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Sipdown! (107 | 204)
Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge (August) – “A raspberry tea”
Yay, I made it! I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish this last prompt in time, because my only raspberry teas were both full 50+ gram pouches, and I had a TTB and a lot of other sipdown strategies going on. But I did it, and with two days to spare! :P I did enjoy this tea, which helped.
I ended up liking this one more than I expected. The base is a generic cheap white tea, shou mei probably, and it has some hibiscus in it. However, the combination of the raspberry with a bit of rosemary and just the right amount of hibiscus tartness is refreshing and unusual. The hibiscus helps the raspberry seem more realistic and doesn’t make the blend overly tart. The white tea isn’t contributing a ton of flavor, but I like the lightness of it and it lets the flavors take center stage. I’m sure this would be tasty cold brewed as well, but I always drank it hot.
Apparently I like raspberry with savory herbs, which is interesting because I’m not usually a big fan of rosemary or sage, but I’ve liked both of those in tea when they were combined with raspberry. Anyway, I would consider picking some of this up in the future sometime.
Flavors: Hay, Hibiscus, Pine, Raspberry, Rosemary, Savory, Smooth, Sweet, Tart
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Sipdown! (11 | 56)
My bag of this is from New Moon Tea Co.
Finishing this off plain, although it’s really not my favorite this way. The raspberry is extremely artificial and lacks any kind of tartness. It’s just cloying to me, like a very sweet raspberry hard candy, and the bergamot gets a bit overpowered by it.
I will say, it was quite tasty as a latte/milk tea, as the creaminess of the milk really helped cut through that artificiality, and the strong raspberry flavor stood up well to the treatment for a a nice raspberries & cream vibe. But certainly not one I would repurchase, as I very rarely drink tea with milk. Plus I’m still annoyed at New Moon for claiming to “hand blend” their teas and yet selling teas that are obviously wholesale…
Flavors: Artificial, Bergamot, Candy, Chalk, Raspberry, Sweet
This really makes an excellent milk tea!
I don’t love this one plain. The bergamot is strong and the raspberry a bit too candy-like. But both of those things are fine once milk is added!
It’s like some kind of delicious creamy raspberry taffy combined with a London fog, and I am here for it! Really excited that I have a 60g+ pouch of this now. :D
Flavors: Bergamot, Candy, Raspberry
(note moved from Raspberry Earl Grey by New Moon Tea Co.)
Hi Steepster! Sorry I haven’t posted a note for a few days, I haven’t been feeling very tea-ish lately.
But I got a lovely order in from New Moon Tea Co. today, so here we are! I ordered their new Spring collection along with a couple of other things, including this tea. The idea of a raspberry Earl just sounds so yummy to me, plus I can never resist their gorgeous packaging…
This has a very strong bergamot flavor, which isn’t my favorite. I find when bergamot is strong, it starts tasting perfumey or chemical to me rather than citrusy, and this is right in that area. The raspberry is nice, definitely a bit candylike, but I like how it combines with the bergamot. The base is… meh. Quite tannic considering I only steeped this for 3 minutes. I remember having the same issue with their Winter Earl though.
The bergamot is a bit strong for me, but I bet this would make a wonderful London Fog… I find that the bergamot teas I enjoy drinking aren’t usually strong enough for a latte, as the level of bergamot is generally lighter.
But aside from all that, I’m a bit concerned that this looks to be exactly the same tea as Shanti Tea’s Raspberry Earl Grey (and Bee’s Soulteez). I was under the impression that New Moon blends all of their own teas, but the ingredient list is exactly the same, and the tea looks the same as well. Hmm… Now I’m going to be wondering which of their other teas are purchased from a wholesale company…
Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Candy, Perfume, Raspberry, Sweet, Tannic
(note copied from Peach Osmanthus by New Moon Tea Co.)
So I recently subscribed to Bokksu, a Japanese snack subscription box. I’ve been doing some casual short little reviews of the snacks on Instagram, and for the last few I’ve been pairing them with teas. This is the tea I chose to have with an absolutely scrumptious white peach castella cake.
Honestly though, this one’s just not great. There’s barely any peach or osmanthus at all. Mostly I taste the generic Chinese sencha base, with its dry grass notes. There’s no bitterness at least, but there’s not much else either…
So, a bit of a rant. I’m having a really hard time with New Moon Tea Co lately. I noticed that this and one of their other new Spring teas – White Strawberry – are very obviously sourced from Shanti Tea. And while I get that a lot of places resell blends from wholesale sources, the packaging states these are “small batch, hand blended, farm to cup teas” and that this is “proudly made in British Columbia, Canada”… Which is clearly a load of crap when it comes to these two teas, and I assume many others.
This is a brand that I’ve been so happy to support in the past, but now I have to wonder how many of the teas are falsely advertised like this. I don’t know whether to (tactfully) bring this up to the owner, or just stop buying from her entirely…
Have any of you have this issue before…?
Flavors: Dry Grass, Grass, Peach, Sweet
This tea is one of the older ones in my stash. I got it from Sororitea Sisters and like the Beipu tea I had the other day, it got lost. Now I am finishing it off and not writing a proper Sororitea Sisters review for it because I don’t think the age has served it well.
Sometimes I find with rooibos teas, older ones in particular, they smell lotion-y when you steep them and then they taste off. This is one of those times but it is not tasting particularly off now that I’ve tried it. It’s got a hibiscus note and some citrus which covers the base. It is fruity/berry-filled but has a warmth to it. It’s beaten my low expectations but I am not a huge fan. Something tells me age is not the culprit either and that its the flavor profile and me that are not compatible. Oh well.
Another twisty tea from Indulgashinna. It’s funny, I think the Thousand Arrows looks more like unicorn horns than this does. Thousand Arrows is uniformly twisted. These are fuller in the middle.
I had the impression of joints when I first looked at them. I needed a reality check so I asked the BF to take a look. He said: “looks like weed.”
In any case, the two teas smell very similar in the tin. Which makes me wonder whether they are made from the same underlying leaf?
I put 3 “horns” in the gaiwan, rinsed, and steeped at 195F for multiple steeps starting at 15 seconds and increasing by 5 each time. I did 4.
The first steep gave a very light colored liquor, just the palest yellow, and not a ton of flavor. The note that Terri mentioned (bleach) was something I was also aware of, though I don’t know if I’d have called it that without reading her note, but there was also a sweetness.
Steep 2 gave a much more in the realm of oolong pale yellow liquor and an even sweeter tea. It’s not really a honey sweetness like I got with the Thousand Arrows, though. It’s more like spun sugar.
Steep 3 is where the tea starts to bear an aroma and flavor similarity to the Thousand Arrows. The liquor is deeper in color, and the wine/grape note is more prevalent. The sugary aspect also takes on something deeper, darker, and more honey like.
Not as charming looking as the Thousand Arrows, but a very interesting presentation nevetheless. This alone means I’ll be holding onto it for a while as Shanti no longer has this available on its website and it appears to have been discontinued.
I’m rating this where I rated the Thousand Arrows and bumping the Thousand Arrows up some.
Flavors: Cotton Candy, Honey, Sugar, White Grapes, White Wine
Visually, this tea reminds me of the Blink Bonnie from the now departed LeafSpa. Definitely a more interesting than usual look.
The Blink Bonnie was a green tea and this is a Sri Lankan oolong. Interestingly, Blink Bonnie was also a Sri Lankan tea — it was Indulgashinna as well. It appears that Blink Bonnie may be an estate, but it also appears that Indulgashinna makes more than its share of these twisty leafed teas.
Sri Lankan oolongs generally aren’t among my favorites, but I might have to make an exception for this one — mostly because I just looked on the Shanti site and they don’t have it available anymore.
It would be a shame not to have in my collection a tea that looks like this. It’s just too cool.
In aroma and flavor, this isn’t like the typical green oolong, nor is it like the typical dark. It has a sort of wine-like note to it, but it’s not overly sharp. I am afraid I’m relegated to describing it more by what it is not than by what it is.
Not: floral, orchid, lilac, dairy, butter, milk, toasty, roasty, woody, smoky, stonefruit
The best I can come up with is nutty-honey-grapey-wine. The tea starts out a sort of butter yellow and becomes a darker gold with repeated steepings. I rinsed and steeped in the gaiwan at 195F for 15 seconds and added 5 seconds more each time, for five steeps.
Something to hold onto until it returns to Shanti or another Indulgashinna distributor turns up — but most of its points are attributable to the visual rather than the flavor.
Flavors: Honey, Nutty, White Grapes, White Wine
I now have whatever it is the BF has. Thanks, dude. I guess you missed that day in preschool when they taught everyone to cough into the crook of their elbow. (He really did cough right in my face! Nasty!)
So maybe I’m not tasting as well today as I should. I did manage to sleep pretty well — didn’t wake up to cough or anything. But if history teaches me anything its that coughs linger with me. I expect at some point I’ll have to put in a request for cough syrup with codeine. Ugh.
But in any case, this has a mild, grassy smell in the tin. Very different from yesterday’s goddess. No toast at all.
Gaiwain. 195F, rinse, 15 seconds, +5 through 4 steeps. I would have done more but I have an appointment this morning at 11 and I want to get through some other teas first.
The tea is a medium yellow and clear, and it smells a little milky, a little sweet, a little like flowers. It tastes just like it smells.
This is what I typically think of when I think if tieguanyins, and it’s a good representative of its type. Very drinkable, just not necessarily unique or transporting. It could get there with a bit more of a distinct floral aroma and smell. Maybe it will be different when I am not sick.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Milk, Sweet
The smell in the tin is fruity, like some mish mash of berries. I steeped in the gaiwan at 195F after a rinse starting at 15 seconds and increasing in 5 second increments.
The tea is golden bronze and clear after the first steep and smells like grapes — juice or wine, it has both characteristics. The flavor is very grapey as well, but mild, and not sharp.
I get the comparison to darjeeling, but darjeeling is usually not as smooth — it tends to have a sharpness that isn’t present here.
I’ve had Sri Lankan oolongs before (the LeafSpa comes to mind) but the ones I’ve had have been greener, and it has been easier to see them as oolongs because they bore some similarities to Chinese green oolongs. This is a darker oolong and unlike anything I’ve had before.
The liquor became darker on the second steep, a sort of burnt orange color — more heavy on the orange than the burnt. The flavor is fairly constant, though. Like a darjeeling lite. I sort of feel disappointed by this because I expected something else. If I wanted darjeeling, I’d have darjeeling.
Now I feel as though I’m being unfair and not very open minded. But then again, if something is going to defy expectations, it my view it better do it in a way that is so awesome that you’re glad your expectations were defied. Alas, I don’t feel that way about this tea.
If I could get past that and just enjoy this for what it is, how would I feel about it? OK, I guess. But not much more than that.
By the third steep, the liquor is a fairly vibrant orange. I don’t know whether the color has anything to do with it, but I’m also getting a flavor note that is orange-like. The tea’s astringency has become pronounced — lots of drying in the mouth.
I stopped after the fourth steep. I felt as though I had a plenty good introduction to this tea at that point and I really wanted something that fit more with my expectations of an oolong — so it was time to move on.
I love the name of this, and the idea of it. I just don’t love the tea. It isn’t bad, it’s just that it isn’t what I think of when I think of oolong and for that reason it was bound to disappoint me. It’s kind of like when you are expecting someone to give you a Labrador retriever and you get a fox terrier? Maybe not the best analogy, but the point is they are both dogs — you were just expecting the big pawed, gentle family dog and you got the little yappy, skittish one.
Flavors: Astringent, Grapes, Orange, Red Wine
Sipdown no. 130 of 2018 (no. 486 total).
I’m not sure what went wrong with my initial tasting of this, but it didn’t deserve to score that low. Bumping the rating.
Because it had rated low, I drank this as a take it to work tea every day this week.
By the end of day 1, I knew I liked it better than I thought. Partly for that reason, I couldn’t bring myself to put it back in rotation.
It was a tough week. Everyone trying to get everything done right before the holiday shut down.
I deserved jasmine.
The dry leaves smell a little like… beer? Very odd. (There is no beer under the Steepster flavors menu). I think it’s a yeasty smell that makes me think of beer. And of course, there is also jasmine and a grassy green tea smell.
The tea is pale yellow and clear, and it doesn’t smell like beer. It doesn’t really smell much, actually, and the flavor is very, very subtly jasmine.
I also get a sort of a strange fruitiness, like a mystery tropical fruit of some kind. Mango, maybe.
All of this is very strange and unexpected, and it makes me wonder what is up here. Do I need to steep it a bit longer or a bit hotter than usual? I had hoped this would be a juicy, strongly flavored jasmine after reading some of the notes here, but that’s not what I am getting.
I’ll try again a different way. For now it gets a provision rating of borderline.
I’m so disappointed. Jasmine greens are pretty much my favorite teas. There should be a law against them being less than perfect.
Flavors: Alcohol, Fruity, Jasmine, Yeasty
Sipdown no. 5 of 2019 (no. 493 total).
This is one of those things where if I had the ability to keep an unlimited number of things for an unlimited amount of time, I would not have sipped this down now.
It’s actually very tasty, and quite tasty as a cold tea unlike most other smoky teas I’ve had.
I probably rated it a bit lower than it ought to have been rated, so I’m bumping the rating. But my decision to put it into the cold brew queue was based on its former rating.
Somewhat sad to see this one go.
Very dark brown, long, twisty leaves. In the tin, they smell so roasty as to smell burnt.
I steeped in the gaiwan at 195F after a rinse, starting at 15 seconds and adding 5 seconds in each subsequent steep.
The tea is dark, a sort of copper-dark amber. It smells smoky, with a curious and elusive floral note that swims in and out. Flavor-wise it is also quite smoky, with a mineral/stonefruit pit flavor.
I took this through five steeps and didn’t notice much change from steep to steep.
Maybe I don’t have my tea tasting legs back quite yet. I like this, but I don’t love it. Maybe because the smoke is a bit heavier than I was expecting to start my morning with.
Flavors: Burnt, Floral, Mineral, Roasted, Smoke, Stonefruit, Toasty