Featured & New Tasting Notes
‘Samurai’ Traveling Teabox – Tea #10
A very tightly rolled, jade green oolong. The flavor is great but it’s tough to pick apart the flavors. The second steep might be the best after the first steep is just beginning to blossom. The third steep isn’t exactly oversteeped, but it doesn’t have that delicateness of flavor that was lovely in the second steep. The fourth steep: the flavor becomes more distinct and it tastes of orchids and vanilla. Perfect. I just wish it didn’t take so long for the flavor to get to that point. The leaves had certainly been unraveled by the third steep. Probably Western steeping isn’t the best for this one. I still feel I shouldn’t have steeped it for two minutes earlier on and I’m very glad I only used one teaspoon.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for full mug // 22 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 16 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 min
Steep #3 // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 min
Steep #4 // just boiled // 2 min
I’ve had my eye on this beautiful tea for the last two years, and I finally bought some. I’m drinking it warm, which probably isn’t how it’s meant to be enjoyed, but I like it like this! The flavor is almost like white grape. It’s so light and delicate. It’s also pleasant cold. I’m not sure it’s great enough to order again, but I definitely enjoyed my one ounce of it!
I grabbed this sample with the Japanese Orange matcha sample I tried from the same company. They claim to add sugarcane and sugar syrup to their soil to enhance the natural sweetness of the tea. Not sure if I buy that, but it was a perfectly decent bowl of matcha. Very smooth flavor, nicely grassy with only mild bitterness.
Made a mug of this in the morning today; I was really intrigued by the concept because it seemed so weird and out there to me – but then a coworker pointed out how common it is to see lemon or lime zest paired with dark chocolate in bar form and it seemed a lot less strange to me…
This really is just a hot cup of cocoa though; like making a flavoured instant hot chocolate but without the sugar in most instant hot chocolate mixes. I feel very on the fence about whether or not this should be considered “tea” or a “tea powder” given that it literally has no tea in it, and it’s more cocoa-y that herbal or fruit infusion.
It tastes nice, but still a little weird to me. The chocolate/cocoa is very smooth and rich, with quite a nice coating sweetness all over my palate. I enjoyed the other cocoa matcha that I tried from Bird & Blend in my advent calendar this past Christmas, and this isn’t an exception. I do get a little sourness/tartness from the lime, it’s bright and sweet but not stronger or more intense than the chocolate. So, it’s definitely there – albeit a very fake tasting lime. You have to remember, of course, that there isn’t any actual lime in the blend though aside from the naturally lime flavoured granules that have been mixed into the cocoa powder so that’s to be expected.
I think the reason this combination still feels so weird to my palate is because of the way I’m used to seeing lime zest and chocolate paired together, though. You don’t see it with milk chocolate, typically, but with dark chocolate. If the flavour of the cocoa in this powder was a little bit darker and had a touch of bitterness I think my brain would accept it a lot more.
Even still, neat concept and not a bad execution!
Had this one last weekend, it was technically the last tea that I had in my old apartment but it wasn’t necessarily selected as such. I had it with a plate of mini scones while reading Febuary’s ‘Book of the Month’ (part of my goal of reading a book a month this year), which is Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman…
The tea was paired with the scones – which were almond cranberry with maple syrup. This tea, despite the name, has always been more of a sweet almond so I knew it would compliment those scone flavours perfectly. Truly it was delicious; the scones were sweet and nutty with those nutty elements and a little pop of acidity. The tea was malty and rich, with hints of almond and a baked bread note. Very dense and decadent but sometimes you just want/need comfort like that!
It was a good farewell to the apartment.
Nightcap to a dinner of homemade green curry. I’ve never had straight verbena. Pleasing, mellow aroma. Sip is citrusy and herbaceous followed by a unique, light sweetness. The aftertaste is fantastic and lingering. I couldn’t figure out how to describe it beyond green-sweet-citrus-floral(ish) but then I saw Mariage Frères mentions a taste of candied citron. That’s it. Lovely.
Flavors: Citrusy, Floral, Green, Herbaceous, Sweet
For some reason this tea was not in my steepster cupboard but I have a lot of it since I stocked up when AQ2T announced they were going out of business. Tbh I have been a bit terrified to try it since I received it in August because I have been panicking that it would not be nearly as good as I remembered. However, steeped it has made my entire bedroom smell as mouthwatering as I recall this tea tasting. With that said, I managed to let it get quite cold and while it does remind me of the last batch, the base comes out a bit more at this temperature and the berry is a touch tart. However, I know the love is not gone and I probably just need to drink this while it is still at least warm.
What was this “tea”?
Company motto is “Ceylon’s gift to the world”
I think they meant German word Gift, not English one. In German it means poison.
THIS WAS TERRIBLE.
I have hoped it is black tea with citrus fruits. Their website: www.empireteas.com did not brought any results of this (or other teas). I have been warned by it, but still I wanted to try.
Oh, and I haven’t noticed the ingredients list on the backside. But it is there.
So, apparently it does not include any tea at all. But hey, it was so bad! Even smell of dry bag reminded me dish soap, artificial lemon, drying, medicinal. Taste, even brewed with almost boiling water… was disgusting! It was soooo artificial, sour and not even close to lemon. I would rather drink straight lemon juice than this tea again.
Yes, I finished my mug of tea… but luckily I was eating Scottish butter cookies along, otherwise I will throw up.
Bleh, never again. I have few more tea bags of this company, but now, I am not really sure if I want to try it.
Flavors: Artificial, Drying, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Medicinal, Sour
OK, experts, are TenRen and TenFu cousins? Stepbrothers? Identical twins? A friend whose husband travels shared a little two-teaspoon sample packet with print so small it was nearly indecipherable. Anyway, my bifocals are pretty sure the label said TenFu, but the logo was almost indistinguishable from TenRen and the lovely, long blonde leaves look just like the ones in this picture. Everything else was in Chinese.
Tea itself: Superb. Sweet wheat bread. Will resteep this last spoonful as many times as possible before it becomes dishwater.
I don’t even know how to convey how excited I am to have a large stash of this tea at my disposal now, but I am VERY stoked about it! I’ve been hoarding this tea, along with all my apple blends from AQ2T, for a while now because I love them so much but now I don’t need to…
Potent, sweet, juicy, dense, floral – even boozy.
It’s such a particular but excellent apple flavour, and this mug made me smile soooo much.
I swear I threw a bag of Whittard’s Chelsea Garden in my purse last night before leaving for church, but it was no where to be found once I got there. I had resigned myself to drinking something awful from the church cabinet (I really need to mercy stock that thing) when the Bible study teacher pulled out a tea wallet and said, “Here! Choose from one of these!”
She loves black tea and was listing the contents (PG Tips, English Breakfasst, etc.) when she said, “Vanilla Caramel Chai? Where did that come from? I don’t even like chai, at all!” So I told her I would take that one to get it out of her wallet and to keep from depriving her of a tea she loves!
It wasn’t bad! The tea aspect was pretty weak but the flavors were pretty good. We had tiramisu as our snack and it went well enough with that. By the end of the mug, the licorice root was really noticeable, but I don’t mind licorice root in the right places and it didn’t bother me. I include that info for those who hate the stuff, because I know a lot of people do.
‘Samurai’ Traveling Teabox – Tea #5
I forgot this was the company run by Kaylee from Firefly! haha. I just finished rewatching Firefly about a month ago. sigh. I miss it already, yet again. She was also on the episode of The Magicians I just watched last night. Tea Runners actually have a good sale right now. A handful I wouldn’t mind trying: like the coconut pineapple oolong. Though I think I can spot the sources for some of their teas. This is loose leaf ripe pu-erh. The flavor is in the middle of the pack of deliciousness for ripe pu-erhs. It’s not too strong, not too weak. No negative qualities. But not too many things that make it a unique one. A level of starchiness but then a very thin aftertaste? It’s tough to describe. Now that I’m looking at the steep instructions, it says the first steep should have been for five minutes, so possibly I should have been steeping these leaves much longer than I did. Not really many flavor notes I can pull from this one!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 5 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 8 minute steep
‘Samurai’ Traveling Teabox – Tea #3
The name on this one sure was intriguing… I figured it was some sort of Darjeeling, and I’m correct. (The package of the tea doesn’t say Darjeeling.) It’s one of my favorite types of Darjeeling, very distinct and strong while being complex. It reminds me a bit of Butiki’s Dark Side of the Melon. Drying mouthfeel and a brew the color of butternut squash. Flavor almost like aged grapes bordering on raisins. Super muscatel. As usual, a Darj very difficult to describe but very sophisticated and delicious. The flavor makes me think of being buried under a giant pile of yellowredorange maple leaves in autumn.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoon for a full mug // 19 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 5 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
Virtual Teatime with Todd during Sunday Doctor Who! We got the same teas from the Mystery Box sale (sans one banana tea; I appreciate it, Anne!) so we decided to do a sampler round during our weekly Sunday online viewings. I wanted to do this tea first, because I had a sealed older packet from the 2018 Christmas box, and I’m all about using up older tea first.
The dry tea leaf actually had an aroma that reminded me of coconut creme, for some reason. I brewed 5g for 3 minutes in 500ml water. Steeped up, though, it smells more like vanilla brandy, and I think I do pick out the marshmallow, though my nose is still reading the fragrance as toasted coconut (maybe it’s the toasty association in my brain of both ingredients?) The tea is smooth, with notes of malt and honey, and I’m definitely tasting vanilla and cream, with a touch of astringency left after the sip. It’s actually a rather robust black base, and I think if I were to make a second pot, I might add just a hint of sweetener, perhaps experiment with a touch of honey or making this as a latte with vanilla almond milk. Straight up, it is a nice breakfast option or afternoon pick-me-up tea due to the boldness of the assam.
Flavors: Astringent, Cream, Honey, Malt, Smooth, Toasty, Vanilla
This fine tea arrived in the TTB and I’ve actually always wanted to try it.
The ginseng made me a bit jittery (I don’t often drink caffeine or use any energy-related herbals) but it did taste quite nice. The oolong was slightly roasty but also had a floral and vegetal quality. I can taste minerals (rocks?) and molasses/burnt sugar from the oolong.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Herbs, Molasses, Roasted, Vegetal
I haven’t liked most other blueberry DT blends, so I didn’t have high expectations for this one. I made it before work with the intention of putting it in the fridge to drink when I got home. Instead, the scent was so amazing that I took two teas to work that day. It tastes like a blueberry cake. It’s so sweet and bakey. It’s really, super good. And I cold brewed the leftover leaves for 24 hours, and they made a delicious resteep as well.
This smelled amazing when I packed a sample up for Sil so I decided to bring it to my sisters to make a latte since I don’t have milk at my apartment. It’s a bit annoying this has rosehip because it makes the latte plan slightly risky while not adding to the tea but this happens a lot with Bird and Blend teas and this time I decided to risk it.
While the latte isn’t bad, the flavour is definitely muted compared to the scent. Also, I don’t get much in the way of salted caramel tea. It’s like a sweet chai. Nothing special…not nearly as good as the smell would imply. I have 1 tsp left so I’ll try it plain because it smells deliciously gingerbready and caramel and I’m just not getting that here.
It is a while since I had only fruit tea I guess. This one did not include rosehips nor hibiscus. And it is called baked apple actually.
It was nice apple tea, pleasantly sour with mostly cinnamon aftertaste. But it was indeed little smoky in taste, don’t know how they made it, but indeed it was like that. It is not too sweet too and it was actually nice and mouthwatering :)
Completely different story than morning tea.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Pleasantly Sour
I drank the last of this grandpa style the other day. It’s a very easily approachable tea; which doesn’t seem to have the ability to be over-brewed. I suppose since it is shou, it’s more common than not. I drank this since I had an upset stomach, and while not settling my pain too much, it helped a little.
Notes: Thick mouthfeel, earthy, mushroom, and sweet. I’d probably offer this to a puerh newbie, if they wanted to try a shou.
From SkySamurai’s bundle of teas a while ago. Thanks very much! I love being able to try shops and blends I’ve never heard of. This is delicious – just the right amount of hibiscus with wisps of cinnamon throughout the scarlet mug. But not OVERLY tangy/hibiscus. I’m surprised to see cocoa nibs in the list of ingredients. I’m simply tasting some tangy fruits and hibiscus with some cinnamon. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had merlot, but I like this. Two great steeps. It’s a great winter night blend to go with this blizzard. Next steep session and it will be gone.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Hibiscus, Tangy