512 Tasting Notes

Sweet, almost too heavy on the papaya, and grassy. Potent kick through the bombilla. Gives at least four good infusions. For all the sweetness, I find I still need to add stevia to it or the blend upsets my stomach. Not an everyday cup for me, but it certainly delivers what it promises.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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29

Trying the ‘Improved’ version of this today, ‘improved’ apparently meaning new, mostly white box and individually wrapped bags.

I don’t smell anything cuminy, thank GAWD. Eugh. I do get minor spiciness, some decent carob with a distant whisper of cocoa. They show ginger and clove on the box, and list ginger in the ingredients, but I’ll be steeped if I can taste any.

Lessee … roasted chicory root (ah, bitterness and barkiness), carob pods, spices (how mysterious), natural flavour (of what, I should like to know), cocoa shells, ginger, licorice root (gag — except I can’t taste it, either), stevia leaves, cocoa.

Usually I run away from anything ‘Chocolatey,’ as it tastes fake.

This is not a disaster. It’s not brilliant, either. A bit like spicy cardboard with carob rubbed into it. My teabag’s been in the cup now 8 minutes and cooling off. It might be better brewed in a pot and kept hot. It gets sweeter and deeper the longer it’s steeped. The carob smells medicinal to me, but then I’ve also encountered it in various health tisanes, like Traditional Medicinals’ PMS Tea. The Chocolatey Chai tastes better than PMS Tea, but then one expects mediciinal teas to be a little harsh. Yeah, cardboard. I go back to cardboard from the back of the spice rack with some carob and cocoa on it.

Okay, at the 9-minute mark it gets bitter and barky, probably from the cocoa shells and carob. I know, 9 minutes is a bit extreme …

I expect I’ll finish the box, if only out of a sense of duty and to ration out my dwindling stash of Super Chocolate from David’s Tea, but I wouldn’t recommend any of my buddies waste their time on this one, ‘improved’ or not.

Maybe if I steeped the box instead …

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Michelle Butler Hallett

I want a chai that will warm me to my toes. Lovingly singe my mouth with ginger. Not upset my stomach with too much black tea. This is my Quest.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Haven’t touched this stuff since that first cup. Into the bin it goes.

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75

I think this stuff is helping me beat back a cold. And it gets better every time. Try being generous with the amount of tea; I use 1 TB for 450mL. Tastes of cocoa, apples and cinnamon, yet it doesn’t. Like no other tisane I’ve tried. I steep this one a long a time, keeping the leaves in the infuster basket of my travel mug as I sip it. Not candy-bar chocolate.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Michelle Butler Hallett

Sorry, 450mL should read 500mL.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Infuster? WTH is an infuster, I wonder? :) Some steampunk tea gear, maybe.

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85

Tastes mostly like real bananas and nuts, though there can be a strong sweet-banana aftertaste from the banana chips if you steep is too long. (I’ve left mine in the travel-mug infuser 15 minutes now.) I like the balanace of the nuts and currants, too.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Beckara

This might be against tea-religion, but I don’t even put this tea into a basket, I just throw it in the cup and poor water on it and nibble some of the pieces that float. Call my crazy, but I love it.

Michelle Butler Hallett

You kidding? Nothing wrong with that. You’re old school, girl! Be proud!
(I nibble bits of rooibos that come through the sipping filter. And God knows, Banana Nut Bread Tea could double as a trail mix, especially dry.)

Beckara

It really could! Also, Forever Nuts? Once it is steeped? Great on oatmeal!

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69

A really good bagged black tea, probably the best of the supermarket teas. Doesn’t get bitter. I know women who make a pot of this, drink some while it’s hot, leave the bags in and then microwave subsequent servings — and it’s still decent. Not too much Assam, so other flavours play out. Not fancy, but not to be despised, either.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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50

My first-ever tea, steeped strong, with evaporated milk added. My parents still keep King Cole in their kitchen. Malty. Hoo boy, is it ever malty. Sta-RONG. Can get bitter, but forgives a longish steep. I drink it plain these days, when I have it, which is not often. Sentimental favourite, though. Not fancy but certainly dependable. More robust than Red Rose, and miles better than Tetley.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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80

Sweet, a bit chocolate-y, a bit marzipan-ish. Tastes a bit like flavoured coffee smells. I don’t taste either coffee or tea, but something delicious. It gets better with each sip.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Oops — forgot to mention: I got this as a sample with an order from David’sTea.

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68

Gets bitter fast, probably because the green tea base is not the best. But I want that jasmine hit, ooh baby, want it baaaaddd … can’t find a happy medium for steeping this one.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec
Dorothy

That is really hot for green tea. You should try it again at around 80 °C. If it’s still bitter, try steeping for only a minute or two at the most.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oops, my bad on the temp. Thanks for that.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Must get me one of those adjustable kettles some day.

Dorothy

I just use an extra digital meat thermometer. An adjustable kettle would be even better of course. I have to get one of those sometime!

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80

Sharp, minty and a bit fruity. Quite a different fusion. I feel creative after drinking it just because of the creativity that went into it. Needs a really long steep to get all the flavour.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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98

An excellent and truly different mint tea. I love the wintergreen and orange.

Preparation
Boiling 5 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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