Featured & New Tasting Notes
From the S&S TTB #2
Thanks to Rich for the generous addition to the TTB.
This tea is the reason I love sheng. The tea is rich and complex, with every one of at least 10 steeps showing a subtly different character.
The first steep (some would call this the rinse) was light but delicious with floral highlights. 2nd and 3rd were rich, complex, and powerful. Middle steeps (3,4,5) were woody and tannic, presumably suggesting an ability to age. After the 5th steep, the steeps became soft and round and sweet. The combination of the flavor and the cha qi leaves me sitting on the sofa with a smile on my lips.
Very nice. Mild, smooth, apple-y in initial steep. Second steep was a little sour but not in a bad way. The smell is very much a Fujian black though there isn’t any of the mild smoke I have gotten lately with teas from that region. Glad to have this on hand. It isn’t one I have to keep around but it will be enjoyed as an every day tea while it lasts!
3 Leaf Tea offered samples for review. I asked for this one in particular as I have never tried a tangerine pu’erh. The brewing instructions are for a western style brewed cup. 1 tsp of leaf and a cup of boiling water with a 3 minute steep.
The dry leaf is very pleasant to sniff. It is hay and fruit. The steeped leaf is barnyard but I know this seldom translates into the cup. The brew is almost ‘tea’ colored but a little more ruby tinted than your average orange pekoe.
The taste is dusty dry spiciness with a hint of tangerine zest. It is not astringent or bitter. There is a gentle but deep earthiness that confirms this is pu’erh. The second cup was pretty much like the first except maybe a touch more towards sweet. Goes down easily.
Not a deeply complex tea but a nice everyday sipper. Seems like a good base to play with your herbs and spices to see what you can invent.
So, I’ve had this one twice now. It’s very bread-y with a nice thickness, and there’s a cocoa element as well, but I’m not getting as much sweetness as I would like. I think if it had a nice honey note, that would make it a great tea. As it is, it lingers on the edge of cocoa bitterness. Maybe it’s delicious with some added sugar, but I’m not doing that with my Chinese black teas anymore. The other black tea I have from them, I believe it’s the ying de black tea, has a lot of honey sweetness…hmmm, I see an experiment mixing the two in my future!
I have (nearly) always been a Chinese black kinda girl. I do occasionally enjoy others as well, like I’m partial to a good Assam and I wouldn’t say no to a low-grown Ceylon or a particularly good Kenya, but deep down the Chinese blacks is where I ‘live’ preference-wise.
Taiwanese blacks are sort of the same family (political controversies not even taken into account) and they have lots of the same qualities. Like for example one of the things I like about the Chinese blacks is how they are nearly impossible to ruin. If you have a good leaf, you can steep it to kingdom come and it will still come out perfectly drinkable. Perhaps a little less nice than if you’d done it properly, granted, but it won’t be totally ruined. In comparison, if you did the same thing with an Assam or a Ceylon, it would be a highly unpleasant experience indeed.
I don’t have much experience with Taiwan, though. It’s one of those things, you see. You tell yourself you should explore this or that type or this or that area but just never really seem to get around to it. So when I got a newsletter from Yunnan Sourcing, announcing the opening of Taiwan Sourcing, I jumped at the chance immediately and got a small amount of each of the three blacks they offered. The first one was the one I posted about last time I posted. This is one of the other two.
This is actually saying a lot, as I have entered a phase where I’m less focused on having an enormous amount of tea choice at all time and wanting to try all the teas and all the shops and all the flavours and find the perfect this and the perfect that. This is what happens when you stop using a site for 8 months. In recent times I’ve rather thrown myself at embroidery and am more likely to be spending money on stitching supplies. (So many designs! So little time!)
Anyway, this tea is very minty when you smell it. So minty, you’d think there was mint in it, but there isn’t. There’s a great deal of camphor-y notes to it as well.
It’s slightly astringent when drinking it, especially as it cools down a bit, but not nearly so much as to bother those who don’t care for astringency, I don’t think. I mean, we’re not on an Indian teas level of astringency here. But a touch of it, yes. There’s a cinnamon-like aftertaste as mentioned in the description of it, but for me it’s primarily quite malty and dark tasting. It’s very nice.
OMG what is this oolong sorcery?!?!?! Clover Patch oolong?
This oolong has a potent aftertaste, probably the most potent tea so far. I think the entire block could smell my tea breath. It’s floral, fruity, citrus, buttery, linen, custard and wet leaf. Later infusions the aftertaste is stronger than the tea. I really enjoyed the tea, though I didn’t get many infusions. I would of sold my first born for more if it was more roasty and higher oxidized, but that’s just personal taste.
Full review on Oolong Owl. Review also has the other W2t club teas – Fresh and Aged Dahongpao http://oolongowl.com/august-white2tea-club-featuring-dahongpao-and-clover-patch-oolong-tea-review/
I’m starting to feel like the queen of Random Steepings, but I don’t know where else to put all of these subscription box reviews.
Today’s post is about London Tea Club. https://tealover.net/2015/08/london-tea-club-subscription-box/
noms! farewell gregory’s. I would totally pick you up again in the summer as a tasty fruit tea that i enjoy both hot and cold brewed. It’s got the tartness from the hibby but it’s not overpowering and it makes me a happy camper.
I’m going to be working from home next week for 4 days but “home” will be ottawa so i need to pack up some teas that i can spend some time with over the week. here’s hoping i can get a few sipdowns in!
First, my apologies to K S, who graciously shared a bit ages ago, and I have been remiss in expressing my thanks…because this is tasty! It also holds up well to mistreatment (the baggie got wedged behind a couple of tins and I didn’t know it was there).
I don’t do Darjeeling often, so when I do, I’m pleasantly surprised. This particular variety is one of the “grapiest” Darjeelings I’ve tried; after half a cup, my mouth feels like I’ve had fruit juice. It has a …mmm, not delicate, maybe elegant or refined personality and would, no doubt, taste better from Grandma’s teacups than my battered Tervis tumbler that has suddenly started to behave like a dribble glass.
This is a beautiful tea. This gongfu session will be one of my most memorable. I’m going to break this down to help describe this cake fully.
This is truly prized maocha. The dry leaf consists of long and slender leaves. The stems are thick, and the leaf is large. These dark gold and bronze tendrils carry a sweet grape and lightly oiled leather scent. I took a deep inhale from my jar. This is an enticing aroma.
I warmed these treasures in my yixing. The aroma grew more in depth and became thick. A swift inhale brought me images of plump grapes, winter honey, and buckwheat syrup. This was going to be a tasteful brew.
I washed this once and prepared brewing. The leaves are massive and mostly intact. These long pale jade leaves become soft and sweet. They smell of stewed zucchini and have a thick vegetable aroma.
Finally, The Brew:
This is beyond fantastic! This drink is perfectly balanced. The brew starts with a thick honey sweetness. Then, it tips over into a light bitterness. The flavors of pepper and syrup combine. The major point of this brew, was its Qi. I’ve never felt anything like this. I’ve drank some aged sheng with a powerful kick, but this was an entirely different animal. The third steeping left me foggy, sweating, focused, and pumping with adrenaline. It was a mix between immense power and perfect serenity. The fifth steeping arose the question “can I really drink more…?” I managed to slowly continuing brewing. The brew became ever sweeter and smooth. The liquor remained a dull bronze color. I lost track of how many times I steeped these leaves. The qi walked along side me sip by sip. The flavor became completely floral in later steeping. The sips were like delicate orchids mixed with slight nectar. This is by far my favorite sheng so far. I’ve never encountered such a brilliant brew. I am so grateful to be able to try this, and I can’t wait to share this with others.
P.S. I wish the ratings could go past 100 xp
Flavors: Floral, Honeysuckle, Orchids, Pepper, Sweet, Winter Honey, Zucchini
I wish I could give this tea a good revue. But wishes will not make that happen. While I know that a Dayi 7572 can be an excellent tea this one is not. Simply put this tea had an off taste to it. I gave it eight steeps in the hopes it would dissipate. Only in steep eight did I notice a slight improvement. That off taste, combined with a lot of fermentation flavor make this a tea to avoid. I bought this tea from Aliexpress King Tea and it is the first truly bad tea I have got from him. Even the one I got that had some mold on it tasted better. (I found enough of that without any mold to drink it.) I do not think this is his standard tea by any means as I have gotten some good tea from him. Perhaps six months of storage will improve the taste of this tea. The problem I have is I don’t know how to describe the off flavor. It is not a taste of wet storage as I know it. It may be that this tea picked up an unpleasant taste during it’s storage from it’s surroundings. In any case it is the worst puerh I have drank in a long while, perhaps ever. I should also note that this tea appeared to have been unwrapped and rewrapped. The Dayi seal was broken off the tea wrapper.
Steeped this tea eight times in a 180ml teapot with 12g 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.
Maybe my memory is on the fritz but this just seems different than any Bao Zhong or Pouchong I have tried before. First the leaf has more green than I recall. There is also tan tips and the darker leaf kind of looks battle ship grey with white spots. The liquor is bright yellow which I did expect but the aroma is floral like Alishan. The taste is sweet and at first reminds me of corn with maybe a touch of malt. Then it moves towards the floral notes. The aftertaste is lingers green and viney.
I know most western folks seem to like their oolong dark and highly roasted. I do not. This is more my style. Light, crisp, and refreshing. A good afternoon sip, to chill or meditate.
I have reviewed this tea 57 times already. Why do it again today? Several reasons!
First, we had this yesterday at tea party. We tried a new recipe for French Silk Pie which my guest promptly renamed “Death By Chocolate” and said we needed to put it on the rotation and this was the unflavored black served with it. We followed with Dark Obsession Chocolate Rose.
But I had made a lot of it and we had eight ounces left, which I heated and put in my Thermos and took to the Cancer Center with me. I wasn’t really thinking when I did that, it was just the first tea handy. But Catherine has given me fortitude through some though times. She was with me every morning after radiation and kept me going strong. So how fitting it was that she was with me this morning when the doctor released me – FOR GOOD – from coming to the Cancer Center! I am not officially at the five year mark but he said he felt that my primary care physician could take of things from here on!
Nice to have her there for my celebration!
In addition, I noted some changed in flavor from drinking it in the thermos. The maltiness seemed amplified and there was also an element of hearty green tea about her today. Back in the day when I used to put her in a thermos I also added milk and sugar but I don’t use them anymore. So it was a pleasant little surprise to discover the little change of nuance in my reliable Queen.
Scott Wilson is spot-on with his description of this high-elevation tea, which coats the mouth with a pleasant lubricating sweetness and remains balanced and free from bitterness and astringency through many steepings. Prominent mineral, hay, and soy notes linger in the throat. I feel joyful, calm and focused after drinking this tea; any caffeine effects are sublimated in favor of positive energy.
This is a very fresh tasting and delightful tea that is an absolute pleasure to drink right now and a bargain to boot! If I had any kind of influence I would fear that broadcasting its under-the-radar excellence may cause a run on this sheng, but as it is, I urge anyone interested in a daily drinker to give it a try.
I had this one as a free sample when i popped in to David’s tea to try and find some sale stuff a friend is looking for. White teas generally aren’t my favourite but this one was fairly nice as a gold brew. It’s not lupicia’s golden honey dew, but this makes a decent replacement for it if you don’t have easy access to lupicia. :) Over all a nice blend and pretty close on the flavouring :)
Today I reviewed the Sei Sei glass travel infuser!
I am a daily travel tumbler user, so I was really excited to have a chance to review the just-released Sei Sei Portable Tea Infuser Bottle. Believe me, I shopped around for a long time before I settled on the tumbler that I use now, and I wish this one had been available back then.
This is a tasty tea with strong notes of malt and slightly weaker notes of chocolate or cocoa. This tea seems to be very popular on Steepster as it has nearly 300 reviews. This tea is I think good quality but I don’t know why it has so many reviews. If anything to me this is a standard black tea but a good one, not spectacular but worth buying. If I were charged the prices of Whispering Pines for this I’d be annoyed. But Teavivre sells this for quite a reasonable price. It just seems to me that this tea is slightly hyped up, that’s all. I do enjoy the tea.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.
I had four request to resurrect this tea. The reason it died is because I am not a fan of black teas in general so my own taste buds said to me, ’don’t make any more of this’ but others disagreed which is awesome because it means I did something right.
I’m going to do something weird and sell this as a personal blend for now as I am figuring out Etsy. With that being said, I have no idea what this actually cost me nor do I care so I’ll just do a flat $5 per ounce if anyone is interested.
Wait, what if this tea sucks??? No worries, I can send free samples in the case that an ounce might drive your taste buds crazy; I don’t want to be part of causing an internal battle between one’s mind and taste buds :p
So, the Keemun I used is roughly 3x the size of the last leaf (though that means little). I also put less oolong in it since it is a black tea blend.
I think that’s about it. This is a Steeperster blend for my friends :)
This Keemun is BS
If I were a responsible adult, I would put on pants (well, pants with pockets, more leggings need pockets, but then they would just be pants and not leggings?) and walk to Aldi’s for some groceries. Turns out I am not responsible, or at the very least, I do not feel well enough to go for a walk, in the ebb and flow of my allergies, today is definitely a tidal bore, and it is a little frustrating. At least I got the new teapot all cleaned up (operation teapot rescue was a success) and managed to get in some good gaming, Terraria summoner playthrough is hard work!
Today’s tea is an herbal one from M&K’s Tea Company, their Honey-Roasted Licorice Root, it is exactly what it says on the tin, licorice root roasted in honey. Ok look, usually I am not one to talk about the medicinal quality of plants, too many nit-wits out their take random bloggers at face value and do not do research on their own and get sick. I take teaching herbalism the same way I take teaching edible mushrooms while on a naturalist hike, no just no. But licorice root is awesome, at least it has been for me, taking Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice did more for my stomach ulcer than the crazy medicine I was taking at the time did, and drinking licorice tea is one of the few things that actually soothes my sore throat. It is an exceptionally useful root that conveniently is quite tasty (though oh man it can ruin some blends when used wrong) so I actually enjoy consuming it. Back in January when Ben had a nasty cold, I gave him some of the Honey-Roasted Licorice tea and was told it was quite helpful, but he drank the last of mine and I plum forgot to get more…until I saw they were having a sale and I was having chronic sore throat…and well, my package arrived today so why not talk about this tea? Anyway, smell! It smells really good! Very rich sweet honey and an earthy-rooty-woody blend that is licorice, and a delicate roasted spice finish. If you hate licorice then you will probably be able to tolerate this tea, it smells more like burdock root than licorice, but there is that distinct licorice aroma, just faint.
However, when you steep it, the licorice really comes out, sweet honey roasted licorice, it smells exactly like that. Roasted licorice root and sweet honey dance out of the wet root bits, with a touch of earthiness as well. The liquid is surprisingly complex, notes of creaminess, honey, gentle toasted notes, roots, and a touch of spice drift out of my cup, it is very sweet, though also very mellow. It is an intriguing thing.
The taste starts out subtly sweet at the front, gentle honey and caramelized sugar, and then boom! Licorice slams into the midtaste and coats the throat with its intense sweetness and rooty goodness. It is not the usual licorice though, the honey roasting, for lack of a better way of putting it, reigns it in, it gives it a more subtle nuance, I can taste the earthy root elements, the woody notes, the resinous sweet sap notes…it is not just the super sweet intense licorice you usually get in a licorice tea. The mouthfeel is honey thick and slippery, and the sweet aftertaste lingers for quite a while. And for the first time in almost a month, I don’t have a sore throat! Also, as a side note, I find chewing on the spent roots to be very enjoyable, and unlike most herbal brews I got a couple steeps from the roots.
Flavors: Earth, Honey, Licorice, Roasted, Spicy, Wood
This is a queued tasting note.
Earlier near the beginning of the month we had the monthly ‘engagement meeting’ at work which of course, as my departments rep, I had to attend. Despite the content discussed at the meetings themselves, they’re actually fairly low-key and I love getting to learn about the different departments and how they’re run, as well as just hanging out with all of the department reps each month. It’s a fun time. Genuinely.
Each month one of us brings food as well – generally something relating to our department. This month Jillian, one of the two dietitians, provided food: a lovely mango/cucumber and red onion salsa and chips made out of beans. “Dietitian approved”. While it’s no cheesecake (which is what I brought last time) it was delicious.
And speaking of food/beverages – each meeting we get free coffee made for us by the coffee bar but I don’t drink coffee! Not a drop – the last time I had an actual cup of coffee was (I’m pretty sure) my 20th birthday when my manager bought me one as a birthday present and I drank it so as to not be rude. So I decided to ‘one up’ the coffee drinkers and bring tea. I brought some of DAVIDsTEA’s Movie Night for anyone else who wanted some – there were a few takers. This is what I brought for myself – and I have to say I had a fun few minutes talking to people and explaining why it didn’t look like any tea they’d ever seen before.
I did enjoy two good infusions of this during the meeting; I could have made more but getting up multiple times to do so probably would have been at least a little frowned upon despite the ‘casual’ feel of these meetings. Even though everyone’s having fun there’s still lots of work to be done!
Sadly, I couldn’t devote my full attention to the tea as I was taking minutes in addition to just contributing – so there were moments I was sipping without noticing anything. At the end of the meeting I had that feeling of drinking really good tea but not recollecting anything about it. Thankfully, my tea obsessed self made time to write a few things in the margins of the meeting’s minutes. So, in order of what I wrote and word for word:
- Apricot notes
- Honey finish
- A nice ‘fog’/malt/cream to it
- Taste & mouthfeel
- Reminds me of a good white tea; White Rhino?
- (A drawing of ‘The Rhino’ from Spiderman)
I’ve never considered myself a big fan of green oolongs, but if I keep on tasting teas like this, I may be a convert.
And it turns out this has to have been one of the best teas I’ve had in ages! The dry leaf of this tea looks exquisite: beautiful, dark emerald green nuggets. It smells exquisite, too: lovely, floral, creamy, and fresh. You can really tell that this tea was harvested only a few months ago. Normally the floralness of green oolongs turn me off because they have a weird sort of astringency to them, but this tea is mild and light.
Tuesday we were in Columbus Indiana, so we stopped at Empire Tea Services warehouse. Here in small town Indiana, they blend and carry 250 different teas. Mainly they are wholesalers, supplying tea for restaurants and hotels. They also do relabeling. The retail side of the business is called Tea Temptations. They don’t really push the retail side. I have tried to get them to sell samples and smaller sizes – 4 oz is just too much for most of us around here. They told me it cost more than they make from it. Others do it, so I’m not so sure, but they seem happy with things the way they are. They also have items in stock (like yixing pots) that aren’t on their website. The tiny pot I looked at was $29.
So, the tea… back in my tea bag only days, I loved Peach Apricot tea. I am not a big flavored tea drinker, except mainly Earl Grey. I am not sure why PA has always appealed to me. This stuff blows the doors of anything bag related. I was told that this has been their number one selling tea for several years. Today I am having it iced. The gunpowder tea is mainly large broken pieces with some full leaves. It stays mostly in the background. The peach and apricot share equal billing. They taste really natural to me. I can almost feel the fuzz on the fruit.
Oh, one other thing, the tea comes in decorative plastic lined waxed paper bags. It should probably be moved to something else if you don’t drink it up quickly. Admittedly, I never move it and it seems to do well. Just wanted you to be aware.
I love a good Jingmai! This is a spectacular brew. The leaves are easily compressed, long, and so fragrant. This cake has the traditional Jingmai characteristics. The leaves are dark and resinous and carry a strong tangy and almost citrus scent. I placed a chunk in warmed yixing and shook em up. The aroma from my brewing vessel was sweet and fruity. I washed the leaves once and prepared to brew. The steeped leaves are soft, vibrant, and sweet. I love Jingmai for its full flavor. This has a complex balance of succulent and potent. This brew is hard, yet it finishes smooth and soft. The initial sip starts with a slight pepper taste, and it finishes with a strong green tea mixed with honey suckle. My yixing yielded a bronze soup for many steeping sessions. However, there was only a very faint huigan. The qi from this tea is a rising effect. I almost didn’t notice it. I can feel a background effect that boosts me. I was given motivation to complete my task, and the relaxation to focus on precision. This was a nice golden brew. This is something special, and I will invite others to try it.
Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Pepper, Smooth, Sweet, warm grass