1641 Tasting Notes

85
drank Butterbeer by 52teas
1641 tasting notes

Tried again this afternoon with 2 tsp of leaf, a 4 minute brew-time, a few pieces of crystal sugar, and some milk. It helped to perk this one up a bit, I think. The butteriness is emphasised, and the root beer flavour seems a little stronger. I’m thinking it might not need the sugar, simply because it’s already quite sweet and it seems to draw the liquorice into play a little too much for my liking. I can tell it’s going to be trial and error with this one – next time, without sugar! This cup was an improvement, though, regardless.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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80

Liquid gingerbread man! I’m actually quite surprised by how enjoyable these Twinings “Indulgence” blends are. I’m not usually a fan of their bagged green tea, but it seems sweet and buttery here, and the flavouring is impeccable. This isn’t the spiciest gingerbread tea I’ve ever tried, but it does have a very prominent biscuit-like flavour, with the ginger second and a touch of vanilla in the background. Pretty delicious, for a fuss-free cup!

1 bag, 175 degrees, 2 minutes. No additions.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
VariaTEA

I was also really surprised but this one but they nailed it. Definitely one of the better gingerbread teas out there.

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85
drank Bellini by Tetley
1641 tasting notes

I remembered to use the last of these bags for my first proper cold brew of the year! I was pretty convinced I’d forget, but for once I’ve been true to my plans. I used three bags in just over 1 litre of cold water, and left them in the fridge for around 12 hours overnight. The result is pretty delicious. The initial sip is very heavy on the peach, and quite sweet. Then the orange comes out in the mid-sip and adds a mild sharpness that complements the peach really well. The ginger emerges towards the end of the sip, and lingers as a warming spiciness in the aftertaste. It makes for a really refreshing drink, with peach the main star and reassuringly natural in terms of taste. I’m actually quite sad that I’ve finished this one – I’ll certainly look out for it this summer in case it makes a return!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp

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85
drank Butterbeer by 52teas
1641 tasting notes

This is my reblend pouch from the “old” 52 Teas, which has been sitting in my cupboard (unopened) for quite a while now. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. The aroma is sweet and buttery, but I actually found the first sip to be a lot lighter on flavour than I was expecting. I’m thinking, like the Root Beer Float I drank last week, that I might need to overleaf this one a little and increase the brew time – maybe add some crystal sugar and/or milk to get the best out of it. I’ll try that next time.

This cup is nice, just a lot more watery than I was prepared for. It has a delicious buttery undertone and the herbal, almost medicinal, flavour of root beer that sums up “butterbeer” pretty accurately. I can taste the chicory lurking in the background, and I do think it adds a mild coffee-like flavour, but since it helps to add another layer of depth I’m not too bummed about tasting coffee in my tea. I think this one takes on an almost caramel-like flavour towards the end of the sip and in the aftertaste, particularly as it cools. It’s good, but I’d like my next cup to be a little stronger if I can reasonably achieve it!

I’ve left my rating as it is for now – but that was for the 12 Teas of Christmas version from, I think, 2014? I’d give this cup 65-70.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Cherry Bakewell by Twinings
1641 tasting notes

Finally got around to trying this one at work today. I let the water cool to around 175 degrees before I added the bag, because it’s a green tea and Twinings’ bagged greens in particular seem very prone to scorching. I gave it approximately 2 minutes, after which the liquor is a medium green-brown.

I expected a degree of bitterness, and so I was pleasantly surprised to find none. There’s a sweet candy cherry flavour that’s maybe a touch reminiscent of cough medicine, rescued by a background note of almond/frangipane that makes this much more reminiscent of a dessert. There’s even a butteriness to the green tea that suggests pastry. The best thing by far, though, is the distinctive flavour of glace icing. Combined with the cherry, almond and pastry notes, it makes for a pretty delicious cup! I rarely commend bagged teas, but this one’s worth the hype. I’d repurchase this for fuss-free spring/summer drinking. It’s a sweet, desserty treat.

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

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20
drank White Peach by Nestea
1641 tasting notes

First iced tea of the year! I know it was a bad choice, but the return of the hot weather (and it’s REALLY hot today) caught me unprepared and I reached for the nearest cold thing. It happened to be this, from my parent’s Dolche Gusto machine. The thought also appealed because I’ve had a good few peach teas in the last week or so, and I’ve enjoyed them all, so continuing the peach theme…

This is okay. If you like ultra sweet, ultra artificial iced “tea” then this is perfect. I don’t, really. I mean, I like sweet things up to a point, but this one goes overboard for me. There’s also very little tea in here. It’s the right colour for iced tea, but you can’t actually taste it. I think it’s an “extract” rather than actual tea, given that the pod is full of some kind of powder and sugar, but as the main flavour is clearly supposed to be fake peach then maybe I should have expected that.

I can’t say this was enjoyable as a tea, but as a cold thing on a hot day it ticked one box. I’d not choose to drink it again, though. There are so many better things around.

Preparation
Iced

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75
drank Ginger Peach by Market Spice
1641 tasting notes

A sample from Miss B! Clearly I’m in a peachy mood at the moment, because yesterday’s sample pick was Tetley’s Bellini which is also peach-flavoured. Maybe because it’s warmer outside now and I’m thinking of summer? Anyway, I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. This is another blend that I think would be good iced, but it’s also pretty good hot so I’ve no complaints about today’s preparation method.

Peach is the main flavour, and it’s a wonderfully sweet, fuzzy, yet natural-tasting peach. Like peach juice, really. There’s a mild undertone of ginger lurking around in the background, but it doesn’t really deliver much of a kick. If anything, it just serves to emphasise how sweet the peach is. The one thing I did notice is that this tea doesn’t have much of an aftertaste – it seems to become very flat-tasting quite suddenly at the end of the sip, which I don’t think I’ve ever really encountered before.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed this one. It’s nice to find a peach tea that isn’t hopelessly artificial, and the ginger here is a welcome addition and not at all overpowering. A great cup on a hot day!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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40
drank Teatoxy Energize by Teatoxy
1641 tasting notes

Sipdown! This one has been sitting in my cupboard for ages. It was my least favourite of the three Teatoxy blends I tried, one of which I really enjoyed. I adore it for its novelty value – blue tea is a talking point, if nothing else, but I wasn’t over keen on the flavour (I think it was the pandan, but there was something thick and brothy with an edge of intense sweetness that drowned out everything else for me.) I also didn’t feel I gained much from this in terms of the promised energy boost, but maybe that was a little much to expect anyway. I’d not repurchase this one – matcha, guayusa and mate are my go-to energy boost teas, and they generally taste better to boot.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp

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65
drank Dozy Girl by Bluebird Tea Co.
1641 tasting notes

This was a sample with my last Bluebird order. I think I’ve only tried it once before, and that was also a sample if I remember correctly. While I like the idea of herbal bedtime blends, floral teas aren’t usually my favourite so I just tend not to buy them often (or at all).

I’m pleased to be able to give this one a second chance, though. While brewing, it smells strongly of lavender. It’s a very calming, reassuring scent, at least to me, but it’s too perfume-like for me to want to drink regularly. Fortunately, the lavender doesn’t really translate into the flavour. To taste, this is mostly chamomile (with all the thick, sweet hay-like honey notes that implies), with a hint of rose water. The lavender lurks around the edges as a sweet, floral background note but it’s not massively prominent. As the cup cools, I can begin to taste a touch of lemon – the sharper citrus helps to brighten things up, and is a refreshing counterpoint to the otherwise heavily sweet and floral flavours.

I liked this one more than I was expecting to, which seems to be the same experience I had last time too. It’s not something I’d drink regularly, but it would make a really good stress-busting blend, and it puts me in mind of summer which is instantly cheering on a dull-ish day. As ever with Bluebird blends, it’s also a very pretty tea. The pink rose petals, lilac lavender, yellow chamomile and green lemon verbena are very much reminiscent of a wildflower field in summer, and that added just a little extra touch of wonderfulness as I watched this one brew. A pleasant reacquaintance!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Bellini by Tetley
1641 tasting notes

A sample from Miss B. I made up a cup of this hot today, because I’m odd like that. It struck me as a bit perverse at the time, but I really wanted something summery and peachy, and it’s warm out, so I decided to go for it. I’ll really have to start bringing cold brewed tea to work again now it seems like summer is finally here, and potentially to stay. This is a strong candidate for one of my first cold brews – I have three teabags left, so I’m going to save those for that. I can see it working well!

This is just fine hot, though. The initial sip has a strong, sweet, fuzzy peach flavour. It’s a touch artificial, but not outrageously so. The mid sip is mostly orange (I’d say blood orange, if I had to pin it down). Again, it’s not entirely natural-tasting – more like sour orange candy. There’s a tartness at the end of the sip that makes me suspect there might be a touch of hibiscus at work, but it’s pretty subtle so I’ve no real complaints about that.

The colour of this one is the most surprising thing, to me. It’s bright orange! Usually, fruit teas with hibiscus are either a tell-tale pinky colour, or outright deep red. This is neither, which is novel if nothing else. Artificial colouring, though? How else would it be so orange?

I know this is Tetley, and bagged, but I actually like it a lot more than I expected to. It does taste like a Bellini, without the alcohol or grenadine, and although it’s a little on the artificial side it tastes pretty good. I’m looking forward to trying this one iced in the days ahead.

ETA: GINGER! I knew I could taste something in the background, and then it occurred to me in a fairly blinding glimpse of the obvious. It works pretty well with the orange, so I’m happy. Even though ginger isn’t one of my favourite things, it didn’t stop me enjoying this one!

Preparation
Boiling 3 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.

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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