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Multiple Infusions

Ceylon Idulgashinna Blooming Mushroom White from What-Cha

Ceylon Idulgashinna Blooming MushroomTea Information:

Leaf Type:  White/Bloom

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

A hand tied ball of silver tip white tea, possessing delicate fruity tones which become stronger with subsequent infusions. Tangy apricot notes become apparent with some subtle malt tones in latter steeps.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I have to admit, the only reason I bought this tea was because it has ‘mushroom’ in the title and it intrigued me since I’m very allergic to mushrooms. Though the tea itself has little to nothing to do with mushrooms, it still felt kind of cool to get to say I was ‘having them’. #TeaOnTheEdge #ButNot2Edgy

I only bought a sample amount; two blooms. When I opened up the package I was pretty taken aback because the smell was very pungent and defined. It certainly smelled strongly of apricots but also something sort of akin to sweet and sour sauce? I wasn’t expecting that level of smell at all, though it was intriguing to say the least.

I made three 12 oz. infusions of this one over the course of a work day, making sure to take note of the differences. I certainly freaked out a few coworkers at my new job; they saw this unfurled tea bloom from a distance/in passing in my mug in the breakroom and assumed something fungal was growing in my mug and that’s because the bloom certainly wasn’t the most attractive one I’ve come across – there’s no “flower” tied into it just an arrangement of white tea leaves tethered together. Which is fine: I wasn’t drinking this tea for the aesthetics however I’ll admit I did expect the “mushroom” to tie in with the overall shape of the bloom but it certainly didn’t look like any mushroom I’ve seen.

The first infusion was a mix of sharp, lively, tangy notes of apricot and peach. Again, the intensity of the ‘tang’ reminded me a little of sweet and sour sauce. Actually, in particular I couldn’t help but think of a very particular flavour from highschool cooking class I’ve only experienced once: we made vegetarian meatballs with a “sweet and sour sauce” that used apricot jam and ketchup in the sauce and this was quite similar to my memory of that sauce. There was also a very slightly malty taste to the finish of this infusion.

The second infusion was about 50/50 malt and apricot/peach with less of the piercing tang. It was probably the smoothest infusion overall and I’d say my favourite. Finally, the third infusion was more malt than anything else with light notes of apricot and a bit of a peppery finish. I swear there were also very light cocoa notes on the top of the sip as well.

Overall, I thought this was surprisingly delightful – more so than I actually expected it would be if I’m being completely honest/transparent. What started off as a bit of a ‘gag’ purchase actually resulted in a wonderful tea session and intriguing learning experience. Also, credit where credit is due: What-Cha has done a marvelous job describing the overall flavour of this tea on their page for it. While I was taken back by the intensity of the apricot notes there’s no doubt in my mind that their flavour description was super accurate. I absolutely recommend trying this tea!

Peanut Butter Cup Tisane from DAVIDsTEA

peanutbuttercupTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Tisane

Where to Buy: DAVIDsTEA

Tea Description:

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up or a sweet treat on the go, nothing beats peanut butter and chocolate. Sweet, rich, salty and addictive, it’s a classic combo for a reason. And with this smooth and satisfying blend, you can indulge your sweet tooth anytime, guilt-free. With almonds, cocoa beans and chocolate chips, it tastes just like the real thing. And since it’s completely peanut free, you can take it with you everywhere. Want to take it to the next level? Try it as a latte with frothed chocolate milk. You heard it here first…

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

DAVIDsTEA’s Fall Collection has been out for a little while now, but I’m just getting the chance to try the new teas in it. To me, this is definitely the most interesting one they’ve come up with this year; and if it actually delivers on the flavour then I think it could be a really unique, interesting dessert tea staple for late night sugar cravings!

Like tends to happen every season, this is a seriously heavy tisane so if you’re picking any up for yourself keep that in mind and know that 50g probably isn’t going to stretch super far. It does smell really decadent though with really creamy chocolate notes and a sweet, creamy and powerful peanut aroma. All combined, it really creates a solid, easily comparable smell to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I have to wonder how they got the peanut to come across so clearly when there isn’t actually any peanut in the blend (just almond). Having had a few peanut teas, I can say that I’ve been really let down by ‘peanut’ flavoured things that use artificial flavours. My experience is that you need the real thing to get the flavour across. But this tisane could easily break that trend.

I’ve read that people find this weird hot, and it’s better cold (or as a latte) but I decided to make my mug hot because I actually thought that would be the best way to serve it and I think cold brewing a tisane so heavy would be a big waste of leaf. The smell is very rich and reminds me of extra creamy peanut butter: the kind that gets stuck to the roof of your mouth and you can still faintly taste like half an hour after finishing it.

The taste is surprisingly accurate; I’d say it’s more peanut than chocolate, but that the chocolate is very creamy and sweet. I think DAVIDsTEA really, really achieved what they set out to do with this blend. Now, that said, it does have a little bit of an oily mouthfeel, which is relatively inescapable when you’re using chocolate chips, and the flavor is a little bit thin. I can see people either really liking this one or finding it incredibly weird or disappointing. Personally, I didn’t realize quite how much I liked it until I had finished the mug and had the immediate urge to go resteep the leaves again, which I NEVER do with tisanes. My second mug was also pretty thin tasting, and didn’t pack much of a chocolate punch but the peanut notes were still really strong.

Again, I very much want to know how they got the peanut flavor accurate. I’m sure there are gonna be a lot of people with peanut allergies hoarding this…

Elixir #9 (Peachy Oolong) From Liquid Proust Teas

Elixir9Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Liquid Proust Teas (On Etsy)

Tea Description:

Ingredients: Green oolong (Vietnamese Tung Ting), peach blossoms, flavoring.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Finally trying the last of the tea samples that Andrew, from Liquid Proust Teas, was nice enough to send my way. Over on Steepster I’ve posted this review as well – and there it has some special significance as well as it’s my 3000th ‘tasting note’ on that site. I really wanted to celebrate my involvement in the Steepster community by drinking a tea made by someone also engaged within the Steepster community not just as a ‘creator’ but as a consumer as well.
The base for this tea is a Tung Ting/Dong Ding, which is a type of oolong I find pretty enjoyable though not one I drink as regularly as other types. The infused leaf was just gorgeous; long, full olive green leaves with a nicely bruised and oxidized red rim around the edge of the leaf. I tried to show my mother, who was watching me brew the tea but she just didn’t understand the beauty of that.

With both Western Style infusions I ended up doing, I found that more than anything else that I could taste the base tea. It was very fragile/delicate overall with an initial sweet flavour with almost a ‘leather’ or gentle smoke note, but then evolved into this super fragrant and aromatic floral tea with very bright, round notes of lily or possibly lilac to a lesser extent. There was also a smooth, silky vanilla-like sweetness as well especially in the end of the sip/long lingering aftertaste.

I could also taste the peach blossom as just this extra ‘floral’ flavour with a little bit of honey and generic fruit sweetness. Sometimes I forget that, unlike orange blossoms, peach blossoms don’t exactly taste ‘peachy’. I do wish this had been peachier, though – with a name that contains both “Elixir” and “Peachy” I expected both a more vibrant, rich fruity taste as well as something distinctly peach. That said, this was a very calm, delicious tea and I did really enjoy drinking it.

Dayuling Premium High Mountain Oolong from Beautiful Taiwan Tea

dayulingTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: Beautiful Taiwan Tea

Tea Description:

The premium teas of Taiwan are known for their smoothness, the quality of their soup and their “Chaqi”.   Only grown in the highest areas, theses leaves take their time to grow and soak up all the cool mist and the High Mountain air.  You’ll feel calm and attentive with this Dayuling sourced High Mountain Oolong.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve heard great things about Dayuling Oolong; and I’m very happy to finally get the chance to try one! The high, high altitude at which this tea is grown (greater than 2500 meters) and limited quantity that can be produced because of the geographical location are a giant part of what makes this tea so special. At $20 an ounce, this isn’t the priciest tea in my cupboard but it’s certainly up there – I can’t help but cross my fingers and hope it’s worthy of the price tag.

I have to say, the leaf is very beautiful; dry the rolled up leaf gives off a very large, ‘thick’ appearance and has a weight in my hands. After the first infusion I could see why; the leaves are so giant – some of the biggest I’ve ever had the pleasure to brew up. Almost every single one is a completely full leaf, and I even picked out a stem that had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR completely intact leaves branching off it. Just stunning!

I certainly wasn’t going to squander this sample by Steeping it Western Style; so I enjoyed a lovely evening Gong Fu session. Sometimes I feel I can get a little stuck in my head when I’m drinking tea or doing Gong Fu in particular and I focus too much on the technical side of things while trying to pick apart flavour – and I didn’t want to do that with this tea so I just kept doing infusions without really taking physical notes; and I just kind of let the tea ‘speak to me’ while I drank it. It’s so delicate and fragile with very lovely, complex nuances! Teas grown at higher altitude tend to be more complex because, due to the altitude, they grow at a slower pace – and that comes through here for sure.

It’s quite a floral tea, that’s for sure – while the infusions I did blend together I remember the first couple had really lovely, pronounced floral notes of orchid, lily, and a bit of violet as well. Incredibly well balanced though; not ‘perfumey’, forced or over the top in the slightest. Other things I noticed were this very cool, crisp freshness. I kind of instinctively want to call that flavor ‘the smell before it rains’ but I don’t know if there’s a technical word for that. I know petrichor is defined as the smell of rainfall on dry soil/earth (and that’s my all time favourite smell) but this wasn’t quite that: it’s the smell of rain before any has actually fallen. No earthiness.

This was such a pleasant, relaxing tea though! I’m not sure how many infusions I got in total but it certainly lasted quite a while and made my evening magical. Probably well worth the price tag just to say I’d tried a Dayuling, but all in all a very delicious, serene taste experience too. I definitely felt a little tea drunk’buzzed afterwards.

Thailand Sticky Rice ‘Khao Hom’ Oolong from What-Cha

StickyRiceOolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

Has a creamy texture and sticky rice aroma, imparted unto the tea during processing by heating the sticky rice plant’s leaves along with the tea leaves.

Sticky rice scented tea is a specialty of northern Thailand, although traditionally green tea is used, Jin Xuan Oolong produces just as good if not better results.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ve been wanting to try a sticky rice scented tea for a while now; and when I made my most recent What-Cha order I noticed this one offered on their site so I ordered a sample size to satisfy that deep curiosity. What I didn’t expect was just how accurate or obvious the flavour of the sticky rice would be.

Even from the moment I cracked open the sample packet, the smell of fresh sticky rice was filling up my kitchen and getting me excited with how potent and dead on it was. In fact, my first few sips were so overwhelmingly close to real life sticky rice it was hard to taste or notice anything else. I ended up doing three very strong Western Style infusions before the flavour of the sticky rice started to deteriorate. 2 1/2 tsp. of leaf for a 16 oz. mug, with 85C water steeped for two minutes initially with an extra 30 seconds tacked on with each infusion after the first.

The mouthfeel of the liquor was very soft and creamy and it managed to find a way to creep into every crevice of my mouth. Even though I only needed small sips to get a good sense of the strong flavour with each infusion I found myself taking big hearty swigs just because I loved the feel and taste of the tea so much. But it wasn’t just the mouthfeel that was creamy; in addition to the super accurate flavour of good sticky rice this tastes rich and creamy with a lovely buttery quality as well! Some of the greener vegetal notes from the oolong base cut through as well, particular in the finish which provided some subtle contrast of flavour. One of my favourites about this tea, as well, is that it had a delicate taste but not a subtle flavour; and ever though it’s not particularly complex or nuanced it’s scary accurate and really tasty if sticky rice is your thing.

I actually can’t believe I haven’t heard more people talking about sticky rice scented teas; I feel like I just gained access to some sort of exclusive club! I like jasmine scented oolongs as much as the next tea drinker, but this is ten times as good as that – it’s only been a few hours since I finished that last infusion and I’m already salivating at the thought of another. My 10g sample will be gone before I know it, and I definitely intended to buy more of this once that happens.