579 Tasting Notes

92

1 TB for 450mL water, bare.

This tea gets better each time I drink it. Picked up a fresh batch at my local tea shop yesterday and got deeply happy as I drank a good, long hot cup of this yesterday evening. Detected a very subtle earthy note – very subtle, not pu-ehr earthy – some fant smokiness and an odd but delightufl tasting note in a black tea: that bright “leafiness” yu find in some green teas.

I’d tried a Keemun Concerto at Britannia a few years ago and did not care for it. This Organic Keemun Panda #1 is much, much better.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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93

1 bag for 250mL water, bare.

An old favourite. Really good for bagged Darjeeling. Light body, but not as thin as Stash’s Darjeeling Spring. Unmistakeable muscatel taste. Light to medium brown liquor. Gets a bit plummy when steeped over 5 minutes — I like that — with a very faint floral scent, almost of roses. For reasons I do not understand, this Darjeeling tastes better when made one cup at a time versus made in a pot. Refreshing.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

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2

(Should my dear friends who gave me this tea today be reading this, please know that I loved the gift. That it came so thoughtfully from you makes my disappointment harder to bear.)

AUGH! Hibiscus! GROSS! Man oh man … this might be tolerable without the everlasting hibiscus. Tart to being sour, almost bitter. This tisane could strip paint. It smells lovely in the bag, and once the hot water hits it. Smells so refreshing — yet tastes like an axe made of leaden hibiscus. Seriously, that one ingredient ruins sooo many tisanes. So damn tart! And to think there’s lemon grass and citiric acid here, too …

A cup of Lemon Cream Rooios from David’sTea seems like milk in comparison.

Let’s look at the ingredients for Tazo Wild Sweet Orange here:

Ingredients: Lemongrass, blackberry leaves, citric acid, rose hips, spearmint, natural flavors, orange peel, safflower, hibiscus flowers, rose petals, natural orange essence, ginger and licorice.

At least ten tart/citric ingredients. Ye gods. Wild Sweet Overkill.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
heatherwassing

Yeah, Wild Sweet Orange isn’t for the faint of heart. But it is leaps and bounds better than the current orange-sucker manifestation they replaced it with at Starbucks! GROSS

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75

1 rounded TB for 450mL water, bare.

Decaf black tea is often terrible. But caffeine keeps me awake, and I can’t get my favourite tisane, so, depserate, I thought I’d try this one.

Not bad. I’ve tasted far worse. It does retain body and taste of a good Ceylon, but it still has that bitter, almost burnt harshness that I’ve detected on every decaf black tea I’ve ever tried. Still, good enough to enjoy as a bedtime cuppa. I wouldn’t bother with it during the day, though.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec

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92

1TB for 450mL water, bare.

I dunno about burgundy — never did drink much wine — but this Keemun does remind me of some of the oakier malt whiskies out there. That said, it’s also distinctly, unmistakeably, good China black tea. No malt, light body, deep Keemun … well, smoky wine without astringency. Seriously good tea. Very warming.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Sipping this today, I’m craving a little Yunnan pepper-bite to finish the Keemun smoke … must try some blending.

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98

1 rounded TB for 450mL water, bare.

Yes, yes, YES! Oh, baby, that’s one beautiful Assam. Trash-talks Kopili Estate Assam (I have to keep the competing tins separate so there’s no clagning brawl in my kitchen) and makes Captain Assam stare intently. Dry leaves are very tippy and smell a bit like raisins and sunshine. Tastes malty, of course, but not heavily so — there’s a real brightness in this Assam. Body is almost heavy and - wow- creamy. Mama’s got her a new favourite. Comforts and fortifies. Drink this, and you can do anything. Or at least you might think you can. ;)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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95

1 TB for 450mL water, plus 1 packet of stevia (equals 2 tsp sugar)

DANG! I did not mean to sweeten that last night, as honeybush is quite sweet enough … but, pleasantly, the sweetness did not overwhelm. Instead it brought saome peppery ginger heat. Niiiiiiice.

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85

1 TB for 450mL water, bare.

Got a sample in a recent order …

even better than I remembered. Nice cinnamon heat (but not cinnamon candy taste), some lovely sharpness, and mellow Assam. Doesn’t forgive a long steep, so time this one carefully. I like it at max 4 minutes for plain sipping. It might benefit form 5 minutes if you add milk. Upping my rating.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Uniquity

I actually had a tiny glass of this in store one day and liked it. There was something really different about it, but I decided it worked.

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23

1 TB for 450mL water, bare.

Received as a sample in a recent order …

Just not for me. Dang, I really want to like this one. But: NO discernible lavender scent or taste, and really minty rooibos. Overall, this tisane tastes to me like toothpaste that’s been rubbed up against old damp wood.

And I can’t get the scent out of my silicone travel-mug cover. I understand toothpaste may help …

If you like that odd minty quality some red roobios has, you’ll liely enjoy this blend. I wish I did, because rooibos and lavender is a potent and insanely healthy combo.

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32

1 TB for 450mL water, 1 packet stevia (equals 2tsp sugar)

Woody red rooibos and slick banana, as I noted before, with no discernible “spicy” or "chocolate’ taste. I tried to it today with sweetener … which brings out an orange taste, of all things.

If you like woody red rooibos, you’ll probably like this. I don’t. And dang, where’s the spicy chocolate?

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of THIS MARLOWE, DELUDED YOUR SAILORS, SKY WAVES, DOUBLE-BLIND, and THE SHADOW SIDE OF GRACE.

I prefer straight teas but will try almost anything … so long as it’s not tainted with hibiscus. I loathe hibiscus.

Floral oolong and complex black teas are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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