531 Tasting Notes

86

The dry leaf aroma is exactly what I’d expect from a high quality silver needle. The brewed tea aroma is comfortably familiar: hay and sunshine. I love this type of tea. Mmm, this is a little cup of heaven. And it’s organic to boot! Bonus!

I’m surprised that DAVIDsTEA recommends such a high temperature and long steep time for this tea (4-5 mins at 200 degrees F). That would scorch the leaves and turn a beautiful tea into a sad bitter one. I am glad I followed my regular steeping parameters instead. This is very flavorful, and I actually probably could have steeped it for even less time. Anything more and it probably would be ruined.

This is a pretty old free sample. I can’t actually tell you when I received this. Could have been a year ago. Could have been more. But it’s really held up well. No bitterness, no astringency, and excellent flavor. I am thoroughly enjoying one of my favorite teas and can’t wait to see how it resteeps! I used the same parameters and the second cup is still very yummy. Not quite as flavorful, but I think it’s actually better this way. Softer and quieter, the way I like it.

It’s especially helping my sore throat after the 10 minute long sneeze attack I endured earlier today. Being pregnant seems to have lowered my immunities. Allergies that normally don’t bother me much are really bothering me now. This tea is hitting the spot. If I could only use one word to describe it, it’d be comforting. I can definitely recommend this one.

By the way, I’m selling a bunch of my 52teas iced black teas at 50% off retail. Check out the official tea stash sales thread for more details.

Flavors: Hay, Honeysuckle

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Tea Sipper

This was the first Silver Needle I had a couple months ago and I’ve been thinking about it since. So so good.

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75
drank Green St Petersburg by Kusmi Tea
531 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is subtle sweetness. I think I’m picking up on caramel and vanilla, but I’m amazed at how out of practice my nose is. Stop drinking tea for 3 months and I might as well start over from square one! The brewed tea aroma is slightly smokey. Is this gunpowder? That’s what it looks/smells like.

The flavor is delicious! A tiny hint of smoke that’s complemented by a lovely green base and subtle sweetness from the added flavorings. I bought this back in October 2013 on my Parisien honeymoon. I didn’t realize that each little 25g canister wasn’t sealed more than with just the lid. I thought there’d be an interior cover that you’d rip off, like what you find on Mariage Frères tins. So sadly these teas have probably lost their punch. :( That’s really disappointing but I’m going to enjoy them as much as I can anyway. Usually 25g would last me a long time. But I think I’m going to burn through these little tins.

I’m so glad that I’m firmly in the second trimester now and don’t have to worry so much about drinking teas (green in particular since it can inhibit folic acid absorption). I’ve been so good! I’ve avoided caffeine more than I ever have in my entire life. I only indulged a handful of times and even then, I made sure to keep my caffeine consumption below the recommended 300mg. I deserve to indulge a little now. My poor tea stash has been going to waste. I’m excited to return to a bit more normalcy in my routine.

So a little update on me and the baby: he/she is doing fine! We aren’t planning on finding out the gender in advance, so it’s going to be a complete surprise. For now we generally refer to the baby as a boy so we can avoid the awkward he/she or even worse “it.” Odds are he’s probably a boy anyway. Boys run rampant on both sides of the family. I’ve felt him move several times! It kind of feels like when you get a shiver and your skin crawls, but the feeling is on the inside of my body and it isn’t unpleasant. Just weird. I’m due at the end of January 2015 right around my birthday. I can’t wait! This is such an exciting time. My husband and I fought infertility for 6 months and finally succeeded in conceiving our miracle baby naturally. I’ve been really good too; I haven’t gone out and bought a million baby things. I found the crib, which is currently laying in parts in our nursery waiting to be assembled. I also bought one baby outfit, an adorable white hat with bear ears, one blanket, and one bib. How amazing am I? Total control. :) So that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Flavors: Bergamot, Smoke

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

So exciting! Congrads!!

Sil

eeeeeeee! i’m so excited for you!!! We’re trying to decide what we want to do about all that etc.. so it’s lovely hearing about others just getting started with their families :)

CHAroma

:D Thanks y’all! It is a super fun time. But honestly, time is crawling! I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever and the baby will never get here. LOL!

Roswell Strange

Oh wow, congrats!

Tealizzy

Congratulations! :)

caile

That’s wonderful! Congratulations!

CHAroma

Thank you!! :)

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90

I have big news….I’m pregnant!!!!!!!!

Finally after six months of trying, we’re expecting a baby! I know lots of people struggle for longer than that, but those six months felt like a lifetime. We’re so excited!!

I apologize for my hiatus. I’ve been super paranoid about drinking tea. I’ve avoided caffeine 100% for the first 9 weeks and have only recently felt okay about having it in very limited quantities. But even besides the caffeine, tea is very difficult to drink while pregnant. There are very few kinds I can safely consume. Green tea is out because it can inhibit folic acid absorption. I can’t have a shocking number of the most common herbal ingredients, including hibiscus/rose hips, chamomile, lemongrass, licorice root, and chicory root. I don’t like honeybush or red rooibos, which are by far the safest teas. So what does that leave me with? Not much, my friends. I’m exploring some green rooibos blends (and I’ll take any recommendations!), but so far I’ve only drank 52teas’ Ginger Ale White Tea with some extra ground ginger thrown in. I haven’t had the worst first trimester, but it hasn’t been entirely without incident. The fatigue is ridiculous but manageable with daily naps. I’ve got the unpredictable all-day-long nausea accompanied by infrequent vomiting. Yuck. Ginger tea is the only thing that can calm my nausea when it’s being particularly bad.

This tea is exactly what I need right now. Pure organic ginger with nothing else added. It’s actually not as overpowering as I expected. It’s delicious and only a tad bit spicy. I’m not usually a fan of spicy things, but the spice here is at a very tolerable level. I can definitely recommend this tea, even to non-pregnant ladies. :)

Flavors: Ginger, Spicy

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
TeaBrat

exciting news! congratulations!

yyz

Congrats! Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and the safe delivery of your child!

Courtney

Congrats!

Sil

OMG!!!! so happy for you! Congrats! WOOHOO! YAY!

scribbles

Wonderful news! Congrats!

Mikumofu

Congratulations!!

Ninavampi

Congratulations!!!! :)

Angrboda

Congratulations. :)

Oh and also! Hello Ninavampi! Good to see your here again. :)

CHAroma

Thank you everyone!

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70
drank Wild Sweet Orange by Tazo
531 tasting notes

I thought I’d rated this before?…hmm, I guess not. The hibiscus in this makes it super tart! You know that kind of tartness that grabs you in the back of the mouth and pinches? Yeah, it’s that powerful. But once the tartness dies down (after the swallow), the aftertaste is a pleasant, sweet, orange, herbal flavor. I get hints of mint and lemongrass, but the orange and hibiscus rule the cup.

I also have to add that when I poured the water over the bag, no color leaked out for a good 20 seconds! I thought I had added cold water for a moment. It really caught me off guard. But once it started steeping properly, the liquor became a rich orange and the aroma was orange and lemongrass. This isn’t bad! A nice cuppa enjoyed at work. :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 8 min or more
Angrboda

I thought I’d rated this before?…hmm, I guess not Sentences like this are a recurring theme on my dashboard and has been for a while. I think you should notify Jason about it. I haven’t noticed any of my own posts disappearing, but then again I customarily never post about about something more than once, so I wouldn’t know…

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88
drank Thé de Lune by Mariage Frères
531 tasting notes

Sipdown #15

Big thanks to JustJames for sending me this sample! The tea tastes like spun sugar and fruit, primarily blackberry. I added some Truvia, which brought out more berry sweetness. The cup cooled while I perused the Internet and was still just as delicious cold as hot. Overall, this is really yummy. There’s a slight bitterness at the end of the sip that could probably be remedied by a reduced steep time and/or the addition of milk. On the second infusion, I added both milk and Truvia. This is simply delectable! I really like this one. In fact, I’d rather have a tin of this than the tin of Marco Polo currently in my cupboard. Note to self: this one is worth paying for international shipping.

Flavors: Berries

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
keychange

I can send you some of this when I sent you your mug (provided dT has the mug lol)

CHAroma

Wow, you are the coolest person ever. I need to send you something in return!

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84
drank True Love Flower Tea by Teavivre
531 tasting notes

This is my first flowering tea! Thanks to Angel from Teavivre for providing this free sample! It was cool watching the tea ball slowly unfurl and bloom into two red-tipped flowers. I took several photos and posted them here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/14127152033/in/photostream/. In retrospect, I probably should have brewed this in a tall, slender glass instead of a short, fat one. The red blooms appear to be quite tall, so they’re bent over and not quite as pretty as they have the potential to be. I added more water to the second infusion to remedy this (see the last photo in the series).

The liquor is super pale and light. Maybe I’m just really hungry, but the brewed tea aroma smells like udon. Wow, what flavor!!! Holy cow, this is incredible! It’s soft and subdued but very flavorful all the same. I’m getting mostly floral qualities mingled with a touch of jasmine and supported by a lovely Chinese green tea base. It’s not grassy at all. It’s vegetal instead and leans towards the buttery end of spectrum without quite reaching it. There’s a touch of sweetness too and no bitterness or astringency. Ohh yum!!

I absolutely love this! And you know what? This was harvested in June 2011 and has sat in my cupboard ever since. Blasphemy! Seriously, if you haven’t tried this, you need to. I think I might stock up on this to share with guests when we have company over. I feel that it’s a tea anyone can enjoy, veteran and new tea drinkers alike. And visually it’s just so pretty! :)

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

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59
drank Rhubarb Chai by DAVIDsTEA
531 tasting notes

This was a free sample I tried in the store during our anniversary getaway weekend to NYC. It was a bit weak, and I mostly tasted ginger. Overall, I wasn’t overly impressed. I think DAVIDsTEA should make candles. The dry leaf aroma of their teas is always so mouthwatering and spot-on whatever they’re going for. Has anyone smelled the new Apple Pie or Blueberry Pancake blends? Those smell soooo amazing! But I’ve repeatedly found that their teas brew up weak, especially when I can’t control the water to leaf ratio myself. Anyway, I have a request from one of your amazing Steepsterites.

Does anyone live near a DAVIDsTEA? I saw this flowery mug (https://www.flickr.com/photos/96132028@N08/14102926131/) and figured I’d buy it online so I didn’t have to carry it around the city. But it doesn’t appear to be on their website. Would anyone be willing to buy it for me? I’d obviously pay for the mug and the shipping, and I’ll even send you some tea to make it worth your while. Please let me know ASAP because I think it’s only in stores through Mother’s Day. I’d really really appreciate it!

keychange

I’ll be going to a david’s tea this upcoming Wednesday, and can check to see if they have it. Do you know by any chance what it’s called? Was it the pink dalia perfect mug or something like that?

CHAroma

Oooh, thank you! Just sent you a PM. :)

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70
drank Bear Trap by DAVIDsTEA
531 tasting notes

My husband ordered a to-go cup of this and I coerced him into letting me try a sip. It was okay. A bit weaker than I expected. The barista hot steeped it and poured it over ice, unsweetened per the hubby’s request. I’ve taught him well. ;) Anyway, I’m glad this was his tea and that I got something different. I much preferred the Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait. Although I’m sure if I had steeped the tea myself, I probably could have gotten more flavor out of it. I usually overleaf my teas, especially if they’ll ultimately be diluted with ice. But the hubby enjoyed his tea more than mine, so I guess we picked the right one for ourselves!

Preparation
Iced

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78

We celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago. :) My husband planned a surprise getaway to NYC, where we saw a new Broadway musical called “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” It was hilarious! We also had dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant in Astoria, ate some awesome udon at Samurai Mama in Brooklyn, and walked over 40 blocks in a single day! We went to Chelsea Market and enjoyed green tea doughnuts and Nutella crepes. Then we walked all the way up Fifth Avenue to Central Park. I bought a tin of Mariage Frères tea from Bergdorf Goodman and tried on an expensive Diane von Furstenberg dress just for fun. Overall, it was an amazing mini-vacation (we were only there for 2 days). I’m the planner in the relationship, so it was especially fun and romantic that he planned this special trip for us. But the trip couldn’t be complete without a stop at DAVIDsTEA!

I ordered a to-go cup of this and asked that they add a small amount of agave. It was really good! I definitely tasted strawberry, sweetness, and something pie-like. It’s probably not something I would buy a large amount of, but I did really enjoy the cup. Now to decide if I should buy another Nordic mug, hmmm…

caile

Happy anniversary! It sounds like you had a great getaway to celebrate!

Courtney

Happy anniversary! NYC is awesome. :)

CHAroma

Thank you! We had a really great time. :)

Roswell Strange

Happy Anniversary, and many more to come! :)

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55
drank Violette by Dammann Freres
531 tasting notes

Sipdown #16

Another DF sample courtesy of the ever generous JustJames!! As with Oolong Châtaigne, I found this tea very subtle, especially for a floral tea. There’s a faint whisper of violet flowers and black tea. But it’s like I drank the tea in a dream and once I woke up, I can’t recall exactly what it tasted like. I added a tiny bit of Truvia and that helped awaken the floral aspect.

Overall though, this is another one that is rather underwhelming. These teas are too subtle for my liking. I prefer them to sock me in the mouth with flavor. Where did that expression come from anyway? “Sock me in the mouth.” That’s pretty weird, isn’t it? Maybe someone was kidnapped once and they were forced to endure the pungency of a ripe, sweaty gym sock stuffed into their mouth to muffle their cries. You never know. That could be the correct origin. :P

Suffice it to say, my problem with DF teas is that they simply don’t stand up well to the test of time and environs. I do my best to store my teas under ideal conditions, but time is never on my side. These samples are from November. I guess that’s too long to wait and still expect grandeur, although the Butiki Teas’ sample held up perfectly fine.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

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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