470 Tasting Notes

84

Apparently I’ve been drinking a ton of genmaicha blends recently, three in as many days! I am trying out this one thanks to TeaEqualsBliss from our swap, I was looking forward to this especially after the lack of toasty goodness in Love Life.

The strawberry flavor in this is sweet and natural, in fact at first it’s not that apparent at all—the first half of the sip is pure genmaicha, a nice blend though very heavy on the rice. Then at the end, bam, a strong hit of strawberry!

The name of this blend is definitely fitting, a little nutty and a little sweet! Scrumptious and refreshing.

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93
drank GenmaiCHAI by 52teas
470 tasting notes

Hm, thought I logged this one already. Guess not! I love genmaicha, I love chai, and I love the one genmaicha chai mix I’ve tried (Yogic’s with lemongrass) so I was pretty sure from the moment this was announced that it would be a winner for me.

Simmering on the stovetop, this makes my whole kitchen smell amazing. It’s a particularly fragrant chai blend, with tons of chunky spices in the mix. With the toasty aspect of the genmaicha, it smells like I am making chai-flavored rice krispie bars! Which of course now I am dying to do.

The spices in this are a bit unique. I mean, yeah, they’re standard enough but the ratios make this blend stand apart. It’s pretty heavy on the cardamom, ginger and clove while the cinnamon is only a hint in the background. I don’t like very cinnamon-y chais and I adore cardamom so this is right up my alley!

With the genmaicha base I decided to go sugarless, even though I almost always add honey/agave/etc to chais made on the stovetop. Genmaicha + sugar is just not a thing that works in my head, so this ended up being almost savory! Well, I guess as savory as a chai can be. It seems much lighter than other chais because of the green base, this is definitely a winner!

Kasumi no Chajin

If this was one of his few permanent blends, I would be all over it…it is one of the very few 52 teas blends that sounded up my ally…even before you revealed it is heavy on the cardamom!

Alphakitty

Yogic does have some similar blends, though not with quite as much cardamom.

Kasumi no Chajin

right. I’m going to be going for the Yogic line instead :)

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66
drank Berry Basil Blast by Teavana
470 tasting notes

Basil seems like a weird idea for teas, but I do like sweet/savory blends.. for example tortellini salad with pesto and chopped strawberries! Or Numi’s Basil Mint Pu-erh which really does taste strongly of basil. I got this in a swap with Novi and was excited to try it, since it seemed right up my alley!

There’s hibiscus, of course, and pineapple. Seriously, they put those two in EVERYTHING. Thankfully they went light on the hibiscus and the pineapple imparts zero flavor. But I’m also not really tasting (or seeing) much in the way of white tea, which is standard with Teavana blends I think, except for the Acai Blueberry one which had great fluffy leaves.

This is kind of mildly berry-like, maybe strawberry or blueberry? Jammy, not fresh berry. There’s kind of a generic berry flavor that Teavana uses, and that’s what this is. Not that it’s bad, I do like berry! But I am tasting zero basil. Like none, at all. Is there any in here even?! A bit disappointed, but my love for Numi’s Basil blend makes up for it.

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71
drank Sakura Allure by Teavana
470 tasting notes

Thanks to Nicole for this one! The name alone sounds very tasty, and I do love a good sakura tea. Or cherry, which is what most sakura teas really are since it’s hard to find sakura outside of Japan.

I didn’t know how much was going on in this blend until I looked at the listing—mango, pineapple, what? Teavana seems to put pineapple in EVERYTHING. Also… hibiscus. I thought there would be none here but I cold brewed this and opened the fridge in the morning to a bright red brew. Oh nooo!

There is a nice cherry flavor here, but there are just so many competing flavors. I was hoping for a simple blend—cherry, bamboo, green tea. But there are tropical notes, a bit of sourness from the hibiscus, floral from the rose, and then a bit citrusy from the lemon peel. It’s just… so much, my tastebuds are a bit overwhelmed! I think this is a great idea for a blend but it’s bogged down by a lot of extra stuff that doesn’t need to be there.

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After the success I had with Casablanca, I was excited to try this one. Jasmine, like mint, tends to be quite overpowering but the bergamot worked so so well in Casablanca, how could I not be excited!

This tea has a nice, fluffy base that smells strongly of both bergamot and jasmine. Well duh, of course it does! It smells like heaven while it’s brewing, I just want to stick my face in there. I wish there were tea perfumes! Well I mean, there are, but I’d like an endless variety of them.

I think 3 minutes is a little too long for this, since the jasmine is just a tad soapy. Not overwhelmingly so, and I think a 2 minute steep would fix that up nicely. The bergamot balances so nicely with it, both are quite strong but neither one is too strong. It’s exactly what you would expect—a light green earl grey with jasmine! I’m not going to rate it until I get the steep time right, but it’s pretty damn yummy.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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So I’ve tried this tea a few times and liked it but didn’t love it. I thought that maybe it was time to go a little mad scientist on this blend! I mean, of any tea to experiment with this has got to be the best one, right? The goal was to make it taste like a real strawberry milkshake.

First off I steeped a spoonful of this with 1 cup milk, 1 cup filtered water stovetop style. While that was simmering I mixed up this weird concoction:

3 strawberries + a splash of rum (hey, it’s Walter we’re talking about!) + a heaping spoonful of vanilla curd + a sprinkle of caramel matcha

and blended them in the food processor until it was a nice fine puree. In case you don’t know what vanilla curd is, it’s pretty much the best thing ever: like lemon curd, only with vanilla beans. It’s like frosting in a jar! Uhnf, so good.

Then I mixed the puree into the hot tea and strained it all—which took longer than expected, because of all the strawberry seeds!

I think I’ve created the most delicious thing ever. It tastes JUST like a strawberry milkshake (only hot). The vanilla curd and milk makes it super creamy, the fresh strawberry makes it nice and fruity, the honeybush adds extra depth along with the caramel matcha. And the rum adds something extra—just like Walter would want, since I’m all out of LSD to sprinkle in it.

Courtney

Sounds delicious! I may have to look into this vanilla curd.

Nicole

That sounds delicious!

Fjellrev

I didn’t know this vanilla curd even existed. At first I thought you were referring to vanilla yogurt.

Alphakitty

Vanilla Curd is totally awesome, and you can find it in a lot of supermarkets by the jam! I definitely recommend it, it’s great for baking.

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drank Chocolate Malt by 52teas
470 tasting notes

Is it just me or have there been a LOT of 52teas honeybush blends recently? I’ve been subscribed to their tea of the week for a little under 2 months now and this is the 3rd one I’ve gotten—the first being Strawberry Rhubarb and then Walter Bishop. However, I’m not going to complain—I do like honeybush, though I don’t love it, and I’m dreading the day I get an inevitable rooibos blend that I can’t try!

This is pretty malty and chocolatey even iced, which is how I am trying this since I want the “chocolate shake” effect. I suppose the best way to really do that though would be to make it stovetop and then pour it over iced… or even better yet iced milk. I’m not going to rate this blend until I do it right, because while it’s nice now it probably has the potential to be great.

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81
drank Love Life Tea by Harney & Sons
470 tasting notes

I’ve been waiting patiently for the SoHo store to get this in loose, and it’s finally here! I picked up two ounces just to test it out—I tend to buy most of my bulk iced teas from H&S, since 6 ounces are all of $8. This seemed like a possible for the iced tea rotation—genmaicha is what we usually make, the bf loves strawberry, I love coconut. What could go wrong?

Well, honestly, the genmaicha part! There were no popped rice kernels in my bag, and while there’s a slightly toasty flavor it’s not as strong as I would like.

Thankfully, the strawberry/coconut combo is very nice. The coconut is light and sweet, and the green base seems particularly airy to me, bordering on a white. In fact, it reminds me of Coconut Creme a bit! The strawberry is a nice fruity pop, not too strong or artificial. And the vanilla makes it wonderfully creamy.

I think mixed 60/40 with our regular genmaicha, this will be a total winner. As it is right now it’s a nice fruity blend, but nothing special—I think with a nutty hit it will really shine.

tattooed_tea

According to their website it doesn’t exist in loose leaf :(

Alphakitty

For some reason a lot of their teas that are bagged you can get loose in the physical stores. It often takes a while (I am still waiting for loose Blue Ginger!), but it’s nice to be able to get small amounts.

tattooed_tea

Yea, I was keen on $12 for the sachets, when I don’t know if I’ll like it. It sounds delicious. I’m looking for other teas from them to make the shipping worthwhile.

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92

When I ordered half an ounce of this at Davids, the employee packaging up my stuff warned me that I’d get addicted to it. I thought that, you know, he was saying that because he worked there and of course they are supposed to make their teas sound great, but one sniff and I thought that perhaps he was right.

I gave this a nice long cold brew, since it’s still a million degrees in my apartment (with the heat OFF) even though it is 15 outside. Seriously, I have to sleep with the fan on. I love my building. This is a light pink tea, and it really does look like strawberry juice—so cute and girlie!

I think this is the best strawberry tea I’ve tried. It’s just so fruity and refreshing! Like Kittenna said, this does remind me of Mother of Pearl, since it’s a pu-erh strawberry blend. However MoP has a really distinct mango flavor along with a floral element, while there’s something a bit herbaceous going on here (from the strawberry leaves) and a hint of blackberry flavor.

I love pu-erh berry blends, the bright fruity flavor contrasts so well with the deep, earthy taste. And I know there’s hibiscus in here, but at least in my cup it’s not adding anything but color since I taste not even a whiff of sharp or bitter hibiscus. Ah man, I really do love this tea, I think I might need to pick up a bunch next time I head out to Davids.

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98
drank Pineapple Sencha by Den's Tea
470 tasting notes

Sometimes you come across a tea so wonderful you have no idea how your life went on without it. One of those teas that makes you grin ear to ear, it’s just perfect! For me (and judging from the reviews, for many others as well!) this is one of those teas.

I bought this kind of on a whim, I was ordering the Sakura Sencha and noticed this sitting right next to it. So I looked up reviews, and there were so many 90+ I just had to get some. But I didn’t know it would be THIS good. Because man oh man, this tea is heaven. Fruit heaven.

The pineapple is so unbelievably authentic, up there in my mind with Butiki’s fantastic fruit flavoring. It’s tart, tropical and so smooth and fresh, like someone mixed pineapple juice in with my sencha. I mean, I almost don’t believe this is flavored! Obviously someone snuck chunks of fresh pineapple in when I wasn’t looking!

And, since this is Den’s we are talking about, the base is fantastic. It’s denser than some senchas I’ve tried, with a real creamy and butter feel. And a hint of caramel comes out when combined with the pineapple! It’s both light and heavy, if that makes any sense. Creamy and rich, but without a dense feeling to it.

And while I usually only drink fruit teas iced, this is fantastic hot! Thankfully it’s not one of their seasonal blends so I can keep this gem stocked all year long.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Azzrian

All of their fruit sencha is amazing! I have the grape. It is super yum too!

Alphakitty

I really need to try the grape and apple, the only other one I haven’t tasted is the rose sencha which thankfully I got as a sample in my order!

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Bio

Tea has always been a passion of mine, though I got away from it during college. A lack of cupboard space and a constant influx of people into my suite made me pretty much abandon my teas at home. But now that I’m done with school, it’s definitely come back with a vengeance—to the point where I’ve purchased about 65 different kinds in the past 3 months!

I like most kinds of teas—yes, even peach, which I used to think I disliked!. Oolongs are definitely my favorite, and I’m an avid fan of earl grey, floral teas, and chai blends along with anything melon. The only kind of teas on my “no” list are rooibos blends (which gives me headaches) and banana flavored ones since bananas are public enemy #1 in my mind.

The best thing about tea for me is how you can be passionate about it and still have it integrate into all of your other hobbies. I like a lot of things: writing, video games, books, sewing, figure collecting, astronomy… it’s a long list. But whatever I’m doing, I can have a cup of tea in hand!

Location

New York

Website

http://www.plastikitty.com/

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