564 Tasting Notes

35

2 bags for a 500mL teapot, no milk or sweetener.

A very pleasant aroma of rum, nutmeg and, faintly, ginger, but the overall brew is weak and thin. Faintly spiced rum aftertaste but with an oily mouthfeel. No tea taste whatsoever. I remember Holiday Chai being much, much better. Rats.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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95

1 scant TB for 500mL water, nothing added.

I love jasmine tea. It can be tricky to brew, and I learned recently, thanks to this very site, that for years I’ve been using water that’s too hot. Water that’s too hot can scald tea leaves and blossoms and make the overall tea bitter.

Today, I followed instructions … at least, as best I could without a thermometer or fancy adjustable kettle.

Dry leaves are medium to long and twisted. Liquor is pale straw. Scent is heady and heavy with jasmine … with REAL jasmine. No fakery here. Assertive and pleasant finish. Clean mouth-feel, which I really like and generally only find in white teas.

The green tea, as another Steepsterite has noted, is not especially strong and is almost as delicate as white tea. Almost, but not quite: there’s a slight bit of vegetal and (ooh, look at me with my new word!) mineral tastes from the green tea. The mineral taste may come from my tap water, either; my city’s water supply comes from a lake. In winter, when the city lowers the chlorine levels, you can catch bits of reed and rocks in the water, very refreshing.

But back to the tea. The jasmine mouth-feel is fairly heavy; someone else compared it to soap. I wouldn’t go that far, but this is a serious jasmine tea. The scent alone intoxicates, in a good way; can’t wait for the jasmine “hit” from this brew. AHHHHH, there it is … laughter and smiles and peace. Any word on whether jasmine flowers are narcotic at all? ;)

Final note: aftertaste goes from clean to slightly powdery.

I slightly prefer the Dragon Pearls I got from my local teashop, but Andrews and Dunham’s Jasmine Green is also excellent. I’ll be sorry to finish this little tin, but I won’t be hoarding it, either.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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89

1TB, 500mL water, no milk or sugar

Oh, MY! I steeped this in a little 500mL teapot set on a desktop mug-warmer … and then FORGOT about it. Half an hour later, I found it. I thought, oh well, let’s see how bad this got.

Guess what?

It’s amazing.

Dark liquor, yes, but clear, no murk or sediment. No bitterness! A simply divine scent of some mysterious fruit brandy — beyond raisin — then the taste of really, really good deep Assam. An astringent finish, but I like that with Assam. The brandy-like scent translates to a heavy-wine mouthfeel, something like what you get with a good Keemun, only heftier.

Kopili Estate, I salute you.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
gmathis

This is, I think, my absolute favorite basic, no-nonsense breakfast tea. (Well, one of them.)

Michelle Butler Hallett

It’s utterly dependable. An excellent tea.

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70

2-3 TB in 125mL gourd, 1/2-1 packet stevia, 125 mL steaming (not boiling) water.

Sweet yet ‘green.’ Some coffee flavour, some white chocolate, some cloves. Really pleasant and mellow green mate taste amongst it all. Medium body and slightly creamy mouthfeel when sipped through a bombilla, versus a definitely thin body and sharp mouthfeel when drunk as a tisane. Good for 3-4 infusions. Can be quite potent. A good friend when fighting deadlines. Yerba mate does not affect my sleep hours after the fact, something I really like. Dregs in the gourd look like the bottom of a bog, but that’s okay — everyone else is scared to drink it. More for me!

I try never to run out of this one. I’ve asked for a big 250g bag as a Christmas present.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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91

Superb on its own. Versatile enough to add to a custom chai brew. Excellent ginger flavour. Mellow black tea flavour. Just fabulous.

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93

500mL mug

1 part chai concentrate, 1 part 2% milk. Gently heat in microwave til steaming. Then add two Stash Ginger Breakfast teabags and a splash of boiling water. Cover and steep on a desktop mug warmer for 5 minutes. Allow milk to carry sweet hot spicy gingery bliss throughout body. Sigh. Smile.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Gets hotter and more gingery with each sip! Booya, sweetest burrrrnnnn …

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88
drank Joy by Tazo
564 tasting notes

1 big bag for 500mL water (medium take-out cup from Starbucks), no milk or sweetener.

Ai yi yi. Be careful if you get Joy to go. Traffic and other delays meant mine steeped wayyyy too long. The oolong is lost. Astringent and spicy Darjeelings, intoxicated with new power, have bullied this cup. Some stronger black tea is grunting in the background. Something else— oolong?— tastes scalded. I love a good strong tea, but Tazo’s Joy is delicate and complex. Steep carefully!

Michelle Butler Hallett

Last few sips remind me of, um, rocks. Clean rocks. Iron ore, maybe. I don’t go around licking rocks, so I really don’t know why I’m thinking this … hard to explain. Is there an official term for this taste?

gmathis

Mineral taste is a valid description!

Michelle Butler Hallett

‘Mineral.’ Okay, I can go with that. Once again, Steepster proves I am not crazy. ;)

gmathis

But I really like “licking a rock” better. Much more vivid.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Meh — it’s a hobby. :)

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93

1 TB for 500mL water, no milk or sweetener.

I find Kenya Black Dryer Mouth — so named for the malty pucker it can cause — tastes and feels like a cousin of Assam. It’s brighter in scent and liquor than an Assam, more like a Ceylon that way, but it’s got maltiness, baby. Smooth finish, no bitterness.

Dry leaves look black; steeped leaves turn a beautiful dark rust with some dark green.

Light to medium mouthfeel. Not as creamy or chewy as a good Assam (can ya tell I’m out of Assam and dying to have some this morning?) but very, very good. Bright and feisty.

Many Irish Breakfast blends use Kenya teas.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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89

2 bags for 500 mL water, no milk or sweetener.

Decaf black tea is dicey. I often find it tastes stale or hollow.

Stash decaf English Breakfast is not the best black tea from Stash, and it’s not the most flavourful English Breakfast blend. I blame the decaffing for this, not the tea itself.

BUT … and this is a major saving ‘but’ … when I wake up feeling sick at 2 in the morning and sleep seems as far away as a Darjeeling estate, Stash’s decaf English Breakfast is lovely. I brew it strong, of course, try to steep it past the decaf hollowness; it quickly slides then into a comforting, if astringent, puckery maltiness. I love it. And even if it doesn’t help me get back to sleep, at least it won’t keep me awake.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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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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