474 Tasting Notes

84

This had been sitting in my cupboard for a long while, half-forgotten. I decided I needed to try something new today instead of hopping back and forth between Earl Grey, Bailin Gongfu, and Pumpkin Ginger.

I’ve never had a rose oolong before, so this is certainly an intriguing first for me. It smells more of the actual tea leaves than rose as it steeps and cools. Instructions on the back say that it needs five minutes to steep, but I feel like that may be bad advice. Also, it says that this tea is known to enhance beauty… does that mean this tea is supposed to make me pretty? Hmm.

Upon the first sip, I’m glad I only went with two minutes. The rose flavor is subtle, more in the aftertaste and on the exhale. It has a hint of that peppery taste that rose teas tend to have, but it isn’t harsh. This tea seems to showcase the oolong more than the rose, which is something I respect. It has nothing to hide. It’s a quality tea, especially for something bagged.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

I’m pretty sure rose flavour goes very well with Oolong.

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90

Made myself one last mug of this tea today. I’m officially out and sad to see it go. This is the tea that made me realize that I actually really do love lapsang souchong. I just needed to associate it with the scent of burning leaves in fall, which is something I hold dear. It’s like drinking that smell, for lack of better words! I’ll miss it!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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44
drank Honey & Lemon by Lipton
474 tasting notes

Wow, so I’m only the third person to review this here on Steepster? I find that sort of hard to believe!

Anyway, I picked this up from the kitchen area of my apartment complex’s office. As it steeps, it doesn’t smell like lemon. It smells exactly like strawberries. As I taste it, yeah, it tastes kinda like strawberries, too. Sort of. The lemon flavor they used sort of shows up at the end and reminds me of lemon candy. It’s not particularly strong and makes me wish I had an actual lemon slice to put in it. And the honey? I’m not sure what they put in it, but it doesn’t taste like honey, either. It’s strange. I don’t like this much.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec
fleurdelily

I’m gonna guess….you’re only the 3rd person to review it, because if that’s the kind of tea a person liked to drink, they wouldn’t BE on Steepster…..

Tabby

I think you are absolutely right. This was a bad decision.

gmathis

Seems like my experience with this one reminded me of those awful Luden’s cough drops…

Tabby

There is definitely a medicine-like taste to it.

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86

Another lapsang for the new autumn season. I received this tea in a trade with Spencer a few months ago and have been holding onto it for chilly weather. There’s just something about smoky black tea and being out in the chilly fall wind.

This tea brews up dark and hearty, smelling heavily of pine smoke, as it should. To give an idea of how potent this tea is, it was in a ziplock on my kitchen counter. My boyfriend tossed his work shirt onto it without noticing and left it overnight. The entire next day, he smelled like a campfire. (Be careful where you store your lapsang, kiddies.)

The flavor matches the powerful aroma, with a twist of leather. But it also has a sort of tang to it that’s more like pine than any lapsang I’ve ever had. It reminds me of the scent of pine sap, right after a live branch is broken. I haven’t been impressed with Peet’s until now, honestly. This is a unique and interesting lapsang souchong.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec

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38
drank White Chocolate Kisses by Bigelow
474 tasting notes

One of my friends gave me this to try AGES ago, and I’m on a chocolate kick, so I decided to give it a try. I should note that on my bag’s packet, it’s called White Chocolate Obsession, but it has the exact same art and it’s still by Bigelow. I dunno what’s up with that. Maybe it’s an earlier/later version.

Good lord, this smells chocolatey! Though what kind of chocolate, I’m not sure. Too strong and sweet to be a Tootsie Roll, but it kinda reminds me of that. You know, like chocolate candy that doesn’t actually involve any real cocoa. Or chocolate lip balm. Or the brown chocolate-scented magic marker from my childhood. This does not bode well, but I’m brave.

I lightly sweetened it and let it cool, thinking about adding a splash of milk even before having a taste. The flavor is less strong than I expected, and slightly metallic under the odd chocolate taste that lingers upon exhaling. It does actually taste a bit like white chocolate, but I’m a dark chocolate kind of girl. The black tea base is very mild and smooth, but it adds a pleasant maltiness. It tastes like it’s mostly there to support and add depth to the chocolate.

After a few sips, I went for the 1% milk. It holds up against my generous amount of milk well, still very flavorful, but still not good. Creamier, but just sort of sad, like it wishes it was a white mocha or hot cocoa.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
gmathis

Sounds nice! Haven’t seen it locally, but now that I know which local grocery stocks Bigelow seasonal Christmas teas, I’ll have to check for this one in the Valentine aisle. Should be stocked about Wednesday ;)

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90

This is what I took to work today. We’re getting the outer edges of Hurricane Sandy, so the world outside is gray, cold, and very windy. The perfect day for something that smells and tastes of woodsmoke.

I’ve reviewed this tea before, so I won’t go to lengthy detail, but this was pretty perfect for today. Like I’ve said before, it smells more smoky than it tastes. Underneath the smoke, there is the delicious taste of Fujian black tea. Mmmm.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Geoffrey Norman

Mmmmmmmmmmm….Lapsang….drooool

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96
drank Earl Grey Imperial by Harney & Sons
474 tasting notes

So, for a week, I couldn’t find my metal infuser and I was incredibly frustrated. I finally caved and bought myself a new one on Amazon, plus some Harney & Sons consolation that I had been wanting for a long time. The day after I ordered it, yes, I found my damn infuser. Of course.

Anyway, I’m still very happy to have this pretty blue tin in my cupboard. I popped it open and it smelled amazing. Strong! Peppery! Lemony! The bergamot isn’t as strong as their Earl Grey Supreme, but it’s still definitely the dominant flavor. This is a perfect standard for Earl Grey. Not too bitter, not too astringent, on a satisfying black and oolong blend. And also not so heavy on bergamot that your mouth goes numb.

Again, about the bergamot, Harney and Sons have set a bar for me. They use this Italian bergamot that just makes other blends taste cheap to me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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95

So, I decided to give this another go with the same leaves. This time, it got a longer steep time and hotter water. I wanted to see how this liked being treated more like a traditional black tea.

The liquor came up a bit darker, but not by much. Not amber or anything like a regular black. More like the picture shows here: http://www.nuvolatea.com/upload/product/14l.jpg It smells more like a black tea. Heartier, with a hint of smoke. The taste is slightly more toasted and astringent, but oddly not much different from the first infusion. It seems like the more I treat it like a black tea, the more it tastes like one, and the same when I treat it like an oolong. But the change is very subtle. Interesting.

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

Good that you experimented and looked information up. Sometimes people just gulp their tea down and miss out on half of the adventure. I received this sample some time ago also and shared it with the Happy Lucky’s guys because it was so different.

Geoffrey Norman

I wonder if it’s the Ruby 18 varietal that they use for the black.

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95

My first thought when I picked this tea to try was “Oooh, black oolong. Now this is interesting.” Honestly, as long as I’ve been here at Steepster, I had somehow never heard of such a thing. I ripped open the little packet and inspected the leaves. Dark and thin, rolled into long narrow strips. It looked like a fine black tea with a few hints of golden brown here and there.

I treated this one gently as well, and may or may not have used a bit too much water in my ceramic teapot. The liquor is a pale tan, and smells like black tea with a hint of sweet fruit. The taste is very, very interesting. While it does have hints of floral, spring-like oolong, I can taste the black tea oxidization more. It’s caramelly and much more robust than a traditional oolong. Malty, even. Like a light golden tip tea… sort of. This is hard to describe and delightfully complex, and I love it.

Also, after checking the website to see how much this tea is, it’s listed as $60HK for 50g… I was horrified at how expensive it is. But then I checked a converter on Google. It’s only about $8 USD. Whew!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Ze_Teamaker

ahaha, I had the same thing happen to me; the HK$ thing. Gota love google…

CHAroma

It got me as well. Brain totally skipped over the HK. All I saw was the dollar sign. LOL!

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88

Giving this a try iced, since even through we’re halfway through October, it’s still pretty warm here in Atlanta.

It makes a pretty refreshing iced tea, I have to say. The caramelly flavor I described previously really comes out when it’s chilled. Same with the creamy pumpkin. Also, I can somehow taste the tea base better this way, too. Not sure why. I think next time I make this iced, it’s going to get a splash of milk, too. Should be a nice treat!

Preparation
Iced 5 min, 0 sec

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Bio

Quiet, strange, and in love with the world of tea. 20-something and living just outside of Atlanta. Cat lover, EBM/synthpop/industrial geek, balcony gardener, and collector of fossils. On the hunt for the perfect tea in each of my favorite categories.

I prefer black teas, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons. My favorites tend to be yunnan tips, earl grey, golden monkey, chai, and keemun. My favorite add-ons are plum, cinnamon, coconut, apple, raspberry, bergamot, cucumber, sage, vanilla, and caramel.

I’m shy about green tea, curious about white, and learning to love oolong. I hate rooibos and anything with orchid, fennel, or jasmine.

I’m currently growing my own tea. I have a 3-year-old potted Camellia sinensis, and I plan on picking a tiny bit of new growth this spring for my first try at drying my own leaves.

Since joining, I’ve traded with: Kaliska, QueenOfTarts, LiberTEAS, JustJames, Spencer, Ninavampi, Jillian, Teafreak, KeenTeaThyme, and RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas.

Location

Decatur, GA

Website

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