824 Tasting Notes

58

Before I start this review, allow me to state that I did not brew this tea gongfu style and I probably should have. I tried a couple different brewing methods for this one. The first was a modified three step infusion that I tend to use on a lot of Chinese, Indian, and Sri Lankan teas. The second was a traditional one step Western infusion. I am really not certain that either of the methods I used did this tea justice.

The first infusion yielded a pale golden liquor with an earthy, woody, and slightly floral nose. In the mouth, I detected delicate notes of moss, wood, and grass with underlying herbal notes of tulsi and mint. The second infusion yielded a dark golden liquor with an even earthier, woodier nose that also yielded impressions of chocolate, honey, and toast. In the mouth, delicate, yet heavier notes of wood, moss, and grass were rounded out by flavors of chocolate, honey, toast, and malt. The third and final infusion yielded a dark golden liquor with a pronounced malty, toasty character on the nose that was underscored by impressions of wood. Notes of malt, earth, and wood were noticeable on the palate. These flavors were underscored by subtle impressions of chocolate and toast.

As for the one step extended Western infusion, the liquor produced was a dark golden amber. The nose showed aromas of malt, honey, toast, grass, chocolate, herbs, and wood. In the mouth, I detected woody, honeyed, and malty notes underscored by herbal, grassy, and somewhat chocolaty flavors.

Overall, I was not exactly blown away by this tea, but as I stated earlier, my brewing methods may not have done it justice. Still, I am not certain I will revisit this one. The overall impression I am left with is of a subtle, smooth, soft, and clean tea lacking in the rustic characteristics I typically expect from wild picked teas. For me, it is not that there is not enough going on flavorwise with this tea- it is that there is not enough going on at once to hold my interest. Honestly, I found this to be kind of a boring tea. I may try it again when I am equipped to brew it gongfu style, but then again, I may not. We’ll just have to see about that.

Flavors: Chocolate, Dry Grass, Earth, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mint, Moss, Toast, Tulsi, Wood

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84
drank Earl Grey by Rishi Tea
824 tasting notes

So, I’ve finally moved on from Sri Lankan black and Chinese green teas for the time being. They just didn’t seem to suit the unseasonably hot, dry weather and increased workload I’ve been dealing with for the past week or so. Wanting something I tend to gravitate to in hot weather, I have been exploring the world of Earl Grey.

This Earl Grey is interesting. Rishi uses a base of Dian Hong for this blend, rather than a mixture of Chinese, Sri Lankan, and Indian black teas. The bergamot presence is pretty strong too, although not as strong as some of the more extravagant blends on the market. In the glass, the liquor is a dark amber. Aromas of caramel, toast, malt, honey, and bergamot are immediately noticeable. There also seems to be hints of lavender, cocoa, and ginger in the background. In the mouth, there is a pleasant balance of bergamot and caramel up front, with notes of malt, toast, and mild cocoa rounding things out pretty quickly. The subtle impressions of lavender and ginger that I caught on the nose are present on the palate too, though they remain rather faint. In terms of texture, this Earl Grey is similar to most others I have encountered. It is slight and relatively soapy in the mouth, though I do think it has a bit more body than some. Maybe it’s just me.

In the end, I quite like this particular Earl Grey and would recommend it to fans of the style. I highly doubt it will convert those who dislike these types of blended and flavored teas, but then again I could be wrong. As for me, I could see myself seeking this one out again in the not too distant future.

Flavors: Bergamot, Caramel, Cocoa, Ginger, Honey, Lavender, Malt, Toast

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78

Last night I found myself in the mood for some Darjeeling. I was looking to briefly get away from the Chinese green and Ceylon black teas I’ve been consuming religiously over the last week or so. I, however, wanted something new that I had yet to try. I ended up choosing this tea. I recently rounded out a large order from Simpson & Vail with an ounce of this and had yet to crack it open. Honestly, I was a bit shocked to see that there was little mention of this tea on Steepster. If any of you read this tasting note, keep in mind that this is just my first impression of this tea. I may change my score in the future if I deem it necessary.

In the glass, the liquor shows a clear, dark golden orange. The aroma is mild, offering subtly layered scents of straw, honey, malt, toast, and Muscatel grapes. In the mouth, the tea presents a thin body with mild, smooth notes of straw, honey, cream, malt, toast, and Muscatel grapes. A bit of woodiness is present on a dryish finish, imparting a flavor somewhat akin to oak. Even for a second flush Darjeeling, this tea is unbelievably smooth and subtle with barely any trace of bitterness or astringency.

Overall, I am relatively pleased with this tea. I feel like I’m grading it somewhat more liberally than I should considering it isn’t really all that deep or complex, but on the whole, it is pleasant and easy to drink with just enough flavor to be satisfying on its own. In the end, I would recommend it with the caveat that it will likely be far from the most complex Darjeeling one will ever try.

Flavors: Cream, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Oak wood, Straw, Toast

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91

So far, I have been experiencing an absolutely miserable weekend. The last couple days at work have been brutal in all kinds of ways, I’m prematurely feeling the pressure of an upcoming career change, I’ve been helping my parents deal with a sick goat, I’m behind on housework, and I’m in the early stages of what is looking to be an awful sinus infection. Still, I’m pushing on and distracting myself with more pleasant things. Right now, I’m typing this review. That is much more pleasant than focusing on sinus pressure. Last night, my pleasant distraction was the long-awaited sipdown of this tea.

In the glass, this tea is interesting, as to my eyes it appears to be a little more yellow than green. On the nose, I get mild aromas of wet grass, hay, straw, bamboo, and melon. In the mouth, this tea is very light-bodied, offering lovely notes of wet grass, hay, straw, bamboo, melon (not quite cantaloupe and not quite honeydew, almost like a bit of both), cream, and vegetables (I’m picking up asparagus, green beans, and garden peas). The finish is mild, clean, and soothing, with lingering traces of vegetables, cream, grass, hay, and straw.

In the end, I really liked this tea and do not understand the low reviews on this site. This is a very simple, clean, elegant, straightforward green tea that rewards repeat visits. It is perfect for a cool evening or a sunny afternoon. It may not be the most complex green tea in the world, but its easy-drinking approachability and nice separation of flavors are really admirable.

Flavors: Asparagus, Bamboo, Cantaloupe, Cream, Garden Peas, Grass, Green Beans, Hay, Honeydew, Straw

mrmopar

You have a full plate going on my friend!

eastkyteaguy

No kidding. At least the tea helped break up some of the sinus crud.

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82

Today, I realized that I had yet to review any of the teas I recently ordered from Whispering Pines and decided that I needed to start on them. Not really being in the mood for anything heavy, I decided to brew some Yabao. All in all, I think it makes a good choice for a mild afternoon sip.

The first infusion poured a slight grey-green. The nose revealed a clean aroma with subtle mineral and floral undertones with a slight fruitiness. In the mouth, I detected mild notes of minerals, wet stones, and dried fruit (raisin and fig) underscored by woody, mossy, and grassy flavors that were joined by a fleeting floral note on the finish.

The second infusion yielded a somewhat more colorful glass of tea. The nose revealed an aroma that was woodier, spicier, and grassier than the first infusion. The mineral aroma lingered, but was not nearly as obvious, while subtle aromas of dried fruit were now joined by cocoa. In the mouth, notes of pine needles, cedar, juniper berry, fig, raisin, and prune were underscored by mellow cocoa and wet moss with mineral notes popping up again on the finish.

The third infusion yielded a slightly greenish tea. Aromas of moss and grass were now underscored by subtle scents of wet wood, dried fruit, and pine needles. In the mouth, I picked up more pine, cedar, and juniper balanced by grass and wet moss with a touch of minerality on the fade.

In the end, I found this tea to be somewhat confounding, but I wouldn’t call it bad. That would be both untrue and unfair because, for what it is, it is quite good. It’s just hard for me to recommend this tea without reservations. As far as white teas go, this is very mild, clean, and subtle. At the same time, however, it is very earthy and woody. It is a tea that will challenge you to really ponder the aroma and taste sensations you experience and reach for new ways to describe them. I do not think it would make a great introduction to white tea, but I think that it could be a very pleasant sip for those who have experience with white teas and appreciate them. All in all, I like this tea, I just wouldn’t recommend that someone looking to get into white tea start here.

Flavors: Cedar, Cocoa, Dust, Fig, Floral, Hay, Mineral, Moss, Musty, Pine, Raisins, Spicy, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

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84

Lately, I have been going out of my way to try more Ceylon teas. Until very recently, the only Ceylon teas I was familiar with were the readily available Orange Ceylon Pekoes from major commercial tea brands, teas I find to be very basic-in other words, somewhat bland and boring. From my previous encounters with these Pekoes, I came to the conclusion that Ceylon tea did not really have much to offer me aside from a quick pick me up when I needed or wanted a tea I didn’t really have to spend much time analyzing. I have recently, however, come to the conclusion that this assumption is unfair, and in order to rectify my own ignorance, have been greedily snapping up Ceylon teas that are unfamiliar to me. This is one of the more recent additions to my growing collection of caffeinated Sri Lankan goodness.

In the glass, the tea shows a deep, clear orange. Aromas of brown toast, caramel, and malt mingle with mild earthy, floral, and citrusy scents. In the mouth, the tea starts off with a nice maltiness accompanied by gentle notes of earth, caramel, and brown toast. Around mid-palate, notes of wildflower honey, lemon rind, and lime zest become more apparent. The finish similarly flits from bready, malty, and earthy to tart, floral, and citrusy before a wash of not entirely unpleasant bitterness and astringency is left in the mouth.

Honestly, this tea is rather difficult for me to rate, as I have little with which to compare it. Still, I do find it to be very appealing in its way. Compared to the more readily available Ceylon teas, this one is lively, bright, floral, and citrusy with a nice balance of earthiness and maltiness. The bitterness and astringency I find to be so typical of Ceylon teas is also not quite as pronounced and distracting in this tea. In the end, I would comfortably recommend it to fans of no frills South Asian black teas who are looking for a little more complexity without venturing too far outside of their comfort zone.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Brown Toast, Caramel, Citrusy, Earth, Floral, Honey, Lemon, Lime, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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90

I ended up with a sachet of this as a free sample with my most recent order. Normally, I tend to avoid herbal teas. It is not that I truly dislike them so much as I just do not go out of my way to buy them all that often. Still, since last night was unseasonably cold and windy, and quite frankly, I felt like utter crap, I decided that maybe a cup of peppermint tea would not be a bad thing.

The tea shows a yellowish green in the glass. The first thing I noticed on the nose was the exceptionally pure, clean smell of peppermint. It’s an unmistakable aroma and one that is extremely pleasant and soothing. In the mouth, I immediately detected clean peppermint notes. Around mid-palate, I picked up some mild grassy notes and a little bit of cream. The finish was clean, smooth, and mild with a soothing mixture of peppermint, grass, and cream.

Honestly, I do not understand the relatively low score for this tea. It’s true that it isn’t the most complex tea in the world, but then again, what peppermint tea is? This tea does exactly what it’s supposed to do: deliver the aroma and taste of fresh peppermint. Compared to so many other readily available peppermint teas, this one is clean and smooth with no muddiness or off flavors. What more can one really ask for from a product of this type?

Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Peppermint, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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82
drank Jasmine Pearl by Rishi Tea
824 tasting notes

Before I start my review of this tea, please allow me to state that I normally steer clear of heavily floral blends, especially when it comes to green teas. I don’t know why, but I tend to prefer my green teas without any additional flavoring agents. I have always been like this when it comes to specific kinds of tea. Today, however, I decided to venture outside of my comfort zone and sample the kind of tea I would normally avoid. Obviously, I ended up trying this one.

In the glass, the tea shows a greenish yellow hue. The first thing I noticed was the intense scent of jasmine rising from the glass. Wow! This tea initially smells like straight-up jasmine. I now know that I’m really far outside of my comfort zone. Second and third sniffs reveal the expected grassy, vegetal scents typically associated with green teas. I also detect something of a graininess, as I’m reminded a bit of straw.

In the mouth, I get the floral jasmine notes as expected, and to me, they really seem to dominate the entry. Subtle impressions of grain, straw, honey, dried grass, and vegetables emerge around mid-palate before merging with the jasmine notes on a surprisingly well-integrated finish.

Overall, I like this tea. I think for what it is, it is very good. Still, I’m not really sure that this is something I would seek out with any regularity. The tea seems to be really designed to showcase the aroma and flavor of jasmine. On the one hand, it does this very well. On the other hand, there just does not seem to be all that much else going on in this tea. Still, this is not the most heavily floral jasmine tea I have ever had and the integration of flavors on the finish is nice. I think fans of this type of tea would be very pleased with this product, and even though this tea is not really my thing, I can at least appreciate its quality.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Floral, Grain, Honey, Jasmine, Straw, Sweet, Vegetal

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90

After a rough day at work, I just had to unwind for awhile, and so, I spent a little time relaxing at one of my favorite spots in my hometown. This tea was on the menu today, and having had it in the past, I felt the need to revisit it. I have to say that I am glad that I did.

The tea shows a nice greenish yellow in the glass. Very floral, faintly fruity aromas are immediately apparent on the nose. I was reminded of a mixture of gardenias and honeysuckle. Closer inspection revealed subtle aromas of moss, wood, earth, dried grass, and lightly browned toast. To me, this tea just smells like spring.

In the mouth, the floral notes of gardenia and honeysuckle mingle with a nectar-like sweetness and a faint, if rather nondescript fruitiness. Grainier, earthier notes soon follow to balance things out, as brown toast, wet moss, moist earth, and hints of wet wood, dried grass, and roasted barley all join the fray. The finish is mellow and rather short, offering lingering grainy, woody, and earthy notes underscored by floral sweetness. I also thought I detected a very faint buttery note, but it might just be me.

I seem to enjoy this tea every time I seek it out and this time was certainly no exception. This is a very approachable oolong with a mild, yet still rather complex aroma and flavor profile. I highly recommend it to those interested in an easy sipping oolong with enough complexity to keep one intrigued.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Butter, Dry Grass, Floral, Fruity, Gardenias, Honeysuckle, Nectar, Roasted Barley, Wet Moss, Wet wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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40

This is the third Twinings product I bought in the last week. I nabbed it along with a box of Prince of Wales and a box of Darjeeling while all were on sale. It is my least favorite of the three so far, but that being said, it really is not all that bad.

In the glass, this tea is lovely. It shows a warm, dark orange-tinged amber. The nose is fairly nondescript. I can just pick up faint aromas of dried grass, straw, toast, malt, honey, and perhaps a bit of almond. In the mouth, the tea is on the lighter side of medium in terms of body. A crisp, clean entry reveals fleeting impressions of toast, almond, dried grass, malt, and straw with a hint of honey. Even though there is not a ton going on flavorwise, this tea is clean and smooth in the mouth with little bitterness or astringency. The finish is clean and clipped, imparting a touch of almond, honey, toast, and grass flavors.

With an addition of cream, the tea completely transforms. As expected, it becomes smoother in the mouth. The light maltiness and nuttiness of the tea becomes more pronounced while the honey sweetness and dry, crisp grassy notes take a backseat. I imagine that this would be even better with both cream/milk and honey. I will have to give that a try sometime.

In the end, this tea is okay. Truthfully, I am not the hugest fan of most Ceylon teas, and in general, I find orange pekoe to be kind of a basic tea. What I mean by that is I’ve just never found a pekoe that really sticks out to me. In my opinion, pekoe is good to give a blend body and a little bit of crispness, but in terms of flavor, I find it to be too soft, clean, and sterile to really stand up on its own. This product does virtually nothing to change my opinion of pekoe, but then again, it could serve a purpose as an easy drinking breakfast tea to pair with food. Even though it doesn’t do much for me, I guess I’m just not willing to write it off completely.

Flavors: Almond, Brown Toast, Dry Grass, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Straw

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

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