Featured & New Tasting Notes
Thanks for the sample, VariaTEA!
I’m on a roll today! Apologies for all the tasting notes today and yesterday. I tend to work all the hours most people don’t, because I work in a restaurant and so our busiest times are evenings and weekends. That means my ‘weekend’ tends to come in the middle of the week, and since I haven’t had any plans this week I’ve just stayed at home and drank a lot of tea (which has been awesome).
This is one I could take or leave. The base is a blend, which is interesting, because even though I’m not a huge fan of green teas in general, my favourite is Mao Jian, which I can taste a lot of in the smooth, mellow butteriness of this tea. It does also have a Glenburn Estate green mixed in with it though, and I can detect some more savoury vegetal notes in here which I don’t like as much. I can taste some almost pecan-like nuttiness (though nothing like my beloved maple pecan oolong) and some hints of cream, but not enough that I would call this ‘eggnog and pralines’. I added a little brown rock sugar which does amp up the praline flavour and make it much more enjoyable, but still not something I’m sad to see gone. It’s not the kind of thing I crave regularly, and when I do, I have half an ounce of Spiced Nog which I prefer.
I got this for Christmas in Tea Forte’s Noir sampler. Now, I’m always conflicted about this company. Everything I’ve tried by them has been wonderful. However, to me, they seem really overpriced for the quantity you get. So I only buy something from them every few years. Or if I can find it on sale. It’s a special treat.
About these single-steep pouches, I’d say they’re actually two if you’re using a standard size mug. There’s a little over two teaspoons in each.
Now, this is one incredibly fragrant tea. The peach aroma is sweet, bright, and realistic. Very natural and juicy! As it steeps, calendula petals and pieces of dried fruit rise to the top. As for the flavor, I love it. The brulee aspect is milder than the peach, but still present. It adds a rich layer of creaminess. But it’s definitely subtle, as is the black tea base. It’s only a touch astringent, but it mostly fades into the background. Also, I see this contains coconut too, but I can’t really taste it. That said, this is probably the best peach tea I’ve ever had.
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Fruity, Peach
I am so over this. One more and it’s a sipdown. It’s just a plain, one-note rooibos, and not even a good one at that. It’s got a sort of chemically taste which I find really odd. On top of that I bought it in a rooibos four-pack, the other three being flavoured, and every single one of them, despite being individually wrapped, has always tasted the same. It’s not exactly foul spit-it-out-immediately tasting, but it’s boring my tastebuds to death and I’d be happy never to drink it again.
Another of the Georgian teas I acquired from What-Cha during the second half of 2016, I finished off the last of my sample pouch this afternoon. I got so used to the recommended steeping process for Natela’s Gold Standard that I ended up using 203 F water instead of 194 F water the first time I brewed a cup of this tea. It turns out that nine degree difference in temperature really makes a difference with this tea. Brewing it again at the recommended temperature resulted in a much more flavorful cup.
I brewed this tea Western style. Rather than attempt multiple infusions, I favored a simple one step infusion process. Note that in this review I am specifically referring to the latter brewing method referred to above-3 grams of loose tea leaves steeped in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted a malty, slightly fruity scent. After infusion, I picked up pronounced aromas of cream, malt, raisin, almond, and nutmeg. In the mouth, I detected dominant notes of cream, malt, and toast balanced by gentle, subtle notes of apricot, golden raisin, and yellow plum. Notes of nutmeg and almond were also detectable, becoming more noticeable on the smooth, malty, and subtly fruity finish.
Overall, I really liked this tea. It came across as being smoother and more balanced than Natela’s Gold Standard, though it also lacked the pronounced fruitiness I so admired in that tea. Still, I found it to be very good. I think it would be a perfect tea for whenever one is just looking for a balanced, supremely drinkable cup.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Cream, Malt, Nutmeg, Plums, Raisins, Toast
This review is from drinking a cake sample. This puer is a fragrance bomb. It is bright, citrus, sweet, amber, grassy, vegetal at first, then a sweet mineral, pavement, buttery, vegetal finish.
I feel this be a good puer, in its current young state, for an oolong drinker. It’s got that fragrance that you just don’t get in many puer, but what oolongs tend to have.
In comparison to the same priced 2016 We Go High, Tuhao is more approachable as it is less bitter. It is totally for an oolong drinker and a great tea to try if you are new to shengs that are expensive or hate bitterness. You more pro, want epic tea drunk, and got that young sheng gut for bitter – We Go High is a better match for $149 cake.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2016-tuhao-fuck-sheng-puer-white2tea/
I enjoyed this tea while I had the sample. Cherry roasted tea against wicked below zero winds. I need to focus on non-attachment. Better yet, balanced attachment. It applies to people and to tea, but I will focus on tea, a thing.
I want more tea and I don’t. I want jade oolongs but I don’t want to spend a lot more money on more tea. I ordered 50 grams of a Da Yu Ling for $20 on discount, but I desire more jade oolong, but I don’t know if I want a flavored or an unflavored. I want to get some chai for my tumbler, but I do not want a lot more black tea. But I would like more Darjeeling. I want to order more tea from What-Cha, but I also want to order from Hugo Tea, Liquid Proust, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co., and Quarter to Tea. But I want to cut down on my caffeine to help with my attempts to hide my anxiety. Stimulants pumping blood into your forehead and brain does not exactly help one be cool and collected.
Oh well. I’ll give myself a break about it. TMI
This is another free sample I received with a fairly recent What-Cha order. Apparently, this was meant to replace the previous English breakfast blend. A blend of African and Asian black teas, this particular blend is comprised of 30% Yunnan Black Gold, 30% Vietnam Wild Boar, 30% Kenya FOP, and 10% Rwanda FOP.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, I noted that the dry leaves emitted malty, woody, and slightly chocolaty aromas. After infusion, the copper tea liquor produced more clearly defined scents of chocolate, malt, wood, brown sugar, and sorghum molasses. In the mouth, I detected a smooth blend of wood, brown sugar, chocolate, sorghum molasses, earth, leather, toast, roasted nut, malt, and mild spice notes. The finish was particularly smooth, pleasant, and expressive, offering a lingering malty sweetness coupled with a hint of astringency.
Truth be told, this was an enjoyable and surprisingly refined English breakfast blend. Unfortunately, I am at a point where I tend to associate English breakfast teas with earthier, woodier, more leathery flavors and more pronounced bitterness and astringency. As a matter of fact, I associate English breakfast teas with these qualities so much that I now actively look for them. With that in mind, I found this blend to be tasty, but I also found it to be a bit tame. Still, I think those who are looking for a smooth, flavorful breakfast tea could do far worse than checking out this one.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Roasted nuts, Spices, Toast, Wood
Thank you VariaTEA for this sample!
I’ve been avoiding trying this because I thought it was mate based. As it turns out, what I thought was yerba mate leaves was actually delicious, delicious mallow leaf. Mallow leaf is my new tea love. I need to find a bulk store that stock it so I can make marshmallow leaf/root tea.
Anyway, as for the actual looseleaf, I really like the orange/red and blue petals, they are colourful like sprinkles. When brewed, there is a strong flavour that starts out vegetal, like dried leaves steeped in hot water.
Then, the magic happens. Hints of vanilla blossom into marshmallow and icing flavours. I wouldn’t describe it as cake, but it definitely reminds me of the marshmallow fluff icing my cousin makes her cakes with. Next time I make a Butiki buy, I’m stocking up on this wonderful herbal blend.
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Custard, Grass, Herbaceous, Marshmallow, Rice Pudding, Vanilla, Vegetal
I had a late session with this tea last night because I was in the mood for an oolong.
I’ve started recording my sessions on a little MP3 recorder so that I don’t have the possibility of skipping anything during the session. I usually jot a brief note on the flavor profile, color, aroma; which can get quite perplex while writing a review (or in my case avoiding the reviewing part via Steepster due to incomprehensible notes).
However, this session ran short due to time/battery life in the device. I noted that there were nutty, floral, & mineral flavors. I also noted that this is a good TGY because it reminds me of other quality TGY that I’ve had int he past, so rated on the scale of “uniqueness” it’s pretty average. It’s a good TGY, but it’s something that I’ve had before.
Thank you for the sample Angel
I do like the scent and taste of this one. What I don’t like about it is its name. To me, although the inspiration of the tea with chocolate, spice, marshmallow may well be Mexican Hot Chocolate, the oolong is earthy and that alone does not work for me to summon the concept of the original drink. The star anise confuses me as well. I like the oolong and black base with the star anise—there is star anise in this, right? It’s the name that muddles me up.
I am raising my rating based on enjoying this tea and always enjoying QTT’s inspired tea efforts and creativity. That and the fact that I really do enjoy this one if I do not call it Mexican Hot Chocolate. Lauren, would you consider calling it Opium Den? Or Somnolent Earth? Or Amber Anise? Or…
Or maybe I’ll just rename it for myself and then, I’m good.
Flavors: Anise, Earth, Spices, Wet Earth
Well this has cooled quite a great deal but it still captures the taste of an oatmeal raisin cookie…heavy on the raisin and with a great deal of cinnamon. The brew has an awesome fresh-baked cookie scent. All in all, its pretty tasty and though I wouldn’t mind slightly less cinnamon, I am pleased.
Generally speaking, 52Teas’ black base chai blends—note, I have no idea what Frank’s versions were like—are always, or very usually, a win with me. The spice blends are balanced and kapow with no one spice predominating, just the way I like them. Occasionally, one of the spices does a peekaboo and that’s just great as well. I drink the chais straight up and unsweetened, with perhaps a bit of dark chocolate alongside.
This one too is a beaut with just the right amount of smoke and spice. I know that smoke thing has been tricky to get balanced in past 52Teas blends, but here it is totally working. Yay, 52Teas, well done! I think we’ve got it.
If I were to change one wee thing, it would be to have the vanilla and marshmallow peek out a bit more, but truly, I don’t know if that is a possibility in tea blending. Can’t blame me for wishing and hoping, right?
Edit—As the tea sits and cools more—not that I drink it hot to begin with, mind you— a bit more of the vanilla and marshmallow steps in. So, my happiness is now complete.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Smoke
First tea of the morning.
I added some cashew milk into it this time because last time I thought it was a little harsh and I remembered wanting to mellow it out a little bit.
I think the cashew milk is doing wonders here; the tea is definitely still thick and very smoky with tobacco, ash, and leather notes but I don’t feel nearly as assaulted by it and it’s smoother/creamier . Previously, it had a level of astringency that sort of felt the way that nail on a chalkboard sounds. In addition to the wonderful Lapsang, the cherry also comes through very nicely. It’s dark and seductive, and tastes sweet without having the brightness that a bing or maraschino cherry would have. If this cherry note were a person, it’d be at the point in life where it’s a bit of a Silver Fox. You know, still very hot/attractive but with hair starting to grey and wrinkles in just the right places. Yes, this cherry is the Clooney of cherries…
Ah, perfect mood music! Completely matches the tone of the tea and is submersive in every way. Plus, Iwan Rheon is just so nice to look at. Whether you see him as Simon from Misfits or Ramsey from GoT I think you’ve gotta agree the man can sing…
This tea is so mmm, yeah, I can’t even tell you. It’s in the direction of honey black, but stops just before reaching the outer edge of sweetness, and with so much more depth and layering to it. So smooth with the ever so slight bit of smoke.
The cinnamon that others have mentioned eludes me. This does not trouble me.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Plums, Smoke
First tea of the new year!
I’m all about symbolism or ‘monument moments’ when it comes to tea drinking so I like to time out my big tasting note milestones so I’m drinking teas with significance, and I like thematically appropriate teas for holidays…
So, I wanted my very first tea for 2017 to be significant. And so, instead of ‘Ringing in the New Year’ I’m bringing it in, instead, with a ‘Bang’. Bang Dong Hong, that is. Hooray word play! Seriously though – 2016 was such a shit storm of a year globally that I really wanted to get 2017 rolling in a positive way; and I’m also hoping that maybe choosing this tea might symbolize more of a shift in my tea drinking habits as my tea related new years resolution this year is to drink a larger amount of straight tea overall than I did last year as well as do at least one Gong Fu session every week.
Drinking Gong Fu is something I love but have a very hard time fitting into my work week, and which I really struggled with once I started working two jobs and pulling regular 14+ hour work days. I want to find/make time to get back into the habit of enjoying something I love and find peaceful and relaxing.
This wasn’t my first Gong Fu ceremony of the year – that will probably come later today. I drank this one Western while having a nice soak in the tub and trying a Ginseng face mask that ended up being a complete disaster: it never totally “set” even after twice as long as the recommended time to leave it on, and therefore I couldn’t peel it off. Instead I had to scrape/scrub that gross goo off. Bleck.
Tea was phenomenal though: I was quite taken aback by how nutty and sweet it was. Every sip felt very dominated by an almond/cherry or marzipan like note that was intoxicating and enchanting, and pulled me in almost immediately for the next sip. Other notes were malt, cocoa, and raisin – but they paled in comparison.
How interesting and unexpected.
I felt so proud sipping this down at work. My new place of work actually has a kettle unlike Sephora! There is a proper break room which makes tea-enjoying more doable and enjoyable. I bought a Perfect Mug on sale after Christmas just for work since I’m too ridiculous not wanting to give up one of my mugs from home. I know it probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to most, but it felt pretty damn good being able to sit down, relax, and sip on this tea at work. Like whaaaat? Such a good feeling.
Would I get more? I would if I needed to make an ATR order more worthwhile. Excellent lychee flavour.
Oh, dear rooibos, this is amazing. Lots of fruity notes (cherry, strawberry, maybe raspberry and blueberry), sweet rooibos, cream, caramelised nuts, almond, sugar, and vanilla. These are all my favourite things put into one blend. Best of all, no hint of tartness if you leave it steeping too long.
I honestly can’t think of anything to improve this. Everything about it is lovely. It also resteeps well and makes amazing lattes!
Flavors: Almond, Berries, Berry, Black Currant, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cherry, Cream, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Fruity, Nut Fruits, Nuts, Pastries, Raspberry, Rooibos, Strawberry, Sweet, Toffee, Vanilla, Walnut
pulled this one out to enjoy yesterday as well. I’ve been reluctant to start the tin of this that i have for no particular reason. i ADORE the tins from bellocq and i was so happy to splurge on a tin of this as part of my wedding present from dex heh. Still as delicious as ever. Glad i still have lots of this to carry me through winter.
This is really different. It actually smells sort of smoky. Like a campfire. It takes me back to Gimli, Manitoba. Over Labor Day I usually go camping up there, and at night we build a big fire and sing and roast marshmallows. One year we eat peaches that had been soaked in brandy. Just the smell of this transported me back. What a lovely thing!
This is smoky, and that was the dominant initial flavor, but it is chased by something sweet and buttery, and a sweet zing of peach at the end. Not artificial peach. The butterscotch is there too, like one of those butterscotch hard candies from Brach’s. I was not sure at first if I would like this, but I do. I really, really do.
Flavors: Peach, Smoke
The name of this tea beckons me. Though I’ve been on a bit of a black tea roll lately, I picked this up the other day.
So lovely. When I was drinking this, I found the green tea base so buttery, so very buttery, supported by gentle pineapple and marshmallow flavours. Beautiful.
Perhaps I need to be giving the dry leaf in the pouch a bit more of a shake to include the zing of pepper. I am not feeling any heat from the pepper as is. No matter. Perhaps the blast will come.
A slight segue. People have been speculating whether 52Teas will create a tea to honour Carrie Fisher. I have been wondering what flavours 52Teas would include if she were to create a tea in tribute to Carrie Fisher. What would the tea be called? What flavours would best depict this woman who was both a fierce role model for young women and a fearless champion of mental health, amongst all her other glorious attributes?
Flavors: Butter, Marshmallow, Pineapple
I have finally done it. Here is the review/tasting note for tea #200. As I eclipsed the 150 mark, I began to wonder if I could manage to find the time to try 200 teas this year. I then challenged myself to do so. Though I am cutting it close, this review marks #200 for me.
I prepared this tea Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I have tried multi-step infusions for this tea in the past, but I have not liked the results quite as much as those obtained from a single extended infusion.
Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted gentle, pleasant aromas of toffee and raisin. After infusion, the scents of toffee and raisin were joined by malt and cream. In the mouth, gentle, superbly integrated notes of golden raisin, toffee, malt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pistachio, and roasted almond washed across the palate. The finish emphasized a lingering balance of the flavors described above plus a note of steamed milk. Overall, the flavor reminded me a lot of kheer, the Indian rice pudding.
This was a very sweet, mellow, resilient tea that seemed to adapt easily to a number of different brewing styles. There was absolutely no tannic bite nor any astringency whatsoever. One thing I’m beginning to notice about a lot of these Georgian black teas is that their mild, balanced flavor and smooth texture give way to an extremely robust, flavorful, and long-lasting finish. With this tea, I was continually impressed by how much flavor lingered in my mouth after the swallow and how wonderfully soothing the afterglow was. Due to this tea’s lack of bite, astringency, and immediate caffeine jolt, I would not recommend it as a breakfast tea or as a tea to be paired with heavier foods. I would, however, strongly recommend it as an afternoon or evening tea to be consumed on its own or paired with lighter, sweeter fare.
Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Cream, Malt, Milk, Nutmeg, Nutty, Raisins, Toffee
Art of Darkness is an all time favorite of mine. I don’t know why, but I fell in love with it as soon as I tasted it. Then, I heard about this tea, and I had to give it a shot. I am not one for flavored teas or blends, but Whispering Pines hits these right on the nose, and they are delicious! This leaf is a long slender leafed shou with a distinct scent of Jordan almonds. Also, the small black and dusty gold tendrils smell intensely of a sweet, creamy, nuttiness, with some fluffy tones on top. I warmed my teapot and scooped some inside. The scent opens up into a whipped crème atop dry cacao with some earth woodiness mixed in. A quick wash, and its off to paradise. The brew is thick in the mouth with a flourishing marshmallow flavor. The drink is like milk chocolate hot cocoa with vanilla syrup drizzled atop. The brew continues with each steep developing into a dense chocolate with a lightly fading marshmallow. The brew lasts for an extensive amount of steeps, and it is fantastic! This leaf is a lot like Art of Darkness except more direct, smooth, and long lasting. The brew is not overly complex, and that’s fine. I am not drinking a cocoa nib imbued tea for the complexities. The taste is great; however, I do wish it was a tad bit cheaper…
Flavors: Almond, Cacao, Chocolate, Creamy, Dark Wood, Marshmallow, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla