Featured & New Tasting Notes
About an hour after drinking a raw pu’erh from YS, I find myself grabbing another sample package. Well, looks like ripe it is!
Upon brewing this, either my sample or the tea itself, it needed some help to open up or else I knew I wouldn’t be tasting the actual tea most of the session. About six steeps through and I can tell that this ripe doesn’t have what I look for in a ripe; cream notes or thick texture like I am almost drinking mud.
I’m insanely picky with ripe to be honest, but those who would like this would be the ones who like their pu really runny ;)
This has a solid fermentation taste throughout each steep; but please note I stopped at six because I wasn’t feeling the shu’ld drink this anymore.
Got sent a rather generous sample of this from Tea Urchin, and have been really enjoying drinking it over the last few days.
For some reason my taste radar has gone out the window, i’m tired fighting off an infection..
Anyway this is a lovely sheng. It was recommended to brew for a bit longer, and im glad I read that, so I have been adding seconds on to my steep times and it is really nice. It has an almost cherry/berry-like taste to it (not super-sweet but its there), along with the sheng-leaf green, and a nice aged taste. I am finding I really like 5-10 years aged sheng, and this one I can definitely taste the aging, it adds a nice deeper edge to the steeps. (always seems to make my brain think that the sheng has been varnished)
I have been pushing this one and a really nice slightly camphor sour is coming out – but not too sour. Pleasant all round really.
I havent got as much cream as I would have hoped for, the description says creamy – it has a nice body but isnt crazy thick & leans towards the camphor side of things. There is some in there though, but more hidden than I thought it would be.
You cant buy this anymore, but you can get the younger 2012 one. If I wanted something young but with a slightly sour deeper aged taste, I would reach for this – I have enjoyed drinking it, and am considering a cake of the 2012 – the balance of the flavours is nice to me.
Flavors: Apricot, Berry, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Pleasantly Sour
One of my first (4-year-old?) kitchen responsibilities was to make the Nestea. Mom would tell me how many spoonfuls to put in the pitcher, and then I got to stir it! (My cooking skills haven’t improved much since then.)
Pique’s crystals allow you to experience the sophisticated version of the same process, and it works admirably for convenience, ease of prep, and dissolving nicely without getting gritty. The little sleeve K S sent my way recommended 8 ounces of water, so I stuck with that (roughly), even though I drink out of significantly larger mugs and tumblers most of the time.
At that powder-to-water ratio, the English Breakfast is very strong. Builders’ tea strength. I was surprised! Good stuff, just proceed knowledgeably if you prefer a less stout wakey-uppy.
Ru yao dragon teapot gongfucha
Dry leaves: floral and musty.
Wet leaves: floral, sweet, bitter and dill.
Light steep: I taste/smell; light minerals. Medium camphor. Strong earth, pepper, floral, green peppers, red peppers, spices and dill. (Dill taste in tea is new to me)
Medium steep: I taste/smell; medium minerals,camphor, floral. Strong pepper, green peppers, red peppers, floral, spices, earth and dill
Heavy steep: I taste/smell; medium minerals, camphor. Strong pepper, red peppers, green peppers, pepper, earth, floral, spices and dill
All in all this is one of the best teas I have ever tasted! I rate this incredible tea a 100.
Flavors: Camphor, Dill, Earth, Floral, Green Bell Peppers, Mineral, Pepper, Spices
Friday. Thank goodness, its Friday.
I am quite stressed at work, and today is going to be massively busy. I’m worried that I won’t be done with the larger projects I’ve been given. Argh.
I wish I was feeling more confident in this new job! I’m dying to feel calm and detached when I come into the office, but right now I’m tense and stressed beyond belief.
Which means I’m not sleeping well. Which means that I’m not sleeping well. Which means tea.
This is my last bit of this, so its a sipdown.
I really like this blend. Its gorgeous in the cooler weather. Now that we’re pushing against spring, its time to drink it down.
A sample from Miss B. I was in the mood for gin this morning, but there being none to to hand I had to settle for tea with copious juniper berries instead. This one fit the bill perfectly. In actual fact, it appears to be at least 85% juniper berries. There’s a scattering of spearmint leaves, the tiniest bit of pu’erh, a few peppercorns, and only the tiniest quantities of the other ingredients (birch bark, tulsi, anise and cardamom). I used 1 tsp for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I crushed most of the junipers first just because they’re better that way.
To taste, this is like a fresh, foresty chai. The main flavour is juniper, no surprises there. I love it, though, so I’ve no complaints about that. Second comes the spearmint, sweet and cooling, followed by a touch of earthiness from the pu’erh. I think that’s where the “forest” vibe is coming from – it has that characteristic wet leaf/forest floor flavour that can be so appealing in pu’erh. The spicing is more prominent than I thought it would be, running throughout the mid sip and lingering long in the aftertaste. I can clearly taste cardamom, star anise and pepper, which is surprising given how little there was of it amongst the dry leaf. I can also taste something that’s reminding me of black liquorice (and thankfully it’s not my nemesis liquorice root). Altogether, it’s a better combination than I was expecting – unusual, but very drinkable, and the flavours work super well together. I’m really pleased to have had the opportunity to try this one!
What a gu shu this is! Thiiiiick body, active/pleasurable mouthfeel, powerful aftertaste, and impressive qi that had me tea drunk after the 3rd steep and does not give way until the 10th or so steep. The kuwei is excellent—turning into a complex bitter/floral huigan that expands to all corners of the mouth and throat, and remains long after the tea is drunk.
Unlike the 2013 version, there is virtually no smoke, so Mang Fei Shan tea’s characteristics are well showcased. Initial 2 steeps are surprisingly sweet with notes of raw honey and sugar cane, but are then followed by those infamous whisky-like astringent notes, sandalwood, and tobacco. This is a nice contrast to the more gentle shengs I’ve recently acquired. Should be fun to see how this evolves.
Oh no, I’ve been neglecting my tea stash as of late. Must make more of an effort. I just had a massive mug of this without any additives and quite enjoyed the pow in this one. From memory, I’d say this is mainly orange and cloves. There are cocoa nibs in here? I’m going to have to try it again soon and pay extra attention.
Here I am sitting on my Quetzal waiting for a new Anklyo to tame, she is a level 72 (not as high as I would like but the level 96 I was going to tame was accidentally killed by a fellow tribe, oops) I have three of the beasties, but they are all pretty low level, so she will be part of my current project of making everything super efficient. Taming is a very good time to have lots of tea and to write/paint, especially if I get lucky and I am taming a creature with slow dropping torpor, I can keep an eye on things while also doing other things.
Today I am looking at Shang Tea, a local tea shop that I do not spend enough time at, I am hoping to go back and visit before the Midwest Tea Fest in May (everyone should go) but I am saving my money to spend there. If I am able to go stock up I will definitely be getting their Autumn Red, the tea I am covering today! Unlike the other red teas from Shang that I have tried, this one is super fancy, harvested in autumn of 2011, so not only is it a harvest from a time not usually used, it is also aged a bit. This tea first showed up in the Special Reserve Club, so I was very stingy with my stash, but recently I found out it is in the shop as well, so yours truly binged on the last of it and now needs more! The aroma of the small curly leaves is something else, notes of sweet potatoes and roasted peanuts blend with molasses, sweet stewed tomatoes, bamboo, molasses, autumn leaves, and a finish of dried fruit. It blends sweet and savory, rich and light all in one aroma profile, I admit it took me a while trying to put to words what all was going on in this tea…the stewed sweet tomatoes being the hardest to pin down.
Into my celadon gaiwan the leaves go, red tea in celadon is a guilty pleasure of mine, the colors are so pretty! The aroma of the leaves is still malty and sweet, though not nearly as much so, it takes on more richness. Notes of starchy yams and bamboo blend with molasses and just a touch of peanuts and honey. The liquid is intense sweetness, stewed plums and dried peaches mix with malt and yams with a definite molasses and earthy roasted peanuts and autumn leaves. I am a little amazed at the sweetness and fruitiness, it smells so good!
The first steep has a light earthy almost mineral start to it, mixing with a smooth almost slippery mouthfeel it reminds me strongly of rain water. There is a lot more to this tea than just rainwater, there are strong notes of yams and peanuts with a hint of cooked plums and a touch of molasses. The finish is honey sweet with a lingering aftertaste of honey and starch.
For the second steep the aroma somehow manages to be richer, still just as sweet but with an addition of cocoa like richness that blends well with the fruit and yams. The taste does not really deviate much in notes from the first steep, in changes in intensity and mouthfeel though! No more the slippery rainwater feel, it is all smooth and with a slight thickness. Another quite enjoyable thing about this tea is the aftertaste, strong yams and honey that lasts for quite a while.
The aroma of the third steep is strong in the malt and yam, but light on the fruit and peanut notes, though it certainly stays strong on sweetness and richness. This steep is still quite smooth, but not quite as thick, the taste is stronger in earthy peanut and autumn leaf notes with a strong malt in the middle and finish of sweet fruit. This tea was quite the treat, really quite delicious with an excellent personality (teas totally have those, I swear) that captured the essence of autumn!
Additional notes: This oldie is still a goodie… though it’s a few years old now, it still tastes like I remember it. I guess I chose it today for the Irish in the name, even though this is actually Sourenee. I’m also having next-serving-is-a-sipdown Maple Pecan Oolong today. Double Butiki day! Hope everyone has a lovely St. Patrick’s Day!
Edited to add: The ancient Maple Pecan is still surprisingly full of flavor too. Man, I miss Butiki.
Many of you may recall my complaints about Starbucks people not understanding tea. That does not change the fact that I love the green tea frap. So when my wife mentioned the limited time Cherry Blossom Frap, I had to try it. Let me start by saying it was delicious. Next let say my mind is boggled. Why is this called cherry blossom? There is no, zero, zilch, nada, cherry or cherry flavoring in this thing. Instead it is strawberry and cream with white chocolate and matcha sprinkled over the top. It, like most stuff, is overpriced but if you get the chance, give it a try before it is gone. It could be a new favorite for me if it stayed on the menu. It does need a name change.
Why… why… why did I have to add this tea to Steepster???
This is an absolutely wonderful in the middle tea that is making me smile. While it’s not 100% to my liking, I can pick apart the taste in this so well because it’s very clear on each sip. Each taste includes a well balanced amount of sweetness to astringency while keeping the integrity of vegetable notes WHILE having a slight floral overtone that is upfront and disappears as the astringency sets in with the sweetness rather quick.
This is one of those teas that make me question the concept of building something to store tea myself because I’d love to taste this throughout the years at 7 grams at every 3 month mark. Just… this is a lovely tea.
My son wanted to download a game on his computer and I have been wanting to try out a rather large mod for my Kerbal Space Adventure game. We both have metered connections so, yeah, Starbucks it is.
I asked for an Earl Grey iced with a shot of vanilla syrup. She rang it up as a London Fog and charged 4 something for it (seriously $4 for iced tea in a disposable plastic cup? but I digress). Sat down with it at the table and my wife looks at it and says, “That’s not what you ordered”.
“I know. That’s just the price you pay for ordering tea in a coffee place.”
Apparently a London fog has milk in it making it a pricey latte. I didn’t order a latte and probably should have said something, however, it was actually pretty tasty. So much so that I will make this my own self for about one tenth the price at home and I get to use a fancy non-disposable tupperware tumbler. Nothing but the best for me and uncle Si. That’s a fact Jack.
Drinking 52Tea’s Blackberry & Cream Shou Mei definitely put me in a blackberry mood, and that brought about this somewhat unfortunate sipdown. Truly, this will be a tea that’s dearly missed.
It was interesting drinking those two teas so close to each other, though! The blackberry flavouring was pretty similar/comparable, which really made the difference in base choice very apparent. The white base for Blackberries and Cream was light, and airy but the black by comparison was much richer with a deeper flavour. 52Tea’s blend was coquettish in nature, but Blackberry Cordial? Oooh, Blackberry Cordial was sultry and seductive…
Flavors: Blackberry, Honey, Malt
I’ve always been a fan of What-Cha and the description of the tea on What-Cha’s website made it sound really yummy. The description said ‘butter’, but when I received the tea ‘nutty’ was on the package.
Anyways, I brewed this tea in my vessel gong-fu style and I first noticed a nutty-creamy taste. It had a cocoa powder after taste that indicated a medium roast. As I brewed this tea it became more pungent and kept packing on a more powerful punch. In it’s medium steeps it started go quickly from smooth to bitter and rough. In its later steeps the nutty flavors started to get more sharp and pungent.
Overall, this wasn’t one of my favorite oolongs. I feel like other people might enjoy it for the fact it carries such a strong punch. I believe this would be a good oolong to introduce a coffee drinker who is ready to make the transition into tea.
Flavors: Bitter, Cocoa, Nutty, Roasted
With only two YQH samples, I have been very picky on when I’ll use them. Today was beautiful outside and I just got the 6th book of the new printing of Master Keaton in the mail: https://www.instagram.com/p/BC_UbhwRYLN/
That made me go to my box of ‘this is the expensive tea samples’ with intentions to have a wonderful afternoon. The leaf looked rather dark with clear signs of age on it which excited me. Brewing this was pretty easy as the leaf opened on the second steep, however my findings are more negative than positive. This is not a raw pu’erh for me nor for others who like the lighter teas. If I would have blindly tried this tea, I would have given up at steep three as the first two were really hard to sip down. Very strong notes of leather and tobacco come out from this tea with an underlining sweetness similar to a raisin (not taste, but that small sweetness) and a nice mouth feel. While there is no bitterness to the taste, the texture that the liquid leaves behind has the similar feeling as that of a smoked tea where your mouth feels like it is being dried a bit even though your mouth feels like it is being dried a bit even though you just drank a liquid.
Well, since I did not blindly taste this and knowing what it was, I continued to brew this out. At least the tea was consistent for me in regards to all the mentioned taste. Continuous leather mixed with tobacco and a diminishing undertone of sweetness that gave it an attribute that I liked, I just can’t see myself wanting any more of this.
Now that I have finished my 12 steep session, I have decided to go check the price because in my head YQH means $$$. It looks like this tea is $.48 a gram which I wouldn’t consider a really high price as I associate with YQH. As usual, I read nothing of this tea before drinking it because I want my own thoughts to bring forward my tasting notes; it looks like this is noted to be stronger than its mellow cousins per the description which would have already made me realize it wouldn’t be one for me.
Going through the YQH and knowing my preference, it looks like I have two I’ll be looking at: 2004 Dingji Yesheng because yesheng is tied for my favorite with bang dong and the 2004 Jinhao Chawang.
Additional notes: Finishing this one today (and Mandala’s Noble Mark). Thanks for sending me one of your faves, CHAroma! Still delicious… I love the white base with an equal balance of the strone fruits… it’s almost 1/3 plum, 1/3 cherry and 1/3 peach/nectarine/apricot or else I’m imagining it that way!
Part of the Revitalize Teaser Box from Free The Tea. Includes 4 samples – each about 5-7 servings and an infuser (tea ball with handles).
This is aimed at new to loose leaf users.
It is listed as containing premium organic green tea is blended with organic peppermint and dashed with organic spearmint leaves.
3 minute steep in 175F water produced a honey colored cup with a healthy mint presence. By the ingredient list, I expected a peppermint tea with notes of spearmint. Instead I get just the opposite. I’m not a spearmint fan. Here is works OK because the peppermint tempers it and the green tea melds with it nicely.
Couple not exactly complaints but I do wish I were able to separate the green tea taste out more. I think this is just the nature of mint tea. The other may just be my sample but much of the leaf pieces are very small. There are a few bigger pieces and the small ones are big enough to work in a tea ball. I think here I have just become accustomed to big whole leaf. On the whole as good or better than most entry level teas.
I was so sure I had reviewed this before…
I am a little afraid of breakfast blends. I don’t add milk or sugar to my tea, so I find builders’ teas to be somewhat brutal. Breakfast blends are often heavy on Assam or hearty Kenyan tea that has an edge and a good bit of astringency, and my wimpy tummy can’t take it. I am sure I would enjoy it with additions but I try to avoid them.
So this one was approached with caution. I steeped for only three minutes. I am pleasantly surprised. This is a very good accompaniment to my sweet and tart cranberry and white chocolate scone that youngest made (with fresh whipped cream – mm). This is most definitely a breakfast blend but it doesn’t bite. The packaging and website don’t tell you what is in this, and looking at the dry leaf it is quite dark, small leaves with a few larger flat tan leaves mixed in. Definitely mostly Assam and those may be a few golden tips or some not-so-green Darjeeling.
GMathis says this is “juicy” rather than drying and I agree. It is a nice, non-frightening breakfast blend for those who are a little apprehensive of that term.
Thank you mtchyg for this sample! I started a new page for this as it is from a Mandala mini tuo sampler pack and the only page for a similar tea on Steepster is from Yunnan Sourcing (I borrowed their picture for now as it looks just the same).
These little ingots are pretty cool looking, and I suppose they might bring you good fortune if you believe in luck. I could use some, so I’ll play along. :3
The scent of this little shou Puer ingot after a rinse reminds me of dew on tall grass and brush on a cool summer night. Pretty specific, I know, but it’s a similar scent, hints of mud and foliage. As the wet leaves cool, they smell like root beer. As for the taste, yes I’m also getting some subtle similarities with root beer, particularly I’m tasting burdock root. It’s light and rather sweet starting off, a hint of metallic flavor. Tastes a bit like dried medjool dates as well.
I have to tell you, I was somewhat expecting this to be a throw-away. I figured the ingot shape and gold foil were the selling point, since good Puer doesn’t need any such novelties to sell. Let me tell ya. I’m pretty impressed with this tea by the second infusion. It is still rather sweet, smooth, and full-flavored. Flavors are similar to the first infusion but more pronounced. There are some hints of mud and cocoa in the finish. The burdock note is still prominent.
Texturally, this tea seems a little… “gritty” which is a weird way to describe it since I’ve filtered it pretty fine so there isn’t any particulate floating around in it. It isn’t drying… it just seems a bit coarse in a way. However is more of an after-effect. It goes down smooth. The taste on the third infusion is still really nicely sweet and full-flavored. Similar flavors again.
Infusion four has a smoother texture, and the sweet flavor is more mellow now. The flavor profile really hasn’t changed much. It’s consistent and good. I’m getting more of the same on the fifth infusion. This tea is very, very tightly compressed and I think you could steep this thing probably 20 or 30 times before you’d lose flavor, to be honest. only about half of the ingot has broken apart by the fifth infusion. the center is still very solid.
I would rate this pretty highly where shou goes. It doesn’t have a very changing or complex flavor, but it’s a very good flavor, and on the sweet side. It’s not the cleanest tasting one out there, but way better than I expected it would be. As for the design, I suppose it could be festive for something like a Chinese New Year celebration?
Flavors: Dates, Mud, Root Beer, Sweet
This one’s been on and off of my wishlist for what feels like forever, now. Everything about it sounds really, really good! And I’m elated that it doesn’t disappoint.
The blackberry notes are bright and sweet, and there’s a good balance between them and a creamier, buttery note that together makes me think of some sort of lovely, soft and perfectly baked sweet blackberry confection. Blackberry croissants with powdered sugar and vanilla, or blackberry strudels? It’s also just a little lemony in the same way that straight/pure white tea sometimes has a subtle lemon note. Hell, maybe even blackberry pie. It is pi day, after all. But honestly, this is the perfect light, airy and fresh tea that still manages to deliver a really full bodied flavour. Mmm!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Blackberry, Cream, Creamy, Custard, Fruity, Hay, Jam, Lemon, Sweet, Vanilla
This tastes more like Carrot Cake if steeped 175f 2 minutes. The steeping instructions for 200F for 60 seconds is meh and I didn’t get good results.
I got raisin notes, carrots, lots of toasty rice notes, and fresh green. Pretty good, and lightly sweet. A fun blend!
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Not really cause I love a rainy night and besides I’m no longer workin’ 9 to 5. Actually even though I am no longer working, DST ‘spring ahead’ still kicks my butt. I’m running on caffeine trying to adjust. I would never make a world traveler. Jet lag would kill me in a matter of days.
I need to be digging into my back log of to be reviewed teas. I have no brain for that today. So I reached for my comfort Earl, then put down the green tin and grabbed the red one instead. This is a very fragrant but not soapy bergamot tea that I find quite smooth for a Ceylon base. Ashmanra found the pre-Ceylon base (that’s Ceylon, not to be confused with Cylon) to be much smoother to her liking. My usual tea has a great deal of bite so this in comparison is much more refined.
This is probably a brand Picard would want in his replicator – stern but refined. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.
Finally, the passage of time has allowed me to out aside the drama that MP had going on earlier this year. While it is hard to drink this without a bais now due to the damage done in social media, I’m always fair in my assesment of tea reviews.
The dry leaf, just like many others, was very faint in scent to which I didn’t care about because I’ve had tea with no scent become the most aromatic offering. Upon brewing it the sixth time I was excited to open some of the lead to see it’s conditioning. These are very similar looking to that of a dancong. The viens are healthy and the lead is mostly intact, both clear signs of a nice picked harvest that was handled gently. As for taste, I’m kind of in between as the first few steeps prior to the lead opening has a semi sweet note to it but once the flavor came out I began tasting some tart notes. The liquid isn’t as clear or light as I like my sheng, however the first few steeps were quite enjoyable. The slight bitterness coming through with a tart note after the 5th steep may be something that will disapaite as this tea rest for a little. Apparence alone: This is a beautiful product worth showing off and sharing. Taste wise: I really think this tea can become something fantastic if treated right over a year to help reduce that slight tartness that I personally don’t like.
I can see why others enjoy this as it is easy to brew, not much regarding broken leaf, and the taste is in the mediocre level to which almost anyone can taste and not need much of a background in drinking sheng to critique it.