487 Tasting Notes

drank Toffee Dream by Zen Tea
487 tasting notes

Thank you JennyFur for this sample!

I brewed a couple of cups of this tea for my husband and I during lunch. The dry leaves and brewed tea both smell delightfully of toffee. The taste, however, does not. I suppose it could be described as nutty, but a very flat flavorless nutty. I was really hoping for better with this one. I love both white tea and toffee. If only this blend tasted as good as it smells. Oh well. Glad I got to try it out though.

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Man, I’m on the lookout for a good toffee tea but I keep being let down. Sound like this one was a bomb too.


Well, some reviewers here seem to think it was good. We all have different tastes :) I could certainly pass along the rest of the sample, if you’d like. I also have a toffee (and caramel) puerh blend that has a stronger flavor than this (if you like puerh). My only complain with that one is that I prefer unflavored puerh. If I come across anything else/better I’ll let you know!

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I tried brewing this that past couple of times according to ‘traditional’ methods (using more leaf per oz, 160-150deg water, 90sec) and it seemes to produce a more bitter cup than when I originally brewed it at 175 for 2 min with less leaf. It’s been a while since that first cup, so I am going to have to try again to see if it makes the difference. It’s still really good, even with the bitterness. I like it better than sencha for sure.

EDIT: I just re-steeped the leaves after a few hours. I used 150deg water like the first time (I meant to use hotter, but I let it cool too long). I let the leaves steep for 60 seconds (an arbitrary choice) and the final product was a lot less bitter than the first cup. This is probably the first time that a second steeping has turned out better than the first for me.

I think gyokuro is going to take a lot of experimentation to get it just right all the time. But I look forward to the task :)

150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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This tea was pleasant to drink. I wouldn’t say no to a second cup. However, I feel that it falls short of its name. The fruit flavor is there, but the chocolate is lacking. Although, this is probably best in my case as I have found many chocolate flavored teas to be overwhelming. As for the raspberry, all I can say is that it is definitely fruity, but it doesn’t stand out as obviously “raspberry” to me. There was absolutely nothing unpleasant about this tea, but it doesn’t stand out as spectacular among the rest of its kind.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I got this one as part of my verdant sampler set. I was really excited to try it because it had such fancy reviews everywhere.

I didn’t have brewing instructions with me, so I went with a 3min steep with boiled water. It smelled very smoky/woodsy. After I read that it was supposed to have a chocolate aroma too, I recognized that as part of the aroma that I was having trouble placing at first. The flavor was woodsy too, almost seemed sort of fruity, but not too much. I am not so good at recognizing flavors (yet). As it cooled to more comfortable drinking temperatures, I could definitely pick up more on the chocolate. I am still uncertain I am really noticing all the other flavor notes just yet, but I will get there.

I like this one quite a bit. It is a likely (but not definite) repurchase. I don’ think it is quite as exciting as everyone has made it out to be, but I haven’t tried enough variety of black tea to necessarily recognize what is particularly special with this one.

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I got my first catalogue from Republic of Tea today and this was the sample that came with it. It isn’t something that I would’ve thought to buy for myself, but that’s what I like about surprise samples. The bag smells very yummy so I didn’t hesitate to boil some water. Brewed, it smells like candy. Possibly medicinal, as some reviewers have described. I’ve never considered medicinal fruit flavors to be offensive to my palate, so that’s not so much a con for me. However, it is a tea bag and it has that tea-bag flavor about it. I don’t know how to describe it, but black teas especially seem to have a uniqueness that they only get in a bag. I like the tea as far as bagged teas go. It’s something i’d likely pick up to brew if I saw it at someone else’s house or at a hotel. It Probably won’t be in my own cupboard, but I wouldn’t mind if it was.

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When I first brewed this, I could smell the flower aroma right away. I though “oh no, not another orchid soup.” But I dared to drink it anyway. The flavor did not offend. The first infusion hardly tasted floral at all. It was a bit creamy and reminiscent of a green tea. The second infusion brings out more of the floral flavor. There is also a sort of smokiness that comes out in the second cup that balances the floral. the third infusion looses the smokiness. It has a very clean aftertaste. Some of the florals that are linked with honey or caramel notes tend to have a sickeningly sweet aftertaste that makes me feel like a just consumed a real flower. I like honey notes without floral, but together they don’t work for me. I probably won’t order more of this, but it was more tolerable than most floral oolongs that I have tried.

First infusion: 30 sec.
Second infusion: 40 sec.
Third: 60 sec.

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Its been difficult trying to find good oolongs that suit me. This one is excellent quality, but it is not for me. I pick up too much floral aroma and flavor. It has other wonderful flavor notes too, but I can’t get past my dislike of florals enough to appreciate this one.

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drank Kuki Matcha by Teavana
487 tasting notes

Thanks moraiwe for this sample!

Kukicha is one of my favorite green teas. This tea doesn’t taste much different than regular kukicha that I’ve tried from difference sources except that it is much greener in the cup and slightly bitter. I like it well enough, but I will probably just stick to my plain kukichas.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Another of my samples from Dustin

Smells very sweet and cake-like in the bag
The taste is also very sweet: like sugar and melted cake sprinkles. I can tolerate this flavor so much better than most of Della Terra’s Dessert blends, but the whole super-sweet dessert tea thing is not growing on me yet. Maybe I’ll find just the right one someday, but this one is not it.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Thanks to Dustin for this sample

*The dry leaf smells equally grassy and of vanilla
*The brewed cup has a stronger vanilla aroma, but still picking up on the green tea base.
The vanilla is much more subtle and natural than in other vanilla flavored teas I’ve tried. It doesn’t smell so strong of alcohol/vanilla extract like some others.
The flavor is more on the green tea side, while the vanilla plays subtly in the back ground. I like it quite a bit, but don’t know if I like it enough to purchase more. I tend to prefer unflavored greens in my permanent stock.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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Name: Shelley Lorraine Limegrover
Location: 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?. . .).



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