Featured & New Tasting Notes
This is the last of the Twinings Indulgence blends I picked up pretty much on a whim. I’d pretty much ruled out Twinings green blends a long time back, but the idea behind these, and favourable things friends had said about them, made me reconsider. I’m glad I did, because these are pretty amazing. I gave this bag 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.
Straight off, Salted Caramel reminds me a lot of the Fudge Melts blend I tried last week (I think…), only with less vanilla. I wasn’t all that keen on Fudge Melts – it sounded great, but it was kind of cloying and over-sweet in a sickly sort of way. Salted Caramel, fortunately, isn’t like that. The initial taste is sweet, rich, soft caramel, but there’s a distinctive saltiness that keeps the sweetness at a manageable level. My head tells me I’d prefer this as a black tea, but I can’t actually taste the green tea at all so I think that’s just my own bias towards black tea rather than a substantial observation.
On the whole, I’ve been pretty impressed with how flavour accurate these blends are, and there are a few that I’d happily drink again (and maybe actively seek out once my cupboard is under control again). Salted Caramel is no exception, so if you’re looking for an accessible, strongly-flavoured caramel dessert tea this would be a good place to start. Yum!
Tried this one hot!
I was definitely of mixed opinion when I tried this one in store, iced but I think the hot version is definitely an improvement.
I didn’t really get that kind of airy quality that cake, even pound cake, often has but I definitely got a buttery, almost sugar cookie kind of element that really complimented the sweet lemon. Like a perfectly baked sugar cookie with some sort of lemon frosting, actually! That lemon note was the most improved part of the tea: it didn’t taste chemical/artificial or bitter anymore which was super nice. That element of the iced tea actually made me feel quite nauseous. However, it also had a lemon note that was very distinctly lemongrass and the thing is that I don’t really love the taste of lemongrass. I will say that it worked with the vegetal, grassy undertone of the oolong itself, though.
Definitely an improvement!
Drinking this 1993 Toucha raw teabag I bought to put in with everyone’s mysterious package for the mystery group buy. James at teadb said that was was worth buying, meaning I should try it. I heard some bad and good things… and then I was like, damnit… I need to just drink it, so now I now!
I took the bag and smelled it, immediately knew it was from 1993 :P
Decided to go easy before hardcore. Took the bag and dropped it in my gaiwan and poured that hot water ontop. After 10 seconds I pulled it and started my first of 15 brews, FROM A TEABAG!
This stuff comes out like a light shou and almost like a light soy sauce which is intimidating at first as I don’t like darker sheng. First sip made me go, ‘what the heck’. I signed online and acted like a kid who is too excited and can’t contain it. This stuff is really really taste. The depth is there, the taste is pure, and the brewing inside a gaiwan for 10 seconds is simple and provides pleasant brew after brew. There’s no doubt that I will be buying more of this as well as seeing what two bags are like rather than one. Very glad that I provided this for others as I feel like it will be a fun time :)
Drank the autumn all day at work today; lasted a solid 7 hours at four steeps an hour, I drink a TON at work.
This stuff is great. I tell new pu’ heads to try Bang Dong or Jingmai because they are light and easily understood while being tasty. Simple brew with some floral undertones. This leaf withstands those long spa treatments that we drink the bath water from quite well. Interested in seeing how the spring taste now, but this is solid… did someone say Bang Dong is coming to the 2017 Sheng Olympics?
From one of the group buys (dark matter?)
Maybe it is my brewing parameters, or queued in my senses due to current life events, but when I steeped this up and the first two steeps, this tea tastes just like that weird plastic sweet scent of new black garbage bags. SERIOUSLY.
Later steepings is malty and coconutty. It did not resteep well though, I got 5 and it died. The flavor is light despite the high gongfu ratio.
I think this would of been better western or 1g / 10ml or jam as much leaf as you can in the gaiwan and flash.
A local Korean restaurant served us this roasted corn tea and despite being initially skeptical, it ended up rocking my world. I think they just keep adding water and letting it simmer throughout the day because when we were served it, the liquor was a pale straw yellow and it tasted so buttery, like President’s Choice butter-flavoured corn nuts. Apparently, oksusu cha helps with kidney function, blood pressure, and diabetes. Who knows for sure but it sure does feel like it’s cleaning up my innards when I spend all day drinking it!
After my initial visit, I kept thinking about the tea (and the food since it was addictively delicious), and since the waitress mentioned that they sell roasted corn to take home and brew yourself, after a week of craving the buttery deliciousness, I went back and purchased a healthy-sized glass jar of the stuff.
Because of the preparation method, I find it’s something that you need to be home all day for in order to get the most out of it. The first time I had this at home, I poured half a cup of roasted corn into a medium-sized pot, let it get to a gentle boil, then reduced the heat to let it simmer for 20-ish minutes before trying my first cup. The liquor was substantially more pigmented than it was in the restaurant, a tarnished golden brown, and it was much roastier in favour, too. Less butter, more roastiness. As my mom and/or I would pour a cup, we kept adding more water and let it simmer until taking another cup, and even after doing this for 5+ hours, the colour of the liquor and flavour weren’t as soft and buttery as the restaurant’s.
For that reason, yesterday, I used less roasted corn. It’s been colder and rainy over the past few days, which are perfect conditions for staying in all day and enjoying oksusu cha. Instead of filling up my half-cup measuring cup, I filled it up about 2/3 full. So approximately 1/3 cup of roasted corn this time, and I found that it was more balanced this way. I got more buttery nuances from each and every cup. I started simmering the roasted corn just before noon, and by 4 -5pm I was all oksusu cha’d out. Not because I was getting sick of the flavour. No way! I was just getting tea-logged. I must have had 7-8 cups worth and felt if I kept going, I would have gotten a headache from over-hydration.
That’s the downside of oksusu cha. It’s not like you can just steep a cup in a few minutes and done, or prepare this in the morning before work, or at work. I mean, you can if you have twenty minutes, but seeing how amazing it gets the longer it simmers, that would seem like a waste.
It’s also common to find iced tea versions in Korean stores with sugar added. I filled up my iced tea jug with oksusu cha and refrigerated it the first time I made it. It was kind of strange. My mom described it as musty, which is accurate. I don’t think adding sugar would have been the answer, either.
Overall, two thumbs up. I’d have it more often if the process weren’t so time-consuming.
This tea was quite good. There was a nice sweet note throughout all ten steeps. Some have described this as grapes, but I’m thinking more along the lines of chestnuts. Regardless of what you call this note this was excellent tea. If White2Tea had this up for sale I would probably buy it. As it is I have enough left for one more session. The tea had a nice amber color to it throughout all ten steeps I gave it. I did enjoy this tea although I prefer when White2Tea sends puerh.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 100ml gaiwan with 5.2g leaf and boiling water. I steeped it for 10 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
Smooth, buttery in flavor and mouthfeel, notes of melon and cucumber w/slight honeysuckle florals. Part of “A Week of Tea Exploration” suggested by Lion on Steepster, day one of seven, white tea. Paired with some French bread, goat cheese and strawberries, (unusual as I rarely ever eat during a session). Very enjoyable and relaxing tea session.
2.5g, (6 pearls), 150ml white crystallized celadon gaiwan, 175F for 3m, first infusion then 3.5, 4 at 175F and one 5m infusion at 185F.
The evolution of leaf:
Congratulations, Canada! IIHF world champions!
Yesterday, I went to Remedy not once, but twice, and this was my second time around. Finally they had this in stock. They carry the sachets. The tin is bursting with chocolate mint, but unfortunately, it’s not as flavourful as I had hoped. I didn’t add any milk or sugar, the chocolate and mint flavours are quite balanced, but I still wanted more. It’s very similar to H&S’s Chocolate Mint. Maybe this one is a little more chocolatey.
I loved my first drink at Remedy yesterday, though. They just introduced a cardamom matcha chai, and boy, was it cardamom. Heaps of cardamom in my mug. Throughout the milky green liquor were speckles of coarsely ground cardamom. Wow! The matcha was the perfect level too. I’m definitely going back for more.
Opened up a new sample packet of this just now. Wonderful smell in the packet. Almost chocolatey, earthy, a little bit like dark chocolate baked goods. The steeped tea aroma is smooth and a tad sweet. It’s like the standard American notion of black tea, a bit reminiscent of Lipton.
The liquor isn’t as reddish as I generally expect from Ceylons. It’s a sort of brown-orange.
The flavor is quite mellow and smooth, not what I’d call “brisk” really though there is some astringency. It has a slightly metallic note, which is interesting. And though there is a honey note, it isn’t particularly sweet in the sip.
I like this one a lot. I think it would make a great iced tea as well.
Flavors: Honey, Metallic
Dark Matter 2016
I started on this tea last night, but after the third cup, I wasn’t feeling it. I’ve been drinking it on and off today, but for whatever reason, it’s nothing that I’ll write home about. It IS good, but nothing that I’ve wanted to drink. The mouthfeel is pretty sour; with a touch of something else that I can’t think of….That’s all I’ve got.
This is as much of a confession as a review. I went nuts back in November 2013 with a huge order from Upton tea. I’m still drinking down that order, to the extent that i just opened this tea in May 2016. The amazing thing is that the tea is still very good!
The dry aroma from the bag was really pleasant. in the cup, the tea smells of citrus fruit and melon. the taste is similar but with a bitter undercurrent that detracts a bit from the taste. The finish is long and pleasant, with the fruit easily dominating just a hint of bitterness. i’m not going to give this a numerical rating since i have no idea what it tasted like when it went on sale. All I can say is that it is still very good.
I’m drinking this as part of the “week of tea exploration” suggested by Lion. Good idea Lion!
This is a high end daily drinker. Looking at this as it’s $9 for 50g… not what I expected. It’s really good. The sweetness is evident with each sip though it is complex because there is a roast profile in front of it all.
Easily brewed. Cheap. Tasty.
There’s nothing more I can ask from this tea honestly, it exceeds what I had expected. I would regard this as a daily drinker and good to put a little aside for the fun, but if I were to share a cup of YS oolong with friend it would still be the Iron Arhat which has true depth to it. Probably going to look at getting more of this for work.
This tea, which I believe is all buds, is pretty good. It’s got a malty note, a chocolaty note and a fruity note. Because I added a small amount of sugar the fruity note seems strongest. Tastes like ripe plums.
I brewed this tea twice in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 and 4 minutes. I put the second steeping into a thermos for work.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Plums
I’ve already reviewed this tea, but decided to add a review because the tea is a bit of a chameleon and wanted to capture this session.
The first steep had sweet straw and tropical fruit (or apricot?) dominate the nose and the taste. Very pleasant. Good long finish. After a few sips I notice a darker element lurking underneath. Medium-light body; no bitterness. Good cha qi. 2nd steep: The taste is now more woody, with less fruit or sweetness and a moderate bitterness ppears, especially in the finish. The fruit and straw are still there; they just have to share the stage. I’m really starting to feel teh effects of the cha qi. 3rd steep has a strong new flavor I just can’t describe. I want to say vegetable, but it’s like no vegetable I’ve ever had. 4th steep: Really good, but i’m getting tea drunk.
Every steep of this tea was different from the last in some way, yet with recurring themes. Like a good symphony. very complex and interesting. I rated this an 89 before but am bumping my rating up a notch because I am really enjoying the tea. Wish I had more.
Quick Review, Via Dark Matter 2016
I had had this tea for two days. Despite my attempt to write whilst drinking, I had spent a majority of the first session reading a book. The second session was spent on the phone with school and preparing games for my students’ last day of school….However, as always, I had written a few words on a piece of scrap paper.
Light, woody, wet earth, reminds me of the Fall season (I’ll have to remember to grab some of this then), and a touch of hay(?).
Now, the first day, the tea seemed to be pretty light in flavor and color.
Yet, on the second day (longer steeps), I could look at the liquid and say that I thought it looked like coffee (but it hadn’t tasted nor smelled like coffee. Heh) because it was so dark.
Overall, it was pretty good. Not the absolute favorite of the group, but I was happy to have it for two days.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Wet Earth, Wood
This was bought because the owl mentioned it and I was like: What an awesome thing to include in the mystery buy!
A Japanese black tea smoked with whiskey barrel wood? That should have been reason enough, but I didn’t know about it so thanks owl :)
So I approached this like I do with all five of the black Japanese; just brewed it as if it was a roasted oolong. Here’s why I do that: I believe Japanese tea is the most delicate and pure of all the types I’ve had, tasted, ripped apart, ate, and overall evaluated as I drink all the teas possible. I’m quite thankful that I did that with this because the leaf when brewed looks like that of a first flush Darjeeling; you know, that dark seaweed olive color.
90c for 150 second in the large kyusu (western stylin’)
This is among the top 10 most unique teas that I’ve had from the first few sips. When I think of smoked tea I think of lapsang smoke… like, campfire in my mouth smoke. This is something completely different. Immediately I’m reminded of bbq by the aroma; how did I not think of bbq smoke vs campfire smoke vs ashtray smoke as possible for teas? There really is this odd taste which comes somewhat from the aroma of a woodsy roastish liquid… with this underlying cooked vegetable taste. Unfortunately I cannot decipher if this is a roasted or smoked vegetable taste underneath, it’s just too frickin’ weird.
After drinking a decent amount of this I realize it reminds me most of wood chips that were left to the side so you pick it up and get that smoked wood smell on your finger and sneak a smell in every once in awhile because it brings back a good memory of some awesome bbq.
This is pretty good, but it’s just hard to explain because I feel as if it is an experience type of tea and not a taste type of tea… what a unique thing. Maybe I’ll try smoking tea with my barrel one day when it retires :P
Glad that this is in the mystery buy as I know I will thoroughly enjoy reading the thoughts of others :)
Thanks to Nicole for this one… from a while ago! Not much I have to say about this one other than ‘I drank this’. It looks more like a Golden Monkey to me. Equal parts black and golden leaves. The flavor is a very light version of what I expect a Fujian tea to be (like Laoshan black… just even lighter and with a tangier quality to it.) Since my complaint of Verdant’s Laoshan is usually that it’s too light, this one is even less to my tastes. But that is just my tastes! It’s like a light tangy caramel molasses.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons // 10 min after boiling // 2-3 min steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 min
I’ve also been drinking many sipdowns lately. Sipping one now that I think is also from Nicole from AGES ago… DeRen’s Jasmine oolong that still has a ton of flavor!
Sipdown no. 59 of the year 2016 (no. 270 total).
I found more of the Maeda-En 2010 Sincha, which I thought I had sipped down. Apparently I had three containers of it originally, and am now down to part of one, so that has been my go-to green tea for work lately. But I’ve mixed it up some by having this as my Timolino accompaniment on some days to break up the Sincha stream.
Yesterday I was reminded how much I love this. After drinking a sweeter green for several days, the difference is much more pronounced. I’m bumping it some points.
A sample from Roswell Strange, who kindly agreed to help me expand my flavoured matcha horizons. This is the second I’ve tried of the samples she sent me, and since it’s a little cold this morning it seemed like a pretty appropriate “warm up” flavour when I arrived at work. I made it up as a latte – 1/4 tsp of leaf whisked into about an inch of water, then topped up with hot milk.
The flavour is pretty good. It seemed very sweet and buttery initially, which reminded me very much of pie crust. The cinnamon emerged second, and added nicely to that effect. The apple is a little more fleeting, but there’s definitely something in the mid-sip that reminds me a lot of apple pie filling, although shop-bought rather than homemade. There’s something just a little artificial about it. The apple is sweet and floury rather than sharp and crisp, which is the opposite of my preference, but it works with the pie/baked goods theme here, and is tolerable in that respect.
I feel like I got on pretty well with this one, and I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit with preparation methods and suchlike. Thanks again to Roswell Strange for the opportunity to try this one.
Drank this today while reading the timeline of Star Trek and now I feel dumb… then again it’s confusing. Enterprise is the earliest of them all but it was made last, why why why!
Anyways, this is a solid tea that has no bitter notes to it and a strong taste of what raw sheng is like when pure and untampered with by elements such as age, humidity, traveling, random hairs stuck in the cake, fast food oil from fingers when it was broken, and anything else.
That being said: All jingmai material I’ve had has been excellent and pure. This is true for this as well, even if I support what Glen is doing and say with a bias; CLT has that good good jingmai.
Here’s a reason to buy this: It’s a 2013 Jingmai cake at only $19 for 200g. I’m being serious when I say that’s a good deal.
Lapsang souchong smokey black tea. Yan xun zheng xiao zhong. Tea review
ru yao drsgon teapot gongfucha
Dry leaf: smokey, pine, basketballs.
Wet leaf: smokey, pine, spices, basketballs.
1x short rinse
Medium steep: I smell/taste; medium
-> spices, pine, smoke, basketballs. Light cream.
Heavy steep: I smell/taste: strong
-—> pine, smoke, basketballs spices. Light cream.
All in all, a wonderful tea! The taste, smell and cha qi, so lovely!
I rate a 100
Flavors: Cream, Pine, Smoke, Spices