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355 Tasting Notes
I am drinking liquified waffles!!!!! Okay, not really, but this tea is so close that it isn’t funny. The dry leaf smells strongly of maple syrup and even licorice. The licorice smell almost seemed to dominate and I became worried. But I should have had no fear.
Oh the smell: WAFFLES! The taste is like if you were having waffles with a basic morning black tea. It’s really well balanced and my sweet tooth is digging this. I’ve done three steeps of this and the third is just a bit too weak, but still okay. But then again on the third steep I grabbed some L’eggos out of the freezer and made me some WAFFLES! Gir would be proud.
Oh yes, there will be a purchase of this. I can’t imagine doing this tea too often, but it’s worth having it on hand for the random cravings. TG
My first cold brewed iced tea!
The tea itself came out a delicate peach color – it looked very precious in my glass. The taste was a very muted version of the hot with the tang hanging around in the background while the subtle fruits played around up front. I found it pleasant, but my mom loved it (she described it as “refreshing”) and wants me to buy more. The description mentions adding it to lemonade – and I could really imagine that being a tasty option. I have a ways to go in exploring iced teas, so I really am unsure if I’ll get a larger amount of this for myself as a fruity iced tea option. NE
I awoke to my doorbell ringing this morning and here was my Think Geek tea order! It’s a wonderful tea sampler set created by Adagio exclusively for Think Geek. I unashamedly had to have this set just for the tins. So, I brewed up the Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. and revelled in the glory of being a nerd.
The smell of the tin was unmistakably Earl Grey. There were the little purple flower petals and orange pieces. Eh, it looks what I imagine a typical Earl Grey looks like.
Steep one: Furniture polish ahoy! It has to be the citrus/bergamot combo that registers as “furniture polish” to me. It’s pretty smooth – only the tiniest bit of dryness at the back of my throat. As it begins to cool the furniture polish (bergamot?) begins to fade into the background and the flavors start to compliment one another. I begin to see a glimmer of “oh – this could grow on me.”
Steep two: Oh – this really could grow on me. I added a minute and all the flavors seem to have balanced out and I’m really digging this tea. If this came in larger than sampler size, then I would seriously consider purchasing more. It also gets a few bonus points for the awesome name. NE
I’m not going to give this tea a rating mainly because of user error. I tried following the steeping instructions and my gut told me that 2 tablespoons was too much, but I went with it anyway. Oh the tart horror! I’m partly mad at myself, but also the tart was just so overwhelming that it added to that anger. Did I just experience “hibiscus rage?” It’s like I was living the scene from Clue where the fabulous Madeline Kahn (as Mrs. White) goes on about her rage burning on the sides of her face. I tried adding sugar, but the tart kicked it out of the way. I finally had to toss the cup less than midway through. Perhaps iced would be better, but there’s not enough left to give it a try. If I were to give the tea a rating, then it’d be a big red one. GA
I’d completely forgotten why I’d ordered this sample. The packet says “black tea with flower petals” therefore I assumed it was a floral black. The petals were a very pretty blue violet amongst the dry leaves. The picture here doesn’t do the tea justice. The leaves are also a lot smaller than what the picture seems to depict. So, shrink down that photo and add some lighter brown leaves and pretty purple petals.
The smell was (don’t hate me) like a black tea.
Here’s where I must make a confession. After my teagasmic experience with the Lapsang Souchong this morning I rinsed my favorite cup and dashed out the door. I didn’t even think twice about not having washed it when I came home (my iced tea pitcher came along with more tea – needless to say I was a bit distracted). The mug looked clean and I used it. So I think that I can’t really be fair on the first steep. I kept thinking that there was a hint of LS to this tea when I realized my oversight. Sorry! Regardless of my error I really felt myself decompress from today through drinking this. It was like a hug for my soul.
Second steep: I washed my mug and then looked at the website to find out what exactly’s going on with this tea. I think I’d almost convinced myself that there was some rose in this. And then I saw the description. ::facepalm:: I got it because it sounded interesting and it was Keemun with a mixture of Darjeeling: two teas that I’m really not familiar with. So I’m not the best to judge this tea since I can’t tell what’s what. I think the “rose” is actually the Darjeeling’s spice. But I’ll tell you this: I’m really loving this tea. It’s smooth and bold and I think that I’ll have to buy more. Not quite TG, but soooo very close! I’ll try this again soon with a (ahem) clean cup from the beginning.
After 4 hours of sleep last night the thought of trying this tea got me out of bed. It’s my first Life in Teacup tea experience, and lordy-loo was it awesome! I selected this as one of my free samples with my first order.
I opened the cute little packet and was somewhat disappointed with the aroma: it wasn’t as intense as Adagio’s LS. I steeped, and then as I was pouring it into my cup I had the most fun whiff of an aroma: Bacon! Bacon! Bacon! I smell bacon! BACON!!!!! Other people have mentioned smelling bacon with other LSes, but I had never had that experience. I actually was a bit worried to try the tea. But when I smelled the cup I found the usual smokey-yuminess that to me is a LS. No more bacon.
The taste? Nom. Nom! Nom! NOM!!! This is the best LS I’ve had as of yet (I’ve only had 3 others so far). It’s got everything I’m looking for and more: smoky: check. sweet undercurrent: check. not hurting my throat: check. There is a tiny bit of roughness at the back of my throat, but it’s a fine amount. It’s just the best blend of smoky/sweet I’ve ever had. As it started to cool I actually gulped this tea. I had to slow myself down, and that’s never happened with any tea I’ve had. I also sprang from my chair when the timer went off for my second steep (just as great as the first! – only added one minute). You must understand. I am not a morning person. I shuffle around like a zombie impatiently waiting for my soul to reenter my body. Leaping up from a chair is almost unthinkable. And yet, I did. For this tea. TG
To continue my “comparing Lapsangs to cat noises” rating system:
this is the purr of a lion. Just had another LS (Narien’s) that has taken this title and knocked my rating of this one a little down the scale. This tea is now like the black panther I saw at the Audubon Zoo that meowed at me when I spoke baby talk to it. This large cat capable of ripping my throat out meowed just like a house cat. It blew my mind.
I checked the mail right before I left for work and hot-diggity-dang: three of my orders were there! I risked being late and opened all my packages. Oh tea joy! My gaiwan came and JAS-eTea enclosed a lovely handwritten thank you note – I had ordered from them through amazon, and just now checked out their website. I think that there may be future purchases from them :) Here’s the gaiwan I got: http://tinyurl.com/28wf9xu I don’t think the picture does it justice – it’s beee-uuuutiful! Oh – just realized that if you click on the photo and see the close-ups: those pics do it justice. I also got my package from Life in Teacup – it looks amazing! I’ll wait for my new kettle before I break open those pretty packages. I want to do those oolongs justice! Except for the Lapsang Souchong – that will be had first thing tomorrow!
And then the Tea Guys box! I tried them so that I could get my mom their Carrot Cake tea for Mother’s Day. Of course I had to sample more of their wares! I could hardly stand being at work knowing that all this yummy tea was waiting for me at home! When I got home I chose the Ruby Tang because it’s the only caffeine-free option that I got (that isn’t my mom’s present). And it’s a fruit tea – which I have never had. I was really surprised when I opened the small packet – it looked like turkey stuffing. I don’t know what I thought it’d look like, but wow, it’s kinda cool!
And the smell! It was like a fruity tart candy! I’m waiting for the iced tea pitcher I ordered to arrive and I had this tea in mind to be iced when I bought it – so I decided to use about a third of the packet. I might have shortchanged this tisane by doing so – so I’ll be holding off rating it until I try the rest of it iced. Cuz I think this is going to be amazing iced.
First Steep: Woah – it’s earned the “tang” part of its name. The color was really really pale – almost nonexistant. I almost felt like I was getting that “furniture polish” smell from it – I’m thinking that the smell and the tartness must be the hibiscus. I’m not sure. I also think that the temp might have been a little too cool.
Second Steep: Added a minute and upped the temp a bit. There was a bit more color – a pale yellow. Ooh – it’s getting better! I’m picking up more fruit. And as it cooled, more of the orange came out and said “howdy!”
Third Steep: Kicked it up to 10 minutes. NOM! NOM! NOM! Again – please note that this is my first fruit tisane. I have nothing to relate this to, but for me: NOM! The tart is almost not there, but I can taste what I think is the hibiscus and a crazy mix of other fruit. And there’s this sweetness that lingers near the back of my throat while the top of my tongue sort of dances. It’s like my tastebuds are doing the Wave across my tongue.
And all of these companies get a gold star from me for both speed and service!
ETA: In my insanity I went for a fourth steep even though I thought it’d probably be a bad idea. It wasn’t the worst idea I’ve had, but still :P So I’m not sure if this would be the typical aftertaste, but it tasted like paper. It was weird enough for me to comment upon it (which I think that this is the first time that I’ve commented on aftertaste).
This morning I felt The Force (i.e. __Morgana__’s tasting note from last night) compelling me to try this tea. When I popped open the packet I was really surprised. There was so little tea inside. I really debated on whether or not to stick to the parameters I’d set for this entire sampler (one bag = the same big-arsed cup). I’d tried spliting up the first few samplers and then gave up since I don’t have a super-accurate way to measure and really wanted to give the teas an equal chance. Well, I stuck with my brainless parameters.
You might want to get ready for my crazy scent-association-o-rama: The packet smelled like a piece of 2X4 that had been cut with a somewhat dull circ saw. Not the burned aspect – but after the wood cools and you get that smell. Kinda woody, but there’s something more to it.
The first steep was really unremarkable. It tastes like if you took a black ceylon tea and removed all the black tea and replaced it with genero-green. Green Drink. And I’ll second __Morgana__’s “Pineapple? Wah?” Nope. It’s genero-sweet that I’m beginning to associate with Ceylon. I actually tried to use the power of suggestion on myself and would think of random sweet things: caramel, honey, and even strawberries and thought that I should be tasting “subtle notes” of each one. Yeah, it pretty much worked. So I’ll say it: “subtle notes of candied pineapple my hiney!”
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a pleasant tea. I did steep it about a minute and a half longer on the second go around. It did give it a teeny-tiny bit more oomph, but not enough to make me want to purchase a larger amount of this tea. NE
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I decided to bite the bullet and try my second-ever pu-erh after having such a negative first experience. I read the little blurb on the sample packet and immediately my imagination took off for the whole duration of the steep. It’s “aged in secret caves?” Visions of the opening scene from Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark played in my mind. But this time the handsome adventurer is trying to steal a bag of this tea instead of an idol. And then my mind shifted gears and I thought of Batman sipping a cup of this tea. Yeah. I have issues.
Back to reality!
The packet smelled kinda musky/earthy. When I was adding the hot water I got an unexpected whiff of french fries. No, not fries, but of the hot oil used. Like when my brother used to work at a fast food chain in high school he’d come home with that greasy smell – that’s the smell I’m talking about. I put the teapot’s lid on and said a little prayer for my palate.
The aroma from the cup was like a barnyard after a light rain. Still not the greatest fragrance, but eons better than the Adagio sample I had that was “dirty fishtank.” It’s the taste that sort of took me aback. It’s so different than what I was expecting. Still not my favorite, but it was much more interesting to me. I spent the first half of the cup just totally absorbed in trying to figure out how to put this taste into words. Like licking a cave’s wall? Making some black tea out of water dripping from a stalactite? Licking a shag carpeting from the ’70s? And where on earth was that sweetness coming from?
Halfway through the cup I sort of got distracted by other things and so came back to it where it’s almost completely cooled off. This is where it really gets weird for me. I have trouble drinking Bigelow’s Constant Comment because it reminds me of my maternal grandmother who passed away when I was a young girl. My mom assures me that she drank it even though I can’t recall her drinking any tea, but in my mind that tea is part of my grandmother. This tea reminds me of my maternal grandfather. He lived much longer and never drank tea. But my lord. I’m drinking this and it’s rather unsettling. This tea is part of my grandfather. I can’t explain it further than that.
I’m actually looking forward to trying a second steep. I never thought that I’d say that about a pu-erh. I will edit to add something if I feel that it affects my initial note. I really don’t know if I’ll purchase this tea. I have a newfound curiosity regarding pu-erhs as a result of it so it gets a surprising NE from me.
ETA: Second steep was more earthy and less…mineraly than the first. I just added a minute to the steep. I’ll probably sample some more pu-erhs, but this one is a possible future purchase.
I’m finally getting to the part of the GM sampler where it’s tea that either doesn’t intrigue me or that I’m dreading. I never thought that a Jasmine tea would be part of either of those categories, but here I am and there it is.
This was a much better experience than GM’s Jasmine Pearls. The packet smelled pleasant enough (yup, it’s jasmine) and not once did a waft of “tootsie roll” happen whilst I poured the tea into the cup. Hooray! But I did sense its presence sort of hovering in the background waiting to spring it’s candy-trap-o-doom. That never happened, but that possible threat kept me from truly enjoying my two steeps.
On both steeps the tea aspect was pretty unremarkable. I really could not taste it. It was like I’d steeped a variety of jasmine that has a slightly sweeter aspect. No tea in it. And as it cooled it just bacame more jasminey. I think that it might indeed make a good iced tea (as the packet asserted), but I’m not willing to purchase more in order to find out. M
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Another one of my tea bag samples that came free with my order. I was up very late finishing my final paper for a class and then spent a long time deciding whether or not to do the Steepster Select (I caved this morning). So, I needed some more black tea caffeine power and some that I could take on my commute to my final class of the semester – woohoo! It’s been a decade since I’ve been in school and I survived my first Grad-level class :D
Anywho, to the tea! I really need to experience more black teas – it’s getting silly in that my descriptive powers fail me. The packet smelled like a black tea which I guess is a good thing. It steeped to a purty dark brown color. And the smell? Are you ready for it? It smelled like black tea. There was a subtle taste of spice that I couldn’t put a finger on. It just sort of hovered there in the background. I also think that I now can identify tannins when they rear their bitter heads. They were there, but not horrible. Overall, I do not plan on purchasing any more of this. M
Wowsa. Orange Pledge dusting spray. That’s all I could smell when I cut open the sample bag and the bag was nowhere near my face. I just couldn’t believe that smell was coming from that tiny bag. So I did a tentative sniff and it was confirmed: Orange Pledge dusting spray. ::shudders::
I really hadn’t thought much of this sample until I read Ewa’s review and my curiosity was piqued. I mean, perhaps I could balance out that review since I’ve only smelled Earl Grey whilst preparing its bagged version for others. I am now trusting Ewa’s tastes in all things Earl Grey.
I woke up a little stuffy, but that smell did assault my sinuses into waking up a bit more. But I think that my stuffiness adds to the difficulty of my reviewing this one. It’s black tea-ish with fake orange smell, and something else that I couldn’t identify until I reread Ewa’s note: papery lavendar. Bizarre, but true. I’m on my second steep (yes, I’m sadistic) and I’m getting a teeny-tiny bit of sweetness – but lordy, my throat is starting to feel really rough. It’s like the astringency is going from the back of my mouth all the way down my neck. You know that unpleasant tingly feeling the underneath of your tongue gets that happens right before you blow chunks? Well, I’m actually getting that specific sensation, but without the fear of the usual followthrough. I’m not going to finish this second steep. Ick. GA
After having some of Golden Moon’s Sinharaja and being reminded of the taste of this (as well as Erin’s comments), I decided to brew up some of this because it’s been weeks since having this last. I steeped it for a shorter period of time and had the water just ever-so-barely boiling. I have no clue what that temp would be. I was also making my lunch and had a few multigrain Pringles which I think might have skewed the taste of the first half of this cup.
But with all that combined I’m really enjoying this! I was expecting to still regret that I’d purchased the 4oz on a whim, but now I’m glad. I can taste the Ceylon, the maltiness aspect is reduced, and there’s some sweetness coming out that I’ve never noticed before. I still don’t think that I’ll repurchase this one, but what a nice surprise! NE
So my poor attempt at budgeting just flew out the window – 3 different tea companies just got orders from me in the past 12 hours. And a fourth is probably coming since their coupon is only good through April. I must take a vow to not purchase any tea or teaware in May. This is redonkulous.
Okay, onto the tea! And we have a frontrunner on the Black Tea I will most likely purchase from GM. Yup, I shall add this to my shopping list so that it can join the Nepalese Afternoon Tea. I can’t really tell you much about this tea except that it’s smooth, complex, and what I think an ideal black tea with oomph should taste like – especially on the 2nd infusion. That’s where the sweet kicks in – not so much while it’s hot, but as it cools it gets sweeter and sweeter. Naturally all I can think of is how amazing this would be as an iced tea. NE
It turned out to be an unintentionally Ceylon-ariffic day. I usually wouldn’t do a second black tea in the late afternoon, but I was having a mini-meltdown. I have my final paper due at midnight tomorrow for one of my Library Science classes and I thought that I’d misunderstood the basis of my 8 page paper. The entire basis. After a minute of shock I immediately thought “I need some tea with some oomph – the next 24 hours could be really long.” So I picked this out of the sample basket. As it steeped I took some deep breaths and thought things through. Long story short: from what I understand my basis is sound. I don’t need to get to my library early tomorrow and analyze 50 different books and then write like a fiend. Hallelujah! But I should probably get off the web and stop procrastinating ;)
But now to the tea! I was pleasantly surprised by this :) On the first steep it reminded me of Adagio’s Golden Monkey – not my favorite tea, but it’s got a kick that works for me. I really didn’t taste any sweetness. Then, oh second steep-o-joy! The sweetness came through and made it so yummy! It’s like the French Breakfast tea that I had this morning but more complex. Ah, ’tis all good.
I did try a third steep just for the heck of it. Yeah, not so much. This moves up the shortlist on teas I might purchase after I make my way through the sampler. NE
GM Sampler #ohmylordidon’tknow&amtoolazytotallywhat’sleft of 31 ;)
I awoke to such an overcast drizzly day that I knew I had to start my day with a black tea. But black teas are such a mystery to me. It seems like a lot are much too harsh for me, but then I love lapsang souchongs. I can’t tell the difference between Ceylons, Keemuns, or Assams and that drives me nutty cuz I want to! So I thought as I rifled through the sampler basket “Oh hey, this one’s Ceylon – I just need to make a note of this being a Ceylon and then go from there.” Well, that’s my hope. I think my theory falls flat since I don’t think that I have straight up Keemun or Assam tea handy for a comparison. D’oh!
Everything seemed like stereotypical black tea from the scent of the dried/steeped leaves to the cup’s aroma. The taste is really suprisingly pleasant. There’s this nice subtle sweetness that I’m digging. I feel sorta crazy(er) in that I almost feel like I’m drinking the pre-smoked tea that’s used for lapsangs, because this is the undercurrent taste I get while drinking GM’s LS, only a bit sweeter.
I’m on my second steep and there is a bit of dryness happening at the back of my throat, but not enough to dissuade me from drinking this again. But I’m not rushing to add this to my shopping list. But, I could see myself buying some to keep on hand for days I need a simple “reset” to my tea routine. NE
Oolong – take me away!!!!!