111 Tasting Notes

66
drank MateVana by Teavana
111 tasting notes

The reviews are all over the map on this one, and I fall into the “where’s the chocolate?” camp. I love mate but this tastes like smokey bark. Actually dislike it unless it gets a splash of almond milk, that helps a lot. I’m almost tempted to add sugar but I never do that when rating a tea. Maybe I got a bad batch. As a coffee substitute it moderately succeeds, based mostly on its depth/body. I really like Guayaki’s Javamate, in either Vanilla or Mocha Maca flavors, as a coffee substitute. Both of them leave Matevana in the dust flavor-wise, plus Guayaki’s a good company, socially, and the products contain another rainforest superfood, ramon nut.

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65
drank Cocoa Canela (organic) by DAVIDsTEA
111 tasting notes

Now that I’ve tasted more chocolate teas, I’m dropping my rating on this, since the complementarity of flavors seems to be off balance, so sitting and enjoying a cup of this leaves me wanting something to be different, rather than kicking back with a big “aaah”… it’s overweighted toward a sharp cinnamon, at least in the sample I had. Also tried it with a little almond milk and that didn’t help, only diminished its character.

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87
drank Coconut Cocoa by The Republic of Tea
111 tasting notes

Enjoyable! This was a surprise because I’m so jaded by so-called chocolate teas. I didn’t have to search for the cocoa or the coconut, both tasted natural and there were no ‘off’ flavor notes at all — smooth sailing. It is a little thin but there’s enough flavor to not be dissatisfying, just give it a good long steep, as my brethren here suggest. Drank with nothing added.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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65

Slight cocoa fragrance, faintly chocolatey flavor. It’s a great ingredient list but the flavor doesn’t live up to expectations. I would not describe this as having surprising depth and body, even after I added almond milk. I think this tea might be nice as a low-key flavoring element for a fuller bodied puerh.

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83
drank Tamu Organic Oolong Tea by MAJANI
111 tasting notes

Really enjoyed this sample from Kasumi no Chagin, worth lingering over. This is neither a dark, oxidized oolong nor a fresh, green, floral oolong. It’s silky smooth, soft and round and … apricot. Apricot with a hint of assam from the nose through the long finish. The finish is slightly tannic on the second steep, though that may have been a little operator error oversteeping, not sure about that.

I am always seeking teas that inherently taste fruity (or chocolate/caramel/floral-y) without actually being flavored, and this is the most apricot I’ve tasted in that category. Smile-worthy tea sipping on this one!

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73
drank Chai Redbush by Yogi Tea
111 tasting notes

If I liked chai I’d be more of a fan of this. It’s a nice enough cup but the cinnamon and clove hit pretty hard into the rooibos.

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65
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
111 tasting notes

Molly sent me a couple of sachets of this that she’d just picked up so they’d be fresh, how sweet is that? There’s such a wide spread among the Steepster reviews and I can see why a lot of folks would love this smooth, flavorful tea, though I fall among those who are less enamoured, because it’s a bit too perfumey for my taste. The flavors are nice enough: I think Rebeccah hit it on the nose, so to speak, by calling it cherry pipe tobacco (I’d pulled out cherry and tobacco as predominant before reading her post, funny). Dark berry and bergamot are also apparent, and something smooths it out, like vanilla, which makes an appearance in the immediate aftertaste. Strong berry fragrance but this is not a typical light-bodied berry tea, it’s much rounder.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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75

Smooth, malty, pulls no punches, easy drinking, I like it.

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79

Thanks to Teavivre for the generous samples, much appreciated. This was a mild silver needle. Pleasantly buttery, with hay/grass and cucumber notes most apparent. Following recommended steeping with 1 1/2 tsp its flavor was quite subtle, so next time I will try it with 2 tsp.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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Rich flavor, marine notes are just barely detectable, it’s cleaner in that regard for those who have an aversion to puerh for that reason. I think Kasumi no Chagin hit it with the ‘peat’ descriptor. ‘Forest dirt’ hits more on the second steep. I know, this sounds so appealing, doesn’t it? But it’s a pretty good puerh for everyday drinking.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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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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