very nicely balanced. “Black tea” is still the strongest flavor, but there’s enough of a tropical fruit note that it’s distinguished from unflavored tea.
Flavors: Mango, Passion Fruits, Tea, Tropical
Drinking this one currently.
I made this up as an iced almond milk latte, and surprisingly I think this is actually the best version of this that I’ve tasted yet! The strawberry comes through most clearly, but you can also taste citrusy bergamot elements. Neither are super strong; just lightly poking through the creamy almond milk flavour. The biggest thing for me is that it actually taste pretty darn natural: my big thing with this blend is how chemical/artificial I find it but that’s not a problem at all with this prep style.
I’ve also paired it with a salad, and I think the pairing is pretty nice. It feels summery, and very fresh overall. My salad is composed of arugula, finely diced yellow bell pepper and cucumber, feta cheese, and a smidgen of a merlot balsamic reduction. The way the strawberry is interacting with the balsamic, cucumber and feta in particular is really nice and then I’m finding the bergamot is pairing better with the feta, arugula and bell pepper.
Not sure why they call this java mate. There’s no coffee flavor at all to it. As a matter of fact, it’s closer to tasting like cookies than coffee.
But it’s still good. Kind of sweet, woody, and hazelnutty all at once.
Be careful, or you’re going to make me a fan of mate.
Flavors: Hazelnut, Sweet, Wood
Keep in mind I like rooibos teas, this is my favorite. It delivers on all the flavors it promises. Smells amazing dry and steeped. I enjoy it plain, with honey, and occasionally with a little shot of rum on a cold winter night. It stands up to cream for those guests who insist on profaning their tea with it. It is a tea I can share with my guests…if I am feeling generous.
Flavors: Caramel, Rum
I got this as part of the Morita Tea sampler. This was a pretty good one. The aroma wasn’t quite as nutty/buttery as it would be for a sencha. I used 160F water and got steeps of 1m, 30s, 1m before upping temp to 180F and pulling one more 1m steep from the leaves.
The first steep had a robust grassy sweetness with some astringency underneath. Halfway through the first steep I started tasting some kind of pine-y flavors, along with some sweetness that kind of reminded me of honey, but I’m calling it more pine sap.
Next steep was creamy grassiness without the astringency. I didn’t get any of the pine or pine-sap flavors this time.
The last couple were just smooth grassy sweetness, with the final steep being pretty weak.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Pine, Smooth, Sweet
I think between group buys and swaps, I have three different Georgia Black teas to try. This is the first I’ve gotten to – acquired in a swap with JK7Ray I believe.
The dry leaves had a sour plum aroma, a little lesser after the first steep, surprisingly. This tea was light in flavor and body and quite simple as well, but I wouldn’t consider those negatives. Just different. I got 11 steeps with this black tea, starting with a couple at 12s, then 20s and increasing by 10s at a time until the last few where started increasing steep times faster. As I said, the flavor was consistent through most of the session – Malty plums, with an occasional sour note, not quite citrus fruit, more like an herbal lemongrass flavor. Only got it on like two steeps, and not consecutively. May try it Western style next time, as I’ve heard these Georgian teas can do better that way. So annoying to get out my big teapot and stuff though ;)
Flavors: Lemongrass, Malt, Plums
I tried this one out today and was not a huge fan. Used 7g in a 120mL gaiwan with boiled water. The compression was quite tight. After two rinses, I tried to start with a 15s steep, and the compressed chunks just laughed at me in the gaiwan. So from then, I altered my strategy, steeping 1m+ and bludgeoning the stubborn chunks with my gaiwan lid. It barely worked, so after three steeps like that, I started spearing the still-chuckling pieces with my puer pick, getting the to mostly come apart. I’m pretty sure even then, they were still flinging tiny middle-fingers at me.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was unable to get any strong flavor from this S.O.B. The aroma of the wet leaves was pretty reminiscent of a dank basement, usually not a good sign for me. I did get a decent bit of the wetness in the flavor of this tea. I also tasted some wet wood and something kind of fungal, maybe mushroomy. It did taste decently aged. Also got some kind of tangy sourness which I didn’t find particularly appealing.
So I think it’s safe to say I don’t like this tea gongfu. I still have the rest of my sample, so I’ll let it air out some and then play around with it. I will probably try to boil it instead, maybe that will allow me to actually draw out the flavor of this crotchety old brick. Now if I could just track down a yak….
Flavors: Mushrooms, Musty, Tangy, Wet Moss
This is a queued tasting note.
Searching for the perfect song right now to listen to while drinking my next cup of tea. I want to set the right aesthetic…
This is the one I think I’ve settled on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UveeZeu4PbQ&index=3&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ
And now I just have to pick the right tea to match!
As for this tea…
I’s so light and fluffy. Like drinking a cold brewed pillow of lemony, vanilla/marzipan mousse! It makes me feel like I’m floating, a little bit. Truly, it shows no signs of aging. If I hadn’t have just had this within the last few days I feel like this could probably be a really good contender for which tea to drink with that new song.
This is a queued tasting note.
So I decided to try this one out again cold brewed to see if it would brew up consistently. I found that the base was very brisk with malty notes to it, and that strawberry and lemon flavouring was pretty equal in intensity when compared to each other. However, there was a bit of discord between the base and the flavourings that resulted in a brew that wasn’t as enjoyable as I would have liked.
I’ll start off by saying that I do not generally enjoy floral teas, so in terms of the flavor, this Skin Detox Tea would not be my first choice. As mentioned, the taste is very floral — particularly “rose”-like. If you enjoy rose flavor, you’ll probably enjoy the taste of this tea.
Having said that, it’s definitely not disgusting, even for someone like me who doesn’t like floral flavors very much. I do feel like it’s helping with my skin, so that’s a huge plus!
Flavors: Floral, Rose
This is a queued tasting note.
Drank this one hot during the week as a commute to work tea, which means it was steeped Western style. The jack fruit gave off a very pleasant sweet, semi tangy and acidic pineapple top note and the body not was more of a brothy, vegetal Pu’erh flavour. Very interesting juxtaposition, to say the least.
Got this in a puerh starter-package from LP quite a while ago. Used the whole 4.5g in a 100mL gaiwan. Aroma was kind of bitter vegetal with a hint of smoke – not enough to worry me or anything though.
First steep I got some vegetal bitterness and spiciness with apricot and slight wisp of smoke in the aftertaste. Next steep, the vegetal flavor reminded me more specifically of asparagus and the apricot afteraste got a little sweeter – same otherwise. Over the next couple steeps, the bitterness mostly left, and the fruitiness came to the fore with a light smoky aftertaste. The next 5 steeps or so were pretty consistent, with a distinct peach flavor followed by the same smoky aftertaste. The tea had pretty decent body to it. For these steeps it seriously tasted almost exactly like that Arizona Peach tea you can get in a can, but without the crazy sugar levels.
I got about a dozen good steeps off of this tea, and I did go decently light on the leaf. Not sure if it’s the same as the Wild Monk cakes currently available on Mandala’s site, but when I finally get around to making an order with them, I’ll be sure to at least get some more to try. This was pretty good.
I didn’t get much body feeling from this tea. The early steeps gave a slight buzzing feeling on the tongue, but other than that, no noticeable qi or anything for me. Possibly due to lighter leaf, but this one might just not possess those qualities.
Flavors: Fruity, Peach, Smoke, Spices, Vegetal
I opened the package and just had to try it right now. The looseleaf smells strongly of lime zest, lemongrass, vanilla, and sweet custard. I can see little bits of graham cracker and what I assume are white chocolate chips. The oolong is rolled into beautiful emerald green mini pearls.
I steeped 1.5-2 tsp (difficult to tell with the larger pieces) and 550 mL hot (but not boiling) water. It brews a light yellowish green and smells like lime and flowers.
I’m quite glad I bought a larger size of this, because I’m in love with it. It is so amazingly fruity, sweet, creamy, and there are hints of floral, honey, nectar, and flowers. Any one who enjoys key lime pie or desserty teas will enjoy this.
Flavors: Citrus Fruits, Citrus Zest, Creamy, Fruit Tree Flowers, Fruity, Graham, Honey, Lime, Nectar, Pastries, Sweet