Featured & New Tasting Notes
I grabbed this tea bag on the way out the door this morning, throwing it into my thermos with some just boiled hot water.
An hour later, I could finally sit down and wake up with the cup.
hmmm. This is a strange tea. It definitely smells like licorice, and something else that reminds me of a flea collar. (eep!)
The taste is sweet and somewhat licorice-like. Perhaps there is some cinnamon heat. But otherwise I do not get any of the other flavours.
This is a random teabag in the cupboard and I will not be buying it, but for this one time, I’ll certainly finish the cup!
The liquor brews to a dark brown. New Vithanakanda describes it as a russet color, and after comparing the two, I have to agree. The steeped aroma from the spent leaves and from the liquor itself are remarkably similar to the dry leaf aroma with overtones of honey and only the faintest heat notes.
When drinking this tea, the light astringency sets in and excites the palate. The honeyed overtones remain, but accompanied by the astringency creates an interesting contrast.
This tea is good for two or three steepings with good flavor, but it does fade quickly after the first brew. Each new set of leaves provides a remarkably consistent flavor profile though and I’ve found I can count on this tea to give me the same experience nearly every time.
Got a new shipment of tea last night from the puriTea. Wow – that was a lot for not very much money.
This tea is neat and yummy. I need to play with it a little more to learn more about it, so I’m going to hold off on rating right now, but get dark cocoa from it and wow… very yummy.
Only problem I’ve found so far – the label direction say 5-7 minutes while the on-line say 3-5. That could cause issues.
Seeing the Canton Tea Co special offer today inspired me to have some pu-erh this morning. This time I gave the tuocha a quick rinse in hot water first, which puffs it up and helps it start to give off an aroma – the dry cake is almost odorless.
First steep at 90 seconds, and I’ve got myself a powerful cup! It is dark and soupy and full of earth and dry leaves. A bit of bitterness at the back end, but not unpleasant. It tastes like the tea has challenged me to a wrestling match, just to see what I’ve got. Bring it on, I say!
Second steep at 90 seconds is much mellower; the bitterness has vanished and now the flavor is wonderfully redolent of a walk in the woods in the middle of autumn. Very, very nice.
I found the flavors in this oolong the ones I like the least (i.e., cinnamon, pineapple.) I mixed the few teaspoons I had left with a few teaspoons I had of Sweet Fruit Garden, an herbal blend. I was hoping to cut down on the flavors I don’t like so much and increase the ones I like more such as berries. And this is a recommended blend by the company. But now it just tastes like Christmas in my mouth. Would be spectacular after some wassailing but not exactly what I’m looking for on a morning in August.
So I had this last night since I had just had Teavana’s Jasmine Pearls the night before (my taste buds and memory were still fresh)! I know I really should just do a side by side comparison, but I think I am just too lazy…or perhaps I simply don’t have the patience to do so? Eh, either way it hasn’t happened yet so this is the best I can do LOL. Now, the first time when I had this it had been a while since I made a cup of Teavana’s Jasmine Pearls and I think I may just been yearning for a strong jasmine flavor to it. Well, after last night I must say that this jasmine is a bit too perfumey for me and just didn’t have the same spunk and balance as Teavana’s Jasmine Pearls… it just did not compare! So for this reason and for the noticeable perfumey taste I will have to knock my rating down; I think the first time I tried them I was just in a jasmine pearl withdrawal and any pearl would have just knocked my socks off!
Sadness today. My leaves are well over a year old at this point, and I think it’s time to admit that I ought to restock with fresher stuff. I suppose I ought to make a blend with what’s left. It’s still very good, but some of the richness has tapered back, and the honey in it is no longer so prominent. It’s much more ‘basic tea’ than it used to be — unless my allergies are just acting up without my noticing again, which is possible. How congestion in the head but not the actual nose manages to impact my taste buds I suppose I shall never know, but there it is.
At least it’s still quite easy to drink. My cup was gone in no time!
Stumbled across this tea at my local Coop and bought enough for a pot or two. While I was scooping some out of the container the aroma was very strong. But, it smelled of real peach, not an artificial peach smell I’ve encountered with some other teas.
The peach flavor very well balanced. It is not strictly sweet—it has a little bite to it, which rounds things out nicely. The white tea doesn’t seem to contribute too much, which isn’t too surprising since it doesn’t take much to overwhelm a white tea.
I think I’ll be buying more.
Resteep from last night because I am lazy.
A much more malty flavor has come out with this with a very very light hint of smoke in the aftertaste. Sadly, the astringency has also heightened, no doubt due to the longer steeping time I inflicted on it. Still tasty, but doesn’t really do it for me as a morning tea. I think it will work out much better as a nice smooth afternoon tea.
Back at last from my holiday! I’m not even going to contemplate attempting to catch up with 10ish days worth of posts, so I’m just going to jump back into the dashboard from this post forward. If anybody posted anything that you would like me to see while I was away, please drop me a comment.
One of three teas I bought while in England. In York I was taken to a Whittard of Chelsea shop and they had this 3 for 2 deal, so I picked some. I hadn’t planned for anything in advance, I was just taken there and uh… left more or less to my own devices for a few minutes, sorta.
I’m not sure how the brand sits on the quality scale, but I think it should be something above supermarket brands. (Lipton, Pickwick… I’m looking at you!) Not sure if we’re as high up as, say, Kusmi and such. But okay. It’s loose. They have a real shop as opposed to a supermarket shelf. That’s good for something
The tea itself has bits of vanilla pods in it and it does smell like vanilla. It’s not an overwhelming aroma, more like an added sweetness that definitely isn’t sugar. If I didn’t know it was vanilla, I can’t say for certain that I would be able to identify it as such, but then again, I don’t go around sniffing a lot of vanilla, so I’m afraid my idea of ‘vanilla aroma’ is a bit out of proportions with reality. Real vanilla aroma is not, after all, as strong as in vanilla essence…
So, yes. It smells like vanilla, and it tastes like it too. It actually has a surprisingly nice flavour of vanilla. Not too much but not too little. It’s easily identifiable with the aroma, so if you can recognise that as vanilla, then you’re good to go. (This is beginning to sound a little backwards and complicated, isn’t it?)
I’m not sure though if it lives up to the vanilla tea standards of for example JacquelineM, though. You seem to be the resident expert on how this particular flavour is best done, but until someone shows me otherwise, this is good enough for me. Good enough, anyway, that when I run out of this one, I’ll give Kusmi’s vanilla black a go. I’ve been eyeing that one for a while and wondering if I might like that, since I like their caramel so much.
Or a combination perhaps. I seem to recall having successfully tried something like that before. We shall see, we shall see…
But anyway, back to the tea at hand. The base blend is Ceylon and Keemun, which at first taste seemed to be a bit heavy for the flavour, but after I’d got a little further down in the cup I decided that it wasn’t really. Had the base been more delicate, I think the vanilla would either have completely overpowered it, or the whole thing would have flown away in a flavourless gust of wind.
I liked this. I can see myself getting very fond of it, actually.
Okay…dry this smells JUST LIKE…
BIG LEAGUE CHEW, seriously!
and oddly enough this TASTES like…
the powder-dry gum in the Topps Trading Cards back in the 70s and 80s!
Where I find this to be very nostalgic – it’s very different from what I was thinking it would be. It’s not really fruity or tropical…it doesn’t really remind me of tropical punch.
This is a strange tea but ok, I suppose. My favorite part of the cup was flashbacks to trendy GUMs! LOL
Thanks to sophistre, I get a chance to try a new Bohea. Yay! I just had Teas Etc’s Bohea this morning, so I can’t help but make comparisons. If I didn’t know better, I would swear they aren’t the same type of tea. This one is much milder (in color, smell and taste) than the Teas Etc Bohea. The smoky flavor – which is rich and thick in the TE version – is mild here, somewhat of an afterthought. The first descriptor that crossed my mind with this one, both when smelling and tasting, was ‘sweet’. Because it is. It’s sweet, soft, gentle and has a hint of smoke in the aftertaste that kind of poofs up my sinuses after a sip.
But that makes it sound like, compared to TE’s Bohea, ToT’s version is lacking. It isn’t. It’s just totally different. TE’s version reminds me of lapsang with the edges smoothed out and no tar. ToT’s version reminds me of TeaSpring’s Tan Yang Te Ji with less oomph and MPD-esque complexity. I have to be in a smoky tea mood to drink TE’s Bohea. This one, being milder, wouldn’t require a smoky mood.
So even though they are the same type of tea, they really are totally different. I could see keeping both in my pantry without feeling I was duplicating teas. I could also see using this one as a tea to ease a newbie into smoky teas. It’s really quite tasty.
The second steep (5min) is a little milder than I hoped for (still tasty though) so I think next time I’ll extend that steep a bit for a touch more flavor.
The citrus fruits come are very subtle in this one. It seems to be a very relaxing drink with no overwhelming flavors. Just a gentle rooibos with strawberry and peach being the most prodominate flavors in this cup. Not that any specific flavor dominates this tea. It is just a nice blend. I made enough for two cups so we will see if I still feel the same in a bit.
The dry leaves are dark, and uncharacteristically long and full based on my previous experience with pu-erh teas. They give off a strong, sweet odor of fresh earth. After two minutes of hot water I had a very dark, coffee colored liquor with an enticing aroma. I got the earth scent for sure, but also something slightly spicy. The flavor had some of the typical hallmarks of pu-erh, but with some extras thrown in for good measure as well. There is a definite natural sweetness to the flavor, and a tiny bit of tartness in the aftertaste without being fishy or rotten tasting. I also get just a little bit of spiciness which is really nice – a general mix of cinnamon, clove, and ginger which is in both the aroma and the taste.
The second steep, at 3 minutes, didn’t seem to bring any additional surprises. In summary a nice pu-erh, which I think I’ll try with a little milk and sugar next time to see how it goes. Sacrilege, I know!
I went into a new store they opened in the area, and decided to get some samples. I love being able to try new teas and not pay shipping!
The brewed leaf smelled like some kind of delicious fruit aroma. It really surprised me because I was expecting a more roasted-like smell (I hadn’t read the description of the tea that they have on their website; the store just had the name and the price).
BUT, it tasted like strawberries! This could be called “Strawberry Oolong” (in my opinion) though, there are of course no flavorings. Because of this, it seemed like a really high quality tea, but that wouldn’t matter if it didn’t taste good. Well, it was very good. :-)
Oh!, I said, after I poured the water on the leaves, and was sniffing the cup on the way back to my desk. Flowers!
What kind of flowers, you ask? A legitimate question, without an adequate answer from me. I can still get the smell of them as I sit here waiting for the cup to cool…but it’s definitely floral. Like standing in a florist’s, and outside they’ve just freshly cut the grass.
As it cools some, that scent is darkening down to something more patently Darjeeling in aroma — a bit floral, a bit honey, a bit grapes on a vine.
The taste is much more pronounced in the honey department than the smell, which makes me happy. I am a big fan of honey (though I never really add it to my tea, unless I’m making chai…because milk and honey are made to go together, of course).
This is quite nice. I’m used to the Darjeelings I’ve tried leaning toward being thin and grapeskin-tart when they’re still very hot, and mellowing and filling out as they cool; this tea is currently just on the comfortable-to-drink side of hot, and it’s mostly honey-sweet, smooth, a bit savory — probably from the full mouthfeel. I keep sipping and looking for new flavors, but it’s remaining pretty consistent, nothing new from one sip to the next. This is alright, though, because each sip is pretty pleasant, surprisingly cozy for a Darjeeling. There’s a very subtle hint of the tartness at the very back of my tongue the longer I sip, but it’s not showing up for the main event.
I don’t drink a slew of Darjeelings, but of those I’ve had, this one is pretty tasty!
I’ll get around to noting steep 2 in a little bit.
(Holy cow, my rating system is a mess. It really needs some janitorial work!)
This is a tea that I was skeptical about – ok, ok, I admit it, I was afraid of this tea.
I am not crazy about pu-erh. That being said, I have tried a couple of pu-erh teas that I’ve liked alright – but, for the most part… I have a hard time getting past that distinctive earthy quality that pu-erh possesses. In a blend with mate which is also quite earthy… yeah, I was afraid to try it.
But… I’ll give it a chance.
Wow! This is actually really good. The chocolate is smooth and rich. The chai is not over-the-top spicy but I like how the masala spices come across in this blend. It doesn’t taste earthy at all. I love the coconut and the chocolate in this blend – they are the strongest flavors here. A different but tasty chai.
A friend from India previously recommended this to me as a good solid everyday tea. So when I stumbled upon an Indian market in town, I couldn’t help picking up a box.
The tea itself is CTC type, lots of little granules that have a very malty aroma when dry. The aroma is a nice prelude to the good strong cup of malty goodness that you get from brewing this tea. I’ve found that the tea is also actually quite forgiving, when it comes to brewing, since it still tasted fine even if I over-steeped it by a little over a minute once or twice..
While the tea is good, there isn’t much subtlety or layering when it comes to the flavor. Just a good brisk maltiness, that can actually get one-dimensional and boring after a while. This brings me to another strong point of the tea. It mixes very well with a variety of different additives.
The tea takes milk very well, which is to be expected from Indian tea. Lemon slices work great too. But I’ve been surprised to find that I can throw in a splash of pretty much any juice and be happy with the taste. Thus far I’ve mixed orange juice, grape juice, apple juice, even tangerine juice. Tried making HK Style milk tea by mixing evaporated milk and condensed milk with it too.
I suppose the strong flavor and full body helps the tea act as a solid base for mixing. Definitely have to try more experiments with this tea. :)
This blend is visually stunning. It’s full of so much stuff it could keep you occupied just identifying all its parts. Normally that’s something I balk at. I’m one to prefer fewer ingredients to extra ones. But in this case, it all works out well.
You’ll clearly see the chamomile, rosehips, cardamom, calendula, ginger and fruit pieces. I had issues identifying everything, and I’m certain I missed plenty of ingredients, including which fruits were included. The dry aroma is mostly mint. Every time I tried to capture more nuance I just ended up sneezing though so I gave up after ten or fifteen attempts.
Once steeped, the liquor brews a sensuous golden color. The aroma is a combination of the mint and chomomile, with only the slightest hints of stones fruits such as peach or apricot. Some camphor can also be noted. The briskness of this tisane blend is limited to the mint. Everything else seems to soften the blow.
I recommend this blend to anyone with a sore throat and to fans of chamomile and mint teas.
Not all Golden Monkeys are created equal.
As much as I dog on Teavana’s — the price alone begs for minor mocking, even if you’re not snooty enough to sniff at the association to the store (really I think the eyeroll factor with Teavana, for me, comes from their desperate desire to portray tea as a magic bullet cure for zapping cake-fat off of our tushes or as an ambitious panacea for the unrealistic curing of any number of other ills) — I enjoyed it. (Woo! There’s a run-on sentence for you!) I said in my tasting note for it that I wouldn’t buy it again, and I haven’t, but I considered it more than once. It was the single bake-y-est tea I’ve ever had, and once I figured out that short steep times were its friend, I found it utterly craving-worthy, if only for the aroma alone. I preferred it to almost every other Golden Monkey that I’ve had since then, by a slim margin.
This tea is another outstanding Golden Monkey, but for different reasons. It has some of that bake-y quality to it — I find it very alluring; my palate interprets this in the same way that it does bread — but pairs it together with a profile that is irresistibly Yunnan. I have been plunging my nose into my cup in search of the proper analogy for the sweetness there, and coming up short. Sweet potato is not adequate, this time, nor is raisin. Perhaps if the two got together and produced delicious, delicious love-children? Who were actually made of bread?
The tea has a very thick feeling both in the mouth and after you swallow. I’ve found in the past that Golden Monkey is easy to screw up; steep it just 30 seconds too long, and something about it takes a turn for the strangely sour or the unbearably bitter. I think the lesser amount of malt in this (vs. the Teavana stuff I’ve been comparing it to) makes it a far more forgiving cup with a delectable, umami-savory quality.
Steep two was every bit as good, and the goodness sticks around long after the cup is cold. Steep 3 is incoming, and then I really ought to stop brewing black tea for the day, lest the top of my skull pop completely off. Whoo!
Definitely going to have to pick up some of this for my very own. Thanks Auggy!
Edit: What remains in my cup (there isn’t more than a hair of tea) smells, cooled down to utterly cold, distinctly of brown sugar and nothing else.
Let it be said that the ability to describe the tastes of sheng puerhs has always evaded me, like those dreams that seemed so pleasant but you can’t really remember just what they were about. All the roasty-toasty oolong vocabulary just doesn’t work. So my task now is destined to fail, but must nevertheless be undertaken. Because this white-bud sheng from Norbu, which I tasted for the first time today, produces a pretty amazing experience.
Routine brewing in a tiny pot. First sip seems to make a small explosion in my mouth, like the tastes are shooting sideways across my palate and tongue. I taste steamed yellow squash, very precisely. But almost none of the characteristic sheng camphor. There’s something else that I can’t quite say: maybe caramel, yes, or maybe really good whole wheat toast eaten outside near a honeysuckle bush? But the amazing thing is how sweet and how full the nectar is. Does tea have sugars in it like wine or milk?
Second infusion. I think I actually shivered. Second infusion is even better. Camphor just whispers but not medicinal like other shengs. This one would be undetectable except that it’s camphor wrapped in sugar. And the liquid is now even richer. A tiny bit of earthiness, not loamy like old puerth, just fresh earth and a tiny pinch of grass clippings.
I think it does an injustice to say this is a good starter puerh; I think you have to have struggled with sheng first to see how different this is. I look forward to more time with this.
But… I have only a small sample. And Norbu is out of it (lifts the back of his hand to his forehead and sighs). The stuff of dreams.
This is one that I’ve been looking forward to tasting ever since I received the box from Zoomdweebies, but, I just haven’t tried until now…
There is an unusual almost “alcohol” taste to this one – sort of like the cheesecake were made with banana liqueur or something. It’s not a bad taste, just unexpected. A smooth, creaminess to it – yummy cheesecake…
It’s good – not as good as I had hoped for given that I swoon over most of Frank’s banana teas… but it is tasty.
This spice based chai is a rather delicious one. Although it’s spice based, the flavor is surprisingly smooth on the palate.
The loose tea is very nice to look at. With its red peppercorns, broad leaves, red rooibos and other ingredients and’s a collection of visuals to keep your eyes budy. The aroma hints at cinnamon but has plenty of the cardamom and peppercorns to provide a feisty play in the nose.
The liquor brews up a beautiful orange gold and smooths the aroma providing a savory sweet collection of flavor suggestions including coconut, ginger and peppercorn.
I like this tea best with milk. I’ve always traditionally made chai with milk as that’s how I was taught by Indian friends of mine. This tea is ‘ok’ without milk. But it really comes alive with milk added.
I recommend this chai to fans of other chai blends, especially Pumpkin Spice chai blends. Fans of cinnamon teas will also find this a palate pleaser.
I love how green Den’s teas are! This one is a light yellow-green, about the same color as the second smiley face on the tea rating slider.
I bought this tea for my mom because she has been trying to drink tea without sugar. This one is perfect for that. Barely astringent, light, and sweet. The second steep tastes a little more vegetal, but it’s still really refreshing.