Featured & New Tasting Notes
I migrated some of my stash of this tea to work so that I could have a small reserve there with the rest of my ‘work tea’ stash. My box of work teas is about 50 teas from my collection, so that I’m ensuring some of my stash gets finished off and I’m not exclusively drinking the teas that are accessible from work…
I’ve gone through a frankly shocking amount of this tea so far – by, like, my standards and not in general though. I think, if I’m really into a tea or REALLY focusing on sipping down a tea, I’ll drink a tea maybe two or three times a month? That’s a lot, given I basically have enough teas to have two different cups a day without ever repeating teas for the next year and change…
I’ve had this one four times so far.
It’s especially perfect today because the creaminess is coming out so clearly along the cooling, soothing mint and I’m finding it very relaxing on this more high strung afternoon. Damn, this tea is perfection.
Both of Frank’s S’mores teas get the same score: 68. That’s too bad! I’d love to see Anne reblend one of the S’mores because S’mores deserves a good blend. It seems simple enough: marshmallow treat genmaicha with chocolate (cocoa shells) and some sort of graham cracker element. This blend is from StarFevre a while back. Thank you! I always wanted to try this! The blend looks mostly like genmaicha. I can’t see much marshmallow root here which is a shame. I’m sure the problem most people had back when these blends were fresh was that the chocolate had that gasoline chocolate flavor. Like Browncoat had. Well surprise! now there is no chocolate element at all. It NOW tastes like plain genmaicha which is fine with me! It’s certainly no fault of the ancient tea (seven years old).
Well, why not white tea today?
Took this one, as it sounded nice and I haven’t got white for a long time. I bet I have still it somewhere, but… nevermind.
Today I failed another exam. It was last chance this semester, so… next year probably. If I won’t give up the Uni.
The tea – hmm, decent. Nothing distinctive, but it had got notes of stonefruits and little bit of peach. Maybe little bit mineral. Drying aftertaste. Nothing great, but makes the day little bit brighter.
Maybe this tasting note is short, because I don’t really feel writing something.
Derk, I got your message, but can’t reply. Thanks for information and mine will be on the way this or next week.
Flavors: Mineral, Peach, Stonefruits
This was the first tea I chose to drink in 2020. Shibi has been a perennial favorite of mine over the years and this latest harvest was a reminder as to why. It’s rich, complex, and has a wonderful floral-fruity flavor. The tea starts off buttery and fresh with aromas of pear, coconut cream, and daffodils. The flowers arrive in waves, starting with peonies, wildflowers, lillies, and hyacinth. This is interspersed with hints of tropical fruit and a little vanilla. Thick in the mouth with a pleasant lingering aftertaste. An exquisite high mountain tea and one of the best terroirs I’ve ever tasted.
Flavors: Flowers, Tropical
Free sample for my very small order. VERY small, guys. I can’t resist those B&B sales, even it’s for a couple teas. Especially with free shipping! FYI: they have a ton of various teas on their secret VIP page, including the amazing Spiced Pumpkin Pie which is usually hard to grab.
On to the tea: I was intrigued by another sleepy tea especially with those gorgeous bright raspberries that seem almost fresh. My sample really doesn’t seem to have a ton of them. So I’m really not tasting much raspberry at all, which is a shame as the name hinges on those raspberries. What I’m really tasting is something VERY similar to the lovely Lazy Boy blend: mostly coconut and lavender, even though there is also chamomile and fenugreek in this particular blend. It’s almost like they could have just brought back Lazy Boy. On the second steep, much more of the chamomile was noted. I don’t mind this as a replacement for Lazy Boy but I really wanted more raspberry!
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 12 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep
2020 Sipdowns: 8 (Angry Tea Room – Raspberry Cherry)
Flavors: Coconut, Lavender
This was not only a new-to-me tea blend, but a tea company I’d never even heard of! Based on this one, I’d be interested in trying more from Satori in the future. The fruit flavors are clean and fresh and not at all artificial and the black tea base provides a nice depth. This one’s staying with me!
Flavors: Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet
This is my first David’s tea, and my first thought upon opening the packet was, “Oooh, I smell maple!” That was quickly followed up by “Where’s the tea?” This is full of dibbins and nubbins of fruit and other ingredients.
Hubby’s comment was much the same on his first sip: “I get the maple, but where’s the oolong?”
Don’t get me wrong…this is still extremely tasty; great for afternooners when you need a sip of something sweet. But the general impression it leaves is maple with fruit, not pancakes and waffles. I think it just needs to be more accurately renamed.
Welcome to just over 18 hours in southwest Missouri: 65 degrees F, severe thunderstorms, tornado warnings, flash flooding, areal flooding, winter storm advisories, freezing rain, and sleet/snow that goes “snick” against the window. Weather that goes “snick” isn’t much fun. Temps in the teens anticipated for tonight.
But as it was a great day to stay in, I made a full pot of this lovely, mocha-y, chocolatey pu-erh. The scent is as good as sniffing the liner of a Whitman’s chocolate sampler :)
Additional notes: I really wanted to try a smoky tea mixed with a cream tea. Turns out I don’t have a cream tea around. The closest I could think of is Adagio’s Cream but I don’t have that around at the moment. So I tried Adagio’s Vanilla tea and I can’t taste it at ALL underneath all this smoke. I love the idea though! Maybe plain ol actual cream, but I don’t have that around right now either. It would be GOOD if I had the right teas to mix together.
Any suggestions for cream smoke teas?
I won a gorgeous scarlet tin of this tea during Teavivre’s Black Friday event. Very grateful, thanks so much Teavivre! Somehow I haven’t tried this yet, even though I’ve tried most of what Teavivre offers. It is so nice to have a fresh green tea. The leaves are lovely. The flavor is so layered and exceptional. Hints of minerals, very beany, nutty, sweet, lingering, both vegetal and fruity at the same time, with the slightest hint of butter. Like I said, very layered! It’s the flavor of health. I love a great fresh green, so this found a great home to stop at. Hopefully the red of the tin will scream at me to enjoy this one more often than not.
Steep #1 // 34 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 34 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
2020 Sipdowns: 7 (Upton – China Keemun Heng Ru)
Apparently another oldie (BB 2016.01.10.)
And what is the tea-like in this tea? Almost nothing! Yep, bres, dark copper colour. It’s even clear. But rest? It is like black tea with fruit syrup added (my grandma used to do it). Yep, it is black tea – they claim Nam Lanh wild tea; then 14 % of 1.8 gram BAG (not sachet) is licorice root. Yep sweet!
And then there is (should be) ginseng (not in taste), and black maca root (what is it?).
But yeah, it is sweet black tea. Sweet, almost syrupy. Only thing is is is not so viscous. I can finish it, because – yep, it is just sweet without any other bad notes.
March 2019 harvest.
The best morning/afternoon Assam I’ve ever had. Very complex and layered taste and mouthfeel yet approachable due to a distinct lack of bitterness, very light astringency and an inviting aroma. Savory and mineral backbone with plenty of berry tones and a lemony taste that zings. Emergent menthol. The leaves are alive and have plenty to give.
I would serve this to anybody entering my home.
Not for small pocketbooks but well worth a try! It’s very forgiving :)
Could you believe it’s acutally over and I am sitting here, drinking Christmas tea? Simple, I knew I got it from Izzy (thank you, but what happened to her I have no idea – not even news on her website);
And then I forgot. So I took it today, as it is quite cold day; quite sad day that free days and exams starts tomorrow. Exactly tomorrow I have one – quite major one.
Anyway to the tea, it looks like decent black one, bold, quite spicy on aroma.
And in taste? Well, it is nice black tea, very strong (but I steeped it on upper limit), nice spice notes there and although cinnamon is not there, I feel it. But more prominent are cloves and vanilla is rounding the taste and adds sweet note. Not bad , but nothing to return.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Spicy, Vanilla
Once again a very nice Laoshan green varietal. This autumn harvest is sweet and crisp like butter lettuce. Notes of soy, green beans, sweet corn, anise, and flowers. While I like this tea I don’t quite love it. It may be that I’m finally starting to tire of Laoshan green teas. I’ve been finding myself craving sencha and kamairicha more than other greens these days.
Flavors: Anise, Green Beans, Lettuce, Soybean
Second session of the night…I really liked this one…I had 5 grams remaining, so I brought forth my ‘special pot’ (made by Inge Nielsen) for black teas. It’s about 80-90 ml, so I figured it’d be the best piece to use for the remaining leaf.
The tea really started out strong—malt, cocoa, caramel, and sweet notes—however, after the sixth steep, the notes backed off, a lot. I tried raising the water to boiling point and over steeping the leaf, but it didn’t do much. I remember this brewing much stronger in the past, but I also used A LOT more leaf per water volume, then. Heh.
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Malt, Sweet
One of the first YS sheng productions I tried was the 2011 Autumn Mang Fei. It didn’t leave a particularly strong impression, but I was at a very different stage of my tea journey. Today I had the second from the Mang Fei series – 2018 spring vintage. It is a nice tea with a pronounced character, but its profile doesn’t quite appeal to me personally as much as some other YS teas to be honest.
The aroma is an interesting mix of fish, dry earth, bitter melon, Mediterranean shrubs, and clay bricks. I found the taste to be very mineral, more so than any other raw pu’er I can remember. It is quite bitter and astringent with a lot of umami notes. There are flavours of vegetable broth, oregano, okra, cumin, banana skin, and a light honey towards the end of the session. The aftertaste is probably the highlight. It is long and spicy with a strong fructose sweetness and notes of cape gooseberry and curry leaf. The mouthfeel is also fairly interesting in that it is very warming and creamy.
Flavors: Astringent, banana, Berry, Bitter, Clay, Earth, Fishy, Herbs, Mineral, Plants, Spices, Spicy, Sweet, Umami, Vegetable Broth, Vegetables, Wood
I helped myself to a bit of this and am passing the rest on to Sil. For me, I am having a super weird experience because this tastes like a sweet honeybush. I am getting nothing from it’s namesake and it’s not even a honeybush tea. No maple and definitely no cookie. Maybe nut. Plus, I ended up with a couple of cardamom pods in my filter and yet I don’t even get cardamom.
I followed the package directions of 1 tsp/8 oz and steeping for 5 mins at boiling and I am not getting what I think I’m supposed to. Hopefully Sil has more luck.
This is a custom blend from a local tea company that focuses on healing herbs and Ayurvedic philosophies. I contacted the owner and told her about my issues with vestibular migraine and she created two blends for me – this one for head pain and another for vertigo and dizziness.
I simmered the blend for five minutes and steeped for another five minutes, per the package directions. The result is a minty, bitter brew but it feels very soothing. I leaned over the simmering liquid to inhale the steam and it had a comforting medicinal feel. The same leaves can be used up to 3 times so I’ll plan to make a couple more cups of this tonight to get the most of it.
Flavors: Bitter, Mint
This was my last sipdown of 2019, a year I am so thankful to have put behind me. I am planning on making some big changes over the course of the new year. I say that every year but have already gotten to work on a couple things. Hey, at least I’m actively trying to make some progress for once and not perpetually getting bogged down in the planning stage. I am not at a point where I feel comfortable sharing any specifics here, but more details will likely follow over the next several months. Anyway, this was an odd and interesting tea. Of all the dancong oolongs I have tried over the last two or three years, I could not compare this one to any of them.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of lemon, kumquat, tangerine, sugarcane, cream, and butter. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, geranium, and yellow gardenia. The first infusion introduced a plum aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor expressed notes of cream, butter, roasted almond, lemon, and grapefruit that were chased by hints of tangerine, geranium, sour cherry, and sugarcane. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of grapefruit, roasted peanut, grass, violet, wood, baked bread, and orange zest. Stronger and more immediate sugarcane, geranium, tangerine, and sour cherry notes came out in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging yellow gardenia and plum impressions, Notes of minerals, violet, roasted peanut, wood, orange zest, pear, baked bread, grass, and white grapes also appeared, and I was able to pick up hints of pomegranate, coffee, and kumquat as well. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, orange zest, butter, grass, lemon, baked bread, and tangerine notes that were underscored by lingering hints of cream, sugarcane, sour cherry, grapefruit, pear, kumquat, yellow gardenia, and roasted almond.
As you may have noticed from the above description, this struck me as being a very citrusy tea. Fortunately, it was not particularly astringent. The way this tea’s aroma and flavor components came together was challenging and truly bizarre, yet I do not recall anything striking me as being out of whack. Everything was actually balanced really nicely. Ultimately, I think I would just classify this as one of those teas that was not quite for me. The yellow gardenia (nothing like what most people would expect) and citrus characteristics were very interesting and satisfying, but I think I tend to prefer nuttier, sweeter Dancong oolongs over the tarter, more pungent styles. Still, I will definitely be trying more Huang Zhi Xiang in the future to get a better feel for it.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cherry, Citrus, Coffee, Cream, Fruity, Gardenias, Geranium, Grapefruit, Grass, Lemon, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Sugarcane, Violet, White Grapes, Wood