Featured & New Tasting Notes
Went on a bit of a tea/teaware shopping spree last night. Ohhhhh Mandala – I love Mandala Tea, and was spending the evening trying to put together an order – it’s tough when there are so many awesome choices.
Anyway I was drinking the amazing Noble Mark while I was shopping. I love this tea. I don’t drink it often enough and I don’t write enough tasting notes about it. I was using my little yixing shou pot and stopped counting at 9 steeps – but I’m quite sure I got to at least 15. It just keeps getting smoother and more mellow as you go. It starts really nice and doesn’t go through any icky stages. Maybe not as “complex” as some like – but you know what your going to get with this one. It’s always good – it can handle some “oops I let that steep too long”. One of my all time favorite teas.
thank you Kittenna! This is one of those tasting notes that makes me sad because I was never able to pick this up myself. And it’s good. i very much appreciate the share from Kittenna today and will be resteeping this until the flavour is dead. This is juicy and delicious and everything in between here and there and everywhere. I am a fan! I don’t get a lot of chocolate notes from this one but that’s ok by me. I can mostly smell them versus tasting them. Seriously. delicious! So sad i missed out on this one.. sniffles
Thank you Angel for this sample.
My hubby has next week off work which he usually does for my birthday (which is also next week). Hopefully that means we will fit in a lot of tea sessions during this time to help me clear some of my stash.
The raw cake contains whole leaves that are a blend of: dark brown, silver, gold and red/brown. Very high gloss/shine is present and lots of furry silver tips.
It has a sweet yet smoky, wood and earth scent.
Water: 100 C
Pot: Yixing 200ml
Rinse 1 – 10 seconds
Rinse 2 – 10 seconds
Steep 1 – 10 seconds
Colour is light yellow and has a gentle, smoky and damp earth scent.
Flavour is subtle with sweet and creamy earth notes with a hint of smoke. The sweet honeysuckle notes linger into the after taste.
Steep 2 – 10 seconds
Colour and flavour are thicker. The smoke has increased though for the most part it is still sweet and creamy. Slightly dry in the after taste now though the honeysuckle still dominates. Also getting some fresh wood tones and an increase in the cream as it cools.
Steep 3 – 15 seconds
Thicker and smokier with some astringency. Also the dryness increases to the point of being perfumed. Very rich and mineral like, sweet grass perhaps or sweetpea.
Steep 4 – 10 seconds
Creamy, sweet, honeysuckle, thick, smoke. All balanced much better in this steep than the previous two. It’s still astringent but toned down. My favourite steep so far.
Steep 5 – 5 seconds
Soft, floral, sweet and slightly smoky. Another well balanced steep. Not as thick and losing strength though the dryness and astringency have also lessened.
I will continue to steep though out the day but will stop my writing for now.
Overall: The Puerh started soft and sweet which increased in strength rather quickly, with it’s later steeps calming down to bring a more balanced tea. The main flavours were honeysuckle, cream, smoke, sweetpea and wood. It’s a very nice raw/sheng that tastes better over time, put simply.
The leaves appeared to be very nice quality both before and after the steeps, as such I will consider buying a cake of this in the future should I get the opportunity.
Flavors: Cream, Drying, Earth, Honeysuckle, Perfume, Smoke, Sweet, Wood
My daughters have landed in Toronto and will be attending the Tea Festival on Saturday. Youngest and I were drinking this before they left and I am still drinking it tonight, and it seems so strange to me that they are so quickly so far away!
This is the last of my sample, and it has been a real trial knowing that my tea is in town but didn’t get here in time for today’s mail truck, so I will be out of this tea for twelve hours. TWELVE HOURS. First world problems, lol!
This has an amazingly sweet edge that woos everyone who tries it. I teach voice to four quadruplet siblings, two at a time. They just started this week. Two of them tried this tea today and they have never had any “exotic” teas before. They liked it, and are eager to try more teas.
I will be glad to see the postman tomorrow!
This sample came from miss cookies. Between looking at the description and the tea itself, I was a bit confused as to whether this is technically a white tea or a sheng. So I ended up just steeping it like I would a regular silver needle. The leaves are similar to other silver needles – they’re long and covered with silver hairs. However, I can definitely tell that they’re been compressed into a cake. They look somewhat flatter than usual and they have an interesting crimpy texture. Dry scent is subtly sweet with hints of stonefruit.
The steeped tea does smell like a combination of white and sheng teas – it has the soft hay notes but there’s also a touch of menthol. Yum, I was afraid this would come out bitter, but it’s not even close. It’s actually very sweet and there’s the most lovely and super creamy grain flavor that reminds me of oatmeal with cream. There’s a bit of apricot that especially comes out near the end, and I also get a tiny hint of sheng-y menthol and a slight cooling sensation on my tongue. I really like this one, and I imagine it would only get more delicious as it ages.
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Hay, Menthol, Oats, Smooth, Sweet
wow, I haven’t had this tea in a while. I couldn’t get it out of the bamboo tube and ended up pounding it on the counter, which was actually quite therapeutic.
I have decided I hate my local post office. I made an inquiry with the USPS 1-800 number about my lost package from Yunnan Sourcing. The post office claimed they called me and they closed the case but I never got a call! Even worse they don’t answer the phone. I can see I will need to find some kind of a mail service if I want to have any tea packages delivered in the future. It’s just so stressful and annoying to have to deal with this.
Anyway about the tea… my first notes on this were that I thought it was mellow and earthy but today it seems more assertive, smoky and bitter than I remember. It should be mellowing out more over time, I would think? Of course it could be I have just used more tea in my pot than the last time I tried it. I did break off a pretty big hunk and am keeping my steeps very short.
I must say this is a very energizing sheng, it’s uplifting and perking me right up!
I’m pretty sure I have a straight Earl Grey in mu cupboard, but I couldn’t find it, so I grabbed this to make a latte, and it’s delicious.
2tsp steeped in 8oz of water for 4 minutes, added to maybe 4oz of hot milk, 1.5 tsp of sugar and 1tsp of matcha powder. The flavours of this come through really nicely and are complimented well by the matcha. Nice and decadent.
Flavors: Bergamot, Vanilla
Marzipan sent me this tea. it was a total surprise along with our joint Tao Tea Leaf order.
I love smoky teas. And i love this tea. smells pretty strong but doesnt taste too smoky/ashy to me. in fact, its quite sweet. i didnt need any maple syrup which i usually add to LS.
I really enjoy this tea during our Juno Blizzard all morning. thank you so much Marzi for sending this tea to me. im sure this 50g wont last a long time ;)
I drank this tea this morning, but even while I was drinking it, I was having a hard time describing it. It’s definitely a Darjeeling, spicy, fruity, tangy? But also unique. Quite light in colour and body. Between sips I kept forgetting what it tasted like, aside from “good”.
I really enjoyed this. The only downside is I was getting a touch of bitterness in the back of my mouth, sometimes noticeable and sometimes barely there. It wasn’t like tea bitterness, but reminded me of when I’ve taken mediation that messes up my tastebuds (except I haven’t recently.)
I’ll have to give this another spin and see if I can describe it better.
Still bitter about DT not letting me have my Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait latte (I am not an uneducated tea drinker; when I say I’m willing to risk it I’m not being ignorant, just stubborn) so I made a cup of this with lots of milk. This has hibiscus in it.
And you know what? It was fine. Rich, silky cup of caramel, raspberry, and cream cheese icing. I still don’t know how they capture the cream cheese flavour so well; but for me it’s essential in a good Red Velvet tea or cake. But yeah; even though hibiscus can curdle milk that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to; it’s all about how much of it is in the blend…
Sooo tried this one yesterday, but had to stop drinking it half way through becuase my body decided that I wasn’t already miserable enough pain wise, so I randomly got nauseous. >>
Don’t know how much I qualify for writing a tasting note, but I don’t want to hurry and drink it again because I need to qualify for writing a tasting note. xD I’d rather just save it for a special occasion.
Anyway, the point is, I have to save this tea for special occasions because like the other tea that I ordered, it’s pretty stinkin’ good, and I need to savor it.
The dry leaf aroma is definitely stronger than the steeping aroma. I opened my Butiki box and I was hit by the banana smell. xD It was crazy-haha!
When I was drinking it I mainly tasted bananas and some notes of walnut here and there. Not much butterscotch. But that’s probably because I could only drink half of the mug :( Sad times…. :( Health issues really suck sometimes.
But that half of a mug was still really delicious. And I am sure I will thoroughly enjoy it when I drink it more. This one also makes me wish that Stacey wasn’t leaving. xD
And this definitely helped her go out with a bang too!
This tea is such a win!
Thank you so much for making this-this one is really going to make everyone miss you even more, Stacey! D:
Flavors: banana, Fruity, Sweet, Walnut
Getting this one out as it interested me when I re-read about it.
I think the easy Gaiwan will be the trick for this one. I forgot how tight these XiaGuans can be. I chipped off 10 grams to use, hard to get whole leaf from these. I actually rinsed this last night and I am getting to the brewing today. I noticed when I chipped this off the leaf had a little Huangpin (yellow) leaf if I got that right. The other leaves looked really rolled from what I could tell from the bits I had.
It brews with that XG smoke, almost forgot that aspect. It is smoky with a good hit of the bitter to go with it. The smoke really is the most dominant flavor on this one.
It has a bit thicker mouthfeel than the other XG’s I remember. I gives a bit of broth and smoked meat and bitter but not any sweet or any other notes that stand out. Almost like a beef jerky in a cup. I don’t really turn from smoky teas but you will have to like smoke to enjoy this one. I looked in the filter and sure enough some of those dark burnt bits from the wok cooking on this one.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Meat, Smoke
Part of the “Noir” gift set by Tea Forte – I think these were just repackaged things from their normal tea line. Nevertheless, if you’re going to try a bunch of new teas I think samples are the way to go. Teas are from the Jamguri tea garden in Northern India.
The dry leaf smells really bad here, medicinal and cough syrup-y. So I wasn’t really looking forward to trying the cup. I am finding this isn’t too bad, though the cherry flavor is pretty light. It’s only slightly cough syrup-y. Also this tea has licorice in it, so take note of that, licorice haters. :) I think this would be a nice one to try as an iced tea. And I do like the black tea base here. So overall it’s not bad.
I wonder if these were reformulated recently, but I am not going to create a new entry.
I hate it when reviews disappear. I pulled this one out to be my puerh for today after reading misslena’s tasting note on special dark. :) I haven’t had this one in a long while so i figured it was time to work on my sample of this, especially if i place a mandala order for special dark! I’ll be drinking this most of today and that suits me just fine. My little turtle needs more tea love and this is a great tea. I’d say it’s a toss up on any given day whether i’ll love this or special dark most :)
Today’s tea of choice. I’ve been feeling pretty crappy for a while now, with headaches and nausea, and so today I wanted something straightforward and understandable to round off the week. This fit the bill perfectly. Assam is, and probably always will be, my favourite variety of black tea. Assam is what got me started drinking tea, and it’s what keeps me going when I’m at my lowest. I somehow reassuring and familiar, and I love it.
I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is reddish-brown. I’ve drank this one a couple of times before and noted its tendency to astringency, so I added a splash of milk to smooth things out.
I feel like there isn’t a great deal I can say about this one. It’s deliciously malty, very bold, and makes a great morning or pick-me-up tea. It’s fairly smooth, but with a slight rugged roughness at the end of the sip that sets it apart. It reminds me a little of A&D Tiger Assam in that respect. To my mind, this makes a great everyday tea, albeit a premium choice. There are other Assams I prefer more for their flavour – Taiwanese or Golden Lion varieties tend to tick those boxes for me. This one is just malty awesomeness, which is perhaps a little one-note, but sometimes that’s all I’m really looking for.
This one’s a feel good tea, and as such will be sadly missed.
Thank you Angel for this sample.
In raw form the leaves are dark brown/red, curly and smell of malt, wood and treacle.
Flavour reveals fruity raisin and date with sweet wood, brown sugar and malt tones. Rather light in strength with no astringency though slightly sour at times. Clean tasting and fresh throughout. Some dryness in the after taste.
Overall: A delicious Dian Hong with clean tasting and pure characteristics. Soft and sweet which balances nicely with the dark and rather rich malt and wood flavours. Personally, I prefer it creamier but this made a very nice drink this morning and it went down a treat. I would consider buying some of this to alternate with my golden tips.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Dates, Malt, Raisins, Wood
Brought some of this tea with me to the office today and it was AWESOME! I got notes of cocoa, bread, malt, and that fresh taste from the Darjeeling! I think Stephanie is right that, even though I have 4.4 ounces, it probably won’t last long! I’ve also decided I love it at 2 minutes steep. I tried their recommended 4 minutes and I think the malt takes over and you lose some of the complexity. 2 minutes is perfect. :)
Pic of the leaf: https://www.flickr.com/photos/97273956@N03/15728744884/
For the last couple of days I’ve been starting my morning with Tibetan Butter tea, only using coconut oil instead of butter. I like it! Actually, I have a few ideas for other substitutions that I want to try: Coconut butter is one obvious one, along with cashew butter, which I think would be decadent. It also occurred to me earlier today that duck fat makes an excellent butter substitute, & I think I have some in my freezer, so maybe I’ll try that one next week.
It makes for a satisfying & substantial cup in the morning, with a foamy head reminiscent of hot chocolate, & I’m thinking I’d like to steep some tisane cacao with the tea, & I bet THAT would be amazing. More to come!
Dry leaf smells like raisins and maple candy
Wet leaf smells a bit smoky, which I did not expect. There’s also an interesting apricoty scent if I stuff my nose in the gaiwan for a big huff.
I’ve been interested in this one for awhile, and it didn’t disappoint. It feels very soft when sipped. Kind of hard to describe. It’s definitely better on short steeps, IMO.
Next time, I will try it with some maple syrup in there because it seems like it would fit.
If you want to make your house smell amazing, as well as drink great tea, just leave the bag of dried leaves and shrooms open. My whole nook smells like candy. CANDY NOOK!
I brought a lot of white tea with me for my trip; white teas and black teas are my favourite tea types, but I drink a lot more black tea because of the convenience of brewing it and my white teas usually end up cold brewed or neglected. So they’re gonna get some love this trip; I want to take the time to drink a lot of them, and really enjoy the cups!
This was the other one I made last night; it was so amazing! It had the usual soft, sweet lemon notes but the vanilla “cake”-y aspect of the tea was really strong; I totally tasted vanilla sponge cake and marzipan, and it was easy to get lost in the cup. So delicate and creamy! I’m very happy I stocked up on this one.
My mom tried it though and proclaimed it tasted pretty much just like water; what a shame! Her palate’s just very, very unrefined – it’s sad though. I wish she could taste how amazing this tea is. She’s really missing out on something special.
I’m about to go make more tea now; it’s just me in the house currently so I’m blasting my music while she picks up my brother, and working on tasting notes. Not sure how long until they’re back. Mom has a soda stream, so we’re gonna try making some tea pop later today; and I brought a SBT (my first one!) that we’re gonna brew up since my brother only likes iced tea.
It’s just gonna be a casual, relaxed day.
revisiting. This is a perfect Assam. very smooth. no additions needed. i would call it elegant. it was comforting. no astringency, no bitterness. perfect !
I’ve never really done cold brewing before, but suddenly I have the urge to try cold brewing everything. I blame Roswell Strange and aisling of tea and all their notes about delicious cold brews.
So I have SO MUCH of this tea. I picked up the 250g web specials bag, and I love it, but I’m also never going to get through it all. This also just seemed like the perfect tea for a cold brew. And it is! It’s sweet, with melon, cucumber and mint notes, and is ridiculously refreshing cold brewed. All of the flavours come out wonderfully.
I think I’m going to be drinking this one a lot, come summer.
Flavors: Cucumber, Melon, Mint, Sweet
This one was a sort of surprise find in December when I was in Regina, and stopped at Cuppa’T to pick some stuff up. I hadn’t expected to see this available for purchase since it’s one of Cuppa’T’s summer blends and last year when I was hunting for it back in January and March I was told it’d be unavailable until the summer – and then I wasn’t back in the summer to look for it!
I’ve had this one once previously, but I adored it. Seeing it again and fearing I wouldn’t see it again anytime soon after I purchased 100g of it hoping that my tastes hadn’t drastically changed in the year since having it, and that I’d still love it.
- As amazing as I remember it being!
- Strong notes of dragonfruit, sweet cranberry, and passion fruit(?)
- Not sure about the passion fruit since it’s not in the blend; that’s what I got though
- Lesser notes of kiwi/pineapple/blueberry
- It’s just so juicy and flavourful with an ALMOST “punch” like quality
- Uber refreshing! Not too juice like or sickly/sticky sweet
The fact this tasted as perfect as I’ve built it up to be in my head was such a big relief!
EDIT: I should note, that because of this tea I’ve started eating actual dragonfruit!
Even though, for a fruit, it’s pretty expensive I’ve been aiming to eat at least one (but usually more) a week! It’s delightful in fruit salad or cut into fine cubes with just a small splash of white rum mixed with it. The fruit itself isn’t super flavourful and there’s a high water content, but what you can taste is phenomenal.
It doesn’t dethrone Pineapple as my favourite fruit – but it’s up there! Top 3 favourite fruits for sure!