526 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! :)
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!
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
Wow, the brewed tea aroma is really interesting. It’s unlike anything else I’ve tried. I’ve been making a lot of smoothies lately with my Vitamix (a present from my stepmother that I absolutely adore), and I swear this tea smells exactly like a fresh, ripe banana! Wow, but the taste??! OMG! It’s insane! I thought for sure that I would detest this, seeing as how I generally despise banana-flavored teas. Don’t ask me why. Bananas in a smoothie? Totally fine. Bananas in tea? Yuck, gag, cough, sputter. It doesn’t make logical sense, but then again, I’m human. I don’t have to. :P I’m in quite a mood today, so please forgive my weirdness. Actually, I guess I’m always weird so today is just an abnormally high level of weirdness. Okay, long digression. Back to the tea!
This tastes amazing. I don’t know what this base is, but it is divine! Smooth, flavorful, maybe a hint of malt, but mostly smooth cocoa, bread-y deliciousness! Then the real, authentic, true, ripe banana flavor comes in and mixes with some other element. Floral butter? If that’s a thing, then yes, this tea tastes like cocoa banana bread with floral butter spread. Mmmm! If that doesn’t make your mouth water, then I don’t know what will. There’s also a hint of something almost spicy, like catching a whiff of the spice cabinet without actually tasting anything definitively.
Seeing as how I wasn’t expecting to like this tea at all, I’m that much more impressed that I like it sans additions. This tea is lively and aromatic all by itself. No additives required. As the cup cools, the end of the sip leans toward the bitter end of the spectrum without quite reaching it, so I definitely recommend a 3-minute steeping time. Anything more and I think it may reach full bitterness (without milk to calm it anyway).
Now I’m kicking myself for sitting on this sample from JustJames for so long. I really must thank you, sir, for being such a kind tea sharer. And Stacy!! You are a tea blending magician! I don’t know how you made this, but it is magic in a cup. The added flavorings are so subtle yet impactful. They blend with the base so perfectly that I can’t tell where the flavorings stop and the base begins. Well done, Stacy, well done. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to try this. Thank you, JustJames!! This tea really lifted my spirits today.
Not counting the tea I reviewed last week, I have 21 different flavors of SBT teas in my cupboard. I’d better get drinking! Thank God it’s finally warm enough to enjoy iced tea. The dry leaf aroma is divine. Very lime-y in a fresh, authentic way. It even smells creamy, mmm!
My husband stole a sip while he poured me a cup and said, “It’s good, but it’s too buttery for my tastes.” Well, good! All the more for me then! The nerve of him to steal a sip without asking anyway. :P I’m perfectly happy to lay claim to this entire pitcher all by myself because this is super yummy!
Although my husband described it as buttery, I’m not sure I agree. I find it creamy, smooth, luscious, and delicious! It’s equally lime and cheesecake to me. The black base here is not bitter at all, and the flavoring is much more authentic tasting than the lime in the Cherry Limeade SBT. I love this one so much more.
The base is about even strength with the added flavorings, which is especially nice. I added some agave and it complements the cup perfectly! This is exactly my kind of tea. Yummm! I need to pick up some more of this. I think this is the most cheesecake I’ve gotten out of any 52teas blend to date. It’s not tangy, but it is creamy and delicious. I call it a success!
The dry leaf aroma is potent. Phew! It certainly smells lime-y, although it’s also quite chemically and strong. The undiluted brewed tea aroma is…unappetizing. It just smells weird to me. Not like cherry or lime at all. Just a very strong black tea scent that borders on smoky. The diluted tea aroma is more like what I expected, although I’m still a little wary of that inexplicable harshness from the base.
Okay, so I seriously overleafed this tea. It says to brew it in 2 cups of water and then add 6 more cups. I only added 4.5 and I barely added any ice. So why does it taste so diluted? I’m getting mostly black tea with a tiny hint of cherry lime flavoring. The base tastes different from the other SBT black teas I’ve had, and the aftertaste turns bitter. Did Frank change to a different base from the original line of SBT teas released about 2-3 years ago?
This particular tea came in the fourth package design I’ve seen. I’m not sure what’s with the frequent packaging changes, although this last version does provide a lot of great, helpful information. I like the detailed steeping instructions and the alternate coldbrewing instructions. And this tea is organic?? Hmm, I didn’t know that. I guess that means it is a different base then because I don’t remember the first line of SBT teas being organic.
The more I sip it, the more I think I like it. But I have to say that it is mostly black tea with only a hint of lime. Perhaps there’s some cherry in here too but it’s definitely the quietest of the flavors. Maybe this would have been better if I coldbrewed it? I’d be interested to hear what others think of this because maybe I’m being over critical or I just botched the preparation somehow.
All in all, I feel that I have to give it a low (-ish) rating since it is not as expected and overall isn’t that yummy. I know Frank can do better than this. A few of the SBT flavors have blown my mind. (I’m looking at you, Pink Lemonade.) But this one is not spectacular.