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Recent Tasting Notes
TeaTiff TTB cuppa #4
So, this is the not the first cup of tea I’ve had from this box (it is the fourth) but it’s the one that’s bringing me out of a 2+ years hiatus from tasting notes.
I am doing a long shift at work today and I pulled some black teas to try while I am here. Not a big black tea drinker, but knew I needed to get through the day.
The leaves look all twisty and pretty dry and so I did one David’s Tea PS (which I believe is 2.5 grams?) in my 16 oz holiday Nordic Mug. I steeped it short (maybe 3 mins max?) let it cool and so sipping it warm at my desk. The leaves will be reused for a cold brew that I’ll steep overnight in work fridge and sip tomorrow.
It’s a nice enjoyable cuppa, nothing noteworthy to me as bad (and sorry, I don’t have the tastebuds and nose for any fancy tasting notes). It’s a good start to my morning. :)
It also delights me that reading over the tasting notes this is Martin’s favorite black tea since this is who I got the TTB from and wanted to especially try the teas he put in since I’ve never been to or had tea from Czech Republic!
2023 sipdown no. 56
Martin kindly sent me quite a generous sample of this tea, yet I never managed to make a note. I was so excited about this one, especially when reading notes from everyone else! I recall this having some floral and stewed red fruit aspects — quite intertwined and neither overtaking the other. I didn’t get much in the way of maltiness and certainly no astringency. It was a unique cuppa overall — I truly can’t think of a tea that’s similar to it. Thanks for sharing Martin. :)
My last cup this morning I steeped twice and both steeps were very flavourful.
P.S. Mountain Stream is having their 5 year sale and I may have placed my first tea order of the year XD!
The first steep reminds me most of honey, with tobacco undertones as it cools. It reminds me of a much smoother version of Upton Tea’s Old South Meeting house blend. The second steep is all honey, did someone put sweetener in my tea when I wasn’t looking? The third steep was mostly tobacco, but still smooth and easy to drink. Very interesting tea, thanks for adding it to the box Martin!
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Tobacco
April 2022 Sipdown Challenge – A woody tea
Olive green leaf is the majority here and it tastes so much more like a Darjeeling than a fully oxidized, cocoa-ish Nepali black tea. This tea lights me up in all the right ways. It is very easy to drink with its lemon-oak-dry grassy character and some light, fluffy date sweetness like oxidized white teas. It is a bright tea with enough astringency to make it interesting but not dry out the mouth. Very mineral, quartzlike and bright clean copper. Mouthwatering, tingly salted citrus rind feeling. Nuances of sunchokes, malt, muscatel, eggshell, dates, geranium, pungent dried herbs, spearmint, dry forest floor duff. It feels in a way like California, like summer.
Thank you, Martin :)
The steep time and temperature sliders don’t work on the phone sooo – 3g:300mL, 195F, 2 steeps at ?/?min
Flavors: Astringent, Bright, Citrusy, Cocoa, Dates, Dry Grass, Dry Leaves, Forest Floor, Geranium, Herbs, Juicy, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Malt, Metallic, Mineral, Muscatel, Nutty, Oak, Salt, Spearmint, Tangy, Viscous, White Wine, Woody
TeaTiff TTB #12
This reminds me of a Darjeeling, which I know is supposed to be the “fine wine” of black tea, but which I personally don’t love. The flavor is light and floral with a lingering woody note. I find it slightly drying on the tongue. This one’s definitely not for me, but hopefully someone else will enjoy it!
Flavors: Drying, Floral, Wood
TeaTiff TTB #8
This one surprised me! It had a strong scent of brown sugar and I thought it might be a flavored tea, but it turned out to be just a straight black. The flavor was quite light and sweet. Honey smooth, but lacking in body…almost more like an oolong than a black tea. It was interesting to try, but probably not something I’d go for again.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Honey, Smooth, Sweet
TeaTiff TTB #2
Martin was kind enough to add a sample of his favorite black tea to the box and I can see why he likes it so much! This is one of the smoothest black teas I’ve ever tried, without even a hint of bitterness or astringency. The flavor is sweet and fruity with a lingering honey aftertaste. Delicious!
Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Smooth
A sipdown! (M: 4, Y: 32)
Another very sad sipdown; however it was necessary somehow. It is 2021 harvest, so certainly… quite old and I just wanted to finish another tea before tea festival; so I picked this one, which was last session worth.
At least I thought so, because I haven’t weighted the remaining leaves. Western method of steeping used
I have oversteeped this a bit, as I was busy preparing ice cream for my family members; but it seems it wasn’t a trouble.
A rich cocoa notes, strong flavours of it with caramel and malt notes; a little astringency in the background.
Well, now I have to go and get another bag of this.
There is one fellow Steepsterite who has asked me, if I can get this tea. I have been finally able to, so I bought a pouch, which was way more expensive than I thought (but I didn’t cared — 45 cents per gram) and decided to share with them a bit.
But of course, opened pouch needs to be drank quickly. Even though I did my best to pack it again, without air/humidity/etc. contaminations.
Imagine dark black leaves. Very wiry, but they look amazing in my opinion. Looks really hand-made as their hue tend to vary. Also the quality. Some are broken more, some are almost intact.
You take a sniff and you get certainly a cacao note. It brings childhood memories. Weird for tea. But it smells like a kindergarden cacao which I didn’t liked back then. But the aroma is magical and dreamy.
I have prepared this wonderful tea just two times so far, both prepared western. Once using big strainer, second time it was with fillable tea bags. Going to try it gongfu as well.
Even the parameters were same for both steepings. First steep with almost boiling (but not boiling) water, second was okay with boiling water. Two, three minutes steep are sufficient. But longer steep is okay as well. In both cases, I have used two teaspoons.
First steep is… how to describe it? Very flavourful and I have noticed indeed again cacao notes, but followed with hints of sesame and peanuts. Those flavours were followed with malty and some sweet… caramel I guess. Second steep is actually very similar, but it’s not anything against this beautiful tea.
Ilse Wouters had tea called Woori from Paper and Tea and I honestly think, it is very same tea. She said it is rather afternoon tea and I have to agree. It’s mild and smoth, good for calming down the nerves (Yes, I am stressed about the work and some other things (I think everyone understands what are they) ), and it somehow brings me into writing mode (as you can see here).
Yes, if I was about to write some flaw, it is rather thin aftertaste. The flavour does not last long in the mouth. But not all teas are perfect. Either way, it is time to rate it and it will be very high. Yes, there are some teas above, because I am biased still with the price level, as well the uniqueness affects me. However, Georgian tea is probably a bit more available than this gem.
If you got Dobra Tea nearby, it should be available unless it is sold out. It happens very often.
Flavors: Cacao, Caramel, Malt, Peanut, Sesame
I find this tea very hard to describe. I know, after only one session it is always somehow hard, but this tea is one of the most difficult.
In aroma of my steeped three grams was baked bread, but as well roasty, leathery, a little smoky too?
In taste it was very and awesomely smooth. I don’t recall having that smooth black tea before. It was a bit on weaker side in taste, but it was good. Somehow sweet but not as sugar, lightly malty, and… I need to retry it to notice more of the flavours.
Certainly a good tea. At least its 2021 harvest. But as I wrote, I need to re-try it…
I find with the rarer teas I review here, it’s fastest to just do a search for them, and Steepster is usually one of the top results!
This is a loose-leaf tea from Martin!
It’s kind of bright, with a good deal of astringency, and a mild citrus note. There’s a floral note too, and something vegetal at the end of the sip. The astringency is a bit much for me. I might enjoy it more as a latte. Thanks, Martin!
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Floral, Vegetal
I got this today in a package from the Czech Republic. Thanks, Martin!
Mmm, the brewed cup smells malty. It tastes a little sweet with honey notes, and it’s quite malty. It’s not very astringent at all, and it’s very smooth. Delicious!
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet
For long I am trying to write a tasting note about this tea.
But somehow… I always drink the tea and then I hope I will have another, better, session. And now, my 50 grams is almost finished. I have roughly about 15 grams left. And I still hope I will get a better session.
But even “bad” session isn’t bad enough to don’t write any tasting note. I generally like FF Darjeelings for it’s uncommon taste. Nothing is tasting, nor looking like black tea. For example, from this one I notice mostly floral and muscatel notes. And I was getting those notes every time I have prepared it — no matter if steeped in strainer or fill-your-own tea bag. No matter if I have overleafed it with two heaped teaspoons or used only one. Various steeping times. Glass cup, nordic mug, whatever… those two were there always.
Malty? No way, which is a bit dismal with upcoming fall. Bitter? Sometimes more than I would like to, but it was usually user fail.
But hey, it was generally so enjoyable cup of tea. I am not sure what I was always expecting more from it. I would love to find more descriptors though.
Flavors: Floral, Muscatel
Shh… I bought this tea back in February and now we are close to July?
It flies and I have almost sipped down this tea.
And I just took two teaspoons, strained and steeped… while watching TV news about the tornado here, so I have no idea for how long. It can be around 4 minutes. Almost boiling water.
This note should be about the tea right? Can’t focus on that much, as my friend’s house lost the roof covering. But they are one of the luckier families there.
Light, almost lemony, with woody notes. Some floral backbone. Hints of astringency, I guess it has mellowed a bit during those 4 months. Still amazing though.
If you want to help with little money, you can do it safely here: https://www.darujme.cz/projekt/1204937
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Lemon, Oak
I decided to gongfu this tea this time. 4 grams, 125 ml, rather on the weak side, but afterall, it’s almost 7 pm again.
No rinse, boiling water in thermos.
1st steep, 5 seconds
Instead of rinse I did very short first steep. It is apparent, that the tea is “waking up”, doesn’t deliver much of the flavour, but hints of it is there. Certainly the floral notes + some mellow astirngency.
2nd steep, 15 seconds
This steeping method completely ruled out the astringency. Yes, it’s there, but much less present, it is very floral but not over the top.
3rd steep, 10 seconds
Now it get the lemon zest note. Slightly drying. Again quite floral, I think I noticed apple tree flowers with lilacs, but it may be off.
4th steep, 25 seconds
Certainly citruses prevail this steep; can’t decide if I like it more prepared western with long mouthfeel of nice astringency or gongfu which isn’t same every steep. I think I will drink it both ways.
5th steep, 45 seconds
Yep, citrusy again. Haven’t noticed that in brewing western that much present. But it’s lovely.
6th steep, 60 seconds last one
I wonder where I noticed the oak; but well, it’s different steeping method. How often I noticed something in western brewing and not in gongfu and viceversa. Still a wonderful cup of tea. I feel sad saying good bye to this session; but it’s certainly worth more than 6 steeps. But… writing this tasting note for almost an hour, it’s almost 8 pm now and well, it’s black. Caffeine. Oh well. But needed badly some distinctive and pure not flavoured tea. A certainly good purchase. 228 CZK/100 g (if someone wonders)
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWvdFIU6hZg
I need to buy bigger thermos, as with this one I am able to make 6-7 steeps only and often teas are worth more.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Floral, Fruit Tree Flowers, Lemon Zest
I was in Pardubice to pick up a suit… and my favourite Guria Likhauri. Of course, I had that stupid question asking “What’s new?”
And the tea master answered. A First Flush, Nepal Ilam, delivered this week to the tearoom. “It is great tea, similar to first flush Darjeelings, quite floral and long-time mellow astringency. You should try it, it’s quite delicate and other part of spectrum compared to the Georgian tea you wished for.” So yup, I bought 50 grams. This is well-done marketing. Again, I was able to take a sniff, but with mask on… well, I must say it’s very potent in aroma!
Storytime over. Now to my own experience.
It looks rather like a green tea, I guess it’s part of the very fresh tea; and smells heavenly. Florals, somehow herbal, woody (oak maybe?). I took two teaspoons (well, I don’t have any steeping parameters) and used boiling water. Three minutes long steep, and well, steeped, it smells again great. It is really similar to FF Darjeelings somehow, but more floral with citruses present. Taste is citrusy, like a lemon rind; with some florals again. Some backbone as astringency which is in all the sips with really long duration of taste; it is maybe 15 minutes since I have finished the cup and still notice it. It’s indeed delicate, not too strong, yet very present.
Hold on rating, becasue I need to try this tea a bit more!
Flavors: Astringent, Citrus, Floral, Herbs, Lemon Zest, Oak
I had nightmares last night. I had a really, really bad morning. And I hurt my back and it has been getting steadily worse all day. Also, it has been raining for two days and it isn’t supposed to stop soon and I really, really need sunlight. It was just an all around bad day. Did I say bad day yet?
Until shortly after lunch.
The mail was delivered. And there was an unexpected envelope from overseas. The Czech Republic to be precise! It was tea and a postcard and a letter from Martin! Steepsterites to the rescue! Even though it was still raining outside, the sun came out in my kitchen! The teas were this one, two from Bird and Blend which is a company I have never tried before, and another called Kali Laska.
Well, it is New Year’s Eve so of course I am going to try Martin’s favorite black tea, Guria Likhauri! This will be my NYE celebration! Cuz I am wild like that.
Youngest gave me some Champignon cheese for Christmas – a delicious soft cheese with mushrooms, so I made a plate of that, crackers, Hickory Farms turkey summer sausage for Sam the King of Dogs, mozzarella which was pretty bland and hardly worth mentioning, and some Bon Maman cherry preserves to try to make the mozzarella interesting.
I measured the leaves and determined that there was enough here to make a small pot.
But oh those leaves! I rarely see black tea leaves that look like this. They are thick and twisted, sinewy, and so shiny – really glossy black and beautiful. They exude character – the life of the tea bush is almost palpable. I think I had a tea from Old Ways Tea that looked like this. Just looking at leaves like this makes me feel awestruck with the miracle of tea and the beauty of nature.
The aroma was complex and layered with a deep woodiness and fresh, sharp grapes, like muscatel. The muscatel aspect was like the scent in darjeeling but not as sharp and high as darjeeling. As I start to sip I inhale and the aroma floods my senses before I even get any tea and it is fruit – stewed, rich, dark. Stone fruit?
There is no bitterness and no astringency, and I can see why Martin says he drinks this grandpa style. You surely could. It’s that smooth. While the tea sits in your mouth, I would say it has medium body with a touch of creaminess or oiliness like the texture of some ripe puerh. After you swallow, woody notes linger. And something else….minerals! Definitely minerals.My husband sips and says, “This is fruity.” Normally he says, “This is hot and has tea-like qualities” when I ask if he likes a tea, so the fact that he pointed out a specific impression from the tea means it made him take notice. (Maybe he can take review lessons from Kiki!) He drank A LOT of it.
There is no way I am wasting any of this, so I steeped it again. We finished our cheese and I am now sitting alone drinking the third steep as I type and while it is lighter than the first steep, it still has way more interest and flavor than many teas have on their first steep.
And wow, as it cools, it has different notes. Some teas get so astringent as they cool that you really have to reheat the cup to finish it, but not this one. The minerality is increased, the muscatel has decreased, and the stewed fruit – plums with a pinch of brown sugar maybe? – is still present but light. Mostly minerals and woody flavor here at the end.
Still good and I still want more, so fourth steep here we come. Paler now, minerals and a more noticeable sweetness. Well, that was unexpected. Almost like a licorice root sweetness so I guess this may be what they call hui gan? Was it there before and I missed it?
A delightful tea, and I see why it is Martin’s favorite.
Many thanks, Martin. It made my day.
Many thanks to the Steepster community for being who you are. May 2021 be blessed and filled with hope, joy, peace, fellowship, and good tea!
Thank you so much Martin for sending me this tea! I carefully measured out 2 teaspoons, then realised that left only a few leaves in the packet, so I dumped the whole lot into my teapot and brewed Western style over the afternoon. I love a good, malty black tea – and this is exactly that.
1st pot, 98c, 2m 30s – smells malty, rich and smooth. Lovely flavour! Malty and sweet. Notes of apricot jam and a silky smooth texture. No astringency or bitterness.
2nd pot, 98c, 8m 10s – richer aroma, more malty and less smooth. The malty flavour intensifies. It’s almost yeasty, but not unpleasantly – it’s like doughy, under-baked bread. Apricot jam is still present and nicely sweet.
3rd pot, 98c, 14m – malty and smooth but light. Honeyed apricot sweetness develops in the aftertaste. Still super pleasant.
Ah, this was an amazing tea, from the first cup to the twelfth. I’ve had a look for it online but it doesn’t seem to be available right now. Will definitely consider buying it when it’s available again. Thanks so much Martin!
Flavors: Apricot, Jam, Malt, Yeast
Likely a different harvest than the tea Martin first shared with me 2 or 3 years ago: https://steepster.com/derk/posts/400663
No point in being stingy with my personal rating. This is probably the most refined yet accessible and flavorful black teas I’ve tried. An email to Dobrá is in order — please consider selling this on the US website!
This is one of those teas where I ask myself: “Where do I start?”
A fine Georgian black tea complex enough to be satisfying but never pretentious. It feels like an accessible yet refined ‘peoples’ tea. Fruity, floral, woody, malty. Delicate, lightly stewed fruits and grape verging on muscatel with a touch of butter, leather, salt. Rosewater and cherrywood base. The malt never dominates. Balanced astringency. Some spiciness in feel but not in taste. Nice fruity, tangy aftertaste. The body is damn near perfect for a stands-on-its-own black tea.
Granted I only had enough of this from a swap with Martin to have 3 days of western prep, it seems like a versatile tea. It has that comforting sweater weather feeling that made the past few mornings’ cloudy cold snap more bearable, but it’s also light and bright enough to feel refreshing on this sunnier and warmer spring morning. It sits so right with me. Thanks, Martin :)
Flavors: Apricot, Bread Dough, Butter, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Dark Wood, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Leather, Malt, Mint, Muscatel, Peach, Plum, Rose, Rosehips, Salt, Spicy, Stewed Fruits, Tangy, Yeast
And another tasting note of this one. Raising the rating from 95 to 99 as it is my all time favourite I guess.
Yes, as you know, I have birthday today! And this day needs great tea. And that one from morning wasn’t it. But quarter of a century over here? To sum up… I had completely different thoughts about last 5 years. But it is like that and I don’t want to change it. If I decided otherwise I won’t met so perfect guys around me. Not only Steepster people, nor classamtes, nor co-workers. It’s not perfect life, but who needs a perfect life? It would be boring.
But this tea is close to perfect and no way boring. I won’t repeat myself, just read other notes :)
Yummy, malty jam. No bitterness even prepared grandpa as usual, full-bodied, just perfect for this day!
Song pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYEC4TZsy-Y
Although there could be many nice songs, for example this one helped to go through the panic attack yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHCV_ro2U_A (if you google translate lyrics, you will lose the play with words, but you will get basic thought of song)
Thank you all that I could be member of this community. I like it here because of you guys!
Now I am sad with this SIPDOWN.
It is truly amazing tea; with bold malty characher, but there are as well some fruit notes, mostly grapes. Grape, malty jam tea :) Even prepared grandpa — 6 grams per 300 ml.
I think I wrote enough about this tea already, derk wrote a lot of impressions as well…
Now it is time to buy new packet and send a sample to ashmanra to hear another tea lover thoughts about this tea. Same with dreamloomer.
I will able to get it next Thursday, so if anyone is interested in somehow small tea swap (as well across the ocean), I can put this one in as well :)
Flavors: Grapes, Malt, Stewed Fruits