Featured & New Tasting Notes
My order of Golden Fleece arrived today!! Yay!!! Literally seconds after I just placed another Verdant order too. I think the universe is trying to send me a message that I need to stop ordering tea, but I can’t help myself! Is tea buying an addiction? ‘Cause if so, I think I have a problem.
ON TO THE TEA!
I started with a very quick 3-4 second wash and then a 7 second infusion. This tea has a wonderful umami. The mouthfeel is super silky smooth. It’s a little light on flavor in this first steep because I was trying to be conservative with the leaf. The cocoa and bread components are still there, just very faint. Oh no! It’s a tea disaster! I just spilled tea everywhere trying to pour the second infusion into my new red lotus teacup. :( Oh, and this second infusion is so good too!
I’m adding some pictures of my new teacup and the awesome bamboo tea scoop I splurged on. :) This is the tea that keeps on giving. Infusion after infusion are tasty and illuminate different nuances. This tea is as delightful as I remember. In fact, it may be even more delightful than I remember. It has lovely bread and cocoa notes that embody tea from the Yunnan province of China. There’s also a bit of spice in the aroma and flavor. I love it so much! Increasing the rating of 93 from three years ago to 96.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Spices
This tea is very different from any pu erh I’ve tried. It is very interesting! And so different, that I really don’t know how to describe it. First, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has a wonderful energy. My fingers and toes were tingling after the first cup. And I feel just very wide awake and present. I often judge a tea based on how it makes me feel, rather than analyzing the flavors, and this felt very nice. That being said, the first steep was just surprising. It was very bitter, with almost a charred type bitterness. At first I thought maybe the leaves got burned in processing, but this was not the case after seeing the leaves. It was a very different kind of bitterness than one usually finds in pu erh. The flavor was – I don’t know, just different. You just have to try it to see what it’s like. Today, me and my wife got through probably 10 steeps. The bitterness cleared after 3 or 4. The broth was a bright and deep gold. The flavor kept changing, it was a very dynamic tea. It just kept getting better, and I found it quite addicting. We are going to have more tomorrow, as I’m sure there are a few steeps left to go.
CL has some pictures of the wild giant trees in the forest from which this tea was picked. From such trees, I can see why it would be very different than a typical pu. This tea is expensive, but really cool to try.
Trying this tea from my recent TeaAve haul. I don’t really have the capacity (or time) to gong fu things at work so I made this Western style in my glass tea tumbler this morning.
First of all, this tea smells absolutely amazing. It is worth it for the smell alone, I think. It’s definitely honeysuckle and very intense! If you don’t like floral smelling teas, this may not be the one for you. The taste is really nice, buttery with macadamia nut, a hint of fresh greens and flowers. And maybe a bit of coconut? le sigh
I will have to gong fu this soon because I’m most likely missing out on some really subtle flavor variations by steeping it once Western style. Still I’m pretty impressed with this so far. Glad I bought some!
I also like how TeaAve has such informative packaging, For instance this tea has a roasting level of: 01, An oxidation level of: 1.2, a mountain altitude of 400-800m, an Origin of PingLing District in New TaiPei City and a Cultivar of Quixin. Plus you get steeping insructions — that’s a lot of cool information about your tea. ;)
I started this morning in my favourite way – with a matcha latte! Grace & Green kindly sent me a sample of their Morning Organic Matcha to try, and as a matcha fan, I was very keen to give it a try!
See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/07/13/morning-organic-matcha-grace-green/
And this is my restful pot in the middle of the busy day.
I am a little nervous about how busy I’m going to be, even though I’ve done all these jobs before, and know the drill.
I didn’t sleep well last night, which did not really help, so the tea has got to be black, and due to nerves, has to be beloved. Thank you, Boston, for helping out!
Evidently combining spearmint and peppermint is a mint melange? I think there should be at least 3 ingredients to qualify as a melange, but I guess I’m being picky :)
I was jonesing for a simple mint tea the other day. My old standby, Twinings, was at home so I decided to get this from the Spicely store. It’s a pretty standard mix of peppermint and spearmint and kind of tasty. My main complaint is the price – $10 for 20 teabags seems like a lot when we’re talking about plain old mint. Bonus that it’s organic but I wouldn’t buy this again unless I was feeling desperate. I liked it better with a little plain cane sugar.
Interesting that they recommend steeping at 190 F as I’ve always used boiling water for mint teas.
Backlog – I had a few cups of this while watching the storm roll in last night – our first major storm of the season! Finally!! The lightning was gorgeous, the thunder loud, and this tea…perfect for the occasion. Warming and cozy like a warm blanket. Rich and slightly sweet. Slightly energizing too, yet also calming. Ah, I love storms and good puerh. See previous notes on this tea :)
Thanks to TeaBrat for sharing this sample! I believe I last had this tea about five years ago, which predates my finding Steepster. The aroma is familiar and comforting. Milk Caramel is a lovely tea. It doesn’t taste like a flavored tea. Rather, it tastes like an unflavored tea that just naturally has this amazing flavor.
It’s a houjicha base, which is a roasted green tea. It has a lovely roasted, warm aroma and flavor that is very representative of high quality houjicha. The added flavoring listed is just almonds. Well, that’s why I love this tea so much. Give me almond anything and I’m in Heaven!
Milk Caramel is an interesting name because while this tea doesn’t have overt milk or caramel flavorings, it does evoke these notes. There’s a creaminess and a sweetness that is reminiscent of both milk and caramel. Mmmm, toasty and delicious! I am definitely a fan of this one! Maybe I’ll pick up some for the office…nooo! I must resist!
I’ve done a good job of resisting Verdant Tea’s latest sale and clearance and now they’re sold out of the teas I wanted. :( Sad for me but good for my wallet. I’ve already placed three orders with them over the last few months! I simply have no budget left for more tea. That’s why I’m especially thankful to TeaBrat for making this tasting possible. I’ve found a good tea friend in you! :)
Flavors: Almond, Creamy, Roasted, Sweet, Toasty
“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”
In this case it is true, though I admit I am not a religious person. With the loss of my shrimp tank I thought it be best if I try to recuperate with a day or two of reflection, memories and mourning. It would seem that was not meant to be for long. Last night at 9:15pm there was a knock on the door from my two neighbours (who I had never met nor seen before by the way), they were holding a small black kitten and asked if it was mine. I replied that it was not my kitten, eventually finding out that some children saw it wandering the street alone so they got their parents and ended up knocking doors trying to find the owners. I believe I was one of the last stops as they asked if it would be possible to look after him with intentions of advertising about the kitten. I said yes (much to my husbands distaste) and so I welcomed him into my home.
Don’t mistake my husbands tone, he truly does not want this kitten and has made it quite clear, as he did with our other 4 cats; but I do admit that 5 cats is perhaps a bit too much. Well if I could I would offer a home to all the cats in the world, were it large enough. So for now I have my hands full with a black male kitten, I believe he is roughly 8-9 weeks old. Far too young to be roaming around and I for one could not turn him away. We called him ‘Ollie’ after Oliver Twist, we needed a name for him because I call my other cats names like ‘baby’ and ‘little pudding’.
A part of me wants him to be collected from his real owners but a larger part of me wants to keep him. One of my cats has taken such a shining to him and they are the best of friends. Perhaps because Mr Sooty Pants is also a pure black cat and as he was the youngest of our four he must remember what it was like coming into a new house for the first time.
So how long I have him for is beyond my knowledge but while I have him I’m going to make the best of it. And yes I realise this was a long story about nothing tea related, for that I am sorry. So to finish this post off I am sipping some of this Ruby black tea, though it has gone cold as little kitty is asleep on me and I can barely reach for the drink. A tea chosen to cherish the wonders of life, the good times and the bad times…it’s truly random and amazing.
This is the first cup of loose leaf tea I have drank in months. I picked the perfect tea to remind myself why I love it so much. I have been absent for good reason, and there are some personal issues I’m still dealing with, so it might take a while for me to ease myself back into writing proper tasting notes, but I’m glad to be back. These last few months haven’t been the greatest for me, but I’m hoping that the worst is now behind me and I can move on – with tea! This is the third (I think) time I’ve drank this, but I don’t remember it ever being so totally delicious. Banana is on my list of hated flavours, so on paper I shouldn’t enjoy this tea, but Stacy suggested the banana was light enough that I’d enjoy it and I’m pleased to report that she was right. Brewed for 5 or 6 minutes (I got distracted) the Premium Taiwanese Assam doesn’t go at all bitter, but rather becomes delicious and caramelly. I added one sugar but after trying it like this decided against adding milk as it was already so perfect and I didn’t want to ruin it. The banana flavour is actually really enjoyable blended so well with the other flavours, and the praline is definitely dominant long with the caramel. The sugar brings out the coconut flavours too, which are strongest in the aftertaste, which I really enjoyed as coconut is one of my favourite flavours. A really great tea to reintroduce myself with, but I’m still praying that Stacy will get bored of her freedom and come back to making teas! Her talent is far too good to disappear ):
Thank you Liquid Proust for the sample.
I’m a big fan of tangerines (currently there are about seven in my fridge), so I’m definitely excited to try this blend especially given how much juicy tangerine I’m smelling just from the dry leaf. I decided to cold brew my sample because for jasmine teas with a green base I prefer drinking them cold over hot.
I definitely think this comes off as a pretty traditional green jasmine pearl tea; a good balance of both floral and vegetal flavours. It’s definitely one of the better green jasmine blends I’ve had as well given how natural and unobtrusive the floral notes are. However the tangerine, which is the twist here, is pretty light handed. The sweet citrusy tangerine note really only pops up at the end of the sip when the jasmine is dying out, leaving for a tasty finish but slight feeling that this tea is uncompleted. I know that Liquid Proust was aiming to be subtle with the tangerine but it is more gentle than I’d anticipated it being and I do find myself wanting more.
However, overall I really appreciate the unconventional take on a traditional tea. I also have to point out that as someone who isn’t a fan of green/jasmine pairings (which I recently mentioned in my Moment of Zen review as well) I’m obviously not the target audience and I was probably looking for that additional tangerine flavor more than someone who likes green jasmine teas on their own would have so that should also be taken into account.
This tea is not smoky. It is very similar to Yunnan Sourcing’s Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong of Wu Yi Fujian Black tea. I think this one is the better of the two (at least comparing the 2015 from YS). It’s sweet and malty with chocolate notes.
When I was looking on Ebay for this type of tea it’s very confusing whether it’s this type of lapsang souchong or the smoky one. I like both but prefer this one. I just wonder why it’s called lapsang souchong when I thought the name “Lapsang Souchong” meant smoky?
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Sweet
While I have a love for Butiki… this was a let down, mainly because of the experience I had with my bestfriend with the Dragon Lychee Pearls from TeaLux. My frame of reference for lychee will always be those pearls because we put all my other teas to the side to resteep that tea until it honestly wouldn’t steep.
The lychee taste is quite strong and pleasant in this tea, yet I cannot say that it is better than what ETTE Tea has done with lychee recently. Somewhat conflicted because I always want to rate Butiki high, but this one lacked integrity from the oolong itself.
yep. still enjoying this one. Made a few cups of this as a cold brew yesterday – it’s really freakin’ hot here in toronto… and drank them all while playing some games last night. I am a fan, though it’s not exactly a shirley temple…but it does make up for not having any of my snow cone left.
Final Count: 110
I pulled this out of my stash after the recent clean, forgot how amazing these leaves look. They are large, long, thinly rolled and consist of dark green, green and yellow tones. Very large and full leaves, so beautiful to look at. Scent is smooth, sweet, fresh and floral. Mix milk, honey, butter and flowers in a bowl and that would reflect how this one smells. (I can imagine).
Teapot: Gongfu 200ml
First Steep – 1 minute
The colour is yellow.
The scent is buttery, floral and soft.
Flavour is as buttery and soft as it smells, also floral with peony and sweetpea notes in particular. An after taste of milk and lightly toasted grass with a dry finish.
Second Steep – 2 minutes
More floral tones echo among the toasted grass, butter and milk that blend into one delicious, smooth nectar.
Third Steep – 3 minutes
Mild astringency starting to form around the toasted grass. Also the flowers are thickening to resemble perfume, with a dry finish. Lingering aftertaste of sweet flowers. A bouquet of flowers.
Fourth Steep – 4 minutes
Mild steep and completely toned down from what it was. Subtle sweet but toasted flowers is pretty much all that remains, with a light dry finish.
Fifth Steep – 5 minutes
My last steep. The toasted flowers finish what was a beautiful Oolong.
The quality throughout this was exquisite!
Perhaps one of the nicest Phoenix Dan Cong that I have ever tried. It was a complete surprise considering it was from AliExpress and not a well known company. It just goes to show that sometimes it’s worth the risk of trying something from somewhere new.
Flavors: Flowers, Grass, Honey, Perfume, Sweet, Toasty
I drank through all of the green tea samples I got from Beautiful Taiwan this week! Next week will be Oolong Time :D
This Fish Hook and the Dragonwell were my top favorite greens. This one is sweet and vegetal and addictive. I think I SLIGHTLY preferred the dragonwell for its complexity, but I would certainly not turn down more of this one or the other green I tried from BTT, the Twisted Green.
Very impressed with all the offering so far. Seems to be a top notch seller for sure :D
Thanks so much for the teas, MissB! This one was a surprise but it’s a Bluebird tea I haven’t tried yet! It seems to be chai but with coconut added. I used two teaspoons: 1) Bluebird’s black teas are usually light to me 2) I want to drink it before the coconut goes bad 3) there is a lot here! Two teaspoons didn’t ruin this at all – it was the perfect briskness that I like a chai to be – a pretty dark cup! This black tea might be different from the other blends. A decent chai with plenty of spice flavor and hints of coconut but it lacks the specialness of a Bluebird tea! The other blends are so unique! But I’m glad MissB sent it my way. :D
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
A few years ago I went a bit crazy with buying FF darjeelings and samples and ended up with a lot of teas I couldn’t drink before they went stale. Last year and this year I got the FF darjeeling sample packs from Happy Earth Tea and really liked trying a few to see which ones I liked the best. Now I’m only going to have one FF darjeeling in my stash for now and that’s the Arya Ruby which I bought a full size of.
As for the Muscatel Valley, I drank this at work so I don’t have an exact idea of my water temp but it was well below boiling. Color of the tea liquor is a medium yellow and the aroma of the brewed tea reminds me of bee pollen and a flowery meadow.
This is a gentler tea without a lot of astringency and definitely doesn’t need milk or sugar. I don’t know why you would add milk to a darjeeling but maybe some people do.
This has a nutty taste that reminds me of some green oolongs I’ve had. Definitely picked up on a mango note and a slight muscatel finish that’s a bit zingy and cleanses your palette. It has a very relaxing and happy quality as I’m sitting here sipping it. If I had more of this to play around with I probably would try steeping it for shorter periods of time, say 1 to 1.5 minutes. Enjoyable, though the Arya is still the winner for me this year :)
This tea was part of a monthly service from ChaHoney. ChaHoney is a monthly subscription plan that sends you 4 teas from a company so you get to sample them before you decided to place a full fledged order. They don’t create the teas but more or less provide samples from tea companies that maybe you wouldn’t think about ordering from. I kind of like this idea.
This particular box from ChaHoney featured Tribute Teas. A company I had never had any teas from before. First one I tried was this one, 2014 Yunnan Moonlight Buds-White Tea. I am impressed. Sweet, stone fruit like, delicate white tea love hit me all at one from the first sip. I’m now on the 5th infusion and the tea is starting to turn more sour and I’m liking the contrast. Not sure how much more this tea will give, but I’m thinking I’m about at that point.
For more of my ramblings. . . http://www.cuppageek.com/index.php/2015/07/17/chahoneys-monthly-box-review-tribute-teas-2014-moonlight-buds/
Flavors: Malt, Peach, Sweet
I was pretty ill over the last 6 months. During this time I had this tea waiting to be reviewed but never got to it. Sorry What-Cha. So, I pull it out today, took pictures for the blog, but all the time I had decided this one was just for the love of tea. I just wanted to enjoy the look and the smell of the leaf. To watch the dance, and breath in the brewed aromas. To taste like it was my first cup. Lately I have forgotten how to just let the tea take me on a journey.
It is a good thing I went in with this attitude as this tea is no longer available and may never come back. Well poo. Not sure if I’ll go ahead with a blog post or not. Either way, I really enjoyed the trip.
The dry leaf is really dark for a green tea. It is lightly twisted and curled. It smells leafy and loamy with some tobacco notes, and an earthiness to it that made my mind briefly envision puerh.
I steeped in my clear glass teapot so I could watch the dance, and dance it did. Some leaf stubbornly clung to the surface while others white knuckled the bottom. It reminded me of school kids at a first dance – boys on one side and girls on the other. The brave leaf that did dance, swirled with abandon and glided about, occasionally tapping one of the clingers and dragging them to the dance floor. Thank you for the dance.
The wet leaf is large broken pieces that become green and revived. What really struck me as unexpected was the wet leaf scent. I can think of no other way of describing this. It is the aroma of a filtered cigarette. Not the nasty ash kind but the sweet and fragrant kind. I have never been a smoker, but there are certain brands that from a distance I enjoy the scent of in the open air – for a brief period. This is like the that.
The liquor is a beautiful mix of honey and orange in color. The taste is… oh yes this is green tea. It is sweet with a solid bite. Underneath is a subtle smoky note that is welcome. It is not like the wet leaf scent, and not like a camp fire. It is a roasted kind of smoky. This is also quite crisp. The aftertaste is sweet with a light fruitiness.
Glad I got to try this one.
This was another sample from MissB, albeit one I’ve had before. Apparently MissB actually sent me previous sample I had, too! I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding because MF also has another tea called “Lune” that is not this one, and that I haven’t tried, but I am still happy to have more of this. Previously I had a sachet, and now I have loose tea.
Today, my cup was super almondy with a hint of spice. Before I had issues with what I thought was cherry flavoring; I think I had gotten the ideas from previous reviews, and somehow my brain convinced me that even though there is NOT cherry flavoring, that I was tasting cherries. I’m not even sure I would call this cup distinctly fruity (there are some unspecified fruits in the blend), I mostly just tasted almond and a hint of spice. So I am glad that I got a chance to try this again, to set me straight on it. It is, in fact, quite delicious.
Thanks Tea Lizzy for giving me a sample of this to try, it definitely has long beautiful leaves. I decided to steep it Western Style this morning. I’m getting a very light infusion that is slightly malty, light and also has a definite sweet aftertaste. The fruity element is quite prominent here with notes of apple and apricot. This might have been a better tea to try gong fu’ing instead of steeping western style but that’s all I had time for today. This is nice and refreshing, would be a good choice for afternoon tea I think. Thanks again, TL!
Are we at the point where there are too many high-end, farm to cup tea purveyors? It’s very easy to be seduced by the burgeoning websites touting personal relationships with family farms in China or Estates in India. How much variety is too much? How often is the Chinese black tea from X an upgrade from the one you’ve been enjoying for a while? Maybe the answer is a resounding, “Variety is the spice of life!” But it’s a question I ask myself as I find fewer and fewer of my forays into the offerings of new (to me) sellers end up replacing the teas I’ve come to love and drink regularly.
Now, this is not meant as a criticism of Joseph Wesley’s teas which I’m trying for the first time. I really enjoyed his high end Qimen (not reviewed yet) and this Bai Lin is certainly pleasant. But is the Qimen better than the ones I’ve had from Upton, a place I’ve been ordering from for years and from whom I can order a whole variety of excellent teas? Hard to say. When I go to the store, I can choose between 20 different kinds of olive oil or yogurt but the myriad of choices just makes me anxious (or maybe it’s just the fluorescent lighting).
Anyway, back to this tea, which I’m finding hard to categorize. It’s not as chocolatey as its nose suggests it will be; it’s actually more vegetal and grainy. I think I went too heavy on the leaf the first time—when I used less, I had a better result.
In raw form this tea smells super duper sweet and fruity! Like fresh peach juice. The Oolong balls are a nice size which comes dotted with other ingredients around them, of which I can see rose petals and ginger pieces.
Once steeped the tea is golden brown/yellow with a sweet and thick fruit scent, particularly peach and an undertone of sweet rose and flowers surround it. Pure smelling and juicy, wonderful!
Flavour matches the scent somewhat. It’s sweet and fruity with peach and strawberry like tones with flowers and milky Oolong, blended into one smooth and sweet drink. The fruit is very fresh and pure, I can almost taste the fuzz of the peach skin. It’s strength is a nice balance, not toning out the Oolong but using the milk tones to it’s advantage. Further sips reveal a touch of dryness which lingers with the sweet fruit in the after taste.
I could drink this tea any time, any where and still enjoy it as much. Therefore top marks from me (which is a rare occurrence)
For more info and pics: http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2015/07/15/monsoon-blended-oolong-from-siam-tee-shop/
Additional note: Even through 3 re-steeps (so 4 steeps altogether) this tea still has lots of flavour, almost as much as the original. Another reason that is gets top marks :D
Flavors: Milk, Peach, Sweet