Featured & New Tasting Notes
From Dark Matter 2016
I wanted to write a second review on this tea because I’ve spent the past two days drinking it (approximately 25 cups). As I mentioned in the previous review, this tea didn’t come to life until the fifth steep, with the help of increased water temperature/longer steep times (15s, 30s, 45s, 50s, 60s, etc). Once the tea was able to open up, though, it was so complex and delicious. It had that nice deep earth flavor that I enjoy in a ripe. A bit of a wet moss, “dirt,” slight mushroom, wood, and various minerals on the tongue. I rated it too soon before I was able to really hit the tea much harder than I had. Overall, I’m impressed, and will probably add this to my increasing wishlist.
Side Note: Finally finished with the first half of school….It only took 5 years…Anyway, I have two semesters left until I completed the History/English part of it all. However, considering that I am hopefully going to get my MA at UNC in the next two years, I wanted to start working on my entry level “Historical Account” of an era that most suits my interests; therefore, I’m researching topics about the American Civil War and 20th century. Just so that you’re aware, I LOVE writing research papers…So, there’s the most recent update in my life.
Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Mushrooms, Wet Moss, Wood
Sipdown! This is definitely a repurchase and has thus far been my favourite vanilla black tea. It’s creamy and vanilla caramel-like, sort of like H&S’s Vanilla Comoro but not as cloying. Teavivre, Bayswater, and DF have been on my order list for quite some time now and yet it seems like it’s taking me forever to sip down enough to place these orders!
Have a job interview this afternoon so I wanted to choose something comforting to sip on as I just hang out before leaving. It’s only for an assistant manager position at a retail store, but hey, with the terrible job market right now, one cannot complain. I have friends my age who have been laid off from their engineering and nursing jobs and can’t find anything. One even applied to freaking Tim Horton’s and still can’t. So guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself for spending all those years in grad school rather than gaining direct work experience right after my undergrad. These friends of mine did that and look where they are too. :/
Today I drank an aged raw sample sent to me by Aleen from Instagram. She does not seem to have this on her website. It was only listed as Bulang Puer 1980s. It had a fair amount of wet storage flavor, I’d say for the first six steeps. There were some notes of leather and tobacco in there as well. It eventually developed into a note that I would call sweet bamboo. Not tremendously sweet but a little sweet. There was a 90s tea on her site that seemed to match but I didn’t find this tea there.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 6.8g 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, and 1 min. I could have kept going with this one but I didn’t want any more caffeine today.
Flavors: Leather, Tobacco, Wet wood
I’m not going to enter a new listing for this one as it isn’t on the Savoy Tea Co. website, which is too bad, because I’d like you to try some of their Irish Cream.
At least that’s the label on the lovely little sample I picked up about a month ago. (Wondering if it was a seasonal renaming or relabeling.) Rather than something stereotypically minty, this has black tea and safflower with strawberries and cream flavor. Love me my strawberry teas, and this is a good one. Nothing chemical about it, nice tea-to-flavor balance. Hoping I can find it next run to Arkansas.
The last time I tried this one, I was drinking the old version and I remember really enjoying it. It was on the strength of that cup that I bought a new bag (although after the switch to the new version), and I’m only just now getting around to trying it.
The dry leaf smells just like cocoa. In fact, I could have been convinced that I’d opened a tin of cocoa by mistake if I hadn’t been able to see what I was doing. It’s definitely tea, but SO chocolatey it’s almost unreal.
Once brewed, it’s still amazingly chocolatey! I added a splash of milk just because, although in all honesty it didn’t really need it. The flavour is predominantly chocolate and malt, with just a touch of berry sharpness right at the end of the sip. It seems simple, but it’s SO good. This one could easily become a comfort tea for me.
1 tsp, boiling water, 3.5 minutes. Splash of milk.
Cold Brew Sipdown (132)!
Thank you VariaTEA for the sample! I actually was surprised by just how much I really, genuinely liked this one. I finished the 25 oz. of it I had cold brewed in maybe five minutes? I mean, essentially I was just chugging. I don’t know if I’ve felt that passionate about a cold brewed tea all month, honestly. Like, I’ve drank some good things this month but that was shockingly super delightful and smooth.
First things first, I have to say that I was worried this would have far too much cinnamon and it’d taste drying. Like a tea version of the cinnamon challenge. I mean, that’s certainly the impression I got from the dry smell. However, both the cinnamon and the nutmeg were wonderful. In fact, I definitely tasted a lot more nutmeg than cinnamon. As well, I definitely got that sweet, eggy note that is obviously intended to be eggnog. Actually, though, in combination with the cinnamon and nutmeg and then sweet cocoa and malt notes from the base I have to say that while I 100% see where the “Eggnog” is coming from I’m reminded a lot more of French Toast. In fact, in many ways this reminds me of Liquid Proust’s French Toast Dianhong but with much more nutmeg and less vanilla/cream. I don’t know if you can call that a criticism, but if you can it’s probably my only one. I found this super, super enjoyable overall.
Well, I made the hard decision to reset my Nether on Ramble, this was a very hard decision but one I am glad I made! See when I switched my world from the Xbox 360 to the Xbone, all my existing Nether portals got messed up and no longer lined up, so most my Nether builds were kind of moot, and as I am sure you can guess this frustrated me. My only real complaint about doing this (other than rebuilding things, but that is no big problem, most my Nether builds were kinda old and needed redoing, except the Nether hub) with one of the recent updates you can’t get water in the Nether anymore. It used to be you could use melted iceblocks to bring water to the Nether, meaning my Nether villa had a bathroom and fountains, now not so much. I understand doing it in survival, but I wish in creative I could still get water in the Nether…so many building potentials! Especially for map makers, some of the old maps came up with really clever ways of using water in the Nether, and I will miss that.
Today I am looking at Liquid Proust’s Rummy Pu, a fancy Golden Needle Shou aged in a rum barrel and debuted at the Midwest Tea Festival, where I procured it. Before I get into huge depth on tasting, I want to give a little me backstory, I LOVE rum. In fact I love the taste of most alcohol, thanks to a quirk in my metabolism it took a lot to get me drunk and I never stayed drunk for long, in fact I was only a tiny bit hungover once and never made myself sick off of the stuff, well that was when I was younger. When I was 21 my gallbladder failed and pretty much ever since then my guts have been made of fail in one way or another, and anytime I try to drink I would curl up in a tiny ball of agony, so no more booze for me! I never really liked being tipsy, but man did I love the taste, especially of rum, so having things that taste like rum make me happy. One of the reasons I eat a lot of rum balls come Christmas…and speaking of rum balls this tea smells uncannily like them. It has a bit of a loamy earthy Shou quality, but really the showing point is a rich rum, chocolate, graham crackers, and a tiny distant spice. In short, it smells really amazing!
Gaiwan time for the golden needles, and for the first time in I can’t even remember how long, I drank the rinse. Usually I never drink the rinse on a Shou, but this one smelled so tantalizing that I had to. The leaves smell sweet, like rum and molasses, with chocolate and earthy wet loam. The rum is super strong and very sweet, and it still reminds me of rum balls. The aroma of the tea is equally rummy and sweet, with strong notes of chocolate and graham crackers, wet wood and forest floor. It smells like what I imagine a wet rum barrel would smell like on a hot day.
The first several steeps are super rummy and sweet, and yes they taste like rum balls! Smooth and sweet with a gentle distant spice (allspice reminiscent) with rich chocolate notes and sweet graham crackers. There is an earthiness to the tea as well, like clean wet soil after rain in a deep forest, lush and loamy. I was expecting this tea to lull me into sleep, as many thick Shous tend to do, but nope this one had me lost in nostalgia and wide awake. Oops.
The middle steeps took on a surprising creaminess and fruity tone, now this tea no longer tastes like rum balls but tastes like rum raisin ice cream. The sweet rum and raisin mixed with rich vanilla and cream is pretty decadent, thickly sweet and with a solid mouthfeel, I don’t even care that I was up til five in the morning drinking this stuff. Though hilariously the taste at the beginning reminding me Christmas rum balls, now the taste reminds me of rich bowls of ice cream on a summer day…clearly this tea has range.
Not wanting the tea to ever end, I took to grandpa-ish style steeping the final steeps, going for at times 20 minute long steeps as I drank around the leaves. As one imagines the liquid gets a bit chilled at this point, and usually I LOATHE cold Shou, but it was delightfully sweet and creamy, the rum notes still strong. By this point there are none of the familiar earthy notes of Shou (which is what I dislike about cold Shou, those notes are wonderful warm but a big nope when cold) just creamy vanilla and chocolate, rum, and a gentle spice that lingers. I got nine steeps out of this tea before it quit, and enjoyed every one of them…even Ben who is not a fan of any alcohol (he won’t even eat my famous rum balls) and who only moderately likes Shou loved this stuff, he fussed at me for only getting one bag and he wants to turn some into a Masala Chai! I really do regret only getting one bag, this tea is wonderful and I will mourn it when it is gone.
From the Puerh TTB
To start off, I steeped this one quite aggressive as I was feeling in YOLO sheng mode. That was a bad idea with this tea – the flavor is pretty harsh. It is strong, soggy ashtray of menthol cigarettes, and a prominent sour bitterness that lasts a long time after each sip. The texture is a slick feeling in the mouth, and the dryness is moderate, but whoa, the most bitter bulang I’ve had. The smoke is light, it tasted like it got drowned out at some point.
But yeah, a new sheng drinker should likely stay clear of this one, or steep it low, around 185F. If you are a sheng drinker who loves bitterness (more bitter than W2T New Amerykah) have at it. The loooong aftertaste is quite pro, if you like bitter.
Additional notes: A new batch of this one, even though I have some others in stock. I just had to take advantage of Bluebird’s sale and also stock up on this favorite. I was a little worried it would be different, as I didn’t spot as much chili as in past blends and could swear there were some other ingredients that weren’t there before. But it tasted pretty similar… the same blend I love! I love the hints of chocolate and the heat from the chili. Just perfect. Though I do wish the chai spices would be a little more prominent. It seems the notes of other Steepsterers aren’t tasting the same cup I am, but this one must be made for me then, hits just right. :D
The colour of the steeped tea is such a beautiful pale gold: the first sign that this is no ordinary green tea.
No. 93, Feng Ling Ming Ye makes sense of how highly prized good tea has been in Asian history. This tea is glorious: smooth, so smooth. The most delicate vegetal butter. I detect an ever so slight bit of coconut here. Perhaps that is the sesame hint mentioned though my taste buds are taking it coconut way.
Thank you, Sil, for sharing this with me. This tea is making this day infinitely better.
Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Vegetal
Ho – Ly – Crap.
So I went to Indigo yesterday. I’ve had the urge to go shopping there for a while, and yesterday I just couldn’t hold off anymore. Indigo is just one of those stores where, if I walk in, I usually spend at least an hour browsing and drooling over everything I want to buy before I manage to escape, hopefully with minimal damage to my wallet. I knew Indigo sold Harney and Sons tea, but I haven’t really thought to try it until recently, when I read some of their reviews on Steepster. I’ve been aware for a while that Harney and Sons has some really good/high quality teas, so I’m not sure why this is the first time I’ve decided to try one out.
That being said, as soon as I opened the tin of Paris, I knew I had something special. I think this is what love at first sight (smell?) feels like. The aroma is just amazing. I don’t know what the ingredients or blend in this tea is, the tin doesn’t list it, so it’s hard for me to identify. There is something lightly fruity (cherry?), also sweet (caramel?), with the base of the smooth black tea. Perhaps even a hint of bergamont? I don’t know, but it felt like ecstasy to take long deep breaths with my face in the tin.
Of course, I couldn’t wait to try it. By the time I got around to it, it was already 7:30pm, but I didn’t care. Black tea or no black tea, I was going to try this tea. The flavour did not disappoint either. It held true to a lot of the blended notes that were present in the aroma. The tea is smooth yet bold, light yet full, and dances wonderfully on the tongue.
Lady Grey, I think you have competition.
This tea is really good. It has really nice tasting notes of malt and chocolate. The chocolate note is strong and the malt is not overpowering. This is definitely a tea to buy more of.
I brewed this 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 in a thermos for work.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
From Dark Matter 2016
1st steep: Very rich chocolaty notes, with a hint of floral undertones. The mouthfeel is slightly drying. These flavors linger on the tongue whilst brewing a second cup.
2nd steep: There seems to be a honey note to the second infusion. A little bit of malt and hay as well. Still sweet, though.
3rd, 4th, and 5th steep: On the go…I’ll add a comment later…..
Note: My mother’s cousin passed away this week (Thursday). I didn’t know him that well, but my mother is taking it kind of hard, since they were close and he was the same age as my dad. The tea is mostly for the drive there…Anyway, sad day.
Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Honey, Malt
The Trails of LBZ, Case 6 of 6
(Liquid Proust search for his favorite laser beam zensheng)
Seeing only two samples on the us site for YS of this sold out cake… I had to.
Getting off work and picking out one of the few LBZ I have left was an easy decision, but I didn’t know which one to drink. Well, I bought this sample to split with a friend so I decided to drink some prior to packing some away. Prepare for a pretty in depth review:
Upon brewing this tea I noticed that there was a lot of broken leaf with much debris coming out of each brew. Once the first few steeps were in front of me side by side I ended up looking at the leaf while smelling it. Nothing unique or noticeable about the aroma, but the leaf had a semi orange tint to the veins which I have yet to see; whatever that means. The first few brews had a soup like texture to it. Starting off it wasn’t that appealing because there was a lingering tart to the taste which I really did not care for; it’s similar to astringency, but think of it like that after tang that raspberries have.
Roughly steep 7 to 8 there was quite a change in the hue of the liquid. I’ve never had a leaf brew so contrasting between just a few steeps when it has been going for a little bit. First thing I noticed was a change in the after taste and the mouth feel. Earlier on the liquid left its impact on the back of the tongue and the top of the mouth. These new steeps towards the middle hit the front of the mouth and lingered with a new taste similar to sugarcane while the earlier ones were much like apricot sweetness. As it become lighter, I found myself enjoying it more. For reference, I kept the steeping time the same instead of raising it as I brewed the leaf out; this is how I do!
Getting towards the double digits, around steep 12, there is a drop off in texture and the liquid becomes easier to drink as the tea taste starts to fade and the low key sweet notes pop a bit more. Such a transition was odd for me because I would expect the sweetness to fade and a little bitterness to come out or the tea to go flat.
At about steep 15 I decided that when I wrote this review I wouldn’t even talk about the way the tea made me feel because the most important part about this tea has been the taste. Between the changing of taste to the tenderness of the last steeps, I really found myself drinking this as if it was dessert in a way. Interestingly enough I think I’ll have to say that the 2012 Wild Monk will be moved to the second best sheng I’ve had and that this will go to rank number one. There is just something about the ending steeps of this that are so light and yet so tasty that make it a delightful journey as you steep through it.
This is one of my first $6 sessions that I can say was truly worth it. Most of the time I am drinking a treat due to the price it ends up being unique in the way that I am thankful to have tried it but will not purchase any more. This being sold out sucks . This is a cake I would save and purchase for $240…
p.s. I cashed out my loose change and had $51.41 so if anyone is willing to purchase the very last sample the the us sight has of this, I will pay you back. There PayPal payment on the us sight is giving me an error and if it’s there tomorrow I’ll try again… I want it!!!
I get to be first to review this one!
First I have to tell you, when I originally came to Steepster I was drinking all Twinings and Ahmad. Shortly after, Angel sent the first set of samples to me and I was absolutely blown away. Everything I tried was a new eye opening experience. Now several years have passed and I have tried literally hundreds of teas. Teavivre remains the yardstick by which I compare all natural unflavored teas. It is rare when I taste something I enjoy more.
On to this one provided by Teavivre – a simple sniff of the bag was enough to convince me I loved this. It is like sticking your nose in an ear of sweet corn without getting butter all over your nose.
The leaf is cool. Looks for all the world like a white tea. Lots of downy white needles and deep green leaf.
Once steeped the leaf smells of corn and creamy vegetables. The liquor is bright clear yellow with golden highlights. The liquor scent is corn and a comforting spicy/floral mix.
The taste is sweet corn (see a pattern here?) and a stone like mineral spring water. I think Teavivre mentions chestnut, but since I have never tasted one I can only offer from a reference point I know. It feels smooth and kind of thick but not syrupy.
I prepared this western mug style with a 3 minute steep, so I am getting a green briskness late in the sip. It is not bitter or drying. This fades into a leafy plant green aftertaste. I pretty sure short gaiwan steeps would be absent of the briskness.
This is plenty sweet on its own. Any addition of sweetener would ruin a beautiful cup in my opinion. As a former Splenda junkie trust me.
I wrote on my blog this is “Complex enough to entertain but not so much as to demand concentration.” It is more than a comfort tea but not necessarily a deep meditation tea.
Dark Matter 2016 session
Before I decide to take the remainder of the tea session outside, I wanted to write a quick review from the first 4 cups. Altogether a great tea. It’s a dark oolong (which are always a delightful treat) that has quite a kick to it.
First steep: 15s. Rice (which was overcooked and left on the bottom of the pan), wet rocks with mossy undertones, minerals, and slight char notes. Pretty “meaty” aftertaste, similar to the dark crust left on an overcooked hamburger.
Second steep: 45s. More char. The aftertaste is all char/overcooked crusty meat. I don’t mean that it IS meaty, but it definitely is thick. Has that charcoal-esq flavor to it.
Third steep: 60s. Loses that heavy charcoal flavor. Kind of mellows out at this point. I have a slight char flavor, but there seems to be more of a mineral bite to it. Slight astringency, but nothing too serious.
Fourth steep: 80s. I’m getting a floral-tobacco flavor. Rich dark tobacco. The floral undertones sweeten it up quite a bit. I’m really liking where this is going. I think there may be a few more steeps to go, but I’m feeling tea drunk at the moment, considering I’ve had a lot of tea within 30 minutes….Ha-ha. I give this the thumbs up.
Flavors: Char, Mineral, Rice, Roasted, Tobacco, Wet Rocks
I’m not sure if this sample that I received from Liquid Proust reads “2009” or “2007” Mengku. However, I wanted to have a cup of raw pu-erh for my post-Statistics final, so I grabbed the rest of this out of the cupboard.
Now, I like the astringency of a raw. The first two steeps offered none of that, rather, I had nice mineral, smoky, and wet moss flavors to it. However, after these two steeps, I started to taste the astringency that I prefer when drinking a Sheng. The smokiness of the tea disappeared rather quickly, but the mossy/mineral notes stayed with this tea…Until steep 6.
Somehow, unbeknownst to me, the smokiness returned. I like to remind you that I’m new to pu-erh tea (3-4 months now, but still moderately unfamiliar to understanding the flavor, etc.) Anyway, I think it went well with the bitterness of the tea. It gave it that sort of burnt leafy taste, which reminds me of old leaves burning in a large field in the country during the Fall months. It also reminds me of walking in the woods as the snow melts, and the leaves have that old wet smell to them. That is what I enjoy about a majority of Raw pu, and this one has no exception.
Side Note: I think I used too much leaf in general (10g for 150ml). That, and I used overly hot water because I was distracted and allowed it to boil…..Prior to, the bitterness was subtle and still sweet (the water was 170F during the first few steeps). Anyway, I still enjoyed this.
This houjicha can change profile depending how aggressive you steep it. Lower leaf (3grams 5oz) I got something lightly roasted, corny and sweet. Steep it 6grams and its rich, more roasty, and tastes bready like an unsalted pretzel. Feel free to go boiling water with this green and oversteep. It doesn’t get too dry other than a bit of a squeaky popcorn texture.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/tencha-kuki-houjicha/
Rinsed quickly a couple times in cold water the night before so it would soften up a bit and brew more quickly the next morning. Rinsed a couple more times with boiling water before short steeps. Tastes rich with wood and a bit of a lingering sour note that disappeared later and became sweeter and softer like caramel.
I brewed this several times over a few days and when I thought it may be done I boiled it in a small pot of water as there were still lumps holding together. It was surprising how intense a brew I still got from this – a very giving tea.
Stopped by DAVIDsTEA yesterday and treated myself!
I’ve been eyeing up that large iced tea pitcher since they announced it, so I pounced on that and the 20% off loose leaf bonus that comes with it for the summer. Face it, if I’m gonna be making cold brewed/iced tea in that pitcher all summer long then that 20% off it gonna be a blessing since it’ll eat leaf like crazy.
I also got 50g a piece of Mango Madness, Pom Diggity, and Luscious Watermelon for some summer cold brewing as well as a new, teal, carry mug since I broke/cracked the plastic on my Me to We carry mug (dropped it and shattered the bottom) and these metal ones are definitely more durable. Plus snacks! The Mint Chocolate Rooibos and Earl Grey shortbread and another Movie Night chocolate bar. #TreatYourSelf
So, this is the first tea I brewed up in the pitcher: it’s really good! Like watermelon jolly ranches, when I know I observed last time, but also with notes of strawberry. I also felt like I was getting a cucumber note which seemed weird to me, but looking at the Steepster page for this cucumber is one of the listed flavours so at least one other person has noticed the same thing. I’m not alone!
But yes; not regretting getting more of this. It’s basically a quintessential summer flavour.