517 Tasting Notes

60
drank SBT: Cherry Limeade by 52teas
517 tasting notes

Sipdown #19

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.

Preparation
Iced 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

i think he did? change the base on sbt’s

CHAroma

The older/original SBT teas had “premium Indian CTC black teas blended with organic flavoring.” These newer ones have “premium organic black teas, organic flavors.” So, I’m not 100% sure they’re different but I think they are based on taste and the fact that he’s now describing the base itself as “organic.”

52teas

You have a very astute palate if you can actually taste a difference in the base tea. I did change the base from a CTC to an organic BOPFS from a different estate in the same south Indian region. My supplier was out of the CTC I had used and not expecting another shipment for months and offered this higher quality base as a suggested replacement. It has been the same base for about two years now, though the changes in the description came a little later. (I realized that we were using organic flavors and organic tea, so our iced teas were in effect 100% organic, so I added that to the description.)

As for the packaging changes, this should be the last one—fingers crossed. You should see the folders on my laptop: “SBT – Labels,” “SBT – New Labels,” “SBT – New NEW Labels,” “SBT – New New NEW Labels”. I’m so sick of redesigning labels.

Sorry you didn’t like the Cherry Limeade. It sounds like you prepared it correctly, if you steeped it 3 minutes in boiling water. 3 minutes is the high end of our recommendation for these. After that, it quickly over-steeps due to the delicate nature of the tea. It’s possible that it was over-steeped just a tiny bit. I’m basing that on your statement: “The base tastes different from the other SBT black teas I’ve had, and the aftertaste turns bitter.” Over-steeping does tend to mute the other flavors. Or maybe this one just didn’t do it for you. That happens. I think that’s why I make so many different flavors. I want to make enough so that everybody can find something they love. Of course, it would be great if everybody loved all of my teas, but I know that’s not going to happen. =)

CHAroma

There’s one other tea that comes to mind where I could tell the difference between the organic and non-organic versions. It’s definitely not something that I set out trying to tell apart. It was one of those things where I accidently bought an organic version and then was sipping it and thinking, “This doesn’t taste like I remember.”

So, I suppose it’s possible. But I just tried the SBT: Lime Cheesecake and found that base delicious! So assuming they’re the same thing, it’s probably the added flavorings of this tea that I didn’t particularly enjoy. But that’s all part of the adventure of tea! Everyone has different tastes and it’s part of the fun discovering what you like. Keep blending, Frank, and I’ll keep drinking. :)

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78

I got this during the recent reblend in February. I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing one. There are tons of large, whole chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and tiny cocoa bits mixed amongst the dry leaf. Ahhh!! So excited!

The dry leaf aroma is cocoa. The brewed tea aroma is…black tea. I took a sip and it surprisingly just tastes like a sweet black tea with a non-descript base. It’s not malty or assertive. It’s yummy. But it’s very plain. I’m not getting chocolate or peanut butter. :(

Okay, so maybe it does taste like chocolate. And I did pretty much chug it down. It’s delicious! Just not chocolate peanut butter cups. I made this on another occasion and steeped it for 3 minutes instead of 2.5. It was much better and much chocolatier this way. Still no peanut butter though.

Oh well. I guess I won’t be getting peanut butter from this or the Peanut Butter Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha. That’s really a shame. Peanut butter tea just sounds amazing, but alas, I’m still on the search for it. This is a good chocolate tea though. Very enjoyable if that’s all you expect from it. Since I expected more, I’m going to dock it a few points.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
517 tasting notes

I bought this tea on my mini-moon in NYC and the matching Sablés au Thé on the actual honeymoon à Paris. I’ve been meaning to sit down and enjoy these two together for a while now. I finally decided enough is enough; no more waiting! Today is the day to try them.

The tea is strawberry, rhubarb, vanilla, cream, and flowers. The tea biscuits are butter, vanilla, and that something extra special from the Marco Polo tea infusion. They taste a lot like Scottish shortbread, except better! Way better. Much more flavorful. Leave it to the French to make delicious tea and cookies.

Why did I wait so long to enjoy you, oh glorious tea? This is exactly what I needed after an extremely stressful day. Sometimes I wonder why I’m alive. At least I have tea. Perhaps I can find refuge in several more cups.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
keychange

I’m sorry the day was so rough and led you to wonder why you’re here. For what it’s worth, I enjoy reading your reviews and am glad that your tea helped ground you today.

TeaBrat

sometimes tea is the thing keeping me sane as well…. :)

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84

The dry leaf aroma is slightly chemically, just like the Strawberry Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha. But just like that one, I’m not overly concerned because I expect it to dissipate soon. Besides that, the aroma is toasted rice and peanut-y goodness. Yum!

With the first sip, I literally thought, “WHOA!” This is very flavorful! I’d like to say it’s as close to liquid peanut butter as tea can get, but I have to agree with Awkward Soul that this is more peanut than peanut butter. Regardless, this is truly delicious! The roasty toastiness of the genmaicha is a perfect base for the nuttiness of the peanuts. (Yes, I know peanuts are actually legumes; but for now, I’m going to call them nuts). There’s even a little saltiness that really amps up the yumminess!

This is an interesting blend. If I’m being 100% honest, I’d say this doesn’t taste like marshmallow treats or peanut butter, which is fairly odd since I definitely tasted marshmallow treats in Frank’s other iterations. The most apt description of this one is peanut genmaicha. Even if it doesn’t entirely live up to everything its name promises, I can definitely recommend this blend to anyone who enjoys genmaicha because on that front, it is super yummy!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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64

Sipdown #20

The dry leaf aroma is pretty weird. Maybe it’s the lemongrass? I don’t know. But if someone gave it to me in a blind smell test, I wouldn’t guess that it’s tea. I’d probably guess disinfectant. Yikes! Luckily, the brewed tea aroma is a lot more palatable and recognizable as tea. It actually smells quite lovely now.

Mmmm, this is yummy! Chamomile and citrus both come across immediately in the aroma and taste. But then the aftertaste creeps in and that strange disinfectant quality returns. What is that? It’s ruining what would otherwise be a very lovely cuppa indeed.

The more I sip, the more tolerable it is. I was so curious I actually went to the Mighty Leaf website to read the ingredient list. I was just thinking, “You know, a bit of mint in this and it would be even better!” when lo and behold, this already has spearmint in it! Maybe that’s the weirdness in this cup. I’m not usually a spearmint fan. But at the same time, this odd taste seems foreign. I know what spearmint tastes like. This is…something different. Something unknown.

Oh well, I give up. Whatever it is, this isn’t my favorite chamomile citrus nighttime blend. Tea Forte’s Chamomile Citron wins that prize. I don’t think I’ll seek this one out again, but I probably wouldn’t turn my nose up at it either if it was offered to me. All in all, it’s just okay. Although any time I use the word “tolerable” to describe a tea, it makes me wonder why I’m drinking it. Tea should be more than tolerable.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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5
drank African Solstice by Tea Forte
517 tasting notes

Sipdown #21

Ewwww, I am not a red rooibos fan. This is medicinal and gross. I’m sure if you like rooibos, this is probably just fine. But this is not my tea at all. Blech. Under 10 and down the drain it goes. :/

And with that, I’ve finished the Tea Forte sampler from my dad before it expired! He only gave it to me two years ago. ;) I got to try a lot of different teas, and I feel confident that I know what my favorite is. And the winner is…drumroll please…a tie between Black Currant and Chamomile Citron! Those were my definite favorites by far. And I have to say, all the teas held up very well considering how long they were shelved. Thumbs up for Tea Forte’s sampler pack!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
teataku

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that lets teas sit on the shelf for that long. XD

keychange

hahaha a rating of five.

CHAroma

@teataku, You’re not alone! I never mean to let them sit that long, but it happens.

@keychange, Yeaaaaah, I didn’t find this even remotely drinkable. LOL!

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76

Sipdown #22

Mmm, this is a great jasmine bagged tea! I picked this up at work in an underground cafeteria I didn’t know existed. Luckily, I had a co-worker who was kind enough to show me the way. I never would have found that place on my own! But I digress.

This is surprisingly good. The leaves in the bag looked high quality with lots of large, unbroken pieces that plumped up nicely during steeping. The re-steep was delicious too. And it’s organic! Can’t ask for more than that. :)

It’s nice to know I have such a great tea option while at work. I made this at home though, so I was able to steep the tea at just the right temperature. It’s not at all bitter, but I would imagine it would be if I had used boiling water. Brew this one carefully and you’ll enjoy a lovely cuppa!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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59
drank Raspberry Nectar by Tea Forte
517 tasting notes

Sipdown #23

My husband stole my other sample of this one, so I have one shot to get this right. The dry leaf aroma is super raspberry! I know lots of people enjoy this iced, but I’m going to drink it hot because that’s how I enjoy tea 95% of the time. The brewed tea aroma is very sweet and intense. Wow, this brews up dark!

First sip…the flavor is tart and sweet. Hibiscus and raspberry are the predominant flavors. There’s definitely some other things going on in here too: apple, blackberry, and maybe a tiny bit of orange. But it’s primarily hibiscus and raspberry, which I guess makes this tea a success for what it set out to be! As far as a success at becoming one of my preferred teas, I’m not so sure. It’s okay. I can definitely drink it. But it is quite sour. I wouldn’t seek it out again. I suppose I’m not mad now that my husband stole the other teabag.

Well, I’m one more tea closer to my goal! I decided I’m going to finish out this sipdown extravaganza even though the goal won’t be quite as meaningful anymore. I’m not a quitter, and I feel like starting over with a new series of numbers is giving up. So, I will persevere! I’m almost finished anyhow. :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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85

I’m in a lot of trouble guys. My cupboard is back over 200 different teas. O_O I’m definitely going to have to start a new sipdown extravaganza. I think I only made it to #24 on the last one before insanity took over. *Sigh.

ANYHOO…I have been neglecting my tea stash a lot lately. Oh, it’s been growing. But I haven’t been drinking it. LOL! So even though I got home super late tonight, I’m exhausted, and all I want to do is wash my face and crawl into bed, I am going to drink some tea damn it!

The dry leaf aroma is a little wonky. It’s strongly chemical smelling. I’ve had this happen before with 52teas’ blends, and I find that the chemical aroma dissipates if left alone for a week or two. So, I’m not overly concerned at the moment. I think it’ll calm down soon.

In my opinion, 52teas has been kind of chintzy on the toasted rice in their genmaicha blends in the past. Well, that is NOT the case with this one! It is chock full of toasted rice and popped kernels, along with plenty of marshmallow root bits and a few freeze-dried strawberry pieces. The brewed tea aroma is very buttery and toasty. It smells like the perfect genmaicha!

I steeped this one at a lower temp than usual. I think I generally steep greens at 185°. This one probably could have benefited from the extra 10 degrees. It is very light on flavor while the tea is in my mouth. But then, BAM! Flavor socks me in the mouth in the aftertaste! It’s toasty and sweet and definitely strongly strawberry. I’m getting a lovely roasted flavor from the base, as well as a recognizable marshmallow treat yum factor. It’s seriously like biting into a warm, gooey Rice Krispies treat! Then the strawberry kicks in and pulls the whole flavor profile together.

This is delicious! Mouthwateringly good. I am thoroughly enjoying this one and very glad that I picked up a pouch. Suuuuper de-lish!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Anna

Sipdown extravaganza!

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80

DISCLAIMER: Cussing ahead.

My husband just got Dark Souls II. So you know what that means…It’s oolong time!! I first discovered green oolongs when my husband was playing Dark Souls. I’d drink tea and blog about it while watching him play. Those were good times. To this day, whenever I smell or taste oolong, it reminds me of my husband and Dark Souls. So in commemoration of those beloved times, I shall drink oolong again as he embarks on his new journey in Drangleic.

Upon hearing an all-too-familiar sound, I glance up to see “YOU DIED” flash across the screen and my husband say, “F***ing thing! I was so careful too.” LOL! The fun has begun! After dying the second time, a mere 30 seconds later, he says, “Wow. That was bullshit. Very well game. Very well.” Cliffs are my husband’s bane. “Well, this is slightly embarrassing,” he laughs upon falling to his doom. “I haven’t even fought anyone yet.”

Finally, he reaches the Emerald Herald and has the chance to level up. At the level up screen, he pauses the cursor over VGR and END and says, “Viagra. Endurance. Gonna’ need both of these.” Then he glances sideways at me and pauses for a reaction. LOL! He’s so crazy. I swear, he could be on his own reality TV show because he’s so entertaining. In any event, the tea is cool enough to drink now!

This is a lighter, more buttery, less floral oolong than the oolongs I usually drink. It’s good! My mouth waters in between sips, prompting me to drink more. I’m already at the bottom of the cup, so I’m off to make a second infusion for 2.5 minutes. The leaves are fully open, large, green, unbroken leaves, some even still attached to 2-inch long stems. I don’t know how they rolled such a giant, sturdy stem into those tiny little balls that came out of the package. Surprisingly, this cup isn’t more flavorful than the first, as is usually the case with oolongs. I definitely liked that first cup better. I’m going to steep the third cup for a full 5 minutes because it’s getting late and it will likely be my last this evening.

By the way, for anyone who’s interested, video game javelinas are strong as shit. The blood stains on the ground confirm it. Death is a common occurrence in the Dark Souls games. To put this into perspective, there have been 1,905,148 deaths worldwide since this game was released less than 24 hours ago.

Back to the tea. This third cup tastes a little metallic, like licking a penny. Is this what people call mineral notes? It’s not bad, but I don’t think I’m a fan of minerals. I prefer buttery, vegetal, and floral notes. Overall, this is a delicious tea. It’s definitely not like the other oolongs I’ve had, so that’s exciting. I enjoy trying new things. Big thanks to Teavivre for providing this free sample! Y’all are always so generous. There were a surprisingly large number of samples in that deceivingly small box. ;)

I’ll leave you with my husband’s last comment as he waltzed up to the first boss in the game. It was a tree giant with a hole where its face should have been. My husband said, “It’s an asshole monster. He’s gonna’ shit all over me.” Then he proceeded to rape it. Victory achieved on his first try.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
Sil

Lmao.

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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).

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Maryland, USA

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