543 Tasting Notes

84
drank Tropicalia by DAVIDsTEA
543 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
543 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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92
drank Cookie Dough by DAVIDsTEA
543 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is surprisingly chocolaty. Granted, the ingredients list does mention cocoa in three forms. But this tea is called Cookie Dough, not Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough! So, it still came as a surprise. There was no tea smell or anything recognizably cookie-like. Hmm, here’s hoping the tea tastes good!

The tea itself was comprised of big unbroken white peony leaves, some crushed leaves, a few large stem pieces, and a smattering of chocolate, caramel, and one walnut. The instructions say to brew at boiling for 4-7 minutes. I normally would never submit a white tea to such torture, but I have enough in my sample for several cups. So, I’ll try the first cup their way. Who knows, maybe they actually know what they’re talking about! :P

Oh wow! The brewed tea aroma is spot on raw cookie dough! That’s shocking!! I actually can’t believe it. I hope it comes through in the taste. I’ve often found with DAVIDsTEA blends that the aroma is perfect but the taste is lacking. Okay, enough stalling. Time to drink it!

First sip…wow what an interesting tea. While the tea is in your mouth and for a split second after you swallow, it tastes EXACTLY like cookie dough. Which is awesome! But the aftertaste is almost nothing and after about 1 minute, I get that scratchy feeling at the back of my throat that I got with Ice Cream Cake by DAVIDsTEA.

So, where does that leave this tea? It’s partly a great success. But I hate that itchy scratchy feeling. Whoa, wait a minute! This tea is currently 72% off!!!!!!!! It’s a web special and you have to buy 250g of it, but that’s pretty darn cheap. And if it’s a web special, that could mean that it’s being discontinued never to see again!

Decisions, decisions…okay that’s it. I’m buying it! I had my eye on that new Takeya iced tea pitcher anyway. Gahhhh!!! Why do you do it to me, tea?! I’m so poor. LOL! And by the way, I really enjoy this tea. It might not be a 100, but it’s spot on with what it tried to achieve and it sure beats making my own cookie dough from scratch and eating all those calories.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
canadianadia

I was looking at that deal today too. So far I’ve managed to resist it, but only because I have a couple unopened 25 gram pouches of this one. It really is a good deal though…hmmmm…arggh!…must…resist…

Nxtdoor

This is how I ended up with 650 grams of tea. Go ahead and do it! Put it this way… Are you going to buy, in the near future, teas at least similar to these? Maybe you might even want these and you end up purchasing them a couple of weeks/months from now for double the price?

canadianadia

lol – I totally caved. You’re right it’s just too good a deal to pass up

CHAroma

Hahahaha!!! You’re awesome, canadianadia. :D

JustJames

tea budget destruction enabling…. gack! i need eye bleach. i can’t until august. i can’t until august. i can’t until august.

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83

SIPDOWN, and a gongfu brewing session!

In the first infusion, the jasmine flavor overwhelmed the tea base, not that I’m complaining. ;) With each successive infusion, the tea base grew a little more present, slightly less sweet, and more balanced with the floral notes.

Wow. This tea is just so beautiful. All in all, I enjoyed seven lovely infusions. I started the first three at 10 seconds each, and then increased the time by 3 seconds per infusion. This is a delightful tea that I highly recommend!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
JustJames

the three second increment increase is excellent! i, however, tend towards being a distracted moth and forget that i’m steeping anything at all. it’s become a benchmark… if a tea still tastes brilliant after 20 minutes of steeping then it’s a keeper, lol.

CHAroma

LOL! I’m always so excited about tea that I’m more likely to flutter around the cup while it’s steeping than to walk off and forget about it, but it still happens sometimes. That’s why I always set a timer now. :)

JustJames

hah! you are far more organized than i am!

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83

Cutting into the sample packet is a sensory experience. The dry leaf aroma is a very appetizing floral jasmine scent. Who knew smelling a flower could make you want to drink it? Actually, the whole concept of drinking water that leaves have sat in for a while is kind of weird…But I love it!

The brewed tea aroma is just as lovely as the dry. And the taste? Pure jasmine heaven! My other experience with this tea was from a swap. I think that sample may have been compromised from sitting amongst so many other teas, as it had an odd pungency that this cup lacks. This time it’s just pure, unadulterated, jasmine bliss!

This is my Western brewing session with this tea. I have enough of the sample left to try gongfu brewing later. I think this tea might be especially delicious that way. But this method is much easier and quicker for me. I like the instant gratification of Western brewing. :)

I’m so glad I got to try this again! This is a perfect example of how a jasmine tea should be: floral but not perfume-y. The best part about this tea is the beautiful aftertaste that lingers long after the sip. I must have finished the cup 10 minutes ago, but there’s still a lovely floral note clinging to my palate. Mmmm! Delicious! Upping the rating from 80 to 83.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Pomegranate Da Hong Pao by 52teas
543 tasting notes

I decided to give this tea another shot with fresh leaves and a drastically increased infusion time. There is still little to no recognizable pomegranate flavor. It’s a tasty oolong, but I’d prefer the added fruit flavoring to be punched up about 10 notches. If anyone wants to try it, I’ve got plenty left for swaps.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

I would so be in for a swap with you! :D

CHAroma

Cool! Send me a PM. :)

JennyFur

I’m very interested in a bit of this.

CHAroma

Sure! Just send me a message.

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50
drank Pomegranate Da Hong Pao by 52teas
543 tasting notes

I split an order of this and the other new V.I.T. with tattooed_tea, so we both ended up with 0.75 ounces of each tea. Thanks tattooed_tea!!! The dry leaf aroma is discernibly pomegranate. The brewed tea aroma is woodsy, dark oolong and smells exactly like salted peanut shells to me. Uh oh. Where’d the pomegranate go?

Hmmm…the taste is different than other dark oolongs I’ve tried, namely Formosa oolongs. And by different, I mean better. ;) I read the back story on this tea too, and it’s hard to believe that this tea is more valuable than gold. Who’s the crazy loon who spent over $1600 on 20g of this stuff? I mean, I think it tastes good, but no where near that good!

Luckily, that salty peanut shell aroma doesn’t make its way into the flavor. This is a medium to light-bodied cuppa with virtually no pomegranate flavor. Maybe I didn’t use enough leaf or I understeeped it? I can detect a tiny hint of fruitiness, but it almost tastes like a naturally occurring flavor rather than an added flavoring. And it’s definitely not a pomegranate specific taste. It’s more generically fruity to me.

I picked a couple extra pomegranate arils from the bag and added them to the second steep for 2 minutes. Hmm, sadly there’s still no pomegranate flavor. I triple-bagged it and stored it in a tin, so I’m not sure how it lost flavor. Oh well. It’s a good oolong, but it’s no more than that. It’s really too bad. I can imagine pomegranate being a nice complement to this.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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88
drank French Toast by 52teas
543 tasting notes

Ahhhhh!!!!! French toast tea!!!!!!! I didn’t hesitate for a second to purchase this tea when I read the e-mail announcing it. I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m really hungry or what, but when I lifted the brewing basket from the steaming cup, I was assailed by a strong, authentic French toast aroma! Yum! The brewed tea aroma is spot on!

I first tried this tea a few days ago with skim milk and Truvia. I do NOT recommend milk with this tea. It squashes the flavors and creates a bland, heavy mouthfeel. Sans additions, this tastes like a buttery, cinnamon black tea. But with only a little sweetener, BAM! The flavors really meld and come to life, and now I’m drinking liquid French toast! If I owned any maple syrup, I’d definitely try that out as a sweetener. In fact, it might be worth a trip to the store just to see how it’d turn out. ;)

If I had to compare this to Pancake Breakfast, I’d say it’s heavier on the bread and lighter on the maple syrup. And of course, there’s the addition of cinnamon, which Pancake Breakfast doesn’t have. Mmmm! It’s hard to choose a favorite between pancakes and French toast, and I’d have a hard time picking a favorite between these two teas as well. They are both delicious in their own right!

Wow, my cup disappeared fast. That’s always a good indicator. This tea is hard to categorize because it’s not sweet enough to be a dessert tea. But it’s also not brisk enough to be a breakfast tea. For me, this is best as a late morning/mid-afternoon tea. Overall, this is deliciously yummy regardless of the time of day. Not quite as good as the real thing, but tea hardly ever is. :)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Cavocorax

Mine disappeared too before I could review it!

tattooed_tea

oh man! I need this tea & actual French toast

Emily M

Now I want French Toast! This one sounds interesting.

CHAroma

I especially enjoy this with 0.5 tsp of Pancake Breakfast mixed in. Mmmm mmm, mapely goodness!

JustJames

you know, i haven’t had much luck with 52teas… things never wind up tasting the way they’re described? even assuming operator error and an attempted resteep they just don’t seem to work for me. randomly odd.

CHAroma

I have had both hits and misses with 52teas. Sometimes they don’t taste like what they’re named, but they still taste good. When a tea does taste the way it’s described, it’s a magical thing!

JustJames

true, magical teas are wonderful. i guess i already have a ‘hit or miss’ company in my roster and don’t want to add another? for me that’s david’s teas. they make some of my favourites, and then they make some ghastly ones (my opinion only) that sound great.

CHAroma

52teas was one of the first online retailers I discovered, so they have a special place in my heart. I have a TON of their teas, so if you’d like to try some samples, let me know and we’ll set up a swap. It’s a company that’s worth the risk in my opinion. And some of their teas are no risk at all, like the iced tea line Southern Boy Teas (SBT).

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81
drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
543 tasting notes

I bought this sample on a whim on the mini-moon trip to NYC. I had a bunch of DAVIDsTEA samples I wanted to buy, and when I mentioned I love apple, they brought out this tin. Wow! One whiff and I knew I had to have it!

The dry leaf aroma is amazing!!! It smells like some kind of rich fruit spice cake. Like apple cake or even carrot cake complete with the sugary, cream cheese frosting. I forgot tea could smell so enticing.

The brewed aroma is virtually the same. Yes! I love when that happens. Now for the taste…aww, sadly the taste is slightly lacking. I added a bit of Truvia and that helped to awaken the flavors. But it’s still not as yummy as that gloriously tasty aroma. It is growing on me the more I sip it though, seeing as my cup is empty.

I let the second cup steep for 15 minutes. Kind of forgot about it as I watched Eat Pray Love. That is one depressing movie. I’d probably enjoy the book better. Anyway, this second cup was really good too. No idea why it’s called Forever Nuts though. It’s more spice fruit cake than nutty.

So, the verdict is I like this tea. It’ll be especially good when I get pregnant and can’t drink caffeine. Of course, that’s still about 12 months off or so. But I’m always preparing for it in my heart and mind. :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Genmaicha by Kusmi Tea
543 tasting notes

I reached into my still large pile of samples from Shmiracles and randomly selected this tea. The dry leaf aroma is surprisingly floral. Last time I checked, there’s nothing floral about genmaicha. It’s simply a medley of bancha green tea leaves, popped corn, and roasted brown rice.

Luckily, once the water hit the leaves, a nice roasted rice aroma floated up into the air. Oh thank goodness! You had me a bit worried there, genmaicha. ;)

The flavor is roasted rice with a very light green tea background. There’s something floral in the taste as well. Strange. Floral notes do not belong in my beloved genmaicha. It’s fighting the roasted note, which now only emerges in the aftertaste.

It’s nice for what it is, but it’s not my perfect genmaicha tea. How interesting to find a floral genmaicha though. I’ve definitely never come across this before. Thanks to Shmiracles for the sample!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 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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