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185 Tasting Notes
Another sample from Indigobloom… thank you Indigo!
This… uh… well… no sir, I don’t like it.
Something about this blend really comes across as ‘off’ to me. We gave it the full five minutes, but it is a CTC, so that may have been overkill, and be part of the problem with the overwhelming MEH! I get from this tea.
So… yeah, glad I got to sample it (thanks again, Indigo!), but I don’t think this is a keeper.
This is an interesting tea… concept, I guess? Herbs soaked in champagne, how classy! Ooh la la!
Another great sample from Indigobloom, thank you!
The website for this tea said to steep it for 4-8 minutes… which seemed scarily long for a white tea, so we played it a little sheepish and did 2.
However, we ended up with a fairly delicate brew. There is a soft, peppery note from the white tea (tastes like a bai mu dan?), and a light raspberry flavor following. There’s also a hint of what may be the champagne towards the end… though it’s been years since I’ve had a champagne.
So, it tastes pretty good, though significantly more delicate than I think I would typically enjoy. Maybe it actually needs to stew for 4-8 minutes… that still sounds pretty scary though!
Since we didn’t follow the instructions, I’m leaving off a numerical score… but I’d probably put it right around 70.
No notes yet.
And now, for something slightly different!
You know, I really do like that SerendipiTea does things a little different. For example, this is the only chai I’ve ever seen with Allspice.
Now you may say to yourself: “Self, do I consider Allspice a typically Indian spice?”
And you would probably respond to yourself: “Of course not, Self! That would be silly!”
But it works, it really truly does. The allspice, clove, and cinnamon are the dominating spices in this tea. Towards the end of the sip you start to taste the pepper. It’s a little bit sweeter, overall, than most other chais I’ve had, but that works really well with the allspice. This is definitely unique, and quite enjoyable.
I also have to give SerendipiTea another nod due to their ridiculously large samples. I think we ordered another 8 or 10 samples with this last order, and we’ve started to measure them. See, for $2.50, you’re supposed to get a half ounce sample of tea (14 grams, for you metric folks). Our last order, and this order, we started to measure these so-called half ounce samples… and not a single one of them has been less than 30g. I think the largest was 57g. So, you’re getting far more than your money’s worth if you order samples from them… so I recommend it highly :)
Thank you for the sample Sandy
The lemongrass in this blend is surprisingly powerful, the brew ends up being quite lemony. Not that this is a bad thing. It’s like a pre-made Arnold Palmer. Iced, and with a lot more sugar, I think this would be a fantastic blend!
As always, a big thanks to Angel and the Teavivre team for this fantastic samples.
It’s been somewhat well documented that Moroccan Mint is one of my favorite teas in ze world. So, as many gunpowders as I’ve drank, this is really the first gunpowder I’ve drank alone (yeah, with nobody else).
The little pellets in this sample are remarkably shiny, I don’t know how to explain it other than that. They look like precious little rocks.
Anyway, so how does it taste? Brilliant, that’s how it tastes. It’s wonderful. There is a sweetness to this tea that is wonderful, and a slight vegetable flavor. Not that in your face, I’m eating a serving of boiled cabbage flavor, but a soft, sweet, this tastes like the forest vegetable flavor. There’s a bit of a tinge of that malted flavor that I associate with black tea as well, that really rounds this out quite pleasantly.
So, in preparation for my big meeting thing tomorrow, let’s break it down to three bullet points (that would fit on a powerpoint slide!):
1. Lightly sweet
2. Tastes like the forest
3. Reminds me of black tea
I definitely think this is going to be a tea I keep around for a while. Actually, I think I’m going to go put in an order with Teavivre right now. I’m missing their Bailin Gongfu, as well.
Another sample from Azzrian by way of Sandy.
This tea tastes amazing. It has a mildly sweet flavor, which tastes a little like cookies and remarkably like hazelnut to me. Not sure if that’s part of the ingredients or not, but it doesn’t look like Lupicia is telling! There is a little bit of caramel note at the end, with a smooth (but fairly light) tea base.
Sandy mentioned that she thought it tasted like watered down coffee. I don’t agree (though, I do like coffee). However, it does very, very much remind me of the hazelnut non-dairy creamer that my sister puts in her coffee. I wonder if Sandy has just been tricked with hazelnut coffee ;)
Num nums. Very tasty. Price is a little unappetizing, but oh well. If I work up to ordering from Lupicia, this is definitely on the list.
Thanks again, gals!
This was a very tasty sample from Indigobloom that she sent along with the uber-nice order of Sweet Temptation that she put together. Much kudos for her on that one.
This is a really good white tea. I think this is the subtlety of white tea that is intended, as opposed to the subtlety of white tea that really means ‘weak’.
This tea is a little sweet, with a very peachy flavor, and just a hint of buttery vegetable at the end. Strangely, it’s lacking the peppery taste at the end that I’ve come to expect from white teas (so there’s not a hay flavor either, which tends to go with the pepper). This is quite lovely.
Thanks again for the sample! Too bad Teaopia is on their way out, I could see wanting to keep this around. Whoa, just looked at the price. Holy moly, Indigo, that was a nice sample you sent us for a tea that spendy!
No notes yet.
Mm… mm… mm… Moroccan mint. Quickly becoming my favorite tea in ze world. Which is weird, because I’m SUCH a black tea drinker. Well, maybe not that weird, as it’s a gunpowder base. Anyway.
I ordered a large bag from SerendipiTea of this, because… well… frankly it will be awhile until I order from MarketSpice again, and I need a lot of this to get through the summer. A lot. MM is by far the most refreshing thing in the world iced.
Visually, the gunpowder is represented much more in the dry leaf. The pellets are larger, and there seem to be more of them compared to the mint flakes (tiny, tiny little pieces of ground up mint leaves in both teas).
This seems apparent in the brew as well. The gunpowder is much stronger in this brew, giving it more of the smokey, heady taste over the sweeter, minty taste that comes out towards the end.
So, still quite good, but more for people who want tea with a little mint, instead of a very minty tea.
No number tonight, for a couple of different reasons:
1) We brewed this at 200 for one minute, which isn’t what SerendipiTea asks for. We’re going to brew it again at their recommendation, and see how differently it comes out (though, we brew the MarketSpice version at 200).
2) I need to try it iced.
Well well, good afternoon folks!
Missy decided we were going to have a darjeeling face off today. We have a little bit left of this, TD28 Tindharia, and the Golden Moon darjeeling.
This particular darjeeling is a first/second/multi-estate super blend as far as I can tell. It’s like Captain Planet in tea form. Out of the three, it ends up being the lightest in color as well.
The flavor of this one is quite smooth, it’s very mellow with a slight fruitiness, I might consider it a peach flavor. It still feels distinctly darjeeling though, not just a nondescript black tea.
Overall, quite pleasant. I have some astringency right now, but as I’m sampling back and forth between three different teas… I don’t feel I can appropriately blame any of the three for sure.
Winner? I think this one, but only slightly better than Golden Moon. And I’d be lying if ‘availability’ didn’t come into play on this (I know I’m going to keep buying from Upton for other teas, so my Darjeeling might as well come from there, amiright?).
Missy decided we were going to have a darjeeling face off today. We have a little bit left of this, the TD60 blend, and the Golden Moon darjeeling.
This one is a single estate, second flush darjeeling. It’s a darker colored liquor. It’s kind of funny. We used to drink all of our teas in our big super mugs (~18 oz), but we just picked up a handful of clear glass mugs because Missy wanted to see the teas she brewed. So now that I can more appropriately ‘see’ the color of the teas, I feel like it isn’t fair of me to NOT describe the color of the tea. Maybe this makes no sense, but if you’re following me, you’re probably used to me not making sense!
The flavor on this one is VERY fruity. I know that darjeeling teas have the ‘muscatel’ flavor that is so coveted, and I think this one is definitely a good example of that. I don’t really like the name of that though, sounds way too poshy. It’s grape, people! GRAAAAAPE. Muscatel just confused people, and, well, makes your tea sound stinky.
Anyway, this one is kind of grape first, ask tea questions later. This isn’t inherently bad, and to be honest the fact that the flavor was a little more HI I WEAR PURPLE made me think it was better than the TD60 blend. More flavor = more betterer, right? Well, no. As I finished this cup (i.e. kept drinking it straight instead of flitting between three different cups of tea), the flavor really started to get… well, annoying. Basically, it was a lot better in moderation.
Nod goes to TD60.
Missy decided we were going to have a darjeeling face off today. We have a little bit left of the ones we bought from Upton, and the one from Golden Moon.
I evidently never reviewed this one before, silly me. Golden Moon refers to this as an ‘Autumnul’ darjeeling from the Makaibari estate. As far as I can tell, Autumnul is a third flush, which is kind of amusing to me for whatever crazy reason. Of the three darjeelings today, this one was the darkest, looks more like standard black tea.
The flavor of this tea is good. If you really like that grape flavor of darjeelings, but don’t want it to overpower (I’m looking at you, TD28!), then this is probably the tea for you. The fruity flavor is prominent, but is a little bit earthier, and co-exists with the tea flavors quite well. It still tastes like I’m drinking a black tea, which makes me happy!
There’s also a sweetness to this tea, actually to most Golden Moon teas that I’ve tried seem inexplicably sweet. Supposedly this is a straight darjeeling, but it wouldn’t surprise me if part of their blending process involved sweetening their teas. Or, as an alternative, they only source teas that are naturally a bit sweeter than others. It’s totally possible (and probably an excellent business strategy, really, since you’re catering to all of us pre-diabetic americans).
Of the eight teas I’ve tried from GM, this is easily the best. It is definitely a solid tea that I would enjoy having around.
The TD60 from Upton gets the nod for darjeeling-I’ll-keep-in-stock. Though, they are distinctly different enough that both could fill out a well rounded tea cabinet. I just happen to want a lot of other teas from Upton kept around, so including the TD60 seems the easier route.
No notes yet.
The coconut and licorice in this tea do some weird magical trick to almost end up tasting like nutmeg. It’s a little interesting.
Not good, necessarily. Just interesting. As it cools a little bit, the coconut becomes more prominent, which makes me think this might be a completely different tea once it’s iced.
(a few minutes pass)
This really is getting better as it cools. My rating of it ‘hot’ would be way lower than my rating of it ‘luke-warm’. Which, well, makes very little sense in my head. So, I’m not giving it a number until I try it iced.
To call myself ‘uneducated’ on green teas would be an understatement. A few months ago, reading the reviews on many of the higher quality green teas here on good old Steepster was somewhat confusing. Most of my green tea experience was the green tea Sobe that my sister always bought, or the occasional Jasmine Green that you get from Chinese restaurants.
With that, a lot of my ‘thinking’ on green tea still runs familiar tracks, and tries to discern the differences. In my head, I often say “this tastes a lot like x, but the differences are a, b, and c”. Sometimes I say that out loud. If I’m lucky, Missy is within earshot and I look less like an idiot babbling at himself.
Take this Dragon Well, for example. This tastes a lot like the Tai Ping Hou Kui from Teavivre that I drank a few days ago, except it’s a little less flavorful. It has the same sweet tones to it, but it’s significantly less sweet. It has a very roasted vegetable flavor to it… but it’s a little less buttery, toasted vegetables, and a little more steamy, swampy vegetables.
All in all, it’s pretty tasty for a green tea. However, I can’t see ever going for this while that Tai Ping was still available.
Has anyone else had both a Dragon Well and the Tai Ping Hou Kui? Are they remarkably similar, just of varied degrees of excellence?
To me, green kangaroo has much lighter of that typical woodsy aftertaste found in it’s more crimson tinged cousin. So, in a lot of situations, I enjoy it. This one has pear… and creaminess… and the sample was like a dollar!
Upton says to brew this for about 8 minutes. Missy uses a little android app called Tea Tips (I think) to set little individual timers. After what I’m guessing to be about 15 minutes, I realized that the timer wasn’t going to go off ;). So this was a little overbrewed. But you know what, it didn’t seem to hurt anything at all.
The pear on this is a little bit on the sour-candy side of pear. It balances the sweet woodsy kangaroo flavor perfectly though, with just a light touch of the cream at the end to tie it all together (the cream may be a lot stronger when not steeped for seven epochs). This is really quite delightful, and probably one of the best kangaroos I think I’ve ever had. This is totally worth keeping around.
Still quite tasty, red hot cinnamon goodness. Thinking about upping the rating.
So, this is my first lapsang souchong. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and wasn’t sure I’d like it… but at the Upton price, it was totally worth trying out a sample.
Brewing this tea really caused the house to smell like a campfire. Quite pungent. I could smell it upstairs, easily.
The taste is smoky, and just that – all I taste is the smokiness. What’s funny, it doesn’t taste bad, necessarily… but it just tastes like someone put a drop of liquid smoke in my warm water. If I let it sit in my mouth for a bit, I can kind of rationalize the smoke away, and begin to taste a little bit of the tea itself… but it is truly hidden by the smoke flavor.
But, let me add that the smoke doesn’t make it taste unpleasant, which is probably a sign that the smoke isn’t overdone. It just doesn’t seem to have any other depth to the flavor. Just doesn’t really work for me. Can’t see myself buying more of this.
Laying in bed, sneaking in my last reviews of the night using my tablet.
Ordered this one on a whim from Upton. There are really a lot of things I will try for a one or two dollar sample, and a billion different Earl Grey blends definitely qualify.
I’m not sure if my nose is just getting more sensitive, but this is another in a growing list of teas that has really smelled overpowering straight out of the bag. It’s a little odd, considering the number of jokes that my sister and I have historically made about my poor sense of smell.
Long story short, the grapefruit smell of this tea was quite strong.
And so was the grapefruit flavor! I’m not sure if St. Isaac was the patron saint of grapefruit or not, but that is where he is going to live in my head. This tea is very strong in it’s grapefruityness, with only a shred of lemony other citrus at the end of the sip. The tea aftertaste was very smooth, with a light malt, but I’m definitely not tasting any smoke.
This isn’t a bad tea, but it isn’t going to find much of a place in my tea closet. Citrus teas seem to be done much better by about every other citrus than grapefruit, so I’ll stick with one (or all!) of those.
This was the last sample from our exchange with the always wonderful Krystaleyn!
Although this isn’t something I’d normally pick out on my own, I’m glad I got a chance to try it. It may just be the years of being a “counter-culture” nerd, but I’d probably immediately gloss over something labelled as “Organic Power Fruit Tea”. It’s just too many trendy buzzwords at once… instantly puts me back in the shoes of being an angsty teenager who hated anything popular. I’ve grown past that, I swear.
The star of the show on this tea is definitely the blueberry, with a little bit of pomegranate flavoring, and a little of what may be acai. In all honesty, if it didn’t say it had green tea in it, I would have thought this was just a fruit infusion. Not that this would be a bad thing.
The tea is sweet with just a little bit of a tang, but not too much, just enough to round out the flavor. Done a little bit differently, I could really enjoy this tea. Oooh, I bet it’s good iced!
Approaching the end of the samples I received from Teavivre for the Facebook promotion… thanks again to Angel and the team!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this at the beginning. The aroma is really dark and earthy, like new soil. Almost like fresh leather. It has really similar smells to the pu’erh cake we have sitting in the tea cupboard… just… not offensive.
The taste is very dark, strong, and smoky. I actually asked Missy to make sure this was the Keemun from Teavivre, and not the Lapsang I had ordered from Upton!
There is a power to this tea’s flavor. It has a really strong bite to the tea, with a smooth malty undertone, and then that smokiness is just heavenly. This is superb. It’s like I’m getting a blend, and it’s one lone tea. This is really the flavors I expected from the Baker Street blend that I got from Upton, which has both Keemun and Lapsang (along with Darjeeling) but somehow is significantly less smokey. Although, I did brew the Baker Street at work… I really should give it another chance at home (i.e. have Missy make it instead of me… she’s better at it).
Anyway, this tea is splendid. I honestly want to rate it higher, but something in the back of my mind is telling me that I have to leave room for the next two tiers of quality on this tea that Teavivre offers.
I want to rate this tea a 90, and it’s the lowest of three qualities that Teavivre offers. This boggles my mind.
Missy decided that today we need to have the epic battle royale deathmatch between our two Earl Grey Creme’s to determine the winner. Mad Hat vs Upton.
The most negatively weighing factor of the Mad Hat tea is the really just brazenly floral scent of this tea. When I first opened the bag of this tea, it really struck me strongly. After sitting in a tin for a few weeks, it almost takes your breath away for a minute.
All the strengths of this tea are still there. It’s very creamy and sweet. The bergamot and other citrusy flavors are very tasty and well proportioned. The tea is smooth but light. The smell is much more wonderful in a brewed cup than out of the tin. I don’t think you’d ever go wrong with this tea, really. It would definitely be a crowd pleaser. I’m not going to be disappointed while I finish this tea off. But, now that the Upton SPEGCV has come into my life… I don’t think I’ll get more…