380 Tasting Notes

drank Random Steepings by Various Artists
380 tasting notes

I really need to try more unsmoked or lightly smoked zheng shan Xiao zhongs because I love the one I’m sipping on right now. The dealer I bought this one from is in the process of re-setting up his e-store or I’d direct you there because I’ve loved all the wuyi blacks I’ve had from him so far.

This particular one smells like dark chocolate with some grain notes when dry and has thin shiny dark leaves with a few red brown leaves. It is best brewed between 80-90*c. I prefer brewing it at around 80 because then it is buttery like an oolong and the chocolate and caramel notes it has dominate.
It has notes of cocoa, caramel, and honey note’s over sweet potato, cinnamon and some grain notes it has some fruity citrus lychee notes and dark crust toast notes as well as a hint of vanilla.

When brewed at a higher temperature the lychee/citrus and sweet potato notes become stronger.

This tea holds up to 5+ brews when brewing 1tsp/200ml.

Really nice tea, so I hope I can get it again. If not I’m going to have to experiment with more sweet and un-smoked teas of this type.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Masala Chai by CJay Tea
380 tasting notes

I normally don’t buy Chai as I prefer to make my own. However, when I smelled this tea it’s scent brought me back to memories of waiting out Curfew at a chai stand in front of the train station in Jaipur.

Jaipur is semi-arid and can get quite cold at night, especially when it is just coming out of it’s winter season. So, there was a large group of us huddled together around a fire drinking Chai and eating those flaky, unsweetened pastry like biscuits all the Chai Wallahs seem to sell. I remember being asked for my passport by a police officer who seemed to think I was Kashmiri (this was during another period of tension between India and Pakistan over Kashmir) and even after kept trying to trip me up by speaking to me in Urdu. My ancestors are mostly of Irish, Scotch and British descent, but for some reason people have trouble placing me. I have been told at times that I look like a vey tall and pale person from Portugal, Italy or Ireland at times but also have been asked whether I was Afghani, Turkish, or Kashmiri as well, In a way this makes sense and I could truthfully answer yes, because the Celts originated somewhere north of Turkey before migrating west.

Anyways, back to the tea. It smelled pretty authentic in the box, I was nostalgic so I bought it.

The dry tea is a mix of grades of tea ranging from CTC to OP and smelled heavily of cardamom with the other spice enriching it in the background.

Once brewed, the tea smelled of cardamom with a hint of cloves with cinnamon and ginger in the background/ The base tea smelled deep and biscuity and fruity.

The tea is smooth with little astringency. Cardamom is the strongest flavour. While, cloves provides a cooling top note. Ginger and cinnamon follow these flavours. The base is still present and is fruity, and malty with biscuit notes underneath. It is quite a naturally sweet tea with the base and spices blending nicely. It is not peppery and hot like some Chai’s can be. Although Ginger Chai, is still my favourite, I can definitely appreciate this one. The Cardamom is lovely in it and the other spices nicely support it.

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Sil

Wow nice!

Never heard of the company but this sounds lovely.

yyz

They’re actually in the GTA, but you can pick up some of their teas at Whole Foods. They’re often better stocked at the one in Mississauga, but they do carry them at Yorkville as well. Whole foods mostly carries the basics, Earl grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast etc. but, the company carries many flavoured teas and some Japanese and Chinese teas. They’re in Markham and you can pick up an order there in order to avoid shipping. There shipping was around $10.00. However, their teas are really affordable. Their sample size is 25g.

http://cjaytea.com/upload/index.php?route=product/category&path=20

Dexter

Chai that is heavy on the cardamom? Yes please!!!

Sil

thanks YYZ! I’m close to yorkville when at work, but i’ll actually try checking the company out i think :)

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91

This tea is quite lovely well made Assam that is lighter and more fruity than the Borsapori Assam I have from Capital Tea.

This one smells like dark chocolate mixed with molasses ginger cookies, with allspice. The dry leaves are twisted shorter fat dark brown leaves with lots of shiny furry rich golden tips, which produce a beautiful dark golden red copper coloured clear tea.

It smells of a fruity plum and berry mix, honey, chocolate, and spice(almost like it had a pinch of Chinese five spice powder with nutmeg) with a light spicy floral note.

It tastes smooth with a bright sweet top note of honey, fruit and a little bit of the top note of malt, then a brief floral note, followed by slightly bitter note of malt, molasses and chocolate. It has a mild astringency. The fruit has a jammy/compote note of stewed fruit mixed with spice.

It re-steeps really well (I’m on the fifth steep) with honey an bright fruit notes ( lychee and citrus) mixing with spice and malt, with a light floral. The aftertaste is of milk chocolate mixed with floral spice and a bit of citrus.

I quite enjoyed this tea it make a nice afternoon tea. It is a little lighter in body than some of my Assams. I brewed the first steep at 3.5 minutes at around 90*C. I think I might try it a lower temperature to minimize astringency. The fruity spicy notes in this tea are quite nice and memorable. Once again thanks very much to Capital tea for providing me with this very generous sample.

http://www.capitaltea.com/shop/product.php?productid=207&cat=1&page=1

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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78
drank Strawberry Tea by Alokozay
380 tasting notes

This has a pretty nice strawberry flavour, tart, bright and fairly natural. Tastes convincingly like fresh strawberry. The flavouring is pretty strong over a light Ceylon base. The tea was more bop size rather than the dust you usually find in bags, faintly astringent and enough body to give the tea depth, but it`s flavouring is pretty lost to the flavouring. I taste just a bit of bitterness underneath. The tea has enough depth that it could take milk. Not bad for a tea I only bought so that I could meet the minimum for debit!

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80
drank Four Seasons - Winter Tea by Basilur
380 tasting notes

The dry tea bag smells like cherry bubble gum, while the brewed tea
smells like a cross between cherry and the body shop cranberry smell (I worked there during University so this smell is way to familiar).

Pleasantly fruity taste that is not too sweet, despite the smell of the dry bag ( I like this because than you can choose to sweeten it as you like). The base has a deep fruity taste ( referencing black berries) with a bit of bitterness from malt that goes nicely with the flavouring. The tea is not very tart which you might expect with a cranberry flavouring, but there is a little bit of this that becomes more apparent as you drink down the cup. The flavouring and the tea blend well with each other neither overpowering the other. Not bad for a bagged tea ( though they do sell loose leaf as well). Basilur Canada’s webstore is online. http://www.basilurtea.ca/. Their “Autumn” tea is a maple tea I might just have to try it out.

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88
drank Xinyang Hong by The Old Tea's
380 tasting notes

This tea reminds me a little of chocolate malt balls eaten in a tack room of well dressed leather, as these aspects are present in both the scent and the flavour. Present in the taste as well, are honey, spice, and a vitamin c type aspect that remains hidden when brewed at low temperatures but comes out if you brew at higher ones. The listing of this tea lists it as a green black tea, which is probably meant to bring attention to this tea as the most famous teas sold from this region are green teas, but is also fitting because this tea has aspects of black, white and green teas.

The dry leaf smells of chocolate malt with a hint of rye and is quite pretty with lots of furry golden tips.

I like this tea best when brewed western style at the lower end of the green tea temperature scale around 170 or less for about three minutes. What you end up with is a green tinged copper coloured tea that has a slightly powdery texture in the mouth. It has the chocolate malt ball honey taste discussed above with a faint leather spice note and a deeper cocoa bitter note underneath it. It is a fairly light bodied tea with mild caffeine levels. I can usually get away with drinking this one at night. If brewed at to high a temperature it gets the vitamin c note that white teas get when they are close to exhaustion in gonfu brewing. This tea really needs to be brewed at lower temperatures to bring out the chocolate and deeper flavour notes. I can usually get 3-4 steeps out of this tea when brewed this way. This is a nice mild and sweet black tea with interesting flavour notes.

This tea is available from a few aliexpress retailors and came packaged in a metal coated bag inside a red printed box. The only thing in English on it was the address and village authorization listed in the description above. I bought it from this retailor:

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/208334

They have several brands of black and green teas from Henan, China

This is the one I bought as they have several grades.

http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/2013-tea-black-tea-premium-gift-xinyang-maojian-tea-100g/208334_907255530.html

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Nicole

“chocolate malt balls eaten in a tack room of well dressed leather”

Tea people are so odd. We are probably the only people (other than horse people) to whom this description would appeal. :)

yyz

so true!

gmathis

Couldn’t have said it better, Nicole!

TastyBrew

Yum! This sounds like something I need to try :-)

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90

Cloud an mist teas tend are grown at mid to higher altitudes in areas with high humidity and less sunshine as a result of high cloud cover through out the years. This video is a nice introduction to the manufacturing of this style of tea:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kkPlWASbbA.

I really enjoyed this tea. It seems like a nice green to take into winter as it had a nice body and a good depth and variety in its flavour with a good mix of floral and fruity sweetness, nuttiness, and sweet and bitter vegetal notes combined with a really nice sparkling brightness.

The dry leaves smell bright and sweet with a green pea scent and a hint of tartness. The leaves are tightly twisted forest to earthy green leaves with silvery straw coloured furry buds.

After 45s brewed in an open gaiwan at about 175*F I had a pale golden yellow green tinted broth, with a sweet scent with hints of fresh hulled peas, chestnut, and sweet honeysuckle floral. The tea had a clean taste. The broth was silky to buttery with a first note that was nutty to bitter green that opened up to sweet pea, with light floral and herbal notes (faint basil), with a hint of brightness that was slightly fruity hinting at orange. A light astringency created a fresh and sparkling sensation in the mouth. There was a sweet green, floral aftertaste that lingers. A lower temperature and a little less leaf might reduce the astringency and increase the focus on the teas sweetness. The Wet leaf smelled of chestnuts.

The tea has enough body and depth to the flavour that it is a nice green to take into winter. It had a nice level of caffeine that left me feeling pleasantly alert.

After a 60s brew the tea smelt of sweet floral spice with chestnut underneath. It tasted very sweet at first and was creamy and silky opening up to bright freshness, with a sweet fresh green note (like eating green pea pods) with fruit notes merging into a floral orange blossom note. Chestnut was lightly present underneath. The floral fruity green aftertaste lingers. The tea scent had floral, herbal, green notes as it cooled.

Later steeps (70, 80, 90, 110s) had a sweet floral scent and tasted of plum, orange, light bitter green, floral and chestnut notes.

This particular tea is from Hunan, China and was provided as a very generous and much appreciated sample by Capital Tea Ltd http://www.capitaltea.com/shop/product.php?productid=225&cat=5&page=1 . I look forward to future experimentation with this tea and am definitely interested in purchasing some more once I work through at least one of the greens I currently have in my cupboard.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Doug F

Thanks for very informative review.

Sil

I may need to give this one a shot – see if it’s a green i can get behind :)

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92
drank Taurus by Nina's Paris
380 tasting notes

I’ve bee sitting on this sample for a little while because I wanted to be able to do it justice and finally my sense of taste is returning to normal after a summer of weird allergies and minor illnesses. ..

Nina’s Gemini remains one of the best Rooibos Teas I have tasted. One, strawberry often complements and blends well with some of the characteristic flavours of rooibos and two, it’s combination of sweet and tart, with vanilla cream is executed wonderfully. So I was excited to try another strawberry rooibos from Nina’s, thanks again for the sample!

This nice reddish orange tea smells of bright strawberry ( a bit like cooked strawberry mixed with fresh ripe berries ), cream, and a touch of heaviness from the rooibos. However it does not smell woody or medicinal like rooibos sometimes can. It tastes of cream with strawberries mixed with compote and a hint of fresh banana which I think is a result of the rooibos. It’s Very good. The second steep tastes of vanilla scented cream with strawberries with a slight rooibos tang. The aftertaste is of fresh strawberries. I still prefer Gemini over this one, but this is very good.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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77
drank Rose Mango by Utopia Tea
380 tasting notes

This tea would certainly be a nice tea to have in summer as it is bright and citrusy, and at times references hard candy and bubble gum to me before opening into a bright floral rose.

The dry leaf smells kind of like tart candy and contains a blend of teas (with green tea most apparent) some rose buds and is scattered with a few pieces of dried buds.

The brewing instructions in the package suggest brewing it for two to three minutes at boiling. I used water at the higher end of the scale that I use for greens and brewed for about a minute and a half, and the tea was slightly bitter and a little astringent, so I suggest using lower temperatures and brewing for shorter time periods. The flavouring is quite strong and I don’t think that you would miss much by using shorter brew times.

However once brewed the tea smelled very fruity, with citrus, mixed with an under ripe mango, combined with rose, and that sweet fruity spicy smell of some green teas.

The tea despite its slight bitterness tasted refreshing and bright, with lemon citrus over a peach mango mixed with lemony rose spice. The base tea flavour was relatively hidden, though It might be contributing to both the fruitiness and the spice. The nice bright flavour, does remind me of the flavour of some hard candies but in a pleasant way.

The second steep was brewed at a lower temperature and was less bitter. The rose and fruit had a flavour that referenced some old
fashioned bubble gums at first than expanded strongly into the flavour of fresh bright rose.

Thanks Utopia tea for including this tea as a gift with my order!

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85

East Frisianites would make great members of Steepster if this article is to be believed
http://germanfood.about.com/od/drinks/tp/German-Tea.htm

as the average consumption of tea per year is 5.51b per person.

This tea was quite satisfying today. It had a nice body and an interesting variety of flavours and an interesting softness to it even without the recommended cream.

The dry leaf is quite pretty with a nice blend of bop scattered with golden buds. After 2.5 minutes, It brewed up to a deep copper colour that deepened to rosewood with a full cup that smelled of fruit, biscuit, malt and cocoa.

Flavour wise, My initial impressions of this tea were a smooth, floral, hay, combined with white chocolate notes melding into malt and biscuit,
with top note of fruit. I could see how a rich cream could go nice with this. I would love to try it with an unsweetened double cream (one of my favourite foods I had in Ireland), the floral chocolate notes would meld perfectly with it. The initial note is light and soft, and the tea finishes with deeper rich notes of fruit and malt. There is a hint of spice and chocolate in the aftertaste with
just enough astringency for it to taste refreshing. quite nice!.

I tried a second steep with the recommended sugar and this really brought out the berry notes of the Ceylon in the blend followed by floral notes.

This is a really nice everyday tea that I quite enjoyed. Thanks to the generosity of Nicole I have several more cups to look forward to!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Anna

I enjoyed the article – thanks for linking. I was told the other week that nearly all the tea sold in Sweden is imported from Germany – yet, German tourists make up the biggest consumer group out of all tourists when it comes to “Swedish” tea.

Mmm, double cream. This tasting note makes me want to eat things.

Nicole

Thanks for the article. :)

yyz

I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again for the tea again Nicole!

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