Featured & New Tasting Notes
It always makes me nervous when I first try one of the Steepster legends. This one has reached near mythic proportions. What if I hate it? What if the hoopla is all hype and marching bands?… But what if its not?
Verdant mentions baked brownies. Yeah, that is what the aroma is like. The taste is chocolate and roasted caramel drizzled in honey. The aftertaste is wonderfully malty. Seriously good.
Maybe memory fails me and this is nothing like Bailin Gongfu but it is just like it in that it is a game changer if your experience with black tea has been limited to Assam and Ceylon type black teas. Not harsh at all. Just smooth and delicious.
Thank you Terri for sharing!
earl grey creme with cinnamon! very nice.
no, really. i drank this hours ago and i’m still remembering it fondly.
it was a great way to start this monday.
me and cinnamon, we are getting to be better & better friends. happy ending :)
i have several of you to email and put swap boxes together for.
don’t worry i haven’t forgotten you!
i just, get, like, distracted and stuff. and i know full well that i’m not really great at prioritizing. and i tend to get 90% done with a task and then kinda stall out a bit? but i spend time telling non-tea people all about how steepster is fun in so many different ways and how we can be a sea of all different types and walks of people and still have so many things in common and how it always impresses me and how i have a fondness for my internet buddies even if i chat with you lots or barely at all.
(okay brace for blab city now)
i lurk some of you, sure i do, i see your tea reviews and read a little about your day or your morning tea or whatever, and i may not have much to add, but i see you and i get it. i see you! hi! i understand you a little! hi!
this site is kinda all about the love, and the complete acceptance and freedom to love/hate any crappy/pristine tea you darn well want to.
and you can tell because instead of clicking a little thumbs-up at the bottom of a post, you can click a little heart! proof!
party on heart clickers!
I LOVE spicy chai’s, or spicy teas in general. Kapha (TeaGschwendner) immediately comes to mind – when brewed right, it can burn your throat into submission. This tea? Yes, it definitely does the same, while still allowing for a chocolatey chai to peek through. Now, the chocolate is a bit watery I’ll admit, and the chai is difficult to detect specific spices (likely from the heat in my mouth) it’s still delicious, and right up my alley. FINALLY – a spicy chai that lives up to it’s name!
1.5 tsp in 12 oz.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Nutmeg
i’m pretty sure dinsoara and i aren’t the only two people on steepster who have this in their cupboard. Come on people fess up! That being said…this will NOT be in my cupboard for long. this one is destined to visit some other sucker…er i mean tea lover. But sil? WHY would you do that to this poor tea? well let me tell you…this tea has nearly everything i hate about life in it. First off….it’s a green tea. Which, on it’s own does not make for hatred, but wait..what have we added here? BLERGAMOT! gahh!! the dreaded evil flavour to kill them all… bah! and then… just for a real kick in the face, to make SURE i would hate this tea, because after all, i can sometimes get past the blergamot in some teas…. what did verdant do?
sigh they added lavender. A flower that has no place in anything but bath products..and even then…only bath products that aren’t going to live anywhere near me. When my mother and i went to france for a month..it was almost impossible to avoid. and now.. it’s here.. in my tea..looking so pretty and innocent…hanging out with blergamot as if to say.. suck it sil… we’re in this together…
….all that and i’ve only opened the bag to measure out a spoonful into my mug.
brewing….waiting….the aroma takes over my house…my other half calls from the other room…WHAT IS THAT? are you putting on lotion at this time of the day? I thought you hated lavender…
no dear…it’s just that this tea and i have a date…i can’t let it win…
BEEEEEP goes the microwave… crap.. GAME ON!!!
alright tea… i’m on to you… i WILL drink at least a sip of your deadly poison.
cautious sip… noseful of blergylavender…GAH!
I’m pretty sure is what it would taste like if i started licking lavender soaps randomly in those tacky gifts shops…maybe add a little spinach and a squirt of orange and hey look…it’s a tasty soap salad.
feck. no thank you.
buries the rest of her half of the sample in terri’s teabox mwahahahahahahaha
(why can’t i rate a tea zero? also…not rating this as low as i want to, because admittedly some of you out there might actually enjoy the taste of lavender and blergamot…together in a taste hot green mess. At least the tea is pretty? cough)
Good morning all. I’ve been in shock for the past 24 hours and saddened, yesterday morning a pregnant woman was run over and died right in front of my house. Literally ten feet away from my front door. Though I did not know the young lady (but had seen her around before) it’s just devastating that something like this could happen, and so close to where I live. I am lucky in that I am away at the moment looking after my parents dogs and on Friday my husband stayed with me for the night so we were both here at the time of the incident. If we were home we would have seen either the crash or the aftermath, seen things that no one should have to. My heart goes out to the poor girls family.
This tea was from the first round of the EU travelling tea box. I like the idea of a fruity, chilli, Rooibos based tea but it would have to be blended well.
In raw form it has a sweet generic fruit scent with some Rooibos thickness, I took a large sniff and ended up pulling away to sneeze so that must be the chilli coming through. My nose feels ticklish now.
My first sip reveals a sweet yet light fruity tea with some Rooibos thickness in the after taste and just a pinch of chilli. Not so much a hot chilli tea as it is flavour, though it does give a very light tingle at times.
It’s pleasant but half way down the cup the spice becomes thicker and the sweet fruit less so. Also it gets rather dry and bitty.
I think it’s a nice try at a chilli blend but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
As I was about to go to bed after closing all the lights, I noticed a halo illuminating the entire kitchen. I stood in front of the bay window and realized it was a full moon tonight…Blue shadows everywhere, the moonlight caressing the surface of the snow, creating the illusion of a vast carpet made of a thousand sparkling diamonds. Breathtaking.
No way I was going to bed…took my gongfu set and boiled some water. Decided I was gonna have a meditative tea session in silence with Miss Moon.
This tie guan yin was an excellent choice. It is everything I love about high mountain oolong. Very floral, buttery and sweet, but also juicy and refreshing. There’s a pure crystalline quality about this tea, a breath of fresh air.
Stayed there for a full hour. I kept staring at the night, the imagery was picturesque, I tell you, the only thing missing was the wolf howling at the moon!
My head is full of beauty from the scenery but also, from this magnificent tea, I think I can sleep now…
(See previous note)
I don’t drink much rooibos as I mostly taste Robitussin when I drink it. This was a Christmas gift from my daughter and I am trying to drink less caffeine late at night so it was high time to try it.
The smell is really wonderful. I thought of orange creamsicle, but oddly enough the description says nothing about orange being in here. The dry mix looks like it has orange peel, though. There were flat, light colored pieces of something in there! Also there were pretty red flower petals…poppy? Hibiscus?
I was disappointed that when the water hit the leaves the powerful rooibos aroma rose immediately. As I drink this, the cinnamon and clove are becoming stronger with each sip, building more and more as I get to the bottom of the cup.
It is reminding of African Autumn by Harney and Sons, which does have orange and a touch of cranberry, as well as hibiscus, though I don’t taste hibiscus in either of these. COULD they be the same tea? It has been a very long time since I have had African Autumn so I really don’t know. African Autumn also mentions no spices, so maybe not.
If you like rooibos you would probably enjoy this. I will drink it as a caffeine free nighttime cuppa.
Had this as my final cup tonight, mostly because i wanted to have it shortly after the yunnan from terri… I still don’t get the fuss of this tea, though i do enjoy having a sample size of this in my cupboard from time to time :)
Final Count: 147 (7 more to go before i can say i’m at 150 for the end of February, even with the incoming teas, that will likely show up here before the end of the month…so it’s only swaps that will be able to ruin my count! but i DO have a week still..and two whole glorious weekend days left…)
Ooh, I’ve wanted to try this for a bit now. It’s been in my sipdown container for a few weeks, and I’ve just been making my way through things as I can. It’s got quite the lineage, this particular cuppa – there are three names on the bag: OMGsrsly, Sil and then myself. I love it when great tea gets swapped all over the country and back! So much fun.
To the tea. It’s almost a chai, more chocolately than chai however, plus a nice thickness from the huge piece of cardamom in this particular teaspoon. It’s creamy and savory, sweet and dessert-like.. I may need to (finally) go find Steam and get some more.
EDIT: What?! This is rooibos? Jeepers. Had I put that together, I would have enjoyed this long ago. Most definitely on my to-order list now.
1 tsp in 12oz., because the sample package sent to me shared I should steep 1.5 tsp in 250mL.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream
Thank you VariaTEA for sending me this sample.
I don’t get it. Have tried this a couple of times with different steep parameters and I can’t find anything even vaguely resembling peanut butter cup cheesecake. No peanut butter, no chocolate, no cheesecake.
Call me crazy but I’m getting sweet, fruity, peppery, chemical and honeybush.
Sorry but that’s my impression both tonight and the other night that I tried it.
This is a sample I got with my Shanti order a while back, and I believe it may be the first Shanti product I’ve tasted. It being evening, I was looking for something without caffeine, though this may have been a mistake as it is supposedly energizing despite the lack of caffeine.
In the sample packet there’s a sweet cocoa-like aroma which is odd since there’s nothing that should smell like cocoa among the ingredients. The steeped tisane has a savory smell to it which I attribute to the holy basil, sage and pepper. It’s a light brownish orange color.
I expected the flavor to also be savory but it doesn’t strike me that way. There’s still a cocoa-like note but I think it’s the ginger that’s responsible. I’m glad I don’t get a strong licorice taste despite the licorice and fennel in the ingredients. Having had the Upton Holy Basil last night, this is sort of a jazzed up holy basil, with a little more interest going on. I don’t get a strong cardamom flavor, but the ingredient list is similar enough to chai that there’s a sort of faint chai echo to this. I don’t taste the rooibos except in the aftertaste and it’s smooth and lacking enough in the woody department that it isn’t problematic for me.
It’s okay, but it’s not bowling me over. I don’t think I’d buy it, but I’m glad for the chance to taste it.
So, nothing against it, but I’m not much of a Valentine’s day type of gal. I much prefer unexpected love days throughout the year :-)
But since today is supposed to be about love (and not about picking up some cheap flowers last minute at a grocery store cause you feel you have too), I chose to do things I really love.
Drinking this tea was one of them. Top 3 favourite tea of all time for me. Discovered Da Yu Ling last year, I keep two from different companies, equally good. Learned that it is grown at the highest plantation in the world, 8500 feet altitude!
This green oolong is similar to some of my favourites Tie Guan Yin, but brings it to the next level.
I’m using the yixing pot I dedicate to fragrant green oolongs. The brew is a beautiful bright yellow colour.
The aroma is breathtaking. I picture a vast garden with luxuriant vegetation all around as I sip on it. Think orchids and lilac scent, mixed up in a twirl of honey and fruity notes. Not sure what’s the specific fruit I get, but it feels like apricot to me.
It’s very sweet, and yet, the finish is minty fresh. Not in your face mint, more of a sweet faint spearmint. The most fabulous phenomena about this tea is how long the taste lingers in the mouth. Long after I’m done drinking it, I can still feel its imprint.
This type of thick buttery mouthfeel always reminds me a silk ribbon dancing in my mouth!
It’s pure liquid gold, but I rarely see people reviewing any Da yu ling at all.
Is there other Steepsterites out there that are as taken by it as I am??
I’ll end this note with a little love story…
It might have been the side effects of the snowstorm, but my cat Happy today was such a little bugger. Dexter (my dog) and I were trying to chill, me having tea and reading a book, him all curled up next to me. Happy likes Dexter’s ears. He’s obsessed with them . He keeps toying with them while Dexter tries to nap. Eventually, Dexter wakes up and gives me the helpless puppy look while Happy takes over his whole head. So what does a 100 pound dog do to an anoying kitty you ask? Well, have a look here:
No worries, although it looks like it, Dexter is not having a “Happy meal”, lol!
Here’s how it usually ends:
As the song goes «…so “happy” to-ge-therrr…»
I steeped this at a lower temperature and time to keep the smoke notes down and found I like it a lot more this way. The fennel is the strongest note, and adds a nice anise flavor and is a bit sweet. This is so much better. Wow.
Also, I just sent Fiance this note because he hates puns. I hope he loves it. But I’m pretty sure I’m just going to get ‘the look’ (you know, the exasperated why the hell would you do that look)
At first, I couldn’t say with certaintea you were the one for me; the realitea was you were a bit arrogant and needed to learn some humilitea. But over time, I’ve gotten claritea to the situation. You’re my favorite person and you suit me to a tea. In actualitea, I think you’re teariffic and Wuyi totealy belong together.
The vitalitea you have put into my life with your generositea and kindness is outstanding. You’re a Jasmine Pearl in the rough, and my love for you is bounteaful. You have dealt with my eccentriciteas and peculiariteas like no other. Your emotional strength has made me realize that you’re my Iron God(dess) of Mercy. (Not just that, but you’re pretea cute).
Like most relationships, ours didn’t come without a degree of difficulitea. But we have overcome that together and you have helped me with my frailtea and insecuriteas and made me realize that I am beauteaful and worthy.
I love you to eternitea, Valentine, and I promise my undying loyaltea to you forever.
Come home soon, I oolong to have you in my arms.
I know this got a little long, but I hope you appreciated my sensitivitea and creativitea
PS: Is that pu-erh tuo in your pocket, or did you just love my pun thread?
I just can’t seem to get a break today—I put this on to steep before a conference call and by the time I poured it it was no longer hot. Accordingly, I’m not rating this one just yet either.
There’s a nice black tea scent with a hint of caramel in the packet. Stronger tea than caramel. The caramel smells like syrup. This carries through in the aroma of the steeped tea. It’s a medium brown orange tea.
The flavor is fairly light on the caramel, similar to my impression of the vanilla from yesterday. It’s more of a surface flavor than one with richness to it, but it’s definitely caramel and pleasant enough.
Will revisit soon, without interruption (I hope).
Oh man, time (well, the month or so I’ve had this tea) has been very kind to these leaves. Somehow, the hot mug of blueberry justice (haha blueberry justice! I mean juice) I had this morning was perfect in its balance between cream and intense blueberry flavour, with not a hint of throat-scratching tartness. It was weird, because often when I go to bed, I think about what tea I’ll have with breakfast in the morning, and somehow I didn’t turn my mind to it last night, but it seemed like a perfect pairing with my croissant.
Besides, it’s Friday. Things just never feel bad on a Friday.
Also, Mr. Keychange and I are going up to a winter cottage resort for the long weekend, and we can’t wait. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to hole up in a winter cabin, lying by a fireplace and sipping tea while reading a book and enjoying the thick, snowy silence outside. How wonderful it will be to step outside the cabin and not hear any traffic, and to breathe in that crisp winter air. I’m no winter person—there won’t be any hardcore winter activities, but it’s more the concept and the indoor response to winter that I’m going to love this weekend.
That, and it’s a half day at work today!
Happy Friday, all!
This one is not a sipdown, but is a welcome pot of tea to enjoy with my lunch of soup. I’m still not sure if I prefer the Malty Irish Breakfast, or the other Irish Breakfast from Butiki, but I it doesn’t matter, since I have them both. Right now I love this one the most because I’m drinking it, but perhaps tomorrow I’ll change my mind. I have to load up for a gig in a few moments, so I’ll quietly list my sipdowns of the day thus far here:
82 – Silver Jasmine Green Tea – Teavivre – a lovely jasmine, plucked from the Here’s Hoping TTB, although I realized after making it that I just wasn’t really in the mood for florals today.
83 – Eight Treasures Yabao (Summer)- Verdant – This tea initially mesmerized me with it’s fairy-like appearance, light florals, & Yabao, something I’d never heard of at the time. Now it’s gone, & to be honest, I probably won’t ever re-visit it, as the novelty has worn off.
84 – Taiwan Monkey Picked Oolong – Teavivre – As always, thanks to Angel for the lovely sample, which was shared with one of my students this morning.
85 – Da Hong Pao – Teavivre – I really enjoy the roasty oolongs so much more than the green ones, & will happily linger over them for hours.
I believe that puts me at 344 teas!
Second to last SpecialTeas sample. Since I started today with an Earl Grey crème, I thought I’d continue with the vanilla theme.
There’s not a strong vanilla scent in the packet. In fact, it’s almost chocolaty (there’s that vanilla-chocolate continuum thing again). I can see the little pieces of vanilla bean in the tea. The liquor is a pretty russet color. I get mostly tea in the steeped aroma, and it’s a hearty smell, deep, a little woody, a little fruity.
I used a lot of leaf as directed on the packet. It said 2 level tsps. for 6 oz of water, and I used a little less than that but still more than I’d use ordinarily. The result is a very strong tea with a beany (as opposed to creamy) vanilla flavor around the edges. I think it would be better without so much leaf, and I intend to try it with a normal amount next time.
There’s a definite beany vanilla in the aftertaste, but it doesn’t envelope the tea the way I wish it would. It’s a fine line between overpowering the tea and underpowering it. This one seems underpowered in the vanilla department. It’s still tasty, but it’s not a top vanilla pick.
Maybe that will change with a different amount of leaf. We’ll see. As with all of these SpecialTeas samples, I’m mildly relieved that I didn’t fall in love, given that the company no longer exists.
I went 0/3 on new David’s Teas I ordered. And not even kind of okay. I threw out the whole cup of each one. This one was the most egregious.
The initial flavor as the tea hits the mouth is super tasty. Dark and roasty and nutty and then suddenly you’re hit like a truck with this AWFUL fake sweet black LICORICE bomb that goes off in your mouth. I seriously almost vomitted. The initial flavor lulled me into a false state of calm and then BOOM the worst flavor in the whole world took over my whole mouth.
I was stupid enough to see if it was an aberration so I tried again and nearly gagged again.
David’s – Our relationship is officially over. (Except when I need some movie night, that’s the only one I truly enjoy, but no new teas. Nope. Not worth the risk)
Well I definitely have an obsession. Last night, I dreamed that I drank this tea and didn’t like it, and I was so disappointed for not liking it because I’d wanted to like it so badly. Then I woke up and realized it was a dream LOL.
I poured the entire sample the ever so wonderful and generous JustJames sent me into my basket, and steeped for four minutes. I took some time to smell the tea after it had brewed. I could definitely pick up on the fruit, and although I don’t know that I would have immediately identified it as red current and raspberry, it definitely didn’t smell like the typical cacophony of fruit you might find in French tea (stone fruit etc). The raspberry is very clear in the sip though, and so is the base. I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with the taste of red current, although the fruit didn’t taste entirely of raspberry to me, so I imagine it was there. I got a bit of a generically sweet and vanilla end-sip before the relatively strong flavour of the base, which sort of suggests to me that I should have shortened the steeping time by a touch. I’m not sure that I necessarily got caramel though, but that might have been my own rock sugar obliterating that a bit.
I can really imagine myself enjoying the sweet raspberry deliciousness during the summer months. I still think I’m slightly more wowed by Pour Maman, but this would probably make it into an order. That order will probably be placed soon though, but I need to get through some of my h and s teas first. But yeah, definitely a winner here.
Thanks again, JustJames, for not only very generously sending me these samples, but for putting differently shaped/different variations/patterns of raised stickers on them so I could tell which tea was which without any sighted assistance at all! The world is a better place because you’re in it.