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Recent Tasting Notes
Work – 1:00 PM
This tea is basically a weaker version of Harney & Sons’s Hot Cinnamon Spice. It tastes like a tea made out of Red Hots candies.
Not terrible, but a bit weak and it does have sweetener of some kind.
Speaking of Harney & Sons, I went to their website with the intention of buying their new Hot Apple Spice and the lovely Heirloom Bartlett Pear. But the Bartlett Pear is out of stock…
Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Sweet
Home – 6:00 PM
So there’s not really a whole lot to say about this one.
It’s just a light black tea with almond extract or amaretto flavoring. Nothing special, there’s definitely no shortbread here in my opinion. A touch of bitterness at the end.
So this would be a good low-cost option for anyone who was looking for a plain amaretto black tea.
Flavors: Alcohol, Almond, Bitter, Marzipan, Sweet
Milk, as we know it, is soft, smooth, velvety, sweet … What could be the milk Oolong? Totally the same! Milk Oolong, a delicacy from Taiwan, has an unusually soft taste and a sweet aroma. It is grown in a breathtaking landscape full of jagged hills and green slopes. Its production is given the utmost attention. It is no wonder, therefore, that it belongs to highly prized sorts.
For Oolongy, the so-called semifermentation is characteristic. They are also called blue-green or polished green tea. Chinese Tea Tickets are collected in Taiwan up to five times a year. Harvest runs from April to December. A special procedure follows, in which tea leaves receive a typical milk flavor. Their cracking takes place in milk steam. Then the farmers are poured into special containers with milk essence and soak repeatedly. Subsequently, tea travels to large bamboo baskets, where it shakes intensively. This causes the leaves to get wet and disturbed, which will trigger natural enzyme oxidation. Depending on the kind, they are left to this chemical process for a long time. Mostly Oolongs ferment somewhere between 8-85 percent. The final color, aroma and caffeine content (tein) depend on the percentage of fermentation.
In Taiwan, tea gardens are located in virtually all regions. Oolonga is most often exported from Nantou, where Chinese tea is grown on the hillsides. They provide ideal soil and climatic conditions. Taiwanese Oolonga will cover about 20 percent of the world’s production of these unique teas.
Flavors: Almond, Milk, Nuts
Finished this off last night at the end of my shift at work. It was pretty good; hot hay/straw notes and a little bit of a lemony sweetness to the white tea base and then a medium bodied peach flavour that very loosely reminded me of the syrupy, soft sliced peaches that come in candy. A little bit of an added cherry flavour would have really given this a Fruit Cocktail sort of overall profile.
I enjoyed it though, and it was so smooth to sip on. I had finished off the cup before I even know it!
Discovery Tea Box – Tea Thirteen
This is the last flavoured tea that I pulled from the box; but there’s still two more that I pulled which I haven’t tried yet. Picked this for two reasons; firstly I think it’s a new to me company (after a while you’ve tried so many that it’s easy to lose track). Secondly, I’ve had several peach flavoured white teas over this summer and really just this year in general so I wanted to try this one and see how I stacked up compared to the others.
I actually really enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite I’ve tried. In fact, both of the two that I currently have in my cupboard are better – but it’s a TIGHT race. They’ve all actually been so good. This one is a little astringent, but mostly it does a VERY good job of really accurately conveying the taste of real peaches. Complete with the taste of the peach skin! It did taste a little familiar to me, and it was hard to place why but eventually I realized that I was reminding me A LOT of the Peaches and Cream white tea that I own from Sloane Tea. They have an almost identical peach flavour, but this doesn’t have any cream components to it. I think that’s why I like it less than the Sloane peach white tea and DT’s peach white tea; both of those are peaches and cream and this is just peach.
Still very, very good though!
Flavors: Astringent, Hay, Peach, Straw, Sweet
Summer Vacation! I first tried this oolong at my local favorite cafe (and the only decent place in town to get a cuppa), Twin Beans. I think it was my first oolong that was closer to the black tea spectrum, and I fell in love hard. Twin Beans sources all their tea from TeaSource, so I ordered some on my next TeaSource order.
3g brewed in 350ml 200F water in a gravity well infuser. This tea steeps up a ruby brown color, and has this really satisfying medium malty flavor, with nice baked bread notes. It’s also a very sweet tea, with notes of honey, but also a slight fruitiness, with subtle hints of raisins and baked cherries. It’s very smooth, and has a nice natural sweetness, and reminds me a lot of those smooth Chinese blacks with honey and stonefruit notes and no astringency; it’s hard to believe this is a Taiwanese oolong, since all the other Taiwanese oolongs I’ve had have been very light and green with highly floral/vegetal flavor profiles.
A nice, smooth, bready oolong that holds up to resteeping in western style brewing well. I still need to explore this one in gong fu, as well.
I ended up with two cups of this tea tonight, since I brought my work kettle home because every cup of tea I make at work tastes weird — sort of metallic and minerally. I just always assumed it had to be the water somehow, but today I brought the exact water I use at home, that came out of my home faucet, was filtered through my PUR pitcher, chilled in my fridge, and then put into a stainless steel water bottle, transported the 10 minute trip back to work, and immediately put into my kettle at work to make tea. And it still tasted bad! So I brought the kettle home tonight, and made two cups of Brandy Oolong, with my home kettle (an Epica-brand temperature control) and my work kettle (an Aicok-brand temperature control). I had descaled BOTH just a few weeks ago. The cup made from the Aicok kettle has a strange smell that the Epica kettle cup doesn’t… the tea still has that “mineral” sort of taste to me. I just can’t figure it out, since I’ve cleaned that kettle to spotless; it is cleaner than the Epica kettle, which still has some scale in it I’ve never been able to get out. At this point I’m wondering if I have to just buy another kettle for work since I can’t seem to stop un-tasting that weird taste…
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Honey, Malt, Raisins, Smooth, Sweet, Wheat
Summer Vacation! Today is my last day of doing Chinese teas on my Summer Vacation monthly theme, and starting tomorrow I’ll be moving onto another country… Japan! I still have quite a stockpile of things I’ve bought from Yunomi and have yet to try, and I’m also a big fan of the flavored blends from Japanese company Lupicia so a few of those may make an appearance. I still have yet to try some of the teas my BFF from San Jose brought me back for my birthday when he went to Japan last March, which I really need to rectify…
Tonight, though, I have brewed up a Chinese oolong which I was craving… I think the migraine I’ve had all day had something to do with it. I forget what this stuff is called from other places, but it’s a green oolong from Fujian where the leaf is sprinkled with ginseng and licorice root before its folded into the tiny pellets. Normally I hate ginseng so I originally tried this with a sampler from a site that sources from TeaSource, and oddly enough, fell in love with it, because it didn’t have that strong medicinal taste that I had experienced before from ginseng tea. The oolong base and sweet licorice just balance it the right way. I knew I had to add it to my collection after that.
The smell of this tea really soothes me, though I think I’d have a hard time trying to describe the aroma properly. It comes off very sweet, silky, with a slightly minty/mineral quality, and the oolong base has that roasted/nutty quality, and when they all come together it has almost this dessert-like quality to the warm aroma. The flavor of the tea has that roasted nuts taste of a Se Chung, but it is followed by this really sweet aftertaste, so the final impression comes off like honey-roasted nuts. And there is just something quite soothing and settling about it. Despite having ginseng and licorice root, neither effect the flavor in a significant way; I don’t like the taste of ginseng and don’t notice it, and I love licorice root (yes, I’m one of those rare people) and don’t notice it, either; there is a natural sweetness to the tea, but it isn’t even the sort of heady “sticky sweetness” you normally taste with licorice root, but a soft, smooth, rather subdued sweetness.
I’m rather liking honey-roasted nuts in a cup. Especially when my head feels like butt.
Flavors: Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Sweet
Summer Vacation! The iced tea in my big water bottle today happened to be a blend of three different Chinese teas — a heicha, a jasmine green tea, and a white tea. When I opened the package, it smelled strongly of melon; not that strong, artificial watermelon flavor used here in the states, but the Asian “melon” flavoring that is similar to cantalope and honeydew that is commonly found in Japanese candies, sodas, and shaved ice. And I was really surprised by that, because nothing in the tea description mentioned it being melon-flavored. It just said it had “fruity and floral notes.” I didn’t even smell anything floral… just really, really strong melon.
So I didn’t even bother trying this tea warm, I just cold brewed it, strained it, and stuck it in my water bottle. And… it was about as strongly melon-flavored as it smelled. I wouldn’t say it was unpleasant, though, because it actually somehow came off really juicy on the tongue, as if I’d actually just eaten a slice of cantalope. The flavor, of course, wasn’t quite the same, because it tastes more like that honeydew/cantalope melon-hybrid flavor, but the mouthfeel just somehow came off strikingly similar to that juicy sensation of having just chewed up a slice of cantalope. And though I couldn’t smell any floral notes, I could actually taste a slight floral sweetness to the tea, though it was subtle, and seemed to somehow bring out the honeydew flavors a bit. There was also a very subtle citrus note right at the end of the sip. The tea is very naturally sweet, and almost feels like a melon soda, just lacking the carbonation and having an overall more refreshing feel. Or maybe I’m reminded of soda because though it’s sweet, it actually has a slight tanginess to the aftertaste, which I find quite pleasant.
I don’t know if it’s because I cold steeped this, but I would never think there was heicha in this… the base felt very much like a green/white base to me. It even steeped up a yellow color. I have no idea if it was because of the way the tea was prepared, or just a matter of leaf ratios… guess I’ll have to play with it more.
So… from the name and description, I would never expect this to be a very melon-flavored tea. If that is what you are looking for, this is the tea for you! It took me by complete surprise, but I’m not disappointed by it. I drink a lot of iced tea, and I’ll be using this one up exclusively that way.
Flavors: Cantaloupe, Citrus, Floral, Honeydew, Melon, Sweet, Tangy
It’s still scorching hot, so the iced teas won’t be ending any time soon! I ordered this really recently during a free shipping sale from TeaSource, one of my favorite companies, so this is actually one of the newest acquisitions to my cupboard. I was especially interested in trying this one out because I thought it would make good iced tea, and I am a bonified hibi-hip iced tea fan!
This one turned out really nice! I was actually surprised that it had such a strong peach flavor with a hibi-hip base, since hibi-hip is a very dominating base flavor, but it does; there is a nice, rich fruity hibiscus base (my favorite for a nice iced tea, as it creates that tangy fruit punch sort of flavor) and then there is just this really succulent sort of sweet, juicy peach taste as a top note layered over the hibi-hip base that works really well. Since fruit herbals take a lot of tea thanks to their chunky size/heavy weight and I tend to order small amounts (2 oz), I may have to stock a larger amount of this soon, as I really enjoy this! It’s very refreshing, just the right balance of sweet and tangy.
Flavors: Fruit Punch, Fruity, Hibiscus, Peach, Sweet, Tangy
A Berry Frui-tea July! I got this not long ago in a TeaSource order, quite interested in the berry/lavender flavor combo. I stayed up way too late yesterday so tonight I decided I would keep to herbals, so this seemed a good time to try this. The dry leaf smelled lovely, like vanilla cream and some sort of fruity sorbet/gelato.
Brewed up, I’m getting a lot of strawberries-and-cream vibes from the aroma, and not much lavender, despite the name. Maybe it’s in the flavor more than the scent? Took a sip and this is an absolutely lovely rooibos. It’s very sweet, with a very fruity flavor, with a strong strawberry note and a slight sweet cream flavor. TeaSource has another rooibos tea called Strawberries and Cream that I have in my cupboard (though I have yet to review it) and this tastes remarkably similar, though I do make out a subtle touch of lavender toward the end of the sip. I actually wish the lavender was a bit stronger, because it tastes a little too much like the other tea; I may have to add a pinch of extra lavender from my raw lavender buds stash. I’ve always liked the Strawberries and Cream tea and it was recently discontinued, so it’s nice to know this one is going to continue to scratch that itch, at least, and I can see why they decided to get rid of it now that I’ve had this one and see how similar they are to each other. Plus, this one just feels more relaxing to sip on, thanks to the lavender (and I had to medicate for a migraine today, so the lavender infusion is definitely a plus in that regard, even if the flavor is getting overwhelmed a little by the strawberry and vanilla in the cup). It’s a nice tasting rooibos, but I think it needs a little stronger lavender to balance against the strength of the berry.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Fruity, Strawberry, Sweet, Vanilla
June Wedding! Another something borrowed from the last Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box! (Thanks to all who contributed and tea-sipper for organizing!) I prepared this one as a cold brew, since I’ve really been enjoying flavored whites cold steeped. I didn’t have very much leaf, but just steeped with what seemed an appro-po amount of water in an insulated water bottle overnight while out of town and went grandpa-style with it.
The tea was a fairly pale yellow color, with a very sweet apple aroma. As far as flavor, I was actually surprised that the white tea was more prominent in this blend than others I’ve tried; I was getting a slight vegetal taste to the base, that to me tasted like cucumber. I also was picking up on some sweeter melon notes. The tea has an apple flavor, but it wasn’t a really strong, overbearing apple flavor like I’ve tasted in other teas, and I think that’s because the white tea base is coming through more here and allowed a lot more of its own flavor; the apple tastes more natural and comes across a bit more softly. The apple note and its sweetness compliments the white tea well, and the whole thing almost has this sort of wine-like bite to it.
It was a nice enough cool iced drink, but I’m not sure if the overall flavor left enough of an impression on me that I’d care to restock this one. There was a lot of depth of flavor, but they just pulled together in an odd way to me… if I had more leaf I probably would’ve experimented with a warm cuppa too. But it was enjoyable enough on a warm June afternoon.
Flavors: Apple, Cucumber, Melon, Sweet, Vegetal, White Wine
June Wedding! Time for something blue! TeaSource’s Blueberry Fields tea has blue mallow blossoms and freeze-dried blueberries, so this will fit the bill quite nicely. The dry leaf has a very sweet blueberry scent, that reminds me of blueberry syrup for pancakes and waffles. The tea steeps up to a very naturally sweet medium black tea, with a nice blueberry flavor. The tea really doesn’t need any sweetening, but a tiny dash of sugar brings out the berry just a bit more.
While this is a fine warm cuppa, I prefer this as an iced tea, just because of the strong fruity flavor to the cup. I don’t really like how black teas cold steep, so I like to prepare a thick hot steep concentration (usually 4 teaspoons of tea in 2 cups water, steeped for five minutes) which I then mix with 2 cups cold water and then chill in the fridge overnight. It makes a really nice, refreshing, fruity sweet iced tea. I usually don’t even sweeten it, because the blueberry flavor is so naturally sweet on its own, but if I feel up to a really sweet iced tea batch, sometimes I add liquid sugar or top with frozen blueberries. Yum!
Flavors: Blueberry, Fruity, Pancake Syrup, Sweet
May Flowers! Apparently this seems to be a “love it or hate it” tea, but I am most definitely in the “love it” category, and it has remained a permanent staple in my cupboard ever since I tasted my first cup at local coffee haunt Twin Beans on a cold winter day when I was in an herbal mood. The leaf has an aroma that reminds me of root beer, and the tea is such a relaxing warm brew! I pick up a minty flavor that is a bit like a cross between spearmint and wintergreen, and as the mint closes there is this honeyed sweetness and slight anise note, and those flavors combined taste like root beer on my palate. There is a minty sweetness that lingers on the tongue and is just wonderful!
This tea includes chamomile and lavender, and I can make out a very subtle chamomile flavor, but thankfully for me it is so well blended into the mix of herbals that I hardly even notice it (I have a particular dislike for the flavor of chamomile), and though I love lavender, I don’t notice its flavor at all in this blend. However, I still get a very relaxed sensation whenever I sip on this tea. I love to drink this before bed; it’s sweet, yet very soothing.
Since this tea has such a strong “root beer” flavor note for me, I decided to try it as an iced tea for the first time. I was surprised how well it still holds up! Honestly, I think I still prefer it warm, because there is just a really relaxing feeling to the hot aroma and feel of the warm tea and the way the particular flavors sort of linger on the tongue, but the iced tea still has a very nice, refreshing flavor. It still has a very minty taste with that sweetness that tastes similar to root beer, but I think it comes across just a little more subdued, like certain notes have gotten lost in the chill. I think I may add some honey to my iced pitcher and see if that doesn’t spruce it up; I don’t normally sweeten my teas, even my iced ones, but I have found in the past that sometimes helps my chilled brew. I certainly won’t have any troubles finishing the quart, regardless.
Flavors: Anise, Honey, Mint, Root Beer, Spearmint, Sweet
May Flowers! I think this is the only heicha in my collection, but I really enjoy this tea. It has such a deep, rich flavor, with a strong rose floral note that adds a touch of sweetness that keeps it from having the sort of bitterness that a black tea of that kind of rich depth might have otherwise. I get some nice notes of malt and dark cocoa from the base, with a very strong top note of sweet floral rose. The finish has some slight drying astringency, but the taste of rose is left on the tongue, and overall, I find it very refreshing and pleasant. I enjoy this tea both warm and iced; the black tea and rose floral notes compliment each other nicely. I especially enjoy this tea as an afternoon cuppa.
Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Floral, Malt, Rose
Oh hey, another discontinued TeaSource tea! (At least I have a 2 oz. bag of this one, so it’ll be a while before I have to go through the inevitable loss process…)
Confession: I apparently really messed up making this one initially. I decided I wanted to try to gong fu brew it, as I rarely do so (and quite frankly need more practice at it), but the tea came out so bitter it was undrinkable. I always hear you need to use way more leaf when you are using the gong fu method, so I used 5 grams for my 150ml gaiwan but… nope nope nope. It just did not work out. I ended up scrapping the whole thing, dropping down to 3 grams of leaf, and doing what I usually do and only filling my gaiwan halfway with water (as I’m only using one teacup of the two that came with the set anyway). No bitterness the second time! Maybe with enough practice I’ll finally get the hang of how much leaf and water to use to get a really nice session from the get-go…
I ended up with six infusions, starting at 15 seconds which were increased by about 3-5 seconds each time. On the first infusion the tea had notes of sweet, warm grass with a licorice or anise flavor, and it had a slightly sweet, honeyed quality. There was no bitterness, but had a slightly astringent drying sensation at the end of the sip. Over the following infusions the tea became a little more vegetal, with some spinach and fennel notes coming out, and the tea became less sweet while growing more astringent as the infusions became longer. By the fifth and sixth infusions the sweetness was starting to return, but it was also starting to really run out of steam.
I also prepared the tea western style, using 2 grams of leaf and steeping for two minutes in 175 degree water… and honestly, I found it way more satisfying than taking the tea gong fu style. The tea was super sweet, with no astringency! There was still a lovely licorice/anise/fennel flavored top note, with a lot of sweet grass and honey in the base. The spinach and bitter vegetal notes were missing from the western steep. I also noticed a very subtle honeydew note right toward the finish.
Overall this is a very satisfying green tea. I do find I have to play around with greens a lot to find my optimal brew parameters, but I always say that the journey with tea is what makes it so satisfying!
Flavors: Anise, Fennel, Honey, Honeydew, Licorice, Sweet, warm grass
I had this tea with my breakfast at my favorite local cafe, Twin Beans. They are the only decent place in town to get a cup of tea, as everywhere else in my town only serves coffee (with their tea being the typical crap bagged tea options you’d find at any other restaurant). Twin Beans actually has a modest selection of loose leaf teas sourced by TeaSource, with my only real complaint being nothing against quality (I’ve liked pretty much all the teas I’ve tried!) but how fast they discontinue the various varietials/blends… I’ll get hooked and then poof! It’s gone. I actually was introduced to this tea when I walked in one day and ordered one of my favorites, Golden Mao Feng, only to have the barista bring a pot of this to my table with the sad news, “Sorry Sara, we are out of that one and it’s been discontinued now, too. This is a close flavor match, give it a try, if you don’t like it I’ll make you a pot of something else.” To her credit, it was a very close flavor match, having that honeyed-apricot note that I liked so much about the Golden Mao Feng; I’d just say this tea is perhaps a little less sweet because it has a slightly husky, smoky note right around the close. Still a solid Chinese black.
Buuuuut… it’s also been discontinued by TeaSource, so once I’ve drunk up the stash Twin Beans has in stock at their shop, it’ll be time to move on again. Sigh! TeaSource, why must you break my heart like this over and over? This relationship is not healthy for either of us. * shifty eyes *
Flavors: Apricot, Honey, Malt, Smoke, Smooth
I did not like this gong fu at all, it did not change over time to my taste buds at least. Grandpa style is better so I’m reviewing that.
leaf :???? its grandpa style, idgaf; temp 100C
The texture of this is like a light roast coffee with cream, but aroma is extremely roasty. Reminds me of hojicha both in taste and aroma, maybe a tiny bit chocolatier. I do not taste any fruitiness that others have tasted in this. Unfortunately I don’t like hojicha whatsoever so this is definitely a pass for me.
Flavors: Coffee, Creamy, Roasted
Gongfu, 5g/100ml 100C
Going with this at boiling even though it is definitely a greener ooolong. Dry leaf is intact, gently twisted, not tightly twisted like a wuyi oolong. Smells floral with a little bit of butteriness.
Starting with flash steeps, no rinse: sweet and floral like an anxi or jin xuan oolong. Some light astringency on the finish, not too bad though. There is sort of an herb stem taste too. I should probably kick the temp down…this is definitely a greener oolong
Through steep 4 : I kicked the temperature down, but even then i can’t avoid astringency and stewed leaves. I think i did irreparable damage at 100C. I’ll re-review when i have a chance to repeat this at 90C.
Steep 5-9: Nevermind, there you are! 90C, I have to keep clearing my throat because I swear I have a corn kernel stuck back there. This is really buttery and really full of corn. The aroma is flowery, like I’m eating buttered corn standing near a flower field. The astringency has given way, this is a good tea if you like modern baozhongs that tend toward the green but keep in mind it is temperature sensitive.
Flavors: Butter, Corn Husk, Floral, Popcorn
Chai to Stay Dry! It was a gloomy April day today, and seemed a good time to sample another chai in my collection! This one is probably about as old as the Tali’s Masala by Art of Tea that I tried the other night, so I’m hoping that it is still okay (those two definitely have my sipdown priority!)
The dry leaf has a lot of large, full spice in it, and smells very nice. I get some nice aroma of ginger and cardamom from the bag, but it also comes off with a slight sweetness underlying the spices. From smelling and inspecting the leaf, I have high hopes this chai is going to taste a lot better than Tali’s Masala.
The aroma of the brewed chai is quite nice, with a cardamom/clove top scent. The flavor is a pretty balanced mixed of spices, that opens with cardamom and clove and closes with cinnamon and a hint of ginger, and it comes off with a nice warmness but doesn’t leave an uncomfortable heat lingering in the mouth, which is exactly how I like my chai. This is the kind of chai I can take plain, and don’t have to take with milk, which is nice! So far, this has definitely been one of the better chais I’ve tried so far this month. A simple and balanced blend, and good for those that like a balanced spice flavor but don’t like a really heated/burning spicy mouthfeel.
Flavors: Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Spicy, Sweet
Tastes like fake green apple flavoring, strongly reminiscent of those tiny spherical lollipops that teachers, doctors, and hairdressers use to bribe children to behave, or a Jolly Rancher, or whatever other kind of cheap green-apple-flavored hard candy you prefer. The chai spice is hardly noticeable by comparison. Couldn’t they just have used apple pieces? Sure, that won’t make the tea taste very appley, but there must be a better way than using very artificial-tasting artificial flavoring. I mean, I knew it was flavored, of course, but most fruit teas are and it’s not usually that candy-like.
Flavors: Artificial, Cinnamon
Green March! (Because despite the lovely brown color of the tea leaves and steep color, this is a green tea and thus counts in my book!) This is a tea that TeaSource offered during winter 2016, but then discontinued. It’s a shame, because I really like it… fortunately my friend bought a pound of it and shares with me when I get hard up. My stash has gotten a bit descented and I may have to be hitting him up for a fresher batch sometime soon, but it is still drinkable, if not as amazing as I remember when I first tried it. (I remember when he first brought me some, the maple scent was so strong our hotel room absolutely reeked of sweet maple! Aah, it was so nice… now, this just has a light, ghost-scenting of it left behind… so sad…)
I really like this tea as a breakfast tea because of the flavor, but its light caffeine-content makes it a handy evening sipper, too. The flavor is a bit like roasted nuts, with earthy notes of bark, and a sweet finish with some subtle caramel and molasses hints that linger on the tongue. This particular blend has added almonds and maple flavoring, but since my tea was descented, these flavors are a lot more subtle than they used to be; there are still some warm maple notes in the scent and a slight maple flavor and sweetness that lingers in the finish, but mostly what remains is the taste of the houjicha itself. The houjicha appears to be of good quality and has a nice flavor that holds up on its own. The tea itself has such a naturally nutty flavor, that the almonds don’t seem to add much here.
Flavors: Bark, Caramel, Malt, Maple, Molasses, Roasted nuts, Toasty
I am a big fan of Chinese red teas and wild Chinese teas. This one comes from wild trees in Yunnan province. It is delightful but probably not worth the price at $32.89/2 ounces. The dried leaves are black, long and twisted with a sweet caramel aroma. The wet leaves smell of burnt raisins. TeaSource describes this tea as “black rose and licoricey”. I don’t taste that. The brew is a light golden color with a naturally sweet flavor of stone fruits and malt with a strong muscatel aftertaste that lingers in the mouth for a long time. The flavor develop more as the tea cools. I haven’t tried it gongfu style yet, but I bet you could get a lot of flavor from multiple infusions. I enjoy this tea but will probably not keep it as a regular in my cupboard because of the cost.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Malt, Muscatel, Peach, Raisins