172 Tasting Notes

99

Still needed something for a vanilla-ish fix so I went with an old favorite. The sweet caramel note is lovely and although I forgot to set the timer and oversteeped this baby pretty significantly, it still managed to be pleasing, if a touch overdone. I usually go with 3 min or so today was 5-6+ (my bad!)? Happy Saturday!

Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Sweet, Vanilla

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93

Sipdown, but a lovely one. As strange as it sounds, today I am getting a faint leathery note with the honeyed sweet potatotes and malt. This is one of those teas that always comes out a little bit different each time I steep it, but always makes for an enjoyable cup. TGIF!

Flavors: Honey, Leather, Malt, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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69

Dry: Short black tea leaves. The overwhelming smell from the tin is of too sweet, almost “powdery” (and sadly fake smelling) dessert instead of extract or even a creamy vanilla custard. I was hoping for luscious, complex nommy vanilla, but this is not the case. I really love some H & S teas, but at times it seems like some of the flavored teas are questionable when some of their straight teas are fantastic.

Steeped: Dark brown clear liquor. The fragrance of the brewed tea is less artificial than the dry leaf straight from the tin, but still too sweet for a straight vanilla. It is almost like they were going for vanilla, had trouble, and ended up with a questionable bakery item. The Harney description mentions simple vanilla, but also baking sugar cookies. Not trying to be overly picky here, but sugar cookies don’t usually smell like straight vanilla too much- but they are super sweet like this blend smells.

Taste: Not loving how this turned out. Not vanilla and the base doesn’t lend to a very notable sip so it can’t be saved by being really awesome tea even if the flavoring is meh. This could have been marketed for children’s tea with the overly sweet sugary/bakery thing it has going on. I made it a second time blended with English Breakfast by H&S and it was much more pleasant. Definitely not a repurchase for me though either way.

Flavors: Artificial, Powdered sugar

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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89

I overindulged yesterday because I was starting day one of my staycation. :) I feel like The Blerch from The Oatmeal if any of you are familiar with it, lol. I am trying to get myself motivated to exercise today after a work meeting (didn’t anyone ever tell work that I am on vacation?!). Anyhoo, this gem stood out in the cupboard because of the lovely spearmint note. I really enjoyed it when I had it before and I am this time, too. I overleafed and steeped it a lot longer though- almost 2 full minutes at 205 to see what it would turn into. In hindsight, this tea evolves better with short steeps to my palate. It is still pleasant, but the spearmint tends to overpower everything else to where I am getting a vaguely sweet and chamomile-y instead of a chocolate-chamomile-spiced-spearmint. I still like this tea a lot though and it was just what I needed this morning. Have a great Thursday!

Flavors: Spearmint

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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96
drank Pumpkin Chai by DAVIDsTEA
172 tasting notes

I can’t believe I’ve never officially reviewed this one. I know I’ve mentioned it plenty, usually in comparison to other pumpkin teas. This is sadly a sipdown, but I will be buying more for sure this upcoming cool season.

Dry: Attractive short black tea leaves with pumpkin candies, orange dried pieces (dried pumpkin or orange peels?) and smells deliciously warm, spiced, sweet, and pumpkin-y all in one. To me this is one of the quintessential autumn teas.

Steeped: Dark brown liquor with a slight cloudiness, presumably from the sprinkles dissolving. Smells like Fall in my cup! Love it!

Taste: I know there is a controversy every Fall over pumpkin teas and which is best, but this is my personal favorite. It is not too spicy, not too sweet, and to me is very pumpkin-y without being overwhelmingly squash. I normally don’t love candies in my tea, but the pumpkin sprinkles are cute and season-appropriate. My only regret is that I didn’t buy 200g worth at the time. I killed 50g and could have easily had more to last the year. I like with or without milk, sweetened or unsweetened, and even iced. Love this tea! :)

Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Pumpkin, Spices, Sugar, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Red Velvet Cake by DAVIDsTEA
172 tasting notes

Sipdown! Sweet bakery tea- enjoyed 50g worth, but not sure if I will repurchase. It is as advertised, but my taste buds have changed over the past couple of years.

Flavors: Cake, Maple, Sugar

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
172 tasting notes

Oh, this is just delicious tea. How can it be so complex and lovely? Dark chocolate, malt, bready, something toasty, even honeyed. Smooth, full-bodied, perfect. These tea leaves are magical. I’ve had plenty of desserts with less flavor nuances and even though the liquor is still relatively light, the flavor and aroma is a morning meal.

I steeped it for longer today than I normally do and my love only deepens. I was doing 30-60 second steeps previously and this time I went for a full 2 minutes and change initially Western style. Love! I have been slowly rationing this and am will need much more next time so I can enjoy it more often.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Roasted Barley, Toasted Rice

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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90
drank Vanilla Orchid by DAVIDsTEA
172 tasting notes

It has been a while since I found this one in the cupboard. Turns out, it is aging really nicely! Sweet creamy vanilla with a green and lightly floral oolong. Lovely both served hot initially, then cold later on. Really blossoms as the temperature changes. Also, quite perfect for this gorgeous Thursday we are having. Who ever heard of a 60 degree breezy July morning in Georgia? Not this girl!

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Green, Vanilla

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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78
drank Grand Amour by Nina's Paris
172 tasting notes

Thank you to Laurent/Nina’s for this sample!

Dry: Small tightly rolled black tea leaves. The dry leaves smell divine to me- I was really excited to try it! A touch of caramel, stone fruits, vanilla, and almost a cocoa note as well in the little ziploc baggie. I didn’t have enough for a full teapot, but I was still in great anticipation.

Steeped: Clear brown liquor. This reminds me a LOT of Harney’s Paris and the scent is very similar. I think the aroma on this one is more raspberry though- very fruity and pleasant.

Taste: I wanted to have a true love forever affair with this one from the dry scent, but the taste is a little bit less than I hoped for. It is still a good cup of tea, but I didn’t really get any caramel notes from it as described. Red fruits are the most prominent along with a nice maltiness, a touch of vanilla, and a somewhat unusual perfume aftertaste. The samples arrived in an opened enveloped that USPS had taped back together and one of the 3 was missing entirely. Maybe the tea was in the truck next to perfume samples? I don’t really know what to make of the perfume aspect, but I am glad I was able to try it. I have one other tea from the company to try another time, so I will keep my fingers crossed!

Flavors: Malt, Perfume, Raspberry, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Let me preface this with emphasis that I am rating this tea based on what it is supposed to be. I actually discovered I don’t like Lapsang Souchong at all, but Teavivre makes a good one for what it is.

Dry: Small tightly rolled black tea leaves. The package reminds me of the stables- the dry leaf smells very leathery to me with considerable smokiness and another aroma that reminds me of dry cedar chips.

Steeped: Deep red-brown clear liquor. The smokiness is a bit less present in the steeped tea than in the dry leaf. A hint of malt plays around the edges of the mug.

Taste: Holy smoke, Batman! This one is bold on flavor. Strong smoke with a hint of sweet. Very smooth, with pine, leather, and cedar notes. If I were to taste a tea that reminded me of a campfire, this would be the one. Not for me and I honestly couldn’t even finish the pot, but nonetheless, a quality tea and definitely worth a trial if you enjoy potent smokey notes in your tea. For some weird reason, I imagine that someone that might like this tea may also like whiskey, cigars, and horse races, lol.

Flavors: Burnt, Cedar, Leather, Pine, Smoke

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML
K S

I love your objectivity. It is a hard thing to review something you don’t like on its own merits. Good job! And this is a good one.

Nightshifter

Thank you! :)

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I am a registered nurse that worked night shift for years on a catastrophic injury unit. I just started day shift and life is good! Tea is a simple pleasure in a complicated world.

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Georgia, USA

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