Featured & Popular Tasting Notes
I’m still alive, guys!
Although I don’t think I would have been saying that so enthusiastically even a few days ago. I woke up last Monday morning with a mildly sore throat. You know, the “it would feel nice to have a warm drink this morning” type. Well, not even a few hours later, I was shivering, had a raging fever, and could barely swallow without literally crying in pain. Two days later, a doctor thought I had strep, so gave me antibiotics. Four days later, they still weren’t working at all, and the pain in my throat and ears was so awful that even breathing hurt. Then, I began puking violently. You know the kind where you’re on the floor clutching and lurching, thinking for sure you’re going to rupture something because of the force of your heaving? yeah that kind. Anyway, I went to the ER a few times to get hydrated. We’re thinking the antibiotics on an empty stomach for four days wasn’t such a good idea, either that or it was the wrong antibiotic. I was also blessedly given some really effective pain medication, even though they refused to give me anything for the pain the first time around. They were like “yeah, take Advil.” and I was like “I really think I need something stronger.” and they were like “Well we can’t give you narcotics!” and I was like seriously, wtf? there has got to be something between Advil and morphine you guys can give me. Sure enough there was, but advocating on your behalf when you’re sick is annoying.
Anyway, needless to say I didn’t have much tea at all. I sipped half-heartedly at this cup this morning, because it’s a very soothing and gentle tea, but my heart just wasn’t in it. It’s kind of disappointing, because I also just got my rivertea order in the mail and it all smells amazing. Oh well, I’ll hold off on drinking new tea until I’m feeling up to it.
It’s good to be back though!
I super love mountain dew. Almost as much as I love root beer. So I had to jump on this one. In saying that, I did leave it sitting in my cupboard for quite a while because I am trying to finish the teas that are open first before opening everything else.
The smell of this dry tea is dead on mountain dew. Delicious. I almost wanted to crack open a can of the real stuff.
I brewed this 1.5 tsp, 10 oz, and about a 1/4 tsp of rock sugar. I normally don’t add sugar right off the bat, but I figured since it was based on the soda, I would add some sugar. The smell of the brewed tea is what I would guess hot mountain dew smelled like.
The taste is a bit different. My immediate reaction was jelly beans. Like a red fruit flavoured jelly belly. Towards the end of the sip there is a mountain dew flavour. I would like to try this one without the sugar, but also as an iced tea/cold brew. I think the sugar may be giving it more of that jelly bean flavour.
Also a very important note, this is a 52 teas honeybush blend and I am getting NO pepper, this is historic for me!
Edit: Made another cup, same specifications, but this time with no sugar. The smell of the brewed tea is still the same but the taste is quite different and not as good. There is a vegetal astringency. I can definitely tell it is missing something, specifically the sweetener. I feel like there is a lot of mint in this blend, but it is too much, giving it a bit of a spice. Not sure what the ingredients in this blend are, but this is what I am tasting. I definitely prefer with sugar.
Holy cow. I’m so damn happy!!!
Method: 6 g, 6 oz, 200 degrees, rinse-15-15, sheng yixing
Aroma: This smells like a beautiful spring day on a tea farm. There is a stream, and amazing trees. The farm has happy animals, and no one eats them. You can smell their hay in the barn! Everything smells fresh and clean and there’s a sweetness in the air.
Flavor: Nom nom nom. I’m really excited about this one. It’s amazeballs!
So today being the fourth of july, I though about reviewing only fireworks teas.
Ya know, the ones that blow your mind.
The ones that create that explosion of happy in your mount.
The ones that you would bring with you on a deserted island.
The ones that you can’t live without…
Ailaoshan Black more than qualifies for the job.
Its salty caramel goodness makes me see bright colours every morning :-)
(Oh and look! Note 300th!!)
I haven’t had a chance to try this on it’s own yet..so i picked this out tonight. HOLY CRAP PPL! this one smells INCREDIBLE…seriously it’s like deliciously amazing crazy ass creamy, yummy OMG i want to eat you all up tea.
…and then you brew it..and it’s not nearly as insane as the smell but it’s still a pretty decently flavoured cup of tea. So i’m enjoying it..but man, i wish it tasted like it smells… many that smell makes me happy! haha
Aaaaah Saturday morning yums!!!
Method: 1.5 tsp, 8 oz, 200 degrees, 3 minutes, French Press
Dry Leaf Aroma & Brewing Aromas: Chocolate cake. Om nom nom
Flavor: yum! This has lovely cakey and cocoa notes. I wish it was a little sweeter, but that’s easily remedied. I am going to try a second steep and see how that goes!!!
I’ve been drinking this tea at work for a couple of days now. The last time I wrote about it, I thought it was finicky and “white wine up you nose” odd.
It seems to have been behaving since then, and we are friends once again. While this is not my favorite Jin Jun Mei – it has been really pleasant the last couple of days.
I’m so glad this tea exists! I have such a horrid allergy/sinus headache. This tea is absolutely perfect for when I need something strong yet flavorful. Loving the burned chocolate, bergamot, and bread notes right now. Now if only this headache would go away. I’m trying to drown it out in caffeine and Excedrin.
In other news, we have been pretty darn busy. In case you missed it we added the following new teas:
Kenya Obsidian-wonderful Kenyan black tea
Baked Ali Shan-Lightly oxidized and lightly roasted
Fu Shou Shan-Lightly oxidized, very high elevation, very flavorful
Taiwanese Bi Luo Chun-very fresh, flavorful
Hong Yun Black-tastes like PTA & Mi Xian Black crossed paths
Lattakajoon Assam-Chocolatey Assam
Organic Sourenee Black Blossom-Like a chocolatey cross between Darjeeling & Assam
1994 Aged Bai Hao-Like a honey drizzled on top of baker’s chocolate. Another lovely leafhopper bitten tea
Blackberry Lime Guayusa-Steph’s idea for our Custom Blend Contest
1989 Suncha Blend-Mostly shou but some sheng. Very flavorful and smooth
Still to go-
Kenyan Silver Needle-Incredibly buttery, creamy, flavorful!
2009 Banchang-heavy Apricoty notes. This puerh has quite a story behind it. Rare.
Blueberry Purple-back soon!
Whew! We certainly have been busy in the last 3 week!!!!!
Also, if anyone is interested we are only asking for shipping charges for these lovely wooden display cases: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1470625936506048&set=a.1383480678553908.1073741827.100006759666084&type=1&theater
Thank you Dustin for sharing this with me. I have never actually tried a sweet potato pie but it sounded like a tea that would be different from the typical fruity, caramel, vanilla teas I tend to drink. I was certainly right about that and it is different in the best way possible! It is unique but still with elements familiar enough that I can see myself drinking this often. It is buttery, it is sweet, it maybe even has a caramel-like quality but the sweet potato is also distinct and provides a nice quality to the cup. This is one I would order in a heartbeat. In fact, so is Cookie, the only other Lupicia tea I have tried. Now I want MORE! Bring on the Lupicia!!
In other news, my friend really did NOT like this tea. She felt it tasted like a mediocre plain black where as I am getting a lot of flavor. Gotta love how people can have such polarized reactions to the exact same tea :)
Day 10 of Steepster’s disaster…
I know not many will read this. But I still have to give some love to my favourite teas.
This is one of them.
Drinking this makes all the wrongs right.
Ok…it won’t fix Steepster. But that’s about the only thing it won’t fix!
Mmmm….salty caramel. I don’t really like you for real, you’re too sweet and sticky. But in my cup of tea? Yes please!
Can’t believe how a straight tea can render such decadent notes.
Aila and I… Foreverrr!
Oh my gosh. i read roswell strange’s tasting note on this yesterday and realized it had been ages since I’ve had this. For some crazy reason unbeknownst to me, I somehow thought I was getting over this tea, but this morning’s cup was a resounding reminder that this indeed was not the case. I nearly gasped out loud after I took my first sip, and quickly pushed the cup toward Mr. Keychange to have a sip.
“My gosh!” he exclaimed, “What flavour is this one?”
“Aha!” I exclaimed on Stacey’s behalf, “it isn’t flavoured! this is just the great Taiwanese wild mountain black! doesn’t it taste like waffles?”
“Wow, so the tea just tastes like that?”
Which is exactly my own awe at this tea. I don’t know if there’s any left to order, but I sure hope there is, as I’ll be topping up very soon. Mmm. Creamy, honeyed waffle deliciousness, with the signature taste of black tea aftertaste. I seriously don’t know what was stopping me from having this more often!
Yesterday, I’ve started a “purge”. Meaning, I am throwing tea in the trash. There, I’ve said it.
I know, I know, why trhow it, why not send it to someone who might want to have it?
Well see, there are rules to qualify for the purge…
1) must be a tea that’s been in the cupboard for over two years
2) the tea was given a fair chance. Meaning, it has been steeped at different temperatures, iced, cold brewed, even mixed with some other tea to tone it down. All have failed.
3) the fear of ever drinking it again must still be very present. I gag when I think of it.
4) I’ve asked someone to try it, and was later accused of homicidal intent.
5)I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
6) if I’d send it in a swap, I’d be reported to Steepster for tea malpractice and therefore, would be forced to close my account. Goodbye Fairy :-(
I tried really hard to give Sour Sap some love. Before I gave it a final farewell, I cold steeped it to comply with the list of rules. It failed…miserably.
Sour sap…there are no possible description for it. Sour bile maybe? That’s the closest to a “note” I can get.
Sorry, it just wasn’t meant to be…
R.I.P. Sour Sap. 06/19/2014
Like pretty much every Sunday mornings, I’m drinking GO in bed, “giant mug style”.
That’s right….Sunday mornings are not for tiny Vanilla Dreams pot. No. On Sunday, big is better.
Cause I just can’t get enough of this liquid chocolate tea. Yes, gooey fudgy vanilla tea of my dreams. GIMME MORE!!
Miaow cup for a miaow tea :
Warning, opinionated post, read at your own risk!
Today I am feeling frustrated and opinionated. Mostly because many of my clients seem like they have lost their minds. It’s the equivalent of asking, “What color is the sky” and them answering, “Giraffe.” It makes me wonder if I am speaking in tongues!
So anyway, I want you all to know that I read each and every review that comes up on my feed. I rarely “like” them, because the damn heart is so tiny and I most often read them on my iPad. I invariably hit something next to the heart and lose my place. Why can’t they make the heart huge?
So this morning I woke up and was lying in bed reading Roswell Strange’s many reviews, and it occurred to me that I enjoy reading them far more than many of the (official) bloggers (not all, don’t get your panties in a wad) whose posts I also see. Roswell’s posts are so funny/quirky/interesting, and I have two daughters about her age so I guess I relate to them in a way, but I really do enjoy reading every one of them, beginning to end. But many of the bloggers write huge long posts that really don’t say anything. /rant off, and good job Roswell Strange.
So I picked this tea (thank you Stephanie for the sample) because I had had it before and knew I would like it, and this morning I didn’t feel like gambling.
In other news, you know I run a company, and that makes us plenty of money and keeps me plenty busy, but because I’m a FREAK I always have to have things going on on the side. You probably don’t know that I own an online bookstore that has a few thousand books. And, I recently bought a bulk lot of 60 handbags to sell on ebay. Just because. They’re inexpensive Chinese made ones, but some of them are cute, and I’m sure someone will like them.
So there you go.
First, I’d like to thank Eco-Cha for giving me the opportunity to be one of the 10 lucky people to get a free yixing clay pot on their recent giveaway. I got my order today with such a lovely little pot! Came in a nice box, all wrapped in a pretty asian style red towel.
I am already brewing one of their tea in it tonight.
I did not know what to expect from this award winning Dong Ding. If anything, award winning won’t necessarily make me like a tea.
I do a quick rinse. This is heavily roasted so I’m expecting some big char notes, and this is pretty much what I get on steep one. Nothing special, just very roasted.
Then…vavavoom! Whoa, fruit! I get a mango mouthful. Yes I know, it’s not really supposed to be there, but that’s what I get! And it’s not subtle, I get that even from the wet leaf.
But that’s not it, this tea is kind sweet and savoury. It’s paired with creamy butternut squash…and roasted root vegetables.
Wow, it is so fragrant, every time I open the pot, I get tropical mango wafts.
As expected, it produced many steeps, but of course, I never count when I get caught up in the moment.
This tea was expensive, but totally worth the bucks.
My first Eco-Cha experience, and I am quite impressed. Quality in every possible way, with an impeccable presentation.
Pics of the order and session:
Flavors: Butternut Squash, Mango, Roasted
This is my 100th tasting note! I’ve been drinking plenty of tea, but I haven’t made a formal note on them because I was saving #100 for something meaningful to me. The very first what I call “real” (not grocery store tea bags) teas that I fell passionately in love with were Mandala teas. Garret was my first tea-pusher. I realize “tea-pusher” sounds a bit questionable and unromantic for the ever so charming and graceful Garret. But I mean it in the most affectionate way possible. Good tea is like the very best kind of addictive drug and dealing with Garret is an addicting experience: beautiful tea made possible by a soulful, ethical company. I will be a lifelong Mandala customer.
I’ve mentioned drinking my Dark Beauty cocktail many times and have had a few requests to add it to the database, so violà! (that was for you TeaFairy).
You won’t find “Dark Beauty” when you go visit Garret at the Mandala site because it’s a concoction of two of my very favorite teas – two great tastes that taste great together if you will. Dark Beauty is a blend of Special Dark Loose Ripe Pu’er and the sweet, mildly chocolate Black Beauty.
Both of the teas are spectacular on their own. I have Special Dark either alone or in this mixture pretty much every morning of my life. Special Dark is very different from most ripe pu’er – there is no leather that I detect, just a deep smooth bass note of heavy chocolate goodness. Black Beauty isn’t a bug bitten tea, but it has those very sweet lychee-honey notes that good bug bitten tea has.
Here’s how I make it: I take a 16 ounce cup or teapot, I put a scant tablespoon of Special Dark in whichever infuser basket I’m using. At this point, once you’ve boiled your water, you can give the SD a quick rinse if you wish. I usually don’t bother because it doesn’t seem necessary to me for this tea – sorry tea careful tea-crafters, sorry about that. I steep the SD in 16 ounces of 212 water for 3 minutes. Then I add a big pinch of the Black Beauty, give it a stir and steep for another 3 minutes.
UPDATED to add the new, lazy, awesome method. I’ve been losing patience with what I call The Dark Beauty Two-Step, so it’s time to make it simple. Now, I’m putting both teas in at the same time (and skewing the ratio slightly more to the Black Beauty side), pouring in the water and steeping it all at the same time for 4 minutes. Works a treat and less fuss If you’re a DB fan, try it this way and let me know what you think.
Yes, that is a LONG time to steep. No, it never gets bitter or astringent. It yields the deepest, darkest cup of sweet comforting awesome you can imagine. Earthy and chocolate with an undertone of caramel lurking back there, especially noticeable as it cools a little and a lilt of the floral-lychee bit from the Black Beauty at the top.
When I’m feeling particularly indulgent, I go Terri-style with this and add a little maple syrup and on occasion, a little bit of milk or almond milk. I have insomnia and lots of stress. This is the tea equivalent to me of the heavy, snuggly quilt my great-grandmother made that I cocooned myself in as a child. This is my pure comfort tea. When I drink this, I hear pretty much everything these guys ever sang: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nedEEL37Lvw
I just slipped this into our sample section for those of you that want to try before buying. To buy it by the ounce, though, you’ll have to wait until the 1st! :)
Having a cup now since I love it so much. Always hits the spot with that salted caramel note :D
Here I am again. I’m sorry I haven’t updated, but I also haven’t been drinking much in the way of tea, although that’s a lie because I have been drinking iced tea. No excuses.
Actually, I’m just hear to say that this tea is terrible iced. It tastes like strawberry yogurt milky water, and I never want to be made to feel I’m drinking watery yogurt. It’s ok though, because this used up my entire sample, so onwards and upwards, I guess. I’m going to be tossing what’s left in the pticher (which is pretty much all of it actually), but ’aint nobody got time for bad tea, I say.
carry on, folks. Let this week end.
Oh Soba Cha!
So enticing I want to eat chunks of my mug, that how good it smells while I drink it.
Buckwheat pancakes, roasted grains, toasty cereals, it’s such a treat!
Ok, I pretty much NEVER add anything to my tea, not that there’s anything wrong with that, just not my preference.
But, this, THIS, with almond milk is like having a liquid bowl of your favourite cereals. Why don’t I make a giant pot of this instead of a cup?
My 4oz tin won’t last very long, I can tell you that!
I can’t ever thank my friend Dexter enough for introducing me to this wonderful tea from H&S :-)
After the success of the cold brewed lemon chiffon yesterday, I decided to cold brew lime chiffon. The result is I prefer lime chiffon hot and lemon chiffon cold. I am not sure why but that is my finding. Though this is still very flavorful and delicious, I find the lime shines a bit more when it is hot versus the lemon of lemon chiffon which sticks out in the cold brew.
In other news, I have been spending copious amounts of time on amazon and other sites for a week now looking for a shiny new kettle to replace the ghetto one I am using currently (and I mean ghetto – it doesn’t even have an on/off switch let alone a temperature gauge). I figure for the amount of tea I drink, it is worth it for me to spend some money on a kettle that will help me enjoy it all. Plus, I spend so much money on tea anyways, I might as well brew it properly. So I am wondering what your experience/opinions/thoughts are on different kettles? Which ones are you guys happy to have and which should I avoid?
Not enough sleep last night. Must be the cat’s fault.
Running a little late this morning, about to leave, when that inner voice asks…
Do you have tea in your purse for work? Shrug, Dunno
Reach out and grab a random tin of black tea off the shelf and walk out the door.
An hour and a half later, letting a client vent about something that has nothing to do with us, I’m reaching into my purse for that tin of tea.
Some tea gets dumped into my infuser basket. Hang up with client.
Take basket to kitchen, add hot water, return to my desk. Answer 3 questions.
Crap forgot about my tea. Remove leaves. Take a sip….
AND THE WORLD STOPS
It’s like the stars aligned, the atmospheric pressure is perfect, the clouds part, and the sun shines through. I have the perfect cup of tea. Exactly what I’m in the mood for at the exact time that I need it the most.
I actually said out loud – What the hell am I drinking?
Co-workers look at you weird when you say things like that…. don’t care, I spent a few minutes basking in the moment, then went back to work.
This is easily in my top 5 favorite black teas. Amazing.
I got my free samples this week and why not start sampling tonight!
Using the full sample in a 6oz gaiwan.
Talk about a full cup of yum.
This is everything I like about a high mountain oolong…and more.
The elements I’m really digging are usually the floral, spicy and minty aspects, and I get them all here. Nice florals that might be a little more perfumed then what I’m used to, but really, I can’t name the flowers cause it’s none of the ones I’m used to find in greener oolongs, which are orchids and lilacs.
The usual spiciness which translates into nutmeg for me is also there, and so is that fresh mouthfeel I get at the end of the sip.
What’s really different about this oolong is its fruitiness. It so full of fruits, it almost tastes tropical to me. The fact that it’s also creamy makes me think of Pina Colada. I also get grapes and apple notes.
There’s a certain bite to it also, a briskness. I wouldn’t say it’s bitter, but it’s a tad astringent. Nothing offensive though, makes the flavours pop even more.
I have many more steeps to come, and might finish it with a cold brew.
I am very impressed with this first sample.
Thank you so much Green Terrace Teas for this opportunity.
I just updated this one after some research. It has older tea leaf in this cake. Stored as MaoCha and then they were pressed into cakes.
I pulled 9 grams off the cake to start with and gave a 5 second rinse. There is color in the rinse that would support the older material.
I started steeping at 5 second increments. The color on th e brews is a nice golden. The aroma has the camphor humid type note to it. This is confirmed upon drinking the tea. You can taste the humidity and the camphor notes along with some mineral in there. The leaf was pretty tightly pressed and there is some bitterness in there as well. This thing is very similar in profile to EoT’s Baotang. It has good storage without being too wet. It gives some tongue tingle and it exudes mintiness breathing it in and out for a minute or so. This thing feels almost like a supercharged ‘7542’ hits all the good notes for me.
This was loads better than the Menghai ’Old Tree Round" I had a while back. Maybe Menghai is something that can be drank without a 5 year or so aging process. I have a couple of more in this same style production to try as well from Menghai.
Flavors: Camphor, Mineral, Mint
This morning was a busy one…I was under a lot of stress and had to run around for several hours.
When I got home, the only thing in my mind was…TEA!
If you’re like me, you try to match the right tea for the right moment. Sometimes it takes me forever to decide. Not today. I wanted comfort, and I knew exactly that good old Earl would take care of me.
I say “Good old Earl” but thats not accurate. This Earl is the next generation.
Yes people, TNG Earl!
What makes it so special? Well, first let’s talk about the base tea found in earl grey teas in general. There isn’t much to talk about, right? What I’ve noticed is no one seems to really care…cause…bergamot. What I mean is, if you’re like me, when you need a bergamot fix, you’re not looking for some fancy black tea…you only care for the bergamot cause you know it pretty much overwhelms any kind of base anyways. So why bother right? That’s the impression I get from what’s available on the market. We get some generic black tea and what makes or breaks it is the quality of the bergamot. What I want is an earl grey that will provide a good balance of the bergamot flavor. I don’t want that overly parfumy and soapy taste they sometimes have. Luckily, I found a few brands that made me very happy over the years and just stuck to them.
When I saw Earl Gold, I said…really Brenden? You’re gonna “waste” some snaily yums on bergamot?
And then I tasted it…and said…damn it Brenden, must you succeed at everything?
Apparently, the answer to that is yes!! He truly is a master blender.
I already love Golden Snail a great deal on its own. But I was so sure everything I love about it would vanish under the oppressive bergamot. Turns out they both complement each other perfectly!
Malt, caramel, chocolate and bread? Please meet citrus and candied orange peel.
A very bright, sweet and warming cup of tea with a big kick.
It is suggested to drink it gonfu so I did try. Surprisingly, the bergamot oil doesn’t rinse off on first steep, it actually stays present through the whole session.
But I must admit, my personal brewing preference for earl grey tea will remain mug style. I just want a huge big fat mug of it and hold it and slurp it slowly while I read a good book. That’s what this tea is to me…a hugger :-)
I’m so happy I’ve got four ounces in the cupboard. It will definitely be one of my favorite comfort teas of the winter!
P.S. When you get this tea at home (cause I know you will, you MUST) please don’t skip the “inhaling protocol”. Beleive me, your nostrils will thank you.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Chocolate, Citrus, Malt, Orange