New Tasting Notes

91

Had this one the other day and… AMAZEBALLS.

Seriously, I’m really kicking myself right now for not ordering more of it back when I was in Fargo ‘cause now I don’t have a way of getting more unless someone in the area sends me some (and I don’t know anyone in the area) or we go back, which I don’t think is gonna happen ANYTIME soon. But I mean, how was I supposed to know it would be so good!? I was just so skeptical after trying Story of My Tea’s really unpleasant rhubarb oolong. Ugh!

This was super rich though, with a surprisingly creamy sort of rhubarb taste! It did have a little tartness/sharp edge to it, partly from the oolong base which tasted very green and floral but on the whole I was actually reminded a lot more of rhubarb and custard flavoured things that overly acidic/tart rhubarb. Plus, it had a very velvety mouthfeel, and just a super smooth profile overall. I don’t even mind the hint of grassy sharpness of the floral elements, it just completely added to the tea for me.

Yessss! YUM YUM YUM!

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Sipdown (410)!

So, this year for the holidays I want to come up with my own cocktail that incorporates each of the five teas in our Winter collection – I actually got the idea from a coworker after a long conversation about tea infused cocktails/possibly doing an outside of the store staff party for those of us who are legal drinking age (which is like 90% of our staff).

I started with this tea in particular because a customer actually made a comment about wanting to find a tea to mix with Amaretto and it just made me have that “epiphany” moment where I knew exactly what to do with this tea. So, I present to you the recipe for the White Cranberry Amaretto Sour!

1. Start with a glass filled with ice cubes OR crushed ice, if you want more of a slush
2. Pour in 2 oz. of Amaretto
3. Pour in 2 oz. of chilled WCB concentrate
4. Pour in the juice of 1/2 a fresh squeezed lemon
5. Garnish with a lemon wedge and Maraschino cherry
6. Stir to mix the ingredients before serving

For the WCB concentrate, I just steeped 1 PS of the tisane in about 3 oz. of boiling water. When you strain everything, it gives you enough concentrate for 2 oz. of the tisane.

Anyway, this works great! If you don’t stir everything up right away you should get a really pretty gradient of colours with the bright, cranberry red in the middle as well! I love Amaretto Sours myself because I think they’re really sweet and smooth, and they remind me a lot of cherry candies. The addition of the cranberry here plays into all those aspects; the tartness of the cranberry works well with the tart lemon, it compliments the almond really well (think the almond/cranberry pairing in Harney & Son’s Boston tea if you want an example of this), it adds a beautiful colour, it’s kind of festive, and it leans in to that sort of cherry type of flavour. I will say, though, that’s it’s fairly sweet so if you have it on hand I’d try adding in a drop (maybe two) of Saline to try and balance out some of the sweetness if sweet cocktails aren’t generally your thing.

While I sipped on mine for like an hour to savor it, I also made one for my mom and she just fucking downed it without a second thought. She really liked it. It’s awesome too ‘cause this tea on it’s own? Yeah, personally I didn’t really like it much at all and neither did she, but this is VERY transformative.

Friendly reminder that I do not numerically rate DAVIDsTEA blends as I’m currently employed there and it would be an obvious conflict of interest. Any blends you see with numerical ratings were rated prior to my employment there. These reviews are a reflection of my personal thoughts regarding the teas, and not the company’s.

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69

Sipdown (411)!

Finished this one hot, with some honey. It was actually really tasty and very smooth with a predominantly honeyed peach flavour and then sweet grassy and floral undertones. Honestly, it may have actually been the best cup of this one I experienced flat out.

Still, I’m not sad to see it go – one less green in the cupboard to worry about!

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81

Sipdown (412)!

Well, I think I’ve got my Black Friday/Cyber Monday ordering done! I actually started it a few days ago, and I’ve just been slowly checking things off the list since. There’s only two more companies I’m looking at, but it looks like neither are likely doing stuff this year. In total I ended up ordering from:

- Teavivre
- Healthy Leaf
- A Quarter To Tea
- Sloane Tea
- White2Tea
- Wize Monkey
- Crimson Lotus Tea

This was deliciously sipped down while plotting some of those orders. I really love the juicy floral lychee flavours and I’m actually pleasantly surprised how consistent they were with every single cup I had of this – even this last one, which was largely broken up tea leaf! I honestly would not have expected to enjoy this so much when I received it but it’s been a real favourite of mine this year.

I mean, I certainly am not going to do it now that I’ve just ordered a ton of stuff and my cupboard is 400+ teas, BUT I’d definitely be REALLY open to trying other Octet blends in the future!

Evol Ving Ness

What did you order from Sloane, if I may ask, Ms. Strange?

Roswell Strange

The Peaches & Cream white and the Jasmine Pink Lemonade white :)

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I bought a sample of this tea, though I came very close to blindly caking it for the awesome wrapper. I haven’t taken detailed notes on it, but I think I’m probably going to buy a cake of it today (Black Friday). It’s got some nice spinachy vegetal notes, a bit of bitterness. Good body and a relaxing qi. One of the most notable characteristics of it is a unique huigan that reminds me more of what I’m used to from gaoshan oolongs than from sheng puerh. It is a pretty high and floral creamy finish. I’m very interested in seeing how the cake will age, so I might hang onto it for a long time if I can avoid drinking it all quickly.

Flavors: Bitter, Creamy, Floral, Thick, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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81
drank Cardamom French Toast by DAVIDsTEA
2340 tasting notes

Black Friday seemes like the perfect time to break this out.
Ahh, thats the smell. Thats the comforting cup of warmth.
Nom.

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83
drank South Indian Select by Novus
1903 tasting notes

This was a nice cup with breakfast. I really wanted a latte, and since this is my only teabag of this Indian black tea, I thought I might accomplish a sipdown as well.

This tea is strong, I found 1 minute in 450 mL hot water enough, and that was with milk already added. If you don’t oversteep, you will have a pleasant cup of bold, flavourful black tea. Notes of cream, nuts, and dry wood. It would easily do 2-3 more resteeps, and it expands in the sachet sightly. I don’t drink a lot of Indian blacks, but this reminds me of when I was a kid and would have Red Rose orange pekoe with milk at my grandmother’s, except this tea is definitely much higher grade. This is just a nice, smooth black tea, nothing fancy (and I enjoy its simplicity).

Flavors: Cream, Malt, Nuts, Tannic, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec 15 OZ / 450 ML

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Being a fan of Bulang puerh, I figured this would be a good black tea for me to try out; I was right. This one seemed to have a bit more body and depth of flavor than most hong that I drink. Slight bitterness if pushed, but mostly malty and sweet flavors – a bit of caramel and some kind of dried fruit, maybe raisins. I wonder how much my impression was colored by the word “Bulang” in the name, as I equate that with a more bold and burly style of puerh.

This was definitely a good black tea, but I likely won’t buy more of it – just because black tea isn’t something I drink much of generally.

Flavors: Caramel, Dried Fruit, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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67
drank Pu Erh Hazelberry by Adagio Teas
172 tasting notes

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91
drank Gong Fu Black by Zhi Tea
1 tasting notes

The BEST!

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apple Skins

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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85
drank Alpine Punch by DAVIDsTEA
22 tasting notes

I’m not a huge fan of Rooibos teas, and I didn’t totally love the smell of this one, but once steeped, it smells really nice and aromatic. You can definitely taste the almonds in there, topped off with a bit of coconut, apples, cinammon. I don’t personally taste the cardamom in there, which is a shame because I love it. It has a tiny bit of an oily layer, probably from the almond cream or coconut, but I didn’t mind it here. It’s a really nice tea for a winter afternoon.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Butter, Cinnamon, Coconut

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85
drank Holiday Tea by Harney & Sons
50 tasting notes

What a tasty surprise!

Harney & Sons included a sample of this Holiday Tea in a recent order, and I love it. We have amassed quite a few samples, and sometimes I don’t feel like going through the effort to brew a pot (lazy, right?), so I’ll grab a sample tea bag. My wife doesn’t do caffeine after a certain time of the day, so when I held out the pre-Thanksgiving offerings, she snatched up an herbal, and I chose this from the remainder.

I’m not typically a fan of clove, but it’s so tastefully woven into the overall flavor of this tea that I was sad to see the bottom of the cup. The almond, cinnamon and citrus were just right to make this a great evening tea, and it would make a delicious dessert or conversation tea at any gathering.

Flavors: Almond, Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove

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82

Strong caramel flavor from this one. A good ‘dessert’ tea. The caramel is so strong I did not taste much of the green tea.

Flavors: Caramel

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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95

012/365

I know why I kept this one back. It’s because I love Bi Luo Chun. It’s my favourite green. This is from the 2015 spring harvest, so demonstrates how far behind I am with my cupboard if nothing else. This one was worth keeping, though. It’s deliciously vegetal in the best possible way – savoury, green-beany, just a touch grassy. It’s also super-smooth, with absolutely no astringency.

The first one of these I tried was from Butiki, as far as I recall, and it was that cup that made me realise instantly that I’d found “my” green. This Bi Luo Chun perhaps doesn’t have quite the same depth of flavour, but it’s pretty excellent just the same. Maybe next spring, if I’m more caught up, I’ll allow myself to buy some of the 2018 harvest. Then I can go back to hoarding it again.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85

Great, very easy tea. Very forgiving. If you bew it lightly it will be subtle and refreshing; stronger brews can become nicely heavy without any bitterness or astringency. It reminds of some herbal teas, especially the earthy-grassy things in coca tea and mate.

A perfect everyday tea with character. I have to give a special mention to the color of the brew. I have never had a green tea that brews so vibrantly green, it’s really nice to look at.

Flavors: Grass, Herbs

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 4 tsp 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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88

A noted correction, this is top grade.

Thanks to Fong Mong for this sample. Up today for tasting we have pekoe gold oriental beauty. First thing I noticed is the leaves are alot of different colors. Almost looking like a white tea with all the color in the leaf. I also got a slight smell of honey before even heating the pot. Heating the pot with about 200 degree water and putting the leaves in, I got a strong scent of honey arising from the leaves.

For my first steep, I went with about 30 seconds and got a really nice honey, sweet, white wine, white grape and maybe honeysuckle flavor. The liquor is clear, light and pale moderately thick. The leaves are so dark after steeping, its quite impressive actually. The flavors and aroma’s in this tea are quite effemoral and hard to pin down, though the feeling of grapes, wine and honey is quite apparent, there might be some other spice and fruit notes I cant quite pick out.

The second steep I went about a minute, and I got a much darker color liquor , a medium honey color now and the flavor and aroma are quite a bit stronger. Grapes, wine and honey are still the predominant flavors at this point, but maybe flowers, or peaches. There is definitely something else there but Im not sure what it is. The taste of wine sans alcohol is so much more pronounced now, that really is an unusual flavor. There might be a bit of malt flavor too. Its really interesting what happens when the bugs bite the tea..

Third steeping, I went for about 2 minutes, seeing if I can push this tea a little. The color got slightly darker, but the aroma is about the same. Still wine flavor, but maybe a bit darker now, very interesting. This tea has been wonderful, Ill steep it out a few more times. Sunday I will be tasting the bug bitten oolong and comparing.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes tea with honey aroma!

Flavors: Honey, Honeysuckle, Sweet, White Grapes, White Wine

Flavors: Honey, Honeysuckle, Sweet, White Grapes, White Wine

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 tsp 120 OZ / 3548 ML

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90

Drinking this classic tea while I cyber-shop for more tea. Living the dream.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. If you’ve been online much lately, you’ve probably already seen the Net Neutrality posts, but just in case not, this site gives a run down: https://www.battleforthenet.com . Basically the FCC is trying to use this holiday season to throttle the internet. I hate to bring politics onto Steepster, but I’m not sure we’ll even have Steepster for long if this goes through.

Evol Ving Ness

Thanks for that link, Tamarindel. Scary times indeed.

Tamarindel

I know, but they’ve tried to pass similar bills over the last couple of years, and every time the public has raised such an uproar that they had to drop it, so I’m hoping that happens again. Comcast and Verizon just keep trying to shove it down our throats though.

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85
drank Caramelized Pear by Art of Tea
1261 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 37 of 2017 (no. 318 total).

From the time I found this in my stash (I’d forgotten about it) to sipdown was exactly 8 days. I’m trying to clear out the old before all the new tisanes arrive so I’m not completely overwhelmed.

I went back and forth on this one over the course of those 8 days. Sometimes I liked it more than others. At times it was a bit too woody. It was basically the luck of the draw with what showed up in the spoons — if there was sufficient caramelized pear flavor it rated an 85. If not, it was 15 or so points below that.

Lexie Aleah

If you ever need any help clearing out your old tea I’m your girl. :P

__Morgana__

Heh. Thanks for the offer, but my old tea is for the most party REALLY old and even if I swapped (which I generally don’t) I wouldn’t send out anything more than a couple of months old.

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85
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
1261 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 36 of 2017 (no. 317 total). A sample.

Another in my push to sipdown the hoarded Harney samples before the new order arrives. This was as nice as I remembered it, which is why it was on the wish list.

Also, it was quite good with my Thanksgiving dessert - mixed berry pie. :)

Lexie Aleah

Do you only get free samples when you order? or can you buy samples? There are a lot of their teas that I would love to try but do not want to pay for a giant tin and end up not liking it.

__Morgana__

You can buy sample sizes for most Harney teas from their web site for a couple of bucks. They make about four cups worth depending on the size of your cup. That’s what I did the first time I ordered from them to get an idea of what I might like. Also, there are plenty of folks here who would be willing to swap for things that don’t send you (I don’t swap, but tons of folks here do).

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90

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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85

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 295 ML

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82

I finished this one off last night. It is sad to see it go, because it was a fave from AQ2T, yet I’m excited about having more room in the tea drawer.

Does anyone else feel like that? A favorite tea is gone and you mourn, but you’re also excited, because now you can order something else?

I had planned to make big orders for Black Friday. But looking at the budget and the amount of tea left to drink, I think I have to be sensible and not do it. That makes me kinda pouty. Adulting is hard.

Sil

maybe just do a single small order to treat yourself?

Maddy Barone

I did go ahead and place a small order from 52Teas.

Sil

Yay!

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