376 Tasting Notes

91

Thought I posted a review for this, since I drank it first out of my samples, but I guess I forgot. So here’s my second time around.

Dry, it smells like drop fruit, as well as something like malt chocolate; can’t say 100%, just notes that remind me of an assam varietal.

First steep (after a rinse): 15 seconds. Dry spices. Like bark, maybe cinnamon. Actually more spices than I remember the first time around I drank this (I remember there being a lot more ‘fruit’); still, there’s a deep honeyness that makes me think of drop fruits—the darker fruits like plums, rather than bright, like peaches.

Second steep: 15 seconds. Spices and sweetness; the syrupy fruityness is coming through more. It’s reminding me less of an assam, which usually has more malt than spice in my experience. This isn’t astringent. In fact, it’s very smooth thus far. Spiced sugar plum almost? Maybe?

Third steep: More spice again. Sweet—the description suggests baked bread, but it’s less yeasty, and not toasty.

Fourth steep: 20 seconds. Wow, feels a bit thicker, like chocolate. Spice and honey. Actually, very cinnamon-and-honey. Reminds me of honeycarrots with cinnamon, growing up.

Started playing TF2 around this point, and wasn’t paying as much attention. It’s actually a very nice, naturally sweet tea.

Edit: Fourth or fifth steep? Starting to get a more ‘baked bread’ taste out of it.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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drank Imperial Keemun by SOKO Tea House
376 tasting notes

Of the keemuns I’ve tried, this is definitely bolder and smokier than most. There’s still that undeniable sweet nutty taste that I love about keemuns. Also I discovered a little while ago that keemun black iced is /fabulous/.

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91
drank Honey Black Tea by Green Terrace Teas
376 tasting notes

The smell is similar to the Li Shan, but not quite as syrupy strong. Notes of assam in teh smell, but there’s no real malt in the taste. Thick and mouth-coating, honey, barley. Definitely smooth. I can get where the ‘peach’ and ‘raisin’ flavours in the description come from, though I wouldn’t tag it that personally. Light fruit flavours, again comparing this to the Li Shan sample I got, which has a darker drop fruit taste (peach vs. plum, I guess). Honey when I breathe out, but floral in the forefront with each sip.

The honey reminds me of ceylon teas, but there’s no oak or astringency to round it out. The assam smell of the leaf didn’t carry over, which leaves me wondering if it’s an assam varietal used or not. The leaves are long (but not quite THAT long).

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Semi Wild Hong Cha by O5 Tea
376 tasting notes

The dry leaf has a very strong, deep smell. Brewed, it has the maltyness of an assam but without the bitterness or astringency. Pretty much what I expect in a china black. There’s a bit of cocoa in there as well. Sort’ve my everyday favourite, except not at /this/ price.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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85
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Green Terrace Teas
376 tasting notes

The leaf has a darker fruitier smell than other green oolongs, though brewed it returns to the green and floral, slightly toasty scent (though I think I detect something like apple in there).

I brewed a western two minutes in a teacup, getting a honey yellow liquid; it’s smooth, and I’m mainly getting cream and apple. Not as buttery as some oolongs, although it’s still got that similar mouth-feel to it. Toastier notes when I breathe out, with a touch of honey. It’s really nice to just roll around on your tongue, and I can see myself definitely buying more of this to enjoy.

All three samples came very nicely packaged in labeled vacuum-sealed bags. Long ago I invested in a box of tiny clamps from the office supplies aisle to keep track of my tea samples (I’ve only got the three now, but when I went on a sample-buying spree through Teavivre…).

Since I didn’t rinse it beforehand, the leaves opened up a lot more during the second steep (also 2 minutes). Sticking my nose in there for that sweet appley smell. Taste is definitely stronger; I’d almost have kept the second steep to 1:30, maybe (but it’s not bitter); the apple’s gone completely. Toasty butter, maybe a bit of cream, definite floral notes.

Third steep was definitely a little sharp, very floral.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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85
drank Gui Fei Oolong by Green Terrace Teas
376 tasting notes

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80
drank Cask Aged Ghorka AF by O5 Tea
376 tasting notes

Brewing this, it smelt strongly Darjeeling. I wish I still had a plane Nepal tea on hand to sniff in comparison, but I finished that up a while ago. I remember it having a more Ceylon smell.

The taste is definitely more Ceylon. Bright and lightly astringent with definite honey tones. The astringency doesn’t hit right at first, but does build up with sips; it’s not sweet, more of a dry tea. Definitely not as sharp and muscatel as a Darjeeling, that seems to have just been the scent.

I don’t think I’m getting much from the wine barrel it was stored in, but that might also just be the afore-mentioned burnt tongue. Definitely not as astringent as the Nepal teas I’m used to though, so I think I’ll enjoy the rest of this.

Edit: This actually steeped up a pretty nice second cup at five minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Earl Grey Pu-Erh by TWG
376 tasting notes

You can definitely smell the bergamot on the dry leaf. Was a bit surprised when I brewed it up—it doesn’t brew up dark like a puehr, more like a black.

But it tastes like a puer—the earthy, peatness adds a sweet undertone to the bergamot, and it works quite well for me. Though I burnt my tongue on the first sip, so I can’t say if I’ve missed anything (you’d think after several years I’d have learned to be patient in waiting for tea to cool). As it cools, the peat gives way to a bit of yunnan multiness as well. I wonder if this is a blend.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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drank African Solstice by Tea Forte
376 tasting notes

Soko’s was handing out little bagged samples of this. I haven’t had much luck with Tea Forte, but it was free, so what can you say.

It SMELLS fruity and sweet/vanilla—both dry and brewed; the blend was quite colourful, with purply petals and little dried berries.

Not getting too much fruit in the taste. Mostly vanilla and rooibos, but it’s not bad. I think the problem I’ve had with past Tea Forte teas was too much flavouring going on at the same time (so the end result was almost sharp, or chemically?), but this is mellow while still tasty.

Getting a bit more fruit while it cools. Berry. Might just be from the rooibos, though. I see it has rosehip as well.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
SimpliciTEA

I love that name!

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drank Rooibos Tropica by Teavana
376 tasting notes

This was a present from my sister, for my last birthday I believe. I’ve been trying to finish it for a while now, but haven’t really been able to drink it. The smell is just very offputting. I don’t really know what it is about it… It kinda reminds me of Neocitran? With other fruity scents in there. The taste itself isn’t nearly so strong, which is good. I think this is the only blend I’ve tried with green rooibos, so I don’t know if that contributes. Sort’ve fake lemon taste, though without any tang or sourness. Other fruit as well, faintly—kinda reminds me of cranberries. That’s about all I get.
Didn’t want to give it a proper rating, because even though I’ve finally finished it, I still don’t know what to think of it.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I change icons often, apologies. On that note, they are usually Doctor Who related (so no, that is not me pictured in the icon, it is most likely one of the Doctors).

A tea-drinking transgendered Canadian, currently in the third year of university, majoring in geology (yes, “rocks and things”). I take most of my tea made straight into a mug, although occasionally if I’m not in a hurry (this isn’t often), I’ll have time to sit down with a pot. It’s the highlight of a good day if I have time for a pot.

My notes and reviews will often sound dis-jointed, repetitive and confused, as usually I don’t work on them as a whole, but rather add notes as I sip without rereading what I’ve already typed.

On most occasions I won’t take my tea with anything (I reserve milk for chai). Occasionally agave nectar if I want to test to see if it’ll smooth it out. Chais I will make with either the nectar or honey. Although on occasion I will sweeten unflavoured blacks the Russian way—with jam or jelly. Occasionally I will take it instead with a slice of a citrus fruit. Normally orange, occasionally lemon if I have any on hand.

I prefer Earl Greys.

Lastly, I keep a teatra.de blog for reviewing and rambling about tea books/publications.

Also, I am a Doctor Who fanatic. As one may have noticed by my icons. For the record, my favourite Doctor is number three, Jon Pertwee.

“But you should never turn down tea, when it’s offered. It’s impolite, and impoliteness is how wars start.” ~Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann

Location

BC, Canada

Website

http://artoftea.teatra.de

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