1694 Tasting Notes

55
drank Jungle Pleasure by Tealux
1694 tasting notes

Finally got around to trying this one today. It’s a slightly odd blend, I think. Dry, it looks very…beige. The bag is basically cubes of various things in shades of brown and yellow – date and pineapple primarily, I think, although there’s also some cherry pieces (still brown) and elderberries (brown, surprisingly). Everything’s covered in – guess what colour? – brown dust, which settled at the bottom of my cup. I’m convinced it’s powdered ginger, but it’s not listed in the ingredients…

To taste, this is sweeter than I was expecting. It’s mostly pineapple, but dried pineapple (you know, with a ton of extra sugar that makes it all candy-like…) rather than fresh. There’s an undertone of tartness (thanks, hibi), and a whole lot of ginger. I can’t taste much of the other ingredients really at all, because those three dominate pretty much totally. I was hoping the date and cherry would be more prominent, but sadly that’s not the case.

It’s an odd combination of things, but it doesn’t taste bad. It’s not my favourite tropical blend, or even my favourite fruit blend, but it’s drinkable. It wouldn’t be a repurchase for me, though, even if I could get hold of more. Which I can’t. Can you tell I’m feeling a bit meh about this one?

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

Another of my older Teavivre samples. I’m not sure why it’s sat neglected for so long, because all of Teavivre’s black teas are absolutely amazing, and this one’s no exception. I gave 1 tsp of leaf (very long and fine, with beautiful golden tips) 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.

To taste, it’s pretty much everything I’d want in a black tea. There’s a strong chocolate note up front, very reminiscent of dark chocolate (rich, strong) but not in a drying, cocoa kind of way. The mid-sip has a more yam-like flavour, along with baked bread towards the tail end. It’s very smooth and creamy, very easy to drink.

I’m enjoying this one. It’s one of the sweeter black teas I’ve tried from Teavivre, but wonderful just the same. I’ll be repurchasing this one in a hurry!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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55
drank Jasmine by Whittard of Chelsea
1694 tasting notes

Another of these this morning, from my somewhat newer supply. I keep getting these as presents from people, and I’m not over-keen if I’m honest. Today’s cup was okay. It’s pretty smooth green tea (I assume sencha…), with a fairly light floral/jasmine overtone. It’s not too cloying or perfumey, but neither is it rocking my world. I’m kind of “meh” about this one.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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65

My final sample from Miss B! I think I left this one until last because ginger and liquorice are pretty much my nemeses, at least when it comes to tea. Green tea isn’t always a favourite, either, although I’ve warmed to it over the last few years. It’s very much about the variety for me, now. Anyway, this one (finally) gets to see the light of day.

This one is bagged, so there’s no measuring, but I gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. It brews up to a pretty vibrant yellow-orange, which I’m guessing is the saffron again rather than just the green tea. To taste, it’s actually a lot gentler than I expected. I can taste the green tea/saffron first, and it’s a thick, rich, very smooth, and almost honey-like texture. The ginger emerges in the mid-sip, and while it has a bit of a spicy kick, it’s pretty fleeting. The liquorice isn’t as cloying or over-sweet as I’m used to, but it does lend a sort of saccharine sweetness that I’m not over-keen on. It’s not too bad, though, and fortunately it doesn’t catch the back of my throat.

I quite like this one, surprisingly. It’s pretty delicate, not over sweet, and it has a unique mouthfeel that I’m actually fairly sold on. A surprise win, if ever there was one!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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75

f I had to choose between dark oolong or green oolong, for me it would be green every time. I find them characterful and unique, with more variation in flavour than I’ve typically found (at least so far…) among their roasted counterparts. And that’s coming from a habitual black tea drinker.

Himalayan Shangri-la is a Nepalese Oolong from 2015. It’s a first flush, or spring, oolong comprising highly graded leaves taken from a single estate.

The leaf here is pretty impressive – they’re long and twisty, with a high predominance of downy buds, and vary from a dark khaki to the palest green-silver. The scent is lightly vegetal and just a touch floral, in the way of orchids.

http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/11/15/himalayan-shangri-la-from-teabox/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

I’ve not come across many Oolongs from Darjeeling in the years I’ve been drinking tea, but the ones I have tried have always been something special. This one is no exception.

It starts with the leaf, which in appearance reminds me a lot of a first flush darjeeling (although it’s actually a second) crossed with a very fresh white peony. The are a high predominance of downy silver buds, some verging more on silver or pale green, plus some brown-ish-copper leaves. The scent is sweet and lightly jasmine.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/11/15/uper-fagu-darjeeling-oolong-from-the-tea-shelf/

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

This tea came as a sample with the last Illumicrate subscription box I received. I didn’t know about PostTea prior to this, so that’s another new discovery that’ll be bad for my bank account. This blend is inspired by a book (obviously, given that Illumicrate is primarily a book-focused subscription box…), in this case Alice In Wonderland. It’s supposed to be strawberry, raspberry, and papaya on a sencha base, but it also contains rose petals, pieces of vanilla pod, and hundreds and thousands. It’s pretty, to say the least! And it smells good.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. One thing I did notice pretty quickly – it’s sparkly! I know it’s a gimmick, but I still love it. Fortunately, it tastes as good as it smells. Creamy strawberry, like a Campino sweet (which I wish they still made…). There’s a background sharpness from the raspberry, and a hint of tropical fruit-ish flavour, but the main player is candy strawberry and that’s more than okay with me. The green tea base is smooth, with no bitterness or astringency, and it allows the sweet, fruity flavours to shine.

This would have made an excellent summer tea (I’m thinking cold brew…), but it’s brightening up this wintery day just perfectly. I’ll definitely be taking a closer look at PostTea once my no-buy is over!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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30

I’ll admit it. I’ve been scared of this one. It’s only getting a chance today because I have no milk and somewhat limited options at work, otherwise it would have stayed firmly consigned to my “too terrified to drink” pile. I’m not nervous, just cautious.

The dry leaf is an interesting prospect. It’s mostly beige chunks, that I assume are chicory. There are also three freeze-dried raspberries (in a 20g sample), plus a fair helping of cacao nibs. At the bottom of the bag are some very finely shredded brown and green leaves, which I guess has got to be the yerba mate. It’s not how yerba usually looks, though…and if some of it’s green then it’s not all roasted. Unless the green is something else? The ingredients list is out of ideas. There’s no coconut to speak of.

The scent, dry, is bitter and very reminiscent of coffee. I get that. Chicory is a coffee replacement/alternative, so fair enough. I’ve had a few chicory blends of late, although they’re mostly dressed up as root beer/butterbeer style blends. I’m not sure what this one is supposed to be imitating. Raspberry and coconut make me think of cake, and yet something tells me I’m not going to get cake from this one.

It doesn’t smell quite as coffee-like once brewed. Instead, it takes on a nuttiness that reminds me of cashew or macadamia. There’s also a fair hint of chocolate, so that’s reassuring. I was fairly conservative with my brew time – a scant 3 minutes. The scent made me wary, and I don’t like my yerba-based blends over-brewed in any case.

To taste, it’s not quite as bad as I was expecting. It has an edge of bitterness, but the main flavour is dark chocolate and that helps to smooth things out. There’s a touch of coffee, although it’s not particularly strong. If you made a cup of instant with too few granules and too much water, you’d get something like this I imagine (minus the chocolate, sadly for you.) Overall? Chicory and chocolate. Which is fair enough, given that this one’s called Chicory…Choc. I have no idea where the raspberry and coconut went, though. They’re MIA. The yerba isn’t making much of a contribution either, except maybe to round out the earthy roastiness. Let’s say it’s doing that. For argument’s sake, it might be.

I’m not really enjoying this one. It’s not that it’s unpalatable, just that I don’t like it very much. I don’t really understand it, as a blend. If I wanted coffee, I’d drink coffee, and it wouldn’t be anything like as thin and watery as this tastes. It’s not like there’s a shortage of decent chocolate teas, either, although I’m grateful that the cacao nibs bring some redemption to this blend. It needs it.

I would have liked to have been able to taste the raspberry and coconut, because that’s what sold this blend to me. I’ve also come to the conclusion that chicory should only be used in root beer tea, and not for any other purpose. It’s the natural order of things.

Did I like drinking this tea? Not really. Did I learn something from it? Yes.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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45

A sample from Miss B (and one of my final two…I eventually found the bottom of the box!) This one is bagged, which is convenient today since I’m covering reception (boo!) for the morning and can’t “faff around with infusers and shit” as is my usual modus operandi. I also don’t have any milk, so it’s really a good thing all around.

This one brews up a pretty spectacular yellow/orange, very reminiscent of saffron. It smells sweeter than I thought it would, given that the main ingredients are saffron, lemon verbena, and sage. I’m thinking maybe honey/mead?

This is backed up by my first sip, which is sweet and very honey-like. I can taste lemon, although it’s not a strong flavour. The combination of honey/lemon is putting me in mind of throat sweets and/or that glycerin medicine that you get for a tickly cough. I can’t taste sage at all, which is a shame. I was hoping that would be a more prominent flavour, and that maybe the overall effect would be kinda savoury…not so, sadly.

This is enjoyable enough, but I’d not be in any particular hurry to drink it again. Maybe my tastes are changing, but it’s a little too sweet (and medicinal) for my liking.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec

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100

How is it that I’ve not tried this one yet? I literally have no idea how that happened. Anyway, better late than never. I’ve also kind of come to the conclusion that I really need to work on reducing my cupboard to a more manageable level before I buy any more tea (how many times have I said that before…) because there’s some good stuff getting neglected and it’s not right. At least I’m back under 200. I’d like to get down to 50 before I really consider stocking up again. That would be a much more comfortable place for me.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup. It’s kinda hard to measure because the leaves are so big they won’t fit happily in my measuring spoon. To be expected, I guess, given that this is the full leaf version. The leaves themselves are a variagated brown-black-gold-cream, some more than an inch long, most with beautiful downy tips. I gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk because it brewed up so dark. That in itself was unexpected.

To taste, this has all the malty, sweet potato wonderfulness I was hoping for. It’s quite robust in terms of flavour – no watery black tea here! The initial sip is sweet and thick-tasting, there are some chocolate/cocoa notes (albeit fairly fleeting), and then in the mid-sip it’s really all about the yam/sweet potato, and that’s a flavour that lingers well.

I’m enjoying this one. When I next place a Teavivre order (which may not be for a while, but it’ll happen…) I’ll doubtless repurchase this one. I’d happily have a large bag in my cupboard as a staple black – it’s that good.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, and I live in Norfolk in the UK. My tea obsession began when a friend introduced me to Teapigs a good few years ago now. Since then, I’ve been insatiable. Steepster introduced me to a world of tea I never knew existed, and my goal is now to TRY ALL THE TEAS. Or most of them, anyway.

I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.

I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they’re the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer — their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.

I’m still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don’t think they’ll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don’t hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

In addition to Steepster, I also write for the SororiTea Sisters. My reviews there will typically be posted here also, although typically in a shorter format. Any teas I’m sent specifically for review will only appear in full on the SororiTea Sisters website, with only a short introduction and link to my review here.

You’ve probably had enough of me now, so I’m going to shut up. Needless to say, though, I really love tea. Long may the journey continue!

My rating system:

91-100: The Holy Grail. Flawless teas I will never forget.

81-90: Outstanding. Pretty much perfection, and happiness in a cup.

71-80: Amazing. A tea to savour, and one I’ll keep coming back to.

61-70: Very good. The majority of things are as they should be. A pleasing cup.

51-60: Good. Not outstanding, but has merit.

41-50: Average. It’s not horrible, but I’ve definitely had better. There’s probably still something about it I’m not keen on.

31-40: Almost enjoyable, but something about it is not for me.

11-30: Pretty bad. It probably makes me screw my face up when I take a sip, but it’s not completely undrinkable.

0-10: Ugh. No. Never again. To me, undrinkable.

Location

Norfolk, UK

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