845 Tasting Notes

91
drank Watermelon Mint by DAVIDsTEA
845 tasting notes

Wonderfully minty and melony. Soothing after maybe being injured this evening (too soon to really tell if it’s an injury or just hurt.)

When I was trying Melon Drop I kept expecting it to taste like this.

Flavors: Melon, Mint

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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98
drank Soursap by Say Tea
845 tasting notes

Oh so good, so so good as an iced tea. Cold steeped 6 tsp in 1.5l of water for about 10 hours. A touch astringent but delicious.

This tastes like guava candies.

Flavors: Candy, Guava, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 6 tsp 51 OZ / 1500 ML

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85

Today I’m sampling Taiping Houkui and Taiping Houkui Superior next to each other. The difference between these two teas is that the regular one is processed partially by machine and the superior is entirely hand processed. There’s also a fairly significant difference in the price, to account for the amount of extra labour that goes into hand processing.

I believe this is my first time having Taiping Houkui.

The dry leaf varies in colour from medium to dark green. While it is quite flat, it is not perfectly flat or uniform. There are some large pieces in my sample, but also quite a few broken bits. The smell is rich, with strong umami and seaweed qualities, and just a touch of roasted character. I am reminded a lot of a good quality sencha. Compared to the standard version, the leaf is less uniform in shape, size and colour. This smells slightly sweeter and richer.

I steeped 1g of leaf in 50ml of 80C water, three times, for 60 , 60 and 90 seconds.

Steeped the leaf smells sweet and umami with no grassiness. The variable sizes of leaf and leaf fragments make for a less visually stunning steeping experience than the standard version.

The soup is pale yellow green, and very clear. It is slightly paler than the standard version. Smell is mild, slightly tangy and vegetal, but present.

The flavour is complex. Notes of seaweed, umami, and nuts, with both sweetness and a vegetal tang. There is a hint of caramel in the cheeks. The flavour is pungent but more delicate than regular. The body is quite light, and one of the most noticeable differences between these teas.

After the first steep these teas diverge quite a lot. The second steep is more bold than first – tangier, more vegetal and pungent. Also sweeter, with more distinct caramel. The finish is nice and tangy. The third steep is less sweet and less tangy than the first two. It has a mellow vegetal, grassy flavour. Toward the end of the sip there’s a bit of roastiness that comes out. Compared to the standard, more umami and nuttiness remain in the third steep.

I feel that if I were so inclined, I feel that I could get another steep out of these.

Both of these are excellent teas. I am reminded in many ways of sencha. While they are very similar at first, and I’m not sure I would notice the difference if I had not had these side by side, the differences show in later steeps. I enjoyed the Superior slightly more, although I’m not sure the difference in the tea is big enough for me to personally justify the price difference. However, supporting the art of handcrafting might be.

Samples provided by Nannuoshan.

Flavors: Caramel, Grass, Nuts, Roasted, Seaweed, Sweet, Tangy, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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83
drank Taiping Houkui by Nannuoshan
845 tasting notes

Today I’m sampling Taiping Houkui and Taiping Houkui Superior next to each other. The difference between these two teas is that the regular one is processed partially by machine and the superior is entirely hand processed. There’s also a fairly significant difference in the price, to account for the amount of extra labour that goes into hand processing.

I believe this is my first time having Taiping Houkui.

The dry leaf is beautiful. Large, uniform, very flat and thin, in an intense medium green colour. These leaves are definitely unique and interesting. They smell of seaweed and umami, with just a hint of maple. Compared to the Superior, the smell is less sweet and slightly less refined smelling.

I steeped 1g of leaf in 50ml of 80C water, three times, for 60 , 60 and 90 seconds.

Steeped, the leaf smells nutty and grassy, with lots of umami. The leaf is truly beautiful – the long, flat leaves turn int bright green ribbons in my gaiwan.

The tea soup is a pale yellow green and crystal clear. Smell is very mild, almost non-existent. The faint whiff that I do catch is vegetal.

The first steep is delicious, smooth. The dominant flavours are seaweed, umami, nutty, with a touch of grass. The light colour of the soup belies the pungent, mouth filling flavour this has. The intensity of the flavour fades quickly in the finish, and a milder, tangy edge lingers in the mouth for a while. This has a medium body, one of the most noticeable differences between these teas.

After the first steep these teas diverge quite a lot. The second steep is mellow, nutty and a touch astringent. The umami remains. The third is quite grassy and the sweetness is gone. The astringency builds a little bit, but still remains mild and pleasant.

After three steeps, I believe these leaves are done.

Both teas are excellent. The differences are hard to pick out at first but really come out after the first steep. I enjoyed the Superior slightly more, though if you focus strictly on the experience of the tea, I think this one is a better value. If you factor in the handcrafting, well, I think everyone values that a bit differently in their tea experience.

Samples provided by Nannuoshan.

Flavors: Grass, Maple, Nutty, Seaweed, Sweet, Tangy, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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77
drank Melon Drop by DAVIDsTEA
845 tasting notes

I finally caved and picked up a sample of some of the new teas from DAVIDs.

This is a really nice tisane. It’s intensely sweet and melony tasting. I could see it being too sweet for some people – probably one of the sweetest tisanes I’ve had (short of ones containing sweeteners or licorice root.)

This makes me pretty happy, and I’ll probably pick up more before it’s gone. I don’t find it as amazing as Lupicia’s melon flavoured teas, but it’s accessible and enjoyable.

Flavors: Melon, Sweet

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69
drank Pu-erh Vanilla Mint by Rishi Tea
845 tasting notes

Not bad. Earthy, licorice, mint and cinnamon. Unfortunately the vanilla wasn’t noticeably present, but it was still tasty.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Earth, Licorice, Mint

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72
drank Chai Guarana by DAVIDsTEA
845 tasting notes

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84

Oh so good, and a sipdown, though I may have to snag some from my sweetie’s cupboard, as I really like this.

It’s mildly smokey and just rich and delicious with fruity and malty notes. Definitely a re-purchase at some point.

Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Smoke

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95
drank SBT: Lime Cola by 52teas
845 tasting notes

I cold steeped this for about 12 hours in a litre of water. I figured I’d need to dilute it and I was worried that it had over steeped, but it’s actually pretty perfect just the way it is.

The lime and cola flavours are distinct but not over powering. The black base is there in a supportive role. There’s the slightest hint of bitterness and astringency but not in a bad way at all. This is super refreshing and easy to drink.

It tastes like it would be good with a bit of sugar, but I’m drinking it straight and I’m really happy with the way it tastes. I will probably even try resteeping the bag (though I’d be surprised and impressed if I got another good steep out of it.)

I could see drinking this one a lot.

Flavors: Lime

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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41
drank Pineapple Oolong by DAVIDsTEA
845 tasting notes

I got this as a to go cup, since I was told it’s being discontinued, and I figured I might as well try it while I still can (and stock up if it’s amazing.)

This tea started off really nice – floral oolong, very authentic pineapple flavour (maybe the best I’ve experienced in a tea yet), but there’s also a very strong medicinal note that gives this a kind of cough syrup quality that I’m just not enjoying.

I thought maybe I oversteeped it (probably), but adding more water and resteeping the leaves didn’t help.

Ah well, pineapple oolong, I will not be sad to see you go.

Flavors: Floral, Medicinal, Pineapple

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Profile

Bio

I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.

Location

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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