110 Tasting Notes

83

This is pretty enjoyable, and I usually find chai to be unpleasantly sharp. But then I don’t sweeten my tea and this one has stevia in it, so that may be part of why this one works for me. Mostly it works because it’s got a smooth balance of flavors. I dislike clove but it is ok here because it’s counter-balanced by the cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and vanilla. There’s a hint of a burn from the pepper, as well, which adds lingering interest without being offputting.

The predominant flavors are cinnamon and cardamom, sharpened by the ginger, clove and pepper and softened by the vanilla and stevia, which together nudge it toward a suggestion of caramel. Adding almond milk, this is easily as good as the chais my friends order at coffee/tea chains.

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65
drank Green Tea by Bigelow
110 tasting notes

Not bad. Not “good” either. Wouldn’t mind having this served to me in a restaurant if I were lost in conversation. But the conversation certainly would not be about the tea :)

Curiously, it generated a thin layer of foam in the cup, not sure what that is about. Got the packet somewhere a few years ago… does old tea foam? lol

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84

This is both refreshing, with its bright orchid scent and flavor, and creamy. I love orchidy oolongs and this one holds a very pleasant, though single, flavor note with the faintest hint of something more complex and warming, almost but not quite spice. This would be a good tea to have as a standard. Thanks to Tea at Sea for the sample!

Flavors: Creamy, Gardenias, Orchids

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75

Full-flavored and roasty mate. Satisfying and nicely warming for this cold January day. Would be a good base for adding ‘dark’ complementary flavors like cocoa nibs/vanilla, if you’re about that as I sometimes am. I don’t think it’d work so well with citrus or other bright flavors. This would also be a great one to add to your coffeemaker if you’re looking for a coffee-mate blend. Decent also on its own.

Good for 1 or 2 solid re-brews.

I do like supporting Guayaki but I actually like Lupicia’s plain mate a bit better though I don’t know anything about their socio-economic sourcing.

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84

Although I was expecting a typically juicy green floral oolong here I was nonetheless happy with the brew. This tea is very well-rounded and smooth though a bit roasty. Really pleasing soft buttery complexity with a mild gardenia-like floral, especially in the aftertaste.

Flavors: Floral, Gardenias, Honey, Hot hay

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74

This tea is a good relaxant so it gets some points for that to counterbalance the relatively uninspired flavor profile. The spearmint is on the muted side and the stevia gives it a slightly ‘sweetened’, as opposed to naturally sweet, flavor. It’s pleasant enough, just wouldn’t buy it for the flavor alone.

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75
drank Golden Yunnan Black by Tao Tea Leaf
110 tasting notes

Enjoyed this as a wake-up tea this morning. Solid choice for a straightforward, non-complicated, medium-bodied cup to ease the eyes open. A little malty and a very nice apricot note, which is a bonus I love to find in a black.

Thanks to Tao Tea Leaf for the generous sample.

Flavors: Apricot

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74
drank Tippy Yunnan by Harney & Sons
110 tasting notes

A bit of smoke, a bit of metallic ting on the tongue and a bit of malt. Strength is nice but the flavor profile is just okay.

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79
drank Yerba Maté Chocolatté by Guayaki
110 tasting notes

Liking this better than Republic of Tea’s version, Double Dark Chocolate Mate. One reason being that RoT’s version requires 2 bags and a splash of almond milk to get full enough flavor. Drank this one bare and it was decent… it has a brighter and well-orchestrated flavor profile. Got a sample packet without ingredients listed so it would be interesting to see how the ingredient lists of the 2 teas compare.

Would love to find a great chocolate mate, if it’s out there!

Preparation
8 min or more
Cameron B.

I liked Chocolate Rocket from David’s a lot, not sure if you’ve tried that one. It’s chocolate and raspberry. :)

Jude

Can’t remember if I’ve had that, Cameron. I wasn’t a fan of David’s Chocolate Chili Chai or Cocoa Canela… maybe the Chocolate Rocket deserve a shot, sounds good!

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81
drank Nina's Japon by Nina's Paris
110 tasting notes

Got this in a great swap with Christina some months back, and it’s different in a good way. The flavors pull together well, a buttery-textured toasted rice/hazlenut with a peek of vanilla/caramel. Reminiscent of Chicago Tea Garden’s Sticky Rice Puerh Tuocha with a whiff of vanilla/caramel added. Resteeps well.

This would be a perfect tea to share for an evening in front of the fireplace. Full, soft, comforting and yet a little complexity.

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Profile

Bio

Strong preference for exploring teas au naturel, and unflavored (except for unprocessed ingredients, e.g., cocoa shells/nibs, vanilla beans, flowers, fruits…). Favorites lean in the direction of rich caramelly, malty blacks, any puerh, fresh floral oolongs and whites that have some dimension.

I am always up for swaps.

Beyond the experience of tea, I’m interested in exploring its medicinal aspects. Other interests … yoga, creative veggie cooking, environmental issues, animal welfare, music/guitar, lefty politics, preventive health/nutrition, biking, swimming, foosball, photography.

Here’s how I rate ’em:

95+: euphoria-inducing, le petite mort
91-94: extraordinary, exhilarating
85-90: delicious
81-84: definitely enjoyable
75-80: good, solid stuff
65-74: I’ll drink it, but without enthusiasm
45-64: something redeeming about it, but not much
31-44: just barely drinkable

Location

Metro DC

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