2201 Tasting Notes
Well I’m stuck here in Las Vegas for the next few days because I’m at a scientific conference. I wasn’t really expecting a lot of tea options in the area so I was pleased to find this coffee shop that also has “the tea leaf” in its name. They have more options for take away than your typical coffee shop but to start I decided to try their Earl Grey. It’s a pretty decent tea; nothing to write home about but definitely drinkable. There’s only one other review for this on Steepster and it’s a pretty bad one that complained about the stong bergamot. Yes, this is a bergamotty tea but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, at least to me. I love bergamot and prefer my Earl Grey with robust bergamot, as long as it’s done well. Here it’s not bitter or astringent, but pleasant and citrusy. The black tea base is smooth and pretty tasty. As it cools the bergamot does get a bit astringent, so this is one of those teas that’s best enjoyed hot.
This is one of the few Teas’ Tea varieties that I haven’t tried (that I would want to) so when I saw it here at JFK I grabbed it for the flight. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. This tea is not for the floral faint of heart… it’s really jasminey, which means I’m a fan. The jasmine’s fresh though and not soapy or perfumey, with that flavor of honeysuckle sweetness (even though it’s unsweetened). There’s a bit of a bite from the green tea, which provides a nice, slightly grassy background. Definitely a tea I would readily buy again. (No rating because I dictated this review to my iPhone and the sliders don’t work.)
I wanted to try this Earl Grey again and finish up my sample; it’s inclusion of lavender excluded it from the straight Earl tasting a few days ago. But I did have that Earl Grey Choice by Zhi Tea that also has lavender then, so I thought it would be nice to compare. Once again I was left with not quite enough leaf in my sample pouch, but last time I had this I thought it was a little weak so I didn’t want to take a chance on that again, so I brewed it in an 8oz mug instead of my 12oz Kati cup.
It’s still a remarkably light tea at 4 minutes, but I’m also really enjoying it. The tea base is oh so smooth, and the bergamot and lavender are perfectly balanced with each other and it. The bergamot is bright and citrusy without being astringent, the lavender is floral and soothing without being too herby or soapy. This is definitely going on the to-order list.
Mmmm. No more disappointing teas today, ok? I thought about going back to a known favorite, one I can always count on like Harney’s Jasmine Pearls or Paris, but I still wanted to go through old samples. This one blew me away the first time I had it, so that’s a good sign, right? There ended up being a little less leaf than I would normally use left in the pouch, so I steeped it for an extra minute (but still within the 2-4 minute steep time on the package instructions).
Still really delicious! I think the flavors are a little lighter this time around, but I totally love them. Buttery, sweet, baked coconut macaroons in tea form, with a lovely, slightly floral, green (very green!) oolong accompanying it. This one is definitely one to buy a whole tin of.
Somewhat disappointing tea day! I just haven’t had anything I was really into today, and the streak continues with this, which I cold brewed last night. I continue to be boggled at how tart this tea is. I actually found it to be undrinkably tart as a cold brew, and unfortunately I didn’t have any sweeteners that were easily soluble in cold water. I’m sure that it would be fine sweetened, but again, not the tea for me!
I got to work kind of early this morning (earlier than usual at least), so I have time for two teas this morning! I’m kind of pushing myself to consume more tea so what I have doesn’t languish in my cupboard for too long. My sample of this is nearing its end, and since finishing up samples is a goal right now, I decided to try this one again.
I finally managed to steep a cup at the temperature that I think is appropriate for this tea (which definitely appears to be a black/green blend), so I’m looking forward to trying it this time. In the aroma of the steeped tea, the scents of vanilla and jasmine combine remarkably to make a very minty aroma. I actually got some mint out of this when I cold steeped it, so I guess it’s not surprising. Vanilla mint, really, like some candy mints you can find. Flavor wise… I’m afraid my estimation of this tea is only dropping with subsequent tastings. I’m almost getting a hint of soapiness now, crazily enough. The jasmine is just not working for me in this tea, and the vanilla isn’t too inspiring either. Clearly this is one of those polarizing teas since plenty of people really love it, but it’s another that’s just not for me!
I reached for this one this morning because I’ve seen a couple of great reviews of it recently. To be perfectly honest dark oolongs aren’t really my favorite kind of oolong; I tend to prefer the sweet, fresh taste of green oolongs over the roasted flavors. I still enjoy them ok, but they just don’t blow me away… but maybe this one will. :)
The dry leaf smells sweet and leafy; not green, but no distinct roasted aroma either. Of course, after brewing that definitely changed. The scent of the steeped tea is roasty, toasty grains like the other Da Hong Paos I’ve had. The first thing that strikes you about the sip is less the flavor than the texture, which is bright, crisp, almost metallic, or perhaps the mineral sparkle of high-end mineral water. The main flavors of the sip are what I would consider toasted, almost burnt grains. As the cup cools, a whisper of fruit plays in the aftertaste, which I definitely enjoy. Overall after my first steep I’m left with an odd, dry sensation in my mouth. The second steep is definitely less overwhelmingly roasty, even brighter and more minerally. I’m left with the feeling that this is no doubt a fantastic tea, but I really just can’t appreciate it properly. Big Red Robe Oolongs just aren’t for me! If this tea couldn’t convince me otherwise, I’m pretty sure nothing can.
It’s been so long since I had a plain rose tea! I saw this sample in my drawer and decided to finish it off. I actually didn’t have quite enough for my usual cup, so I rounded out the rest with some China Rose from ESP imports. It’s a pretty similar flavored tea, and I don’t think it was enough to make an impact on this one. It still retains it’s lower-key rose flavor, a bit more herbaceous than candy-sweet in profile. It’s nice to just sit down and have a nice rose tea once in a while.
I’m taking a break from Earl Greys this morning and decided to try this black currant tea that I got from SimplyJenW. Thanks so much for sending a sample of this! I really love black currant flavored things, but I haven’t had too many black currant teas. I recently found out randomly that the reason black currants and the flavoring isn’t popular in the US is because currant farming was banned in the 1900s because they were a vector of a disease that affected pine trees. They are still banned in some states!
Anyway, the dry tea has that characteristic black currant aroma, rich and berryish. It’s carried over into the aroma of the steeped tea, along with the black tea base. Harney is somewhat inconsistant in their black teas when it comes to my taste buds, so it’s almost a toss up whether I will love a tea or not. Fortunately this one is a winner for me. The black currant is nice and strong, and it pairs well with the black tea base, which supports the black currant flavor and doesn’t steamroll over it or stick out. I find myself really wanting almonds in this blend, like Harney’s Boston but with black currants instead of cranberries. I do have a black marzipan tea that I could try it with…
Another round two tea from the Earl Grey side-by-side tasting. I’m doing 5 at a time, each tea brewed under the same parameters: in a tea filter bag, for 3 minutes with 205°F water. I dunked the tea filters around to make sure they were getting enough water flow since I don’t usually use them.
This one also doesn’t have a rating since I messed up my first steeping a bit. I’ll hold of rating until I drink a full cup of it, however. This is another tea that completely surprised me. I don’t know if when I tried it first I didn’t have a good comparison in mind or what, but this time it was incredibly, utterly roasted. It tasted strongly coffeeish, which I suppose makes sense coming from coffee roasters, full of toasted grains, and the bergamot was almost lost in comparison. It really surprised me how utterly different it tasted from the other Earls.