216 Tasting Notes

57

Alas, this did not work very well; there’s a really strange aftertaste along the lines of a too-sweet toothpaste. It’s still smooth, though — apparently you just can’t wreck this Fortnum & Mason Vanilla. Sadly, that’s the last of mine.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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70

I have no idea where this rooibos caramel comes from. I have an old Teavana tin with “Roo. Caram.” scrawled across the label in my handwriting, so obviously at one point I knew more about it…you know, for someone who catalogues as obsessively as I do, I’ve managed my teas rather poorly so far. Anyway, this rooibos caramel isn’t much good on its own — it’s far too sweet in a cloying sort of way — so I keep it to sweeten my other teas. Today I tossed it in with an old and rather bitter Ceylon Black that really needs the help, and the result was a nicely balanced cup of black tea. It would have been too bitter for a first cup of the morning, but as a second one the bitter was mixed with the caramel and the rooibos nicely. (I’ll refrain from any philosophical generalizations on the blending!)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Jasmine Tea by Fujian Tea
216 tasting notes

I’m fairly sure that I oversteeped this, as it came out so incredibly bitter that I had to add sugar just to drink it. I’ll give at another try and an actual rating some other time.

Note to self: stop getting distracted while brewing your tea!

Although I do have to mention that I have this tea in an utterly gorgeous tin, dark blue with flying cranes, and the tea’s pretty much worth it just for that. I wish I remembered where I got it from.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Jillian

I usually steep this tea at around 75 degrees celcius, if that’s any help.

Cait

Thanks, Jillian! I’ll try that.

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85
drank Green Pekoe by Adagio Teas
216 tasting notes

Oh, very nice! It smelled and looked lovely in the tin, but it had a very weak color and hardly any scent at all in the mug — I almost let it steep longer, and then I thought, No, I always do this to green teas; I should just drink it. And I’m glad I did, because all of that loveliness came right back out in the taste.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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87
drank Citron Green by Harney & Sons
216 tasting notes

Ah, now this is a nice green, very refreshing.

I am growing very amused that every time I find a tea I particularly like, the company describes it as “basic” or “introductory”.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Harney & Sons The Store

What we mean by that Cait is merely that the general western palate generally has a distaste to green tea flavors, which hold vegetal notes of alfalfa, asparagus, spinach, seaweed etc. Also many green teas seem to be weak, almost like warm water to the developing tea drinker. Furthermore, flavored greens use a basic green tea, in this case Bancha, which in fact is a summer tea made up of rejects from the spring pickings of Sencha. Teas like Citron Green, Bangkok, Tropical Green are great ways to get tea drinkers used to the lighter bodies and subtle nuances of flavors, as even flavored green teas are subtle.

I strongly recommend trying Tencha or Lung Ching next. Tencha is a flakey leaf Japanese green tea with a smooth, light body and a hint of citrusy sweetness. Lung Ching is a Chinese green that is sweet like spring grass on a backdrop of toasted walnuts.

Cait

Oh, it’s not a complaint! It’s interesting to learn about these teas, and apparently they’re described well, if the same description across various companies appeals to me.

I will definitely keep these recommendations in mind; they both sound very good! Thank you for them.

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drank Original Blend by Red Rose
216 tasting notes

Red Rose Orange Pekoe and Pekoe Cut Black Tea really should have been the first tea that I reviewed here, since this was the tea of my childhood.

—Childhood? you ask. Just how young was I?

There’s a funny story there. It started with my first job: I spent the summer I was fifteen working for my aunt who owned a stable. The trainer, the barn manager, and all of the other stablehands were adults, and they all drank coffee. Since I was a young’un, they’d rinse out the coffee pot, refill it with plain water, and point me at the small stash of cocoa in the back of the office. Unsurprisingly, this was a real pain for everyone, and eventually I just took a cup of coffee, dumped in terrifying amounts of sugar and non-dairy creamer, and decided that it tasted pretty much the same (the water had never gotten particularly non-coffee-flavored) so what was the difference, right? And hey, I was a teenager, and if all of that caffeine made me jittery, nobody noticed a thing.

And then, at the end of summer, I left on vacation with my family. First day of vacation, we’re at the beach, of course it’s awfully bright. Second day, still bright, the headache is really setting in. I’m gulping lemonade by the bucketful and trying desperately to explain this agony to my mother. My mother, the caffeine-drinker of my immediate family, recognizes these symptoms. She extracts the story of the cocoa-coffee from me and suggests I go cold turkey. I explain the agony a little more. Since it is a shame to waste a vacation on withdrawal, she brews me some coffee. Third day, I spend the morning bounding gleefully across the sand dunes, then seek out my mother for another caffeine hit.

Let’s try weaning you off slowly, she suggests, and makes me tea. This tea, in fact. I doctor it up like the coffee with sugar and actual milk and am amazed to discover that not only does my headache go away, but this tastes good. I keep drinking it.

We get home from vacation. I keep drinking it.

(I go to college and shift up to coffee, then to expresso beans, then to caffeinated water. I don’t sleep much.)

In grad school, I return to my tea. I have, by that point, had many teas on many outings, but none of them are morning tea. Morning tea is Red Rose with milk and a bit of sugar.

Eventually, as I dropped out of grad school and began commuting to an office in the mornings, I let go of my childhood morning tea. But still, I remain fond and nostalgic. In my mind, this tea is served in at the kitchen table in a brown ceramic mug with the string of the teabag wrapped once around the handle; it’s milky smooth, not too sweet, extremely tasty, and just the right sipping temperature the entire time.

And yes, I still have fifteen or twenty of the ridiculous figurines. Somehow, more than a third of them are polar bears. Make of that what you will.

Anna Lorena EldenBrady

Wonderful story! I love this tea as well- I seem to have quite a few little pairs of spaniels or something- it’s a cute little figure of two friendly puppies together…I don’t know why, but they were the bulk of the figurines I found. I think they gravitate to me.

Cait

Thank you! :) It is a little alarming to watch the figurines gather, isn’t it…?

sabrina sharif

Little pieces like this are what makes the entire internet worth it. I’m so happy to have read it.

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96

This is an incredibly hefty, filling fruit tea, absolutely my favorite of the Tea Table tea of the month teas so far. It’s delicious and utterly full of fruit, with the strongest tastes being strawberry and blackberry. No matter how I steep it, it never comes out less than chewy — I am at a loss to know why the company’s website describes this as a “mild flavor”! Although they’re quite correct about its lovely deep magenta color. I need to order more of this right away.

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

I wouldn’t drink this solo, but this sounds really good.:)

Laura B

I’m soooo glad I saw this… I was using Groupons for my favvvvorite tea shop in the whole world (where this is 1.90 an ounce and there are always over 600 teas available) and being super finicky about fruit stuff (particularly “natural flavors” which rarely even COME from fruits with Metropolitan Tea Co and also just how MUCH it takes to make it flavorful enough in nearly all cases, as I like it strong) it suffices to say I was 1-ouncing most everything; then again that also gives me the excuse to try and try and try lots of stuff! I corrected the manufacturer as the Tea Table redistributes Lady Hannah’s, along with 7,000 other shops around the world (but their bulk price for 32oz+ was still 40c more per ounce so I will only be visiting them to get ideas, especially since I personally KNOW—having spent HOURS in his shop, the owner of Angelina’s, Angelina being his AFRICKINDORABLE little girl who sells heart shaped pu’ehr for V-day and similar africkindorable things. If you’re wanting to order tons more, seriously, don’t mention the price elsewhere cause hey we do NOT want him getting too savvy since his shop—a mesmerizing place with SOOOO much tea ware… holy cow check the site for that too… mmmm makes me wish I was there… anyway, don’t tell him he’s dirt cheap, cause hey, he’s STILL making a 350+% profit at 1.90/oz :P He also makes tons of profit being the only Silk Road Teas full line purveyor, ie he is the only USA guy with the connections (he used to be a tea taster and judge out in Asia, part of the hugely important committee to deem what teas are basically yknow sacred and stuff… You might want to tell him Laura B and her sister Jennifer in NC sent you because hey, they did. Plus he may just toss in a sample or few when she redeems my b-day present which is another $25 in tea from there (odd enough, a couple teas could quite literally spend that whole gift cert with 2 ounces—THAT is the Silk Road tea world. Still, drunken concubine enters my dream world, REM style and daydream. I wish I’d never tasted that evil, beauuutiful masterpiece of the earth.

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40
drank Citron Green by Adagio Teas
216 tasting notes

On a tip from Cofftea (http://steepster.com/Cait/posts/25139) I tried this again with cooler water and a shorter steeping time. That did bring out a little more taste, but not really a whole lot more — certainly nothing like what the other reviewers are describing — and it produced a very rough-textured tea as well. I think I shall just pour the rest of these sweet-scented leaves into a potpourri dish and look into obtaining a fresh batch for drinking.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

This leads me to believe that it is indeed old and not just substandard- at least I hope that’s the case, being old can be remedied! Question… Where do you buy Jack’s Royale Jamaican Rum Tea? I’ve been looking for a rum tea since Adagio discontinued their’s.

Cait

I will keep my fingers crossed!

The rum tea is from a dealer I found through a science fiction convention, in fact! It’s the only rum tea I’ve ever had, so I don’t know how it stacks up that way, but it is sweet and very tasty: http://www.cyphrevoudou.com/the_albino_raven.html

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77

I loved this tea when I was younger!

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I like tea!

Since joining Steepster, it’s become apparent that this statement desperately needs further refinement.

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