Featured & New Tasting Notes
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a green tea like this, so I grabbed a little from a tea box. It’s quite grassy and vegetal. It tastes pretty fresh, though it’s not a flavor profile I gravitate towards. There’s something almost like pepper in there, but I think it’s some other herbaceous flavor. I enjoyed this more than I expected. I didn’t notice the sakura specifically, but it probably added complexity to the flavor.
Happy, happy, joy, joy … there were two tins of this in my Mother’s Day bonanza, and loose leaf to boot! It’s the same blend as the gift-box tea bags I have enjoyed in the past: black tea, tangerine zest, and a little vanilla, but the black tea base is stronger and the zest a little zestier—no doubt due to better quality leaves. Pastry and citrus.
I opened the tin at “tea party” time at work and blethered in ecstasy because I had expected tea bags rather than leaves, then my work friend (derk, she’s my Kiki) brought me back to earth by whiffing it and chortling, “It smells like men’s cologne.” Hmph. All the more for me.
The flavor is a nice combination of cranberry and a mild green tea. The green base is the perfect choice to complement the fruity flavor. I got a bit of weirdness/dryness the first time I tried this, but I brewed it more carefully the next time, and for the most part, that disappeared. This turns out to be a light, relaxing tea. I really like how 52teas accomplishes its cranberry flavor. This one also had a bit of a sparkly quality to the flavor. The rebrew tasted almost the same. Very good!
An Ode to Tea challenge – C
Thanks very much, AJRimmer! So many glowing notes might have hyped this one up for me. I LOVE that such an unusual black tea is used here – Fujian gunpowder. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t use as much leaf as I usually would… I wanted to stretch my sample to two steep sessions BUT the pouch says only to use 2.5 grams anyway and I’m sure I used more than that. The tea is certainly chocolatey! Especially on that second steep. But the peppermint for me leans more herbaly flavored than an actual candy cane. I would consider adding some candy cane to the next steep session but I wouldn’t want to mess with the recipe of this particular tea magician! :D
Speaking on the Fujian gunpowder, I would love to try it by itself — maybe that would make a good base for Black Silk Chocolate Milk? Maybe mixed with another black tea?
Steep #1 // not quite 1 teaspoon // 25 minutes after boiling // 2-3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 4 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
An Ode to Tea challenge – E
All you naysayers! This very very much tastes like eggnog to me. I can’t see it tasting more like eggnog unless it was actual eggnog. This might be the first ever actually tasty eggnog tea! Raising the rating from 86 because of it. Low temp and only a minute on the first steep really lets the flavor pop. Sad to see it go.
2021 Sipdowns: 63
Pretty stressed out today and, once again, had no time before work to brew a tea for French Friday (I may have to permanently move working on these samplers to the weekends). Quickly brewed up this cup on my lunchbreak, sample courtesy of Cameron (thanks Cameron!)
No time for fussing, whole packet steeped in 350ml 205F water for as long as it took me to scoop the cat boxes. No measuring, no steep timer, just taking what I get. Smells and tastes floral and grapey. * looks at description * Huh, not tasting anything biscuity/caramelly. It is fruity with that floral undertone, mainly muscatel grapes but I can sorta taste apple and a hint of citrus.
Flavors: Apple, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Muscatel
My first steep of this was 3m and the cup was great. I sipped through it while getting the tiny roommates online for school. There are six alarms on my phone daily to get them into all the zooms on time. I stuffed my face with leftover coconut naan, washing it down with my first cup, not taking the time to appreciate the tea. Now that the morning has settled I’ve made a second steeping, which isn’t as delicious as the first. It still smells great with a deep strawberry like scent, but the flavors are now lighter than I’d like. Now that I’ve let my cup cool it is getting a little of that flatness I mentioned in my previous notes. This appears to be a cup better sipped hot!
Every time I drink and review a chocolate tea, I bellyache that it isn’t chocolate enough. Well, the Hershey bar stops here. Wow. Thick, rich carob and chicory—this definitely hits the “unsweet chocolate bar” mark. I’m drinking this unsweetened, and there’s enough coffee-like bitterness to open my eyes a little, even though it’s purely herbal. With a little milk or as a latte, this is going to be just flat delicious.
The irish breakfast base is underneath chocolate and caramel with a hint of cream. The chocolate isn’t artificial tasting, and the tea is very smooth. It’s not my very favorite Cuppa Geek tea, but I’d certainly be tempted to order more. I do use a bit more leaf for this one, and while it seems to disappear from my mug quite readily, its not that memorable of a cup.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cream
I received this from Ost ages ago, thank you! I have steeped it up a few times but never write a note. It’s a confusing tea for me! Even using two teaspoons the big leaves have a roasted flavor, but very light. I don’t think I should steep the first steep so cool, as the tea is never that tasty being so light. It’s a slow unraveler. The flavor is roasted, lychee, or smoky – when it cools it’s like maple syrup. Somehow I would still describe it as one noted and not the flavor notes I’m looking for. I’m not tasting most of the flavor notes that other Steepsterers are. Also, the packaging with this is like the Fort Knox of tea packaging. Crazy metallic wrapping that folds way too many unnecessary times to create a crazy amount of unnecessary packaging that seems very wasteful. It has probably changed by now. I’m not thrilled with the tea, not thrilled with the packaging.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for full mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 4 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
2021 sipdown no. 82
I’m not sure what this tea is exactly, but I have a suspicion this isn’t a Taiwanese black? Perhaps it’s mixed with another black tea?
I has an almost cardboard-like taste, but not like that of an oolong. Like an actual liquified cardboard. Hmm.
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Sunday, May 2nd: National Lemonade Day Tea #3
I drank the first cup on Lemonade day and the second steep the next day, so getting around to posting this now. Ever have a wacky complicated tea blend turn out EXACTLY like how you wanted it to be?! That is this blend for me. I blind bought 50grams…it’s the perfect amount of lavender flavor, lemon flavor, sweetness from the one white chocolate chip in the teabag, and even the perfect amount of tartness from the hibiscus. Lovely. So so good. It reminds me a bit of Bird & Blend’s Moondrop Dreams or like a very elaborate French dessert cookie. It has the tartness of a lemon rind type of flavor, but also sweet lemon, but then also sweetness from the white chocolate chip and a bit of floral from the lavender. It’s balanced quite amazingly. Very glad I bought it, would buy it again and Tealyra better not discontinue it!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for big mug // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
Sipping down this sample from AmandaStory! I added a little sugar in the cup this time and I think it improves things a bit. Makes the marshmallow flavor profile seem more complete. Marshmallow flavor is about all that is going on in this cup. The rice part is totally absent. The base of the tea adds a little depth to the marshmallow flavor, but I would lean more towards this being a peeps tea or a riceless krispie treat tea. Fun to get to experience it, not something I’d buy.
Year ago I wrote a tasting note about this tea and now I was drinking it again and it is same deliciousness.
For a bagged tea (thanks to Izzy) it is one of the most perfect black teas I ever had. It’s not boring anyhow. A full-bodied, brisk tea I needed today with some a bit of other flavours that complement the malts. It is mostly cherry wood and tobacco somehow, but not in smoky way today.
I would give a try a loose leaf version, I never had it before yet.
Flavors: Cherry Wood, Malt, Tobacco
I have been in the mood for a latte since I managed to restock on vanilla almond milk, and was thinking about my options when I ultimately settled on this, since a) my Lupicia sakura teas are very old at this point and b) the salt preserve on the leaves is gross to me but sometimes preparing as a latte with a sweet milk can curb that saliney/briny taste. As I sipped down the houjicha, I only had oat milk in the house, and that did not work well at all; the flavor was too similar to the houjicha and the vanilla of the oat milk wasn’t strong enough to hide the saltiness. I used vanilla almond milk on the Sakura Rooibos with fairly good results, though.
I got a beautiful foamy top on this! I smell a malty and slightly citrusy black tea with a top note of that distinct floral/cherry aroma of sakura which is so hard to describe. Mmm, excellent latte! Yes, I think vanilla almond milk is just my latte preference, or at least it goes well with these sakura teas. There is a mild tannic quality left on my tongue after the sip which I imagine is being curbed by the milk in the sip, so it is overall quite sweet and pleasant and loses the bitey quality some of Lupicia’s black bases have. For whatever reason, I’m picking up a strong citrus note from the base. The sakura is pleasant and left lingering on my tongue; I’m getting a little salinity but it is mostly all hidden by the sweet vanilla almond milk so I don’t have to wince with each sip.
I’m foreseeing many a sakura latte in my immediate future. (Does anyone know of any sakura-flavored teas that are a) real sakura, not just “cherry flavoring and florals” and b) don’t use salt preserves on the sakura? I’m looking for a replacement because my beloved Chasandai sakura green that used sugar to preserve instead is no longer available…)
Flavors: Cherry Blossom, Citrus, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Sakura, Salty, Sweet, Tannic
This is an organic sencha genmaicha from Kyoto. The rice is brown rice from Nara Prefecture and the sencha is first harvest aka shincha versus bancha. For the most part, it is a good genmaicha and has nice toasty brown rice notes. I found it to be very temperature sensitive though.
I made it with 160Fwater in a banko kyusu. At 185F it was far too brisk for me. Astringent, extremely drying on my tongue, bitter. So I dropped the temperature down to 170F and then finally 160F. At this temperature, I got the familiar mellow aroma, umami, and a much better balance of sweet and bitter taste, less bitterness and was savory, had vegetal notes of greens, like grass, spinach. I re-steeped it 3 times. I also found making it in spring water was best. 170F was good too though.
It is a good price for organic first harvest sencha genmaicha. Recommended.
Flavors: Grass, Rice, Savory, Spinach, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vegetal
This smells really interesting in the bag, but the flavor isn’t translating how I’d hoped. There is something a little savory and broth like in this for a second and it’s a little tart at the end from the modest level of hibiscus. I’d like to lower the steeping temp and maybe time in hopes to get a different cup from this tea. It isn’t bad, I just haven’t figured it out. I have no idea what hot cross buns taste like. I’ve only once recently come across a place that sells them, but they were sold out by the time I got there. It would be fun to do a side by side comparison of this tea and it’s namesake bun!
I finished a favorite Jin Jun Mei a couple months ago and then immediately found a couple on Tealyra and then immediately ordered them. (Shakes head.) But I don’t have any other Jin Jun Mei right now! (Excuses.) Anyway, the leaf here is very twisty and tangled, long, silky with plenty gold. Steeped up, the leaves have a tomato soup fragrance. Also very dominating in the flavor while I try to swim through all that tomato soup to notice any other flavors. The creamiest of tomato soup. I don’t mind the tomato soup flavor, but I also don’t really want Jin Jun Mei to taste like that. None of the (admittedly limited) Jin Jun Mei that I have tried has really tasted like this in the past. I like the depth of the black tea here though – not too light, while also being sweet enough. Second steep: exactly the same. I wish I could pick this one apart more, but I have plenty more to enjoy later on. I have had it a few times now and the results are always the same.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
Well, honestly, not gonna miss this one. I mean, it’s not bad and actually calming down one, but that turmeric with cocoa nibs make so weird flavour combo. I feel like it should be sweeter, but then the turmeric takes part and it is somehow creamy?
But guess what! I have last exam coming before finals! And it will be 21 May. So, quite a lot of time to prepare. I need to finish the thesis (hopefully during the weekend), and it will be all in on mathematics! Woo!
Flavors: Cocoa, Creamy
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Wednesday, April 28th: National Superhero Day Tea #1
I wouldn’t normally share, but it landed on Superhero day! I had the funnest dream being immersed in a live action Ninja Turtles show, where musicians like Ed Harcourt and Phoebe Bridgers were the costumed heroes…and there was a third musician, can’t remember whom… it looked a bit like Legends of Tomorrow. The ninja turtles were played by females. I wish I had stayed in the dream longer for more detail! It seemed like 20 seconds. Just right in the middle of a battle. Who was Splinter? Who Was Shredder? haha
As far as my favorite superheroes go! The usuals are fine, but I tend to like the outlier meta things, but probably not as outlier as true comic fans COULD go. I’m more of a fan of snark like Deadpool or Constantine… maybe “heroes” that flip things around like Watchmen. But I’m watching the marvel movies in order and just watched Black Panther. So maybe infinity war/ endgame will wow me some more when I watch those. But this time we are going to go with BIRDGIRL which I happened to mention the other day and forgot could have been mentioned today. Trying to rack my brain for any food mentioned on the show and I only remembered a soup with too much tomato, which doesn’t fit except for that lovely blend from 52teas I don’t have any more… so I will go with a tea with “bird” in the name. I have been meaning to try this one with milk, so this will do for today. I still can’t really stand the licorice in this blend when I’m drinking it plain, but I will say milk improved it… mostly because it muted the licorice. haha. But it added a creamy element that fits with what this tea is SUPPOSED to be (without the licorice.. would have been great to have MORE actual banana pieces replace that licorice – I don’t see any banana as is).