411 Tasting Notes
So, as I child, I used to eat grass. Not a lot, and not actual grazing, but every so often when outside, I’d pick a blade and nibble. Thank goodness my parently didn’t use chemical fertilizer, and that we didn’t have any dogs! I favored wild grass, because you can get the milder white hearts of grass from the inner stem in larger portions than from regular lawn grass.
That is what this tea reminds me of – those mild grass hearts. It’s a lovely mellow, smooth and grassy tea. And grass really is a motif throughout the tea. The dry leaf looks like dried grass slippings, while having cocoa and nutty aroma notes. The brewed leaf looks even more like grass clippings and smells like a typical green tea.
But the brew – oh! the brew. It’s lovely. Others have called it sweet. I don’t get sweet. I get grassy, lightly nutty, and very mellow. Mild. Very lightly colored. This is a tea I could sip all day. Lovely, lovely tea.
From http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2378/tea-review-celestial-seasonings-sleepytime-vanilla-3/ – It’s all About the Leaf – go read more reviews!
I have a confession. I consider myself an herbal tea fan. Yet, I hate chamomile.
And a lot of teas, especially ones designed to soothe and relax, like to focus on chamomile. So I used to convince myself (on those nights where I’ve had a horrible long day and want a nice, mellow cup of tea to help me relax) that maybe the chamomile won’t be so bad this time. So I brew, and I relax, and I sip. And then I go and calmly dump the cup out and wonder why it’s still on my shelf of tea. Blech.
This cycle continued until I found Sleepytime Vanilla. This is an herbal tea, designed to relax you. And it has chamomile in it. And I actually like it. The blend of mint and vanilla with the chamomile mellows the flavor, and enhances the brew. As you sip, you’re first hit by the mint and chamomile, pleasantly combined, then the vanilla shows up with a creamy aftertaste. The flavors play off each other, and remove whatever it is that consistently makes me go BLEA.
These days, when I’ve had a horrible long day and want to relax, this tea is the one that finds its way into my cup. I sip contentedly, and actually gain that relaxation I am so craving.
From http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2383/tea-review-golden-moon-tea-white-licorice/ – It’s all About the Leaf
There are over 5 million ways to divide the world into two groups. Licorice is definitely one of them. People either adore black licorice or hate it. I personally fall into the “love it” camp – unless it’s salt licorice. Because it’s just.. odd. Blea.
There are a few ways to get licorice-like flavors. There is the traditional licorice root, but anise, star anise, and fennel all contain similar flavoring agents. All these plants contain the chemical compound anethole which provides that signature flavor. And while all are similar, there are subtle differences. Licorice root is sweeter, anise is more aromatic, fennel is milder, and star anise has a bit of a bite.
This tea uses star anise to get it’s licorice flavor. On first sniff, the leaf smells very much like standard licorice. But once it started to brew, the notes of star anise come out much more strongly. It develops into a very light yellow brew – likely due to the white tea. On first sip, the licorice is very mellow, soft. Almost more plant-y than standard licorice. The hay-like features of the white tea blend well with the plant-y features of the star anise to merge together into a nice mellow cup.
Of all the various plant anethole-delivery systems, star anise is my least favorite. I don’t like the small, strange bite it delivers. I like all the others (I even have this amazing bread dip recipe that uses fennel*) much more, but even with this mark against it, this tea does not disappoint. It’s mellow, smooth, and yummy. Because it’s not so strongly licorice-y, even those who fall into the camp of licorice hater may like this tea. Good blend.
special bonus recipe!
*G’s amazing bread dip
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
4-5 turns of fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp chopped garlic
Take the first four ingredients, grind in a spice grinder until they’re a fine powder. Blend with the chopped garlic in a mortar and pestle until you get a nice paste. Blop the paste into the center of a shallow bowl or deep plate. Pour olive oil over the paste, stir slightly. Serve with fresh bread. And drink with strong tea – because any other type will be overpowered by the dip.
Three badly written haiku in honor of Tao Tea Leaf’s Phoenix Dan Cong tea:
Lovely long brown leaves
Hints of honey and lychee
Soft taste, whisper sweet
Fawn tint, floral scent
Mild taste and silky mouthfeel
Too mild for my taste
Tasty, but makes me want more
From – http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2364/tea-review-tao-tea-leaf-phoenix-dan-cong-2/ – go read more reviews!!
I just love the little mini-cakes that pu-er occasionally comes in. They’re just cute. An adorable little pellet of yumminess.
This is a lovely, lovely tea. The creamy rice flavor blends with the warm masculinity of the pu-er to make a dark blend that is rich with complexity and vigor yet smooth and tasty. Along with the rice flavor, it has the typical leathery, woody and earthy notes of a pu-er, but blended together smoothly. Others found citrus flavors, but I’m not tasting those. And, like many pu-ers, it’s great for multiple re-steeps. I’m on steep three currently… or is it four… of my current set of leaves. And the sweet and creamy rice flavor lasts and lasts. Other literature notes people getting up to 9 steeps. I would not be surprised to get rice notes to the end.
This is really great pu-er. I recommend it to anyone.
From http://www.itsallabouttheleaf.com/2370/tea-review-tao-tea-leaf-rice-shou-pu-erh/ – go read more reviews!!!
I am a big fan of Canton Teas, so it was with anticipation that I opened the packet of Superior Long Jing. And at once, I got the green bean aroma and the visual of the large flat leaves. Ah, Lovely. I tried brewing this two ways. The first way was with approximately a teaspoon of leaf per cup, brewed at about 165 for 2 minutes. This resulted in a nutty, buttery brew; quite enjoyable and a pleasure to drink. Then, after review the company web site, I tried brewing it with a lot of leaf at a very low temperature. This resulted in a more vegetal brew, very light yellow in color. It tastes less buttery and more like green beans. Very clean tasting, and also quite drinkable.
Of the two, I preferred the less leaf / higher temp steep. But either way, it’s a nice light, lovely green tea. A great example of this type of tea.
Tried this for an www.itsallabouttheleaf.com review. You’ll have to wait for it to be published for the full review, but overall a quick review = meh.
First, I tried the Timmy’s 1UP Jasmine Green. I’m a fan of jasmine, so I was quite curious about this tea. Good looking leaf, but not highly fragrant. On drinking, it shows itself to be a nice, fairly standard jasmine green. A little heavy on the green. The jasmine was not soapy (always a worry with jasmines) but didn’t quite have the sparkle or lively quality of other jasmines. It was a little flat. But in general, a nice standard jasmine. Quite drinkable.
From my review of all four of the Think Geek teas at It’s all About the Leaf – go read the whole thing!
I decided to try the Pirate Chai next. Oh! This one smells amazing. Heavy on the clove. I love cloves, and I love spicy teas. I’d like to do this in a traditional method, but as I’m sitting at work, I don’t have the necessary equipment. Once I started drinking however, it seems it’s pretty much just a clove blend. Maybe they were trying to make this like a Bay Rum style chai? For me, a truly good chai needs the spicy heat of the cardamom and pepper which this tea is missing. But, as a clove tea? It’s a great clove tea! In fact, my mouth is even getting slightly numb from the clove oil.. so you know it’s clove-y.
from my review of all the Think Geek Sampler at It’s all About the Leaf – go read the rest of it!