635 Tasting Notes

85

1.5 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped five minutes, drunk plain.

Picking date: 10 July 2020.

Okay, first off, I’m super-impressed that Teabox puts the picking date on their packaging.

Another gorgeous copper liquor. Aromas of flowers, caramel, figs and maybe dark plums, and a very faint scent of leather. Malty but overly tannic — very soft for an Assam, in fact. No bitterness. Smooth, with a slightly astringent finish. I really dig the raisiny, stone fruit notes here.

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85

2 tsp for 250mL water @90C, steeped five minutes, as per recommendation on packet. Drunk plain.

Picking date: 29 July 2020.

Dry leaf: small and twisted dark brown leaves with some amber.

Wet leaf: Light and dark brown with a few twigs.

Liquor: medium copper, just gorgeous in a clear glass mug. Aroma gives up raisins, berries, and florals, as promised. Malty but no strip-your-mouth-dry astringent. It tastes … deep. I know that sounds silly, but I feel like this tea has ancestry and history. Not bitter. Some honey notes. I love it.

gmathis

Tea with a backstory. Love it.

Michelle Butler Hallett

The Chubwa estate is something like 180 years old, one of the first British-planted tea gardens in India. It’s a lovely Assam.

gmathis

Thanks for sharing the link—what a nice little sneak peek into plantation life! (I will never cease to be entertained and fascinated by Indian tea estate names!)

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90

1.25tsp for 250mL water @ @100C, steeped 4 minutes.

Dry leaf: lots of long and wiry brown leaves, small dark copper leaves, a few flecks of dull green. Aroma: toast , earth.

Wet leaf: brown, bright copper, dark green. Aroma: Ceylon copper.

Liquor: very dark reddish brown

Slightly sweet with some mineral notes on a four-minute steep. Toasty Keemun and bright mineral Ceylon work very well together. A favourite blend.

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75

1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped 8 minutes.

It takes a while to get many tisanes to taste of anything at all, and the risk with a long steep and a fruit tisane from Celestial Seasonings is giving space for that bully, hibiscus.

In this blend, hibiscus is fairly far down the ingredients list. Rosehips shine here, and the peach aroma is quite convincing, if the flavour a little less so. Still, I really like it, and it’s definitely cheap to buy and easy to make. I think I’ll toss a bag of this into a pot of steeping black tea and see what I get.

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80

1 bag for 250mL water @100C, steeped 4-7 minutes. Sometimes I just leave the bag in.

An old favourite form university days. A rare fruit tisane that does not just smack me upside the head with hibiscus — Celestial Seasonings relies way too much on hibiscus — though the dreaded H is in there. Still, this is a gorgeous tisane, with the orange and spices able to stand up to the hibiscus and make it behave. I really dig the cloves and coriander here. Strong and comforting. One caveat: like many tisanes, it needs a fairly long steep to taste of anything at all.

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95

1.25 tsp for 330mL water @90C, steeped Western style 3 minutes — because sometimes I;m greedy with oolong. First infusion.

Oh
my
GAWD, this is good! I adore tieguanyins, and once again, Master Zhang shows us how it’s done. This is beautifully floral, of course, but there’s also lots of fruit notes — like dragonfruit and lychee and peach — and a tingle almost, which is very refreshing but could become a bit soapy if steeped too long. Lesson learned: I’ll make this gong fu next time. It’s deeper than a spring tieguanyin. Crisp mineral notes. Fruit and flowers dominate. Just gorgeous.

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85

4.5 tsp for 1L water @85C, steeped 3 minutes.

Dry leaf: lots of big, unfurled leaves, light and dark green, plus bits of dried fruit and some red and white blossoms (pomegranate and sunflower). Strong scent of papaya that sort of resembles peach. Sort of.

Wet leaf: dark green, slightly less-scented.

Liquor: bronze. Dark for a white tea.

So the dried fruit is mango, papaya, and pineapple coated in sugar and citric acid. There’s also “natural flavours.” Don’t be frightened off — this one works. The scent is a bit strong on the first steep and may lessen on a second. Lots of peach-like taste, though I can tell it’s not peaches. Decent white-tea taste as well, with lots of tea oils released into the water. Very nice mouth-feel.

While this is not a tea I’d want every day, it does deliver a peachy aroma and taste, and the flavouring does not overpower the white tea.

I’ve had this tea before and steeped it too long then. Treat this one delicately, no warmer than 85C on the water and a short steep, and you should get a pleasantly peachy white tea. With hotter water or a long steep time, this blend can get bitter fast.

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1 sachet for 275mL water @100C, steeped 5 minutes, evaporated milk added.

A decent ‘breakfast’ blend, though not worth the premium price charged. Stands up reasonably well to a teaspoon of thick and creamy evaporated milk … but could be stronger. It does have an unexpected and most welcome floral-bread scent. If I had to guess, I’d say this blend is Nilgiri-heavy, with some heft but no depth and very little maltiness.

Shae

I’ve never tried evaporated milk in my tea, but now I think I need to!

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85

2.5 tsp for 400mL water @90C, steeped four minutes Western-style.

First, I have too much leaf here. Second, the water temp is too damn hot. I’ve got scalded and bitter tea here. Bleah.

Still, I can taste a ghost of the lovely sample I tried at a DavidsTea yesterday, which was between a quangzhou milk and a tieguanyin. The DT staff tell me it stands up to multiple steeps and gets more floral with each re-steep.

Okay, as it cools, it’s improving. Definitely gonna use water at 85C next time. Can’t wait to try it gongfu.

This is a pricy tea almost $16 for 50 grams, but I think it’s well worth trying if you’re a fan of milky and floral oolongs.

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15

1.25 tsp for 250mL: water @95C, steeped 4 minutes.

UPDATE: I couldn’t finish drinking this tea. It’s like drinking heartburn.

Dry leaf: dark greenish black with many visible chunks of ginger and cardamon. Sneeze-worthy spicy scent.

Wet leaf: very little tea. Mostly chunks of spice and cocoa shells.

Liquor: cloudy brown. Most unappealing.

Aroma: assertive ginger, cinnamon , and caradmom. Everyone in my office wants to know what I’m drinking.

Flavour: well now! That’s some hot ginger and cinnamon. I quite like it. Very subtle earthiness in the finish from the pu ehr. Thin-bodied tea, not much heft or mouthfeel, We’ll see later what effect the guarana has.

I loved the old Chai Guarana, made with a black tea base. It was one of DavidTea’s more interesting blends. Like most of my DT favourites, it’s long since been been continued. (Oh, what I wouldn’t give for Super Chocolate to come back!) In fact. DavidsTea’s deplorable habit of offering a truly interesting tea or tisane and then withdrawing it is one of the reasons I hardly ever shop there anymore.

This blend’s decent for a spice hit, If you don’t mind not getting much actual tea, this should work for you.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Update: I can’t finish it. It’s triggering heartburn and frankly feels like heartburn when I swallow it.

Kiki tea

oh. ugh.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Yep. It’s a disaster. My stomach is still burning. Way too much ginger and cassia oil.

Which bring me to a frequent complaint I have about DT blends: WHERE’S THE TEA?

Sil

@michelle….and that’s why I don’t bother with DT anymore.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Right? When I first became a DT customer about 10 years ago, ordering online because my city didn’t have a store, I was so excited. And they offered a decent range of straight teas,And the blends I tried had plenty of tea in them.

Now it seems DT is much more about blends, and blends that are full of bits of dehydrated food, very little tea.

Kiki tea

when they started, i had such hope. then they served me tea to stay in a cardboard cup and added milk to the tea without letting it steep. sigh. i call them the soda pop of teas.

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Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of CONSTANT NOBODY, THIS MARLOWE, DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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