Organic Formosa Red, no. 18 by Red Blossom Tea Company

This tea intrigued me with its description so I am pleased to finally be able to taste it for myself and post notes.

Dry leaf aroma: Sweet and slightly malty with a mild trace of tobacco.
Preparation: I prepped the leaves with an initial quick rinse and then proceeded with my session western style (my gaiwan is on the way, so for now I am steeping western style).

First steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. 
The aroma is basic, a moderate black tea scent with the ever-so-slight hint of something more intricate which I cannot describe accurately. The taste is much more complex and the initial mouth-feel is extremely creamy. I’ve not experienced a black tea quite this creamy before; very nice! Buried in the creaminess is a hint of honey and a very subtle aftertaste of baked bread and banana. At the end of this cup, after it had cooled quite a bit, I detected a citrusy aftertaste in addition to the bread and banana essences. Interestingly, the creamy mouth-feel lingered after each sip. Very unique.

Second steeping: 2 minutes at 205 degrees. 
I am detecting a subtle baked bread and banana scent along with the straightforward black tea fragrance. This steeping is not as creamy as the first but is still quite rich. The flavors are less complex but the brew still retains the initial profile of cream, honey, baked bread, and a trace of banana. While the cup is hot I am experiencing more of the citrus aftertaste.

I’d like to try another session using a gaiwan and multiple short steepings to experiment with influencing the flavor profile.

This is a tea that I will add to my permanent stock. Well worth the price and experience!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Banana, Citrus, Creamy, Honey

Milk Oolong by Tao Tea Leaf

I admit that I am still exploring milk oolongs; this is my third one to date. For this session I brewed the leaves western style for a total of 5 steeps. I am not sure if this oolong is scented, flavored, or 100% pure, so I am going with the guess it has nothing added (there is nothing listed on the package or website).

First steeping: 2 minutes 30 seconds at 210 degrees. 
The aroma is quite buttery, almost like movie-theater popcorn. The flavor is creamy and buttery.

Second steeping: 3 minutes at 210 degrees. 
The fragrance is still buttery, with a faint hint of floral. The butter notes are still strong and I detect a slight flowery aftertaste.

Third steeping: 4 minutes at 210 degrees. 
The liquor still smells of butter but the floral scent is gone. I still get a strong butter-creamy flavor with an unexpected lemon (or tart citrus) aftertaste. I quite like this!

Fourth steeping: 5 minutes at 210 degrees. 
Very much the same as the third steeping. The butter scent and flavor is not quite as strong, though the lemon aftertaste is still present.

Fifth steeping: 6 minutes at 210 degrees. 
The fifth infusion has a weak, though still buttery, aroma. The liquor still retains the butter and lemon essences; both are fainter.

I would like to try further steepings but it is late. This tea is not rated extremely high on Steepster, but I loved it. I envisioned myself eating succulent scallops while sipping this milk oolong.

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Lemon

White Champagne by Tealux

Have you ever had a tea that smelled so good you had considered using it as potpourri? This is one of those teas for me! The aroma is muscatel (grape) with a hint of currant. The description on Tealux notes the crispness of this tea, and I have to agree. DT’s Grape Expectations with a green base is similar, but the white base of this tea is a bit more mellow.

Flavors: Black Currant, Grapes, Rosehips

190 °F / 87 °C 3 MIN, 0 SEC 1 TSP 12 OZ / 354 ML

Darjeeling Giddapahar Muscatel Black Tea Second Flush by Golden Tips Teas India

I received this sample today as part of the July subscription box. When brewed the aroma has a hint of fruit and mustiness. As for the flavor, this Darjeeling has a characteristic bitterness and the aftertaste is a light muscatel which lingers pleasantly. I might try my second steep with a bit of tea sugar to bring out more of the sweetness.

Flavors: Bitter, Malt, Muscatel

200 °F / 93 °C 5 MIN, 0 SEC 1 TSP 8 OZ / 236 ML

Diamond Jubilee by Harney & Sons

I was pleasantly surprised by the delightfully light and tart citrus of Diamond Jubilee. I generally prefer flavored teas with a strong base, but in this instance the mild black base works very well with the bergamot and grapefruit essence. The citrus notes linger as a crisp aftertaste and I can only imagine this would be even better served as iced tea.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy, Grapefruit, Tart

205 °F / 96 °C 5 MIN, 0 SEC 8 OZ / 236 ML

Earl Grey Imperial by Harney & Sons

I’ve always had a soft spot for Earl Grey’s, so it seems fitting an Earl Grey would be my first tasting note on Steepster. I purchased this tea with high expectations but was disappointed with the rather weak flavor. The base is pleasing enough but somewhat bland, perhaps due to the addition of oolong. As for the bergamot, it is too dainty for my preference, though it does leave a pleasant aftertaste. The leaves have a nice aroma, and I give them points for the cute tin, but I won’t purchase this particular Earl Grey again.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrusy

205 °F / 96 °C 5 MIN, 0 SEC 8 OZ / 236 ML