Just finished up my sample of this – I really enjoyed it, especially knowing what to expect. It’s very strong and musky, gets better as it cools and with a little bit of honey. I like the second steep best!
380 Tasting Notes
This is a quality vanilla tea. It reminds me a lot of Mighty Leaf’s Vanilla Bean, which pretty much set the standard for true vanilla black tea for me. It does have little bits of vanilla beans, and the round almost fruity tropical aroma that goes with them. Very well flavored, definitely smooth enough to drink plain, and just barely strong enough to take milk. I got two solid infusions out of this, and would happily buy a tin if I needed to replenish my vanilla tea stock.
No notes yet.
Ever had maple-smoked bacon?
I wanted to spoil myself this evening, so I added a tsp of maple syrup to my smoky Caravan. So very delicious! 2nd steep, 6 minutes, likewise. The sweetness and the flavor just make a lovely counterpoint to the savory smoke. I have dark maple syrup, so it’s more flavorful than sugary-sweet, so I wouldn’t normally use it in tea, but I thought it would go really well with Caravan and it does.
No notes yet.
No notes yet.
Golden Moon Sample #?/31
This was another generous sample, around 3.5g, so I used a generous 1.9 in my 4oz pot. The leaves are large and, yes, silvery; they look lovely steeping. Formosa oolongs aren’t usually my favorite, but this one is impressing me. A little bit astringent, but very flavorful. G pronounces it starchy, savory, and nutty. Not getting any orange blossom yet, but maybe on the 2nd steep.
2nd steep (5 minutes) was probably the best, though 3rd at 7 was also good. Both were smoother than the 1st.
Another free sample; 1.1g in 4oz seemed to work fine. Well flavored black tea- fruity, sweet, smooth enough to drink plain. Would probably be tasty iced. 2nd steep at 5 minutes is equally good. If I wanted a grapey/winey black tea on hand, I would happily buy this, but it’s not quite spectacular enough to have me putting in an order right now.
Finally trying out my Ryokucha sample from Samovar. The toasted rice is the most powerful flavor (no, I haven’t had genmaicha before, why do you ask?), though I get more creamy green tea if I swirl before sipping (so the matcha isn’t all settled to the bottom). This is really nice, though not very… green, in taste. Very green in color! A lovely pale sea/spring green.
This has a serious caffeine kick, by the way. I can feel it going to my head, and incidentally, taking care of the headache I woke up with today!
Will update with steeps 2 and 3.
Steep 2, at 185°F, is almost identical to the first: a little less toasted rice and a little more green tea, but otherwise very similar. Pale green color, and still some matcha settling to the bottom of my cup.
Steep 3 had less matcha :( but was still pretty good
Today felt like a pu-erh day; I’ve had a few more since the last time I drank this one, so I’m appreciating the strength of flavor a bit more. This is smooth, and sweet, and rich, and goes really well with the chocolate bar I’m currently nibbling on. We’ll see later how it tastes with leftover curry – I’m optimistic. Definitely bumping the rating, but keep in mind that that’s relative only to other pu-erhs
ETA: I’m on steep 4 or 5 and going strong; it did indeed taste good with a curry :) and is as forgiving of steep times as any puerh. I’ve tried everything from 1 to 10 minutes today with little variation in flavor.
Had a small cup of this to compare to Herbal Infusion’s Canadian Maple Cream – they are pretty similar. The flavor here is a little stronger and sharper (that coffee hint), but overall I’d have a hard time choosing between the two. Adagio’s is smoother when plain, but HI’s was naturally flavored and would probably steep a couple of times (I didn’t think to try earlier). I’ll probably end up buying my next tin of Cream tea from whichever company has more (other) things I want.
Got my Samples from Herbal Infusions today! They’re just big enough for one small cup each (and in cute tiny bags), but hey – free! I used ~1g with 3oz water. The package smelled divine, mostly from this one and the Scottish Caramel Pu-Erh, I think. The leaves are kinda small and dusty on this one, but I think part of that is from the long shipping/tiny quantity. This tasted a bit harsh for my taste plain, but was pretty sweet and creamy with milk. The maple flavor is strong, but I can still taste the black tea underneath. Might buy!
This is the kind of tea that makes me glad I bought a tiny scale; the leaves are much too big to fit well into a teaspoon, but I know that the 1.2g I used in my 4oz pot made for a fairly weak cup, at least for steep times of 1-2 minutes. I’ll let the 3rd steep go longer, but so far this has been a very mild tea with more aroma of darjeeling than flavor.
So, I was gone all weekend (Six Flags for G’s birthday! Fun for all ages!), but this means when I got home and wanted chai there was no milk in the fridge :( So you know what I put in this?
Vanilla ice cream.
A little sweeter than I’m used to, but it worked in a pinch ;) I wish I could have steeped this stovetop with milk, though, I’ve really been spoiled by the method.
This smells delicious, but the taste sadly does not live up to it. I’m really not fond of the taste of roasted chicory or barley or whichever one it is they always add to give herbal teas “body.” I was given a cup of this; it’s warm and smells nice and I’ll probably drink all of it, but I’d have a hard time getting it down without the honey and milk I added.
GM sample #4/31
Not my favorite breakfast tea. Decent, but I think there’s too much Ceylon&Darjeeling in the blend for my taste. It’s subtle, for a breakfast tea, softer than an Assam and not as complex/chocolatey as Keemun or Yunnan. It’s good, but not great. Better with milk, but a little too brisk for me without.
Golden Moon sample #3/31
Smells smoky and green, looks yellowish-green (olive), tastes smoky and green. Richer and less vegetal than most greens I’ve had, but also somewhat dry and dusty tasting, even on a second steep. This is alright, and I’ll steep as long as the leaves last, but I probably wouldn’t buy more
Huh. My first thought up upon opening this was that the dry leaves smelled chocolatey. Like, really “did I spill Florence somewhere?” chocolate. The liqueur is amber, a light tawny orange, and smells… roasted at first, like a dark oolong, then very fruity (citrus, in particular) as the aroma spreads. Sipping, this tastes fruity and like it wants to be bitter – on the tip of my tongue – but doesn’t quite have the astringency to pull it off. Makes me glad I didn’t steep it any longer, or use more leaf. I did use a heaping half tsp of leaf (about 1.7g) for 4oz, which may have been too much, but I was curious to see how this would go through multiple infusions. There’s very little tea flavor to this first infusion, mostly the fruity and astringency. Rather what I imagine a tea made of grapefruit peel would be like :P
Second steep is smoother, but flavor descriptors still elude me. This tea is all sharp edges and shadows when I’m used to something with body, and color. I’ll keep trying, and see how long it lasts. Maybe milk or sugar would help?
Hm. 3rd infusion (~3 minutes) is the best, most harmonious, yet. More of a pale gold color, and still too seems too light to add milk to, but sweet and mild enough not to need sugar. This seems temperamental – even for a Darjeeling – but maybe worth getting to know.
This one really hit its stride around steep 4 for me today. I used more leaf than usual (1tsp/4oz) and shorter steep times (1-3 minutes), trying to treat it like the green/oolong blend it is. I get the vanilla and jasmine flavors more than caramel, and nothing I recognize as vegetal, so I’ll try to compare this to Golden Moon’s Vanilla Jasmine in the near future.
I was going to make this a note-less log, but when steep 4 came out the best yet I felt compelled to comment!
ETA: For the curious, I ended up steeping this seven times, with 4 and 5 being my favorites, so I’m bumping the rating for endurance. Don’t give up if the first steep or two is harsh!
I saw a tin of this at Whole Foods this weekend and narrowly restrained myself from buying it – soon, precious, when I have less than 15 black tea samples to finish! (Note to self, don’t try to use the “less than” symbol – it will make half your note disappear!)
This is really delicious though (thanks Ricky!), and I will be buying some as soon as I can justify it. It has this sort of spicy background complexity that I think might be what people mean when they say Yunnan is “peppery.” This is just really interesting to drink, right down to the bottom of the mug. The flavor changes as the tea cools, and I am getting some malt this time.
A second steep at 6 minutes is noticeably weaker, but still good.
The strongest color (barely, Encore is close) and the strongest aroma of the three, though it isn’t as smoky as Encore. Sipping Jackee first: strong, slightly sweet, slightly astringent, smokiness lingers in the mouth and throat, but in a sweet rather than harsh way. I feel like I need a palate cleanser. PB&J will have to do.
Jackee tastes bolder (for both better and worse) after Encore; richer and more complex after Concerto. More smoke comes out as it cools. No caramel, for those who follow that saga – my water was probably too hot for that.
Jackee’s complexity is still quite present through the milk. I can see why he’s a champion, and I’ll miss him when he’s gone.
Round 2 shows more of how special Jackee is, though; he held up much better to a second steep. Color is still a warm reddish gold (compared to the amber of Concerto and Encore). Flavor is still bold, though not nearly as much as on the first steep, but also sweeter and more approachable.
This has set the bar for quality Keemun, for me, and I would likely buy more over time if it were available. Since it’s not, I’ll just have to keep looking for another tea with Jackee’s complexity and endurance, and enjoy my Concerto in the mean time.
This is a comparison tasting against Keemun Concerto and Jackee Muntz; see further notes here http://steepster.com/Tea_Bird/posts/36237
Darker orange-red color than Concerto, the smokiest scent. Encore tastes milder (unexpectedly) than Jackee, a little drier, but less astringent. Calmer. There’s an odd unpleasant taste to the dryness, though; very faint, but vaguely like chalk or sawdust. Encore tastes much smokier than Concerto.
The flavor of the smoke is even more prominent, in a way, against the sweet creamy backdrop of milk. I think the chalk/sawdust bit might still be there, but the milk blots out any astringency so it’s much less noticeable.
Steep 2 is sweeter, mellower, but distinctly weaker. I expected this one to hold up better to multiple steeps, given the price differential between it and Concerto, and given that it looks and tastes more like Jackee than Concerto. But no; steep 2 is drinkable, and there is still some sweet smoke, but weak.
Conclusion? I’ll drink what I have, but I would not buy more. The dry leaf and the liqueur look similar to Jackee, but the taste and durability (is that the right word for providing multiple steeps?) do not further the resemblance. I’m not enough of a smoke fan to appreciate this one as an everyday drinking tea.
This was the tea that introduced me to Keemun, and made me realize how much I like it. Since this makes it an indirect cause of my buying Jackee Muntz, and inspired by Meghann’s comparison vanilla tasting, I decided to comparison taste this, Keemun Encore, and Jackee. I tasted them simultaneously, which made it harder to identify specific flavors but easier to rank them comparatively. So – no evocative descriptions of camping in a pine forest, but this should help me (and maybe you) the next time I’m looking to buy more Keemun. Encore notes are here http://steepster.com/Tea_Bird/posts/36241 and Jackee here http://steepster.com/Tea_Bird/posts/36243
Preparation notes: 1/2tsp tea in 4oz water, drunk plain first, then with milk (about 1tsp in the remaining 3oz)
The lightest of the three in both color and aroma, more orange than red. Smells sweeter than the other two. Concerto was my favorite going in; it tastes a bit weak after Jackee. Astringency somewhere between the other two. The “black tea” flavor is more noticeable in Concerto than in either of the other two; whether this denotes purity or a lack of complexity is up for debate.
Milk for me brings out the sweetness and richness in the tea. The hints of smoke make a nice counterpoint. I would still choose this as an easy-drinking breakfast tea. Definitely not boring, but not one I feel obligated to prepare precisely and experiment with or anything.
Round 2, ~3:30 minute steep is noticeably milder but still worthwhile.
Conclusion – I will likely buy more of this once Jackee is gone, unless I find another Keemun I like better in the mean time. Better QPR than Encore, in my opinion, and easier to drink.
I ADORE this tea. It’s like drinking honeysuckle nectar. I can’t say much about the taste of the white tea itself, because I never notice it; the white tea is a vehicle for the honeysuckle. This is deliciously flavored, naturally sweet from the honeysuckle and white tea, with no sugar (and no fake sugar!) added. I love it. I would drink it all the time if it didn’t cost $1.5-2 per bottle.