Featured & New Tasting Notes
drink drink drink. So nice to have a day off to do absolutely nothing. watch TV, drink tea, read books, ignore work phone….. my other half is at work today and tomorrow so i’m using today to do nothing and tomorrow i’ll run errands or whatever. :) Either way, glad i took monday off as well, so that i can have a 4 day weekend!
Drinking some 2006 Wild Anchient from Awazon while at work today. For whatever reason, this taste like wet grass mixed with semi baked dough. Never had a bread like taste to a sheng before so I’m unsure what this means. I don’t particularly like this mixture, though it may work for a darker tea. The leaf looks beautiful though and doesn’t have much of a scent to it. Nice and dry, easy to pry; makes steeping it simple. Just something about the taste isn’t going so well with me
Whiteantlers, the Red (Black) Tie Guan Yin you sent me is fantastic. The dry leaf reminded me of a Laoshan Black. The leaves themselves were black strings tipped by gold. This is exactly the type of Black Tea I prefer. 30 sec, then 55 sec, 1 min 15, 3 min, and 5 min. First, I get cocoa, malt, thickness, berries, jam, and a little bit of astringency. Second, more jam and cocoa. Third a leathery quality comes out with the berry jam. The same can be said of the fourth. The fifth just has light berry jam and cocoa in light water. This is good. Really good. Thank you so much!
I am working my way through several teas produced by Tea Urchin using 2015 material. Material from Pasha Mountain in Menghai is hard to come by so I am always on the look out. This Pasha cake is beautiful to look at – whole leaves were carefully pressed to form the beeng. Pleasant fresh smells comes from the material. The tea liquor is a clear yellow-gold color. I used 4 grams of leaf in a 60 ml shibo with flash steeps. Thick and smooth with only the lightest touch of bitterness. Vegetal with a definite buttery sweetness coming through. Coats the tongue and has a bit of a drying effect on the mouth. Qi hit me after the third infusion – a nice relaxing feeling took over and I decided to take a nap. I think this has possibilities but since I have grown accustomed to drinking sheng with at least 8 years of age on them, I’ll be drinking this one rarely as I wait for it to mature.
This is a pretty good raw puerh. It was only somewhat bitter at the start with notes of apricots and stonefruits throughout all twelve steeps I gave this. It had a slightly bitter aftertaste to it. I couldn’t really taste the bamboo one way or the other, I don’t know if this is good or bad mind you. It was extremely well compressed. It took several steeps for this to open up and brew correctly. I liked this puerh.
I brewed this twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8.6g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min. It would have gone a few more steeps not sure how many. I didn’t get much qi off of this.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Stonefruits, Sweet
A sad moment. I’m sipping down the last of my mist valley. Also, an embarrassing moment, since I discovered that I haven’t taken the time to write a review for Steepster.
This tea isn’t great, but is a very good, solid Darjeeling-style second flush tea from Nepal. It is resistant to oversteeping, so when I just dump some in a pot and then oversteep, it still comes out well. Classic Darjeeling taste with a bit of stone fruit.
This is a nice aged fruity sheng, has decent flavour in all the right places, and mellowed out some of the not-so-nice places.
it has a nice flavour, nothing too strong, its easy drinking, but not bland. The aged taste has not overtaken the fruit, just added some complexity and depth to the brew, no off or too sharp flavours, it can take a good strong steep and still be very enjoyable. It is mellow in some places, and has a fruit preserve taste. Interesting terre de ciel say ‘fruits in alcohol’ I think thats where I get it, preserved fruits with jam & also caramel.
Ive just oversteeped it and the sourness is there but its a nice sour – great if you like a nice tangy mouth and fruity huigan to your sheng (i do). Not too astringent or drying which is nice. It did slightly delve into a ‘varnished branches’ taste (no other way for me to describe it) but nothing too major.
I liked whatever was done with this one when aged. its not too thick, or too creamy, or too… (I see a theme here) anything really but has flavour and a nice one.
Thanks again Rui for the swap!
Flavors: Alcohol, Apricot, Caramel, Fruity, Jam, Wood
Took some 2006 Yougxin Guhua from Awazon to work today. Much better than the Bulang, possibly a personally preference… maybe not. This was easy to brew, but very tight so it took time to gt it to brew up fully at work. Not so smooth, but the taste is in that middle zone of light to medium that allows for easy sipping as well as some complexity to figure out while you drink it. Since I was at work I couldn’t really figure it all out, but I can tell when a tea is worth a second try and this one falls under that category.
The time has come. I get to see what everyone is freaking out about when it comes to August Uncommon. I’ve already tried three but have been too lazy to write any notes until now. Since cardamom and I are BFF’s—and because I got only a sample of this—first August Uncommon tasting note it is.
Hot, the cardamom and vanilla are ultra present whilst the base is mild. Initially, the first sip won me over and I immediately thought that I should order more before it’s gone. As this started to cool, however, the vanilla/cardamom and base are swapping places, and this becomes more vegetal.
The second cup I’m enjoying right now isn’t as creamily vanilla-esque as yesterday evening’s. I’d say I added less leaf than yesterday but tried to keep the rest of the steeping parameters the same. I’ll gladly finish the sample size but no more for me. I hands down prefer DAVIDsTEA’s Cardamom French Toast.
Second night this month when I haven’t slept a single minute and involuntarily witnessed the sun rise. Brain please shut up?
Liquid Proust Group Buy of Aged oolong. I"m not certain that this is the correct tea, since there haven’t been any reviews for 5 years and this was a good-sized group buy.
1st is slightly woody, but the floral flavors are stronger. Rich roasted flavor appears on second sip. Very interesting tea: the flavor changes as it moves through my mouth. All of the different flavors are pleasant, but they range from light to heavy. Heaviest in the finish, where the roasted flavors dominate. 2nd: It’s obvious that the lighter floral notes are at the front of the mouth while the roast appears at the rear. Astringent at the finish. 3rd steep: Roasted aroma, and the roasted flavors hit earlier in the taste but are not overwhelming. There is still a sweet, floral note, which is strong at the finish. Later steeps became gradually less interesting as the astringency grew and the complexity lessened. I got about a dozen good steeps out of it before getting distracted and doing a 15 minute steep.
I used an unusual approach to steeping: 3 grams of tea in 50 ml with about 5 steeps of 20 seconds each before gradually increasing the steep times up to about 1 minute.
Threw myself off with this tea… I linked Fujian with my past experiences and thought this would be dark and cocoa. This ended up being a medium brew with a fruit nectar taste and texture to it. Leaf ends up going from a dark brown/black to an olive leaf with veins that show up when the color starts to pop. Aftertaste is present, adds a little viscosity to the saliva. Back of the throat is feeling dry while the mouth is not. Kind of an odd after feeling that I am not enjoying, but I will have to retry it at another time to see if the back of my throat stays dry again because that’s pretty odd.
Yay Monk’s Blend!
When my mom went to BC for her little ‘mini vacation’ over my birthday week, I told her that as my present she had to stop into a tea shop or two an pick some goodies up for me. Of course, she wanted to know what I wanted. I told her I wanted Monk’s Blend and then an assortment of whatever else caught her eye!
I cold brewed my first sampling of this; since Granville Island sources from MTC I have had this incarnation of Monk’s Blend before but it is ‘sort of’ a new experience because, of course, every store stores their teas a little differently and that factors into the flavour a touch. For example, this tastes fresher than the MTC Monk’s Blend that the Vintage Tea Room (in my city) sells. That could be because this may have been purchased more recently or the bag was only recently opened up, but I’ll wager part of that is that from the images of Granville Island that I’ve seen they store their tea in tins while Vintage Tea Room stores theirs in clear, glass jars.
Anyway; it was smooth and tasty! Lovely to be reacquainted with an old friend.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grenadine, Vanilla
Life has put me on the easy-to-steep, bagged-when-possible, oh-my-ears-and-whiskers-I’m-late track, so K S’s reviews, and kindly supplied samples, of these little crystals intrigued me. Heat water. Stir. Done. No wait.
The English Breakfast was so strong, I just started with a larger mug this time. Result: a light, lovely, surprisingly fresh cup. Nice balance between the sencha and the hint of mint. Neither overpowers.
A sample from Miss B. This is my second cup this morning, and both have been interrupted so I’m not sure that I’ve really done them justice. I used 1 tsp for each cup, in boiling water, for 3 minutes and then more like 5 minutes respectively. I added milk to both because they brewed up quite dark, and because that’s usually what I do with chai anyway.
Even with the extended brew time on the second cup, the flavour of this one is quite mild. It’s wonderfully creamy, which is something I love in chai, but there’s really not all that much in the way of spicing that I can taste. I do get hints of cardamom and a touch of ginger and clove in the aftertaste, but that’s really it. Mostly, it comes across as a creamy, smooth black tea with just a chai-like hint around the edges. It’s pleasant to drink, but I really like more kick from my chai.
So I picked up some teas from Whispering Pines for the first time. I got them today and I started with this one. I am a fan of Black Tea and use it to give me a break from my ripe pu’erhs. I brewed up about 5 grams gongfu style in a 100ml gaiwan. I feel it was a bit light so maybe a bit more leaf would be better. The wet leaf smells sweet and woody with a bit of some kind of fruit. I could tell this was a blend as it tasted like two other teas I have combined (a Jingmai Wild Arbor Black and nice malty Yunnan Black). This was quite enjoyable and had a lingering sweet aftertaste that was really nice. There were notes of baked bread and brown sugar along with a little wood. I also got into some floral notes in the middle steeps. It gave surprisingly well considering leaf size and it being a black. I think I will try this one again Western style as I often like my blacks brewed that way. Not sure what to think about this vendor yet and I have about 3 Oolongs I also bought from them to try. All in all I would say if you like black tea give this one a try. Pretty tasty.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Malt, Stonefruits, Wood
Thank you Liquid Proust for the generous sample!
I’m trying this one first as a cold brew. I remember when LP was in the process of blending this one I made a note to myself that while it didn’t quite sound appealing enough for me to buy it (no offence) it WAS something that I wanted to eventually get a chance to sample, so seeing it included in my most recent package from LP was definitely exciting!
It’s funny, he wrote something along the lines of “I know it sucks” on the sample but I actually quite enjoyed it! I found that it had the sweetness/richness I’d want out of a tea named for a candy bar but that it wasn’t cloying/artificial tasting and the the primarily Pu’erh base really grounded the flavours in a positive way! I loved the mellow chocolate notes paired with the earthier, almost game-y Pu’erh. Though, I did just finish reading Daylon’s review and I agree that because it’s a pu’erh blend it falls in a weird “in between” zone where it’s not gonna be fully appreciated by hard core Pu’erh drinkers or novices. It’ll take someone with a sort of ‘medium’ familiarity…
You know, like me.
My wife always asks when I receive a box of samples for review, if there is anything in it she can drink. She cannot tolerate caffeine. Today is her lucky day. This tisane comes from Amsterdam. It is loose leaf. There are a lot of ingredients in the blend. Normally that scares me, especially in something called wellness tonic. This sounds like one of those horribly medicinal cheap teabag teas hiding on the bottom shelf at a grocer near you.
Fortunately, these people take their herbal very serious. This is 100% organic and loose leaf. The aroma of the leaf smells like my wife’s herb garden in the summer, except she cannot get chamomile to grow. I could make out rosemary, thyme, and sage. My wife said she smells turmeric. I checked. It’s in there.
The taste is interestingly complex. Usually a lot of ingredients means a muddy mess. Here the flavors blend really well together and you can pull out individual notes. The taste is savory, not too floral, and sweet enough. It feels nicely cooling and airy. I’m guessing that is the sage. Nicely relaxing as well. An interesting tisane.
Ingredient list (because using Steepster’s ingredient box frustrates me):
Lemon Balm*, Chamomile*, Nettle*, Rosehip*, Echinacea*, Ribwort*, Ladies Mantle*, Turmeric*, Elecampane Root*, Sage Leaves*, Blue Mallow Petals*, Rosemary*, Thyme*
*100% Organically Grown
Thank you Mr Mopar for this sample. I don’t know if it was me or the sample but this one started off with a sour note. There was not too much bitterness to it. I did develop that young sheng apricot sweetness in the later steeps once the sour note was history. Maybe this one would have been better at 190 degrees instead of at a full boil but I was using my Anta Pottery Clay Boiler which doesn’t do variable temperature at all. Once the sour note was history this was a fairly nice sheng. I probably won’t be motivated to buy this one but I’m glad to have sampled it.
I steeped this ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8.3g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Sour, Sweet
I couldn’t get past the mouth pucker and bitterness on this one. Thought it would have rested enough to have that all taken care of, but I guess not. I have about 15 Awazon samples and this was the first. While it was a sad face producer, I already found one with a sangria taste in the background and a wonderful re steep ability; will review after work.
I’m starting Easter early with this tea. There are only three days of work this week, so that’s more than enough reason to celebrate. Also, I just realised that I still have my sample of this tea from 2015, so I’m catching up with that before I start the 2016 version I got with my recent Bluebird order. So, anyway. The tea.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup. It looks predominantly rooibos based to me, although there are a decent amount of ceylon leaves also present – maybe 70:30. The scent of the dry leaf is massively fruity, mostly orange. It reminds me a lot of undiluted cordial. I left this one for around 3 minutes before I added a splash of milk.
To taste, it’s actually more flavour accurate than I was expecting given the scent. It does remind me of hot cross buns, particularly when you first open a packet of fresh ones. I can taste orange (lots!), a pithy kind of taste that could be citrus zest, apple, cranberry, and currants. There’s also a hint of cinnamon lurking around in the mid-sip, but it’s not particularly prominent.
The vanilla is more of a scent than a flavour for me, but it does translate as a mild creamy flavour that’s very reminiscent of the white cross and maybe melted butter at a push. I’d like that to have been a bit stronger, but it’s there and I’m happy for that. I’m aware that this blend contains some Lapsang Souchong, but again it’s not a big part of the overall flavour. I get flashes of it every now and then, and they make me think of toast – or toasted hot cross buns, maybe. Love.
What I’d have liked here is more of a “bread” flavour, to go with the fruit and spice, creaminess and smokiness. That would really have set this one apart for me. As it is, it’s just a bit too fruity (orangey) to really capture the true flavour of hot cross buns. It’s close, though – so close.
At least I think this one is a YS tea – its sold out anyway.
Which is a shame because I want more of it.
Its so nice, wonderfully complex, and such a perfect balance between old woods and young leaves, something I liken to decent oolongs.
There is a nice tingling to my tongue, but it isnt bitter. There is some fruit in there, but also a very milky body and even some peppery spice. I’ve had purple leaf before that I just though didnt work, but it does here. The aroma of the leaves is gorgeous, deep boiled fruit instead of bright apricot. Its more old and wise tasting, my brain just thinks forests and buddhist temples and mist and nature. lovely
Ive just drank a load of steeps back to back because I am enjoying it so much. It gets a little twang when pushed, but nothing like the repave I drank last night, for instance.
There are some notes I have no idea what they are due to the complexity, but the way these coat the mouth is really something, and they are good notes, whatever they are.
Thanks Rui for being able to try this tea!
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Forest Floor, Fruity, Milk, Pepper