1641 Tasting Notes

75

A sample from Roswell Strange, who kindly agreed to help me expand my flavoured matcha horizons. This is the second I’ve tried of the samples she sent me, and since it’s a little cold this morning it seemed like a pretty appropriate “warm up” flavour when I arrived at work. I made it up as a latte – 1/4 tsp of leaf whisked into about an inch of water, then topped up with hot milk.

The flavour is pretty good. It seemed very sweet and buttery initially, which reminded me very much of pie crust. The cinnamon emerged second, and added nicely to that effect. The apple is a little more fleeting, but there’s definitely something in the mid-sip that reminds me a lot of apple pie filling, although shop-bought rather than homemade. There’s something just a little artificial about it. The apple is sweet and floury rather than sharp and crisp, which is the opposite of my preference, but it works with the pie/baked goods theme here, and is tolerable in that respect.

I feel like I got on pretty well with this one, and I’m looking forward to experimenting a bit with preparation methods and suchlike. Thanks again to Roswell Strange for the opportunity to try this one.

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60

Today’s work iced tea. I prepared it the usual way, giving the bag 3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and into the fridge overnight. I love anything candy cane related, so I was pretty excited to try this one! While it was brewing, I could really smell vanilla and mint, and the tiny taste I took was pretty good. A little artificial in the way of peppermint extract, maybe, but good. This morning I’m wondering whether it’s too cold, because I can’t really taste much of anything at all. There’s a very faint mint flavour, and it’s lightly sweet/creamy, but that’s really all. If anything, the bulk of the flavour seems to be in the aftertaste, but that’s not saying much because there’s not much flavour to be found.

I’d probably say that I’d stored this one too long if I hadn’t taken a tiny sip last night and found plenty of flavour. I’m going to let it warm up a little in case that improves things, but otherwise I’m at a loss to know what happened with this one. It was candy cane, and now it’s no more than just barely. Hmm.

ETA: It’s a little improved as it gets warmer, but not as much as I’d hoped. I’m going to give this one a rating of 60, because it tasted okay last night, and it still does except that it’s significantly fainter than I recall.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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85

A sample from Roswell Strange! I’ve been curious about this flavour for a while, since I quite like bubblegum but don’t get along much with it in actuality thanks to an old jaw injury. I’m also pretty sure I could smell this one as soon as I opened the envelope of samples she sent me, and since it was so sweet, fruity, and delicious, it was an obvious first choice to try.

I made this up as a latte, following my usual method (1/4 tsp matcha, whisked into about an 1.5 inches of water with an aerolatte, topped off with hot milk). This is the delicate level of flavour, but the initial sip has the intense flavour of bubblegum. It’s actually a difficult flavour to describe, probably because the real thing is mostly artificial to begin with. It’s sweet, which goes without saying, and then there’s a candy fruitiness that reminds me very much of Juicy Fruit (and also Lush’s Snow Fairy shower gel, minus the soapiness). The flavour lingers well into the aftertaste. I can taste very little of the actual matcha – just a touch of grass that pokes out towards the end of the sip, and a hint of saltiness.

I’m actually thinking I might like to try this one iced, which I’ve not attempted with matcha before, so I’ll need to work out how to do that. My overall on this one, though? Pretty delicious. It’s an unusual flavour, and fun on a hot day. Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing this one with me!

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45
drank Turtle Cheesecake by 52teas
1641 tasting notes

Sipdown! Sadly haven’t managed to make this one work for me. It’s chocolate, but fairly bitter and dry-tasting for the most part. No caramel, no cheesecake. Sad face.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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95

Today’s work iced tea. I made this up the way I usually do, giving the bag 3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and then into the fridge overnight. While it was in the hot water, my family insisted the smell was caramel. At first that confused me, but I can kind of see it, I guess…it’s sweet, and there’s something that reminds me very much of vanilla beans. Not caramel, though, really.

When I took my first sip, I was immediately reminded of Della Terra’s Lemon Chiffon. This has the same creamy, dessert-like vibe. I can taste both lemon and lime pretty clearly, although the creaminess is dominant. I don’t have a problem with that, though – it’s delicious! The thing that most astounds me about SBTs is their ability to mimic the effervescence of a fizzy drink, or something like sherbet, without actually being carbonated, and there is a background fizziness here.Ultimately, it comes across as a hybrid of Mountain Dew and Cream Soda for me, which is better tasting than it sounds. I’m certainly going to find this one easy to drink today – it could be a new favourite SBT!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Fjellrev

I don’t really care for Mountain Dew, but love cream soda, so this does sound intriguing!

Scheherazade

It really IS creamy! Goes so well with the lemon/lime flavour, too :)

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100

The last time I tried this one, I was drinking the old version and I remember really enjoying it. It was on the strength of that cup that I bought a new bag (although after the switch to the new version), and I’m only just now getting around to trying it.

The dry leaf smells just like cocoa. In fact, I could have been convinced that I’d opened a tin of cocoa by mistake if I hadn’t been able to see what I was doing. It’s definitely tea, but SO chocolatey it’s almost unreal.

Once brewed, it’s still amazingly chocolatey! I added a splash of milk just because, although in all honesty it didn’t really need it. The flavour is predominantly chocolate and malt, with just a touch of berry sharpness right at the end of the sip. It seems simple, but it’s SO good. This one could easily become a comfort tea for me.

1 tsp, boiling water, 3.5 minutes. Splash of milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

One of these days I need to take the plunge and just order this and Golden Orchid when they’re back in stock. See what all these awesome raves are about!

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60
drank Fudge Melts by Twinings
1641 tasting notes

This one sounds amazing, and I really, really hoped that it would taste equally wonderful. It…kind of does, and kind of doesn’t. I think green tea is an odd choice for the base here. It’s faintly grassy and vegetal, and it just doesn’t work all that well with fudge as a flavour. A black base would have been eminently more sensible, surely? Then there’s the fudge. This one smells a little artificial when it’s brewing, but it tastes better than that would suggest. It’s very heavy on the vanilla, which is all I can taste to begin with, and then there’s an almost thick-tasting butteriness that is kind of reminiscent of fudge (particularly with the vanilla…) It’s all just a little sweet and sickly, a bit overpowering, and sadly not really my thing. I’d so hoped it would be, but it’s just not quite right.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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75

Today’s iced tea. I know I need to work on drinking down my SBT stash, and this is the beginning of that. To aid in this endeavor, I’ve pulled out my oldest ones so they’re first to hand (although I don’t think they’re actually THAT old, really).

This one got the usual SBT treatment – 3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold water and into the fridge for around 12 hours overnight. I wasn’t at all convinced by the scent of this one while it was brewing – it had a very strong, very sweet “throat sweet” honey scent.

To taste, it’s actually pretty good. Ginger isn’t my favourite thing, and so I’m pleased to find that it’s not super strong or particularly peppery. It actually reminds me most of crystallized ginger – there’s a mild spicy kick, but with an edge of sweetness. It’s mostly a background flavour. The main flavour is honey, but again it’s not too strong or overpowering. It’s pretty flavour accurate, and adds almost a syrupy texture to the mouthfeel – very smooth and sweet. It works better with the ginger than I thought it would – one seems to bring out the best in the other.

As SBTs go, I’m finding this a pretty subtle blend, but on a hot day that’s actually no bad thing. The flavours are definitely there – there’s no argument about this one being honey-ginger – but they’re not too in-your-face and I’m quite enjoying that today. It’s a thirst-quenching, easy-sipping delight of a tea.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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80

Today’s cold brew. I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in just over 1 litre of cold water, and left it in the fridge for around 12 hours overnight. The initial flavour is pineapple, and it’s pretty sweet and intense – more so than when brewed hot. The mint comes out second, but it’s not as strong or as cooling as I expected it to be. I’m sure it’s actually mostly spearmint I can taste, because it’s sweeter and gentler than peppermint even though it’s further down the ingredient list. There’s also a hint of coconut at the end of the sip, and it’s just a little soapy-tasting, but that’s the only real bum-note here for me.

It feels wrong to say it, but I preferred this one hot. It’s just a little too sweet cold, and I felt that I lost the pineapple after the initial sip. It was worth trying, though, and I still have a couple of tsp left for some hot cups before my sample is gone.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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85
drank Butterbeer by 52teas
1641 tasting notes

And again this morning.

This time, I used 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it 5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, but no sugar. It’s not bad, but still too light in flavour for my taste. I think I might go back to brewing this one without milk, although I know I’ll miss the creaminess and the enhanced buttery flavour that the milk seems to bring out. I’m actually finding that it’s better as it cools, and I can taste root beer just barely, but I really want MORE flavour from this one. Maybe it’s a case of finding the right leaf/milk balance so that it can really shine. Still a work in progress.

Preparation
Boiling 5 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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