474 Tasting Notes

drank Vanilla Honeybush by Zhi Tea
474 tasting notes

I got this sample because I wanted to know what mostly unflavored honeybush tastes like so I can identify it in flavored honeybush teas. I can smell the vanilla, but it is pretty bland otherwise. Seems like it would be a good carrier for added flavors because it won’t compete taste wise, but on it’s own it is pretty meh.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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drank Violet Femme by Zhi Tea
474 tasting notes

Violet Femme. Heh. Cute.
Went on a walk to Zhi Tea today and grabbed a sample of this since I have been interested in violet teas. The people that work there are always so sweet, accommodating and mellow! So it turns out this isn’t actually violet flavored, it is lavender and it smelled so good that I had to try it. I love floral flavors and this definitely has that! The citrus, lavender and vanilla dance so well together in the scent of this tea dry. At first I smell the combination of all three merged, then they take turns standing out on their own. I want to smell like this tea all the time!

It is late in the day and the other Zhi teas I have had pack quite the caffeinated punch, so we will see if I regret this cup come bedtime! Once it is brewed the smell is almost honey like. Citrusy honey with a touch of lavender on the end.

The first sip was a little harsh. Not sure if it was the tea base or the lavender punch, but it quickly subsided and smoothed out. Again, the flavors take turns merging and stepping out. It tastes quite good without sugar and I’m a sugar in my flavored tea kinda gal. I could enjoy the whole cup like this, but I’m going to try it sweet too. Hmmm, it is good with sugar too, but it doesn’t really make this tea significantly better, just different. I think it is better without.

Overall this tea is pretty tasty and I wouldn’t mind having it around for a while! If you like floral, give it a go!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Cotton Candy Black Tea by 52teas
474 tasting notes

I think I killed this tea. I am a tea murderer. I remember it tasting pretty good and resembling cotton candy quite a bit. Sitting around for a year in a container that used to house rosemary (could have sworn I got all the rosemary scent out, but apparently not) did not do it any justice. It didn’t really taste like much for most of the cup, but as it cooled I got a lot more of that cotton candy taste from it. I’m taking away two lessons from this; 1 treat my tea better and 2 I really do prefer the black 52teas cold.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Tuscanteal

Aww you’re not a tea murderer!!! Just need to improve your tea colonies conditions ;)

Dustin

I suppose so! Still, I do feel a little guilty for letting a good tea down like that.

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drank Sencha #1 (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
474 tasting notes

The first cup was over steeped slightly and a touch bitter. Second steep was successful. It tastes a little grassy and it is smooth, but is it far from amazing. Actually, I find it kinda boring.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec
Tuscanteal

This made me laugh… that’s totally how I feel about some senchas… grassy. And then to top it off… I’m feeling kind of bored. Maybe I’m easy to please this morning, but it got a giggle out of me.

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drank Apple Pie Chai by Simpson & Vail
474 tasting notes

I got this as a sample (looks like a generous amount that will brew 3-4 cups) and would never have thought to order this on my own. I hate hibiscus and avoid teas with it like the plague, BUT I couldn’t even spot it in the mix and can only detect a slight tang that goes well with the apple flavor. Just enough to give the apples a natural tartness without over tanging it into oblivion. Well played Simpson & Vail!

The dry tea smells amazing and full of spices. I can spot lemongrass and dried orange and can only pick out clove by scent. The lemongrass comes out at the end of my cup when it cools. The apple doesn’t rule the pie despite the name, but it is in there. So far I like it! We’ll see if it grows on me more as I work through this sample!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
474 tasting notes

I got this as a sample in a trade with someone, but it has been tucked away for a while and I have forgotten who gave it to me. Thank you who ever you are!
I steeped this for four minutes in boiling water and think that over did it. The first sip was really smooth and vanilla-y, but a few sips into it and it started tasting bitter. If I take a break and come back to it, the first sip is fine and additional sips are bitter. Strange. I’ll have to try it again sometime and adjust my brewing technique.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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drank Tiramisu Oolong by 52teas
474 tasting notes

I told myself no more purchases from 52Teas. At least not until I go through some of the 10 or so bags of it in my cupboard that I’m already working on, which will take a while now that it’s winter and I’m not likely to cold brew the blacks the way I prefer them. THEN I saw this tea and I had to have it. I’m a sucker for tiramisu and it’s an oolong which means I’d likely brew it hot and drink it this winter. Must be the 50% Italian in me as well as one of my three gateway loose leaf teas being a discontinued and longed for rooibos tiramisu.

Anyways, I opened the bag and was greeted with a super strong alcohol scent along with chocolate and creamy coffee. The smell was amazing and delicious. Once brewed, the marshmallow root comes out as creaminess, the chocolate and coffee merge and the alcohol scent fades into the background with the oolong as an aftertaste. It works really well together and I’m guessing I have already gone through half the bag. I have gotten two good steeps out of each serving with a third steep being a little weaker, but letting more of the oolong flavor take center stage.

Now I have to figure out how much I love it. One more bag worth? Two more bags worth? Do I not overdo it and hope for a reblend in the future? I’m spending way too much brain power agonizing over it. It’s a good life.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Tuscanteal

I’ve seen a lot of talk about re-steeping. It’s something I don’t normally do. When do you tend to re-steep teas?

Dustin

I usually resteep the same day as the original steep. Sometimes it is just after I finish my first cup, sometimes several hours after. I have heard of some people putting the wet leaves in the fridge to save them for the next day. It also depends on the tea. Some flavored teas spend the most of their flavor in the first steeping, especially if they have melty things like sprinkles or chocolate chips and some straight teas are steeped numerous times letting different aspects of the flavors come out in each steep. Veredent’s lashoan black (butchering the spelling I’m sure), is one that people will steep repeatedly and really geek out on about the flavor of each steep. Some of the tasting notes are really in depth and neat to read.

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drank Mayan Chocolate Chai by 52teas
474 tasting notes

I love spicy chocolate, but this tea just isn’t hitting the spot for me today. I guess I need to be in the right mood for cardamon even tho it is a favorite spice of mine. There is a little bit of kick with the chili which I like, but doesn’t leave my mouth burning. I’ll have to try it again on a “I have not been up all night with a sick kid-o who has the scream of a ring wraith and wanted a second dinner at 1am” kinda morning. sigh I like those mornings.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Marie-Antoinette by Nina's Paris
474 tasting notes

I love that some of Nina’s teas are available on Amazon! What that means is that I can put it on my wish list and people who are wanting to get me a gift can look and see what I’d like. THEN the tea magically arrives in my mailbox just like it did yesterday! Yay me! This tea is just as good as the sample I so enjoyed and I’m on my third steeping with remarkable flavor.

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drank Bangkok Lemongrass by Teavana
474 tasting notes

I loved this tea and was disappointing to see it discontinued. Luckily I went into Teavana after they had bagged the remaining stock up into give away with purchase gifts. The girl working the counter (who is by far the most awesome non pushy chill “teaologist” I have ever encountered at a Teavana) was kind enough to give me the the few remaining bags which I have been hoarding ever since. I adore lemongrass and this tea has always been good to me… until now. It is summer so I have been cold brewing teas. This is the first time I have had this tea cold brewed and it either changes the flavors to a sharper more lemon/citrusy bite OR my stash is past it’s peak. I have hot brewed it and then iced it and it was good that way, but it is really not doing it for me this way. I’m not sure if I was subliminally put off by the looks of the rehydrated for a few days after being dehyrated for a few years slice of citrus, but I swear it looked like a grey slice of preserved lung.

I’ll have to review this tea again next time I hot brew it because cold really isn’t doing it justice.

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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. Rooibos now = meh and I have upped my caffeine tolerance. BRING ME CAFFEINE!!!!

Location

Austin, TX

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