526 Tasting Notes

66

Okay, a little anecdote before I get to this tea.

When I was little, I had a baby doll that you could feed fake food and then it would “go” in its little diaper. It also came with a tiny potty you could sit it on. I know, kind of gross now that I’m typing it here. But I thought it was the coolest thing ever when I was growing up! It was like a real baby!

Haha, anyway. The fake food you gave it came freeze-dried in a package. You rip open the package, add water, and voila! Fake baby food! Well, now I’m getting to the point of why I’m telling this strange story. This tea (I think it’s the Osmanthus) smells like that baby food.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s definitely a weird thing. I mean, I probably haven’t thought about that baby doll in 10 or 15 years. But with one whiff of the dry leaves, the memory came flooding back. Funny how aromas can do that, isn’t it?

So, on to the review! The dry tea leaves have tiny dried Osmanthus flower buds in between classic Silver Needles. The brewed aroma is basically nonexistent, which I found surprising. Usually Silver Needle has a nice brewed aroma.

The taste is also a little unexpected. I can definitely taste Silver Needle along with that same weird dried baby food from my childhood doll. I feel like I shouldn’t be drinking this…after all, my mother told me that I couldn’t eat the food I was giving to my doll!

But the overall flavor of the tea is very quiet and subtle. Maybe it needed to steep longer. I’m still surprised and a little bit disappointed that I’m not getting more of a floral Osmanthus note. I’ve tried an Osmanthus-flavored oolong by Lupicia in the past, and I recall that one being very floral without this strange baby food thing going on.

I’m going to have to try this one again later. For now, I think I’ll give it a medium rating. I don’t hate it. But I had high expectations for this tea, and it’s not living up to my hopes.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Mercuryhime

So…was the baby “food” edible? Just curious. :D

CHAroma

I don’t think so. My mom told me not to eat it. :)

Ninavampi

It is amazing how smells can pop up and bring back associations and memories years later… : )

KeenTeaThyme

I think I had that doll or one like it called “Real Baby” – that was the toy name, not the name I named it. But now I’m not sure if I want to try this one! ;)

CHAroma

Hahahahaa! I think that’s the same one I had! Hilarious. Actually, it’s a fairly subtle flavor. Overall, the tea is good.

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96

This sample is courtesy of Camiah! Thank you! :)

This tea is smooth and flavorful! A really nice blend of black teas. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew it would be wonderful from all the ecstatic tasting notes here.

Strong, full-bodied flavor with a tiny hint of smoke. I always drink black tea with milk and sugar because my sugar-loving tongue finds it bitter. I did add a little bit of sweetener, but this tea is delicious even without the milk, which is such a surprise and delight! Not even a trace of bitterness to be found!

Mmmm, it’s really hard to stop sipping this. I’m afraid my sips are turning into gulps, which are turning into chugs! Pretty soon, I’m staring into an empty cup and wishing there were more.

Damn Fine is the perfect description for this tea. I’m really impressed with the flavors and the way they play off one another. It’s just sooo good! It really brightened up my morning.

If only Andrews & Dunhams still made this tea, I would definitely buy up a couple tins. It’s fantastic, and I’m very grateful to Camiah for granting me this experience. It’s truly a magical one and reminds me why I love tea so much.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Camiah

I’m glad you like it! It is wonderful.

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84

Revisiting this tea tonight. It took me forever to decide what tea to drink, but I’m really glad I chose this one. I decided to steep it at a little lower of a temperature. The result: I’m getting much sweeter and more recognizable maple syrup notes. Really yummy!

Still not getting much in the way of cheesecake though. But I’m raising the rating from 76 to 84 nonetheless.

I’m liking this a lot. Too bad it’s over halfway gone. I’m going to miss this one too. Why do you do it to me 52teas?! Make me fall in love with a tea and then take it away forever. It’s cruel and unusual punishment!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I liked it too…. :)

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86

Wow! Mmmm! Yum! This tea is so delicious! It’s the perfect exemplar for this type of tea. Hay and flowers!

I received this as a free sample from the company. So far, I’m really impressed. The packaging is very professional; it’s actually double packaged. The interior packaging is split into individual steeping samples. No measuring required!

This silver needle tea is sweet and lovely with no bitterness at all. The taste lingers long after the sip. Light and pleasant. It’s slightly astringent, but overall just a beautiful tea. Perfect for enjoying late before bed!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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76

Yes!!! I did it!!! This tea is perfect if steeped at 175 degrees for 2.5 minutes.

Now I’m getting that buttery pancake taste as in the black tea version. The pancake flavor really only persists for the first infusion, which is a little disappointing. But I’ve found the same is true of the black tea blend.

Subsequent steeps reveal a lovely strawberry-flavored green tea. Yum! I’m loving this! Raising the rating from 68 to 76.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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73
drank Masala Chai by Samovar
526 tasting notes

The entire time it was cooking, I couldn’t help but hover over the saucepan taking deep breaths. It smelled amazing!!!

I followed Samovar’s directions exactly. Two cups of water and one tablespoon of Truvia went into my saucepan. I brought it to a boil and added the entire Samovar Chai sample and one bag of Twining’s English Breakfast. It boiled for 10 minutes. I then removed the Twining’s bag because I was afraid it would become too bitter. But I left in the Samovar Chai sample and added one cup of whole milk. I brought the mixture to a boil and immediately removed it from heat (I have an electric stove) and covered it. I returned 10 minutes later and strained out the tea and spices.

Finally, it was time to taste it! Mmm, good but not what I expected. The aroma is MUCH stronger than the taste. It’s still delicious, but it also tastes kind of diluted. It’s missing that piquance I get in the Starbucks Chai Tea Latte.

I really thought this would be the perfect chai tea. The spices in the aroma are lovely, strong, and intoxicating. The spices in the taste are significantly lighter and more in the background.

The lacking black tea base didn’t bother me. Samovar gives you mostly spices, and I think that’s a pro. You can add whatever black tea you want to it, making an infinite number of chai tea possibilities.

But I wish the taste was as fantastic as the aroma. Truly, the aroma of these spices could not be better. I wonder why it doesn’t translate into the taste better. Maybe there’s a better way to cook it. Perhaps I did something wrong? Lots of other Steepster users describe this as spicy, strong, peppery, and almost chewy. But I’m getting a pretty light cup of spices myself.

For that reason, I’m giving this tea a little bit lower of a rating. But I would still recommend it because maybe someone else can figure out the best way to prepare it. Others definitely do seem to get more out of it than me.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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81

Wow, this is a really green green tea!

It’s obviously a very high quality dragon well because I don’t even like this type of green tea, but I thought this was pretty tasty. Did I mention the cool, flat leaves? So cool!

My boyfriend appreciates authentic, grassy green teas more than me, so I gave him the cup to finish. He said, “I like it a lot! Just my style!” Which I knew it would be. :)

I’m afraid this tea is a little too green for me. But even that being said, I can still tell that it would be amazing to others. There’s not even a trace of bitterness. In fact, as soon as I tasted it, I forgot what bitterness tastes like. I can’t even imagine it while drinking this tea.

I’m giving it an 81 because it’s clearly a fantastic tea. It’s just not my tea. So, I don’t want to be responsible for dropping the average because my tongue can’t appreciate Chinese green tea awesomeness.

This is just pure, wonderful tea and the perfect tea to be my 100th tasting note!!! O_O

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Ninavampi

Yay for 100th tasting note!!!

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

Wow, this tea is a conundrum!

It is quite similar to mulled apple cider because of the blend of spices that’s in it. But it’s missing the strong apple component I expected and wanted, despite the fact that it has large chunks of dried apples. If you had mulled apple cider, took out the cider, and replaced it with black tea, you’d have a cup of this tea.

It’s pretty good, but strange at the same time. I keep thinking I’m drinking hot apple cider, but then it tastes like tea instead! You’d think I’d get over it, but every sip surprises me.

It tastes better with milk and sugar, which I added one at a time after trying it straight. I’m going to make it as a chai tea latte next time. That oughta be really good!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Mercuryhime

I haven’t had this but possibly some lemon and honey would make this more apply? It’ll add tart and floral flavors that apples have. Just a theory.

CHAroma

Hmm, I’ll have to try that too. Thanks! I never would have come up with that combo on my own!

Mercuryhime

You’re welcome. :) I hope it works.

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83
drank Lychee Black by Samovar
526 tasting notes

I should really make this iced next time. I hear so much how everyone loves this tea iced, but I always brew it hot. I wish it were summer. Oh, how I love the heat! But on to the tea.

This is a perfect lychee tea, in my opinion. It tastes exactly the way I would expect a lychee black to taste. No disappointment here!

I wonder what those rose notes are that everyone else is tasting and Samovar includes in the description. I’m not smelling or tasting rose at all. It’s just very strong lychee to me.

Either way, this is a strong black tea that requires a little bit of milk added. Maybe I’ll use a shorter steep time next time. I think I’ll like it better that way. Although as it stands, it’s still a pretty great tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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76

Pro: high quality green tea, no bitterness. Con: flavoring isn’t very strong.

The dry leaf aroma is green tea and ultra sweet strawberries. The brewed tea aroma is green tea, strawberries, and that ultra sweet aroma from earlier has morphed into what I can recognize as maple.

Hmm, I’m not sure what to make of this one so far. The initial flavor as it hits my tongue is a little weird and off-putting. I think it’s the maple. I’m not sure I like maple and green tea as a combo. But it has a very pleasant aftertaste: clean sencha grassiness with authentic strawberry flavoring. No artificiality in 52teas blends!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really taste like strawberry pancakes. I’m getting a light strawberry flavor with an added component that’s something akin to butter. But overall, the flavoring is quite light. I’d prefer it to be a lot stronger.

I’ll have to play around with the steeping parameters to see if I can make it stronger. I really want to love this! But right now it’s just like. Good, not great.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 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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