London Tea Club

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Recent Tasting Notes

I think I’ve left this tea for too long which is very disappointing as it sounded so amazing but in the end smells fishy, tastes bitter and leaves an aftertaste of cigarette butts in my mouth… I seriously think this is my fault not the tea’s as the leaf I have is probably about 12 months old now… ok, next time I get my hands on some Sikkim I need to drink it immediately so I do the tea justice.

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Another sip down!

This tea is quite delicious! Again, its a little on the older side so I’m not sure what it was like fresh but its darn delicious right now! The jasmine is present in the exact perfect amount, not too subtle, not too in your face. I wasn’t sure about a Jasmine tea but the scent and flavor of this is delicious… feels like I’m drinking something delicate and exotic!

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Another older tea that I picked up back when I was a member of the London Tea Club… I really enjoyed the club and was a member for almost a year and although the tea’s were really good and quite diverse I cancelled due to the less than favorable exchange rate between the AUD and the GBP… This tea has managed to survive the ravages of time quite well… The cherry and almond flavors are still quite present although a little muted but to me, this just makes the tea more enjoyable… The addition of milk adds a creaminess which starts to remind me of warm cherry pie. Another sipdown which means one less tea in my cupboard!!

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91

It is with thanks to Red Fennekin that I may try this tea. I’m sorry for the 5 month wait before reviewing!

Good morning everyone, it’s 9:18am and already 23C and expecting to go over 30C. In other words, it’s too damn hot! I hate hot weather, the type of heat that you just sweat in and can do nothing to prevent it. I truly hate it. The only thing getting me passed it is the thought of hydrating myself spectacularly with copious amounts of tea.

This will be my first tea today so far.

Steeping Parameters:
Leaf – 5g
Water Temp – 90 C
Method: Gaiwan 100ml
Rinse: 5 seconds

The leaf is tightly wrapped into good size (around 4mm) balls that consist of deep brown and green colours with a subtle yellow tinge near the stem. They have a high gloss appearance and the stems almost look like golden tips.

Scent is thick with sweet grass, honey and cream notes. Very beautiful!

First Steep – 40 seconds
Pale yellow colour with a sweet honey, cream scent. Reminds me of sweetcorn and honeysuckle flowers.

Flavour is soft with grass, honey, cream, floral (honeysuckle, peony, gladiola) notes and a dry yet perfumed after taste. The pre rinse has truly opened up the leaves to unleash it’s beautiful flavours. Also I know gladiola may seem a little random but it was the first thing that really sprang to mind in terms of flowers so I wrote it down. Wonderful first steep.

Second Steep – 50 seconds
Still light in strength but has smoothed out a little in this steep. More grassy and dry and a touch less sweet. Still very floral and with dryness. Also would say it’s lightly toasted. Like fresh flowers and grass that have been dry toasted in a hot pan for thirty seconds.

Note: The after taste now starts to taste like sweetcorn. It’s sweet but also dry, fresh, juicy and lightly earthy.

Third Steep – 1 minute
Note – More yellow in colour but still remains light.

Light but with a stronger after taste than previous steeps. It starts sweet and mild but grows into thick grass with flowers and that touch of dryness that makes it almost perfumed. Also still getting a lot of cream notes but less toasted element.

Fourth Steep – 1 minute 15 seconds
Still a lot of flavour and very beautiful, fresh floral notes. Very smooth and well balanced, the dryness has not increased. I would also say I detect an element of fresh hay.

Fifth Steep – 1 minute 30 seconds
This is the first steep that actually has reduced strength and flavour. It no longer has sweetcorn or sweet grass notes, in fact the sweetness only remains through the flowers which still hold strongly. The cream however is still just as wonderful as the first steep. Also still smooth but an increase in dryness.

Sixth Steep – 2 minutes
A very light steep, all that remains is gladiola and cream with a dry finish.

This was a wonderful tea and I dare say one of the best Li Shan that I have had in a long time, perhaps even ever! To me this is what hot days are all about.

(ps. For those that follow me on Instagram there are a few pictures of this, before, during and after steep).
I also turned it into a blog post. http://www.kittylovestea.co.uk/2015/07/01/pussy-cat-pussy-cat-where-have-you-been-featuring-li-shan-oolong-review/

Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Hay, Honey, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
teatortoise

I could almost taste the tea. Very pleasantly thorough. I love honeysuckle and cream, but the thought of mixing in sweet grass… tantalizing.

Red Fennekin

:D! I’m really glad to hear that you liked it. I agree, too – it was one of the finest oolongs I’ve had.

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86

Surprisingly delicious! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when this tea arrived as part of my most recent London Tea Club monthly box but it definitely peaked my interest with the huge amount of lusciously fresh looking dried lemongrass, the bright orange pieces of safflower and chunks of what looks like a weird apple but is actually the bael fruit floating around together in the test tube.

Scent and taste wise I really can’t put my finger on this tea but there is a serious savory taste with a slight saltiness and a tiny touch of bitterness, I almost feel like I’m drinking soup stock but in a really really good way!! I have absolutely no idea how to describe this tea but I’m really enjoying it!!!

sren

A slightly salty cup and savory, too? Sounds interesting!

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87
drank Monks Blend by London Tea Club
217 tasting notes

I really do love London Tea Club! The club provides the cutest little samples test tubes that are big enough for one large pot or 2 cups of tea which is enough for me to get a good idea of the tea and doesn’t add to my ginormous stash already hidden in every nook and cranny of my house and office!!

I’ve never had a monks blend before so I was very interested to try this tea! When I first started drinking all those years ago I used always order a fire engines which is lemonade vodka and grenadine so this was kind of like going back to my roots but in tea form!

Happy to say this taste nothing like an alcoholic fire engine!! It does have some serious vanilla and pomegranate notes which is a super tasty and slightly unusual combination for me – I don’t think I’ve had another pomegranate tea!

Definitely another delicious win for the London Tea Company and something I will seriously consider restocking when I finally (if ever) get this stash under control!

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First tea from my second box and so far London Tea Club is 4/4 in my eyes! Love the fact that the lavender was sent separate to the tea test tube so you have the ability to add as much or as little as your taste buds desire…. The tea itself smells faintly of lavender before adding any additional and there are some rose petals and blue cornflowers floating around in the tube. The tea stands up very well to milk, giving it a super creamy mouth feel and the bergamot and lavender flavours are present but not over the top. the tea is the perfect accompaniment to a sugar cookie or a piece of cake and makes an amazing afternoon tea pairing. The tea box came with a recipe for Myers lemon bars and I think I’ll save the rest of the leaves until I have the chance to try it out!

TeaNecromancer

That is actually really clever! I wish more teas would do that, plus free test tube :P

Mikumofu

Test tube tea sounds exciting! :)

beelicious

its the cutest thing ever :)

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100

Weird?!?!? How can this tea have only one (really great and detailed review and) rating by RedFennekin at 100 and yet steepster shows the tea rating at 82?!?!?! Super, super weird.. Let’s see what my stellar rating does to this teas overall average? I mean, the average of 100 and 100 is…. 100… Math was never my strong point but I’m pretty sure even I can calculate that sum correctly!

Any way, rant over…onto the tea… This is amazing… There simply are no other words… it’s light, it’s refreshing, it’s oolong at its finest!! I think I got at least 8 infusions out of this tea and the flavor just got more complex as the steepings went on and on… Buttery, roasty, vegetaly and with a slight floral note… This really really is an amazing oolong… I just wish I could get my hands on more!!

LiberTEAS

Steepster uses a “Bayesian Algorithm” for the ratings. You can read more about it here: http://steepster.com/discuss/2149-somethings-wrong-with-the-rating-system

beelicious

Thanks LiberTEAS for the explanation! It makes sense.. It potentially disadvantages smaller, less known tea companies but I completely understand now why Steepster does it… Thanks!! :)

Red Fennekin

I’m glad you agree with me, though, about this tea! It’s just so lovely :D

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81

A dear friend in the UK gifted me a subscription to the London Tea Club for Christmas this year and my first shipment arrived as a pleasant surprise earlier this week. The cute little box came with three teas in plastic test tubes and a little envelope with itty bitty tea bags and individual tasting notes for each of the teas… Beautiful presentation!!

This tea intrigued me the most and so it’s the one I tore into this afternoon… Ironically the tasting notes indicate that this tea will bring escape from a cold and dreary season… It’s 21C here today in Southern California and I’m enjoying my cup of tropical deliciousness on the patio on the glorious afternoon sun. Remind me in six months, when I’m sick of days and days of temperatures above 40C that the weather is occasionally good here…

This tea is pretty darn tasty, so much so, that I would be tempted to buy more except it would need to travel all the way from the UK! The strawberry, Apple and kiwi notes blend perfectly with a little punch of coconut, I could almost imagine drinking this iced with a slug of rum snuck in the cup… London Tea Club’s tasting notes were spot on!

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80

After my indulgence with Cocoa Amore this morning, I didn’t really want anything particularly strong in the afternoon and, as I’ve been cutting back on my caffeine intake, a “light” green tea, such as this, seemed like an optimal choice!

Rather, though, than brew it as recommended in a Western style, I stuck to my trusty Gaiwan (that was definitely money well spent!) and used parameters that have been serving me so well in recent days (3 – 5 g in 100 ml, first steep no longer than 5 s). I emptied about half of my tube (probably about 2 or 3 g) in and did lots of short steeps using fairly cool water. I also kept the lid off, whilst steeping, as I believe is common practice when making greens this way.

Whether or not I “did it right”, or whatever, I certainly enjoyed this tea! In its flavour profile, it actually reminded me a lot of the Verdant Dragonwell I tried the other day. Delicious, buttery vegetables were a definite “main” flavour, with lovely hints of florals. It was also quite sweet! It remained punchy and quite strong (though that was certainly a consequence of the way I brewed it) through the first four or five steeps, and was still tasty in the sixth. The final two steeps I did (I know I was pushing it, but I’d rather try another steep or two than waste good leaves) were a lot lighter, though they still had enough flavour that I happily drank them down.

I did notice that the leaves, when brewed, were quite small, had a fair amount of stem and were sometimes a bit broken – this probably wasn’t as high quality as the Verdant Dragonwell. But given that it cost me a tiny fraction of the price of that tea, and it still gave me 5-6 delicious steeps, I guess I really shouldn’t complain! Perhaps not my favourite green so far, but definitely delicious and perfectly drinkable.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Vegetables

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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100

After a few weeks away from green oolongs, my brother came home so I thought I’d treat us both to a pot of this. He hadn’t tried it before so, after obviously being impressed by the lovely little tin it came in, he was really impressed by the lovely flavours of this tea – pastries and flowers were still the major notes for me, with those little hints of butteriness. Delicious :D

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100

Mmm… more green oolong :D This Li Shan oolong was a “special offer” kinda deal for London Tea Club members – when I heard about it, I was powerless to resist. I’m sure glad I didn’t.

When this tea arrived, in a very attractive, air-tight copper-coloured tin, I couldn’t wait to try it. The leaves smelled absolutely divine. So, today, I got down to it. I brought my beloved Gaiwan from Verdant downstairs and warmed everything up. I covered the base of the Gaiwan with the dried leaves and left them in the hot Gaiwan for a short while. I then lifted off the lid and was hit by an exceptional aroma, reminiscent of cinnamon buns/bagels/scones. It was unbelievable!

After a quick rinse-and-rest, I did a number of very short (~5s) steeps that produced an absolutely wonderful liquor – sweet, floral, spiced with a “thick” mouthfeel. It was perfection. And it carried that wonderful cinnamon-like note until the fourth or fifth steep. Even after that, the liquor was really delicious – increasingly floral and sweet, with the usual increasing lightness of well-brewed leaf.

From my, admittedly still pretty rookie, perspective, this was sensational. Can’t really fault it – the leaves brewed well through around 8 or 9 infusions (and probably could have carried on, but there’s only so much tea I can drink in a day :P) and was delightful and quite complex, right from the beginning. It made me feel lively and alert, but not jittery.

I’ll definitely be drinking more of this soon!

(The only downside to this tea was that it was very expensive – I paid £30 (~$45) for 50 g. That did include shipping, but puts this only second to the couple of WP teas that cost around that pre-shipping. Much like the WP teas, it is exceptionally high quality, as far as I could tell, and certainly “worth the money”, but wouldn’t be able to afford to drink this tea regularly. Then again, perhaps that’s the point and I’ll revere this tea, alongside the more expensive WP ones, as a real treat for special occasions!)

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Orchid

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
adagio breeze

Yeah, I think it’s pretty standard for Taiwanese high mountain oolongs to be in that price range. Sounds like a wonderful treat, though!

Red Fennekin

Indeed – I can believe it! It was really delicious. If you’d like to try some, btw, I’m happy to send out a small sample! Expensive or not, I’d rather it get used and appreciated than sit around forever etc.

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100

Ah; another day, another fabulous oolong. This is another of those oolongs that I could just continue to drink forever – light, refreshing, and so, so delicious!

I received this in January’s LTC delivery and was quite keen, given my recent oolong phase, to give it a try soon. Given I’ve now found steeping parameters, for such teas, that I’m happy with, I thought I’d give it a go in the Verdant gaiwan I’ve been using so much recently.

Pleasingly, it was a success – this tea was absolutely wonderful! The dry leaves had that charming, floral fragrance and, when wet, a stronger vegetal note came through (though the orchid and jasmine scents were definitely still present).

After a quick rinse, I did a ~15 second infusion that produced a lovely, quite strong infusion. It was full of intense, floral-and-vegetal flavour, with just a hint of roastiness that, along with the oolong’s butteriness, made this tea almost fruit-cake like. It was really exceptional. It also had a fuller body than the Ali Shan oolong I tried yesterday, which was interesting.

The next few steeps were a little less intense (by preference), but still really delicious. The slight roasty/smoky flavour came through a little more, but it was a gentle flavour note that worked surprisingly well with the floral notes.

I brewed this leaves a lot. Like, maybe ten infusions or so, this afternoon. I threw the leaves away as Mum was starting to cook dinner (an Iranian stew with lots of herbs and onions, which I thought might ruin the leaves a little), but I reckon I could still have steeped them another handful of times.

LTC have an option where you can buy bags (in the usual sizes) of teas you particularly liked from their boxes, so I may treat myself to some of this in the future. A truly fabulous oolong.

Flavors: Cake, Jasmine, Orchid

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 OZ / 120 ML

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80

Another of the teas that I got in my December London Tea Club delivery and another good choice by whoever it is that’s in charge of personalising their packages – this was a charming, quite strong black tea with just enough coconut and almond flavour to make it quite a treat!

I felt less bad about using the fill-your-own-teabags for this tea – if anything, it seemed like the perfect tea for such a brewing vessel. So, I tipped up the little test-tubes that they send the tea out in (again, see my slightly sketchy picture) and measured an approximate tea spoon full and brewed it for a good three minutes or so.

The resultant tea was delicious – a pretty strong, malty black (slightly bitter) with marvellous coconut and almond notes. Admittedly, the nutty flavours could have been a little stronger, but given the amounts of almond/coconut I can still see in the remaining tea, there’s a good chance that I just didn’t get much in this first cup.

Either way, I really enjoyed it and wasn’t disappointed. I reused the bag (somewhat bravely, as the leaves did look on the broken side) and was pleasantly surprised by the resulting cup – it was noticeably nuttier (probably helped by the much longer steeping time – a good while over 4 minutes – and the fact that the strong, malty black tea was a little weaker).

So, that’s two out of two so far. There’s just the Ceylon left – if these first two are anything to go by, I’m sure I’m love that one too :D

Flavors: Almond, Coconut, Malt

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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100

Today, I finally got around to finishing this. My first ‘real’ sipdown! Hurray for me? XD

But anyway, I promised myself I’d finish this tea in my Gaiwan – there was basically enough left (~3-4 g) for a perfect session. I pre-heated everything and gave the tea a quick rinse (perhaps unnecessary, but hey). After that, I got to work!

My first two steeps were around 5" each. The liquor was golden-yellow and really appley. Lovely, refreshing, sweet and so fruity. The scent, of both the wet leaves and the infusion, was similarly apple-like.

Steeps #3-5 (still only 5-10") developed into something special – it was like drinking cinnamon-stewed apples. Absolutely mouthwatering – it had a delicately spiced scent and a lovely, mouthwatering, rounded flavour of apples and cinnamon. It was so reminiscent of apple pie. It was also a really lovely tawny colour.

Steeps #6-7 (10-20") were equally wonderful, but the fruitness was now a little toned down; instead, these two infusions were more reminiscent of Chelsea buns. Notes of warm pastry, cinnamon, brown sugar and maybe a gentle hint of citrus and raisins. Really delicious.

Steeps #8-9 (30-60") were tasty enough for them to be “really good”, but definitely on a decline after the deliciousness of the first 7. The infusion was much paler, but those apple and cinnamon notes were back again, making these two bright and fresh tasting. There was a greater astringency to these cups, telling me that I was probably getting toward the end of this session.

Nonetheless, I didn’t want to give up too soon and it was so cold that a few more warming infusions would be welcome, the strength not really being an issue :P Steeps #10-12 (1-3’) were all much milder, but still carried a sweet, gently fruity flavour, now much smoother with a mild vanilla note.

By the end of the 12th steep, the leaves only had a very mild fragrance, so I conceded defeat and washed everything up.

This was definitely a wonderful tea. The leaves were initially a little dry, which did worry me a little, but I think it was totally unwarranted. Everything was sumptuous. The wet leaves, at the end, were lovely and mostly whole – they had a chestnut-and-dark-green colour, which was really nice in my glazed-inside-Yixing-outside Gaiwan.

I’ve also upgraded my score (90 —> 100) because I don’t really have any reason, now, to take 10 points away.

7 superb infusions (3-7 being highlights), followed by 5 good ones, reassured me of the quality. It left me feeling lively and content, able to really think clearly and in detail about my interview prep. And, perhaps most importantly, it tasted divine.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Green Apple

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec
adagio breeze

Whoa, that sounds amazing. I may have to join this tea club once I get my stash a bit more under control!

Red Fennekin

For the price, it’s a really nice little club (£10 per month, inc shipping, for three samples of tea). So far, I’ve really enjoyed it! :-) And this Oriental Beauty was really delicious.

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100

So, I got a lovely little packet of this with my first London Tea Club delivery (December) and whilst at the hospice today, I quite fancied a cup! I probably did it a bit of disservice, brewing it Western style in one of the LTC’s adorable little fill-your-own teabags, but it was the only way I could manage whilst working.

To be honest, though, it made for a really lovely cup of tea. The leaves were lightly fragranced and a little drier than I’m used to, for oolongs, but I went ahead and scooped 1 tsp of the tea in and, as directed, brewed for a little over 3 mins.

The resulting liquor was really quite lovely – colour wise, it was a light caramel brown and the smell was delightful. It had all of the loveliest qualities of darker oolongs, but without any of the “dark” flavour, or the roastiness, and it still had lots of the fragrant floral notes of the greener oolongs.

The taste was sublime – cinnamon and apple-y, with just enough strength that meant it was perfect as the afternoon pick-up I’d chosen it for. It was also rather sweet, which I guess makes sense as it’s a Bai Hao.

After a basically perfect first steep, I also got a delicious second and a pretty decent third steep. After that, it was time to go home from the hospice so I had to throw the leaves out. I’m not too sure how much further they’d have gone, but I was glad to have gotten three lovely cups.

I probably have enough tea left (basically the amount shown in the dodgy photo I took – sorry to all of the photographers out there T_T) to make another one or two lots in this semi-Western style and one rather nice Gong Fu session. Since I’ve had lots of good experiences with drinking oolongs this way, perhaps I’ll try that next! In the adorable cards that LTC send with their deliveries, they do recommend it, so I guess that’s all the more reason.

I’d strongly recommend this tea, actually. And, as LTC sell little packets like this to subscribers, I imagine I’ll buy myself a bag at some point in the future.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Floral, Green Apple

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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