915 Tasting Notes

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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95

Sipdown! From one apple tea to another, and this one I do like. It’s pretty much spot on apple strudel flavour, and a great dessert replacement. One of my favourite teas from last autumn — I’d definitely be pleased to see this one return to my cupboard later this year. Yum!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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35

I’m not sure about this one. It’s not quite what I expected. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t like it, but I don’t love it either. The apple here is somehow floral, and there’s a touch of bitterness in the initial sip that just doesn’t strike the right note. I wasn’t keen on my first cup — black with no additions — at all. Tonight’s second cup — with milk and a chunk of crystal sugar — is a little better but still not quite there.

I think of caramel apple as a sweet thing, and one of the problems here is that there isn’t enough toffee. I can only see two small pieces in the whole (sample) pouch. There are plenty of apple pieces, but, as previously mentioned, the overall flavour is somehow floral and a little weird. The spice, I think, is a step too far, and might be contributing to the initial bitterness. There’s quite a lot of clove, from what I can taste.

I like the idea of caramel apple tea, and I’ve tried a couple of nice ones in my time. This one, sadly, isn’t quite right to my tastes. Still — you can’t win them all. This is by no means a bad cup, but it leaves me feeling mostly indifferent.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

I was naughty and ordered more tea. Oops. That wasn’t supposed to be allowed until I was under 200. Still…hard week at work. I need something to cheer me up.

So anyway, in an effort to begin using up some of the tea I actually have, I pulled this one out to try today. I have a love/hate relationship with Earl Grey. In general, we get along very well, but I’m not a fan of very strong, sharp bergamot, especially when paired with an astringent base. That’s why, although it’s generally something I enjoy, I tend to approach each new EG with a little trepidation. It’s probably also why the idea of Earl Gret Creme appeals to me, although it wasn’t something that was even on my radar until I joined Steepster. How the world of tea has opened up to me. This was actually the first Earl Grey Creme I purchased, so it’s been waiting in my stash for a while. I was in the mood for something like this at breakfast this morning, though, so that’s why it was finally chosen.

It’s love at first sip. In my ideal world, EG would have bergamot, but it would be a mild, tame thing that added a bitter citrus edge but generally minded its own business. IT DOES THAT HERE! I think the cream flavour helps to tone it down, but it’s a slight thing. It’s not sharp, it’s not right in your face like it is in some EGs, it’s not screaming “I’m bergamot, hear me roar.” It’s just there, sitting still and minding its own business, adding a touch of flavour and nothing more. For me, it’s perfect.

Then there’s the cream. Oh goodness, don’t get me started on the cream. Again, it’s perfect. I was half expecting it to be quite an artificial taste, but it’s not at all. It’s deliciously vanilla-flavoured, soft, and adds a cloud-like fluffiness to this cup. It’s got the bergamot on a tight leash, and it’s toned down any astringency the base might have dared to have had. The base itself is pleasant, although I can’t really taste that much of it. It’s pretty hard to identify where the base ends and the flavouring begins, if you see what I mean. It’s just a really great combination.

This is my favourite Bluebird tea to date. We are officially friends, me and EGC.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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100
drank Hello Sweetie by Butiki Teas
915 tasting notes

I love Premium Taiwanese Assam, and so I was really, really eager to try this one. I got it as a sample with my latest Butiki order, and as soon as I opened the box I could smell it — wonderful coconut banana creaminess! To taste, it’s just as fabulous as I’d hoped it would be. The coconut is beautifully toasty, and adds a slight nuttiness. The banana tastes natural (rather than artificial like those banana foam sweets…), and adds a creaminess and subtle flavour that really helps to round this out. The PTA is probably the perfect base — sweet, malty deliciousness. I added milk to this cup, and the whole thing is just a dream. I have enough left for another cup, but this is definitely one I will order more of!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp
whatshesaid

Want this so bad!

TastyBrew

Yeah, me too. The banana scares me a bi, but the banana flavor in the walnut one stacy does is really yummy, so I’m sure it’s ok. But I seriously HATE fakey banana flavor!

Sil

it’s not fakey TB…it’s like the banana in foxy roxy :)

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55

Sipdown! Finished off the last couple of these bags at work today. I was thinking this morning that I couldn’t really smell or taste much mate, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A closer inspection of the bag revealed that there actually isn’t very much actual mate to be found in this blend, so that explains that. There’s a lot of fruit and spice, however, and it produces quite a strong, heady scent while brewing. The taste is less pungent, but quite tart. I guess there’s a lot of hibiscus and rosehip in here, because that’s the main flavour I can detect. Clove is probably the second strongest flavour, with a touch of liquorice and mint to finish. It’s a slightly odd combination, but it more or less works. Not one I’d keep on hand all the time, but nice to have tried.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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55

Sipdown! Finished off my last couple of bags at work today. I drank them with milk added, and found I liked it much better this way. The milk tones down the rooibos, and helps the chocolate and mint to shine, as well as adding a pleasant creaminess. Milk is the way forward here.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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80

A sample from Shmiracles. This has got to be one of the nicer herbal/fruit blends I’ve tried in a while. It’s not ref fruit, for starters, and there’s no hibiscus — the difference! Dry, it smells delicious. Citrussy and slightly sharp — it makes me think of grapefruit. It’s equally nice to taste — spearmint and orange are the main flavours I can pick out, with gooseberry hanging around in the background. It’s a delicious combination, and very refreshing. I can only imagine how fabulous this would be iced on a hot day! This is a sample I will very much enjoy finishing, and one whose absence from my cupboard I know I’ll come to lament.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Easter Tea by Dammann Freres
915 tasting notes

A sample from Shmiracles. This is a very pleasant evening cup. It’s delicately flavoured, with a medium strength base. I added milk to this, which is just about stands, but I imagine it’d be just as palatable without. The flavouring here is subtle, but all of the different elements are there. Vanilla is probably the strongest flavour, followed by cherry, and then chocolate. It’s beautifully spring-like, both in flavour combination and appearance. The red and blue flowers scattered through the dry mix remind me of the foil wrapping on an easter egg. So pretty!

This is a welcome change from the more heavily flavoured teas I’ve been drinking recently. Sophisticated and satisfying! A positive first experience with Dammann Freres.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Genmaicha by Kusmi Tea
915 tasting notes

A sample from Shmiracles. Plain genmaicha isn’t something I’d usually seek out, but it appealed to me tonight as I finally start to shake off my cold. For some reason, I was expecting this to be quite a pungent genmaicha, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s actually beautifully delicate — mild, grassy green tea, with a touch of toastiness running over the top. It’s delicious, and very easy to drink. It’s one of the more well balanced genmaicha blends to look at, also, appearing to be equal parts popped rice, toasted rice, and green tea. Pretty AND tasty — a rare treat!

It’s teas like this one that make me appreciate just how pleasing a plain tea can be. There’ll always be a place in my cupboard for zany, outrageous tea in kooky flavours, but from time to time something like this is far more satisfying. Plain, straightforward, fabulous tasting TEA!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 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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