Featured & New Tasting Notes
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!
I feel like this tea presented itself as a series of dessert flavors. What I got first was a strong brown bread flavor—the bitter earthy kind. There’s a figgy, raisiny kind of flavor that lends sweetness to the entire mix. I also got dark chocolate, but the creaminess of the brew made it taste almost like a chocolate fudge topping. Sometimes I got marshmallows, which switched my mindset from bread pudding to s’mores. . .fun!
As it cools, the vanilla makes itself more well-known, and many of the other flavors drop away. Now I’m drinking a creamy vanilla pudding, but that fig-raisin flavor is still hanging around.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Dark Chocolate, Fig, Marshmallow, Raisins, Vanilla
HELLO YOU SWEET ENCHANTMENT-SPUN CONFECTION.
This ridiculously tasty sweet tea was made by sugar-dusted, giggling elves. Their shoes are always upturned. Their smiles are permanent upon their faces. It’s kind of creepy, actually.
Their glistening chocolate mansion is ensconced in a forest that’s magical in the worst possible way. There are centaurs out there with flaming bow-and-arrow sets. And Voldemort eating unicorns.
Your best bet is to stay in the moonlit tea-mixing factory, listening to Aqua CDs on repeat.
What I’m trying to say is, this is tasty.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Maple, Marshmallow, Molasses, Sweet, White Chocolate
Cheap old tea! This 1982 tastes like a liubao and not Sun Moon Lakey anymore. It is musty old water logged books, ash, charcoal, wet stones and more must. Ride this tea a long time and it cleans up to sweet, mineral and camphor.
I really didn’t like the thin body on this one and I was really unimpressed my tea was very twiggy and had a rock in it. But hey, it’s $5 and 1982, what did you expect?
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/1982-sun-moon-lake/
I probably should wait to review this because I WAAAY overleafed this on my first brew. 3 minutes at 205 and yikes. Normally I am very calculated and measure everything out. Not today. Today, I threw caution to the wind. And look where it got me. With a brew that tasted of nothing but bitter. So, I poured out that steep and resteeped the leaves for about the same time. This second brew is still dark but some of the bitterness is gone. Not worth drinking however. There is potential here though. There are hints of lavender and vanilla. It kind of reminds me of Liquid Prousts Oolong Spa tea.
Despite me screwing this one up, the scent here wafting up from the brewed tea are lovely.
I ordered this for my tea book club. We are reading Let The Right One In and so I ordered a few vampire based teas, this being one of them. But they don’t have brewing parameters/suggestions on their packaging or their website (that I have seen). So here I am testing them out before the book club meeting in order to get them right. Hopefully I can do an updated review later when I actually steep it correctly.
Flavors: Bitter, Lavender, Vanilla
CWarren gifted/swapped Tea Competitions Spring (High Mountain Shanlinxi) from Huaging Chen. I decided that I needed to start drinking samples which others have given me. I like reviewing those teas, and they’re usually very good!
This was an enjoyable tea that had so many flavors on the tongue. Within the first 4-5 steeps there were chestnut, fig, and plum notes on the palate. I must admit that drinking this in the morning and drinking it before bed was a great idea. I’m currently drinking the last 2g of tea before work now, and it’s a really nice tea to start the day with. I’m going to throw the used leaves into a jar with water, and cold brew the rest for tonight. I’m looking forward to that session already because I know that it’ll be enjoyable cold.
Side note: 2 weeks left of Summer Camp. The children are restless and longing to go back to school—whether they believe it or not—and I’m ready to have my afternoons to drink tea. Yes, I’ll have to wake up at 4:30 for work during the school year, but at least I get my tea after the kids are sent to school!
It’s not often that a blend hits so close to what was intended for it. Often, I find that names do more to disappoint the drinker than describe the flavor of the blend. Why is that? Does the blender start with a name and stick with it, or do they actually name the tea once they have tasted it?
Anyway, this blend hit rather close to its name, but not quite…for me at least. The base was sweet and creamy, combining well with the buttery vanilla flavors. It actually tasted like a poundcake, which was awesome. There may be a bit of egginess, but rather than contributing to an eggnog flavor, it lends itself further to the cake flavor of the tea. There’s a hint of artificiality to it, but it’s well within tolerable parameters for me.
I didn’t really catch any of the eggnog. It might be because of the age of tea, but I didn’t catch any of the nutmeg and cinnamon notes. Since I’m not really a fan of eggnog, that’s okay with me.
I may have to get more of this.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Sweet, Vanilla
(Reviewed in the 10g “coin” format)
First off, this tea is just the cutest. I want to hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him, and call him George. But probably not squeeze him TOO hard, his compression isn’t all that tight.
The dry leaf aroma is enchanting. I double checked after steeping, and I did in fact use artesinal spring water, which I was wondering if I hadn’t accidentally swapped with water from the river Lethe. I drank several steeps without having any particular memory of this tea.
I think the biggest flaw here, to my tastes, is that this production is the epitome of “all right”. The very definition of “okay”. If there was a Best Choice or Great Value brand for sheng, I’d expect it to taste pretty exactly like this, only less cute and without the great dry leaf aroma.
The wet leaf actually looked to be in very good condition, and leads me to wonder if perhaps the smaller quantity pressing here has led to faster aging, causing a tea that should still be relatively young to mimic the “awkward phase” of sheng where it’s neither young nor aged but just sort of… there.
Or it could just be I had an off day.
Either way, though, if I’m buying something youngish from Bitterleaf, Secret Garden, 24K, and Winter Wings were all stellar choices. This however… unless you’re planning a sheng tasting for 500 newbies and need something to be inoffensive to as many of them as possible, I’d stick to their other options.
Stinks to give a review like this to a company I’m very fond of, but if I don’t “call ’em as I see ’em”, these notes are useless to everyone.
Fortunately, I still have many other of their teas on my radar to order. Release your new teas Bitterleaf… pretty please? <3
From the Dark matter group buy, steeped during a google hang out with other steepsters.
First steeps were quite weak, but mineral and wet pile. I went crazy and did an aggressive long steep and got one excellent cup of rich, thick, earthy, and smooth. The next infusion however was horrific as it was so bitter it was rising up my nose. It is really impressive to get bitter out of a shou, hahhaa! So yeah, maybe take a more moderate approach to this tea and insane like I did.
Overall not bad, if I had some more I’d experiment again.
I’m sure to review this tea multiple times throughout the year. I wanted to begin my first session strong, with an added person to share with. Unfortunately, my wife isn’t much of a tea drinker unless it can be made Southern styled, or if it isn’t pu-erh. So, I invited our friend over to have some Repave; however, she’s new to pu-erh, so the session didn’t last long for her….
I must admit that I went above and beyond on this order from W2T. I have always wanted to try nearly everything on their site due to their creativity via tea and their wrappers. LP also guided me along, directing me to the teas in which I’d thoroughly enjoy. I wanted to try this first, though. Perhaps it was due to the description that “This will get you very, very tea drunk” that made me want to dig in greedily (after allowing it to breathe for a couple of days), and as soon as possible.
Now, to the tea. What can I say? Where shall start? At the beginning, of course!
I started this session with 10.6 g for 150ml. As I previously mentioned, I wanted this session to go on strong—really hit the palate hard—and last for ages. The first few sips were bitter, but thanks to the suggestion from a tea friend (oolongowl? t-ching? matu?) I was brewing it too long (15s intervals) for the leaf. Therefore, I cut back to 5s intervals throughout the night, waiting for the tea to tell me when to increase the steep time. It hadn’t told me to stop. Ever. I kept it at 5s throughout the three hours of drinking. And you know what happened? It never ever changed the color or depth of the tea! Repave kept going on, unchanging (with the exception of flavor) throughout the three hour session. I was baffled by the amount of depth remaining throughout that time.
However, the flavor did change entirely whilst the session went on. The first steep was bitter. The following two steeps remained slightly bitter, but had a honey note to it; which remained on the back of the throat/mouth. It had offered a gift to the tongue, as if breathing out from your mouth, left a sweet nectar on the tip of lips, like a kiss. And then, the tea danced upon the palate, with great satisfaction—musing about on the tip, back, and middle of the tongue—leaving such great flavors wherever it hit. I had vegetal notes, honey, sweet grass, peaches and/or pears, butterscotch (I had written it down, for whatever reason) and deep earth, but from the “lands of Narnia.”
I will note that I’m reading through the series, so my mind is ever on Narnia. Heh.
I want to drink more this morning, but I must move on to samples from friends. By which, I will enjoy those sessions too, because they are gifts of kindness. :) And joining a vast community of tea enthusiasts has really made me feel blessed to know that there are tremendous people out there…..
Anyway, I’ll leave this review here, at a good note.
The weighing of the tea.
The 5th steep
The 10th steep (I went up to 15!)
This is the first darker sheng that I have really enjoyed. The depth to this raw is quite strong, but it’s smooth at the same time. Easily brewing this over the normal time and temperature and it isn’t brewing bitter, just giving more strength to it. The hue is medium when most all of the sheng I enjoy are light and vegetable like, but this is more like old plant water with some small patches of astringency.
This was a surprise because I thought it would be just a normal sheng for drinking today, but I’m quite thankful for the depth that it had while being on the darker side to which I normally dislike. It’s pretty close to the 2014 You Le
My youngest daughter adores Lapsang – started loving it when she really young, which is so odd to me! When eldest daughter, Superanna, travels, she always brings back a Lapsang for her sister. This is the latest.
According to Superanna, choosing it with like this…“Do you have Lapsang?” DT: “Yes, right here.” Superanna sniffs sample. “Cough cough that’s perfect cough bag it up cough.”
While it does have a very heavy pine smoke aroma, this is quite a lovely tea. It does smell very smokey and my hubby claims he got “second hand cancer” from smelling the pot we made, but it is actually sweet and super smooth.
It reminds me of Upton Black Dragon. Yay for a good Lapsang on shelf before fall and the beginning of school. Youngest swears she needs Lapsang to get through school!
Got this in the mail yesterday from Japan. Don’t know if I should have given it time to acclimate or not. It was good, this season’s harvest I believe, spring 2016. It came in a package only marked in Japanese but as I ordered three green teas of three different weights I discerned this was the Gyokuro. The leaves are really green, really green and very fine. The tea was very sweet with a umami taste. No bitterness. Gave it three steeps in my new Kyusu also received yesterday from Japan. I like this seller Tablinshop. I think he sells quality pots and good tea. The only thing I don’t like is his shipping, very expensive. I went for EMS which got the package to me in three days but it was pricey. Normally, I would be tempted to add sugar to green tea but I immediately found that this didn’t need any. It was sweet by itself.
I brewed this three times in a 200ml Kyusu Teapot with 7.3g leaf and 175 degree water. I steeped it for 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. I would definitely recommend this tea and this seller for fans of Japanese teas. He’s not as good a value as Yunomi but has excellent tea and a big selection of teawares both for loose tea and matcha.
Flavors: Sweet, Umami
Ugh, this one isn’t even listed on the document they have provided on their Facebook page, and I’m not even sure if they had a description of it on the poster in the store, as I recall that the sample vial had the name hand-written on it, indicating that it’s newer or at least not regularly offered. Next time I go back, I’ll check and if there’s any info, I’ll edit the information.
I ordered this last time I was there, and it was a miss. I don’t even know what was in here, but I do recall getting mostly clove, followed by cinnamon. Maybe a touch of nutmeg in the far background? Because of their stupid French press system which I’ve whined about in the past, it gets rather bitter while you’re drinking it there. The second round was rather flavourless already. Both the base and the spices were rather weak. I asked for some 2% milk on the side, and all that did was drown out the little flavour that there was even more.
Actually, to be honest, drinking tea in store is a bit of a ripoff. A small French press of tea ends up costing nearly $5. Sure you get free water refills, but it’s still expensive for what you get. Even if you drink 2-3 pots worth, their French press setup means that your first pot is usually astringent and bitter—and the flavouring is drowned out as a result—whereas the subsequent pots are weak. Sigh. I’d honestly rather just spent that money on a brilliant chai at Remedy, or for a couple bucks less, could get a cup of loose tea at Remedy, where they have a great selection of teas like Sloane, Løv, Den’s, Kusmi, etc (far too many to remember!).
Unfortunately, one of my friends only ever wants to hang out here, and when I suggested Remedy (or something else, because of course I wouldn’t expect people to want to only ever go there either, lest that would make me a hypocrite), she said she didn’t like it because it’s always so busy and noisier than Steeps. She also only ever orders the same tea from Steeps all over and over again, and is there so often (almost every single day, according to an employee) that they already know as soon as she walks in, which tea she wants. I mean, that’s her choice and all, we all have different tastes, but it’s making me spend money on tea that not even that great, you know?
I mean, for the price that they charge for bitter leaves, I’d sooner just spend an extra few dollars and buy a tin of whatever tea that I can steep at home properly and also get 20+ more cups.
I haven’t been on Steepster for a while. Too hot for tea along with too busy and health issues. This morning I sat on the porch trying to dry out my sinuses. Decided it wasn’t working. Besides I could smell the ash from the Amish home just down the road and it made me crave some Lapsang Souchong. This is a good one – sweet, not too smoky, and not BBQ. Unfortunately the sample does not have the company name on it and I have forgotten from whence it came.
Just stopped in to say hey. Now off to get some Benadryl.
Today’s work cold brew. I was surprised, at first, at how kind-of floral this one comes out. That was the first thing I really noticed about it when I took a sip. The more I drink of it, though, the less I notice that aspect. It seems a bit odd, but there you go. Once I got past the initial “thick” white tea and flowers, this is actually a pretty good rendition of “strawberry lemonade.” I can definitely taste the lemon, which is slightly sharp if a little chemically (it reminds me of lemon juice from those lemon shaped bottles – did they used to call that Jif?), and it’s closely followed by the strawberry. The strawberry is also pretty unnatural – very sweet and candy-like – but such is life. Together, it’s strawberry lemonade, which is a pretty artificial thing in itself to begin with, I suppose.
I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I hoped I would. It’s refreshing, but the flavour isn’t quite there and the white tea base seems far too prominent. I think I’ll make my next jug with a bit less leaf, just to see, but today’s was created with my usual 2 tbsp of leaf to 2 litres of water, so I don’t really think it’s that. More a case of “you can’t win them all” probably!
This has been the best oolong from TS yet for me. I’m not even going to go read what it really is online because I don’t need to. The brew was very clean and bright from the first infusion. The taste has the mild roast with the slightest butter texture, but what made this amazing is it’s sweet nutty taste that is quite unique compared to others.
Smooth, tasting. and brews sweeter as you continue. A solid tea for sure.
Judging by the wrapper I guessed that this tea was a fake. The logo was not centered like in their picture. Judging by the amount of fermentation taste I would guess that this tea was considerably younger than 2000, perhaps 2015 or even 2016. The wrapper appeared to have years of age on it but this is easy to fake. As to the fermentation taste I would guess that this tea was improperly fermented as well. It was very unpleasant. I did go away after maybe six steeps or so. I had hoped that it would be replaced with a nice sweet note but no it was replaced with what I can only describe as an off tasting bitter note. It never became what you look for in a ripe tea. It would seem that the EBay seller Tealife2015 is one to avoid. I have several other teas by this seller and will get to them in time. At least I did not pay to much for this tea although anything above free is too much for this tea. This has to be the worst puerh tea I can remember drinking. The low price should have tipped me off but I had decided to take a risk on a new seller. This is likely my last purchase from them. I gave this tea twelve steeps hoping it would improve. Steep twelve was just as unpleasant tasting as steep one. This tea will probably get what I would guess is my lowest rating yet with the possible exception of valerian root I can’t think of a tea that tasted worse and at least the valerian root does something. Avoid this seller. I will get to the other four or five teas I have from them and see if this is an aberration or not. All their teas can’t be this bad. I think I already gave them feedback or this tea would get them negative feedback.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 12.3g leaf and boiling 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.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth
Superanna brought me what is commonly known as a “big ol’ honkin’ bag” of this after her trip to Minnesota. I also got the most adorable box of David’s Tea minis. It looks like a chocolate box, but I am even happier with a tea box! Thank you, Superanna! And there wee a couple of other teas, too, that I haven’t even logged yet.
We whipped this up last night and I am having more today. It is so easy to get a good froth on this. I used a little over 1/2 tsp of match in six ounces of water at about 160F. I sifted the matcha into my bowl, poured a wee bit of water and made a paste with my whisk, then added more water and whipped it. The color is rather dark, deep green without brown tint.
This is really creamy and smooth, yet it still has that nice after bite. It isn’t sour or astringent, but has a lingering flavor or grass and what we decided is accurately being called bamboo. Go eat some bamboo shoots in your Asian takeout if you are like us and bamboo taste didn’t pop into your head immediately on reading the description!
Now I am all matcha’ed up and ready to teach this afternoon.
Guess I need to get my wish list ready for Gurman’s in Dublin before she leaves in a month again! :D