145 Tasting Notes

85

Wonderful black from Song Tea. I had no reservations about the quality as I had been lucky enough to sit for a tea tasting at the shop that went on for about 2 hours – a really lovely experience. These people are serious about tea.

Unfortunately, yet another tea that I should have been brewing way earlier. This is why I don’t want to buy any more tea for now – I have so much that some really excellent teas end up languishing in my cupboard for way too long.

Brewed this up according to vendor instructions, using my small gaiwan (~100 ml, ~3 g), 1.5 minutes for first and second infusions, then 2 minutes for the third. Keeping in mind this tea is probably way past it’s prime, there was no bitterness at the 1.5 min brew time, but started to get a bit too tannic at 2 min.

According to the vendor notes, there should be cinnamon, cherry and mint notes. I’m getting cherry for sure, and a tiny bit of mint, but no cinnamon, which is fine with me. Getting warm caramel sweetness instead, which is heavenly. Again, this tea is already over 3 yrs old (!), so no telling what it would have been like had I opened it much sooner, and since I didn’t taste this one at the shop, I’ll guess I will never know! Still, very happy with it, it’s warm and comforting, which is exactly what I need right now.

Flavors: Caramel, Cherry, Mint

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Sakura Sushi

Update: After brewing this western style (I know, I know), for just one infusion, I decided to take the brewed leaves and cold brew them for some iced tea. First of all, Eighteen is great even without brewing it gongfu. And more importantly, those leftover leaves made a heavenly iced tea! I mean, the sweetness and honey was awesome. So enjoyable and I can feel pretty good about using up those leaves differently. I don’t think cold brewing from the start is a good idea – you need to kind of get the leaves going with a hot infusion first – but what an amazing iced tea it makes doing it this way.

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82

OK – second attempt. Gongfu this time, and overleafed it. Much stronger this way, more flavorful, but a bit too tannic for the first couple of steeps. I guess I went too far. Still, I ended up going thru about a liter of hot water, about 5 or 6 infusions, before it got weak. So, there’s definitely a balance I need to strike here. I’m thinking next time I’ll stick with gongfu method, pull back just a bit on the leaf, and go with extremely short infusions at first. Wondering if I’ll ever find the sweet spot on this one, but it’s fun to try!

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82

Another one of those “finally opened this one up” teas. I am incorrigible.

The flavor was a bit light, despite following the vendors instructions, so I may need to overleaf a bit, or maybe brew it longer, or maybe at a higher temp. I guess I’ll need to play around with it. The bread-y, malty, honey, earthiness was very much there as expected, and if it was just a bit deeper I would deem this almost perfect. Thought about gongfu-ing it but went western with it. Second infusion was markedly weaker, but still very enjoyable. Looking forward to future experimenting with this.

Flavors: Bread, Earth, Honey, Malt

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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70

Got this at one of those “OMG! Home Goods has Dammann Freres teas!” situations that I read about here on Steepster, but never experirenced IRL. That particular run was so fruitful I was positively glowing after checkout, carrying all that tea loot back home. Never thought I’d get lucky enough to actually find them in the wild, so to speak.

Although not a huge fan of Darjeelings – always found them to be a bit subtle for my tastes – I took this as an opportunity to try one. Tasty enough, good for when I want something straightforward and simple. There was some sweetness to it, very smooth and gentle, but more flavor than I’ve detected when drinking Darjeelings in the past. Could be that previously the water was too hot, or the steep time not long enough. Anyway, I really like it, and am happy I gave it a shot!

Flavors: Fruity, Honey

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is a sample size I got at last year’s NYC Coffee and Tea Expo. It’s been on my mind and I finally had a little time to brew this up. I have a lot of respect for Camellia Sinensis, having gone to their shop in Montreal a couple of times and purchasing different kinds of teas from them (and begging them to open up shop in NYC). They’re completely serious about tea, so I take their recommendations to heart.

I brewed this up gong fu, with the new tea tray (yay!). A rinse, and four infusions. The liquor is pale, the flavors are on the subtle side. As others have noted, this tea is very floral. Buttery, creamy floral, actually. An aftertaste of candy sweetness that lingers. Kind of pleasant, but I don’t usually enjoy floral notes, and this one does get a little cloying after awhile. So, if I don’t like floral teas then why do I have this one? Because “trying new things.” All in all, pleasant enough, but I’m not in love. The quality is there, but the flavor profile just isn’t my thing.

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67

I was on the fence about reviewing this tea. I bought it almost 3 years ago, the company doesn’t even carry it anymore, it’s a sipdown for me, and it’s not like any of the other Steepsters have this one. But, for the sake of completeness, I’ll write some notes.

This is a Nepalese black. It’s a bit old, but I’ve stored it well and I think the flavor has held up pretty well. As for the flavor profile, the label says: “honey, geranium, peach, sweet corn” Um, OK. I get the corn, a little of peach sweetness, a tiny bit of honey. No floral notes. I found it a bit tricky – too little leaf and the flavor is meh. Too much and it turns tannic. I know I went nuts for it in the store, but since that store is in Berlin, it’s entirely possible I had “vacation mind” and got all carried away with it. I mean, the store is fabulous (see my review in the Places section), filled with beautiful teaware and paper goods. It was really quite the experience.

Anyway, I made this mostly for iced tea, after wrestling with the idea: wouldn’t it be kind of a waste for such a nice tea to be made iced? Shouldn’t I just sit down and do a gongfu session to at least appreciate a resteep? But then the tea languished in the cupboard and I decided that it should at least be drunk, even if not in the optimal way. It makes a nice iced tea, but the exact leaf to water ratio, as I’ve said before, I found troublesome. Mostly too tannic, as I tend to overleaf and oversteep, especially with iced tea.

Well, Summer Moon, you deserved better, but at least you’ve been consumed. And you were a pretty good tea, although I think with more deft preparation, you could’ve been great.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 9 OZ / 266 ML

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85

I purchased this tea specifically to have it iced. It is absolutely true to it’s described flavor profile. I had no trouble at all identifying the peach, pistachio, lime and creme fraiche flavors as well as the base oolong tea. I thought that particular flavor combination would be really interesting and it was – and so delicious! The flavors work really well together and make a very enjoyable iced tea. I like this so much I may actually try it hot as well, but for now, I am very happy with it. No need to overleaf, and following the brewing instructions produced a perfect brew. Nicely done, August!

Flavors: Cream, Lime, Nuts, Peach

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

The cocoa-y, chocolate fudge notes are all there, strong and delightful. A bit of creamy vanilla, too. I can detect the cherry, but only if I really focus – maybe I’m willing the flavor into existence. Handed the cup to the husband for him to sip, only telling him, “It’s Cocoa Amore.” He gets the cherry flavor immediately. I’m jealous.

It brews up quite light in color, although the leaves are deliciously super dark and promising. Still, it packs a lot of flavor, regardless of the color of the liquor. Great tea, as expected, but I still love Golden Orchid more. I’m impressed, though, at the richness and complexity of this tea.

Flavors: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Meagann

cant say that it’s the best tea I’ve ever tried though it can be included at least to my personal top 10 favorites

paul348

A great taste and top rating tea of Asia: http://bit.ly/2SJbRTa

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89

Wow – the cocoa notes in this tea! Rich, dark, cocoa that complements rather than overpowers the tea. Surprised that there’s only tea and vanilla in this blend, since it’s so full-bodied, earthy and complex. I shamefully did not do a second steeping, which is such a waste. Next time I brew it, I’ll make sure to get all I can out of it. Wonderful quality (as one would expect from this vendor), perfect for breakfast on a chilly day. Or after dinner on a chilly evening. Or anytime the mood for a bold tea strikes.

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

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77

So very good. Not getting much in terms of malt, which is strange as I associate malty flavors with Assam teas. Doesn’t matter – it’s still really enjoyable. Perfect breakfast tea, even better with milk, as expected. I added evaporated milk to this, which made it heavenly. Nice and full bodied, with a hint of sweetness. Love!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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