Strand Tea CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Green March! The first time I ever had Milk Oolong it was one of those mindblowing experiences for me; I remember just being really taken by that creamy, buttery flavor. It was TeaSource’s brand in my local coffee shop haunt that I hit up during lunch breaks from the library. I knew I had to get some for myself, but was surprised by the price tag on it, so I decided to shop around and finally settled for Strand Tea’s offering, which seemed a pretty good value.
At the time I wasn’t aware there were naturally-flavored versions of the tea, and those that were just unflavored, natural Jin Xuan leaf, so I was a bit surprised when this tasted quite a bit different than what I remembered tasting that day in the cafe. Once I became a little more educated on Milk Oolongs, I realized right away it was because the TeaSource version I’d sampled before was flavored, and this one was not. It took a little getting used to, but I warmed up to it very quickly!
Brewed western-style, this tea has thick buttery vegetal notes, which make me think of steamed, buttered vegetables, particularly brocolli. And since that is something I quite enjoy, I find this a really nice tea. There is a slight ghost of a floral note beneath the butter and vegetative flavors, but it is very subtle, and comes across more as a bit of sweetness right at the end of the sip. The tea is really smooth and sweet with no astringency, and works surprisingly well as a “quick cup” or “on the go” oolong.
I tried it for the first time gongfu style, and almost feel a little guilty to say that I actually… like this one western-style more. I definitely prefered my Li Shan more gongfu style, but with this one, the buttery notes came out more in the western brew, and I got more of a vegetative astringency in the shorter gongfu steeps. However, the floral notes hidden underneath were able to come out in the gongfu session, and it was nice to get to experience those notes, so I’m glad I experimented with it! My session lasted ten infusions, starting with a 25s steep with infusions increasing by 10-15 seconds.
At the start of the session, the tea had a very sharp, buttery aroma. There were some very light, buttery notes, but the key notes were spinach, asparagus, and a little grassiness. There was a very fresh, vegetative feel, but then the vegetable notes became more astringent, with a much stronger spinach/brocolli presense in the forefront, and a heavy cooked vegetable aftertaste in the mouth. Some very subtle orchid floral notes seemed to be lingering in the background. By the fourth infusion the astringent vegetal notes were really starting to mellow out, as the floral notes started to push their way into the forefront. From the fifth infusion on the mouthfeel was very much filled with an orchid/lilac/violet floral flavor, and quite sweet on the initial sip, with just a slight lingering vegetal astringency right at the end of the sip left on the tongue. Toward the end of the session the astringency continued to mellow and the tea began to have more of a sweeter, buttery aftertaste. On the final infusion the floral notes started to feel a little washed out and perfumey.
While most oolongs do better with the subtleties of eastern-style brewing, I really just prefer the flavor of this one as a western-brew. That rich, buttery, vegetal taste does it for me, and I have other oolongs where I can get those subtle floral flavors that become lost in the western brew of this; for me, it’s all about those butter notes in this one anyway! I just can’t get enough of that buttered brocolli vibe!
This probably isn’t the most decadent Jin Xuan out there, but I’ve been satisfied with it, especially for the price.
Flavors: Asparagus, Astringent, Broccoli, Butter, Floral, Grass, Orchid, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal, Violet
I enjoy this tea in a bit of an… unconventional way. I noticed that it has a very close flavor profile to another tea in my collection, which is Adagio’s White Chai. Though this tea is entirely an herbal blend, Adagio’s White Chai has so little white tea in it, and the rest of the ingredients between the two blends are pretty much identical, so the flavors are very close. They both are spicy teas with a strong lemon base and noticeable pine notes, and a strong spicy finish. The main difference with this blend is that the fruit notes aren’t as strong as in Adagio’s White Chai, so it isn’t as sweet, and the peppery finish from the red peppercorns is much stronger, leaving more of a bite right at the end of the sip. Between the two, when I just want a cuppa, I prefer the slightly sweeter and less-spicy White Chai, so I started using this tea as a broth base for my ramen.
I can’t use the flavor packets that come with the noodles since they contain MSG (which is a migraine trigger for me), so I started experimenting with using tea as my ramen broth instead, and found I actually really like this tea as a broth. It has a really strong flavor, and works nicely to create this spicy lemon base to the noodles, and it still tastes really nice after the noodles have been eaten out of the bowl and the tea has been salted a bit. The salty notes go well with the peppery notes from the peppercorn, like a “salt and pepper” flavor compliment. It just seems like a lemon ginger tea, but works out to be surpringly savory.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Ginger, Lemon, Peppercorn, Pine, Spicy
Full review tomorrow April 7th on http://sororiteasisters.com/ but for now let me just say …
Lilac Blend from Strand Tea Company has me just beaming with happiness. It is a beautiful sun shiny day outside, I am looking at my first flowers of the year, although they are daffodils, not lilacs, and dreamily sipping on such a delightful surprise! I love lilacs, they are so very fragrant and beautiful. This tea speaks to my sensibilities of summer, flowers, and yet there is a wonderful, surprising fruitiness as well. Mmmmm, so good!
Lilac from Strand Tea Company has a full mouthfeel nearly creamy. Add a splash of milk and you have a dessert tea for sure, oh so creamy and delicious! The mouthfeel is surprisingly heavy for what one would think is a light dainty tea. This tea has some heft to it.
And the taste? Can it match up to all my self imposed hype? Why yes, it can! It is sweet – like honey, fruity, wonderful berry notes, almost a blueberry flavor but I get some deep red berry notes in here too. It tastes wine like, a bit like a blueberry mead tea.
A BIG THANK YOU TO Aplhakitty for sharing this with me!
This was the very first loose leaf tea I ever tried. I’ve since expanded my collection, but this still might be my favorite black tea. The leaves are mostly dark but there’s some gold color here and there. Already, the leaves give off a really sweet, fresh scent. It’s a fresh, grainy, almost woodsy smell that hit me in the face as soon as I opened the package. It steeps to a reddish, coppery color. Any darker than that, and you’ve steeped it for too long.
The cup is DELICIOUS. There’s absolutely no pungency, or no bitterness. It’s got a great deal of natural grainy sweetness, and it would be a shame to add milk or sugar to this IMO. It’s full bodied without being too strong.
…So yeah, this tea kind of got me into loose-leaf tea. The amazing flavor you get from the leaves alone, with absolutely no additives keeps me coming back to bai lin.
Second tea of the day! Going to try as many during my time off this week since I’ve been slacking. This is another sample I received from Kasumi, and this is my first time trying a floral blend!
I taste the floral/lilac but more than that I taste something fruity? I like it, though! I think it’s a nice introduction to floral tea blends.
It also smells amazeballs.
I got this tea through my organic food supplier.
( Has anybody heard of Azure Standard? )
It was 4 dollars and some odd cents for 4 oz, so I thought I would give it a go.
The dry leaf smells rather unremarkable.
But, the tea itself has a nice brisk black tea odor.
The taste is very polite.
It is a nice quality black tea, its not to bitter or robust and just awakens you with Jeeves-like quality
“Ahem, excuse me Madam but it is time to arise”
After hearing of the legend of the Harney & Sons Golden Snail tea that disappeared from stock, perhaps ne’er to return, I searched far and wide for another of this type of tea.
The tea leaves themselves have a unique appearance, curled with golden tips and black leaves, a rather neat aesthetic. I learned quickly that a teaspoon of this tea is actually too much for a single cup as the leaves expand significantly beyond the initial dry volume. The tea darkens quickly and so a steep of ~3 minutes is adequate to produce a robust dark amber colored brew. The tea has both a strong nose and strong flavor, the notes of cocoa cannot be mistaken. It is full bodied and very satisfying, at least to my tastes. There is a hint of smokiness, more so the longer the steep. I rather like this tea.