59 Tasting Notes

70

Late at night, at Meijer. The girlfriend and I were desparate for some black tea with milk, but it was too late to brew up a regular cup of looseleaf at home and we were out of decaf. We hesitantly picked up this, Tetley’s decaf British Blend.

It turned out to be very nice! I expected something flavorless or bitter, but this is malty, bready, cozy, and very enjoyable. We always took it with milk, so this may not apply if you take it without, but I’d definitely buy it again if I’m out of decaf.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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80

This is a “green tea iced tea” mix, but it really doesn’t make green tea proper because it is tea leaf powder that you don’t steep. It is more like a matcha mix, although not with the same grade of leaves. It is very nice and mild, there is no astringency. It is lightly sweetened. I dislike many of the over-sweetened drinks that are on the store shelves but this has close to the right amount of sweetness.

It makes an excellent drink for cooling down in the hot weather, and I bet it would be good as flavoring for any number of drinks or treats. I am excited to try making a latte using a couple packets of this in a big mug of steamed milk. This isn’t a super nuanced tea but it is very refreshing and there is nothing not to like. It’s a little hard to rate because of it not exactly being green tea, but it is the best of the few iced “green teas” I’ve had.

The price was very reasonable – $3 for 12 single-serving packets at Noble Fish in Clawson, MI (I highly recommend the sushi!). I will definitely go pick up more of this.

Preparation
Iced

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83

I am having an incredible cup of this right now. It’s robust but bright. The ample milk I added cancels out almost all of the tannins released by the tiny leaf pieces. I would not take this plain, but with milk I am loving it. There is a hint of sweet potato. Am I allowed to like a fannings tea this much?

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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81
drank Tankha by The Simple Leaf
59 tasting notes

The dry leaves are really attractive. There is more variation in appearance from leaf to leaf than any other pure tea I have had; the leaves range from green, light, and thin to dark brown, thick, and twisted.

The smell… intersect a standard Darjeeling with a Rooibos, and add just a drop of grape soda. It is very mild and nice. The taste is even milder. The Darjeeling muscatel notes definitely come through. There is a woodiness, like a tree that is old enough to not smell green anymore, but too young to have the deeper aromas of old bark. There is a hint of baking soda, and after the last sip a light sweetness lingers.

The other day, i went to a tea tasting at the mostly excellent Goldfish Tea in Royal Oak, MI. One of the teas was an oolong, a Wuyi Yan Cha. It was not bad, and the aroma was captivating and powerful, but the liquor was so astringent! But, even steeped with more leaves than Simple Leaf recommends, Tankha is still smooth. Even on the rare occasion astringency results, it is slight. I can’t recall ever having a proper tea that was less mild. It is almost hard to believe that Tankha and Wuyi Yan Cha are even the same type of tea, save for the woody notes.

This mildness is what made Tankha so hard to rate. I’ve had it for several months but have never been able to put my thoughts together on it. Use too few leaves and the resulting brew is too close to being water. There’s almost nothing to be afraid of as far as using too many leaves, other than using up your stash!

So, stay away if you like your oolongs with a kick, but it’s very pleasant.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 15 sec

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94
drank Dawn by The Simple Leaf
59 tasting notes

Having another cup of this late at night, and it is excellent as always. Prepared with sweetened condensed milk, this is giving me a Fruit Stripe gum vibe on top of the usual cocoa and chicory notes. Not what I expected, but I’ll take it. In the months since first trying it, I still have not had any other tea like Dawn. It is truly an accomplishment.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec

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83

The first thing that I noticed when I opened my 1-kg bag of this (via Amazon) was how tiny the CTC leaf pieces were. They are so tiny! I can’t even steep it in my Beehouse teapot, whose filter has been fine enough for all my other teas besides rooibos. This made me sort of nervous about the quality of the tea. Actually, although the tea does suffer slightly from the leaf pieces being so small, it’s a good and satisfying cup with some character. A short steep is required, because the tannic spent-leaves taste comes out quickly; I recommend 2:30-2:45. I also noticed that as the tea cooled, the “tiny leaf” essence diminished; I feel like it was due to a genuine chemical change and thus it may be worth waiting a bit to drink.

Ntingwe Kwazulu is reminiscent of an Assam for its punch and overall feel, but it also has some Ceylon-esque briskness, making it more than just another PG Tips. Still, it lacks the smoothness of some other CTCs (e.g. The Simple Leaf’s American Breakfast) so it remains a good-to-great, not outstanding, tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec
farlihud

took this steeping advice and it really worked out well…the package the tea came in says to steep 4-5 minutes and, since it was new to me, didn’t want to oversteep the first taste…2-3 minute advice was spot on!..thanks

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86
drank Assam Finest by Tavalon Tea
59 tasting notes

I wasn’t really expecting this to be as good as it is. I threw it into my order when I got those tea/fruit-flavored gummi bears that were on Steepster Select a while back, just hoping to get some more experience with Assams. But it’s actually a great cup with milk and sugar.

If I had to compare it to some other highly-ranked teas, I would mention The Simple Leaf’s Amor and A&D’s Thomas Sampson. This beats Amor and comes close to Thomas, IMO.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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92

I’ve already reviewed this one, so for more detailed info see my first post. But I enjoy this tea so much that I have to reiterate how good it is. It is so rich and smooth, and doesn’t have the leafy bite that makes some other black teas so sensitive to leaf quantity and especially steep time. This is definitely in my top 3 black teas. Mountain Malt is my #1, but even that is easier to oversteep or overleaf. My girlfriend also considers this one of her favorite black teas.

I use 1 gram of leaves per 5 ounces of water for this and most other Assams – I have never had a bad cup when I measured the leaf quantity carefully. There are some $10 pocket scales on eBay that are accurate to 0.1 gram, perfect for measuring this sort of thing. I recommend picking one up.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
JacquelineM

Gotta put this into my next Simple Leaf order!!!

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85

This is a very yummy green tea. Distinctly Japanese, the flavor is primarily hay, artichoke, and seaweed – I realize that this description might not sound as good as it tastes. There is a little bit of umami or mushroomy flavor, which makes the tea more craveable. There is only a bit of astringency on the trailing end of an occasional sip.

The package suggested eating the used leaves, but I ate some of the leaves dry. They were pretty tasty. The leaves have a sweetness to their smell and are very tender. Just one or two is enough to give you a pretty good bit of flavor. Try more than a few at once and it may be too intense for some, but I enjoyed that too. The used leaves were also nice to eat, though much more mild.

Multiple steeps work all right, the flavor stays nice. No tannins taking over or anything like that, but the flavor isn’t really enhanced by it. I am at my third steep now, and it’s pretty muted but still enjoyable. There is a lingering sweetness after each sip.

I don’t really have anything negative to say about this tea. I have not had many Japanese greens recently, but this is my current favorite green tea that I can name. At close to $.50/gram, it was very pricey, but I wanted to try a Gyokuro and was not disappointed.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Stephanie

Great note! It’s good to see you branching out unto green teas!

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39
drank Black Pearl Tea by Lipton
59 tasting notes

This is what I have when I go visit my family and forget to bring my own tea. It’s probably the best unflavored black tea available in their Kroger, but not so great compared to the excellent looseleafs out there. It’s not quite strong enough, and too tannic and astringent; for this reason, I recommend using an extra bag but a short (3 min max) steep time.

When I was a kid, the Boy-Scout-styled church group I was in used some little leather straps to hang award beads on, and at some point I wound up chewing on one. That’s sort of what’s going on with Black Pearl.

It’s real black tea and not leaf dust, so that’s good. However, where its flavor deviates from the norm it’s not really for the better, and it doesn’t have the robustness to cover it up. Black Pearl is not proper bad, just mediocre.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I work as a web coder guy. I eat primal/paleo; I love math, science, gaming, and of course tea. I’ve been drinking tea since I was 3! I started with looseleaf in 2004 and have had lots of fun trying all sorts of new things since then.

I mostly drink black tea, and that usually with milk and sugar. I also enjoy, in more or less descending order:

cooked puers
rooibos, lighter greens, oolongs
whites, raw puers
some other herbals
darker greens

Location

Somerville, MA

Website

http://www.facebook.com/akrusz

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