595 Tasting Notes
Well, it’s official. Steepster is eating notes.
I don’t rate teas without writing a note for them. It’s just not the way I do things. I opened up what appeared to be a brand new sample of Big Apple, thinking I’d like to try something new. Then I log into Steepster and see that I had already given it a rating. Weird. I don’t remember ever having this before…
But I searched through all the notes for my name knowing I must have written one. Yet after 7 pages of notes, my name is nowhere to be found. I double-checked all 7 pages to no avail. I also keep a Word doc on my computer of all my Steepster ratings. I searched that doc and sure enough, there was a rating for Big Apple. So I have definitely had this tea before. Which means I have definitely written a note about it before. Yet there’s no note on Steepster. Sigh.
This is horrible. I don’t back up my notes. My ratings, yes. My notes, no. This just sucks. What else is missing? I tried to take an inventory, but of the random selection of teas I searched, up came notes right away. So I guess I have no idea what’s going on. I suppose it is possible that I wrote a note and didn’t post it, but there’s no such note saved in my Word doc backlog where I keep such things. This is totally bizarre. But enough is enough. You didn’t come here to read my whining.
ON TO THE TEA!
These leaves are very old. Like maybe as much as 2 or 3 years old. Even though the unopened sample package was intact, I can tell these leaves have aged. Although the aroma of the dry leaf is still pretty amazing. It smells like pure juicy apples.
This is a white green blend and the flavor of the base is mostly an aged green. I can taste a bit of the juicy apples, but mostly it’s like trying to remember the way a tea tasted a day ago. You can kind of remember but it’s clouded and not distinct.
I suppose I’ll leave the rating unchanged since it’s my fault that I let this sit in my cupboard for so long. It’s definitely not bad. It’s just not “all that it can be.” A nice apple tea though. Apple doesn’t always come across well in teas but it does here, even despite the age. I can definitely enjoy what little is left of this (it was a small sample). If only I could uncover the mystery of the missing tea note…Ooh, that sounds like a Nancy Drew novel!
EDIT: Whoa, what the Hell? You know when you post a note and a clip of it appears at the top of the page after you hit submit? Well, up popped my old note! I clicked “Read Full Note” and it took me to the full note! Then I came back to the Big Apple tea page and searched through all the notes. Sure enough, I could find my old note but not the new one I just wrote & posted! AHHH!!! Steepster!!!! FIX THIS!!
Another abundant sample from Lala. I’m all about the white teas lately. :) The dry leaf aroma is questionable. I can’t really tell what’s in this. The flavor is actually surprising. First, a strong assertive Bai Mu Dan hits my tongue followed by a slew of flavorings that linger into the aftertaste. Hmm, what’s in this? I’m out of practice identifying notes. I think I detect something floral and something fruity. Wow, I feel like it’s four years ago and I’m just starting to drink loose leaf teas. How has my tongue returned to noob status after a short three month hiatus? Maybe it’s pregnancy tongue? Is that a thing?
I digress. I cheated and looked at the ingredients: almond, coconut, vanilla, and rosebuds. Duh! LOL! There’s a lot going on in this blend. The coconut and vanilla are probably the strongest flavors. It’s good but probably not something I’d want to drink all the time. It strikes me as a special occasion tea you’d serve at brunch to ladies in fancy hats. It’s a little too potent for an everyday kind of tea. saaaaaaaaaaaaaaz Well that’s what happens when a kitty tries to sit on your lap but there’s a laptop there. Silly kitty. There’s no room for you here.
Anyway, where was I? This tea turns a little bitter as it cools. Might be the coconut. I find that some coconut flavorings have a tendency to go bitter. On the whole, it’s a good blend. But again, not something I’d reach for all the time. And that’s why it’s great to have awesome friends on Steepster who will share their stash so you don’t go out and buy a buttload of tea that’s not your favorite. Big thanks to Lala for this sample!
Flavors: Coconut, Rose, Vanilla
Thanks to Lala for the huge amount of samples from our swap back in March. I have enough of this tea alone for at least 5 cups, and that’s not counting resteeps! Thank you, Lala!!
The dry leaf aroma is all peachy goodness. The brewed tea aroma is peaches with something more. The flavor is a delicate balance of peaches, cream, and white tea. This is delicious! I’m so impressed with how delicately the flavors are balanced. They seem to romp back and forth, exchanging positions for prominence.
Gosh, I love tea. I hope my child likes tea too. It’d be fun to share that together. I love that my husband has become more interested in tea over the past year or so. It still amazes me that two people can drink the exact same cup of tea and, even preferences aside, taste different things in it.
Well for me, this is a great tea! It delivers on the cream element more than any other tea by that name that I’ve tried. It has no bitterness nor astringency. There’s a subtle sweetness apparent, the way fruit is naturally sweet. Total yum factor! I will enjoy every cup.
ETA: Hmm, I can’t find this on the Sloane website. Was it a limited edition tea or something?
Flavors: Cream, Peach
Oh no! This tea became an unintended sipdown! Aww, I love this one. :( Can I even still count it as part of the original sipdown extravaganza if it’s been months since I last logged one? Well, I’m nothing if not a completionist. So #14 it is!
I used cooler water than usual to try to release less caffeine into the cup. This is mostly cantaloupe. The white tea is pretty calm, which could be attributed to age as much as to water temperature. I’m pretty sure these leaves are almost 2 years old. But it still tastes pretty freaking spectacular for being that old! Yet another reason to love this tea. It’s just delicious perfection. How did this win third place? It should have won first. And now to ruin my taste buds with garlicky cheese ravioli for lunch. :)
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
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
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
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. :)
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.
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! :)