474 Tasting Notes

82

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.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
TheTeaFairy

Mmmmm, I’m with you :-)

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91

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.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
El Monstro

I ordered this and quite a few other sample size oolongs from them, was bummed when I drank it all…time to re-order!

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87

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.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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50
drank Linden Flowers Tea by McCormick
474 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

McCormick making tea. That is so weird.

Tabby

Right? I had no idea they did.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

That sounds kinda yummy actually, but I like chewing on the occasional grass. Now I want to make a tea themed steak seasoning :P

cteresa

This is, in general, an old fashioned tisane in Europe, a very popular one in latin countries I guess – chá de tilia, supposed to be calming and a general all purpose remedy. In this type of teas the freshness and age of the leaves (or blossoms I guess) being used really makes all the difference. I kinda like this one when it is good (though I always dislike orange blossom tea despite loving the scent of fresh orange blossom). I do love the scent when the trees are in bloom, in May, it really is unlike other floral scent, so sweet but grassy, very fresh.

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90

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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Caramel by Adagio Teas
474 tasting notes

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!

Flavors: Caramel

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I have a tin set out in the “to drink tomorrow morning” queue!

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86
drank Violet by Kusmi Tea
474 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Anna

…and this goes right on the shopping list.

Fjellrev

Violet is a wonderful thing.

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62

So, at 3 am last night, I decided to put the herbal content of this tea to the test. I needed to get some sleep but had been restless all night.

I took 3 bags of this stuff and steeped it in about five ounces of water for 10 minutes. When it was done, I threw in some sweetener and ice and drank it all at once. Even with the ice, the brew was dark. Strangely, it wasn’t too strong. I guess it tastes a little bit more like caramel once you triple the leaf.

The resulting sleepiness I got from the tea reminds me a lot of melotonin or Neuro Sleep. A strange heaviness and sort of comfortable feeling. I fell asleep hard and had some detailed, if somewhat stressful dreams until my alarm went off. I was still feeling the effects throughout my first shift of the day. It was very slow to wear off, leaving me really sleepy at work. So, the medicinal content works, no doubt.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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94
drank Mango by Harney & Sons
474 tasting notes

Finally getting around to tasting this one. I had opened it up to sniff, fully intending on making some, then I promptly forgot about it. Also, I’ve been concentrating on using up other teas that I have a lot of. I am so tired of Whittard’s Earl Grey, guys. You don’t even know.

Anyway! The dry leaf’s aroma is fantastic. Bright, sweet citrus, almost exactly like starfruit! Sure, it smells like mango, too, but a little sharper and more tart. As it brews, it smells so much like Adagio’s Guanabana. (Which makes me happy, because I love that tea.) It also reminds me of Adagio’s old Mango flavor, the one they used to sell in the mid-2000’s. They’ve changed it since then and I don’t like it as much.

Despite how dark the brew gets, the black tea aspect is actually pretty mellow. No bitterness and hardly any astringency. It has a sort of perfumey quality, mostly in the nose, but also a bit in the aftertaste. The mango flavor is not tart at all like I was expecting. It’s like the inside of soft, ripe mango. This is definitely going to get reordered. Most realistic mango tea I’ve ever had. I love it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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62

Ok. Lost my post 2 times now. Starting to go crazy. Here’s the gist:

I wandered into the grocery store looking for Tazo’s Rest, but couldn’t find it, so I settled for this despite previous negative experiences with Yogi teas. When selecting bedtime teas, I usually go with blends that contain valerian root, which this doesn’t have. Plus, I don’t even like rooibos, but here I am, tempted by the promise of caramel.

I gave it the full 10 minutes, as the packaging says to steep for 5-10. The tea brewed up to a dark ambery brown, like black tea, and reeked of chamomile. To be short, it doesn’t taste like vanilla or caramel. The main flavors I detect are chamomile, rooibos, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This is followed by that general “Yogi” herbal taste that I’ve noticed in everything I’ve tried by this particular brand.

As far as herbal effects go, I do feel a bit of a sleepy, comfortable feeling. I can’t tell if it’s the placebo effect or not, but I do feel more relaxed and ready to fall asleep. It’s not as strong as Yogi’s Bedtime (which contains valerian), but it still has an effect. Maybe I’ll steep two bags at once next time and see what happens.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
gmathis

No licorice-y taste? (That’s what pretty much turned me off with Yogi blends altogether.)

Auggy

Have you tried Stash’s Mellow Moments? It doesn’t have valerian but for some reason it just knocks me out and it has a nice minty flavor which seems unusual in the help-you-sleep herbals I’ve seen. I haven’t tried Tazo’s Rest, but I’m with gmathis on the Yogi stuff – they like licorice too much!

Tabby

No licorice in this one, but it still tastes pretty unpleasant. And no, Auggy, I haven’t tried that one yet. I like mint, so maybe I’ll give it a try! My grocery store carries a lot of Stash’s teas, so maybe they’ll have it.

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Profile

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

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