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Recent Tasting Notes
Smells like machine bubble gum. I’m not sure how to explain that exactly, however, bubble gum from a ball machine typically has a sweet spice (?) on the nose. Maybe my nose isn’t the most trusting thing in the world, but that’s how they always smell to me. Anyway, the flavor is very pleasant and fruity. The hibiscus makes the tea a little tart, which reminds me of sour cherry. That cherry + spices + pear is very nice. I definitely want to give this a try as an iced tea.
Edit—It tastes like Juicy Fruit. Roswell Strange narrowed the type of gum down. I haven’t had it in so long, that I almost lost touch with one of my favorite childhood flavors.
Flavors: Bubblegum, Cherry, Fruity, Pear, Tart
This is the second cup of tea tonight. I’ve been quite busy with work since a lot of places were closed yesterday with the large amounts of snow that gathered within various cities/states.
I found that this tea smells like a Girl Scout Mint Patty, but the flavor profile has more of a York Peppermint Patty taste. This was surprisingly creamy and dessert-y. The rooibos base didn’t really scream in this tea, despite the obvious amounts of rooibos leaf in the blend itself. The peppermint and chocolate took the show, and I LOVED it.
Flavors: Chocolate, Mint
No notes on Steepster for this one yet! Apparently it’s a Tealyra exclusive. I keep trying to write a note for this one, but the smoky teas are so difficult to get through that smoke to distinguish the other flavors! It’s certainly supposed to be a quality option from Tealyra. And it’s certainly delicious as a smoky tea. It’s a Japanese take on Lapsang Souchong, that Tealyra says has a “truly Japanese taste” but not really going into further detail on what it tastes like. This is smoked with sakura/ cherry wood, so that is interesting. Every time I steep it up I really am trying to find a difference between this and Chinese Lapsang Souchong but my tastebuds are hard pressed to find a difference. It tastes like a smoky tea to me… nothing really bad or especially great about this tea… I’m not really selling this one to any of you, am I?
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons // 25 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
A delicious floral Oolong that has a scent reminiscent to blooming lilacs on a warm spring day. It has a sweet and delicate floral flavour with a hint of warm honey and a smidgen of spice that makes for a great treat.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Spices
#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #209 overall / Tea #33 for May
Thursday 5/20 - made M tea for his kombucha, used up Tea Lyra Key Lime Coconut (black tea). This tea was very old, pretty sure the coconut was bad, but eh. Kombucha knows no bounds!
#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge Sunday, May 2nd: National Lemonade Day Tea #3
I drank the first cup on Lemonade day and the second steep the next day, so getting around to posting this now. Ever have a wacky complicated tea blend turn out EXACTLY like how you wanted it to be?! That is this blend for me. I blind bought 50grams…it’s the perfect amount of lavender flavor, lemon flavor, sweetness from the one white chocolate chip in the teabag, and even the perfect amount of tartness from the hibiscus. Lovely. So so good. It reminds me a bit of Bird & Blend’s Moondrop Dreams or like a very elaborate French dessert cookie. It has the tartness of a lemon rind type of flavor, but also sweet lemon, but then also sweetness from the white chocolate chip and a bit of floral from the lavender. It’s balanced quite amazingly. Very glad I bought it, would buy it again and Tealyra better not discontinue it!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for big mug // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
I finished a favorite Jin Jun Mei a couple months ago and then immediately found a couple on Tealyra and then immediately ordered them. (Shakes head.) But I don’t have any other Jin Jun Mei right now! (Excuses.) Anyway, the leaf here is very twisty and tangled, long, silky with plenty gold. Steeped up, the leaves have a tomato soup fragrance. Also very dominating in the flavor while I try to swim through all that tomato soup to notice any other flavors. The creamiest of tomato soup. I don’t mind the tomato soup flavor, but I also don’t really want Jin Jun Mei to taste like that. None of the (admittedly limited) Jin Jun Mei that I have tried has really tasted like this in the past. I like the depth of the black tea here though – not too light, while also being sweet enough. Second steep: exactly the same. I wish I could pick this one apart more, but I have plenty more to enjoy later on. I have had it a few times now and the results are always the same.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 18 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
An Ode to Tea challenge – L
I haven’t written a tasting note for this yet, though I received it quite a while ago from SkySamurai. Thank you! (This alphabet challenge is forcing me to write a few notes for teas I haven’t yet, so that is getting something accomplished!) This is quite the flavor punch! A green tea with big jasmine flowers and plenty of lychee flavor. I think the lychee and the jasmine are at war with each other and I’m not sure which wins. But it’s quite tasty on the silky smooth green. Really really good. It would be phenomenal in the summer months. I have a couple cups left to enjoy then! Tealyra still has this one available! It’s a good one to try if you’re looking for lychee.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for full mug // 34 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 40 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
I haven’t written a note for this. I think I received it as a sample a while ago directly from Tealyra. It’s a lovely one. It’s all sweet sweet orange, almost reminding me of some sort of orange sauce you’d eat on chicken or something. I miss Chinese buffets. We don’t have any in the vicinity here anyway. There are only hints of mint in the flavor, which is fine with me as I like the sweet orange being the highlight of the cup. The second steep is also fantastic. Sadly they don’t have this for sale anymore. I would have bought more. That’s the problem with Tealyra… they once kept my favorites in stock but not so much anymore. But it looks like ‘Tea Desire’ has it in stock as Blood Orange Loves Mint.
Steep #1 // 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 10 minute steep
2021 sipdowns: 36 (oldest sample of Adagio – Fujian Baroque)
I believe a big part of this tea’s excellence comes from the terroir as well as the skill of the teamasters involved. Because another very similar tea (also sold by Tealyra) is called Black Beauty #8, which also comes from the Sun Moon Lake region. But Teapedia describes TTES #8 as “a assamica varietal from Jaipur (India, Assam)”. So a completely different cultivar, with very similar flavors. It is my second-favorite. The TTES is a formal research station, so their pedigree designations are authoritative.
So, yes, Brandy Oolong Ruby 18 is, in my estimation, outstanding. Please also find other tea notes listed for this tea under the company’s prior name, Tealux. This is also among the more expensive tea I’ve had, at $8/25g since I get only one pleasing steeping out of it, thus it rivals good pu’ers, on a per-cup basis. But it handily beats all of them in flavor and aroma! YMMV.
Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Raisins, Stonefruit, Sugarcane, Tea
I bought this in mid-2018 and while the harvest year was not provided by Tealyra, the manufacturers box was dated as 2016, so I’m assuming that is when the tea was made. The logo and name of Maosheng Tea Co. is also printed on the box.
While Tealyra classified and sold this in their pu’erh tea section, it isn’t clear to me that it is properly called pu’erh. Certainly it has been subjected to post-fermentation, as the yellow spores are visible once I pried open the huge brick (2.1 lbs!). I’ve posted a photo of the 4g portion that I steeped today. No appreciable change in the tea aroma or flavor in the past 3 years. I gong fu’ed the 4g in 6oz boiling tap water for about 8 steepings, after a brief rinse in boiling water. No change in aroma or flavor with successive steepings, either, except gradual weakening of the liquor to the point on cup #8 that it was no longer very palatable.
The tea does NOT taste like any other ripe pu’erh I’ve sipped, and it is devoid of any compost or fishy notes. Further, I cannot discern any characteristic Assam flavors, or even a “tea” flavor strong enough to reveal what leaves were used. However, this tea DOES have a very pungent and distinctive scent and taste, which might be a result of the golden flower fungus itself. Sort of a non-floral powdery impression, reminiscent of… something. Others have mentioned dry Chinese red dates, but since I’ve never tasted those, I can’t say. I didn’t like it when first I tried this tea, but now it seems more interesting and inoffensive. I must find a way to describe the aroma and flavor(s). The spent leaves were large pieces (2-3 cm) and dark brown. I’ll keep drinking this (there’s so darn much of it) and post more notes if I have any epiphanies or revelations. I won’t rate it because heck, I can’t even describe it adequately. Recommended for those who dabble or feel adventurous.
Tealyra has removed it from their site, so I have no official description to post that could lend clues to tasting or alternative sources. It only set me back $55 for the 960g brick, so no buyer’s remorse!
Mastress Alita’s sipdown challengeSaturday, February 27th: National Strawberry Day Tea #2
Started this one yesterday with a third steep today. I bought this recently. Couldn’t resist. Sounded dreamy. (I DO miss Tealyra’s sample sizes though. I loved those things. I could try so many different teas with sample sizes.) Upon opening the pouch, yowzas there is a strong scent to this tea and I wouldn’t really say it smells like strawberry or pear. It looks like a fairly decent bao zhong base. There is a good deal of fruit here. So now I’m wondering why the flavoring is necessary at all. I also noticed a large piece of hibiscus that turned the mug a pale pink. I might just pick out any hibiscus I see from the infuser in the future but it doesn’t do much harm in any of the steeps. Overall, not so much a flavoring “kiss” as a “punch” (and that isn’t even the hibiscus!) but maybe it will mellow out with time. The flavor of the oolong does come across though! By the third steep, the weird flavor has been faded, but I don’t want faded weird flavor. I just wanted a nice delicate pear and strawberry flavoring to go with it. I should have listened to the majority of Steepster on this one. Annnnddddd…. this is another reason I miss samples.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons // 28 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 2 min
Steep #3 // just boiled // 3 min
#tiffanys2021sipdown Tea #75 overall / Tea #42 for February
Thursday 2/25 — Another end of month “must-sip-down-to-meet-number goals” time LOL. The open 50g package said best by 2017 sometime (so yay for getting anything 2017 or older not a traditional tea out of the way) I had maybe 1 tablespoon left? I’m not sure how much but it barely covered bottom of my metal steeper basket. I never had the full bag I think I had a couple servings given to me in a swap or sale years ago from DT FB group when first getting into tea.
Sipped hot and plain during impromptu AM shift at work/finished up at home cuddled in blankets taking a nap/watching NYPD Blue. :)
#tiffanydrinkstea #tiffanys2021 #tiffanysfaves #tiffanyinthe614 #tiffanysteasipdown #sipdownchallenge
What I like about this Earl Grey is that the flavorings are more subtle. I can actually taste the Ceylon tea in the background. The bergamot is tame and the vanilla is tamer. I like this one more than Tealyra’s EG Classic. The sachets are convenient.
Two important issues with this tea: (1) Set aside your expectations of how “earl grey” should smell & taste; (2) Expect inconsistency with this blend. I’m drinking this now from sachets recently purchased in very late 2020, and find the aroma “heady” as stated by Tealyra. I do think I can discern the base Ceylon tea, the bergamot, and the “French vanilla cream” as components of a very unique blend. But when Tealyra says “just a hint of French vanilla”, they are way off-mark—it is THE dominant flavor. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying this lots, and will sip it down as a dessert tea.
But remember I mentioned inconsistency? I had ALSO previously bought this loose-leaf from Tealyra 4 years ago and my experience mirrored that reported by rand0m1s in their note below. The french vanilla was so overwhelmingly strong that it was nauseating and saturating other stuff in my kitchen and I sealed it up and disposed of it. My guess is that whoever is blending this isn’t able to properly modulate the addition of a very concentrated flavoring ingredient. Maybe this flavoring gets sopped up especially well by the tea on the top of the pile and it’s not being post-mixed very well. They should try flavoring the cornflowers first, and using them to carry the flavoring into the final blend.
Anyway, it seems that with this tea, “your mileage may vary” is an understatement! As such, I’m not giving a numeric rating or a recommendation. Finally, yes this is “organic” but that is not of interest to me. And Tealyra doesn’t use the term in the name, so I’ve edited the listing and added a photo from their website as well.
This is an okay quality Earl Grey, built upon a nondescript, blasé Ceylon base. Ironically, Tealyra writes “there is absolutely no need to change something that is perfect as is!” and yet they add blue cornflowers to it. Why? For color and marketing purposes, I suppose. Cheaper than adding gold leaf, right? Anyway, the tea is overwhelmed by the bergamot flavor, which itself isn’t all that powerful. But if you like bergamot as I do, you might not mind a “cuppa bergamot”. Ultimately this version of the classic is boring but quaffable. I used the loose-leaf form, but nylon sachets are also available. Both are priced affordably.
This is a decent English Breakfast, which I bought in convenient sachets. Mild, but the keemun base shines through. Otherwise, the review by eastkyteaguy is spot-on. I don’t give a rats tail about it being “organic”. I would prefer Tealyra’s slightly more expensive Keemun Mao Feng Premium sachets for routine drinking, so that will be my future purchase for his type of tea. I’ve added a new photo fromTealyra’s site, but for some reason it isn’t displaying in the listing.
First and foremost, is this a Pu’erh tea? Apparently it is made via a fermentation process, but with leaves from Japan, not Yunnan. And apparently made in Japan, using a rice yeast (not disclosed on the ingredient list). It tastes neither like sheng nor shou Puer, nor like Hoji-cha. But I DO like it. The leaf is pretty finely broken, and it brews up fast to produce a clear, deep red-orange liquor with a great toasted-rice aroma and flavor that lingers in the throat and nose. No fishy, compost, or dank notes, devoid of astringency and smooth as pudding. Almost as expensive as a good sheng though! Clear sweet, tea flavor and good for six steepings before it peters out. I’ve made multiple purchases. Ignore all the bogus health statements and just try it because it tastes good. And as always, I don’t give a hoot about the fear-mongering “organic” claim. I’ve added a photo of what was in my pouch since I didn’t feel the sellers was representative.
Another of Tealyra’s Germany-sourced teas, this of course contains no C. sinensis, and is fruit/herbal. And tasty! I made a single infusion cycle of 2 tsp in 10 oz boiling water in a drawstring fabric teabag. All the ingredients can be discerned, and the (purple) liquor has a lovely aroma of fruit and berries. Some tartness on the sides of the tongue probably from the hibiscus or strawberry leaves. I drank half of it straight and the remainder sweetened. Either way it would have also made a refreshing iced beverage.
Previously listed here under the former name of the company (Tealux) I’ve updated the listing with the new name, description and picture pulled from the company website.
I was raised with “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Tealyra’s website says this comes from Germany. Maybe that means it was blended there by the wholesaler. This is a fast-brewing tea blend that is definitely pungent. I’m using the pyramid sachets and steeping Western style in a large mug. The orange peel is just overwhelming, making it hard to discern the background tea itself. Not keemun, nor assam, maybe a bland “something else”. My first impression was that the orange had fermented while drying, as that is the odor I perceived from both the dry and brewed product. But now on my third session with it, it’s less offensive and perhaps what I’m tasting is the lemongrass and bergamot combining with the pungent orange. Not (yet) to my taste, but I’ll sip down the remainder over the next year, as a wake-up brew at least. For now I won’t recommend either for or against, as some might really like it. Kind of how some of us enjoy kimchee or cumin or cilantro, while others don’t. Since it’s cheap, there’s not much to lose by trying it if these flavors a’peel to you. (See what I did there?)
Postscript: Raising my rating from 40 to 60 because this tea at least tastes of natural flavors and fragrance, rather than artificial flavorings, like some of my other recent acquisitions.
I bought it four years ago from Tealyra, and have kept it in sealed careful storage, and it’s not changed over that time. Yes, it is strong. In the sense that it makes a very dark brown infusion, very quickly. But the flavors? Well, it’s complex, but mild, with no single flavor taking control. The characteristic Assam flavor is there, but muted. There is some pepperiness and a hint of smoke in the aftertaste, suggesting almost contamination with another tea. I brewed this Western style in a big mug, with a heaping teaspoon of leaf in a drawstring teabag, and 10 oz boiling water for 4 minutes. The manufacturer’s description says this will never disappoint, but my very first impression was of disappointment, and over the years that I’ve given this taste after taste, it keeps on disappointing. There aren’t major defects, it’s just… unimpressive. Not putting another dime down this rabbit-hole. Now, if you’re the type who spikes your tea with sage or other spices, or even fruit zest, then this might be a good base for you. But as an orthodox tea, not so much. I’ve added a photo borrowed from Tealyra’s website, and indicated that it’s now available as a sachet as well as loose.