New Tasting Notes
Another sample from Cameron B. :D Thank you <3 I am so glad that I got to try this one.
Ahhh, the amanatsu fruit from the Yamaguchi prefecture. I did a lot of world traveling with my parents growing up and we went to Japan a few times. I remember, a little me, saying to someone there “I liked the tangerines back home (America) better because these aren’t sour.” Of course, my parents scolded me for being rude to whoever gave it to me. I still ate lots of them during one summer there. ^^
The aroma of the golden liquor was like a delicate sweet tangerine and vegetal. It was pleasantly surprising to me to smell the latter note so strongly. Unfortunately, they don’t have this on their site anymore (if they do, I can’t find it.) but I think it’s a Taiwan Dong Ding oolong. It was sweet and mellow, with some floral-osmanthus aroma (the floral flavor really came out in the 2nd steep), and a velvety, creamy mouthfeel. It’s different than all the Lupicia samples I’ve tried in that the flavors are so delicate. There was no bitterness, it was slightly astringent on the second infusion. It had a good finish with a citrus-tropical fruit aftertaste.
190-200F, 6g, 6 oz, 2 steeps: 2 min, 3min
Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Citrus Zest, Creamy, Floral, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Vegetal
This was another of my most recent sipdowns. I finished a 25 gram pouch of this tea towards the end of last week. As autumn flush Darjeeling black teas go, this was a very unique and interesting offering. After last year’s strike was ended, the Darjeeling tea estates reopened for business, and this was the first Darjeeling tea Alistair was able to source from the folks at the renowned Gopaldhara Tea Estate. Now, Gopaldhara’s autumn flush black teas are usually very crisp, light, and subtle, but owing to the unique circumstances surrounding this tea’s production, it ended up being a much darker, fruitier, and heavier tea. Ultimately, I found it very enjoyable, though I am much more partial to the lighter, smoother autumn flush offerings from Gopaldhara.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I neither rinsed the leaves nor attempted any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of wood, hay, raisin, and earth. After infusion, the tea liquor revealed aromas of malt, brown toast, orange, plum, cherry, and rose. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of earth, wood, hay, malt, grass, smoke, and dandelion greens that gave way to impressions of orange, brown toast, rose, cherry, raisin, and plum. Underlying impressions of minerals, Muscatel, butter, and tobacco eventually became detectable as well. Malt, brown toast, and earth notes took over on the finish with more assertive butter notes and a slight astringency also appearing.
This was a very enjoyable Darjeeling black tea, but it was also not really what I have come to expect from Gopaldhara’s autumn flush offerings. To be honest, fans of earthier and heavier Darjeeling black teas would probably get more out of this one than I did. Still, I am glad I took the opportunity to try this tea and would not caution others to avoid it. If you are familiar with Gopaldhara’s offerings and are a fan of autumn flush Darjeeling black teas, it is very much worth a try simply because it is so different from Gopaldhara’s regular autumn offerings.
Flavors: Astringent, Brown Toast, Butter, Cherry, Earth, Grass, Hay, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Orange, Plums, Raisins, Rose, Smoke, Tobacco, Vegetal, Wood
I know I stated that I intended to post reviews of the rest of the teas I drank in October, November, and December before moving on to anything consumed in January in one of my most recent reviews, but I very quickly changed my mind about that. For one thing, I wanted to get some of my more recent sipdowns reviewed while they were still fresh in my mind, and for another, this tea was just so captivating that I could not resist the urge to go ahead and post a review of it. I finished a 50 gram pouch of this tea last night, and quite frankly, I was very sad to see it go as it was one of the very best Yunnan black teas I have ever tried.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of baked bread, malt, cream, sweet potato, pine, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, black pepper, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The first infusion then introduced subtle aromas of roasted almond and cocoa alongside a stronger scent of juniper. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, pine, cream, baked bread, and sweet potato that were chased by impressions of black pepper, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and juniper before hints of cocoa, roasted peanut, marshmallow, caramel, and roasted almond made themselves known. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of marshmallow, camphor, cedar, clove, fennel, caramel, lemon zest, and orange zest as well as subtler, more fleeting scents of earth, tobacco, and molasses. New notes of minerals, butter, molasses, clove, cedar, fennel, camphor, earth, orange zest, and lemon zest came out in the mouth alongside stronger notes of cocoa, caramel, and marshmallow. Impressions of nutmeg also belatedly appeared in the mouth, and I caught some hints of sugarcane, apricot, tobacco, green beans, celery, and green olive too. As the tea faded, the liquor offered notes of minerals, roasted peanut, cream, malt, lemon zest, and orange zest that were underscored by lingering hints of cocoa, sweet potato, roasted almond, baked bread, cinnamon, black pepper, juniper, tobacco, eucalyptus, camphor, and marshmallow. Somewhat stronger impressions of green beans, celery, and green olive lingered in the mouth after each swallow.
This was a ridiculously complex and challenging Dian Hong, but it was also tremendously enjoyable at the same time. Once again, the Feng Qing Dian Hong Group managed to impress me with their work. Definitely give this tea a shot if you have any interest in Yunnan black teas and are familiar with Feng Qing teas.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Camphor, Caramel, Cedar, Celery, Cinnamon, Clove, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Lemon Zest, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Nutmeg, Olives, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco
What the heck is this tea? It’s a weirdie tea. Anyway, it was the cheapest tea during the Bird&Blend sale and really, I’m usually going for any teas on sale that I haven’t tried yet (or favorites that aren’t always in stock – like Spiced Pumpkin Pie). I remember a couple years ago when B&B had a 150gram pouch of Christmas Cake and a couple other teas on sale for around $3!! Now THAT is a sale.
On to the tea: Dry leafed, this one is quite the mystery and has a very unique scent to it. A little bit like licorice but with an odd creamy scent. I’d say the resulting flavor was the same: hints of licorice and something oddly creamy with a hint of tartness (from the rosehips, I’d imagine). I think it needed a bit more to the flavor than licorice and cream but it certainly isn’t a tea I already have around. They say this is a blue tea. It certainly is, probably with the help of these big purple flowers in the blend. The first cup had hints of red, but if I held the cup to the light, the color was a purple/blue. I didn’t even have to add lemon, as the description mentions. After reading the description, I can tell there is aniseed here but this is the second tea I’m having today that should taste like black currant and just doesn’t. hmm. I would advise, if the steeps are done right, the second cup almost tastes exactly the same, but even more blue/purple. So this is not a tea to miss with a second steep! (Usually I’m second guessing herbal teas and how much flavor a second steep would have.) I didn’t want to “burn” the flavor on the first steep, but went full hot boil on the second steep to get as much out of it as I could. This isn’t the best blend from B&B but it is intriguing on all levels, so that’s something. This is not a tea I’d say was a cupboard essential, but it’s unique and I sure loved buying it on sale.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Flavors: Anise, Cream, Licorice
Thanks again to Cameron B for allowing me to try these Lupicia teas! This one sounded intriguing… the black tea leaves look quite small but doesn’t result in a pitch black cup. It’s quite light actually. So I don’t believe any or many CTC black tea leaves are used here. The flavors that I’m supposed to be tasting don’t seem to be here though: black currant, cranberry and apple? Not really. Somehow what this tea reminds me of most of all, is 52Teas Coconut French Toast with Cardamom. There is mostly a cardamom flavor with otherwise a general feeling of baked goods. It’s tasty but a surprise when there should be other flavors here. The second steep somehow became more of the flavors it was supposed to be… more hints of fruit and cinnamon, less baked goods and cardamom.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Today’s cup is better than yesterday’s but still not as good as Tuesday’s. There is more of a candied element today than there was yesterday when the sugar sweetness was more disjointed. There is also more pear today than there was yesterday. However, there is more flavor from the base tea distracting me from the candied pear flavor which is what makes this not as good as Tuesday’s cup which was candied pear perfection. Since this one is a bit inconsistent, I am okay with this being a sipdown and saying goodbye. It was nice while it lasted though.
Sample saved from the tea box. When I was a kid, my mom would always carry violet candies in her purse, and this tastes just like those. I never really liked the violet candies, but for whatever reason, they were compelling enough that I’d eat them anyway. I added a fair amount of sugar, which adds a pleasant sweetness. The main flavor is violet. I don’t taste the black base at all. So if you want a violet tea, this is really it! The flavor and scent are very strong. Thanks for bringing back memories, tea!
Well, time to crack open a new tea! And whoo boy, is it a strong one.
Thats not a criticism, exactly. Sometimes a very strong tea is exactly what I need. But this morning I’m finding it maybe a little too malty…
Breakfast blends and I are not always the very best of friends, but I am getting to know them better, which is very good!
1 bag for 250mL water at 100C, steeped 4 minutes 30 seconds.
I wanted to use two bags, I find teabgs in general skimpy and the resultant brew weak in taste and body. No, I said, these look like decent teabags. Let’s follow the instructions.
Well, I have some vaguely tea-favoured water here, some sweetness, a faint coppery-Ceylon scent … but meh.
A disappointment. I might try two bags later.
Double sipdown! I used the last of Harney & Sons’ Golden Monkey and RMS Titanic Blend. It worked out to be perfectly half and half. The resulting tea is well balanced and smooth. Hearty and malty with savory notes of bread. And of course the Golden Monkey lends notes of natural cocoa. That Fujian cocoa taste that I crave. This is another Random Steepings that I would love to revisit.
Sipdowns in 2019: 4
Another black tea for meeee!
This is my first NON-Adagio Loose Leaf I believe. I’m starting to expand my horizons. This one smells delightful. A bread like woodsy scent. Flavor is similar. I’m getting bread and honey with definite malt and chocolate tones as well. It’s a complex cup and thoroughly enjoyable. It’s almost, how should I put this, like a dark chocolate sandwich? That description is both completely wrong and yet somehow right. Also getting some woodsy notes to it as it cools. All in all a very enjoyable cuppa and I’m glad I ordered a decent amount of this. It’s not quite as yummy as my Golden Monkey, but a comparable and delicious cup nonetheless.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Wood
1.25 tsp for 250mL water 95C, steeped 4 minutes, drunk bare.
Dry leaf: brown flecked with some green and a few twigs. Aroma: winey wood.
Wet leaf: the green leaves brghten and open up fast — very pretty. Aroma: tannins, wet earth.
Liquor: medium brown, a bit darker than I expected.
Full and classic Darjeeing taste with a good body. I prefer a second flush, so I’m quite happy here. Lots of muscatel, and a slight bite back, almost like the pepper in some Yunnans.
No notes yet. Add one?
OKAY! New Rule. All chai teas will be reviewed using the same prep method- With Almond Milk and two splendas. That being said, time for the review.
WOW! This is certainly a… DIFFERENT tea. I don’t think I have ever had tea with coconut in it before and it shows. I really don’t know if I like this at all or not. The Coconut is pinging in my mouth along with the chai spice and it is really a weird combo. It’s almost like combining sweet with spice and getting sour. I don’t what to do with this. It is kinda tasty, but just really too odd a flavor combo for me. The flavor is very strong even with the almond milk and sweetener. Nope, don’t think I can recommend this one. It’s different in a bad way.
Flavors: Coconut, Spices
Gong fu, 2.5 grams, 85 ml of +- 75 °C water. Multiple steepings, each about 40 seconds.
Colour of tea is nice green to yellow, with golden reflection, leaves are indeed bit more purple than usual.
In scent I think it´s hay and bit of cut grass (interesting), later more and more sweet.
In taste it was sweeter than I have expected and smooth on my palate. Good though, but not phenomenal. I am bit disappointed.
Flavors: Cut grass, Hay, Smooth, Sweet
Not sure how I couldn’t distinguish this and Star Crossed Assam before, but this time I think it’s fairly clear. This tea is pretty clearly mapley with vanilla, although the earl grey aspect is quite weak (probably missed it the first time around). The base is unremarkable; I’d prefer it wasn’t a rooibos but it seems not to be bothering me, so it’s fine. I’d drink this again as a tasty lower-caffeine option.
The scent of the bag is very mild.
Oh wow! It’s like fruitcake but good! :)
This has cinnamon and orange in it, but it’s not that cinnamon-orange combo. I can taste a lot of spices, nicely balanced, including vanilla, marzipan, cookie, and malt. I’m sure there are others, but it’s a well-attended party of spices in there. I’m glad to be invited.
It’s not overpowering, just the right balance.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cookie, Malt, Marzipan, Orange Zest, Vanilla
Yay, one with lots of good reviews already. lol
Little cute snail looking things, smelled of bread, chocolate, and malt. After the rinse, they began opening up, it had a little stonefruit aroma, toast, malt and chocolate, sweetness aroma. It’s a very smooth, comforting (comforting is a big thing to me I guess lol), a tasty cup of tea. I can really get into black tea if they were all this good. I like to repeat myself so I’ll just say again that all my life I was a matcha and sencha type of girl until the last 6 months. Throughout all the infusions, I didn’t detect any bitterness nor astringency… Just creaminess, a buttery feeling, a thick mouthfeel and a great aftertaste of cocoa, toasted bread, some raisins and molasses.
5g, 205°F, 110ml, rinse, 8 steeps: 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 35s, 40s, 45s
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Honey, Pastries, Raisins, Stonefruits, Toast
12 Belated Teas of Christmas – #10
I thought I’d tried this before, but didn’t realize that that was 4 years ago before 52teas was sold! I believe I bought a 12 Teas of Christmas package around that time. Anyhow, I think I have similar thoughts this time around. I actually couldn’t figure out what this tea was by smell or taste – it was clearly spiced in some manner, but it tasted mostly like a straight (tasty) black tea, as the spicing was pretty light. I didn’t get eggnog at all; upon learning what the tea was, I did pick out some cinnamon but that was really it. I did enjoy the tea, but have had much more convincingly eggnoggy teas.