A sample from Chi Whole Leaf. This is the second of the five samples from Chi Whole Leaf that I’ve tried, and I picked it out this morning because it seems that I’m simultaneously terrified of it, and looking forward to it the most. The powder appears to be less finely ground than the other samples, and it’s possible to see much larger flecks of it both dry and when mixed with water. I used 1/2 tsp of powder for my cup, and mixed it into boiling water. The powder rose to the surface this time, creating an orangey foam, which was unexpected and a little disconcerting. The liquor itself is a deep dark red, as I’d expect from anything with hibiscus in it.

I left this one to sit for a few minutes, and the surface “foam” mostly dissipates. The powder is still visibly suspended in the water, though, and it creates a rather unpleasantly grainy sipping texture. The flavour itself is milder than I expected – it’s tart and sour in characteristic hibiscus fashion, but not mouth puckeringly so, and there’s a pleasant floral in the mid sip that does remind me of rose. It’s not particularly well defined, though, so if you’re looking for a clear “rose” flavour you’ll be disappointed. There’s supposed to be jasmine, but I can’t detect that at all. Mostly, it comes across as a hibiscus blend, with a hint of floral. Pleasant enough, but not amazing. It’s also quite “flat” tasting – there’s no aftertaste, and none of the flavours really seem to last beyond the immediate sip. I wanted to like this one, but I have to say that it’s really odd stuff, and not really my cup of tea groan at all. While I appreciate the chance to try these, so far I’m not sold on them at all.


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Hi :) I’m Sarah, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.


Norfolk, UK

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