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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m normally not a big fan of hazelnut flavourings in coffee/tea (just a bit picky with them) but I adore this flavoured oolong blend.
A few interesting notes come from the oolong itself. I think I taste tobacco and leaves (like dry maple and elm leaves), maybe in a storage/fermented kind of way? I’m digging it though, whatever it is.
The oolong is a bit toasty, the hazelnut and vanilla combo are nutty and fragrant. This just wow’d me a lot. It almost tastes like there are some spices and whatnot in there too, but I’m not sure what. So much nutty, creamy, sweetness. This will be perfect as a latte some morning.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cardboard, Coffee, Creamy, Hazelnut, Honey, Leather, Nuts, Nutty, Roast nuts, Sweet, Toasted, Toasty, Tobacco, Vanilla
This tea is so mmm, yeah, I can’t even tell you. It’s in the direction of honey black, but stops just before reaching the outer edge of sweetness, and with so much more depth and layering to it. So smooth with the ever so slight bit of smoke.
The cinnamon that others have mentioned eludes me. This does not trouble me.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Plums, Smoke
I drank this sample Western-style both times I tried it, as that’s just what the smaller leaves seemed best suited to. The dry leaf smelled malty with a bit of cocoa, smoke, and plum. The flavor was a nicely deep and malty, with a little bit of cocoa and vanilla in the first steep. There was also just a small tough of smoke to it. After the first steep, I didn’t get any of the vanilla or cocoa notes I got before. The maltiness remained, along with a slight bit of a plum note. Pretty good tea, especially to western and take with me!
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Plums, Smoke, Vanilla
GCTTB DAY 6
Back to sampling GCTTB teas this afternoon. This is one I had brought with me to work, and it is just lovely! It reminds me of Harney and Sons’ Florence tea, à la oolong. Hazelnut and vanilla are dominant flavour notes, smoothly mixing with the familiar slightly earthy oolong tea base. Well-balanced and smooth tea – delicious! Another keeper. :)
Another sample slain! I’m going through them at a blistering pace, reducing that mountain! My girlfriend is helping me pick them out at random so I’m not paralyzed by indecision :) This rolled oolong had smaller nuggets than most others I’ve seen. I would say these leaves smelled pretty classically Jin Xuan – with some floral and creamy/milky aromas coming off of them. I preferred this one at 180F, which is lower than I typically go for oolongs.
The flavor was simple but satisfying. Green floral and slight milky notes dominated, though nothing about this tea suggested domination. It was pretty gentle, with a nice smooth and thick silky texture to it.
Flavors: Floral, Green, Milk, Sweet
Tea 4/8 from the GCTTB that I traded off. Moving along fast!
Interesting how so many reviewers found a prominent licorice taste to this tea. I made a cup for me + 1 for my husband (different leaves for each cup) and with each cup I found the foretaste to be mint, next- floral, then maybe a touch of licorice. Maybe it’s because I only steeped for 5 min? Either way this blend is decent and I’ll use it up pretty fast.
Flavors: Floral, Mint
Hmm, this one didn’t quite do it for me. It had some good qualities, but it was really kind of just a “meh” tea. The leaf smelled a little bit roasty and chestnutty, maybe a bit of autumn leaf.
The flavor started out a little bit sour, which I would attribute to the roast most likely. Also some nutty, a bit of floral as well. After the sourness went out, around the third steep, a bit of a nice mineral note came in as well, along with just a smoother feeling in the mouth. Unfortunately, just as it was getting a little bit nicer, the flavor died…like it only went for around 5 or 6 steeps. I’m thinking this one wasn’t a huge fan of the boiling water that I hit it with, so I got some roughness and a shortened session.
The flavors for this one were much “higher” than other DHP that I’ve had. I think that could be part of why this one just didn’t seem to have the depth I was hoping for from it. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Da Hong Pao or even Wuyi oolongs, but I would consider this a lower quality DHP than the others I have tried.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Sour
Trying to go through samples – This one was from when Zen Tea did a big sale a while back and I ordered tons of samples. It was alright, though I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. This is my first Shui Xian/Shui Hsien. The dry leaf smelled a bit roasy with fruity, raisin notes. After a rinse, the only aroma I could really detect was charcoal roastiness.
The first steep was grossly sour and roasty with a bit of almost chocolatey sweetness left in my mouth after the cup. Thankfully that sourness was mostly gone by the next steep, and I got some more classic yancha notes including a mineral and a honey taste. There were also very slight hints of a chocolatey flavor throughout. The sourness that kind of stuck with the tea in a much more mild way than in the first steep became sort of a nutty astringent flavor like walnuts. This reminded me a lot of a Da Hong Pao. Pretty decent, but I think the roast is still a little bit intense for me, which is weird because it can’t be all that freshly roasted, as I’ve had it for a few months already.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Mineral, Roasted, Sour, Walnut
I decided to cold-brew this rather than brew it hot and strong then dilute it down. The short, black, gnarly leaves here are interspersed with the occasional bit of green (strawberry leaves) and red (dried strawberry pieces). The dry leaf smelled of strawberries, chocolate and vanilla – in fact, it reminded me an awful lot of chocolate-covered strawberries!
I ended up with a nice, almost peach-coloured brew after everything was said and done.
The iced tea tasted exactly like it smelled – like chocolate-covered strawberries. It wasn’t bad, but I honestly think this was a waste served cold. I bet this tea would be much better hot, where the contents would probably taste like an amazing strawberry-laced hot chocolate.
Here’s Hoping TTB.
This tastes almost exactly like pina colada candy. I’m most familiar with this flavor from lifesavers and dum dum suckers. I’m a big fan of pina colada, so I’m enjoying this. I feel like it’s not something I would reach for often, but I would really enjoy it on occasion
Flavors: Coconut, Pineapple, Sweet
Thank you Evol!
Well, I’ve had this tea before. I was enamored with it the first time I tried it. I’m still impressed with this teas endurance to heat and over steeping. The orchid sweet cream is as strong as ever. It feels kinda weird though. I taste the same thing that I did the first time, but I am not as much of a fan of the florals as I used to be. This is what happens after trying great Taiwan jade oolongs.
In short, great for its mega florals, but also detracting for its mega florals. And warning: this tea will DETOX you and make you pee. Or it at least happened to my friend. She was exercising her demons out when we saw Crimson Peak. Still funny how she complained about not seeing enough of Tom Hiddleston’s ivory moon while another exclaimed: “It was everything I ever wanted and even more!”
This is an interesting tea. I got it on sale from Zen Tea when they had a big sale a few months back. It’s pretty weird looking – five or so leaves on long branches. I used 4g and 195F water in a 100mL gaiwan. I didn’t quite know what to make of the aroma – I kind of got maybe some creaminess, fruitiness…or maltiness? I couldn’t really tell.
The taste started out light and vegetal, with a bit of a creamy texture. After that, it moved to a more floral note – I think it might have been orchid. I see a lot of teas that say they taste like orchid specifically. This was mentioned on the bag. To me this was a floral taste that was a little different and wonky than what I usually get from teas that taste floral – so maybe that’s orchid. We’ll go with that for now. The floral sweetness mixed with some nice creaminess for a few really enjoyable steeps. At one point, I thought I got some creamy fruitiness – it reminded me of banana for a second.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with this tea’s longevity. I got maybe 7 good steeps from it. The flavors were decently interesting, but nothing to write home about either. It’s certainly unique. It was described as being like a mix between a Jin Xuan (which I like) and a Tie Guan Yin (which I generally am not a fan of). I guess I could kind of see that. It had some creamy texture along with some pretty intense floral notes like a really green Tie Guan Yin might have. I’m glad I bought a sample, but would not buy more of this tea.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Orchid, Sweet, Vegetal
I know I have reviewed this before. We are on our third tin of it, yet it isn’t even showing up in my cupboard. Maybe a steepster glitch?
Anyway, I haven’t had much tea lately because the rebound reflux came back with a vengeance and was destroying my esophagus. Today went well, though, so I took a chance. Home flaked oats with maple syrup for breakfast and water to drink, apple slices and Gouda and home baked bread with butter for lunch.
Youngest and I were reading a detective novel (thank you, GMathis, we now have five of the Barker and Llewelyn series!) and a gentlemen’s club was described as having the scent of exotic spices and pipe tobacco. I struck an incense match and made a pot of Lapsang to go with the story so we could enhance the feeling of being right there with them.
Oh my goodness, this is why I have bought three tins of this in less than a year. The liquor is pretty pale but the flavor is oh so good. This is a bacon-y sort of Lapsang if you dare to dip anything in it, a sweet smoke flavor. Good golly it was good, and we made two pots. Finished the novel, too, and the ending was quite satisfying. The dog lived, Mr. Llewelyn recovers, and the bad guy dies without anybody having to knock him off.
The dry leaf here was gorgeous. Strands of black tea leaves were mixed in with dried chunks of papaya, pineapple, orange peel and orange blossoms, resulting in a blend that looked delicious and festive.
The leaf smelled sweet and fruity. I wasn’t able to pick out notes of individual fruits, but the overall aroma was sweet and somewhat musty, with a strong overtone of vanilla and cream.
I took the entire packet and steeped it with cold water in the fridge for about 12 hours, and added some agave nectar to heighten the sweetness.
However, the resulting tea was bitter, and the sharpness of the tea leaf base overwhelmed the fruit flavours. I got an overall soft, sweet flavour from the fruit, but it was rather generic and bland, with a strong candied note on top of the fruit notes. It was more vanilla than fruit to me. This was pretty surprising considering just how many chunks of dried fruit were visible in the dry leaf — I wasn’t expecting them to taste so weak.
Diluting the tea with some water and adding some more agave nectar helped to cut down the bitterness, but it failed to make the fruit flavours pop in a way that I was hoping for. However, the brew was a lovely peach colour — sort of a blushy pink — and that helped mitigate my disappointment with the result. I probably would have been better off filling the pitcher all the way to the top with cold water rather than halfway.
Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/
Pouring out the dry leaf, I was greeted by an intensely rich, juicy, fruity smell. If I hadn’t known the mix was supposed to be cranberry-mango flavoured, I would have had a hard time guessing. In fact, the whole thing smelled like gummy bears! The aroma was sweet, tart, juicy, and very vibrant.
I mean, are you surprised when you look at leaves like these? Dark green needles of broken up leaf interspersed with chunks of dried cranberry and mango. This is pretty sweet!
I took this loveliness, filled my pitcher halfway up with cold water and let it steep in the fridge for about 12 hours. The resulting brew was a golden yellow-green colour with an aroma that matched that of the dry leaf.
The taste was pretty good to match! Juicy, fruity, sweet, with a hint of the earthiness and vegetal flavour of the green tea underneath. The interplay between the base and the flavouring was really solidly balanced. The green tea flavour was kind of sharp, but not so sharp that it became bitter or seaweedy — it was fresh-tasting and green in a way that complemented the fruit well.
Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/
I bought this tea after Tea Sipper recommended it. They were gaga over it, saying it was one of their favourite fruit blends, so how could I ignore such an endorsement?
Because this was an herbal tea that contained only chunks of fruit, I decided to get 50 grams instead of only 10 — 10 grams of such a dense, heavy tea would have been too little to experiment with.
Opening up the package, I was greeted with a colourful mix of dried chunks of carrot, pineapple, coconut, apple, and pumpkin. If you look closely at the picture, you can pick out the carrot and pumpkin pieces in particular, which are a sort of muted orange here amid the white flakes of coconut and the glassy chunks of candied pineapple.
As expected, the smell was amazing — a rich, sweet, juicy smell of pina colada from the pineapple and coconut. Tropical! I was pleasantly surprised by how much the pineapple and coconut dominated the scent considering they weren’t as prominent in the dried leaf compared to the other ingredients.
Because the tea leaf was made of such thick chunks, I decided to brew this one with boiling water rather than cold water to give the pieces a chance to reconstitute properly. So I took half the package (about 27 grams), poured about 6 cups of cold water in the pitcher, let the pitcher sit on the counter for about half an hour, then put the whole thing in the fridge to cool for the rest of the day.
The resulting tea was a pale amber with a touch of cloudiness. Maybe it was the coconut that made it cloudy, or that there was so much dried fruit in general? It looked very promising.
However, the promise didn’t hold up to the taste. While I certainly did taste pineapple and coconut, to me the carrot and pumpkin flavours won out. They made the whole thing taste starchy and pale, rather than juicy and vibrant like I was expecting. I still have half the packet left, so I’ll need to see how it tastes when brewed with less water. Right now, though, this tea was a bit of a letdown.
Full review at: http://booksandtea.ca/2016/07/fruity-iced-teas-zen-tea/
I had to try this Iron Goddess, as this type of oolong has been a favorite in the past. The bundles of this oolong are very green and have the scent of fresh grass somehow. I was expecting the flavor of flowers… lots and lots of flowers. But I must be spoiled with floral oolongs that are REALLY floral, as this had a typical oolong flavor for me… a flavor that I can’t put into any of the oolong categories: floral, butter/milky, peach, pineapple or charcoal. I guess there were hints of ALL of these flavors. Both steep sessions I’ve tried resulted in the same. It’s simply a solid oolong, but I like when they are distinctly one or two of the flavors I mentioned.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 14 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 5 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 minute steep