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Recent Tasting Notes
Rinsed once and brewed Gongfu style.
Some nice sweet malty notes on the nose, once rinsed.
Infusion 1 – 30 Seconds
Smooth and savory, straightforward wood notes with a malted body and a slightly sweet/tannic finish. When aerated over the palate I get sweetness balanced by astringency. It’s a pretty middle of the line black tea but tastes great!
The wet leaves have a roasted balsa wood smell and warm vegetation.
Infusion 2 – 40 Seconds
Smoothing out a little as the leaves open up. Still strong and malty, black tea with a bit of nuance in mid-sip.
Infusion 3 – 50 Seconds
Mellowing out on this infusion, water is much clearer and the leaves have yielded much of their flavor. I will bump the time on my 4th and final infusion.
Infusion 4 – 75 Seconds
Getting a little light here, I would say this is good for 3 infusions and possibly bump the time out on the 3rd. I have a bit of astringency on the finish and the flavor is not as present on the body.
Still, overall, this was a solid black tea and pleasant at any time of day.
Flavors: Malty, Sweet, Tannic, Woody
This is a sipdown for Ashmanra’s sipdown challenge, International Irish Whiskey Day. I don’t have any whiskey-flavored teas, so I went for a loosely alcohol-themed one. This one is definitely better iced than hot, but even iced it’s just… ok. Not terrible, I get some coconut and pineapple flavor, but something about it just doesn’t quite click. Unfortunately I didn’t take good notes while drinking so I can’t be more specific than that, and will also therefore refrain from giving it a score. But, to borrow a GeekSteep phrase, this won’t be a restock/resteep for me.
Sweet and savory infusion with lots of cinnamon followed-up by caramel and apples. Tasty nightcap without caffeine.
It’s pretty straightforward and the rooibos brings the body to life. I’m glad I steeped for a long time to extract lots of flavor out of this tea. Ruby red in color.
It tastes kind of like red hots, might be nice chilled too!
Flavors: Apple, Camphor, Caramel, Cinnamon, Pancake Syrup
I’m getting the cinnamon, hibiscus, pumpkin seed, and a bit of pistachio on this. The beet root made it red and probably more savory. I’m not going to issue a rating as I only had a few servings of this and I’m sure it was well expired and not in perfect form. Honestly this was mostly hibiscus but I don’t mind hibiscus tea and it was a pleasant experience overall. :)
Flavors: Biting, Cinnamon, Hibiscus, Pistachio, Pumpkin Seed
Dry nose – leather, wood, straight black tea leaf.
Wet nose – steamed greens, acidic, a delightful malty sweetness like a thick bread.
I may have oversteeped the first infusion at 60 seconds, but the leaves hold up well. Powerful black tea with a hint of astringency but not bitterness, just bite. Subtly sweet balanced by astringent.
I put a dash of water in this brew due to the overpowering flavors, which made it hard to pull out more notes. There’s an old adage about black coffee that will “put hair on a man’s chest.” This brewing is the tea equivalent of that coffee.
60 seconds again, the leaves have calmed down a lot. What is left is a great, bold black tea. A bit of copper on the tongue. Malt in the body and a medium astringency on the finish. Happily shared with coworkers.
3rd and 4th Infusion:
~75 and 90 seconds. This has mellowed into a hallmark black tea, bold body mixed with some lighter and sweeter notes. Less lingering on the palate. Some astringency hugging the tongue and slithering through the throat once drank. It’s nice getting such a range of flavors out of one session.
120 seconds. Same as 4th but the leaves have fallen off a bit. They were however solid for 5 infusions!
Overall, this is a very straightforward tea that I could recommend to lovers of black tea for breakfast, or an afternoon pick me up.
Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Malty, Sweet
Larger gaiwan (200ml) filled to about 150ml, I did two or three steeps before reviewing. Smelling the brewed leaves yielded spinach and maybe something sharper mixed in, Swiss chard? Lovely almost butterscotch sweetness on the nose of an empty cup.
I can’t pull out every flavor, but this is a pleasant green tea overall. Straightforward grassy vegetal flavor and medium astringency that lingers on the entire tongue. Think of it like standard Asian restaurant green tea, but with a cleaner overall profile and not from a bag or bitter. Just astringent if you steep it too strong.
Don’t think I can buy this again in the same exact variety as it was part of a sampler subscription I used to have years ago, but I have one session’s worth of tea left and it is something I am looking forward to for my afternoon zen break.
Flavors: Astringent, Butterscotch, Grassy, Hay, Spinach
Advent Calendar from Kaylee: Day 4
For whatever reason, I’m always surprised when I encounter a flavored oolong! So I did a bit of an olfactory double-take when I opened the packet for this one, saw the name, and then immediately smelled something herby. (The marigold petals were a visual giveaway, too.)
So, yes! This smells very strongly of lemon and basil, although when it’s brewed, I get a whiff of marijuana as well. The flavor is not as bright and zingy as I’d imagine, though! It’s kind of muted and muddy, although it does have a nice smooth mouthfeel.
I think I just don’t care for herb-heavy teas, because this isn’t doing much for me! I think I prefer sweet, dessert-y lemon flavors in tea to more savory ones.
Flavors: Basil, Cannabis, Herbs, Lemon, Smooth
Today’s sipdown! Unfortunately, even though it smells nice, the vanilla flavor isn’t particularly robust. I ended up just adding oat milk and turning this into a woodsy rooibos latte. I enjoyed a peppermint tea earlier today and can smell the roasty hojicha that’s brewing now, so I don’t think this is an issue of my sense of smell/taste being off (always my first thought nowadays). The flavoring is just… meh.
Continuing my September sipdown efforts by finishing off this one. It’s…ok. I don’t mind it, but don’t love it either. I steeped it for exactly two minutes at 180f to avoid oversteeping per directions, so it’s not a matter of bad preparation. I haven’t had this all that long either, so it’s not a matter of the tea being too old. I’m just not all that impressed with the quality of the base tea or the flavoring. The base tea is fine, it’s a basic pan-fired green tea that’s slightly on the dry side. The flavoring is sort of generically “sweet tropical fruit” but isn’t really distinctly mango. It’s missing a certain fresh brightness that’s promised in the name and description but not quite delivered in the final product.
ETA: Bonus, this counts as a tropical tea for Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge this month!
I haven’t tried this hot yet, but my first overnight steep in the fridge was mighty tasty! No dried peaches in the ingredient list (papaya instead) and no outright mention of vanilla, but that’s exactly what it evokes: Mom’s white peach cobbler. No spicy ginger or cinnamon, just fruity and sweet.