New Tasting Notes
Was offered this tea in a B&B in UK. As I didn´t know the company I did some investigation and obviously Frellsen is a Danish company. They began importing coffee in 1897 and the company is now in hands of the 4th generation of Frellsen. As far as I can tell, they have 16 types of tea on offer and this Earl Grey seems to be the most important one. It´s very fragrant, but somehow the aroma´s seem to wander off before the tea is steeping, because the drink is quite neutrally tasting, which is a shame.
This is a tasty tea. It is my second tea from tea8hk2013 on EBay. I am new to Hong Kong storage. This must have been stored properly because I was able to taste no storage flavors at all. It had also cleared. I did not taste any fermentation flavor in this tea. That is two for two for this seller. There was little if any bitterness to this tea. It had a sweet note throughout all twelve steeps I gave it. It also did not have the thickness usually associated with ripe puerh tea as far as the tea soup goes, much thinner. I guess the thickness in ripe puerh is from the fermentation flavor. Usually in my experience tea that is only eleven years old hasn’t cleared. This has me wondering how long it takes a ripe tea to clear in Hong Kong’s humid environment. The one I drank yesterday was only four years old and had cleared. In a few days I will try the raw tea I bought from this seller and see what the humid storage conditions have done for it. There was no trace of the fermentation of this tea left in it. It had cleared to that degree. I could tell it was ripe tea not raw but it had no more fermentation taste than a raw tea would which is to say none. What really surprises me is there was also no wet storage taste to this at all, no spicy taste, no wet wood, nothing. As to the sweet note in this tea, I really failed to identify it but it was good.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10g 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, and 2 min.
Steeps has 20% off bulk tea until Canada Day so I thought I’d swing by and pick up some Chocolate Dipped Strawberry and whatever else looked really good. They’ve changed ownership or something so their site is down, hence the information on here is a little bare.
Turns out they also have Orangecicle, like the Tea Girl, which I enjoyed in the past, and was going back and forth between these two, but this one actually won out because I wanted to try something new, and also, the scent of Orangecicle’s dry leaf is slightly more artificial than I remember. However, I did go back and read my thoughts on it and apparently it smells like that a lot more than it tastes, so maybe I’ll go back and pick up some of that too. We’ll see.
This isn’t overly unique by any means. Smells a lot like fruit leather. It has that typical hibiscus, rosehip, and apple base. As a cold brew, it tastes a lot like many other berry-flavoured fruit blends from other companies, however, I can’t taste a trace of kiwi. Even the strawberry is vague. It’s good with club soda, but nothing special. Just something to keep me company over the summer months.
This is a queued tasting note.
Don’t ask me why, but I seem to either be especially attune to the “herbaceous” qualities of tea lately OR I’m just subconsciously picking really herbaceous tasting teas as of late. It’s weird though, because that’s not a flavour I particularly enjoy in tea even if I don’t dislike it either.
Anyway; I cold brewed some of this up last week as I way of kind of silently celebrating a few important birthdays that went by for the month of June. One of them was my brother’s: he turned eighteen which is absolutely insane to think about. When I was eighteen I moved out of my parent’s house to a completely different city; when I think about him and kind of how I view our different maturities/life experiences it’s a very odd feeling because I just don’t really view him as that independent or mature. I’m working on that though; the whole treating him as more of an equal rather than my ‘kid’ brother thing. Then, my former roommate and coworker/friend Shauna just turned twenty two so part of this cold brew was in the spirit of celebrating her birthday since she’s in BC right now and we couldn’t celebrate in person. Finally, part of this brew was also in the spirit of Bobbi, my best friend from Saskatoon. She just celebrated her twenty fourth birthday. Lots of birthdays in June!
The brew was delicious: like a lemon vanilla sponge cake…
But with that herbaceous undertone.
Sample from Tea Sipper. Thank you!
This is a really interesting combination of flavors. It’s earthy and slightly grassy but those flavors are juxtaposed with a lovely strawberry flavor that has some sweetness and some sourness. It makes me think of strawberry picking, which is something I haven’t done in years. I think this is the first gyayusa blend I’ve tried that I would be interested in buying more of. A unique and appealing blend. This is definitely a Happy Tea!
Flavors: Earth, Grass, Strawberry
I have to say that this isn’t at all what I was expecting. From the smell of the dried leaves, I was expecting a strong vanilla flavor and the sweetness of a maple syrup perhaps. It’s my first dianhong, so perhaps it’s not fair of me to review a flavored one when I haven’t tried it plain.
Once brewed, the tea smells and tastes very strongly floral, with hints of vanilla lingering on the edge. Is it rose? Lavender? I don’t know. The base seems nice and light, and I can taste a bit of malty chocolate if I try to penetrate the floral. Every once in a while, I can kind of taste the eggy toast in the background, but it’s faint.
Now that I look at other reviews, I can see that some people experienced this, but most didn’t. I’m a little sad that I didn’t get the sweet, syrupy custard flavor that the others tasted. I still enjoyed this tea, but as I was in the mood for something desserty, it wasn’t what I would have picked for this afternoon.
Edit: Oooh, chocolatey third steep, but still very floral.
Flavors: Chocolate, Floral, Vanilla
The first time I had this I followed the recommended steep time of 5 minutes and well I enjoyed it at the time (according to my tasting note), I remember feeling kind of sick afterwards. More experience has shown me that this was probably because I found the tea over-steeped as I’ve had it happen with other teas that I otherwise have no problem with. So, long story short, I decided to give this go only a two minute steep time.
Bacon is still the prominent note here. I can see how this would be off putting — it’s certainly something you have to be in the mood for — but I actually kind of enjoy it (and I’m not even a huge bacon fan). It is coming off as sweeter this time — more of a maple bacon. In fact, the more I sip the more a maple note comes out of it. There’s still a cheese note too, but something less sharp than cheddar. Something creamy. I’m not really a cheese expert so I can’t really go further on that.
Something new on this steep, however, is a rather strong blackberry flavour. It blends well with the orange notes and manages to lighten up what would otherwise be a ridiculously savory tea.
Boyfriend’s review: “It tastes like campfire cotton candy.” This pretty much sums it up. Smoky and sweet. In fact, now I can’t get that image out of my head.
All in all, I still really like it. Fingers crossed the reduced steep time helps with feeling gross afterwards.
I decided to brew this western style, as I didn’t feel like running up and down the stairs all day refilling my tiny gaiwan.
The first steeping of this tea tasted predominantly of corn. As a matter of fact, my husband said that it tasted like the water you have at the bottom of a corn on the cob container at a buffet. While it WAS very similar to drinking corn water, for me, it was a pleasant corn water. There were also some hints of beans and hay in there. It kind of reminded me of a very light gyokuro at times.
The second steeping was completely different. So much so that I wondered if I didn’t accidentally brew another tea. The corn was almost completely gone, and it was replaced with a roasted barley sort of flavor. Then as the brew cooled, that toastiness started coming back.
The third steeping was a completely different color from the first two, and I am starting to wonder if this tea has multiple personality disorder. It’s all hay with a little bit of mushroom. As it cools, it tastes oddly like cucumbers.
Flavors: Cucumber, Kettle Corn, Mushrooms, Roasted Barley
From the Herbal Retreat sampler.
This was the one tea in the sampler that I was the most low key excited for. I say low key, because in my head I knew all of the reasons that logically this would be a bad blend (too much hibiscus and cherry things often tasting very tart or medicinal) but I was still holding out hope that it would surprise me and be quite tasty.
I drank this one hot; a gamble, I know. It was surprisingly ok but I would’t go as far as saying great. There’s a weird, sparkling effervescence and freshness to the aroma as well as the taste. It’s something that’s honestly a little more of a feeling rather than a flavour, but it really makes me think that this would be very well suited as a tea pop where the fizzyness of the carbonation would kind of bring the liquor a little more to life. As it stands, the flavour was still kind of tea from all of the hibiscus in the blend but still had a nice cherry sweetness as well as a beautiful sweet, red apple note that kept cropping up and a very faint berry undertone that I suppose would be the raspberry? The semi tartness and fruity sweetness on top of that enchanting effervescence reminded me of some kind of cherry fizzy candy the whole time I was drinking this.
Also, I can’t put my finger on which tea/tisane I’m thinking of, but there’s definitely something about this one which reminds me of another blend. The entire cup left me with a feeling of flavour deja vu.
From the second GCTTB; I pulled the sample of this one ‘cause I wanted to try it but didn’t end up with enough time to…
I love pear tea and I’m still searching for my perfect one: the dry smell of this was absolutely amazing and it had me drooling so hard. It was fresh, dewy, sweet, and a little floral all the while absolutely nailing what pears, especially ripe ones, smell like. It was also strikingly familiar: I’m thinking it probably reminded me of Fauchon’s pear black tea? It’s been a while since I’ve drank that, but going by memory that sounds about right.
Most of the sample went towards a cold brewed pitcher of tea: I had my first cup of it yesterday and it was so incredibly delightful. The pear flavour is really smooth, and very natural. There’s a realistic amount of sweetness, and the slightly creamy flavour of a Bosc pear alongside the more floral notes of a Bartlett pear. It’s enchanting. That said, I’m not really sure if it’s my perfect pear tea but it’s still a damn delight regardless. I look forward to trying the rest of the sample hot and seeing if that lovely, nuanced and realistic pear flavour carries through to the hot brew as well.
I’ve also found that black teas blended with fruity flavours can either be done really well or really badly and I have yet come across a mediocre or in-between. No. 67, you’ll be glad to hear (I hope), is one of the perfectly mixed, well-blended teas. The taste is fruity, but not overpoweringly so, providing a lovely subtle berry flavour with a minor peppery finish, which is an unexpectedly nice addition to the palate. There were times when I even wished the peppery profile was a little stronger, adding a more savoury to the sweet. However, there’s still just enough juxtaposition of flavourings to delight and surprise the senses. For my full review: http://tastethetea.co.uk/2016/06/27/no67/
Flavors: Bitter, Pepper, Strawberry
Cola! Oh wherefore art thou Cola!?
Had this one cold brewed yesterday on the way to work; the lime in it was absolutely lovely. Just light, pillowy and soft lime notes that really nicely lifted me into the day. I could also taste hints of the linden leaf, which was also light with a sweet grassy sort of quality. What I didn’t really get a taste of was sadly the cola, and I would have really enjoyed having that flavour be present as well even though it was still a good brew.
I’m genuinely surprised that this one was actually already part of the database; I’d so expected to have to add it that I already had Sen Cha’s website loaded up and the appropriate information copied to paste into the information fields…
Anyway; my friend/coworker Laura bought three different tins of these mints because they’re vegan and she’s been looking for a good vegan mint for a while, apparently. She offered to let me try one and I of course said yes both out of politeness and curiosity. The flavours she’d grabbed were peppermint, mango, and dragon fruit and to me dragon fruit was the clear choice. I didn’t realize until after I’d tried the mint that they were also green tea infused.
The flavour was nice, though! I think it was a little sweeter than I’d typically peg dragon fruit to be; natural dragon fruit has a mellow, supple flavour and this was definitely a bit more in your face and “punchy”. You can tell they’re using a concentrate and that it is essentially a fancy vegan “candy”. It was still delicious though, and I liked that little hint of refreshing mint at the end of a really fruity initial flavour. Apparently there’s ginger in this one? I couldn’t taste it, nor could I really taste the green tea. Honestly I’d probably buy myself a tin of these if the price was right (sometimes vegan stuff is stupid expensive) but it’d be more for the taste than because of any “tea” in them.
Sipdown! Made tea pop with this today by brewing up a large batch of tea concentrate (about 15 tsp. of tea to 3 cups of water) then mixing it with sparkling water (1 part tea to 3 parts water). I actually ended up using lime sparkling water and it really added a nice kick to it. I think I preferred it this way than just regular iced tea as it reduced what stevia flavour there is to just a pleasant, light sweetness. Very refreshing.
Only one day until the blind samples of oolong arrives. I’m very excited, Andrew. Very excited indeed. A part of me was thinking about sending some samples your way of the Eco-Cha Shan Lin Xi once I get it, but that might take to long.
I decided that more oolong in the place of anticipated oolong would do me good. And happily, this made a good morning tea. I used a traditional porcelain tea pot and cup. The pistachio nuttiness that I often describe shined through as much as the jasmine. However, there was a woody bitterness and grassy astringency. Basically, I brewed it with too many leaves. I was able to get some wonderful cups in steeps of 30-45 seconds for a pot 2/3rds full-more or less than a cup and half. 11 ounces could be more accurate.
Maybe less leaves next time. Learning more brewing parameters is so much fun.
The first time I gave this tea a review, I gave it a 95, because I’m like that fussy teacher that doesn’t give out A+ ratings ON PRINCIPLE. Surely there’s SOMETHING wrong with this tea, I reasoned.
There is nothing wrong with this tea. This is the tea I have been waiting for. This is my tea.
This tea is like if the Bearenstain Bears were real, and adopted you, and gave you warm hugs and words of homey wisdom. You could hang out with Mama Bear and Papa Bear and Sister Bear and Brother Bear every day as their cherished Human Bear.
This tea is my Grail.
I am going to be depressed when they inevitably discontinue it without warning.
I would apologise for the quality of this review (I am slowly wilting from exhaustion today), but actually, it’s about on par with the reviews I usually write. I am either a trailblazer of tea review imagery and humor — or a complete idiot.
No comments unless they’re compliments, y’all.
I’m going to have to try this again, Evol. I attempted to gong fu it sipping on a lightly sweet and woodsy splash, then decided to make it western. It was a decidedly black black tea with some the tannin and malt qualities that I’ve gotten from an Assam, but with the Yunnan sweet potato hints along with more of that sweet wood quality. That was at 3 minutes, and much the same in the later flash steeps I had of it.
Like I said, I’ll have to try it again to get more cocoa.
Did this one with both a really long first steep and in my more normal method, like I did with my last shincha. I liked this one better. The leaf fragments seemed noticeably larger in this one.
First session: (160F) 2m, (180F) 20s, 45s, (190F) 60s, then one long steep at ~175.
The first steep was certainly bitter, but it was a bitterness which lent the tea such wonderful depth when combined with the thick texture and succulent green floral note that I got out of this. At least that’s what it seemed like to me. I also could’ve been getting some of that umami flavor and struggling to describe it. Second steep had a touch of bitterness left to it, gone by the third. Those two steeps had a sweet vegetal flavor, like peas or green beans with a slight grassiness. This shincha is a lot less grassy than the last one I tried. The last two steeps were notably clearer and had a gentle, sweet vegetal taste.
Second Session: (160F) 1m, 30s (175F) 45s, 1m (158F) a longer steep.
This one definitely had a sweeter first brew with that sweet beany vegetal flavor in the fore. It also had a toasty flavor which reminded me of sweet bread – this is something I didn’t get at all in the last session. The second steep was vegetal with a grassy aftertaste, the strongest I tasted the grassiness in this tea. My next two steeps were grassy/vegetal with a really nice sweet fruity aftertaste, reminding me of melon. Last steep was, like in the previous session, a softer echo of the vegetal flavor I had been getting. This was a pretty nice one.
Flavors: Beany, Bitter, Floral, Grass, Melon, Sweet, Toasty, Vegetal
I am basically dead on my feet today. I couldn’t get comfortable last night (too hot). My dreams, when they finally showed up, were vivid, full-length science fiction movies about a government surveillance state that encouraged baseball doping.
This tea is juuuust right for such a morning. It’s non-aggressive and straightforward.
You know right where you stand with this tea — in a kitchen, next to a giant plate of gingersnaps.
Maybe your grandma or someone else’s grandma is standing next to you, telling you that you’re too thin. Eat a gingersnap. Put some meat on those bones.
Thanks, Grandma. I feel pretty. And this tea is tasty.
PS, I am tired. Very tired. This review may not be my very best work.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cookie, Ginger, Spices, Sugar
This is very sour is brewed too long, be careful with brew times!
I made this as an iced tea and it was delicious. It strongly tastes of pineapple and tropical berries. I can taste sweet and sour notes from various fruits.
Flavors: Berry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Fruit Punch, Fruit Tree Flowers, Fruity, Hibiscus, Pineapple, Sour, Tart, Tree Fruit, Tropical