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Recent Tasting Notes
You know when you visit the Farmer’s Market, and there is stall selling bags of nuts covered in warm cinnamon and sugar and the smell is absolutely divine? When you open up the bag of this tea, the aroma reminds me exactly of that! (The loose tea looks good enough to eat too… like a cinnamon-covered granola!) This is a tea that works best for me when it is brewed strong to really enjoy the flavor, so I usually use two heaping teaspoons (this tisane has pretty large, chunky ingredients, so I find it comes out a bit weak otherwise!) and let it steep in boiling water for around 7-10 minutes. The resulting tea is a dark red color from the beetroot powder, which also gives it a very slight tart note which reminds me just a bit of hibiscus. It counters the natural sweetness of the tea, as it is very nutty and has some slight cinnamon-sugar notes. I really like the tea with its natural beetroot tart bite, since that is a flavor I’m personally quite fond of, but adding a bit of sweetener mellows that note out so the tea becomes such an incredibly smooth dessert tea. This is a rather unique evening indulgence tea!
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutty, Sweet, Tart
I got this tea in a holiday sampler from TeaSource last year. Opening up the sampler and sniffing the leaf, it smells strongly of cinnamon, reminding me of Big Red chewing gum. After brewing, the tea continues to have a cinnamon aroma, though not nearly as potent as the dry leaf. The black tea had a medium-body and very smooth mouthfeel with no hint of astringency. It has a warm, cinnamon flavor, that leaves a slight spicy note lingering on the tongue, but it isn’t quite as strong or as potent as some black cinnamon teas I’ve tried; there is a bit of natural sweetness, likely from the fruit inclusions, that keep the spice a bit more grounded. Sadly I pick up no fruit or citrus flavor notes, so the tea is pretty underwhelming; it’s just a cinnamon black tea that is a little more subdued and a little more sweet than stronger cinnamon black blends. It has a fine flavor, but isn’t particularly interesting; if I want something spicy I prefer a tea with a bit more depth, like a unique chai.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Smooth, Spicy, Sweet
As a hot steep, this tea is not one of my favorites. It has a very strong orange flavor, and if that is what you are craving, then this is the tea for you. I really enjoy fruity flavored green teas, but I personally tend to like the fruity notes to have a softer, more delicate touch in my greens; they don’t have to compete against the strong, astringent flavors of a black tea. This is just a little more bold than I care for, and the flavoring being so strong makes it feel too artificial (which it is, but some teas are quite good at hiding it).
Icing this tea, on the other hand, is an entirely different experience! I like to use the cold-brew method of letting a teaspoon of leaf per cup of cold water steep in the fridge overnight, and then strain off the leaf the next morning. The resulting iced tea is fantastic! It has a very crisp, clean, refreshing taste, the orange notes are tamed a bit while still providing a very flavorful tea, and the tea requires no sweetening. I like to make a batch and drink a nice cold glass with my breakfast, since it gives me such a refreshing “orange juice” feel.
This is definitely a tea that will be getting a lot of use in the summer months when I start ramping up the amount of cold brews in my fridge!
Flavors: Artificial, Citrusy, Orange
This is one of my favorite green teas, and I find sipping on a cuppa now I enjoy it just as much as when I first shared a pot in a local teashop with a friend last winter to review on my blog. It has this beautiful scent of cherries and roses, but the brew is not nearly as heavy as the smell might lead one to believe. It is very light, delicate, and smooth; a brisk two minute steep leaves a light amber brew that still has that enticing aroma, but the taste is a soft, relaxing, delicate cherry taste that rounds out into a floral finish, rather than being overwhelming and coming off too much like cough syrup as a result like so many cherry-flavored teas have a tendency to do. This tea does a good job of pulling the cherry flavor back into more of a floral experience and mimicking cherry blossoms, like its name, and to me it reminds me of springtime in Japan in a cup. The tea has a nice natural sweetness and doesn’t have any bitterness as long as you mind your water temperature and steep time, with the grassy green tea flavor becoming very soft beneath the floral notes.
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Cut grass, Floral, Sweet
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #31
I noticed that this won Tea Source’s best tea award or something so I was kind of expecting more from this herbal. I just seem to taste chamomile with hints of mint. Nothing I would love, and not a great representative of Tea Source’s teas. Not bad, just not special. Lot of ingredients but the flavor is so plain. Trying to catch up on notes from the teabox, so three tasting notes today!
This is a very fruity tisane; it has a sweet fruity berry flavor with a zingy, tart finish. Depending on how you like your fruit teas, a little sweetener or honey may help take the tart edge off the finish, giving it a sweeter, punchy flavor, but it is fine sans sweetener if you like fruits that have a bit of a tart bite to them. The tea is very rich and surprisingly pleasant warm, but makes a great iced tea with a fruity, punchy flavor that is refreshing during hot weather.
Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Hibiscus
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #12
The tiny pebbles of this tea made me a bit scared. But overbrewing the second steep for way too many minutes didn’t even make it too strong. Both steeps definitely tasted like an assam, strong with a medium body, malty but fruity with a thirst quenching quality. Don’t pass this one up in the teabox! Surprisingly one of my favorites of the teabox so far.
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #10
Teasource asks in this description: How do you like them apples? I say, not with lemongrass or coconut… An interesting blend that I have no idea how this actually tastes like apple, especially with the coconut. The really fresh looking coconut. And lemongrass? In a candy apple inspired blend? But somehow the flavor turns out actually apple. The second steep was only hints of apple once in a while, and mostly just white tea flavor. Hmm, this one is a mystery. But it’s good there wasn’t actually the flavor of the lemongrass or coconut.
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #8
I used a fairly big chunk of this accidentally. After it was in the infuser I couldn’t really do anything about it! The leaves have hints of gold within the brick. I thought the flavor would be too much, but maybe the leaves didn’t unravel too much yet. As usual though, a ripe pu-erh can never really be astringent. I do usually like stronger flavor than this though. The flavor is very mellow, I can only describe it as the what pu-erh tastes like, but the lightest of that: mushrooms, light cocoa… No hints of anything pu-erhly unpleasant though. The third steep was crazy long but the flavor was still very mild…. and the brick was still hardly unraveled! I guess this one would never unravel. Unless I tried many more steeps, but that last steep was very very long. Nothing impressive but nothing offending either.
Steep #1 // 12 minutes after boiling // rinse // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 20? minute steep
Smooth and sweet tea. Though its jasmine flavoured, its not overpowering. Its a constant companion that helps highlight the sweetness of the tea. Its what you would hope to get from a white tea, that being nice flavour and aroma.
Extended review and how i brewed it:
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Sweet
A nice sample of Big Red Robe that has a fairly mellow smokiness in the initial infusions, with an interesting taste of wet slate in the middle infusions. Fairly dynamic flavor range. I brewed this with a gaiwan, and have found even better results brewing it with a yixing. I have a friend that has brewed it western style, and the first infusion is the best, with the subsequent ones being considerably less enjoyable. So brewing style really has a big effect on extracting this teas full potential. If done well, its quite satisfying.
Longer review of this tea and how I brewed it is here:
Flavors: Apple, Smoke, Smooth, Wet Rocks
Got this from the Here’s Hoping TTB.
Tried as much pu from the box as I could if it wasn’t already obvious! This one was clean, sweet and smooth from the very first steep. I’ve usually been skipping washes lately, so the first steep was a deep red in color that darkened significantly in the next since the leaves were pretty broken up once the compression loosened, and they soaked up a lot of water. I did get some fermentation flavor, but nothing that overshadowed the distinct sweetness I picked up on.
From the Here’s Hoping TTB. This is my first real disappointment from the TTB. This is a CTC tea, but I’d at least hoped for a good strong breakfast tea. However, it was weak and bland. I suspect this may have just be too old; either too long in the box, or maybe an older tea that was added. Second steep of 7 minutes: nothing there.
Nice vegetal and floral taste in the initial infusions that is not overpowering. The delicate taste also transforms into a nice sweetness in the later infusions. Very delicate buds that brews into a nice liquour, and has a nice mouthfeel.
I brewed this sample of Pi Lo Chun using a gaiwan.
Tasting note #500!
I can’t believe I’ve never reviewed this one, as it’s been a staple in my cupboard for several years now. TeaSource offers both a flavored and unflavored milk oolong. I have the unflavored and absolutely recommend it! The flavor is sweet and creamy, the texture buttery-smooth, and the beautiful unbroken leaves hold up to many re-steepings. (I usually wear out before the tea does!)
Flavors: Creamy, Milk, Smooth, Sweet
I tried this on a whim and ended up loving it! The flavor is complex hard to describe: a bit like honey, but also slightly fruity with a hint of something that reminds me of walnut. Pretty strong for an oolong, but no bitterness or astringency even after multiple re-steeps. I will probably re-order when I’ve finished my 2 oz bag!
Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Raisins, Smooth, Walnut
Next up from my exploration of the teabox is Longevity oolong by Teasource. This is a 4 year old retoasted oolong.
Starting with a quick rinse to open up the leaves, the aroma came out of the yixing like POW… I got hit with coffee, roast, chocolate, dark wood and cherry. The liquor color is dark honey color, with a touch of red. Not quite as red as red tea, more towards honey but darker.
The first infusion I got the same aroma, and now tasting it, yup it tastes like coffee, also dark bittersweet, cherry, chocolate…its actually more roasty than wuyi oolongs. This really surprised me, the roast on this is quite heavy.
Second infusion it was even stronger, the tea leaves are opening up a little now and really just pounding the aroma, the yixing also intensifies it because of the way it holds the heat, I was also brewing this a bit on the hot side, near 205.
I brewed this out about 12 infusions and it lost very little flavor through any of the infusions. Though later in the infusions I actually tasted a little more of the tea, and a little less of the roast. Though the slightly fruity cherry flavor kept with it throughout.
I do have a bit of a soft spot for aged oolongs.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Coffee, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Wood, Sweet
Long time no write!
So, I’m a big lime fan and find Teasource to be affordable and pretty delicious- and that’s how I ended up with this one. I’m really glad I got this. What a yummy cup! The lime is very present in the smell, however is a bit more subtle in taste. I pick up some floral notes in this one, but it isn’t over powering. There is also a slight astringency to the cup, but again, not in an overpowering way. I’ve enjoyed this both hot and iced, and I’ve got to say I think the flavor shined a bit better iced. The hot brew was still very good, and I still drink it both ways. Overall a refreshing flavored green tea. Especially moving into these warmer months!
Hope to do some longer, more in depth tasting notes here in the future, but I’ll leave this one short and sweet for my welcome back!
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Lime