Featured & New Tasting Notes

93

The tuo itself is very lightly compressed and individual leaves can be easily separated which is really rare amongst ripe pu-erh.

What an excellent ripe pu. Completely devoid of any fishy or damp smells. Its fragrant, clean tasting with an excellent thick mouthfeel. Liquor is deep amber with plenty of cedar and mahagony aromas interspersed with a tiny bit of mushroom and a hint of sweet maltiness, a combination that instantly makes you want to drink more. Later infusions got more darker and more earthy with a touch of welcome biterness on the finish to cut through the sweetness.
Hui gan is mild, yet satisfying but the cha qi hits early and hard, just the way I like it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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85

Y’know, I hadn’t quite been feeling the holiday season this year. I’m separated from my family because of finals period, Dan is far away in California, and Ohio weather is pretty morose. (There is a reason why Ohio has produced more astronauts than any other state – my personal belief being that this state makes people want to flee the earth.)

However, Andrews & Dunham makes me feel home for the holidays, if only for the half hour it takes me to drink a giant mug-ful of this blend! The word repetitively used in reviewing this tea has been “bright,” and I couldn’t agree more. Brews to a beautiful dark rusty color, and I am so pleased to find a black tea I like without milk or sugar. It’s very light as far as black teas go, slightly bitter if left in even a touch too long, with some sweetness particularly noticeable when adding milk etc. The second brew did not hold up very well in my experience, so I’m probably a quarter of my way into the tin! (What can I say? It’s not my fault holiday jingles are in my head! Damn radio.)

Where Sampson tastes like bread, this blend tastes more fruity, or snappy. Kind of like a gay Santa doing tap dance in a sparkly spandex suit. With bells on his toes. Maybe.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
LissaMarie “There is a reason why Ohio has produced more astronauts than any other state – my personal belief being that this state makes people want to flee the earth.”

Hahah! You’ve got a great sense of humor :)

LENA

lol…loved this post!

and don’t forget the jazz hands. :)

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63

Holy Vanilla! This tea is so potent, and smells like you just stuck your nose into a vanilla bean. The smell alone, makes me want to taste the tea immediately! (i am a vanilla fiend!). Sadly, I was kind of disappointed with this tea, it was vanilla-y on the nose, while the tea was hot, but the vanilla seemed to go away and dissolve as the tea cooled off. The taste of the tea was a mild black tea, not anything to write home about, but I was sipping on it at night after an exam, so the tea helped me relax, but I think i wouldn’t drink the tea if I wanted a boost in the morning/afternoon. The tea reminded me of how vanilla as a flavor is a bit subdued and kind of on the mellow side,which is exactly how this tea strikes me. I would have liked the vanilla to be more present in the tea flavor, and maybe a stronger black tea too.

JacquelineM

If you are ever in the mood put in a splash of milk and a wee bit of sugar for a very creamy vanilla tea. :)

LissaMarie

Oh! I’m going to try that :) Sounds very delicious!

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drank Earl Grey Grand Classic by Lupicia
911 tasting notes

I don’t know what a longan fruit smells or tastes like, but I’m guessing it’s very similar to lychee because the dry leaf smells like lychee with an undernote of spicy, whooshy citrus. Post-brewing the top note of the smell is still sweetly lychee with a stronger undercurrent of bergamot.

The taste is not quite lychee, almost muscat and with a smooth note of bergamot underneath. Sometimes there’s a hint of bitterness at the end of the sip. Other times it feels smooth and silky. There’s a little spicy tingle in the aftertaste – I’m not sure if it is from the tea or the bergamot. The description says ‘smokey’ but I don’t really get much of that (unless you count the spicy bit). It’s more of a hint of darkness/richness that would pair well with a smoky tea but, in this, pairs with almost-lychee.

Ultimately, probably a little too fruity/unique for it to be a regular sipper but enjoyable.

Meghann M

I’ll have to check this one out. I’ve been eyeing up many of their teas and really want more of their basic earl grey in my cupboard….not that I need any more tea.

Auggy

You can never have too much tea! :)

Meghann M

I just have to convince my husband that it’s okay to take over a full cupboard with tea:) At least he is coming round and drinking iced tea more and more. Now I just have to get him into the hot beverage.

Thomas Smith

Lychee is similar, but more juicy.

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95

1 rounded TB for 500mL water, drunk bare (nothing added).

As others have noted, jasmine does a cheery ‘Ta-da!’ when you open the tin. And that’s great.

I set the timer but couldn’t repond right away and ended up with more of a 4-minute steep. With that length of a steep, a new scent wafts up from the brew: line-dried white shirts. That incredibly clean scent you only get in summer when you, that’s right, hand white shirts on the line to dry in the sun and the wind. I love that.

The longer steep thickens the body a bit; any longer and it might get soapy. I’ll probably water this cuppa down a bit. But oh, that clean, irreplacable lovely jasmine. I can taste more of the green tea base today, too: a sweet green, as others have pointed out, thank goodnes, not grassy and not briny.

Jasmine fabness. One of the best I’ve tried. Up there with some of the jasmine pearls.

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89

Wow, another good Keemun!
I’m really happy to have stumbled upon this company – both the teas I bought from them really exceeded my expectations.

Really pretty leaves with a preponderance of golden buds. I’d have trouble telling this apart from Silk Road’s Golden Monkey by just looking at it, but the leaves are a bit smaller here.
I’m on my second preparation of this today. First time ’round I used 4g per 125ml with steep times-temps: 1.5min-95C, 3min-90C, 4min-85C, 5min-85C, 5min-100C. Second round I used 2g per 125ml and drank from continuous infusions using 95C water and finishing at around 27 minutes first brew and 15 minutes second brew.

Dry fragrance is a bit like hay in a barn… a clean barn, but still – straw and hardwood. Wet aroma pops up with some tart apple smell and more resinous redwood. Liquor carries an apple and pear cider aroma mixed with toasted sesame seeds, flax seed, and whole wheat pasta. Tacky smelling and sort of carries a smell that reminds me of a cork board.

Flavor is a tad earthy and ever so slightly bitter, like a potato or pear carries bitterness. Balances nicely with the refreshing crisp qualities it has. Toasty, and certainly “Keemun-like” but it’s a mellow one. Soothing yet with a touch of spice. Cassia, nutmeg, and allspice. Aftertaste like the taste the air takes on around dry sand or river rocks – slight dusty tasting mineral quality I feel as a bit “spicier” than more clay- or gravel-like mineral tastes. Very pleasant, and adding dimension to this approachable tea. Aftertaste brings a bit of that flaxseed back from the front and ends on a brown rice note. A bit of dried fig/prune comes through at the end of a very long infusion. Flavor has a slow recession, but the aftertaste doesn’t linger very long at all. I usually prefer a very long lasting aftertaste and aroma, but this is the second red tea I’ve enjoyed greatly today that fades quickly.

Maybe not as complex as the Xian Zhen from TeaSpring, but every bit as enjoyable. Smoother, and with a little bit more body, though the flavor progression is a soothing flow in, then out with little trace. A huge plus for me is this is slightly less consistent between brews, developing from crisp and floral (orchid and honey notes mentioned in company description come through easily at first), to fruited and ripe, to toasty and salivating tannin, then richer wood before receding to bamboo, pecan and slight caramel accents in later infusions.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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90

Steep Information:
Amount: 2 tsp
Water: boiling 12 oz
Tool: kati loose tea system (my Review here.)
Steep Time: a little over 2 minutes (http://steep.it/)
Served: Hot

Tasting Notes:
Dry Leaf Smell: orange, clove, the cinnamon I had to look for
Steeped Tea Smell: black tea
Flavor: black tea with a nice background of cinnamon and clove
Body: Full
Aftertaste: citrus, astringent, toasty (hard to describe but like the baked part of the tea stays with you)
Liquor: nearly opaque dark red-brown

Post-Steep Additives: + 1 honey stick = a little more of the spices come out.

At first was expecting more spice, from the name, but I was pleasantly surprised by this being a nice strong black tea with hints of spice. They play second fiddle to a lovely cup of tea. The smell does make you

think of the holidays, and overall i drank about 3 cups of this today at work – they kept disappearing before I could write my review.

I believe I could have used one heaping spoonful instead of two in the 12 ounce mug.

I love that i got a hand written note! It makes me smile when people include notes in packages. The note gave a little information on the Arbor Teas commitment to the environment – including information about their 100% backyard compostable packaging. The note was printed with vegetable-based ink on FSC-certified paper containing 100% post-consumer waste and processed chlorine-free.

This tea is organic and Fair Trade Certified. That would be worthless if the tea was not good, but this tea is delicious so it’s an added bonus for everyone. It is a lovely tea and only missed out on a 100% rating because it’s not something I MUST keep stocked at all times.

Pictures http://amazonv.blogspot.com/2010/12/arbor-teas-loose-leaf-black-tea-holiday.html

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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drank White Ginger Pear by Tea Forte
1112 tasting notes

In the mood for a little more tea today! I thought this flavored white would be a nice afternoonish cup. Thanks AGAIN Jaime!)

The pear is lovely, and the white tea is quite nice! I’m not getting ginger, but rather black pepper, which is a little disconcerting paired with the pear. Not entirely unpleasant, but it’s “harshing my mellow” as the kids say. ;) I like it enough to not only finish my cup, but also do a resteep, but I don’t think I’ll run out and buy this particular tea. I would totally try another white tea from Tea Forte, or really any Tea Forte, because I like the tea base and the pear. It’s just the black pepper I mean ginger that I’d stay away from!

Jamie, again, thank you!

EDIT: Oh I forgot to tell you guys about my tea dream! Last night I had a dream where my husband said “It’s so cold in here! We have to go to the mall and get a cup of tea!” and I said "Why do we have to go to the mall?! (I think I’ve already told you all about my aversion to the mall) and he said “To get a cup of tea!” so we went to the mall and everything was closed! I said “Look! It’s so early that all the stores are closed and we can’t get a cup of tea!!” and I woke up!

Here is my Analysis:

tea: I must have REALLY been craving a cup of tea but I projected this desire onto my husband.

mall: ANXIETY! I hate the mall! I think the mall stands for my final project that I am having terrible anxiety about.

cold: this is literal. It’s so cold here and I think I was cold in my sleep! I woke up and all the covers were sort of bunched up around my dog and not on me!!!

so early: It was 4am-ish and I kinda knew that even whilst sleeping ;)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Jaime

This is one that varied by the bag for me…some bags were absolutely perfect, others a bit too ginger/peppery. I’ve decupboarded it now…I don’t think I’ll be picking it up again unless it’s on a really good sale!

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80
drank 2009 Nan Nuo Shan by Grand Tea
1765 tasting notes

When I opened the small bag in which the leaves were held, I was immediately intrigued by how different this sheng pu smelled, compared to other pu’erh I have had recently (including other sheng). The aroma of the dry leaf tends toward more of a mossy smell with some tobacco notes. Definitely a crisp smell.

To start off the process of making this intriguing tea, I rinsed the leaves briefly and then went for a 30 second infusion. (I should mention that I am using a small gaiwan.) A lot of the leaves seem to be a bit broken up, but this could have been on account of some transit issues, as there are quite a few large leaves as well. The smell of the wet leaves still maintains its mossiness, but also smells of coffee and tobacco.

The first steeping produced a very light brew. The smell remains the same, which is why the flavour caught me completely off guard. Very rough edges combine with much stronger tobacco notes to almost overwhelm any remaining moss flavour. Then there comes a bit of a sour taste, which was a bit unpleasant, yet somehow fit with the general flavour of this tea.

Time for the second steeping. While the aroma has not changed at all, the edges of the tea have indeed smoothed out. The sourness still remains a bit on the aftertaste, but is not as prominent anymore. Toasted flavours of tobacco and that little bit of moss taste still remain.

Steep number three brings a diminished smell, which I found a bit strange. It was as though the smell had all but disappeared. The taste too has been muted a bit, yet still the same as the previous steeping. Some would call this muted-ness “smoothed”, but I disagree. It is definitely lacking for flavour now.

I put the leaves through another steeping, this time leaving it for a few minutes, to see if this would improve or affect the flavour. The result was not much different. This was a decent pu’erh, but quite green, and had a flavour to match that fact. I give it an 80/100 on my enjoyment scale.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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69
drank Masala Chai by Rishi Tea
21 tasting notes

I was gifted this tea by a friend and fellow tea enthusiast for my birthday. I mostly followed the stove top recipe on the back of the tin except I stirred in 3 tablespoons of honey instead of sugar. I also found to be better tasting when I tried the recipe with all (reduced fat lactose free) milk instead of 1 cup water and 1 cup milk. When I tried the cafe method and I found it to be not nearly as robust and delicious as the stove top method.

This chai is quite strong, with the cardamom packing quite a punch! Try making some tapioca boba and putting it in the tea – I found that it helped balance the strong, spicy flavors.

I probably will not buy more of this tea when I run out because I found it a little too time consuming to prepare on the stove top with boba and I don’t like the fact the tea cannot be infused multiple times.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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98

The last of the Zealong oolongs for me to try, this one just might be my favorite. It’s got the toasty, honey-sweet notes of the Dark but also the lighter, lemon-tinged notes of the Pure. There’s a moment of thick creamy but it flashes by and the majority of the taste is light, refreshing (though without astringency) sweetness. There’s a lot of fruitiness (apples perhaps but without the tartness?) and a hint of refreshing lemon fruit-ness. As it cools, a slightly darker flavor comes back out – the toastiness from the Dark, but not as heavy. Perhaps somewhat floral? Like grilled flowers sprinkled with sugar and nuts or something.

Honestly, I thought Pure was good. (Okay, it is. Really good. As is Dark.) But Pure has some lighter flavors that I have to pay a bit more attention to. This one? Light enough that it’s not roasted tasting but with just enough roasting to make the flavors truly pop. I’m kind of in love and want to buy a massive tin of this.

ETA: Second steep (1:00) makes me think of a mildly flavored lemon pie.
8.2g/8oz

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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80

I’m TRYING to be open minded here…
I HATE BANANAS!!!! I mean I HATE Bananas!
BUT…I have had Plantains in a bake that I bought in the freezer section from Kashi and thought that Plantains were ok.

Also…I like Bananas Bread. WEIRD.

So…here goes…

It smells like bananas but the coconut also helps that. Thankfully. It’s a very light colored liquid NOT as bright, vibrant, dark, or richly colored as most Rooibos or Green Rooibos’s even.

THANKFULLY I can taste the coconut more than the Plantain. YAY! I can’t individually or harshly say I can taste the Rooibos above the other ingredients but it contributes to the over all sweetness and even the smoothness of it. It’s unique.

I think if any company would have done this any different I would have not liked it at all. I really think it HAS to have the coconut and the Rooibos in there to accompany the Plantain. RoT gave this one some real thought. I appreciate that! Usually I would NEVER buy something like this blind but because LiberTEAs sent me some I tried and I was surprised! This is alright! Even for someone who HATES Bananas like me!

The more I drink this the more appreciation I have for it. And the more I sip on this the more plantain flavor I am tasting is quite comparable to that of the plantains I have had in that Kashi Microwavable Meal I mentioned above.

Interesting. Surprising. Creative. Innovative. Different.

TeaEqualsBliss

NOTE TO SELF…as this cools beyond the ‘luke warm’ temp it tastes more like bananas and I’m not fond of this cold for that reason…so…as long as I slurp this piping hot it’s alright! :)

SimpliciTEA

I judge you have a talent with describing your own experiences. I consider myself as a writer, and I admire your ability to use words (and white space). They seem to flow effortlessly. I am new to Steepster. It’s renewing for me, and exciting, to encounter writing like yours along with the passion of so many tea enthusiasts on this website!

TeaEqualsBliss

Thanks so much for the words :) Have you checked out Sororitea Sisters yet?
http://sororiteasisters.com

SimpliciTEA

I just checked it out. Interesting. I am not very familiar with blogs, but I do like your sites overall layout. Creative. I hope this is not too forward, but are you willing to explain to me how your site generates income (I wonder the same about Steepster)? There are no ads — which is another thing I like about your site — but you must generate income in some way. I am curious because I am interested in exploring ways of generating income myself, and, because I like to learn about ‘what makes things tick.’

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This type of green tea is my absolute favorite. I decided to get this instead of the two other options from David’s: Butterfly Jasmine and Dragon Pearls. This is a bit cheaper, and I have faith that it still tastes good. Besides, unless I am brewing those in a glass teapot I can’t see it unfurl. Hence why I picked this tea over the other two, because I don’t mind if it doesn’t look fancy.

Anyways, this didn’t disappoint me. I like it because it takes green tea (which is enjoyable by itself) and adds a nice floral taste to it (not too little, not too much). I’m normally not a fan of flowers and tea, especially rose and lavender. But I love the smell of jasmine and it tastes fantastic with green tea. To me, this is not a “refreshing” tea its a relaxing tea.

In the future, I may buy a small pouch (25g) of the Butterfly Jasmine just to discover if it tastes much different. When I run out of Silk Dragon Jasmine tea I will most certainly refill my tin. Like I said earlier, this type is one of my favorites and it is going to stay in my permanent collection.

1yr reflection: Wow I can’t believe I liked this one so much… because it’s not that good. Removed rating

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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76

Such a yummy, easy-going tea. Incredibly forgiving to brew, this is terrific at low concentration for short steeps on up to high concentration with absurdly long ones. I just sat down and sipped this from a gaiwan while watching a movie, leaving this to brew for well beyond 15 minutes. Used 4g with an initial water volume of 125ml at 90 degrees Celsius and a quick rinse.

Dry fragrance is dried apricot and resinous hardwood in the bag, but when tossed in a prewarmed vessel, a heady fragrance of dried dates, figs, and kiwi skin mixed with the sort of lightly charred smokiness of a iron skillet. Wetted leaves release some musty, mossy aromas. Liquor aroma is sort of in-between a Keemun and Dian Hong. Tacky, somewhat sweet, woody. A touch of burning, wet thyme and rosemary and grilled pineapple.

Savory impression. At low concentrations or shortly after adding water when drinking from the brewing tea, it comes off as crisp, sweet, and light in most aspects. Cocoa-dusted toffee almonds with a lingering light basil note in the aftertaste. At higher concentrations, more resin is evident with notes of dates, dried apricot, sunflower seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, prune, cooked onions, poppyseed, clay, and barley atop a rich body. Aside from the light crispness and a somewhat tannin-like characteristic, this is very smooth. Hearty and belly-filling.

Easy to drink alongside food and can handle having junk mixed into it like milk and sweetener. Heck, it can even handle a bit of citrus (heaven forbid someone would purposefully add such a thing to good tea outside of experimentation) and hold a decent amount of flavor when brewed long and strong. I usually want to add this to any breakfast-style tea I try to blend for, but the lack of astringency and general mellow quality inevitably leaves this tea sapping the aggressive elements out of the teas it’s blended with.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more

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80
drank Jasmine Grey by 52teas
382 tasting notes

This was my teapot tea for the day because as we all know I do not learn from experience. Oh hay the green did not actually let me sleep last night? Clearly that was a FLUKE we should try it again and see if the experiment is repeatable except that we will use a completely different green because it is not like we are invoking scientific principles in order to justify our behavior. Also why are we using the royal we? I don’t know.

Good lord I am so glad that Liberteas is down in the other reviews section saying she also got bubble gum from this because that is the overwhelming scent that I get as well. Sadly, I do not like bubble gum – the taste is too sugary and artificial for me most of the time and I feel it encourages the habit of not chewing with your mouth closed which is just gross. Fortunately, the taste for me, is much more complicated than just bubble gum. There is an initial point of bubblegum, it’s true, but then it resolves itself into this fascinating mixture of flavors that I really enjoy trying to tease out. The jasmine here is very subtle but definitely there if you look for it and I actually quite enjoy trying to pinpoint it within each sip. The base tea is also quite subtle allowing the flavors to really interact with each other. And it is an interaction, not a mixture, I think, they almost seem to be in conversation with each other. It’s neat!

I really like this tea in my teapot because I don’t mind having several cups of it in a row, since the taste is so complex.

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85
drank Champagne Rosé by Lupicia
911 tasting notes

This will be a drive-by logging of this month’s freebie teabag.

Smell: Dry Leaf – Alternately like sparking white grape juice and muscat. Occasionally with strawberries or something pink.
Liquid Tea – Mellow muscat gummy.

Taste: The front is floral. The name says ‘Rose’ but nothing in the description that indicates that there is rose in this… Is there rose in this?

Next is slightly tart berries. (Yay for a Lupicia Strawberry tea that is not strawberry Quik flavored.) There is some light astringency that plays into the whole fresh berry feel. Not too dissimilar from this morning’s Marco Polo but a tad thinner.

Last up is an endnote that is a cross between white grape juice and muscat. (The tastes are similar but white grape juice tends to be sweeter and muscat more wild/pungent… at least to me.)

Verdict: Pretty darn good. If it didn’t have the astringency, I could see this vying for Marco Polo’s place in my pantry. But it is a little drying, which does fit with the whole champagne and strawberries thing but don’t always appreciate astringency, particularly in black teas. Otherwise, great flavor and the first strawberry tea from Lupicia that doesn’t make me think of that cartoon rabbit. If they stopped making Marco Polo, I’d probably replace it with this and only be a little sulky.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
902 tasting notes

Mr. Polo and I aren’t having the best of luck, it seems.

The first pot was way too bitter/astringent to be truly enjoyed. The second had me wondering what all the fuss was about. Yup, you’re right, this is only my third pot.

It’s not as astringent this time around, and I’m noticing more of the berry taste. Cream’s there as well, but not as much as I was expecting. Since many add milk and sugar, I went to do the same. Luckily, I noticed the date on my milk (which I will not post) and did the sniff test. And then I went and grabbed the french vanilla creamer.

I think I’m getting closer to finding the perfect way to brew this for me. With the creamer, it’s well, creamier, and the vanilla adds a cake-like note to the berry. I still need to fiddle with the time on it, and maybe even the temp. I want to taste what all the cool kids taste when they drink this one!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

My first cup was less tha stellar, but the second cup has me antsy to get some more! I usually don’t have additions with anything but breakfast tea, but this one needed milk and sugar to really sing, but with the additions it sang an aria!

Jaime

I usually don’t add anything to teas either, and working on getting the right stuff in the right amounts to make this shine is really hard for me. I’m going to buy some half & half and see if that helps. How did you make your aria-spouting cuppa?

ashmanra

Just skim milk and a little sugar, plus a quiet enough spot to concentrate on the flavor.

Jaime

Well, I’ve done all that. Gotta figure out how much milk/sugar I think.

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95
drank Jasmine Pearls by Canton Tea Co
6 tasting notes

Love the scent of this tea, so deep and intoxicating yet “natural”, not overpowering, differently from other jasmine teas I’ve tried (maybe they were artificially scented, with hindsight). The aroma is “sparkling” in the nose like a cup of champagne!

The flavour is more delicate yet lively: sweet and floral, with soft spring honey notes, like fresh dew that has dripped onto jasmine petals.
The gentle vegetal note of the tea buds is still present in the background: jasmine scent doesn’t outclass it.
Then I found a surprisingly wild fennel note around the third infusion: so fresh, almost balsamic in the mouth.

I used a level teaspoon of pearls for about 150ml of water.

Definitely a tea to try :-)

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Elf Help by DAVIDsTEA
658 tasting notes

This tea is pretty hard to pass up when you get a whiff and see it in all its fun, fruity glory. I couldn’t place what it smelled like but knew I had to taste it.

It doesn’t exactly taste like Christmas to me, but I like when DavidsTea takes any excuse to release new teas. It is definitely bold, but it’s not out of control. It kind of tastes like a fruit punch and as bad as that sounds, it’s great. I don’t usually tend towards fruity teas (though DavidsTea has got me re-thinking that with several of their teas) but I enjoy this and don’t find that the flavours completely overpower the sencha. It’s a nice pick-me-up in the dreary early winter, and I’m glad I bought enough for several brewings.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Shanti by The Simple Leaf
260 tasting notes

The Final Sipdown: Day 26.1

The tea. The tea. The tea is on fire. We don’t need no water, let the…

This tea is smoky. Smoky in a way that has me on the fence between wood burning fire and cigarettes. It would be full on firewood, if it weren’t, maybe ironically, for the vegetal quality underlying the whole thing. For me it’s giving it that nicotine-y tinge that’s making me think I won’t be finishing this cup.

The other flavors in it are savory and salty. There’s also a peppery note that is hitting the tip of my tongue. This is one of the least grassy green teas I’ve ever had, and were it not for the lightness of flavor beneath the smoke [and the coloring of the liquid] I may have pegged it for a black tea.

The sweeter notes don’t come into play for me until the end, and then it has an almost fruity sense about it. That fruit, however, is lending a more sickly quality than sweet and fresh…until the aftertaste really kicks in and the liquid is completely gone. Then it’s like a Febreze commercial.

I don’t know. I don’t mind a smoky tea, but this one’s poking at my gag reflex. The combination of flavors just doesn’t make any sense to me, and there isn’t really anything enjoyable about the profile as a whole. A pleasant aftertaste alone does not a good tea make.

Ah well. I appreciate Carolyn sending this to me nonetheless. And now it’s gone! Good things all around.

Teas Downed: 32

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
wombatgirl

Yeah, that was my problem with it – the cigarette flavor. I couldn’t reconcile it with anything else in my head and so for me, bleah. Nice to know I wasn’t the only one thinking of the cigs for this tea.

East Side Rob

I’ve always associated smokey teas with China since Indian teas are usually baked to stop the oxidation. But since they’re emulating the Chinese in producing green teas, perhaps the Indians are pan roasting them too. Can’t imagine who’s consuming all these smokey teas, especially lapsangs.

iTea

Interesting tealog and I like the lyrical touch at the beginning! :D

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93

I really have no idea how or where I obtained this but I did. If any of you steepsters sent it to me THANKS!!! Usually I keep the name with the tea but I don’t know why I didn’t with this one!

I didn’t read this product description before infusing or BLOOMING and I was shocked to see a pale pink type color come alive when it was blooming. Sure I have had red or pink flowers bloom before while tasting flowering teas but I don’t remember the liquid turning a color like this! It’s very pretty!

Dry – the yet-to-be-bloomed ball smelled a lot more intense – that of wild flowers and when the bloom, well, bloomed…the aroma was more light and floral and airy. It is nice!

It has a juicy-sweet taste to it that I am preferring more than most floral bloom type teas! Maybe it’s because it’s NOT Jasmine and it IS different than the other blooms I have infused lately! Whatever it is – it’s great!

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95

Not bad at all! Quite nice, actually! I’m always wary about teas with vanilla in them, because they always smell a bit off to me while brewing. But the flavor is nice, not too strong. Just a nice, mild sweetness. I may have to invest in some of this at some point (Huzzah for free samples accompanying the catalog!), but I’m not sure I want a whole 30 tea bags. It is very seasonal, and I’m afraid it would loose it’s quality if I only have a few cups a year.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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84

I received 10g of this, as it was recently the “sample of the month”. 10g is such a big amount of tea to give away for free! It’s enough for at least 4 (4oz) cups!

Anyway, the matcha makes this tea very intense. I can see why I’m not a regular matcha drinker — not that I don’t think it’s delicious, because it is — but because as soon as I took the first few sips, I could already feel it!

The matcha adds a nice, intensity — sweetness and even marine flavors — to the already well-balanced sencha. The 2nd and third steepings were yummy too. I try to limit caffeine intake, so I’m not sure I’d buy 2oz of this, but I’d consider it, because it’s like two different teas in one and I enjoy both. (Plus, its an easy way to get to drink matcha without having to buy all the other fiddely tools)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Bai Lin Ju Hong by TeaSpring
911 tasting notes

I am officially withdrawing from The Final Sipdown. I’m pretty much at the point that any teas I have left are gianormous and unless I start bathing in it, I won’t be able to finish off one tea a day, much less two. But I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made with it – 43 teas down. Forty three! And now I have a much more reasonable 94 teas in my cupboard. Yay! I really did enjoy seeing 80-something earlier so I think I will slowly work toward the goal of getting my cupboard back down there, but not as rapidly as The Final Sipdown would require.

Anyway, this means that I can no longer focus on what teas I’m almost out of but can instead take the time to enjoy some newer teas! First up, this lovely smelling one from Angrboda. I admit, I’ve been saving some of Ang’s swap teas for a special occasion. Today I need a pick me up, so I’m dubbing that a special occasion.

The dry leaves smell delightful. Thick and rich with a touch of dark chocolate. It smells like it will be smooth and flavorful – there might even be a hint of something fresh and tingly in there? – so I’m thinking it will have a good depth, too. Per TeaSpring’s orders, I’m using 4g/10oz and steeping it for one minute. And it smells so good. There’s malt, honey (or perhaps a bit of sugar) and some sort of spicy tingle laying on top of it. I’m hoping (based on the vendor description) that it is citrus peel note.

The first sip literally wowed me. It’s not as thick as I was anticipating but it’s such a clear, beautiful flavor. Raw sugar, a hint of creamy chocolate and then that same fresh, spicy note that I’m not sure I would have pegged as orange peel but yeah, that’s what it tastes like. The husband has a family recipe for homemade cranberry sauce and it includes whole oranges (peel and all). I like getting the pieces of orange peel that don’t always get ground into super-tiny pieces because there is this fresh sting that’s not so much bitter as not sweet and has a bit of a spongy texture. It sounds weird, but I really like it. Thinking orange peel then sipping this tea, it taste like I’ve hit upon one of those larger orange peel bits in the cranberry sauce, even down to the texture.

As it cools, the orange peel note becomes a more orange flesh/juice note with under tones of peel. It strengthens as it cools and I’m to the point that this makes me think of one of those super-mild Earl Greys. There’s a delicious honey/sugar aftertaste to it and something almost baked fruit-ish? Baked plums perhaps? There’s also a bit of a starchy texture that pops up as it cools. Not rough, just a bit yam-ish. And about two breaths after a sip (if I don’t sip again) a soft floral taste seems to develop.

Okay, I probably need to wrap up before I start composing sonnets to this tea. It’s really good – not delicate, but not in your face either. Softly flavorful? Flavorfully soft? It’s not a wake-you-up-in-the-morning tea but more of a let’s-take-a-break-from-stress-and-turn-to-goo tea.

Simply delightful.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Kaiten_Kenbu

too bad this final sipdown was quite the fun to follow :)
well done.

Auggy

Hehe – glad you enjoyed it. I can’t say I won’t jump back on the bandwagon at some point because it’s pretty awesome to get my cupboard down below 3 digits!

Pamela Dean

great reviews! i hope you’ll report here if you do successive steeps of this tea. Some of these stalwart Chinese traditional blacks evolve nicely, almost like an oolong. The high tea-to water ratio and short steeps suggest gongfu brewing. I’ve had to turn to smaller cups and pots because with the re-steeps, it’s just too much tea to drink. But i love simply pouring on hot water again without having to measure out tea.

Angrboda

I knew I wasn’t mad with that orange note!

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