Featured & New Tasting Notes

I decided to cold-brew this rather than brew it hot and strong then dilute it down. The short, black, gnarly leaves here are interspersed with the occasional bit of green (strawberry leaves) and red (dried strawberry pieces). The dry leaf smelled of strawberries, chocolate and vanilla – in fact, it reminded me an awful lot of chocolate-covered strawberries!

I ended up with a nice, almost peach-coloured brew after everything was said and done.

The iced tea tasted exactly like it smelled – like chocolate-covered strawberries. It wasn’t bad, but I honestly think this was a waste served cold. I bet this tea would be much better hot, where the contents would probably taste like an amazing strawberry-laced hot chocolate.

Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/09/end-of-summer-iced-tea-extravaganza/

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82

Spur of the moment review! Hongcha is evocative of autumn for me. I decided to celebrate the equinox with this one! Merry Mabon to those who celebrate the Wheel of the Year! (sorry, S.G. Sanders, I backed down from shou because it’s sooooo warm today)

I gongfu’d 3g in my new 60ml gaiwan. The dry leaf’s presentation against a white background is just beautiful:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BKqqT4WBbHj/

I last wrote a review six months ago (the numerical rating is from the first review). What particularly sticks out this session is that I identify different flavors. Sweet potatoes and orange zest particularly stick out, and then the almonds and cashews when I really concentrate. Not so much malt and no brownies this time – could be the difference in harvest year.

So smoooooooth. The mouth becomes dry after I swallow, but quickly fills again with saliva. Very nutty aftertaste. Returning notes of almonds.

I can’t help but keep sticking my nose into the gaiwan and savoring the wet leaf aroma. It simply won’t let up! Cocoa and caramel, grains and raisins.

There’s no place like hongcha, there’s no place like hongcha, there’s no place like hongcha.

hawkband1

Oooh that sounds good!

KiwiDelight

I can send you some, if you’d like!

hawkband1

Sure! I’d like that. Should I message you?

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
209 tasting notes

A tea from the Puerh TTB labeled “2016 Xigui Caicheng.” I think Xigui is the factory, not 100% sure though. The leaf for this one was very green. Smelled of straw and grass when dry. After a rinse, I got a slight briney note on the nose as well. Bitterness is the main thing I noticed with this one for the first 5 or so steeps – a rather unpleasant and astringent bitterness. Also detected nutty and straw notes – more like I had oversteeped a green tea. That harsh astringency did start to fade around steep number 6, after which I got around 6 more steepings with a basic sweet hay characteristic and slightly thick texture. Wouldn’t consider this tea a winner, though part of that could be that I brutalized it a little bit with boiling water. I’m guessing it would be more tasty with a few years’ age on it to cut that bitterness.

Rating: 73/100

tperez

I think Xigui is a region or mountain. There was also a “Bulang Caicheng” and I think one other in the box so I think Caicheng must be the vendor/factory. Maybe whoever added it to the box can shed some light

Matu

Oh, right I think I took some of the other Caicheng one too. Duh. I think it was Liquid Proust who put em in there.

Liquid Proust

Should have been a xigui and a bingdao in there. It’s the factory name as you suggest.

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93

There are a few teas that I feel bad about hoarding. I see them on my shelf and I am choosing a tea to make and I think, “I really love that one but this isn’t the right time for it. I want to be able to pay attention to it, or drink it with someone who will really appreciate it.”

That’s not exactly the case with this one. I am intentionally hoarding it. I believe this is one of those oolongs that actually benefits from aging, but I am not trying to age it. It is simply too good to waste on an ordinary moment.

This is the most expensive tea I have ever purchased. I buy only one or two ounces at a time. It is seldom in stock where I buy it. So I keep it for very special times.

Today is special because I really, really need it. And I have time to enjoy today, so BONUS!

I had the first two steps with breakfast, and even though I had toast with cherry preserves my first sip of tea made me go, “Wow! This is so fruity!”

It is so sweet you would swear there is licorice root mixed with it, but there isn’t. I have had TGY that approached this flavor before, but this tea takes it over the top. There is round sweetness, fullness, fruitiness, and spice. You bet if I see it in stock again, some of it is coming home with me. Think of a perfect TGY with a bear hug mixed in.

Kristal

I totally hear you: I have teas where I can only drink them if I’m at home relaxing and not just chugging mindlessly. They need to be steeped in specific temperatures, specific amount of seconds/minutes and a certain # of times before I will throw the leaves out. I have my “work day teas” and my “relaxing teas”.

Fjellrev

Sounds wonderful.

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65

This tea surprised me! I tend to just assume that any fruit-flavored blend from Teavana is going to contain a bunch of dried fruit chunks and a random smattering of tea leaves. But this is actually an oolong tea! Not the best quality (some of the leaves are smashed up and there are a fair number of twigs) but definitely an oolong. And the flavor isn’t overpowering or artificial: it’s a light, natural white grape flavor layered over a smooth oolong base. The only thing I don’t enjoy is a slightly metallic aftertaste. I wouldn’t necessarily re-purchase this, but I will finish the ounce I have with no difficulty!

Flavors: Metallic, Smooth, White Grapes

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Evol Ving Ness

a bunch of dried fruit chunks and a random smattering of tea leaves

:)

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94
drank Watermelon Oolong by TeaTaxi
1457 tasting notes

Full disclosure: I live for watermelon. I’m the only one in the house who eats it and it makes my stomach hurt but I still buy about a dozen every summer. I love it. I wanted Lucious Watermelon from DavidsTea to be my watermelon tea, but it just doesn’t measure up.

This tea does. It does taste a little artificial, but I don’t care. Sweet watermelon and fresh oolong, this is summer in a mug for me. I’m trying it both iced and hot and both are delicious, but I prefer iced.

Preparation
Iced
VariaTEA

Hmmm…I may have to try this one

Daddyselephant

I’m torn between buying a bag or getting another sample, I JUST DON’T KNOW XD

Fjellrev

I may have to pick this one up next time. :)

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This puer has notes of honeysuckle, unripe apricots, wheat barley, and later steeps a little tart. Steep this tea for awhile and it does get bitter, but it gives you plenty energy to not care. It also packs quite a strong taste. The texture is quite nice with a thick body, later on developing an interesting cooling effect in the mouth, and then getting a bubbly sensation.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2016-jingmai-love-crimson-lotus-tea-tea-review/

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 1 g 1 OZ / 15 ML
Mookit

Very interesting combination of flavours.

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Tea from my tea sister Terri. What intrigued me most about this, is that there are 3 different sets of instructions on the package depending on what you’re going for:
-195 1 tsp 4oz for sweet, floral, silky texture
-205 for robust maltiness 4oz per tsp
-6-8oz of water if you want a blod pick me up, similar to a darjeeling.

Since i have a little to play with, i went with 4oz, 195 degrees, 1.5mins. This is slightly sweet, but i wouldn’t say floral with a hint of maltiness coming through. it reminds me a little of a ceylon brewed this way. interesting.

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80
drank S'mores by TeaTaxi
1496 tasting notes

This loser has never had a s’more in her life, but I can only imagine what one would taste like based on its components. Based on my imagination, I’d say this represents a s’more very nicely, if I do say so myself. This is the fourth time having it before reviewing it, and I’ve noticed that the base can change based on parameters. There’s a subtle campfire smokiness that comes out if you brew this more strongly, for example. Otherwise, there’s a consistent gooey marshmallow taste enrobed in chocolate. Graham cracker? Not so much. Maybe a touch at the end, but I still feel like that sweetness is just that marshmallow again and not necessarily graham cracker.

I used to love Della Terra’s S’mores tea. Like obsessed. As in ripping through a couple hundred grams of it, but I found with that one, as time went on, it started getting sweeter and sweeter to me. The liquor was murky from the chocolate or whatever else and I just wasn’t enjoying it as much. This one doesn’t have that murkiness or overwhelming sweetness. Overall, this is worth checking out if you like s’mores and s’more-related food and drink.

Sil

NEVER! omg go make a stovetop one! haha

VariaTEA

I enjoyed this one as well and it definitely made me think of Della Terra’s blend as well.Also, you should definitely try a s’mores soon.

Super Starling!

You must rectify this great injustice. Go have a s’more.

caile

I’ve never had a s’more either! ;)

Fjellrev

Looks like Caile and I need to s’more it up haha.

caile

Haha, I think we do :)

tea-sipper

You’re not a loser, but you need to try a s’more! Even in the microwave they are delicious. :D

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92

So it’s been a pretty big weekend for my family. My sister got married Sunday and I got a job on Friday. So that’s all pretty awesome and also the reason I haven’t been posting much as of late. However, my job was kind enough to give me a week off before I started so this week I finally get to relax…and drink tea. Plus I get to do all that while also getting to snack on leftover wedding sweets so yum.

This morning I got to have stacked cookies and this lovely tea which luckily hasn’t aged. It’s still so delicate but flavorful. Soft lemon and just a touch of creamy hay from the base. Also a sweetness from the almonds. Mmm mmmm good.

Sil

YAY job! this is outside the internship?

Fjellrev

Congratulations on the job, VariaTEA! They’re lucky to have you.

hawkband1

Congrats on the job!

VariaTEA

Sil, the internship was just for the month and a 1/2 hr before I left on my last day, they offered me work. They also okayed my week off AND have me working with the mentor I really liked as opposed to the original mentor they had me with who was not so great.

And thank you everyone :)

Sil

WOOHOO!! that’s awesome :)

Rosehips

Congrats! What a weekend. Take this week and enjoy a vast quantity of tea.

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Great tea to kick off the Great Canadian Travelling Tea Box! Thanks Shezza!
It isn’t as “coffee like” as I thought it was going to be which is good for me because I’m not a big fan of coffee. The chocolate is rich, not that “waxy”, cheap chocolate. The cherry is in the background but that’s ok. Delicious cuppa

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

Here’s Hoping TTB.

This is quite good. It has a strong hibiscus-orange flavor that I definitely enjoyed. It’s on the tart side, but I certainly don’t object to that. I’ve tried several herbals from Fava Tea Co. in this box that I really liked, so I might need to put in an order with them eventually.

Flavors: Hibiscus, Orange, Orange Zest, Tart

Inkling

I think those were all from me! So glad you’re enjoying them. Fava is my favorite local tea company. :)

rosebudmelissa

Thanks for adding them to the box! They have an online store, so I may have to put in an order sometime.

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Operation redo my entire tea area and most the bedroom began last night accidentally. Friends were getting rid of an awesome set of glass shelves that I gladly took off their hands, my teaware hoard is getting out of hand and taking over every spare surface in the room! Currently the shelf is loaded with my teaware, it will be thinned out a bit as soon as I get my shelf inserts for the curio cabinet (one day) then the tea storage shelf needs to have all the tea transferred to a different shelf which needs cleaning off, it is a big project. What is done though is my painting desk was rearranged, the bulk of the desk held my fishtank which was moved to where the teapots previously lived and now my big tea tray lives there. Sadly I realized too late that my tea tray is in a dark cubby so now I need a desk lamp. The things I do for organization in a very small space.

Today I am looking at a tea that is not only tasty, it is pretty! One of the things that first drew me to Dian Hongs is their beautiful golden trichomes, the fuzzy goodness. Whispering Pines Tea’s Golden Snail is definitely a beauty, nice tight little spirals covered in gold with bits of the dark leaf showing through…the color reminds me of my Tortoiseshell cat! Luckily (or sadly) the smell does not remind me of my cat (I wish she smelled like tea) the aroma is lovely, classic notes of malt and cocoa blend with sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and a delicate finish of cherries, walnuts, and cherry blossoms at the finish. It is sweet with just a slight nuttiness, reminding me of a loaded sweet potato that needs to be eaten by me…I clearly need food.

The steeped tea in my beloved Petr Novak pot smells super good, notes of walnuts and sweet potatoes (sweeter than the starchy yams) sandalwood, cocoa, and a woody undertone. The liquid is sweet and rich, notes of sweet potato, molasses, peanuts and walnuts, and a touch of cocoa waft up with the steam from my cup.

First steep is wonderfully rich and sweet, with a thickness that coats the mouth with honey and molasses. The dominant taste for the first steep is sweet honey and starchy but not too starchy sweet potatoes, specifically reminding me of those sweet potato patties that you buy frozen in the South (I assume they are elsewhere but I only ran into them growing up) and a bit of a woody cacao nib finish. The aftertaste is a hint of molasses that lingers for a while.

The second steep, while having the thick mouthfeel of the first, is also joined by a tingly camphor like texture, similar to drinking a Sheng, and something that just screams Yunnan to me. Granted some teas from that region have a stronger tingle than others, and processing does have an impact, but once in a while you get a Dian Hong that feels almost effervescent. The taste is very rich, strong notes of molasses and cocoa blend with peanuts and walnuts with just a hint of sweet potato. The dominant note is definitely dark chocolate, think like the 80% dark (I do love that stuff) with an aftertaste of molasses and cocoa.

This steep is pleasantly mellow, still has a thick mouthfeel, but no longer the tingle. The taste has mellowed out a bit as well, still has strong notes of molasses and stronger notes of sweet potato like the first steep, but the dark chocolate notes have calmed down. There is something new, towards the end with a note of peanut there is a delicate note of dried cherry. It kept teasing me in the aroma but has finally shown up in taste! This is a wonderful tea, an excellent example of a Golden Bi Luo Chun (or Hong Jin Luo, it has a couple names) being visually stunning and wonderfully tasting.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2016/09/whispering-pines-tea-company-golden.html

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88

Us drinking shou puerh:

Tastes like sweet sweet old wet cardboard

Everyone else:

Wtf is wrong with you

Flavors: Sweet

Fjellrev

Ha! Isn’t that the truth.

Kirkoneill1988

i think people are turned off by the earth/fermentation taste/smell. my one friend cannot stand shou unless it has little to no fermentation taste/smell. my friend relates it to manure

Kirkoneill1988

sorry if that sounded inappropriate. however that’s the truth. that’s what she told me

JC

This one is pretty good and clean in terms of fermentation taste, It is heavier on that aged woody/book/forest leaf pile note. And I mean that as a compliment to the tea. :)

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85
drank SBT: Mango Sherbet by 52teas
1657 tasting notes

Today’s work SBT, prepared the usual way. I was wondering how well mango would pair with what usually comes across as quite a malty black base, but the answer is pretty well. The mango is strong; fruity, juicy, and peppery in the best way, so the black tea is only really present in the background. I feel like sometimes there’s a bit of a battle between the base and the flavouring with SBTs, but it’s not the case here.

This one is supposed to be mango sherbet, and it’s only at this point that it really falls down. There’s a wonderful creaminess (again, strong), but it’s really not reminiscent of sherbet, at least to me. Mango and cream, though, yes, and that’s more than good enough for me.

I enjoyed this one. Strong, accurate flavours, deliciously fruity and creamy, smooth, unobtrusive base. It makes me sad to think that I haven’t got anymore of this one, and that once it’s gone this time, it really is gone forever. Sad times.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Oolong Supreme by DAVIDsTEA
3895 tasting notes

This is a queued tasting note.

Made a teacup of this one with breakfast (a red pepper and egg scramble) and I found that the roasty body notes and fruity plum and raisin undertone of the tea really complimented the eggs and sweeter notes of the peppers.

All was great; that is until I finished eating and drinking my tea. About five minutes after finishing everything off I was hit with a wave of nausea that ultimately culminated in me instantly throwing everything up. The tea was not pleasant on the way up. Don’t know what went wrong; after I threw everything up I felt totally fine for the rest of the day. Either the tea or the food was just something that I guess my body needed to purge?

Mookit

Oh no! And that sounded like a lovely breakfast too.

Rasseru

bleeeeerrrrghhhh weird feeling isnt it. has to happen though

Rasseru

the amount of rubbish flying around its expected.. another thread maybe

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drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
1932 tasting notes

After cleaning up a pound of rather roughly shelled pecans, I ended up with a quarter cup or so of pecan schmutz…not shells, just bits that broke off. Smelled nutty lusciously, and I couldn’t bear to throw them away.

So I didn’t. Tossed a pinch into a cup of plain bulk Ceylon this morning for a sweet, smooth autumn treat. I think I could’ve given it another minute to strengthen up the pecan profile; maybe a little dairy to bring it out, but it was tasty all the same. And I’ve got more nut schmutz to experiment with.

But since schmutz tea doesn’t sound very elegant, what do you think about Cracked Pecan Ceylon?

Nicole

Mmm.. I like Nut Schmutz Tea. I think it could sell. :)

Indigobloom

I’ma hafta try this!

gmathis

Little maple flavor couldn’t hurt, either.

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79

Not liking this as much as the first time I bought it. It is strong with a note of malt. I might be better with milk.

I brewed this one time with 3 tsp leaf in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 200 degree water for 3 minutes.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

interesting. white tea that isnt white. Its golden hairs everywhere, like its sporting a giant afro.

smell is weird, I get sweetness & malt. Aroma is the same. Taste is a very very smooth golden tips with zero bitterness or astringency, just sweetness, honey, caramel. (although these arent strong like in other oolongs). I also get orange, but not citrus, very rounded orange taste. Malt, but not malty.

So its either a delicate light red, or a full-bodied white. This is very nice for me, who often wants my red tea to be more delicate/less malty. It certainly isnt chocolatey. Its got pretty zappy energy too. Even after a few sips i felt shaken out of bed.

Second cup I steeped it out a bit and got a very amber liquor, and was met with a dryness more akin to golden tips, so you can make it taste like that a bit more if you want. There is something cake in the body but I couldnt picture what it was (its not doughy or bready), also I was reminded of a 2nd flush tea, although this is Spring. (a bit woody & malty but not overpowering)

Depending on parameters you can get either a few steeps of something more white but full bodied, or a couple of steeps of delicate subtle but still golden tipped red tea, its an interesting mix!

Flavors: Cake, Caramel, Honey, Malt, Orange, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 15 sec
Daylon R Thomas

I love how flexible this tea is. Hence it being one of my favorites along with its caramel note that should belong to a Dian Hong.

Rasseru

Yeah I read someone else gonfuing it & it working nicely too. I will try that out next

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drank 2016 Teadontlie by White 2 Tea
198 tasting notes

And I’m on tonight you know this tea don’t lie
And I’m starting to feel it now
The cha qi, I’m tea drunk
Don’t you see baby, this is some good stuff

http://www.aguywithagaiwan.com/2016/09/17/2016-teadontlie-white2tea/

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68
drank Ceylon Tea by Ahmad Tea London
1382 tasting notes

I am finding Ahmad Teas to be among the best I have gotten at an Indian or Asian Market. While they are not up to the quality of what I get online, or even at my local tea store, they are not bad. This one is strong, making me think of adding milk. It has a note that I would describe as loosely citrus and it seems to be often found in Ceylon teas in general. It is also brisk like a Ceylon tea. Some bitterness steeped into this one. I think it would be better at a lower temperature.

I steeped this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Mike

This is definitely a strong one…I always seem to overleaf. :P

AllanK

I was surprised by this tea brand, surprisingly good for something I paid $9 for 500g of.

Mike

Absolutely! I love Ahmad! They might not be the very best, like you said, but they are really good considering how much they cost. I like a couple of their Assams, the gunpowder green, and the Earl Grey green..all around the same price at Turkish markets, from what I have seen.

AllanK

Yeah I got these at my local Indian market. They have tea that is a grade above average supermarket tea but a grade below what you get on the internet.

Mike

Exactly. Nice everyday teas.

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86

I would agree with Allan there is a chocolate, malty & fruit note. Perhaps I should try with a touch of sugar (gasp!) as sometimes the malt & chocolate is too much for me with red tea, its isnt my favourite profile.

Either way, this is a really good one. So nice & fresh smelling, soft leaf & a really good cup – The taste reminds me of maltesers or when milk chocolate goes a bit dry & goes whiter in colour.

I really need a red tea lover to come into my life at this point, ive got quite a collection needs drinking :)

Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Malt, Milk

Kirkoneill1988

nooo! not the sugar! sugar most of the time, ruins teas! :P

Rasseru

I’ve never done it, this was a response to Allam talking about sugaring the same tea

Rasseru

& I’m actually finding I don’t like malty tea like I used to. I’ve got a giant backlog of tea to drink

Kirkoneill1988

wow :O

i don’t add sugar or milk to any of my teas anymore

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88
drank Cardamom French Toast by DAVIDsTEA
7753 tasting notes

Word on the street is that this one might come back. I certainly hope so ‘cause i’ve got exactly one cup left of this after today. So worth it, but still super sad.

Rosehips

What? It might come back! Eeeee! I really hope so, as I adored this.

Sil

that’s what someone mentioned the other day…they had been in the store and the rep said so… Here’s hoping :)

sundaysipping

I heard the same thing! Hoarding what I’ve got left until it comes back for sure, though.

Maddy Barone

I never got any of it last year, and it sounds so good, so I hope it does come back!

Sil

Mir added sugar than I really want in a tea, but I can’t resist.

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80

Here’s Hoping TTB.

So, I definitely thought this was a tasty oolong, but I didn’t taste pineapple at all. In fact my experience of this tea seems to be wildly different than the flavors other people have noted. I got a nice roasty mineral flavor which none of the seventy other reviewers have noted. I may buy some and see if it has a different flavor when fresh or if it got some flavor contamination. If not, I’ll still have a pleasant oolong to drink.

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