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Recent Tasting Notes
From Dustin! A while ago we were discussing possible similar teas to almond teas we loved in the past (Teavana – Almond Biscotti, Butiki, American Tea Room – Brioche, Simpson & Vail – Almond Sugar Cookie), so Dustin wanted to pass this one along. Thanks very much! Just looking at the dry blend, I can tell it isn’t the same tea as the others mentioned. The differences: the black tea leaf is HUGE (the black tea really looks more like a Big Red Robe oolong), there are more almonds, and really, the scent is definitely more of a ‘biscotti’ type than a sweet amaretto type that the other teas have. The black tea is quite light brewed up. But the second cup deepens in color. The flavor is super almond! It’s more like a toasty almond and this particular black base really melds well with that flavor. The cold dregs of the mug the next morning tastes especially great. This is a solid almond tea that is unique enough that I wouldn’t mind keeping it around when I’m craving almond!
Steep #1 // 1 1/4 teaspoons for a mug // 20 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 4-5 min steep
Actually, checking their site, The Tea Smith has quite a few blends I loved that I thought were gone forever, and also you can purchase them by the ounce for fairly cheap!
I have been searching for a replacement almond tea for some time. It’s been a journey. First it was falling in love with Teavana’s Almond Biscotti, then turning to Butiki’s Almond Indulgence, then turning to American Tea Room’s Brioche, then….. emptiness. Each tea is discontinued and/or the company goes out of business and the search starts over again. I love a good cinnamon almond black so much that I need to go full hoard mode next time I fall hard in love and just have a bathtub full of it so I never run out.
Anyways… I feel like this tea is close, but not * quite * there. The leaves are much larger than any of the other blends I mentioned. It does have a good cinnamon almond flavor to it, but I feel like it’s missing some depth that I can’t quite put my finger on. It smells really good. It tastes pretty good too, but it feels like it’s almost, but not quite there. It makes me a little crazy that I can’t quite pin the difference. I like this tea and it will for sure patch a hole for now, but it doesn’t quite fill it for me. Thank you to Mastress Alita for pointing me in the direction of this tea!!!
On a side note, I was marveling the other day between the difference of French almond and American almond flavoring styles in tea. I feel like American almond is more of a baked heavy prominent rich almond often paired with cinnamon while French almond is more light aromatic marzipan fresh and paired with fruit. I lean more towards the American, but I do enjoy the French versions as well.
This makes the best iced tea! Needs absolutely no sweetener. The pineapple and coconut flavors are mild but bring a brightness to the tea. I drink it by the gallon in the summer.
Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Pineapple, Sweet, Vanilla
Teabox Tuesday! This is a flavored white tea sampler I got from the Here’s Hoping Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and to those that participated for sharing! I particularly like to cold brew fruity greens and whites so I coldbrewed 6g of leaf overnight in my fridge and then strained and now have it in my work waterbottle today.
I was surprised at the faintly pinkish-red color of the tea. It smells fruity, but I wouldn’t say it is a strong strawberry aroma to me, because it has a potent florality to it; it’s quite pleasant, actually. In the flavor I’m getting a very clean, vegetal taste, slightly grassy, with a hint of cucumber water, but there is a sweet floral note as well. The back of my tongue picks up some autumn leaf before a bit some berry flavor settles over my tongue, but I’d say the flavoring is pretty gentle; I’m okay with that since the white tea notes aren’t overwhelmed by artificiality, which easily becomes the case in flavored greens/whites. It’s refreshing, and the name is actually pretty spot on… the strawberry is subtle. That may or may not be your thing depending on what you want out of a flavored tea.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Berry, Cucumber, Floral, Grass, Vegetal
Sampler Sunday! This is the last oolong I had left from the Here’s Hoping Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and all who participated! I’ve never tried this kind of oolong before and have no idea how old this tea may be by now so take my impression with a grain of salt.
Decided to try to make the time for a gong fu session this morning, which I am also no expert in. I did split the leaf in my sample to use a smaller amount of water in the session since I don’t like how water-heavy/full I get over so many infusions, and then I’d still have enough leaf to compare with a western infusion as well.
3.45g / 70ml (in a 100ml capacity shiboridashi) / 208F / Rinse|20s|25s|30s|40s|50s|60s|75s|90s|120s
I took the tea through nine infusions, though the flavor was noticably starting to fade by the seventh infusion, and the eighth and ninth infusions were very weak. The wet leaf had a toasty aroma that after the first infusion reminded me of a savory stirfry, notibly with cashew and water chestnut aroma. After the last aroma the wet leaf had a more smoky aroma, and also smelled of raisins.
The first two infusions had a very roasty, nutty aroma, but also a lot of sweetness. The flavor was very pleasant, reminding me a lot of houjicha; it tasted of roasted nuts, had a slightly sweet honey note, and had very subtle undertones of minerals/wet rocks and smoke. I was worried it was going to be another smoke bomb like the last oolong I tried, but nope! There is a tanginess that is left on the back of the tongue which I personally quite like. I get a bitter nut (like walnuts) paired with a honey roast vibe. By the third/fourth infusion a lot of woodiness was coming through, and by the fourth infusion through to the end of the session, the sweetness dissipated and the nuttiness was paired more with a mineral/wet rock flavor, with the subtle smoky aftertaste becoming slightly more noticable. I also started getting a slight vegetable taste of wet water chestnuts which became stronger in later steeps. The tangy feeling on the tongue was completely gone by mid-session to late session, only apparent in the first few infusions. There was a very light pepperiness in the last few infusions as the flavor was fading away.
I brewed my western cup with 3g in 350ml with 208F water for 3 minutes. The western cup was quite nice, with a nice toasty, roasted nut flavor and a mineral note toward the end of the sip, with a very subtle touch of smokiness. The sweeter honeyed notes from earlier steeps in the gong fu session and the stronger woody and vegetal water chestnut notes seemed to be the most lacking in the western cuppa. It was very smooth and lacked the tangy component on the back of the tongue I got in the early steeps of my gong fu session as well.
Since I’m a fan of houjicha and this reminded me in a lot of ways of the flavor notes of that tea, I am definitely interested in exploring this type of oolong more.
Flavors: Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Pepper, Roasted Nuts, Smoke, Smooth, Tangy, Toasty, Vegetal, Walnut, Wet Rocks, Wood
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #17
Hmm, seems like too subtle of a strawberry flavor on a not terribly tasty white tea base. Like possibly the strawberry was trying to hide a mediocre white tea? The pouch was sealed when I opened it brand new, so that wasn’t the problem. Possibly I didn’t steep it correctly? I’m surprised there is a big strawberry piece in the description picture… don’t see any in this sample.
Here’s Hoping Teabox – Round Seven- Tea #13
This one is a winner! I’ve never seen this particular combination, though it is similar to a black tea I’ve had before: green tea, planed almonds, oranges and peppercorns blend together to create the most interesting of flavors… they really meld together nicely. Hints of orange from that little wedge and the unique flavor of those red peppercorns with subtle flavor from the almond that is most like marzipan. Half of desserty, half thirst quenching. These are the sorts of teas I like to see in the teabox: tea shops I rarely see and flavor combinations I rarely see.
Here’s Hoping TTB
I love me a good milk oolong, so I’m always down to try a new brand. This one isn’t for me, though…not “milky” enough. The flavor is more floral than creamy. Pleasant enough, but not what I’m looking for in a milk oolong.
Flavors: Floral, Smooth
It’s pu erh with berries…pretty tasty. But not wow tasty. I did enjoy this as my wake up tea today, and grateful my friend sent me some to try. I did drink this with milk and a little organic cane sugar. I’m sure I will drink the rest of the bag over time. It’s nice and sort of brightening as we sort of struggle between winter ending and spring beginning. This tea is hearty and earthy for winter, but with the fruit flavours that entice spring. I might try a cold brew of this.
I had this the first night I opened the tea package from my friend. I can only remember right now is that it was a sweet berry white tea. I was surprised that the instructions called for 1tbs instead of 1tsp, but I guess the white peony base is fairly fluffy so you need more. I think I might even try more next time, because the directions on the bag say the amount is based on 6-8oz of water, and my mug is 12oz. I will have to make a note the next time I drink it.
This tea was kind of meh. I had high hopes for it, but it just felt a little bit weak. Maybe I need more leaf. It tasted fine, but I mostly only picked up on the cinnamon notes. I’ll try more leaf next time. I noticed it said 1tsp per 6-8oz of water, and I used my 12oz mug. I used a heaping tsp, so I figured that would be enough. I’ll try 2tsp next time.
This was sent to me by a friend, along with an awesome haul of hair products she was desperate to get rid of, in exchange for me sending her teas to try (as she is getting ion tea more now since she stopped drinking coffee as much). She listed the few she had from this local merchant (to her), and most had ingredients I could not do, but I picked this one and two others to try, even though this is a rooibos. She had said this one was not as woody as some, and she is right. There is , iirc, a wee bit of hibiscus in this blend, but it’s actually ok, and used very very moderately. I’d have to say it was actually quite tasty, though I did add milk to it, which I think helped cut out some of they woody aspect of the rooibos. I don’t think she is on Steepster yet, just lurking for now, but once she gets my package o tea, she’ll have quite enough to enter into a cupboard and make notes on.
So yeah, rooibos and hibiscus in this one, and I actually like it! It just goes to show that sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to try something new every now and again. Thanks Tara!
Thank you to Skysamurai for including this in her Secret pumpkin package!
I must admit that if I didn’t know it was a Milk Oolong I wouldn’t have been able to identify it as such. At all.
It is a smooth cup. With a light florally oolong fragrance, but nothing really in your face. No bitterness or astrincey that I could detect, although the recommended steep time is really long comparitive to what I usually brew an oolong (Rec: 5min. I brewed 1st steep @ 5min, 2nd @ 6min). I definately don’t get the creamy notes or the bready notes I’ve gotten from other Milk Oolongs, flavored or unflavored.
Just a mild and non offensive cup. But not much to remember either.
There’s a bunch of other teas I got in my Secret pumpkin package, BUT I just received the Here’s Hoping TTB R5 today and it is massive. I’ll probably be working on that for a bit until I get back to my Secret Pumpkin teas.
Trying some of this from the Matcha TTB.
The first thing I notice is an almost earthy grain taste, but it is gone before I can pin point it. This tea is smooth with a very light taste. I’m not a huge fan of oolongs, but I’m trying to understand them better. This one doesn’t captivate me, but is a nice cup none the less.
This was none too special. The leaf was mostly BoP; I could spot few whole leaves. The flavor was diminished. I was not able to finish a gong fu session with this. The leaves carried a burnt oak and sweet grape aroma. I warmed them up and this scent became sweet like s’mores over a campfire. The flavor however was none too sweet. It was a bland non-textured experience. I could feel a slight headache coming on as well. This just ins’t something I’d jump on getting more of. Lately, I’ve been craving smoky and dark oolongs, but I just can’t seem to find one that is satisfactory… I guess my search continues.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Coffee, Grapes