904 Tasting Notes

80

A bedtime cup. This is a subtle and beautiful tea. I’m getting more “float” than root beer tonight, although I suspect that’s largely due to the sugar and milk I added. Delicious, anyway.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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55

Not sure why, but when I brew this it comes out a very dark green, verging on black? It tastes good, sweet chamomile with a bright edge of citrus (lemon/orange, mainly). I’ve been drinking it at work during stressful moments in an attempt to help calm down, and I think it might help a little :) I’ve one bag left, so I might take that home tonight and drink it over the weekend — that’ll be another sipdown accomplished before my orders start to arrive!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Memily

What a strange colour for that blend of ingredients!

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35

Finished the first of my two packets of this. I’ve been drinking it with a lot of sugar to try and offset some of the weird bitter/floral flavour. It helps a bit, but that’s all I can say for it. I’ve looked at my second packet, and that appears to have more toffee pieces in than this one — hopefully it’ll taste better for it!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Memily

Oy vey this does not give me a great deal of hope for the sample I have of this tea.

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65

Sipdown! Took the last two bags to work today, and finished them off this afternoon with a splash of milk. I could taste more vanilla and less rooibos this way, which was a welcome change. I usually hesitate to add milk to fruity teas, but in this case it was a good gamble.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60

With a little less milk, this is even more yummy. Much stronger vanilla flavour, very creamy. A very pleasant vanilla tea!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60

I’ve never tried this with milk before, but it’s a bit of a relvelation. I think it’s because I’ve primarily been taking these tea bags with me to events, where I don’t have access to milk, purely for convenience. When I’m in the office, I generally use loose tea. Anyway, I brought a couple with me this morning, as I’m generally pretty rushed when I arrive on a Monday between checking over the emails and preparing for our staff meeting. A tea bag means I can have some caffiene and start feeling a little less grumpy before the day really gets going.

Without milk, I found this a little bitter, a little heavy on the base, and just not very inspiring. With milk, it’s a different story — I wish I’d tried it sooner! The base is toned down, and the creaminess of the vanilla really comes out. It’s fragrant and delicate, and the vanilla flavouring really does make it seem like an actual vanilla bean has been soaked in milk — it’s pretty spot on accurate, if a little subtle. I think that might be my fault for having added a bit too much milk, so I’m about to try again with a lighter hand. I’ve raised my rating a little here, though. I’ve found the way I like to drink this one, and when it sings, it sings. A good Monday morning cup!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Memily

Ooh, perhaps your milky vanilla adventure got into my subconscious today. I’ve had two amazing teas with milk + sugar that I would normally drink/try plain!

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30

A sample from Shmiracles. I saved this one until last because I was scared of it. Understandably so, I think…lapsang souchong, candy cane and ginger isn’t exactly an everyday combination. At least not for me. I’m up for trying anything once, though.

Brewed, this smells equally of smoke and vanilla. It’s an odd combination, and just as odd to taste. The main flavour is, of course, the heavy, beef jerky smokiness of lapsang souchong. The candy cane comes out in the aftertaste, adding a cooling, almost menthol-like, freshness. The vanilla also contributes a slight sweetness. It’s not exactly a natural pairing, but it’s actually not as disasterous as I thought it would be. As dragon themed teas go, I suppose it’s fairly appropriate — in terms of smokiness at least. What candy cane has to do with it, I’ve no idea. I can’t really taste the ginger at all, which is a shame. That I could see working quite well.

Of the two Smaug teas I’ve tried, I definitely prefer the 52Teas version. Smoky teas aren’t really my thing in general, although this was more drinkable than I’d anticipated. A totally unique tea, and an experience for sure! Many thanks to Shmiracles for sharing this one-of-a-kind blend with me! I completely agree that everyone should try it at least once.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70

The second last of my samples from Shmiracles. I’m glad I saved the majority of these, because I know I’m better at brewing teas — especially oolongs and greens — now than I was last year. I’ve learnt from my mistakes! I was surprised how strong the tropical fruit scent was upon opening this pouch. I’ve come to expect quite subtle flavours from European teas in general.

To taste, this is reassuringly subtle. I was hoping the tropical fruit flavouring wouldn’t become too artificial tasting, and it hasn’t. It’s a little generic , but not terrible. It tastes to me mostly of sweeter tropical fruits — pineapple, maybe lychee, kiwi? A bit of peppery mango would have been nice to offset some of that, but it’s pleasant either way. The description mentions that this is floral — I got a little of that in the aftertaste, but it’s not overwhelming. The fruitiness is definitely front and centre.

As for the base, if I hadn’t known it was an oolong, I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell. It’s unobtrusive, making itself known only in the aftertaste. It’s delicate, sweet, slightly floral. It complements the fruit flavouring perfectly, and is light and palatable like a green.

A very pleasant tea to have tried, and perfect for a warm spring Saturday. Thanks to Shmiracles for giving me the chance to try this one!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

A sample from Shmiracles. This isn’t quite what I was expecting, somehow. I don’t know why, but it isn’t. I think I was expecting a more “green” taste, maybe mint, but this is actually a ref fruit/berry tea. It’s strange what associations a name can conjour up!

As red berry teas go, this is really nice. It’s a natural tasting flavour, maybe a mixture of raspberry and strawberry? It reminds me a little of Marco Polo in some respects. The description says that this tea also contains spices. I’m not really picking much up in that respect, except maybe the merest hint of nutmeg. The berry flavouring is delicious alone, though, and doesn’t really need anything else, so it’s not a terrible loss.

The green base is pleasantly light and unobtrusive. It looks to me like sencha or dragonwell, but I’m probably wrong — I’m no green tea expert! In any case, it’s the perfect base for this tea, and carries the flavouring well without getting in the way. This is definitely a Mariage Freres tea I’d try again if the chance arose — thanks again to Shmiracles for sharing this with me!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60

This is a different oolong! I chose this as a sample with my latest Butiki order, as I was intrigued by the description. Oolong and fruit are not generally two things I associate, but they do sound good together. I still don’t really feel like I understand oolongs, so trying more of them is probably the only way to sort that out. I think on the whole I’m coming to prefer green oolongs, but I’m always willing to try something new.

This one smells delicious. It’s sweet, and does have a detectable hint of berry. It’s faintly purple tinged in the cup, which is a novel point. To taste, I can definitely detect plum, a little berry, a small hint of cherry. There’s a touch of cinnamon in the aftertaste, and a lingering sweetness that is reminiscent of apricot. There’s also a nuttiness underneath it all that I’ve come to associate with darker oolongs.

I really wasn’t expecting such a complex and intriguing tea — it makes for a really interesting cup. It’s a tiny bit astringent, although that might be my fault, but that’s my only quibble here. A real adventure for the tastebuds!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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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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