1247 Tasting Notes

80

I’ve been low on black tea choices at work recently. I think this is the only one I have with me currently, which is unlike me, but okay because this is my last full week of work before I get my long-awaited leave. These bags were actually given to me by a colleague, who professes that she has far too much tea at home (by which she means, more than one box of English Breakfast). Anyway, I’m always up for trying something new.

For this afternoon’s cup, I used 1 bag, and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. This is a fairly standard black fannings base, so it darkened to a deep reddy-brown relatively quickly. The scent is of cinnamon and clove, quite strong.

This is more pleasant to taste than I thought it was going to be. It reminds me a little of Mariage Freres Mandalay, although this is sweeter and somehow more floral in the aftertaste. The initial flavour is quite dank, and very heavy on the clove, so it comes as a surprise when the almost sugary sweet cinnamon emerges in the mid-sip. It’s a nice counterpoint. I guess the vanilla accounts for the sweetness, which takes on a dark, almost molasses-like flavour towards the end of the sip. The black tea base is smooth and adds a light maltiness, but it’s very much second-fiddle to the flavouring. I’m just grateful it’s not bitter or astringent, because I have no milk to tame anything like that at the moment!

This is an intriguing tea. I was expecting a pretty straight-up cinnamon spiced black, but it’s actually a lot more than that. The cinnamon is there, definitely, but it works really well as a sweet counterpoint to the flatter, heavier taste of the clove. The vanilla is the real star of this cup, though. It changes what could be a fairly mundane cup into something that’s almost fudgey by the end of the sip. The only slightly odd note is the tiny hint of floral in the aftertaste, but that’s easily overlooked. I have a feeling this might have been stored near a floral tea (jasmine?) at some point, which would account for that.

I like this one much better than I thought I would, and I’m glad to have another couple of bags to finish off. This is an excellent cold weather tea, although it’s light enough that I’d try it in the summer too. Maybe even iced! A surprise hit.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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55
drank Orange Lemonade by Tealux
1247 tasting notes

Today’s mid-morning cup. I’ve been neglecting herbals a little bit lately, so I figured it was time to try a couple of new ones again. I’m always on the lookout for a good fruit tea – particularly one that actually tastes of fruit. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium pink-red. Hello, hibiscus!

To taste, this is a very “herbal” blend. I can taste lemongrass, and the slight coolness of eucalyptus. Then it’s all hibiscus, pretty much, with an earthy hint of beetroot. The end of the sip is surprisingly sweet. Clearly this is where all the orange is hiding! There is a noticeable spark of orange at this point, although it reminds me most of tinned mandarins than actual fresh orange. The apple also adds a touch of sweetness, and is just about there to taste.

This struck me as a rather odd blend. There’s a little orange, but it’s mostly a hibiscus dominated herbal with a few too many additional flavours. I don’t really get the “lemonade” aspect at all. It’s a pleasant, mildly fruity herbal, but unfortunately it’s not entirely what I hoped it would be. One to try cold-brewed in the warmer months ahead.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This tin has been at work with me for a while, but I don’t remember drinking a cup more than twice, and I have no real recollection of the flavour or what I thought of it. High tine for a revisit, then! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a fairly bright yellow, and smells mildly citrussy.

To taste, it’s a whole ‘nother story. Lemon cream! I’m finding it hard to believe that I can’t remember my last cup of this one, because it’s so lovely that surely I would? Apparently not. It reminds me most of 52Teas Sun and Cloud Mist, which was a lemon cream tea that I absolutely loved. If I recall correctly, this one might even be a little stronger on the creaminess than that one was. Sipping on this is putting me in mind of a huge lemon sponge coated in light, fluffy vanilla buttercream. A dessert replacement if ever there was one!

The green tea base is smooth and unobtrusive, and the flavours really shine through. My only complaint is that the lemon is candy-like and a little tart. I could probably take a tad more sharpness with all the creamy sweetness, but it’s so great I can’t say I’m all that concerned. This is lemon cream in tea form. It’s ace! I can say with absolute certainty that this is definitely a tea that will no longer be neglected. Here’s to many happy cups ahead!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
teataku

Isn’t it just grand rediscovering great teas in your own cupboard? Score!

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70

I enjoyed Pineapple Upside Down Cake, from what I remember, so this one seemed like a sure win for a dull Monday at work. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

The dry leaf smells gorgeous – very sweet and cakey! It’s the kind of scent that permeates the whole kitchen, and I find it rather cheering in a sugar-overload sort of way. To taste, this is mostly maple syrup and brown sugar. There are large pieces of cherry (some whole!) and small pieces of dried pineapple in the mix, but somehow they don’t seem to impact upon the flavour at all. I do get sponge and caramelised sugar, though, so I suppose that’s something.

I generally like sweet things, and I like cake, so a maple/sugar tea is probably always going to be a win with me. I feel mildly let down by the lack of pineapple and cherry, but it’s still a nice tasting tea so it’s not really too much of a problem for me. I just keep imagining how great it would be if I could taste the pineapple. What an awesome tea that would be!

I think on balance I prefer the black version of this one, but I’ll certainly have no trouble finishing off this sample. A sweet, uncomplicated, tasty treat!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70

The combination of green, black and white tea in this blend has kept me from trying it until now. It’s one of my last few Della Terra samples, though, and it’s been hanging around long enough. For my first cup, I treated it like I would a white/green, so 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a light golden brown, and smells deliciously coconutty!

To taste, this one more than lives up to its name. It’s creamy, for sure, absolutely coconutty, absolutely, and rounded off with the thick butteriness of white chocolate. None of the base teas seem particularly prominent, largely because the flavouring is so strong they don’t really have a chance. It’s very lightly malty, but that’s all I can really detect. Possibly I could have left the water a little hotter, so I’ll probably give that a try next time.

This is undoubtedly a VERY sweet tea, and I like sweet things so that’s not something I’d usually remark on too much. It’s on the borderline between sweet and cloying, though, even for me. In small doses, and as a dessert replacement, that’s fine. I probably couldn’t drink cup after cup of this one, though, however dreamy it tastes. An occasional sweet treat.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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65

I had high hopes for this one, but unfortunately I feel they’ve fallen a bit short. I used 1tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting cup is a wonderfully autumnal apple-cinnamon rooibos, but there’s no yogurt. I think I’d built this one up in my head into a creamy apple cinnamon wonder-tea with the added tang of a spoonful of yogurt. Always a dangerous thing before you’ve even tried a tea, but I’m afraid the name had me at hello. Anyway, now I’d rather like to add some yogurt to this one, and I don’t have any. Boo hoo.

As rooibos blends go, this one is fairly woodsy. It works fairly well with the apple and cinnamon flavours, though, so I don’t really mind that. This one is pretty much autumn in a cup for me – sweet yet crisp apple fruitiness, the nutty, mildly spicy warmth of the cinnamon, and a little tree-bark rooibos woodsiness. It’s a good combination, and one I’m finding it easy to enjoy on this crisp morning. Sure, it fell a little short of my expectations. It’s still an enjoyable cup, though.

I think my next mission with this tea will be to try and coax out some of the yogurt flavouring. Whether that’s by adding some yogurt (or at least milk) of my own, or by experimenting with brew time/temp and leaf quantity. Managing that would probably make a really good tea into an excellent one, but if it doesn’t work out I’ll still have enjoyed drinking up my sample of this one. It’s great just the way it is.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Summer Rain by Tealux
1247 tasting notes

This afternoon’s new tea, and another Tealux sample. The description of this one really appealed to me – it’s an almost-mild, spring-like day, and I’m finding myself in the mood for white tea and relatively light, refreshing flavours. This fits the bill perfectly. As usual with a new white, I went for 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180.

To taste, it’s what I hoped it would be. Light and juicy tasting, with a mild edge of sweetness. I did fear for a moment when I saw jasmine mentioned in the ingredients, but I can’t taste it so that’s okay. The main flavour is actually melon – cantaloupe for sure – and it’s wonderfully refreshing. This would be perfect on an even hotter day, and maybe more perfect still iced. It reminds me of Butiki’s Cantaloupe & Cream a little, so might be a good replacement now that that’s gone forever. Sweet, juicy and delicious! A sample I’ll have no trouble polishing off, and even a potential repurchase!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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25
drank Lemon Dreams by 52teas
1247 tasting notes

I’ve drank this one a few times on an evening, but I’ve not made it to a note as yet. I think that’s partly because I feel like I don’t quite understand this blend. I mean, it’s simple: chamomile, lemon, honeybush. Those three things are fine with me. What I don’t quite understand is what happens when they’re combined in this specific blend. I like lemon, and I like chamomile. I even like honeybush, on occasion, but I don’t like this tea. My main problem with it is that it’s somehow astringent, which isn’t something I associate at all with honeybush. Even so, it really, really dries my mouth out after just a couple of sips. The second thing that strikes me wrong is the flavour. It’s harsh, almost sharp, and somehow medicinal tasting. I get mild notes of honey, and a whole whack of lemon, and then somehow it just all goes downhill. It’s hard to describe what happens, but it’s like the initial flavour (pleasant) is somehow overtaken by a sour, bitter monster. Very odd.

I’ve tried various combinations of leaf quantity, brew time, and water temperature, but I just can’t get this one to work for me. I feel like I’m drinking a different tea to everyone else! I’ll persevere for a couple more cups, but after that I’ll have to admit defeat. It’s a shame, because I wanted to like this one. The description is just my thing, but sadly it seems the actuality is not.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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35
drank Butterscotch Potion by Tealux
1247 tasting notes

Today’s new start. I’m glad I finally broke in to my stash of Tealux teas, because they’re actually pretty good (in other words, a lot better than I was expecting). Sometimes I think I might actually have flavoured tea fatigue. Anyway, today is almost a Spring day, so I decided a white might finally be appropriate. I used 1.5tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, and smells remarkably accurately of butterscotch!

To taste, this is a slightly odder story. What I’m picking up on initially actually tastes more like coconut than butterscotch. It’s also really creamy and a little vanilla-like, and reminds me of buttercream cake frosting. I’m reminded more of butterscotch towards the end of the sip, once the coconutty flavour has faded a bit, and what’s left is sweet, smooth and buttery. It’s not butterscotch from the word go, though.

Based on this impression, I had another look at the bag. Apparently, this contains cinnamon, but I wouldn’t know it. It also contains peppercorns, but they do make themselves known in the aftertaste, after a couple of sips. A spicy warmth is building up at the back of my throat, and it’s not entirely pleasant or suited to my image of “butterscotch”. Hmm. Somehow, now I’ve detected the pepper, it’s suddenly all I can taste. Bad that.

My first couple of sips were really encouraging, but I think over the course of one cup, my enthusiasm for this tea has waned. It’s pleasant initially, but it’s not really butterscotch, and the pepper is just plain odd. Not a favourite for me.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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65

Today’s new start, and the perfect thing to cheer up a dull Tuesday morning. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. It’s another Della Terra blend that scented the whole kitchen beautifully – just like caramel and cream, somehow.

Hot, this one is a big tasting tea. Caramel is immediately detectable, followed by the almost cloying sweetness of melted marshmallow. The pumpkin emerges mid sip, although it’s not as “squashy” as I’d have liked, followed by a warming hit of spice. I think cinnamon, primarily. This is definitely up there with the sweetest teas I’ve tried, although the pumpkin and spice elements help to tone that down a little. As it cools, however, some of the flavour seems to fade away and the whole thing becomes a little washed out. Definitely one to drink immediately.

This makes for a pleasant cup, although it’s not particularly brilliant as a pumpkin tea. There are many I’ve tried that I prefer on that count. It’s pretty good as a caramel marshmallow tea, though, with the added squash/spice element helping to make it a bit unique. A sample I’ll have no trouble finishing up!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 27, 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 ny 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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