1355 Tasting Notes

69
drank Retro Ted by Bluebird Tea Co.
1355 tasting notes

Today is going to be a tea day. With clothes washing to do and a cross stitch that will take an hour or so to finish my day is pretty much free and open. Makes a change.

So Retro Ted will be kick starting my tea day. The blend is made mostly of large pieces and looks heavily herbal and floral. It smells fruity, tropically so, I’m thinking pineapple and coconut. It’s an interesting smell, fruity yes but heavy on the lemongrass too.

The taste is mildly tart and sour to begin with, also strong lemongrass tones with some generic fruit tones amongst it. After taste is creamy and coconut-ty in a mild way. I’m finding the blend of fruit and lemongrass and hibiscus rather strange. It doesn’t blend perfectly but neither is it terrible. Also dry and rather herbal.

Not a fan of this one, may try the rest cold steeped. I wasn’t a fan of the lemongrass and hibiscus blended together, it was too miss-matched for my taste buds and the only redemption was the coconut after taste. I wouldn’t buy this one again but am happy I can at least drink it.

Flavors: Coconut, Hibiscus, Lemongrass

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML

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81

Firstly, I cannot believe that I haven’t reviewed this one yet. It’s my ‘go to’ matcha and I have it most days. It’s only $2.49 for 50g for an organic matcha and that was what drew me in from the start, I didn’t expect it to be as good a matcha as it is. For a basic quality organic matcha I have found none better in terms of taste or price. I know it sounds like I’m selling it myself but it’s true, I highly recommend it.

The foam is wonderful though it’s initial colour is khaki which shows it’s not top quality. It smells of seaweed and sweet grass. Taste is fairly creamy and light, slightly astringent but in a pleasing way. Also is sweet and umami with some dryness. The initial flavours match the scent though, so seaweed and sweet grass tones that linger nicely.

As I said it’s not top quality but for an every day matcha that is organic and cheap it’s fantastic. A big hit too with my husband and a few guests that have never tried matcha before but have gone out and bought some afterwards due to this introduction.

Next time I will try the step up and have the Premium quality for comparison though that is $6.49 for 50g. Not expensive but at least over double the price of standard grade.

Flavors: Seaweed, Sweet, warm grass, Umami

Lala

That is so cheap!!!

KittyLovesTea

My point exactly. It was originally intended to be used in smoothies and juices to replace cooking grade which was more expensive than this. I tried it once in ceremonial way to taste it first and was thoroughly impressed, it went straight into my every day pile :D

Fjellrev

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a matcha that cheap. You win!

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100

Good morning all. Just quick notes on this one, I reviewed it before and still love it but it crossed my mind yesterday that I hadn’t tried it iced. So last night I cold steeped some for this morning, green tea is good for concentration (so I read) and I have a driving lesson in two hours so I could do with all the help I can. I’m one of those that doesn’t go over 10 mph for fear of crashing and hurting someone. Plus having it iced is quick and efficient for my morning.

As I pulled the cold steep out this morning it was a cloudy green colour and appears to have cold steeped rather well. I did try yesterday but the water didn’t seem to penetrate the leaves properly, I think to cold steep this Sencha I was supposed to rinse it first. Well that was done yesterday so thankfully this mornings tea looks more productive.

The smell perfect, it has a wonderfully thick sweet grass scent.
In flavour it’s refreshing, sweet, grassy, floral and creamy with a pure umami after taste. The taste lingers on the tongue for a few minutes after each sip and it makes me feel pure and beautiful. Like a flower that’s being spritzed with spring rain.

It’s just as nice iced as it is hot and I will keep that in mind. I always have cold steeps in the fridge but tend to have flavoured teas as it usually gets rid of the sample, but now I feel I overlook unflavoured teas in that way. Iced teas shouldn’t just be a way for me to clear my stash, perhaps as this tea has shown it is also a treat that makes the most out of your tea from time to time.

Duly noted.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Umami

Preparation
Iced

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72
drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
1355 tasting notes

Let me start by saying that before I tried this hot I decided to make it iced, and the outcome tasted purely Rooibos and virtually unflavoured. Not particularly pleasant iced, though it did make handy as a base for a Nutri Ninja vegetable juice. Amongst the spinach, banana and carrot the Rooibos added some sweetness and flavour. So it had a happy ending.

Today is the last of my sample so I’m trying it hot. With low expectations from the iced tea make I’m trying to enter this with a more open mind. I love Butiki’s blends most of the time and if nothing else I can say I tried it.

So after a busy morning (which involved house cleaning, a builder finishing some brick work and some furniture being delivered) I finally sat down with lunch (blanched vegetables with home made hummus in tortilla), put on a horror film I had taped a few days ago on Tivo and prepared myself for some tea.

Scent is fruity though light, mango is definable but also reminds me of peach.

Flavour is sweet and fairly light with a heavy Rooibos base and a light after taste of fruit. It doesn’t taste as definable as it smells. Other than ‘something tropical’ I would be at a loss without knowing. Some creaminess is present though the Rooibos cuts through it rather strongly.

I don’t think this blend is for me, it appears I have found my Kryptonite in terms of Butiki-ness. The base is too heavy, the fruit too subtle and unfortunately I cannot see (or rather taste) it’s greatness. A shame really, though not a surprise compared to it’s iced form. Not one I would care to try again.

Flavors: Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 5 g 20 OZ / 600 ML
Tealizzy

Your lunch sounds yummy!

Fjellrev

I don’t think I’ve had any luck icing/cold brewing rooibos. It waaaay amps up the base.

Kittenna

Can’t say I was a fan of this tea either.

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100

Lapacho huh? That’s a new one on me. According to Wikipedia it’s a herb that comes from the inner bark of a Pau D’Arco tree which are indigenous to South and Central America. Sounds very interesting!

It looks dry and rather…well like bark actually. This blend smells strongly of cinnamon and baked apple, like a pie. Heavy on the cinnamon too which is the way I like it, though also a bit dry.

Once steeped it smells strongly and sweetly of cinnamon bark, I used to eat it as a child and have fond memories of it. This is the closest thing I have smelled to that, though considering it’s a type of bark and has been flavoured with cinnamon it’s of no real surprise. Oh also, the drinks liquid is burnt yellow in colour.

With no idea of what to expect in flavour I have no means of comparison. Wow! First sip was heavenly! It tastes of pure cinnamon sticks with toasted apple, it’s pure tasting and so light but sweet and with a lingering after taste that is refreshing. It is a little dry but not necessarily in a bad way.

It’s simple yet very tasty, the bark has minimum flavour but has absorbed some of the cinnamon so all I can taste is cinnamon bark/stick and some sort of baked/toasted apple. There is nothing else to it but it’s simplicity is what makes this blend for me, it’s what I want in terms of a cinnamon or apple tea, and I adore both.

On my list with a real possibility of ordering more of this. For a herbal tea I am very impressed.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Drying

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 5 g 20 OZ / 600 ML
Sil

i just treat it like i do every other bad thing in this world. moderation is key

Stephanie

True Sil, true…everything wants to kill us, heh. Fortunately I also do not like the taste of Lapacho.

Sil

haha well that helps :)

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78

Taken from the EU TTB – Round 3 return.

Since my Japanese Spirit blend went down a treat this morning I thought I would carry on with the Japanese theme for the time being, that is when I remembered seeing this sample.

I like the idea of flavoured genmaicha, I recently tried 52Teas Peanut Butter Genmaicha blend and adored it without really expecting to. With this being a cheesecake tea I’m not sure what to expect, usually I cannot taste cheesecake in the range that I have tried from 52Teas. Perhaps all I can hope for is the cherry part mixed with genmaicha, that sounds delightful.

In raw form this smells very sweet and fruity, while it does smell like cherry I’m also getting some kind of berry too, like loganberry or strawberry, it’s sweet but also sour. Also seems perfumed, not fresh as much as dry and perfumed. No genmaicha as such, ie no toast or green tea coming through.

Once steeped the tea liquid is burnt yellow in colour and bares a toasted rice scent with a some subtle fruit behind it. Couldn’t declare it as cherry without knowing, hard to do so even knowing what it is. I’m sticking to berry like fruit.

Flavour is interesting, for a second it tastes toasty like a normal genmaicha but then suddenly a sweet cherry (yes, truly definable at last as cherry) essence grabs a hold and grows in my mouth. Like a light cherry mist that spreads itself as far as it can to spritz it’s flavour. In the after taste the cherry is still present but it becomes creamy and less sweet, slightly perfumed though nothing like it’s raw scent.

I’m sorry to say that again I can’t taste cheesecake, there is something creamy/buttery but not enough to say it reminds me of cheesecake. Though I do like that it still keeps enough of it’s qualities to taste like a genmaicha.

So put simply:
Cherry? Yes
Cheesecake? No
Genmaicha? Yes

As the song says “Two out of three aint bad”. I still prefer the Peanut Butter blend over this one but this was pleasant enough.

Flavors: Cherry, Cream, Perfume, Toasted Rice

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML
Fjellrev

I really wish more companies would make flavoured genmaichas. Such a brilliant idea.

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82
drank Japanese Spirit by Tealux
1355 tasting notes

Good Morning Steepster-ites! It’s amazing what a good nights sleep, morning shower and 82 calorie juice breakfast can do to a gal. This day is officially the start of D Day, which is diet day for me and not about the Normandy Landings of WWII. Though honestly the beginning of a diet feels like a war, there will be hunger, pain and suffering after all.

This loose leaf looks heavily Kukicha or Stem tea, I can’t see the chamomile, St. John’s Wort or gingko amongst them easily at all. For those that are unfamiliar with Kukicha or Stem tea it is literally the stems of green tea leaves so they are thin, longish and consist of both green and yellow colours.

Whilst still raw it has a sweet and rich grassy scent with a dry herbal background.

Once steeped a darkish yellow liquid is produced that bares a sweet yet oddly savoury scent of grass, herbs and soup broth. Must be an umami appearance. Again if anyone is not familiar with umami it is the fifth taste which is often featured in Japanese teas, it’s savoury and soup like. Some wonderful light reading here if you’re interested in umami. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami

Flavour is sweet and thick with savoury umami tones that linger on the tongue, resembling grass, soup broth and flowers. Slightly dry in the after taste though forgiveable. It starts of savoury but sweetens and lightens gradually. For the most part it tastes like a standard Kukicha but there is a touch more herb and flower flavours present, though hard to define what they are without knowing. Also a little toasted, like toasted sweet grass, the more I drink the more this stands out.

It’s a nice blend, since I usually prefer unflavoured teas I find this particularly delightful. Plus I would like to point out the added bonus for both the Kukicha and chamomile being organic. I would say this is nice enough to even buy more of in the future, though as it’s mainly Kukicha tea it would so be a nice introduction to Japanese tea for anyone wishing to try umami.

Flavors: Drying, Herbs, Sweet, warm grass, Toasted

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 20 OZ / 600 ML
Cameron B.

Sounds amazing. I love kukicha! :)

Fjellrev

I’ve had that kind of experience many times where I think, “Hmm, this must be umami” but am not entirely sure I can only go by definitions and descriptions on the internets.

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82
drank Malted ChocoMaté by 52teas
1355 tasting notes

I’m re-visiting this tea after 8 months as I’ve just found a little bag of it left in my drawer. This is now the last pot of this blend and so I’m serving it with some Italian Pandoro cake. I start my diet soon so the last little bits of Christmas treats need to be used up. I will have a Nutri Ninja juice in the morning, a milkshake for lunch and something small and no more than 500 calories for lunch. Hoping to get fitter for my holiday in a couple of months.

I think my flavoured teas will be greatly admired in this time, especially something as tasty as this one. It’s not chocolate as I know it but the sweetness of it makes it special, that being said it’s still a rather toasted and dark flavoured tea. My previous review still stands so this tea has aged well over the last 8 months.

Going to miss this one though no doubt I will find something in my stash to replace it with.

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74

This is called ‘Instant Tea’ and it claims to have instant black tea amongst it’s ingredients. It must only be a small amount as the crystals look more like sugar or sherbet. It’s sweet and lingers in the air, rather dusty and fine though with a sweet fruit and floral scent. Not hugely familiar with damson plum specifically.

I tried this both warm and cold today though it tasted the same for both drinks. The liquid is a pink/red colour and tastes highly floral and sweet though also light. It isn’t until the after taste that a fruit note dances onto the tongue and even then it’s too sweet for plum. More berry like than plum. Even in taste the instant tea is sherbet like and it has that edge of sour yet sweet sugar crystal type powder in each sip.

I’m not sure, the idea of this is a replacement for cordial and fizzy pop so it was never going to meet my satisfaction as a cup of tea, though even in despite of that it’s rather pleasant. I like that it’s floral and light, though sweet it isn’t too much and it does make a nice treat in the day. Not the greatest tea for my diet though considering the sugar but I will let myself off this time.

In basic terms I think I may purchase more of this in the summer as an aid to tea, mixed with some ice green tea I believe this would make a wonderful summer tea punch.

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86

A tea from the return of the EU TTB round 3.

My husband is a huge fan of peanut butter and it’s one of his favourite foods, as soon as I read the name on this one he picked it to try.

It smells sweet and nutty, rather nice actually, like peanut crackers but with something sweet like marshmallow amongst it. Slightly toasted which must be the genmai.

Once steeped my tea is yellow in colour and bares a toasty genmaicha scent with notable dry nuttiness behind it. Not as nutty though much dryer than expected.

In flavour this starts as a normal genmaicha ie toasty, lightly grassy and dark but it lightens up in the after taste with a sweet and almost gooey marshmallow and butter notes. It works, the blend remains light enough to be pleasant and the two elements of savoury and then sweet compliment each other. I’m not sure why this received such a negative score.

I love genmaicha and I adore subtle sweetness, this has both. It may not be peanut buttery in flavour but the marshmallow sweetness is a wonderful treat. My only complaint is that after half a cup I’m left with a dry mouth.

Very nice, happy I got to try this one. Thank you.

Flavors: Butter, Marshmallow, Nuts, Toasted Rice

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec 5 g 20 OZ / 600 ML

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Bio

I’m 28 years old from Leicester, England named Kayleigh. I have a wonderful husband called Richard whom I am very lucky to have in my life.

I started off many years ago drinking herbal and fruit teas which over time peaked my interest in trying new types. Eventually I began to import and sample many different teas and cultures which I still do today. My life goal is to try as many teas and ways of having tea as possible.

Tea wise my cravings change constantly from pu erh one month to jasmine green to the next and so on.

I adore cats and have four of my own called Cassie, Mr Sooty Pants,Ivory and Ollie.

I also have two fish tanks which thankfully my cats have no interest in. They house an array of tropical fish and shrimp.

I am a proud vegetarian and have been for the majority of my life. When I say vegetarian I mean just that as well, no fish or seafood, no chicken now and again, no animal products such as gelatine and cochineal.

I also enjoy watching Japanese Anime and horror films.

I am always up for tea swaps so if you see anything in my virtual cupboard then please contact me.

A short list to help swapping with me easier though honestly I am not fussy and am willing to try anything. Plus the notes below are usually, sometimes I love a tea that has an ingredient I tend to dislike and other times I hate a tea that I thought I would love.

Likes: Any fruit but especially melon and orange, vanilla, all tea types (black, green, white etc), nuts (any), flowers, ginger, chai.

Dislikes: Licorice, aniseed, clove, eucalyptus, lavender.

My rating system
I have my own way of rating teas that makes each one personal. I have different categories, I rate each tea depending on what it is made of. For example: I rate green teas in a different way to black teas or herbal teas. So black, white, green, Pu Erh, Rooibos, Oolong, blends and tisanes all have their own rating system. That way I can compare them with other teas of the same or similar type before for an adequate rating. And when I do give top marks which is very rare I am actually saying that I would love to drink that tea all day, every day if possible. It’s a tea that I would never turn down or not be in the mood for. So while I agree that no tea is 100% perfect (as nothing is) I am saying that it’s as close as it comes to it. After all, in my book the perfect teas (or close to perfect anyway) are ones that I could drink all the time. That is why you will find a high quality black or Oolong will not have as high a score as a cheap flavoured blend, they are simply not being compared in the same category.

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