457 Tasting Notes
I meant to review this last night as I drank it with Kaliska via Skype, but I ended up getting too distracted.
First of all, this tea smells fantastic dry. Its aroma is decadent dark chocolate with just a hint of peppers. Mostly, it smells like cocoa. The leaves are dark brown and pretty uniform, in small pieces. They’re loaded with pink and orange peppercorns and chunks of cocoa. There are also a few pieces of something I can’t identify mixed in… looks kind of like dried fruit? It might just be pieces of a pepper.
Once steeped, there’s a bit of oil collected on top of the dark brew. I’ve seen this before in coconut teas, but never chocolate ones. Not sure where it’s coming from. The flavor is very chocolatey, but not entirely what I expected. There’s not really any burn from the chili. In fact, it’s hardly present. I think I’d have to double-up the leaf to really get it. Also, there’s a taste that reminds me of popcorn. Yes, popcorn. This tea tastes like chocolate-covered popcorn. But in a good way? I’m going to have to try this again with milk and see what I think.
My first wuyi, thanks to Angel at Teavivre!
The leaves are fragrant and dark, almost like a black tea. They’re rolled into narrow, pointed strips and are the color of dark chocolate. They smell like an oolong, but nuttier and with a hint of hay and cocoa. There’s also a scent that reminds me of new wood.
I let this one steep for three minutes. In that time, the water brewed up to a lovely golden brown. The color of a perfectly toasted marshmallow. The scent of the brewed tea is very different from the dry leaf. It smells toasted, like unsweetened cereal. Again, I think of Cheerios when I smell it. As far as the flavor goes, it’s very similar to the scent. However, I’m getting notes of roasted seaweed, too, but it’s faint. For an oolong, this is a pretty hearty cup!
Since a nasty cold robbed me of my sense of smell and taste, I haven’t been able to review anything new lately. I’ve been mostly drinking familiar favorites and taking lots of naps. I’m feeling much better now, though! So now I can catch up on a few things. (Particularly Teavivre, but not this late at night.)
I’ve had Celestial Seasonings’s Sleepytime once or twice before, but I can’t really recall what it was like. The plain little pillow-shaped bag smells heavily of spearmint with a faint hint of lemongrass. I’m assuming the strong mint is there to cover up the not-so-nice taste of valerian. Oh valerian, how I love thee. Sleepy root of comfiness.
Strange… this tastes like it has chamomile in it, but it doesn’t. Maybe it’s just my imagination? Anyway, I’m not getting any bitterness or “medicinal” flavor. I added some sweetener, however, so I think that should be mentioned. It mostly just tastes like a plain spearmint tea to me. I guess there’s a little herbal weirdness in the tea’s scent, but I don’t taste it that much. Mmm, the spearmint lingers and cools the inside of my mouth.
As for the effects, which are really what I’m in this for, it definitely works for me. I know these blends don’t have an effect on everyone, but I feel very relaxed. My limbs feel heavy, and my spot on the couch feels particularly comfortable. I’m glad I have a whole box of this stuff…
Ooh, a Fujian oolong! I have developed a serious love for this tea region over the years. One might say almost a fetish.
The leaves are rolled up into much tinier nuggets than the other two I’ve tried in this tasting. They are of the same consistency, however. Mottled dark green and lightly floral scented. I copied ashmanra and gave the leaves a quick rinse before hitting them with boiling water. Even though I’m coming down with a cold, I could smell with delight that this was going to be another creamy oolong.
The water was a light greenish yellow after two and a half minutes. When I put the leaves in my mesh infuser, they were barely enough to cover the bottom. Steeped, they practically fill it to the top! They fluffed out much more than I thought possible. Each leaf is whole, hardly damaged at all by processing. They’re narrow and pointed at the end. Maybe an inch long.
The flavor is definitely buttery and a tad vegetal. I’m getting hints of flowers, too, especially in the finish. Is it possible for a tea to be floral and vegetal at the same time? Because I think it is. It’s not as creamy as the Ali Shan, but there’s definitely some cream flavor there.
Another beautiful sample from Teavivre!
This oolong’s dry leaf smells very different from the last, which was medium roasted. The scent is even sweeter, giving hints of lush floral goodness. Again, the leaves are rolled into little dark green nuggets with a stem pointing outward. I can’t smell any nuttiness in this one, as I usually do with oolongs. Interesting!
I went with 2.5 minutes again this time, as the instructions gave a range of 1-5 to choose from. The water turned to a pleasant, chlorophyll-like green. I admit I played with the used leaves in wonder when it was done. They were complete, still attached to their stem! There is even a little bit that would have been a silver tip there! The stem is literally as long as my hand. I can’t believe it rolled up so small!
The resulting tea smells more pungent than the dry leaf, and more vegetal. The flavor is so creamy. Ohhh, wow. I wasn’t expecting it at all. It’s faintly nutty, faintly veggie-like. And buttery! Again, I am absolutely loving this oolong. I feel like all the teas in this category by Teavivre are something that need to be savored and contemplated on. Mmmm.
My thanks go to Angel at Teavivre for including me in this tasting again! I always get so excited when I see I have a message from her.
It looks like this time it’s all oolong! Which is great, because I’ve been very impressed with everything I’ve tried by Teavivre in the past. As I open the sample packet, I get the sweet scent of flowers and spring. There’s also a gentle nuttiness. The leaves, to me, don’t look roasted at all. They’re dark green, rolled into little clusters. They must be only lightly roasted?
I followed the pack’s instructions and used boiling water. It says I can let it steep from anywhere between 1-5 minutes, so I went for dead-center at 2.5. I loved watching the little nuggets bounce in the in glass teapot as they unrolled. The water slowly changed from clear to a greenish yellow hue. The spent leaves look like a serving of spinach in my infuser, fully unfurled.
The scent is very different from the dry leaf! It smells like nutty bread, almost. Or cereal! Sort of like plain Cheerios, oddly enough. The flavor is delightfully satisfying and smooth. The hints of floral flavor are still there, but not in the forefront. I can certainly taste that this was roasted instead of dried more gently like other oolongs I’ve tried. I suppose the loss of the fruity/grassy/floral flavor comes with that kind of processing. Which makes it come out tasting warmer and heartier. I like it! It really makes me think about the subtleties of harvesting and preparing raw leaves.
So, my mom went out of town on a business trip to the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. She asked if I wanted anything while she was out there, so of course, I asked for tea. Well, she didn’t end up finding anything fancy, so she went with something weird.
The package is almost entirely in Spanish. And it’s by McCormick, the same guys who make steak seasoning and gravy packets. Also, I’ve never had anything with linden flowers in it, so I have no idea what to expect. I have to say, the bag didn’t really smell like anything aside from paper. And the scent as it brewed was strange and mildly unpleasant.
After three minutes, the tea was a pleasant peachy orange color. The flavor, however, was foreign and might take a little getting used to. It’s floral but not bitter, and only a little astringent. There’s something in the flavor that makes me think of spring and fresh cut grass, but sweeter. I know this might be a country thing, but have you ever pulled up a stalk of wheat grass and chewed the white part at the end? It tastes kind of like that.
Not sure I like this. Does anybody else wanna try some? I’ll mail some out if you do. I’d feel bad throwing it away.
I got this sample back in the summer from Kaliska, but I decided to keep it sealed and save it for winter. It’s not actually cold here, but I suppose tonight is as good of a night as any.
The leaves are lovely. They’re mostly flat green pieces with some rolled, brown, narrow leaves mixed in. I can also see a few fuzzy silver tips here and there. To an Earl Grey lover like me, they smell so promising and soothing. The bergamot scent seems much sweeter with a white tea base! There’s no sharpness about it at all.
The brew comes up to a nice light tan. Upon first sip, I realize what I’ve been missing. Without the boldness and astringency of black tea to compete with, the Earl Grey flavors have a real chance to flourish. Backed with the light, sweet, and fresh taste of Mu Tan that reminds me of a mild darjeeling almost. Harney & Sons’ bergamot… there’s just something different and wonderful about it.
I shouldn’t have waited so long to taste this! It would be lovely any time of the year.
Over the years, I’ve grabbed a sample of this flavor several times. (Between 2005 and now.) Each time I’ve bought it, it seemed better than the last. As if they tweak it for the better with every new batch.
This time is no exception. The caramel taste is so strong it’s almost too much! I made a pot to share with my husband tonight and it made the whole apartment smell like I was baking a caramel cake! The flavor keeps the aroma’s promise, too. Sweet, smooth, sinful.
On the next chilly morning we have, I’m going to make this with one part Caramel, one part Lapsang Souchong. Smoky caramel experiment!
Two firsts in one go! My first tea by Kusmi, which I’ve been meaning to get into for years, and my first violet tea. Now, where I live, we have wild Viola sororia which has no scent. They look nice, but because of them, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that I wanted it.
I bought a box of the sachets because I wasn’t sure if I would like it, and the sachets were the smallest amount I could get. I’m pretty impressed by them, though! They aren’t dusty little paper things. They’re soft, white cotton mesh with whole leaf tea inside.
The scent and flavor, as I expected, are very floral. It reminds me of rose tea somewhat, but without the peppery finish. It also tastes… “purple”. Not quite like grape flavoring, but “purple” comes to mind. Sort of like candy. Or the way kudzu flowers smell. The black tea aspect adds a little astringency and strength to the flowers, but doesn’t overwhelm them. The violet is definitely in the forefront.
Anyway, this is really interesting. Not something I’d want to drink every day, but it will get finished for sure. I look forward to exploring more Kusmi teas!