73 Tasting Notes
I received this pleasant surprise in the mail yesterday from TeaTiff, who is providing me with a welcome distraction from all my green-tea tastings lately! (Gotta throw in some black teas here and there, because, let’s face it, there’s nothing quite as good as a deep, dark, rich cup of black tea to help one wake up and power through the day!)
I decided I couldn’t resist trying this sample first, because for some reason without intending to I have ended up being sort of on a little Earl Grey kick…I first tried that green EG, then the one by Williamson, and now, this fabulous cup of perfection. I am so spoiled to have enjoyed these really nice Earl Greys over the past two weeks, and this Earl Grey Cream is the icing on the cake, the piece de resistance, the…(okay, I think you get the point, haha) It’s AMAZING!
Oh gosh, the flavor: SO good! It does not have a super strong Ear Grey flavor, but that’s not to say it’s weak. It just tastes as though the bergamot has taken a respectful step to the side to give the cream more of the spotlight on center stage. (This is CREAM Earl Grey, after all) The bergamot is there, it is present, singing out it’s lively citrusy notes in harmony with the star of the show: the lovely cream! Mmmm that vanilla cream flavor is outstanding, belting out its melodiously rich, smooth song just like a famous opera singer! The cream mellows out the citrus and astringent black tea qualities, but is delightfully well-balanced with the other flavors. A nice sweet robust black tea flavor still shines through, so you don’t forget you’re drinking a black tea!
Overall this is deliciously rich and robust, yet sweet and creamy; it has no bitterness or sharp notes. It has a light citrus flavor, calm and soothing, like orange blossoms. Simply superb!
I had tried this sample from TeaTiff a while ago when I first got it, but refrained from writing about it until I could have another cup. This morning is rainy and cool, and Full Steam black is just the thing to get me going. It’s sweet, malty, roasty, and robust. I think someone else had mentioned it had some rye bread flavor, and I would agree. Mmmm nice notes of cocoa and rye bread, warm and roasty! Very good! I will have to check out Hugo’s other teas as well because I just might need to place an order!
Thank you, TeaTiff for introducing me to this!
This is a tasty treat! A delicious sencha base with nice juicy fruit flavor. Strawberry and raspberry provide a light sweetness while the rhubarb contributes a delicate, pleasant tartness on the tongue. I can also taste smooth honey. As is the case with all the Gong Fu teas I’ve had so far, the variety of flavors co-mingling with the tea are very well-balanced and masterfully chosen. This tea really does make you feel like you’re on cloud nine. It’s a great way to celebrate spring, and I’m glad I included it in my spring green collection!
On this gray, rainy morning my little son and I headed out to the store, and I happened to find this Earl Grey, along with a variety of other Williamson teas. I’m not familiar with that company, but their products looked interesting—mostly Kenyan teas, which immediately piqued my interest. (I love Kenyan black teas! And actually, I’m currently trying hard to wait until I make my “summer tea purchase” to re-stock my cupboard with African teas, but it is so hard to wait…and then THIS came along!) Well, I figured the price was terrific, and although I would have liked to try some of the other teas they had as well, I decided on the Earl Grey because it was the only loose-leaf canister there, and it looked good. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a Kenyan EG. And it is a rainy day, which in my book means it’s an earl grey kind of day. And, as I mentioned, I’ve been craving Kenyan teas so…for all those reasons I felt compelled to buy it.
Now, purchasing teas on a whim like that without prior research into the company and its practices is rare for me, and on the offchance I do make an impulse buy, I have found it is pretty much a hit or miss. But I took my chances on this one, and it turned out to be a hit!
This is a VERY smooth, sweet EG. It lacks the sharpness or tingle you sometimes get from stronger EGs. The first thing that hit me was a lovely sweet orange flavor. Yes, I know that’s the bergamot, but this somehow tasted slightly more orange-y to me than the bergamots in other Earl Greys. It was delicious, though. Different, but delicious. This tea is robust, full bodied, luscious, and absolutely silky smooth. I think the Kenyan base works really well with the bergamot flavor. I would definitely buy this again.
So, for those who like a really strong hit-you-in-face bergamot-y Earl Grey, this would probably not be for you. But for those liking a more mellow cup, this I think would be perfect.
I was surprised to find that no one has reviewed this tea before, and there are only a few Williamson teas on Steepster. It’s too bad, because this one at least is a very enjoyable and affordable tea! If you go on Williamson’s website, they give a closer look at how they process their teas and it’s quite interesting. (I just wonder about pesticide use—that’s always my big concern, and they don’t say their tea is organic)—but other than that it looks like a decent company: they use sustainable farming methods, are Rainforest Alliance Certified, family-owned, and all of their tea is grown right there on their own farms in the Kenyan highlands.
I have had this in my cupboard for a while and completely forgot about it. Shame on me! I guess I just tend to ignore my bagged teas and go straight for the loose-leaf. (I’m such a snob). I am glad I re-discovered this though, because it is unexpectedly good. I don’t care for the plastic-y pyramid bags, but that’s not a problem. I just rip them open and pour the leaves into my infuser and bingo! loose-leaf! This also gives me a chance to inspect the leaves, and these appeared to be in good shape, not shredded up in teensy weensy pieces. Once steeped, my infuser is filled with nice full sencha leaves, and the liquor is fresh bright green. Okay, I’ll admit I’m impressed. So far so good.
The resulting tea is delicious! I thought it would be difficult to achieve a good balance with the bergamot and green tea leaves, but this company manages to pull off the blend very well. The Earl Grey bergamot flavor is perfect: citrusy and light, and the assertive yet sweet sencha comes through nicely. It is a good sencha base, definitely holding its own to the bergamot but at the same time working harmoniously with it. Both flavors are impeccably balanced. I’d say this is a wonderful breakfast or brunch tea, when you want a green with a little more oomf to it but that’s still smooth enough to ease you into the day. Or, I could see this also being that perfect rainy afternoon tea, when it seems a little too late for a brisk, classic black EG and you want something just a bit lighter (but that will still provide you with a snap-out-of-it alertness). This tea will no longer remain lonely and neglected on my shelf. I think it is deserving of loose-leaf status now. :-)
I have had a sample of this for a little while but was waiting for the right time to try it. Now that I’m a green tea kick this seems like the perfect time! And, I followed the directions provided more than I usually do for green teas—go me!
The first steep, at 1.5 minutes, was slightly brothy and buttery, with notes of seaweed and a subtle astringency at the end. Very nice!
At 2 minutes, there was nothing more notable about it, so I’ll skip on to the 3 minute steep: it was sweet and slightly seaweedy, very pleasing and lovely. It has just enough astringency to make it assertive, just enough sweetness to mellow it out, making for a well-rounded, substantial, and very flavorful green.
This Dragon Well was delicious, and I would definitely like to have it again.
Spring is here, and it is high time for me to focus on fine green teas like this one. Out with the old, in with the new! Although of course I will always need a good black tea throughout the year, now is when my tea tastings will hopefully include more of the flavors of spring, with an emphasis on lovely fruit and floral flavors coming from fine greens, delicate whites, and lighter oolongs.
I thought this Green Snail Spring would be a perfect place to start in expanding my green tea experience. It did not disappoint, and has provided me with a nice tasty cup on the several occasions I have had it (I wanted to hold off on the review until I had tasted it several times, just to get a full appreciation of it, since we all know how the same tea can taste slightly different from day to day.) I just finished my 5th tasting of this so I think it’s safe to venture writing a tea log note.
I followed my usual teapot method, heating water to not quite boiling and then letting it cool to about 175 degrees. I allowed the tea to steep for 4 minutes, but I tasted it earlier at 3 and 3.5 minutes for full effect, because I know greens are typically steeped at that or even shorter periods (I just don’t usually appreciate them that early on…I can’t taste much of anything, so 3 minutes is the earliest I can really enjoy green teas.)
At 3 minutes, the tea tasted simple and pleasant: light, slightly sweet, and that’s about it.
At 4 minutes, it was just right in my opinion. No bitterness, dryness, or astringency. Just a nice, simple, slightly sweet vegetal flavor reminiscent of a spring garden full of fresh sugar snap peas. I also could say it had notes of asparagus as well. Previous tastings had also provided me with a very slight nutty flavor, almost like a whisper of almond and walnut, but not completely—just a faint hint. It seems that sometimes I taste more of the sweet floral (honeysuckle?)/sweet vegetal (snap peas), and other times more of the nut/asparagus.
Either way, it’s a very delicious tea overall: light, delicate, unassuming but quite flavorful, something that you can drink multiple cups of and not feel too much “green-tea” strength in the stomach. Very enjoyable, indeed!
This tea looks pretty and smells pretty, but tastes too artificial for me. The fake peach flavor is a little overwhelming. I cannot really taste the green tea base unless I steep it longer, and when I do that then the green tea only comes through at the end and it’s too astringent and bitter. Yuck. Not a favorite for me, so I will save this one for dear husband who loves fruity teas.
Ooooooh I had the luxury of trying this the other day—what a treat! My mother-in-law (who I finally managed to convert into the tea-lover camp; she used to be a “coffee person”…haha not anymore! ) decided to get a special tea for us to try at Gong Fu and surprised me with this. She said that the tea shop employee had explained that this tea was exceptional and very difficult to obtain. Now, I don’t think I have every detail worked out because I was hearing all this second-hand, but from what I gathered apparently the first harvest goes to the Emperor, and then in the next harvest (of a very limited quantity) is made available to the lucky few tea merchants who can get it. She said that the owners of Gong Fu tea were the only ones in the U.S. who were able to get this tea. There was only like 6 lbs available. Wow! That’s incredible. I don’t know how it all works, how tea shop owners buy their teas and what the process is (particularly for rare teas like this) but it sounds challenging!
Anyway, the taste was phenomenal. Light, mellow, and refreshing, with a clover-like sweetness. The liquor was so pale I was afraid I had understeeped it, but when I tasted it I was relieved that it contained so much more flavor than I had expected just by looking at the brew.
I wish I had more to write about this tea since it is so rare and special—seems like it deserves a whole huge page of detailed review. But as I am relatively new to trying different kinds of authentic green teas, and am still developing a palate to appreciate the subtleties of fine greens, I think a more experienced tea connoisseur would have a lot more to say about it than humble me. I am not worthy of this tea.
Still, it was a very enjoyable experience to indulge in such a lovely tea. I feel very fortunate to have the chance to taste it. And that is the beauty of tea: it shares its flavor freely to all those who come to take a sip. Whether you are a seasoned tea-drinker or someone who is new to its complexities, all can partake in a simple moment of pleasure as they imbibe this special, unique gift of a beverage.
Although this Orange Spice tea is great by itself, I can’t help but fantasize about how it would taste with cocao nibs (mmm chocolate + orange + cinnamon-spice flavors =delicious!). I have also considered how well it would taste with vanilla or almond. I finally got my chance to try blending this with some Gong Fu Tea’s Absolute Almond black tea in my cupboard, and boy, it was an absolute hit! I mixed 1 teaspoon of the Orange Spice with 1 heaping teaspoon of Absolute Almond in a 2-cup pot, and voila…magic! The resulting tea was pretty darn perfect: the almond flavor melded well, coming through beautifully but still allowing some spice to mingle and tingle on the tongue. No one flavor dominated too much over the others. The taste was pleasant, warm, bright, nutty, rich, and filling. (I had resolved beforehand to only drink one cup and save the other for Hubby, but that resolve melted away completely and I HAD to finish the second cup too.) Oh. So. Good. This is such a deliciously flavorful and smooth black blend that I can just imagine how wonderful it would be as a morning eye-opener or with breakfast; perfect in the afternoon for a pick-me-up after being out in the cold; perfect in the evening with a sweet dessert…and so on. No matter what the time of day, mixed with the Almond, the Orange Spice is a good and satisfying all-around winter treat! Yum! I only wish I could have tried mixing those two teas earlier so I could have been enjoying this all winter long—bummer! Now I don’t have too much of the Orange Spice left and I will not be ordering more until fall. I guess I will just have to treasure what I have now, and then keep this in mind for a definite re-order next autumn.