Featured & New Tasting Notes
WHOA holy flavor. I was that shocked, yes. I don’t know where all that sugary sweetness comes from! It is delicious! It reminds me of the Hot Tamales candies that I love. I don’t know what the “three types” of cinnamon are here, but they are magic. There has to be some sort of sugar in this though, it is so sugary and it is consistant throughout the entire cup. The color of the steep is a nice brownish dark orange. As for a black tea, it isn’t too strong, really letting the cinnamon shine.
I love this white tea with rose it makes for such a delicate tea that to me it is the perfect afternoon tea to accompany something sweet as the tea itself is so light with no lingering aftertaste allowing you to really savour what you are eating along with it.
I was disappointed when I opened the packet to see so much ‘dust’ and very chopped up leaves but in saying that it hasn’t distracted from the taste and it still delivers a very beautiful cup of tea.
The taste is of a very, very light tea – no bitterness, only a small amount of grassiness and an overshadowing of crisp rose. I enjoy the first infusion of this tea and prefer to start over again if I ever finish off a teapot but I find it lends itself to protracted drinking and I can make a teapot of this tea last a good hour, I also don’t find I’m put off if I let it get lukewarm which is handy as I have a tendency to really drag out my drinking of this.
It is one of T2’s more expensive teas but they often have it for sample in store in the summer months – I think because it’s such a light tea – so I’d recommend keeping an eye out for it.
White rose tea is the tea that got me drinking tea and this is a good white rose tea so I really recommend giving this to a friend who has yet to turn to the tea-side. :)
I saw Frank offer this one and immediately jumped to buy it. Everything about it screamed my name. One of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever made was a pumpkin cheesecake and the memories came flooding back. I couldn’t wait. Finally, it arrived and I made it the following morning, but I’m left a bit puzzled on several different levels.
First, the scent is slightly spicy. I’m thinking warm pumpkin pie. It’s definitely that nutmeg, slightly cinnamon promise of autumn’s enduring flavors. The addition of the marigold petals is perfect. It adds that touch of color that embodies the season. Aesthetically, it’s a pleasing tea, too.
After steeping, I’m still mentally tasting the spices and my mind is still anticipating pumpkin… until I take a sip and I’m not tasting pumpkin. Or cheesecake. Yet, as disappointing as this is, the actual flavor of the tea is not. It is warm and spicy in a perfect autumnal fashion. The tea is not bitter, but is instead a nice, mellow black that carries the flavor without casting its influence over it. I think the issue I have is the name. Maybe Autumn Spice would have been a better choice for what it actually is. Even though the pumpkin is missing, I’ve been drinking this each day since it arrived in my mailbox. It’s really a nice tea for the morning.
Loving this one! The colour is so gorgeous, a rich, golden, murky cup. Murky in the best way, of course – like unrefined apple juice. I think the 3 minute steep was not quite enough for me..I always worry about oversteeping green and white teas. No bitterness, but it was also a little on the watery side. I added a tiny bit of brown sugar and it was a lovely and comforting drink on a cool evening.
Tea shared with a friend is all the more sweet….. Thank you to ashmanra for sending me this sample. Once again, it goes to show there are Lapsang Souchong blends out there that I like.
The tea is more smokey than I am used to. I know some comes from the Lapsang, but I think some comes from the Keemun, too. I do think this one is a little more tobacco-ey and a little less sweet than the Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon that I really enjoy. Since I am not usually one to add milk to tea, this is probably about my limit on smoke. I may have to do some experimenting with milk again. I am finding that things that did not appeal to me at one point in my tea journey work quite nicely for me at a later date. If anything, this has taught me to keep an open mind…
I’m not sure if my taste buds are broken, or if I just got a different batch than the hated one, but I actually rather enjoy this tea.
It does smell amazingly like apple cider, but doesn’t really taste anything like it, so I can’t help but feel a little disappointment on first sip. And the tea part of this mixture is just not present; a stronger tea would make this a lot tastier.
That said, the spices are there and quite pleasant, it has a nice hint of apple despite the lack of cideryness (it’s a word now), the licorice adds a bit of flavor, and it’s smooth and pretty tasty. Plus it just smells fantastic. It’s not among the best teas I’ve had, but I really like it anyway, if that makes any sense.
I did notice that, in a very bizarre twist, it actually becomes less pleasant and more papery tasting the longer it steeps, so maybe that’s part of the problem? Steeping longer seems to leech out the spices and especially the apple, leaving behind only the mediocre tea and a hint of licorice.
This may be my current favorite tea. I love pearls—I may be easily amused—and I love jasmine. Oh, and I love white tea. What’s not to love?
I was drawn to it the moment I opened the little package from Steepster Select. It has a delicious jasmine-y scent. When I took the leaves off I thought for a moment that I hadn’t steeped it long enough, because it’s really light. I may have kept it on a little longer. But it didn’t make it bitter or anything. It’s a great tea for my morning ritual. Not too dark, with a subtle fragrance (even after oversteeping), and a smooth texture.
As a bonus, it still tastes good when I accidentally leave it out for too long. I haven’t tried this one iced, but I suspect it would be just as good. There aren’t too many teas that can get away with keeping their flavor at room temperature.
Such an interesting tea. I recently finished up a 12.5g pack, with another 12.5g pack set aside for aging as part of my white tea aging experiment. While this tea is white by process, it’s black by flavor. There’s such an incredible rich sweetness that comes naturally from this tea, like light maple syrup or agave nectar. Cooked stonefruit rounds out. What impresses me the most about this tea is it’s durability. Gong-fu style, I was able to produce rich tea for about 12 infusions!
If Jane Austen Mafia were a band I’d buy every song in their catalog, and I’d wear my band tee long after they sell out and go mainstream. That’s the kind of dedicated fan I’d be!
Jane Austen Mafia isn’t a band even though it is the best band name ever. Jane Austen Mafia is a tea. A pretty damn fantastically grand flavored black tea! Vanilla and blackberry combine with black tea for a marriage built on equality and true love worthy of a 19th century novel penned by an idealistic forward thinker.
This tea sample tasted particularly sweet because it was given to me with sacrifice in the spirit of true tea-friendship. Teawing sent me the very last bit of Jane Austen Mafia that he had left and it’s one of his favorite teas. Who other than a true gentleman would do such a thing? I owe him a huge debt of gratitude!
This smells HEAVENLY. I am a blueberry fan, and this smells like sweet ripe juicy berries…even like cooked bluieberry pie, where all you can smell is sugar and blueberries! If I concentrate deeply I get a hint of what must be the sage, but this is mostly just a blueberry assault on the nose. If it tastes like it smells, this might be one I actually keep on hand.
Steeped, that sage really comes out to play, in the smell at least. There is stil a definite blueberry aroma going on, but that sage is surprisingly bold. Honestly, I’m a little concerned about the sage business, I don’t know that I’ve experienced it in a tea before.
First sips are tart blueberry, with the sage hiding under the taste and a sweeper blueberry flavour on the aftertaste. It’s surprisingly complex over the course of the sip. I really enjoy the aftertaste of juicy blueberries, but wish that the tart aspect up front were diminished. This is definitely enjoyable and one that I think I will keep an eye out for, but wouldn’t make a special order for (mostly because I have “too much tea”). I don’t get any alcohol or medicinal taste in this which is, at this point, a huge relief. Thumbs up!
Goodness gracious great BALLS OF POPCORN! This smells like the movie theatre, both dry and liquor. It tastes like popcorn balls and apples and heaven. I had no idea apples went so well with popcorn. It’s like kettle corn with a hint of sweet apple flavoring. I added a touch of german rock sugar and a pinch of salt. I am literally gulping this down. I need to order this pronto. Thanks Jenn!
*I steeped the recommended 2 tsp per 8 ounces for 7 minutes at 200 degrees.
I wish I had a cherry flavoured black. That’s just exactly what I’m in the mood for right now. As it happens, however, I do not currently possess a cherry flavoured anything.
So I searched through the black teas in the collection, looking for something that would fill the same sort of criteria. Fruity and black. My first thought was a strawberry black. Which I also don’t have. Second thought was either black currant or blackberry, both of which I have and both of which are really nice, but I’ve just had those recently. Not again already.
Passion fruit then. Very un-cherry-like, but still fruity and I see that it has been rated consistently high by others. I think this one came from QuiltGuppy, which reminds me that my lack of received samples, swaps and gifts organisation is soon to be a thing of the past. See the whole story in the brackets below.
Apart from this sudden onset of fruity black craving, I’ve actually been eyeing this one for a couple of days now, especially when preparing that morning pot. I just don’t think it’s very suitable for that particular purpose. Not the first cup of the morning, and not a shared one when I’m fairly certain that the boyfriend prefers something unflavoured at that point. He does now and then request something flavoured when I bother asking about preferences and sometimes when I don’t bother and just tell him what I intend to make and would he like some, he also agrees. It just never came to pass with this one yet. It’s an ample sample, though, (Ample sample! TEEHEE!) so he’ll probably be subjected to it sooner rather than later anyway.
The dry leaf smelled absolutely wonderful. It was all tropical fruity and even slightly yogurt-y and cake-like. The yogurt-y, cake-y notes are gone in the steeped cup, but the fruit is still strong, and it smells more genuinely passion fruit-y than it did in the dry leaf. There seems to be a touch of vanilla to it as well although this may just be the sweetness of the fruit playing tricks on me.
The flavour is strong and again very fruity. My problems with teas flavoured with passion fruit and mango and papaya so far have been that they all strike me as very similar flavours, and in some cases it’s quite synthetic in flavour as well. Consequently my interest in tropically flavoured teas have been rather low, as are my expectations when trying them out. This one, I’m pleased to inform, have none of those issues. It’s very clearly passion fruit rather than some generic tropical flavour and it tastes real. If I were to say anything negative about it, it would probably be that the flavouring was just a smidgeon too strong and slightly overwhelming. I should have liked a touch of subtlety here.
The tea base is also coming through nicely, in spite of the heavy flavouring. I can tell that it’s tea and that it’s black, but I can’t say anything else about it for certain. It’s a fairly strong bodied one and I’m thinking possibly something Ceylon-y. There’s something dark about it, a dark brownish red flavour that I would immediately associate with that flavour. A sort of polished cherry wood colour. I need to make up a plain Ceylon later and pay attention to whether that one provokes a colour association and whether that too is a dark brownish red.
All in all, I’m very pleasantly surprised by this one. In spite of previously mentioned reservations towards the tropical flavours family, I actually had some pretty high expectations of it, and I’m glad to say I was not let down.
(The boyfriend has bought me a plastic storage box of a suitable size and everything that was kicking about in the Sample Basket is now in the box, sorted according to type.
I’m going to need another box for pouches such as the ones from 52teas and Chi of Tea and suchlike. They don’t really belong in the Sample Box, even if a couple of them were gifts, but they don’t look very attractive on the shelves either with the tins. Now if I had one more shelf… but there’s no room for that unless we stretch to reach the new top one. I don’t think we’re very interested in that.
Anyway, the original plan was that each group of samples should be sorted according to where they came from, but that didn’t really seem to work out too well in the box. Partly because I can’t remember where I got all my current ones from, so I can’t sort them for certain and also partly because I’m not really likely to stand there and think, ‘Oh, I think I’ll want something from QG today.’ I’m more likely to decide I want something black or green.
I shall instead device a numbering system. I need a small notebook and some small labels, and then I’ll just number the lot according to who the gifter was. The boyfriend says I’m being highly OCD about it, but he did seem to agree that the current non-system of being unable to remember who to thank is a little rude of me. If OCD is the solution then so be it. :) )
Today was hectic, so to relax a little this afternoon, I decided to try a sample I had been keeping back. YET ANOTHER sample from the thoughtful, dependable, generous, and friendly QuiltGuppy. Her tasting note made this tea sound so good to me, the tea exceeded my expectations, which were fairly high in the first place. The tobacco aroma is there at the beginning, but also black tea, maltiness is present. Steeped, the color is golden, a beautiful cup. The hint of tobacco at the start of the sip is incredible. Not a cheap cigarette grade, but a fine, aged pipe tobacco. In no way is it too strong, just a hint. The tobacco quickly dissolves into a malty assam-like flavor but very smooth.
The smoke at the end is a trace, faintly there.
I like this, and will be buying some with my next H&S order.
Mmm, the smell of freshly sliced kiwis!!!
The dry leaves have a nice fruity aroma that translates well into the aroma of the brewed tea. The taste is sharp! It nearly bit me back!
Lupicia recommends adding lemon and honey to this tea, and I bet that would help cut back on that sharpness. I don’t want to immediately say bitterness because the aftertaste is actually quite lovely and fruity. So, I’m going to stick with “sharpness.”
The dry leaves had ample kiwi shavings as well as some weird little brown sticks. I have no idea what those are. From looking at the black tea leaves, I don’t think they’re stems because they are a much much lighter brown color than the leaves. But who knows? I guess they could be stems. Or maybe it’s some sort of added spice or something. I doubt it’s from the kiwis…But okay, moving on.
I added a tiny splash of skim milk and that made the tea much smoother and more to my liking (I’m a cream and sugar kind of gal).
Overall, this tea isn’t WOWZA! But it’s not bad either. It’s getting a middle of the road rating from me. Good, but not the best.
I can’t help but take deep breaths of the dry leaves. Mmm, apples!
As it starts to steep, the sweet aroma reminds me of apple cider. I’m already smiling.
Upon tasting it, there’s no bitterness. Definite acidity from the apples. Green apple comes to mind, these can’t be red. But those are all pros.
This tea brings me to an all-apple happy place. Apple pancakes, apple pie, apple picking in early autumn. The more I drink it, the more I notice sweeter notes. This is a really lovely tea. Maybe the best of all the flavored green teas I’ve tasted.
I know lots of people have complained about the bancha base, but I really like it. In my opinion, a fresher sencha would not complement the pairing with San-Tsugaru apples as much. (But I don’t particularly love the grassiness of senchas in the first place).
This is one of those teas where freshness is paramount! I found a few forgotten tea bags in the back of my cupboard, still sealed air tight. But upon brewing, the aroma and flavor was quite bland. It had lost all its apple flavor and acidity, leaving my mouth dry & almost flaky feeling. Make sure to drink all this tea upon receiving it because it won’t keep for long periods of time.
I’m curious to see how it would turn out when brewed at a lower temperature. Lots of people said they like this tea iced, but I’m not sure. It seems best enjoyed piping hot. As my cup cooled off, I couldn’t taste the apple as much.
I’ve been waiting all week to try this!
When I smelled it today and last week, all I could think of was that this could be my yummy replacement for Strawberry White! of course then I learned that hisbiscus is bad for my tastebuds, but I still wanted to give it a try :)
It’s quite tart (of course) but I am having it with sweetener so that helps a bit. The pomegranate taste is genuine! Tastes just like eating a juicy pomegranate – I like that. The white tea gives it a solid base – it’s not bitter at all in that respect. They must have steeped it well for me today :)
It’s not my favorite fruit or tea but I have to say this would be a great one for tart berry-tea lovers. Yum!
Not-so-shocking statement of the day: I love green tea. I love all green tea (just please don’t overflavor it or ruin it with lots of lemon, ugh). This tea is a thing of beauty and I’ll pretty much drink any green tea you put in front of me. Here’s the kicker, though: I think I’ve found my favorite green tea bags yet: Carrington Tea’s Original Green Tea. I can’t describe how much I love this tea; I definitely just tore through a box in record time.
Seriously, it’s that good. The only complaint I really ever have about green tea is when it’s too strong or bitter (especially from places like Starbucks or Joe Muggs or wherever; it’s like sucking on actual leaf). This tea is strong but not at all bitter and has the most amazing taste. The company recommends brewing time at 3-5 minutes which was about right for me too. The only thing I’d change is the water temperature: they advise bringing water to a “rolling boil” and pouring over tea bags, but I could never bring myself to pour boiling water over green tea – it’s just not done in this apartment. They also suggest adding sugar or lime to taste if you’d like…but I forbid you from messing this tea up by adding ANYTHING else to it.
The box I bought came with 20 bags (and probably lasted me around 2 weeks) and was not at all expensive. I could go on and on about the natural goodness of the leaves or the abundance of antioxidants, but by now I’m pretty sure you get the point: Green tea. Is good. For you. Period.
This is much better than genmaicha I have purchased stateside, but I believe that is largely because I tend to get genmaicha in import grocery stores, not tea shops, in large, cheap quantities.
This was an absolutely shocking shade of green when I poured the first cup. But it began to fade and darken almost immediately.
The flavor is both darkly vegetal and brightly toasty. I start to get a sense with this of what genmaicha may be all about.
The brew also has a sticky thickness in the mouth, almost like a broth. Which is not unpleasant, but… unexpected.
I don’t think genmaicha will ever be my truly favorite favorite of green teas, but this is very tasty.
Scent from a distance is very cough-syrupy, but when you get your nose down into the dry leaves the amaretto scent is a delicious single scent.
The steeped scent has amaretto sweetness and a bitter tone of perhaps apricot pit and alcohol mixed. It smells like a mixed drink.
There isn’t a lot of taste on the tongue itself. You get a smooth or buttery consistency on the inside of the lips and the middle of the tongue. There is a flash of the bitter+amarretto flavor/scent in the nose as you swallow. The tisane feels full in the mouth.
Im not familiar with honeybush and not huge on tisanes, but must say that if you are into either this is worth trying. This does give the feel of the name in its taste.
This is an excellent fuka sencha, with an almost perfect balance of the vegetal and the sweet. The great taste, aroma, colour, and price make this an outstanding fuka sencha for daily use.
First infusion — 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 70 deg., 45-50 sec.
Second infusion — 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 70 deg., 30-35 sec.
Third infusion — 5 g. per 8 oz. water, 70 deg., 3 min.
This is truly one of my favorite teas, even more so when chilled. This is the other pitcher of tea I made for the inlaw invasion, but it wasn’t cool in time. Still, by the end of the night, it had cooled enough for me to have a cup and it was delicious. The vanilla and oolong wrap around each other so beautifully. This is the tea that made me go “Oh…that’s what people mean when they say oolongs are buttery.” I want to drink this one for days. I also love watching this one steep, I’m very grateful I set a timer or else I would have been completely distracted by the leaves and let it oversteep.
When we’re coming back from our trip to Tennessee, we’re stopping overnight in New York to visit my brother, and I am bringing him a ton of tea and a perfect mug XD. I’m bringing a pouch of this. He’s tried one oolong and said it tasted like feet, so I’m going to brew some of this up and see how he feels about it. If he likes it, he gets to keep the pouch. If he doesn’t, it is so coming back home with me! Hot or cold, this is a favorite of mine.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS MATCHA TEA!!!
Aroma: Vegetal and somewhat fruity [let’s say a little honeydew melon and a little cucumber].
Taste: Oh what joy! Very delicious! Very fresh too! The taste is a palatable persona of the aroma. This matcha has a slight fruity undertone complementing the overtone of grass [but not earthy…let me explain, when I think of “earthy” I taste the minerals from the dirt and maybe a little mushroom…again, the dirty earth…“grass” to me is earthy but as a vegetal characteristic]. The fruit that is playing harmony on the palate is honeydew melon and cucumber [and YES, a cucumber is a FRUIT!]; it is slight but still noticeable…it actually does complement the vegetal aspect rather than overtake the whole flavor profile. You do experience umami (a mouth feel) which is a little drying…but it “fills” the mouth with the extra sensation of taste.
Aftertaste: Well, there is such an experience but not much of one. The aftertaste is a little spinachy, a little fruity and a little vegetal. The drying feel on the tongue still lingers but not for long.
To add to the experience of preparing and drinking this tea, was the color of this matcha…a chartreuse green…nice, bright, vibrant; then it dulled a little when water is added which turns it to a more of a medium-green jade.
I would highly recommend purchasing this matcha! It is offered at a good price for the amount compared to other companies whom offer less at a more elevated price.
A must buy!
I reviewed this tea a month or so ago, but I’ve still been trying to get it to stand out past the third steeping. This time, I used a small (~100ml) banko houhin with a heaping tablespoon of leaf to help try and stretch it across 4 or 5 steepings.
First (140*/ 120 secs): What a rush of flavor! As I take the first sip, I’m smacked in the mouth with vegetal sweetness and a soft mouthfeel that sticks around while you’re waiting for the next cup to brew. Since it’s lightly steamed, the color is far more yellow than green. A fun, balanced cup.
Second (165*/ 90 secs): As the tea transitions from a greenish yellow to a more grassy green, the astringency starts to show. Sadly, that also means the flavor is starting to wane, but it still has that freshness and plum-y afternotes that seems to be typical of Shizuoka shincha this year. A little bitter towards the end, but that usually comes out more in the next infusions…
Third: (185/ 120 secs): A pale, bitter yellow brew. I get hints of spinach and plum, but on a whole, it tastes like all the “good stuff” has already been sucked out of this tea. I know that Banko pottery tends to mellow out stronger teas, but I’m hardly getting anything out of this infusion.
Fourth (Boiled): So it goes.
I had high expectations for this tea in my houhin, but it seems like I’ve still yet to nail the perfect brewing parameters. The first two cups are some of the best I’ve had, but it falls utterly flat afterwards — I’d have to give the nod to the Houryoku in my shincha taste tests!
I have never had a tea give me such a strong sense of deja vu. I don’t mean “oh wait, I think I’ve had this before” deja vu. I mean, “What is that smell? What is that incredibly floral smell? I’ve smelled it before…in the evening…in happier times…” After one cup I’ve got it narrowed down to either summer camp, or sometime in college. But I’m not pushing my brain to really remember. I’m happy to just smell this tea, and linger on the verge of remembering something happy.
This is my first gongfu brewing and I don’t know if I’m doing it right. I’m using the instructions Dave from Verdant Tea sent with the shipment (wow, this is the first tea I’ve ordered that comes with full documentation!) but my gaiwan, which JUST came in the mail today from China, doesn’t have a little pouring spot on the edge, so I’m still very amateurish in my handling of the pouring process. I’m steeping for the correct number of seconds—and then I’m taking a minute and a half to pour! So I’m sure I’m oversteeping.
But this tea shows no signs of bitterness. It is relentlessly floral thus far (rinse, 1 brew which I’m finishing drinking, four brews that went into a pitcher for tomorrow’s iced tea), a light yellowy-green color, with a lovely, almost minty undertone. I’m still learning what people mean when they call a tea “sweet” (besides actual sugar); I think this is a type of sweetness, one I could get used to! Not the slightly cloying sweetness of teas with actual flower flavors added, but the sweetness of really good mineral or spring water, light and cool on the tongue. So tasty and refreshing.
This is becoming hard to describe…I’m going to go get another infusion and add that note later.