511 Tasting Notes

19

Unbalanced. Too sweet. Not enough white tea in the blend to notice. Hollow.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec
Beckara

I’ve never really had a Celestial Seasonings tea that I’ve particularly cared for.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I must have spent hundred of dollars over a fifteen-year period trying to find a CS tea I really liked. They all sound good on the box. Most of them smell okay, if not fab. But the taste never lives up to the smell. Two exceptions, both discontinued: Emperor’s Choice and Mandarin Spice. The MS needed an absurdly long steep to taste like anything — hello, tealight under the teapot — but once it got there, oh yum.

Beckara

I do love the fact that the only two teas that were really any good end up being the ones that are discontinued!

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9

A mistake. Why, oh WHY would one batter Darjeeling with a flavour as heavy as mango? Ceylon and mango, maybe. Assam and mango, sure.

And a fakish mango flavour at that.

Makes me wonder, looking back, if the Darjeeling in the blend was a bad quality.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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70

Oh, how I miss this one. Looked weak in the cup, but the snappy ginseng gave me a lift. Could get bitter is steeped too long.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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82

Tastes a bit like kuchika, a bit like chicory, a bit like roasted mate. Properly prepared — 10-15 minutes of covered steeping — it delivers a decent diuertic action that can help any PMS bloat, and, despite its odd taste, this tisane does soothe. I’ve only ever tried it plain, no milk or sugar. Definitely a medicinal tea.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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35

Weak, even after a long steep — stingy amount of leaves in the bag. Mildly diuertic, and the rooibos will help one re-balance, but hardly a serious detox. I’d suggest brewing up your favourite loose rooibos instead and knocking back a good potful.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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91

I keep a pot of this on the go all day long. Smooth China (?) black tea, not malty, with bright and sparkly real ginger. Warms you as you drink it. Excellent for an upset stomach or headache.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

My mother-in-law drinks this when she feels a migraine coming on. This tea seems to make her headache less severe.

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85

Surprise! Delicious balance of mint and warming spices. Refreshing. Makes me break into a light sweat, which would be great on a hot day for cooling off. I got a sample amount in a recent order from DavidsTea, and I may add this to my next order. I’ve drunk mint and mint greens before, but the sharpness and, well, playfulness of this blend is fun. I can’t taste the fennel, which is good. Love the cardamom.

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

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91

Mmmmmmm. Mild. Biscuity, as the shop promises. No grassiness or astringecy. Slightly nutty mouthfeel. Clean finish. Not one of the cheaper teas, but not ‘Oh, do I gas up the car or buy tea’ expensive, either. Soothing.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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100

Far away smoke on the fragrance, as of a distant bonfire. Some china black tea and rooibos taste, then chai with Indian black tea, then cinnamon and a light warmth from the chai, and, finally, smoke.

Warming. Sophisticated. No one aspect dominates. Harmony. A very special blend.

(I drank this once plain and one with light sweetening but no milk.)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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89

Should up the rating on this one. Loose is much more flavourful than bagged. A really, really good Assam, malty but not puckery.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

Writer and tea fiend. Author of 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.

Oolongs and blacks are my favourites.

Location

St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

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