Featured & New Tasting Notes
At first glance, this genmaicha appears to have a much higher proportion of toasted rice than most of those I’ve tried before. As a proportion, I’d say it’s at least 60:40, maybe heading towards 70:30. That seems unusual to me, unless I just got a batch that wasn’t very evenly distributed. I’m not complaining, though – since I’m not a huge green tea fan, this could actually be a good thing!
The flavour, as you might expect given what I’ve just said, is mostly toasted rice. It’s pretty much exactly like sugar puffs, which is an epithet I’ve heard applied to genmaicha regularly, but one which I’ve never really agreed with or experienced myself. It’s perfectly true and accurate in this case, right down to the lingering sugary sweetness in the aftertaste. The green tea base is just about there in the background, adding a touch of grassy smoothness. Mostly, though, it’s fairly innocuous.
I’m glad I tried this one, since it’s a little different to other genmaicha blends I’ve tried even though it’s just plain and unflavoured. It’s one of those rare ones that I could happily drink pretty regularly, just for the simple joy of it.
Another Liquid Proust from my cupboard. I have a few, for sure! That can only be a good thing, though, since on the whole they’re up there with some of the best flavoured teas I’ve tried. They’re certainly some of the most inventive.
Blackberry Sage seems like an unusual combination in tea terms, but intuitive in terms of flavour. They’re two things I can imagine pairing really well together. Fortunately, they do! LP’s blackberry flavouring is good. Berry flavours in general seem to be either over or under done, but this one strikes a good balance between being flavour accurate and actually tasteable. It’s not cloying, over-sweet, over-tart, or hopelessly artificial. Instead, it’s rich and fruity with a little sweetness, and perfectly captures the essence of ripe blackberry. The choice of keemun for the base is particularly inspired, because it has a dark, jammy, fruity sweetness all its own that really complements the blackberry flavour, and probably helps to bring it out.
The sage is less distinct, but definitely there in the background. It adds a savoury, herbal flavour that checks the sweetness just a little and provides a depth that would otherwise be lacking. I think I’d like it to be a little more prominent, though, because as it stands it’s hard to identify as sage specifically. I get that it can be a hard balance to strike, though, and I wouldn’t want to sacrifice my current experience entirely just for the sake of more sage. It’s already an excellent blend.
This one has made me feel sad all over again that LP no longer blends regularly.
INT- A POORLY LIT STAGE
Crowkettle slowly approaches a disconnected mic on side stage, brown paper bag fully enveloping head.
I like this one better than Butiki’s Flowery Pinapple Oolong.
Crowkettle violently vanishes into a void leading to an unknown dungeon dimension.
Flavors: Floral, Mango, Pineapple, Strawberry
This one’s been in my cupboard for a while (but let’s be honest, what hasn’t by this time?) I think that’s partly because I was in such a funk for a while, and partly because I’m just plain uncertain about this one. I rarely, if ever, drink coffee these days. I mean, I was a teenager the last time I drank coffee seriously.
It’s actually a lot nicer than I anticipated, though. There is a certain “thin coffee” flavour to it, but that’s easy to overlook in favour of its more engaging properties. It’s creamy, for a start, with a light roastiness, and the flavour of peanuts. Added together, it’s fairly reminiscent of peanut butter. I though this might turn out to be a fight between the coffee and the oolong, but it’s really not – they work together far better than you might think (perhaps because they were roasted together?)
This was my first cup of the day today, and I’m really happy with it. Hopefully I’ll get some extra energy from the coffee, because I could totally do with it right now!
I’ve mentioned more than once that I am not a big cinnamon person. I am discovering though that it depends on the kind of cinnamon. Here, the cinnamon is gentle, warm, and woody. As others have mentioned, this blend is luscious cinnamon bun coated in vanilla icing. Delicious. I can see this becoming part of my regular rotation, if only I find a way of regular access to it.
Thank you, Steepsters, for bringing this stellar blend to my attention.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Pastries, Vanilla
I have no clue why, but I just have not felt like posting much to Steepster lately. It’s not that I’m bored with tea or anything; instead, I suddenly seem more content to keep my thoughts to myself for slightly longer stretches of time. I still want to share my impressions of the teas I drink and I have no intention of abandoning the community. I just no longer feel the need to post here on a daily basis. It seems probable that I will start posting reviews to Steepster in one go (perhaps once or twice a week) from this point forward. I’m also toying with the idea of starting my own independent blog in the coming months. I kind of want to do it. At least a couple of people have asked me to consider it over the course of the past year and I feel like I am running out of reasons to
avoid or delay it any further. Obviously none of the above has anything to do with this tea. I just felt the need to share a personal update.
In actual tea-related news, I keep making progress toward finishing all of the green and white teas I acquired last year. I’m much less worried about the white teas at the moment. I want to get to all of the green teas while they are still at, or at least near, their best. This Bi Luo Chun was one of my more recent sipdowns. I finished the last of a 50g pouch of it at the end of last week. I found it to be an excellent Bi Luo Chun, and that is saying something considering that I tend to be notoriously hard on Yunnan Bi Luo Chun green teas.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea emitted aromas of fresh bamboo shoots, hay, smoke, and corn husk. I found an emerging roasted corn aroma after the rinse. The first proper infusion yielded a roasted grain scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered bamboo shoot, hay, corn husk, smoke, and roasted corn notes. Subsequent infusions introduced impressions of butter, cream, malt, nectar, squash blossom, grass, beechnut, roasted chestnut, zucchini, lemon zest, lime, lettuce, minerals, and garden peas to go along with belatedly emerging roasted grain notes. The later infusions mostly offered lingering impressions of minerals, corn husk, roasted corn, and butter underscored by vague notes of grass and nuts.
In my limited time reviewing teas and in the slightly stronger stretch I have spent reading the reviews of others, I have noted that Yunnan Bi Luo Chun green teas kind of tend to be love or loathe experiences. My own impressions of these teas tends to to vary wildly. Though I may tend to grade other styles of Yunnan green tea highly on a fairly consistent basis, this is a style about which I am notoriously nitpicky. That being said, I found a lot to love about this particular tea. It never really veered into the unwelcome smokiness or astringency that can sometimes plague this sort of green tea. Furthermore, it held its aromas and flavors well and carried them throughout the vast majority of a lengthy session. That, in particular, appealed to me. If one were to start here with Yunnan Bi Luo Chun green teas, one could do far, far worse.
Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Garden Peas, Grain, Grass, Hay, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Nectar, Nutty, Roasted, Smoke, Squash Blossom, Zucchini
This has to be the weakest of the AU teas I’ve tried so far. I’ve come to expect quite a lot, in flavour terms, but this is just chamomile? I know they’re saying it tastes of rhubarb and custard, but it doesn’t. Not even a hint of it.
As far as chamomile tea goes, this is fine. It’s sweet and honey-like, smooth, and a nice sleepytime herbal to round off the day…but I can get the same thing without the premium price tag and broken promises.
Doggo felt the need to wake us up at 4…and 5…and 6….and 7, whereupon mom took her out to play for an hour. She came back to eat and was ready to go play AGAIN! within minutes. I was able to pull this one out from Evolvingness which helped me wake up and be ready for the day with a VERY playful puppy. haha
Finally getting to some of my older Teavivre samples! I’ve been spoilt for oolong recently, having just worked through Dark Matter 2016. I’m not expecting this one to hold up to those kind of standards, but you never know…
In actual fact, it’s not bad. I’m getting an initial grape flavour that I really like – it reminds me a little bit of darjeeling and a little bit of grape flavour hard candy, and it’s sweeter than I was expecting. There’s a light roastiness underlying, but it doesn’t translate into a metallic/brassy kind of flavour, so that’s a win. I get a little earthiness towards the end of the sip, and maybe a touch of orchid floral, but mostly it’s sweet grape (and I like it!)
As an aside, I noticed it said in the description that Dan Cong oolongs are good for hypertension. Probably it’s a good thing for me to be drinking right now, since the management company of the block of flats I live in are being… * insert appropriate word here*
We had heavy snow last week (really heavy, for my part of the world), and on Saturday, as it started to thaw, one of our communal pipes sprung a fairly spectacular leak. It’s literally gushing, spraying water everywhere, the works. I can’t find the stopcock, and none of my neighbours seem particularly bothered. I’ve reported it to the company who are supposed to maintain our communal spaces, and they’re basically not bothered either. They send incredibly passive, don’t care kind of email responses (eventually…) which give me no confidence at all in their ability to actually fix anything. It’s not the first time, so I don’t know why I’m surprised – maybe I’m not actually surprised at all but just really fucking annoyed. I pay them over £100 a month to fix this kind of shit, and, well…
I think I need some more tea.
This was one of those teas that I strongly suspected would be a bummer before I ever bothered to motivate myself to try it. Unfortunately for me, however, I promised Liquid Proust that I would review this tea back around December of 2016 and knew that I would have to follow through at some point. Today I finally got to a point where I could no longer stand seeing this sample every time I opened my big tea cabinet, and since I had the day off work due to illness, decided that I may as well get it over with. L.P., should you see this review, better late than never, right? Just so you know, I did not care for this one either.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a fairly standard rinse (about 10-15 seconds), I steeped my full 5 gram sample in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 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, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes. I definitely did not stick to Verdant’s brewing guide here. I treated this more like the other teas I have been drinking lately, starting with very short steeps and steadily working my way up to extended infusions.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted funky, herbal, vegetal aromas. It was like a mixture of camphor, menthol, and tulsi on the nose. I could just barely detect a vague hint of citrus too. After the rinse, the bouquet turned very vegetal. I could pick out aromas that reminded me of seaweed, spinach, and pickled cabbage. The first proper infusion introduced a slightly smoky element to the nose and more fruitiness, as a touch of smoke quickly gave way to a combination of bitter orange, tart cherry, and sour apricot. In the mouth, the tea liquor/soup was immediately tart and rather briny. Funky vegetal notes that reminded me of a combination of cooked spinach, collard greens, pickled cabbage, and tulsi were underscored by a hint of seaweed. The finish allowed for the brief emergence of sour apricot and tart citrus as well as unexpected hints of cream and butter. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn fruitier, gentler, and more floral. I noted stronger cream and butter notes in the mouth to accompany new impressions of dill, damp grass, mustard greens, malt, minerals, sea salt, green wood, moss, cooked lettuce, wet stones, sour plum, and honey. I also began to note a definite note of smoke, more clearly defined bitter orange and apricot notes, and belatedly emerging flavors of tart cherry, camphor, and menthol. Floral notes of jasmine, osmanthus, and gardenia struck quickly and disappeared just as quickly. Verdant’s tasting note suggested that I should also have been noting sticky rice and candied pomelo impressions, but I never found either. The later infusions presented thin notes of minerals and brine underscored by fleeting impressions of citrus, apricot, tulsi, seaweed, and cooked leaf vegetables with perhaps barely perceptible hints of tart cherry and menthol here and there.
As always I was able to pick out a ton of aroma and flavor components, but I have to reiterate what I said earlier and opine that this tea was not worth it. First off, there is no way in Hell this was produced from a 1300 year old tree or whatever it was they were claiming. That just does not happen and we should all know that by now. Marketing b.s. aside, this tea had a lot going on in it, but none of what it offered was particularly unique or compelling. The tea started off super vegetal, offered a rush of new flavors that did not stand out much from the vegetal murk, and then faded quickly. By the end of my review session, everything the tea offered had been muddled together for so long that it was more a pain in the ass and less a delightful challenge to try to pick out individual sensations. To add insult to injury, the previously unmentioned thin, slight, watery body and near lifeless mouthfeel of the tea liquor made this tea seem even more drab and unappealing. After it was all said and done, I hastily concluded that I would never go near this tea again, and thankfully I do not ever have to. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone.
Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Dill, Gardenias, Grass, Green Wood, Honey, Jasmine, Lettuce, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Moss, Orange, Osmanthus, Plums, Salt, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Tulsi, Vegetal, Wet Rocks
I think I need to try some Bao Zhongs from other companies, ‘cause I don’t know whether or not my tastes in general have changed or if it’s just that I’ve fallen out of love with this one in particular – I just feel like the more I drink it the less I actually like it.
This cup was just filled with strong, robust notes of gardenias, garden peas, creamed spinach, and butter – at one point I know I loved it, but this mug? I just hated that combination of flavours. It was so dissatisfying and only felt like a chore drinking it.
So, I don’t know. I am lowering my rating from the mid 80s spot it was in though; I just feel like I can’t in good conscience leave it where it was when I had such a miserable time drinking this one…
It seems like it has been forever since I have reviewed a Chinese gunpowder green tea. I used to love teas like this when I was a little younger and still have something of a soft spot for them. When I want a green tea to just throw back and not think all that much about, gunpowder green tea is normally one of the first teas I seek out. This one, however, did not do all that much for me. In looking over the other reviews for this tea, you’ll notice that my opinion of this tea most definitely marks me as an outlier. I just do not get the high ratings for this one.
Though I normally brew gunpowder green teas in the Western style, I opted to gongfu this one. After a brief rinse, I steeped 7 grams of loose tea pellets in 5 ounces of 180 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 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, and 3 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea pellets emitted vague aromas of grass, hay, lemon, and roasted vegetables. After the rinse, I found emerging scents of cooked spinach and seaweed. The first infusion then brought out hints of smoke and straw on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up notes of smoke, hay, grass, cooked spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled lemon, and seaweed. Subsequent infusions brought out notes of charcoal, roasted carrot, wood, minerals, earth, broccoli, and cooked cabbage. The later infusions mostly offered notes of minerals, charcoal, earth, smoke, and hay with fleeting hints of seaweed and cooked cabbage occasionally noticeable in the background.
I know that Teavivre lists this as their basic, introductory gunpowder green tea, and it may seem that I am being more than a bit hard on it, but here’s the deal: despite offering a lot of flavor, I did not find this to be all that good of a gunpowder green tea. Once the leaf pellets unfurled, it was obvious that this tea was mostly grit and chop. Each infusion was murky and chalky, leaving a persistently dusty, musty feeling in my mouth. The tea was surprisingly astringent too, though it thankfully never turned bitter. While gunpowder green teas are almost certainly never going to be super high end, this one was decidedly lower in quality than I was expecting. Clearly other reviewers liked this tea, so feel free to take this review with a grain of salt, but I do maintain that there are better gunpowder green teas out there.
Flavors: Broccoli, Char, Earth, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Roasted, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Vegetal, Wood
Definitely unintentional, but I think I’ve trained myself to view this tea as a ‘sleepytime’ type of tea. I made a mug of it at work, and it was delicious with such robust notes of peppermint and berries, and herbaceous sage. However not five minutes after finishing the mug I went from so awake to instantly ready for a nap…
I mean, I fucking LOVE this tea and I have every intention of getting BlendBee to reblend it for me in a larger quantity once I finish this sample bag off – but it’s just so weird how it consistently makes me sleepy given that it’s a caffeinated tea without any of the ingredients that are generally in nighttime blends (chamomile, Valerian root, etc.)…
I’m not sure why this is, but in scanning reviews of several Mao Feng green teas on Steepster, I have noticed that impressions of them tend to be all over the map. Just to reiterate, I do not get this at all. Maybe it’s because I have a fairly well-documented love of Mao Feng green teas, especially those coming out of Yunnan Province, but I just do not see why such clean, accessible green teas have such a mixed reputation. Before I started working on posting this review, I took a quick glance over the reviews of this tea and came away from them even more befuddled. I suppose I could just be an outlier when it comes to this particular tea and teas of this style in general because I loved this one and found it to offer a wonderful drinking experience.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After my usual brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 subsequent 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, and 3 minutes. Yes, I used the same brewing method on the Early Spring 2017 Yunnan Bao Hong Green Tea. I’m totally a creature of habit.
Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of hay, grass, malt, nuts, smoke, and roasted corn coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted new scents of corn husk, straw, and cream. The first proper infusion then introduced a hint of butter to the nose. In the mouth, I found mild, smooth notes of butter, cream, and malt balanced by a slight nuttiness, vague hints of hay and grass, and a touch of corn-like character. Subsequent infusions offered clearer, more distinctive impressions of roasted corn and corn husk as well as stronger notes of hay and grass in the mouth. Smoke and straw notes appeared on the palate too, though they were often rather subtle. I began to find a distinct note of chestnut and wholly new impressions of nectar, orchid, squash blossom, sugarcane, lime, minerals, asparagus, bamboo, lettuce, zucchini, pine, spinach, and lemon zest. At times I could even detect hints of soybean and some tart fruitiness (almost like a mix of pear and sour apricot) on the finish. The later infusions offered a clean minerality on the nose and in the mouth. I also found lingering impressions of cream, malt, and hay backed by traces of sugarcane, chestnut, citrus, lettuce, and butter. There was even a little corn husk character that turned up on the swallow.
This was one of those teas that seemed a lot simpler than it was. Had I not taken the time to carefully and patiently ponder each sniff and sip, I undoubtedly would have gotten a lot less out of it. I found that this tea required focus and dedication in order to fully appreciate it, and as such, it was not the kind of tea with which I could allow myself to slack. Each infusion offered something new, even if only a slight variation on what came before, but the tea required me to work to determine what precisely was going on with it as the drinking session progressed. Ultimately I think that may be why reviews for this tea seem so scattershot. This tea was a slow burn; you could not rush it into revealing its charms. It was demanding, even a little temperamental at times. In the end, however, it was extremely satisfying. All of this being said, I will offer the follow assessment: this is not a tea for someone just getting into green teas or those looking for a quick, light, and easy afternoon cuppa. In my opinion, you have to take your time with it, but if/when you do, the pay off can be enormous. If that approach does not work for you, maybe I am just some weird Mao Feng outlier after all.
Flavors: Apricot, Asparagus, Bamboo, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Grass, Hay, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Nectar, Orchid, Pear, Pine, Smoke, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Straw, Sugarcane, Zucchini
Anne finally put this one in the system so now i can write about it. Everyone likely knows how much i am NOT a fan of the blerg. So 99.99999% of all earl grey type teas are on my list of “don’t go anywhere near…use a 1000 foot pole to serve to others.” I can barely tolerate the smell a lot of the time when other folks in the office drink it.
BUT! I am also always up for trying it at least once because you never know. I’ve actually found a few earl grey type teas that i’ve been ok with in the past. This one i had hopes for because of the vanilla cupcake factor. Turns out, while i am a fan of early grey + vanilla cupcake, it’s not enough for me to actually enjoy drinking this one. The front end of the sips were fantastic, delicious and everything i might want….and then BLERGAMOT! showed up and ruined the party lol
Not rating this one because blergamot and i are not on good terms, but i think that if i did enjoy earl grey’s, this one would be a nice little cup of something slightly different.
This one came to me free from AU’s recent “try for a dollar” promotion. In the event, it went through the checkout without asking me to pay anything, and it arrived a week or so later. I’d been curious to try this one, so I was stoked to see it in my mailbox!
It smells wonderful. The apple and fennel are both really clear, even from just the dry leaf. Brewed, it takes on a slightly candy-like vibe – one of my colleagues said she could smell bubblegum, and it is a little like that. It reminds me slightly of apple Hubba Bubba, in the best possible way. It’s more nuanced when it’s actually brewed up – the apple is the main flavour; a touch sharp and acidic initially, with a slowly-developing sweetness. It’s definitely green apple! The fennel comes through second and helps with the sweetness, while adding a licorice-like note all its own. There’s a hint of clove in the background, making this a little less like candy and a little more like apple pie, plus a touch of malt from the black tea.
It’s delicious, and I love it!
Let the record reflect that this is delicious as a latte. It’s a fabulous dessert tea anyway, but the extra milk (and a little honey and vanilla essence) take it to a whole new level. It’s super-sweet (but not in a way that’s particularly cloying or overpowering), with lots of chestnut flavour, and an underlying richness that’s hard to define. It all adds up to extreme deliciousness, let me tell you.
I’m grabbing some of this if the lady who runs the shop is able to attend our meeting. Well, her daughter is the real brains… but I think she’s still in highschool or just graduated. I love supporting local businesses, even better when it’s quality!
I sampled this tea at the festival. Juicy and ripe peach notes and just the right amount of sweetness. Highly impressed. They have an icewine tea as well. I haven’t tried it but I am a serious sucker for icewine tea!
Black tea and maple blended perfectly together. Made it through just one steep so I’m not gonna rate it yet. However… all the maple teas I’ve had so far haven’t ever really captured the essence of what I imagine a maple tea to be, or even to create a true maple flavour that balances with the tea. This tea? Balance, flavour, and depth! I’m impressed.
Poked about in my stash this weekend and came across this. Just after Ms. Strange had mentioned it, I thought to myself, “ooooh, I have some of that—somewhere.” And then, suddenly, there it was, tucked away securely in a tin.
Still sick with the flu here. Thankfully, yesterday’s migraine has dispersed and the burning in my chest is a bit lighter today. My throat is still scratchy and unhappy. My tastebuds may or may not be functioning all that well.
Age doesn’t appear to have affected this tea much. Such deep cranberry and vanilla deliciousness in this cup. There may be pear, but it is not apparent to me. There are also a few hints of imitation flavour.
This is a blend that I think DTs should bring back and keep as a staple. It’s one of their better ones.