379 Tasting Notes

85
drank Vanilla Orchid by DAVIDsTEA
379 tasting notes

tea 3 out of four… variations on a vanilla theme.

thus far this is the purest vanilla of them all (i know… i’m very surprised myself!).

must admit i scoffed a bit internally when the woman behind the counter said ‘this is a straight vanilla placed opposite a beautiful tieguanyin’… all i could think in my head was ‘verdant teas makes the best tieguanyin (with amazing lychee overtones among other things) on the planet, this was not a good idea.’ except…

it’s pretty good. i think credit is due here. very, but not overpoweringly vanilla, light nuances of lychee, nice light coloured steep…. lovely with cream and sugar.

david’s teas: i am amending my opinion. i don’t know that i will ever fully trust your ingredients list, but the onus for that lies equally with the consumer. very nice. (and to be honest i wasn’t expecting it to be nearly as nice as it was).

yes, i’ll buy this again… clear, light, comforting.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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43
drank Vanilla Black by Harney & Sons
379 tasting notes

this was vanilla tea #2 out of 4. must admit i am rather let down with this one but am glad i bought a sample versus a whole tin. with the sample bag sealed i smelled vanilla, but as soon as i snipped it open all i smelled was alcohol.

i had one cup, steeped lightly (alcohol shouldn’t be in my tea unless i put it there which i did not) in order to make sure i wasn’t crying wolf…

i did not like this one and won’t be finishing my sample. our youngest son who has become a ritualized tea drinker alongside me wouldn’t try it because he couldn’t get past the smell.

the paris blend is great, the hot cinnamon spice is an excellent boot to get you moving in the morning, but this one surprised me. it wasn’t as refined as i’ve come to expect from harney and sons.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Wow! I wonder if something was wrong! I buy this in one pound loose leaf for my youngest daughter. She can’t get enough of it. Same for Vanilla Comoro. Maybe it hadn’t had time to “settle down and meld.”

JustJames

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about a minute ago

i have no idea… but was very surprised and not terribly happy. we’re building a long concrete cobblestone path and i was really looking forwardc to it (while i waited for advil to take effect).

JustJames

apparently steepster is glitching my posts again…

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76
drank Vanilla Plantation by Silk Road
379 tasting notes

snagged this one the other day at the grocery store (one of the perks of living 10 minutes away from the main store downtown… you can find it at the grocery store!!!).

anyway, this blend started me on a vanilla kick; comparing and contrasting…. except i only had the one (therein a problem lies, lol). for all of my grouchiness towards david’s teas and their ingredients listing policies i do like to give vendors a chance to get better and evolve— my opinions aren’t set in stone. so i grabbed two vanilla teas from there to compare to this one in the next little while.

vanilla plantation is absolutely vanilla, a warm vanilla wafts out when the tin is opened. however, while it is smooth and cleanly executed (seriously, i don’t think silk road is capable of anything harsh) vanilla is not the only thing i get from this blend. to me the warmth of the smell plus some interaction between the tea and the vanilla pieces i actually get more of a buttercream essence! not unpleasant, but not strictly vanilla either.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
CrowKettle

I really like this one, as a simple evening tea. :)

JustJames

agreed… this one was my goodnight tea last night. wonder what it would be like cold steeped….? hmmm!

CrowKettle

I haven’t tried this cold steeped yet, either. In store, I think I did try this (or possibly London Fog) as a soy latte slush, and it was fantastic!

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this was a sample from ShortSorceress, thank you very much.

i have a few gaps in my tea repertoire— white teas is one of those. i have discovered as i navigate the curve that while i usually inhabit a happy grey no man’s land, that in this instance i tend to be very black or white. rather unpredictably so as well.

opening the bag the unmistakable smell of tea roses was clear. tea roses, for me, have always been the most beautiful in terms of scent. the idea of a white tea with a tea rose body was an excellent thought! and then i added water.

i really can’t put on finger on what the problem was, or why it began with the water, but i can tell you what it became…. incense. as i have mentioned in passing, for the most part, if it burns then i am allergic to it. so, recognizing a very dimly familiar scent was interesting! however, as it steeped the smell became more and more intense.

i had misgivings, but i’ve been surprised by teas before, so i forged ahead— 5 sips. guilt GUILT i can go no further! liquid incense and i do not get on!

no numbers on this one, it’s my aversion to incense.

Fuzzy_Peachkin

Unfortunately a lot of floral teas remind of incense or potpourrie, which I also am allergic too. Butiki’s Rose Violet Calendula gave me hope though that there are floral teas for me. As to white tea, I’ve quiite enjoyed trying them straight.

JustJames

the rose violet calendula was not an incense tea for me either, but while it was expertly put together it just wasn’t the right blend for me =0(

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87

this was a surprise free sample that came with my first order from harney and sons. thank you kindly folks!

i cheated… i peeked at the description an saw the word ‘assertive’. NO KIDDING!!! comparing it with another recent cinnamon tea sample from american tea room, this one with hot peppers, i actually think this one has more punch! it’s the cloves… must be. whereas verdant’s sweet cinnamon puerh is a completely different ball game with an entirely separate HOT element underscoring the cinnamon with the use of holy basil.

ha! and here i thought i didn’t like cinnamon outside of cinnamon buns.

very nice. very smooth. not benign or subtle in ANY way, and if you need to wake up early this will give you a significant jolt in that direction! oh yes… and i experimented: although there are chunks of orange peel in the blend it makes a beautiful uncurdled latte.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Veronica

I really enjoy this tea, and I haven’t had it in awhile. Might have to fix that later today. :)

Hesper June

I also highly enjoy adding this tea to apple cider. Hot or cold its delightful!
I have brought it to parties and people always ask for my recipe.

JustJames

nice idea Hesper June… never thought of adding it to apple cider!

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84

okay, this is the second go round with this one because the first one was such a miserable failure that it didn’t seem right to review.

after following teavivre’s instructions to the letter i find i still don’t like this tea. it is exceptionally strong with a heavy caffeine stick, strong versus robust. i don’t know if it’s keemun in general (i haven’t had many) or this one in particular, but it isn’t working well for me.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 45 sec
TeaVivre

Hi James
We appreciate you can leave a feedback of our teas. But very sorry that our Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea is not your favorite flavor.

May I know what recommended method you referenced for brewing the tea, Chinese gongfu method (with gaiwan) or western method (with teapot or glass)? We have tested again the recommended brewing method for Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea on our site, and found that if doing exactly the same as the recommended method, the tea will indeed taste much stronger.

So we adjusted the time of each steep in Chinese Gongfu way as following:

Tea ware: gaiwan (90ml)
Water temperature: 85 ℃
Tea: 5 gram
Rinse: 2 seconds;
1st steep: 7 seconds;
2nd steep: 7 seconds;
3rd steep: 7 seconds;
4th steep: 15 seconds;
5th steep: 30 seconds;
6th steep: 40 seconds.

The result is that the tea’s flavor was then normal, delicate and fragrant. We suggest you can try again with the tea in this adjusted brewing method, and see if you like its “new” flavor. We will be looking forward to your reply.

Thank you in advance for your time and for your valuable feedback.

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83

this was a lovely sent me by scribbles…

i wish it had had a zippier title, i think it’s subdued name caused me to leave it lonely and without attention… what a terrible way to treat a tea!

as i move through tea phases i sometimes tune out other genres… ie: i’ve been enjoying flavoured robust blacks lately and blanked on anything aside from them.

this tastes very much like a hybrid— there are black elements to the tea, but it is also very reminiscent of a puerh….

in short i am beginning to understand scribbles’s love for this vendor. hmmm….. may need to shop! lol.

oh, and it gets this score after i forgot about it on the counter after the timer went off. =0)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 45 sec
Dexter

I think scribbles should get a commission, she introduced me to them too. I love everything I’ve had from Tao Tea Leaf.

JustJames

i agree on both the commission and the liking! scribbles…. are you reading this? your fan club is talking about you appreciatively…. !

scribbles

I am very happy to have introduced both of you this amazing local vendor.

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86

this was a very nice tea… a unique woodsy oolong reminiscent of a puerh. maple is a favourite, as are pecans…. but i must admit that the tea fell by the wayside when i gave in to my snacking impulse and chewed on one of the nuts in my steeping basket.

i have had wasabi peanuts, praline pecans, candy coated almonds… apparently my new favourite snack is nigiri frost oolong steeped pecans, lol! stacy, you could expand from teas to naturally flavoured nuts!

thanks to ShortSorceress for the excellent sample!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Short Sorceress

hehe… I did the same thing.

JustJames

at least i’m not the only one!

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hmmm… dry blend is very pretty. alternating woodsy fruity smell…. …. ….? what? SO COOL!!! when my timer went off and i went to pull my tea basket there were sparkles roiling with what i can only describe as tidal eddies… i can admit it: i firmly believe that sparkles fix a great many things, lol.

i taste light fruit, cinnamon… no puerh. a metallic echo—perhaps i oversteeped? i taste sandalwood, but smell mango. although as it cools i detect more fruit.

the dry blend is lovely to look at, as are the eddies of sparkles, visually the tea is striking… aaaaaaaaaand i was going to say that the taste is not as striking, but as it cools it changes completely and becomes a true fruit puerh!

i find myself bewildered… so i steep it at one temperature, watch it at the same temperature, but give five or six minutes before drinking it? how remarkable!

if you are an ingredients puritan where everything has to be vegan then this will not be a tea for you, but if you’re looking for a visually striking surprise then this may suit you!

i will forgo rating with a number until i order some of my own and experiment. thanks to ShortSorceress for this!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Short Sorceress

Sadly, I think they’ve quit selling this one. I find it to be a very interesting tea and shockingly enough, it has been nearly 3 months since I’ve had any. I should pull it out again soon.

JustJames

and now i am sad…..

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88

the first thing i thought when spied this blend was ’it’s sticky!’ with great zeal. the last blend i sampled with this degree stick was steap shoppe’s cinnamon swirl bread (which is awesome).

i have been known to cook, also to bake… if you like to eat good stuff then it’s a good plan in my mind to know how to make it! when i make pineapple upside down cake the healthy presence of a fruit is secondary… the pineapple’s primary function is an unexplainable reaction with butter and brown sugar to create a lightly other-than-orange citrusy caramel which happily gets stuck to everything. don’t get me wrong, i eat plain avocados in droves and would eat sushi everyday if my budget could support it… but sometimes i just wanna be bad. and seeing as my cholesterol is perfect and my blood pressure is ideal i really don’t see the harm.

the blend was gummy, and i had high hopes: could it be a tea version of my sticky cake recipe? could it, could it? i hoped so! ShortSorceress was so kind by sharing, i had such high expectations… i could smell the pineapply caramel.

i sipped. ‘come to papa!’

it wasn’t the way it smelled! that’s not only unfair, it’s false advertising!!! i was bitter.

that was several days ago. i closed the bag back up and have been stalking around it grumbling. should i try it again? what if i got my hopes dashed for a second time? i have determined i will try again… i have enough for one more go. thusly i will forestall rating….

pineapple upside down cake, round II, let’s go……

ROUND II: with half the water and twice the recommended leaf i got the tea i had been expecting the first time around: distict tangy caramel, billowing clouds of candied pineapple steam and the much coveted detectable cake base.

oh yes… this could be sold at a bake sale. very nice! and after the success of round two i will numerify! well worth the second effort.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Time For A ReWrite!

A good friend of mine on here kindly asked me to do the Steepster world a favour and list my allergies front and center (fair enough, lol):

-COFFEE … rare, nasty, not even a bit funny if i’m exposed. (call me original)

-ROOIBOOS … is a new appearance. under certain circumstances i’m okay with it (ie if it’s GREEN and paired with mate) but because i have an auto immune disease i try not to poke at things.

*NOT an allergy, but an abnormality that drives my tea buddies bananas, i AM INCAPABLE OF TASTING CARAMEL AND TOFFEE. so i thought i’d list it at the top too. it’s very annoying. they smell great!!?

Hi! I’m James!

I’m a student: double major of human geography and psychology with the intention of chasing a double doctorate. (reading that over it occurs to me again that i must be crazy).

i’m a live and let live sort. i look and see alot of silver linings. my discovery of tea has only served to further that viewpoint. for me tea is art and nuance, watercolours and bold brushstrokes….

swaps are grand things! the element of surprise in a tea swap completely trumps forrest gump’s chocolate box life metaphor, lol.

favourites: french teas dammann freres, mariage freres and nina’s paris especially.

i have recently discovered a german tea company that has romanced me: tea gschwendner (sp?)

mandala teas is brilliant and a company i count on.

justea and tealet are companies i study because of both their exceptional products and and business models, as well as their work with farmers who are TOO POOR for fair trade certification. this is highly relevant to my studies.

90-100 i need more
80-90 i might need more, or it might be a respect vote
below 75? it was likely an oops buy. my evolution into french teas has vastly focused what i like!!

however, i’m always open to trying things.

dislikes so far: guayasa, darjeeling, most peach teas.

Location

Victoria, BC

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