Art of TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I got this as a single teabag sample from a cupboard sale from Ost in August 2018, so thank you, Ost! I figured this would go well with my dinner of instant potstickers, so I brewed up the teabag in 205F water.
The tea is a lovely marigold color and smells like the Forever Spring oolong from Thunder Mountain Teas that I sipped down not all that long ago… a sort of floral purfumey aroma, but not overwhelming. It smells a bit like orchid, lilac, honeysuckle, and sweet cream. It tastes sweet and floral, smooth and a bit creamy, with a strong and lasting floral aftertaste. I like floral teas so I find it quite pleasant. It really does taste a lot like the Forever Spring oolong (was that also a Tung Ting?) but I do think that one was just a touch fuller in flavor.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Orchid, Perfume, Sweet, Violet
This was done in 190 degree F water with a three minute steep, and the resulting brew had a nice caramely color, but had a musky, earthy, roasted aroma. The flavor of the tea reminded me of roasted nuts (I was actually reminded a lot of TeaSource’s Roasted Chestnut tea), and the liquor was very smooth with a sort of sweetness that left a somewhat honey-like aftertaste on my tongue. The tea had subtle notes of deep, rich, earthy minerals beneath the sweeter, toasty, roasted nutty flavors. I found the tea very enjoyable! Smooth and nutty, with many of the appeals of a darker tea without the astringencies or bitterness. I think this would appeal to fans of nutty, earthy flavors that don’t like flavored blends.
Flavors: Earth, Honey, Mineral, Musty, Nutty, Roasted nuts, Smooth, Sweet
This tea has a suprisingly smooth base; I was expecting a lot more astringency with this one, but it is very sweet and the flavor is fantastic! While I’m not much of a fan of the texture of lychee fruit, I love the flavor, and this tea has a great, rich lychee taste, with a softer peach note in the finish. I also notice this slight floral note which just rounds out the fruity flavors nicely. This is one of my favorite black teas to prepare iced as well, since it has a nice strong flavor and I find the stonefruit notes really refreshing and naturally sweet enough to hold well as a cold tea, as long as it is prepared as a hot steep first and then chilled.
Flavors: Floral, Lychee, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet
Well, I returned from a lovely vacation only to have the whole thing soured by having my closing date delayed because my initial loan didn’t go through because a sleazy property management company owns over 10% of the units in the condo that I’m purchasing my unit in, which disqualified my loan under their Fannie Mae stipulations, sooooo I get to start all over with the loan process with a different lender. ARGH. I swear this whole house-buying process is going to kill me. And to make matters worse, I had handed in my 30 days notice to my apartment because my loan officer and realtor had told me everything was going absolutely great RIGHT before I left on vacation, so now I only have until the 15th of August to close before I’ll be homeless… the stress is so real.
I have a lot to write up on my Portland tea samplings/Tea Fest PDX, and eventually I’ll get to that. I bought way too much on vacation, and the sad part is I don’t even plan to break into any of it, it’s just going into the moving box. Siiiiiiiigh.
This was an old sampler from Fusion Teas, August Peach Oolong Tea, that I finished off quickly by making a liter of coldbrew tea, and then another half liter of coldbrew tea. Looking up the ingredients, it was easy to hunt down that this blend was sourced by Art of Tea, and is their 12:00PM tea (which was formally called “Peach Oolong”). I never bothered to try the tea warm, since we’ve been in a terrible heatwave (I’m already missing those Oregon coast temperatures!)
This is a toasty tasting oolong base, and the flavor of this tea actually reminds me a lot of Lupicia’s Apricot Mugicha, just a little less coffee-like… and since Lupicia no longer sells any of their flavored Mugicha, I suppose this at least scratches that itch for that particular tea a little. This tea has a nice roasted nuts flavor with some woody notes and the slightly earthy flavor of raw hazelnut/walnuts, with a bit of a honeyed sweetness to it that is really refreshing to me iced. The peach notes are noticable, but come out more of a subtle fruity note that compliments the honey notes and isn’t a distinct flavor that holds out on its own against the strong woody/nutty oolong base.
I like the tea, and I think renaming it to take the emphasis off the peach was the right move, as this doesn’t really read as a “peach-flavored tea” but rather as an oolong that has some peach/stonefruit notes. This makes a nice iced tea for those that enjoy a nice cold mugicha or houjicha.
Flavors: Hazelnut, Honey, Nutty, Peach, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Stonefruits, Walnut, Wood
I was just reading a thread on the boards about how spammy and dead Steepster has been lately, and that just made me sad. Unfortunately I also find myself drifting away from Steepster because I don’t make the time and I simply am hardly on my personal laptop anymore. Maybe once a week or so, but I generally check my internet stuff on my phone and Steepster is not phone friendly. I do drop by occasionally with a tasting note, but I’m never on the boards anymore.
Anyways, another reason I don’t always post reviews on tea anymore is because I’m too lazy to input it into the database if there’s no previous listing for it? If no one else is drinking it, does anyone care what I have to say about it? Shrug. This is a new listing.
I came across this tea actually months ago, in a little milk tea shop when visiting my friend in a town three hours away. They also carried some loose teas and the owner was kind enough to let me sniff the teas because I wasn’t so familiar with the blend. The company is california based and that intrigued me. This was the tea that caught me attention. He agreed to brew it for me iced, and oh boy, it became a minor obsession for me to obtain some. I can’t even describe how I remember it tasting now because it was so long ago. But the flavors overall lent to a great cup.
This tea is pretty expensive for me. A 4oz zip pouch is $23, which is about 5.75/oz. That may not sound too expensive, alot of teas go for around 4/oz, but that plus shipping for just the one tea I wanted from the company, it was alot. Especially because when I first stalked this tea, only the 16oz bag was available, which is alot to buy when you’ve only tasted the tea once. Nevertheless, it became one of those background tabs in my internet browser that I checked every once in awhile.
I finally gave in a got some a month or so ago and got a bag, and I’m still kind of tinkering with the brewing specifications. My habit is still to brew a large thermos to go for work, so I brew alot of tea at once, all usually off the same leaves. This batch was 2.5 tsp, 16oz water, three steeps into a large thermos.
The Vanilla came out STRONG, and the mint is nice while it’s warm but enhances cold when iced. I think I let it sit too long because the black tea was stronger than my preference, or maybe just I overleafed it. I think I’m looking for something like a creamy mint black, but I need to figure out how to brew it just right.
I received this as a gift from Mastress Alita some time back. I was waiting for a hot day to try this tea as she suggested, cold-brewed, in Trader Joe’s lemonade. I used roughly 2 tablespoons to 16oz overnight in the fridge then transferred the hibiscus red brew to one of my insulated flasks to keep cold all day. Holy crap, what an amazing treat while working without shade all day. It was like a berry-fruit punch-lemonade with some earthiness from the guayusa on the swallow. Perfect sweet-tart combination and a nice thickness from that sugary lemonade.
As far as I can tell, the guayusa didn’t effect me negatively in any way like its cousin yerba maté often does. They’re in the same genus, Ilex, but must have differing alkaloids and/or levels and combinations. Or maybe less caffeine? If I’m feeling motivated later on, I’ll check the journals and see what I can find about both plants.
I’ll try the last bit brewed hot and see how that goes before rating.
Another single sample from Ost! Thanks again! (Hope you are well!) I LOVE the idea of an orchid oolong, it’s my favorite type of oolong — floral. However, I’m not sure what the age of this sealed teabag might be. The packaging is quite nice. I may have oversteeped the first steep.. the color of the brew was bright GREEN. uh oh. I guess the teabag might have contained more than a teaspoon and shouldn’t have went in my smaller mug. The flavor isn’t as floral as I’d expect. Buttery,sweet, a bit vegetal. I guess oolongs as they get older, tend to be harder to describe. It’s decent enough. I guess I just didn’t want to sip this down without writing SOMETHING. Poor tea. I see the site has a 20% off spring sale, if anyone is interested… though I’m not sure when that ends.
Steep #1 // 1 teabag for smaller mug // 10 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 10 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #3 // 7 minutes after boiling // 2 min
2019 sipdowns: 27
edited to add: Whoops. just got an e-mail from Art of Tea saying there is hours left in the sale….
I had this tea at a lovely spa and was surprised by their high quality tea selection. I’ve been to spas with only Stash mint tea and one with Lipton. I ended up drinking a lot of tea that day.
This EG Crème is good with a touch of cane sugar, but I took a teabag home and am now enjoying it a lot with milk. The dry tea smells like smooth vanilla and bergamot, but the brewed tea is primarily flavourful bergamot and fresh black tea without the vanilla. I would say I can taste the creaminess, but it is weak and distant. I like my EG potently creamy with lots of vanilla and cream flavour.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Earl Grey, Malt, Tannin
Adventures in pu erh: Morgie vs. sheng cake.
The cake smells like chocolate, which is awesome.
See how in the picture, there is a piece of paper on the cake, and tea is over it? This made things more difficult than they needed to be.
The cake was packed really tightly and I found it very hard to loosen any part of it. So I went for the little indentation in the middle, and managed to break on through to the other side, but the result was I hit the paper without realizing it. So there were little bits of paper among the tea.
Also, the tea was pretty dusty because I am sure I broke some of the leaves trying to pry it apart.
Any suggestions on how to do better next time?
Somehow I managed to pry enough off to get about 2.7g of tea. I got most of the paper out before I rinsed, and another couple of bits out after. But I suspect there was still some in there…
Gaiwan. Boiling. 5/5/7/7/10/10/20/30/40/60
Because of the dust, the liquor was cloudier than I’d ever seen with a sheng. It was the color of a lemon cough drop in the first few steeps. Later, it became gold, with a copper tinge and clearer.
I didn’t notice much change from steep to steep. For the most part, I got that buttery, white chocolate aroma and flavor that I have discovered is pretty standard for me and sheng.
Around steep 4, something happened though. The tea got sweeter, and also seemed to be more vibrant in flavor.
And around steep 6, it developed a crispness and a brightness I hadn’t observed before.
I liked it quite a lot, though I am not sure it’s the best I’ve had so far.
Flavors: Chocolate, White Chocolate
I tried this tea once before – at 1 tsp / 10 oz / 4 min – and wasn’t impressed. For this steep I upped it a bit – 1.5 tsp / 10 oz / 5 min – and I’m still getting not much of anything from the brew.
I understand that this is supposed to be a primarily herbal restorative blend, but there’s simply no chance I’ll drink it long enough to see the effects. It smells strongly of potpourri with faint fruit notes and a bit of cinnamon…not that any of that comes through in the flavor.
It tastes…watery. Thin, with no real oomph behind it. No flavors I can pick out with any kind of consistency other than a dusty sweet-fruit note that’s rather unpalatable. It doesn’t make me loathe it, but there’s nothing to make me want to drink it so I’m going to feed it to the sink.
The penultimate day of my Advent calendar from Sara.
I went out earlier today and had a fancy shou pu-erh. Came home and pulled out of my advent calendar… a fancy shou pu-erh. I guess it’s that kind of day. :)
The scent is very mild and earthy. I brewed it western style as I’m not set up for gong fu at home, and I’m so out of it that I forgot to do a wash first.
So far, I like this one better than the 9016 Shou Pu-erh I had earlier today. I taste fruit and honey and a little earthy tone, in a nice balance.
The second steep has an even better balance. You’re walking in the woods. There’s no one around, and your phone is dead. Out of the corner of your eye you spot a falling leaf. There are falling leaves everywhere! They fall to the ground, honey colored, and somehow honey scented, and there is a variety of fallen fruit on the ground.
There is a hint of malt this time too.
The third steep is similar to the second. I kept meaning to rake the leaves once they dried, but then it rained again. Finally I raked them up wet, and it smelled kind of like this.
I’m going to keep steeping this until the flavor is all spent. I’ll comment if it changes.
Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Honey, Malt
This tea confuses me – first, this is yet another coconut blend that the universe keeps throwing at me, much to my chagrin…and it really doesn’t taste like apples. Perhaps I’m spoiled because I was raised on orchard-grown (real, naturally ripened) apples, but from this I’m mostly getting a spice aroma and a rooibos backend.
I gave it a solid 6 min steep, but I’m thinking I might need to push it closer to 10 to pull some of the more “apple pie” flavors out of the mix. Personally I’m not sure where those flavors might be hiding in the lackluster cup I’m currently holding…but I’ll withhold my disgruntlement until I’ve had a chance to give it a more intense steep.
For now, though, it’s a thin (not unappealing, but not apple pie) brew with a bit of pepper on the backend and the faintest hints of a mulled flavor on the front. If I huff it like I’m trying to get high off the fumes I can barely pick up some apple in the aroma but…yeah, I’m not super excited about this one.
The leaves have a grassy green smell in the tin, with a sweet floral note and just a hint of a sharp spicy note.
Gaiwan, 195F. Rinse, 15 seconds +5 for each subsequent steep.
The tea has a very pale yellow liquor. It smells fresh, with a single floral note. The description says lilac, and while I ‘m not sure I have a mental map of lilac’s aroma, I have no reason to think this isn’t that. In the first steep, there’s a light, milk note.
Later steeps continue to have the lilac note, but starting with the second steep through several more, the milky note becomes buttery. By the third steep, the leaves have greatly expanded and leave a sugary, nectar/floral scent in the cup when the tea is gone.
Something about this tea made me want to keep steeping it beyond my typical four steeps for note-writing purposes. I took this through an additional three steeps with breakfast.
That’s a really good sign, and my rating reflects it.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Milk, Nectar, Spicy, Sweet
Well dammit, I accidentally deleted my sipdown note for this. I had two note pages opened in two different browser windows, and I deleted a blank note. But that somehow deleted what I’d written? Who knows.
Anyway, it was a one-line note so I can recreate it pretty easily. :-)
Sipdown no. 10 of April 2019 (no. 59 of 2019 total, no. 547 grand total).
It made a very nice iced tea, too.
Steeping this slightly hotter than usual in the gaiwan starting after a rinse at 15 sec and increasing in 5 second increments.
My cleaning people unplugged the Zo, so it took a while to get water heated this morning and it went all the way up to 205F. On its way back down now at 200F but I didn’t want to wait until it cooled down to 195F as I have to go get a haircut later.
This is unlike a lot of other Tieguanyins I’ve had lately. First, it doesn’t smell at all buttery or milky, and it’s only just slightly floral in the tin. Mostly it smells grassy-green.
The color starts pale yellow on the first steep and deepens to a clear medium gold on subsequent steeps.
The tea has a roasty aroma that on subsequent steeps has a brown sugary quality. In the earlier steeps it had some mineral aspects. But then it might be because I keep thinking iron, iron, iron….
The flavor hits the tongue in a way that announces complexity. It’s not buttery, not milky, not terribly floral. It has a taste all its own. I don’t really get the pine that others have mentioned. I sometimes do get pine from tea, but I can only get it here if I throw my mind out of focus and stretch.
I do get something that by the third steep I’ve identified as a salty but not salty quality. It seems salty, but it isn’t. This is probably because of its roasty-toastyness.
It holds up well through four steeps, and shows no signs of quitting. If I didn’t have to move on because of today’s schedule, I’d love to sit with it longer.
This is a lovely, tasty tea. As it’s type goes, I tend to prefer the more buttery and floral and less toasty greens. But it’s a great change of pace.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Mineral, Roasted, Salty, Toast
I poured in the hot water, and the whole kitchen smelled like peppermint. Mmm.
Mmm, it’s a nice minty chocolate, more mint than chocolate. It’s rather sweet and very holiday. There’s also a little tea note, though I can’t pick out what sort of tea with the other flavors. I know it’s pu-erh from the ingredient list.
This is really almost a perfect chocolate minty tea. I’m going to try adding some cocoa powder to the infuser on my second steep, as I often do with chocolate teas to make them more to my taste.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Peppermint, Tea
Autumn Harvest! This was another sampler I had from a holiday sampler pack from Art of Tea. It was described as “a warming caffeine-free blend of cinnamon, cloves and sweet tangy cranberries with a citrusy finish, reminiscent of Grand Marnier” but since I’ve been alcohol-free for decades due to my chronic migraine condition, I have never had a Grand Marnier and have no idea what it is even supposed to taste like. I only know this should be a cranberry-forward blend, and it’s harvest season, and I want some cranberries, so let’s do this!
The dry leaf smelled very strongly of spice, particularly of clove. It steeped up an unsurprising deep rooibos red color, and the aroma still smelled overwhelmingly of spice. It also tasted overwhelmingly of spice, too, with cinnamon and clove leaving a very strong impression on each sip. The tea reminded me more of a spice cider than anything else; it left a warm, cozy, by-the-fireside feeling from the cinnamon-clove spice, but if there were any other flavors in the tea, they were completely lost beneath the strong spices! Where in the world was the cranberry? I mean, I could see them in the leaf, but there wasn’t so much as a hint of it in the flavor! There isn’t even so much as a fruity note to this! Hell, I don’t even really taste the honeybush/rooibos base all that much, too be honest. The tea is sweeter than if the delivery vehicle for the spice were a black, sure, but even the base feels really drowned out in spice. Meeeeeeeeh. Just a bad blend all around.
You can’t call yourself Cran Marnier and have no cranberry!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Rooibos, Spices, Spicy, Sweet
Autumn Harvest! This is a sampler I had from a holiday sampler pack from Art of Tea. The leaf has a very strong rooibos scent, with a slightly sweet aroma that reminds me a bit of vanilla or cream, with just a hint of spice.
Steeped up, the tea has a very rusty red color, with the same sweet, inviting aroma of the leaf. The taste was a bit underwhelming, though. For a tea that is called Pumpkin Pie, it just didn’t taste as much like pumpkin pie as I was expecting. The rooibos/honeybush base was a bit dominating, and I didn’t feel like I was tasting much of a pumpkiny flavor coming through in it. There certainly was a hint of creaminess to the tea, like a small hint of pumpkin pie with a dallop of whipped cream right at the back of the tongue as you swallow, which I found quite pleasant. I just wish that note was a little stronger. It feels to me like the honeyed/woody rooibos and honeybush takes center stage first, and the pumpkin tones are only able to squeeze in afterwards.
At least the spices in this blend aren’t too dominating or overwhelming, as they often tend to be in pumpkin spice blends. They have a nice sweet spice flavor toward the end of the sip and blend in nicely overall, and really the only thing that would’ve made them work better is having a proper pumpkiny flavor component to the tea.
Overall pretty meh. It just didn’t quite get there for me, as far as pumpkin teas go.
Flavors: Cream, Honey, Rooibos, Spices, Sweet, Wood
So this is very exciting.
After checking carefully, eliminating a duplicate, and determining that I had sipped down something that I thought I still had, I now have exactly two more black teas in my cupboard that I haven’t tasted and written notes about, not including this one.
So tomorrow will be the day! I’ll have completed herbals and fruit blends and black teas. I think next up is likely to be green tea given that I have a ton of oolongs and even more samples.
Current count is,
Matchas to go: 6
Other green teas to go: 8
So I won’t make it this long weekend, and the next couple of weekends I’ll be on a business trip. But if I get all the tasting in as planned I’ll be very close to having tasted all the greens and matchas and written notes about them, too.
I discovered a couple of white teas still in my stash while doing this exercise, so I can’t claim victory there yet, and the oolongs and pu-erhs will take a while. But progress is good.
Now. This tea. The smell in the tin is candy-sweet cinnamon, in the same vein as the Harney and others. After steeping, it becomes a bit more cinnamon stick-like. Still sweet, but more spice than candy. It’s a medium orange-brown and clear.
The flavor has just the subtlest orange, which comes out mostly in the finish and aftertaste. I do taste clove, but just barely, for which I am grateful.
It’s rather the Constant Comment flavor profile, but with sweeter cinnamon and less heavy on the clove. Different from the Harney — less like red hots, more like stick cinnamon.
I like just as well, for different reasons.
Flavors: Candy, Cinnamon, Clove, Orange, Spices
How am I the first to write a note about this tea?
As those of you who have read my notes over lo these many years know, I am a huge fan of jasmine green tea. Huge. Many people are saying. Big league.
I think I was saving this one because it smelled so awesome in the packet. By awesome, I mean that it smells very much like jasmine flowers, not like painted-on jasmine flavor.
That is also the case after steeping. It’s definitely jasmine flowers. There’s something even slightly nectary and polleny about the aroma. Bingo. The tea is clear and golden yellow.
And wow, it tastes just like it smells.
I am in love.
I opened this for the first time today because I’m trying to taste a new green and write a note about it at least every time I sip down a large tin of green to keep a balance going.
The ingredients list mentions rosehips and raspberries “and other natural flavors” which is interesting given the name. The other natural flavors must be the “essence of pomegranate”?
There’s a strong fruity smell in the packet. If I didn’t know about the raspberries, I probably would have said it smelled like pomegranate. But knowing, I sometimes smell pomegranate and sometimes raspberries.
The tea is a strong, gold color and has a juicy fruity smell.
Amazingly, in the flavor, the combination of raspberry and whatever the flavoring agent does remind me of pomegranate, though not as tart. Which is actually good, because if it was that tart I’m not sure I’d enjoy drinking it.
The berries sweeten the flavor up nicely. Certainly, at times while drinking this I think of raspberry rather than pomegranate. But I quite like raspberry, so that’s not such a bad thing.
I didn’t experience any of the bitterness others have mentioned steeping at my standard time and temp for green tea.
Very nice indeed.
Flavors: Fruity, Raspberry, Sweet
A Berry Frui-tea July! Here is another of my most ancient Art of Tea samplers… I want to say early 2017? I guess that was long enough in blend-time that they’ve now discontinued this one. It always amazes me that I can procrastinate on a sample and then find that the tea is no longer carried by the vendor by the time I get around to it…
So different than most hibi-hip fruit teas I sample, this one is mixed with rooibos and honeybush. I like hibi-hip fruit teas, and I like rooibos/honeybush teas, so this really should be a shoe-in for me. Smelling the sample, I couldn’t even really smell the rooibos/honeybush, I just got a strong tropical fruity scent out of the bag.
I found myself a little perplexed on how I wanted to make this — I prefer hibi-hip teas iced, but prefer rooibos teas warm! Obviously the only solution was to try the sampler both ways! The warm cuppa was actually quite nice. The flavor reminded me a lot of Tea Chai Te’s Papaya and Pineapple tea (a hibi-hip fruit tea that is sans rooibos/honeybush) since it had that same sort of tangy tropical fruit taste with a very hibiscus-fruity base flavor. The main difference here is the base wasn’t so thick in mouthfeel, and a little less tangy from the lack of papaya, with a slightly stronger pineapple note. The tangy fruit notes also felt a little more rounded and sweeter; I really couldn’t taste any distinct rooibos or honeybush flavor notes against the fruit, but I think it was sweetening up the tea a good deal. Still probably too tart/tangy for anyone sensitive to hibi-hip, though (unless adding sweetener, of course).
Then I tried it iced… and ooooooooooh did I suddenly taste that rooibos! And I do not like the taste of iced rooibos, because for some reason when rooibos is iced, I only get a very distinct “cough syrup” flavor from it, that under most circumstances, I don’t get in warm tea (this may just be when it is paired with fruity flavors… I’m not sure!) In any event, this batch of iced tea tasted like cough syrup. Ya, no.
This was fine as a warm cup, but… I don’t really like drinking these kind of teas warm, and iced this was just a whole lot of nope. If this blend didn’t have the rooibos in it, I could’ve iced it and happily drunk it all day. Meh, such a waste. Ah well, that’s another sampler sipped down.
Flavors: Fruit Punch, Fruity, Hibiscus, Medicinal, Pineapple, Sweet, Tangy, Tart
Pear seems like a tricky flavor. I’ve had pear teas and while they’re always tasty, they don’t always taste like pear.
If the dry leaf was any indication, though, that wasn’t going to be a problem here. The tea in the tin smells like the juicy run off from canned pears, without the sugar.
Steeped, the aroma is less intense and greener — the tea base comes out a bit more. But there’s still more than a definite hint of pear in the aroma. The tea is an intense gold color and remarkably clear.
It’s in the flavor, though, that this really shines. Though I have to focus my mind a bit on the warm pear desserts I’ve had in the past to get past the initial jarring effect of hot pear, that’s what this is. Hot pear, not sugary, with a grassy green sencha coming through mostly around the edges. It’s amazingly true to flavor, without any artificiality.
I dub this my official top pear tea so far.