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60 Tasting Notes

80

I wasn’t sure what I expected from this tea, but I love Darjeeling and I love oolong, so the combination seemed like a good idea.

My initial tastes were disappointing, as there was a strong vegetable flavor that I didn’t care for (the same reason I dislike many green teas). Today, however, the veggies seem very subdued. Instead, there are floral highlights with maybe a hint of mint. The aroma is delicate in comparison the the Thunderbolt Moonlight that I just finished, but probably more in line with what I expect from a Darjeeling.

The flavors are similar to the aromas, but the mouth-feel is a bit coarse and tannic, and doesn’t flow gracefully into the finish. Not bad, really, but lacking in elegance. A decent tea, but not special. To be fair, this is a “bargain” tea compared to other Thunderbolt offerings, and it serves that role nicely.

I think I need to play around with the water temperature since I’m seeing a lot of variation in my tasting notes for this tea, and also significant variation in temperature (depending on how impatient I am at the stove). If I find a pattern, I’ll update my tasting notes.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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87

I’ve been negligent about writing reviews. I’ve had my Thunderbolt order for about two weeks and haven’t written about the teas yet. Saturday is a nice day to sip through the teas and write reviews.

The aroma is fairly powerful, but soft, reminding me of damp forest leaves. That flavor continues in the taste, but with hints of herb and fruit. I tend to think of Darjeelings as being delicate, but this is a big, powerful tea. There is some astringency but without bitterness. There is a smooth transition into a long and powerful finish without bitterness.

The previous time I drank this tea, I steeped at boiling temperature, which gave a more fruity flavor that I preferred. Good either way. I also noted that it tasted good at room temperature. I only drink iced tea in the summer, but I think this would make a good iced tea.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75

This is the second time I’ve tried this tea. I used a cooler temperature but got the same result. The smell is a combination of white tea and damp leaves in the woods. Just a bit off to my nose. The taste is similar. Not bad but just not to my taste.

Thanks to the Little Red Cup for the sample

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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95

I brought this to work, which was probably a mistake. The first hit of the really fine aroma caused me to stop working so I could concentrate my full attention on the tea. It deserved it. several steeps took a big chunk of time out of my day, but this tea required my full attention. It’s one of the best teas I’ve had in a while.

1st steep (1 min): Rich aroma; spice with a bit of honey. Really nice. The taste is deep and rich in a spicy, medium-roast style. The flavor comes in waves, ending in a powerful, long finish.

I’m afraid that I was too wrapped up in the tea to continue writing. Suffice it to say that I had two more excellent steeps and a few others that were weak, a bit less exciting, but still very enjoyable.

Thank to Yezi Tea for the sample

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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75

I was interested in trying this tea, since I’m a big fan of keemun, and this was a potential bargain compared to the teas I usually buy. Thanks to Little Red Cup for the sample.

The initial aroma was a powerful smell of old leather. I later noticed some smoke behind the leather. The taste has the same features: strong leather with hints of smoke. Good long finish. The tea is well-made, smooth and powerful, but I just can’t get into the leather flavor.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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68
drank White Cucumber by Adagio Teas
60 tasting notes

number 40: The last tea from “Another travelling tea box.”

I may have done a dumb thing by prioritizing my tastings. I’m left with a weird-sounding cucumber tea as the last tea I taste. The funky smell of the dry leaves doesn’t help. Oh well, here goes nothing.

The smell is basic dry tea, but toasty. The taste is a bit strange, probably the cucumber. The taste is clean, with a good finish. No hint of the unappealing dry tea smell. There is certainly nothing wrong with this tea, but it doesn’t really appeal to me. Part of this may be psychological, but mostly I am mentally comparing this to the many Bai Mu Dan teas I drink regularly, and for the same price they are a lot more interesting.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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79

Number 25 from Another Travelling tea box.

The dry tea has a very strong fruit aroma; I see why it was double-bagged. The nose is totally dominated by the fruit. I’ll assume that it smells like passion fruit – definitely a tropical flavor. The taste is more balanced, with a straw flavor along-side the fruit. The finish is all tea, and slightly bitter.

After drinking about a third of a cup, I added sweetener. This improved the taste quite a bit, in my opinion, bringing the fruit forward and eliminating the bitterness at the end. My rating is based on the sweetened tea.

Pretty decent re-steep.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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75
drank Cocomint Green by Adagio Teas
60 tasting notes

Number 24 from Another Travelling tea box.

This was a bit of a surprise. I had assumed that the “coco” in a green tea mix would mean coconut, and was totally unprepared for the chocolate aromas coming from the dry tea. I was prepared to be unimpressed but found that I actually liked the tea.

The aroma from the cup was dominated by chocolate, but the tea and mint come through as well. The taste starts as a grassy/straw green tea, with the chocolate mint flavor building until it is all alone in the finish. I didn’t like this well enough to want to buy more, but it was interesting, and fun to try.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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74

Number 17 in Another Travelling Tea box.

I’m working my way slowly through the tea box. It’s been a lot of fun so far, but I’m only about a third of the way through. I’ve begun to prioritize, since I don’t want to keep it for more than a week.

This was a very interesting tea. I’m just starting out on matchas, but this is really more of a genmaicha, which is another tea I’d never had before.

The smell and taste are dominated by the toasted rice: almost like a breakfast cereal. The matcha adds mostly color, since it isn’t powerful enough to compete with the toasted rice flavors. This isn’t to say there were no green tea flavors: I knew it was there, but it was definitely in a secondary role. The finish was slightly bitter.

This was a fun tea to try, which is of course the entire point of the travelling tea box, but it isn’t something I would try again. It’s just not what I think of when I want a cup of tea.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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85

No 15 from Another Travelling Tea Box.

This is a fairly subtle flavored tea. I was expecting a fairly strong vanilla flavor, based on the company name, but for both the aroma and taste the various flavors were somewhat less obvious than the tea. They added complexity to the natural tea flavor without being dominant. This really worked for me: very harmonious.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it re-steeped very well, not just once but twice. Not only did the third steep still have good strength, but the balance of the different flavors was consistent.

There’s only about 6 grams left, but I took it out of the box. Sorry.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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Profile

Bio

Retired engineer/physicist.
My ratings will usually be based on multiple tastings. Green and oolong teas are generally 3 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 1 minute. Black teas are 1.5 grams of tea in 6 oz water for 3-4 minutes.

My numerical ratings are all based on how much enjoyment I took from the tea. Since I prefer blacks and oolongs, they will receive higher scores. I also give a couple of extra points to decafs, just because I can drink them in the evening without staying up half the night. I don’t dislike flavored teas, but find that they lack the complexity of finer teas.

90-100 = superior, worth a high price
80-89 = Excellent. Will buy again
70-79 = Good tea, but probably won’t buy
60-69 = Nothing really wrong, but…
Below 60 = Wouldn’t drink again

Location

Massachusetts

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