66 Tasting Notes
These are alright after you get past the first couple flash steeps. Made the mistake of drinking those instead of dumping them and they were riddled with strong ammonia and barn floor flavors. After you get past that stage; it’s a palatable ripe pu’erh with a strong, nearly overpowering rice flavor. I did a single tuocha in a 150 ml gaiwan and that was probably a mistake, since even the short amount of time it took to slap the lid on the gaiwan and pour out the liquid created a frighteningly strong, opaque brew. Can’t say I’ll be revisiting my pouch of these any time soon. Maybe in a couple of years when they lose some of the ammonia and wet pile notes. It’s a unique pu’erh, that’s for sure.
Flavors: Barnyard, Fishy, Mushrooms, Rice, Wet Earth
I’ve bought a couple sampler pouches of this as gifts for people before, but I’ve never tried it myself, for some reason. Finally got around to snagging a 4 ounce pouch from Ohio Tea Company when I was there. The dry aroma is absolutely heavenly, like strawberry lemonade gummies and naturally sweet black tea. It doesn’t carry over as strongly to the drink itself, but that’s fine! You can’t expect it to. I’m glad I bought a big portion of this right off the bat because I can see myself drinking it again and again as a non-fussy afternoon tea. I almost never put anything in my teas to alter the taste, but it seems like it would be fantastic with a bit of sugar and lemon juice. A prime candidate for iced tea lemonade.
Flavors: Fruity, Lemon, Strawberry, Sweet
A bit weak for my personal tastes. Doesn’t resteep well, so you only get a single cup out of each sachet instead of the usual two or three. It has a nice, deep, fudge-y aroma to it, but the liquor is subdued. Not a lot of flavor coming through, tea or chocolate or otherwise, and the rosebuds barely add anything to it. Can’t say I’d buy any more of this in the future. Unfortunately poor execution of a good concept. I really wanted to like this. Probably going to be doing 2 sachets per cup for the rest of the tin to make it taste less… empty.
Flavors: Chocolate, Nuts
This got me hooked on earl grey again. It’s a strong, pungent, elegant rendition of the bergamot black that I’m used to. Earl grey wasn’t my thing for a few years, but I picked a tin of this up on a whim at a local grocery and it immediately earned itself a spot beside the office’s hot water dispenser. Easily one of the best grocery store teas I’ve tried so far.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy
For a decaf tea to unwind with right before bed, this is lovely. The vanilla note is a bit candle-like, definitely artificial, but I can’t bring myself to care. A little creamy, a little bitter, and overall pleasant. Can’t beat the convenience of being able to get a decent decaf black from Target.
Flavors: Cream, Dark Bittersweet, Vanilla
I wasn’t sure how I felt about fermented teas without a floral note to cover up some of the flavor when I ordered this. But at $18 for a 3.5 ounce brick, this seemed like a safe way to try out unadulterated pu’erh without shelling out $100 for a ripe 400 gram chunk with some age to it.
Well, after taking a whiff of it in the bag, I’m hooked. It smells like a gently dampened forest floor, woody and organic with a whisper of sweet fallen leaves. There’s also some detectable dirt, but that’s not an unpleasant note, surprisingly. When you saturate the tea with boiling water, the aroma turns into what I can only describe as the scent of vivarium—clean soil and mulch that slowly steeps in the intense humidity. The taste is what you would expect from the dry scent: woody, earthy, and overall pleasant. Very, very smooth. Nothing fishy about it, no astringency, no biting edge from an excess of tannins. A touch of sugarcane in the aftertaste with a gentle minerality. It’s like a tasty and polished version of the liquid you get from boiling dried oak leaves on the stove to make leaf litter for a blackwater aquarium. I’m sure there are better fermented teas out there, but I’m in love with this stuff for the time being.
Flavors: Bark, Earth, Mineral, Smooth, Wet Wood
This is one of the first white teas I ever tried. I took a whiff of the little sample tin at the Ohio Tea Company store and bought a couple ounces to test. The dry leaves have a delectable sweet grape smell that’s complemented by the light, dry, tannic aroma of the white tea itself. It’s the aroma of a refreshing ice cold spring drink.
When you brew it, the taste is pleasant while hot—a classically delicate white tea with prominent grape notes—but it’s a completely different animal when you allow it to cool to room temperature. Icewine is an accurate descriptor, although the only sweetness comes from the natural honeyed notes of the tea leaves. There’s a touch of white florals somewhere in there, almost like a perfume note. Saving the rest of my bag for cold brewing this spring and summer. I have a hunch that it’ll be fantastic when it’s properly chilled and the flavors have been slowly extracted.
On a side note: this actually holds up to grandpa-style brewing when you use a smaller amount of leaves. The taste of the liquor produced by soaking a teaspoon of leaves in a 12 ounce mug filled with hot water for an hour is extremely similar to that of liquor from a quick steep in a filled gaiwan, if a tad more tannic.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Sweet, White Grapes, White Wine
You don’t always want something fancy that’s meant to be savored. At $9 for a 4 ounce tin, this is the perfect little treat to have around for when you’re in the mood for a hot cup of something caffeinated and uncomplicated (that isn’t coffee.) I can drink cup after cup of this stuff with how smooth and simple it is. Unfussy black tea of a decent quality with a very real red raspberry note and a hint of cocoa from the nibs. This isn’t a complex tea with notes that are hard to differentiate, it’s a plain old flavored black with a great execution and no bitterness to be found.
Flavors: Blackberry, Cocoa, Raspberry
What a lovely introduction to fermented teas! I poured boiling water over a heart in my 16 ounce teapot, used a fork to gently pry it apart after it had softened for a couple minutes, and then let it steep for about 5 more. The rose aroma is strong, but not overpowering, and it mingles beautifully with the darkness of the pu’erh. There wasn’t a bit of bitterness or astringency in the cup, it’s just a smooth dark floral with woody notes that’s terribly easy to sip. Not a fishy or mushroom note in sight, either, which was my main fear with fermented leaves. The flavor held for a couple more steeps without weakening. I think I went through 40 ounces of water before the rose started to fade, and at that point, I had to stop to limit my caffeine intake for the evening. I’ll be buying more of these when I work my way through the rest of the 2 ounces and sending a few out to friends for them to try.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Rose, Smooth