148 Tasting Notes

78

MissB sent me a sample of this a couple of years ago, which makes it one of my oldest teas and in definite need of a sipdown! I had a friend visiting for the day and while we were watching Preacher I brought down my teas for her to look through. She picked this one out and I made a pot of it, though there wasn’t quite enough leaf so it was on the weaker side. According to other reviews it’s better that way though, so I guess it worked out for the best! I was drinking mine black and was slightly underwhelmed, but Kathleen had hers with milk and sugar and told me it really improved the tea. I was sceptical but tried anyway and almost did a double-take! With a tiny bit of sugar and milk the chocolate and caramel flavours are brought out and the tea becomes a decadent, desserty delight! This always helps because I have a terrible chocolate tooth, and I’m on Weight Watchers so have to avoid it most of the time. I’m not sure the ‘salted’ bit came across, but that might have been the additions and the underleafing.

Sipdown 42/371

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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51
drank Honey & Melon by English Tea Shop
148 tasting notes

I’m not the biggest melon fan, but I like this tea occasionally when I want something light. I chose it today because it’s quite old and about time I moved it out, plus I wanted something ‘springy’ because I’m excited that winter is over. Every time I brew this tea I am taken aback by the scent – I always forget how dead on it is! After a few seconds of brewing the honeydew scent is intoxicating. I brewed this for 5 minutes instead of my usual 3 because I was preoccupied with inhaling the steam. The base tea does overpower the flavour of the melon a little in the sip. The scent is pure melon but in flavour it is definitely in the background. I have no complaints about this, as I said melon isn’t my favourite thing and it’s nice as it is. The tin this came in states that this blend has liquorice and cinnamon pieces in it, which baffles me. I have maybe 6 or 7 of the 50 teabags left, and I have never noticed any liquorice or cinnamon notes once. Maybe I will next time now that I know they’re supposed to be there. The tea base does become more pronounced when steeping for five minutes (I sometimes use two teabags when steeping to strengthen the flavour of this tea) but it also becomes somewhat astringent, which is a problem I’ve never had with this one before. It’s actually one of the few black teas I don’t get any astringency from usually. Top marks for the flavouring, even though it isn’t really my thing, but the black tea base is pretty generic and could use some work.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 6 OZ / 177 ML

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82
drank Masala Chai by Tea India
148 tasting notes

Sipdown 41/371!

I could have sworn I’d written out one or two notes on this tea before, but either I’m imagining things or Steepster is eating my notes again. This is my favourite plain chai tea, and I’m actually quite sad to see it go. I usually find chais quite tricky, particularly loose leaf, as there are so many spices and I can never seem to get them in the same quantities each time, so every cup is different. I’m not a big fan of chais as a rule, because I have a strong aversion to cardamom in any form. I also try to avoid ginger whenever possible, and I’m not a fan of cloves either. Because all of these ingredients are in this tea, I really didn’t expect to like it at all, and was pleasantly surprised when I tried it the first time. The Assam blend is robust enough to hold its own against the spices, but nothing is overpowering and the resulting cup is quite mellow. The ingredients I dislike so much are present, but somehow I don’t mind them here. The cardamom stands out a little, and the pepper comes through at the end of the sip. This is a really nice morning tea, and I’m drinking my last cup of this with a couple of cheese crackers I’m calling breakfast. I rarely drink tea with sugar any more, but this one called for it so I’m treating myself to a milky cup with a teaspoon of sugar and it’s delicious. I’m joining WeightWatchers tomorrow, so this will probably be the last time I have sugar in the foreseeable future. It’s a good send-off for sweetened tea.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec
K S

Strangely, I like all the spices in chai and yet it is never a tea I drink on purpose. I always think I don’t really care for it until I have a cup, then I’m hey this is pretty good.

Nattie

How strange! Poor chai, always being overlooked.

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76

The Sherlock 10 tea sampler were the first teas I ever bought when I was getting into loose leaf, and they were what made me want to try loose tea in the first place since I’m a huge Sherlock fan. They weren’t available in the UK where I live when I first heard about them, and so I did get a couple of bags of tea from Whittard to experiment with originally, but I didn’t really get excited about tea until Adagio made these available from their UK site. In the two years since then, I’ve accumulated a huuuge collection of around 500 teas, and I’m trying to downsize to (hopefully) around 100 teas eventually so it’s more manageable. Since these are my oldest teas, I thought it was about time I tried to sip them down before they lose their flavour. I have maybe one more cup of this before I’m done with it.

I do prefer this tea iced, but I didn’t have enough left in my sampler tin to cold brew it so I had this cup hot. I actually got more of the grapefruit flavouring this time around, and the blood orange was distinguishable too. The Ceylon base melds with the flavourings really well – the citrussy notes make the fruit flavouring seem more naturally a part of the tea. Half way through drinking this my brother came into the room and I offered him a sip. He usually tries them and then hands them straight back, looking fairly neutral and unimpressed, but with this one he actually said ‘Ooh I like that one’ and had another two sips before handing the mug back. I ended up letting him finish the rest of the mug – I’m on a mission to turn everyone in my life into tea people! He drank it all really quickly, and I’m actually surprised by how much he loved it. I think I’m going to up the rating a little from 70.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML
tea-sipper

Sherlock! :D

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66

Sipdown 40/371 courtesy of MissB.

So I read my old tasting note on this tea, and changed my brewing time to try to stop the liquorice from being too overpowering. It was definitely better this time around, and so I’ve bumped up the rating from 61. It’s not the kind of tea I’d choose all the time, but it was nice while I was drinking it. The liquorice was definitely more of a background note this time, and I didn’t get much pepper either. I’m not totally sure what the fennel is supposed to be like, so I don’t know whether it’s coming through or not, but the scent of the tea and the flavour both remind me oddly of baking. The orange was juicy and sweet, accented by the liquorice, sort of reminding me of some kind of orange cake overall.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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81
drank Irish Breakfast by Butiki Teas
148 tasting notes

Sipdown! (39/371)

Another of my samples from MissB, I am really getting through them! This is a lovely breakfast tea. It’s thick and malty, and smells wonderfully bready while it’s steeping. It’s not too sweet for a morning tea, rather strong and almost savoury. With some skimmed milk, this is pretty much my idea of an ideal breakfast tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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76

Sipdown! (38/371)

My mam drank the last teabag of this by accident, so I’m only adding this tasting note to add it to my List of Teas Conquered – 10% through my no-buy! I don’t think she was very impressed, but this is a very sweet tea and she abhors anything sweet. Plus I’m not sure she brewed it correctly. Oh well.

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78

Sipdown 37/371!

Thank you for sending me this, MissB!
One of the very few smokey teas I enjoy, which is a huge compliment. This was the tea I reached for every time I fancied something smokey, which isn’t very often. It’s surprisingly delicate, but not weak. The smoke doesn’t overpower the base but rather works with it to create a seamless, delicious malty, smokey, chocolatey tea which I could happily drink all afternoon. I don’t get any citrus notes from this tea as others have mentioned, but I like it just how it is. Unfortunately, this is the end of the road for December and I for a very long time. I won’t be buying any more tea for the foreseeable future, but when I do I will definitely consider adding this to my list. It wasn’t one I drank frequently, but I thoroughly enjoyed it when I did.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 3 OZ / 103 ML

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66

Sipdown 36/371!

Unfortunately I don’t remember who I got this from, but thank you to whoever it was! (EDIT: after consulting my spreadsheet it appears that this was a sample from MissB – thanks!) I also passed my second steepsterversary without realising ): it’s been a while since I’ve used steepster and it totally passed me by.

This tea was very enjoyable. The instructions written on the packet said to brew for 3-5 minutes at boiling, and I went with 5 because I prefer a strong brew. I’m glad I did, because I think it would have been weak if I’d given it less time, but that could possibly be due to the age of the tea; I’ve had it for quite a while now, and it wasn’t new when I received it. I was given enough teabags to make several cups of this tea, and don’t remember it tasting of earl grey at all any time I’ve tried it. The raspberry flavour is definitely present, and pleasantly natural-tasting rather than artificial, but I don’t taste any bergamot flavouring. Not even if I really concentrate. It is, though, a very nice raspberry tea, and one that I’d probably rate higher if it was labelled as such. The black base is pleasant too, especially for a tea. It is malty and strong without being astringent, though I did add a drop of skimmed milk which may be tempering the astringency. Overall I would drink this again if offered it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to repurchase it. I’m happy to have it out of my cupboard and to move on to other things.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 7 OZ / 207 ML

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64
drank Earl Grey by Green Mountain Tea
148 tasting notes

From the EU TTB.

I’ve been staying in Sheffield with Frank for a few days so I haven’t been able to go through the TTB, but this is what I grabbed when I got back. I don’t have much to say about it, except that the bergamot flavouring is pretty nice, and the base goes with it well. You all know what an earl grey tastes like. This is that. It’s definitely an easy-going earl grey though, which I appreciate. The base is robust and holds up well against the flavouring, which is citrusy and not overly strong to the point of being medicinal like some Earl Greys can be. Not exactly a unique cup of tea, but a good Earl Grey nonetheless.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 7 OZ / 207 ML

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Profile

Bio

I first got into loose leaf teas when a friend of mine showed me Cara’s Sherlock fandom blends on Adagio a couple of years back, but they weren’t on sale in the UK so I started trying other kinds instead and have been hooked for almost three years.

Black teas make up the majority of my collection, but I am expanding my horizons and trying to include a variety of other teas, too. Flavoured blacks are my favourites, but I’m growing increasingly fond of unflavoured teas too. I will update my likes and dislikes as I discover more about my palate, but for now:

Tea-likes: a lot of different things, but my absolute favourites are caramel, chestnut, raspberry, coconut, blueberry and pumpkin

Tea-dislikes: vanilla (on its own), ginger, coriander, cardamom, liquorice and pineapple

I am a 20 year old student, studying English Literature and hoping to go into publishing one day. Other than drinking, hoarding and reviewing tea, my hobbies include reading, doing quizzes and puzzles, TV quiz shows (about the only things I watch regularly, unless Sherlock or Doctor Who is on), basketball (NBA, both the video game and actual sport – Chicago Bulls fan, and playing with my university girls’ team. I also watch my parter play, as he’s on the men’s team) and football/soccer (just watching – a lifelong supporter of Sunderland AFC).

I should probably also mention my tea-rating system, which seems to be much harsher than others I’ve seen on here. It’s not always concrete, but I’ll try to define it:

• 50 is the base-line which all teas start at. A normal, nothing-special industrial-type black teabag of regular old fannings would be a 50.

• 0 – 49 is bad, and varying degrees of bad. This is probably the least concrete as I hardly ever find something I don’t like.

• I have never given below a 20, and will not unless that tea is SO bad that I have to wash my mouth out after one sip. Any teas rated as such are unquestionably awful.

• This means most teas I don’t enjoy will be in the 30 – 50 range. This might just mean the tea is not to my own personal taste.

• 51+ are teas I enjoy. A good cup of tea will be in the 50 – 70 range.

• If I rate a tea at 70+, it means I really, really like it. Here’s where the system gets a little more concrete, and I can probably define this part, as it’s rarer for a tea to get there.

• 71- 80: I really enjoyed this tea, enough to tell somebody about, and will probably hang onto it for a little longer than I perhaps should because I don’t want to lose it.

• 81 – 90: I will power through this tea before I even know it’s gone, and will re-order the next time the mood takes me.

• 91 – 100: This is one of the best teas I’ve ever tasted, and I will re-order while I still have a good few cups left, so that I never have to run out. This is the crème de la crème, the Ivy League of teas.

I never rate a tea down, and my ratings are always based on my best experience of a tea if I drink it multiple times. I feel that this is fairest as many factors could affect the experience of one particular cup.

I am always happy to trade and share my teas with others, so feel free to look through my cupboard and message me if you’re interested in doing a swap. I keep it up-to-date, although this doesn’t mean I will definitely have enough to swap, as I also include my small samples.

I also tend to ramble on a bit.

Location

Huddersfield, UK

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