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Recent Tasting Notes
Found this very old pack of oolong plum tea in the back of a cupboard this week. The label is half worn off so I can’t tell where this tea is from, just the name “oloong yello plum”… and a use-by date of 2014. So I guess random steepings is where I’m supposed to review this tea?
5 years past the use by date… can anyone beat that?
Smells amazing despite being so old (it was sealed up very well, although opened inside) with plum and apricot and warm black tea.
I brewed it. First few sips there’s a light fruity sweetness and earthyness that’s lovely. Then there’s what I can only describe as bin juice. To be precise, it’s the smell of the juice/liquid that’s lingering in the bottom of your bin after being too lazy to take the trash out for a few too many days. Rotting garbage and earthy and sweet, because the trash is full of sugary drink cans.
Once you’ve got that smell in your mind and what you imagine it would taste like, this tea becomes a mind battle. The more you think about the bin juice, the more you can taste it. I battled to the bottom of the cup by focusing on the taste of plums.
I’m now pretty sure the plum flavouring was added, not just a description of the natural oolong leaf flavour. I think that’s what has started to rot. Throwing this tea away now, sadly. I imagine it was delicious fresh.
Guangdong Top Brand – Yellow Grass (translated with Google Translate app)
Ingredients (translated with Google Translate app): Xihuancao, Hedyotis diffussa, Tianjihuang, Poria, Hawthorn
From huge bags, foil wrapped. Still have no idea how it will be. No instructions like steeping time, so I did about 3 minutes – as long it had nice colour all in the glass mug.
Eh, uh… the smell wasn’t bad, it was like some light black tea with some herbal notes. Taste was very herbal, but somehow light notes of tea. Actual tea! Then some earthy notes, but no taste/aroma of something undrinkable. I took a sip, afraid it will have some bad aftertaste or something and it was actually pretty good.
Not a cuppa I would return to, but it was way better than expected and actually quite tasty.
Sheraton Hotel & Resorts – Java Breakfast TEA
I had to look what hotels are Sheraton brand. Looks quite high end, so certainly it’s not from our family.
It’s simple black tea, bit fruity notes and somehow sweet. Like Keemun? I don’t know. Another day, when describing tea is somehow hard for me.
But it is tasty and quite full bodied, for tea bag it is certainly nice.
Huge bags section strikes again
Top Quali’Thé (brand name) – Thé à la Mûre (name of tea)
Ingredients: Tea (88,5 %), aroma mûre (blackberry or mulberry, 10.5 %), actual fruits 0,8 %, maltodextrin
Let’s see. I had to find at first what “Mûre” actually is. As I wrote earlier, apparently, blackberry or mulberry. I do not know if I had mulberry before. So I hope it will be like blackberries. A sugar there? Oh, okay – what I can do.
I really do not think it is “Top Quali’Thé” when it is in a bag, sweetened, lots of aroma… Brews cloudy brown, cheap tea colour. Aroma is indeed quite strong, but maybe because of age not somehow annoying. Tea itself was quite tasty, certainly like blackberries, but no tartness and sourness I usually recall when somebody says blackberry. Some base tea was in taste as well pronounced, some sweet notes was there as well – but not annoyingly sweet.
I have expected much worse, but actually, it is cheap tea with blackberry flavour. So, not so bad.
Blackberry teas… are they even available?
I had yesterday a tea from Advent Calendar from Sonnentor with number 5. And today it is 10th December? Well, it is faster than I thought. During Thursday-Monday early morning I was on trip with my friend in Slovakia, so we bought some gifts and then left to Budapest for last shopping spree. But, we both weren’t very healthy, I was totally caught by flu. And with flu I have nose bleeding episodes, so it wasn’t great. Unfortunately, in the guest house we were staying there were no free kettle, so I had only teas they offered during breakfast:
Once a ginger tea with herbs, second time green tea and for third time I have decided for peppermint tea. All of them were like 75 at maximum, bit boring ones, to be honest. So, my tea everyday have got third (or fourth) blank spot. Bit sad about it, and moreover – I am behind with my advent calendar.
Yesterday I drank number 5, which was named “Pleasant Leisure Time” and only thing I noticed it was herbal tea. That’s why I did not even made special entry of the tea, because – as I am sick, I just drank it and did not notice anything but hot tea. Today I feel bit better, so I will be back with proper tasting note (as much as I can). Too bad that I spent today (it is still morning though) at home, because I miss exam time, but hey, I really could not go there – I felt so weak after I woke up.
And then I turn on the TV and hear there were mass shooting in hospital in third largest city in country and 6 were killed. Oh well. All were patients, no doctors or nurses. But still very sad. They have already a picture and (probably) a name. Weird world!
Da Hong Pao from Teapro, from Izzy – Thank you! Prepared gong-fu, 3g per 85 ml.
As I could not find this tea on their website nor on Steepster, decided to make steeping notes here.
Dry aroma was kinda meh, nothing distinctive, maybe bit of hazelnuts, roasted aroma is there as well.
I did 10/20/30/40/40+/50+/60+ seconds long steeps and then I ran out of water. It was not a big trouble, because last steeps were weak.
First steeps were indeed nutty, but it turns to mineral notes, soil, muddy, nothing really enjoyable. It was good one, but not really my style. I expected something more mellow, maybe bit more roasted – maybe this was too aged one? I do not know.
Holy moly! Okay, another tea from that big stash, this time from Teekanne brand. And fruit one.
But the catalogue is saying it is from 2010 (first appearance) so it can be 9 years old? Well, let’s see if it is even drinkable. It says only Früchte Geheimnis (Fruit secret). As it is so old, no chance to find out what is in. Here, a catalogue entry: https://www.catawiki.com/catalog/tea-bags-and-tea-labels/manufacturers-brands/teekanne/3210051-fruchte-geheimnis
Brews quite light tea honestly. Maybe it is not 99 per cent hibiscus and more fruits are there. But I am completelly unable to detect which ones are in.But in taste it is clear. Apples, with little of orange (zest maybe?) and hibiscus tartness. Hmm, okay – maybe the age?
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXlBCWlv0E0
Prepared in one litre french press for everyone in family.
A tea bag of “Dutch tea blend” with Royal Orange “brand”. By search in tea bag collectors comunnity I found out that real manufactuer is probably Axxent.
And how is the tea? Actually not bad. It is black tea mellowed with orange peel (I found it in tea bag catalogue as well). I am rather surprised it was so mellow, as I expected some bitter black tea. Maybe combination of Ceylon teas. But no. It turned out pretty good, considering it is tea bag only.
This tea is in wonderful wrapper with some flowerin branch and a train with only text in Latin script saying: “Taiwan Alishan Tea”.
When smelled dry tea bag I think it is some kind of light roasted oolong. This was certainly noticeable after brewed. It was lighlty green with yellow notes. In taste it was floral and orchid like. Not vegetal at all, and overall, rather towards sweet notes than astringency. Good one, though only tea bag.
300ml / 3 minutes steep, just boiled water.
I am studying for tomorrow exam. I think I would not pass it. Is it hard and I do not have a single idea what they can ask for.
But I am trying.
I took a tea bag I have from postcrossing. It is from Russia, “brand” Dolce Albero. I was trying to find anything about it, but in vain.
It just says SOURSOP, flavour green tea. Let me see how is it.
I used rather colder water (even 80 °C is on bag :O) and 3-5 minutes steep. I did about 3 minutes.
The colour is not very rewarding, cloudy yellow-greenish something. It looks like pond water.
In aroma it is cacti, artificial, maybe bit grassy.
Taste: I do not know how soursop should taste like, but tea itself is quite refreshing, sweet, lychee… and probably that soursop.
It is not bad.
Received this little (7 grams) brick in redditgifts from Belarus. Now, it ´s time to check, if it is good, or bad.
Wrapping says, in traslation just, Top Pu-erh, 2003.
I did not wanted to make rinse, but made it. 15 seconds, maybe closer to 20. The rinse woke up all the aromas of wet rocks, earthy flavours, very mineral. I let it sip my brother and he claims it smells and tastes like something from old cottages. Maybe bit of tar, he says.
First steep is completely opaque dark brown, rather bit like black. I have oversteeped it?
It was just 20 seconds! Taste is quite drying, but actually same as aromas. Bleh, last sip was with lots of dirt.
I just looked into gaiwan before filling it with water. It looks quite dusty, small leaves, pieces of branches. Anyway, water in, lid on. 20 seconds. Aromas are weaker, taste milder. I like it. But still same, just not so drying.
Same as second I guess. Maybe little bit more mineral.
Apparently this tea is slowly over. I think one more steep. Or maybe it is just because I don´t enjoy those steeps at all. Too mineral for me, too earthy. This steep is more over muddy. Nah, I think it is over for me. It it getting more clear though. Now I feel even something cooling. Dunno, it is like mints.
Another steep, fifth – about 40+ seconds
still very dusty. Clear liquor though. More to red. It is just same as fourth. Completely same. It is just getting weaker every steep.
That´s it I guess. I probably will do more steeps, but if they don´t change flavour at all, I think – I won´t update it.
Even I have to write a tasting note to this “tea”. I have received an awesome care package from my friend (and penpal) in Switzerland. There were teas in (this one and 3 more) and three chocolate bars. Lindt chocolate bars! She spend so much just I felt weird (and bad) and she said it is nothing, just a care package. I was really crying because it is so nice from her. I can´t even thank her enough.
I had really crazy weekend. I wanted to study but my brain is telling me that I should not care. I should enjoy the moment. WTF brain? So, I did nothing. I even took today as a free day, as I need to finish something to school. I just don´t want to though. It is already 11 am and I did literally nothing. At least I have a pot of this tea. So, let´s describe it a bit.
It is called Glücksmomente, which means “happy moments”. Yeah, I just need that! What is in? Lemon balm, orange mint, nettle, some parts (can´t translate) from fir (maybe my favourite tips?), rose hips, marigold and “Monarda didyma”.
I even put it in tea pot, not just a cup, because I fell like I need a lots of it. And boy, it smells so wonderful! Firs and balm strongly hit my nose. Then something bit spicy and fresh citrus. I guess that is the nettle with orange mint.
I think the tea is calming me down a bit. Maybe I feel bit drowsy even. But that´s okay. I took a pink grapefruit chocolate I received as well. I can´t decide what smells better. If the tea or the chocolate. Chocolate is kind of bitter, but very nice. The fresh notes of grapefruits are very interesting when combined with chocolate. The tea on the other hand is bit spicy with orange notes. The citrusy flavours due to fir parts are there too.
Aww, so great herbal blend. Thank you Fabiana.
Welp, I’m putting this here because while I know what kind of tea it is, it is not available to purchase except by wholesale. It’s a US FOODS tea, under their “Rituals” brand. Specifically their Citrus Green. I got about six teabags of this from a hotel we stayed at when my Grandmother passed away.
The flavor of this tea is very tasty for a teabag. I can taste the green, but it isn’t too overly astringent or grassy. The citrus shines through nicely, without it having an overpowering citric acid taste. In all, I will be sad to see this one go. This is my last of the six teabags that I brought home with me. So yeah, sad day, not just because this is the last of this tea, but because drinking it reminds me of my Grandma’s passing. All in all, a good bagged tea. If I ever stay at a hotel that stocks it again, you can best bet I will be getting more.
In day four of my advent calendar from Sara, I got mystery cheap pu-erh. Labeled “Coal!”
I found Sara’s review of this tea, and it came in a sampler from Liquid Proust. She said:
“This one was simply labeled as ‘Cheap.’ Yup. Just that. No year, no sheng/shou differentiation, but I guess whoever got this didn’t pay much for it! Fair enough. I never judge a tea by its price anyway. Taste is what’s important!”
I boiled water, rinsed it for about 10 seconds, and steeped for two.
The aroma is neutral, very slightly eartly. The taste is kind of smoky, earthy, roasted, and like black tea. Not very good black tea… I’m getting a bit of a “Lipton” note. The aftertaste has an artichoke note.
With all the hype about this tea, I am shocked at how inoffensive it is. It’s better than plain Lipton (I haven’t tried their discontinued berry tea), and I’ve certainly had worse bagged tea in restaurants which I’ve gotten down. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I don’t hate it either, hence the 51% rating.
The taste lingers somewhat pleasantly in a “please don’t hate me” kind of a way.
Flavors: Artichoke, Earth, Roasted, Smoke, Tea
Getting blasted on some shou from mrmopar. Labeled 2013 Hai Lang Hao Bulang Brick shou. Is it this: https://steepster.com/teas/hai-lang-hao-yunnan-sourcing/56059-2013-hai-lang-hao-bu-lang-old-tree-brick-ripe ? If so, I’ll transfer it over tomorrow and update after I brew this tea out.
It’s a brick, so the material is compact. I’m drinking alone with 10g in a 190mL teapot. Combine those two with this being a strong leaf — I can’t finish tonight but I do feel like making a note. I feel chest-forward. Lots of caffeine!
Dry leaf is sweet and earthy with vanilla, caramel, leather and a red berry undertone. Warmed is earth, leather, a bit of smoked meat and baked bread. A twenty second rinse brings out old books/paper again with earth and leather and the smell of baked bread in the distance. After the first steep, the steam coming from the pot has a very pungent quality almost like vinegar such that I instinctively twitch my nose and turn away. I feel silly and keep going back for more of that tangy twinge.
Smooth, mineral beginnings with the baked bread, leather and earth of the leaf and some cheesy nutritional yeast fermentation taste left behind from the rinse. Like I said, brick tea. Light clenching in the throat, warming and cooling, a bit oily. I wrote for a while after the first steep.
Second steep is clean, much darker since the material is finally opening up. I notice some wet basement, vanilla and caramel in the aroma. Same tastes but camphor dominates when the tea is still hot. It loses that quality as it cools. Tangy aftertaste with brown sugar-caramel returning sweetness. I moved from writing to getting lost in NPR Music Tiny (Ass) Desk Concerts for an hour.
Music pairing: Lizzo — NPR Music Tiny (Ass) Desk Concert
Watched her on Saturday Night Live last night.
Third steep is the same length as the second, 30-some seconds until the pot pours empty. The taste moves into a dominant starchy, potato-like taste and old wood with the earth and leather moving underneath. Returning sweetness develops into dates. This tea sits a bit raw in my stomach so I warmed up some soup. I read for another hour before deciding I should call it quits with tea tonight.
Book pairing: The Message Devotional Bible
And this is where I end for the evening. So far, recommended.
A mellow morning cup of genmaicha provided by ashmanra, thank you! It was noted on the paper tag inside the bag that this was either from Tea ’N Joy or Tea Queens.
ashmanra sent some tasty Blackberry Jasmine green tea in a swap that had a very strong syrupy aroma. Its aroma penetrated through the bag and into the genmaicha bag, so it was almost like having a surprise second steeping of the Blackberry Jasmine with a hint of toasty rice :)
I drank an herbal tea once from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company not knowing the ingredients. Will it give me an allergic reaction, damage my organs or put me 6 feet under that tomato bed in the backyard I prepped yesterday evening?
Martin! Yes you! Unknown person from the Czech Republic. A fellow tea drinker and student of physics. The last of the teas remaining from our swap. A paper packet of “Home Herbs Mix” sealed with a couple of stickers decorated with flowers and a discretion scrawled in ominous black ink: “up to you.” I like armchair adventure. I think trust is healthy and fear not being burned. Some call it naiveté. I say boo to them, let’s do this.
Funny I put trust in a tea drinker outside of United States’ prosecution. (Unless there is some kind of extradition agreement.)
I emptied the packet into my basket strainer, about 2 grams worth of flowers and leaves, both large and crushed. Added 200F water and took a shower. Came back to my bedroom smelling of lemon and mint, that much is obvious. But what else is there? I think I let it steep too long because there was a very strong lemon balm or myrtle taste. It was very minty like a good spearmint. Is there another kind of mint in this blend? Lavender, that’s for sure. A few strips of lemongrass? And what were those beautiful big purple flowers? They kind of melted away with that long steep. I really enjoyed your blend, Martin. It was fresh and a nice nightcap, might’ve been just a bit better if I hadn’t let it steep for 20 or so minutes.
A random teabag from ashmanra! Arbonne Essentials caffeine-free, unsure if this is the same as the detox tea listed on their website.
Dry bag smelled fruity like a mix of strawberry and blackberry with a light herbal component. Very small chop. Steeped the bag in 8oz of boiling water for 8-10 minutes. Instantly dark brew in my mug. Tasted like a fruit tea with a tolerable rosehip or hibiscus tartness and a mix of fruity flavors hard to describe. I guess berries of sorts, maybe apple?, light hibiscus or rosehips. I wish I knew more. Fine for an evening sipper but it would be better suited for a mid-afternoon fruity-tart pick up. Thanks!
After a decade of love/hate with peppermint teas, I finally decided to get my shit together and find a preparation that works for me. No more gross cups of stewed peppermint, ok?
1) Never buy peppermint teabags again. Ever. Buy the freshest, largest, dried leaf I can find at the co-op.
2) Use way less leaf than what’s in the bags – half teaspoon per coffee mug, that’s it.
3) Not every tisane needs boiling water, despite the directions printed on boxes by the faceless herbal tea gurus. I’m not going to die from bacteria and fungi on dried plant matter. 160-175F is good. Bonus: I don’t have to wait for it to cool enough to drink.
4) 10-15 minute steep times? Try 1 minute, 1.5 if I want it stronger. I don’t care about extracting every last molecule of peppermint oil. I’d rather have a good tasting cup.
5) Enjoy a very light, sweet peppermint tea without the stewed flavor, burps or scratchy throat.
Next project: chamomile.
Today ended up being an oolong roast day. I tasted a Si Ji Chun I roasted in September after hating its vegetalness unroasted. The roast brought out some woodiness and spice reminiscent of a yancha, weirdly enough. Four or five steeps in, it had a strong brown sugar sweetness. I decided to roast it some more and see where it goes.
I also roasted an Alishan Jin Xuan that was a victim of poor storage at a cafe for a few years. I got several ounces of it ridiculously cheap because of that. Initially I tried a short refresh roast, and while it smelled great–honey, flowers, apricot–all that disappeared when I poured water on it, and the taste just wasn’t there, hardly any better than before reroasting. I roasted it a little further and I’ll check on it in a couple months.
I roasted a couple sessions’ worth of Teavivre’s Taiwan Monkey Picked Tieguanyin a little further a few days ago, just because. Here’s session #1; #2 will be in a couple months to compare after it’s rested a bit.
In the first few infusions, the nuttiness of this tea is definitely intensified by the roasting, but it also changed from a more generic roasty, nutty flavor to a specific almond note. There’s something almost Dancong-like in this that I can’t identify. While the tea wasn’t spicy at all before, there’s now a hint of spice in the finish. It’s not strong enough to tell what it is. There’s also a mild sweet potato note. The creamy mouthfeel doesn’t seem to have changed.
It seems to lose flavor sooner, which is the opposite of what i expected. Brewing for at least a minute produces a cup of creamy sweetness with little flavor except roast by the fifth infusion. Hopefully as the new roast settles this will improve.
Flavors: Almond, Plums, Roasted, Spices, Sweet Potatoes
I got an ounce of some generically named “Darjeeling” (so probably a blend of estates and flushes) at a coffee shop yesterday and I’ve been drinking it all day trying to figure out how to get more flavor out of it. It’s very mild and I think it’s getting stale, but the flavor it does have I’d describe as fruity, woody, and mildly spicy (I’ve been noticing this in a lot of tea lately). It has a pretty typical Darjeeling character. There’s nothing unusual in body, astringency, etc. It probably would have been pretty good a year ago, but now it’s a bit bland.
Flavors: Fruity, Spices, Wood
For some reason, I got an ounce of an Assam from the Mangalam Estate a few months ago at a tea shop. I rarely drink Assam because I generally prefer to make Chinese black tea in my gaiwan. I finished the Keemun I got at the same time a while ago (I really need more Keemun), while I still have enough left for a few cups of this.
This is different from what I think of as the typical Assam. I brewed it quite strongly, but it lacks the tannic bite I expect from Assam, despite being a broken grade. Instead, the texture reminds me of a smooth, full-bodied Ceylon, like something from the Kenilworth Estate. It has notes of caramel, sweet potatoes, malt, and cinnamon, and finishes with enough different spices that adding milk and sugar would probably taste like masala chai. I’ve never had such a spicy unflavored tea. It’s not just the slight peppery sharpness at the back of your throat that so many other teas have. This tea literally tastes like I added spices while I was brewing it, like I started making masala chai and then quit halfway through. This works much better than it seems like it should, and I actually really enjoy it. The spiciness lingers for a few minutes after the last sip.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Malt, Spices, Sweet Potatoes