552 Tasting Notes

66

1scant TB for 450mL water, lightly sweetened with stevia, no milk.

I am having a Very Bad Day. Almost four weeks of assorted nuisances have blended, entwined and swollen to create my grotesque today. I am ready to scream. Or cry. But what did the posters in WW2 England say? ‘Keep calm and carry on.’ And what would my war-bride English grandmother say? ‘Cup of tea.’

My nerves are shot, so I figure I need rooibos. Then I remember the new packet of Creme Brulee from David’sTea I thought I might keep on hand for a gift. I, um, opened it. Steeped some.

Mmmmmm, yes, that’s better.

The green rooibos base tastes bright, but not minty or woody as some red rooibos can get, and not dull and grassy like some crappy green rooibos I’ve had. The liquor is a lovely pale brass. The scent is caramelly but not overpoweringly so. The aftertaste is a slight bit woody, but I don’t mind it. Soothing. Very mild. Silky mouth-feel.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Sorry about the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad. A co-worker of mine used to say “Even bad days are only 24 hours long.” To which I would reply, “Yeah, but some 24 hours are longer than others.”

Michelle Butler Hallett

Thank you. Yep, only 24 hours … and decidedly looking up. A whole pile of problems got solved within the same hour.

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29

1 scant TB for 450mL water, no milk or sweetener.

On my second attemot with the Chocolare Chili Chai. I expected to like this one, but I’m underwhelmed.

Lots of really good chocolate aroma, but very little tea aroma. I think the base is a China black. I dunno, I can’t help thinking an India black would have been a better choice. No real heat, just a minor nibble from the chilis on the aftertaste. Except for the Chai Guarana, I’ve found anything labelled ‘chai’ from David’s Tea to be a bit dull. No true heat, no singing marriage of hot and sweet spices. Not for me.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
heatherwassing

Without going back, I can’t see if you’ve tried/rated their Cinnamon Chai rooibos.
IT has heat and sweet. I recon you should give it a whirl, if you want satisfying spiciness from David’s.

heatherwassing

PS: I am desperately sad that you didn’t like this. I will remember to maybe amp up the tea:water? I generally do with David’s Tea teas. I need more slap-in-the-mouth than they generally offer.

Michelle Butler Hallett

I have tried David’s Cinnamon Chai Rooibos and LOVED it. Thanks for reminding me. I have some left in a packet; must brew some today.

I’m gonna try the Chocolate Chai one more time today. I think you’re right about amping up the tea:water ratio. I might add a pinch of Assam, too.

katgolik

Couldn’t agree more with your assessment!

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84

1.5 Tablespoons per 450mL water. (David’sTea recommends 2 teaspoons for 250mL water. I brew my tea pretty strong. This tisane needs the extra amount, too,)

A beautiful tisane just to look at. I’ve given serious thought to buying some just to have out in a bowl as potpourri, or in a clear jar for display.

Lovely chunks of apple and extremely fresh and fragrant cinnamon stick. A few peppercorns and four gorgeous green pods — caradmom? I brewed this completely loose, no bag or filter, as I wanted to watch it steep.

At 5 min, most of the tisane is still floating. Liquor is cloudy and pale. The aroma, my mother-in-law assures me, IS baked apples. Just like her mother made on cold days, with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nuts and raisins. This tisane has, in fact, scented the entire top floor of my house and beats even my good Pumpkin Spice Colonial Candle.

The taste? Red apples. You can even taste the peel. Red apples and sweet spices. (And no hibiscus! Yay!) Delicious. A very special tisane.

If you opt not to use a filter, you will have to sip around/through the ingredients floating on top. Just so ya know. The frugal amongst us may even scoop out the steeped tisane to mix into oatmeal later.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, forgot to add: drunk without milk or sweetener. This tisane is quite sweet on its own, but not sickeningly so.

Michelle Butler Hallett

After about 8 min, the apple pieces are soft enough to eat. I highly recommend you do so — it would be such a waste to just throw them out.

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99

Drunk bare (no milk or sugar), 1 TB to 500mL water, 4-minute steep.

The Captain’s a bit more mellow at four minutes. Still a very fine Assam, but I do prefer the bit of atringency I get with a 6-minute steep.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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66

Bright and feisty. Little tiny leaf steeps quickly and gets bitter fast. This will wake you up.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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23

Confused. I could neither taste nor smell the lavender, though I did see it. A very minty and woody rooibos. Not for me,

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 30 sec
Dorothy

Ever try Lavender Zen? It is loaded with lavender.

Michelle Butler Hallett

No, I haven’t. Must add that to my next order. Thnaks.

Rabby

I agree completely; I got this because of the lavender as a gift from someone who knows I love lavender – and I can’t really taste it or smell it at ALL. T_T;

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94

Drunk bare — no milk or sweetener.

I did not think this tea would live up to the hype. I adore a good smokey tea, but too often, the smoke dominates.

So, I was wrong.

Caravan gives off a very strong smoke scent, but the steeped tea is almost sweet. The smoke is an accent, not a bully. There’s a wine-iness too, as you find in some Keemuns. (Keemun in blend?) Also something savoury, almost salty, that excites the sides of the tongue. Finishes clean, though smoke lingers in the mouth.

Damn fine.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Another one to binge on, not hoard. Drat these limited editions!

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99

Drunk without milk or sugar — ‘bare tea,’ in Newfoundland English.

My heart deeply wounded by the absence — rather, by my never getting to try — Thomas Sampson (though he did send me a lovely note), I thought to ring up the Captain, who, surely, cannot be as harsh and hard as he’d like everyone to think. After all, he seeks a mermaid.

I’m sorry. I just love the writing round the teas from A&D.

Received my order in the storm of a very bad day. Couldn’t even properly welcome the Captain, just showed him his berth.

This morning: dry long leaves with plenty of golden tips, smelling raisin-y, as others have noted. Sweet. Brewed for 6 minutes by mistake, 1 TB for 500mL of boiling water.

Oh.

My.

First those high sweet notes of a really good Assam. Then strength and heft. A heavier mouthfeel to this one, but it’s lovely - creamy, silky. A bit malty on the sides of the tongue, a slight bit of astringency in the aftertaste- but I did overbrew by two minutes; A&D recommend a four-minute steep. But these are characteristics of Assam that I love and desire. A clean finish, but you know you’re drinking TEA. ‘Proper tea’, as my English war-bride grandmother would call it, that will get you through a storm and help you recover afterwards. The sort of tea George Orwell meant when discussing the virtues of Indian tea: ‘First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ’a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.’ (_Evening Standard, 12 Jan 1946).

Not at all a harsh Assam. But a very strong one. Ideal.

And Captain Assam’s High Seas Elixir is, of course, a limited edition. I don’t know whether to hoard or binge. Probably binge. Then it won’t go stale.

(For the record, I do not despise China black tea; in fact, sometimes nothing else will do. But I do agree with Orwell that it doesn’t pack the same punch as India black yea.)

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Not sure how I got the overstike in there, sorry.

Michelle Butler Hallett

WoooHOOOO! The Captain is mondo caffeineated! Or whatever the magic stimulating substance in tea is. Captain Assam’s got it by the shipload. My eyes are wide open and my writin muscles are twitchin!

As the brew cooled off, it remained sweet and malty. No bitterness.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Oh, what is that goregous tasting note, almost like the winey-ness in Keemun?

Michelle Butler Hallett

Second batch (bare) at 6 minutes again … yeah, I don’t think I want to go back to four. Deliciously heavy mouthfeel. Is this what some Steepsterites mean by ‘chewy’?

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77

Received a free sample of David’s Orange Pekoe in a recent order.

Dry leaves: zero scent, but they look intriguing. Unassuming, perhaps, like that quiet guy who excels in art class in high school and hides behind his hair.

4-minute steep, boiling water, 1TB for 500mL, no milk or sweetener … classic ‘normal tea’ taste. Some depth and sweetness from the Assam, brightness from the Ceylon … very good. No bitterness. Yet still finishes a bit hollow, like it lacks something … more punch from the Assam, maybe? I find myself bracing for a malty pucker, some astringency on the back of the tongue, but it doesn’t arrive.

I’d confidently serve this at a big dinner or a tea party as ‘normal’ tea offering, but I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to get it for myself, not when David’sTea alone offers so much more. And my old fave, the fair trade English Breakfast from my local teashop, Britannia, leaves this eating yesterday’s dust. Perhaps I’m being a snob.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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88
drank Joy by Tazo
552 tasting notes

Sipping a big 500mL mug of this at Starbucks this morning … last time I tried Joy, Tazo was stiull using those little teabags with fannings. Now Tazo is all about full-leaf, and while I deplore the petroleum-based bags, the full leaf, of course, makes a huge difference.

How to steep a blend of black (including delicate Darjeelings), green and oolong? The hot water at Starbucks is just below boiling, as far as I can tell, and a 4-minute steep of one bag (they’re big bags, packed) in a 500mL cup yielded to me a toasty, slightly nutty and green, sweet and incredibly floral oolong bouquet. I would not steep this blend any longer than 4 minutes, and I would definitely use water below boiling. Don’t worry, the black teas will make themselves known. Might be soe Yunnan in here, too; definitely getting a peppery bite. I really like the 2010 Joy blend and would happily give it as a gift.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Michelle Butler Hallett

Drunk without milk or sugar.

gmathis

I hunted and hunted at our armpit-of-nowhere-scaled-down-Starbucks last year hoping to find a little Joy of my own, with no luck. Maybe this year, Charlie Brown…

Michelle Butler Hallett

Hope so! My local Buck’s is stocking a gorgeous red tin of Joy for about $9.00. Not sure how many bags are in it. Just amanaged to stop myself from buying it less than 24 hours after orders arrived fro Stash and David’s.

Sigh. I may have a tea problem.

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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. New novel next spring called THIS MARLOWE.

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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