531 Tasting Notes

92
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
531 tasting notes

You know you haven’t drunk enough tea when you have goosebumps and it’s 72 degrees in your apartment. What’s wrong with me? Well, it’s time to make more tea! After trying the Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha sample from JustJames, I wanted to compare it to plain Laoshan black. And lucky for me, JustJames provided a sample of that too!! I feel so lucky. :)

Mmmm!! I like this much better than the aforementioned blend. This is malty and grainy and delicious! It’s also a tad woodsy, which explains why I was tasting so much of that flavor in the oolong/black blend. I am thoroughly enjoying this cup (and its second infusion). Thanks JustJames!!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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60

Ooooh, I am super excited for this one! Big thanks to JustJames for sending me a sample!

The dry leaf aroma sure smells chocolaty, mmm! The brewed tea aroma is salty and toasty and completely different. I can really smell the Wuyi oolong in this. The first thing to hit my palate is a salty nuttiness from the oolong. Yet as I swallow, there’s a lovely honey sweetness that appears. That’s a surprise!

This is a yummy cup of tea! But I’m a bit confused with its name as I’m not getting much in the way of chocolate or genmaicha. I also think the oolong is a LOT stronger in this than the Laoshan black. I am getting something toasty, but it’s not the popped rice flavor I’m accustomed to in genmaicha. And when it comes to chocolate, I want IN YOUR FACE chocolate. This is like a quiet whisper of wind through the branches of a cacao tree.

As it cooled, all I could taste was the Wuyi oolong and I found it fairly bitter. Yuck. I didn’t want to give up on this tea just yet though, so I tried a second steep for 4 minutes. The resultant brew was much toastier but also less robust and rich. I think I actually prefer this second infusion. There’s still a nice, natural sweetness and it’s appearing more at the front end of the sip now. But what really makes this second cup a winner is that there’s definitely no bitterness!

I’m surprised that Verdant felt compelled to add oolong to this. I think it would have been just fine as an all Laoshan black base. I’ve never been much of a fan of these dark, rock oolongs. So although I enjoyed the sample, I don’t think I’ll stock this tea myself. I guess I’ll be the only one on here to not rave about this blend! Oh well. You never know till you try! Thanks again to JustJames for making this tasting experience possible.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
JustJames

i got different flavours with every steep. and you’re right, it’s not an in your face chocolate— it’s an uber dark chocolate on the side with a main course of honey and oolong.

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96
drank Red Velvet Cake by DAVIDsTEA
531 tasting notes

THIS IS MY 400TH TASTING NOTE!!!!!!!!

Yay! I’m celebrating with a new tea! The dry leaf aroma smells really chocolaty. I don’t really get red velvet cake. Instead, it smells like gooey, sumptuous, chocolate cake! The brewed aroma has transformed yet maintains its cake likeness. It appears to be a bit scummy and oily on top, but that’s to be expected when there’s this many sprinkles in the blend.

Oh man! I don’t know if this tastes like red velvet cake per say, but IT IS YUMMY! I’m definitely tasting cake. A delicious cake! Some sips taste like chocolate cake; some sips taste like red velvet cake complete with cream cheese icing; and some sips taste like a slightly oily, sugary, cake batter-flavored tea. Oddly, all sips are equally tasty.

You definitely want to drink this while it’s hot. It’s kind of gross when it cools. But hot, it is super delicious! I sucked this cup down! I did add some sweetener and that really made this tea perfect. Second infusion for 6 minutes was pretty yummy too. Now I just have to keep repeating to myself…I cannot justify purchasing this. I cannot. I cannot.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Hesper June

Congrats on 400!!! Sounds like a tasty tea to celebrate:)

Veronica

Congratulations on 400!

Sil

YAY!! congratulations on reaching 400 :)

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83
drank Gingerbread Coffeecake by 52teas
531 tasting notes

Damn you, 52teas! Why do you have to keep making such intriguing blends?! We purchased airfare and accommodations for our European honeymoon this October, so our bank account is hurting. I should not be buying tea!!! But I just couldn’t resist this one!

…and the new Pink Lemonade Iced Tea…

…and some more Lime Jello Iced Tea…

…I guess I got a little carried away there. Shh, don’t tell the husband! :P

The dry leaf aroma is strongly ginger. Like ginger overload. Like sticking my nose in a spice container of ground ginger. The brewed tea aroma is still very gingery but also a bit weird. The tea taste is surprisingly light. Ginger is the main note followed by brown sugar and something cake-like.

I couldn’t tell you if this has a coffee flavor or not. I feel like maybe I can taste coffee, but then the taste could be imagined because I expect to taste it from the name. This is called Gingerbread Coffeecake on the Zoomdweebie website, but the package has “coffee” crossed out and “tea” written in. So, is it Gingerbread Coffeecake or Gingerbread Teacake? I don’t know, but either way it’s definitely yummy!

There’s not much of an aftertaste at first, but it builds the more I sip it. I decided to add a tiny bit of sweetener halfway through the cup. Mmm, now the spice really pops and the cake is even more apparent! This is delicious! It is heavily ginger and heavily tasty. ;)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
52teas

It’s supposed to be a gingerbread coffeecake blend. I just despise coffee and don’t know why they have to call it coffeecake and not teacake.

JustJames

lol, agreed!

OMGsrsly

Coffeecake is just a cake to be eaten with coffee. There’s generally no coffee in it, in my experience. :) If I make one, I tend to call it teacake.

CHAroma

Really? The one time I had coffeecake, it had swirls of coffee-flavored cake in it.

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75
drank Apple Cider Black Tea by 52teas
531 tasting notes

Do you ever walk around the house collecting dishes, start the dishwasher, and then find another cup that could have gone in? Agh, I hate when that happens. Oh well, a cup of tea will help me feel better!

I was all out of my Tazo concentrated chai tea mix this morning, so I decided to make this tea instead. According to my previous tasting note, I last drank it about 2 years ago. O_o

I really need to drink down all these old teas. Wow, you know what? I can actually taste apple in this! Usually all I get is spices. I think the lower temperature and steep time really helped coax out the apple. Age hasn’t hurt this one at all. Mmm! What a wonderful way to start the morning! Raising the rating from 68 to 75.

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

Oh yeah, hate when that happens with the dishwasher!

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29

I received this complementary teabag while in an office waiting room. It was fairly bitter and very grassy. Not something I’d ever want to have again. It’s even worse than Lipton hot tea. Blech.

Does my inability to enjoy cheap, grocery store brand, bagged teas make me a tea snob? If so, I’m totally okay with that. :P

Cavocorax

I’m totally ok with that too. :P

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80
drank SBT: RadioactiviTEA by 52teas
531 tasting notes

I kind of forgot to set the timer for this one, but I think it was steeped for about 3 minutes. The dry leaf aroma is a lovely black tea that screams I WANT TO BE MADE INTO ICED TEA!!! I poured myself a glass and added sweetener. The verdict? This tea is much mellower than I was expecting. It brews up very dark, so I was a little intimidated at first.

But I’m on my second glass now! This tea is very smooth and flavorful. If you like unflavored iced tea, this is the one for you! It’s a nice balance of bold and smooth. Personally, I prefer the flavored SBTs. This isn’t bad by any means. It’s just not very exciting, and I love how creative and unique the SBT line is. This was nice for a change of pace though.

Preparation
Iced 3 min, 0 sec
Nxtdoor

Freaky name.

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94

My husband and I have picked up tennis! We went shopping for new tennis rackets and then immediately went to a local park to play. I’ve never played tennis before, and I’m usually quite afraid of any sports involving balls flying at my face. My sports are swimming and horseback riding! But we wanted to start doing something new and he was practically begging me to play with him, so I decided to give it a shot.

And you know what? Tennis is really fun! My racket is pink and has a panther on it. And it only cost $20!!! My new workout shirt cost more than the racket! Why is workout clothing so expensive? Well, whatever sweat whisking properties it claimed to have were put to the test, and it seemed to work as advertised. I think half the fun of tennis is wearing the cute outfit. ;)

Anyway, this is a tea note not a sport note. But I just wanted to share my new experience with y’all! I see a lot more afternoons at the tennis court in our future. Maybe we’ll even make friends and then we can play doubles! I wish we could join a fancy country club. Then we could have afternoon tea too! Oh well, one can dream. :)

On to the tea!

The dry leaf aroma is mouthwateringly creamy and very strong. The brewed tea aroma is calmer, green oolong with a hint of something more. Mmm, this is super creamy and delicious! The aftertaste is surprisingly very akin to milk. I’ve only tried one other milk oolong before from Teavivre. This DAVIDsTEA version is much milkier and is also richer and deeper in flavor. I thought 4 minutes might be too long, but this is perfect just the way it is. Uber yummy! I hope it re-steeps well because I am going to thoroughly enjoy this for the rest of the day. :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
531 tasting notes

SIPDOWN!

I cold-steeped this one for about 36 hours. It tastes like a yummy, non-alcoholic Piña Colada! But there is a bit of oiliness to the tea liquor that I’m not digging. This won’t be a re-purchase for me, but I enjoyed the sample.

Preparation
Iced

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75
drank Vanilla Orchid by DAVIDsTEA
531 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is potent, creamy vanilla similar to French vanilla ice cream. The brewed tea aroma is more balanced between the vanilla and the green oolong. The vanilla scent has developed and is almost smoky. It reminds me of the way a toasted marshmallow smells once it’s been melted over a fire or vanilla baked goods hot from the oven.

The taste is scrumptious! Unfortunately, as the cup cools, there’s a new flavor developing that tastes a lot like cardboard. What is that? I never add sugar to green oolongs, but I think this one may need it. Hmm, I’m not sure if it helped or just made it worse. Floral, buttery, green oolong and creamy vanilla may just not be a good combo.

If I tell myself what I’m tasting is vanilla, then I can trick myself into thinking it’s pretty good. But if I sit and really try to figure out what the flavor is, I keep returning to cardboard. I did use extra leaf…was that where I went wrong? I think it’s mostly appearing in the aftertaste, which is why I find it so bothersome. I’m used to green oolongs having a lovely aftertaste.

And now I have a really bad case of the hiccups! I’ve been hiccupping for about 10 minutes straight and trying to sneak sips of tea in between loud outbursts. How annoying. Second steep for 4 minutes was still more vanilla/cardboard with a touch of oolong than oolong with a touch of vanilla. Oh well. I guess this beloved tea is just not my thing. I’ll see if my husband is interested in it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
canadianadia

Oh no! booo to the hiccups and to cardboard tasting tea. I usually use a cooler water temperature than the instructions give (sippably hot). I’m not sure if that will make a difference in the taste? If not I hope your hubby likes it :)

CHAroma

Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely try that.

Fjellrev

I don’t know what it is, but both this one and their vanilla oolong just taste… off to me. The vanilla is wrong.

CHAroma

I’m glad I’m not the only one. This tea is so universally liked, I thought there may be something wrong with my taste buds!

OMGsrsly

Now that I’ve catalogued my tea, I need to try this one again. I could drink it, but I didn’t care for it.

Fjellrev

Haha I thought I was the only one too. Cardboard sounds about right! Trying to remember what exactly was wrong with it. Their other vanilla oolong is like plastic vanilla to me.

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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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