3045 Tasting Notes

80

I decided to do my first-ever gong fu session with this tea. I was having a rather bad day – my car was towed because of the registration being expired, so now I have to sort all of that out and go get it this week. So I had hoped that this would cheer me up. I based my parameters mostly off of Sarsonator’s recent tasting note (I believe it was a milk oolong from TeaVivre), but I used less tea per water as was suggested in the comments. And I also used 200 degree water because I seem to be uncomfortable going for boiling on any teas besides herbal and rooibos. :P So sue me!

The parameters: 5g tea per 4 ounces of water, 10s rinse/25s/35s/45s/55s

Used two of my noble cups from David’s. They’re about 10 ounces total and came with lids, so I figured they were perfect! Hard to pour, but I got the hang of it…
(http://imgur.com/du542o8)

Rinse (10s): extremely light vegetal flavor with floral notes, light peach aftertaste

Steep 1 (25s): creamy and peachy, light vegetal background with floral aftertaste

Steep 2 (35s): creamy, buttery, quite floral with slightly bitter vegetal taste, peach aftertaste

Steep 3 (45s): quite floral and vegetal, apricot aftertaste

Steep 4 (55s): extremely floral with some vegetal notes, light apricot/peach aftertaste

I could have gone for more steeps, but I found myself liking this less and less as it steadily became more floral. I want more of that lovely creamy peach steep! I have enough left for a smaller session, so I might try this one again with shorter steeps. If anyone has suggestions, I would love them! I did enjoy this tea, but I was looking for more of that milk creaminess that I got in the first couple of steeps. I’m finding that green oolongs tend to be too floral for me.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Creamy, Floral, Peach, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
mj

I did my first ever gong fu session today too :-)

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75

This is my last free sample from Good Life Teas. Honestly I don’t expect much from it, considering it contains both hibiscus and rose hips… There are chunks of apple in here and some flower petals. It smells lovely and fruity, not terribly tart. Steeped for 5 minutes.

The aroma is quite tart, but still fruity. I added a teaspoon of sugar before I even tasted it because I could tell it was going to be too tart without it. The flavor is actually not bad. It is quite tart from the hibiscus, but I can also taste the apple and orange in there. It definitely needs sugar though, as it is still very tart even with the amount I added. Overall, good but not great. I would drink this again but I don’t know if I’d purchase it.

Flavors: Apple, Fruity, Hibiscus, Orange, Tart

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

Yum, this is perfect right now. I wanted something a little refreshing and light after drinking a lot of black teas, and this is really hitting the spot. I did shorter (2 minute) steep for a lighter flavor and added some sugar. Delicious, light and just minty enough! Rating is getting a bit bumped. ;)

I’m suddenly very sad that I’m almost out of this one. Gave out too many samples! :P Luckily, I have quite a bit of Kusmi’s ginger lemon, and that fills a similar niche for me.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
boychik

I can send it your way in Sept

Cameron B.

I might take you up on that! We’ll see what the state of my cupboard is by then. :P I don’t consider myself a mint fan but it’s very nice to have for once in a while.

boychik

Pls feel free to remind me ;)

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This was the chai I chose when making my Whispering Pines order. Looking back, I’m not sure why I chose this one, I must have been in a chocolatey mood! And I do enjoy the tea used as its base – their Fujian Black. Anyway! Dry, it has the small, dark Fujian leaves mixed with chunks of spices. I see whole cloves and cinnamon bark among other things. I have to say, the smell shocked me. It is so gingery! And for some reason I get menthol (I don’t think I selected to have the mint added, but I may be wrong!). It’s like inhaling Vicks Vaporub, and it definitely clears your sinuses! I am not the hugest ginger fan, so this got me worried…

The brewed aroma is less intense, but still smells strongly of ginger. I can pick up on the other spices now, particularly the clove and cinnamon. The taste is also extreme ginger. I had to add sugar and vanilla soy milk to be able to drink it, really. But once it has additions, it’s pleasant enough. I can taste the chocolate (definitely a milk chocolate with the milk added) and the ginger is quite strong but the sharpness is reduced. I would definitely drink this one latte-style from now on, so I can add more milk without watering it down.

Overall, I’m not going to rate this one because whether or not someone likes ginger is definitely a personal preference. It’s weird, I didn’t see anyone mention super strong ginger in their notes. I guess I could try stirring up the tea some more, but considering the super strong ginger and menthol aroma, I doubt that would change it. I’m definitely not in love with this one. :(

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Cocoa, Ginger, Menthol

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
SarsyPie

My motto is: there’s no such thing as too much ginger. LOL. I can see that you and I do not agree on this motto. :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

The menthol is most likely from the cardamom. It has a very cooling aroma.

Interesting that you got so much ginger out of it…Perhaps try giving the bag a nice mix-up? Or perhaps you have a more sensitive ginger sniffer? Hehe :)

Cameron B.

Yeah, I’ll be sure to dump it in a tin and stir it up the next time I try it. Hopefully there will be less ginger! :P

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:) I’m a ginger lover, too…so maybe I am heavy on the ginger? But yeah, I haven’t read that in other notes. hmmm

SarsyPie

If all else fails, you could pick out all the ginger pieces and send them to me. LOL :p

Cameron B.

Hah, will do Sarsonator! Crazy ginger person.

yyz

Ginger makes a chai for me too. Where I was in India in late winter to pre-monsoon drought it was the most common flavouring for tea. Sometimes that was it ( except for the milk and sugar, of course)!

boychik

I had a cup of El Dorado last night and it has pretty strong ginger, but it tasted soo fresh. I liked it with maple syrup.

SarsyPie

I adore fresh ginger!!! Soooo good!!!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Chewing on fresh ginger root is amazing :)

SarsyPie

Hey Cameron, maybe you would like wild ginger. I find it to be milder.

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90

Yum yum, more Whispering Pines! I really love these light, golden Yunnans so far, from every company. This one has beautiful, puffy golden leaves that are covered in fuzz. Their scent is lovely – light malt and creamy honey with a surprisingly strong stonefruit note.

The first time, I followed the package instructions and steeped for 3 minutes. The aroma was honey-glazed toast with some golden raisin fruitiness. The taste: lightly malty with honey and dried fruits (apricot?). Maybe a little bit of cocoa. There was also this weird bitterness that I didn’t expect.

So I did a 2 minute steep (new leaves) to see if the bitterness would go away. Mm, love the flavor of this one. It reminded me of a buttery croissant with a touch of honey. There’s also a light toasty note that makes me imagine toasted almonds atop the aforementioned croissant. Maybe a little stonefruit in the aftertaste? This steep wasn’t bitter, but it was almost bitter. It had the potential to be bitter. But it was still delicious.

So my question is, what else should I change to prevent the bitterness? Is it overleafing maybe? I am usually a little bit generous with my leaf measurement, and since the recommendation is in volume and not weight, it’s hard to be precise with a larger leaf. Any suggestions (or measurements in grams) would be appreciated!

Flavors: Butter, Cocoa, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt, Pastries

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmm, I steeped this yesterday for an hour with no bitterness…maybe it’s your water?

Cameron B.

Ironically enough, I used filtered water. I guess I could try tap…

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Also, 1/2tbsp of this one is 1.75g

Cameron B.

Is there any way that a lower temperature than recommended would produce bitterness…?

Cameron B.

Thanks, I’ll write that on the package for next time. :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Hmm…It’s possible…if your filter doesn’t filter out chlorine, that could cause bitterness.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

You should really be using spring water for your tea…there’s 17 springs in your city ;) http://www.findaspring.com/locations/north-america/usa/peerless-spring-saratoga-springs-ny-12866/

Whispering Pines Tea Company

And come to think of it, lower temp could totally bring out bitterness…with most tea, the bitterness is caused by tannins, and if I remember correctly, tannic acid is water soluble at a lower temp than flavonoids. It could be that you aren’t getting enough flavonoids to hide the tannins with a lower temp.

Cameron B.

Okay, I’ll definitely try it at boiling then. Or at least 200.

TheTeaFairy

Really smooth tea for me also…but I think I only drank this one with the gaiwan, 5g for 5oz. I would not think that lowering the temp has anything to do with the bitterness you get as it usually diminish it. I agree with Brenden on this, I’d blame the water, and don’t forget that Dasani is NOT spring water!! If anything, it makes things worst :-)

TheTeaFairy

200 is my comfort zone cameron. I very rarely get bitterness in anything I brew, but I know it also has to do with tastebuds :-)

Did not know that brenden about the tannic acid, interesting….

boychik

5g(yay for scale) 205 or 200 4oz rinse/5/10/15/20sec or 15/30/45 sec
Works every time

Nicole

That is interesting about the lower temps and tannins. Had no idea.

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90

Yay, I got this in the mail today! It certainly has gotten a lot of hype recently (I blame TheTeaFairy…) so I knew it had to be good. And I love genmaicha and most straight black teas so I figured how could it possibly be wrong? So I ordered an ounce when it came back in stock just to try it out. Dry, this tea is quite beautiful. The black tea leaves are long, jet black, and twisty. There is quite the melange of rice – long grains, short grains, toasted, puffed, popped. And there are dark little cocoa nibs along with a few oxidized oolong leaves. It smells quite lovely with very strong cocoa and a bit of toastiness. I used the average preparation here on Steepster (and I got to use my new scale and filtered water!).

Mm, the brewed aroma is pure toasty roastiness! There’s a bit of chocolate in there too, but I mostly smell that lovely toasted rice goodness. Mm, definitely a genmaicha. The toasted rice flavor in this tea reminds me of lovely crisp toast. There’s also a nice strong cocoa flavor from the nibs, and some nuttiness from the rice. These combine to remind me a bit of chocolate hazelnut spread, which goes perfectly with the toast! ;) I think I also get a little bit of raisin fruitiness, especially in the aftertaste. Overall, this is very lovely and I can see why it’s so popular. If it’s still in stock when I allow myself to order more tea, I may get some more. And I really want to try that Minnesota Blend…

Flavors: Cocoa, Raisins, Roasted Nuts, Toast, Toasted Rice

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
TheTeaFairy

Yay, glad you like it!! Oh noooo…. I get the blame again!!! It’s ok, I love to enable people to drink pure awesomeness :-)
(I have a shitload if you ever need more, lol)

Cameron B.

Honestly it’s not even listed as low stock on their website, so I’m not too worried. I am worried about the Minnesota Blend! D:

TheTeaFairy

Never had that one…I’m afraid to look at it, too much tea!!!!!

Cameron B.

They just added it as a limited time thing… Apparently it was originally made for Lady Gaga, which is weird. Laoshan green with wild rice and jasmine rice, juniper berry, vanilla bean, and saffron. Yummmmm.

SarsyPie

I just got both… and Cameron: I BLAME YOU!!! LOL. I did put this on my wishlist a little while ago because of TTF, BUT I didn’t know it was back in stock until I saw your note. I also got some of that Lady Gaga blend. Since it is a limited edition, I figured it would be nice to try!

Cameron B.

I want to buy some so badly, but I’m kind of on hiatus… I’m worried it’ll be gone by the time I can buy it. But the Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha is so good. ;)

MzPriss

I blame TheTeaFairy too – that Fairy is a total enabler

TheTeaFairy

Pfffft! Looks who’s takin’!!!!

MzPriss

What? * innocent face *

MzPriss

Yeah actually I seem to remember a note saying Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha is available Go GO GO

so for once we can be virtuous Fairy – we didn’t do it this time – we just responded to the stimuli

SarsyPie

I’m looking at this list of comments and I see quite a few members of the Tea Enablers Club. Just sayin’ :p

MzPriss

Come over to the the discussion for the moonrise tea thingie

Everybody should come

TheTeaFairy

Oh, now I remember, I posted only the discussion about LB being back in stock, cameron did LBCG , it’s all cameron’s faulf!!!!

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93

This sample came from the lovely and generous Nicole (I’m actually over halfway through the box I think, huzzah!). The leaves are like beautiful Goldilocks curls! They’re large and ringlet-y with just a little bit of dark among the gold. Gorgeous! The dry scent is very mild, but lovely. It’s all sweet hay and honey. There’s a tad bit of malt but it’s very light. So excited for this one! I steeped (excitedly) for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.

So the brewed aroma is much more powerful! There’s a lot of malt and breadiness. I kind of hovered over this one like a little bee while waiting for it to cool enough. So I noticed that when it was freshly brewed and still steaming, there was a lovely honey scent and a tart fruitiness reminiscent of dried cherries. As it cooled further, it transformed into a darker molasses and raisin aroma. Loved them both!

At first sip, I noticed an unusual autumn leaf flavor. It was definitely a lighter version of this taste than I have previously experienced, and it was quite lovely. Sort of a nice mellow roasty note! Then this gave way to lovely creamy and smooth malt, which made me picture biting into a nice fluffy, soft loaf of bread. Mmm! There was definitely also a touch of honey that just accented the bread flavor perfectly. I wouldn’t have complained if there had been more honey, but it’s amazing as-is. Would absolutely buy and drink this! :D

Just as an afterthought, I noticed after I had already brewed this that the recommended temperature is about 185-195 degrees. But I didn’t experience any negative effects from brewing it at a higher temperature. So my question is, is there any reason for me to lower the temperature? Will the flavor be drastically different? Thanks guys. :)

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bread, Creamy, Honey, Malt, Smooth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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58

Another free sample from Good Life Tea. Looks like black tea leaves with some blue flower petals mixed in. It smells pretty vanilla-y, which is a good sign for me, since I love vanilla. Steeped 3 minutes.

It smells quite floral, which I didn’t expect. There’s definitely very a perfumey quality to it alongside the vanilla. It tastes quite perfumey to me too, which is not a good thing. And I don’t really taste the black tea at all, mostly just floral perfumey bergamot with a tiny bit of vanilla. Adding sugar helps but not by much. Overall, this is not a tea I would drink or purchase. The flavoring is just too floral and has an almost alcoholic taste to it.

Flavors: Bergamot, Floral, Perfume, Vanilla

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Marzipan

That’s what French teas are like to me.

boychik

Same here Marzipan

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75

Backlog from last night! The first of my free samples from Good Life Tea. I’m not generally a huge fan of chocolate teas, but this was included in the sampler that I chose, so here goes! The dry leaf is basically red rooibos with flower petals in it. Apparently it also has cacao bean pieces, but I wasn’t looking that closely since it was fairly late. I remember smelling it and thinking it was minty, which I did not expect…

It was actually better than I expected. The rooibos base wasn’t terribly offensive like it sometimes can be. The chocolate flavor was nice enough, definitely not a deep or complex chocolate but more similar to milk chocolate. There was a lot of mint flavor, which is not even listed anywhere in the product description, nor is it implied by the name. My one complaint is that I feel rooibos isn’t a great base for chocolate because the brew ends up being rather thin. Black tea would’ve been much better.

I do believe that it’s an issue that the mint flavor is not mentioned anywhere, and it’s at least as strong as the chocolate, making this more of a mint chocolate chip tea in my opinion. So I believe the name should be changed, or at the very least, the description needs to include mint.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mint, Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

I purchased this one from Shadowfall in her stash sale. I’ve become much more of a black tea drinker lately, but I do enjoy the occasional green and Verdant has such a good reputation around here, so I figured why not? And it’s a small sample size so it was cheap! The leaves are similar to the Yin Gou Mei “eyebrow tea” that I got in a Simple Loose Leaf box. They’re thin and very stiff, and they’ve been shaped into little loops and “u” shapes. The color is a dull green/blue/grey. I started out with a one minute steep and ended up going to two minutes total after testing it.

The aroma is surprisingly roasty, with sweet and buttery squash. I definitely taste toasted grains in this, specifically oats. It’s creamy and buttery in texture with a bit of mild squash taste. I definitely see where the vanilla soy milk descriptor comes from. There’s the sweetness of freshly shelled peas, and a lovely vanilla note near the end. The aftertaste is roasty and vegetal.

Definitely a different flavor profile than I have experienced in a green tea before! In a way, it reminds me of a milk oolong, but without the floral and fruit notes that green oolongs often have. I’m glad I got the chance to try it!

Flavors: Butter, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Grain, Oats, Peas, Toasted, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Profile

Bio

Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby-related things… ;)

~ 2022 SIPDOWN CHALLENGE! ~
- December Sipdowns: 0
- Total 2022 Sipdowns: 403

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I steep Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I’ll also often use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, oolong, and herbal varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, and honeybush. I love matcha and drink it often! Fruit tisanes are not a favorite, but I’m always willing to try them.

I do not sweeten my teas, and pre-sweetened teas are usually too sweet for me. I also do not enjoy stevia.

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura, chamomile, and elderflower. Osmanthus is also a favorite of mine. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Companies:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Harney & Sons
Kusmi
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Lupicia
Simpson & Vail
Taiwan Tea Crafts
TeaVivre

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age or scent contamination.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ZEuKf1-ppR-VXajO4vV39zU1N3zjFJteEPAynqD2yl0/edit?usp=sharing

Location

Austin, Texas

Website

https://www.instagram.com/tea...

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