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Recent Tasting Notes
On first sip the smoke is almost too much, about half that of a Lapsang, but erasing other tones. Later sips bring all the other flavours to bear. While heady and strong when drunk black, it can stand up to a lot of milk and sugar, so doctor as you see fit.
One of the best preparations is Vietnamese style, with a tablespoon of condensed milk. There are few teas that can stand up to the fattiness and sweetness of condensed milk, but this tea makes it lovely. When prepared this way the smoke and bitterness recedes, bringing out more of the malty and stone fruit flavours. It also takes on caramel tones and an almost dark maple hint.
I have found that this tea is spectacular for blending. 1/5 of a tsp to 4/5 tsp Kenyan CTC Milima will add a complexity to the caramel and copper notes. Very soul soothing on a winter night.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Pine, Plum, Smoke, Wood
My stomach was feeling a bit weird today so I decided to feed it some puerh. Brewed it fairly strong – 5g in my 10oz mug, rinsed x2 then steeped for 4min, 6min, 8min. I like that it never seems to get bitter or astringent. I think the second steeping is still my favourite. Third is a bit lighter, but still quite drinkable.
Flavors: Caramel, Earth, Sweet
This one isn’t on Teayama’s website anymore, but the description is still available on Amazon. Either way, I’m pretty sure this is the Metropolitan Scottish Caramel Pu-erh blend. I made it this morning to compare with the similar Coffee Lovers’ Tea by Tay Tea. The dry tea smells delicious, sweet and caramel-y. I used 3g for a 10oz mug, two quick rinses with boiling water, then steeped for 5min. I was a bit disappointed that the amazing smell doesn’t really translate very well into the flavour of the tea. Mostly it just has that earthy cooked puerh taste, with a bit of sweetness and caramel in the aroma. I wonder if rinsing twice actually washed away some of the flavouring? Anyway, it’s a pleasant enough mug of tea, but the Tay Tea blend I was comparing it to retained more of the added flavour even after the two rinses. I think I’ll try just doing a single rinse the next time I make this, maybe add a little bit of milk and sugar to bring out the caramel flavour.
Edited to add: Huh, second steeping (7min) was actually sweeter and creamier. Interesting! Glad I tried that.
I cold steeped this overnight and it was quite smoky. Like, not quite lapsang levels of smokiness, but definitely maybe-this-got-contaminated-with-some-lapsang kind of smokiness. It was ok, I had it with some sausages and veggies for lunch which kinda worked out, but… meh. So then I took the steeped leaves (probably 4-5g) and decided to try resteeping them with boiling water (10oz mug steeping) and after 3min I had quite dark, malty, smoky, slightly piney brew. Not bad. Then steeped them again for 4min, and it was very similar but lighter. I don’t know, it’s ok but… I’ve had other keemuns I like better.
I guess it doesn’t matter too much since Teayama seems to have gone quite decisively out of business. They might have actually been sued out of existence by Teavana for trademark infringement! (http://www.cba.org/CBA/sections_IP/IP_CLS_2014Sept/Default_Judgment.aspx) Fascinating.
My goodness, what corners of the earth has teavana not reached? also, I’ve never thought of cold-steeping a smokey tea! interesting.
When I picked it out to cold steep I was thinking, “there’s a black tea I haven’t had in a while”. So I was a bit surprised by the smoke, though I definitely noticed it last time I had this tea as well. :) I like blending smoky teas with chai or spicy teas, which might be what I try next with this one.
Huh, this one isn’t on their website anymore either. Weird. Anyway, this reminds me a lot of the other keemun I had recently – smokey and piney notes. Pretty nice! It’ll be good to have around for when I’m in the mood for that particular flavour profile.
Flavors: Pine, Smoke
I tried this twice this morning. First decided to brew at 90 degrees instead of boiling, because golden/tippy teas seem to like gentler handling. It was decent, malty and fairly smooth with just a hint of bitterness that wasn’t unpleasant. It was kind of weak, though, and the second steeping was even weaker. So I tried it again, same amount of leaf, same temperature water, but steeped for 5min instead of 3. Better! Rich and malty, starting to feel more like a decent breakfast tea. Bumping my rating a bit.
I keep thinking I should love Golden Monkey teas, and then I keep being a bit underwhelmed by them. To be fair, I was drinking this while playing a board game, so I wasn’t giving it my full attention. It was a decent, moderately malty black tea but there was a hint of bitterness that I didn’t really enjoy. The bitterness did mellow out with subsequent steepings, but then I just found it to have a kind of generic “tastes like black tea” sort of flavour. Not bad, but not particularly interesting. I’ll have to try it again and pay more attention, maybe experiment with steeping parameters a bit.
So I’m not sure what I was expecting when I ordered it, but this was a bit of a suprise. Like all the other teas from Teayama, this one came in a ziploc-style bag:
But when I opened the bag, there was only this weird shrinkwrapped ball:
When I started opening the shrinkwrap I realised the contents were kind of crumbly, so I opened it out onto a plate. This is when I realised that I had an entire (small) mandarin orange peel filled with puerh:
Neat. Anyway, I tried to pick out the tea leaves because I wasn’t sure whether or not I was supposed to also steep the orange rind. 3g in 10oz boiling water x 4min, steeped in a mug because I’m lazy. Now my only experience with puerh has been David’s Tea blends and the like, so I think it’s fair to say I’ve never really had good puerh so I have nothing to really compare this to. It has that rich, earthy, shou puerh taste. The influence of the mandarin is fairly mild, I think. There a bit of tangy, citrusy flavour but I’m not sure if I’m just tasting that because I’m looking for it. Maybe that bit of bitterness on the aftertaste is also from the citrus. Interesting!
Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Earth, Tart
This tea has a really fruity aroma, both dry and steeped. I don’t know if I would have necessarily identified it as “mango” if I hadn’t already seen the name. I’m getting notes of both peach and mango, and probably would have gone with peach if I were smelling this blind. It does smell really juicy and makes my mouth water a bit. Ok, the taste is actually heading away from peach and back toward mango. Maybe some citrusy notes and a bit of pleasant sourness to add to the juiciness. I find that the rooibos provides a nice smooth base while letting the fruit flavours dominate, but I’m also not prone to finding rooibos objectionable, so interpret that opinion accordingly. :) Wow, I actually really like this. I bet it would be great iced.
Flavors: Citrus, Mango, Peach
I mixed 1 tsp of this with 1 tsp of guayusa this morning in an attempt to wake myself up and make myself feel better. I added a generous dollop of honey (all I want when I’m sick is tea with honey) and it tasted pretty good and perked me up a little. Still not convinced there’s anything particularly healing about it, but who knows. :)
This is kind of like chai tea without the tea – just the spices. In the picture it looks like it has a lot of cardamom, but in my bag there are only a few pods. The scent is primarily cinnamon and cloves. There is a hint of heat from the ginger and peppercorns, a bit of freshness from the lemongrass. It is spicy and warming, but it doesn’t strike me as particularly healing, though maybe the blast of spice will be just what I need next time I have a head cold. I added some honey to the second half of the cup, and that’s very nice. I’m glad to have this in my cupboard – it’ll be good for when I crave chai spice without the caffeine.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger
I bought this from Teayama, but I’m fairly certain it’s the Metropolitan Tea blend. It’s a flavoured red rooibos with lots of sliced almonds and calendula petals. It smells like vanilla and almond. Brewed, the combination of rooibos and vanilla creates a kind of earthy, tobacco-y sort of scent. I generally don’t find red rooibos to be unpleasantly “woody”, but if you are one of those people, I suspect you wouldn’t like this. To me, it tastes good plain, but with milk and sugar added, it’s delicious and desserty – kind of like french vanilla ice cream.
Flavors: Almond, Tobacco, Vanilla
I decided to make this one tonight in the hopes that the licorice root might soothe my throat. I think it’s helping a bit! Either that or all the honey I added is helping a bit. :) Anyway, I finally went and got my strep throat diagnosed and got some antibiotics today, so hopefully you guys won’t have to put up with my complaining for much longer.
My first Teayama tea! This one isn’t even on their website anymore, which is a bit puzzling. It’s billed as a calming herbal, which seemed appropriate since it’s past midnight and I’m craving a cup of tea before bed. The scent is very “herbal” and quite complex – I can detect the licorice root, orange peel, and peppermint, as well as something I don’t recognize that might be the tulsi. It tastes like it smells (in a good way), not too strong, and no bitterness. There’s that coating sensation in the back of the throat and a slight sweetness from the licorice root. I’m not the best judge, but I would say it does have a bit of a calming effect (either that or I’m just really tired and ready for bed – also a possibility!). If you like herbal blends and licorice root, I recommend this one.
Flavors: Licorice, Orange Zest, Peppermint
Still delicious, but made the mistake of leaving the leaves in my travel mug while drinking this in class. It was fairly over-steeped and some of the sweet notes of the caramel and toffee were overwhelmed by the strong pu-erh taste. Still a pleasant cup of tea, but nowhere near as good as it’s been all the other times I’ve made it.