Featured & New Tasting Notes

73

Grabbed this very old sample from the final “Here’s Hoping Teabox” which occured right around the time I joined Steepster (thanks to all participants that added tea and tea-sipper for organizing!) Finally drinking this for my “one gong fu session a month” goal.

80ml (shiboridashi) | 4.15g | 205F | Rinse/10s/15s/20s/25s/30s/35s/40s/45s/50s

I gave the tea a pretty long rinse while I was getting all the gong fu stuff ready. The leaf had a very sharp and somewhat bitter wet hay aroma afterwards, which presented in the rinse liquid. My first infusion is more mellow, though (which I prefer) so maybe a long rinse is to my benefit. There is a bit of that grassy/hay quality in the aroma, but it is very floral, and lacking the sharpness. It tastes like a pollen-heavy floral nectar, chased by a little grassy/hay note, and just a hint of bitter melon. The second infusion smells delightfully floral with a bit of a fruity undertone, and a new gold raisin flavor is presenting in the flavor, with an apricot/nectarine sort of stonefruit aftertaste. A green tea sort of beany/smoky note lingers on my tongue, as well. Went through nine infusions before the liter of water I’d heated was out so I wrapped up there, but I think it could’ve given even more.

Flavors: Apricot, Beany, Bitter Melon, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Hot Hay, Pollen, Raisins, Smoke, Stonefruit, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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89
drank Coconut Chai by Satori Tea Company
1709 tasting notes

Another restock of an old favorite! This one is full of large coconut shavings and smells just like gingersnap cookies. It’s nice to have it back in my tea cabinet again. If Satori ever goes out of business, I’ll be so sad. They have so many good blends!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cookie, Ginger

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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(I think I have the 2020 harvest of this tea, but I’m not certain of the year.)
I love a complex black tea. This one is both fruity and smoky without being overwhelming, reminds me of applewood smoke. Moderate body. Carries a variety of flavors that are all distinct but blend together really well, I’m struggling to describe it – it’s like the brushstrokes in a Turner painting, individually they’re fuzzy and muddled but together they form a clear picture. Towards the end the tea becomes pleasantly bitter in a way that makes me salivate. This one deserves paying attention to.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Persimmon, Plum, Smoke, Whiskey

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80

Coldbrew is soooooooo the way to go with this herbal tea. I wish I had a decent coldbrew bottle for it, and am tempted to use my amazon gift money on a Hario Filter. They always look so pretty. I really shouldn’t because two of my tumblers do have cold brew filter capabilities, and one of the ones I am getting will, but they are a pain in the butt to clean. Anyone have any experience with the Hario Filter bottles? Easy cleaning is the big draw in for me, and if having one means I go through my loose leaf like this faster because I’m cold brewing, all the better.

I will try it again hot, but it’s so much creamier and sweeter cold. Instead of overripe near rotting fruit for me, it’s fresher cold and I really like it. Now to see how the Pandan waffle does.

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Dried Fruit, Savory, Sticky Rice, Sugarcane, Sweet

Mastress Alita

Not sure if I’m thinking of the same Hario filter bottles, but I received a glass Hario bottle that has a rubbery pour top with a removable plastic filter as a gift. It makes fine cold brew, but I wouldn’t say I care for it any more than just making my cold brew in a big ol’ mason jar and simply straining the leaf with a strainer. I think the draw is drinking the cold brew directly grandpa style, but I find I don’t like the flavor as much that way with most teas, as the very bottom of the bottle where all the leaf has collected leaves the tea tasting a bit bitter to me towards the end. So when I do use it, I tend to pour it into a different vessel after brewing anyway. I do sometimes drink fruit teas from it directly.

I do find the plastic strainer can be a little difficult to lock into place initially, but it does work well after it is in place. As far as clean up goes, I usually have to refill the bottle with water to loosen the leaf off the bottoms and sides and then pour it out into a separate strainer.

Daylon R Thomas

Okay, so I should save my money then. That is really helpful, thank you!

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73
drank Salted Caramel by Bigelow
1483 tasting notes

I can definitely taste the caramel here, but the black base isn’t very good. Once it cools, the caramel flavor becomes quite strong and tasty at first, but then it settles into a sort of weird fake tang. It’s still decent with milk, and it genuinely tastes like salted caramel. Thanks tea-and-cats!

gmathis

That’s about how I would describe this one, too. Milk definitely helps.

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95
drank Nepal Black by DAVIDsTEA
1709 tasting notes

Reaching for a favorite today. Its chocolatey goodness never fails. So reliably good.

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Courtney

It’s so rare I see a DT I’m intrigued with enough for my wishlist, but this one sounds lovely!

Shae

I know this sounds silly, but to me it tastes just like Hershey’s chocolate syrup!

Courtney

Sounds delightful!

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84

Another from Kawaii433! Thanks so much! I was curious why ‘Duck’ happens to be in the name for this, and it looks like the description says that ducks like this rice? hmm. So it’s a decent genmaicha then, with a memorable name. :D A balance of popped rice and green tea. It was never astringent for me, but I was really being careful with the parameters. Everything here that I love about a great genmaicha. I wanted that toasty comfort yesterday, on probably one of the last cooler days of the spring. And for my no caff choice today, Bird & Blend’s Figgy Pud for that same reason. Now it will be hot out today!
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 50 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 30 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep

Kawaii433

Probably the type of rice they feed to ducks hehe.

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88
drank Snickerdoodle by Teeccino
1483 tasting notes

This is so good. I don’t like coffee, but this blend somehow takes the best things from coffee while leaving out the worst. So it’s totally like having a coffee latte, but the perfect version for me. The hint of spices could be snickerdoodle – they’re certainly desserty and tasty. Thanks for introducing me to this company tea-and-cats! I will almost certainly have to purchase more.

getanzt

That sounds yummy!

gmathis

Oh, wow….I’m not sure I’ve seen their Snickerdoodle locally, but I have loved every Teeccino I’ve tried so far. Their Dark Chocolate is amazing.

AJRimmer

I’ll definitely have to check that one out! (Along with all their other flavors!)

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92

From Kawaii433 a couple months ago now.  From my wishlist!  Thank you so much!  The first of the new ones that Kawaii sent over that I’m trying. I hope both you and Pachinko are doing okay, Kawaii… 
I love a good banana tea and this is that.  However, I was wondering about the fudge part of the name… I can’t really taste any chocolate, so I started to wonder if they meant not a chocolate fudge, but like a fudge that only tastes like banana… you know, how sometimes a fudge isn’t actually chocolate and there are different flavors, for example: maple fudge.   The only time I really experienced fudge was during a vacation in the Adirondacks, and tried many odd flavors of fudge, so I know different flavors are a real thing!  So maybe this is just straight BANANA fudge… but no.  After reading the description, Arthur Dove does mean chocolate.  ANYWAY, who needs chocolate flavor when this banana flavor is so so good?  Not quite candy banana, but also not quite plain natural banana. But this is one of the great banana teas if I’m not aiming for also chocolate!
Steep #1 // 1 heaping teaspoon for full mug // 29 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 2-3 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

Flavors: banana

AJRimmer

I’m visiting family right now, and they have the best ever fudge shop nearby, so I always end up consuming an obscene amount of fudge when I’m in town. I love the idea of a non-chocolate type of fudge tea!

tea-sipper

haha, yes, might as well have some fudge while you’re there. :D

gmathis

Do they have peanut butter fudge? That’s my favorite.

AJRimmer

Yes! My sister makes homemade peanut butter fudge, so I’ve never tried that one from the shop. I really like their orange creamsicle flavor – along with way too many others!

Kawaii433

Wow you and Derk is making me rethink this one now. hehe Maybe it’s the way I prepared it.

tea-sipper

Kawaii, good to see you back! Sometimes when a tea is flavored, I try to use cool water and a short steep time so the base tea doesn’t overwhelm the flavoring. Like some of the old 52Teas from Frank has CTC for the base, so I only steep it for 30-40 seconds for the most flavor. (Did that today, actually!)

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78

Sipdown!
As others have said, this a pretty nice strawberry chocolate tea. Sadly, not much hazelnut and no pancakes at all.

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88
drank Gangkou Oolong by Wang Family Tea
592 tasting notes

After seeing all of the rave reviews for Wang Family Tea on this site, I finally pulled the trigger and placed an order last November. Picked up 25g each of Gangkou, Lishan, Shan Lin Xi, and Long Feng Xia. I’m happy to report that all of them were outstanding and having experienced these teas, I get the hype for this vendor now.

Gangkou is the first tea I tried and the sole low elevation tea of the bunch. Wang Tea’s website describes it as having five flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Indeed, this was the wildest one of the bunch as the flavors are all over the place. The website recommends a high leaf to water ratio and “heavily boiling water“ to steep. Despite my better judgement I followed their steeping parameters initially.

The dry leaf had aromas of flowers and freshly baked cookies. A rinse brought out cucumber and a little incense. The tea starts off with some strong vegetal notes and slight bitterness but eventually this fades and fruitier apricot and pear notes emerge. The bitterness wasn’t as bad as I feared but I decided to revert to my usual steeping method and kept the temperature below boiling which produced better results. Lowering the temperature and leaf quantity brought out gentle floral notes of jasmine, honeysuckle, and orchid intermingled with some sugar plum fruitiness. Along the way, there were hints of autumn leaves, toffee, spice, and perfume. When steeped grandpa style, it has a richer mouthfeel, mineral notes, and a sweet, lingering wildflower honey flavor.

Overall, this was a complex and enjoyable tea although a bit challenging at times due to how unpredictable and inconsistent it is.

Daylon R Thomas

How was the Long Feng? I’ve been meaning to get it, but I always pay too much for all their other goodies. I got a bunch of the green Shan Lin Xi Shui Xian (Chefs Kiss) and Jasmine Shan Lin Xi. Their roasts are also incredible too, though I usually move away from roasted teas.

LuckyMe

I’m currently drinking the Long Feng Xia. It’s quite good, tropical-floral flavor but less in your face than other gaoshans. I’m enjoying it more than some of the LFXs I’ve had from TTC.

Haven’t tried their roasts yet but plan to next time. I really want to order from them again this spring but unfortunately they don’t have baozhong which is one of my must-haves. I may end up splitting an order between Wang Tea and maybe Floating Leaves for the Baozhong.

Daylon R Thomas

I’m having the same kind of issue for the splits I’m looking for. I am desperate for some Lishan Black and tried Green Terrace, but they’re paypal isn’t accepting mine for some reason. No idea why. I’m also interested in some of Wang’s Shan Lin Xi White Tea. They don’t always sell it, but they’ve been really kind to give me some, and now Liquid Proust sells it. Leafhopper has talked a lot about Ethan Kurland on a tea forum that you buy directly from vendors and farmers. I haven’t done that yet, but I know he has some good Baozhong. Trident’s Baozhong is also insanely good.

LuckyMe

Green Terrace seems to bd all but closed. Their online inventory hasn’t been updated in a while. I know What-Cha has Lishan black but they’re sold out of it including a lot of other teas I want. Thanks for the tip about Trident, will check them out.

Daylon R Thomas

The Lishan Black was a limited summer crop sold later in that year, and there’s no 100% guarantee it will immediately return. I’ve been hoarding it while I can. Their Long Feng and Shan Lin XI are also good, along with their Darjeeling selection.

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drank Golden Hour by The Silk Tea Co.
2720 tasting notes

My final tea of the second pass through the May Sipdown Prompts – a tea with unique or unusual ingredients.

This tea is jam packed full of goodies, but the unique thing about it is that they feature Smoky Assam prominently in the ingredient list and in the description, but it simply isn’t there in taste. The taste is mostly oolong with fruit.

A decadent and delicious tea!

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52
drank Emerald Surprise by Market Spice
1709 tasting notes

James pulled a couple of teas from the TTB that he really liked, and since I haven’t tried them yet I thought I’d have a cup of each today. This one was from Inkling, I believe. I’m not a fan of green teas in general (broken record, I know), but this one does smell really nice and has fruit in it so maybe I’ll like it.

I don’t. :/

It’s vaguely fruit and somewhat nutty, but mostly just tastes like a plain green tea. James really likes it though, so I know someone will be enjoying it.

Flavors: Fruity, Nutty

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank Magnolia Oolong by Tea Ave
2720 tasting notes

For my second trip through the May prompts I am choosing this one as the tea that reminds me of myself.

Magnolias grow best in the Southeast and I have never lived anywhere else, and seldom traveled out of that realm. In fact, I have lived for over fifty years within walking distance of the hospital where I was born.

That also tells something else I have in common with this tea. We are both a bit older! Not sure of the age on this one but Tea Ave sadly went out of business a while back – before the pandemic, even. And I am old enough to be the mom of nearly everyone on Steepster.

The tea is still very enjoyable, and has lots of flavor, and I will enjoy the one remaining cup very much. Hopefully, I am not yet past my usefulness, too!

I like magnolia flavor very much, and I think this tea was my first exposure to it. It is floral yet I think people who dislike some florals could like this one. I don’t detect anything that could be thought of as bubble bath the way some people feel jasmine can, and I feel badly done jasmine can. It is a lower floral note where I think of jasmine as quite high but soothing. It is less oily and powerful than rose to me, although I love rose.

I think it is a happy medium in the realm of floral flavors in tea.

Although I bought some long ago, this particular pouch was a gift from White Antlers. If you see this, thank you again and we miss you!

gmathis

Hmm…now you’ve got me wondering if I have a TeaAve sample or two still squirreled away.

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40

Received this one from Shae in the Spring Tea Swap. Unfortunately the blueberry flavor is kind of overshadowed by a bitter taste for me even after adding some sweetener.

Shae

I haven’t tried this one yet, but it smells so good. That’s too bad!

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70

Iced tea!

Currently sipping on this one with a nice splash of creamer added to it since the office was out of milk today. It’s pretty black tea forward today with a strong malty/bready quality complimented by softer notes of blanched almond/almond paste and a tiny bit of raspberry in the undertone. I’m thinking I might add a little bit of sweetener since I’m finding the flavours a little muted and I’d like them to pop a bit more, but it’s a pleasant cup overall and making for a smooth refreshing drink this morning.

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84

Tea #2 from the AJRimmer advent!
I love anything even remotely Earl Grey and this was a nice delicate cream Earl Grey so I was a fan! Sadly it’s all gone now

Shae

If you like strawberry, their Gratitude Blend is so good!!

Shae

It’s a strawberry Earl Grey. Should have mentioned that. :)

Emilie

Omg I definitely need that!

AJRimmer

Yes, I’m so glad Shae introduced me to this blend! I had to acquire more for myself after I finished the bit she sent me.

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76
drank Vanilla Bean Black by DAVIDsTEA
36 tasting notes

I got this one from the TTB and I’m quite enjoying it! It’s nice and creamy with a decent vanilla flavor and some hints of coconut. I haven’t been able to try many flavored black teas due to their usual high caffeine content, but this one says it’s low caffeine. Makes me wish I could try more black teas because many of the interesting flavors I’ve seen seem to use a black tea base!

Flavors: Coconut, Vanilla

AJRimmer

Can you make a tiny cup of tea or share with someone? I try not to drink much caffeine, so I’m always passing mugs of tea to family members after a few sips.

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71

This is a pleasant caramel chestnut flavor. It’s rather light but has a cozy comforting flavor near the end of the sip and the aftertaste. I may order more of this after finishing my sample.

Flavors: Caramel, Chestnut

ashmanra

May I inquire as to the inspiration for your user name? It is the past tense of dance in German, I know.

getanzt

Yes it is past tense of dance in German. I studied German for several years and just liked the sound of the word to be honest so I’ve used it as a username for a while :) No special meaning beyond that.

ashmanra

That sounds like a fine reason to me!

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82

I love this tea.

It’s been a while since I last had it, but my word does it taste beautifully like sweet creamy persimmons! Like… mandarin orange, honey, and sweet tomatoes kind of all rolled into one but with a hint of creamy yogurt/white chocolate flavour and the nice honeyed graham notes of the base. It’s so good!

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85
drank Glazed Lemon Loaf by Tazo
77 tasting notes

Oh heck yes! I’m a sucker for dessert teas, and this one is inspired by one of my favorite baked goods of all time. My mom makes a killer lemon loaf (we called it a “tea cake” when I was a kid) and as such, the nostalgia factor is through the roof with this tea.

I snagged a couple bags from the TTB and my partner and I brewed them up last night. He was handling the prep while I read on the couch, and I heard an audible “mmm” when he sniffed the bag. We were both expecting the brewed tea to fall short compared to the aroma, but happily, it doesn’t. It truly does taste like the essence of a lemon loaf has been distilled into tea: creamy, lemony, and pound cakey, with a hint of vanilla and the suggestion of sweetness without sugar. Love it. I wouldn’t say no to a bit more zestiness (I like my lemon loaves sharp!). I might have to pick up a box and tinker with adding some lemon.

The takeaway: Bagged teas can still delight and surprise. :)

Flavors: Cake, Creamy, Lemon, Pastries, Sweet, Vanilla

gmathis

Isn’t this one amazing?

Kelmishka

It really is! So glad I tried it.

vallhallow

It is so good.

Courtney

Ooh how tempting! Naturally I can’t find this in Canada. Well, Amazon does have it, but for an outrageous price haha! I’ll be keeping my eye out for it here for sure!

Martin Bednář

And how across the pond. I love lemon loafs, but never had a tea with this flavour and yes, I want to try :D

ashmanra

Martin: I will check Publix for some and send a bit your way!

Kelmishka

I’d be happy to scout some out and send it to international folks! Courtney, PM me if you’d like!

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85
drank Earl Grey Intense by Kusmi Tea
1483 tasting notes

This is a nice EG. The bergamot is strong, and the black tea is high quality. There’s almost a creamy/vanilla flavor, but maybe that’s my imagination. It was better warm the first day, but it was decent cold the second day too. The resteep was good. I wouldn’t necessarily seek this out over other versions, but it’s tasty.

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83

The dry aroma is a mix of white and black tea. The woody earthiness of a black mixed with the farm and barn qualities of a white. Hay and bits of alfalfa. The wet leaf smells of squash. Perhaps closer to an acorn squash? The liquor color is golden orange. Almost a dark amber. The flavor is a bit nutty but the woody overtones prevail the strongest. Decaying woods. I love how the leaves change from dark chocolate when dry to light brown when wet. Do you play with your tea? If not you should. This Jin Jun Mei is especially fun because you can unroll the leaves to find each separate leaf. Two leaves and a bud. And those glories trichomes on the bud. There are trichomes on the instead of the bag as well. Lively body and the finish remain with a slight mineral sweetness like rocks and twigs. Burnt my finger while writing this. Now to grab the cake with proper cake grabbing gloves.

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drank Earl Grey Bella Luna by Adagio Teas
1709 tasting notes

All this time, I thought this blend was a coconut and lavender EG. Turns out, there isn’t any lavender at all! Not sure why I had that in my head, but that’s definitely the reason I tend to avoid this one. I can do lavender on occasion and it’s sometimes nice in an Earl Grey blend, but I hardly ever really want to drink it. Now that I know this one doesn’t have lavender, maybe I can bring myself to finally finish the bag. I got lured in by the “only available once a month!” marketing strategy, and now I have 2 or 3 ounces of it. It’s good but not a repurchase. Not unless I change my mind between now and the bottom of the bag.

Flavors: Bergamot

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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