1701 Tasting Notes

70
drank Plummy Earl Grey by Twinings
1701 tasting notes

I didn’t realise this one had such bad ratings until today, which strikes me as odd because while it’s brewing it smells really nice. Fruity, sweet, plummy. I used 1 bag for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water, no additions.

To taste, it’s pretty okay. The plum is very apparent, but it’s not artificial tasting in the way I expected it to be. It’s actually quite juicy and natural, as if actual plum juice had been squeezed into a cup of earl grey. The bergamot isn’t too strong, which is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. It’s a floral/citrus tang in the background, and there it stays. The black tea base is smooth, with no bitterness or astringency. On the whole, I’d say it’s a successful cup.

I’m not the greatest fan of Twinings, or of bagged tea generally, but this one is better than average. It lives up to its name, and the flavouring is pretty true-to-life. I’d happily drink this one again, which is good because I have another 11…

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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70
drank Kettle Corn by 52teas
1701 tasting notes

Morning + work = mate. At least, at this time of year. This is one of the last older 52Teas I own, I think other than this there are about 5 left in my cupboard, and all sample sizes. So I’m nearly there, with those at least! I was hoping for popcorn when I brewed this one up, but unfortunately it’s not quite there. The mate is pretty strong, with its distinctive coffee-like flavour, and underneath that there’s a sweet-ish honey flavour. It’s reminding me a little bit of sugar puffs…or sugar puffs eaten with a cup of coffee more accurately. It’s not a strong flavour, just background, but it’s pleasant enough. It made for a good start to the day, at any rate.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Forever Nuts by DAVIDsTEA
1701 tasting notes

Another new start. Apple, cinnamon, and almond feels kinda Christmassy to me, so I brought my sample tin of this one to work with me today. It’s one of the better “apple pie” esque blends I’ve tried – the apple strikes a pretty perfect balance between sharp and sweet, with just a touch of floury-floral. The cinnamon adds a hint of spice, but isn’t overpowering, and the almond rounds everything out with a kind of crumbley amazingness. I could probably have left the leaf in longer and come up with a stronger flavour, but I was in a hurry so 1.5 tsp of leaf got around 4 minutes in boiling water. It’s pretty delicious, even so. I’m looking forward to drinking a lot more of this one!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95
drank Main Squeeze by DAVIDsTEA
1701 tasting notes

It’s that time of year again. Work really picks up from the end of November right through to February now, pretty much, and then there’s Christmas and all the associated hoo-ha that comes along with, and this year I’m also half-way through buying a flat. So I’m tired, and stressed, and a bit grumpy right now. And I have to do reception this morning as well as my own work (try concentrating when you’re being interrupted every ten fucking seconds), so that’s already put me in a fairly disgusting mood and today’s work day is only 10 minutes old.

Mate is what I usually turn to from mid-December until the Christmas break starts on the 23rd. I’m looking forward to having 10 days off more than it’s possible to communicate in words. I plan to sleep a lot, and be at least a little bit selfish. Until then, I’ve got this. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water.

It’s good. Maybe the best mate blend I’ve tried in a while. I like the freshness of the orange. It’s juicy and fruity and walks the perfect line between sweet and sharp. There’s also a hint of papaya, and just a touch of pineapple, but it’s mostly orange. Like orange juice orange. Orange perfection. The mate is a little earthy, but it works, somehow, and I’m really appreciating the energy boost. On the whole? A really good ’un. Love this.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Nattie

I’m going to start taking tea to work! You’ve sold me. I’m a bartender though so it might be a little weird…

Maddy Barone

You deserve to be plenty selfish on your break!

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This random steeping is alternatively known as “Free Tea #3” from Liquid Proust. It’s a Japanese green from 2015, with added flavouring (described as oh so mild). The first thing that struck me about it is how finely ground it seems to be – almost like powder. I’ve only had one tea like this previously that I can recall. The recommendation was for 2 minutes at 170 degrees, so that’s what I went with. Dry, the leaf isn’t giving much away. It smells grassy, vegetal, with maybe a hint of “orange” fruitiness. Mango? I could be imagining that, though.

To taste, I’m getting a mildly vegetal green tea (a LOT milder than I expected), very smooth, with a pleasant grassy flavour. It’s very fresh and spring-like. In terms of flavour, I’m sticking with “orange” or “tropical” fruit. It’s not quite peppery enough for mango, I don’t think, but not sharp or citrussy enough to be orange. It could be peach, or apricot…along those lines, anyway.

Despite not knowing exactly what I’m drinking, I’m enjoying this one. It’d be perfect for warmer weather, but it’s certainly cheering me up on this cold December day.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Imperial Label by Kusmi Tea
1701 tasting notes

I’m forcing myself to try “new” old teas today, and it helps that I haven’t actually got much at work with me at the moment so it’s try things or have no tea. It doesn’t help that they’re mostly green teas in my untried pile, because they’re never my favourite. I say that, but I think it’s really a historical hangover from when I thought all green tea was bitter and horrible. I know for a fact now that that’s not the case, but somehow I still have a bit of a prejudice about green tea, even though some of my best friends are green tea…I never said I wasn’t odd.

So. This one. The reviews seem a bit mixed, and I’m not much liking the sound of soap as a descriptor. Otherwise? Orange, cinnamon and vanilla sounds okay (I probably wouldn’t have put it with green tea, though…) Sea buckthorn I’ve never tried. What even is it? I’m okay with sencha, although it’s not my favourite green. I’d happily say that no green is my favourite, but that’s a lie. I actually really do like Bi Luo Chun.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The leaf is pretty, lots of yellow and green. It smells spicier than I expected, a little bit like chai. But also a little bit like a Lush soap I had once. Sea Vegetable? Not encouraging.

To taste, it’s thankfully not too much like soap. There’s a strong initial creaminess that’s really nice and almost thick tasting. I’m assuming that’s due in large part to the vanilla, and it has a lovely heavy dairy cream vibe that’s just perfect on a cold day. The orange comes through second, mostly pith and zest to begin with but followed by a sharp, clean, bright splash of orange that’s more reminiscent of freshly squeezed juice. The cinnamon rounds things off, adding a warming spiciness that’s actually makes me think of Christmas – just right for December! My only complaint about this one is the liquorice, because it’s horribly over-sweet and cloying, and it coats the back of my throat with its artificial sweetener-like stickiness. Otherwise, I get along just fine with this blend. I can’t taste the sea buckthorn, and I still don’t know what that actually is. I can’t taste the green tea base, either, which is fine with me. It’s smooth and unobtrusive, just how I like it. I’ll probably drink a fair bit more of this one before Christmas – it’s a surprise win. If it wasn’t for the liquorice, we could be the best of friends.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85

This has to be one of the older blends in my cupboard…it’s been there more than a year, maybe closer to two? The fact that I can’t remember isn’t a good sign. I think I bought it off the back of a 52Teas cucumber blend that I really enjoyed a couple of summers ago…and then promptly forgot about it. It’s been sealed, though, and the scent is still good, so today it finally sees the light.

The dry leaf looks a little crusty, but at this point I’m really not surprised. There are pieces of dried lime zest and small cubes of freeze-dried cucumber, a lot of peppermint, plus the green tea base (apparently both straight green – sencha? – and jasmine green). It’s pre-sweetened with stevia, which I’m usually against, but if it helps to create a mojito kind of vibe then I might be on side…

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. This blend reminds me a lot of Bluebird’s MojiTEA, which is a good thing because I like that one. On the other hand, they’re not sufficiently different for me to want to keep both around, and I wouldn’t replace the Bluebird with this one because (for me, in the UK) Bluebird is more readily accessible anyway.

This one has strong lime notes, followed by cool, dank peppermint. There’s an edge of sweetness from the stevia, but it’s not overdone and it doesn’t strike me as “artificial” in any way. It’s just a touch of (welcome) background sugariness. The green tea base is smooth, a little vegetal. I can’t taste the jasmine at all, which is a bonus for me because I’m not over keen on floral greens. I’m guessing this one would be better iced or cold brewed, but it’s hardly the season for that at the moment. I might try and hang on to some leaf for next summer…but then this one really will be an antique by then, so maybe not.

I’d like to get to a place with my cupboard where most of my tea is less than a year old, and where the amount I’ve got around seems manageable rather than overwhelming. I’m conscious that I’m neglecting stuff, which makes me feel bad, and I don’t want it to be like that. I’ve been pretty good at not buying anything new lately, but the temptation is growing as it always seems to once my cupboard gets under 200. I’d like it to be under 100…maybe within the next year? I guess we’ll see! And at least I know what my New Year’s Resolution is going to be…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Nattie

Haha good luck! We seem to have the same issues.

Kristal

Good luck! I have a similar goal with wanting my stash to be circulating and fresh.

ashmanra

We are perpetually trying to drink up the oldest teas! Best of luck! I don’t know if I will ever get under 100 teas truly. I don’t even add small samples or swaps to my cupboard and still it stays over 100. I would love to figure out thirty teas and pare down to that many and stay around that mark.

Nattie

Ashmanra – that’s ambitious! My goal is 100 and I’m still almost 330 teas off target :’)

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55
drank Jungle Pleasure by Tealux
1701 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
1701 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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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.

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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