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Recent Tasting Notes
Giving this one a second chance today with more leaf, a higher temperature, and a longer steep time. Covering all of the bases!
Well, it is a bit stronger, but the more aggressive steeping has introduced a musty flavor that sort of overpowers everything else. I do still get notes of hay, oats, and honey, but mostly it tastes like musty hay. The honey pops out a little bit in the aftertaste.
Sorry, tea, you’re just disappointing to me. :P I’ve had some Taiwanese black teas with similar flavor profiles that were so much better.
Flavors: Grain, Hay, Honey, Musty, Oats
From an old Sips By box.
This came out suspiciously weak. I used about 2 tsp of leaf for a 12-ounce mug, which I don’t think is unreasonable? In any case, it works for other black teas. The sample is from February of last year, but it’s completely sealed and I have other, older Chinese black teas that still taste fine. Highly suspect!
The flavors I can taste are nice, I get sweet honey and hay as well as chewy grains and perhaps a bit of bread. There’s a nice light honeyed aftertaste as well.
I have enough for a second try. Reserving judgment until then.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Hay, Honey, Sweet
I felt like a straight green tea or oolong this afternoon, so I figured I’d start working through a small box of sample-sized straight teas sitting in my tea nook. Some of them are swap samples (I’m sorry, whoever sent them…) and some of them, like this one, are from old Sips By boxes. This tea is apparently from my May 2019 box.
Unfortunately, this tea is very “meh”… It has a very generic dry leafy flavor, and a little hint of smokiness in the background. It’s not bitter or astringent, but there’s not much going on in the way of complexity.
Still, it’s a comforting sort of autumnal flavor that brings coziness with each sip. But I’m glad it’s just a small sample size. ;)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dry Grass, Earth, Smoke, Smooth
This one was just OK for me. It’s a pretty straightforward oolong (haha, words I never thought I’d say…). But it kind of is. Ticks all the boxes for what you’d expect in an oolong, but in a generic, lackluster kind of way. The leaves are broken up, so it’s not really pretty to look at while it steeps, and I didn’t feel compelled to bother with using spring water and the gaiwan. I just brewed it in my Kati, Western-style, with plain tap water.
The dry leaf smelled good when I opened the packet, like roasted roots. The liquor tastes like standard oolong. Roasted, earthy, mineral-y, with a faint cocoa note, etc., etc.
It’s fine. Just not particularly memorable.
Flavors: Cocoa, Mineral, Roasted
I didn’t love this zhu cha first time I tried it, but this time was much better. I let it steep a few minutes longer and drank it straight. I could smell hay when the water hit the leaf, and then on the sip, I’m getting a slight metallic note, which mellows out into raisin, honey, and the same kind of mineral-y finish that good spring water has in the aftertaste. It’s very smooth and full-bodied. Really enjoyable.
Upping my rating.
Flavors: Hay, Honey, Metallic, Mineral, Raisins
Just an OK black tea. Nothing special about the flavor. Tastes about the same as PG Tips. I made this as a builder’s tea, with 1% dairy milk. Maybe I need to experiment more with trying it plain and perhaps decreasing steep time and water temp a little. The packaging recommends 4 minutes at 208 degrees Fahrenheit.
Received this in one of my latest SipsBy boxes. I’m not familiar with this oolong varietal, or this brand, so I was interested to try it. Mostly very broken leaves, so stuck to a pretty short steep time. Overall unimpressed. Very strong roasted note that borders on burnt smelling and tasting. No depth or complexity.
Received a sample of this in December’s Sipsby box. It’s a lovely, delicate white tea. I steeped gongfu style. The first steep at 10 seconds was very subtle and grassy. Further in the tea seemed to open up, with notes of honey and hay. In total, I was able to get about 5 good steeps from this tea.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey
Tried to make this over ice when I got back in town yesterday, only to realize I had no ice. Well then. So, I just had this hot. I tried to make it stronger this time, but still can’t really get much flavor out of it. There is a faint hint of hay and sweet grass. And maybe something lightly tart. My palate might not be refined enough for this one.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Tart
This one is from Sips By. It’s my first pure white tea in a long time. Still getting used to the whole using a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon thing. It feels wrong!
The leaves are long and pretty, with stems attached and a good amount of fuzz. So much that a little collects on top of the water as it steeps. The flavor is very light despite the healthy yellowy tan color. I taste a faint, unexpected tartness. There is also a faint fruity note. Otherwise, this tea might be a little subtle for me. I’m afraid I’m mostly just tasting my stevia. I have enough to try again, so maybe I will use less sweetener and see what happens.
For now, I can’t really taste anything… Maybe when it cools some flavor will appear.
Ron Howard Voice: It didn’t.