1641 Tasting Notes

55

A sample from Miss B. I’m very much a chocolate tea fan, so I’m more than happy to take any opportunity to try one that’s new to me. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

I was looking forward to chocolate truffle in a cup – who wouldn’t? – but it’s really not that intense. The black tea is malty and sweet, but that’s mostly all I can taste. There’s a hint of chocolate, but I think potentially I’ve been spoilt by some of the other chocolate teas I’ve tried recently. I’m looking for MORE CHOCOLATE, and it’s not there to find. Still, though, it’s tea. My expectations should probably be more reasonable.

This isn’t a bad cup, by any means. The base tea is pleasant and there is some chocolate. Just not enough for me, clearly!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
tigress_al

Ha, is there ever enough chocolate!? What is your favourite chocolate tea?

Scheherazade

Probably Butiki’s Two Friends. Otherwise, there are a lot of plain black teas I love that have strong chocolate notes, so probably one of those too rather than a flavoured chocolate tea. Mariage Freres French Breakfast was amazing, and Teavivre Fengqing Dragon Pearls. It’s hard to choose just one!

tigress_al

Mmm, love the dragon pearls! I have never tried anything from Mariage Freres, but I’m putting that one on the wish list!

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90

A sample from Miss B – I’m still working through the very generous (and seemingly bottomless!) box she sent me. At first I thought this one was mainly black tea, and wondered why it looked so…shiny. At this point I realised that it actually contains a very high proportion of vanilla pod pieces – maybe as much as 50% now that I’ve taken a closer look. This clearly explains the name. I gave 1.5 tsp of leaf approximately 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

I’m pretty impressed with the flavour. I wasn’t sure how a tea with such a high proportion of vanilla would come across – whether it would taste thin because there’s not too much actual “tea”, whether the vanilla pods would even infuse well in only a few minutes. I was wrong on both counts – the black tea base is nicely malty and pairs amazingly well with the sweet, rich, creamy, fudge-like vanilla. This one reminds me a little of Whispering Pines Golden Orchid – it’s not as intense or chocolatey, but the vanilla gives it a similar dessert-like vibe. It’s definitely a pleasant tea to sip on – very enjoyable.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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65
drank Sangria Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1641 tasting notes

I tried this as a latte this morning, and I was pretty impressed. I wasn’t sure how the flavour would work with milk, but it was actually okay. I got more of the “wine” flavour than I did with yesterday’s coconut water, but also a hint of berry and a touch of citrus rind. I have felt more awake the last couple of mornings, so maybe there’s something to this matcha thing after all. I’m enjoying this one – thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing it with me!

ETA: I keep meaning to say that I’m drinking the basic grade, distinctive flavouring version of this one.

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95
drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
1641 tasting notes

Whisked 1/4 tsp into a shot glass of milk for my afternoon matcha. I think this might possibly be the nicest thing I’ve had to drink in…my life? Creamy, vanilla milkshake amazingness. That’s all.

Indigobloom

I shall have to try this one soon!

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90
drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
1641 tasting notes

I opened my pouch of the “old” 52 Teas reblend version yesterday evening. I’d been hanging on because I was half-scared that it wouldn’t live up to my memory of the original. I needn’t have worried, though! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, no additions. In terms of scent it’s exactly like the SBT version, and it’s very similar in terms of flavour too. It’s tangy, a little creamy, with flavours of lemon, lime, orange and raspberry that are at times distinctive and at times part of a greater “sherbety” whole. There’s even the suggestion of fizziness, which is as lovely as it is intriguing. This will make a wonderful transition to spring kind of tea, and it’ll certainly brighten up my day every time I drink it. Wonderful, magical stuff.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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65
drank Sangria Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1641 tasting notes

A sample from Roswell Strange. I still had some coconut water left after yesterday’s experiment, and I figured a sweeter/fruity matcha might pair better with it than plain. I used 1/2 tsp whisked into half a glass, and was a lot happier with the result. There’s a pleasant overall “orange rind” kind of flavour that works well with the sweet, tropical coconut. This turned out a lot more palatable than just plain matcha, and I was happy to sip on this first thing. A success!

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90

The sample I’m working on currently is from Christmas 2014. I believe I still have some in a tin from 2013, but I didn’t have that to hand this morning. Needless to say, I really enjoy this one. It tastes like Jamaican ginger cake – warming, spicy, with a sweet biscuit/bread/cake like element underlying the spice. It’s my favourite of the Bluebird Christmas blends, but one I’m also happy to drink year-round. It certainly brightened up today.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

Loving the sound of both this tea and the cake.

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40
drank Teatoxy Energize by Teatoxy
1641 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking this one on-and-off for the last few months, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really work for me, at least from an energizing perspective. I’m not wild about the flavour either, so it’s not one I’d repurchase. It’s definitely my least favourite of the three teatoxy blends.

I do enjoy the effect of the bluechai flowers. That never gets old. Colour isn’t enough to earn this one a long-term place in my cupboard, though.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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70

My second matcha of the day – I’m going to try and stick to one morning matcha and one post-lunch, which is when I really start to flag. This afternoon’s is a quarter teaspoon of Morning Organic Matcha, whisked into a shot glass of coconut water. It certainly looks healthy.

I have to say, I’m not such a huge fan of this particular preparation method. The coconut water is sweet and slightly thick-tasting, exacerbated by the matcha which thickens it still further and has a natural sweetness of its own. Plus the flavour of strong, grassy green tea. It’s not the best of pairings, at least in my book. I’ve hot and cold water and milk still to try, so hopefully I’ll find a “shot” version that does agree with my tastebuds.

I hasten to add that there’s nothing wrong with the matcha – that I have no quarrel with. It’s user preparation error only, and for that reason my rating remains unchanged.

Fjellrev

Too bad it didn’t work out better because I still think that’s a brilliant idea.

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100

I finished off my pouch of “old” 52 Teas Boo-Berry Cotton Candy at the end of last week. It was a sad moment, because I genuinely enjoyed every cup. I’m wary of gunpowder in general, but I had no problems with it here. It never overpowered the blueberry, which was sweet, fruity and a touch sugary, perfectly reminiscent of candy floss. This isn’t a total sipdown, though, because I have a taster pouch of Anne’s version in my cupboard to try. I’m intrigued to see how they’ll compare.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 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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