Tin Roof TeasEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Marzipan…wouldn’t that be a good name for a gold-and-white cat?
This was also a little surprise from Ashmanra. I proceeded extremely cautiously this morning, because I’ve had many almond teas that go bitter very easily. So I pulled it at 3 minutes (recommendation was 2—4) and ended up with a very mild, sweet, drinkable dessert tea. The marzipan/pastry character and scent is detectible, but faint enough I think we can add that extra minute when I try again.
I went through the whole package (~25g?) before reviewing because I was determined to give this a chance, as it’s from the closest thing I have to a “local” tea shop (at least an hour away)…but I couldn’t get it to work for me. Package directions for western brewing are 1 tsp/8 oz/ boiling water/3-5 min. All I could taste this way was roast; not “roasted something,” just…roast. Fortunately it didn’t quite cross over into straight-up carbon, but it was close. If I focused really hard I could sometimes get an ambiguous nutty aftertaste. I tried more and less leaf, different infusion times, and cold brewing – but no improvement. Finally I tried brewing at 90 C, and that helped a little. I could make out a bit of earthy/wet foliage taste in the front, a little cocoa powder in the finish, but still the almost totally dominant flavor is roast. Really can’t recommend.
This green tea has a wonderful grapefruit scent before brewing. The tea itself only has a mild grapefruit flavor, but it is delightful. I like how the green tea really shines through, and it is quite smooth and fairly delicate. I would recommend this tea to anyone who wants to enjoy a more mildly flavored tea.
There is a tiny spice and tea store next to one of our favorite diet-compliant (i.e., vegan) restaurants in Charlotte. When my wife and I finally decided to “dry out” after eating many NON-diet-compliant items during the Christmas/New Year holidays, we launched our return to sanity at the restaurant, with the side benefit of a trip to the spice and tea store.
The store’s tea stock was almost wiped out after the Christmas shopping season, but a few bags of this one remained on the shelf alongside a sample “sniffer” of the leaves to smell what the tea might taste like after brewing. I love smoky teas and the aroma of this item in its unsteeped state was quite potent and alluring.
When I opened the package to prepare the tea for drinking, the smoky aroma was much stronger than the already powerful odor in the store’s sniffer. It was so controlling that I hoped it was all natural. The last time I encountered a smoky smell that powerful was from my boy scout uniform after a weekend of camping and sitting by the fire.
I steeped the short black leaves for five minutes at 212 degrees. The label suggested brewing for two to four minutes but I let it steep for one more minute for good luck.
The finished product had a golden amber color. The smoky aroma had greatly settled down after it met the hot water.
The taste of the tea was quite pleasant with the smoky characteristics in line with a lot of other teas of this type. There was an additional flavor attribute that was minty, like the wild mint plant leaves I used to find and chew while walking home from junior high school. The two flavors worked together amiably. The overall effect was smooth without astringency. The aftertaste was not obnoxious.
I did like this tea and will not have trouble finishing the entire package. Once I got past the three-alarm fire smell of the unbrewed leaves, the final result was a tasty, genial, and smooth concoction.
Flavors: Mint, Smoke
(Staying close to pkg directions: 3g/8oz/180/60 sec first steep, 15 for second)
Dry leaves smell lovely – grassy & very fruity, sweet. Wet leaves bring out the cooked greens scent, but still fairly sweet. First steep (60 sec) smells a little sweeter and a little less vegetal than the wet leaves, also with a buttery/creamy note in the aroma. Pale golden/green brew. Taste is somewhat thin but very pleasant – sweet, grassy, some mild baby spinach- like notes. Just the barest hint of butter in the taste, not quite what the aroma suggested. Second steep (15 sec), I reduced to 6 oz. Color brews up the same despite the shorter steep time. Taste is similar, a little stronger (prob from reduced water amount). Maybe a touch more buttery flavor? Third (6oz, 30 sec) is pretty washed out. Used spent leaves with 8 oz water for one good (though light) cold brew infusion.
Rates 65 prepared to pkg directions. Would like to try again with adjustments. Try gongfu-style ratio for one thing, plus Tin Roof’s website has very different directions for this tea – lower temperature and longer brewing. Also would like to try fresh cold brew.
Update: Cold brew (1g/100ml) is powerful but refreshing. Intense, fresh grassy flavor with a good hit of bitterness & sweetness, and a tiny bit of savory nuttiness adds some interest. Rates 75 as cold brew.
(4g/100 ml/200?/20 sec steep +5 sec following) (Suspect kettle, which was set for 200, was actually at 205 for first few infusions)
Dry leaves smell sweet & a tiny bit smoky. After 5 sec wash, wet leaves have much stronger smoky tobacco scent. Lid of gaiwan, however, has a nice sweetness. Steeps 1-3 have a deep golden color; a sweet scent with a hint of smoky tobacco. Flavor is close to a black tea, with savory notes up front, touch of dryness on tongue, a little sweetness on the finish. Strong roasted/smoky flavor notes on aftertaste really set this apart from the Tieguanyin I had from Verdant. I don’t like this one as much, but I’ll have to give it another try since I think my water temperature was too high. Rates about 60.
Update: Tried cold brew (1g/100ml, chilled overnight), and it is lovely – the light toasty flavor hits first, savory & crisp. A little grassy, nutty, buttery in the middle, and finish lingers grassy sweet. Very refreshing! 70 rating is from this preparation.
(4g/100ml/175/20 sec +10 following)
Dry leaves are sweet & grassy with a whiff of tobacco. Wet leaves are similar but stronger. Steep 1 (20 sec) tastes almost like it smells – sweet, grassy, green with a hint of tobacco. Package describes this as “straightforward without anything extra…just good, pure green tea taste,” and that’s about right. Aside from the tobacco note, there is no complexity. Steep 2 (30 sec) starts some bitterness, and the tobacco is a little more pronounced. Steep 3 (35 sec) has a little less tobacco & bitterness, so it tastes just slightly sweeter. Since not much interesting is going on, I’ll try the leaves in cold brew. (Rates 60 in gaiwan.)
Update: After 3 infusions, dropped leaves in ~12 oz water for cold brew. Iced is mild, uncomplicated, but very pleasant green tea taste. Might be best use! Prepared this way rates around 70.
(4g/4oz/175; wash, then 30 sec infusion, +10 following)
Dry leaves have very savory green vegetable aroma, not sweet at all. Wet leaves after wash add roasted/smoky scent. 1st infusion (30 sec) is dark gold, almost brown. Taste is of savory broth, almost meaty, with a hint of smoke on the nose. Just a touch bitter, and finishes with a very slight astringency; not unpleasant, though, as it balances the savory notes. Taste of infusions 2-4 remain consistent. Flavor is interesting but not especially complex.
(4g/4 oz/195/30 sec, 15 sec resteep)
Dry leaves smell sweet from the green tea, but wet smell primarily of toasted corn. Tea smells buttery & toasty. First steep (30 sec) is light gold in color, nice blend of mostly savory & a touch sweet in the caramelized roastiness. Very soothing & pleasant. Scent of lightly buttered popcorn is delicious. Second steep (15 sec) is similar with just a tiny hint of astringency at the end. Third steep (30 sec) still good, maybe just starting to lose a little flavor. Easily did 5 infusions without serious loss of flavor.
I’ll have to remember this one when cold season starts – it would be very comforting.
(Gongfu, 3.5g/5oz, 175, 10 sec +5 following) Dry leaves smell sweet & lightly vegetal. Wet leaves bring a touch of toasted spinach aroma.
Steeps 1-3: Aroma is of lightly buttered cooked green vegetables. Flavor is delicate, sweet, & vegetal, with a slightly thick & buttery texture. After first infusion, sweetness recedes a little while vegetal flavors grow more prominent. Remains smooth, no bitterness or astringency. After third infusion becoming a little weak.
Steeps 4-6 (30, 60, 120 sec): Not much different but definitely less strength. Longer steeps still smooth & pleasant. After 6, put leaves in ~8 oz to cold brew.
Update 1: not much left in leaves for cold brew, so iced tea was refreshing but fairly washed out.
Update 2: (Western style by pkg directions: 2.5g/8 oz/175/3 min)
Definitely not as interesting as gongfu. Aroma is similar (sweet, vegetal, pleasant), though muted. Flavors overtaken by strong green vegetable aftertaste with fair amount of (not totally unpleasant) bitterness. Prepared this way rates about 65.
Update 3: Tried cold brew from fresh – this was the best by far. Sweet & grassy refreshing, but also with umami notes of cooked green vegetables & nuttiness. Delicious – rates 90 this way.
This tea is a hands-down winner in direct comparison to another Moroccan Mint blend. I was anxious to try this and taste the difference with the addition of Egyptian Mint to the blend. The difference is pleasantly significant.
Steeped in a gaiwan, the liquor was a light amber and lightly sweet. The spearmint in a clear and pleasant note, and lingers well beyond the cup.
I really like this, and plan to play around a little with temps and methods to see what all I can get from it. Many thanks to ashmanra for the generous sample. (And the use of a gaiwan to expand my repertoire!)
Flavors: Mint, Spearmint, Sweet
Another lovely gift from Grandma. I hope she knows how much I appreciate this, especially since this obsession with tea is far from practical.
Again, I recommend the tea shop and I highly compliment the staff. I also have three more teas I need to write about.
Now, I have had MANY milk oolongs over the past few year, flavored and unflavored. I might have said this before for other teas, but this one is basically the standard of what you should expect. It has the general profile I like about these types of teas: creamy, sweet, floral, buttery, a little coconut-y, and a touch complex. It is undeniably savory and dessert like.
The first steep was the sweetest, and was better Western with slightly less than a teaspoon at 2 1/2 minutes. Short steeps do work for this tea at 15 sec with a little more leaves, but since the flavoring of the tea is stronger than the natural notes of the tea, it can be tricky to find it’s right balance. This is drinkable straight, but a touch of honey or sugar is recommended.
It can rebrew well; however, some sessions were better than others. If you get butterscotch in the smell, than you’ve done it right. The vegetal qualities of the oolong can unfortunately contrast with the flavoring and make the tea seem a little more artificial. The flavoring/tea leaf balance is my main criticism, and this would be easier to sell to tea newbies or those who are not afraid of stronger flavored teas. The more experienced snobs might think it’s slightly too artificial.
I might not buy it in bulk, but I enjoy a small amount of it. I would not say no if I were offered a single drink of it.
This was a gift from my gma while I was in Raleigh. Tin Roof Tea’s had a nicely organized and filled shop with a few new tea gadgets, wears, and a comprehensive collection. The customer service was also top notch.
This tea looked interesting online, and the aroma was great. The tea is naturally sweet and fairly tropical without sweetener, but more balanced with a little bit of honey. I noticed the dragonfruit, kiwi, and rhaspberry fairly easily though the Sencha was a tad bit grassy. Sometimes it tasted natural while other times it was a little bit artificial. I preferred brewing it at 2 minutes. I could rebrew it, but the later steeps had a weird balance. The flavorings fluxed while the fruit remained strong and the tea getting a little bit grassier and slightly drier, never mind I do not think this is a dry tea. The sencha was my only complaint. I’m glad to try it and my fruity liking tea friends enjoy it, but it’s not a must have for my cupboard.
Thank you Grandma!
Here I am with the third and last of the Tin Roof Teas that I purchased a little while back. The first two were outstanding. Let’s see if this one maintains that record…
When I unfastened TRF’s signature package, with its unsealed but clamped down opening, the smell that greeted me was very much like the smell of tobacco in a freshly opened pack of cigarettes. Since I have never been a smoker, I wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad sign.
The brewing instructions said to steep this blend for three minutes. That seemed insufficient for the punch I wanted it to pack, so I brewed the medium-length dark brown leaves for four minutes. (Just call me a tea rebel.)
The finished product was a bright amber in color. The unbrewed cigarette tobacco odor was gone and replaced with a slightly sweet malty aroma.
This tea had a really rich flavor from the very first sip until the end of the cup. The taste played no other flavor notes except tea with a hint of malt. It was unmistakably Darjeeling, but amplified, almost like Darjeeling on steroids. In spite of the supercharged flavor, it was remarkably smooth. The aftertaste was no burden on my palate for the few minutes it remained.
I have to admit, I am not a huge Darjeeling fan. The main reason is I find the typical flavor a little blah when compared to other black teas. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Somehow a simple flavor was made complex. The taste was like a symphony of violins. They are all playing the same instrument but the harmony makes the music beautiful.I’m starting to see a pattern with the Tin Roof Teas that I have tried so far. In my experiences with the three I have sampled, they have all contained simple, yet very powerful, full flavors without astringency. Usually just one very dominant flavor exists, but you are not disappointed and you don’t yearn for more.
This is another winner from TRF. I will definitely look for more selections to take for a spin!
Flavors: Malt, Tea
This is the second of three Tin Roof Teas I bought recently. Since its name is “vanilla,” my sweet tooth started itching when I saw it.
When I opened the silver pouch (which, by the way, is closed and fastened with a gold wire clamp instead of sealed), a very pleasant and fragrant vanilla aroma spilled out. This made me even more excited to get the brewing underway.
I steeped the full dark leaves at 212 degrees for five minutes. The package recommended up to four minutes but I like my black tea as robust as I can get it without bitterness. Five minutes of brewing has never failed me yet.
The brewed aroma of the tea was also very vanilla. It was strong but not fake or obnoxious. The color was golden brown.
The flavor was interesting. The vanilla taste was so striking that there was no room for any other flavor accents. As powerful as the taste was, it somehow wasn’t overwhelming. I found it to be quite enjoyable for the entire duration of my cup. I also was surprised that the booming vanilla flavor produced no astringency. It was actually smooth and the aftertaste never wore out its welcome on my palate.
This is another one of those teas for which I have no criticism. The entire experience was delightful through four cups this morning. I’ve started brewing my own tea at work using my little handy-dandy infuser. This vanilla tea will definitely help launch my work days off to a cheerful start.
This is one of the more interesting chais I’ve had, in a very good way! The anise is what sets it apart for me, though it could be the combination that highlights the anise note I’m getting. Oak City Chai will become a continued part of my tea cabinet, even better that it’s a house blend from a local tea shop!
Flavors: Anise, Spicy
My better half and I accidentally stumbled upon an almost hidden spice and tea store yesterday while we were eating lunch at a vegan restaurant in Charlotte. Since we now eat only plant-based foods, as of four months ago, I guess we are vegan too. (My wife says we no longer consume anything with a mother or a face. That is very dire news for a BBQ rib-o-holic like myself. In my mind, ribs are the mother of all meat.) But I digress…Getting back to the tea…
I purchased this Death By Chocolate selection based on its incredible chocolate aroma alone. (Plus, since I can no longer eat dairy or sugar products, I thought it was a clever-or desperate-way to sneak some chocolate back into my life.)
The rich dark chocolate aroma was seeping from the silver bag and hitting my nostrils from about 10 feet away. When I opened it, I wished that the bag was the size of my bathtub so I could dive into it. The whole leaves were dark brown, almost black. Generously spread throughout the leaves were thin cocoa nibs.
I was almost drooling as I steeped the leaves for five minutes at 212 degrees. The brewed aroma was rich and all chocolate. The color was a cloudy yellowish amber, like you might encounter with an herbal tea.
The flavor was completely, unequivocally, and most definitely chocolate. It was a fine tasting chocolate too and had no artificial attributes. I was disappointed, though, to experience some bitterness that remained on the ol’ palate. In fairness, the unwanted characteristic faded after several sips.
As great as the chocolate flavor was, I found myself wishing for at least a smidgen of tea flavor. The overall sensation was more like chocolate water than chocolate tea.
Another important element in a great black tea for me is a registered amount of caffeine kick. I am sorry to say that this blend had no caffeine awareness whatsoever, not even after four cups.
Getting back to the positives, I will say that the tea re-steeped very well. There was virtually no difference in taste or color from the first to second steeping.
My plan for this tea in the future is to use it as an added ingredient in my ho-hum, blah, and unexciting black teas. The chocolate in this product is strong enough to perk them up as a second-string additive.
So, to sum it all up, if you like chocolate-flavored beverages, you will find a rich chocolate taste here that shouts from the (tin) rooftops. However, if you are looking for a robust black tea with just chocolate complements, this one might seem as lacking as it is overwhelming.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate
I bought this because A Southern Season seems to have discontinued Ceylon Extra Fancy, our favorite Ceylon to date.
We are in the midst of Tropical Storm Hermine today and while the storm isn’t so bad for us, I have repeatedly been soaked to the skin and the cloud cover made me crave comfort food and comfort tea. Ceylon was one of our first loves, particularly low grown.
I made chicken soup and cheese toast and a pot of Ceylon. It smelled great, but honestly it fell short of the one from Southern Season. The leaves were absolutely HUGE on that one. But it wasn’t bad, just didn’t give me quite the cozy ooo-aaah feeling I was looking for. I was looking for a taste and a feeling of a time past and this didn’t conjure it.
I will probably buy a tin of Harney and Sons Ceylon and India, as it is a little stronger than this one.
The owner of Tin Roof Teas was kind enough to share several sample cups of this tea with me as I browsed the shop today. It is a new tea in his shop and will be part of a raw puerh tasting event coming up on January 28, 2016. If you live in North Carolina and can go, I recommend it. I went to a puerh tasting last year and it was great! They do a tea flight about once a month and often do pairings with the gourmet chocolates they sell or samples from their honey bar. They have a honey room and stations for refilling your honey containers, as well as bee pollen, herbs, candles, teaware, and tea candies and such. Follow their Facebook page and send them a message if you want to reserve a spot in the tasting.
This is not a puerh, but an aged black tea. It reminds me very much of a mature sheng. The dry leaves had a unique aroma, first of turnip greens then immediately followed by a deep oak-y scent. These were loose leaves, not a cake.
The steeped tea is pale for a black tea and much the color you would expect of a mature sheng. This tea came from a puerh master and is probably not called puerh simply because of where the leaves were grown. (You may remember that Harney and Sons sold a green tea cake a few years ago that could not be called puerh because of where it was grown but it was in every respect an excellent puerh-type tea.)
The flavor was mild and not as green tasting as the aroma of the dry leaf led me to think it would be. It also really did not taste like a black tea, but some customers who were primarily black tea drinkers in the shop took it without question, drank it, enjoyed it, and I think they may have even purchased some. Our first steep was about 8 seconds, and the second was about 12, I believe. The instructions say that it gives about eight good steeps.
The tea was smooth and mild. It needed no additions. I would have purchased some but I am trying to reduce my cupboard, especially since I just found that exquisite 2013 TGY that I adore and have neglected because I have TOO MUCH TEA. I plan to drink and drink and drink what I have so I can feel good about ordering more when the new harvest gets underway. And yes, I share, swap, give away, invite people for tea, but I still have too much!
One nice thing about the shop is that they normally sell 100 gram bags and 250 grams and up, but you can request a sampler pack of fifty grams each if you buy at least four different teas, and you choose your teas. They also have premade samplers of various kinds like flavored black blends, or all greens, etc. They have quite a variety, too, some blends being TeaGeschwendner and some in-house.
They will also try to make special request blends when they have time.
Information on this tea may need to be updated soon as I didn’t write down the ingredients in the store when I tried it. This is Tin Roof Tea’s in-house effort to create a blend similar to Paris by Harney and Sons. In addition, they intend to tweak the blend as customers taste it and express their preferences.
First, the aroma of the dry leaf was heavy on caramel but the berry flavors certainly put on a show. The bergamot was evident in the scent but not overpowering.
Steeped – the tea is smooth enough to drink sans additions. It is not very similar to Paris to me, but that doesn’t mean it is a bad blend. It is much more caramel flavored than Paris and when steeped the bergamot almost disappeared for me. The berry also backed off and were lighter. They considered increasing the bergamot but I recommended bringing up the berry flavors more instead since there are so many people who do not like bergamot. We shall see what other customers think and what they ask for.
It was a fun day hanging around the tea shop, looking at all the goodies and talking tea talk.