518 Tasting Notes

80

Oh, milk oolong, how I missed you. Thank you, Heather and ShayneBear, for both swapping me some of this. I love you both very much. This is one of my favourites from David’s Tea and my first oolong. I haven’t had it in a while.

The hot milk/cheese aroma resonates with my love of creamy and tangy things. This is also floral, which is yet another pro for me. The smell really does dominate, even invading the flavours and profile of my mug of second-steep assam tea that I’m drinking alongside it.

I think some people would see this as pungent, especially on first steep. The floral, slightly nippy veggie flavour can sour up a subtle notch if left to build in strength. It’s a very rich and heavy drink and I usually prefer steeps two through four.

When I get down to under fifty teas in my cupboard, and have tasted most of the Butiki selection, I’m probably going to buy a tin of this (along with many others). For now I will drink what comes my way and amuse myself with dissuading the scout ants (this is a hopeless endeavor).

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Cavocorax

Is 50 your target then? And of that, how many would be staples/tin-worthy? I had all these ideas before but now idk. 50 seems like enough to cover most cravings. :)

CrowKettle

I’ve narrowed it down to about 26 I want around all the time in large amounts, but I think that will go up as I try more from Butiki, Red Leaf, etc. My mind also has a problem factoring in the impermanence of limited edition teas and my ever changing tastes. Oh, I know I’m going to change my mind countless times but 50 is definitely the target as of now. :)

Sil

50 sounds like a good target…I’m ultimately trying to get to about 20 with room for 30 or so rotating samples and random teas haha….not bloody likely the way I go about things. However, I am starting to get better about buying smaller quantities….mostly.

I am rooting for your sipdown to 50!

OMGsrsly

I find my tastes have changed even since the fall when I started logging teas. I can’t imagine just having 20 basics in my cupboard, but I might still be in the “collect them all” phase.

Amariel

I find that my tastes change with the seasons…for example, on our visit to DAVIDs on Saturday, I picked up more Big Apple. I haven’t gotten any since the summer, but that’s because I find it too light to drink in the fall and winter months. For me it is a spring and summer tea. The reverse can be said about teas like Chocolate Orange Pu-Erh and some of the pumpkin ones, chocolate (except Love Tea #7) and other heavier teas.

CrowKettle

I like Sil’s idea of a certain number of rotating teas, which would account for seasonal teas and and the random 52 blends. Speaking of 52 teas, that’s the major one putting a stint in my sipdown goals. Couldn’t resist getting the flavoured genmaichas, danish, etc.. and then I want to hoard them all! :/

Cavocorax

I’m in the “collect them all” phase, but I hope it is just that: a phase!

Cavocorax

(Weird, when I left my comment, none of the other ones showed up after OMGsrsly.)

I think Heather has a great point – tea preferences seem to change with the seasons so a large number of rotating teas seems like a good way to plan it. I could probably get away with 50 teas if 20 were “staples” and 30 were variable. Guess that means I could have 20 tins? :O

That danish one sounds great. I’m happy I bought the s’mores genmaicha, but I hesitated on the danish one. (Not a big deal though b/c I didn’t really want to buy more from there – 52teas can get expensive!)

CrowKettle

It adds up way too quickly. Another reason to hoard, savor, and not get more teas until I’m down to 50! (if I keep saying this enough times I may stick with my commitment)

Also, as always, if you ever see something you sorta want to try that I have ample amounts of I will send you more than you ever wanted in a heartbeat (I can restrain myself here if need be though). :P

Kittenna

50?! I don’t think I’ll ever be that low. I crave variety, and I don’t think that would be enough for me. That said, I can see myself having decent amounts (25g+) of about 50-100… plus many sample sizes from swaps, etc.

Amariel

I don’t have room for that much tea, so it keeps me from too much hoarding, and I end up getting smaller amounts of teas and refilling them. Some I consistently refill in a season, some I refill all year if I can.

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80

This sample is from OMGsrsly and I think it may be my first assam!

Does it seem like I’m always coupling Greek yogurt with black tea before noon? I should stop doing that because it makes the tea taste deliciously creamy in ways that I am not 100% positive it would otherwise. Not the best for getting an accurate first impression.

This tea is very smooth and full, with a bit of mouth-drying astringency near the end to keep things interesting. It contains some pleasant malty and sweet components. Yep. I’m enjoying this cup. I’ll be exploring this kind of tea in the future.

Edit: The second steep smells lightly fruity.

I looked Assam and Hathikuli up on a map and learned stuff. Should probably do that more often.

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

Their Oats and Honey is from the same plants, just a different harvest. I think. I prefer the Estate, but YMMV. :) I’m totally willing to deal in Steam teas if you’d like samples of anything!

CrowKettle

I’ll probably take you up on that! After searching around I found some of their selection on Facebook. There are some interesting looking teas!

Lynne-tea

Ohhhh I miss Greek yogurt.
Sometimes I go to the yogurt isle and dream.

OMGsrsly

Yes! They’ll have a website up in a couple weeks, with ingredients and their current menus. The prices are actually less than their “winter menu” on Facebook right now, but I can’t find their current menu…

OMGsrsly

Oh, and they get some of their teas from The Tea Guy. Some they source and blend themselves. :)

CrowKettle

I’d have a hard time giving up Greek yogurt; it’s my favourite thing to add oat bran to in the morning. Pain felt.

I’m glad to hear there’s a website coming, with ingredients, although facebook isn’t too bad..

CrowKettle

Also, browsing The Tea Guy right now.

Amariel

I just recently started eating Greek yogurt, and it is definitely addicting. Will see how my tummy reacts to it more regularly. I don’t think I got anything from Steam, but now I’m intrigued.

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75

I received this from Heather at the swap meet today. It smells like baked rice crispy squares with chocolate caramel drizzling. The flavour leans more heavily towards the strong roasted profile of the houjicha, with the sweet syrupy quality of the caramel appearing near the finish. It gives an overall impressing of oozing syrup from dry crisps.

This is the kind of tea I want near the end of a late night dinner and I think it was a good way to end the evening. Casual, firm, and sweet. Time to curl up and read some Terry Pratchett.

Second day Edit: the roasted sweet flavour gives off a coffee-like impression.

TheTeaFairy

Mmm… Good tea? Curling up? Reading a fantastic book ? SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN! Thank you Crowkettle :-)

ashmanra

Which Pratchett? I just started Good Omens!

CrowKettle

Isn’t that the best combination of things after not being home all day, TeaFairy?

Equal Rights! I’ve read a random order of his books but haven’t gotten around to Good Omens yet.

Cavocorax

Good Omens is the only one I’ve read. :p (just don’t know what to read next)

CrowKettle

Wait…! I read Good Omens a couple years ago when I “discovered” Neil Gaiman. I don’t know where my mind is today.

CrowKettle

As for other Terry Pratchett books, they’re all connected with the discworld tie in but there are “character” series, like Vimes (Guards! Guards!), Moist (Going Postal), Rincewind (The Colour of Magic), Death (Mort), and various stand-alone books (Small Gods, Equal Rights, Pyramids, etc.). You can kind of jump around in a quasi-character order and things will make sense usually. Lots of Character and concept crossovers though.

Amariel

The nice thing about this tea is that it is, in fact, perfect for this, because hojicha tea has less caffeine because it is roasted…so it likely won’t keep you up late if you drink it in the evening.

CrowKettle

Agreed! While this isn’t my favourite tea I think I’d want a small amount of this around when I’m in need of an easy evening. :)

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90
drank Caramel Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
518 tasting notes

The Caramel Matcha experience began with the ceremonial “opening of the packet”. Upon completion of this holy act the entire basement in which this vessel dwells was flooded with a divine overpowering scent. Mere mortals were never meant to be privy to such a force. Ever.

Usually my roommate thinks I’m cheesy and overdramatic but she’s with me on this one, guys. She asked me if a cake exploded in the kitchen. I never thought robust would be so… robust.

The aroma makes me think a little of alcohol and the richest caramel laced dessert known to man. No big deal. I have no experience in preparing matcha with milk but I decided to experiment this evening a whisked some warm milk in. It tastes like the stuff of lattes. Very sweet and creamy.

My roommate suggested I use some Hazelnut Bailey’s and then dumped in a “lid” amount in (maybe too much). It sure accentuates the caramel and doubles the sweetness.

Likely hood of addiction to this is staggeringly high. The smell reminds me of Christmas for some reason (although that doesn’t say much as lots of things remind CrowKettle of Christmas).

Thank you Sil for helping me make my first Red Leaf purchase!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C
Fjellrev

Yay, I’m glad you got your order! Last fall, I was obsessed with mixing Biscotti-flavoured Bailey’s with this and the French Vanilla.

CrowKettle

I’m glad I finally got to try this too, although I think I’d go with “delicate” next time. I’ve yet to try Biscotti Bailey’s but I’ll have to fix that soon.

Sil

Well I’m so glad that you finally got to try this out!

Amariel

Oh I totally agree! That little packet you gave me went into the baggie with the stuff from OMGsrsly by accident, instead of the one your stuff was in, and when I opened the baggie to catalogue the contents, all I could smell was the caramel matcha. I look forward to making some!

CrowKettle

Thank you again, Sil! I can’t say that enough. It’s hard to resist drinking this stuff all day.

I hope it didn’t explode everywhere! Next time I swap matcha I’ll put it in the little sample tins.

OMGsrsly

Haha. Oops! I’m excited to try this tomorrow! Thanks so much for sharing the matcha. :)

CrowKettle

Anytime :)

Sil

Well I’m glad you also encouraged others to try some haha

You can get little craft plastic tins at the dollar store that seem to work….picked some up yesterday and used them to share matcha with the girls here :) little cheaper than actual tins

CrowKettle

Ah.. plastic tins! I should never ignore the wonders of the dollar store. :)

Cavocorax

Sounds so good! I’m expecting my matcha latte samples from red leaf this week – it’ll be my first foray into the mysteries of matcha!

Can’t wait.

Cavocorax

Also, I was just at the dollar store and I totally forgot to get craft bags. :/

CrowKettle

I’m extremely curious about your matcha latte samples and hope it goes well!

I want to get proper bags before swapping with anyone again but I keep forgetting, or when I do remember the dollar store is closed.

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70

Thank you ToiToi for sending me this sample! It tastes like Salted Caramel. It’s sweet and slightly salty, with a bright ceylon base that gives it a toffee-like edge. I’ve had a lot of caramel today.

I’d initially forgot this sample at my parents’ when I went off for school but they mailed me a card with an encouraging message and some of the smaller tea bags that I’d left lying around the place. I say this all the time but parents are freaking awesome.

It’s been a while (10 days) since I made a tasting note here. I know this is a long time because Cavocorax changed her profile picture since I was last on. It’s a big deal.

Edit: This tea has a lot of caramel flavour! When I steep this for less time and drink it lukewarm it’s more syrupy and salty-sweet and less like a solid piece of toffee.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

Mmmmm this sounds good.

CrowKettle

This one is pretty good, although I think I like syrupy caramel teas over hard toffee caramel teas, which this one is the latter.

Sil

mmmmmm caramel…. nom nom nom nom nom

TastyBrew

Any idea where to get this in the US? It sounds so good!

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66
drank Browncoat Genmaicha by 52teas
518 tasting notes

Now I can taste the chlorine… boo! :(

This becomes something I like more as it cools down.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Fjellrev

Wow, I really dodged a bullet there. Despite looooving genmaicha, I had a strange feeling about this one.

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76

Awkward back story! This tea wasn’t originally a part of my initial online order. One of the random teas I’d selected was out of stock, and someone from New Mexico Co. phoned to inform me about that during the Christmas season. She offered to substitute in a similar tea instead… and I replied by telling her she could pick whatever she wanted and I could just find out when they emailed the adjusted receipt. Clearly I need to work on my early morning phone call skills. Decisions were made that I was happy to have no part in, and this chocolate rooibos found its way into my possession.

I actually like this rooibos a lot. I’m not always a fan of chocolate, or rooibos, but I’m happy with both here. The leaves have a chocolate liquor smell and the flavour is like that of rich dark chocolate bar with fruit and nut notes. At least for me, this one isn’t cloying in anyway, despite the cocoa and vanilla, which makes it easy to drink later in the evening.

Edit: for non-rooibos fans,you can definitely taste the base in this one.

I’m glad this one came my way! Now I just need to figure out if I want more or not.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Fjellrev

Wow, that really worked out. Is the rooibos quite prominent?

CrowKettle

It blends nicely with the chocolate but it’s there, unfortunately. I think a lot of the fruitiness from this blend is due to the rooibos.

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70

The package says to steep this tea at 93C/203F, and I definitely poured in boiling water. Oops. Luckily, this package Cavocorax sent me has a few more rounds of Darjeeling to play with.

This one is more malty than the other Second Flush’s I had, and also has more of a cocoa overtone. I love the floral-sweet finish Darjeeling seems to have. It’s a little astringent mid-sip but it’s not like biting into a citrus rind, and it mellows out a bit into that floral sweetness that I like so much.

Looking at all the classification information for Darjeeling tea makes my head spin. I don’t think I’m going to be able to tell the difference anytime soon.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Pom Tango by DAVIDsTEA
518 tasting notes

I had this hot as an in store sample the other day and wasn’t particularly wowed by it. Then I stuck some the fridge overnight, and it was awesome. Thank you friend who convinced me this would be better iced and that I should get some anyways. You were right.

This is very much a mango tea; my 16g bag consists mostly of mango pieces with a reasonable, yet less apparent, amount of black tea leaves. It’s a heavier blend. The mango gives it a flat, fruity sweetness that is spiked up by the subtle, more tart pomegranate. The black base is also very subtle.

This cup is nice an refreshing and deserves a sunnier day than what we’re getting right now. Happy daylight saving time from the Pacific Northwest.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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79
drank Matcha Matsu by DAVIDsTEA
518 tasting notes

Matcha, you are crack. Is this even the good stuff? Why is it so addicting?

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C
BoxerMama

That’s almost a haiku.

Cavocorax

I thought about trying DT’s matcha but I don’t know if I would like it, or what to do with it. #someday

CrowKettle

Almost a haiku.. I don’t think matcha is for everyone but maybe I can send you small portions of the ones I ordered from Red Leaf (caramel, Bavarian cream, coconut, etc). The package is in Delta right now but I think the flavoured kind may be a good introduction.. I don’t know why I took to the plain stuff right away!

Cavocorax

:) Thanks for the offer, but I’ve got some samples from Red Leaf coming (the lattes they are introducing?) so I’ll give that a shot. But it’s good to know that you like the DT version because that’s convenient.

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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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