272 Tasting Notes

75
drank Gnarly Masala Chai by Steep This!
272 tasting notes

Thank you to Dexter3657 who is furthering my chai education alongside her own.

This pinches! It is so beautiful to look at, not like any other chai I’ve ever seen. There’s nice green cardamom pods, then there’s pinkish red rose petals, some yellow somethings :) .

Steeped for 3 minutes, a (DAVIDs) perfect scoop of leaf to 8 oz of boiling water. Sugar, a splash of milk and we’re off to the races. Maybe not the races.

This tastes first of cardamom, then of clove, and the black pepper gives a slight burn but not too spicy, it doesn’t travel down the throat, it stays in the roof of your mouth.

Too peppery for me, no go. There’s also a flower thing I’m not digging. I know there’s no chamomile in here but it kinda tastes like it way way at the back. Sorry! Thank you again to dexter3657.

Next!

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97
drank Florence by Harney & Sons
272 tasting notes

Good-bye, Florence! We shall meet again as soon as I return to Canada and I can place a new Harney order.

I have been denying myself cups of this because I had so little left. But today I needed a good mug. Nothing too finicky and nothing too fancy that would make me break out the more delicate (read:tiny) cups. I wanted to curl up with a comforting mug not a posh saucer and teacup and not those bubble cups. You know how certain teas you drink out of certain vessels? I would never make a big mug of a red robe or other oolong. Big mug for me means dessert tea. So with a sigh I picked up the near empty tin of what continues to be my favourite chocolate tea and settled in for the afternoon. Book, American horror story season 1 (Dylan McDermott, yo!), Skype with my mom…

I am leaving next week so I can’t order any tea. I’m also starting to worry about my Black Friday order. I thought it had plenty of time to get here but alas I am down to four business days left and no package. Not to mention that I’m drooling over those teas (eight candles!) and am so disappointed each day I get home to find them not here. Sigh.

PS. Anyone else still waiting on BF orders? It seems everyone got theirs but me.

Sil

where are you off to now?

TheTeaFairy

Sounds to me like the PERFECT DAY, yay for you :-)
Awwww, love, love that show…and Dylan, OMG! This guy is over 50, can you believe! So darn fine…

Nxtdoor

I’m going to Romania. It’s been 12 years since my last visit there, my mom is so excited she started making food in July, I swear.

Nxtdoor

@theteafairy I know, right? You should be watching “hostages” if you like mcdillet

TheTeaFairy

Oh, what do you think, I AM!!! I’ll even admit that after the first few episodes, the only reason I continued watching was because of him, but later on, it turned out to be pretty good. Most likely to be cancelled though…

keychange

My bf orders have arrived, and I suspect yours should very very soon! but, well, you know how crazy I am about the mail, so you know I know how you feel.

Sil

that sounds amazing nxtdoor…and yeah hostages will likely be cancelled but for now…yes pls! :)

Nxtdoor

Oh no, why are you guys saying that about hostages? Have you heard rumours? I heard nothing. Poor guy… All his 1 season shows. “Big shots” he was in, died after a season. Then he didn’t go back in American horror story for second season (except for voice credits) and now hostages!

TheTeaFairy

Poor ratings apparently…you know how networks are these days…But you never know, fingers crossed!
have you watched AHS 2? Don’t want to give you any spoilers if you didn’t, but he did go back, didn’t he??

yyz

Have a great time!

Nxtdoor

AHS2 is freaking me right out! I’m only on e3, I had to stop watching last night, I couldn’t handle it. Will watch for sure but need small doses. Unlike AHS1 where I watched over and over.

TheTeaFairy

Ahahaha! Yes, I was able to watch the whole thing this summer. And yes, it’s a lot darker and spookier… hold on and keep watching cause he does come back…eventually :-) I say no more!!!!

Fjellrev

Holy crap, I hope you’re enjoying Europe!

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73
drank Paradise Found by DAVIDsTEA
272 tasting notes

If you’re in the mood for a slightly tart thirst quenching tea, this can do the trick in a pinch. Oh, ok, it’s my last “juice” tea, I’m thirsty and water won’t do it. So I finally forced myself to get out of bed and make a pitcher of this iced.

I have a lot of it and found I only drink it when parched. Add sugar, it’s hibiscus-y, but over lots of ice it is, as I said, quite thirst quenching. It will take a while to finish the 4 oz I probably still have but doable. Steeped in near boiling water for 4 minutes, sweetened and put over lots of ice.

Tuscanteal

I hrmmm and hawwed over getting this tea when it was on special, but decided against it. Not a fan of what they use to make their “tropical” flavours. Too bad it’s not good hot though.

Nxtdoor

Yah, it’s kinda terrible as hot drink. I did get 250 grams when it was on special. Don’t regret buying it but it is not getting love often.

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84

I bought 250 grams of this a while ago. And now it is not calling me anymore. I had it a lot at first and then i haven’t had it for a few months. Tried it today and it’s sort of … Meh. Didn’t sweeten it so maybe that’s the reason it’s not making me swoon. It’s still a trusty tea, tastes like banana oolong should. Not too fake, banana does not overpower, but all I can think of is how my della terra teas are coming soon and I will have more choices in my cupboard.

Tuscanteal

Does it still taste like fake banana though? You know like the 5cent banana marshmellows?

adagio breeze

I so wanted to try this before it was discontinued, but I couldn’t justify buying such a huge quantity of it. Could I interest you in a trans-Atlantic swap, or just buy some from you?

Nxtdoor

Umm… To me it doesn’t taste too fake. I know what you mean, I think monkey fart from 52teas tastes like those banana runt candies. The good thing is I love those, I always picked out the banana candies out of the bunch in the box. I also like banana flavoured Popsicles, despite the artificial flavouring.

@Adagio breeze, you don’t have to buy the oolong from me, I am not against swapping. I don’t do them just for sport, like other people, but if someone is interested in a tea I have, I can always swap if I have more than 1-2 cups which in this case I do. I will be in Romania in a week or so, can totally mail from there, but I don’t mind doing it from here. Let me know if there’s other things you want. Even if I don’t have them, I can go and buy. There are a few DAVIDs teas I ran out of and need to replenish so a trip there is imminent.

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83
drank Fruits d'Alsace by Harney & Sons
272 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
272 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
272 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
272 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
272 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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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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