New Tasting Notes
From the aged oolong group buy.
I am starting to love aged oolong. I usually steep oolongs with 3 grams in 6 oz with 1-minute steeps, but started out with a 20 second steep after Liquid Proust’s warning about the strength of the tea. I didn’t find it at all strong and after this first steep went back to my usual 1 minute steeps. I think it’s just that LP is a green tea drinker and I prefer blacks, though we both love puerh and oolongs.
The first steep started toasty, ended grassy, with a very long finish. 2nd (60 s): Back to my normal steep routine. Not at all overpowering. Nutty aroma, medium roast flavor with hints of nut and tropical fruit. Good finish. As the tea cooled it became much less interesting. Just a plain medium roast. 3rd (60s): This time the roast is a bit too powerful, smothering the fruit. Later steeps smoothed out, showing rich, complex flavors without the roasted component (other than a bit in the nose).
Usually oolongs peak for me in the second or third steep, but this tea just kept getting better. The early steeps had sharply defined flavors that sometimes seemed at odds with each other. The later steeps were much more integrated, with the rough edges all smoothed off. I drank this over a period of two days, with other teas in between, so lost track of the number of steeps. I think i’m on about the 6th or 7th steep and the tea shows no sign of fading, even though I’m still only doing 60 second steeps. It is just a pleasure to drink.
If your tummy is saying bad things to the world, this is really good for getting this back to normal (and some peace and quiet) I was sent a free sample of this awhile ago. Really enjoyed it so i picked up a box. Very warming, calming and vanilla-y.
Flavors: Sweet, Tea, Vanilla
So shocked to see that I really enjoy this tea. In general green tea to me tastes like dirty feet, why, no idea. This is so light refreshing and fruity. Perfect for warmer weather or when you just wish it was hot out. I think this would make fantastic iced tea.
Flavors: Berry, Strawberry, Sweet, Tea
Wanted to try this for the longest time but could never find this in store. Finally went to a local bookstore and tada, they happened to have it on their tea menu. Within drinking that first cup, I knew that this was going to become a v v v quick problem. I may have ordered one or six boxes. Its everything I want in a cup of tea in the cooler months. Add a blanket and a book and it’s pure bliss.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Sweet, Vanilla
I must admit this tea is really good. I kept seeing people talk about it and finally placed an order then made a cup. Very light almost floral in a way. A touch of lemon (which I am not a fan of any lemon coming near tea) and a bit of butter. Sounds so weird but on those nights where you want a sugar cookie but don’t want to make any or go to the store to have one, this is a great option.
Flavors: Butter, Lemon, Sugar, Sweet, Vanilla
I really loved this tea. I normally don’t go for flavored Green teas, but I’m glad I gave this one a try. I really felt like I was actually eating an almond cookie. Even the second steep was delicious, with the almond taking a back seat to the Green tea.
See my full review here:
Flavors: Almond, Cookie, Grass
I couldn’t find too much information on this tea, so please forgive my blank tea page. I opened up my jar and gave this a whiff. This tea has a very typical aged scent. This brick consists of some heavily compressed dark leaves with some massive stems. Also, i’m noting some prominent gold strands within the cake. The leaves give off that aged and decayed wood scent; it’s a very dark and heavy scent. I placed these inside my warmed jianshui and gave it a shake. The scent opened into a fermented fruit and an antiquated aroma. This tea just speaks old,which is unusual, for it isn’t that old. I washed the leaves twice and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves livened up to a eucalyptus, leather, spice, and a brief tobacco scent. The taste was somewhat pungent. The flavor begins with a dry sour leather tone. This bright orange liquor gives tongue numbing and some tannin tastes. The drying sensation and leather tones keep the tongue alert and the senses stimulated. The sweetness comes about by the fourth steeping and appear as burnt sugar and are only brief. There is no prescient huigan until much later in steeping. This brew is very sharp and strong. However, the drink soon curbs and becomes more easier to sip in later steeping. The sharp and pungent tones become softer and juicer. The brew begins yielding a thirst quenching experience by the sixth. The huigan begins to build up by the seventh steeping and slowly drips off with warm caramel and burnt sugar. Moreover, the tannin tone is still prescient throughout the entire session and quickly erases any sweet tones by wiping the palette clean. The qi begins rather quickly and starts as a wavy head feeling. This qi mostly stays within the head and slowly circulates throughout the body. The qi vanished by the end of the session and did not reappear. This offering is a nice experience, but is a little too burly for my tastes. I enjoyed my session, but this is not my personal preference. I still have some more of this, so I will see what some extra storage will do. I need a tea with more body, huigan, and a much more prominent qi.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Decayed wood, Drying, Leather, Pleasantly Sour
I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about teapigs lately so I was super excited to find this while wandering the Holiday Fair at Grand Central earlier this week. I’ve had it a few times since and it hasn’t been exactly what I’ve hoped for yet, but it is growing on me a little.
I love the rooibos base, I think that does wonders for the tea and helps give it a more Christmasy feel. But it’s very straight forward – I can taste cinnamon and cloves but that’s it.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves
This was really nice — a very balanced darjeeling that’s sweet, and has a wonderful aroma. Opens up as it cools down.
Much nicer on first steep, I misjudged the timing a bit, so my second steep was a bit less flavorful.
I think I’m going to try a lower water temperature next time.
Remember how I recently reviewed Hyson Tea’s Celestial Dimbula? I mentioned in that review that they also sent me a small mountain of teabags, well after much hemming and hawing I am finally getting around to reviewing several of them, specifically their green teas. Before I get into the review I am going to lay it out on the line, I am the wrong person to be writing about these teas, because I really don’t like teabags. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not the person who is going to say teabags are horrible things that have no place in the tea world…if you enjoy drinking them then wonderful! Tea is meant to be enjoyed, and back in the day I used to be fond of the convenience these pre-measured sacks of dust brought me. Now adays though, they are not for me for several reasons: usually they are made with dust and fanning which I do not like the taste of, they quite often have artificial flavoring which I think tastes really fake (this is not a hard rule, but it is a frequent one), they are overpriced for the quality of tea, they taste like paper, they lack ceremony. But, lack of ceremony aside, these other things can be bypassed with a high quality sack of tea, so why not dive in and see if these meet my very high standards.
The first one I decided to look at was the Soursop Green, Soursop is one of my favorite fruits ever, whenever the local grocery store decides to stock them I pretty much buy them all and gorge on them. The aroma of the bag is a blend of pineapple candy, strawberry candy, dusty paper, and a touch of perfume, it is very artificial smelling. The taste of this tea is vaguely of Soursop, though it is strongly artificial. For some reason I found that the blend of strawberry and pineapple candy and the papery note from the bag makes the tea taste like soap, which in turn made my mouth burn rather horribly and caused my asthma to flair up something fierce. It is safe to say I did not finish this cup.
Next I tried the Strawberry Green, strawberry is one of the few artificial flavors I don’t mind, since strawberry candies are some of my favorite. The aroma of the bag is nothing but strawberry candies, no paper or tea, just strong strawberry, reminds me a bit of gummies. The taste is pretty intensely sweet, strong strong strawberry candy, like I am drinking liquid candy. It tastes vaguely soapy and again makes my mouth burn, to prove it is not something wrong with my teaware I washed it and drank water out of the same cup, and nope it tastes just like water.
I waited several days before trying the next one, Lemon Green, just in case the problem was me coming down with a cold or something, you can never be sure with this kind of thing. I really like lemon and green tea, so I had high hopes with this one. The aroma of the bag is just lemon and a bit of dust, it is a bit on the mild side. The taste is like lemon soap and paper, mildly sweet and a touch green. So far this one has been the most tolerable.
Onward to the one I looking forward to the least, Jasmine Green, see most (if not all) Jasmine teabags use jasmine oil instead of scenting it the ‘proper’ way, and I loathe jasmine teas that are flavored and not scented. It smells and tastes exactly like soap rather than flowers. This tea was not an exception like I had hoped, it smells just like the wonderful Bee & Flower brand Jasmine soap, love it as a soap but not as a digestible thing. The taste is a blend of apples (not expecting that) and soap, it is so strong and so overpowering that I could not get past a few sips.
Lastly in this little set was the standard Green Tea and alas, I was hoping for a crisp and clean green tea aroma, but really all I smell are all the different flavors from the other teas. A problem with storing flavored teabags in little paper envelopes, the smell bleeds something fierce and contaminates each other. The taste, well, I can finally taste the base green tea, and it is not terrible, very generic vegetation and of course paper and dust, there is an underlying fruit cocktail from the other flavors leeching onto it. I know, looking at the reviews on the various tea’s links that I am in the minority and the reviews are universally positive, so like I said earlier, I was not the right audience for this. I hate being this negative, but what can I do? I have a LOT more teabags to look at, so expect another group review in the future…with any luck I will actually like some of them!
Going back to this one because it’s still hanging around my cupboards, and I wanted frame of reference. Harkening back to my first puerh, and my first gong fu experience. How tea has taken over my life since then!
The overall taste is very earthy and subtle. I’m likening the taste to sweet hikes on coastal trails. A bit dusty, and earthy, but warming and familiar. At least that’s how the end of the process it is. This tuo cha also is ALMOST on the edge of giving up (I hope). It’s been going all weekend. I think I started it in my SeiSei tumbler on Thanksgiving. I can’t even remember what the first few steeps taste like. (note: 9 oz steeps) Total like 14 steeps.
Maybe just because I’ve had some oddly sweet puerhs lately, so this is definately on the earthy side. For example the puerh frisbee that LP put in the Here’s Hoping TTB is nice and sweet. I would take some, but there is SO MUCH TEA in my room. o__o"". With more Black Friday/ Cyber Monday tea incoming. I should just stop buying things until next November… last year I held out until February. Let’s see how that goes…
I steeped this tea the recommended 1 tsp to 1 cup, for 5-6 minutes (I tested it at the suggested 2-3, and it wasn’t strong enough for me), and did not add milk or sugar (although it would taste good with either, or both).
This tea reminds me of the cinnamon heart tea that David’s carried, which I am SO happy about; I’ve been looking for something similar since it was discontinued! This is less earthy (there is no pu’erh in this), but the spice flavouring is similar. However, it has been at least 3 years since I’ve had cinnamon heart, and I may be slightly deluded. I’m not saying this tea tastes like cinnamon, in fact, I can’t pin point exactly what the flavours I taste are… warm, spicy (but nowhere near overwhelming), with a slight aftertaste of nettle; the perfect fall/winter tea (although lets be honest, I will be drinking this year round from now on)!
Flavors: Peppercorn, Spicy
This is an interesting tea, for this is the only ounce of this tea. I picked this up without any knowledge of it, and I decided to be a little adventurous. I messaged the owner for help with brewing and gave it a shot. The dry leaves are a black assortment of leaves, and they give off the perfect scent. This tea is meant for winter. The intense aroma of campfire,barbecue, clove, char, and some slight fruit waft from these leaves. I placed a bunch in my teapot and brewed away. The steeped leaves become much more smoky and carry a slightly sweet aroma. The taste is warming and cozy. The flavor begins with a nice smoke and takes a hold of the taste buds. The brew then moves into some caramel and a burnt sugar sweetness. This brew ends with a spicy lingering the background. You can notice a minor chocolate tone that lifts from the leaves after brewing. The second steep leads to a smoked oak wood flavor. The brew kinda falls off after two steeps. I would use this as an on the go camping tea. The leaves are incredibly durable, for you can leave these in the pot for a long time without any bitterness. I’m excited to take this on my hikes to warm me up on cold nights. This tea is my new go to during the frosty mornings. Also, this tea just looks like Christmas; rather, a more wild woodsman Christmas. I’m glad I discovered this hidden gem, and I’m unsure why so little has been created. Personally, I see this as another win among many from this company. However, this is not their best offering; although, it still qualifies as a quick one steep treat.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Campfire, Caramel, Char, Clove, Dark Wood, Oak wood, Roasted, Smoke, Spices
Had a tea filled weekend but nothing new so I’m just going to log them here. :)
Harney & Sons – Golden Monkey, Nahorhabi Assam Full Leaf
Yunnan Sourcing – Yunnan Black Gold Spring 2014, Pure Bud Bi Luo Chun Yunnan Spring 2015
Mandala – Pure Buds
Teavivre – Superfine Tan Yang Gong Fu (sipdown after making a pot to share on Saturday)
Golden Tips – Assam Gold
Chai Me – Chocolatey Chai
Verdant – Golden Fleece
They were all excellently nommy.
And on a side note, this is how I know I have a problem. http://tinyurl.com/hqz239q
This box is stuffed full of Yunnan Sourcing & Mandala Teas, all with very similar flavor profiles. And one Yunnan from Silk Road Teas. :) For size comparison, that silver thing in the lower left is my scale and the cup in the upper left is about 10 ounces. I feel proud of myself that I did not place an order with any of those 3 companies this weekend. :)
I swear I’ve had this before. And that I was able to find it in the database. But apparently not.
Tea from MissB.
Floral citrus spice tea. I guess that makes sense, due to the “Christmas” theme.
It’s… alright. I’m not sure this is really what I wanted right now. It’s somewhat clovey with orange peels and lots of rose petals. So it’s quite floral. I think I would have been happy with Chandernagor, but that was underneath this, so I pulled this out.
Thanks for sharing, MissB!
Edit: Found it in the database. D’oh.