517 Tasting Notes

89
drank Caramel by Kusmi Tea
517 tasting notes

My first Kusmi tea thanks to Shmiracles!! The dry leaf aroma is caramel but not in an overly sweet, sugary manner. The brewed tea aroma is much more tea heavy than I would have thought. The taste is more tea and less caramel as well. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if you’re in the mood for a dessert tea, this may not hit the spot.

The caramel flavor is light and tastes almost syrup-y. Yes, that’s it. It tastes like caramel syrup. The base tea flavor dominates the sip. The aftertaste is where the caramel shines. With sweetener added, there’s much more caramel flavor noticeable in the sip rather than exclusively in the aftertaste. Now this is more to my liking!

I can understand the caramel chew similarity now. This does have an interesting mouthfeel. The base is really a lovely complement to the added flavoring. There’s just the tiniest hint of malt, which I’m really digging. This is a wonderful tea and one that grows on you the more you sip it. Thanks Shmiracles for sending a sample my way!

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

Second steep for 4 minutes was a little watery but still good.

Angrboda

This one is my most favourite caramel flavoured black. :D

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85

This smells and tastes amazing! I’m not sure what else there is to say about it.

Artichoke and green bean are the primary vegetables present. There’s lots of butter and a touch of creaminess. This is luscious and silky and just plain delicious. It reminds me a lot of one of Teavivre’s green teas. I can’t remember which one because I’ve tried so many. But it tastes almost identical. If I figure out which one it is, I’ll update this note to let y’all know.

This was brewed Western style. As the cup cooled, it seemed to lose its complexity and grew slightly heavy on the tongue. Of course, part of this sensation could be because I’m very very full right now. I ate French toast for breakfast and had probably twice as much as I should have. I’m stuffed!

Second infusion for two minutes was less vegetal and more creamy. Third infusion for three minutes was still flavorful but had even less buttery veggie notes. The first infusion is definitely the best. It’s not my favorite unflavored green since it seems to get less tasty with each subsequent steep. To me, this tea is good but not rave worthy. Still, I’m glad I got a chance to try it!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

awaiting for the spring harvest (pre-ordered), can’t wait!

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83
drank SBT: Lime Jello by 52teas
517 tasting notes

I really feel like lime right now. Not sure why, but lime just sounds so good. I also want to do something that is minimal effort so I don’t have to keep washing out my tea paraphernalia to brew another cup of something. Plus, it’s finally summer weather!! Iced tea sounds like just the thing!

This tea bag was purchased last year, but I don’t think that’s affected its quality or strength since it’s been sealed in the original, airtight packaging. The dry leaves smell really lime-y! Ooooh, I can’t wait!

I certainly have gotten better at making iced tea since my first time with SBT’s Cotton Candy. This was super easy! Why don’t I make iced tea more often? For whatever reason, I bought 7 of the 8 flavors released last year and then didn’t make half of them! Silly me. But the time has finally come for Lime Jello!!

Mmmmm, this tea is pure lime goodness! I added sweetener and that’s when it really came alive. Lime and black tea were just made for each other! Waaaay better than lemon and black tea. ;)

Looks like Frank hasn’t re-released this one yet. I hope he does! This is a GREAT tea, especially for only $3!!! This tea really doesn’t get enough credit. It’s super lime-y (and not in an artificial way), amazingly tastes just like jello in liquid tea form, and is simply super delicious! Thanks for making this Frank, now bring it back!!!

Preparation
Iced 3 min, 0 sec

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81
drank Caramel-Toffee by Dammann Freres
517 tasting notes

After the wonderful experience with Mariage Frères’ Wedding Impérial yesterday, I decided to try their competitor’s caramel tea: Dammann Frères’ Caramel-Toffee! I don’t know if they’re really competitors per say, or if these teas will be at all alike, but this is my tasting note and I’ll do what I want! LOL! Man, I’ve been feeling wonky lately. I hope you’ll excuse my weirdness.

The dry leaf aroma is pure caramel toffee sugary sweetness! It has little toffee cubes and smells much more sugary than Wedding Impérial. Mmm, I can’t wait to try this one! I much prefer Chinese and Ceylon blacks to Assam. So, maybe I’ll like this more? It hardly seems possible, but one way to find out!

Hmm, the brewed tea aroma is good, but the flavor is much less intense than I was expecting. With Truvia added, it’s more enjoyable. But I don’t think there’s any chance this will steal the limelight away from Wedding Impérial. It’s sweet and has a nice caramel toffee flavor. The base seems weak and quiet, which surprises me. I steeped it for 4 minutes! Maybe Assam is just a better base for these flavors.

I definitely like it, and it’s a very enjoyable cuppa. But if I’m craving a caramel tea, I have other teas I prefer to this one. I do have to add that the caramel seems to become more buttery the longer I sip it. This is a tea that grows on you with its flavor instead of whopping you upside the head with it upon the first sip. Thanks to Shmiracles for making this tasting possible!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Ysaurella

this one is in my shopping list for ages, I definitively need to buy some

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99

WOW! The dry leaf aroma is pure salted caramel! OMG, it smells INCREDIBLE!!! I’m brewing this up immediately!

I requested this tea from Shmiracles because I’ve heard so many great things about Mariage Frères teas. The downside is they’re so expensive and you can only buy large quantities of them. BUT, I’m going to France in October!!!! So, I figured I can save shipping costs and pick up some tea while strolling the streets of Paris! Still, it’d be best to try a few things first and figure out what I want to buy exactly.

And this brings us to today and my first Mariage Frères tea!!! Thanks Shmiracles!!!!

Wow! Have I already said wow? Well, let me say it again! WOW! The brewed tea aroma is even better than the dry leaf! It smells of black tea and salted caramel. Holy cow, this is going to be good! First sip sans additions…mmmm, malt and caramel show up first. Then a hint of bittersweet cocoa appears in the middle. Then more caramel, salted this time, appears at the end of the sip. THIS IS GLORIOUS!!!!!!!

I feel like cackling like a mad witch right now. This is a magical tea! First of all, it’s assam. And I don’t even like assam. Second, everyone finds it really strong and leaning towards bitter. I hate bitter and hardly ever drink black tea straight. But this is great straight! (Rhyme unintended). :P I’m sure with milk and sugar it would be a delicious dessert treat too. But even as is, it’s a really really delicious cup of tea!

Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. I love this soooo much! I can’t wait to go to France to stock up on it. Wow! :D Thank you sooooo much to Shmiracles for sharing this amazing French creation! I am in love!!!!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

it’s a pretty decent price at the end of the day as well if you’re there to buy it heh esp if you buy it in the bag instead of a tin

Shmiracles

what a heartwarming post. tea rules!!! liquid poetry. history and lyrics and nature all in a cup.
i’m totally drinking this one tomorrow morning.
go witchy poo! (ya know, cuz of the cackling…)

CHAroma

Hahaha, you’re awesome Shmiracles! Second steep with milk and sugar was just as delicious by the way. :)

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78

YAY!!!! First sample from the swap box Shmiracles sent me!!!! I’m so excited! There are sooooo many teas in this box! You really outdid me. I thought we were shooting for 10. I think I gave you 13. And then I open this deceivingly small box to find 20 samples!!!! Wow!! You are amazing, girl!

So, on to the first one! :D I do have to ask though…What does this tea have to do with North Africa? When I think of houjicha, I think of Japan. When I think of chai spices, I think of India. And when I think of peppermint, I think of Christmas and the North Pole. LOL! No Africa in any of that! But let’s just get brewing already. :P

The dry leaves looks like chai and are chock full of spices and big cardamom pods. Mmm, I LOVE chai! This smells heavenly! And I don’t even remember the last time I had houjicha. It’s been too long. I loved houjicha long before I loved sencha, matcha, white tea, and even oolong! Okay okay, it’s done steeping and now I can finally get to the taste!

First sip…hmm, all I can really taste is chai spices. It probably didn’t help that I just ate three slices of pepperoni and sausage pan pizza. LOL! But I was starving!! I couldn’t wait any longer! Man, I am talkative tonight. I apologize for my ramblings. Just very excited! Second sip…now I’m getting a hint of mint amongst all the spicy goodness. But the houjicha seems very quiet still.

Well, even just as a cup of chai mint tea, it’s yummy! I’m surprised I like the introduction of mint in chai. I think it works because it’s a very small amount of mint compared to the other flavors. Now if only I could get the houjicha to shine! Houjicha has such a nice roasted toasted taste. The base here feels more like a backdrop to the mint and chai spices so that you’re not drinking a purely herbal tea. No roasty toasty elements to be found, sadly.

Oh well, if I didn’t know what houjicha was supposed to taste like, I wouldn’t know what I was missing. So overall, I’m enjoying this cup for what it does taste like. ;) Wow, my brain is just kooky tonight. Is any of this making sense? LOL! Thanks Shmiracles!!!!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Shmiracles

well, don’t thank me yet, cuz some of those are lapsangs and i notice on your profile that you’re not really a fan. however, i AM a fan and i’m on a secret mission to convert everyone haha.
ok ok not really. but a girl can dream.

Shmiracles

ok see. what really happens is i start putting a box together. and as i do that i’m like “oh but i didn’t include this one” or “i can’t give them this one without that one” etc etc until i’m trying to decide which one to take out cuz i can’t close the box.
i was never good at making mixed tapes either. it’s sooo hard to choooose!
your box is great too!! swapping really is the funnest. i definitely always feel like i get as well as i give. and there is always something to be said about getting to try a brand new tea :)

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75

The dry leaf aroma of this tea is AWESOME! It smells like creamy, lemon-y goodness. Like lemon meringue pie! There were huge chunks of dried lemon in the blend and lots of yellow calendula petals too (which look exactly like marigold petals by the way).

The brewed tea aroma is mostly woodsy green rooibos with a hint of lemon zest. That’s sad. I hope the lemon creaminess returns in the flavor! I really dislike red rooibos, but flavored green rooibos is usually okay. This brewed aroma is making me second guess myself. Time to try it and find out!

Mmm, lucky for me, that lovely lemon creaminess has returned! The green rooibos base is still pretty strong though. But the added flavorings are nice. It’s worth noting that the lemon in this is very natural and zest-like. It doesn’t taste incredibly tart or citrus-y like lemon pulp or juice. It’s definitely more akin to zest.

I’m going to add a tiny bit of Truvia to see if I can make the flavors really pop. Well, it kind of worked. There’s just no way past that rooibos base. :P This is just okay in my book. But I can see how this would be the perfect late night treat for rooibos lovers. At least it won’t keep me up past bedtime. :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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95

I really wanted to make this Gingerbread Cookie recipe by DaisyChubb: http://www.daisychubb.com/recipe-zombie-gingerbread-men-matcha-ginger/

But I didn’t have any ginger matcha. :( I did have cotton candy, maple syrup, caramel, and cheesecake matcha in my stash…so I opted to make Gingersnap Cotton Candy Matcha Cookies!

To see photos of my creations, go here (although they are nowhere near as cute as what DaisyChubb created. I am simply not as talented a baker): http://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/sets/72157633585326552/

My improvisation kind of worked out. It made for really sweet, really sugary cookies with a ginger zing. In all honesty, I could have done without the ginger I think. But my mom and husband (fiancé at the time) loved them!

This is a recipe probably best left unaltered. But hey, it was worth a shot because I was really craving matcha cookies! Thanks to DaisyChubb for posting the recipe! And by the way, those zombie gingerbread men are soooooo freaking cute!!

Ysaurella

the main point for a cookie is to be good ! were they good ? I am sure they were !

CHAroma

LOL! Thanks, Ysaurella! :P

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80
drank Kittea by 52teas
517 tasting notes

I finally got around to brewing this one up for my kitty, Mr. Frodo! He rubbed his face on the bag for a while before indulging in a cup of brewed catnip tea. He was so cute! I captured the whole thing with my iPhone camera. To see the photo play-by-play, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/sets/72157633587132206/

While waiting for it to cool enough for Mr. Frodo, I tried it myself. If you didn’t tell me this was catnip, I’d have no idea! It tasted like green yerba mate with a touch of mint. Or just a very weak peppermint tea. It’s not bad! I gave some to my husband and he really liked it, even after I told him it was catnip. ;P

This is a fun one to have around. I’m glad I picked up a packet. If you have a kitty, you should definitely get some for him or her too! It makes for really cute photos. :) And I have a ton of it, so feel free to request some in a swap.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
52teas

Awesome pictures. I’m glad you and your kitty enjoyed the tea. And yeah, 1oz of that stuff is a lot.

52teas

And I hope you don’t mind, but I couldn’t resist sharing the link on our FB page.

Sil

Lol that’s awesome :) thanks for the photo share!

Josie Jade

Aw, I kind of am tempted to get this. We got the dog tea but the pups weren’t really a fan. We do have our 2 cats and 5 foster kittens currently in the house, so chances are someone would enjoy it!

CHAroma

@52teas, Yay! That’s totally fine and actually pretty cool. ;) Thanks!

@Sil, I started that Flickr account yesterday just so I could post those photos, LOL! I wish there was a way to share photos directly in Steepster.

@Josie Jade, Five foster kittens! Awww! I think your odds are pretty good someone would like it. :)

Lindsey

Aw, those pics are great!

Shmiracles

i’m totally making House Party 3 tea when i get home!

Shmiracles

clarifying: my cat’s name is House Party 3

CHAroma

LOL! That’s a hilarious name!!! Where’d you come up with it? Definitely post some pictures!

canadianadia

Those pictures are priceless- lol!

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92
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
517 tasting notes

SIPDOWN, and a Gongfu brewing session!

Hmm, I’m not really enjoying this as much as I did when I brewed it Western style. As before, the first few infusions are my least favorite. As the dark chocolate notes wane and are replaced with caramel and honey notes, it becomes more to my liking.

I prefer sweet over bitter, and this tea leans more towards the bitter end of the scale. It doesn’t reach bitter, but it definitely leans in that direction and comes fairly close. The early infusions are dark and roast-y and maybe a tad bit woodsy. By the fifth infusion, I started getting less dark cocoa bitterness and more honey sweetness. A warm spicy note emerged as well. Now this is getting yummy!

I gave up after the eighth infusion even though the leaves could have gone longer. I can definitely see why people love this tea so much. While I can appreciate it, I don’t love it myself. I am excited I had the opportunity to try it!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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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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