2201 Tasting Notes
I ordered this tea quite a while ago, but never got around to trying it because I didn’t have a scale to weigh the leaves and wasn’t confident on my ability to estimate. Then I finally brought my kitchen scale into work, but still I forgot that I had this tea and now could drink it, until just the other day. Well, I’m finally trying it now.
Let me start out by saying that I am attempting to follow the “dragowell style” steeping instructions on Verdant’s website. However, I am a little miffed that the instructions on Verdant’s site say nothing about the size of the “glass tumbler” used in this method. A medium sized gaiwan, I know what that means. There is not a standard size of a glass tumbler. :P
My cup is about 8oz I think, for anyone looking for the sizes people have used. Otherwise, I followed the instructions. Except for the fact that just about the entire batch of tea leaves is floating on the top of my in a thick layer (and my mug is a wide mouth!), making “blowing them out of the way” nearly impossible. I am definitely eating quite a few leaves, not exactly on purpose. Not to mention that in attempting to blow the leaves out of the way I am mostly succeeding in blowing water all over the place (the water moves, the tea leaves don’t!). This is not exactly an enjoyable way for me to drink a cup of tea.
With all the fussing and such, I couldn’t even concentrate on the tea. What I did taste was tasty, with a nice buttery-bakery flavor that I like in dragonwells. But this experience was not conducive to a review. I just don’t forsee myself brewing it this way again. Gaiwan/teapot it is, next time.
This one intrigued me with the promise of berries, citrus, and florals, so I asked for some in my last swap with Alphakitty and she was kind enough to send me some!
To me, the leaf looked suspisciously like a black green blend, but no one has mentioned this at all, so I thought I was probably just hallucinating something. I went ahead and brewed it boiling, and most of the leaves in the infuser appear black, though I will say there are a few greenish-tinged ones that are intriguing.
Nontheless, the resulting tea isn’t bitter or scorched like a green might be when steeped at that temp, so I guess everything is ok. This tea is super duper berry-licious. It is berry to the max. I can’t really pick out a specific berry, necessarily, but it’s definitely berry. Maybe some black currant, yeah. It’s honestly perhaps a bit too much berry for me, and I would like it if the berry might step back a bit and let someone else have a bit of the spotlight. Because there are other flavors, playing in the background. A bit of bright citrus, for sure, and a hint of florals. Not really that floral, just a bit of orchid somewhere in there. Anyway, it’s a pretty tasty tea but it’s a little too in-my-face with the flavoring and I’m not quite feeling that this morning.
Yet another that has come to me thanks to Alphakitty! This one was high on my list of wants because lychee and jasmine? Sounds like heaven to me. I meant to drink this one yesterday when I was doing all my lychee teas, but I forgot. But today I remembered! It seems like forever since I’ve had a green tea.
I admit I have become pretty skeptical about blends that appear in among many retailers, acquired from some unknown wholesaler, and this seems to be one of those blends. However, this one is still pretty well done. It is floral but not perfumy, and the lychee is juicy and delicious. It goes well with the green tea and makes me wonder why you don’t see many lychee green teas. It’s a light and refreshing tea, and my only criticism is that the flavors are a tinge artificial. Like, not chemically, but the lychee is a bit candy-ish instead of being all fruit, and I would like more floral notes from it, actually. Still, this is a pretty tasty blend. Thanks for sharing it with me, Alphakitty!
This is another that comes to me from my recent swap with Alphakitty. Thanks so much! Of course I love Earl Greys in many forms, so I was excited to try this one that is supposed to be Earl Grey and caramel.
This is rather delightful! Really nice, citrusy bergamot, definitely a nice Earl base to the tea, but then the addition of caramel is just lovely. Creamy and perfectly balanced. This reminds me of another tea but I can’t think of any other caramel Earl Grey that I’ve tried. There are enough flavors going on here that I didn’t notice the black tea base one way or another, which is a plus because at least I wasn’t bored with it. It supported, it contributed, but it wasn’t the star, and that’s ok, it still held up it’s end of the bargain. This is quite a delicious tea, thanks for sharing it with me Alphakitty!
One of my other recent lychee tea acquisitions. This one I bought myself a few weekends ago when I stopped by the DavidsTea store in the city. I have been interested in trying this one for a while but keep just missing it during swaps and such, so I bought a half ounce to try.
The dry leaf on this tea is potent and smells of a fairly flowery lychee, somewhere between a fresh fruit and lychee candy. I love both, so that’s fine with me. Steeped up, the liquor smells really nice, but the flavor isn’t as strong. Also the base tea is somewhat boring and doesn’t contribute much in my opinion. I will definitely try this one again with more leaf to see if I can boost the flavor, but there are a lot of lychee teas out there and this one doesn’t really compare flavor-wise.
I decided today would be lychee morning, as I recently acquired a few lychee teas and I kind of want to try them at once. This one comes to me from Rachel Sincere in a swap, thanks for sending it!
I think I’ve only had one Simpson & Vail tea before, but I enjoyed it and they tend to get good reviews, so I am excited to try this one. I love a good lychee tea.
And this is a good lychee tea! Lovely lychee flavor and a nice, robust, tasty base tea. I said on the previous S&V tea I tried that the base reminded me of that of Upton’s Rose Congou, and that is definitely the case here. I find this lychee to be not too flowery, actually. A pleasure to drink, and nice as a slightly more subtle lychee flavor than some others I have tried.
I feel like I made out like a bandit in my most recent swap with Alphakitty because I got sooo many samples of teas I wanted to try! I’m drowing in tea samples, and I’m very excited to try all of them.
I plucked this one out of the pile first because bergamot + rose = love, for me, and this blend also has cardamom and borage, which I didn’t know what it was at first but is apparently a mediterranean herb. I realized that I think I have seen this tea company at the NY Coffee and Tea Festival before, but I’ve never noticed this tea there I guess.
Steeped, it smells like a delightfully rosy Earl Grey. Unfortunately the taste is a little lackluster. As in, it doesn’t taste like much! The flavor isn’t very strong, and overall the tea really dries out your mouth and doesn’t really have even much of an aftertaste. I also get the impression that steeping it longer would just end in bitterness.
Oh well, thanks for the sample, Alphakitty! It’s good to know ahead of time since this company doesn’t sell small amounts of their teas. I will go back to savoring my Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black. :)
So I realized a little too late in the game that I was out of the raspberry tea from Monterey Bay Spice Company, which included raspberry leaf in the blend. I would drink it about once a month for some woman-specific symptoms, if you get my drift, and I needed some right away and couldn’t wait on an order. I thought about checking out Whole Foods, but then I was at a Home Goods store (sort of a reseller of all kinds of homewares, including some foods like jams, cookies, and teas) and happened across a box of this tea. Score!
This actually isn’t pure raspberry leaf, it also apparently includes raspberry fruit as well, though I’m not sure in what form. They are tea bags, but that is fine for an herbal tea. An extended steep yielded a yellowy, herby-smelling tea, and I rather pleasant flavor. It’s quite sweet, a bit fruity, and a bit herby. I wouldn’t say “yes, very raspberry!” to the flavor, but it’s certainly tasty enough. Very pleased with my find.
I don’t often return to a tea this quickly, but I was just really curious about this one. The black tea base on this seemed so nonexistant that I wondered what would happen if I just added another teaspoon of black tea to the mix. I’m logging this under this tea instead of Chance Combinations because it’s really all about this tea. At first I was considering adding sometime like a Panyang Congou sample I have around, or perhaps some Laoshan Black, but then I decided, you know what? I really want some chocolate in there. So I used the Tea Spot’s Organic Chocolate “O”, which, for those of you who don’t know, is a single-estate, high quality flavored tea. I actually did 1:1 mix here, and just added more black tea to almost the normal amount of this tea that I would put in my cup, so we’ll see if it doesn’t turn out too strong.
Not too strong, but I might dial it back a bit next time because it is edging on too strong. However, it does have a nice blend of pumpkiny flavors and the rich chocolate underlying it. It’s definitely a more enjoyable cup with a base that actually is interesting, so I’ll definitely be putting some various different interesting black teas in whenever I steep this one. It will be interesting to see what might be the best one!
Earlier today I tried this one gongfu style in my ru kiln pot. I followed the instructions on Teavivre’s site exactly, and this time I had a scale, too, so I have the amounts right.
I did a quick rinse, after which the pearls barely looked like they changed at all. After a 40 second steep the liquor was light colored and light in flavor, though distinctly jaminey. It was also not super exciting as a jasmine tea. Teavivre next called for a 1min10sec steep, and after that the liquor was dark and overly strong, edging on bitter. So for the third steep, I went for 1 minute even instead of 1min30sec. Still, it was unpleasantly strong and bitter. Then I left it for a while, and thought maybe I was done with it, but then I decided to give it another shot. This time I went only 15 seconds, and it was very nice. Jasminey, fresh. I did another 20 second steep after that, and that too was nice. Ah, yes, with 8oz in a 6oz pot, this definitely needs short short steeps.