120 Tasting Notes
As a big fan of lavender, chamomile and Butiki teas, I felt there was little chance of me not loving this.
I was right.
It’s a perfect chamomile blend. The lavender works really nicely, with that smooth, slightly cinnamon-y chamomile sitting nicely in the background. It’s also slightly sweet (kinda like malted milk), which is a nice plus!
I was a little worried when I opened the packet, as it was a little on the crushed side (I’ve only ever drank Teapigs wonderful chamomile before, and it’s so intact that it’s almost miraculous), so I worried that the lots would get through my strainer. Thankfully, the walls have really tiny holes and only a little bit got through. The tea was really smooth and calming – perfect!
As the crushedness didn’t seem to impact, I think this tea is certainly worthy of full marks. It’s just a perfect chamomile – calming, smooth, sweet and delicious.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Lavender
I finally decided to give some of my November Verdant delivery a go – this tea sounded so unusual (and, given how much I love the Zhu Rong and the Yunnan Jasmine White, so delicious) that I felt it would be a safe bet for a sleepy Saturday.
The dry blend smells wonderful, though the delicious jasmine and the lighter orange peel definitely are the main aromas (not, of course, that I’m complaining). I used the recommended parameters from Verdant (5g per 8oz, steep for 30"). The infusion that it produced smelled divine – all of that delicious floral aroma from the jasmine, with just light undertones of orange (and a tiny bit of the ZR’s chocolate smell). It also looked noticeably darker than the Yunnan White usually does, when steeped in the same way.
To drink, it really was rather delicious. So floral, caramelly and fragrant – a sumptuous cup of tea, if ever there was one. I’m probably a little blinded by how fabulous I normally find the Yunnan White, but I really, really liked this blend. Though it did come in the November shipment (not, of course, that I received that until early December anyway), I think this tea is actually a perfect one to have out at Christmas – the blend looks very festive and the citrussy notes from the orange peel made it really appropriate for this bitterly cold day.
The second and third steeps were definitely less jasmine-tasting – the odd Zhu Rong leaf that I scooped into the infuser came out much more, giving a stronger caramel flavour. It was still delightfully perfumed, though, so I certainly didn’t mind. And, I guess, it’s kinda nice to have a tea that changes so much, whilst remaining really delicious, the more you steep the leaves.
Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Jasmine
Another of the teas that I got in my December London Tea Club delivery and another good choice by whoever it is that’s in charge of personalising their packages – this was a charming, quite strong black tea with just enough coconut and almond flavour to make it quite a treat!
I felt less bad about using the fill-your-own-teabags for this tea – if anything, it seemed like the perfect tea for such a brewing vessel. So, I tipped up the little test-tubes that they send the tea out in (again, see my slightly sketchy picture) and measured an approximate tea spoon full and brewed it for a good three minutes or so.
The resultant tea was delicious – a pretty strong, malty black (slightly bitter) with marvellous coconut and almond notes. Admittedly, the nutty flavours could have been a little stronger, but given the amounts of almond/coconut I can still see in the remaining tea, there’s a good chance that I just didn’t get much in this first cup.
Either way, I really enjoyed it and wasn’t disappointed. I reused the bag (somewhat bravely, as the leaves did look on the broken side) and was pleasantly surprised by the resulting cup – it was noticeably nuttier (probably helped by the much longer steeping time – a good while over 4 minutes – and the fact that the strong, malty black tea was a little weaker).
So, that’s two out of two so far. There’s just the Ceylon left – if these first two are anything to go by, I’m sure I’m love that one too :D
Flavors: Almond, Coconut, Malt
So, I got a lovely little packet of this with my first London Tea Club delivery (December) and whilst at the hospice today, I quite fancied a cup! I probably did it a bit of disservice, brewing it Western style in one of the LTC’s adorable little fill-your-own teabags, but it was the only way I could manage whilst working.
To be honest, though, it made for a really lovely cup of tea. The leaves were lightly fragranced and a little drier than I’m used to, for oolongs, but I went ahead and scooped 1 tsp of the tea in and, as directed, brewed for a little over 3 mins.
The resulting liquor was really quite lovely – colour wise, it was a light caramel brown and the smell was delightful. It had all of the loveliest qualities of darker oolongs, but without any of the “dark” flavour, or the roastiness, and it still had lots of the fragrant floral notes of the greener oolongs.
The taste was sublime – cinnamon and apple-y, with just enough strength that meant it was perfect as the afternoon pick-up I’d chosen it for. It was also rather sweet, which I guess makes sense as it’s a Bai Hao.
After a basically perfect first steep, I also got a delicious second and a pretty decent third steep. After that, it was time to go home from the hospice so I had to throw the leaves out. I’m not too sure how much further they’d have gone, but I was glad to have gotten three lovely cups.
I probably have enough tea left (basically the amount shown in the dodgy photo I took – sorry to all of the photographers out there T_T) to make another one or two lots in this semi-Western style and one rather nice Gong Fu session. Since I’ve had lots of good experiences with drinking oolongs this way, perhaps I’ll try that next! In the adorable cards that LTC send with their deliveries, they do recommend it, so I guess that’s all the more reason.
I’d strongly recommend this tea, actually. And, as LTC sell little packets like this to subscribers, I imagine I’ll buy myself a bag at some point in the future.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Floral, Green Apple
With getting home to my massive Butiki order, I kinda felt obliged to dip into one of the ones I’d been most excited about. When I placed my first Butiki order, I had planned to buy this (along with the plain Bai Mu Dan), but at some point didn’t (not entirely sure why tbh). Anyway, I rectified that this time around and it was deffo worth it!
The dry leaves smell good, I guess, but nothing spectacular – they just smell sweet and welcoming. Nothing bad, for sure, but nothing terribly exciting – they certainly didn’t smell like cantaloupe to me, anyway.
But the steeped tea was a revelation. Even my Dad – the grouchy, Iranian sceptic of any tea that isn’t a lightly fragranced, citrussy black – was impressed, immediately remarking on how much it smelled like melon! :D
After the 3’30", the liquor was a pleasant enough pale brown – darker than I’m accustomed for white tea, but certainly nothing to worry. As for the taste, well…
It’s just delightful. It really does taste just like melon. I couldn’t quite believe it, despite the abundance of excellent reviews telling me that it’s exactly what it would taste like. It’s just a delight. So sweet and refreshing, with just a lovely creamy aftertaste that really help to balance the whole thing out. There wasn’t a hint of bitterness, despite the water I used probably being a little too hot.
I’m super glad I ordered this and I’m definitely going to get through it quickly, even though I won’t be able to order much/any more in future. It’s just delicious and I wouldn’t hate for it to go to waste. Recommend strongly for anyone interested in fruit-flavoured ‘actual’ teas that taste of actual fruit.
Flavors: Apricot, Brown Sugar, Cantaloupe, Peach, Stonefruits
I brought this adorable little bag of loose Puerh with me when I recently returned to Oxford for a talk, along with my Gaiwan and little tea cups. I then ended up having to stay up horribly late to finish a self-study assignment that I’d kinda neglected…
With that in mind, I wanted something energising and dark and thought this Puerh would fit the bill. However, without any way to measure it and any Gong-Fu instructions for it to hand, I had to do a bit of guesswork and definitely guessed wrong. I overleafed this spectacularly. A 2-3" infusion produced tea that was a black as fresh coffee and probably a little stronger :P
It was really smooth, though – just like a delicious, dark-roasted, full-bodied coffee. It was so strong, though, that it hurt my tummy a little… XD
Still, given the promising flavour of the tea (it really was delicious, extreme strength aside), I think I’ll rebrew it according to Brenden’s written instructions in a mug at some point and write a proper review XD And maybe I’ll do a milder Gong-Fu session using the instructions I had for the Canton Tea Co “White Dragon” loose Puerh, which was similarly tippy and delicious looking!
Definitely nothing wrong with this tea, as far as I could tell. Hopefully a proper brew will leave me as impressed as I certainly wanted to be!
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So I fiiiiiiiiiiiiinally made time to sit down and treat myself to a cup of this tea. I was so excited to open the bag and, I must say, I was not disappointed by the smell. It smells so much like chocolate and vanilla. Really wonderful smell – something like a really chocolate-y fudge or a particularly vanilla-tinged brownie.
Though the wet leaves don’t smell nearly as good (still got the vanilla, but that generic roast/black tea smell has kicked in), the infusion itself smelled wonderful – still super sweet and so much vanilla :D
I can see what a couple of other reviewers meant about this being quite delicate – after drinking Verdant’s Zhu Rong for so long, particularly with their pretty extreme steeping conditions, I did find it a much gentler cup. But that definitely isn’t a complaint. It had hot chocolate, vanilla and fudge like notes. It’s exceptionally smooth, with little-to-no astringency. And so much vanilla, especially in the after taste. It just lingered for a few wonderful moments.
The vanilla and cocoa notes seemed to come through much more strongly as it cooled, too – once it got down to a really sippable temperature, it was much stronger and really flavoursome. Still on the mild-side of black teas, but definitely not in a way that is negative. It’s just light and sweet, like (I suppose) any good vanilla dessert ought to be!
Delightful. I’ll definitely be drinking this again soon :D
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Vanilla
I know I promised I’d try my WP teas over the weekend/today, but as I got a basket-full of this amazing black tea going on Friday (before my parcel arrived, I should add), I couldn’t bring myself to waste it just to move on and try new stuff.
The tea lasted wonderfully over the whole weekend – it gave me a good four or five hearty 300ml mugs of delicious, chocolatey, malty tea. It makes me glad that I gambled and bought that initial two ounces – it has been worth every penny! Though I won’t be immediately reordering, that’s just because I want to keep my spiralling cupboard under control. It’s definitely gone right to the top of my ‘teas to remember’ list and will certainly be something I look to get again in future :D
It also makes me very excited to try that extremely unusual sounding “Yunnan Bouquet” blend that Verdant sent with November’s tea of the month club. I can’t quite imagine how a mixture of this amazing tea and the equally amazing Yunnan Jasmine would work together. Still, I guess that’s one for later in the week…!
Ahhhh, we had this tea again tonight. The more we drink it, the more I like it.
Tonight, we had a set of leaves on their third infusion, with Mum’s customary single extra spoonful of fresh tea on the top. The resulting drink was super-smooth, vanilla/caramelly and with all of that amazing mulled-wine/Christmas flavour it usually has.
As it is now, on its third steep, I think I’d really like it as a breakfast tea, maybe just with some plain buttered toast or something. It’s so sweet, citrussy and smooth – it just seems perfect!
This really is a fabulous tea. Mum wants me to order another couple of bags, to have around the house, and I certainly will not say no…!