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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown for ashmanra’s National Cherry Day sipdown prompt. I prioritized finishing this one off because it came in a clear cellophane baggie. With the light and air exposure, I knew it would lose quality faster than most, and I didn’t feel like moving it to a tin. I enjoyed this one to the last. It’s good for multiple steeps and tasty hot or iced. Filing away “sakura leaf” as an herbal worth picking up every spring!
My sense of smell and taste is coming back! I must have sniffed half our spice cabinet to confirm it! I’m probably at about 80% of where I was before, but that’s a vast, vast improvement over the 20% I was at when symptoms were at their worst. So this is a joyous day indeed!
I’m celebrating with this sakura leaf that Nazanin at Tea Thoughts included in an order a while ago (she is truly excellent at the art of the bonus item). It tastes just like sakura mochi, minus the sweetness. The flavor is clean and light without being weak or faint. It’s got a slightly savory quality that I rather enjoy, which is stronger on the second steep. The sakura flavor lingers for a while after the sip, too. Just a really enjoyable herbal.
I got this iced at Teaism while I was in DC for the conference. It was a vibrant ruby red brew. The tart, juicy hibiscus note hits up front, while a nice ginger burn comes in halfway through the sip and lingers afterwards, blending with the hibiscus. I couldn’t really detect the licorice root, and that’s ok with me. It was just overall tasty and refreshing (literally, since hiking to Teaism quite wore me out!).
Phi introduced me to Teaism way back when, and I’m forever grateful for it. Of the teas I’ve had from there, this was one of the first and remains my favorite.
I was looking for an herbal that would really feel like I was treating myself tonight. It has been the kind of week where it’s just one thing after another. Today was about trying to take it easy, get some rest, and give myself some room to breathe. This blend was a good choice. Not only are the eponymous lavender, lemon, and mint soothing and relaxing, but there’s cinnamon in here too that gives it just the right amount of depth, warmth, and spice. It’s definitely an assertive amount of cinnamon, which I love because I love cinnamon, but if you don’t then this might not be the blend for you. Particularly in the second steep, the cinnamon gets stronger as the other flavors fade a bit – but even in the first steep, it’s definitely, deliciously noticeable. This is just easily one of my favorite herbals.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Lavender, Lemon, Mint
It’s always interesting seeing what kinds of teas friends have in their cabinets. I automatically went for the rooibos despite the fact that it smelled kind of like a lemon-scented cleaner. It definitely has a taste like cleaner as well, but it was drinkable. The fruit flavor is light and pleasant, though I can’t quite pin down what kind of fruit it is. I imagine I’d like it quite a bit if it weren’t for that main unpleasant flavor.
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Flavors: Drying, Mineral, Smooth, Tannin, Tea, Toasty
So there’s only a handful of places to get tea locally if you live in DC. Teaism is more of a cafe to me but it still carries some pretty good teas if you want to buy loose. I have to admit that I was addicted to their chai shake. It’s so awesome that I had to get some loose chai for my home in case I’m too lazy to go to the cafe.
Very balanced chai without too much ginger, just the way I like it. Drink it with or without milk. I usually froth my milk and pour it into a hot cup of chai. Perfect for the winter days :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Milk
I love roasted flavors in my tea (but somehow, I don’t like coffee). This tea is nothing but roasted buckwheat, so it offers plenty of those flavors. It definitely reminds me of the toasted rice or popcorn flavors associated with genmaicha, but with none of the green tea flavors. Because there is only one ingredient in this tea, the flavors are pretty straightforward. I wish there was a little more complexity, but it’s just roasted buckwheat.
Another benefit of this tea: you can eat it!
Flavors: Grain, Roasted, Toasted
This is one the my friend picked from the shop outside the Capital.
The taste was very earth and lacked the chocolate tones of the monkey counterpart. This brew had a more malt and spice taste rather than smooth and dessert like. It also carries a light rose hip flavor which was strange. I did enjoy this, but I mostly stuck to my Golden Monkey :)
Flavors: Earth, Malt, Rosehips
I am back from another vacation :) This time I was in Washington D.C. and of course I must stop for Tea. I’ve been wanting to try this tea house out for awhile. I will post a review in the Discover/Explore section.
I couldn’t decide on a brew, so my friend just picked two closely related blacks and we sampled both. This was the one I chose. This comes in a very generous amount. The liquor is a deep chocolate crismon soup. The aroma is of dry cocoa and malt. The flavor is a deep coco tone and smooth. It tasted similar to a decent quality Jin Jui Mei. The last sip finished with a silky caramel tone. I really did like this tea, but it was on the pricey side. I know of other businesses where I can get much higher quality for about half the price. I believe the price was for the experience of drinking tea within sight of the Capital.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Smooth
A friend gave me a bag of this. She in turn had picked it up from the freebie table at her workplace. And I never turn down free loose tea.
This is lovely. Light, just enough jasmine to satisfy without turning into perfume. It’s perfect.
I just looked at the Teaism website and it’s a bit pricier than I’m used to paying for jasmine tea (11.25/2 oz) but I’m glad to have this bag. Given the price and my knowledge of where to find similar or better quality for less, I probably won’t make my way down to their store in Penn Quarter to purchase more.
I had this tea the other night after dinner at a fantastic restaurant in DC, and while it took a while to steep (longer than the 3-4 mins my waiter suggested), it was quite delicious – very light, yet with a comforting apricot flavor with an intriguing cinnamon twist. I’d definitely drink it again.
Flavors: Apricot, Cinnamon, Flowers, Honey
Wiry, lightly oxidized black tea with lots of golden tips. Golden is great word to describe this tea: a honeyed aroma is prominent, with undertones of hay and quince. Reddish brown color in the cup. With careful brewing, can be brewed twice, but initial brew should be less than boiling. This review is for the 2012 harvest.
So I lost this elaborate post I just wrote…so I’m going to just gloss over it because I’m lazy and want to hurry and get to my newly arrived Samovar order! Basically I’m going to say that I was scared, but drank it anyway. It wasn’t bad, and I’m glad I tried it.
I think it’s just too far from the flavors I’m going for lately. It’s very forceful and savory, while I’m tending to like sweet and complex. I know that quality could have something to do with it, but I think it’s something I would have liked more when I was more into black tea anyway.
Honestly, and I know that it’s not necessarily the case with all Lapsangs, all I could get from the smell was “bologna”…Being a vegetarian I haven’t had bologna in about 10 years, so I suppose I could be wrong, maybe a hot dog, but it was pretty distinct. The taste was black tea with hints of bologna…>__< It wasn’t bad, but it was really strange.
My sister quite enjoyed it with some honey. I tried a bit, the floral/sweet honey taste seemed to balance the smoky/savory really nicely. However, I’d rather not add anything to my cup at all.
I’m really not sure how I feel yet, so I won’t rate it.