House of Tea -- TorontoEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
I can’t locate more information on this tea. The base is theoretically black tea, but after steeping, there is an ongoing fishiness in both scent and flavour which leads me to believe that perhaps the base is puerh. When it cooled down a bit, a touch of caramel came forth with a hint of whisky-ish flavour. Still, the flavour is a bit odd.
Thank you, Dexter, for the sample. As Dexter says, there are better teas out there.
This was one of the Darjeeling samples I got to determine which Darjeeling I preferred. It had a light brown coloured brew. Relatively balanced, slightly astringent with muscatel tones. I tried it without milk, but I think it was strong enough that I’d drink it with milk the next time to balance out the astringency. It was okay, but not something I would restock.
A fruity tea with a sweetness that lingers, reddish brown colour in the cup. Has some strength to it. Drank it black. Curious to see if it holds up to some milk. I think it’s an average tea though—not one I would stock as I’ve got so many others I prefer.
Flavors: Muscatel, Sweet
This was my second time with this tea, this time I brewed it western style with one steep of two minutes or so. Seemed to have quite different flavours than when I brewed it n a gaiwan. This time around I tasted more fruity or floral and something that I would call vanilla. Very smooth. Definitely preferred it brewed this way. Drank it straight with no milk.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Vanilla
I’ve not been a Darjeeling fan because my go to tea was always a strong Assam with milk and I found them too light in comparison. But now that I’ve started appreciating Chinese tea and brewing in a gaiwan, I thought it was time to give Darjeeling a fair chance. I decided that my first experience would be to brew gongfu style to be able to experience the subtleties, and to drink it straight, I.e. No milk. I gave it a very short rinse and so far I’ve had two drinkable steeps at 30 and 40 sec respectively. The colour is a light chestnut. The taste is smooth with some tannin and a lot of other things I don’t have the words to describe. There was a slight nuttiness on the first steep which wasn’t there on the second steep. There’s some body. The second steep had a bit of sourness or astringency. There’s some fruitiness but I can’t really identify the scent. Overall, this is a nice light black tea. My next experiment with this tea will be to brew it western style to see how the taste will differ.
I found this pricey, so I expected more. It’s the first Ali Shan I’ve had so I didn’t have a cheaper one to compare it to. I made it in a gaiwan with a 15 sec wash. The next two drinkable steeps were at 40 and 30 sec respectively. The scent was floral, so I was surprised at how vegetal it tasted. Certainly more vegetal than floral in taste. Also a tannin taste. The colour was pale green. It was a nice enough light oolong, but not nice enough to warrant the price. I’m curious what others think of it. Will definitely have to try another Ali Shan for comparison.
Flavors: Floral, Tannin, Vegetal
I needed something a little bit lighter than my usual palette. This seemed to do the job. The steeped leaves have a fresh and citrus scent. It reminds me of a cold can of Fresca in the summer time. The aroma of the liquor smells very minty. The flavor tastes of juice. It has a delicious and soothing quality. The rooibos adds a heavy base for the flavors to lie on. You can taste a smooth mixture of mint, grapefruit, and juicy vanilla. I like it and this would be a perfect cold brew in the spring time.
Flavors: Grapefruit, Smooth, Vanilla
Hidden Gems Tea Box: A big shout out to Anlina for organizing this box for our enjoyment!
Coming home to this and my first teapot waiting for me in the mail was a wonderful way to end a crazy week.
I think I underleafed this one. It doesn’t seem to carry much flavor. I’m getting a strange fruity flavor and then at the very end of the sip something that feels like mint as a tickle in my throat. I think I’ll hang onto this one and use the rest of the leaf for another pot and see how I feel about it when I attempt to overleaf it.
Cooking TTB #1
So I have to prefix this review with the warning that I really don’t like grapefruit… so why did I start my digging into the TTB with this sample? Honestly I just couldn’t wait until tomorrow morning to start trying all the delicious teas and was therefore after a rooibos or herbal due to the late time of day… AND I’d told myself that I had to take advantage of this TTB and make sure I tried a bunch of things that I wouldn’t usually pick out for myself. This tastes a little bit like watered down berroca or a lemon orange vitamin tab (without the effervescence) oh, and a hot version of above… which doesn’t really work for me… but again, I’m did mention that I’m really really not a grapefruit fan right? so maybe thats the problem???
Waiting until it cools to see if the flavors develop a little better…
Mmmm ok, once cool I get more of the mint, its got a much more refreshing taste and is less medicinal. I could imagine drinking this one iced at the lake house on the patio in the middle of summer but alas I don’t have one of those! Its a nice tea but really not something that I would usually pick out or something that appeals to me personally but I really appreciate the chance to try it!! Back to the box it goes!
Another tea from my anonymous tea friend! I’m not familiar with this type of blend, but according to tea chat, it’s supposed to be heavy on the Assam. The leaves are all very broken, which made me worry a bit about how long to let them steep without bitterness. There are a few golden pieces mixed in among mostly black leaves. I decided to go with 2.5 minutes instead of my usual 3 (I also actually used a level teaspoon instead of my usual heaped one).
The steeped tea smells quite nice – heavy on the molasses and honey notes. Thankfully, it didn’t come out bitter. This is definitely a kick-in-the-pants type of tea though, it’s quite strong and could easily handle adding milk. I do taste some of that molasses goodness, along with a touch of hay. Actually, this is kind of reminding me of a black tea version of Bai Hao. Pretty tasty overall. :)
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Hay, Malt, Molasses, Tannic
Cooking TTB #5
This was a weird experience….
I was super-duper excited to try this based on the smell. It was so wonderfully grapefruity. However, once it was brewed, I made an association that I now cannot unmake…and because of that, I’m thinking I won’t rate this. So…Halls makes those Defense Vitamin C drops that taste like lemon, orange, and grapefruit. This tea reminds me exactly of those grapefruit lozenges, which therefore reminds me of that weird acidic feeling in the back of your throat right when it is about to get scratchy and painful but isn’t quite there yet. Yeah. Not awesome. This probably would have been a lot better if I hadn’t thought about that…
Thanks to Lala for this rooibos blend! Wow, no notes on this one yet. I’m sure this is the right one. The scent of the dry leaf is actually a little spicy. Reminds me of a holiday candle. Perhaps it absorbed the scent of a neighbouring tea that it was once hanging around?
No spice in the flavour, however. The rooibos is strong in this one. But the strawberry is strong enough to burst through the base and be noticed. Slight creaminess. I actually like the flavouring of this one, and would probably really enjoy it if it had a green or black base instead. Or maybe a milder honeybush base.
Cooking TTB #19
This tea had such a unique combination of flavors, I couldn’t resist trying it. But honestly, I was also a bit afraid of it. There are so many ways it could have gone wrong…too much mint, a woody flavor from the base, or an intensely tart/sour flavor from the grapefruit. But I was pleasantly surprised: this is a delicious, refreshing tea! I chose to drank it cold and I couldn’t believe how smooth and creamy the flavor was. The mint and grapefruit blend seamlessly and the base doesn’t poke through at all. This would be an amazing summer iced tea!
Flavors: Creamy, Grapefruit, Mint, Smooth
Mmm last night’s cup was heavy on the grapefruit and light on the mint, with a vanilla note in there too. Very tasty. The mint mostly appeared at the end of the sip.
I think this time I used more leaf than usual.
Flavors: Grapefruit, Mint, Vanilla
This is one of the strongest smelling tisanes I’ve ever come across, and the roll top bag that it came in is powerless to stop it from smelling up my whole hotel room. Which is kind of okay, because this smells amazing. A very intense, juicy smell of fresh grapefruit, with the sweet, sour and bitter notes.
The dry leaf is red rooibos, green flakes of mint, curls of citrus peel and some large citrus wedges.
As it steeps, the sweet mint fragrance comes out, mellowing the intensity of the grapefruit. On the palate, this is much milder than the smell would suggest. There’s definitely grapefruit and mint, with a bit of rooibos woodiness and a touch of a drying mouth feel. The grapefruit and mint are well balanced, but I wish that both were punchier. I want this to taste as intense as it smells.
Still, it’s delicious, and I’m glad I got a big bag. I did a sloppy job of making this cup, as I’m in a hotel room, so no measuring or timing anything, and no way to know how hot the water was. And even though this doesn’t taste as amazing as the smell, the smell is good enough to just enjoy on its own.
Flavors: Grapefruit, Mint, Sweet, Wood
Well poop. As much as I tried to prevent it, this tea got contaminated by the Grapefruit Mint Rooibos, even though that one was in a roll top bag inside a plastic bag, and this was in a ziplock bag and I kept them physically separated.
So my sweetie and I did a gongfu session with this, and in amongst the sweet, nutty, grassy. umami notes there was hints of grapefruit, including that slight tongue tingling sensation that grapefruit has.
Still tasty, but not what it was like the first time around. Boo.
Oh my god, this is so good.
This is a steamed green tea from Korea. Unfortunately I can’t recall if this one was picked before or after the rains. I picked up a sample from House of Tea in Toronto.
The dry leaf is intense green and needle like, like a sencha. It has a sweet, nutty smell.
Steeped for 1.5 min at 90C, it produces a clear, bright green liquor. The taste of it is incredible. It’s very broth like, with a medium body and smooth mouth-feel. Notes of nuts, umami, grass and sweetness are very well balanced. On the first steep there’s no astringency or bitterness at all, and on the second steep only the faintest hint.
This reminds me more of a gyokuro or kukicha, more than a sencha.
I’m really tempted to go pick up a bag of this, even though 100g seems like an awful lot.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Umami
I bought this tea in Madrid in a newly opened tea shop. They get it from a German importer , but I don´t have any more details of its origen. When I smelled the selection of black teas they sell, I inmediately liked this one, for it being different, quite strongly aromatic with a smokey hint to it. Once steeped, this smokey side is still clearly present. The tea has a reddish colour, is strong in taste but without the bitterness of most black teas, almost floral (which it isn´t, fruity it says on the “menu” of the tea shop, but I don´t really agree). One of the better teas I´ve tried recently.
Flavors: Oak, Smoke, Tea
I woke up with a cold this morning :( I felt it coming on yesterday evening. So I’m having this to help soothe and feel better. I remember this having more of a ginger bite the first time I had it, but I probably can’t taste it properly from the cold. Added honey, and it’s comforting.
No sense drinking the good stuff until it’s gone.