Renegade Tea Estate

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Recent Tasting Notes

69

Renegade is fairly new. This is very evident in the appearance of their tea. I’ve tried their black, green, and oolong; and each is very similar in its impression. Though there are plenty of heavier oxidized oolongs this one more closely resembles a black before steeping and a green after. Which makes sense because oolong is supposed to be in the middle as far as oxidation goes but it still looks darker than your usual oolong. It has a soft taste, somewhat woodsy with earthy notes and little astringency. Bare mineral notes and some unique green pepper hints.

Daylon R Thomas

I got the Lazy Morning because it had lighter oxidation. I got the green pepper thing with that one too.

Skysamurai

Green Pepper is one of those flavors that comes out and makes you sit there for a moment. Like, what did I just put in my mouth? haha

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85

This one is no longer on the Renegade Tea site, but this was one of their earlier methods for making black tea from 2019 and was one of the company’s first. The closest you can get from them right now is their Burnished Beauty from what I remember reading from one of their blog posts, which I have yet to try.

I got it because it was a sweet mellow and has the elusive cocoa note, and it’s the easiest of the Renegade Teas I got to drink. Dryleaf, it’s chocolaty/breadsy and has an floral autumn leaf aroma and taste like high quality 2nd Flush Darjeelings; albeit much softer and less acidic or spicy. Like all of the Georgian Teas I’ve had, it’s very forgiving. Even though it technically expired last month, it’s held up pretty well and actually tastes better than when I first opened it and bears a lot of similarities in body to the Eco-Cha Alishan Black I have.

To compensate for the expiration. I’ve dumped between 7-10 grams in a French press for 12 oz of hot water. Western has been the best style, and while it’s decent Tumbler/Grandpa style after 10 minutes, the tea can get a weirdly drying fruity/leafpile sitting too long in water astringency that I’m not sure how to describe. I’ve only done 2 Gong Fu attempts, but the session requires hefty leaf or only lasts between 3-4 cups, first and second being the best of the session.

Since all of the teas I got from Renegade Tea were a little bit lighter than I expected, apart of me thinks I should have tried the more bolder teas to see how bold they actually were. I personally do not like intense Assams or Sri Lanka Teas, so a full bodied Georgian tea might have a little bit more nuance in comparison. I’m going to try to finish of the rest of this that I can today..unless someone can stop me. I am glad I am actually catching up my backlogs and inventory, and I think this company deserves more love because they have some very unique teas that are all very mellow and notable.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Grain, Malt, Savory, Smooth, Sweet

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85

I overleafed it gong fu, but I flash steeped it in 10, 15, 20, 15, 25 yielding three solid cups and four subdued ones. The hibiscus, currant, and rasberry notes were there in the background in steep one, then more prominent in steep two. Since I filled half of the gaiwan with leaves, some astringency poked through leaving more dryness in the tongue.

I was reading some notes on other teas and under the power of suggestion, the drying quality and grittiness made me think of buckwheat in steep one. All of the Georgian blacks I’ve had tend to have it, and it’s really pleasant when it hits the tongue right the the fruity notes afterwards into a yammy malty boddy. At the same time, the grainy quality can add some discomfort. The dry wheat quality and occasional astringency is why I’ve drank this one so slow in the last few years. It’s still a quality tea that stacks up against Chinese teas or Balhyoachas, and it’s not really that astringent normally.

My hesitation is probably my sensitivity to caffeine. It’s grown the past few months because I’ve backed off from the amount of coffee and tea I drink together. I still plow through my oolongs easily because they are easier for my stomach and head. I do still recommend this one if you’re getting into Georgian teas and want a close equivalent to some Korean or Chinese blacks.

Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Drying, Hibiscus, Malt, Raspberry, Sweet, Wheat, Yams

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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85

2020 Backlog:

Lighter malt in comparison to the Evening Lilac, but more punchy with flavor. Berry Breeze won my heart over the Evening Lilac catching me by surprise. Their notes" red currant, raspberries and hibiscus. A fresh and fruity black tea, no sharp edges." are spot on despite it being a forgiving tea. It has a little bit of cocoa nib dryness to it that’s kinda nice in contrast to it’s juicy body. I haven’t iced this yet, so I can’t say if it tastes like a hibiscus iced tea.

Like it a lot Western, need to experiment gong fu and grandpa.

Flavors: Berry, Black Currant, Cocoa, Cranberry, Drying, Hibiscus, Raspberry

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Backlog: Got 100 grams of this because I thought I’d really like it. Renegade Tea mostly does large servings of 50 grams, and I almost picked the white, but I decided too late as it ran out of stock so I got more of this tea and an older one, First Kiss, which is no longer on the site.

This one’s extremely floral and heavy with Lilac, and juicy and smooth like cranberry juice. In contrast to the sweeter notes, it’s got a little bit of a buckwheat dryness behind the floral component.

I haven’t done a proper session with this one in a while, but it’s a soft, resilient tea lacking astringency. It can get a little bitter like jasmine after an extremely long steep, so grandpa style might not be the way to go unless I figure it out a different way.

That’s all I’ll right for now, but it’s a tea I’m having a hard time getting through. I enjoy it when I have it, but I have to be in the mood for it.

Flavors: Cranberry, Drying, Floral, Grain, Jasmine, Wheat, Wood, Yams

Leafhopper

Your reviews of the teas you sent always make me want to get to them! How did I end up with such a large backlog? Surely it doesn’t have anything to do with my tea-buying habits…

Daylon R Thomas

Lol you should have some of this one from our last swap-so not to worry!

Daylon R Thomas

And it’s thanks to the swaps and traveling tea boxes. I’ve just slowly caught up on my backlog with more to go. Did you get to try this one yet? I wanted to see what someone else thought of it pretty badly because it’s extremely unique for a black. The dryness is what personally makes me undecided about the tea so far, but it’s really nice in cooler weather.

Leafhopper

Yes, you gave me 50 g in our last swap. :) I’ve been holding off on it partly because I’ve been finishing off other black teas and partly because I remember you telling me the brewing parameters were unusual. Cooler weather is a few months away, so I may have to try it before then.

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88

I will likely amp up the rating in the future, but I’m giving it the “This is seriously good tea rating not quite a staple; still exceptional rating” of 88. I also did find myself craving it because it’s fresh without being too grassy, but smooth and easy to drink when I’ve already had too much tea and caffeine. Tulips,jasmine hints, florals, cream, a little bit of apple/citric acidity and sweetness, and zucchini/squash buttery greenness.

I had this immediately after an Alishan, and the profile is pretty damn close. I see myself coming back again, and it did surprise me with a 5th steep I didn’t expect. You really have to be generous with the leaf and precise with the brewing to get the right flavor profiles gong fu. That means I will probably finish this one faster before it’s expiration date.

I don’t think I’ve quite pushed the limits on this one yet, though I think I’ve got the majority of the profile the tea will offer. There could be more notes on this one, but I think I’ve written enough for now. It’s my goal to come back to teas that I say I’ll write about in the future and actually follow through with my promises.

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88

Got this last year to try it out. I’m not going in depth right now, but it’s a very smooth, buttery, breadsy and floral oolong. There are a lot of similarities to a Bao Zhong in its lilac and jasmine notes, but it’s extremely soft and thick with a bit of grainy biscuit like texture you get in Himalayan oolongs and greens.

Since it’s a Georgian tea, it’s on the softer side so I have to be extra generous with the leaf western, and even more generous Gong Fu. This one works well as a cold brew, and I’ve grandpa’d it, but I need to experiment more. There’s a nice astringency/acidity like fresh peppers or green apples on occasion like I got today along with tulip florals. This and Berry Breeze were my favourites when I got a discounted pack from Renegade Tea Estate. Definitely recommend it, but I will write about this again in the future.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Floral, Green Apple, Green Bell Peppers, Jasmine, Smooth

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77

This is a tough one to review. With a name like “Banana Rama”, it’s tough to get into tasting this without smelling and tasting bananas everywhere.

The dry leaves just…smell like dried bananas to me!

I hit the tea with boiling water.

The wet leaves are completely out there, so different than the dry leaves. I get this minty, strong, mineral aroma, typical of assam-style tea.

But when I take a sip of the 1st steep, there’s none of that. It’s a pretty sweet, smooth tea, which tastes…like dried bananas. But! It’s also surprisingly juicy, with a hint of acidity in the back, which makes the finish more like fermented bananas.

The 2nd steep is, again, smooth and juicy. I get some fragrant wood out of it. Like the tree bark of a pine tree.

The 3rd steep shines with a beautiful dark amber colour. The acidity really kicks in (something which I’ve started to notice always happens around the 3rd steep, with a lot of Renegades tea), which reminds me of Nordic forest berries, shining through the foresty woody aromas.

The tea goes on for 2-3 steeps more, before becoming a bit acrid.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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77

Lots of the dry leaves are quite dark, mixed with green. The contrast shows even more on the wet leaves, where dark emerald leaves are mixed with leathery colors.

The wet leaves are sweet, fruity, slightly roasted.

The first steep (75 degrees) is a bit weak, due to too short steeping I’d assume. I get some wood, quite a smooth/juicy feel, and some pleasant baked sweet dough aftertaste.

I’m excited for steep 2!

Not such an exciting steep 2.

It falls a bit flat in aromas. It’s still a pretty pleasant tea though, to be fair. Light, nice texture, barely any astringency, juicy, maybe even a bit of a pineapple aftertaste, very very far back ? I don’t think this tea is like a tasty adventure that will bring you places, but it’s a good tea.

Well, the 3rd steep was a surprise! Somehow, a pinch of acidity just appeared in there, giving the tea much more personality. To me, this reinforces the whole pineapple thing, and I like the tart feeling that it gives, mixed with the slight astringency that just joined the party.

Now for the 4th steep, let’s crank up the temperature to 85 and see what happens.

Well, it isn’t bad at all! Nothing special to mention there. Probably getting close to the end of this tea, but still giving a pleasant, full taste.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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81

Dry leaves: Sweet, dry hay. Cookie dough.

The wet leaves smell out-of-this-world good. Fresh, snow peas, cut grass, fruity melon-like smell. Their color is dark emerald.

Liquor color: Greenish yellow.

The first steep is a bit weak, steeped at about 80 degrees. Hard to tell exactly what’s happening there…Bits of astringency. The tea doesn’t have an immediate strong aroma, but already seems to leave a pleasing aftertaste.

The second steep, is pretty good! 75 degrees water, for a longer time, brings out all the aromas felt in the wet leaves. Again, very sweet, pleasing aftertaste.

The third steep lost a bit freshness, but still holds itself in body and aromas! The cut grass, the sweetness, maybe a bit of apple seeds? Hard to pinpoint.

The fourth steep is starting to lose in aroma, feels kinda watery, but still reinforces the lingering aftertaste.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70

An “Almost Oolong” definitely on the greener side.

The dry leaves remind me of sweet hay, greener tones. The sweetness reminds me of butter cookies.

It recommends 70 degrees, but I went with 80 on the first steep, with a normal amount of leaves, in a small gaiwan.

The liquor is of a light yellow/orange

The wet leaves are dark green, with bits of oxydation showing through.

The wet leaves smell amazing, reminding me of flowery oolongs, with some thick grape juice tones.

The tea has aromas of fresh flowers. Melon. After a few sips, some savory cooked green vegetable (aspargus) hit me, possibly cause of the higher temperature. Bits of astringence.

The 2nd steep is at 75 degrees. The tea doesn’t give much fine aromas as it did before, but keeps a nice texture.

After a 3rd steep at about 75 degrees, not much sweet aromas again, but a lingering sweetness sticks around in my mouth, reminding me of young shengs.

I re-heat the water at 80 degrees for the 4th and 5th steep. The tea has more character again, but getting a bit acrid after the 5th.

15 minutes after my last sip, sweetness still lingers in my mouth.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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60

Lots of leaves, small gaiwan.

The dry leaves are really exciting. Strong aromas of baked cookies, ripe bananas.

The wet leaves display quite a different aroma profile. I get dark tones reminiscent of black tea: wood, malt. No sweetness.

First steep. Quite mellow in flavours. The tea is juicy, I get some wood, the fruity banana hits me more in the aftertaste.

Second steep. Lower temperature, longer steep time. Still juicy, I lose most of the wood, I get more of the fruit. A bit more pleasant acidity as well. Overall quite light.

Third steep still pleasant, but definitely losing in strength.

Fourth steep, the tea is almost dead.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75

Small gaiwan, lots of leaves, boiling water.

Dry leaves: sweet, cookie like.

Wet leaves: wood, chestnuts, slight sweetness. Gaiwan lid is really sweet. Leaves are mid sized, tender but slightly thick, dark leather colour, really nice quality. Barely any sings of breaking.

Liquor colour: dark amber

Liquor scent: very sweet, honey,

Taste: Smooth, warming black tea. Sweet, light in aromas, with hints of tannin, dry wooden notes at the back, giving some character to the tea. Nothing unpleasant.

Second steep bring out more character. A slight hint of pleasant bitterness rounds the tea. More wood, darker flavours. Not sweet, but juicy. Drying on the throat. Heavy on the tongue.

Third steep is smoother in texture, less intense. But more wood. Thick bark.

Fourth steep is still very generous in flavours. Even more balanced I’d say. Tannin leaves space to more sweetness coming back through.

Fifth steep start to show signs of dying, but still pleasant.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 OZ / 100 ML

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