518 Tasting Notes

80
drank Tian Hong by Steam Tea House
518 tasting notes

OMGsrsly is quite awesome, and swapped me this today, along with seven other samples from Steam Tea House. Only downside is my cupboard count; just when I think I’m starting to creep below 90 an order comes in, I get samples, and I’m back to over 100 again. Grr.. Seems to be my steady state.

The liquor smells like just what I need right now: malty, and fresh. There’s something vaguely cocoa-like and nutty about it but it’s only a light impression. It’s a bit nippy. I can’t tell if there is something inherently sweet about this cup or if it’s the strawberry cookie I recently ate.

I’ll add a bit more after I’ve played around with it and cleaned my palate!

Edit: Palate cleansed, and tea somewhat cooled after 15min- I can definitely confirm that there is something deliciously oozy at the finish, that toys with the idea of being sweet and smoothly creamy. I can’t describe it very well but it’s amazing. Most of the astringency is gone too. Yunnan blacks like this are magical.

2nd Edit: I can taste the walnut skins OMGsrsly mentioned in the room temperature 6min second steep. It’s prevalent and lingers in the aftertaste.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

I have my leaves out on my counter, still waiting for a second steep. But I think matcha is winning out in this war between the teas…

CrowKettle

I’m still trying to figure out what kind of matcha latte I want today. It’s a tough decision.

Btw, I’ve decided that I love this tea very much. I wasn’t sure I cared for it first sip, but now I am very sure this yunnan sample won’t last to 9.

OMGsrsly

It was a tiny sample! :) I’ll try to find out more about the tea the next time I go by there.

Amariel

Intriguing.

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69

Sample sipdown, courtesy of ToiToi!

I would have never thought that the list of ingredients (includes hibiscus petals, cinnamon, and orange peels) would create a liqour that smells like pumpkin pie. It’s strange and I can’t quite get over it.

The flavour is spiced and sour, with a hint of soft smoothness that I can imagine being pumpkin. I over-leafed this a bit but, regardless, this doesn’t have the easy going nature that both Butiki’s Pumpkin Tea, or David’s Pumpkin Chai have (I’ve abused both of those plenty and they never so much as nipped me).

Still, this isn’t bad at all! I can taste delicious, creamy sweet pumpkin near the second half- I just get kicked in the mouth first. Neat.

Grammar/spelling and me seem to be at odds with each other these last few days. I think I hurt their feelings and now they are being vindictive and petty.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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34
drank S'mores Genmaicha by 52teas
518 tasting notes

Eh. Kittenna, I’m with you on this one. Anybody want this?

The flavour is pretty typical genmaicha- buttery and rich. There’s a bit more sweetness than usual but I can’t say this tastes like s’mores, except maybe in the finish/lingering aftertaste transition- I get a bit of burnt marshmallows. Actually, that last part is extremely cool and I’m impressed.

Still, this tea smells “sanitized” and that rubs me the wrong way. The family was over for a birthday and they all had a good laugh at the expense of me and this tea. Mother said it tasted like wood and other unpleasant things. I guess I won’t be able to pass this one off onto any of them.

I wish I was on board with everyone else who thinks this is awesome. :/

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Fjellrev

I’d be up for trying a cup if that would be ok with you. Since I’ve been quite busy, maybe we could meet up on campus on/after exams since i missed out on the meetup? Just let me know if there is anything of mine that you would like to try.

CrowKettle

I think I found someone who wants all of this but I’ll put a cup’s amount aside! We can swap other teas but I’d consider this sample as a freebie. You’re doing me a favor by taking any amount of this tea.

Fjellrev

Nah, you don’t have to bother then! I’m glad you found someone who wants it. It’ll be more work for you and I’m no THAT keen on trying it.

CrowKettle

Ok! Thank you for offering to take some though. It means a lot.. :P

Kittenna

CrowKettle – I’m wondering if there’s something going on with an ingredient that’s only detectable by some people… like that strip of paper that tastes awful to some people and like nothing to others. Either way, I’m swapping out my package too. Better that people try my unwanted stuff instead of spending money to get their own and disliking it (although if they like it, great!) On that note, Incendiare, I commented on your Professor Grey post ;)

Ze_Teamaker

Did you add sugar to it? I noticed that the flavors come out more when I add sugar; other wise it taste like what you described above. Also the main thing I have against this blend is the sanitized smell in the bag.

Sil

Ugh yeah the smell is just wrong

DaisyChubb

Oh man I was sad I missed out on this one – better hop on the next swap wagon to be safe ;)

Cavocorax

:| Hmm, I don’t notice anything ‘sanitized’ like others have said, but I’m not really getting much from the tea except genmaicha. I haven’t reviewed it because some people say to let 52Teas sit a bit, but I’m not wowed by this one at all so far. So weird!

CrowKettle

Thank you for the suggestion, Ze_Teamaker! I tried a cup with sugar and it did improve it a little. Still not a keeper though.

I was also wondering about that too, Kittenna. I think it may be the smell that triggers it for me more than the taste. I have Marshmallow Treat reblend and it’s ok so far, so maybe it’s the cocoa nibs?

Nicole

All these reviews of S’mores tea… I think a Peep or two may need to be sacrificed in the microwave soon for a real s’more… :)

Ze_Teamaker

@CrowKettle: I think I have heard of aspartame being detectable by some people, but not others. I also think it is the chocolate flavoring Frank uses; not the nibs. Others Have commented on the smell of the chocolate flavoring in his teas before smelling weird. Personally I would like it more if it was only the nibs that added flavoring, even if it meant cutting it down to 1.75oz.

CrowKettle

@Ze_Teamaker, that makes more sense. I don’t think I’ve tried many 52blends that use the chocolate flavouring. Do you know if Double Chocolate Decadence used it?

All of this makes me want real s’mores too, Nicole. XD

Ze_Teamaker

Not sure, but a few people mention that it smelled like acholic chocolate liquor.

Kittenna

I’ve only had this strange/gross problem with Chocolate Malt HB, S’mores Genmaicha, and Browncoat Genmaicha. I wasn’t a big fan of Double Chocolate Decadence, but that was just because I didn’t find it chocolatey enough, not because of off flavours, and I’ve liked his chocolatey blends before. I think there’s something wrong with the nibs. I think I will email him about it… although I imagine he has been reading this as well…

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30
drank Blood Orange by Zen Tea
518 tasting notes

This sample is from Cavocorax!

The dry leaf smells very funky but after the steeping process it’s fine. Tastes like a keen Earl Grey. It’s very enthusiastic on the citrus.

I will write more on it later and finish up the sample tonight!

I don’t know if I specifically get “Blood Orange” from this; it’s not very sweet and I get a good taste of indistinguishable sour rind. Although, a little sweetness does creep into the aftertaste. It’s disappointing for a fruity citrus tea but it’s perfectly acceptable, albeit a little sharp, for a Grey. I don’t think this has any bergamot in it but the tea manages fine without.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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44

Mini sipdown! 15g samples are the best thing.

I found this one to be on the boring side of things but it’s not a bad “tea”, or maybe “diet hot chocolate blend” would be a better label. The coconut and cocoa makes it creamy and smooth and the cinnamon gives it some flavour. Not a fan of the oil islands on the surface but that seems to be an inescapable trait with ingredients like these. Super scummy.

Like many DT’s, the base is nearly undetectable. I found this drinkable with or without milk. It sort of looks like it has something in it already, anyways.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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This sort of tastes and smells like the liquid orange jello I’m drinking along side it (maybe that bit shouldn’t have been shared with the world). Although, this is noticeably more rooibos-ish than jello. It’s also less sweet. (excellent observations, Crowkettle). The finish is juicy tart- maybe there’s a little bit of hibiscus in this?

Orange jello isn’t my favourite jello flavour but it’s not bad. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to try this, BoxerMama!

My cupboard holds an ungodly amount of unopened rooibos blends. Most of them are autumn themed and from Della Terra. I’m going to drink them all this weekend. You can’t overdo rooibos, can you? This Easter is going to rock.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Can’t wait for the jello to solidify, or are you sick maybe?

CrowKettle

I’m grossly impatient with jello.

Fjellrev

That’s awesome. I always try to make it the night before. You kind of have to guess whether you will be in the mood for it the next day.

OMGsrsly

Ooh, I think I’m going to go make some jello. I know one of the packets I have is peach tea flavoured. :)

ashmanra

You know, you can just lick your finger and stick it in the dry powder…that’s even faster! :)

Sil

oh man ash….i used to do that all the time lol

Terri HarpLady

I haven’t had jello in…forever!

Lynne-tea

I just made Red Velvet Cake tea jello!… it was supposed to be marshmallows but I mucked up the recipe and it turned out as jello instead. Delicious though..

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78

Thank you, BoxerMama, for this and all the other little Harney & Son samples! I don’t get the chance to try their teas very often. This is a one tea bag affair so I won’t bother assigning my arbitrary numbers today.

If I’m going decaf it shall be Vanilla Comoro for me in the future. The liquor smells like a vanilla cream cloud. The taste is just as smooth, and warm. The creamy sweetness is on par with any self-respecting ice cream scoop and cone. If someone made a cup of this for me and didn’t say what it was I’m not quite sure I would know it was tea.

I’m surprised BoxerMama was generous enough to give any of this away. This is very good, and I think it’s knocking me out as I speak..type.. think… stuff (what?). Good night, Steepsterites!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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69

Mini Sipdown! This is the last of the Christmas advent 52teas and probably one of my least favourites from the dozen. That being said, I appreciate the fudgieness (can I just make up words?) that this cup sometimes mimics.

Just got back of the mainland for the long weekend only to be united with some new parcels. I was doing pretty well there for a moment but now it looks like I’m just shy of 100 teas again. Hmm.

Things like this can amuse me for a good hour. http://www.flickr.com/photos/konabish/8567019851/in/pool-funnyphotos/ Spoiler. It’s a crow.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Yeah, I got tired of this one really quickly but I don’t think I ever bothered lowering my rating.

And yes, make up words to the max!

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70

I wasn’t expecting this one to be so juicy! It tastes somewhat like my experience with Tazo passionfruit lemonade with a tiny amount of crushed frozen strawberries blended in near the end.

Part of me feels like I’m drinking juice. I missed sipping this while it was piping hot, but it’s an undeniably fruity, cup warm to lukewarm, with a good balance of tart and fruity. The ceylon accentuates the citrus, as it tends to do, and makes a cutting beverage.

I don’t know if this is a keeper but I look forward to using the rest of the sample for a “fridge” session later. Thank you, OMGsrsly, for giving me the chance to try this!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
OMGsrsly

You’re welcome! :) I do like it, I just wanted more strawberry. I should go back to Granville Island and smell more teas…

CrowKettle

I should check out Granville Island too. It’s been a long time since I last visited and I had yet to discover tea at that point. :)

OMGsrsly

The tea store has expanded! They let you sniff off the wall, but everything is prepacked in bags to purchase. 50g minimum. Just FYI.

Amariel

I’m holding off on this one for a bit of a warmer day, as I think this one will be really refreshing. It’s supposed to be nice this weekend, so maybe then…

CrowKettle

Hmm.. 50g is a lot for one person with too many teas. I like the chance to smell everything though..

Sil

I haaaaate 50g minimums! Too much tea!

Amariel

That’s whyI love DAVIDs. I usually get 10-15g of new teas, to try, and then 25-30 of ones I like to have more of. I don’t mind having to refill faster, and honestly, I’d rather have 10 25g bags than 5 50g bags. I think it also keeps it fresher.

OMGsrsly

I totally know what you all mean. Granted, I bought bigger containers at Silk Road, but I know I’ll drink those ones…

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84
drank Genmaicha by DAVIDsTEA
518 tasting notes

Mini sipdown, courtesy of Heather!

I’ve yet to come across a genmaicha I dislike. This cup is a little greener than average but that’s because there’s more leaves in this serving. I burnt it a bit too. A little more roasted and less buttery than my usual genmaicha but still decent! Edit: I take it back, this has a respectful amount of butter rice. There’s also some sweetness.

Genmaicha is one of those teas that I prefer later in the evening or when I wake up earlier than I needed to and can still fall back to sleep (but probably won’t). It has a distinct place in my personal tea hierarchy.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 15 sec
Fjellrev

Seriously, I’ve yet to come across a genmaicha I don’t like.

CrowKettle

Maybe this speaks more of my own tasting abilities but I find that even “dust bags” of genmaicha are still ok.

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Profile

Bio

I started my Steepster loose leaf adventure back in 2012. I can’t say I’m completely new anymore, but I still view oolong as a magical, extraterrestrial creature that unfurls in water.

Tea Preferences: My absolute favourites are the floral inclined oolong and white teas. I also enjoy unflavoured green teas, as well as some black teas (flavoured, unflavoured, Indian, Chinese, etc). Puerh is a hit or miss.

Fruit, cedar, anise, and vanilla are good. Black licorice, bergamot, and cheap chocolate are less good. Jasmine, cinnamon, and hibiscus are usually too strong in teas for my taste, but I otherwise like these flavours!

Ratings:

95-100: A Personal Favourite; I’m never without this tea.

90-94: Great! I’ll try to keep a small amount around.

80-89: Enjoyable; I may buy more at some point.

70-79: Nice, but not something I’d drink often. I may have a few problems with it.

50-69: Something about this tea falls flat for me. Still drinkable.

30-49: This isn’t a particularly pleasant cup.

1-29: There’s no way to put it nicely..

Location

BC, Canada

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