Featured & New Tasting Notes
I got this one from the TTB and I’m quite enjoying it! It’s nice and creamy with a decent vanilla flavor and some hints of coconut. I haven’t been able to try many flavored black teas due to their usual high caffeine content, but this one says it’s low caffeine. Makes me wish I could try more black teas because many of the interesting flavors I’ve seen seem to use a black tea base!
Flavors: Coconut, Vanilla
I love this tea.
It’s been a while since I last had it, but my word does it taste beautifully like sweet creamy persimmons! Like… mandarin orange, honey, and sweet tomatoes kind of all rolled into one but with a hint of creamy yogurt/white chocolate flavour and the nice honeyed graham notes of the base. It’s so good!
Oh heck yes! I’m a sucker for dessert teas, and this one is inspired by one of my favorite baked goods of all time. My mom makes a killer lemon loaf (we called it a “tea cake” when I was a kid) and as such, the nostalgia factor is through the roof with this tea.
I snagged a couple bags from the TTB and my partner and I brewed them up last night. He was handling the prep while I read on the couch, and I heard an audible “mmm” when he sniffed the bag. We were both expecting the brewed tea to fall short compared to the aroma, but happily, it doesn’t. It truly does taste like the essence of a lemon loaf has been distilled into tea: creamy, lemony, and pound cakey, with a hint of vanilla and the suggestion of sweetness without sugar. Love it. I wouldn’t say no to a bit more zestiness (I like my lemon loaves sharp!). I might have to pick up a box and tinker with adding some lemon.
The takeaway: Bagged teas can still delight and surprise. :)
Flavors: Cake, Creamy, Lemon, Pastries, Sweet, Vanilla
This is a nice EG. The bergamot is strong, and the black tea is high quality. There’s almost a creamy/vanilla flavor, but maybe that’s my imagination. It was better warm the first day, but it was decent cold the second day too. The resteep was good. I wouldn’t necessarily seek this out over other versions, but it’s tasty.
The dry aroma is a mix of white and black tea. The woody earthiness of a black mixed with the farm and barn qualities of a white. Hay and bits of alfalfa. The wet leaf smells of squash. Perhaps closer to an acorn squash? The liquor color is golden orange. Almost a dark amber. The flavor is a bit nutty but the woody overtones prevail the strongest. Decaying woods. I love how the leaves change from dark chocolate when dry to light brown when wet. Do you play with your tea? If not you should. This Jin Jun Mei is especially fun because you can unroll the leaves to find each separate leaf. Two leaves and a bud. And those glories trichomes on the bud. There are trichomes on the instead of the bag as well. Lively body and the finish remain with a slight mineral sweetness like rocks and twigs. Burnt my finger while writing this. Now to grab the cake with proper cake grabbing gloves.
All this time, I thought this blend was a coconut and lavender EG. Turns out, there isn’t any lavender at all! Not sure why I had that in my head, but that’s definitely the reason I tend to avoid this one. I can do lavender on occasion and it’s sometimes nice in an Earl Grey blend, but I hardly ever really want to drink it. Now that I know this one doesn’t have lavender, maybe I can bring myself to finally finish the bag. I got lured in by the “only available once a month!” marketing strategy, and now I have 2 or 3 ounces of it. It’s good but not a repurchase. Not unless I change my mind between now and the bottom of the bag.
I am drinking Capri again on my second journey through the May prompts, but this time to fulfill the lemon tea prompt.
I ordered this for the fig, but I find none. Not hot, not cold, not sweetened, not unsweetened.
It is, however, a brisk and assertive tea with lemon and vanilla. The dry leaf aroma is very enticing and I thought I was getting a silky cup of lemon and vanilla tea, but the actual beverage is less dessert-y and more “goes with dessert”. It went well with blueberry waffle breakfast.
I do like it, it just isn’t figgy.
Ancient Alphabet challenge – Z
Ending on a high note on one of my only teas representing ‘Z’ but wow, this one is aging gracefully. It’s very delicious. Such deep flavor for such a huge leaf, which sometimes looks more like twigs that would never unravel than anything that would have this flavor. Another fantastic black tea that I wouldn’t mind keeping around. In stock at Verdant right now! This Ancient Alphabet challenge was perfect at reminding me that Ancient tea is usually still delicious tea… which might not help the tea museum in the long run but at least all of these teas weren’t terrible! Only TWO of the Ancient Alphabet teas were actual sipdowns, but most of them are ALMOST finished now.
The first tea in my tea swap advent calendar so thoughtfully put together by AJRimmer!
This one is such an interesting idea! Impressively, I AM getting chocolate chip cookie dough from this! I can’t say I’m getting much chai, but I feel like that might overwhelm the flavor of the cookie dough anyway? Overall, not bad!
Sampled from the TTB, and I might have to keep some of it! This is so tasty. I wasn’t expecting much because the scent of the dry leaf was verging on that almost artificial vanilla cake scent that can be a bit cloying, but happily the tea itself has a much more refined vanilla flavor. It’s a light but true vanilla, subtle but present.
I don’t think I’ve ever had osmanthus before, and I’m not quite sure I can pinpoint the flavor in this blend—I guess it’s the kind of floral note? Regardless, it works very well with the vanilla. Yum!
Flavors: Floral, Vanilla
I was super disappointed that mine didn’t change colors. It didn’t even start as a nice blue, just a murky tea kind of color. The raspberry flavor is kind of that artificial blue raspberry taste found in blue raspberry flavored candy, which would be fine, but there’s some weird almost earthy aftertaste that I can’t get past. I don’t usually mind Stevia in my tea so I’m not sure if that’s the issue or if it’s something else. Won’t be reordering this one unfortunately because that aftertaste just sits too weirdly in my mouth and stomach.
Flavors: Artificial, Blue Raspberry, Earthy
This flavor combination is super interesting to me. It brewed up much lighter in color than I anticipated, and the flavors are pretty light too. I’ll definitely overleaf next time. To be honest, I don’t taste any chai flavors at all, and I don’t think I taste any of the chocolate chips either. I have to say, though, that I do get the cookie dough element here. It’s mild and desserty and has almost that saltiness of cookie dough. I think I’ll add a pinch of salt to emphasize it a bit. I’m enjoying this, but the flavors definitely could have been stronger. The next time I made this, I used way more leaf than usual in order to get the most flavor. Now it’s pleasantly desserty. I taste both chocolate and chai spices, but both could still be stronger.
This was part of my Mother’s Day gift from Superanna! Many thanks!
I am using this as my final May prompt for a tea with surprising (or was it unusual?) ingredients, because Japanese black is rare to me as is a tea being smoked over maple!
This tea is one of Dammann Freres’ Grand Cru line. I found only one other Japanese smoked black on Steepster and that was from tealyra, and it is smoked over cherry or sakura chips instead of maple.
I have had Dammann Freres’ L.S. Crocodile which is much smokier than this one, but this is still smokey enough for those who like that. I do!
Superanna and Ashman typically do not like smoke and I don’t even recall them getting past the smell to try it, but Superanna wanted to try this one. She liked it! (Ashman was taking a woodworking class from Roy Underhill and made me a Roubo bookstand which I have been VERY EXCITED about, so he wasn’t here to try it,)
I am thrilled that she liked it! I don’t know that I would have guessed right away that it was a Japanese black instead of a Chinese black tea as I have only had one or two other Japanese black teas and they were not smokey. You can definitely tell it is unique, though. This smoke was more campfire than smoked meat in aroma, and the tea was a little more drying than a Chinese base to me, which makes it go that much better with food. Yesterday we had it with Godiva chocolates that were part of my gift, and this morning I had it again with breakfast.
This came right on time, because I was nearly out of smoked lapsang!
I recently saw that Shae wrote a note for a mini tuocha and the wrapper looked familiar… that I might have it in my Mandala mini tuocha grab bag. I did indeed have some of this wrapper design in that bag, and upon unwrapping the tuocha, I noticed it said 2012 and 2013Bada and Mengsong and made in 2014. The description for this one says that as well, so thanks to Shae, I figured out what one of the mini tuochas actually is! Maybe most of them say what they are on the wrapper…if I’d actually unwrap them and steep them up.
Anyway, this is delicious. Quite dark for a tuocha. Notes of coffee, dark chocolate, bready, and none of those pesky negative puerh qualities. Usually I would say a mini tuocha does not have enough leaf that I would normally use to my tastes, for a full mug of tea but this one passes the test! It is dark and rich enough! I wanted to mention ‘walnut’, while not trusting myself, but I notice derk mentions walnut, so now I can trust that. The fourth steep was fading in flavor a bit, so I’d probably only steep three mugs in the future. High quality for a mini tuocha, just as Mandala attests. Both derk and Kawaii433 say this is the best mini tuocha, and I might agree! I’d buy these but like Shae recently found out, not possible. Such a nice discovery in my sampler. I really need to go through and see if my detective work (with the help of Steepster) can figure out the other mini tuochas…
Steep #1 // 1 piece for full mug // 17 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 14 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #3 // 7 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #4 // just boiled // 10 min
Tea acquired 3.5? years ago via group buy. It’s now May 2022.
A small zip of dark nugs wrapped up in brown paper with a red makers or factory stamp and a 5-character black stamp atop that. I think it’s an aged Tieguanyin based on scent and taste.
Sweet aroma of that bright and sparkling caramel-graham-chocolate type and stewed sweet-and-sour redfruits. Taste is more wooden chests, musty papers, oil-cured black olives, preserved lemon, mild mintiness in throat. Has a TCM vibe overall but is not jarring. No astringency, no leftover roast, mild bitterness only if way overstepped. Thin body, cleansing mouthfeel. Good accompaniment for this cheesecake I have here next to me :) And I think a good example of a well aged roasted Tieguanyin
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cranberry, Graham, Lemon, Mint, Musty, Olives, Paper, Perfume, Pleasantly Sour, Red Currant, Red Fruits, Soy Sauce, Stewed Fruits, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Woody
This was one from a swap.
Tasting note: Starting out warm this is pretty medicinal, woody and lightly cherry. After taste was slightly more spiced. This tea reminds me of another tea, but I am not exactly sure what specific flavor but it reminds me of a yogi tea. I don’t think it was bad but it wasnt my favorite 52tea so far.
Flavors: Cherry, Medicinal, Woody
Happy Mama’s Day to you who claim the title! Hope it has been delicious.
My guys surprised me with treats, my Sunday kids surprised me by being relatively well-behaved, and a sweet little octogenarian who teaches the special needs adults surprised me with a little flower start with tiny blooms that grow in a starburst shape. No clue what the variety is…I can ID herbs, marigold, pansies, and geraniums and that’s about it.
So one of the funny treats in the basket was one of those gift-grade tea books (but it’s cool—looks like a book made out of metal) with several varieties of boozy teas. I’ve been told it came from Tuesday Morning. I’ve never heard of the Life Plus Style company and didn’t see much online. But just for fun, I pulled out a brandy one and cold steeped it in a pint jar.
I have absolutely no point of reference to know if it’s even close, but it was really tasty iced, on the first genuinely warm day we’ve had in weeks. Mid 80’s after a month of that bone-chilling wet spring glop. Nondescript black tea base with flavoring that reminded me just a touch of cherry wood and alcohol. This assortment will be fun to enjoy this summer.
Upping the rating considering I got a pound of this. Probably one of the best milk oolongs I’ve had-it’s versatile cold brew, gong fu, and western. The unique lychee notes is what I liked the most about it in the third and fourth steeps. Of course it’s milky and I am not sure if it’s flavored, but the balance of the spinachy greenness of the tea, the sweet cream dessert quality, and the painted flecks of fruit from the tea is incredible. It’s a shame Paru doesn’t carry it all the time-hence the impulse by.
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge – May Tea #2: – A strawberry tea
Finishing this one up! I think it was my second or third favorite from Pudtea. Though now the blackberry leaves are tending to take over the flavor a bit. I wonder if that happens when they get older. I didn’t really notice that there is strawberries AND raspberries the first time around. Now it’s just a hint of strawberry under the blackberry leaf. THAT SECOND STEEP THOUGH. Perfection. The right mix of tart and sweet. Couldn’t have been better. Raising the rating from 92.
2022 sipdowns: 58
Old tea that has held up nicely: a calming, comfy end-of-day cuppa. A nice, unobtrusive green base with sweet vanilla and just enough lavender for you to notice, not enough to clean floors with.
Can’t decide if it better fits the “me” tea or the “geeky tea” prompt, as I am a lifelong book nerd…had one with me at all times…on the bus, in between assignments at school, snugged up in my secret closet reading spot, with a whole stack of ’em on a blanket in the back yard…