495 Tasting Notes

85

I will miss this tea so much when I run out :(

First day of the semester today. I made it the the gym and dropped off a cat at the vet. It’s been such a productive morning. I even have time left to enjoy a cup of tea. yay! It’s going to be a heavy semester and I have to start getting things in order for my grad school application. I’m going to need a lot of tea to make it through :)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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85

I still have some of the Organic Irish breakfast left and I had it yesterday. Today I am drinking this one and I think I might like the original slightly better after. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good cup, but the other seemed bolder and stronger, more like a breakfast tea. I’ll have to be frugal with what’s left of my supply :(

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

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75

Meeka picked up this tea while traveling and sent me a sample in a swap. Her note to me indicated that the company might be Homewood teas, but she wasn’t certain. I’m finishing off the last of the sample now (didn’t log it before). It’s a good every day white tea, not too heavy on the hay and barley notes (but these are the only notes that I detect).

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

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65

Both this tea and the huckleberry tea from NM Tea Co. have Blackberry leaves and cornflower petals in a black base, so I wondered how different they would really be. I liked the Huckleberry tea, but this tea seems a lot more bitter and astringent than the other (much like my husband thought of the huckleberry tea. . see that tasting note too). I think it may be that I just liked the Huckleberry flavor better so it compensated for otherwise unpleasant bitterness.

Both teas have a better flavor while they are hot, but the bitterness sets in as they cool.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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I gave this tea another go, as I sometimes like to do with teas that have unique characteristics that don’t immediately turn me away. Last time, I had trouble detecting what part of the tea was the flavor and what part was the base. This time around, it seemed blatantly obvious. I think it’s because I’ve had a lot of different black teas (flavored and unflavored) recently, that differences stand out stronger now. I didn’t drink so many black teas in the beginning of my tea journeys, so it has taken some time to get familiar with them, but I’m far from an expert on any type of tea.

Unfortunately, the tamarind flavor didn’t agree with me this time and I didn’t finish my cup (thought I drank most of it). Oh well.

Fiddling

I just can’t seem to get into this one either. I looooove tamarind and black tea, but no matter how I try it (hot, iced, more leaf, less leaf, lower temp, etc.) it just doesn’t do it for me.

Fuzzy_Peachkin

The only way I like this one is with brown sugar added.

Shelley_Lorraine

yeah, I can see how brown sugar might give it more of an authentic “pop” flavor.

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75

My Mantra Tea order came with two samples of bagged tea. This was one of them.

The leaves were crushed up some to be suitable for a tea bag, but is available to buy in loose form.

This is a very delicate and sweet green tea, quite the opposite from heavier astringent vegetal greens that I usually have. I really love the flavor of this one, but wish that it was stronger. I would probably use more leaf than provided in the tea bag to obtain better flavor.

It looks like this tea is not available for sale on Mantra’s Etsy site, but it is on the main site.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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80

I finally bough myself some of this tea after enjoying a swap sample from GiggleGoddess.

The huckleberry flavor seems a lot more fresh and sweet than before. The base isn’t as malty and bold as I remembered, but it still comes through nicely.

ETA: The black base is indeed a touch bitter and astringent as my husband described (see first note), but it is hardly noticeable while the tea is still hot. This is also when the huckleberry flavor comes through the best IMO.

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So far, I’m not having any luck with sheng puerhs. Only once did I ever have an aged sheng that I really liked. Young sheng has been too bitter and heavy on the mineral notes for me. This aged one is not bitter at all and the flavor is best described as earthy, but still not quite to my liking. The one aged sheng that I liked was only a couple of years older than this one and I got it from the Bana Tea Co. as a free sample with another purchase. I don’t know exactly which one it was or if it was aged in loose or compressed form, but maybe that makes the difference?

As I’ve been doing a lot lately, I brewed tea to share with my parents and sister. My father wanted coffee, but he sampled some of this from my mother’s cup and said it was a superb tea but that he didn’t think that my mother was going to like it. My mother tries it and immediately associates it with “tea brewed in the environment of diesel trucks and manly stuff,” not as an insult to the tea so much as an affirmation that it is definitely my father’s kind of tea more-so than hers. Nevertheless, she finished her cup, asking only that I provide her with a couple of tea cookies to help it go down :)

My little sister claims to love every tea I have ever given her with the exception of Lapsang Souchong. She gave the thumbs up to this one too, but she traded with my father for his coffee half way through her cup.

I gave the rest of the bag of tea to my father, where it will be much better appreciated.

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

I love that your tea tasting was a family affair. How fun!

Shelley_Lorraine

Yes, lots of fun! But not for much longer because they will be moving soon. :(

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75

This is a pretty good fruit blend. So far, I’ve preferred strong hibiscus flavored blends, while other fruit tisanes have been too artificially sweet or too heavy on berry flavor (which makes me feel sick).

This tea contains hibiscus, but it does not take over. The apple comes through as well as a cherry-like flavor, though it doesn’t list cherry in the ingredients.

It’s not a stellar cup, but it’s worth drinking again.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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95

My parents were supposed to have been on the road with the Uhaul a few days ago, but it is taking them longer than expected to get all packed up. Most of their house is empty now and the TV is all packed up, so they came to my house to have an evening break and watch some Stargate SG1.

I brewed this tea for my mother and sister, a different tea for myself, and coffee for my father and my husband. As my last note indicates, I brought this tea for them to sample a few nights ago. That time, I brewed it according to the package instructions for 1min30sec. This time, I was too busy serving people to be careful about brewing instructions. I steeped it for 3min. My mother didn’t recognize the tea at first and she let my father sample from her cup. He said it wasn’t bad (he didn’t like it last time and he has never liked any green tea or jasmine tea). So I was thinking, hey, this longer steep time must make a difference and I tried it for myself just now (for 2min30sec). And hey, what do you know, I like it better this way too! It’s much creamier and the pine needle flavor that is supposed to be reserved for second steepings is probably affecting the flavor too, though I don’t recognize it specifically. The jasmine flavor was obviously jasmine in a shorter steep, now it is more of a general sweet flavor that doesn’t give away it’s source without some contemplation.

Never fails to amaze me how a few seemingly trivial parameters can make such a big difference.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec
yyz

So true!

K S

I miss SG1

Shelley_Lorraine

I’ve already watched them all through beginning to end and it’s sooo sad to reach the end of such awesomeness! I introduced my parents to it and they are still enjoying the first-time experience. Lucky them!! LOL.

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Profile

Bio

Name: Shelley Lorraine Limegrover
Location: Thornton, Colorado
Occupation: Graduate Student and Evil Genius
Ward: 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, 1 Cocker spaniel, 1 super cranky but lovable siamese cat, one bipolar black turkish angora, and my husband’s black and white cat.

Hobbies: Learning, reading books, math, physics (have a degree in it), literature (have a degree in it too), anthropology, traveling, piano, and making TEA, of course (^o^)

Future plans: World domination >-)

Favorite teas: Kukicha, Green teas in general, aged oolongs, charcoal roasted oolong, taiwanese oolongs, Assam . . .

Don’t like: Genmaicha, Earl Grey, Darjeelings, ginger, coconut, smokey teas (even mild ones), nut flavors, overwhelmingly strong floral flavor (esp. Jasmine), most della derra and adagio teas. . .

My Rating System

100 My happiness absolutely depends on it

95 Will definitely repurchase

85: Might repurchase (teas that depend on my mood)

75 Won’t repurchase (but I would drink it again if offered).

65: meh

45: I reluctantly finished a cup.

15: Couldn’t finish a cup.

I simplified my ratings to single numbers rather than ranges because I can’t precisely compare so many teas with a system more detailed than this.

An unrated tea is most often one that I recognize as having significant notable quality, but that does not suit me personally. Sometimes, I leave teas unrated for other reasons, such as I am undecided or I brewed it wrong, etc.

Note: Boiling temp. barely reaches 200 where I am (and a few times it sticks at 195, I assume due to unexplainable shifts in altitude or the position of the moon. . .aliens?. . .).

Location

Colorado

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