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Recent Tasting Notes
Always a sucker for a dessert flavored tea, I initially balked at the price, but went for it in the last iteration because this flavor seems to sell out and isn’t always available. The scent of the dry leaf (and even while brewing) is very butter-forward. Like, seriously butter. A little vanilla sweetness is detectible as well. But upon tasing the brew, it’s very underwhelming. Heavy butter scent, super mild butter and vanilla taste. Really subtle. I may try brewing longer next time, because I feel confident that I did not underleaf.
Here’s the weird thing: I decided to have this tea after dinner with a couple of gingersnap cookies leftover from when I made a peach tart earlier in the summer. For whatever reason, taking a small bite of the cookie and then a sip of tea made it really delicious! Odd, since I didn’t think it would go together, but there’s an almost toffee-like aspect to the cookie that not only compliments but greatly enhances the dessert flavor of this tea. Go figure. So, a win, I guess? It was very enjoyable with the cookies, but the milky oolong base of this tea is a no-show.
Flavors: Butter, Vanilla
I had been wanting to try out this blend for quite some time, and finally decided to take the plunge.
I ordered the sachets, as I know from past Smith Teamaker experiences that I really like their little box of neatly organized sachets. I was very annoyed to have received a box of 15 teabags, not individually packaged (the other box I ordered came in the traditional packaging and the website doesn’t state that they aren’t individually packaged like the rest of their products). This is a first world problem, I realize. But, having such a large collection makes it hard to drink through things quickly, and having a bunch of unwrapped teabags isn’t ideal for longterm flavor preservation.
That annoyance aside- this tea is good. Really good. Annoyingly good.
This is the creamiest, most delicious bowl of vanilla ice cream you’ve ever had. It’s a milk oolong cranked to 1000.
Ugh, it’s been a long time that I drank a new tea that I got this excited about.
Flavors: Cream, Milk, Rice Pudding, Vanilla
Early in my tea journey I didn’t like Breakfast Blends, but I am warming to them now.
This is fairly nice. Strong, but not so strong that it affects the taste. Its just the sort of gentle hand I like to ease me into a morning.
I rarely have tea with milk or sugar in it, but i think it would taste really nice with this tea. Maybe I’ll have to try it.
Another from the TTB. I taste a lot of different herbal ingredients here. The strongest one is definitely mint, but I sense something savory too – maybe the pepper. Everything combines in an okay way, though it’s not great. There’s just a lot going on. It’s best cold. There’s something that lingers – maybe the licorice and/or echinacea.
This one continues to be good. The blend borders on grassy from the other green tea bases, so I am following my two to three minute rule with it. I’m still not sure what to rate it. Flavoring and combo of flavors is in the 90s because it highlights what I like about Green teas. None of the flowers clash, and it remains heady and fruity without cloy. I’m going to have to pick it apart some time.
I didn’t expect this one to be a hit. I expected good and unique. Instead, it’s a tea on the levels of good as Rose City Genmaicha. The smell is incredible, fruity and floral with some household freshening spice hints. Having cardamom and ginger with a jasmine tea would probably clash badly, but the flavoring, rose, and osmanthus smooth this out. I actually didn’t really taste the jasmine that much. First brew is primarily jasmine, nectarine, and rose. As it cools, the ginger is a little more prominent with the osmanthus. Second steep was more cardamom, but it’s not dominating. It enhances the rose and nectarine in a skittles like effect. Got it to the third cup, more ginger. Good hot or cooled way down.
So yeah, in short, it tastes like skittles. Taste the rainbow this spring. I will likely down this soon.
Flavors: Candy, Cardamom, Floral, Ginger, Green, Jasmine, Nectar, Nectarine, Osmanthus, Rose, Smooth, Sweet
Finally rating it. Since I opened the bag and just let the leaves spread around the tin, the flavor and aroma has been far more forward. Opening up the tin now smells like pineapple sage and cream next to a bundle of lilacs. Brewing it in my Eclipse also improves the flavor significantly leaning harder into pineapple overall than just the heavy amounts of soft lilac and cream. It’s sweet enough to use the condensed milk description I hoped for.
Overall, I think this tea could replace a lot of the Qin Xin’s I buy for a slightly cheaper price. I’m glad that Steven Smith opted this tea to be a regular on the lineup instead of their Alishan because I think this tea is superior. It doesn’t quite beat out my favorite Lishans or Shan Lin Xis, but it’s up there.I was very tempted to rate it 90, but I think 87 is fair. This is a really good 4 grams western or 3-5 grams grandpa/tumbler tea, but it’s been too soft for me gong fu. It’s easy for me to over or under-leaf it causing an overly soft or overly grassy session, which I know is an error on my part, but I get more of the lilac gong fu and don’t get pineapple until later in the session. Western and grandpa makes all the flavors more forward. I’d still suggest gong fu to people trying to look for dimension because it does change in very subtle ways, but the profile wasn’t as layered as it was with longer steeping times. Thus, it loses a little bit of points gong fu.
Easily, this tea is one of my favorite pure teas from Steven Smith. I’m very tempted to refill my tin in the future. We’ll see how my budget is.
Backlog and current log. Hot tumbler brew.
Decent, went lighter on the leaf around 3-4 grams ish. Butter, herbs, lilac after about 5 minutes. More florals and green flavors later, edging on pineapple skin. The fruit flavors did not develop until about 10 minutes in. I think it was a little too hot. I swear the metal raised the temperature in the tumbler, but it gote sweeter as it sat. I’m re-brewing the leftover leaves in a regular kyusu since they are open and smell fresh and fruity. I hope it gets something good…
And yes. WAY fruitier notes. Still soft green oolong, but clear lilac pineapple, and a little bit of creamy mango in texture. Not super forward, though more what I like. Maybe I should do longer steeps western with less grams?
Surprise-it’s been more flavorful as a coldbrew. I stuck some, maybe 3-4 grams or more in my bamboo tumbler and let it sit and steep as I worked today. First time after about an hour it was creamier and sweeter than when I had it hot. It had the Qin XIn texture and pineapple skin floral flavor, but the mouthfeel was fuller cold. Second time I refilled my bottle, and more cream. It was subdued, but then after about 10ish minutes, diffused faster than the first one. Lilac was prominent in a soft green edamame-ish body, and then a sweeter finish sneaking up. The drips of remaining water at the bottom soaked more juices from the tea basket/strainer, and were heavy with pineapple taste and acidity, almost being a nice ripe flavor. I decided for another go.
After an hour steeping…not much. Darn. Either way, there’s improvements. I will have to do another tumbler test with the tea but with less leaf and cooler than 185 F water to see how it does.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Green Melons, Pineapple, Snow Peas, Soft, Soybean
Surprisingly pleasant note: the tea reeaally works tumbler style. The water was a little too hot to drink, so I actually poured what I had in another cup. Same notes, but balanced and evenly layered. Beginning lilac, pineapple, cream, and finishing the typical qin xin grass milk taste. I did it again, let it sit well over 5 minutes, cooled down and….not astringent. Or bland. OR BITTER. Just smooth pineapple, creamy milk in the roof of the mouth, grass and fuller texture. I am very happy with it so far. It’s not super complex or as dramatic as my other Qin Xins, but we’ll see how this tea does in other methods.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Grass, Lemongrass, Milk, Pineapple
I’ve wanted to try this one since Oolong Owl posted about a few years ago either at a World Tea Expo or a West Coast One. It’s also a floral fruity pineapple kind of oolong, so up my alley. I originally didn’t buy it as a limited tea because they were charging close to $40 for two oz originally, maybe less, but too much for something I could get cheaper. This time, I got it at about $27 for 3.5 oz and a tin with a new impressive seasonal release.
I gong fu’d it, and had trouble with the first steeps. 10, 20, 20, 10, 15,20, 25, 45, 55, 65 were the brews with 7 grams. Initial 10 sec rinse was creamy, milky, floral, and lilac leaning, though extremely soft like a Jin Xuan. Second was much the same, but third was floral, bordering on bitter, but again soft. Pineapple crept in profile, then bloomed in steep four making the tea more fruity and Qin Xin like as rebrewed it.
I am impressed with what the tea was able to do and has its Taiwanese flavor, but more of a Chinese tea’s texture. Since I had to coax the leaves, it was not quite as forward as I hoped. I don’t think I’ll have trouble figuring it out. I’m not sure if I’d get a full 3.5 oz again, but I won’t mind having it around nor a tin I can store my other oolongs in.
Flavors: Cream, Creamy, Grass, Green, Lilac, Pineapple, Soft
Mastress Alita’s Monthly Sipdown Challenge: a sleepytime tea
Not really sure why I bought this…because this isn’t really something I would drink. It basically tastes like chamomile with a tiny bit of lemon myrtle. Not getting any of the floral qualities of the rose or linden flowers. Meh.
Mastress Alita’s Sipdown Challenge January 2022: A Tea with Bean Notes
Another tea bag unearthed during the Great Congestion. I consider this quite the find and don’t know where it could’ve possibly come from. Back when I first started venturing more into tea I really wanted to try this tea company, and this tea in particular. Don’t ask me why. I don’t believe they ship to Canada, however.
Before steeping, it was not promising – a generously filled satchet with some brown looking, sour smelling, long-leafed tea. How old is this thing? Add water and the leaf remembers it’s green and gives off a wonderful lemon-hued butter veggie aroma. To taste, it has notes found in other Chinese green and white teas (ie – Silver Needle, Dragon Well): lemon, sesame, green beans, spinach (you know how spinach has that milky calcium quality?), melon. It’s smooth, nearing cream and butter.
Yeah, this is a treasure in a tea bag.
Flavors: Bamboo, Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Lemon, Melon, Nutty, Peas, Sesame, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
Another Christmas Giftie to try.
I have to say I really like this one; which is good because I was given a large box of it! I taste rose, grapefruit, and chamomile. I think I might add this to the list to purchase when they release the 2022 batch.
Flavors: Chamomile, Grapefruit, Rose
After a hectic Christmas celebration, I thought this would be a “good morning” tea. A friend had dropped off a tea gift bag in the middle of the night including this one. She loves this brand of tea and introduced them to me.
The tea bag is huge and I’ll remember that for my next cup and brew a pot instead. Enjoyed while watching children decide which Xmas gift to break open for the day.
A good, smooth, and strong black tea. Might be a new favorite black tea for me.
Oh, it’s been a crazy few weeks. I’ve been in a one night only play, I’ve held down my office during the busiest season of the year, my boss has taken a week long vacation immedietly after, and now, his MIL has covid, so what this week will look like yet.
Ooof. Tea to the rescue?
I hope she’s ok, and my boss is ok, and his small child is ok.