114 Tasting Notes

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
114 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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95
drank Top Ti Quan Yin by Harney & Sons
114 tasting notes

7th tea from Another travelling tea box.

This is the experience I’ve been hoping the travelling tea box would provide. A chance to discover a really wonderful tea. I’d grab it all except it was a small sample; only enough left for one more pot, so I’ll probably pass it on.

This is my favorite style of oolong: medium roast, slightly on the green side. 1st steep (60 sec): Lovely spicy green nose. Taste is initially light, but grew as I sipped. The classic oolong flavors are very interesting: Spicy with hints of grass. The excellent finish reiterates and expands upon the wonderful taste. 2nd steep(60 sec): I’m hit with a magnificent aroma while just pouring!. Rich and spicy. Initially the taste was closed in but the spicy flavor bursts open in the finish. As the tea cooled, the flavors moved up onto the taste. More spice then fruit at this point. Very good. 3rd (60 sec): Still excellent. 4th (1 min): Weaker but still special. Still good in the 5th steep (2 min) but much less interesting.

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

I enjoyed sampling this one from the box too!

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76
drank Pink Lemonade by DAVIDsTEA
114 tasting notes

Number 5 of Another travelling tea box

When I opened the package I was met with a disgusting skunky odor. I dreaded trying the tea, but the aroma rising from the cup was pleasant: pure lemonade. Nice lemony taste. Surprisingly sweet, since I didn’t add sugar. Not much finish. All in all pretty good, but not any better than commercial lemon decaf tea.

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

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86
drank Dong Ding Light by Harney & Sons
114 tasting notes

Number 3 from Travelling Tea box (I won’t review all teas)

I did this Gaiwan-style with 1.5 grams of tea for 3 oz water and 1 minute steeps.

First steep was very light. Light grassy nose with hints of veggie and spice. Light taste (not surprising since the leaves haven’t unwrapped yet). 2nd: Nose has more spice, less veggie. Taste is astringent without being bitter. A bit too light; style is elegant rather than powerful. 3rd (2.5 min): Nose and taste are stronger. Still a delicate style. 4th (6 min steep): Still good.

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

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71
drank White Tropics by Adagio Teas
114 tasting notes

Number 1 from “Another Travelling Tea Box”

I’ve been getting into white tea lately so chose this one for my first tea. I loved the nose: it seemed floral, but probably should say honeydew, since this is tropical fruit. The taste was disappointing: kind of disjointed. There is also a little bitterness underneath the flavor, which lingers into the finish. Not bad but not something I would buy more of.

As I drank this down, I kept lowering my rating. I seemed to notice the bitterness more, and the fruit less.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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84
drank Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong by Yezi Tea
114 tasting notes

The website lists this tea as “I can’t believe it’s not Scotch.” Intriguing to some one who’s been drinking Scotch for nearly 40 years. I had to try it.

First things first: it doesn’t smell like Scotch. More like a Yunnan, though there is quite a bit of smoke in the aroma. (OK, the tea is Fujian, and I’m not expert enough to tell them apart) Also, perhaps a bit of cocoa and spice. It is complex, but not as subtle as a good Scotch.

As to the taste, it is good, with wood smoke and a bit of loamy flavor. Not my favorite style, but quite well done. Fairly big and chewy. Long finish with less wood but no bitterness.

Overall a nice solid tea. I enjoyed it, and might be tempted to re-order. But forget the Scotch business; it isn’t even close.

Thanks to Yezi tea for the Sample.

This re-steeped nicely. The second steep lost some of the earthiness and power, but retained the smoke and complexity. The third steep was rather simple and lost most of the aroma, but tasted OK.

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

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I continue my initial exploration of Matcha, courtesy of Lala.

This is a combination I would never have thought to try, but since Lala wanted to expose me to a wide variety of matcha experiences I felt compelled to follow her advice on the preparation, and I’m glad I did. I followed the instructions from the Red Leaf Tea site for preparation.

I cheated a bit and tried the tea before adding milk. I loved the initial aroma, and the flavor was nice, but what jumped out at me was that it was extremely sweet. The sweetener dominated the experience.

After adding the hot milk, I again really loved the aroma. I was surprised by how well the milk and green tea worked together; I didn’t think I would like it. Unfortunately, it was just way too sweet for me (I drink my coffee lattes without sweetener, and normally only sweeten flavored tea – never green tea). Bottom line: I think I would have really enjoyed this if it had about 1/4 as much sweetener as was actually there, but I found it difficult to force myself to drink the whole thing. Instead I found myself just enjoying the fine aroma.

No formal rating since I’m a matcha beginner. I should also add that I’ve only tried black tea with milk a few times and didn’t care for it.

2 hrs later: I put the last two ounces in the refrigerator and tried it cold. I liked it better; didn’t taste excessively sweet. Still, didn’t do it for me.

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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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