Luhse TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Thank you Scheherazade for the sample!
I’ve always thought that if I were to have my own tea company I’d want to carry an Earl Grey with this name – the literary reference is fantastic, and I’m a firm believer that an interesting name can make an otherwise mediocre tea. Obviously other companies share the same ideas that I have; when I typed the name of this tea into the search bar a half a dozen identically named teas popped up.
This was a really lovely cold brew though; the bergamot was neither weak or overwhelming and the finish had this really lovely floral quality that I really liked. Additionally, the vanilla used to make this an EGC is very rich and smooth, velvety even. It all just tied together to make a very powerful yet soft brew. I definitely enjoyed getting to try it!
This is the second of my Luhse white tea samples, and the only flavoured one I picked up. The dry leaf is an interesting prospect – black-brown white peony leaves, pink peppercorns, and yellow marigold petals. The really arresting this is the scent – it’s like liquid butterscotch. Very rich, with an almost alcoholic edge. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The resulting liquor is a very pale yellow-green, the scent sadly diminished.
Possibly nothing can taste like this tea smells dry. I’m a little saddened that the intensity of the initial scent doesn’t match the flavour, but that’s nothing more than I expected. There is a sweet, caramel-like flavour to this one, but it’s not as strong as I’d have liked it to be. All the same, it’s a pleasant, lightly flavoured white tea, and makes for a refreshing sweet treat on a warm day.
Today I’m moving on to my Luhse white tea samples, and I decided to go with the plain one first – Boo. Boo looks to be a blend of silver needle and white peony; predominantly more white peony than silver needle. Most of the leaves are black or dark brown, and fairly twisted, but there are some that are silvery-white or slightly yellowy. It’s not the best looking white tea I’ve ever seen, but it does put me in mind of a dark, rickety haunted house. If we’re going with a ghostly, halloweeny theme, then it kinda fits. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The resulting liquor is a very pale golden colour, but the scent is sadly not that appealing. It smells a little like a ripe pu’erh, strangely.
Sadly, I’m not especially struck by the flavour either. There are elements that remind me of white tea – a mild, orchid-like floral, a touch of grass and hay. These are somewhat offset by an undertone of what I can only describe as manure. Not really strong manure, like some pu’erhs, but strong enough to be distracting. It’s an odd combination.
I had hoped that I’d enjoy this one, but I suppose you can’t win them all. I don’t tend to drink too many plain white teas these days, so it’s not a terrible loss, but I’m a little disappointed all the same. Perhaps Luhse’s flavoured blacks are the only thing for me.
This is the one of two green tea samples I picked up from Luhse – the other was Getting Lei’d. Marrakesh Fresh is basically a Marrakesh mint blend (no surprises there!) It’s a blend of peppermint, spearmint and gunpowder green, although looking at the dry leaf, there’s actually very little green tea to be seen. It’s certainly fresh, though – the scent is one of the best things (both dry and once brewed). Minty and delicious. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow-green.
To taste, it’s as good as the name suggests. The mint is sweet and fresh tasting, with the strong cooling sensation that’s so nice about mint tea in hot weather. The green tea base is fairly smooth, with only the slightest hint of astringency, and a touch of dankness in the flavour. I could probably stand to drink this one with a bit of sugar – that might just give it the edge I’m looking for.
I’m pretty happy with this one, although it’s not a great deal better or worse than any other Marrakesh mint blend I’ve tried. It’s probably not unique enough for me to want to repurchase, but I’ll happily finish up my sample. A pleasant cup on a hot day.
Continuing the Luhse theme today, I also have a sample of their Earl Grey to try. The blend consists of black tea (quite thick, twisted leaves of a uniform black colour), blue mallow blossoms and bergamot. The scent of the dry leaf is very strongly citrusy, which can only be the bergamot. Very strong Earl Grey with a lot of bitter bergamot doesn’t greatly appeal to me, so I’m a little concerned about this one. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, and I added a splash of milk.
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried about the bergamot being too strong. To taste, it’s actually a pleasant balance between sweet, malty black tea and bittersweet, citrusy bergamot. It’s a tiny bit perfumey, but not terribly so. I think the milk has helped to calm this one down a bit, but I like the creaminess it adds even if it’s not the recommended way to drink Earl Grey. In any case, it’s deliciously smooth and well flavoured – one of the nicer Earl Greys I’ve tried in a while. I’d consider restocking this one.
Sipdown! I’m going to miss this one a lot – it’s definitely one of the best Earl Grey Cream blends I’ve tried in a good long while. As it’s also the only tea I’d consider reordering, it might have to be a while before it’s back in my cupboard. I’m going to savour my last cup!
The second of the Luhse flavoured blends I picked up with my recent order. Based on my favourable impression of Chocolate Boozer, I decided to make an evening of it and went straight on to Dorian Grey. Dorian Grey is an Earl Grey Cream, and it smells delicious from the moment I open the bag. Sweet, rich, and gloriously decadent. It’s a fairly unassuming blend to look at – just fairly small, uniform black-brown leaves. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty strong, so I added a splash of milk.
To taste, this is one of the creamiest Earl Grey Cream blends I’ve tried. The initial sip is full-on vanilla; sweet and rich, with an intense creaminess that reminds me very much of premium vanilla ice cream, or perhaps crème anglaise. The earl grey is very much second fiddle, but it’s possible to find the bergamot lurking in the mid sip. It’s not over-strong, which I appreciate in an Earl Grey blend, but it does manage to cut through some of the heady vanilla sweetness. It’s a pleasing, citrus-laced counterpoint, and adds a layer of depth to the flavour. The black base can hardly be tasted, but it’s smooth and unobtrusive, and it lets the flavours shine.
I’m really impressed with this one. It more than lives up to its promise, and it makes for a deliciously tasty cup. A definite repurchase.
I’ve had this a few times recently – twice in a Timolino, and then once in a normal cup at home last night. I had to try it brewed “properly” again, because the two occasions I’ve drank it from a Timolino it’s tasted of olive oil, and not chocolate and rum. Odd, in other words. Last night’s proper cup did taste of chocolate, thankfully, but there was a richness in the background that did remind me a little of olive oil, so I can see where I was coming from with that. At least it wasn’t overpowering. I didn’t get rum this time, though, and I’m sure the chocolate used to be stronger. The pouch is resealable, and it’s not been open long, but perhaps it’s just past its best now? I don’t know. I only have a couple of cups worth left, so it’s no big deal, but I feel a bit confused about the olive oil. It certainly didn’t used to be a flavour component here! I’ve left my rating as it originally stood.
On to the Luhse flavoured blends. I only picked up two full bags with my first order – this and Dorian Grey. I’m a fan of flavoured black tea in general, and I was pretty sure these two would suit my tastes. Thankfully, I was right. The first thing I noticed about the full bags is how unique and well thought out the branding is. Everything from the colouring (midnight blue), to the white, searchlight-like logo, through to little things like the font and bigger things like the slogans is spot-on for the 20s, prohibition-era theme. Luhse are really sorted from a brand perspective, and that’s a nice thing to see. The “story” somehow makes their blends more than just tea, and it adds a lot to the appeal, that’s for sure.
Chocolate Boozer is a chocolate and rum flavoured black blend, with absolutely huge chocolate chips scattered throughout. The black base is a mixture of CTC pellets and quite small leaves – possibly Ceylon or Assam. I was a little surprised to see the CTC, but it definitely adds body and strength to the cup without imparting a lot of overpowering flavour, so I’m not against it. Chocolate teas can sometimes seem quite thin and watery, so a stronger base perhaps isn’t a bad idea. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up quite dark (no doubt thanks to the CTC), so I added a splash of milk.
To taste, this is almost how I imagined it would be. I’ve learned to be cautious in my expectations where chocolate tea is concerned, so perhaps that helped a little. The chocolate is rich and sweet, with a hint of bittersweet dustiness in the background – a taste I associate with cocoa. The stronger flavour by far is the rum, which adds a heady tang that works really well with the chocolate – almost like an expensive truffle. It’s hard to describe rum as anything other than rum, but it’s pretty flavour accurate and adds a pleasantly boozy edge. The black base is smooth with no astringency, and carries the flavours well. It’s fairly strong and substantial so the cup isn’t at all weak, thin or watery. At the same time, it manages not to overpower what could be fairly delicate flavours. It’s a good balance.
I’m impressed with this one. It’s one of the few chocolate teas I actively like, and I would definitely consider repurchasing if I were to order again from Luhse in the future. I haven’t been particularly struck by their rooibos blends or their plain black teas, but perhaps I’ve found my nadir with their flavoured range. A wonderfully decadent cup.
Continuing with my Luhse black tea samples for my second cup of the morning. This time it’s Prohibition Tea – what I assume is another blend, although the pouch doesn’t specify any particular varieties. The dry leaf is quite small, and a fairly uniform black-brown, but with one or two golden, downy leaves scattered throughout. It smells malty, but there’s also a hint of treacle or molasses. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a deep golden brown, and I added a splash of milk.
To taste, it’s blander than I hoped. It’s moderately malty, and quite sweet, but it tastes somehow quite flat. It has a thick, almost chewy mouthfeel, but that’s not backed up with the depth of flavour I would have liked. There’s a tiny hint of treacle in the aftertaste, which works nicely with the malt, but that’s about all it has to distinguish it. I have to admit, it’s a disappointment.
First cup of the day, and the first of my Luhse black tea samples. This one is presumably a blend, although the pouch doesn’t specify exactly which types of black tea have been used. Most of the leaves are fairly small and a uniform black, but there are also some thicker, larger, twistier black leaves, and a few golden, downy leaves. The scent of the dry leaf is sweet and mildly malty. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a fairly dark golden brown, and I added a splash of milk.
To taste, the initial flavour is sweetly malty and fairly bland. I’m picking up some mildly floral, orchid-like notes in the mid sip, and a mild metallic tang that makes me fairly sure there’s some Darjeeling in here somewhere. There’s the tiniest hint of baked bread at the end of the sip. Based on the maltiness alone, I’m pretty sure there’s also Assam in this blend, and maybe a touch of Dian Hong. I’m just guessing really, though, and being guided by both the appearance of the tea and what I can taste. I like how smooth this one is – almost silky.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with this breakfast blend. It’s not hugely unique, but it makes a flavourful cup that’s not too overpowering. Great first thing, for a pleasant, gentle wake up.
From a few nights ago; finished this off in my timolino with a little bit of milk added into it last minute. I also increased the steep time by a little over a minute in the hope that it’d possibly draw out the flavour a little more. Normally I’d just increase the amount of leaf but given that this is a sample and my last cup of it I only had about a cup’s worth of leaf to work with in the first place. The extra milk was also an ‘insurance policy’ of sorts to level out any roughness/bitterness from a longer steeping time. The result of all of this? Slightly richer and creamier chocolate notes but otherwise the exact same flavour.
Still tasty. Still not quite what I want.
This tea has journeyed from the United States to the United Kingdom to Canada and finally into my mug!
Steeped up hot and enjoyed during a heavy rainfall, this definitely has a well rounded, smooth flavour and clean mouthfeel. I was nervous the mouthfeel would be rather oily because this blend uses chocolate chips instead of nibs or shells but that wasn’t a problem. Honestly, I feel like I’m getting more flavour from the base tea than anything else though; there’s a nice mild malt note that carries through all of each sip, and some baked bread notes. I’m not complaining, ’cause the base is really nice, but generally with a flavour tea I expect at least some aspect of the added flavour to be the strongest element.
The chocolate flavour is totally present, but while I was expecting something some rich and indulgent, this is pretty gentle. It’s more just a hint of cocoa, with a sort of powdery taste/mouthfeel which I’ve grown to associate with French teas. I also expected the rum to be stronger, and instead it’s very mild and watered down. Combined with the chocolate it’s a little like a very dull/lackluster rumball – the kind my family always makes around Christmas.
Initially I was quite disappointed by the flavour distribution: for a tea that’s describing the drinker as a “rum drunk pirate” I felt more like I was drinking tea with my Grandma around the holidays. However, I took a moment to set aside my disappointment and preconceptions about what the tea ‘should have’ tasted like, and after I did that I was able to appreciate the brew a little more. It’s not bold or vibrant, but the flavours it does offer are smooth and tasty, and it’s a comforting, mellow brew with hints of both chocolate and rum. I can appreciate that.
I’m still excited to explore the company a little more; but I can probably scratch this one off my wishlist. Though I’ll enjoy finishing the rest of what I received in that swap.
This is the only oolong I picked up with my Luhse order, but I’ve had so few plum teas that the sheer novelty of it appealed to me more than anything. The dry mix is quite chunky – equal parts oolong (black, think, reasonably wiry leaves, so I’m fairly confident that it’s a roasted wuyi or something along those lines) and schizandre berries (which look to me like rosehip). The scent is beautiful; fruity, ripe plum. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale golden colour.
To taste, it’s absolutely wonderful. Light, refreshing, and beautifully fruity. It’s just like biting into a ripe plum — so much so that I could probably mistake it for plum juice if it weren’t hot. It’s incredibly sweet and juicy, although also very natural tasting. The oolong base is hardly present in the taste, except perhaps for a slight mineral flavour in the aftertaste. This is a good thing in my book, as strong dark oolongs aren’t typically my thing. At least, they haven’t been historically. I do try and return to tea varieties I’ve more or less ruled out from time to time, though, as I’m aware my tastes are changing as I become more familiar with tea.
Although this is something I’d never have said at one point, I can safely say that this is an oolong I’d gladly repurchase. It’s so flavourful and fruity, it more than deserves a place in my cupboard. It’s truly delicious stuff! If you’re a fan of plum teas, be sure to give this one a try!
This is the last of my Luhse rooibos samples, and my favourite of the four I’ve tried. For starters, it’s the best tasting chocolate banana tea I’ve tried in a good long time. It tastes delicious! This is just a straight rooibos blens – no honeybush here – and I honestly think that’s how I prefer it. Small pieces of freeze dried banana (and apple, strangely) are evident among the dry leaf, along with some chocolate flakes, cocoa nibs, and a generous smattering of whole pink peppercorns. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
To taste, banana is the most prominent flavour. It’s a little candy-like in the way of banana runts, but that’s no terrible thing in a sweet, dessert style blend like this one. The chocolate emerges in the mid-sip, and adds a creamy, rich depth to the overall cup. It works really well with the banana – a great, well realised combination if ever there was one. There’s a slight saltiness towards the end of the sip that’s a little out of place, but I can overlook that since the rest of the flavour is so spot on. It’s barely there, anyway.
This is a Luhse rooibos blens I’d consider repurchasing. It’s tasty and flavour-accurate, and that’s exactly what I want from a flavoured tea. It’s nice to have a sweet, decedent caffeine-free blend on hand, too. I finally feel like I’ve struck gold with Luhse!
For a tea with “cherries” in the name, this blend lacks anything remotely resembling, well, cherries. It’s a rooibos-honeybush blend, with blackcurrants, small pieces of which are evident among the dry mix. The scent is pretty much 100% rooibos, with only the tiniest hint of berry fruit of any description. Hmm. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water for my cup. No additions.
To taste, this is (as you might expect) mostly rooibos, underscored with the honey-like sweetness of honeybush. It’s a little woodsy and drying on the palate. There is an underlying flavour, but it reminds me more of cough syrup than anything else. It’s certainly not cherry, or even blackcurrant, sad to say. I’m not particularly struck by it.
I think perhaps Luhse’s rooibos blends aren’t for me. I have one or two more to try before I strike them off my “to try” list completely, though — I’m ever hopeful! I’ll be moving on to the black tea samples I picked up soom, and hopefully they’ll be more to my liking.
Another sample from my recent Luhse order, this one an orange flavoured rooibos. The rooibos is very fine here, but interspersed with somewhat “chunkier” honeybush leaves. They’re not particularly huge in real terms, but they do stand out when compared to the almost powder-like rooibos. Scattered throughout are red safflowers, and a generous smattering of orange peel. There’s apparently hibiscus in this, but I can’t see any and it’s certainly not detectable in the liquor colour, which is a medium red-orange. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.
To taste, this is a fairly ordinary orange rooibos, no better or worse than any I’ve tried before. The orange flavour is clear – perhaps a little artificial in the way of orange squash, but definitely identifiable. It fades by mid-sip, though, and gives way completely to the woodsiness of rooibos. That’s a little disappointing, but it’s still a pleasant enough cup so I can’t complain too much. It’s just not really very memorable. It’s a little drying and astringent by the end of the cup, to boot.
This isn’t my favourite of the Luhse teas I’ve tried so far, but I’ve got plenty of others to be getting on with. Still, this kind of discovery is the whole point of samples! Oh, well. On to the next one!
I ordered a bunch of samples from Luhse a while back, because I’d long been curious about the company and their tea. Their branding is fairly unique – I like the 20s, prohibition theme, and the use of characters to give their teas a backstory. It’s definitely different! The samples contain enough tea for 2-3 cups, depending on leaf type, and are packaged in square foli-lined pouches with a brown, Kraft paper exterior. They’re not resealable, but as they’re so tiny that’s not really a problem.
Getting Lei’d is a green blend with pineapple flavouring. I love pineapple, so I pretty much had to give this one a try. The tea leaves are a fairly uniform dark green, folded and flat, but fairly small. I’d say Sencha, as an educated guess. There are blue cornflower and red safflower petals scattered throughout, which gives this blend a really pretty appearance, and one or two chunks of freeze-dried pineapple. The scent is beautifully tropical, with strong notes of pineapple. I have high hopes for this one!
As per the recommended parameters, I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow-green, and the scent is faintly tropical. Unfortunately, faint is probably the operative word as far as this tea is concerned. The pineapple flavouring is just about discernible, but sadly nowhere near as strong as I’d like. Saying that, I can taste it throughout the sip, and it’s obvious what it is, so they’re both points in its favour. I can also taste the green tea base, which is a touch floral and a touch grassy – it suits the image of the Lei in that respect! There’s no bitterness or astringency here, which are also favourable points. I’m just left feeling that I’d like a lot more punchiness, and I’m a little underwhelmed by this one as a whole. This is a pleasant tea, and while I wouldn’t turn down the occasional cup, it’s not one I’d look to repurchase in quantity.
A really nice cream Earl Grey. Sweet, and I like how the creamy notes meld with the fruity tones of the bergamot. The aroma is a bit softer than I would expect from an Earl Grey type tea, but once it brews the fragrance emerges … and so does the flavor.
The vanilla is a little stronger than the bergamot, which mellows out the sometimes sharp citrus. A really tasty tea.
Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/05/21/dorian-grey-tea-from-luhse-tea/
As a test I decided to treat this like a matcha powder prior to experimenting with it. So…straight-up…here goes!
It has Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger, Cloves, Fennel, Black Pepper, and Nutmeg – your Chai flavors, basically, into a fine powder…hence why I was thinking MATCHA.
But there is a Chai recipe on the back of this awesome pouch of wonder…
1/4 tsp of this spiced powder with 1 tea black tea 1 T of honey and 8-ounces of milk. I might try that at some point but I have additional plans for it…black tea and this ‘powder of wonder’.
As for it being straight-up…
It looks like a dark brown yet murky black tea. It smells just like it should with those ingredients that are listed. It tastes like them too. Just when I can start picking out some of the ingredients individually they start to morph into the others.
You might think this is strange but this is pretty awesome just by it’s self!
This is a wonderful addition to any tea lovers cabinet and I can certainly see it being very versatile!