1003 Tasting Notes

85

I’ve been having a lot of luck with this kind of tea recently, so I pulled this one out to try yesterday evening. It’s the first Whispering Pines tea I’ve tried, although there are a few more in my cupboard. They’re next in the to-drink pile!

I gave 1.5tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The smell of the dry leaf is mildly fruity, and this carries through to a certain extent in the flavour. I wouldn’t say I’m getting melon and passionfruit as the description suggests, but there is a sweetness that’s reminiscent of raisin. The main note I’m picking up is cocoa, and it’s delicious! It’s sweet and malty, and the chocolatey flavour with the added milk gives it a wonderfully creamy edge.

I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try this one, although it didn’t wow me quite as much at the Teavivre golden tip version. It has made me curious to try more Whispering Pines teas, though.

I’m slowly coming to the realisation that plain blacks might be my absolute favourite, which comes as a surprise given that I discovered tea largely through flavoured varieties. I’m not sure that I would have been able to pick out all of the flavours in teas like this back then, or even that I would have appreciated them as much as I do now. How tastes change! I’m glad to have discovered this one :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Sil

Yay for plain blacks! Woot woot!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Looking at your other reviews, I think you’d really enjoy the Ailaoshan Black and Imperial Gold Bud Dian Hong :)

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95

My second Assam of the evening last night. This one couldn’t be more different from Assam #8 if it tried, and as I said in my previous note, that’s one of the things I love about Assam the most. Each different variety can be an entirely different experience.

The leaves here are golden brown and tippy, and are long, thin and curly in appearance. The bag also contains a quantity of golden brown “dust”. I gave this one 4 minutes in boiling water, and the resulting liquor was dark brown — much darker than Assam #8. I added a splash of milk.

I want to say that the flavour of this one is stronger — it comes across like that, a little, but I think it’s a case of pungency rather than strength, somehow. The malt and grain notes here are very prominent, and yet it’s not nearly as sweet as I expected. Instead, it has an almost molasses-like note, As it cools, a deep smokiness develops. It’s a very smooth, easily drinkable cup, and one I’d definitely return to again. It reminds me a lot of some of the Dian Hong teas I’ve been drinking lately. Another delicious treat, and another confirmation of my love for Assam in general!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Assam #8 by Tealux
1003 tasting notes

I opened samples of two different Tealux Assams last night to compare, and was immediately reminded all over again why I love Assam so much. There’s so much variation between different varieties that it would be almost impossible to get bored of it, and the flavour is always so, so good.

This one reminded me strongly of Butiki’s Premium Taiwanese Assam, both in appearance and scent. That would make sense, I suppose, as they’re both Taiwanese in origin. This one has the same long, thick, twisty black leaves, and it’s insanely fruity to smell.

I gave this about 4 minutes in boiling water, and the resulting liquor was a golden brown with hints of almost ruby. It smells sweet and malty, and these notes carry through into the flavour. To taste, there’s a strong element of dried fruit — raisin particularly. There’s also hints of sweet potato, and the tiniest smidge of grain.

I’d have to compare this side by side with PTA to be more certain of their similarities, and to know which, if any, I prefer overall. This was a delcious cup, though. Black beauty indeed!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100
drank SBT: Pink Lemonade by 52teas
1003 tasting notes

Back to my selection of SBTs for today’s cold brew! This is another I first tried last year, and as far as I can recall I really liked it. I’m pleased to report that I like it just as much the second time around. The pink lemonade flavouring is easily detectable — it’s a sort of generically sweet, slightly fizzy tasting, maybe very slightly strawberry/lemon tinged flavour. It’s just like actual pink lemonade! The base is smooth and unobtrusive — it’s the characteristic 52 Teas SBT base, so if you’ve ever tried one before you know exactly what to expect. Brewed at the recommended parameters — 3 minutes in boiling water, topped up with cold to 2 litres and into the fridge overnight — it’s a delicious treat on a warm day. These teas do make work far more bearable!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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45

First tea of the morning! The scent of the dry leaf made me really want to like this one. It smells so much like an orange creamsicle! I was a little concerned by the amount of floral-ish ingredients, but I thought on balance it would probably be okay.

And it is okay, but I can’t say I really like it. The orange disappears almost completely, and the main flavours are actually chamomile and jasmine. It’s like this one got stuck between being an orange black and a floral herbal, and the taste is just a little bit weird. The initial sip would almost be enough to convince me that it WAS a herbal, if I didn’t know better, but then the black tea and a teeny-tiny hint of orange develop. It’s not an entirely successful contrast.

I have a small tin of this, so I’ll definitely be giving it another go, adjusting steeping parameters, etc. I like orange teas, so I had high hopes for this one. Maybe I can pull it back a bit with some sympathetic brewing?

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75

Sipdown! This is the first green tea I have ever cold brewed, and I’m pleased with the result. I figured this one would be a good choice to start with, as it has more lemongrass than green tea. I was worried about the green tea becoming bitter after 10-12 hours in the fridge, but it hasn’t at all. I guess that’s something to do with the cold water?

The flavour of this one is pretty different when cold brewed. I can taste the lime far, far more. It actually overtakes the lemongrass as the primary flavour. Then comes the chilli, which adds a really nice kick of heat and spice. It’s such a summery tea, and so different from the usual run of the mill tropical tea. It definitely shines more when it’s cold brewed, and I’m glad I decided to give it a go. It makes me wish I’d given MojiTEA a try cold brewed — I think I’ll have to buy some more now!

I have monday off next week, so I’m gathering together some one cup remainders and I’m going to try and get my count back under 300 over the three day weekend. A couple of cold-brew sipdowns in the meantime will help, too!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
KittyLovesTea

Most bitterness from green tea comes from the temperature of the water, cold steeping gets rid of that but some blends do start turning bitter if left for too long. Cold steeping is the way to go :)

Memily

I normally leave greens for only 6hrs max because of the bitterness, they definitely can still get bitter. Probably this blend didn’t because there wasn’t much green comparatively?

Scheherazade

I’m still going to be a little cautious when cold brewing greens, I think, until I’m more used to it. Thanks for the advice, though!

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70
drank Dragon Feelers by Butiki Teas
1003 tasting notes

I’ve definitely had more cups of this than I’ve logged, but I guess that’s because it’s not one I have a lot more to say about. It’s an interesting green — I have been following the instructions to steep it in boiling water, and after I got over the initial shock I was pleasantly surprised with how this one worked out. There’s not a hint of bitterness, and it’s so light, delicate and fresh tasting it’s almost unreal. In many ways, it reminds me of a white tea. It’s not floral or sweet in the same way, though — there’s a subtle taste of fresh pea, and it’s actually quite savoury in the way of spring vegetables. My favourite thing about this one is the dry leaf, though. It’s furry and stripy! Butiki do unusual teas like no-one else :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
TheTeaFairy

So true about butiki offering unusual teas! I agree, this one is so pretty to look at.

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80

Another one I often neglect! I wasn’t over struck the first time I tried this, but it was deliciously buttery today. Perhaps I need to re-evaluate!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Marco Polo by Mariage Frères
1003 tasting notes

I’ve neglected this one for a while, so I pulled it out to revisit last night. It’s such a consistent cup — always syrupy strawberry amazingness every time I have it. I’ve never experienced any bitterness from this one, either — of the MF teas I’ve tried so far, it’s probably the one I’ve got along with most easily. This one might well be a restock when I finish the tin, although I’m not really at that stage yet.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

I can’t believe this is only my second cup of this one, but there you go. For some reason, I tend to drink far less green teas at home, and I’m not really sure why. I brought this one to work with me, knowing I’d be more likely to drink it, and I guess it’s worked anyway!

It’s a hot day today, and this is one of those perfect summer teas. It’s quite a light flavour — primarily lemongrass, with a hint of lime and a chili kick at the end of the sip. It tastes vaguely tropical, somehow…perhaps the citrussy elements combined with the grassy green base? Either way, it’s very palatable on a day like today. I don’t often drink green teas cold brewed, but I can see this being a good candidate. I might take the rest of the sample home and give that a try tomorrow!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

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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