Featured & New Tasting Notes
Finishing this one off as my first tea of the morning, and a gentle way to ease into the day while I get some guinea pig cuddles! The base is really prominent, but the sweet caramel and raspberry notes are pretty strong too. As always, I love the sort of “tang” that comes both from the raspberry and the ‘cream cheese’ frosting.
Thanks again VariaTEA for sending this to me way, way back. I really stretched it out, huh? Is it even sold anymore? I know I’ve looked in grocery stores a billion times but I’ve never found it. It’s a shame; it’s one of the only generic “Red Velvet” type things I like! I never really bought into the RVC obsession…
This was such a treat! This tea is the closest I’ve found to resemble the “legendary” 30 year aged Dong Ding that hooked me on aged oolongs. I knew that it was going to be perfect as soon as I opened the bag. I looked at these small brown curls and inhaled. I instantly spotted the quality aged oolong scent being raisin, plum, and sweet fruit. This heavy aroma is a syrup tang that lingers and fills the air. I got my trusty celadon gaiwan and warmed it up. I placed a fairly good amount inside and shook it up. I lifted the lid and let the heavy aroma fill my tea room. I was picking up tobacco, raisin, wet wood, and pungent over ripe cherries. This tea is highly aromatic and smells so very delicious. I sat for quite some time just sniffing the gaiwan. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The steeped leaves slowly unfurled and gave off an array of conflicting scents being: char, grape jelly, raspberry,and burnt sugar. The leaves kept jumping from sour to sweet. The taste was perfect. I was in love at first sip. The brew fills the mouth with a sweet juicy taste. The brew leaves the mouth with an intense ripe fruit aftertaste the stays at the back of the throat. I experienced an incredible amount of mouth action. The brew was filled with heavy concord grape flavors and a medley of berries. The sweetness that surrounded these flavors was stevia thick. The body of the brew was heavy and full with so many rounded flavors. The brew would fill your senses with an oily mouth,fruitful flavors, and a soft wooded base. I experienced no astringency and no bitterness. The tones flowed like silk through my senses. The qi began much later into the session. The sensation began at forehead and slowly warmed throughout the body. My mind began turning and slowly building up with an incredible lifted spirits feeling. This brew gives the iconic aged oolong tea drunk. I was slurring yet full of energy. I didn’t want this session to end, and I was able to pull a fairly good amount of steeping. I enjoyed this session a lot, and I am very happy to have tried it. I am saving some to drink with my friend that shared the 30 year aged Dong DIng with me. I highly recommend this brew as a fantastic aged oolong experience. This is what it should taste like, and this is some quality stuff.
Flavors: Berries, Blueberry, Burnt Sugar, Char, Grapes, Oak wood, Overripe Cherries, Plums, Raisins, Raspberry, Sweet, Tobacco
Another sample that came with my Bana order (thank you Linda!), the dry aroma of these leaves in a prewarmed gaiwan is of freshly cut wood, muddy forest floor, and flowers. Wet, they smell like trees, flowers, and surf, a summer storm in a cup.
The first infusion is really light. It’s vegetal with wildflowers and a woody, slightly peppery finish.
Moving right along, the second infusion is round with flavors of grass, wood, and a nectar-like sweetness. Orange flowers come to mind, which has become a rather common mental association for me with many raw Puer teas.
On the third infusion, there’s a good amount of sweetness and the flavor is more rich. I can definitely taste this tea’s age, starting to develop some very nice rounded, sweet aged notes, but still with a good amount of the peppery spice and woodiness of its youth. Subtle flavors of goji or wolfberry emerge.
Fourth infusion, I’m starting to sweat. Is that the tea or just me? Woo! The flavor is quite strong, and a pretty even blend of the sharp woody taste and the sweet nectar-like mildly floral taste.
Fifth infusion brings out more sweetness. The flavor is quite full and rich. Overall, I think round is the best word to describe this Puer. It has a good balance of contrasting elements. I personally find it to have a bit of a punch, but some more hardcore Puer drinkers may find it on the easy side. The description from Bana is accurate that it has a good huigan and yun.
Flavors: Flowers, Goji, Nectar, Pepper, Sweet, Wood
I had some this morning and it was SO GOOD. Malty, bready, biscuity, but not overpowering. I love how the dry leaf has a hint of dark chocolate to it.
This is some seriously good stuff. Once I have my cupboard under control (and hopefully, by then, currency conversion won’t suck so bad), I’d love to get more Laoshan Black in general.
delicious morning tea. I’ve got a super long weekend ahead of me with work so i’m working from home! Made egg muffins last night as my other half had to be at work for 5am and they’re not half bad. I wanted to sleep in today, so had a couple instead of making “freshh” breakfast. This tea is totally hitting the spot for me. just a hint of smoke, a little astringency but mostly just a downright good cup of tea. Looking forward to picking up a tin of this for myself at some point, but need to get my cupboard under control first…maybe finish off a couple of my other damn fine teas as well since i have all of them but one? in my cupboard at the moment lol
I am really enjoying this one! Notes of coffee, chocolate, sweetness, some fruit maybe. I like this one because it has a thick dry edge to the taste reminiscent of coffee. Not bitter in any way, but it reminds me in a nice way of something I miss. This is a good potential coffee substitute.
Quite a nice dark thick liquor, and while it to me, seems quite similar to other shou Ive been recently trying, this one does things in a nice way, if im wanting a coffee-like drink.
I’d be interested to know others thoughts on this one, I think its quite good.
Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Sweet
I like this tea. After an asthma attack took me back to the er last night I needed something good an quick this morning. Since I’m awake I’m going in to work. This one fits the bill. I will soon have to go back for more. The fermentation flavor is not too strong or is covered up by the chocolate, ,not sure. It has a strong, natural tasting chocolate note too it. I believe they add chocolate chips to it.
I have yet to try this tea gongfu. I don’t think the chocolate flavor would hold up anyway. I brewed this one time in a 160z Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with boiling water with 3 tsp leaf for 30 seconds after a 10 second rinse.
I feel like I have too many things going at once and I am not doing any of them justice. I’d give you a list but I’m sure you have your own. Tea is on the list. I don’t seem to have time to drink just for the enjoyment much less serious meditation on the cup for reviews. With that in mind, I have been enjoying the alternative brewing methods that have come my way lately. Of these Pique tea is the simplest and most convenient. Cut the individual serving packet open. Pour the crystals in the mug. Add hot water (or add to cold bottled water). Drink. Except for RTD there is not a simpler method out there. Unlike almost all bottled RTD there are no piles of sugar added. Pique says they use only organic whole leaf to brew their tea before crystallizing it. While it is essentially instant tea, it is unlike anything remotely instant I’ve had before.
This is a scented green made with jasmine blossoms (not flavored). It has a very natural jasmine fragrance. The brew is golden in color. The taste is sweet, floral, jasmine. It is not overly intense but definitely not a wall flower. If you want a mellower cup add more water. The green tea jumps forth halfway in the sip and finishes with a clean bite. The aftertaste is sweet, grassy, and lingering.
This is really pretty good. Better than any bagged jasmine I’ve had. As good as many loose jasmines I’ve tried. The however here is if you are accustomed to the higher quality loose leaf, the crystallization process does seem to scoop some of the nuances out of the middle of the sip. If you need something for everyday on the go drinking, or a convenient fast way to have tea in the office, in my opinion this would be a solid one to try.
This shou is quite woodsy, wet earth forest floor, lightly shroom and mineral sweet. It very much so tastes like how the forest smells on a rainy day on the west coast. Later steepings it develops a more mineral and wet stones sweet taste.
A very good daily drinker and a great first shou cake for a new pu drinkers as the price is really nice for 500g. It’s very approachable and easy to drink, not over thick or bitter.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2014-iron-forge-shou-puer-crimson-lotus-tea-tea-review/
I’ve had this for quite some time, and I finally got around to brewing it. The brick is teeny tiny, but it packs a lot leaf. I warmed my gaiwan up and popped this sucker in. I could only pick up a fruity pipe tobacco scent along with a deep roast, but the scent faded very quickly. I had to wash this about four times until it finally began yielding some good liquor. The brew was a thick red color. The weird thing about this tea is an odd freshwater or lakewater fish scent that kept creeping in. Then, it would quickly be covered by roast and some sweet fruit. The brew itself was full bodied and smooth. This was not an overly roasted flavor, for it went down without any bitterness. The brew followed this pattern consistently, and it ended each sip with a nice crisp sweetness. I liked this brew, and the nice texture helped me overlook the odd fishy scent. The best part was the qi. This brew packed a heavy hitter that went straight for the head. This drink gave a deep pulsing head high with some warming of the temples. I had to take a break and eat some bread to return to the table. I was able to pull a fairly good amount of steeping from this, especially for being a yancha. I liked this tea, but this is not something I’d get more of.
Flavors: Char, Fishy, Red Fruits, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet
I have been drinking this one the last couple of weeks with just a piece or two of brown crystal sugar. Does anyone know where else to get the brown crystal sugar that Butiki used to sell? It is so convenient to use.
Anyway, I actually enjoyed this tea more as it aged because it seemed that the mocha notes slipped into the background, making way for the butterscotch and hazelnut to come to the forefront. The White Rhino base was delicious of course. I miss that tea too.
It snowing. I hate snow. Its cold. I hate cold. OK, maybe hate is too strong a word. I confess to being very ready for spring, though our winter hasn’t been that bad. It just feels forever since I was able to sit on my porch, at dawn, with a cup of tea, sipping, while the world wakes up. So here I sit instead, in my den, dreaming of sunshine.
On to tea – I grabbed this one today because… well, because. The box says use boiling water. I didn’t. It said to steep 3 minutes. I was typing and went 4 minutes. My opinion might be stronger if I followed directions.
I like these infusers. They are great for the lazies. I just didn’t feel like messing with the pot today.
The tea is a delicate green color. It is like a white tea in that respect – you look at the cup and wonder if you made it correctly (of course I didn’t – but you know what I mean). Dry it had a light grassy scent. Brewed, I’m not getting much of any scent. The taste is delicate. It is quite grassy, just very light. There is also a citrus like bite that gives it character.
I would never guess this is a Darjeeling green. It reminds me of Tazo green tea (but lighter) which I believe is a sencha. It has a sweet grassy aftertaste.
I did add sweetener halfway through the cup – my recommendation is don’t. It takes sweetening fine but tastes better without it. Take that Splenda monkey.
I have Steepster working on my phone!
Drinking this at work because it’s easy to brew and consistent with taste that isn’t great or bad. This tea takes little to no maitance for time or brewing style it seems. A bit salty with a small nut finish. Wish it was either lighter or wetter. Kind of drying after a bit and becomes stale tasting as you go deeper with more steeps… which is an odd way to describe a tea, but the leaf seems older and now not awakened as you brew it.
This was a sipdown! I have been having it for breakfast to whittle down my older stock of Keemun teas. This is good, lighter than Zen Tea’s Keemun Finest, and I have enjoyed, but I do prefer the Zen Tea one.
Keemun teas are funny. There is such an incredible variety of flavor and strength, and you can change it so much just by how you steep and how much leaf you add – true of any tea but really can be a saving grace or complete damnation with Keemun, IMO.
They can be refined or hefty, smokey or cocoa-y, light or strong, wine-y or chocolate-y, brash or smooth. I like mine somewhere in the middle. Afternoons are great for the super refined, smooth, wine-y, lighter fellas, but for mornings I like that scrape of dark cocoa!
2016 Sheng Olympics
I can only be honest when I review tea and unfortunately this isn’t something I want to keep drinking. The other Laos tea I had the other day was wonderful, in fact I want to buy a cake; rather, I will. This tea though… not feeling it. The intimidate dryness after the sips is quite annoying since there isn’t a taste to associate with it. This tea lacks depth, taste, and anything inviting for me to drink it again. Hopefully the blue will be better, but I will try that tomorrow and continue with an oolong for the night.
2016 Sheng Olympics sampler. This tea is really, really good. It had little bitterness and an apricoty sweetness from the beginning. It was very smooth. The only thing I wonder about this tea is why they bothered to lie about it’s age. Even if in reality it is from 40 or 50 year old trees it is good enough to stand on it’s own. They weren’t using the age claim to charge a premium so why did they bother. This is certainly among the best young sheng I have ever drank. It is right up there at the top. I gave this tea fourteen steeps in a 60ml gaiwan. If I wasn’t at my caffeine limit I bet it would have gone twenty steeps. Again, I wonder why they didn’t just let this tea stand on it’s own.
I steeped this tea fourteen times in a 60ml gaiwan with 3.1g 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, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min and 3 min. Again if I wasn’t at my caffeine limit this tea would have easily gone twenty steeps. I seriously wonder why they felt the need to lie about it’s age. But there is little doubt in my mind that this is not from an 1800 year old tree. I think the thread on Transparency in the Tea Industry proved that.
Flavors: Apricot, Stonefruits, Sweet
Chocolate, hazelnut, and orange. Although DF teas seem to hold their flavour very well, at least considering I’ve had these for nearly a year, the flavours in this one don’t really pop. Despite this being my first tasting note, I have had this when it was a lot fresher, and if I recall, it wasn’t particularly flavourful then either. I’m not getting much other than the base. Perhaps a vague nuttiness that is blending in so well with the base that it could pass as a base note itself. Orange? Not much, and the chocolate is faint too.
For a chocolate orange nut blend, I prefer Velours Nacré, which has almond instead. I could be wrong, but I swear the orange and chocolate notes are stronger in it too. Also prefer Coquelicot Gourmand when we’re talking about ultra desserty DF teas. This only makes it easier for me to decide on what to get in the future.
I haven’t had this one in about 8 months according to my tasting notes. It is really inexpensive. I have been drinking mostly higher dollar stuff since last time. I was a little concerned I might not like this anymore. Not a problem. It is still really tasty as a latte. Nice light green tea taste with a nutmeg spice note. Doesn’t have the deep green color of expensive powder. For everyday, lightly sweetened, with frothed milk, use, it is still a good budget conscious choice.
So. At the tea festival, I bought three clear glass travel containers: two with glass interior and plastic exterior and one with double glass. When I was living in China, I had a fantastic clear plastic one that was a daily workhorse. I haven’t been able to find one like it here, so I keep buying and hoping.
My intention was to use them for continuous in-jar steepings and cold steeps, the latter being a novelty for me.
This tea was not a hit for me hot, so it seemed like a good candidate for cold experimentation. And it was. Score!
I used about one and a half or two spoons per 14 oz approximately and left it near a frosty window overnight.
It tastes good. Very close to candy floss, with all the imitation flavours that one can expect from that as well.
And now this tea is gone. I won’t be repurchasing it.
Flavors: Candy, Cotton Candy
2016 Sheng Olympics
This is by far the smoothest raw pu’erh I’ve ever had; you can say border tea or whatever, but Chawang already remarked towards that (https://www.instagram.com/p/BAV5oDdxYFX/)
I’ve only had this Laos tea as of today, buy I’ll remark on it briefly. This doesn’t provide a feel, rather it provides a smooth taste that doesn’t deviate between steeps. I’m unsure how long this can go on… I brewed it 14 times and it tasted the same at 14 as it did at 1. Much of that may do with how I broke it up completely after soaking the leaf, regardless it keeps its taste throughout very well. There isn’t a remarkable taste nor did it provide a feeling as I said, but for what it is… I really can’t see how anyone could deny the value of such a tea as this.
I can easily promise that after I finish all three of the Laos cakes, I will be buying one of them for sure; unsure if it will be this one, we shall see which ones comes out. I’m just amazed at how well this steeps and how light it is because I love light tasting tea that allows me to continue to sip it for hours.
GCTTB Another one that LP provided. I’ve been excited to try this one because i do enjoy black berry teas. The addition to sage in the blend made me even more curious. When this is hot, it’s mostly blackberry and delicious…as it cools, the sage gradually takes over. this is quite nice and i’m super glad to get to try it. thanks LP!