New Tasting Notes
Trick or Treat! So my Halloween Wheel o’ Tea has selected this for my treat bag today, and I’m pretty happy since Earl Grey is a nice breakfast staple. Mmm… Earl Grey cupcakes! The dry leaf has a lovely bergamot aroma, but I smell a lot of sweet vanilla too, and it does smell a little like cake frosting (particularly the cream cheese cake frosting which is my favorite). I’m also loving all those pretty golden tipped tea leaves I’m seeing in the blend… Yunnan and Vietnam blacks are pretty much my favorites, so I’m expecting the base on this to be downright delightful.
I had a tiny bit of vanilla almond milk left that I wanted to use up before the carton went bad, so I ended up making a large latte, and then emptying my overflow tea into a separate cup, so I had half a cup of plain tea leftover, so I got to try the tea plain and as a latte from the 16 oz. brew I whipped up. The aroma from the spent leaves and brewed cup had a surprisingly somewhat floral note to me; the bergamot wasn’t coming off as strongly in aroma as it was on the dry leaf, and the sweetness somehow just smelled like a fresh-cut bouquet to me. The flavor still had a perky bergamot taste, with that being the promanent note in the cup, with a sweet vanilla and subtle cream note coming out toward the finish. The base tea was indeed quite smooth; I didn’t notice any astringency from this cuppa.
The latte invoked a much stronger “cupcake” element; I had a very small amount of vanilla almond milk in the cup, but it was just enough to bring out more sweetness and creaminess, emphasize the vanilla, and temper the bergamot a bit, and the result did come out feeling creamy and cakey. The smoothness of the base make this an Earl Grey I’d have no problems drinking plain, but I just found the profile a little nicer taken London Fog style.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Smooth, Vanilla
With fall setting in, I’m super into all things pumpkin. I saw this tin in my cupboard and a craving washed over me. I may have over steeped it a touch, but what I got was an underwhelming cup. The spices are a little warming, I’ll give it that. Other than that it just seems lacking. I’ve had this in my cupboard for a couple years so I know it’s not in it’s prime, but I don’t recall ever being impressed with it. I need to get over it and call it a fail in my journey of pumpkin exploration.
I want to point out, first, that the directions for steeping this tea call for 4 minutes and 208F water. This seems to me a good sign, since hotter water and longer steep times work way better for me with white teas than the reverse. I did fudge the temp slightly because I was making it in the Breville which doesn’t have a 208 setting. So I’m steeping at 205.
I have to agree with some of the other notes — this is an unusual tea. The dry leaf has a completely different fragrance than that of other white teas. No woodiness or plantiness, no sharp notes. It’s a rich and round aroma that I can only guess comes from the volcanic soil. Yes, I do smell cocoa. And yes, I do smell raisins. I smell one other thing, which is almost ash — but not in a bad way. Freakin’ weird, but marvelous. Like with the black tea from this vendor, the leaves are extraordinarily long and beautiful.
After steeping, the tea is a rich, golden color and clear. It smells like raisins still, maybe with a bit of plum in there as well. It is not as cocoa-y but there’s still a suggestion around the edges.
The one thing I for sure am not getting that others are tasting and smelling is rose. That, I just don’t get, though there is a more generic floral flavor at the beginning of the sip. The tea has a distinctive raisin-like taste, that smooths out into a more hay-like note later in the sip.
If I buy one white tea, this will be it.
I’m pretty sure there’s still a silver needle out there for me somewhere. I may need to try Samovar’s again if they still have it, or try one from a new company I have yet to discover.
Flavors: Ash, Cocoa, Floral, Hay, Plums, Raisins
1600th tasting note!
Sipdown no. 106 of 2018 (no. 462 total). A sample.
I had the last of this at work earlier in the week. I continue to view jasmine silver needle as more appealing than plain white tea mainly because I can taste the jasmine when brewed hot so the tea doesn’t matter so much. It’s a much purer delivery vehicle for jasmine than green tea, which has a flavor of its own — but it’s also not as interesting as jasmine green to me for the same reason.
Sipdown no. 105 of 2018 (no. 461 total).
As a cold tea, it’s not just water and indeed is rather tasty. This is a pattern for me. Cold brew probably brings out the flavor of white tea in a way that hot water is supposed to but doesn’t for me. Which makes me wonder whether I should just heat up the cold brew to understand how white tea is really supposed to taste?
Home – 10:00 AM
So once upon a time (actually, a few years ago, when I was first on Steepster), I really loved Chinese black teas, and especially Yunnan black teas. So now that I’m drinking tea again, I had to order a few to try from Yunnan Sourcing, just to see if I still feel the same way. I chose Fu Shou Mei Feng Qing, High Mountain Red Ai Lao, and this tea. Because come on, anything with “Honey Aroma” in the name needs to be tried! ;) Plus I wanted some variety.
Some of my favorite teas that I remember were the lovely golden varieties. This is no exception, the leaves are long and slender and covered with golden hairs. Lovely! I followed the Western parameters from a similar tea on Teavivre (because YS only has Gongfu parameters). I sort of eyeballed the amount of tea instead of weighing it for some reason… (shrugs)
The resulting brew is light, and it smells and tastes just as I remember. The predominant note is malty sweet potato, alongside lightly toasted bread and honey. Perhaps a touch of apricot adding a bit of fruitiness (okay, now I want buttered toast with apricot jam…). At the end, there is a light floral finish, making me think of honeysuckle.
I’m happy to find that I still love this type of black tea, despite drinking mostly flavored teas these days! Will definitely be trying more once I’ve worked my way through these selections.
I’m going to hold off on a rating, since I don’t really have anything to compare this with. But I highly recommend it!
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Creamy, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes, Toast
This one is delicious. It is one of the few teas my husband likes as it is so Sweet. Its like a treat, like a candy. Smells very good and Sweet( my hubby notices). I think this is easy to like for everyone, kids and men as well. As long as they dont dislike Sweet teas.
Flavors: Caramel, Maple Syrup, Sugar, Toffee, Vanilla
This one came as a free sample with my last Adagio order. It’s one I’ve tried before, although a good while back. I have fond memories. This particular chai blend contains the usual suspects; ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and orange peel. As it’s a vanilla chai, there’s obviously vanilla flavouring also.
I prepared my first cup with milk borrowed from a colleague, because rooibos. To taste, it’s nicely spicy (tongue tingling so!), but with a prominent creamy/sweet vanilla element. The rooibos base is fine with the milk, although my second cup, which I prepared later in the day without milk, came across a little woody and metallic. Milk is definitely the way to go here! Of the spices, ginger and cinnamon are the most noticeable, with the orange and cardamom in the background. The clove is really muted, although I don’t mind that.
I enjoyed my reacquaintance with this one. I should remember to drink it more often!
I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this one before, but a long time ago, and possibly as part of Adagio’s holiday/Christmas sampler? It seems like an odd thing to find in a Christmas sampler, so I could be wrong, but I don’t think so. Now that it’s October, I basically want everything pumpkin, so this one jumped easily into my basket when I placed my last order. It would have been silly for two Sherlock blends to travel alone, after all!
This one contains cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cardamom. It’s very sweet, even a little syrupy, which is nice for a couple of sips but quickly becomes cloying. I suspect it would be better as a latte, or even just with milk, but I didn’t have any to hand at work when I prepared it. The flavour actually reminds me quite strongly of cola, which initially struck me as slightly odd…but then I remembered that cola is basically a blend of spices, and probably quite a few of them are in this blend, so it’s maybe not so surprising. The ingredients list speaks of “natural pumpkin spice flavouring”, but I’m struggling to find much that reminds me of squash/pumpkin here. Artificially sweetened pie filling, perhaps…and cola.
As it cooled, it started to verge on bitter, so I finished my cup up fairly sharpish. It’s by no means a terrible blend, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’ve definitely got some work to do with this one, although when was making a latte last considered work..?
My original rating for this one was 12, but I’ve increased that a bit because this cup wasn’t super awful…and I think if I added some milk or made it as a latte, it might actually be okay. So.
This was my Friday tea at work yesterday – I needed something to keep me awake, and although I don’t drink coffee, this seemed like a good compromise! I feel like this one’s changed since last time I tried it – the ingredients list is very different now to the one that’s on the tea description page. It’s been slimmed down, shall we say? It’s still a black tea base, but now with only cocoa nibs, caradmon, cinnamon, and coffee beans. Simple enough!
I prepared my cup with milk, since chai without milk seems like the worst contradiction in terms to me. There’s lots of cocoa, which is dark and nicely chocolatey, and it pairs well with the coffee which is also distinctively prominent. It’s definitely still tea, but there is a real mocha vibe going on, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
The spicing is fairly prominent also – cardamon, mostly, but with a touch of cinnamon also. All apsects of this blend seem to complement each other well, and it’s a great morning tea. It helped me to get through Friday, that’s for sure! This is another one I must try and remember not to overlook.
This tea is absolute perfection, it’s like a biscuit in a mug. Both the leaves and the infusion smell like freshly baked biscuits, and all the ingredients are balanced masterfully.
I drink it with half a teaspoon of Stevia, and it’s the perfect guilty pleasure, just without guilt!
Flavors: Chocolate, Cookie, Spices
Last few days been drinking tea I already reviewed. Tonight I felt like trying one of my new samples. It was a taxing day so what better way than to sit down and chill with some tea, right?
This Ya Shi, duck shit aroma, is very aromatic, savory. Strong floral with a roasted aroma along with fruitiness. Despite the strong fragrance, the taste was surprisingly mellow. I don’t have much experience with duck shit aroma so maybe that’s typical. I was just expecting a super strong taste. It had sweet, honey notes, lots of floral notes and unlike other reviews who said there was zero bitterness, I did get a few bitter notes but it’s balanced so it worked out well. Creamy mouthfeel without the milky taste. Grassy or green notes popped up. It definitely has character, changing slightly from steep to steep. Full-bodied. The aftertaste is pleasant, slight drying of the tip of the tongue feeling.
8g, 212℉, 110ml, 9 steeps: rinse, 10s, 15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 50s, 70s, 100s, 130s
Dry leaf smells like honey, plum, tobacco and hay. Warmed scent is strong with the addition of apricot. Rinsed is tangy apricot and kind of a smoked asparagus. Honey-colored, lightly fragrant liquor tastes mostly of surprise… honey but kind of savory. Faint tartness and a growing bitterness and astringency that never get out of control. Very oily in the mouth with waxy mouth coating. Aftertastes show up mid-session with some light florals turning into green bell pepper. Good longevity. No noticeable energy. It’s still young but I’d say it’s a decent lower-priced cake, especially if you’re a fan of honey-forward puer. It’s definitely drinkable now. I am in no capacity to say whether it will age but M. white2tea says suitable for long-term aging.
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Bitter, Sour
Home – 8:30 PM
Still packaging up some samples, but I had to take a break to write a note about this tea because I am thoroughly impressed with it!
I was afraid because mine is in sachet form, and the white tea leaves are quite crushed up inside. This can often make for a bitter white tea. With that in mind, I shortened the steep time a bit. I used two sachets for my 16-ounce pot. I was rewarded with such a lovely light Earl Grey! The bergamot smelled quite strong in the dry leaf, but I find it’s in perfect balance here. I can taste the white tea, it’s sweet and smooth with nice hay and grain notes. The bergamot makes its appearance mid-sip and strengthens toward the end. As it fades, the aftertaste is sweet and grainy (in a good way!).
Love it, especially for the price and the gorgeous tin! This may be one that I keep around always, for when I feel like a lighter Earl Grey. ❤
Flavors: Bergamot, Floral, Grain, Hay, Smooth, Sweet
I stashed two of these pyramid bags from a year back for a special Friday at work. I had one last winter while student teaching to get me through a tough day, and the other today to celebrate the creeping of the cold. I am currently substitute teaching Algebra 2 for a wonderful teacher at Port Huron Northern and am greatly enjoying the students that I get to spend some time with for her maternity leave. An oil leak was prevented at the school, but the additive odor lingered in the building, so the building was ventilated for 30 minutes with everyone outside. The cold permeated into the building making the thermostats register at 62 Degrees Fahrenheit, this was a great warm comfort at lunch.
This blend is not too atypical of say a Lady Grey, but it is in how the ingredients were blended. The rose blossoms occupied the majority of the back and there were less black tea leaves than the usual blend, but since they were Zealong leaves styled like Tawainese Shan Cha blacks, they were strong enough to color the tea and provide a viscous body. Now, I’ve had the base on its own before, and it is a naturally fruity tea with a bit of a floral kick amidst the usual cocoa and malt notes, so I wanted to see how it would do as a mega floral earl grey. The rose, lemon myrtle, bergamot, and tea blended very smoothly, and the lavender and rose where compliments and hints. I would not have told you that I tasted mint the first time I had it, but after knowing about it, it is in the very finish of the tea making it more refreshing than tannic.
This tea can become a little bitter from overbrewing, but it is otherwise very steady and can handle long steeps with a high water volume. It does take sugar and or cream and sugar extremely well, but it is all the more tranquil on its own and better brewed at least 3 times over. My only criticism: it’s too fricikin’ expensive.
I’m bumping up the rating as I’ve discovered its potential in Western and tumbler brewing. I’ve gotten headier florals like osmanthus and a little bit more pineapple in the finish, and more cucumber in the body. I was impressed with how much sweeter it was despite losing some viscosity. I used a simple french press, which I never press with actual tea giving me a huge cup, and then I finished it off today with a new tumbler with a removable cup and a large chamber for leaves. It was magical and sweet tonight, with the iris, osmanthus, and other floral hints ending with a sweet finish, again like cucumber or perhaps pineapple, but then better described at the moment like green grapes. It was refreshing to say the least, and thickened out in the next four rebrews reclaming its general floral fruity and fresh body combo. If you get this tea, it might be better suited for tumblers with open space or western sessions. It surprised me that I did not enjoy it as much gong fu, but I have a bit of a sweet craving tongue when it comes to my gaoshans.
Home – 7:00 PM
I’ve been sipping on this while packaging up tea swaps.
It’s not bad, especially considering it’s from last Christmas and it has coconut in it. Coconut is usually the kiss of death for a tea’s shelf life – it goes rancid and then there’s nothing to be done but toss the tea. Surprisingly, the coconut here seems to be fine. Hooray!
It’s quite light in flavor, I would guess this was a fruit tisane over a black tea base. The main flavor is tart cherry, and then it’s sweetened a bit by the coconut and vanilla with just a hint of almond.
Not bad at all, I’ll have to try this one again with a fresh batch if they release it every holiday season.
Flavors: Almond, Cherry, Coconut, Tart, Vanilla