1466 Tasting Notes
Yay this is the last tea from my Den’s novice sampler. Gotta try ‘em all! I was pretty excited for this one since I really liked the tea bag version that was also included. The dry tea is a mixture of long, rough-looking, flat leaves with toasted rice and all of it is coated in matcha. The popped rice visually reminds me of Nerds candy and there was one huge piece that I totally considered eating, and I would have if it hadn’t been covered in matcha. The smell is not nearly as strong as I suspected it would be. It’s a light matcha scent and little hint of hay. I brewed it at 175 degrees for one minute.
The aroma of this tea is fantastic! It’s super toasty-smelling. On a short sniff, I don’t get any other smell. If I take a long sniff, I start to get the vegetal scent at the end. Smelling this tea made my mouth water. When I taste it, I get a lot of toasted rice flavor which is amazing. In the middle of the sip, there’s that slightly spinachy green tea taste along with a slightly sweeter hint from the matcha. The aftertaste is all amazing roastiness with a touch of spinach. This tea is very savory, it’s almost like eating instead of drinking. I love it so much!
Based on this, I think I really need to try some bancha! Sooooooon.
Flavors: Spinach, Toasted Rice, Vegetal
This tea is from my swap with Arshness.
The dry leaf is a varied mixture of chamomile blossoms, rooibos, oolong balls, and some dried orange peel. It didn’t have much of a smell – I could catch some chamomile and orange but not a lot else.
I actually had this one twice. The first time I did a heaping teaspoon and I felt the tea didn’t really taste like anything. There was a little bit of chamomile and orange but it mostly tasted like lightly flavored hot water.
So the second time I did two teaspoons for the same time and same amount of water. It’s much better this time. Still kind of lightly flavored, and a little bit bitter (I guess because of the oolong when using so much tea). I added sugar which made it easier to drink. I taste chamomile immediately when drinking, then I get orange and vanilla with a bit of woody rooibos. I don’t get much oolong aside from a strong bitter aftertaste. I’m not sure whether this tea was a little old and that’s why it’s so lightly flavored or if that’s just the way it’s meant to be. Either way, not a huge fan…
Flavors: Floral, Orange, Rooibos, Vanilla, Wood
Another tea from my Den’s sampler! The dry tea is medium brown leaves and stems with some broken leaves mixed in. It smells like toasted nuts or grains. Yum, I love toasty teas! I steeped this for two minutes.
The brewed tea smells, unsurprisingly, very toasty. There is also a smell that reminds me of piles of dried leaves in the fall, and a hint of grassiness. I was a little bit surprised that the first thing I tasted with my first sip was bean sprouts. However, this quickly changed to the toasted grains and autumn leaves flavors I was expecting. It’s interesting that there is still a manifestation of green here even though this is obviously heavily roasted. For some reason, this tea made my mouth feel grainy or dusty or something. I wouldn’t really call it astringency but I’m not sure what caused it. Overall, a very tasty tea and I could see this being good with milk. I may try steeping this for longer or with more tea for an even stronger toasty flavor.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grain, Toasted Rice
This is my second loose sencha from my Den’s novice sampler. The loose leaves are long and slender and a beautiful rich green color. They smell very sweet and vegetal, mostly spinach. I brewed a teaspoon of leaves for one minute.
The brewed tea smells similar to the leaves, like sweet steamed spinach. At first sip, I was very surprised by the strength of the brew, even though I only steeped one minute. The same flavors that were in the other sencha are present in this one, but in different amounts. It has the same steamed spinachy flavor but there is much more sweetness here and a strong sweet grass note. The squash is there but less so, and there is no bitterness, there is a sweet aftertaste instead. Overall, this sencha is much stronger in flavor, with a deeper spinach flavor and more sweetness. I think I actually prefer the cheaper version. Maybe I’ll be a bancha kind of person. :P
Flavors: Grass, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
This is the last sample I chose from Whispering Pines. I was feeling brave today! What I mean is, the smell of this tea is very intimidating and I was nervous to try it the first time I opened it to take a whiff. It’s like sniffing a campfire. There is such an extreme smoke aroma to the dry tea, along with a hint of pine and herbs. It’s very lovely to look at – a mix of black tea leaves, cloves, a little bit of rooibos, and these lovely straw-colored dried stalks that I can only assume are cedar leaves. I brewed 1.5 tsp for 5 minutes.
The brewed tea also smelled very smoky, although less so than the dry leaf. There was also an aroma of black tea, cedar, and a little bit of clove. I was getting more and more excited to try this unique tea. I was surprised to find that I really enjoy this tea – it is quite smoky but in a lovely way. At the beginning of the sip I get mostly smoke and earth. In the middle it transformed into woody cedar and pine notes, and at the end of the sip I caught hints of clove and a light cooling sensation from the pine. There is definitely a lingering smokiness that stays on the palate long after drinking. It doesn’t sound that pleasant, but it is. Two thumbs up for such a unique and tasty blend! I really can’t wait to try their S’mores tea, I was sad that it wasn’t on the sample list. Soon! :)
Flavors: Cedar, Clove, Earth, Pine, Smoke
This was a tea from my swap with Arshness, aka Miss Adagio. ;) The dry leaf looks like generic black tea with a few crushed leaves (apparently they’re raspberry leaves). Mine didn’t have any dried blueberries like the picture does. Dry, it smelled vaguely blueberryish. I steeped it for 3 minutes.
The brewed tea has a lovely genuine blueberry smell. Tastewise, I am a bit disappointed with this one. The level of blueberry is good, it’s not too strong but very present, however I do not enjoy the tea base at all. I’m not sure if this is because it’s a decaf version, but the black tea is very nondescript with a very one-note generic “black tea” taste. Sad face. Thanks Arshness for the sample. :D
This is the second sample I ordered from Whispering Pines. After seeing how popular and well-liked it is around these parts, I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about. The dry leaf is a mixture of black and golden leaves. I know there’s vanilla bean in here but I think it’s camouflaged among the black leaves. It smells just like hot chocolate mix to me! Very creamy milk chocolate with vanilla sweetness akin to marshmallows. Oh, and I steeped 1.5 tsp for 3 minutes.
The brewed tea smells delicious! Like deep, sultry vanilla mixed with dark cocoa and notes of caramel sweetness. I can see why everyone loves this tea! There is a very present cocoa taste that hits me first when I take a sip. The vanilla is there but more subdued than I expected (I read in a recent note that the presence of chocolate can cause us to not notice vanilla as much, maybe this is the case). I also taste warm freshly baked bread (maybe a sweet, rich bread like brioche or challah). I never really knew what “malty” meant in tea descriptions, but I think I can taste it in this tea, especially in the aftertaste – sort of a rich almost sourness but in a pleasant way, like yeast dough or dark beer. I would describe it as foamy. :P I drank the second half of this cup with a wee bit of sugar and I thought it helped the vanilla immensely (sorry all you purists). I’m not really sure I’m qualified to rate this tea but it was super delicious, so too bad! Aww, it’s all gone…
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Malt, Vanilla
This is the sample that was included with my recent Della Terra order. First off, mine looks nothing like the picture. There aren’t any flower petals or sugar pearls. It looks like dark tea leaves (puerh looks very similar to black to me) with some little brown dried fruit bits and one giant piece of freeze-dried strawberry. I broke the strawberry apart and mixed it in. There are also a few small cubes of some fruit – could be pineapple. The dry tea smells very fruity. It has a very tart strawberry mixed with some other fruit that could be pineapple or peach. I also get a little bit of vanilla and some mustiness in the back. I’ve never had a puerh before so this could be interesting. I steeped it for 4 minutes.
The brewed tea smells like musty earth and wood with a little vanilla and maybe a tiny hint of strawberry in the back. I drank the first half of the cup unsweetened and I found it very odd, though not unpleasant. There is a distinct taste of ash and musty earth and wood. I don’t really get any vanilla but I do get a little taste of fruitiness in the background. I added a little bit of sugar (half teaspoon maybe) and it definitely brought out the fruit and the vanilla a bit more.
I assume that earthy and woody taste is typical of a puerh just from reading about others’ experiences with them on here. I was just happy that I didn’t get any fishiness in the smell or taste! I realize this is most likely not super-fantastic puerh considering Della Terra is known for their dessert and flavored teas and not their tea base. I would definitely be open to trying puerh again though! :)
Flavors: Ash, Earth, Musty, Strawberry, Wood
This was one of the samples that I ordered from Whispering Pines. It smells totally amazing – like cinnamon and berry and baked apples. Yummy! I did the recommended 1.5 tsp for 5 minutes.
I actually made this twice. My first try was last night, and I thought the tea came out very weak for my tastes. So I put off writing anything about it until I tried it again today. So I made it again in the same way (the sample was just enough for two cups) hoping it would come out differently. However, it still tastes very weak to me. Reading through the other reviews of this tea, I can’t help but feel like I somehow did something wrong. I wanted to love this tea so much, I really love the smell of it. I think I’ll have to buy some in the future and try it again, just to see if this was a fluke…
I got two senchas in my Den’s novice sampler. I decided to try this one first since it’s the… I don’t know whether to say “lower-grade” but it’s the less expensive of the two. I must say, I’m very pleasantly surprised by the volume of these loose samples. There’s enough for at least 3 or 4 cups in here! The dry leaf smells like a mixture of dried and cut grass, but it’s also very sweet and almost creamy-smelling as well. I brewed one teaspoon of leaves for 1 minute.
The aroma of the brewed tea is very distinctly vegetal. I catch mostly scents of steamed spinach and butternut squash with grassy notes blended in. There is still a hint of sweetness. This tea tastes quite vegetal as well – still maintaining that steamed spinach flavor mixed with a nice grassiness. At the end of the sip, there is a pleasant bitterness which mixes very well with a note of butternut squash or pumpkin. I was shocked to find that neither squash nor pumpkin are options when choosing flavors! I did send a suggestion to add these two to the list. Overall, I found this tea quite delicious and I’m glad I have more of it, and I’m excited to try the other variety from Den’s.
Flavors: Grass, Spinach, Vegetal