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Recent Tasting Notes
A hand plucked naturally harvested oolong.
I was being a complete tea snob when I saw this tea… An oolong from kenya… no thank you… Taiwanese oolong all the way for me. An impression fueled by the non-existent aroma from the dry leaves.
But as I left it to steep, a beautiful floral aroma made its way into the air. Taste is weird. Its like someone has blended a Taiwanese oolong with crisp dry black tea. The two flavour profiles encroaching and contrasting so that they start with minerals, switching into dry brisk tang of black tea, then gentle fades into dry florals and a honey sweetness. And the leaves… are a rainbow of greens, black, brown and orange. The whole thing is beautiful and I feel very bad for being a tea snob. I feel privileged to have tasted such a tea.
Although it says steep twice, I found the second cup far less full of flavour and less enjoyable…
Where the aroma is a clear cinnamon, the flavour presents itself in an unusual mix of powdery florals, mild fruits, light spices and a pine like tang. A totally weird mix, but the cinnamon brings the blend into the festivities, making it a great Christmas tea that offers something different.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Floral, Fruity, Pine, Spices
You get peppermint leaves, pure and simple. And lots of them – 100g of leaves is a lot bulkier than 100g of Assam, for example.
They’re great quality, too. You just get quality leaf, no rubbish. I used to think that Teapigs peppermint (at £4.15 in the supermarket for 15 “tea temples”, I just checked) was the best quality, and whilst they are undeniably good quality and taste great, they’re also very expensive.
If you don’t mind the slight faff of brewing loose leaf then 100g of this stuff tastes pretty much exactly the same and only costs £5.90 for 100g.
I brew for a long time and go for multiple infusions. I tend to just add the infuser back in when I’m getting low and top up with hot water until the peppermint taste is very light.
Then again Teapigs also sell 100g of loose leaf for a comparable price, so who knows :)
I found this tea on Amazon reduced to £1.68 for 100g (!) so I had to give it a try. As it happens, I’m a fan – I wouldn’t mind paying full price for this.
The smell is absolutely gorgeous; it has a rich chocolatey smell, actually kind of like white chocolate. It tastes as good as it smells, especially as it cools down and you can start to get more of the chocolate flavour, but it also has a slight chilli kick. Nothing too spicy, just a little one.
Even better, it’s a white tea, so the caffeine content is quite low. This means that I can sip on a nice big mug of this on a cold winter’s night without worrying too much about losing sleep.
I’m pleasantly surprised.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from small-scale production Georgian tea (just saying that sounds so hipster) but I’m very impressed.
It brews up a lovely golden/amber hue. It smells quite mild, and has an almost sweet smell to it.
The first sip is smooth… very smooth. This is a good quality tea – basically zero bitterness and astringency. After a few more sips I’m able to figure out what I’m tasting here. There’s almost a creamy taste to it. One could even make an argument for a faint taste of caramel, should you be so inclined. This thing sure does go down lovely. It’s moreish as hell, too.
I’ve found myself getting three decent brews out of this one. By the third steep it is understandably quite weak, but you can still extract a tasty cup. For steep times (using a decently-heaped teaspoon of leaves) I’ve been going for 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and then 5 minutes.
I find myself going back to this one again and again. Definitely recommended, and I will for sure be considering restocking when I run out.
Flavors: Caramel, Cream
This is my first foray into the world of flavoured teas. I wasn’t too sure when I read that it was made with “marzipan flavouring”, but it’s natural, and I do love marzipan, so I figured what the heck and bought a bag. It also helps that the price wasn’t too high, so I could justify the risk.
Just opening the bag you are hit with the smell of marzipan. I mean, it is strong. I brewed up a mug (it came out copper coloured, not super clear but still nice-looking) and again… marzipan. Marzipan everywhere. All the marzipan!
Then you take a sip and… yeah, it’s kind of marzipan-y. After all of the marzipan aroma I’d be expecting more on the taste, but still, it’s nice (if a little muted). The rose does come through though (possibly because I grabbed a big rosebud and added it to the infuser).
This is an interesting one. It’s a delight to drink because you get a whiff of that lovely aroma whenever you go in for a sip. The taste isn’t as strong as I had imagined it would be though. Perhaps next time I will add more or steep for longer (although I think I’m nearing the limit where bitterness would creep in if I altered any more variables too radically).
Ultimately I would recommend this tea if you like these flavours and want something different. It’s certainly an interesting one to be able to offer guests. I’ll be having a cup from time-to-time, but it won’t be an everyday cup, that’s for sure :)
Flavors: Marzipan, Rose
It has a lovely copper hue to it. It gives off a faint, fresh aroma.
This is actually my first “proper” Ceylon (I’m an Assam man, as it were) so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I wanted to compare and contrast. Well, I’m pleasantly surprised. This is lively and vibrant, with subtle hints of fruit and citrus. This would be lovely and refreshing to drink sat in the garden on a hot summer’s day.
I think that I still prefer Assam overall, but I am now convinced that Ceylon is worth some serious exploration. I predict that my wallet will be taking a hit over the coming months.
Flavors: Citrus, Fruity
The first thing that strikes me about this tea is the deep, rich, almost red colour to it.
It has a satisfying “proper English breakfast”-type aroma to it, which (without having tasted it yet) makes me think that it would stand up well to milk.
It is smooth going down. Considering how deep the colour is I would be expecting astringency, but I’m not getting much here (at least not in any unpleasant way). This is a lovely tea to have without milk, which is how I now typically prefer my Assams.
I think that the Assam Hazelbank (also from Nothing But Tea, which is what I have been drinking previously to this) perhaps has a slight edge on complexity of flavour. This falls a bit flat in comparison. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing though… it’s a lovely tea, smooth and delicious, and I’m glad to have it in my collection.
After a few brews I upped the amount of leaves that I used and it came out more bitter than I typically care for, so I tried it with milk. Yep, this is definitely a good tea for people that like black tea with milk and want to upgrade the quality of the tea that they are drinking (this is what I was originally trying to do before I fell into this delicious world of milk-less tea from which I cannot seem to escape).
Would I buy it again? Yes, I think that I would – it fills the role of something strong and a bit malty; not needing milk, but still holding it’s own if you add it. That’s a good tea to have in your collection.
Flavors: Cream, Malt, Wood
I’m new to “real” tea, having opted for standard teabags with milk in the past. However, I picked up a bag of this of haven’t looked back – in fact it prompted me to spend £70 this month alone on tea so that I can explore different varieties, and sign up to a tea journal website so that I can record my tastings!
It turns out that I love a good Assam without any added milk. I tried this with milk and it ruined it. To me, it tastes so lovely and smooth as-is, so there is no need for milk. It is hardly bitter or astringent at all. In fact it surprises me just how much like a cup of tea with milk this tastes (presumably because there aren’t any impurities that need masking with milk).
As far as colour goes, it’s a lovely golden/orange. It goes down great any time of day or night. I’ve been getting two brews out of a teaspoon; I’ve tried for a third but by this point it’s so weak as to be pointless. A second steep is still very nice though. As far as steep time goes, anywhere from 2-3 minutes seems ideal for me.
I’ll be replacing this one once it runs out, I’m sure.
This is definitely a blend to watch out for, mimicking G&T shockingly well. What’s surprising though, are the super strong notes of grapefruit in the aroma, that become a gentle in the taste, providing the tongue with that teasing bitter note of gin. Obviously, this also creates a fruity element that combines well with the lemon and white tea to create an expertly crafted alcohol free tea blend.
I even named it the “Most Inventive Flavour” and gave it runner up “Best for Sober Xmas” and “Editors Choice” in my 12 Teas of Christmas post: https://tastethetea.co.uk/2016/12/01/12teaxmas/
I loved this tea soooo much!
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Fruity, Grapefruit, Lemon
Once steeped the resulting tea bares a strong cinnamon scent with a touch of clove.
The first few sips reveal a cinnamon and black tea base with a touch of orange in the after taste. It’s not as strong as expected though that isn’t always a bad thing. Slight bitterness but mostly it’s a cinnamon and black tea with a touch of dryness. Perhaps the fruit helps to keep it light?
While the cinnamon is strong with this one I do wish the orange was stronger. I can’t taste any almond, apple or vanilla and would not have even guessed they were in the blend by taste alone.
Despite that it’s cinnamon and that is very Christmasy so who am I to complain?
Anyone who knows me will know I love rooibos redbush tea. I drink it every day since I don’t drink milk and I like to keep as decaffeinated as possible, however I really fancied a change from my daily vanilla and original flavours.
I saw that NBTea had a creme brulee version and decided to try it out. I think I’ve had creme brulee once in my life before, meaning I had no idea what to expect.
I don’t really think this is the type of tea to be observing notes, but whatever creme brulee is it certainly tasted of it. I steeped it for 5 minutes in boiling hot water. This tea didn’t steep twice very well and the second steeping was light but refreshing
It was a nice change from the usual, but nothing that totally blew my mind.
Flavors: Cream, Custard, Nutmeg
Back to this tea in hand. I received a sample pack of 10g from NBT a while ago as an exclusive pre-release taster before it was launched on the site. Now it’s up for sale I decided the best thing for me to do was ice it to try and get the most flavour from it. So for two days I have had 10g of this blend steeping in my fridge using 1litre of water. Coldsteeping is much softer and keeps delicate tones, it’s my preferred method of icing tea/tisanes.
I haven’t mentioned much about the look or scent of the blend but honestly there was not much to it. The blend looked floral and multi coloured which bared a subtly sweet yet herbal scent. The fruit was too delicate for me to really say much about it and I decided to let it’s flavour speak instead. So I waited for the outcome with enough time to thicken with flavour.
Today is the morning I try this and the resulting liquid is a light brown/orange colour with a delicious sweet, fruit scent. Particularly like apple and strawberry with honey. A real contrast to it’s unsteeped scent. It’s flavour is just as wonderful! Sweet honeyed fruits with a touch of floral after tones that leave my mouth feeling sweet and refreshed. The fruit tones are mixed but notable berry with a touch of sourness with an exotic fruit affair behind them.
Honestly this tisane gave me a lot more pleasure than I thought it would and I’m happy to say this Honeybush blend is a winner. I don’t think I would have liked this if it was a Rooibos base and the Honeybush really does make this blend stand out.
More information on SororiTEA Sisters.
This was a free sample from NBT so thank you. Though I admit I have not the foggiest idea of what Mullein actually is… Research time I think.
Verbasum aka Mullein is a flower that grows around Europe and Asia. It has been used as medicine by different cultures for many years to help with " disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, veins, gastrointestinal tract, and the locomotor system".
Well thank you Wikipedia, now I at least have some idea as to what this is. It also mentioned that the Austrians traditionally drank this in tea form for their medicine.
I steeped 10g of leaf into my 1litre bottle overnight via coldsteep method. The colour is still very subtle but it does have a slight yellow/brown tinge to the liquid now.
The flavour is sweet and sugary with a touch of refreshing herbs in the after taste. And honestly that is about it…the sweetness is a bit strange, it tastes like sugar water with a weak clove essence. There really is not much to it at all. Either way it tastes so inoffensive that It is easily drinkable but I can’t find anything remotely special about it. I suppose that is why this is marketed as a medicine, you wouldn’t drink it purely for the taste (or lack thereof).
Well it made for an interesting drink but it’s not something I would buy, at least it was worth a try.
Flavors: Clove, Herbs, Sugar
I cold steeped this tea overnight for a quick review today. Unfortunately I have no idea what the ingredients are as the sample packet I had didn’t say and this is not on the website. Other than Oolong I have no idea, though I did note it had a spicy scent when I was steeping it. Perhaps the spice was why this is Mexican?
In flavour the spice has continued to a point that I’m thinking it resembles black pepper and cinnamon. Perhaps some clove in there too as it has a refreshing after taste. Rather spicy but it does have a sweet and refreshing after taste that lingers. Also getting perhaps a citrus note, like orange rind though subtle compared to the spice. And Oolong wise it’s a dark Oolong.
It’s quite nice but even if I could I don’t think I would purchase this one. It’s not special in terms of flavour or blend and while it might be a nice drink today I can guarantee it will be forgotten about tomorrow.
The Winter Sunset sencha is a blend of sencha, pineapple, apple, cinnamon, ginger, aniseed, pepper and a hit of fennel. It was an OK tea, the flavour took a long time to come out but then again I had this from the seller: start first infusion with a temperature 75-80 degrees and then increase the temperature for subsequent infusions. With an infusion time of 24 minutes each time. I probably only left it 4 to 5 minutes but after so long I did notice I stopped taking out the infuser to try and get more flavour through.
Flavors: Sweet, Sweet, warm grass, Tea, Tropical
Thank you, KittyLovesTea, for a GENEROUS sample of this tea-I had to pack down the leaves in order to fit it in to my tin!
It surprised me that this lemongrass was green instead of yellow like I normally see in teas. Either way, it tastes great-nice and lemony but of course without the acid of actual lemon. The only thing negative I could say is that next time I’m going to brew it stronger because I made it a little too weak the first time.
Tea time! As it’s late I will pick this Rooibos blend. Shooting star, how cute!
I open the packet and am met with a thick, medicinal scent with some sweetness that mimics almond. Not unpleasant but rather …well…odd.
It’s steeped scent is much different. I smell sweet apple sauce with almond, very sweet but also very nice. The apple is rather strong considering, and it’s more apple sauce than apple.
Flavour is thickly Rooibos with a mild, sweet apple after taste before the Rooibos takes control again. Further sips bring out the almond sweetness though it’s still very much in the background of the Rooibos, of which seems almost smoky/smog like.
It’s not as sweet nor pleasing as it’s raw scent though it’s drinkable. It’s a rather medicinal Rooibos which I am not a fan of, well not a fan of Rooibos in general but this is darker than I can usually bare.
Flavors: Almond, Medicinal, Rooibos
My day has not picked up as such but nor is it worse and on the overall scale of things I am not being hard done to by life. The headache is perhaps a little annoying but I can look past that. Into the positive and out with the negative.
This was a sample from having a Tea Buffs subscription, so thank you NBT.
I open the packet and am taken back by the delicious scent. It does smell like popcorn! Sweet yet salty, buttery and toasted. Yum! The leaves (they are dark and look black though could be Oolong) have lots of dried fruit pieces amongst them (which I was not expecting as I didn’t smell fruit) and little bits of actual popcorn too. And here I was thinking it may be Genmaicha based before I opened it.
Colour is golden red with a sweet toffee scent, less popcorn than it’s raw scent though still toasted.
sip, sip It tastes like it smells which is not a common find amongst flavoured tea. Usually they differ greatly, but not this. The toffee is light and buttery with mild sweetness and there is a toasted, salt after taste which gradually lightens and sweetens. Not as strongly toffee popcorn as you may imagine though it’s not too weak either, suppose that is a long way of saying medium strength. As it cools it becomes more creamy and also has some astringency though very little.
Loving this one, reminds me of Toffee Dream from Zen Tea but this has more flavour and is generally more pleasing.
Lapacho huh? That’s a new one on me. According to Wikipedia it’s a herb that comes from the inner bark of a Pau D’Arco tree which are indigenous to South and Central America. Sounds very interesting!
It looks dry and rather…well like bark actually. This blend smells strongly of cinnamon and baked apple, like a pie. Heavy on the cinnamon too which is the way I like it, though also a bit dry.
Once steeped it smells strongly and sweetly of cinnamon bark, I used to eat it as a child and have fond memories of it. This is the closest thing I have smelled to that, though considering it’s a type of bark and has been flavoured with cinnamon it’s of no real surprise. Oh also, the drinks liquid is burnt yellow in colour.
With no idea of what to expect in flavour I have no means of comparison. Wow! First sip was heavenly! It tastes of pure cinnamon sticks with toasted apple, it’s pure tasting and so light but sweet and with a lingering after taste that is refreshing. It is a little dry but not necessarily in a bad way.
It’s simple yet very tasty, the bark has minimum flavour but has absorbed some of the cinnamon so all I can taste is cinnamon bark/stick and some sort of baked/toasted apple. There is nothing else to it but it’s simplicity is what makes this blend for me, it’s what I want in terms of a cinnamon or apple tea, and I adore both.
On my list with a real possibility of ordering more of this. For a herbal tea I am very impressed.
Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Drying
“Ewwwww, that sounds disgusting… I must try it!”
That was pretty much my reaction when I first saw this and subsequently added it to my wishlist. Some of you may wonder why I find the idea of toffee popcorn so icky. It’s because in this country popcorn comes with salt on them. That’s it. Salt. Only salt and nothing but salt. Not butter, not food colourings, not sugar, not jam, not chocolate, not taco sauce, not mayonnaise, not chili, not beans, not nothing. And certainly no caramel or toffee of any sort. Salt. That’s it. Just. Salt. With salt on is coincidentally also the only way in which I am and will ever be prepared to eat popcorn. Anything else… I can’t imagine anything more icky.
So. I really don’t know what possessed me to get this. Probably the word ‘toffee’ overruled the rest of the name.
Anyway, it smells sweet and caramel-y while also smelling fairly salty. Can’t really smell popcorn apart from the salt, so I’m telling myself it’s salted caramel flavoured instead. That sounds far more appealing to me and in this context it smells rather nice indeed.
Flavourwise, I can detect a whiff of something that could possibly be popcorn, but it isn’t convincingly so. I can’t really find much in the way of toffee at all. It’s actually more like a nutty tea than anything else and it does also contain both almond and macademia nuts. This is also because the base is a blend of black tea and oolong, and oolong can be quite nutty in flavour sometimes all on its own.
It’s actually a pretty okay tea, although it seems I’m enjoying it mostly because it doesn’t taste like what it’s called at all. Peculiar thing, that.
In other news, happy new year Steepsterites. I hope you were all careful with your fireworks if you had any, minded your fingers and wore your safety glasses. We had a fair bit of it here as the neighbours put on a good show. We don’t usually buy it ourselves. Of course nothing can beat the view of fireworks we had from the balcony of the flat where I lived before we moved in together. That was in the middle of a large town and from the balcony we had views of nearby hills, so ideal watching conditions. The cats took proceedings relatively well. There was some cowering under the bed around midnight when the fireworks were at peak intensity but other than that they made a minimum of fuss.