603 Tasting Notes

55
drank Rooibos Earl Grey by Adagio Teas
603 tasting notes

Not sure if it’s just me or whether this is what the combination of rooibos and Earl grey is supposed to taste like, but I just couldn’t get into this tea. The aromatics were certainly inviting. Potent aromas of cinnamon bark, lemon peel, and orange from the leaf. I steeped this in a tea bag as Rooibos isn’t easy to strain well. The brewed tea was far from enjoyable. It tasted medicinal with a strong star anise like flavor accompanied by notes of clove, root beer, and menthol. All flavors which I otherwise enjoy but here it just tasted weird. I may need to try this with a little milk and sweetener as it’s just not doing it for me on it’s own.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Clove, Medicinal, Menthol, Root Beer, Star Anise

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
TeaEarleGreyHot

Do you normally like straight rooibos?

Mastress Alita

I have tried several rooibos EGs and have just come to the understanding that while I like rooibos and bergamot on their own, I do not like them together. Milk did help me finish off a bag in my stash, though.

LuckyMe

@TeaEartleGreyHot, it’s been a while since I’ve had straight rooibos. I’ll admit the smell is a little off putting but it takes the right flavoring to make it work. Like Mastress Alita, I can stomach it more easily with milk and sugar. One of the best drinks I ever had was a rooibos chai latte from a small cafe in Anaheim.

Cameron B.

Interesting that there are so many spiced notes when the ingredients don’t list any spices?

LuckyMe

@Cameron, rooibos is pretty spiced on it’s own. I reckon the combination of it and bergamot amped up some of the spice

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78

Didn’t love this one as much as previous Kamairichas I’ve had. This one tasted like a middle of the road Laoshan green tea. It’s heavy on the grain and bean flavors. Notes of soymilk, chestnut, lima bean, and corn silk. While not a bad tea by any means, I miss the fruitiness and fresh flavor of better Kamairichas.

Flavors: Beany, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Grain, Lima Beans, Soybean

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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98
drank Apple Cinnamon by Tim Hortons
603 tasting notes

One of the teas I brought back from Canada. This one is unbelievably good. The smell alone is just divine. Like a freshly baked cinnamon roll. Brewed at boiling for 5 minutes. On it’s own, it’s cinnamon forward but not offensively so. More like cinnamon spice oatmeal. A touch of sweetener however transforms it into something like cinnamon buns or an apple fritter donut. Would have never expected something this mouth wateringly good from a fast food chain.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Tropical Peach Green Tea by Tapal
603 tasting notes

Another humble bagged tea that far exceeded my expectations. At $1.49 for a box of 30 teabags, it’s some of cheapest tea I’ve ever bought yet surprisingly good and a better value than similarly flavored loose leaf teas. Very tropical tasting with notes of honeyed peaches, mango, and papaya. The fruitiness is reminiscent of an old Teavana favorite, Fruta Bomba. Don’t taste the green base but for a tea at this price point, that’s probably a good thing. Can’t wait to try it iced.

Flavors: Honey, Mango, Papaya, Peach, Tropical

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 10 OZ / 295 ML

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95

Sipdown. A wonderful session marred only by my pocket pipe kyusu slipping from my hand during cleaning and shattering. Sigh. I love mini teaware for solo sessions especially with pricier tea like gaoshan. Luckily I have my 50ml shibo to fall back on which I’ll now need to be extra careful with.

This was the last tea from my Wang Family Tea order. I have to say, I‘ve really enjoyed all of the high mountain oolongs I tried from Wang. Not only were they all good but I noticed their tea didn’t go stale as quickly. Green oolongs usually deteriorate within a few weeks. I took me nearly 3 months to get through this one and it suffered only minimal loss of freshness.

Dry leaf smelled like pear and lily. Upon placing in a warmed gaiwan, kettle corn and magnolia aromas appeared. More florals and a scent of honeycomb following a rinse.

The tea starts off light and fresh, building body as it progresses through steeps. Luscious spring flowers with notes of orchid and daffodils. Not too thick texture or heavy body but elegant and understated.

It’s best when gongfu steeped but is also nice western style or when all of the infusions are combined.

Leafhopper

Sorry to hear about your teaware mishap. It’s always sad when that happens. I like Wang Family Tea as well, and their oolongs seem to be on the floral side.

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98
drank Mango Green Tea by Tapal
603 tasting notes

Ran out of loose tea while visiting family in Canada last month and they offered me their stash of bagged tea. This was a massive collection of random teas and tissanes ranging from plain commodity tea like Pukka to exotic Arabic Wild Thyme tea. I sampled a bunch of them and this flavored tea from Tapal, a Pakistani brand, was one of the ones I enjoyed most. It has a light but natural Alphonso mango flavor, my favorite kind of mango. It’s not as intense or juicy as higher end flavored teas however the subtle sweetness and flavoring is really nice and leaves you wanting more.

Flavors: Mango

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C

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88

Shincha 2022.

This has been my go-to for iced sencha all summer long. It’s refreshing and tastes reasonably good iced. But truthfully, the reason I started having it iced is because I didn’t know how to properly steep it hot. The steeping instructions from O-Cha resulted in a murky brew with a generic, salted grass flavor. I couldn’t taste any of those sweet grass and umami notes from the leaf aroma.

After some Googling and thanks to the tasting notes on this site, I was finally able to have a good session with it. Used 4g of leaf for 100ml and steeped 3 times: 1m @ 155 F, 20s @ 160 F, and 45s @ 165 F. Keeping the temperature low and leaf quantity high is the key here. The resulting brew had a sugar pea sweetness mingled with spring grass and pronounced umami. It has a mildly bitter but pleasant edge to it and the umami lingers into the aftertaste.

Flavors: Snow Peas, Umami, Wheatgrass

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97
drank Bai Rui Xiang by Verdant Tea
603 tasting notes

Spring 2020 harvest.

Been a while since I’ve dabbled in yancha. The oily texture and heavy roast usually turns me off but this one has a unique flavor that’s just delightful.

The lovely aroma of roasted peaches and chocolate surprised me. The aromatics resemble a dan cong more than a typical wuyi oolong. I brewed it grandpa style as I usually do with this kind of tea. It has a familiar but gentler taste of wet rocks with floral accents and a fruity finish. Notes of brown sugar and hazelnut. Glides across the tongue smoothly without any ashiness.

A quite refined and elegant yancha with a lot of aromatic complexity and lingering fruitiness.

Flavors: Fruity, Juicy, Peach, Wet Rocks

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93

Picked this up from TJ Maxx as I needed a cheap and convenient bagged jasmine green for homemade taro bubble tea. It certainly served the purpose but I was surprised at how good it tastes on its own. It has a fresh, clean jasmine flavor without the bitterness or weird taste that low grade jasmine tea usually has. You don’t really taste the green tea base but that’s fine by me. I just want the flavor of pure jasmine flowers in my cup.

That said, it’s best to throw out the teabag after a couple of minutes as it infuses quickly and turns astringent if left in the mug. In a side by side tasting, my Yunnan Sourcing jasmine dong ting bi luo chun still blows this way but it’s not really fair to compare it to a loose leaf tea. By bagged tea standards, it’s more than serviceable.

Flavors: Jasmine

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C
gmathis

I have had this before and agree—it’s not bad for what it is!

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90

Finished this one up a couple of months ago. Another very nice Wang family tea that offers a lot of florals that shift and evolve from steep to steep.

The rolled tea leaves are gigantic and dark green in color, emitting an aroma of apple and flowers. Following a rinse, coconut and tropical fruit emerge. The tea begins with creamsicle, flowers, and mineral accents. Lily of the valley and daffodils bloom in the second infusion. This is followed by more floral notes of gardenia, perfume, and a little honey. It begins fading after the 5th infusion but still offers a pleasant syrupy flavor.

I also prepared this by combining / stacking the infusions together. The result was a sweet and rich floral bouquet. Not as thick though and lacks some of the top notes. Nevertheless still full flavored and tasty.

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Bio

My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky

Location

Chicago

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