Featured & New Tasting Notes
This was a very good tea. From a certain perspective I guess you could say this had notes of honey. It certainly had a prominent sweet note. I liked this tea and I don’t remember the price being too high.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 7.1g leaf and 190 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
I cold-brewed some of this last night to enjoy as iced tea today. (Yes, I realize it’s 2:13am but I’m a night owl so my days typically do not begin until around 2 pm. It’s still evening-ish for me.)
A Pinita Colada is another way of saying “virgin pina colada” – in other words, pineapple and coconut beverage – no rum. And really the reason I decided to go that route is because I felt that with the flavors of carrot cake, pineapple and coconut, that this tea had enough going on that rum wasn’t necessary and would potentially muddy up the flavors.
This tea is a little different hot versus cold. As a cold-brewed iced tea, I’m getting the tangy notes from the pineapple and the smooth flavor of coconut and a pleasant spice note from the carrot cake right up front with background notes that hint at carrot cake. Every once in a while, I get hit with a flavor that is distinctly carrot – it’s a little bit sweet and a little bit savory with that carrot note.
It makes a refreshing iced tea. Generally speaking, I prefer green tea (or white tea) for iced tea – I don’t usually go for honeybush or rooibos for iced tea but because this is the tea of the week this week, I thought I’d try it cold-brewed and I really like it. It’s sweet and tasty. If you are one who usually sweetens your iced tea before you taste it, go light on the sweetener with this because it already has a natural sweetness going on – but a teensy bit of sugar will bring out the cake-y flavors a little more.
The struggle of a nocturnal person living in a diurnal world is real, especially with Ben’s new work schedule! He gets up right when I am going to bed, and with him being such a light sleeper I have to creep around not making much noise (and keep the cats relaxed, they always get rambunctious when one of us is awake) so not to wake him. I am going to try, ugh, again to switch back to diurnal, but it is so hard. Something I have always struggled with, I say I am nocturnal, but really I have a cycling sleep schedule and always have. I sleep fine when my cycle matches up to when I am supposed to be awake, but if not…well…there was a reason in school I would fall asleep leaning against a wall sometimes. So it is that time to brute force ‘reset’ my sleep schedule so that my nocturnal rustling doesn’t bug my more productive fiance, not fun!
Today I am taking a look at Bitterleaf Teas’ Sabertooth 2015 Feng Qing Ancient Tree Dian Hong Black Tea. A Hong Cha from scenic Yunnan, made from old tree leaves and if age was any indication of leaf size, well, this tea comes from an Ent. When I was sharing this tea with Ben it easily fit in my larger teapot, but for a single session I needed a gaiwan because the leaves didn’t fit in my Petr Novak pot and I didn’t have the heart to break them. They were big ol leaves with a hint of golden fuzz here and there, mostly they are dark and twisty, they look archaic. The aroma is rich, with notes of cocoa, malt, autumn leaves, acorn squash, and caramel sweetness. There is also a woody briskness at the finish of the sniff, giving promises of a zinginess along with the heavier qualities in the aroma.
I decided to use the big audacious golden gaiwan, because she is needy and gets jealous when neglected. The aroma of the wet leaves after their first water dousing blend notes of cocoa, malt, molasses, dried cherries…and…hello…notes of sassafras! Yessss!!! I love when that note pops up, I have only had it show up in Red Jade, but considering it is a hybrid of assamica and wild growing trees, picking up this note in a Yunnan tea I am assuming is an assamica is not too surprising. Now if I am wrong and it isn’t then I will admit to being surprised, because I have never seen sinensis with leaves this big. The liquid is sweet and rich, with notes of acorn squash, creamy sweet molasses candy, malt, and a finish of cocoa and a touch of cherries.
Well, this first steep is complex! It is really a coin flip with Hong Cha as to whether the first steep will be a gentle introduction or a complex flavor burst, and I have found it almost always is not indicative of how complex later steeps will be. It is why I love this tea so, it always keeps me guessing and interested. It starts with notes of cocoa and dried cherries, then moves to cranberries and sassafras, on it then goes to finish out with acorn squash and myrrh. It starts smooth and finished a bit mineral and dry, really waking up the palate…hello morning tea!
Guess how long I waited til the next steep…yeah not long at all. The aroma of this steep is straight up chocolate covered cherries and molasses, super rich and sweet. This taste starts out rich and sweet, with notes of caramelized sugar, cherries and a bit of cranberries. The middle is mellow squash and a bit of peanuts. For the finish is a resinous myrrh and pine wood with a lingering rich molasses that lasts for aged. This steep is nothing but smoothness as well, not a single note of dryness or briskness.
The aroma for steep three is rich and super sweet, again it is a chocolate covered cherry and molasses bomb with an extra explosion of yams and squash in the finish. My goodness that first sip is sweet, like a mouthful of brown sugar and cocoa with a rich dark cherry (not dried, juicy fresh this time) note as well. In the middle the familiar notes of squash and yams are joined by a touch of pumpkin and distant sassafras. This tea has great longevity, it just goes and goes, and if it wasn’t totally obvious, its taste is quite enjoyable while being very soothing. In my opinion this is a perfect morning tea, since I do not use caffeine to wake up, I use intense sensory input, and this tea takes the cake!
Additional notes: Sipping this one now. I still love it. So sad Zen doesn’t sell it anymore.
I recently acquired a new tea storage shelf. But I’m a little worried on reorganizing everything, as I usually remember where the ridiculous number teas I have are located now (mostly in small sample amounts of tea.) They are mostly organized by tea company OR by the lovely Steepsterer who sent them to me (like a bunch of teas together in a gallon ziplock.) But a mass moving of teas will disrupt the tea filing in my brain. It’s the same reason I hate moving books around…. or music. I’ll make the most fun of it that I can though!
Bought this tea a couple of weeks ago and am just now getting around to drinking it. It has some malt, some chocolate flavor and what tastes like a roast flavor to it. This is interesting as I don’t think it was roasted. It is overall a good tea.
I steeped this one time in a Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Roasted
Today’s cold brew. I thought I’d mucked up on this one at first, but then I read a couple of other tasting notes and I think I probably haven’t – it’s just that this is a lightly flavoured tea to begin with. I went with my usual preparation – 2 tbsp of leaf in two litres of water, into the fridge for 10 hours or so overnight. The resulting brew is very pale, but it’s white tea so I wasn’t expecting anything else. The flavour is just about blackberry. The initial sip is very watery, but the berry flavour starts to develop in the midsip, to the point where it’s slightly tart and slightly sweet in the best way. The creaminess is a high point, although it’s mostly confined to the end of the sip. The whole thing puts me in mind of some impossibly light, airy berries and cream confection, and icing sugar. It’s pleasant, but very…insubstantial.
If they grew tea in the Garden in prelapsarian times, it would have been like this.
This tea is unforgivingly expensive; I mainly purchased it because it had effective “seals of approval” from both Tea For Me Please and Lazy Literatus’s blogs. Combining that with the effective minefield that is shopping for DHP as a relatively new westerner, and you’re ripe to overpay for something that isn’t at all as advertised.
So I figured that it was worth paying a lot for one session that would tell me what it is I should actually be seeking from DHP. And this tea delivered that in spades.
That being said, if reordering purely for pleasure, I’d do the Tie Luo Han every time. This was probably a hairsbreadth the superior tea – but to the tune of almost 4× the price? Not hardly.
To be clear though, I consider this more a sign of what a stonkeringly good deal the TLH is that this being overpriced. This is fully handmade, and something that you can’t really find here stateside. That being said, the convenience of single serving packaging and the ability to learn your preferences with minimal outlay are the largest factors in choosing this tea – not having tried EoT or Tea Urchin offerings, they appear to have similar teas with some bulk discounts (excepting the quite affordable TLH, which compares favorably at this outlet to top end competitors).
I have tried Tealet’s DHP (as offered by BTTC), and this was frankly superior. Whether it was enough so to justify the significantly higher cost is a decision I leave as an exercise for the reader.
May your cups be full of delicious tea.
So I tried to think what would go well with frozen berries in a smoothie and lemon came to mind so I grabbed this tea. However, I was thinking adding my usual pudding might be a bit much so I attempted to play with the recipe and sub yogurt for pudding which meant I needed to replace the milk (or use both my milk servings at once, which I don’t like doing). So I decided I would use more tea to get the liquids and absentmindedly used like 10 tsps of tea and 8 oz water. Then realized it would be too hot so I stuck some water in the blender and waited for the tea to brew and poured about 1/2-2/3s of what I made into the blender.
Well, needless to say, this was a disaster. The lemon picked up the tartness of everything so for what is usually a sweet tea, this is a very tart smoothie. The consistency is all off as well. At times I get lemon while other times I get strawberries that aren’t quite ripe yet. Add to that the coating feeling I am getting from the Greek yogurt and you got a disaster in a cup. Add to that the chiffon element popping up at times, which is just so out of place and you really got a shitty smoothie.
Yesterday I drank through this for quite awhile since I was hooked up with a beenghole:)
The rinse brought out very strong aroma which meant either it wasn’t going to be my type of tea or it was going to turn into something good. I went into this thinking it’d be a few months too young for me, however as you will find out, that was not the case.
First thing I noticed was the blend itself. There was a flower in my leaf, multiple colored leaves, and even different sizes/shapes; this made me realize I had no idea what to expect. I went ahead and put a picture on Slack because the flower was interesting to see.
First three brews were murky, looking very strong in taste. There is certainly a texture to the tea that is pleasant, yet it doesn’t have a great taste as of yet. Opening this tea up, as it was a beenghole piece, did take five or so brews but it changed after that. Texture wise it still had some viscosity to it when hitting the later steep, but it was the taste that got me.
Once this opened up, it tasted much like the 2014 wild purple wuliang that YS sells that I have really really enjoyed. This being so young and having some of that gentle wild like taste to it with hints of sweetness is quite nice. This is definitely a quality blended cake with a bit to settle still, but it’s already a pretty nice tasting material as it is. I expect with time the wild aspect will fade a little and smooth out creating a better taste to go with the thicker brews in the beginning.
Thankfully a friend sent some of this to me. ShanLinXi is my favorite type of oolong. All the feels. This one is a bit lighter in terms of thickness than some, it the size of the leaf and the feels are on point.
This is easily one that can sit in the cupboard for who cares how long or short and it will continue to brew nice. Quaility leaf with a smooth taste. Provides an enjoyable session with multiple infusions. I’ll need to try all of their SLX and see if one has the thickness and depth I want, even if this is solid… I’m getting more selective :)
picked this one up to try last weekend when i stopped in for more lemon meringue, mostly because of the positive reviews but because it’s another herbal. I was hoping this would be refreshing and not overly sweet and that’s what came through. I’ll have to write a better note next time i have it again because it was a few days ago at this point…just playing catch up. Have to get organised before vacation (fyi, 16 months is waaaaay too long to go between vacations…don’t do it)
Another interesting one! I drank this around the same time as Mayan Chocolate Chai, so probably need to try it again on its own to get a better picture of how it tastes.
However, I do certainly recall a lovely nuttiness that I quite enjoyed, and in reading a bit more about the tea, I see that it’s supposed to taste like walnuts and sweetness, which I’m pretty sure it did. More details to come some other day, maybe, if I get around to it, but this is a generally positive review :D
Sipdown which brings me to 39! That’s a nice number to see. I had the rest of this cold brewed for work and while I enjoyed its bright citrusy notes, I’m happy it’s done because I was getting tired of it, particularly the base. It doesn’t taste as good cold brewed, yet I’d prefer to enjoy those Fruit Loop-like lemongrass notes cold rather than hot, so you can’t really win.
Made this as a smoothie and it was rich. Very, very rich. The chocolate pudding and berry mix were highlighted by this tea so the entire thing was a chocolate blueberry flavor punch to the face. Depends how you feel about the flavor combination. For me, I am on the fence about it so I need to be in the mood to enjoy it. Today, though I can appreciate this, I would have preferred more banana or some other fruit (although that is a reflection on me, not the tea).
Today’s iced tea. We’re super-busy at work at the moment (I’ll be working Saturday, sadly, and extra hours all of next week), so I wanted a plain, simple, caffeinated tea to sip on that I wouldn’t have to concentrate on too much. This one fit the bill perfectly! It got my usual SBT treatment – 3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and then into the fridge for around 10 hours overnight.
There’s not a lot to say about it. It’s the usual SBT base, as far as I can tell, only without any flavouring. It’s a solid, malty black tea with no bitterness or astringency. Just easy to drink, plain tea. I could add lemon, sugar, or both, but I probably won’t. It’s fine just as it is. I don’t usually go for plain when it comes to iced tea or cold brews, but today it’s a welcome simplicity.
The leaf for this has little graham cracker crumb marshmallows and you can taste them. This is definitely a good s’mores tea, up there with the likes of the Della Terra one, if not better. The base is mild but thick enough to support the heavy flavors of S’mores. The chocolate is smooth and milky which compliments the marshmallow sweetness beautifully. The graham also pops up making for the complete package. Delicious!
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Graham, Marshmallow, Smooth, Sugar, Sweet
You know what is kinda fun? Playing around with the wedding registry! I have not made it public yet since we don’t have a date set and that seems disingenuous, so I am occupying myself by perfecting it. By perfecting it I mean adding ridiculous captions to all the things on it, and of course removing the completely random nonsense I add at three in the morning when I am bored. The majority of things on it are things that are useful but we have just not acquired, like silicon baking mats and a deep fryer, but there are also silly things like a skull shaped trinket bowl, replacement nerf darts, and of course the much desired skull shaped ice trays. There is a real skull theme going on.
Recently I was given the opportunity to look at an old favorite tea company, Adagio! Over the several years I have been tea rambling they have shown up many times, they were the first online tea company I tried after diving into the vast ocean of online tea shopping, so I have a real nostalgic fondness for them. I am looking at Casablanca Twist, their take on Moroccan Mint, something I have been craving lately but have had no luck getting my hands on any that has been enjoyable. Granted I am not a huge fan of gunpowder, so seeing their blend used Sungma Summer Darjeeling and Peppermint I was very intrigued. I think I got really unlucky with my sample pouch though, I am pretty sure it is 90% mint. You can see a few spindly leaves mixed around with the mint, but mostly it is bright green minty fun. When sniffing this tea, all I smell is mint, fresh and cool and super strong. My nose is now clear and my lungs are happy, mint is good for the sinuses!
I decided to cold steep the tea, it just seemed right…maybe because I am Southern and chilled mint and black tea is kinda a big thing. The aroma after I crack open the cold steeper is a minty blast in the face, it is like walking into a snowy crisp landscape, and considering it is summer this is not too bad a thing. I get absolutely no notes of the Darjeeling, the mint has totally overpowered it. The aroma of the liquid sans leaves is pretty much the same, there is a tiny hint of brisk sweetness but mostly it is all mint all the time.
Well, tasting this tea is tasting mint. There is a slight bitterness to it, not the bitterness of tannins but the bitterness of vegetation, for me mint always comes off a tiny bit bitter, it is one of the main reasons I like mint blends and not just straight up mint. I also like my mint blends a bit more balanced, it is such a potent herb that it will almost always overpower what it is blended with if it is used in abundance. The photo on the website made it seem like it was a more even split, so I think I just got unlucky and since mint is fluffy I got the mint…somewhere out there maybe someone got a sample that is mostly Darjeeling. I really like the idea of a mint Darjeeling blend, but sadly I just got to really explore the mint side, so I do not have a real opinion on this tea. The quest for a Moroccan Mint continues!
I’m very disappointed that this is out of stock. Because…. this tea is AMAZING. I actually was just going to email Anne personally with my rave review instead of posting it, so I could get more, but then I saw it was out of stock – so have switched my efforts to garnering reblend support instead :D
Anyhow – the review. The oolong base is marvellous – creamy and rich, not a hint of astringency, just amazing deliciousness. The grapfruit flavouring is bang on but not astringent, like I’ve often tasted in grapefruit teas (a reason why I don’t seek them out). The crystallized ginger and oolong combine for an amazing brown sugar flavour that isn’t outright sweet, but adds so much depth here, it’s impressive. The ginger is just at that perfect level where you can taste it, but it’s not sour or overpowering. Everything combines for a level of brown sugary grapefruit oolong perfection.
In short, this is probably the best new tea I’ve tasted in a while, and I’m heartbroken that there aren’t any other reviews on here about it, because that means nobody will know how amazing this tea is! And sadly, I only have a taster pouch so I can’t really even spread the love!
Therefore it clearly needs to be reblended. :D
Made the mistake of trying this AFTER the Mayan Chocolate Chai (sweet and spicy… oops!)
Anyhow, I think this is the best savoury flavoured tea I’ve ever tried. Definite tomato and basil (and a hint of pepper!), though none is so overpowering that one would feel they are drinking a cup of soup instead of a cup of tea. The tea base is nice here – it fills in the background enough to again make clear that this is tea, not soup, but I can’t pick out any flavouring notes distinctly.
Upping the rating because although I probably wouldn’t drink this tea often, it’s very well-executed and a novel flavour experience (and I can truly taste the tomato – which I believe I felt was lacking in my sample of the original blend).
Sample from the puerh plus TTB
Rinsed this once. 1st steep tasted like cream with a hint of apricot and brewed up a light green yellow. I could smell smoke coming off the next steep, but there was only a bit of acrid flavor in the cup. A bit of ruddy color started to come out here. 3rd steep came out just slightly bitter, it was more of just the feel of the astringentcy on the tongue than anything else. I also got a strange hint of melon flavor in there. The bitterness backs off on the 4th steep and the tea ends up mellow and sweet. It continues to steep up like this with increasing steep times and temperature until it quits around steep 13.
As it is now I’d say this tea while not terribly exciting, was pleasant. Probably a good thing to absentmindedly drink.
Flavors: Apricot, Cream
A sample from Miss B, and today’s cold brew. I used my usual method of preparation – 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of cold water, into the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. I think this one had me at hello, because the dry leaf smells so good. Very candy-pear, and something else – maybe quince? Delicious, anyway.
To taste, it’s just as wonderful as I’d hoped. The initial flavour is sweet candy-pear, very reminiscent of pear drops (especially in the way the flavour lingers). The ginger comes out in the mid-sip, very strong and spicy, and it makes for an unexpectedly delcious pairing with the much sweeter pear. I wasn’t sure whether the two flavours would go together at first, but it seems obvious now that they would.
This is one I’d happily drink hot as well, maybe in the autumn or early winter. It’s got a lovely spicy kick cold, and I can imagine it being a very warming cup on a cold day. I wish there were more pear teas around. They seem to be a relative rarity in the UK, and that makes me sad. More so because this one’s such a winner!