326 Tasting Notes

92
drank Lover's Leap by Harney & Sons
326 tasting notes

By the time this arrived in the mail, I had forgotten what it was, and from the name thought it was bound to have flowers in it. I opened the package to a marvelous fragrance of pure tea, a little evocative of darjeeling but mostly a nice “golden raisin” scent (it’s easier to just call it muscatel but that’s what it smells like to me). This turned out to be a great light-bodied Ceylon, crisp and just a little sweet and everything I hoped it would be. Delicious iced, and also quite tasty hot, which is good because we’ve been having a mixture of very hot days and cool, overcast ones!

My experience with Ceylon (as with most non-Chinese teas) doesn’t go very far back—only a couple of years ago, when I started wondering why the iced tea served at a particular cafe tasted good compared to everyone else’s, did I even learn the name of this tea. There’s a lot more to explore, but this is one of the good ones I’ve encountered so far!

Super Starling!

Ceylon is also the base of that bomb-diggity Thai iced tea. It’s that and condensed milk or somesuch. I want to experiment with making it sometime.

Mikumofu

I love Thai iced tea but I never knew that, making it myself sounds like something fun to try too!

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83

This has been on my wishlist for a long time. Why? I don’t remember, but I probably heard about it from someone’s recommendation here. It makes a tasty matcha latte with two heaping teaspoonfuls to a cup , as recommended. Nicely creamy, a little sweet, “dark green” tasting. I used soy milk so I can’t speak to how much the soybean content of the powder itself shines through.

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86
drank Wedding Tea by Harney & Sons
326 tasting notes

It’s not anybody’s wedding (that I know of), but this was a nice little sample to try. It has a soft lemon and vanilla aroma that translates into exactly those flavors when brewed. The blend also contains plenty of flowers, which would make it look quite festive and wedding-appropriate, though they don’t really add to the flavor. The mild, creamy lemon flavor of this tea reminds me of one of my favorite blends, Lemon French Macaron by Butiki Teas, which is no longer available but remembered fondly. Unlike that blend, though, the tea leaves in this one are smaller and more crushed, perhaps due to being in sachet form. This creates a more astringent brew, but overall the white tea base is good and quite fresh. A nice little treat that reassures me that while it’s hard to get a flavored white tea right, it can be done!

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89
drank Natsukoi by Lupicia
326 tasting notes

As expected, this is fantastic iced. Great accompaniment to doing some yardwork on a nice sunny day!

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78
drank SoHo Blend by Harney & Sons
326 tasting notes

One of the handful of Harney samples I got recently. This one has the chocolate flavor similar to their Florence blend. I wasn’t too fond of Florence, but the chocolate works much better in this one. As for the coconut, I honestly thought this blend was supposed to taste like some kind of alcoholic drink before I read the description. There’s a definite heady, boozey aroma to it! While teas that taste like a dessert aren’t everyone’s…wait for it…cup of tea, this one is quite decent instead of just being a mishmash of flavoring.

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89
drank Natsukoi by Lupicia
326 tasting notes

After my previous Lupicia order, I had thought it was a safer bet to stick with old favorites from them than to order too many new teas, but reading the description of this one, I just had to give it a try. And I’m very glad I did!

This tea has a fresh, sweet lemon drop scent right out of the bag. While steeping, the aroma of the tea base itself also came out. My last few flavored teas from Lupicia had fairly unobtrusive but also unremarkable bases, but this one seemed to be a cut above the rest. It had the definite qualities of a good black tea that is just this side of malty, and lighter than the bases of some of the other blends I’d tried from them. Combined with the lemon, it made for a nice refreshing cup. I’ll try this one iced as well!

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85
drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
326 tasting notes

Cold steeped at caile’s suggestion, and it came out very nicely! As a cold tea it’s light in color, nice and crisp, with some of that almost “fuzzy” maltiness that I enjoy in Yunnan black teas. The malty note is not dominant, so that the honey sweetness easily comes through as well. Overall I do recommend trying this both cold/iced and hot!

caile

Yay! :))

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85
drank GABA Black by Mandala Tea
326 tasting notes

Another sample from my recent order. GABA is not really something I’ve heard about, so I went in with no preconceptions. The dried tea leaf looks like little pellets, and the liquor brews up to be a light golden color. It’s honey-sweet, with a touch of ripe fruit, maybe plum or muscatel. On the second steep, the honey note takes over completely. This is a very light-bodied, smooth tea. As to whether it has a calming effect, it’s too early to say, but it definitely doesn’t have much of a kick as most other black teas, and is a nice cup to enjoy slowly.

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85
drank Black Gold by Mandala Tea
326 tasting notes

A sample that was kindly included with my Mandala order. This has all the makings of a a great malty black tea. Very smooth, full-bodied, with an inviting fragrance, and right along the lines of other great Yunnan black teas I’ve tried (many also with “gold/golden” in the English names). I accidentally added a bit more leaf than I intended to, but to no detriment at all.

caile

I just had this today too! :)

caile

And oddly I was sure I wrote a review but can’t find it..

Garret

I was on my way to a meeting and stopped by one of the local coffee shops that uses our Black Gold for their iced tea. What a treat. Plenty of depth, absolutely no sweetener needed. A wonderful tea that the man I was meeting with really enjoyed! Thanks for your review! Grateful, Garret

Mikumofu

caile: I hope you enjoyed it! :)

Garret: Iced tea sounds like a great idea! Thank you for bringing us delightful teas!

caile

I did enjoy it very much, Mikumofu. :))
Oh yes, I bet it would make good iced tea…. hmmm,I think these are the leftover leaves cold steeping in my fridge! Five days ago though, oh no.

caile

Ok, I just went to the fridge to check. I thought I would need to dump this brew out but I tasted it first and wow, it is delicious and perfect! No unpleasant tannin at all, just sweet honey! I can see why that shop Garret mentioned uses it for their iced tea!

Mikumofu

You were brave to taste it! I think I’ll give the cold steeping (for a shorter time) a try too, it’s looking to be a warm holiday weekend here!

caile

haha, I was thinking the same as I took the first sip. ;)

I’m actually not sure now if it was this tea or the gaba black that I was steeping, as I had both that day, but oh well, it turned out good whichever one it was.

Nice you are going to try the cold steeping – perfect timing for warm weekend weather – hope you enjoy it!

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Bio

Science writer and a cat that learned to type.

I grew up in a tea-loving family, and tea has always been a part of daily life. I’m still astounded by the amount of tea and teaware back home every time I visit! While I’m most familiar with straight Chinese teas, I’m growing to explore and appreciate other types of tea, including blended and flavored ones. A good blend can reflect the thought and creativity that was put into making it, instead of being too sweet or busy in a way that gives the “genre” a bad rap.

Likes:
-most black teas (even lapsang)
-most oolongs, especially Fujian teas, baozhong and dancong
-houjicha
-straight white teas
-citrus
-almond/amaretto
-coconut
-vanilla

Variable (some are great, some not so):
-most green teas
-tie guan yin
-flavored white teas
-assam
-rooibos
-melon
-mint
-grape

Ratings:
90-100: definite repurchase if possible, recommended
80-90: enjoyed, possible repurchase
70-80: fair to good
60-70: fair with some shortcomings
50-60: there’s still a chance I’d take this if it were free
under 50: absolutely not

Location

Southern California

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