1006 Tasting Notes

70

This is today’s iced tea, for the hottest day of the year so far. I picked up these iced tea sachets from Harvey Nichols, when I placed my order for a tin of Wedding Imperial. Got to make the postage worthwhile! It was also a MF blend I’d not had chance to try (although I now have samples of the ordinary version of this tea), so I decided to give it a go. The box contains 6 individually wrapped linen pouches, each containing about 1 or 1.5 tsp of leaf. The box recommends using two pouches to 1 liter of water, and cold brewing overnight in the fridge for 12 hours, so that’s what I did.

When I removed the jug from the fridge this morning, I couldn’t detect much in the way of scent, so I thought it might be a little weak. I needn’t have worried, though — the taste is just strong enough! It’s not a heavily flavoured tea by any means; it’s quite delicate and subtle. For a spice tea, though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The main flavour I can detect is cinnamon. I want to say there’s a little orange, maybe a touch of clove and cardamom. The flavour is so light it’s quite hard to pick out specific spices — suffice to say that it fits its billing of “oriental” very well. I did have my reservations about drinking a spice tea on a hot day, but this works surprisingly well. Partly it’s the lightness of flavour — it has none of the heaviness that might typically be associated with a chai, for example. It’s all light, airy swirls of flavour on a mild black tea base.

On the strength of this experience, I’d definitely purchase MF iced teas again. It’s also made me curious to try the “ordinary” tea this iced version is based on, just to see how similar they actually are! Time to break out the samples, perhaps :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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40

I gave this another go yesterday evening with a longer brew time, and added some milk. The milk really helps this one, and brings out the vanilla much more than when I tried it without additions. I can also taste a little more fruit — I wouldn’t identify it as mango outright, but definitely orange tropical. It’s just a little mild and generic tasting to really shine. The main flavour is still rooibos, so I have to confess that I’m a little disappointed with this one.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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70

I have a pouch of this from when it was called Monkey Bread, and a pouch of Cinnamon Bun. Today I’m drinking the older of the two — the Monkey Bread. I added 1 tsp of leaf to boiling water, and gave it approximately 3.5 minutes. It brews up a fairly light golden brown, and so I went without additions. I’m glad of that, because I think milk and sugar might have obscured the wonderful yoghurty notes I’m getting from this. That alone puts me in mind of a cinnamon bun drizzled with yoghurt/cream cheese icing. The fact that there’s a big smack of cinnamon helps too, obviously! Cinnamon is the main flavour, as would be expected, but there’s a good dose of chai-style spicing, too. It’s not too heavy, though — it reminds me of the spice you might find in a banana loaf cake, or something like that. Not the main flavour, nor intended to be, but a firm background note. With the chai, icing, and cinnamon notes taken together, this is like cake and tea complete! A seriously good dessert replacement! I’m glad I have two sample pouches now — I can save one for autumn/winter, when this will definitely come into its own!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70

I’m trying to make more of an effort to drink my greens, so I picked this out to try this afternoon. I’ve tried a few tropical greens, and this is admittedly one of the nicer ones despite being bagged. I was surprised to see strawberry in the ingredients list, as I don’t tend to think of strawberry as a “tropical” fruit. I couldn’t taste is at all, either, although I wasn’t concentrating too hard due to being at work. So distracting! I did get pineapple and guava, though, both very easily identifiable and beautifully juicy. The temperature has been approaching 30 again today, so this was a pleasantly refreshing afternoon cup. No bitterness or astringency from the green tea base, either.

The back of the sachet claims that I’ll be “whisked off into the ease of life sans care” while drinking this tea. I won’t go so far as to say that I was without care (work, ugh!), but it certainly cheered up what might have been a miserable afternoon at work (on my own, having to deal with everyone’s phone and emails as well as my own workload, on a hot day, with plenty of complaining going on). A little tropical brightness really was just the thing!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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90

Coconut teas can be hit and miss for me, which is probably why I’ve put off trying this SBT for a while. I also have a pouch of the reblended 52 Teas version, which I’ve not opened yet either. The scent of this one dry worried me a little, too; I got suncream from the scent! I’m guessing it’s that artificial coconut type smell some of them have. It was a pretty chemically scent, though, and not encouraging.

That was why my first sip this morning was a revelation. I think I’ve got brewing these down to an art now. I always use a timer so they get exactly three minutes, and I don’t squeeze the bag too hard when I’m taking it out. That seems to help avoid any bitterness, or losing the flavour among an over-strong black base. This one got the usual treatment; 3 minutes in a quarter pint of boiling water, topped up with cold water and into the fridge over night.

This one is pretty much liquid coconut cream. I’m hesitating about adding “pie” because I’m not getting too much that would make me think of pastry or pie crust. Definitely the coconut cream filling, though! The most prominent flavour is coconut, and it tastes toasted. There’s nothing fake-tasting here, despite the scent while dry. There’s also a fairly strong vanilla/cream flavour, which pairs really nicely with the coconut. Together, they’re totally reminiscent of coconut cream pie filling! This is naturally quite a sweet tea, so quite a contrast with yesterday’s Cucumber Melon SBT. I’ve got into the habit of always trying these without additions first, and it’s definitely proved worthwhile. This one is so spot on, it needs nothing else to help it shine.

I guess that makes it another inherently satisfying SBT. It’s HOT today, so this has made my day of work infinitely more bearable so far, especially when fridge cold. It’s flavoursome and beautifully refreshing. Everything you could want in an iced tea, really!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80
drank RadioactiviTEA by Man Teas
1006 tasting notes

This is one robust tea! I made a cup for myself on Sunday afternoon to try and galvanise myself for the week of work ahead. I was feeling pretty stressed at the prospect, and so a strong, plain, dependable tea was just the ticket.

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. I was expecting a fairly generic black CTC, but this actually tastes remarkably distinctive. It’s malty with a slight edge of sweetness, a touch of honey, and a little baked bread. I’m going to say rye bread, because it’s a dark kind of taste. There’s a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste, but it’s actually reasonably pleasant. To be fair, I was expecting it in a tea so strong.

I do want to try this with cream at some point, because I think that would really turn it into something special. Maybe a little sugar, on occasion, although it’s malty enough to not really need that. This is a straightforward, easy drinking tea, but it’s also flavourful and delicious. I confess myself very pleasantly surprised! This may become my go-to “stress” tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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40

To add my thoughts to previous reviews, I had no idea there was hibiscus in this one either. I’ll have to look out for that in my next cup. This is the ML Collection version of Organic African Nectar, and like others that are based on the Mighty Leaf range, it does have some subtle differences. It’s less fruity, for a start. I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing, as it was the juicy flavour of tropical fruit that really made Organic African Nectar appeal to me. African Amber Organic is primarily a plain rooibos, as far as I can taste, with light spicing and a hint of vanilla. The description says mango and hibiscus, but I can’t say I got either of those. I did pick up on a slightly jarring bitterness, so maybe that was caused by one of those? Back to the drawing board with this one, I think! I have a few more bags to experiment with before I make my final judgement :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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65

A sample from ashleyelizabeth. I’ve had a couple of cups of this one over the last couple of days, primarily because I’m back at work and have reverted to rooibos or caffeine free blends in the evening again. I also wanted to compare with David’s Amaretto, as these are both almond/marzipan teas.

This one is mild in flavour. Even with plenty of leaf and a long brew time, it’s a very subtle nutty, almond-y flavour. There’s also a hint of apple, which is actually really nice. The almond is so delicate that it doesn’t overpower it, and it adds a nice additional element to the overall cup. It’s not fresh, crisp, sharp apple — more mushy baked apple like in a crumble.

This isn’t the tea to choose when you’re looking for a punch of flavour, but it’s a good choice for a light swirl of flavour. Like a snowflake on the tongue, maybe. If snowflakes tasted of almond and apple.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
mj

I love the last two sentences :-)

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65
drank Amaretto by DAVIDsTEA
1006 tasting notes

I tried a second cup of this last night, with a longer brew time. I found the almond/marzipan flavour even stronger. I wasn’t sure that was even possible, given that my last cup tasted like liquid marzipan, but apparently it is. I still got the odd bitterness in the aftertaste, though, although it seemed not to linger as long. I can only conclude that it’s the odd base. On balance, though, this one is okay. Especially if you like almonds/marzipan/amaretty biscuits. And I do.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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80

I finished my first pouch of this off at work today. I have another in my cupboard from Valentines Day, so it’s not a sipdown. I don’t mind that, though, because this is a niiiiice tea. It took me three tries to get my cup this afternoon, though. The first time I boiled the water and left it to cool in my cup, and then forgot about it. The second time I actually got as far as adding the leaves, and then I forgot about it again. It was third time lucky! Clearly work is distracting :) It was good tea, though. When I got it.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich 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’ve also never really tried pu’erh, and that’s something I’m just starting to explore.

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

Norwich, UK

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