1694 Tasting Notes

Today’s matcha was a random Chinese (?) matcha sample from my swap with Roswell Strange. It came in a single-serving pink and green sachet. I prepared it my usual way – whisked into hot water as a shot. I wasn’t hugely keen – it’s quite bitter, yet very “thin” tasting, and it didn’t seem to want to combine very well despite extensive whisking. Possibly it would have been better as a latte, but it’s too late now!

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100

This was yesterday afternoon’s treat. I really like 52Teas Cotton Candy Black, so when the white tea version was released AGES AGO I picked up a bag. Why did I wait this long to try it? I suppose “too much tea” is always a reason, but not a great one. Anyway, it finally escaped the waiting box! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The scent is primarily white tea – a little floral and almost starchy. The flavour, though? Pure cotton candy. There’s an element of “liquid sugar” to this, a flavour which white tea alone can often contribute in my experience. I can detect a hint of strawberry here though, which really helps to take it to another level. I think that’s what makes it less “sweet water” and more “cotton candy”, but it’s a tricky flavour to describe. Great for those with a sweet tooth!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
LiberTEAS

this one will actually be reblended soon as a request by one of our contributors to the start-up campaign.

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80

Today’s matcha is a latte, made with actual Teapigs matcha (for a change). I felt kind of bad doing their challenge but not using their matcha, but there you go. Now I am. I hasten to add that I only have a sample sachet containing 3g, at least for now. Their matcha is pretty expensive, and it doesn’t have the best reviews…

This was actually the first matcha I ever heard about, and it’s got to be at least 3 years ago now. I just didn’t get around to trying it until recently, largely because I wasn’t all that keen on green tea and so matcha just wasn’t something I was up for trying. It probably still wouldn’t be if it weren’t for my current health issues. I’m appreciating the energy boost if nothing else!

I used 1/4 tsp of matcha for my latte, whisked into hot water and then topped up with hot milk. It seems a lot more potent in terms of both colour and flavour to Grace & Green’s Morning Organic Matcha, which is what I’ve been using for my plain matcha up to now. It’s mellower, with less of an outright grassy taste, but somehow also more…savoury? It’s hard to describe. I think it’s reminding me of samphire, but I haven’t eaten that for a long time so I’m not 100% sure that’s what it is. Maybe it’ll come to me.

Anyway, it’s palatable. When it comes to matcha, that’s what’s important to me. The only flavoured matcha that’s easy to come by in the UK is Bluebird, and I’ve not tried those yet. I definitely feel that flavoured matcha is the way forward for me, though. I’d love to try more Red Leaf flavours, but I can’t find a UK supplier at the moment, which makes me sad. I’m currently considering offering my first-born as a trade.

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70

Yet another of my older 52Teas blends! This was my reaction to Turtle Cheesecake, because I figured you can’t really go wrong with strawberry. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

When I returned to the kitchen after leaving this one to brew, I could immediately smell artificial strawberry. My first thought was “uh-oh”, but it’s actually not so bad. The strawberry is far too candy-like to be realistic, that’s true, but it’s also part of its charm. It reminds me of the strawberry nesquik powder I had as a child. There’s also an underlying creamy flavour that reminds me a bit of custard – or custard powder, really. The value of this one, for me, is in it being such a nostalgic blend. It reminds me of my childhood, and even though milkshake and custard powder perhaps aren’t the best recreation of strawberry zabaglione, they’re not too far off the mark. It’s a sweet-tasting, very much dessert-like tea, and that’s all I was really looking for this morning. I’m going to call it a hit.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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95
drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
1694 tasting notes

Another shot in cold milk this morning, and I’m halfway through my matcha challenge. I think it is helping me to feel more awake and energised, although I’m not sure I could drink anything other than flavoured matcha long-term. The plain stuff is just too grassy and generally “ugh” for me. An interesting experiment, nonetheless. I now know that I love vanilla matcha more than a lot of things in this world.

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100

Yesterday afternoon’s treat! I’m so pleased to have this one back in my cupboard. It’s one of my favourite Bluebird blends, and my favourite pumpkin tea. It really captures the flavour of squash, and the spicing is at exactly the right level for my tastes. There’s even a touch of pastry that really brings pie/baked goods to mind. Truly delicious stuff!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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45
drank Turtle Cheesecake by 52teas
1694 tasting notes

Another of my older 52Teas blends. I’ve drank this one twice now, and I feel I can say with some certainty that it’s not my favourite. My main complaint is that it seems a bit thin and watery – and it doesn’t seem to matter whether I adjust the brew time. I’m going to try a bit more leaf for my next cup, so we’ll see whether that helps.

The black tea base is the main flavour here. It’s by no means a bad thing – it’s sweet, malty, a little thick tasting. I’m feeling generous, so I’ll say that it helps to create a kind of “caramel” flavour, although that’s maybe a bit of a stretch. There’s a tiny bit of chocolate, a touch of nuttiness, but absolutely no cheesecake. Mostly, this one just leaves me feeling underwhelmed.

It’s drinkable, but there’s not a great deal of flavour considering this is a flavoured tea. It doesn’t live up to its name, though, or at least not in the way I hoped. A disappointment.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95
drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
1694 tasting notes

Back on the matcha after yesterday’s blip. I went with one of my favourite combinations so far – 1/4 tsp whisked into a shot glass of cold milk. It taste just like vanilla milkshake, and I love it – no chance of queasiness with this one! It begs the question, though – what will I do when I run out of Vanilla Matcha?

ashmanra

I have both the French Vanilla and the Madagascar Vanilla from Red Leaf. They are so good as lattes, but I was shocked at myself when the Bavarian Creme one was my favorite! It has a light lemon flavor.

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100
drank Cool Cucumber by DAVIDsTEA
1694 tasting notes

A sample from Miss B. It seems a little perverse to drink this one hot, but that’s what I’m about at the moment so that’s what I’m doing. I’m also really keen on having a taste of summer to remind me that there will be an end to winter. Now it’s here, it seems keen to stick around. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. In terms of flavour, I’m getting mostly honeydew melon with just a touch of cool, refreshing cucumber. It’s sweet, juicy-tasting, and very refreshing. I can imagine this being brilliant iced, but I don’t really have enough to try that and I can guarantee my final tsp won’t still be around once the warm weather finally arrives. Once again, I find myself wishing David’s Tea was more readily available in the UK.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Memily

Hah, I just recently bought a T2 blend called Cool As A Cucumber. Now FIGHT, blends!!!

Lala

I am actually quite surprised Davids Tea has not expanded into the UK. I wonder if there is just too much competition?

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75

I thought I was over this morning’s “I feel sick and dizzy” blip, but apparently I’m not. I actually felt so bad earlier than I tipped out my tea (52 Teas Rainbow Sherbet! The loss!) after just a couple of sips because I was convinced it was making me feel worse. I’ve just been drinking water up until now, but I thought I’d risk a fruit tisane because work without tea is not a place I really want to be. As soon as I stand up I feel all wonky and off balance, though, so something’s clearly up. Maybe if I sit down and drink my tea quietly, I’ll feel better soon? I hope so. If not, I’ll have to try and get myself home, which could be interesting.

Anyway, the tea. This sample pouch of Mulled Wine is from last year – I don’t think I bought any this Christmas, though I planned to originally. It’s a pretty good representation, with flavours of red fruit, clove, cinnamon, and a hint of citrus. No wine, obviously, but mulling spices for sure. It’s still cold outside, so it’s fairly season-appropriate. It’s warming, comforting, and not too sweet, so I’m finding it palatable even though I feel all wrong at the moment. A good decision.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Memily

Wah, feel better soon x_x

tigress_al

I hope you feel better soon. It sounds like it might be related to blood pressure or vertigo (caused by inner ear problems).

Maddy Barone

Oh, no. I hope you feel better soon!

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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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