Featured & New Tasting Notes
It’s yet another subscription box review! Today I take a look at Teabook’s monthly tea service for people on the go.
Decided to give this tea the proper gongfu treatment today. Last time I had not quite given it the gongfu treatment.This tea has pretty much cleared. There wasn’t much fermentation taste left, maybe a little. This tea was sweet. Gave this eight steeps today.
Steeped this eight times in a 85ml Yixing Teapot with 7g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec. 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.
Holy shit. Last night, i was craving this tea, but I have a no caffeine after 3:00 rule, so I thought I’d wait until this morning. And oh my god, it was perfect. 1.5 tsp of leaf, used a generous amount of cream, two tsp of sugar, and brewed for four minutes. And I was blown away by how well this tea took the cream in particular. Both the grapefruit and bergamot were prominent, and the cream just amplified the latte-like thickness and comfort, but the zing of the grapefruit was not muted which was mind-blowing. I really hope this tea keeps well. I’m still on the hunt for the best tins in which to store tea. My ideal would be a tin where you can’t smell the tea from the outside, no matter how hard you try.
I know you guys know what it’s like to brew a perfect cup of something. Doesn’t always happen, but when it does, boy do you know it.
From the Puerh TTB #3
Thanks to EoT for providing this and other samples for the TTB
One of the benefits of organizing the tea box is that you get to be first to try the teas. I was really excited when the EoT box arrived, since I like to try older sheng and there isn’t that much of it available. Also, I can now mail out the box to all the other tea-addicts who have been waiting patiently for me to get it all together.
My first few cups were disappointing. The tea had some camphor and tobacco notes but was dominated by the flavor of ashes (think fireplace on a damp day a week after the fire). Fortunately, the ashes became less potent by the third or fourth steep, though they never really went away. I’m still drinking the tea, but have lost count of the number of steeps (around 10). It is a burnt sienna color, fairly strong in flavor, with a sharp, somewhat tannic bite, and flavors of wood and leather (and just a hint of ash). Drinking it was an interesting experience, and I’m glad I had the opportunity, but I don’t think I would go out of my way to drink it again.
In some ways I wonder if older sheng is really worth the wait. I’m reminded of the wine experts raving over 50 year old Bordeaux raving about the flavor of shoe leather, and thinking the younger stuff tastes like fruit and other stuff that I like. It might also be the difference between wet and dry aging. I was also a bit disappointed with the W2T 1990’s wet storage sheng, which I bought in part to learn how aged sheng was “supposed” to taste.
Next day: I’m up to about 15th steep and still getting a lot of flavor out of 1 minute steeps. No negatives: just an enjoyable, interesting tea.
Oh my, this is such a sophisticated blend of floral, fruit, almonds, and chocolate. The dry leaf smells like a blend of chocolate-covered almonds, bergamot, and rose.
Can I wear this as a perfume, please? I imagine Marie Antoinette’s tea party to smell like this. Everyone’s dressed to the nines in their wigs and gowns. I can taste every single note in here. Nothing gets lost. The base is bold but I managed to prevent it from going bitter.
I’m so glad I got this one in the group order, and grateful to Marzipan that she was willing to split this one with me. It’s a winner.
Good morning Steepster. My day did not get off to a good start as I already spilled a cup of coffee on myself and the floor of the cafe I was at this morning. Maybe this is a sign I should give up on coffee?
I got this as a small sample pack from Happy Earth a while back. I didn’t time my steeping too closely, so I would say this is a pretty forgiving tea. This stuff is also truly delicious! I am definitely getting the notes of chocolate, malt and spice. It does have a slight fruitiness in the finish. They call it plum, I was thinking red wine. It’s a very rich and bold tea, it stands up well on its own but mght also be nice with a touch of milk. Another quality Nepalese tea from Happy Earth. So glad I tried this one, I might need more :)
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Spices
Thank you Angel for this sample.
The mood struck me for some Pu Erh steeped western style which I almost never do, usually because I enjoy the ceremony in making tea traditionally. Today however I am making Christmas decorations as the craft bug has bitten and I have no time for tea traditions at the moment. Still need tea though!
As I open the sample pack I am impressed by the large pieces of tangerine peel, hopefully that will mean it’s got a lot of orange flavour.
Once steeped this has a mild yet sweet orange scent with some dry earth undertones.
Flavour is rich and dark with earth, dry wood, sweet orange and a light, creamy after taste. It is very orange in comparison to the actual strength which is about average thickness. The sweetness is a nice contrast to the dry earth tones and the melody lingers nicely in the after taste.
I shall keep re-steeping this until it’s completely spent, but at least it’s a comforting and delicious aid to my crafting.
Flavors: Drying, Earth, Orange, Wood
Celebrating national coffee day with my Earl Grey of choice. I’m sure you understand. Don’t even care that none go with me, this still speaks to me after all these years. My yardstick earl.
On a side note, I am so stiff today I can barely maneuver. Went out on the porch Sunday night around 11 pm to get a look at the super blood moon. Of course didn’t turn on a light and didn’t have my cane. Tripped on the mat at the steps. Fell on my face (on the porch). I might add, I was in my underwear as I live out in the boonies. So here is this fat boy sprawled out on the porch and after realizing I wasn’t broken, found myself thinking next time I wear pants! Saddest part is I couldn’t really see the moon through the trees.
As some of you know I have been off tea recently but on Wednesday, my dad finally brought me my teas from the 52teas kickstarter campaign and over the past few days I found myself wanting to try them. Unfortunately, Saturday was my sister’s engagement party (that’s not the unfortunate part), so the past week has been a bit of a whirlwind of busyness.
Then yesterday there was a death in the family so tea obviously was not on my mind. However, what was on my mind was calling in to work to let them know I was dealing with this loss, so this morning I called in and rather than approving the three days of bereavement leave I asked for, they told me the schedule was really tight and that they would see what they could do, and call me back. Seriously. I told them my grandfather passed away and they basically told me that it was too hard to accommodate me and I may have to come in. They even gave me a song and a dance about missing work for his funeral!!! Like are you kidding me?!? And it’s not like I am a manager or anything like that…I am an office supplies associate at Staples. Needless to say I am pissed with the way this had been handled. Oh, and they still haven’t called me back and my shift starts in 15 minutes. Well, I am at home, with my family, where I should be and if that’s an issue they can just write me up. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable.
Anyways, in my severely pissed off mood, I decided I needed something to calm down and so in order to clear my head, I took the time to focus on brewing up a mug of this. Genmaichas have always been a favourite of mine with a special spot in my heart for those made by 52teas. Sipping on this particular one, I’m getting a lot of the toasted rice goodness that I love while the base stays mild and in the background. Meanwhile, I am also getting a combination of cream and spice/ginger that reminds me of the iced part of a gingerbread cookie. The flavoring is not the headliner that I hoped it would be but it’s definitely there hiding behind the rice. One just has to look a little bit harder to find it. Nonetheless, I am pleased and focusing on something other than my frustration has proved to be rather helpful. Also, a great start for the new 52teas!
Roswell Strange, I will have to remember to grab samples of all the teas for you :)
Another from TeaNTees!
I didn’t even realize that The Persimmon Tree Tea Company offered a black lychee tea, but I was certainly excited to learn that they do and be able to try it. The last black lychee tea I fell in love with, The Tea of Kings, was from RiverTea so I can’t buy it anymore. I need a solid replacement.
My initial thoughts about this cold brew are that the flavor level of the lychee and black base are pretty equal, which is how I feel it should be. The black base is brisk, clean and full bodied with malty notes and slightly more floral notes. It reminds me vaguely of a high grown Ceylon? The lychee is juicy and realistic and doesn’t taste overly floral or chemical which is a trap that flavour often falls into with lower quality lychee teas. I taste the pear notes a little too, but they’re fairly flat and certainly not the focal point of the blend.
I don’t think this is my new lychee black to keep on hand, but it’s definitely one of the better ones I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. Thank you TeaNTees!
I may have just placed a huge group order for the new 52Teas, after trying them at the tea meetup at Sil ’s house! (It was so great to meet you all! Christina at the zoo (hehe!), keychange, Kittenna, IndigoBloom! Of course I already knew Sil and Cavocorax, and it was great seeing you too!)
I took a sample of this one, and ordered it without trying because, duh, it’s maple and cheesecake and tieguanyin. Even if I didn’t love it, it smells so amazing I’d be happy to spend the $4 on a sample pack and sit there sniffing it.
But the tea delivers. It’s really quite delicious. Steeped at 175F for 3 minutes, just because. The leaves mostly unravelled and the tea is gentle and buttery with a huge kick of maple flavour. I think it’d be fantastic with a little maple syrup or sugar added, and even with milk.
So I’m sitting here at home, drinking a friends tea out of my new Niagara starbucks mug, wishing that I didn’t have to go back to work tomorrow. That I had more time to explore Toronto. That none of us got sick.
Thanks so much for having me over, Sil!
1.5 tsp in 12 oz.
Another one from yesterday courtesy of Indigobloom I was less impressed with this one because i think i always want more banana in teas. Not cough syrup flavoured banana, but real bananas. I liked that while this one was too subtle for me, you could still get the sense of it being not just “banana” tea, but banana bread. :)
I brewed this up this morning without reading about it. This was a sample provided for me and it was without cocoa nibs so it looked like wood and oolong. I recently talked with quite a few people at work about making teramisu for out month in lunch for October to find out that everyone thinks differently of tiramisu. While I like this, I must admit that I was really looking forward to a coffee taste/aroma within an oolong blend. I did not find any coffee taste though and the chocolate notes are gone because the nibs are not there so maybe I will just have to make my own.
How about this… green dan cong powdered with coffee and roasted, shaken gently to reduce the coffee powder once roasting is complete, cocoa nibs and vanilla bean chopped side by side and roasted with the leftover powder from the tea, and then finally all shaken loose to remove the powder and aired out before packing.
Here’s to the 2015 I picked up: https://instagram.com/p/8GgHqdRYOv/
The first thing you will notice about this tea is how bright the tea needles are. Second, the aroma is a bit overwhelming. I love me some dianhong, but dang… I had to pull my nose back :p
This brews up one very strong cup and I’m unsure of how to make the strength kind of take step back. Some potent tea, but I rather like it because it made one mean brisket :)
In my honest opinion: This dianhong is an amazing value at $8 for 50g!
Thanks to Chi Whole Leaf for the samples! This was easily my favorite of the bunch. It’s a light and spicy chai, with the dominant flavors being cinnamon, ginger, and anise. I used a milk frother to blend the powder into cold rice milk. The powder stayed suspended in the rice milk very well – only a small bit of settling at the bottom. I like that this is caffeine-free, so I can have it with dinner. It goes especially nicely with spicy Thai food. Yum.
Queen of Random Steepings/subscription boxes reporting in! Today’s report is about the Bruu Gourmet Tea Club. I bet you haven’t heard of it, and you will wish you had.
It is fall already. Where did summer go? We are getting some really cool nights and some awesome warm days with very low humidity. The leaves are turning. This made me crave white peony. I don’t know if others feel this way but white peony just feels fall to me. It tastes dark but feels light. The leaf on this one is very lovely and smells like fall with touches of honey and melon thrown in. The brew is honey colored and just goes with the sunshine. The taste is pronounced for a white tea. Of course light by assam standards. It is deep woods leafy with honey drizzled lightly on top. While it has a natural sweetness it isn’t overly sweet. A really nice example of the type.
Backlog, as I had this yesterday morning.
I was part of simple loose leaf’s monthly subscription program for a few months last year, but then the tea sort of just started piling up and I felt overwhelmed. But the idea of a milk oolong has always entrigued me, mostly because I like my drinks to be milky, so I thought I’d give it a shot yesterday. The dry leaf smells “milky”, although it’s underpinned by what I imagine to be the hallmark roasted sort of nutty oolong smell. I brewed this for three minutes, which I think was on the longer end of the steeping instructions. The resulting brew retained the smell of the dry leaf, and it was even more intense if that’s possible. Tasting better and better as it cooled, I felt as though I was drinking a cup of hot, slightly nutty and deeply creamy milk, and I actually think it would go into the category of a comfort tea for me.
Now I want to try more amazing milk oolongs, because I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to get this exact one again. Any suggestions? I wasn’t a fan of the one from davids tea, if I remember correctly.
And thanks weet f*** it’s Friday.
I got my 5 for 5 sample pack in from Verdant Tea the other day. Steepster was down so couldn’t post about it but it really took me by surprise. I had forgotten all about it.
Of course the laoshan green was the first one I’ve tried . I had it yesterday and having the remainder today. It’s that good. I wasn’t expecting it to be that good. I’ve had this tea before from a travelling tea box and thought it was decent but not amazing. It probably all depends on how old the tea is and the harvest.
So anyway, this tea is so good, I’ve got to have more. Yes, it got the nuttiness and a bit of green pea taste. I’m not really good at describing what I taste. I think the chestnut flavor is really pronounced compared to some other green teas. There’s a bit of sweetness too. The way it all comes together is amazing. So I’m giving this a 95. I’d like to give a 100 but just don’t know if the next batch will be as great as this sample so holding off a bit on my rating.
I suppose a Verdant tea order is in the future for me…..
I cold steeped this tea overnight for a quick review today. Unfortunately I have no idea what the ingredients are as the sample packet I had didn’t say and this is not on the website. Other than Oolong I have no idea, though I did note it had a spicy scent when I was steeping it. Perhaps the spice was why this is Mexican?
In flavour the spice has continued to a point that I’m thinking it resembles black pepper and cinnamon. Perhaps some clove in there too as it has a refreshing after taste. Rather spicy but it does have a sweet and refreshing after taste that lingers. Also getting perhaps a citrus note, like orange rind though subtle compared to the spice. And Oolong wise it’s a dark Oolong.
It’s quite nice but even if I could I don’t think I would purchase this one. It’s not special in terms of flavour or blend and while it might be a nice drink today I can guarantee it will be forgotten about tomorrow.
From the Puerh TTB #3
One of the benefits of organizing the TTB is that I get first crack at the promotional teas. Two days ago I received a huge box from Paul at White2Tea, which was really exciting, but then I found that I already owned about 80% of the teas, so won’t be taking samples. This was one of the few I hadn’t tried.
I also want to set an example in writing reviews, so I’m posting this right away. I’m afraid the review may be a bit confusing as I’m kind of emotionallly involved with the tea. When I made my purchase for the moving day sale I went back and forth between this and the If you are reading this… and went with the latter. Then I started reading all sorts of reviews of how good pound cake was and was filled with regrets. Now I don’t know whether I’m doing a sour grapes thing (oh I bought the right tea) .
So, on to the tea. I wasn’t as excited as some of the other reviewers. I think part of the reason for this is that there is a vegetive/weedy element to the taste that while not unpleasant doesn’t add to my enjoyment. I’m mostly a black tea drinker and I think a green tea drinker would find this more appealing.
The tea is structurally sound: good nose, reasonably strong taste that blends smoothly into a good finish. Early steeps have a weedy straw flavor to a more woody style that has a lot of acidity but not much bitterness. Moderate cha qi. Not a lot of complexity in any given steep.
I have an unusual steeping style: 2 grams in 50 ml for 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60 s. Usually the flavor peaks at the 3rd steep, but this one kept going and I found myself liking the 4th steep better than the 3rd and the 5th better than the 4th. There is an appealing richness, and I’m noticing more complexity.