Featured & New Tasting Notes
First of all, the middle of this damn thing is absolutely stupid. It’s like the equivalent of an iron cake but much thicker. Whoever has broke one of these up has experienced what it is like to train in the gravity chamber… just saiyan.
Anyways: This is an easy tea to brew that provides a solid orange liquid showing that there is some age to it for sure. Depth is at the mid range, but easily appreciated. For the price it’s great, but dang… the middle of this thing turns me off of it. It’s the same reason that I don’t like iron cakes though; just losing the ability to get a nice piece off and having an easy brew session is gone once you get those chunks off that look like those pieces of blocktop that are 3×3 inches at a playground (anyone else remember those?).
so, i generally think of myself as not liking oolongs. somehow they lack the complexity i crave, they aren’t enough like sheng, i don’t know. and yes, i realize there is a huge spectrum described by ‘oolong’.
i keep trying though. this and the BLT duck sh… kinda changing my mind. (also w2t’s hot & heavy.)
can’t really give brewing params; took a yixing or “yixing” 120ml pot i acquired years ago, warmed it up, stuffed it with leaf, rinsed, and carried on, starting with flash steeps.
strong flavours and quite good sticking power. the flavours in the aftertaste seem to evolve over time.
Of all the Wuyi oolong cultivars, it seems the one that I can never manage to muster much of a reaction to is Rou Gui. I think part of that is the fact that it is so common. At the moment, Rou Gui is an extremely popular cultivar both in China and abroad. Every vendor seems to offer at least one Rou Gui variant each year. The cultivar, itself, has become so popular that I have seen it referred to as “the fifth bush;” its popularity with tea drinkers apparently rivals that of Da Hong Pao, Shui Jin Gui, Tie Luohan, and Bai Ji Guan.
This particular Rou Gui is a product of Li Xiangxi, a tea farmer whose portfolio of offerings through Verdant Tea I really admire. Part of why I appreciate her work is that she tends to avoid the increasingly popular heavy roasts in order to let the natural aromas and flavors of the cultivars with which she works shine and to allow drinkers to appreciate the unique terroir from which her teas come. This particular tea seems to go against her processing philosophy. Though it is labeled as a medium roast tea, I found the roast to be quite heavy and overbearing. It obscured the natural spiciness of the Rou Gui cultivar.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 4 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, I noted that the dry tea leaves produced heavy aromas of char, smoke, and dark wood. There was also a hint of elderberry. After the rinse, an orchid-like floral aroma emerged, as did aromas of huckleberry and spice. The first infusion produced a similar aroma, though I was able to detect an earthiness and tobacco as well. In the mouth, heavy flavors of elderberry, dark wood, char, and smoke mingled with more subtle notes of ginger, cinnamon, orchid, and huckleberry. Subsequent infusions began to draw out mineral notes, as well as aromas and flavors of caramel, raisin, black pepper, and clove. The later infusions displayed the expected Wuyi minerality both on the nose and in the mouth, though I could still detect fleeting impressions of caramel, char, smoke, raisin, tobacco, and wood with a hint of mild ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon spiciness.
This tea managed to be resilient, deep, and complex, though the overall aroma and flavor profiles were not much to my liking. I felt like the roast was too heavy, obscuring the spice, flower, and fruit notes of which I would have liked to see more. So, while there may have been a lot going on with this tea, it all seemed to be somewhat out of balance. Though I tend to admire Li Xiangxi’s work, I cannot help feeling that she lost the thread with this one. My search continues for a Rou Gui that really speaks to me. I think fans of heavier roasts may get some satisfaction out of this one, but it was not for me.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Caramel, Char, Cinnamon, Clove, Dark Wood, Fruity, Ginger, Huckleberry, Mineral, Orchid, Raisins, Smoke, Tobacco
It took me a minute to place this, but it smells and tastes exactly like canned cherry pie filling. Normally I wouldn’t think this would be a bad thing because I love cherry pie, but this does not feel right to me. It’s actually a little hard to drink. Not to mention that this is a very cloudy tea which always turns me off.
Some “kind” soul left a box of this in the break room today with a note that said “please take one” so this one is not a loss for me. At least I don’t have a box of my own to drink. Thank goodness. This will not be making it onto my wishlist today.
Morning tea! Love seeing the snow outside, just wish it wasn’t turning to rain…fuck ontario weather sometimes. I’m still not used to RAIN in winter. I often miss Alberta in winter…it was friggin cold..but there was no rain/ice to deal with 90% of the time. This is pretty tasty today – smooth and malty and just what the dr ordered.
Evol sample, thank you!
I wondered if this was right since the tips were more gold making me wonder if it was a union, but the dry cocoa powder and peach seed smell of the leaves make me feel otherwise. Like I said before, Nepal needs more love. This is a good case as to why and was a good pick for me.
I brewed gong fu and the qualities were closer to a Yunnan black in a mega powdery cocoa mouth feel and taste with a dried and roasted fruit finish. It reminds me of a Darjeeling in the dryness, but since I’ve had Nepalese teas before, it’s really a Nepal dryness that I associate with the terroir. Picking up a bit of a honey aftertaste as well. Malty overall, and a bit dry, but very pleasant.
This is the orb from the Sheng Olympiad.
I thought this was damn good. I was pretty impressed. The ball is not too tightly rolled and gives off a Sichuan pepper, peppercorn, and some sweetish savory notes. I seem to always smell Sichuan peppers on tea balls, not sure why. I warmed up my pot and threw it in. The aroma does a backflip and becomes very sweet with a thick green background. I can pick up an underlining bite that sifts through the brown sugar and maple fog. This is a very nice and inviting scent. I washed the ball twice and prepped for brewing. The taste begins light and grassy with some jasmine. The next steep is similar with dandelion floral qualities. Afterwards, the floral qualities truly bloomed and spread out on top of a nice bitter green base (bok choy/kale?). A punchy background of fruits follows throughout the session. The taste is really nice. The later steeping caused the floral and green qualities to reverse, so it was a base of floral and a hint of bitter greens. Personally, I thought this to be a floral bomb; it was packed with dandelion, jasmine, and iris. The tea gives off a crisp cooling sensation that sits at the tongue. The tea softens out and soothes with the fruit tones. The qi was noticeable but relaxing. This was a major kickback tea for me. I just put on some tunes and leaned back from my tea table. It was a good vibe-y tea. While drinking, I was trying to pull from memory how last years was, and I believe this one is softer and thicker; a more pronounced tone to it. I will have to look back through my notes.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Brown Sugar, Dandelion, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Jasmine, Kale, Maple Syrup, Pepper, Smooth, Sweet
I’ve been spending the morning catching up on my Steepster ratings, which means you’re going to be seeing a LOT of posts below this one from my work with the Sororitea sisters. I tried to grab a snippet from each post which indicates the general feeling each tea evoked. (Or a snippet that I think is funny. I like to believe I’m funny.)
This post, however, is a full post. A STEEPSTER EXCLUSIVE, JUST FOR ALL THE FANS OUT THERE, Y’ALL. REPPIN’ THE ORIGINAL STEEPSTER.
I bought a bunch of teas from August Uncommon on a whim. I had a lot of overtime money from work, and hey, gotta blow it on tea. Better than, like, um, hard drugs or more shoes. Or whatever it is other people spend their money on. (I don’t know how “hard drugs” or “more shoes” were the first options that came to mind. Am I okay?)
There’s a part of me that felt despair about ordering from August Uncommon. Am I cool enough to be ordering anti-establishment, edgy teas? What if it turns out I really am just a tool of the system? The Celestial Seasonings of human beings? (Reppin’ some fine grocery store blends!)
My first pick from my samples was “The Metropolitan,” which according to August Uncommon’s site, “feels like sparkling conversation on a city terrace.” It also (among other things) tastes like “neroli flower.”
I’ve never had “sparkling conversations” on city terraces (REPPIN’ THOSE ‘BURBS), or tasted a neroli flower. But I enjoyed this VERY STRONG brew. If you want an end-of-day wind-down, this isn’t for you.
It’s mostly a very tart fruit/berry flavor with with citrus notes and spices. It doesn’t back down.
If I were going to liken this tea to a movie franchise, it’d be The Fast And The Furious.
Vroom vroom. Caffeine + a low tolerance for sweetness.
PS — How many things did I “rep” this post? At least three things.
Sipdown! I am now at 101 teas! How exciting. I hope to be at 80 or less by spring.
So this tea is a chai tea. I am not fond of chai teas and ingredients like ginger and sage make me cringe. However, this tea is quite pleasant. The white tea base is very sweet. The spicy mixture is more cardamon to me with just a bit of ginger and sage. If I was a chai tea fan, I would probably love this tea. Since I am not, I will enjoy this tea today and say goodbye to it.
Flavors: Cardamon, Ginger, Sage, Sweet
What have I got to celebrate? Absolutely nothing. I’m back at work, I’ve got a cold, and I lost the flat I spent three months thinking I was buying because “estate agent” is apparently a synonym for “liar”. But I’m still going to treat myself to some champagne matcha, all the same.
This one came to me as a sample from Roswell Strange, and I actually should have started it ages ago. A combination of factors put paid to that, but better late than never. I think I held off on this one for so long because I only drink my matcha in milk, and champagne and milk seemed like an odd combination. I’m surprised to say that it works, though. It tastes like champagne. Which is obviously not the most helpful or descriptive tasting note, but it is a fact. It’s not bubbly, and there’s no hint of effervescence (I wasn’t excepting there to be, because…how?) but it’s definitely champagne and it even stands up to the milk. We’re not talking super-strong, but you can tell that that’s what it is.
I’m hoping a matcha latte will perk me up a bit, because something honestly needs to. I think I might buy some tea this evening. That’ll do it, for sure.
Last night I sent my neighbours a note asked them to tone it down with exercising—running, jumping, doing weights, and so on— on wooden floors. It took me a year and a half of it driving me crazy to mention it to them because I didn’t want to be the crazy lady next door. So I sucked it up. 7 am, 10 am, 3 pm, 4 pm, 5pm. And this week, I lost my ^%&t.
My note was polite. I have no problem with their newborn—sometimes it feels like I have a newborn alongside—and their six-year-old. Or their extended family and large friend network. But for the love of God, with the running and the kettlebells and motivation soundtrack against our adjoining wall and repeated thuds and thuds and thuds and boom and boom and boom and who knows what all else that makes the floors jump and the walls vibrate and me want to crawl out of my skin. And why do all this when you have perfectly good concrete floors too that will muffle the sound and not make your neighbours want to kill themselves? So I hated having to send the note, but nope, couldn’t take it any. more. I so much hope that they will understand instead of thinking that I am a lunatic.ok ok, I may be a lunatic, but in a good way.
I have often thought about this tea. When it is good, it is really really good. I misplaced it. It wasn’t in the place where I usually store it because I had included it in a swap with a tea friend and it got buried among other teas I had put aside to create swap samples. So, now, yay! Such bitter coffee and burnt caramel deliciousness. It is super lovely with milk, but I am drinking it straight up. And deliriously happy. Until I begin thinking about my neighbours.
Okay, as those of you who read my previous review for this tea may be aware, I was not completely satisfied with my brewing method, so I decided to change it up a little bit. I still went with a more or less Chinese gongfu approach, but used less leaf and started with a longer rinse and a longer first steep. My steep times for this session were as follows: 30 seconds, 35 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, and 5 minutes. I still got all of the aromas and flavors I got before and in the same order to boot. Maybe my first attempt, though not ideal, was not so bad after all. I still really adore this tea.
Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Osmanthus, Pear
This is my first Shui Xian Pillow and the first Shui Xian I’ve had which wasn’t pretty heavily roasted. I gave it two rinses at the start to get it opening up, thinking it would be like the puerh balls that take a lot of effort to open up in the gaiwan. Next time I drink one of these, I think I could just drink the second rinse, as it broke apart almost completely by the first “official” steep. The dry pillow had a floral aroma to it. After a rinse, it smelled even more floral with some honey. At this point, it smelled like a lot of green tgy which I’ve had, which I am not a fan of.
Thankfully, once I got into drinking the tea, I found it to be something quite enjoyable. There wasn’t a whole lot of flavor variety or difference between steeps. For most of the session, it was a floral, nectar sweet brew, with decently creamy thickness in the mouth. It had pretty impressive longevity – I got nearly 20 steeps out of it! Part of that was probably because I used the whole 7.3g pillow in a 100mL gaiwan, but still nice. At times, the finish changed from just floral sweetness and became something a little bit different. In steeps 4 and 5, there was an extra sweetness to the finish – it was fruity, but really it reminded me of jelly beans. Around steeps 9 and 10, the finish had a bit of a caramel sweetness to it as well.
This tea was tasty! I was a bit dubious, as I have been gravitating towards roasted oolong more lately, but this was nice.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet
Tried this as a cold steep two or three days in a row. Really really good. If you get the right amount of leaf in. Only if you get the right amount of leaf in. Too much and you are in store for an imitation flavour bonanza. Just enough and a buttered rum lifesaver explodes in your mouth in every sip. Underleafing is the way to go with this one.
This black tea is one of a number of unique African teas What-Cha sources from the Satemwa Tea & Coffee Estate in the Shire Highlands of Malawi. This particular tea is produced exclusively from leaves Satemwa buys from Yamba, one of the local tea farmers. I found it to be a smooth, malty black tea ideal for early morning or afternoon consumption.
I brewed this tea Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 4 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted a leafy, malty aroma. After infusion, I easily detected aromas of malt, toast, cream, caramel, sorghum molasses, and orange. In the mouth, I picked up distinct notes of orange, toast, caramel, cream, malt, and sorghum molasses balanced by traces of leather, black cherry, and wood. What-Cha advertised this tea as possessing a distinct impression of honey, but I failed to get that out of it.
Many of the African black teas I have tried have been very hit or miss for me, but this one I greatly enjoyed. I found it to be a smooth, rich, malty tea with considerably more depth and complexity than expected. I think fans of maltier black teas like Assam would find quite a bit to like about this one.
Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Toast, Wood
Good morning, Steepster! I’m starting my day with a cup of this from a swap I did with KittyLovesTea.
…So I wrote that a couple of hours ago, and then apparently got so distracted watching Doctor Who that I never finished the note. Oops. Other notes for this tea will probably follow pretty soon, since I’ve moved it to my focus box because it’s pretty old, so for now I’ll just write as much as my memory allows. The flavour of this was quite mild, but not to the point of the Decaf Raspberry Chocolate Waffle. I remember worrying the whole time I was drinking it that my sense of taste was failing me again. I’ve since eaten and had more tea so I don’t think that was the case, but I do think it’s probably due to the tea’s age. It wasn’t bad mild, just milder than I’d hope for my first cup of tea of the day. Cinnamon and spices dominate, but – particularly after adding sugar – there is also a vanilla cream cheese frosting aspect which is definitely discernible. I swear I could taste the carrot, too, in the aftertaste, and the malty, slightly bready base tea really helps to convey the overall ‘carrot cake’ flavour. I’d really like to try a cold brew of this one, but I don’t think I have enough leaf left to try it out.
Thanks for sharing, Kayleigh!
I finally sipped this down a few days ago, cold brew style. Lovely melon flavour but I prefer Golden Honeydew for that wonderful green rooibos base which allows for that melon flavour to come through more strongly, whereas this green rooibos base tends to get a little vegetal. Oh man, that Golden Honeydew is truly all that, folks. Not overrated at all, in my opinion. This was also the very last of my Lupicia teas, and while I’d love to make an order sometime, I didn’t really find any others that I found repurchase-worthy so justifying another order is tricky.
This has lost a ton of flavour. One of those teas I’ve started to suffer through because I must finish what I started darnit.
Today though? Babying my headcold, I opted to indulge with a wallop of honey and a few drops of milk. Oversteeped so any remaining berry flavour would peek through the additives. And it worked. I was quite pleased with the bready, pastry like result. I’ve never seen real baked bread notes in this tea. It must be my sinuses.
Now that cuppa is done, I’m sipping on a cup of boiled/redcuced ginger with more honey. It seems to be helping.
Didn’t pair very well with the cashews and pecans I had. But with my limited appetite and the fact they were right there, I thought it best to get as much protein as possible. Anyhow. I’m off to watch some Bull. An interesting premise for a show. and something I don’t need much brain power to follow haha
Damn, that smoke is powerful. I see why you double packaged it hakwband1.
Holy sh#t it’s going to be hard not to use flowery language for this tea. I got so many things from this cup. Smoke, yes. Earth, yes. Sweet for a black tea, yes. It was like I was finding a fire among snow covered pine trees. Brewing it up with hot water, the smell reminded of burning sandalwood or dragons blood. Sometimes, it made me think of maple glazed bacon. Tasting it after a minute of brewing, it is smokey and again sweeter than other black teas I’ve had. It makes me think of resin and pine.
Steep two, damn, same thing.
I’ve had Lapsang once before, but that was a long time ago. I am surprised with how much I am digging the crap out of this. I’m not sure I would drink it everyday, but you bet your hind end I will drink it on a cold day and I will save some of it for the next season of Sherlock.
haha those are some ropey looking leaf, looks like free internet huang pian, not 1080p blu-ray huang pian.
Shoved it all into my gaiwan & it was a few steeps in when I thought ‘must go on steepster!’, so i stopped what i was doing, jumped up & started writing this review.
I havent tasted this taste before & i like it. Its the kind I can mash about with my gaiwan lid & leave for a while & the sour taste hangs around in my mouth.. i just dont know how to describe it but the complexity is something I really go for, maybe not all the time but its nice to have this taste around for when you want something Yiwu-but-sour.- i like the taste in the mouth but the huigan is odd (drymouth) – but there & interesting.
Its a weird one, defo not to everyones tastes but that price is great.
Today started off poorly and usually that doesn’t augur well. I needed an afternoon pick-me-up and this tea was it. I needed an understanding hug, in fact, and this tea was the closest thing that was available.It may not have been initially, when I first had it, everything I had hoped for—perhaps I had had unrealistic expectations of a luscious chocolate nut fantasy in a cup, but it is a solid blend that delivers delicious chocolate nut comfort. I could trust in that and that’s exactly what I got in this particular cup.
It is even better with milk or cream and a wee bit of honey, but currently, given my nutrition plan, I am drinking everything black and unsweetened.
Flavors: Chocolate, Nuts
There are two options to pick from to review, but this choice had more tasting notes.
The leaf is dark and nicely threaded together. A nice note of smooth sweet wood and light musk lift from the leaf. I’ve heard good things about this tea, so I am excited to try. I warmed my lil pot up and prepared for brewing. The leaves, once warmed up, give off a fruity spice aroma. I pick up plum mixed with an extremely pleasant tobacco scent. I washed the old timers once before steeping. The taste is incredibly smooth with a bit of tannic. The huigan is thick, full, and filled with dates. This tea is motor oil thick and silky smooth. The later steeping yields a pleasantly sour tobacco note, but the drink still ends with a candy like sweetness. A light floral orchid lifts from the tongue by the third steeping. This is a stellar tea. I’d also like to note the leaves give off an inquisitive herbaceous note that fills the tea room. The qi begins head clouding and clears to warming uplifting of the body. This is a nice “cruising” tea; I can just drift along with the brew, enjoying the ride. The brew leaves me calm and collected with a nice easy goin vibe. I really like it, almost a bit too much.
Flavors: Candy, Dates, Orchid, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Smooth, Sweet, Tobacco, Wood