Featured & New Tasting Notes
Thank you, thank you to Angel/Teavivre for the generous samples! I received this months ago but classic me has been hoarding them.
This is the second time having it and, to be honest, both times it hasn’t been as milky as I had expected. Plus, the base is a little too vegetal for my liking. I’ve also been picking up on a chlorine-like undertone that has been driving me bonkers because it seems like a little more than just chlorine. There’s something more to that specific note.
After all this time, I finally figured out what it is. I don’t know about you, but the mold in cheese like Gorgonzola, and the rind on Brie and Oka all have this chlorine-like flavour that hits my palate the wrong way. This is totally that. So I guess you can say that this kind of tastes like those creamy kinds of cheeses, mold/rind and all. Since I love the taste of Brie/Oka, you’re damn skippy I just take off the rind so I can enjoy the deliciously creamy centre, but I can’t do that with this tea!
Come to think of it, I’ve had milk oolongs taste more like cheese than milk in the past, anyway. For instance, I vividly recall DAVIDsTEA’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong to taste like Havarti. Go figure!
I have a serious backlog because I had to have major surgery and haven’t been able to review. I am on the mend, but most of my current notes will be short and sweet in an attempt to catch up.
This is a sipdown and will be missed. I enjoyed this sweet and sugary (literally like burnt sugar at times) dessert blend with a dash of milk to make it creamier. Will probably be a reorder for the next holiday season.
I swear, every time I think I can finally get back to writing tasting notes, new and busy things start to happen. Grrr.
But! We shall try again today!
Cup of the morning. We’re entering the season when I drink tea when I can, as most of the day its too hot to even consider a hot beverage. Do what you can!
Cranberry tea is something I really like. I like the tartness, it feels quite fresh. Fresh is goot, when you are sweating by 7:30 a.m.
Savoy Tea Company, my favorite little shop in Northwest Arkansas, does flavored teas really well. Have had less experience with their unflavored products, but it bodes well for future experimentation.
This blend leads with Fujian tea, which I love. Leaves a light breath of cocoa flavor on your lips after you swallow. The label says it plays well with milk and sugar, but it’s very tasty on its own.
How does everyone here pronounce “Pecan” – I’ve always pronounced it “Pee-Can” and heard it that way or as “Peh-kahn” but apparently “Pee-kahn” and “Peh-Can” are also used. Which is the correct way!?
I bring it up because to finish this one off I made this in a timolino with a splash of Cinnamon creamer, and aside from just tasting super duper sweet and cloying something about the combination of this creamer and the tea finally made the pecan notes in the blend stand out. Hooray! That’s worthy of celebration even if I did get the feeling drinking this was sweet enough to cause ‘instant diabetes’.
Today’s word of the day is… Igneous!
Igneous means: “Formed from fire; especially said of rock formed from fiery magma.” I admit, I was confused momentarily by the definition because I kept reading this as ‘Ingenious’. Heh…
Certified organic + authentic ancient arbor leaves from Pasha Mountain means that my expectations for this tea are rather high. It does not disappoint. Attractive whole leaves make up the cake and it is full of silver needle-like tips. Sweet smell comes from the dry leaves but after the first rinse, the smell intensifies. Deep gold tea liquor which is beginning to reveal a light orange hue. The fragrance from the cup is lovely. The tea is mellow and smooth with a cooling sweet sensation after the 2nd cup. Definite tobacco notes revealed in the sip but this balances out the sweetness. Nice mouth and throat feel with good staying power – 10 steeps for me before I decided it was time to move on to another tea. Haiwan produced this 2006 Pasha as both a 200g and 400g cake. I have the smaller 200g cake but YS now lists only the 400g at the high price of $110 (reportedly $50 in late 2012). I purchased my 200g cake from Angelina’s Teas (located right here in North Carolina) at the very reasonable price of $32.
Interesting. A young sheng that does not grab you by the throat with bitterness. In fact it has very little when short steeps are used. The dry leaf was field and leather scented. The wet was leather, asparagus, seaweed, and mint. The cup was apricot colored. The first thing I caught in the taste was a hint of smoke. I never catch smoke in poo. Everybody else does. Not me. Until today. Woot! The taste goes from light mineral to leather to cooling bite.
The next cup had a spicy cedar/cinnamon mixed with leather. Behind it was a light metallic brightness. The combination was an interesting cooling heat.
The qi hit me hard on the second cup. The medicine I take for my lungs reacts with caffeine apparently. I really want to indulge in more of this but I am putting it away until morning. Probably shouldn’t have taking the meds with poo. Yeah, I’ll be more careful next time. Anyway, for only a few years old, this was an amazing sheng.
This is a very tasty tea with a strong flavor of mangoes. The black tea base is nice too but the mango overshadows it. This is not necessarily a bad thing. This is the first of my teas from my group order I am drinking. So far all the teas from Damman Freres have been good both from the group order with Marzipan and my own order. Thanks Marzipan for all the work this order took. I wonder what other French tea companies ship to the USA? I know some don’t.
I brewed this once in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 190 degree water for 3 min.
This was my other free sample from Mandala, and it is also officially the last tea in my cupboard (#–7)!! Of course, I skipped a few teas here and there for different reasons, but I have once again sipped-through my entire cupboard. And it took me 3 less weeks than last year! Once again it was really fun, and reminded me of all the teas I have forgotten. But I never know exactly what to drink after I’m done with this.
Anyway, I thought about saving this tea to have at a gongfu session, but then I just decided to drink it. Sorry Equusfell. :) I had a little more than I would normally use for my 12 oz cup, so I steeped it a little shorter to compensate.
I had a sample of this tea something like two years ago, and reading my note I can say that I found it much the same as I did back then. It smells really sweet and floral, with a bit of butteriness, like a really good TGY. But the flavor is more vegetal and less floral, with some butter but not much cream. A tiny hint of sweetness comes out as it cools, but it is still predominantly vegetal, a little like snap peas but not quite. Overall a pretty tasty tea, but when I drink it I just kind of wish I was drinking a TGY instead.
Thank you for the sample kieblera5!
This is a very nice DANCONG. There are definitely some floral notes but it is not as intensely floral as some others I’ve tried. Decent level of complexity. I give this one a B- or a C+
I was given several new varieties to sample so I’m definitely going to take notes on each one and figure out which kind is my favorite!
This was a great way to start a TTB! I picked this to get me going for the start of my morning. The dry leaf consists of small downy golden curls. This tea is so fluffy it actually sticks together in large clumps. I grabbed a generous amount and placed it inside my mini Gawain. I washed the leaf once and let it breath. This brew carried a thick malt aroma. I brewed up a cup. This thick garnet liquor carried a strong scent of spiced rum and roasted yams. The flavor was incredible! This was such a deep and heady brew. The initial sip carried the flavors of brandy, malt, spice,and caramel. It was such a thick brew and incredibly smooth and silky. I was able to pull a few steepings out my Gawain. The next subsequent brews became sweeter and thinner. This was a great start to wonderful TTB experience!
Flavors: Brandy, Caramel, Malt, Rum
This is a queued tasting note.
Thank you VariaTEA for getting this one to me, and Kittenna for splitting it with me! It smelled so good dry, and I ended up making it yesterday morning for my breakfast tea on my day off. Mmmm! I’m pretty sure it’s Bear With Me who’s obsessed with Grapefruit EG so I’m happy to finally be getting the chance to taste an EG with grapefruit in it (you’ve gotten me super excited!), even if there are other additions too.
I actually find I’m tasting the tangerine more than anything else; it tastes exactly like the tangerine in Butiki’s Tangerine Creamsicle guayusa blend except while I really disliked the flavour in that blend I think it works perfectly here. It ties in better with the base tea, and has a lovely, mellow sweetness to it and just a touch of citrus pucker. The grapefruit notes are more in the body of the sip, and ave the faintest bit of bitterness but in a way that’s pleasant and natural for grapefruit.
The EG itself wasn’t as strong as expected and I found myself craving a little bit more from the tea. It mostly was apparent running alongside the grapefruit notes and in the aftertaste. It paired phenomenally with the grapefruit by the way; I can see why that pairing seems to be a successful one.
The base was nice but didn’t impart a whole lot of flavour; not that I necisarrily wanted it to dramatically affect the taste of the tea but it would’ve been nice if it had not have been as mild and I could have pinpointed some distinct note from it. This is a really nice breakfast tea though; I will absolutely enjoy finishing off my little bag of it!
Today’s word of the day is/was: defunct, which means “having finished the course of life or existence : dead, extinct”. How dreary…
Other than the teas I have been reviewing for the blog, about all I have chugged lately is Diet Lipton Citrus Green Tea. I think it is laced with something. I find it devoid of depth but so addictive (truthfully it is because it is easy and I am lazy). There are no more in the fridge at the moment. sigh. Oh well, I’ll just have to have some Earl Grey hot from my replicator. As I pop the tin, bergamot fills my olfactory. I can’t even imagine why EG is not everyone’s favorite. It is one of the very few teas I still always have with sweetener. It simply intensifies it and mellows it at the same time. All this typing has worn me out. Back to the couch. Make it so Number One… Spock why couldn’t you have been the EG guy? Then I could have just had Scotty beam me to the couch.
Thanks so much for the sample, boychik, and for introducing me to cheap, yet delicious shou! I was beginning to veer more towards sheng and away from shou, but you brought me back to the “dark side!” Ha!
This is excellent. Clean, super sweet, delicious! This is like a vanilla caramel shou. So yummy! Adding this to my order list. ;)
I had this tea last night. Again, it didn’t taste like much, but it didn’t taste like soap either, so I’m happy. I ran into someone online who had a similar surgery to mine about 5 days before me. She is getting little bits of scents again now. So hopefully, by next weekend I’ll be able to smell a bit too. Can’t wait to taste all my delicious teas!
This is a very interesting selection from Yunnan Sourcing recommended by a few whose opinions I value. Reportedly a special production by the Mengku Tea Factory made with material from 400-500 year old trees. According to YS, the tea is 100% Ban Zhang Wild Ancient Arbor. The leaves of the cake appear to be clean, thick and stout. These leaves yield a dark gold tea liquor which is bright and clear. There is an enticing floral-fruity scent on top of a smooth woody base which is long lasting and powerful. The sip is full and complex yet strongly sweet. There is a pleasant bitterness but this quickly dissipates then a full, delicious, sweet taste dominates and remains in the mouth for quite some time. Dominant presence in the mouth – the tongue and mouth tingle after just a few small sips. The Qi comes forward after just one cup and builds over several infusions. I find this to be a very enjoyable tea.
Backlog from last night.
I chose this tea last night to have with dinner – a few slices of meat-lovers pizza with sausage, bacon, and pepperoni.
Good call! The saltiness and smokiness of the pepperoni and bacon really went well with the smokiness of the tea. And I love the fact that the base tea itself is slightly sweet.
I was seriously considering buying some dark chocolate after dinner to have with this tea since I had at least half the pot left, but the convenience store was closed. Too bad. I bet this tea would be GREAT when paired with dark chocolate squares.
Dry – Standard bittersweet ripe notes, some starch, faint earthy and sweet.
Wet – Sweet, fruity complexity (dark dried fruits), faint cocoa/chocolate hints, citrus?, thickness.
Liquor – Burgundy to a reddish-brown. mellow fragrance.
Initial steeps were all sweet and smooth with a noticeable thickness and developing some dark dried fruit notes of dates and sometimes berries? with a caramel or better yet molasses finish to it. As you continued to steep the following steeps had more bittersweet-ness to them, but maintained the character from the first steep.
Around 4-6 some changes developed and I had to adjust the steep times being a bit more conscious on the color and smell of the steep, longevity issues. The steeps here are still very smooth, but wear less thickness and the fruity notes are more active. The notes remind me of dates, molasses and perhaps a Chinese dried persimmon.
Late steeps were from the 6th to a 8th and a very forced 9th steep. The notes are still here, though they are faded and is already lacking some thickness. Still very good steeps with some camphor being detected (was there before but the thickness mellowed it a bit).
A very good and simple ripe, the longevity is a bit… inconsistent, specially considering that the description says 25 infusions…. It also depends a lot on which portion of the cake you are steeping from. The middle get just a rougher with more sticks here and there, which honestly isn’t bad I felt like the middle lacks the thickness, but it has some more bitter notes that at some points may trick you into think ‘cocoa notes’.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Dried Fruit, Molasses, Sweet, Thick
Finally getting around to more of my Tea Ave samples. By now I’ve tried 2 of 3 (plus a bonus), and this one (#–2) is the last one to try. Funny, since by rights it should have been the first one I grabbed given that I love rose. I’m brewing this one western style using my typical green oolong method. I will take the rest home to gongfu, perhaps this weekend.
Some people may appreciate that this tea has light rose notes. They are definitely present, but playing around the edges. I myself prefer a much stronger rose flavor, since rose is one of my favorites. I could forgive that, however, if the base was anything to write home about. I find it a little meh. Vegetal, a little buttery, but lacking the creaminess I would expect from a Jin Xuan. I will say that I get a little bored by Taiwanese high mountain oolongs, although I have them as the base of a few other scented teas and enjoy them well enough. Even in Tea Ave’s own Ginger Lily, it worked better. I think this one is just so dominant in the flavor, and one-note (vegetal). Maybe it will be more nuanced in gongfu. That said, I drank it easily enough.
The thing that sets me off the most about this is the price. Right now, the sale price is more than double what I would pay for a rose green oolong from Dammann or Taiwan Tea Crafts. Now, I am not one to cast judgement at spending a lot on one tea, as I have done my damage with some reserve teas in the past, but their prices seem a tad excessive to me for the product. I am grateful that they sent me the samples to review (as well as the aroma cup set and such), but I will be perfectly honest in my review: I expect mind-blowing for that price, and this is decidedly not.
Looks like dried grass clippings. I have a lot of tiny particles in mine. The other tea in the package was undamaged, so I don’t know if this was roughed up in shipping? Others didn’t comment on this so I am believing it is just my bag. Steeping temp of 158F is hard to do but I stood guard over the kettle and got it.
I think Curious Tea nails the taste profile on their webpage by saying this “has a full vegetal and slightly toasty flavour. It strongly evokes green vegetables, such as spinach or greens with a nori undertone and a distinct dryness in the aftertaste.”
I think the only thing I would add is though the temperature is a bit of a pain to hit, it is worth the effort as the cup was nicely smooth.
’Here’s Hoping’ Teabox Round #4 – Tea #13
Somehow this one wasn’t on Steepster yet, but this is a great herbal peppermint. Super fresh, sweet and strongly minty. Not much else to say, but I definitely need to keep mint in stock at all times! Second steep was delicious too… aren’t they usually? Not sure why I say it all the time!