118 Tasting Notes

60

The wet leaves have a rich, warm smell, with the strong tannic notes that often show up in black tea from India and Africa. Dry, they smell almost spiced. The tea’s flavour is full and not sweet, slightly biting, and slightly roasted. As some teas are compared to Scotch, I’d say this one reminds me a little of bourbon, though it lacks the sharpness. Overall quite nice. It doesn’t resteep many times, though.

Flavors: Kettle Corn, Roasted, Round , Tannic

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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75

This tastes very much like a Lemonhead candy. I’m not sure if the variety of lemongrass is unusually sweet, or if the butterfly pea petals lend it sweetness, but it is quite candy-like. It’s good! Visually striking too, of course, and it steeps many times for an herbal tea. I brewed it in a gaiwan and got seven steeps without much loss of flavour (or colour for that matter).

Flavors: Candy, Lemongrass, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 55 ML

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58
drank Organic Honeybush by Arbor Teas
118 tasting notes

This is a standard but definitely pleasant honeybush. It tastes pretty fresh, and is interesting enough to stand on its own without anything added. I recommend using a fairly high ratio of tisane to water, along with a lengthy steep time and very hot water, as it can be pretty mild otherwise.

Flavors: Honey, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 7 g 22 OZ / 650 ML

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55

This is pretty good. The ginger isn’t as prominent as I’d have expected; if anything, I can taste more cinnamon and cloves than ginger. There’s a bit in the aftertaste which is probably from ginger. The citrus is pretty much just mandarin orange, and goes well with the spices. While it has a rooibos base according to the package, I can’t taste that much rooibos.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Orange

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 2 g 13 OZ / 384 ML

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75

I tried the April 2020 harvest. Visually, this is a very attractive tea, with fluffy, multicoloured leaves.

The dry leaves smell incredibly like apricots. When wet, they still smell like apricots, but a little less strongly.

The taste is balanced, mostly fruity but with some floral flavour coming through, and an initial bitterness that quickly fades. The texture is thick and silky. I usually don’t find textures like that in teas with predominantly fruity tastes, and it works really well here. Overall, a very nice tea!

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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50

A bit odd. Mine was from the autumn harvest of 2020. The dry leaves smell very ‘green.’ The wet leaves smell a bit vegetal, quite a bit grassy, and ‘green’ in a way that reminds me less of green tea than of spring leaves from some sort of tree. There is a less pleasant note to the scent of the wet leaves as well; it almost reminds me of wet fur.

The taste is more mineral than I expected based on the smell. It’s predominantly vegetal, though, in a bold, sort of thick way slightly reminiscent of some senchas I’ve had.

The texture isn’t notable except that it caused a slight tingling on my tongue. I wonder if this is due to the hair on the tea leaves; I get a similar sensation from eating kiwis, which also have little hairs.

Flavors: Grass, Green, Mineral, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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80

This one was very good, and if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg I would definitely make it a regular order. I tried the spring 2017 version.

The dry leaves have a strong passion fruit scent. That carries into the aroma of the brewed tea, but unlike many fruit tastes, it doesn’t bring any acidity along with it. The wet leaves smell a bit tangy, but that doesn’t come through in the flavour of the tea, which is very smooth and full, with a milky taste and texture. In later steeps, a pecan flavour comes through as well.

While the tea is pretty strong even in the early steeps, it never developed any real bitterness. I would call it a savory tea, though, as there was no particular sweetness either. It lasted for quite a few steeps – I think six or seven.

Flavors: Milk, Passion Fruit, Pecan, Round , Smooth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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70

Sweetish and gently floral – it’s a milder tea than I’d anticipated. I tried the March 2020 harvest version. The floral taste isn’t overly flowery, if that makes any sense; it reminds me a bit of violets, though possibly that’s partly because I had purple on the mind on account of this being a purple tea. The flavour has a small amount of bitterness, but this mainly just balances the other tastes and doesn’t stand out much on its own. It’s quite good overall!

Flavors: Bitter, Flowers

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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65

This one took me by surprise. The liquor is an interesting greyish colour, which doesn’t sound appetizing, but which is actually quite attractive. It reminds me of the colour you get from steeping lavender. I tried the April 2020 harvest.

The taste isn’t overwhelmingly strong; however, it leans very heavily into an umami flavour that isn’t fishy but nonetheless reminds me a little of mussels. That taste is reflected in the scent of the wet leaves as well.

I’m not quite sure what I think of this tea; it’s unique and not unpleasant, but I don’t know that I’d want to get it again or drink it regularly.

Flavors: Dry Grass, Umami, Vegetables

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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60

Pretty good, but I found it a little lacking in complexity compared to other similar teas. It is well-balanced, with some sweetness and astringency joined by a strong, savoury flavour that’s sort of bitter and sort of earthy. The initial taste has a note that almost reminds me of shou, though it fades quickly, and the tea is recognizably a dan cong oolong. It resteeps many times without losing flavour. The leaves I tried were from the spring 2020 harvest.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Earth, Milk, Sweet

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Bio

I like trying unique teas, especially those from areas of the world not known for tea production. It’s always something of a gamble and can lead to all kinds of surprises.

While I’m usually not into flavoured or scented teas, there are definitely exceptions. Hei cha which is not pu-erh tends to be my favourite category of tea, but I like some teas of all types. Smoky, creamy, and honey-like tastes generally appeal to me the most.

Top five teas I’ve had thus far (in no particular order):

Mekong Breakfast from Rakkasan Tea Company

2015 Gao Jia Shan “Cha Duo Tang” Wild Harvested Hunan Fu Brick Tea, from Yunnan Sourcing

Asahina Gyokuro “Hon Gyokuro” from Hojo Tea

Any good Lapsang Souchong

2018 Cha Yu Lin “Liu Bu Xi Village” Tian Jian Basket Tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Location

Rural New England

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