155 Tasting Notes

drank Qilan Wuyi Oolong by Verdant Tea
155 tasting notes

Drank down my sample packet of this today. It’s a lightly roasted tea—floral notes are underscored by vanilla, mineral, and a mild honey sweetness. It’s soft and smooth. No astringency. Very easy to drink, with the rocky mineral water taste of a Wuyi. It was a nice break from the strong flavored teas I’ve been drinking lately.

…I’m thinking that I may need to add more unflavored oolongs to my stash. Verdant has been my go-to in the past, and right now Mandala’s site is down while they relocate (sad day). Anyone have any recommendations?

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Vanilla, Wet Rocks

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drank Dark Iris by August Uncommon Tea
155 tasting notes

I really didn’t expect to like this tea. When first opening the bag and also during the first steep, it gives off a very, VERY strong scent of peaches. Not the actual fruit, but the kind of tart, sharply sweet smell of peach rings. (D even compared it to peach schnapps.) It took a moment for me to get past the overwhelming candy smell. It does, however, make a very nice cuppa.

The oolong base gives off a buttery, toasty flavor that’s not too strong. It’s mild but it’s decidedly oolong. There’s a sweet fruitiness about it that pairs well with the peachy tones and the light flavor of lime. Underscoring it all is a lush and creamy vanilla note that makes me think of whipped cream or custard. I’ve never had creme fraiche but I can imagine this is exactly how it tastes. It complements the other flavors very nicely. Try as I may, I can’t pick out pistachio at all and the rose acts as a barely present floral note in the background. (I’m thankful for that. I’ve never been a huge fan of rose—or floral based teas in general.) The second steep is more mild on the peaches with the lime and cream notes dominating. It’s a little like key lime pie, without the crust.

Overall good impressions. If you’re wanting something more nutty-floral, you may want to look elsewhere. I think I might restock this tea. The sample is not going to last long. (:

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Honey, Lime, Peach, Roasted, Vanilla

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drank Big Easy by August Uncommon Tea
155 tasting notes

Wow, hi guys. First review in a long, long time.

I’m in the process of moving so I don’t have all of my tea gear with me. It’s the ol’ tap water in a microwaved mug method for me. (The horror, the indignity!) I got a few samples from AU in the mail recently and didn’t feel like hunting through my boxes and half-packed belongings.

I haven’t been drinking a lot of tea lately. This is the first tea order I’ve placed in…a year, at least. My honey is trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and this means more tea, less coffee. Sounds like a win win win to me. (: Gives me an excuse to drink more too! My tea stock has dwindled slowly down to one little bin of old favorites and random samples I still haven’t tried.

On to the tea. This is so not what I was expecting. Like Dex, I thought the barley would give it a nutty, toasted genmaicha quality. I can’t really pick out the flavor on its own. The green tea doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, either. Most of what I’m tasting is buttery, cake-like or donut-like pastry. It’s heavy but it’s smooth. There’s a lingering caramel sweetness. I’m a little picky about pineapple in tea and I prefer it blended with other strong flavors. (Butiki’s pineapple cilantro oolong was a good one.) Here the pineapple has a sour, kind of acidic quality that tempers the sweet pastry notes. It’s a little strong for me. I can see how others would love it; it’s like a pineapple-lemon pound cake. Dessert in a cup. The blend leaves a slightly sour, puckery taste in my mouth that I’m not fond of…so maybe I’ll try it with milk next time. Not as unusual as AU’s other offerings, but it’s alright. There are others I like better.

I’m a little rusty at this, so hopefully I did okay!

Flavors: Butter, Cake, Caramel, Lemon, Pineapple, Sour

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I’m not quite sure what to think of this one.

To start I despise anise. The only way I can really stand it is if it’s in a spicy chai, buried and blended with several other flavors. Here, it’s one of the main ingredients. I will admit that the smell is much stronger than in the brew. The cocoa shell and barley make for a very velvety, smooth, grain-and-chocolate experience. It’s heavenly. It’s a little buttery and it really does remind me of biscotti! The anise serves as a back note: very, very faint but still present. I find myself craving it now and again, but I only have one cup left in my sample. Maybe that’s a sign that I should reorder. I do wish they had a 50g sized option…

Flavors: Anise, Butter, Chocolate, Grain, Smooth

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86

Preboil/10oz/3.5g/120s/150s

This is a unique and interesting tea. I’ve never had anything like it before. The steeped liquor is a beautiful, pale amber with the strong aroma of peanuts, soup broth, and salt. It’s very savory with a dark, buttery undertone. It’s not very heavy (surprisingly) and it doesn’t stick to the inside of your mouth like other teas with such dense flavors. It’s light to medium bodied with a mildly sweet aftertaste. The savory/umami quality makes me think of edamame, though I don’t think that’s exactly right. The flavor of butter combined with the faint, faint saltiness (and roasted/nuts) also bring popcorn to mind. Maybe popcorn cooked a little too long. I’m not getting “smoke” although the roasty notes are coming through quite strongly. It’s a little vegetal, which helps me see why others could call it a combination of roasted buttery oolong and smoky green tea. That’s a VERY accurate description. The second steep contained many of the same notes, with a little more salt and vegetal sweetness. The peanut flavor has receded, just slightly, and the aftertaste has a more lingering presence. Edamame, snap peas, and peanuts. Unexpectedly delicious. (I don’t even like peanuts.) Have I mentioned how incredibly smooth this tea is? It’s so smooth! No astringency or roughness whatsoever. If it were, I think it would ruin this tea for me. As it is it’s perfect.

(:

It’s nice to step out of your comfort zone sometimes and try something you wouldn’t normally try. It was a huge win in this case. I’m glad I got the sampler, because otherwise I would not have wanted to try this…and now I’m entertaining the thought of getting more.

Flavors: Broth, Butter, Peanut, Popcorn, Roasted, Salt, Soybean, Sweet, Umami, Vegetal

Sil

neat…sounds really interesting

sren

I enjoyed your tasting note on this! I really agree about the light mouth feel— it was surprisingly considering the rich taste. Maybe what I described as smoke was more of an almost-burnt flavor. Now I have to try it again!

Thomas Edward(Toad)

:) great review!, I love this tea

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Thanks so much for the sample Sil. I was painfully curious about this one!

This tea opens with a slightly tart cherry- or raisin-like flavor. It’s not astringent or bitter at all, but it’s followed with a mouth puckering dryness like wine. I’ve never had such a smooth Assam. It’s sweet and there’s a certain earthy, brown sugar flavor lurking in the background. I’m not getting much cocoa but there is a substantial maltiness that coats the mouth. Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like I’m getting a little bit of nuttiness, like praline. It’s faint enough for me to doubt my judgment. This is a good, bold tea for breakfast without the briskness or bitter punch that some other breakfast teas have. I can’t justify buying 4oz at a time, though, so I’ll just have to enjoy my sample while it’s around. (:

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cherry, Drying, Earth, Malt, Raisins, Red Wine, Smooth, Tart

Sil

haha i felt the same way as you did..bought a tin anyway and ended up finishing it way faster than i thought i would, such that i bought a second one

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95
drank Yin Zhen by Nannuoshan
155 tasting notes

Lately I’ve taken to brewing this tea before bed. I have become less meticulous about my steeping parameters; this tea is forgiving and delicious no matter how I brew it. Tonight I’m noticing a lot of cucumber, cream, and melon with a thick mouthfeel and honey floral undercurrents. There’s a wonderfully full, juicy quality to it as well. Notes of hay and fresh bread help to balance it all out. I think this is quickly becoming my go-to white tea.

Method:
2tsp/7oz
(Nearly) boiling
First steep: 2min
Second steep: 3min

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Melon

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74

I tried a blend of 2 different teas at a friend’s house recently, so I decided to stop by (gasp!) Teavana to grab myself a little of each. After a horrible, pushy interaction during which the saleswoman was rude and tried to sell me three unrelated things that I didn’t ask about, I finally got what I went for. (Even though I bought more than I needed. 2oz minimum? EACH tea?! Ugh.)

This is a combination of Caramel Almond Amaretti and Spice of Life. Ratio is about 2:1.

Method:
2tsp CAA+1tsp SL/12oz
Preboiling
First steep: 3min
Second steep: 4min

Herbal teas with fruit always confuse me. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to put them in an infuser or just eat them. There are a lot of fruit in both of these teas, and I couldn’t see any white tea in Spice of Life. Where is the tea?! No matter. Brewed, it smells—and tastes—a bit like spiced almond cookies or biscotti. There’s a peek of citrus. It certainly tastes like there are artificial flavorings present. That’s really unfortunate. However, I consider this to be more of a tea-like drink than actual tea. For a tea-like drink it’s quite alright. I have to add a considerable amount of sugar to bring out the cookie aspects of this drink; otherwise, it falls flat. It’s not as good as I remember. I’ll probably be drinking this before bed since it’s basically an herbal blend. I could try it when I’m craving dessert tea, but I admit, there are much better dessert-like teas out there.

Here’s my sort-of guilty admission. This blend tastes GREAT with Double Stuf Oreos dunked in it. I’m not joking. If you dunk an Oreo for a couple of seconds, it’s long enough for the icing to melt and the cookie to soften without completely falling apart. It melts in your mouth. I have a bit of an addiction when it comes to Oreos, and this makes it WAY WAY worse. Or better, however you look at it.

In a nutshell:
Tastes sort of like a cookie.
Artificial flavorings! Boo!!
Try it with Oreos. Actually, just always drink it with Oreos.

Not worth the money. I would have bought way, way less of it if I could have. Now I’m sitting here thinking of all of the other teas I could have bought instead…sigh.

Flavors: Almond, Citrus, Cookie, Nutty

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87
drank GABA Black by Mandala Tea
155 tasting notes

Revisiting this tea again. It tastes slightly different than what I remembered. It opens with muscatel and stonefruit—slightly sour. There is a mild smokiness and the taste of wood mid-sip, which reminds me of a ZSXZ. It definitely reminds me of other gently pine-smoked teas that I’ve had. The end of each sip finishes sweet, with honey drizzled bread and wildflowers. There is a pleasant nectar-like coating on my tongue. The tea is relatively light in body and very smooth. For a black tea, it tastes an awful lot like an oolong. (Without the mineral quality that sometimes turns me off to oolong.) It’s not surprising to learn that it’s a Tie Guan Yin varietal. This tea has some vegetal and floral undertones to it. There is a roasted nut component that becomes more apparent in later steeps. I’m upping my rating a bit because this is such an interesting tea. It leaves me with a warm, pleasant, and relaxing feeling that makes me feel tea drunk. It’s a great choice for evening. I think I might have to get more of this one.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Muscatel, Nectar, Pine, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Sour, Stonefruits, Vegetal, Wood

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Included as a sample in my last order. Thanks Brenden. (:

This tea opens with notes of wildflower, fruit, and mild chocolate. The chocolate notes intensify mid-sip, joined by cream, malt, and a light grain flavor. There is fruit again in the finish—apricot or golden raisins, maybe—along with notes of wood. The mouthfeel is silky and clean with no astringency. It doesn’t feel heavy in the mouth. It’s light, mellow, and “fresh” feeling. It’s perfect for this time of day, because I think something heavier would unsettle my stomach. The second steep brought out some thick honey notes that reminded me a bit of WPT’s Golden Snail. I think I prefer Golden Snail, to be honest. It’s a bit thicker tastes more like buttery bread. This is certainly a good tea, and very high quality—just not my favorite from WPT!

Method:
~2tsp/10oz
Preboiling
First steep: 3min
Second steep: 5min

Flavors: Apricot, Chocolate, Cream, Flowers, Grain, Honey, Malt, Nectar, Smooth, Stonefruits, Wood

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Bio

I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea

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