972 Tasting Notes
This one came from mj, and I’ve had it for a little while. Tonight I was craving some hot chocolate, so I thought I’d give it a try! Dry, it looks like a course milk chocolate-colored sand. It’s a mixture of larger, darker, flaky pieces with smaller, lighter, more powdery looking granules. Dry, it smells amazing, just like hot chocolate. I let my cup steep for 10 minutes.
Whew, this is rather intense. It’s definitely strong dark chocolate flavor, but I had a hard time drinking it straight, so I added some sugar to my cup. I would be curious to see how this comes out if you try to steep it in soy milk instead of water (I have a sample of Maracaibo so I may have to try that). I can definitely taste a touch of cinnamon warmth. I’m unsure whether I can taste coconut, but I have a feeling the flavor notes described on the different varieties will be hard to find unless they’re all tasted beside each other. Overall, a good substitute for hot chocolate, but since I added sugar to mine anyway I don’t suppose it’s any better for me. :P
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate
This sample came from boychik (and originally, from CharlotteZero). This tea is based on a type of French candy which is made of a paste of candied fruit and almonds covered in a layer of royal icing. Sounds delicious! The tea itself is a red rooibos base, and there are pieces of sliced almonds, cacao shells, and perhaps some kind of dried fruit mixed in. Dry scent is both sweet almond and tart fruit, possibly apples.
Once the tea is steeped, the rooibos aroma is fairly strong, but I can definitely smell sweet almond/icing along with the cacao shells and perhaps a touch of cinnamon. Hm, this one doesn’t taste like much, unfortunately. I don’t know the age of this sample but I assume it’s fairly old since it’s had three owners. There’s a little bit of almond in there, but even the rooibos flavor is weak. I tried letting it cool and it didn’t seem to help much.
Withholding rating on this one, as I think the age of my samples has affected the flavor.
Flavors: Almond, Cocoa, Rooibos
Another sample from TeaTiff (sorry it’s taking me so long to try them!). Apricots are one of my favorite fruits, so I’m surprised I haven’t tried more apricot-flavored teas – I know Harney has one among other companies. The dry leaves of this tea are small and very dark, and there’s nothing mixed in. They smell strongly of sweet apricot, yum!
Once steeped, the apricot aroma is unfortunately a bit lessened. I can also smell the malt of the black base. The flavor is good, but honestly I could go for a little more apricot presence. It’s more of a subtle apricot among a mild, mellow, somewhat malty black base. I’m sure a touch of sugar would help bring out the apricot flavor, but I will not be tempted! If anyone has a good, strongly-flavored apricot tea recommendation, I’d love to hear it. :)
Flavors: Apricot, Malt, Peach, Smooth, Sweet
This was a sample from TeaTiff. The leaves are very small and somewhat broken, and almost black in color. There are a few ivory-colored flower petals mixed in along with a few other bits and bobs that I can’t identify. Dry scent is vaguely sweet and dessert-y, I can pick out almond but not necessarily chocolate.
Mm, aroma! Steeped, this tea smells heavily of cream along with some almond and orange. This tea is almost creamsicle-y, but with more emphasis on the cream than the orange. I’m not really getting any chocolate, but there’s definitely an almond pastry flavor, which is quite lovely. This tea brings to mind some kind of orange and almond-flavored tea cake with glaze. I’m sure a touch of sugar would bring out the dessert flavors even more.
Flavors: Almond, Cream, Malt, Orange, Pastries
Another one from cookies! I know she was anxious to be the first person to review this one, and it’s such an unusual tea and not what she expected. So I’m going to try it too and see how it tastes to me! The tea leaves themselves are rather small (I looked on DTH’s website to see what kind of tea it is, but all it said was “Chinese”) and they’re very dark, almost jet black in color. There are little shiny brown barley grains mixed in throughout, and they’re quite cute. Dry scent is rich and roasty and reminds me of coffee, with a surprising sweetness.
Wow, it smells even sweeter when it’s steeped up! There are also roasty and woody aromas here, and perhaps even vanilla? Such an interesting and unusual tea… There’s definitely a strong roasted grains flavor combined with a sweet woodiness that reminds me of bourbon vanilla. In the beginning on the sip, there’s something that tastes like green beans with bacon to me. There’s a little touch of roasty bitterness that’s very reminiscent of coffee, which I’ve found in the flavored barley teas I’ve tried as well. I wonder what the base tea tastes like by itself, as all the flavors here are rather unusual!
Flavors: Coffee, Grain, Green Beans, Oak wood, Peanut, Roasted, Sweet, Vanilla
This sample is from cookies. She was very impressed with it and offered to send samples, which of course I took her up on. Hooray swaps! The leaves of this tea are somewhat long and quite twisty, and they’re mostly black with some medium brown places. The package smells a bit like lychee from the lychee tea that was also in the swap, but I’m not complaining. Smells yummy! :P
Steeped, this tea smells quite rich. It definitely has wheat bread notes, but there are also smoked meat and dark caramel scents. Hm, this is a very savory tea for me. It’s quite malty with strong bread and smoked meats flavors, as well as some sort of roasty presence. It has that thick mouthfeel that I find to be fairly typical of Yunnan teas, and just the smallest hint of stonefruits and honey. There’s a little touch of some sort of savory spice or herb that I can’t quite identify, but it seems to be somewhere between dill and something else. Overall, tasty, thanks cookies!
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Herbs, Honey, Meat, Roasted, Smoked, Thick
This sample came from my swap with Sil. I haven’t tried many maple teas, and the ones I have tried have been extremely disappointing (I’m looking at you, Maple Sugar from David’s). However, as maple is one of my very favorite flavors, I’ll always be willing to try more. This tea has small black leaves mixed with shards of cinnamon bark, yellow petals, and what look to be pieces of popcorn. Dry scent is definitely sweet, although I would call it closer to caramel than maple, with a touch of cinnamon.
The cinnamon is definitely the strongest aroma in the cup, although thankfully it smells more like the spice than the usual candy variety. I can also smell maple, which is lovely, as well as some buttery caramel notes. Taste-wise, the flavoring is fairly mild here. There’s definitely a bit of cinnamon as well as a buttery, creamy caramel-esque flavor. The maple is there as well, but it lingers in the background, supporting the other flavors. I’m sure a touch of sugar would help to bring out all of these notes, but I’m trying to stay away from the stuff at the moment! Overall, quite tasty but I could use just a touch more maple.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Maple, Sweet
This one came from Dexter! I’m really hoping this pineapple oolong won’t be as disappointing as Lupicia’s version was to me. Please be juicy and pineapple-y! The oolong itself is a medium green with some yellow tones, and it’s a mixture of some tightly-rolled pellets and some unrolled pieces. There are also chunks of what looks to be candied pineapple along with a few pieces of dried apricot. The dry scent is encouraging, I can smell sweet and tangy pineapple quite clearly.
The steeped tea smells very pineapple-y, I’m excited! Hm, this is pretty good. The pineapple flavor isn’t quite as strong as I would like, and, to be honest, it reminds me of pineapple gummy bears. But I like pineapple gummy bears! There’s not really much depth of flavor here, and I don’t taste the oolong much, it’s mostly there as a textural element. Not bad, but not great.
Flavors: Candy, Creamy, Pineapple, Sweet, Thick
This is the second of my free oolong samples from TeaVivre. I must say, I am somewhat perplexed by the naming of tie guan yin teas. I find it hard to know which ones are roasted and which aren’t, as well as the level of oxidation. Oh well! I can tell this one is roasted by the color and scent of the dry leaves. The pellets are very irregular and seem loosely rolled, and the color is a medium green/brown. Dry scent reminds me of roasted grains and has a touch of sweetness and grassiness.
Once steeped, this tea’s aroma is heavenly. I am definitely reminded of Gui Fei. There’s a rich roasty aroma along with sweet apple notes. Mm, this tea is so comforting. The main event is the soft, but rich flavor of roasted grain or leaves. Then there’s a lovely sweet element that vaguely reminds me of golden delicious apples combined with wildflower honey. The sweetness lingers into the aftertaste where it’s joined by the lightest, most refreshing floral element and a hint of roasty flavor. Yum, I’m in love!
Flavors: Apple, Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Grain, Grass, Honey, Roasted, Toasted Rice
Another one from cookies! I’m excited to try this one, as I’ve heard good things about it from a few different people. I don’t have a ton of experience with lychee, but I really liked the Lychee Barley from Lupicia so I’m intent on trying more lychee-flavored teas! These pearls are about a centimeter in diameter, and they’re more loosely rolled than other pearls I’ve seen. Dry scent is strong, sweet lychee! I used eight pearls for my 8 ounces of water.
The steeped tea also smells strongly of lychee, but it’s not overwhelming. I can smell some cocoa notes as well. Wow, there is a lot of lychee going on here, and it’s very tasty. I would describe lychee as being sweet, juicy, floral, and slightly musky. The base tea has nice cocoa and malt flavors, and a touch of wood. Tasty!
Flavors: Cocoa, Floral, Lychee, Malt, Sweet, Wood