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237 Tasting Notes

68

Having another little pot of this, and am going to bump up the rating a little over last time, as I’m finding the flavor more balanced between the cherry and the tea than I did last time. There’s still something a little cough drop-like in the cherry part, but the tea background I found to be quite pleasant this time.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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90

Had a big pot of this today to celebrate finishing out a busy week at work. The sweet spiciness is welcome, and offers a great balance of warm winter flavors. This is one I have to drink with milk and sugar – it really feels like a treat that way!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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67

Back from a couple of weeks vacation, and ready to drink some tea! This one is interesting, as it features the manuka plant, native to New Zealand and reputed to have numerous therapeutic uses. The dry leaf is very pretty to look at, with deep red bits of hibiscus and small shards of rose hip mixed in with the small, bright green and shiny manuka leaves.

The hibiscus and rose hip bring it up to a light pinkish-red color on steeping, which gives off a fruity/grassy aroma. It’s got the typical tartness associated with the hibiscus and rose hip, but this doesn’t overpower the manuka flavor, which shows a clear woody and slightly piney presence. As for the green tea that’s supposed to be in the mix, I’m not detecting it, but not particularly missing it either.

Not bad, and from the claims made for the manuka bush I figure it’s probably good for me too.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec

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58

First try of this sample sent by Jessica – thank you! The leaf looks light and grassy/woody, with green and golden brown flakes. It smells generically sweet and fruity, with no strongly identifiable aromas standing out. The recommendation is for 5 or 6 minutes steeping time, which gives us a golden liquor with a very sweet aroma. The taste is a somewhat odd compendium of flavors, not unpleasant though it may take some getting used to. Although I’m not noticing any stimulant effects, I’m not really getting any relaxing or soporific effects like I tend to from chamomile for example. Still, not a bad flavor and I won’t mind finishing off the rest of the sample.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 min, 0 sec

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86

I received a full-sized bag of this from Alana as part of her Secret Santa gift – thank you! I love cinnamon, so the big whiff of spicy scent I got on opening the package put a smile on my face. The cinnamon is definitely foremost, though the orange is trying to hard to hold its own. I don’t notice big chunks of orange peel or cinnamon bark in the dry leaf, so either it’s finely ground and mixed in, or they used flavoring.

After 7 minutes of steeping, I’ve got a deep reddish-brown liquor with a warm and inviting aroma; now both cinnamon and orange are equally present. I’ll take the first few sips without additives, and note that the cinnamon is nice and strong – hot and slightly numbing to the tongue. The citrus note hits more at the back of the tongue and is a nice counterpoint. With half/half and sugar, this is a very yummy decaffeinated drink – great for the winter months.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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68

Another Alana/Secret Santa gift – thank you! The dry leaf is composed of long, light green leaves, and carries a light cherry bouquet. Not as fuzzy as some white tea leaves I’ve seen, but still very delicate looking. At three minutes I’ve got a light golden brown liquor with a mild cherry aroma. The taste is cherry, but this first try is reminding me a little of cherry cough drops more than the fruit. I may need to play around with this one a bit to see if I can bring that out more.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70

One of the samples I received from Secret Santa Alana – thank you! It has a very nice fresh and vegetal smell, hinting at sweet peas, and the leaves are light grey-green and twisty. In three minutes I have a golden-green liquor, faintly aromatic with buttered vegetables.

The taste is very mild, and includes a little vegetable/seaweed flavor, a tiny bit of toastiness, and some natural sweetness. The astringency is very low, coming across more as just a slight pucker than a real dryness. Not punchy, but a pleasant green nonetheless.

And the song – Al Green’s “Take Me To The River”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngrXi5Dwk2I

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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71
drank Sweet Fruit Garden by Teavana
237 tasting notes

One of the herbal samples from Jessica’s contest, and another Teavana product that smells great – fruity and sweet, really living up to its name there. Much like the Vermont Maple, it looks a lot like trail mix, with good sized chunks of fruit and raisins or currants sprinkled throughout.

It steeps up to a deep red color, and gives off a strong candy-like fruity sweetness. The first sip though – tart! Much more sour than I expected given the smell. I’m actually going to add a little sugar to this to bring it back into balance for my taste buds. Much better now – a variety of fruit and berry flavors in the mix, including apple and cranberry. A nice caffeine alternative hot drink.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 7 min, 0 sec

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86

One of the Secret Santa packets from Alana – and another winner! It smells very fresh coming out of the bag, with light fruit and toasty notes foremost. The leaves are long and fairly dark, and since I don’t have much experience with Formosa oolongs, I’m interested in how this turns out.

I’ll give it about 2.5 minutes for this first attempt, in 185 degrees. The liquor is a nice clear orange-brown and the smell of the tea continues to highlight the dried fruit, coming through now as a very juicy aroma. Taste-wise, it’s a great example of a classic oolong – very silky and smooth texture, just a little bit of toasted flavor, a good amount of natural sweetness, and virtually no astringency or bitterness. A real winner.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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86
drank Vermont Maple by Teavana
237 tasting notes

Another herbal sample from Jessica – thank you! The dry ingredients look like trail mix – plump pieces of dried fruit generously mixed in with the cinnamon and shaved almonds. Not too surprisingly, it smells like a spiced-up trail mix too. It steeps to a very pretty pinkish-red color and smells perfect for a cold winter’s day, like a cinnamon-topped fruit crumble. The taste pretty much follows this direction too, with a good amount of natural sweetness, tart fresh fruit, and a dusting of spice. Too bad this one has been discontinued, as it’s a really nice herbal mix.

Oh yes, the accompanying song – Moonlight in Vermont, here interpreted by Ella Fitzgerald:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esynsha53A8

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more

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Profile

Bio

Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!

Location

Washington, DC

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