111 Tasting Notes

drank Campfire Blend by Verdant Tea
111 tasting notes

Aww, I’m sad to be finishing off this sample! This is a tasty herbal blend, and really unique. It has a similar flavor to Verdant’s Citrus Spice, minus the black tea. A creamy mix of citrus and vanilla, but it’s the spices that make it interesting. There are some sweet -tasting ingredients here (cinnamon, carob, elderberries). But there’s also coriander and ginger, which give it an almost savory undertone. And the flavor is stronger than I expected, given that some herbals can turn out a bit watery. It’s almost like drinking a combination of spice tea and chicken noodle soup. And it’s delicious!

Cozy, comforting, and caffeine-free. I’m seriously tempted to order more of this, even though my cupboard is way overcrowded—if only because I need more caffeine-free blends in my life.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
111 tasting notes

Wow, this tea is so flavorful! There’s a definite roasted taste here, which I really enjoy. I can also taste some of the cocoa note mentioned on Verdant’s site description. That said, it’s not a sweet tea. Instead it’s really savory, with strong malty notes and a delicious aroma that’s especially potent with the first few cups. Later steepings were a bit lighter, with notes of raisin. I steeped my sample at least five times (Western style, but short steeps), and each cup was tasty.

This tea is impressive, with lots of staying power. I can see why everyone raves about it! I’m glad I’ll be drinking more of it in the form of Laoshan Village Chai—but I may have to order some of it plain in the near future, too.

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This was an unexpected treat! My sister bought a tin of this tea at Barnes and Noble, and graciously allowed me to try a cup with her tonight. (I’ve been converting her to the ways of tea, slowly but surely.) White Christmas is a white tea with almond and vanilla flavor, plus cardamom and a little chamomile. I tried to err on the side of under-steeping it, since my sister doesn’t like bitterness in her tea. And I think it turned out well!

As you may know, fellow Steepster users, I love spicy teas. So I tend to be a fan of holiday blends with lots of spice. Oddly enough, what I like about this tea is that it isn’t especially spicy. Instead it’s sweet, with lots of almond and vanilla (and just enough kick from the almond and the cardamom to give it a little warmth). It’s a nice change from all the cinnamon and clove in the holiday blends I’ve tried.

And I love the white tea base, too. It’s light and gentle and goes well with the sweet flavors. The second steep of this tea wasn’t quite as delicious as the first, but I still enjoyed the muted flavors (and the chamomile became more noticeable, which I liked). Something about it even tasted a little minty, but I think that was the combination of chamomile and almond? It gave the blend a even more wintry feel, in any case. This tea tastes like standing outside on a cold winter night and taking a bite out of a slice of almond cake. I might have to beg my sister to let me borrow a few more sachets!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This is a really lovely oolong from Verdant. I found the flavor profile unusual, at least in my tea experience so far… Most of the oolongs I’ve tried are either green/orchid/floral or roasted/peach/orchid in terms of flavor. But this oolong is very smooth and creamy, and tastes strongly of oak. I can taste a subtle note of vanilla, almost more of a texture than a taste. There’s a bit of a nutty quality too, but the oak is the most dominant.

Incidentally, I steeped this tea according to the “Western” parameters on Verdant’s website. I have to say, I really like how their teas taste with the extra-short steeping times. (Just 30 seconds for the first steep, then adding 15 seconds for each cup afterward.) I have to use a lot of leaf, about a tablespoon or so, but it’s worth it. The tea turns out so flavorful and smooth, and it seems like it’s easier for me to pick out the interesting notes.

Anyway, this is a delicious and sophisticated oolong! I’m glad I had the chance to try it as part of their 5 for 5 sampler, and to expand my experience with tea. I’d never tried a Big Red Robe oolong before, and I have to say, I’m intrigued. Too bad I’ve already finished off my sample! Perhaps I’ll order more soon?

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Backlog from the past few days! Hmm, I had mixed feelings on this blend. Initially, I was tasting a lot of citrus notes, which I enjoy in a black tea. So it seemed like the Ceylon part of the blend was dominant, at least at first. Once I started eating the scone I bought to go with it, however, the taste profile changed pretty dramatically. I think the Keemun took over, because there was this dark leathery flavor that overwhelmed the other two teas. I mean, I like Keemun when I’m in the mood for it! But since I was enjoying the citrus notes from before, I was kind of disappointed.

All things considered, I like this tea well enough on its own. But if I plan to pair it with a sweet food, I’d probably have to add milk and sugar to make it work for me.

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drank Orange & Ginger by Lupicia
111 tasting notes

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drank Cinnamon Heart by DAVIDsTEA
111 tasting notes

Sad to say, this tea was the loser in my DAVIDsTEA chai/spice taste-off… But that might be because it was competing with two more complex blends.The cinnamon here just tasted so flat and one-note, compared to the teas with more spices. And while I don’t hate pu-erh, this particular blend does have a slight fishy smell to it once it’s steeped, which was more noticeable alongside the other teas.

Still, the cinnamon flavor does resemble those candy cinnamon hearts, which is cool. Maybe I’ll try it again in a month or two, to see if I’ve changed my mind, then decide what to do with the rest. It’s getting pretty old, so I don’t want to keep it much longer if it’s just going to take up space in my cupboard.

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drank Bollywood Chai by DAVIDsTEA
111 tasting notes

Had a DAVIDsTEA chai taste-off today! I have a bunch of chai and spice teas from DAVIDs, so I thought I’d compare a few and see which I like best. For some reason, this one ended up being the frontrunner… Not what I expected, since I remember being pretty indifferent the first time I tried it. I think it might be because the black tea base is on the lighter side, which seems to match my mood today? Also, the flavors are very balanced.

There’s a little sweetness from the vanilla and the candied fennel, which also adds a slight cooling note. And none of the spices are too dominant. There’s cinnamon and ginger and cardamom here, all equally noticeable and very warming. (Unlike today’s cup of Saigon Chai, which ended up being a cinnamon bomb! But I may have overstepped that one; I’ll have to give it another chance when I’m in the mood for a heavier chai.)

Anyway, I don’t have much of this tea left, but it was a pleasant surprise for today. (I’ll be honest, though… I’m really looking forward to getting my tin of Laoshan Village Chai from Verdant! That one is delicious, and exactly what I like in a chai. It’s spoiled me!)

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I’ve been sampling a lot of Verdant’s teas over the past few days (in a frantic attempt to decide what to order for their Black Friday deals!). This was one of the teas in my 5 for 5 sampler. It’s a very classic oolong, on the greener side. The strongest note I noticed in the aroma was floral; I often compare a note like this to orchid, but Verdant’s comparison of lilac works well. The liquor was a beautiful pale green, and the taste was light and creamy, with a very similar floral note coming through in the sip and in the aftertaste. (There was also a subtle hint of something juicy beneath the floral notes, maybe a slightly citrus tang?) I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to, because I’m such a newbie when it comes to appreciating the greener oolongs.

I won’t be ordering more of this particular tea just yet, since I think I’d be better able to appreciate it in the spring or summer. (I tend to be on a roasted oolong kick this time of year.) But this is a lovely tea. It makes me want to explore Tieguanyin more in the future!

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I’m a writer who drinks tea to survive the creative process. A few years ago, I discovered the joys of loose leaf, and I’ve been hoarding all kinds of tea ever since!

My favorite teas change by the day. I usually drink them unsweetened, without milk. I like white and green teas, but I tend to prefer black and oolong these days. Rooibos can be hit-or-miss, same with herbals. (I mostly avoid blends with hibiscus, as I find it too tart, and I’m not a huge mint fan.) But I love when I find a good herbal that I can enjoy when I don’t want caffeine. I’m actively searching for tasty blends with chamomile in them.

I enjoy both flavored and straight teas. Some of my favorite flavors are vanilla, spice, apple, orange, chocolate, and peach. I’m obsessed with ginger. Seriously. I’ve been known to add extra ginger to teas that already have absurd amounts of spice in them. You’ve been warned. ;)





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