268 Tasting Notes

83
drank Fruits d'Alsace by Harney & Sons
268 tasting notes

My previous note for this tea was when I first received it and I was so enamoured. I am not one to write multiple notes and will do so only if one is warranted.

I have had this quite a few times since that first attempt and while it was pretty much what I expected and remembered, I don’t love it as much. Usually when I do drink it, it’s not with excitement, it’s only because I have to keep it in rotation.

I will not be replacing this, there’s an element about it, a particular fruit I can’t put my finger on, that’s no longer doing it for me.

keychange

That’s interesting. Any suspicions as to what the fruit culprit is?

Nxtdoor

no idea. and I overleafed this morning in my enthusiasm which makes it harder because it’s a touch astringent. I woke up, thinking yeah, I’m staying home, I can make a pot and sit here and drink it. It didn’t work out that way, it’s sitting here getting cold and unappealing.

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97
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
268 tasting notes

I have been hoarding Florence but this morning I allowed myself a cup. I have exactly one cups’s worth left in the tin and am really hoping Black Friday deals will allow me to get some more. I’ve been in a holding pattern with teas recently.

Anyway, something interesting happened this morning. After not having had Florence for a good month or more, and having other teas in the meantime, well, it is not as good as I remember. Total shocker. For a brief moment I even thought to myself maybe I won’t get more. But then the Florence fan inside me screamed and I perished the thought. Yes, I will get more, but just for the record, me thinks the honeymoon is over.

CHAroma

Awww, don’t you hate when that happens?

Nxtdoor

Betrayal :)

Cavocorax

That’s where I am with my H&S teas. :( I’ve been over-leafing a bit to compensate!

Indigobloom

ahhh I do that all the time Cavorax! fall out of love with a tea and then overleaf to try and fix things :/

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76
drank Spicy Chai by The TeaCupany
268 tasting notes

Thank you to Dexter3657 for a sample of this. I have enough for a generous two cups. I need to do a better job of polishing off the ziploc bags. I don’t like them. It’s a dilemma. It’s always nice to receive swaps but then these bags are everywhere, unruly and taking over places… God, that sounds ungrateful. I love the tea, I just need to drink it when I get it instead of dragging it around. A you see it’s not you, it’s me :)

I was ok with these flavours. I did find it a little one dimensional, didn’t get a whole lot or orange, I did get clove but it wasn’t an unpleasant amount. I confess I did not try to find depth of flavour. I took it for a trip to chapters so in a travel mug it went with a generous amount of sugar (after all, chai is sweet, yes?) and some whipping cream. The fake stuff that’s all oil and terrible for you. Whatever.

The chai? Good. Would I buy this? Probably. In my search this comes closer to contenders than to the bottom of the list, in case you’re wondering.

1.5 tsp for 10 oz boiling. In a travel mug. By the time the chapters trip was over, it was gone. And that’s how you know. When you look in your cup and the tea is gone, it means it was good, right? :)

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68
drank Pear Mango (white) by Bonsai Hill
268 tasting notes

I don’t even know what white tea they are using for this blend. The more I drink and think about their teas the less enthusiastic I am. On one hand I feel they are a gold mine, a good quality tea purveyor right in my back yard, on the other hand, half the time I don’t know what I’m drinking.

In the store you can ask questions but unless you have a notebook with you and quiz the man behind the counter, once you get home with the stash, well, it’s all “up in the air”. Also, teas never taste the same when you’re out vs when you make it home. Is it because outside you are distracted by surroundings and also feel self conscious at times that you are not as in tune with your taste buds?

This tea smells great in dry form. Once steeped, all the aroma is gone. It just smells wet. Not grassy, not fruity, just … Wet leaves. The flavour is more pear than mango which is fine I suppose, they do call it pear mango, not mango pear. But I’m barely getting any mango and errr… I can’t be sure but it tastes stale. Or something.

I steeped at 160 for 6 minutes because I forgot about it, meant to do more like 4 min. Nonetheless, it is forgiving. Not bitter, not astringent, brews quite a bit darker than I expected. Maybe it’s the fruit skins because if you didn’t tell me this was white I wouldn’t guess looking at the liquour.

Some is going to dexter3657, see if we agree or if it’s just me. 25 grams will go fast if shared. Am just thinking, given the prices, there’s something about Bonsai Hill that makes me go hum. But maybe I’m just a pleb.

ETA: resteep not worth the time. I left it probably 15 minutes. Same color, less taste. Examined the wet leaves. They look like tree leaves, not like tea. Upon closer examination I found exactly four recognizable white tea leaves. Explains lack of flavour I guess.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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82

This is my first Red Robe. The description is rudimentary because Bonsai Hill is not on Steepster, their website doesn’t have a description of products or anything aside from store hours, location and the types of products sold, so I can’t retrieve any information. I can look up Red Robe on line, as can you. I don’t know much about Bonsai Hill’s Red Robe so I can’t in good conscience make stuff up and pass it off as legit.

This reminds me a lot of Tao Tea leaf’s Shui Xian Lao Cong. A lot.

It smells roasted, has long dark twisty leaves, and it brews pale brown. I suck at describing oolongs and I think I overstepped this one a bit because there’s slight bitterness. And the nice thing about it is that it does taste like you would expect it to after smelling the dry leaf. A nice cup, will likely restock for those days when I feel like straight tea. I can’t do straight blacks yet (shudder) and straight greens don’t do much for me.

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75
drank Butter Rum by 52teas
268 tasting notes

I had this bag since summertime and I barely touched it. I had tried one cup while camping, it was not good, so I left it on the shelf since. Its sister, the “butter brandy cake” was terrible. So terrible, in fact, that I …. Got rid of it. It was so chemical and awful. So there’s a few bucks I’ll never get back. I even tried airing it out, as someone suggested (suggestion was based on feedback and comments from here) and still no go.

Given this butter brandy cake experience I am sure nobody would blame me for fearfully avoiding this bag. Well, it seems I avoided it long enough for it to get to the point where it is ok tasting. Reading through notes here I see someone mentioning “curing” the tea. I’m assuming curing is kinda like airing it out?!?

I’m glad the bag is finally working because I’m out of all butter rum from DAVID and I’m running really low on SoHo blend from Harney, so now I have an entire bag of butter rum just in time for winter.

It still has a hint of something I don’t like but it really is just a hint, I can easily ignore it especially with a fixin’ of Demerara and vanilla creamer. Fixed just so it is indeed a good cup.

Used DAVID’s perfect spoon for 8 oz water that I allowed to cool to 204F after boiling. Just over two minutes. No astringency and good aroma.

(ETA: wow factor increases with a splash of Gibson’s Finest rye)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec
Dexter

LOL booze makes everything better….

MissB

So, for rum-flavored teas, you’re recommending DAVID’s and SoHo? Any others? I have a Jamaican friend amazed at the idea there’s such a thing as rum-flavored teas, and I’d love to introduce him to some of the better ones (having yet to try one myself).

Nxtdoor

MissB, DAVID’s Buttered Rum (organic) was one of the very first loose leaf teas I’ve tried so I suspect I’ll always remember how delicious it seemed to me. Later I explored more but I never forget my first loves. SoHo blend, interestingly enough is not a rum tea per se but to me the blend of chocolate and coconut gave it a similarity to rum notes. If you probably taste them side by side they are different. I’d be wrong to call soho a rum tea even though it tastes like one to me.

Fjellrev

SoHo definitely makes me think of Malibu.

Dexter

MissB I LOVE SoHo – not sure I would have thought rum – but for sure tasty.
I’m hoping that the banana rum pecan keemun that I concocted from Design a Tea is all that I’m anticipating it to be…

MissB

Ooh. Excellent! Excited to try these, AND to hear about your Design a Tea teas, Dexter!

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91

So the difference between this and just caramel matcha is what?!? I think it’s sugar. When I added sugar to this, it was too sweet to drink it, I had to dilute it. I add the same amount of sugar to caramel matcha and it is fine. Also, the sample they sent me with purchase was way more than I normally would add to an 8 oz cup of cold matcha latte.

It is also a little chalky. But hey, it was free sample with purchase and if you let it sit a bit, the “chalk” settles and you can enjoy this decadent drink.

I added the matcha to a travel bottle and added a little warm water and a tsp of sugar. I shook the bottle to dissolve. I then added 8 oz cold milk and shook the bottle again. Poured over ice, stuck in a straw and …. Sluurppp!

ashmanra

Yes, the difference is that the matchaccino is pre-sweetened and has a thickening agent added. I checked the ingredients when they first proposed it and I didn’t see anything I object to in my food, and I am pretty picky about additives. I bought three big bags of it. LOL!

MissB

Yep, I checked with them too to find out the difference, and that’s all it is: pre-sweetened and a thickening agent. So basically cuts out a step. I find this much better as a smoothie/milkshake.

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7

I received this as a free bag with purchase during a promo. I should have just left it for someone else to have. Even the dry leaf smelled so off putting — like bad milk chocolate — sour almost. Yes, I smelled coconut and Cinammon but the acrid chocolate smell was prevalent.

I finally forced myself to have a cup to satisfy a craving for something I couldn’t put my finger on. I looked at my cupboard and wanted nothing (well, really, I wanted a Starbucks’ tall salted caramel mocha with whipped cream and sprinkles) so I sighed and decided it was time to stop avoiding this bag.
You know, " #%^} or get off the pot", right?

It brewed orangey brown, had a ton of floaties, like A TON and I couldn’t make myself do it. I didn’t even waste my yummy creamer on it, I took a tiny sip and dumped it. The only thing that tasted worse to me was a sort of Tulsi chai I got a sample from someone — won’t name names :)

THis stormy night is the stuff nightmares are made of. Sorry, DAVID, I’m a fan overall, but this one needs to go away.

VariaTEA

haha I remember when I wrote my review you mentioned how you disliked the smell. I am sorry this was such a bad experience for you. I do agree that its not the best (although not quite to the extent you do obviously since I still drink it). At least you did not pay for it and now you know it is not for you.

Nxtdoor

You can have it!

VariaTEA

I still have a lot. Thank you though!

Satsuma

I would like to have it! I love that tea but can’t find it anymore…

Nxtdoor

Ok. You can have it. :)

Satsuma

Tank you!!! But I don’t know what to do next…(I’m very new on steepster)

Tuscanteal

I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it. I do find it smells a bit burnt at first but I actually liked it with cream and sugar. I like cinnamon though and you need to like it to enjoy this tea. I didn’t notice the floaties but I did notice it was more murky. I attribute that to the cinnamon.

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70
drank Tali's Masala Chai by Tealux
268 tasting notes

First off, who is Tali and why is there so much chai named after her? :p

Second, maybe I should give up my quest for chai, it is doomed, since I can’t stand milk and it seems chai and milk go together like, well, you know. I tried steeping Tao tea leaf’s masala chai in straight up milk — good spices but oh god, warm milk assaults my nostrils and I nearly barf so I boiled some water and tried to calm myself with this. If I am not careful with the milk I will develop an aversion to chai by association.

Back to this one though…The spices are quite good, balanced, but it is thin tasting. There’s a hint of ginger and clove, they do not steal the show. It wouldn’t be a good show if they did. Good overall but not essential.

Many thanks to Dexter3657 for all the chai shared with me, practically almost all the chai I’ve had. I’ve been a little gun shy in buying myself. Alas, there are two favourites still, the Laoshan Village Chai and something else I can’t quite remember. I’ll have to go through my notes but I think it was from Tealux. (Edit: yah, it was Oo Nutty Delight from Tealux)

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

You don’t have to brew it in milk. You can add cream and sugar instead. Just a thought. Or you can brew halg water half milk.

Nxtdoor

I hear you about the cream and sugar. I do that sometimes but I always wonder what it would taste like if I could stand the milk. Like when a person cooks but changes half the ingredients of an original recipe. You are no longer experiencing that dish as it was intended so perhaps left wondering… :)

Tuscanteal

So many different ways. We have a large Indian community here and seems every family does it differently.

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70
drank Tali's Masala Chai by Tealux
268 tasting notes

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Bio

Im a fairly recent follower of the loose leaf tea drinking cult. March 2013 to be exact. Never been much into tea before. Growing up in Romania, tea was something mom made for you when you were sick. As an adult, my hot beverage of choice has been coffee, both flavoured and regular. I’ve recently stumbled upon Teavana and DAVIDs TEA and quickly got addicted to the latter. Then came steepster and all else followed.

Formerly a mathematician and insurance adjuster, I gave up the corporate world and am now a professional chef. I drink wine and sometimes cheat on it with tea.

I prefer flavoured teas. It’s probably the newbie in me. I just don’t get cravings for a straight black tea. If I end up having one, I drop in a slice of lemon and artificial rum flavouring (ugh, what moron admits to this?). A black tea fixed this way reminds me of skating at an outdoor rink as a young one, with a thermos full of tea made just as I described..

Im learning so I drink them all. everything! Am even introducing myself to pu’erh. So far I can do fine with the sheng cause frankly, they don’t taste like pu’erh to me. The shou is another story.

NOTE: The virtual cupboard does NOT contain any of the samples I hold since most of them are one-cup quantity. Home improvements, mortgage, travel, wine and food have budget priority over tea.

Location

Toronto Canada

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