509 Tasting Notes

90

I have big news….I’m pregnant!!!!!!!!

Finally after six months of trying, we’re expecting a baby! I know lots of people struggle for longer than that, but those six months felt like a lifetime. We’re so excited!!

I apologize for my hiatus. I’ve been super paranoid about drinking tea. I’ve avoided caffeine 100% for the first 9 weeks and have only recently felt okay about having it in very limited quantities. But even besides the caffeine, tea is very difficult to drink while pregnant. There are very few kinds I can safely consume. Green tea is out because it can inhibit folic acid absorption. I can’t have a shocking number of the most common herbal ingredients, including hibiscus/rose hips, chamomile, lemongrass, licorice root, and chicory root. I don’t like honeybush or red rooibos, which are by far the safest teas. So what does that leave me with? Not much, my friends. I’m exploring some green rooibos blends (and I’ll take any recommendations!), but so far I’ve only drank 52teas’ Ginger Ale White Tea with some extra ground ginger thrown in. I haven’t had the worst first trimester, but it hasn’t been entirely without incident. The fatigue is ridiculous but manageable with daily naps. I’ve got the unpredictable all-day-long nausea accompanied by infrequent vomiting. Yuck. Ginger tea is the only thing that can calm my nausea when it’s being particularly bad.

This tea is exactly what I need right now. Pure organic ginger with nothing else added. It’s actually not as overpowering as I expected. It’s delicious and only a tad bit spicy. I’m not usually a fan of spicy things, but the spice here is at a very tolerable level. I can definitely recommend this tea, even to non-pregnant ladies. :)

Flavors: Ginger, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
TeaBrat

exciting news! congratulations!

yyz

Congrats! Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and the safe delivery of your child!

Courtney

Congrats!

Sil

OMG!!!! so happy for you! Congrats! WOOHOO! YAY!

scribbles

Wonderful news! Congrats!

Mikumofu

Congratulations!!

Ninavampi

Congratulations!!!! :)

Angrboda

Congratulations. :)

Oh and also! Hello Ninavampi! Good to see your here again. :)

CHAroma

Thank you everyone!

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70
drank Wild Sweet Orange by Tazo
509 tasting notes

I thought I’d rated this before?…hmm, I guess not. The hibiscus in this makes it super tart! You know that kind of tartness that grabs you in the back of the mouth and pinches? Yeah, it’s that powerful. But once the tartness dies down (after the swallow), the aftertaste is a pleasant, sweet, orange, herbal flavor. I get hints of mint and lemongrass, but the orange and hibiscus rule the cup.

I also have to add that when I poured the water over the bag, no color leaked out for a good 20 seconds! I thought I had added cold water for a moment. It really caught me off guard. But once it started steeping properly, the liquor became a rich orange and the aroma was orange and lemongrass. This isn’t bad! A nice cuppa enjoyed at work. :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more
Angrboda

I thought I’d rated this before?…hmm, I guess not Sentences like this are a recurring theme on my dashboard and has been for a while. I think you should notify Jason about it. I haven’t noticed any of my own posts disappearing, but then again I customarily never post about about something more than once, so I wouldn’t know…

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88
drank Thé de Lune by Mariage Frères
509 tasting notes

Sipdown #15

Big thanks to JustJames for sending me this sample! The tea tastes like spun sugar and fruit, primarily blackberry. I added some Truvia, which brought out more berry sweetness. The cup cooled while I perused the Internet and was still just as delicious cold as hot. Overall, this is really yummy. There’s a slight bitterness at the end of the sip that could probably be remedied by a reduced steep time and/or the addition of milk. On the second infusion, I added both milk and Truvia. This is simply delectable! I really like this one. In fact, I’d rather have a tin of this than the tin of Marco Polo currently in my cupboard. Note to self: this one is worth paying for international shipping.

Flavors: Berries

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
keychange

I can send you some of this when I sent you your mug (provided dT has the mug lol)

CHAroma

Wow, you are the coolest person ever. I need to send you something in return!

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84
drank True Love Flower Tea by Teavivre
509 tasting notes

This is my first flowering tea! Thanks to Angel from Teavivre for providing this free sample! It was cool watching the tea ball slowly unfurl and bloom into two red-tipped flowers. I took several photos and posted them here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/14127152033/in/photostream/. In retrospect, I probably should have brewed this in a tall, slender glass instead of a short, fat one. The red blooms appear to be quite tall, so they’re bent over and not quite as pretty as they have the potential to be. I added more water to the second infusion to remedy this (see the last photo in the series).

The liquor is super pale and light. Maybe I’m just really hungry, but the brewed tea aroma smells like udon. Wow, what flavor!!! Holy cow, this is incredible! It’s soft and subdued but very flavorful all the same. I’m getting mostly floral qualities mingled with a touch of jasmine and supported by a lovely Chinese green tea base. It’s not grassy at all. It’s vegetal instead and leans towards the buttery end of spectrum without quite reaching it. There’s a touch of sweetness too and no bitterness or astringency. Ohh yum!!

I absolutely love this! And you know what? This was harvested in June 2011 and has sat in my cupboard ever since. Blasphemy! Seriously, if you haven’t tried this, you need to. I think I might stock up on this to share with guests when we have company over. I feel that it’s a tea anyone can enjoy, veteran and new tea drinkers alike. And visually it’s just so pretty! :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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59
drank Hot Mama by DAVIDsTEA
509 tasting notes

This was a free sample I tried in the store during our anniversary getaway weekend to NYC. It was a bit weak, and I mostly tasted ginger. Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed. I think DAVIDsTEA should make candles. The dry leaf aroma of their teas is always so mouthwatering and spot-on whatever they’re going for. Has anyone smelled the new Apple Pie or Blueberry Pancake blends? Those smell soooo amazing! But I’ve repeatedly found that their teas brew up weak, especially when I can’t control the water to leaf ratio myself. Anyway, I have a request from one of your amazing Steepsterites.

Does anyone live near a DAVIDsTEA? I saw this flowery mug (https://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/14102926131/) and figured I’d buy it online so I didn’t have to carry it around the city. But it doesn’t appear to be on their website. Would anyone be willing to buy it for me? I’d obviously pay for the mug and the shipping, and I’ll even send you some tea to make it worth your while. Please let me know ASAP because I think it’s only in stores through Mother’s Day. I’d really really appreciate it!

keychange

I’ll be going to a david’s tea this upcoming Wednesday, and can check to see if they have it. Do you know by any chance what it’s called? Was it the pink dalia perfect mug or something like that?

CHAroma

Oooh, thank you! Just sent you a PM. :)

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70
drank Bear Trap by DAVIDsTEA
509 tasting notes

My husband ordered a to-go cup of this and I coerced him into letting me try a sip. It was okay. A bit weaker than I expected. The barista hot steeped it and poured it over ice, unsweetened per the hubby’s request. I’ve taught him well. ;) Anyway, I’m glad this was his tea and that I got something different. I much preferred the Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait. Although I’m sure if I had steeped the tea myself, I probably could have gotten more flavor out of it. I usually overleaf my teas, especially if they’ll ultimately be diluted with ice. But the hubby enjoyed his tea more than mine, so I guess we picked the right one for ourselves!

Preparation
Iced

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78

We celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago. :) My husband planned a surprise getaway to NYC, where we saw a new Broadway musical called “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” It was hilarious! We also had dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant in Astoria, ate some awesome udon at Samurai Mama in Brooklyn, and walked over 40 blocks in a single day! We went to Chelsea Market and enjoyed green tea doughnuts and Nutella crepes. Then we walked all the way up Fifth Avenue to Central Park. I bought a tin of Mariage Frères tea from Bergdorf Goodman and tried on an expensive Diane von Furstenberg dress just for fun. Overall, it was an amazing mini-vacation (we were only there for 2 days). I’m the planner in the relationship, so it was especially fun and romantic that he planned this special trip for us. But the trip couldn’t be complete without a stop at DAVIDsTEA!

I ordered a to-go cup of this and asked that they add a small amount of agave. It was really good! I definitely tasted strawberry, sweetness, and something pie-like. It’s probably not something I would buy a large amount of, but I did really enjoy the cup. Now to decide if I should buy another Nordic mug, hmmm…

caile

Happy anniversary! It sounds like you had a great getaway to celebrate!

Courtney

Happy anniversary! NYC is awesome. :)

CHAroma

Thank you! We had a really great time. :)

Roswell Strange

Happy Anniversary, and many more to come! :)

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55
drank Violette by Dammann Freres
509 tasting notes

Sipdown #16

Another DF sample courtesy of the ever generous JustJames!! As with Oolong Châtaigne, I found this tea very subtle, especially for a floral tea. There’s a faint whisper of violet flowers and black tea. But it’s like I drank the tea in a dream and once I woke up, I can’t recall exactly what it tasted like. I added a tiny bit of Truvia and that helped awaken the floral aspect.

Overall though, this is another one that is rather underwhelming. These teas are too subtle for my liking. I prefer them to sock me in the mouth with flavor. Where did that expression come from anyway? “Sock me in the mouth.” That’s pretty weird, isn’t it? Maybe someone was kidnapped once and they were forced to endure the pungency of a ripe, sweaty gym sock stuffed into their mouth to muffle their cries. You never know. That could be the correct origin. :P

Suffice it to say, my problem with DF teas is that they simply don’t stand up well to the test of time and environs. I do my best to store my teas under ideal conditions, but time is never on my side. These samples are from November. I guess that’s too long to wait and still expect grandeur, although the Butiki Teas’ sample held up perfectly fine.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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50

Sipdown #17

I’m disappointed in Microsoft Office. I downloaded a trial on my new laptop and then bought a license a couple days later. Once my trial expired, it asked for the product key which then it wouldn’t accept. After an annoying conversation with a Microsoft customer service rep whose native language isn’t English, I finally got my answer. I have to remove the software from my computer (uninstall it and then reinstall it) all because it won’t accept the product key code. Are you serious? This is such a stupid solution. And of course, it took several hours to get all this sorted out and then another hour to do it. I’m so annoyed. But FINALLY it’s done and I can get back to blogging.

ON TO THE TEA!

Thanks to JustJames for this sample! The first infusion is subtle and tastes like an unflavored tea. Although it claims to be an oolong, it actually reminds me of a Darjeeling. The base doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor though. It’s rather lackluster and doesn’t strike me as particularly oolong-y. There are slight hints of woody elements and…I want to say roasted, but it’s not really a roasty-toasty kind of flavor either. I’m at a loss to describe this one.

The second infusion is no longer flavorful and seems just to be a cup of warm water and a mere whisper of what it used to be. I definitely am not getting chestnut or nut of any kind in either infusion. It has a flavor, but it’s very subtle and…I can’t describe it as delicious. It’s just…there, kind of like how nearly everything has a flavor but that doesn’t mean everything is edible.

Overall, this tea is unremarkable. It’s not something that I would probably seek out again in the future. Wow, sorry for my rather harsh criticism. I fear my bad experience with Office has tainted my view of the tea. I think I need a hug.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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98

Every time I drink this tea, something keeps me from writing a note about it. The phone rings, I’m late for a meeting, I enjoy the tea so much that I simply forget to log it. It’s always something. Well, I’m going to make time today because THIS IS MY 500TH NOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The dry leaf aroma is warm. Yes, warm. It smells inviting. The brewed tea aroma is a whole host of notes: woods, campfire, moss, bark. Cedar is the most prominent note. The flavor? Intoxicating. There’s a lovely spicy undertone that’s pronounced without being overtly spicy. It’s definitely not chai-like. It’s…unique, for lack of a better word. I love this tea to death. It is always delicious, comforting, and nuanced. Yunnan must be a magical fairytale land to produce such sweet nectar. Subsequent infusion for 3 minutes is just as enjoyable as the first cup. It’s hard to imagine growing tired of this tea. Who knew cedar wood could be so delicious?

I was glancing over the Verdant Tea website, but sadly this tea has been sold out for some time. I clicked on “Learn More” and found this beautiful passage: “How to Taste Tea. If you can put yourself in the right frame of mind, quiet the chatter of the everyday, and immerse yourself in the sensory experience of brewing and tasting a cup of tea, even a mediocre tea will be beautiful.” Wow. Isn’t that insightful? It’s so true and eloquently stated. I try to do this when I drink tea. I can’t properly reflect and blog unless I turn off the TV and block outside distractions. But I must say that this particular tea is far from mediocre. It is stellar, and I shall relish every last drop.

Flavors: Cedar

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

happy 500! :)

Courtney

500, yay!

MzPriss

I tried to order this earlier this week and they were out :( and wow 500!

CHAroma

Thanks, y’all!

MzPriss

and happy 500!

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Profile

Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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