258 Tasting Notes

78
drank Blood Orange by Tea Forte
258 tasting notes

I received a sampler of this from a friend and I actually rather enjoyed it but I can see it getting bitter if steeped for too long. Nice chunks of citrus fruit that shone through in the flavor. Sweetness with just a slight hint of bitter to remind you of the citrus.

Not terribly complicated but pleasant.

Flavors: Citrus

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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70

I’m not sure what I did wrong on this one but it just didn’t pop for me. I followed the suggested steeping directions. 185 for 3 minutes with 2 heaping tsp in 8oz. Both the first steep and the second at 4min30sec just were very watery and flat to me.

I will try to up the water temp and see if that changes anything here and update as needed but for now, it was very watery and lacked flavor.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Nicole

I’ll try another cup tomorrow and pay attention to how I’m steeping it. I know that I steep higher than 185 and I get more out of it after the cup has cooled a bit before I drink it. But, that said, everyone’s tastebuds are different. :)

mtchyg

Yeah, I thought the recommended 185 seemed a bit low but I always like to try to company’s suggestions first. I’ll revisit it again with a higher temp.

Nicole

My morning cup was 9 grams (about 2 tsp) in 8 ounces cooled 30 seconds from a boil. I did 3 minutes and it was weak. Tried again at 4 and 5. At 5 it was still on the mild side but I took out the infuser and let it cool for about 3 minutes. Then that deeper malt started kicking in. The more the cup cooled the deeper it got but it probably never got strong for me. It’s still a moderate strength tea regardless, but the malt can be more pronounced. Still, looking back at my last tasting note, I wouldn’t have written the same things for this cup. Could be any number of things that made it taste different. /shrug

mtchyg

Interesting. Perhaps it isn’t just me than. That makes me feel a bit better. Thanks for trying and comparing notes with me :) I’ll let you know next time I drink it if I have any more success

Lion

I have only tried doing this tea with gongfu infusions but definitely have not had any problem with it coming off weak. Lots of malt and apricot flavors. In fact it quite surprised my friends last time I shared it because the first infusion, though brief, had some oomph! I brew it at 194F/90C, and tend to do just about any red/black tea that hot other than Darjeelings, which are the only ones I generally drop down to 185F for. As far as Gongfu infusions, it was probably about 4g per 100ml and infused for about 15 sec on the first infusion. I tend to shorten the time for the next couple steepings and then lengthen after that.

mtchyg

Thanks for the brewing tips, Lion! I appreciate the attention to detail and passing it along to me. I’ll have to try it Gongfu and see if I can get anything different out of it

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85

Received this cake in the mail yesterday so I’m spending some time with it this morning. The leaves separate from the cake fairly easy so that is nice.

10 second rinse.

First infusion, 30 seconds. The tea is already a deep cherry mahogany color. The flavor had the familiar ripe puerh notes but there was a hint of bitterness for me. That was a little surprising since I don’t remember reading anything about bitterness in most people’s reviews. Onward!

Second infusion, 15 seconds. The bitterness fades a bit but is still there in the middle and back of the tongue. I can however see what people are meaning when they say a smooth airy quality. This is a very light feeling tea that glides over the mouth and down the throat.

Third infusion, 30 seconds. Okay. There is the sweet spot. Warm, creamy, slight chocolate notes. Again, just reeaallly easy drinking. Found myself swallowing/gulping rather than sipping on this steep. Oops heh. The color of the liquid appears as a hazelnut brown.

Fourth infusion, 45 seconds. The color has lightened ever so slightly here. Still in the same color zone but just… lighter. This steep is much like the last one. Smooth and creamy. Picking up scents and flavors of cocoa.

Random thought break. I’ve taken to listening to “nature sounds” on Pandora or Spotify when I am able to brew gong fu while I am alone. Things like, “Rocky Seacoast” and “Babbling Brook in a Sunny Field at Noon.” Anyone else do this? I find it sets such a nice mood, relaxes me, and fully immerses me in the oneness of the tea drinking experience. Could be I’m just a super nerd though… Nah… heh.

Fifth steep, 2 min. While following along on the website for the steeping suggestions with this tea, my mind went, “45 seconds to 2 minutes? Whoa, really?” But my silly mind apparently doesn’t know what my heart knows by now. Trust Brenden with your tea experience. So I did. And, of course, this 2 minute steep is actually one of my favorites so far. Yes, it is getting a bit lighter but it is allowing other flavors to develop on the tongue. Or maybe the same flavors are there but because it is lighter they are playing a different song in my mouth.

Hey speaking of playing a different song, I’m now listening to what is titled, “Torrential Thunderstorm,” but the thunderstorm in question sounds off in the distance, in the background, and at the forefront is the sound of pouring water. Like, a storm drain emptying continuously into a shallow pool of water. It should be titled, “Water pours steadily, as if poured from a vessel, into other water while there are some faint sounds of thunder in the background.” Probably not as catchy as “Torrential Thunderstorm” though.

Steep 6, 5 minutes. Also, probably my last steep on this one before I have to go and pick up my son from preschool. Color on this one looks to be a deep orange-brown. And yup, flavor is getting a bit thin, watery. I see now what people mean when they say this is a bit of a light steeper. Not in a bad way. Certainly the lightness contributes to its airy quality while drinking.

Overall, a nice first session with this. It didn’t blow me away as much as maybe I had expected based on some other reviews but I did find it enjoyable and something I would love to spend more time with to see what other discoveries I can make with it. But maybe next time, no more “Torrential Thunderstorms.”

Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Cream

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Lion

I had pretty similar impressions of this tea! Mostly with the cacao flavor, a bit of bitterness, smooth texture, light, easy to drink. That torrential thunderstorm sounds like it would pair nicely with this tea as I got a lot of that mineral/petrichor kind of aroma you get when the rain starts.

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85
drank Golden Monkey by Harney & Sons
258 tasting notes

Another thank you Nicole sample.

Interestingly, when I inhaled the dry leaf aroma, it reminded me of… beer(!?) in that malty, yeasty way. Not overpowering bad but a tickling of the nose which awoke the memory sensors in my brain that are linked to that smell. Odd enough. But it wasn’t off putting. More intriguing.

The liquor brews up a deep golden honeycomb color. The flavor on the tongue is beer. Haha jk. It is more of a malty goodness naturally kissed by honey… with something else. A bready depth to it. I like it. Very sippable with no bitterness whatsoever.

Flavors: Honey, Malt, Yeast

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Nicole

GM’s often remind me of beer or a malt liquor drink when I smell them dry. :)

mtchyg

Oh, so it’s not just me! Good to know

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82

Thank you to Nicole for giving me a sample of this tea (Ya’ll should probably get used to that for the next week or so as I review all of the teas she sent me ).

I enjoyed this tea this afternoon while my son was finishing up his nap before we went to pick up my daughter from school. I guilty pleasured this tea by enjoying it with some shortbread cookies. And what a fantastic pairing. The tea itself is pretty solid. Nothing that is a game changer but a really nice drinking tea.

I have to say, more than any tasting notes I picked up from this (of which were some malty tones and bright woodsy notes) this tea actually gave me a feeling more than anything. On the drive to get my daughter, it was such a clear headed, peacefulness. I wanted to give graduation speeches on the importance of kindness and gentleness. I had thoughts of continually teaching my children the power of spreading happy selflessness.

Sounds goofy, sure. But I felt and thought these things and I feel very certain the tea helped my mind achieve this very serene and peaceful sensation from which I am still coming down from. That works for me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Nicole

I love this tea. And yes, it goes very well with shortbread. :)

Xxxxx

Your clear headed feelings and thoughts from the tea don’t sound goofy at all. Makes me want to brew some.

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90

First and foremost, thanks to Nicole for being my first tea swap partner and sending me this tea. It is always nice to have someone show you the ropes and give you a boost of confidence going forward and she did this for me.

So, I tried this tonight as soon as I got it. I even made breakfast for dinner and it paired as good as I wanted it to. My wife and I both drank two full teacups worth.

It was so good. A deep orange tinted liquor. Malty/woodsy scent. Bright, smooth, slightly malty, slightly fruity flavor. I expected some of the puckery bitterness but none appeared. Loved this tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Nicole

So glad you liked it. This is one of my favorite Assams.

mtchyg

I can see why. It is exceptional

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85

Even when you give this minimum attention in terms of volume and time, it still is a nice drinkable oolong.

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82
drank Coconut Vanilla by Prestogeorge
258 tasting notes

For a cheaper tea, this is consistently delicious and not bitter if you brew it right (2:30 first steep, 3-4 minutes second steep). Light coconut flavor, smooth black tea.

Flavors: Coconut, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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55

This was a lighter tea. I did a steep of 4 minutes, 5 minutes, and about 8 minutes. The liquor barely got past a golden butterscotch yellow. The flavor was lighter overall as well. I couldn’t really pick out anything too distinct. This was a very non-offensive tea. An absent minded sipper, I suppose.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

Thanks to Crimson Lotus Tea for supplying this as a sample in a recent order. I enjoyed this last night. Didn’t pay super close attention to it as I was busy stoking a fire and engaging in conversation/reading a horror book out loud while drinking it. Did that sound pretentious? I guess it kind of did… But honest to goodness that was what my night consisted of. It was lovely.

Anyway, this tea was very smooth. It didn’t seem as dark as I imagined it would be. The first steep after two rinses was still pretty light. The sample chunk opened up on the second steep so the second and third were a bit darker in color and flavor. It lightened up a bit after that. The main thing I noticed about this tea overall was the creamy smoothness with no overt smells dominating. I enjoyed it quite a bit and could see it being a really good every day type of drink. Overall, I was able to get about 8 steeps out of this one.

Flavors: Creamy

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

Michigander, Husband, father of three, lover of tea, books, nature, gardening, and passion. Stay at home dad currently. Previously a preschool teacher.

I have now completed some tea swaps and I am so totally up for swapping! What a cool way to connect with fellow tea lovers and try some new teas. My tea cupboard on here is woefully out of date though.

Black tea has been my go to tea for some time. Oolongs are good too but mainly roasty oolongs. I’m finding that there are some green and white teas (mostly Moonlight Whites) that impress me lately which they never used to do. I am getting into and developing a taste for Pu-erh. I have tried raw and my Ulcerative Colitis just can’t handle the roughness of it. So I stick to ripe Puerh. I am recently drinking more herbal tea or Rooibos especially STRONG ginger blends. I’m not too picky.

Some of my favorite places from which to purchase tea are Whispering Pines Tea Co, Verdant, A Quarter to Tea, Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co, Bitterleaf Tea, and Yunnan Sourcing.

Rating system:
90-100: Some of the best I’ve ever had. I’d be a fool not to keep it stocked as often as possible
80-89: A damn good tea. Not to be missed
70-79: A good tea but lacks the wow factor. More than likely a simple tea that could be an every day option
60-69: Eh. This is okay. Not swill by any means but fairly underwhelming.
50-59: Not really doing it for me. I’ll finish it but please don’t bring me any more.
Below 50: Life is too short to waste on things such as this

Location

Lansing, Michigan

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