66 Tasting Notes
Ooh! Thanks for this one, gmathis. Had just enough to make a little pot of it before bed.
After a day of approximately 5 other pots of pure oolongs and blacks, this was a much-appreciated reprieve. It’s a calm, unfussy black base with a heavy helping of rich strawberry and cream flavors. Doesn’t even taste artificial, and I appreciate that they didn’t try to make it sweet. This was an excellent one to sip on while starting a new book. Think I’ll be getting an ounce or two of it for when I want a flavored black—my usual Lady Londonberry is good, but sometimes the lemon mixed in with that strawberry can be a bit much!
Flavors: Cream, Strawberry
Back to the good stuff. This is very much a dessert tea: the sweetest unadulterated one I’ve ever had, gui fei oolongs included. Smells a bit like hojicha after it’s brewed, which is off-putting if you’re like me and not typically a fan of savory teas in that vein, but the taste is almost a polar opposite. Saccharine, chocolatey, spiced goodness. It reminds me of a tea version of those Abuelita rounds of chocolate that you break apart and melt into milk on the stove. Aromatic baking spices mixed with creamy cocoa and the flavorful sweetness of raw sugar. Mmm, this is an excellent cup that you can’t go wrong with.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Honey, Spices, Sweet
Another tea that I wish I liked more than I do. The first time I made it, I did what I normally do with the light, delicate blacks I’m so fond of: 2.5 grams for a mug, steeped in water just below boiling for 2-3 minutes, dunking the infuser basket up and down a few times to make sure it fluffs up and infuses properly.
That made a cup with…. vague tea flavor. Mainly hot water flavor, though. Which was confusing since it was a darker hue than most fully brewed Chinese blacks.
Second round was this morning, at 7 grams for a two cup teapot, brewed for 7 minutes and then allowed to sit inside there since the first cup tasted only slightly more flavorful. I think I’ve been wrong about what the “malty” flavor note really is, because the only flavor present was intense malt. And somehow, it still managed to seem weak. The tannins started to creep in here.
That last oversteeped cup didn’t get used until an hour later, and when I poured it into the dredges of the earlier cup, it almost made me gag. Completely sour and astringent. You know the taste of pure, unbridled tannins that you get from a cheap bag of extra strong English-style black dust? That, that exactly. I actually found myself adding milk and sugar to this one in a desperate attempt to be able to drink it. If there’s one thing this tea has going for it, it’s that it takes milk and sugar really well while still tasting like a strong tea.
So that’s where the phrase “strong enough to trot a mouse on” comes from. Gotta stay away from Assams in the future, I suppose. Nilgiri is more of my style as far as Indian blacks go.
Time to dig into the ggmathis teabox for something good to chase this down with.
Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Tannic
I wish this one would knock my socks off, but it’s…. eh. Brewed it carefully in a gaiwan and tasted each individual steep, which I probably didn’t need to do, because there’s not much complexity. It smells toasty with a hint of salt, and the taste is wheat bread with a tannic bite. Not gonna give this a numerical rating until I try brewing it again and see if the crappy taste was a mistake on my part. Beautiful to look at, there was clearly a lot of effort put into the production, but the flavor is as lackluster as a mass-produced yunnan gold tea.
Flavors: Salt, Tannic, Toast
Good morning, everyone! Haven’t been on here in what feels like a week or two. Been too wrapped up in daily life and good cups of tea that I’ve had many times before.
Tea Trekker was recommended to me by a friend back when I first started drinking tea, and I balked at the prices (2 ounces generally runs $14-18, which is a risky gamble when you aren’t sure what you like when it comes to tea), but now that I can safely say what notes and regions I like, I thought it was time to place an order. Unlike some other companies that seem to spitball about what notes are in a tea, or talk it up unnecessarily to increase purchases, Tea Trekker seems to be spot-on with those. It’s refreshing. You expect a certain thing and you get it.
Tried this one last night, about an hour before bed, in a gaiwan—you seem to have better control over how much caffeine you consume when brewing like that. Pour off the first quick rinse (or drink it if it smells amazing), do a brief 10 second steep and pour that into the cup, do a 30 second one and put it in there too. Throw the leaves into a cold brew thermos so you don’t waste the remaining flavor trapped in there.
The liquor for this one is beautiful. Deep, coppery red. It’s worth using a glass cup just to see it in full. The aroma is warm, sweet hay; but nothing too sugary. It’s a dry sort of sweetness to the nose. The actual flavor, on the other hand, has a full-bodied sugar note; like you took that warm hay and poured fresh gooey caramel over it. It reminds me of the drippy, hardened remnants on the spoon you use to stir toffee while it cooks.
So impressed with this tea. It’s a lovely cup to wind down the day with.
Flavors: Caramel, Hot Hay, Toffee
One review called this an “adult flavored fruit tea” and it’s pretty spot on. Got a bag from ggmathis and had to order a pack after trying it! Green oolongs with low levels of oxidization aren’t my thing, but I love the maltier ones that veer towards the black tea spectrum. That’s what they use as a base here. A little smoky with a hint of bitterness and absolutely 0 vegetal hues.
The aroma from the dry bags is strong. I left a sandwich bag with 4 in it inside the office kitchen cupboard, and now the entire office kitchen smells like sweet flowery stonefruits. Arguably better than the previous lingering aroma of jerky. The liquor smells fruity as well, but to a lesser extent, because the oolong is potent enough to take the edge off of it. On the first sip, the apricot is pungent on the tongue, followed by the light smoke of the oolong. Mmm. Very fond of this one for a casual cup to sip on throughout the day. Gotta say, though! it tastes better with the clean water at home instead of the water at work that contains so much iron that it stains whatever it sits in.
Flavors: Apricot, Peach, Smoke, Stonefruit, Toasty
I’ve been trying a large amount of rooibos teas lately that I expected to dislike but ended up loving. “Surely this can’t be as good as it sounds,” followed by a recoil at the weird medicinal smell of the tea when the bag is opened, and some grouchy muttering when taking a begrudging sip of a tea that actually tastes like liquid dessert without any sweetener. (Case in point: I nearly wretched while making a thermos of chocolate hazelnut rooibos to take to work, but it’s astoundingly delicious to be sipping on right now.)
This one smells aggressively medicinal with a hint of orange peel and some dust in the bag. Pretty sure the dust aroma is from the bee pollen and chamomile. The aroma is even more perturbing when it steeps. However, let it cool down a bit and it tastes like a creamsicle. Sweet tangerine and orange with a kick of honey and whisper of vanilla. It took effort to not chug the rest of the mug when I made it last night. I’m now on the 5th rooibos blend in a row that has far exceeded my expectations and it’s starting to frighten me. Sooner or later, one of these has to taste like cough syrup and mud, and the chance of that happening is growing steeper with every cup.
Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Honey, Orange, Sweet, Vanilla
Hello, new favorite herbal! I’m a sucker for good lemon flavors and this definitely counts as that. Lemongrass, lemon myrtle, and lemon peel on a light honeybush background with hints of orange. Mmmm. Perfect as a hot cup of tea in the late afternoon. Eagerly awaiting the end of the work day so I can curl up with a cup of this underneath a throw blanket and relax.
Flavors: Citrus Zest, Lemon, Lemongrass
If Celestial Seasonings made a zinger with a hint of vanilla and without the convenient bag, it would be this. Sure does taste like hibiscus, rosehips, and assorted berry flavorings. Mediocre as both a hot and cold brew.
Flavors: Hibiscus, Red Fruits, Rosehips, Tart