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Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks again for the samples, Teakruthi! NOW Teakruthi has a great new rewards system on their already great free shipping and tea sales. I love trying a new mint tea and with the black base here, it’s quite crisp and refreshing. Plenty of mint mixed in — very fresh fragrance! The black tea is on the lighter side so it’s tough to taste underneath that mint – too dark and deep and it might seem a bit odd with mint anyway. But the black tea is a nice carrier for the mint when I’m craving it (or need it for headaches) while also offering a bit of caffeine. The ‘zen’ of the name is accurate – this is a very calming and soothing blend. The second steep is also full of flavor. I guess I don’t see too many black mint teas that other companies sell, so this is a unique tea for Teakruthi to carry. I have really been loving most of the teas I’m trying from Teakruthi and I’m glad I stumbled on the shop!
Steep #1 // 1 1/3 teaspoon for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
2020 Sipdowns: 9 (52Teas – Pumpkin chai – Anne’s but still have Frank’s)
Thanks so much for the samples, Teakruthi! I highly appreciate the actual peach pieces in this blend. To a lesser extent, the ginger. I’m just not much of a fan of ginger. I wouldn’t mind a plain Ceylon with legions of peach added to the black tea. The ginger takes over the flavor, leaving a bitterness, but also something savory that is reminding me of fennel or sage or some other spice I’m hardly familiar with. Sadly the peach is hiding, though I made sure to get at least one noticeable piece of peach in the infuser. Maybe someone steeping this one differently will have better luck with it. I’d lose the ginger, personally. But it has such a unique savory flavor, it’s like I’m sipping soup. The second steep still doesn’t have much peach. It might be TOO strong with 1 3/4 teaspoons. It’s different!
Steep #1 // 1 3/4 teaspoons for a full mug // 17 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
The next day I wanted to try it again with a FLAT teaspoon to see if the bitterness would go away… not bitterness from the black tea at all but from all of this ginger. The flavor was obviously less strong this time, still with that savory note, still not much peach — only wisps and hints of peach in the occasional sip. It’s hard to taste the black tea underneath all this ginger, but it’s a good base for it. I’d probably prefer this blend with 1 1/3-1 1/2 teaspoons. It’s different but not something I’m eagerly wanting to stock up (too many other favorites from Teakruthi and again, ginger isn’t my favorite)… though I imagine down the line I will be remembering the unique flavor.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 13 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
I brewed this as a latte and lately I find when I froth milk in my milk frother, it smells a little off. Not bad but off-somehow. I wonder why considering I clean it thoroughly after every use…
Anyways, I don’t know if it is the milk or the tea (steeped for 3 mins at 185F) that I am not enjoying. It’s not bad per se but I think cardamom is coming through more in the scent than anything and there is something floral about the latte in general I was not expecting. I am not a fan but I think this may be user error…maybe.
I caved and bought a few of my favourite teas from Teakruthi during their Black Friday sale, and also got a couple more samples to review. I was in the mood for a breakfast tea this morning, and this broken orange pekoe did the job. I steeped 2 teaspoons of tea in a 355 ml mug at 205F for 3.5, 5, and 10 minutes.
The dry aroma of these very broken-up leaves is of malt, honey, and green grapes. The first steep has notes of malt, honey, tannin, baked bread, wood, grass, and green grapes. I get a coppery, malty aftertaste. The second steep focuses on the malt, baked bread, and honey, and is actually a bit weaker despite its longer time. The final steep is surprisingly gentle for this type of tea and echoes the malt and honey in the second steep.
This is a nice breakfast tea with some distinctive Sri Lankan components (i.e., the flavour I identify as green grapes and that coppery aftertaste). It never gets too bitter, which is a plus for a BOP. I recommend it for mornings when you want something solid and uncomplicated.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Grapes, Grass, Honey, Malt, Tannin, Wood
I usually enjoy white tea, but don’t drink it often for some reason. True to this pattern, I was eager to try a Sri Lankan white, but I’m posting this as my penultimate review for this company. Thanks to Teakruthi for the sample. I steeped two teaspoons of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 190F for 4.5, 6, and 10 minutes.
The dry aroma of these small, dark, not very typical white tea leaves is of autumn leaf pile and something tart. The first steep has notes of tart rhubarb, herbs, malt, autumn leaf pile, honey, and florals. The liquor is quite drying. The second steep is less tart and has a hint of rose, in accordance with Teakruthi’s description. The final steep is tart, floral, drying, and malty.
This is a pleasant if unusual white tea that’s more assertive than many similar teas from other countries. I can see people who don’t usually opt for white tea really liking this, as the malt and honey make it more akin to a black tea. While I can’t see myself drinking this regularly, I think its divergence from other white teas is fascinating.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Drying, Floral, Herbaceous, Honey, Malt, Rhubarb, Rose, Tart
I like chai teas on occasion, and was glad to get this cinnamon version to review. Thanks to Teakruthi for the sample. I steeped around 4 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 203F for 4, 6, and 10 minutes.
The dry aroma is of strong, woody cinnamon. In the first steep, the cinnamon is the star, and is strong but not too sweet. It’s the kind of cinnamon that gets put into baked goods, and it’s making me hungry! The black tea is malty, woody, and not astringent. The next two steeps continue the nice balance between cinnamon and black tea, and even brewed for ten minutes, the astringency is minimal.
This is a simple, well-executed cinnamon tea that I really enjoyed. It’s not particularly spicy and calling it a chai might be a stretch, but I guess it fulfills the same warm, cozy niche.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Malt, Wood
Thanks again for the samples, teakruthi! The leaves here don’t look like a traditionally rolled, pebble type of oolong. There are some longer pieces. The description is confusing, as it mentions being green, not an oolong, and I think some might end up being disappointed if they’re looking for a typical oolong flavor, as this definitely tastes like green tea to me. It tastes very similar to the Mythical Green tea, with that smoky, mildly spicy profile. But now that I’m actually realizing that this is a green tea, before the second steep, I was treating it like an oolong and brewed it with close-to-boiling water, rather than waiting a while to prevent bitterness. So now I’m very surprised this didn’t become bitter at all, since it tastes green and I brewed it like an oolong. It tasted like a normally cooled-then-brewed green tea. So what makes it an oolong over a green tea? I’m not sure. But this isn’t the flavor I’m really looking for in an oolong either way. I’d choose the Mythical Green over this one. However, the descriptions say both teas aren’t even grown in the same area, so I could be very wrong about the similarities and I could not be steeping either tea correctly. So it’s always worth brewing them yourself and giving them a try!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 28 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3-4 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Another sample from Teakruthi! Thanks so much. This is fantastic stuff. Any lemon fan — you need to try this! It’s so fresh and bright, and does have that hint of sweetness that makes it KANDY. But really, it comes from the Kandy district in Sri Lanka, so that makes the name of the tea accurate as well. The black tea is perfect with this lemon. It tastes like fresh lemon, squeezed into the tea. Wow. The second steep was somehow very light in flavor — maybe I steeped it stronger in the first cup. If the second steep was stronger, this would be a perfect tea. If you’re looking for a lemon black tea, this might be the best lemon tea I’ve ever had. Unlike the Vanilla Earl (which I sipped recently), which is fickle, this tea is very straightforward and exactly as described.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2-2 teaspoons for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 4 minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Edit: with the black friday sale, this tea would be around $5 for 100 grams! Their prices couldn’t be better! Free shipping is at $20…
Thanks so much for the samples, Teakruthi! Honestly, personally I usually consider Ceylon to be the most boring of black teas… sometimes they just taste like cardboard to me… so a tea shop focusing on Ceylon didn’t sound great in my opinion. BUT I’M WRONG. These are unique Ceylon teas… completely disproves my Ceylon tea stereotypes. This plain black Ceylon tastes nothing like those poor quality Ceylon teas I’ve had in the past. The quality obviously depends on many things. Teakruthi is quality. A Twinings Ceylon is going to be very very different. I really like this one.The dry leaves are about half an inch long, dusty black with hints of pink. The fragrance of the dry leaves reminded me of a spicy tomato sauce… I had been thinking of pizza all day. Hmm. But the flavor wasn’t too much like a spicy pizza sauce. I noticed almond, which is interesting because Teakruthi also mentions almond. I like being reassured that someone (anyone?) is on the same page I am, when it comes to flavor notes. There is a definitely a sweetness here. Strong enough with a teaspoon and a half. The “morning” in the name is accurate – this is a fantastic flavor profile for a morning tea. Steep sessions can range from reminding me of a brisk Assam, to sometimes tasting like a Ruby varietal. I do love a good Ruby tea, so this tea is certainly many steps above the usual boring tastes-like-nothing-to-me Ceylon. The second steep was a little bitter and I wouldn’t try steeping it so hot and so long again. That’s my fault. The first steep was delectable. During another steep session, the second steep was just fine after waiting 3-4 minutes after boiling. Thank you Teakruthi, for solidly proving to me that not all tea grown in the same place can fall under the same quality.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Thanks so much for the samples, Teakruthi! I felt terrible with my internet down not being able to get to reviews of teas from various tea shops. It seems like I acquired quite a handful before my computer broke. And then I feel like my chlorine sink water is ruining teas, so I really would like to figure that out before I’m posting reviews of teas. However, I feel like I should do a couple, as it has been a while!
I was all in for a vanilla Earl Grey! There seems to be many flower petals here… maybe too many… certainly more flower petals in my sample than the photo. I do like my Earls brisk, and this Ceylon may be a little too light for my tastes, even with closer to two teaspoons. I have certainly had worse bergamot teas, but this one seems more like lemon. Sadly, not much noticeable vanilla in the fragrance or flavor. As the tea cools, it is more of a smoky flavor somehow, with the bergamot turning to a lemon rind sort of flavor. Somehow the tea and lemon are stronger, when the cup is cold? But not astringent. The second steep is stronger and more to my tastes. Earl Greys are difficult to please, as well as vanilla teas, so with the added difficulty of both of these types of difficult to make perfect for me, this one is tough to love. It’s not a bad cup, anyhow!
Steep #1 // 1 3/4 teaspoons for a full mug // 14 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep
I’m eyeing a couple teas on DAVIDStea’s sale (Chagas, Movie Night, Cookie Dough) , but they already took down Sweet Potato Pie! The day after Thanksgiving?!?! I really like that Birch Gold Dipped mug too…
These teakruthi teas have been impressing me with their subtley. I saw that the main ingredient other than black tea was cardamom, and I worried because I’ve had too many chais that are too cardamom-heavy. The flavor here is totally balanced between the cardamom and the black tea. I didn’t use milk because I was afraid that would overwhelm the flavors. This is an enjoyable, light chai.
This is my last plain black tea from Teakruthi. (Thanks as always for the sample.) I loosely followed Eastkyteaguy’s parameters and steeped around 4.5 g in a 355 ml mug at 195F for 3, 5, and 7 minutes.
The dry aroma is of pine, prunes, malt, and something pleasantly sour. The first steep has notes of pine, prunes, roasted almond, malt, toast, honey, and (thanks to Eastkyteaguy’s review) orange zest. There’s a fuzzy, not unpleasant astringency. I also get a hint of green grapes as I’ve done in a lot of Ceylon black teas. The second steep has softer notes of roasted almonds, honey, toast, malt, wood, and tobacco, along with a coppery aftertaste. The third steep is much weaker, with notes of malt, tannin, wood, and minerals.
This is a pleasant, complex black tea that’s still a lot more mainstream than Teakruthi’s other black tea offerings. I think it would be a good starting point for exploring Ceylon black tea.
Flavors: Almond, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pine, Pleasantly Sour, Tannin, Toast, Tobacco, Wood
I’ve been super busy lately and haven’t had as much time as I’d like to do gongfu tea reviews, though I’ve had plenty of lazy gongfu sessions to sip down old teas. Western steeping seems to be a good compromise. Thanks to Teakruthi for the sample, and sorry for taking so long to get this review posted! I steeped around 4.5 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 190F for 4.5, 6, and 10 minutes.
Wow! These white tea leaves are huge! I’m a bit concerned that I didn’t get a proper balance between the white and black teas in the blend because the black tea collects at the bottom of the bag, but we’ll see. The first steep is a smooth combination of malt, honey, flowers, grass, and autumn leaf pile. There’s a lot of sweetness from the white tea and not much astringency from the black. The second steep is grassier, but still smooth and sweet; the flavour falls off in the third.
This tea lives up to its name and harmonizes the white and black teas nicely. I found it to be a pleasant evening cup and agree with Roswell Strange on the rating.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Grass, Honey, Malt, Sweet
I was thinking about Harney’s cinnamon tea when I picked this one, so I was surprised by how mild this is. The black tea is very nice with no bitterness, and the cinnamon is rather muted. This is one you wouldn’t want milk with because it would overwhelm the flavors. It’s definitely not a spicy chai. It’s just a mild black tea with light cinnamon. Not bad.
Finally gave this tea a go – it was the last of my batch of free samples from teakruthi that I’d yet to try out. I made it up as a larger Western style of mug to drink while just lounging around and catching up on some comics so it wasn’t something I was giving my undivided attention to. More of just a casual cup.
I liked the flavour a fair amount – lightly sweet and nutty but mostly just a little bit malty. However, as nice as the taste was I found it a bit boring overall and really simple/lacking nuance. It was also just a smidge flat/weak. The thing I was craving most of all from the profile by the time I’d finished the mug was just more body in general – that would have gone a long way. I could probably at least partially achieve that through longer steep time or maybe just more leaf in general. I’ll have enough left for some more experimentation if I remember though…
Thanks again for the samples, Teakruthi! The fruit here almost looks fresh in the blend — and so many great fruits here – strawberry, pineapple, mango and peach! Wow. I can’t ask for a better combination than that. There even seems to be more fruit than green tea, but the fruit is so very tasty. Since Gunpowder Green is stronger, the lesser amount of green tea to the fruit balances it out anyway. The flavor is fantastic — creamy yet full of fruit, with that amazing hint of fresh green tea. And it is quite the tightrope walk balance of tasty fruit to green tea flavors. This is a must-try blend — I’ve tried plenty of fruit green teas in my time, but this one is unique. You will know it when you you’re parceling out some leaves in the teaspoon. I will definitely be ordering this one. I could drink it by the gallon.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 35 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Brewed at quite a low temperature to make sure I wouldn’t get bitterness, but then the fruity flavor didn’t infuse too intensely. The main flavor is the gentle green tea. There’s a little bit of what seems like pineapple in the background. It needed extra sugar because I’m not too huge a fan of green tea flavor. But I’m sure this would be great for someone who is who wants just a hint of fruitiness. The more I drank it, the more I ended up enjoying the freshness of the brew.
Thanks so much for the samples, Teakruthi! This chai is intriguing, as it focuses mostly on cardamom. I’ve never seen a chai blend with only cardamom and really, there aren’t many teas with cardamom at all. There are plenty of cardamom pods here, cut in half, with the lovely Ceylon black tea base. The Ceylon is medium bodied and lets the flavor of the cardamom be prominent while itself being sweet and smooth. The fragrance and flavor of cardamom is definitely present and strong. The second steep, just as much cardamom to the flavor. It’s very calming, sweet, creamy, mellow. It’s a nice change for the taste buds once in a while, instead of the “all the spices” sort of chai all the time.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Not the boldest earl grey I’ve had, but it’s flavorful enough that you can enjoy it without milk. I liked the addition of the delicious vanilla because it adds some complexity that sets it apart from other EGs. I finished my sample in no time at all. It’s heavier on the creamy vanilla than on the bergamot, but I didn’t mind.
Thank you very much to teakruthi for providing this sample! I decided to try it Gongfu as that’s how I would normally prepare any silver needle/bud style white tea for myself. It was a solid session, but I do feel I’d have gotten a stronger impression of the overall flavours present were I just drinking it Western style, so I will keep that in mind for when I revisit this tea.
Here’s my write up from instagram:
Gongfu at work this morning; complete with kiwi berries to snack on! Sipped away at one of the samples provided by teakruthi – Ceylon Gold. Full bodied and dark for a bud composed white tea – notes of malt, buckwheat honey, watered down molasses, and cocobolo. The fruit didn’t really work with the tea, so I just brewed out the leaf and then ate my morning snack instead of having them together…
I actually brewed out this tea during the session – ok like for this style; around eight or nine ok steeps, and one pretty crappy one right at the end, which is when I decided to call the session.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Znnm744Tiwc
I made this as both plain and a latte because it is pouring rain in London (or it was) and chai just seemed like the right fit.
The plain cup has a nice cinnamon flavor. Smooth and a bit woody. I like this type of cinnamon because to me it is more natural/high quality vs. the cinnamon used by other tea companies that tends to be overly sweet or tastes like red hots.
The latte was a bit thin but in fairness I steeped the tea and then forgot to set a timer so it could have been understeeped. However it was creamy and had a hint of cinnamon that served its purpose and made for a warming cuppa on a rainy day.