Featured & New Tasting Notes
So I finally got around to picking up the summer teas from DT; definitely later than I had wanted to, but I’ve now tried all five – reviews to follow (hopefully today) for them. I definitely wasn’t impressed by at least one of them, but most I felt were pretty solid.
This one I tried as an in store sample, iced. The other one they were sampling the day I went was Mint To Be; definitely did not have an interest in that one. And actually, I didn’t have much of an interest in this either if I’m being honest. I know it was around last year; but there were a few seasonal peach teas last year and I didn’t bite on any but one. Regardless, I didn’t write about it – but I can’t remember if the one I tried was the Spring peach tea or the summer one. I had a few sips of the hot version on a date; and I don’t remember being overly impressed.
Since the sample was so small of this, I don’t think I got to make as many observations as I normally would. It’s supposed to be peach and blackberry, which is definitely a cool pairing but I only tasted the peach. I also thought it was really weak/watery but I know it’s also likely that’s because it was the watered down/stretched out in store version. Regardless, I picked up some of it along with all the other blends and I tried it out on my own terms at home – but based on this tasting alone it’s not an impressive blend.
Today’s word of the day is… Melodramatic.
Melodramatic means: “exaggerated and emotional or sentimental; sensational; overdramatic”. A good real life example? Tre was being totally melodramatic when I got home today about the amount of dishes in the kitchen sink (it’s his turn to clean them – and they’re only so bad because he left it so long). Domestic squabbles. We’re like an old married couple with the old and without the married couple part.
Randomly grabbed this last night, and boy is it ever amazing. I know I’ve had it before, but it was nowhere near this good! Dunno what I did differently, other than oversteep it way way WAY too much (15 minutes). Loved it, helped me power through writing a murder mystery – right up until the last second when I had to leave to play it with 32 others. Success!
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Creamy, Nutmeg, Sweet
This one is actually pretty tasty, with lots of passion fruit flavour and subtle dessert vibes. The second steep had less passion fruit and more generic cake flavour, but it’s still good.
I cold steeped it in the fridge for +8hrs, instead of using the boiling water and ice cube method- for some reason the taste of ice cube water in tea bugs me. Second cold steep went through a similar process.
I’m pleasantly surprised with how much tea I got out of the tea bag, but I wish I didn’t have to pay $4 for one session with a re-steep (14g of fannings). Iced tea goes so quickly!
Flavors: Cake, Passion Fruits
Ok seriously….something was working for the plantations that TTC gets their teas from this year. This is another tea that i hadn’t previously tried in another lot and it too is a delicious sweet, fruity tea. Similar to butikit’s PTA, but different. I like this probably the least of the three lots that i picked up (sun moon lake and the yuchi wilkd being the other two), but this is still a great tasty tea. cherry notes are here, as well as that sort of generic stone fruit kinda of taste. there’s a little hint of vnailla like flavours as well..but it lacks the bready sort of feel of the other two. delicious!
Grabbed this while in Montreal six months ago and promptly mailed it back to myself to enjoy at home – which is now. ;)
Interesting tea, quite a bit more subtle than I was expecting. As the instruction say on their website, this is meant to be enjoyed Moroccan style, which means heavily sweetened. While I can see this reasoning, it’s just not how I like my tea. And so…
Very grassy green tea, with only the breath of mint in there (you know what I mean – where you inhale and can feel the coolness of the mint, but not taste it). There’s something making this creamy as well as very smooth – I think the creaminess is the actual green tea, whereas the smoothness is from the absinthe. Which, just now, I only realized was an herb.
Doubt I’d drink this again, yet can see how a green tea lover might really appreciate it.
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Mint, Smooth
I need more of this tea-STAT. I went thru this one really fast. This tastes just like raspberry jam when brewed hot and when I threw the leaves in a pitcher to cold brew, this tasted just like a cake with raspberry filling. So good. Highly recommend this one.
Flavors: Cake, Raspberry
This is from the recent Red Leaf Tea side by side blind taste test. If you were included but haven’t completed your survey yet stop reading now.
I grabbed this culinary grade one today for my morning breakfast glass. I looked at the number on the sample and had it in my head I didn’t like this one hot. Went to my notes and learned I rated it kind of low but not the worst.
It actually smells kind of appealing today. I used a heaping tsp – closer to 2 tsp – of powder, 2 packets of Splenda, and 12oz of 2% milk. I start with 2oz and spoon stir until mixed and foamy. This part was pretty easy. Then I stir in the rest of the milk.
The taste was just kind of meh. It wasn’t bad, just meh. I was left wanting more when the glass was empty. Not more to drink, just more. I thought it was a bit gritty as well. Since I don’t have a proper whisk or frother, it is most likely my fault, however most of the others have mixed fine this way.
Bottom line, you could do worse, but you can do a lot better than meh.
I got the lost of my moonlight teas in the mail today, so I’m starting the quest to find my favorite. Or at least favorite of the ones that I have. I’m starting with two cakes that I got from different Aliexpress dealers.
I’m calling this Grandness for simplicity sake…..
The grandness leaves look larger and have a more distinct black/white quality to them. Both though do look like what I would expect from a moonlight cake. The Teatime cake isn’t as compressed and breaks apart easier.
I’m going to try to keep the parameters as similar as possible. For theses ones, I’m using 7g in my glass teapots – 80C water – rinse – 30 second first infusion.
Interesting – both leaves don’t seem whole once they are steeped – broken mush is how I want to describe them. They looked so good in the cake but not once steeped. I don’t think I mutilated them that bad when I was breaking the cakes.
The teatime is significantly darker than the grandness.
Grandness is a little sharper, almost bitter – but does have the sweetness that I associate with moonlight. I’m not getting any earthy/musty pu’erh at all.
Teatime is smoother, gentler, sweeter and I’m not getting any pu’erh at all from it either.
At this point I’m calling both of these WHITE rather than PU’ERH….
2nd Steep – I upped the water temp to 85C and kept the time at 30 sec.
Same result the teatime one is still darker than the grandness.
Upping the water temp might have been a mistake, I don’t think it improved either of them. Both have some bitterness now and the sweetness isn’t as obvious. Putting it back down for next steep.
80C is for sure a better water temp
These are both mellower at that temp.
I’m not getting much of a difference between them. Teatime might be just a hint deeper more flavor but not enough to notice unless drinking them side by side like this.
80C 1 minute
Both are getting more grassy, less sweet – disappointed should be getting more honey notes.
I’m quitting on both of these. I’m sure you could get a couple more decent steeps out of them, but they just aren’t changing enough, aren’t interesting enough to continue. Both are ok but neither is special. I’m forcing myself to choose a “winner” and that would be teatime, but it’s not going to win this contest. Interesting experiment, but I have more to try so I’m moving on.
I thought I’d written a review on this one, but apparently not, although I’m sure I’ve written something of the 2013 version. I’ve enjoyed it several different ways over the time it has been in my cupboard. The aroma is sweet honey to me, but the cup can be a tad bitter.
Some of my parameters:
1 T to standard cup (10 – 12 oz) for 3 minutes – that works for a lot of my favorite Yunnans, but for this one, it’s a little strong. Resteep at 5 minutes.
2 tsp to standard cup for 3 & 5 min works much better.
5G + 4oz X 15/30/45/60sec/2/3/4/5/min is the better way to go IMO
Given the choice, I think I prefer YS Black Gold Bi Luo, however, my taste buds are off due to allergies, so that could be temporary :)
sipdown – 314
Thank you Marzipan for this one. You were right. I loved this one! Sweet honeydew with a bit of honey on the side. I wasn’t such a fan of this hot but I LOVED this one iced. So good.
Flavors: Honey, Honeydew, Melon
Thank you for the sample WymmTea
I had a lot of trouble with this one. The first few steeps were dominated by a sour note that just didn’t agree with me. I noticed others noted a sour cherry note so I guess that must be it? I finally found a later steep when it had sweetened up I could actually enjoy, but all in all I would say that this is not a sheng for me!
This is from the recent Red Leaf Tea side by side blind taste test. If you were included but haven’t completed your survey yet stop reading now.
Last weekend we rented a cabin on the lake in a nearby state park. It was our 34th anniversary. I grabbed one of my numbered matcha samples from the test that I really liked – Kiss Me Organics. First thing each morning I mixed a heavy tsp of it with 12oz of cold milk and a double shot of Splenda Sat on the porch swing and watched as the misty rain washed across the lake. Beautiful and relaxing. The cold frap was more delicious than one from Starbucks because even with two packets of Splenda, it was not sickening sweet like SB. I thought it could not be any better. While the setting and circumstances had a lot to do with it, I really did like that culinary grade matcha.
This morning, back at home, I grabbed Starter Matcha from Red Leaf and mixed a new glass with the same amounts. The results were even more delicious, in my opinion, though the scenery in my den was not as exciting. Seriously, this makes a dark green tea with a nice grassy flavor and long smooth aftertaste. The best part is, this is one third the price of the previous matcha and even cheaper than the Tradition brand matcha I have been using on a daily basis by about a fourth (1.31/oz my old matcha compared to $0.94/oz Red Leaf).
I know my daily matcha in the past has been a slight bit of a compromise, although I wouldn’t drink it everyday if I did not like it. With this Starter Matcha, I am getting way more wonderful flavor and it will save me money. I actually rated this second highest in the blind test – before I knew what a great deal it is.
I put a pound of this and a pound of the Deluxe Matcha (my highest rated in the test) in the cart. Placed my gift certificate order. Went to Amazon to order some unrelated stuff, came back to my email to make sure the Amazon confirmation had been sent, and discovered the Red Leaf order had already been processed and shipped! Don’t know if they are always this on top of it but that was fast. That was a late afternoon. Two days later the package arrived. I now have enough matcha in cold storage to last a year. I’m a happy den camper.
today is a holiday in canada for a lot of folks…which means for us, cleaning the house, trying to get outside and using it as a day for the two of us to catch up on things we haven’t had time to work on. It also means being able to drink a few more teas. Today i needed something delicious to kick off my day so i opted for this one. I really need to see if anyone’s written about 2015 harvest since i’ll be running out of this one soon and need to decide on 2014 or the 2015. I think the rest of the day is going to be a little bit of more new teas and finishing up a couple for some sipdowns :)
Was super excited when my first month’s teas arrived on Saturday from Handmade Tea. I ripped open the pkg and was a little puzzled by the tea. Roasted Chocolate Pineapple Tea Mate. Yeah. . I wasn’t so sure. But the packaging was fantastic! A wax sealed envelope. So fun!
Brewed up the tea and was insanely impressed. This tasted just like a robust coffee with dark chocolate notes. I never picked up any of the pineapple but that may be just because I need to shake up the bag. Super impressed with this. So is the boyfriend. I am going to have to hide this one if I want to keep any of it for myself.
Sweet sipdown. This one was one of the true dessert teas I enjoyed over the past few years. The graham cracker note made it really stand out for me. I added a dash of milk and it came out like a strawberry pie. Probably good this was it though because I think the strawberry note was starting to get a teensy bit artificial as it aged.
This was the very last Butiki tea I had left, so this sipdown may be a little bittersweet when all is said and done. Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday!
More Streetshop88! On my last order, I asked my wife to choose a tea based on how she felt about looking at it. Sort of an ESP kind of thing. This is the one she chose. I ordered a cake knowing nothing about it. It turned out to be a pretty good tea. It is very light in flavor, but quite smooth. The cake is really nice, it has a pretty wrapper which uses very thick high quality paper. I like that. The leaf quality is very good, big leaves. The soup is medium brown, no fermentation flavor. There is not much complexity, but it feels nice and my wife likes it. If you’re looking for a light safe non earthy ripe pu erh to try, I think this is a good one. Anyone know what company this is from the picture?
Just a short tasting note here. I honestly didn’t know what this was and thought it was a black tea so I used boiling water with it. It still came out fine though, just reminds me of genmaicha. I don’t think I am picking up the black soybean flavor… it is nutty and rice-y though. Not a bad morning cuppa, I don’t think I need to get any more though.
Overall the tea is fairly smooth and easy to drink. Smoke detected in the aroma of the dry leaf but this barely appeared in the tea soup. Orange liquor with a woody base, hints of nutty notes and a light sweetness. Not much (if any) bitterness found and no astringency. Good mouthfeel with a nice tingling on the tongue. The flavor held up nicely through 6-7 steeps. My experience with this tea was rather pleasant and enjoyable for sipping through the day yesterday.
—-Some recent tea notes for samples obtained from finepuer mentioned dry, flavorless tea and I can say that for this one, I opened the three sample boxes I had and dumped the chunks into a small yixing crock to sit for two weeks before trying. When I opened the boxes and plastic bags, there was really no aroma but after storing in the yixing for two weeks, there was a sweet, floral aroma with a little smoke and the results of brewing the leaves were very pleasant.
I’ve had this one a few times now without writing a note. I picked this as my morning tea since i have a bit of time this morning before work gets a little crazy. I also desperately need to get through more of my puerh since my cupboard is back over 100. sigh I’m a fan of this one…if i had any sort of set up for storing puerh, i’d likely pick up a cake/box of this one. It’s very smooth and has creamy mushroom and brown sugar notes in it. I’ve only done a couple steepings but there’s no fermentation flavours here to throw things off and it’s just an overall good time. yum.