404 Tasting Notes

I tried a sample of this in their NYC store the other day. I didn’t like it. All I could taste was baby powder and lots of it. I have had that experience with one other French tea Fauchon’s Afternoon in Paris, or maybe it was Garden in Paris…. anyways, I’d love to compare the ingredients in the two to narrow down what it is that my brain translates to baby powder. I smelled the tea dry and it smelled lovely, but it didn’t come through that way in the taste for me. Pity too, I usually love almond flavored things.

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drank Caramel & Rum by Lupicia
404 tasting notes

Eh, this is okay. It has a subtle creamy rum taste, but it also has a bit of that woodsy rooibos taste. The rooibos was over powering when I tried it straight, but it becomes much more pleasant when I add a little cream and sugar. At first the taste of the cream took over, but as I kept sipping the caramel rum taste crept out. It isn’t bad, it is just really underwhelming for what I have come to expect from Lupicia.

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drank Jasmin Mandarin by Mariage Frères
404 tasting notes

On a recent trip to Dean and Deluca, I received a generous sample of this tea from the tea gal there who was really excited that I was so excited about the teas they carry. I was excited that there was someone to geek out on tea with me!

I steeped this for a minute in under boiling water. The beginning of the sip is pretty mellow. There is a bit of jasmine, but not as much of a kick as some other jasmines I have had. When it reaches the back of my tongue, some jasmine bite comes in. The after taste is a strange dance of jasmine and mandarin. They seem to take turns leading and merging for a nice long finish. When I sweeten it, the mandarin comes out more in the beginning of the sip and in the aftertaste. It is almost candy like in the long aftertaste. I love jasmine and this is a really nice alternative to the straight jasmine teas I am used to. I think I may cold brew this one for a second steep and see how it does. I’m guessing it would be quite crisp and refreshing!

If I didn’t have a million different teas right now, I’d be tempted to pick some of this up. In the mean time it will stay on my radar for a later purchase.

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This smelled the most intriguing out of the six TWG tea I sniffed yesterday, so it came home with me. It smells chocolatey and maybe a little malty. I’m getting a good solid breakfast tea base in the flavor, topped with mild yet present chocolate. I’m having it unsweetened and I wonder how much the chocolate will round out with sugar. As it is, this is a really smooth tea! I may have overleafed, but this tea seems forgiving and I got a nice cup out of it. Well done TWG!

TeaBrat

yummy. I’ve always wanted to try some TWG teas!

Dustin

Me too! I think D&D is the only place in the states that sells their teas, so the gal working there was really excited I had heard of them. Tea nerd points scored!

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drank Strawberry Green Tea by Kusmi Tea
404 tasting notes

I ran into the Kusmi New York store the other day maybe ten minutes before they closed. I was desperately trying to smell everything and decide if it was a must buy while the sales girl tried to hide her itching to go home. I picked up this tea and one other, but I was surprised that I wasn’t taken by more teas.

I’m having this one without sweetener and it has a bitter edge to it, a tang that gets the sides of my tongue and mingles with the green taste of the tea. There is also a very distinct strawberry scent that carries over into the taste. I may have over leafed this (a recent trend for me) and will have to adjust things in the future to find the perfect cup.

TeaBrat

jealous, I wish we had a Kusmi store in SF!

Brooklynsheep

Dustin, if you get there earlier next time, ask them to brew some of the tea you’re interested in; when I was there last, they offered this service — very small cups — for up to two teas!

Dustin

Cool, thanks! I do wish I had been able to get there earlier. Maybe on my next trip out here.

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reviewed Carry Travel Mug by DAVIDsTEA
404 tasting notes

My mug keeps getting worse. The glossy base under the matte finish is making a slow creep up from the bottom of the mug which makes it look like crap. There are now several scratches down to the metal and I have no idea how they got there. I have been traveling with it and keeping it in my backpack most of the time, which is fairly protected. It’s not like I have thrown it in the back of truck with a bunch of tools and scraps of engine and gone off roading. The secret compartment lid doesn’t want to stay on when I open the lid and there is any pressure built up. The last time I used it there was hot water spurting out the side and when I looked closely, I noticed that the edge of the metal rim now has a subtle flat spot in it totally ruining it. It must have tipped over or taken a tumble that I wasn’t aware of and now I have to see if I can bend the metal back and get it to non thermal geyser spraying mode. In the mean time I just take the top off and use the steeper in a regular mug since it is the only steeping device I am traveling with.

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but I bought the 16oz capacity and it has been throwing me off a little when it comes to how much tea to add. It isn’t something that can’t be overcome, but it takes a little more thought and adjustment to get the right ratio for the amount of water this mug holds and I’m finding myself overleafing when I’m steeping in a mug recently.

So if I were to redesign this with the knowledge I have know, I’d do a smaller size (none of the teas I have steeped have filled the entire basket of the larger version so I think the smaller basket would be fine), I’d like to see it in a brushed steel maybe with a silicone sleeve to protect the outside, I’d eliminate the secret compartment because it is more hassle than it is a good feature (or put it on the outside of the mug and not in the chamber that holds the water) and I wouldn’t have such high expectations of it possibly being the perfect travel mug.
The search for the perfect travel mug continues….

Cheri

I hate the secret compartment. I never use it to store anything, but I too have it come off when opening the top on occasion. Blah. Otherwise, I don’t have issues with the finish on the outside of the mug, or any other issues with it.

Dustin

Maybe I got a lemon with the finsh! Glad to hear yours is holding up.

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drank Kilauea by Lupicia
404 tasting notes

OMG! OMG! What did I do wrong?! How could something so awful come out of such a pretty tin? Did I overleaf? Does it need sugar? Aaaaack! Diluting and adding sugar makes it more palatable, but I’m still weary of it. It has this sharp tang that I’m not liking. Slowly some fruity flavor is coming out, but I think I should revisit this in cold brew format.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Ellyn

ugh, I hate when such promise becomes so wrong!

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drank Hatsukoi by Lupicia
404 tasting notes

I picked up this tea at my recent splurge visit to the Honolulu Lupicia store! I was SO excited to be there and check out their Hawaii exclusive blends. Turns out they are discontinuing and reworking some of them, which is disappointing. So no more of the banana chocolate rooibos, chocolate macadamia nut or passion fruit earl grey. The six they are keeping are all fruity teas and I really liked that they had more of a variety with the old mix. I was told that what they had in the store was the last of the older blends and they had limited amounts of those.

Anyways, on to this tea… it comes in a green or a black base and I picked the green since it seemed more fitting with the scent. I’m drinking it hot today, but I can see how this would make an amazing iced tea. I think I overleafed, but the tea seems pretty forgiving and is nice anyways. It has a very bright and crisp citrus taste on the sip. As the lemon from the sip fades, the lemongrass flavor comes in. I’m having it without any sugar, which is odd for me, but it is quite nice and sharp this way. I think I can taste some of the green base, but it is hidden a bit behind the lemon. Overall it’s a really enjoyable tea and I’m looking forward to having it iced!

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec
Cameron B.

Chocolate macadamia nut tea sounds delicious! :O

TeaBrat

Cameron, I actually have that tea if you ever want to try it :)

Cameron B.

Sure, remind me the next time we swap! <3

Dustin

I have one of the choco-mac teas that I bought when they had them on sale online and I had to buy another in the store since they said it was being discontinued! It is my hoarding nature. :/

Dinosara

Noooo not the passion fruit EG! I had been drinking my sachets assuming I could get more of it eventually. :( Oh well.

Dustin

I only just tried the Loki Lani and really liked it. All they had left was the sachets. It’s like falling in love with someone who has terminal cancer. It’s only a matter of time before they leave you. Too dramatic? ;)

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drank Earl Grey by Disney Wonderland Tea
404 tasting notes

Alright Disney, you stole my daughter’s heart and soul with Frozen, making her damn near unbearable singing on repeat the one or two lines she can remember from the song. She told me she was going to freeze my heart and make me dead all while “pretend you are a princess” mania has taken a firm grasp in my house. So screw you, but you can hold your own with tea.

This little tea bag came to me in a traveling tea box, has been beating up in my bagged tea drawer, then dragged 1/4 way over the globe before I finally tried it. The bag didn’t hold up so well and luckily I had a fine mesh steeper to pick up the slack. And to my surprise it actually wasn’t disgusting, but the fact that I have been camping recently could be influencing my perception. The tea is pretty fragrant and tastes very bright. Even through some sweetened creamer, the flavor still holds up and has a little kick or bite at the end. The aftertaste is really nice and bergamoty. I’m impressed for what it is! I wonder who makes this tea for Disney. They couldn’t possibly have a tea garden and processing plant hidden away on the magic kingdom, where the little dolls from the small world ride go to work a night shift picking tea in the moonlight after the park closes… could they?

yyz

That reminds me of when my cousins daughter she would him or sing parts of Arielle’s theme from little mermaid almost constantly, but especially when she was unsure of where she stood at the moment. If she had gotten in trouble she would often come down the stairs singing it as a form of apology and question to test the grounds as to wether everything was alright.

She still sings a lot to this day and seems to be heading into the preforming arts as a career.

Dustin

That is super cute! It is neat to see how traits from little ones evolve with them as they grow! I often look at my kid’s behavior and wonder what traits will develop and which are just a phase. I’m really hoping the princess obsession fades fast!

Flyawaybirdie

Disney teas are pretty good! You should try the mad tea party blend. It’s loose leaf and I think you might like it.

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reviewed Carry Travel Mug by DAVIDsTEA
404 tasting notes

I bought the green version of this travel mug a few weeks ago. It already looks like crap. The nice matte rubbery finish had scuffed off down to the metal in one point and all along the bottom, the matte finish is peeling off revealing a high gloss. I haven’t been super rough with it, but I haven’t been babying it either. It’s a travel mug so it should be able to handle some travel, right? I got the larger of the two sizes since the brewing basket was bigger, but I don’t always want that much tea or I want to steep a smaller amount to add ice to and in those cases the basket doesn’t fully submerge. I end up steeping with the mug upside down, which makes the pressure build up more, which is an issue when I go to open it and it sucks tea into the secret storage compartment. I try to open it slowly, but it’s really hard to do and I end up with hot water spraying out and making a mess and then I have to take the silicone lid off the secret compartment and wash that out. This is an issue every time I use it, but more so when I have to turn the mug up side down for steeping. My last complaint before I get to the parts I like about it is that the basket has plastic on it as does the lid. I got this because I was looking for a travel mug with a larger basket and something with ideally no plastic, but settled for something with less as a next step.

What I do like is the size of the basket, the color (before it started to peel), the handle on top which helps make it easier to carry as well as twist the lid off and the mesh between my mouth and the contents of the mug. I found the mesh especially nice when drinking iced teas. It stops the ice from running into my mouth and splashing me in the face. I can also use the lid with the basket attached to steep tea in regular mugs while traveling.

So lots of cons, a few pros. I have mixed feelings on this purchase.

Brooklynsheep

Thorough and useful review! Hope you can check in a few months from now to say how the mug is holding up (or not).

Dustin

Thanks! I’ll try to do a follow up. I’m traveling with it right now and haven’t used it much, mostly because I’m quite spoiled with my variable temp kettle at home and boiling water in a pan while on the go just isn’t the same.

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Profile

Bio

My name is Dustin and I like tea.

I’m an added flavor kind of tea fan. I want my tea to remind me of cookies and cakes with coconut and almond slices with a hint of chocolate drizzled on top. I want dancing ponies and flying monkeys shooting off fireworks! I like a little sugar in my tea. I love caffeinated tea, but since I limit myself to one cup a day, I have been exploring more rooibos and honeybush teas.

Location

Austin, TX

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