1088 Tasting Notes

1
drank Carrot Cake by DAVIDsTEA
1088 tasting notes

A sample from KittyLovesTea. Like many others on here, I’m not quite sure what to make of this one. I read through a couple of notes after drinking my first cup, because I was certain there must have been some mistake. Either that, or my sample must be ages old/contaminated, which I don’t expect is the case. I say all this because this one smells of paint thinner. Brewing it was actually rather off putting, and I did wonder whether it was something I should be taking a sip of. I did anyway, and it actually doesn’t taste too bad. It’s a little chemically and oddly dank tasting, but there’s a tiny hint of something vaguely resembling carrot cake in there. I think it might be the spicing that’s giving me the right sort of impression, but there’s no cake or frosting to be found. I got about half way through my cup before I dumped it. I’m not sure what’s wrong with this one, but it’s not very pleasant to drink. Life’s too short for bad tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Kittenna

Oh wow, it’s been so long that I don’t even recall this one (though I know I’ve had it). This blend is very old though, but I also think it was one where people felt like something was wrong with it… paint thinner is coming to mind (not actually looking at the notes)

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85
drank Toast and Jam by Tea Horse
1088 tasting notes

A sample from Kitty Loves Tea. I’ve been curious about this one for a while. How can toast and jam be replicated in tea form? Answer: like this. As per the recommended parameters, I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.

Hojicha isn’t always my favourite green tea, but I will admit that it works here. It provides the perfect toasted flavour; not overdone or burnt in any way, just perfectly golden toasted. The initial flavour is all sweet strawberry jam, though, and it’s utterly delicious. The hibiscus and strawberry pieces capture the tart/sugary/fruity balance perfectly, and then the hojicha base ushers in the crisp toast underneath.

I’m actually quite amazed that a tea can capture a food taste so well. It’s a pretty rare thing in flavoured tea, I think, unless I’ve just been unlucky with the ones I’ve tried. From what I’ve experienced so far, it seems that Tea Horse produced some unique and imaginative blends that were well executed to boot. It saddens me that they disappeared from the tea world after such a short time. Worth a try, if you can get your paws on some.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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80

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’ve never tried white tea dragon balls before, so this was a must-experience! The compressed leaves are mostly dark brown/black, although there are a couple of silver buds evident on the surface. There are also some leaves, so I’m guessing this is a pai mu tan style white. The scent is sweet and a little malty, with a light mushroom note that reminds me of Teavivre’s Xi Gui Ancient Tree Raw Pu-erh. I’m brewing western style at work, so I used 1 ball (they are seriously large!), and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The ball is still tightly rolled, and nowhere close to unravelling.

To taste, it’s pleasantly sweet with a touch of hay and a light floral note. Pretty standard white tea, in other words. I think more steeps are required!


Second steep, and the ball is just starting to unravel a little. It’s still fairly tightly rolled, however. The liquor this time is a little darker, with an almost greenish tinge. It smells more strongly floral (peony), but tastes very similar to the first steep. Sweet, with notes of hay and a light floral.


Third steep, and it’s unravelled a little further. It’s still a ball, though, except now bits are sticking out! The liquor has retained its greenish cast, and is otherwise unchanged in flavour, although it has taken on a slight creaminess.

I’m sure this one would be good for many, many more steeps, but I’m running out of time at work. I guess I’ll have to call it a day here for now, but this is definitely one I’d be happy to try again in the future, should the opportunity arise.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Exotica by DAVIDsTEA
1088 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

Final cup of the evening yesterday. This is an interesting blend; a sort of tropical chai. I rather like chai, so I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a go. Warming is good on a cold night, and the tropical element might remind me of summer even though that is now a distant memory. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a pale-ish yellow, and smells deliciously of cardamom and lemon.

To taste, the main flavour is decidedly lemongrass. That surprised me a little, as I thought the selection of (rather strong) spices might have overpowered grassy, hay-like lemongrass completely. Not so. The flavour is actually quite gentle, and the sweet, lightly citrus flavour of the lemongrass is a significant player here. After the initial herbal of the lemongrass comes caradmon, a tiny bit of clove, and a warming hit of pepper. Finally, in the aftertaste, this one takes on a creaminess that I can only assume is the coconut, although I can’t really taste coconut as such. Neither can I taste pineapple, which makes me a little sad.

Drinking this one is putting me in mind of Thai food, which is pretty much always a good thing in my book. I wish I could taste more fruit, but the lemongrass/chai/cream combination is a pleasant one. It’s an interesting herbal, but I have to admit to feeling a touch underwhelmed. I’d built myself up for tropical amazingness, and it didn’t really quite deliver. It’s not a bad tea, though, and I’ve rated it accordingly.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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100

From the EU TTB – Round 3

This was my pick for Sunday night. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but that just goes to show how wrong I can be. The bag itself looks fairly innocuous, and smells like nothing more than a standard ceylon. How utterly deceptive! Upon adding this one to boiling water, the room fills with the scent of cantaloupe melon. Sweet, juicy, amazingness. I left it for three minutes, no additions.

The resulting liquor is quite dark, and I was a little concerned that the black base would overwhelm the melon flavouring. I needn’t have worried. In actual fact, I can’t really taste the black base at all. It’s just like drinking a cup of melon juice! I’m not getting too much in the way of honey, except perhaps a slight sweetness in the aftertaste, but that’s not a problem. With melon as flavour-accurate as this, who really needs honey anyway?

I think this one has to be tried to be believed! I’m thinking it might be good iced, and so I might keep a couple of bags back for the summer so I can give that a try.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Veronica

This sounds wonderful! Added it to my wishlist.

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90

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I guess these days you’ve got to try a Butiki where you can. I’m enjoying green tea more and more these days, so this was a sure try from the box. The leaf is a beautiful thing – hand rolled pellets that do resemble a snail’s shell, with the downy silver tip darkening to green/black on the outside. Unfurled, the leaves are bigger than I expected, and a fairly uniform medium green. This is clearly a tea that’s been prepared with love and care, and it’s a delight to see. As per the recommended parameters, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.

It’s gorgeous. The liquor is a medium yellow, and smells very vegetal with a hint of floral. The taste is similar. It’s quite strong initially, and a distinctive mixture of green cabbage and grass. The mid-sip introduces a smooth, silky buttery note, and it rounds off with the flavour of pine nut. It’s such a smooth (almost to the point of creamy), clean tasting green, with absolutely no bitterness or astringency. As it cools, I also pick up a burst of citrus fruitiness in the mid sip. A characterful green, and an absolute pleasure to drink. I will miss Butiki terribly, not least for their commitment to quality which is absolutely self-evident in teas like this.

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

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75
drank Pistachio Rose by Tea Horse
1088 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

Another Tea Horse blend that I’ve been wanting to try. Finally, here’s the opportunity! As per the recommended parameters, I used 2 tsp of leaf and gave it 1 minute in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The dry leaf is a thing of beauty. Plentiful pink rose petals, whole green pistachio nuts, and the darker green tea base (composed of rolled pellets).

Brewed, the liquor is a medium yellow, and smells primarily of rose. To taste, it’s sweeter than I expected. Rose is the main flavour, but it’s almost as if it’s a sugared petal. It’s not too perfume-like, just delicately floral. The pistachio flavour is mild, and emerges mostly at the end of the sip. It adds a creamy, gentle nuttiness to the overall sip, and it works well with the lightly vegetal green base. There’s a slight astringency to this one, but it’s not overwhelming. Just a dryness at the back of the throat post-sip.

I’m not always the biggest fan of floral teas, but I liked this one a lot more than I was expecting to. It actually reminds me of Turkish Delight! Another wonderful tea, courtesy of the wonderful TTB!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
Dustin

That sounds pretty delicious!

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95
drank Graveyard Mist by 52teas
1088 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’ve tried this one before, but it’s been a long term favourite of mine, so I took the opportunity to reacquaint myself with it. It’s just as good as I remember – creamy marshmallow and sweet, refreshing peppermint, all on a clean, slightly vegetal green base with just the tiniest edge of smoke. There’s no more evocative tea than this one. It’s misty graveyards on a dark night all the way. Still one of the best flavoured greens I’ve tried.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Mom's Apple Pie by DAVIDsTEA
1088 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

Apparently I’ve tried this before, although I don’t remember it. This was another pick from the EU Travelling Tea Box this afternoon, and it accompanied the first of my Christmas present wrapping. All warm and cosy! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. It smells just like apple pie straight out of the oven. It’s hard to believe it’s tea and not actual pie, but there you go.

To taste, it’s just as good. The first flavour is apple, understandably, and it’s a baked, mushy, slightly starchy tasting apple. Next comes the spicing; a hint of cinnamon and clove. Finally, and a little fleetingly, there’s the buttery flavour of freshly made pastry. The combination is perfection – I don’t think you could get closer to apple pie in liquid form than this! Utterly delicious, and a great autumn/winter tea!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’ve never come across a black maofeng before, so I knew instantly that this was one I was going to have to try. The dry leaves are very fine and curly, like small pieces of wire. They’re black, dark brown and golden in colour, and so very pretty to look at! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown. There’s a light maltiness to the beginning of the sip, which is sweet and pleasant. This then opens up into a deeper and slightly more bittersweet chocolate flavour. I’m thinking dark chocolate with a reasonably high cacao content here, but it’s not at all dry tasting. The end of the sip brings a mild smokiness. I’m not usually a fan of smoke flavours in teas, but I don’t mind it here. It’s not overwhelming at all, just a gentle counterpoint that works well with the other flavours.

I’m enjoying this one a lot, and I’m pleased to have had the chance to develop my knowledge of Chinese black teas a little further. A pleasing cup.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
donkeytiara

i have a sample of this in my cupboard….it just moved up the list…. :)

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Profile

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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