253 Tasting Notes

81

The instant you open it’s packaging, the light and almost fresh scent of mandarin oranges brush upon your face. It is an interesting aroma, not quite as strong as I had imagined it would be.

The leaves are lightly contained within the mandarin orange peel. It is so light that upon opening the peel, the leaves just fall right out. The peel gives a dark detail, which mimics the tea leaves.

Steeping gives a familiar and very strong earth aroma to the wet leaves. The leaves themselves held together quite nicely after steeping, although I can see some twigs.

The liquor itself is also extremely earthy, in both scent and appearance, very clear with an extremely deep reddish tone.

Although I cannot find the sweet oranges, the strong earthy and damp moss flavors are very prominent. It is quite refreshing and such a great delight.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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66

Normally, some stores do not carry full leaf tea, as it is a particular market. In a rural area such as here, stores tend to carry what most of the customers buy, which are tea bags.

It was a little surprising to see more full leaf tea being stocked around here. It is quite surprising itself that a store which sells products for full leaf tea doesn’t necessarily sell full leaf tea.

During the last minute holiday rush, I found more tea leaves to try, which included this one. It is a strange brand, as I could not even find it listed here. The tin design is reminiscent old tea tins, complete with a printing of a mountain and plantation photo.

The leaves are rolled, much like Twinnings’ gunpowder green tea, but without a strong aroma. Very wooden, with a tinge of freshness.

As directed on the tin, I rinsed the leaves with boiling water for about two seconds before the initial steeping. Beyond that, I followed my own experience of green tea infusion and cooled the water for a bit before steeping for a minute.

The liquor is a stronger wooden and fresh scent, with a lean toward the vegetal side. It is a deep auburn color, and very clean.

The flavor is that of the aroma, which is vegetal, a little wooden and fresh. There is a light astringency, but overall is very clean.

For the price, this is a nice tea. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a good clean cup would make this tea a pleasant discovery.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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36

Knowing the pale and bitter truth, I decided to steep with less time, and add equal amounts of rock sugar.

The result: a less bitter, less pale, sweeter chai. There is a certain quality to it that gives a simple strong flavor. Very dark and oddly powdery.

Despite, it is still bitter and pale. The sugar improved, but just slightly.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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36

I had just found this tea place called Empress Tea House, hidden away within Prince George on Nicholson Street. Despite being located quite near to Pine Center mall, it was an adventure to find it, especially in the late 2012 snowfall.

Apparently, they have been there for close to six years, but their website shows them established in 2004, which is more close to ten years. Despite, I had never heard of this place until I asked a taxi driver if there were more tea places other than David’s Tea in Pine Center.

The word penetrating doesn’t come up describing teas often, and seeing as I haven’t really purchased a chai in quite a long while, this particular one intrigued me.

The leaves give off a fairly familiar Masala chai scent, not as strong as I would anticipate, but strong nonetheless. Rose pedals concern me, as I associate that to a pale flavor, but it doesn’t seem to be present in the leaves’ aroma, which left me slightly reassured.

Steeping the leaves, though, brings out that hidden pale floral scent. I had also forgotten to add maybe equal amounts of rock sugar, so let’s hope the penetrating spices penetrate the unnecessities.

The first initial sips reaffirm my concerns. This chai is not penetrating enough. The pale characteristics overwhelm a potentially interesting blend of spicy and “sensuous” ingredients, as the flavor is attempting strength, but ultimately cannot go further.

I would expect rock sugar would improve the dull flavor, but probably not by much.

It is a shame; a good chai, the right chai, can be hard to find.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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65

I’m glad I decided to only buy a bag of about 50g of this tea. As much as I had initially loved this, it has eventually become pale and not very buttery at all.

The leaves’ aroma still gives off the impression that this will be a very creamy and full flavored black tea, but comes off flat, unnecessarily bitter and just not close to it’s description at all.

The fact that this tea will only be half as buttery with an equal or more amount of sugar added doesn’t help. As much as I love a sweetened tea, straight tea is better. But, if required, the less sugar the better.

It’s quite unfortunate, as it still seems nothing can and will compare to the holiest of holies, Teavana’s Almond Biscotti.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Dustin

I too have been suffering the sting of no more Almond Biscotti and the quest for a replacement. The closest things I have found are Tea Embassy’s Almond Cookies Green and Teavanna’s reblend of AB, Amadine Rose which would only be good if you like over the top rose flavor.

Peter Azak

The reckless rose really ruined the Amadine Rose, as I kind of liked it on my initial steep, but the more I had it, the less buttery it got, and the more pale the rose made it.

I need to try that Almond Cookies Green, but unfortunately nothing can replace the pure cookie delight of Almond Biscotti.

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85

I bought this tea before trying it at David’s Tea Prince George location. I really liked it’s leaves scent, and I have recently taken a liking to blood orange.

I don’t think it was steeped that long when I first tried it, which was my fault as I was trying it while in the Pine Center mall. Strangely, the brew’s scent wasn’t as strong as it is in my cup at the office either, so it might not entirely be my fault.

In any case, the blood orange and citrus scents are very prevalent and extremely tangy. The liquor gives a very handsome and very deep copper color.

The flavor is that of it’s scent, a full and tangy citrus blend. The grapefruit seems to be the most recognizable, which is not a bad thing considering how much I also like grapefruit. Thankfully, the licorice root doesn’t seem out of place, possibly balancing out the citrus with the pu’erh. The two flavor extremes could clash with one another but don’t seem to at all here.

This is possibly the best orange blend tea I can remember having. The leaves’ scent had my curiosity, but the flavor now has my attention.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

This sounds a lot like the blend that Rishi makes. Have you tried it?

Peter Azak

Do you mean this? http://steepster.com/teas/rishi-tea/7721-pu-erh-blood-orange

I have not tried any Rishi teas, but you make this sound delicious enough to try.

TeaBrat

I did like it but wish they made it without hibiscus.

Peter Azak

Yeah, it could do without hibiscus, as there is enough licorice root to balance out both citrus and tea.

It sounds like your dislike for hibiscus is similar to my dislike for overzealous rooibos.

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72
drank Orchid Vanilla by Tea Forte
253 tasting notes

I don’t drink enough vanilla teas, as the strong and delicious cookie scent had caught me by surprise. You can practically smell your bites into soft and decadent sweet cookies, with an extremely well balance of vanilla and coconut.

Unfortunately, as you steep the leaves, the sweet decadent cookie aroma fades into a just as sweet and slightly more nutty, but clearly pale scent. This now worries me. Thankfully, and with knowledge of experience with most flavored black teas, I had added equal amounts of rock sugar to the leaves; this should help the vanilla and coconut maintain their cookie flavor.

And, indeed, it has. The tea can be sweet, with the vanilla and coconut helping to keep the pale black tea under control. The pale flavor is there, but not as prominent as the other flavors.

I am a bit relieved that I would not be entirely disappointed with this tea, but maybe a half teaspoon of rock sugar would suffice next time. I cannot see myself steeping the leaves a second time, as the paleness tells me this black tea will only maintain its full flavor on the initial steep.

But, a still sweet and slightly decadent tea before lunch, and during these stressful holidays, is great nonetheless.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Estate Darjeeling by Tea Forte
253 tasting notes

I could not recall at the top of my head the last time I’ve had Darjeeling tea. Looking through my tea log, it appears it has been 6 months since my last steep of Darjeeling tea, which is quite surprising considering how much I love Darjeeling tea.

There is a very musty, toasted aroma to the dark brown and black leaves, with a very light woody scent. Steeping gives a similar scent, more woody than toasted, but still musty, and floral.

The flavor brings out a more floral taste, giving it a more delicate body. Any astringency compliments the light toasted notes, almost giving it a buttery flavor.

It is a little too delicate to be a morning tea, but as an early or late afternoon tea, this would be perfect.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

My older brother and sister-in-law came by last night with a bag of this, wanting me to make a pitcher of iced tea for everyone. I haven’t tried this herbal tea before, but I am always excited to try new teas.

I mixed eight tablespoons of leaves with about two tablespoons of rock sugar, steeped for around ten minutes and left it in the fridge for a good four to five hours. Mind you, I’ve only made iced tea this way twice before, so there is a reason to my general approximations.

My first initial reaction was how surprisingly dark it is lukewarm, I would assume the sunflower petals and rosehip peels are to blame for that, but the sweet and fruity flavors quickly overwhelm, not so much overtake or suffocate, but at the very lease harmonize the overall taste.

It is an unusual color, a reddish blonde tone. And, because it is herbal, very cloudy.

My second helping, about twenty hours later, gives less a dark flavor and more a sweetly juicy body. The fruit really balance each other out. As well, the colder it is, the more delicious it gets.

I wish I made some of this near the end of summer. We’d probably be constantly making it, as the juicy flavor sure could quench a summer night’s thirst.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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80
drank White Ambrosia by Tea Forte
253 tasting notes

There is a strong potpourri scent when opening the bag of leaves, followed by a sweet hint of coconut. The potpourri is a little annoying, as it can give me headaches, so I can briefly take this scent.

The leaves are a nice mixture of bright and dark greens with deep red petals. There is a very detailed texture, with full leaves, curled and uncurled, and stems.

Steeping gives a deep and clean golden color, with a better sweeter coconut aroma.

The flavor is all white tea. The coconut is a subtle touch, the safflower very difficult to detect. But, it all blends extremely well with the white tea, which is beautifully dark and clean, with a slight astringency.

The aroma of the dry leaves left me worried this would be wholly floral, but upon brewing, the coconut scent had assured me that this is a quality white tea blend.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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