1158 Tasting Notes

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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90

This was Sunday morning’s first cup. It was quite a weekend for revisiting my Sherlock sampler! Fortunately, I like this one just as much as I did initially. Black-green blends can be a bit hit and miss for me, but this is one big hit! Strong, malty Irish Breakfast, a light tang of bergamot, the slight dankness of green tea, and the warming spice of cinnamon. A great tea to wake up to!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

This was Saturday morning’s first cup, and it turned out really, really well. Strong notes of almond cookie, plus the wonderful maltiness of assam. Perfection in a cup!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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55

The last of Friday’s teas. After two cups of chai, something light and refreshing was just the ticket! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

I have to say that the flavour here is mainly ceylon. I’ve actually drank Adagio’s Ceylon Sonata plain a good few times before, so I know the taste pretty well. It’s quite a citrussy tea to begin with, but with this blend it’s hard to know where that ends and the grapefruit/blood orange begins. They’re fairly mild in any case, although it’s fair to say that I can taste the grapefruit more than the orange. It adds just a slightly sharp, bitter note to the overall cup.

If boring and bitter sum up Anderson, then this is a great fandom blend. I suppose he can be a little bitter, at times, although who wouldn’t be after what he’s experienced? Maybe sour is a better word, and that works too.

This one’s a good palate refresher, purely because it lacks a strong flavour punch. For the same reason, though, this isn’t a stand out blend to me. I’m going to follow the recommendation to try this one cold, and see if that improves matters any. I can only hope that it does!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

The second Sherlock chai of Friday. This one is more suited to my personal tastes, so I felt more confident brewing up a cup of Donovan. As ever, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, because that’s how I roll when it comes to chai.

The initial flavour here is chocolate, with an undertone of chai spices (clove, cardamon, and a hint of cinnamon?) The spices are by no means strong, but they provide a nice background flavour; the combination reminds me of spiced hot chocolate! The black tea base provides a nice sweet maltiness, which combines well with the mild, creamy vanilla and almond notes that come out towards the end of the sip. It’s just like the description says, really – this one starts off with a spicy kick, and then slowly mellows out.

As blends go, I think this one is pretty suited to Donovan’s character. She seems to attack first and ask questions later, in the same way that this blend starts off spicy and then mellows out. I’d rate this blend equally with Mycroft in terms of flavour, and it’s definitely one I’d consider repurchasing in the future.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

This was another Friday try, but due to a busy weekend I never did get chance to write a note. Quite a few of the Sherlock blends are chai-based, it seems, which is okay with me because I rather like chai. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

This is probably my favourite of them so far – a relatively normal masala chai blend (good notes of pepper, clove and cardamon), with a strong overtone of ginger spiciness. It wasn’t too hot, or mouth-burningly spicy, although I expect that could be ramped up with a longer brew time or a bit more leaf, or by leaving out the milk. I like it as-is, though. I think it strikes a good balance for my tastes personally.

The fandom aspect is pretty apparent here – Moriarty says he will burn Sherlock, after all, so a spicy blend is more than fitting. It’s not as devilish as it could be (clearly something could be learned from 52Teas Mayan Chocolate Chai), but it’s drinkable, which is definitely more important. And I reckon the spiciness could be increased as I’ve already said, so that’s fair enough. A great cup for a cold evening.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

I actually drank this one for the first time on Friday afternoon, but I ran out of time to write notes. Hence, we’re having a reprise this morning. The scent of the dry leaf is a little overpowering, so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one all that much. It’s definitely molasses, though…and “cake”. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. No additions.

To taste, the apple flavour actually comes out really well. I was half expecting it to be completely drowned in all the sweetness, but it’s not like that at all. It’s a fresh, crisp apple flavour, not flowery or floral in the slightest. The molasses comes out in the mid-sip, just like a freshly opened bag of muscavodo sugar. It’s not as sweet as I anticipated, which is a good thing, but rich and treacly and almost thick tasting. The combination is actually putting me in mind of toffee apples, bonfires, and autumn. An atmospheric tea if ever there was one!

This one is definitely a welcome change from the normal run of teas I drink at work, and a pleasant, easily drinkable cup. A treat for a cold morning!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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55

This one has been at work with me for a while, but I’ve evidently neglected it for one reason or another. I think perhaps it wasn’t a favourite the last time I tried it…I remember it being a little bitter and almost floury tasting, although my tasting note is reasonably positive. Time to renew my acquaintance! I used 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright orange-yellow. The scent is primarily toasted rice, with a light undertone of almost floral apple.

To taste, this is more palatable than I recall. The apple is the main flavour, but it’s a mushy, floury, slight floral apple. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s supposed to be baked apple, and when I do I can see how spot on the flavour actually is. The rice provided the baked/toasted note, which is a significant element in the overall taste of the cup. It’s not overpowering, but it’s perhaps a little more prominent than I’d like. Still, this is a genmaicha. The green tea base (I’m pretty sure it’s sencha) is smooth and a little grassy. It doesn’t quite work with the other flavours, somehow although since it’s confined mostly to the aftertaste, it’s not a huge problem. I can’t help but think that the base would work better with a crisp, sharp apple flavour though. That could potentially be really good!

I have quite a large bag of this one, and I think it’ll take me a while to work through it. It won’t be a repurchase for me for this reason, and because it just doesn’t tick enough boxes for me personally. Good to have tried, though.

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

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70
drank Teatoxy Morning by Teatoxy
1158 tasting notes

I loved Teatoxy’s Calm Me blend, and went through my bag of that so quickly it was unreal. Now that it’s gone, I’m starting to give this one more of a look-in. It’s such a variable tea, it’s actually quite surprising! My last cup was pale pink, with notes of hibiscus, lemongrass, apple and peppermint. This time, the liquor is a deeper red-brown, and the only flavours I can detect are hibiscus and lemongrass, in that order. Strangely, though, I’m not looking on this as a bad thing. For a morning tea, it’s tart freshness is actually quite welcome in a “blow away the cobwebs” kind of way. I guess my experience with this tea varies depending on the exact make up of each scoop of tea. The ingredients are so huge, it can be difficult to get a balanced distribution. In some ways, that just makes it all the more intriguing!

I like lemongrass, so the fresh citrussy burst of flavour here is very welcome. I’m less keen on hibiscus, but it’s not super tart or sour here, so I actually don’t mind it being a part of things. Morning is quickly becoming my second favourite Teatoxy blend. Although their range is small at the moment, I’m quickly beginning to think of their teas as being effective and of reliable quality, in addition to being fairly unique! A company I hope to see more of in future.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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60

Slowly working through these fall teas from last year. It may be March, but it’s still damn cold here, so they’re more than fitting at the moment. I used 1 tsp of leaf for this one, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a relatively pale brown, so no additions.

I’ve tried a couple of apple pie teas with various bases so far, and this is a pretty good one as far as my experience goes. The apple is forefront, and it’s a pleasantly crisp “apple” apple, with a mild baked note kicking around in the background. The spicing isn’t too strong, and really complements the apple. It’s mostly cinnamon and clove as far as I can discern, plus a slight nuttiness from the almond slivers. There’s the tiniest note of dried fruit in the background, but nothing really to comment on. Taken as a whole, the flavour really does remind me of gooey apple pie filling.

There are a couple of things that sadden me about this tea, but they’re not huge problems. Firstly, there’s no detectable pie crust/pastry flavour. To my mind, this can be a hugely complementary aspect of an apple pie tea, taking it from average to brilliant. Try as I might, I just can’t pick it out here. This is my third cup, and despite minor alterations to my brewing method, nothing I do seems to coax it out. Secondly, as this one cools it seems to take on an unaccountable bitterness, rather like biting into the core when eating an actual apple. It’s not terrible, but it distracts from what was initially a pleasant flavour.

On balance, this isn’t my favourite apple pie tea, but it’s still pretty good. It just needs to be finished up while hot, and definitely not oversteeped. Not a repurchase for me (although at this point, I’m not sure that would be an option even if I wanted it to be). Not a sample I’ll have any trouble finishing up, though.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

The weather purgatory that I’ve been still has me reaching for wintery blends too. :)

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Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 26, 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’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

Norfolk, UK

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