668 Tasting Notes
My last teabox oolong (this one came from the Discovery Teabox, so thanks to Skysamurai for coordinating and all who contributed!), and also my last milk oolong from my cupboard (booooooo!) until I restock one.
My sample was just the right size for about the leaf-to-water ratio I use when I cold brew a litre of oolong, and I have never tried milk oolong that way (though I have done other green oolongs cold brewed, and typically love them that style!) so I figured I’d go for it. 7.5g of leaf (I usually use 8g but eh, close enough!) in about 946ml of water in a mason jar, left to brew in the fridge overnight, and then strained the next morning. I’ve been sipping it out of a cold thermos throughout the hot (too hot!) day.
Refreshing, still with buttered vegetable notes. I’m getting a bit of a fresh cucumber/zuccini note, which is the first time I’ve tasted that in a Jin Xuan… not sure if it happens to be this particular variety and harvest or the cold brew preparation, but it is very pleasant. The florality feels a little more muted to me prepared this way… It’s coming out a bit as a floral sweetness at the back of the throat toward the end of the sip, but not as a strong flavor. It tastes a bit more green or herbaceous… like a very sweet grass rather than blossomy/perfumy. The butter note is still quite present, and on some sips it really lingers on the tongue.
I’ll certainly miss having a milk oolong around, but know it’ll never be too long before another will make its way back into my cupboards… I love the stuff! Thanks for allowing me to sample this one!
Flavors: Butter, Cucumber, Floral, Grass, Sweet, Vegetal, Zucchini
There are some things about being a tea drinker that I have learned over the years make me “unqualified” to be a “proper” tea drinker:
1) I don’t like doing gong fu sessions. They take up too much of my time, which I don’t have, and make me feel too “water heavy” on tea. Like, I just don’t need to drink that much tea at once. Even if that is the “right way” to drink a tea, I’d rather make it western because one cup that I can brew all at once works better for me…
2) I hate resteeping me leaves. Call me sacriledge, but I swear they never taste as good on resteeps.
3) No matter how many times I’ve tried, I just can’t seem to warm up to pu’erh. It always tastes like dirt or swamp water to me. And I’ve tried a lot…
4) I seem to like every single ingredient that is universally hated. And that includes hibiscus and licorice root (while I loathe all the “reknowned” banana teas…)
So, this falls solidly into #1 this morning. Another Discovery Teabox tea (thanks to Skysamurai for coordinating and all who contributed!), I took a 2g sample which I know I should brew gong fu, but damn it all, I just want a simple cup of tea for breakfast and brewed it in 8oz of 205F water for a 3 minute steep.
The aroma smells very nutty! I’m getting plantain, roasted nuts, and minerals in the aroma wafting off the cup. Maybe also a little wood and spice. The flavor is reminding me a lot of the Adagio “Fujian Rain” that I’ve been sipping down recently. I’m getting a roasted flavor with a somewhat malty flavor that is a little honey sweet with a touch of cinnamon spice, with a strong roasted nuts, quite walnutty, that fills out the sip. There is a minerality that settles on the tongue toward the end of the sip, and there is a subtle plantain note in the aftertaste.
Satisfying, even if I drank it the “wrong” way!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Roasted nuts, Toasty, Walnut, Wet Rocks, Wood
Decided against better judgment to stay home with the migraine today (work gets pissy whenever someone happens to “be sick” on a Monday or Friday, but damn it all) so I promptly got a batch of this cold-brewing first thing this morning so I could sip on it throughout the day to help with the nausea. Mint and ginger are two of the only things that help curb that rather unfortunate side effect. I don’t have a Trader Joe’s anywhere near me, but my friend Todd sent me a box of this from one of his Bay Area stores when he made a Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold run for me (which is another tea that isn’t sold in any of my local stores). Popped four teabags in a quart-sized mason jar and left it until it was that brown color you expect of mint tea.
Cool. Refreshing. Has that nice, fresh, cool menthol mintiness of spearmint that settles in the back of the throat and is calming on the tum. Mildly grassy from the green tea, and there is a gentle citrusy burst from the lemongrass, but the spearmint is the dominant note. Satisfying. I should get another jar steeping now as it will probably go quickly.
Flavors: Citrus, Grass, Menthol, Mint, Spearmint
Continuing to work on teas from the Discovery Teabox (thanks to Skysamurai for coordinating and all who contributed!), I brewed this up for my breakfast this morning. I had a terrible migraine yesterday (which I worked through 8 hours at work, then promptly passed out the second I got home and fed the cat yesterday) and it still isn’t quite broken and I have another 8 hours of work ahead of me, so I wanted some caffeine against the lingering pain. Hense, a hardy black for breakfast. Used a 2.5g sample in 350ml 205F water, western brew, for a 3 minute steep.
This tea had long, twisty dark leaves, and the brew has a deeply malty aroma, that smells very warm and bready, with a hint of cinnamon. The flavor has notes of malt, baked bread, a bit of lemon citrus, and a very subtle hint of spice. There is a bit of mild astringency and drying on the tongue after the sip. It’s a quite solid breakfast-type tea, deep, malty, and satisfying. It would probably take additives well, if I felt in the mood for that.
Thanks for the share, tea_sipper!
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Citrus, Drying, Lemon, Malt, Spices
Continuing to work on teas from the Discovery Teabox (thanks to Skysamurai for coordinating and all who contributed!), I brewed this up to have with my mandarin for breakfast this morning. I only took a 3g sample from the box, and I normally use more leaf with herbals (especially fine rooibos/honeybush), so to compensate I dropped my water from a 12 oz. cup to an 8 oz. cup, and hopefully that will balance things out. If it doesn’t, well, that was just me being stingy and trying to not take much leaf from the box, I guess.
The aroma is very pleasant, though! It definitely has a pungent scent of blueberries and cinnamon, and a sweetness that makes me think of something warm and gooey and pastry-like. The blueberry isn’t as strong on the tongue as it is on the nose (or maybe I’m just too spoiled by how juicy 52Tea’s blueberry comes off), but it is definitely present. The cinnamon is a bit of a stronger note than the fruit but not overwhelming, and is very sweet; it tastes like a cinnamon-sugar toast spread to me. The base is sweet, and while some rooibos waxes more woody or medicinal (I especially get medicinal notes often when its paired with fruit flavors, ala cough syrup), I am not getting that in this tea at all… I’m picking up more on notes of honey and vanilla.
This is a really nice tea! Maybe not quite as good as the Apple Cinnamon French Toast, but close!
Thanks for the share, tea_sipper!
Flavors: Blueberry, Cinnamon, Honey, Sweet, Vanilla
This is another tea from the Discovery Teabox (thanks to Skysamurai for coordinating and all who contributed!) I think I ran into LST (Love Some Tea) at the San Francisco International Tea Festival 2018, but considering I have a hard time remembering what I did last week let alone something from two years ago, I have no idea if this was one of the teas they had out for sample that day. Anyway, it was in this teabox, so I took a 2.5g sample to try. I prepared it cold brew style, letting it steep overnight in 350ml of water.
This tea is listed as a blend of black and green leaf, with lots of flower petals and dried mango and papaya with some natural flavorings. My sample, I’ll note, is only tea leaf, with no petals or dried fruit (maybe what was left in the bag?) I also don’t know the age of the sample… my brew is a light yellow color, and has a very faint sweet honeysuckle-esque aroma. The flavor tastes mostly like a crisp green tea — like sweet grass, with some subtle honey notes. I am not getting any fruit notes at all, and only a subtle florality that mostly reads as a bit of sweetness. I think this is mostly due to the selection/age of my sample more than the tea itself, though. It still made for a refreshing iced tea, based just on the tea leaf without the additives or flavorings.
I’m going to leave this unrated since I feel I didn’t get a fair representation of this one, but I appreciate the chance to try it all the same.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Sweet, Vegetal
Another tea I yoinked from the Discovery Teabox (thanks to Skysamurai for coordinating and all who contributed!) I have been curious about this one since I saw derk’s initial review, and those of some folks she traded with, so when I saw it in the teabox I knew I had to try it. Brewed up a small teapot to have with my potstickers for dinner.
The tea looks like a rooibos in its reddish-orange color, but has a strong herbal aroma, with a hint of floral sweetness to it. The scent reminds me of fresh yellow dandelions, with a backdrop of vegetal hay. It also has a spicy aroma, a bit peppery. The flavor is slightly floral, but leaning more to the herbaceous side. I get a vegetal, warm grassy/hay flavor, with a sweet floral taste that somehow reminds me of chamomile without the unpleasant soapiness that makes me dislike chamomile so much. There is a sharpness at the back of my tongue, toward the end of the sip, that I can only describe as citrusy. A strange amalgamation of herbaceous, floral, and citrus notes, but altogether very pleasant.
Thanks for sharing!
Flavors: Citrus, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Hot hay, Pepper, Vegetal
I grabbed this out of the Discovery Teabox (thanks to Skysamurai for coordinating and all who contributed!) because I have never heard of lotus flavored tea and, liking floral teas, was simply curious about it. I took a 2g sample from the box, with no guesses as to age of the sample… it’s definitely been sitting in my house now for far longer than I really should’ve allowed (I’m now putting getting all teabox teas sipped down at a priority, even if that means “drinking them the wrong way and not doing time-consuming gong fu sessions that I just can never fit into my schedule”).
Brewed, it does have a floral aroma, but it’s very delicate. There is a honeysuckle sort of sweet aroma, but also a vegetal sort of note, like a marshy/water plant aroma? The black tea base itself (from Cambodia), smells of malt, honey, orange marmalade, and hay. The flavor… isn’t really a floral black like I was expecting. It’s a nice black tea, malty but not astringent, with a bit of honeyed sweetness, but there is a sort of vegetal quality at the back of the throat that reminds me a bit of that wet, marshy taste I usually get in pu’erh, just not quite as strong. I certainly like this better than the “swamp marsh” tasting pu’s I’ve had… this is a much smoother flavor, and every now and then, at the end of a sip, a subtle sweet hint of florality will pop up on the tongue, in the aftertaste. It’s a rather strange tea. Certainly nothing I’ve tasted before. I’m still not exactly sure what the “lotus flavoring” is… but I am glad I got to try something so unique, so thanks to whoever shared this one!
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wet Moss
One of my old Adagio samples that I’m working on sipping down, now that I’ve finished all my old Tealyra stuff off. The leaves are very long, twisty, and dark, and smell almost chocolately in the bag. Brewed western, 2.8g in 350ml @ 205F for 3 min.
The tea smells like malt, honey, caramel, and strongly of roasted nuts. It has a pleasant roasted flavor; I’m getting notes of malt, toasted bread, roasted nuts (particularly a more earthy walnut flavor), honey, and a bittersweet cocoa that settles toward the end of the sip. There is a hint of a cherry note, as well, but it is subtle. There is some earthiness and minerality as well, but the tea is quite smooth. I’m really enjoying this one.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Toast, Walnut
I’ve tried a few different Rooibos EG’s and haven’t liked a single one thus far. I’ve had this one in my cupboard for ages and have yet to have tried it, probably because of my bad track record with bergamot on rooibos. However, I’m out of a black lavender EG and that was what I was craving to go with my lemon poppyseed cookie, so I finally decided to try this. Maybe the lavender made a big difference, because I actually didn’t mind this. The bergamot tastes a little grapefruity, but doesn’t come across too sour, even on the lighter base. The lavender is lovely and strongly floral, and pairs well with the strong citrus flavor of the bergamot. The rooibos is a strong flavor, a bit woody, hay-like, and sweet. I wouldn’t select this over a good black lavender EG, but this is surprisingly suitable for a rooibos alternative when I have traditionally hated bergamot paired with rooibos.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Floral, Grapefruit, Honey, Hot hay, Lavender, Sweet, Tart, Wood