1638 Tasting Notes

90
drank Two Friends by Custom (Butiki)
1638 tasting notes

Also finished this one off yesterday. It was another good cup – I think by the end of the bag I get pretty good at brewing each Butiki just how I like it. There were strong notes of both chocolate and orange here, with the underlying maltiness of the assam. This is a truly great tea, and it’ll be sadly missed from my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
ashmanra

I keep meaning to tell you that I stop short every time I see your name and smile. My daughter and I have been reading One Thousand and One Nights (or Arabian Nights as it is called in the UK) for school. We are nearly finished! I think we have forty pages to go.

Scheherazade

I adored the Arabian Nights when I was younger. I must make time to read them again someday :)

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90

Sipdown! Finished this one off last night, and I’m sad to see it go. It was a particularly good cup to say goodbye on, though. Coffee, cake, and a touch of syrupy strawberry. Lovely! I don’t think there’ll ever be another tea like this one, but at least I have my memories.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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75

From the EU TTB

It’s not often that I really crave shu, but it’s happening more now that the weather is getting colder. I’m probably also starting to understand it a little better than I did previously – I’m more familiar with how to prepare it to suit my tastes, and with the kind of flavours I’m likely to be confronted with. This Pu-erh is in the form of a tuocha, and comes wrapped in the most adorable pink and white paper, decorated with a tiny picture of a rose. There’s an actual dried rose bud pressed into the top of the actual tuocha, which is a nice touch. I rinsed it for 30 seconds in boiling water prior to the first infusion.

First Steep
My first steep was for 1.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium red brown, the scent earthy with mild manure-ish notes. The tuocha itself has just about held together. I was expecting a reasonably pungent flavour, but it’s actually fairly gentle. There’s an immediate earthiness, like soil or compost, which is one of the things I’m coming to love most about shu pu-erh. Underneath that is a delicate sweetness, almost floral and very slightly reminiscent of sugared rose water. Intriguing!

Second Steep
Second steep for 1 minute in boiling water. The liquor is much darker this time, a deep red-brown verging on black. The scent is much earthier, with strong earthy notes reminiscent of compost and leaf mulch. Thankfully, the manure has all but disappeared from this steep! The tuocha has disintegrated pretty much completely this time. The flavour is still gentle and mellow – a distinctive earthiness, very reminiscent of freshly turned compost this time – but not too pungent. I’m not getting as much floral sweetness this time, possibly because the earthiness is now a little more prominent. I’m starting to wonder about the goji berry, though. Am I supposed to be able to taste it?

Third Steep
Third steep for 40 seconds in boiling water. The liquor is, again, fairly dark – a deep red brown. The scent is strongly earthy, and these notes translate into the flavour. It’s still a very smooth, mellow cup. The main flavour here is compost, with perhaps a hint of “damp” edging in. I’m thinking forest floor after a heavy rain shower! Still no goji berry.

Fourth Steep
Fourth steep also for 40 seconds in boiling water. The liquor is starting to become lighter again, still a red brown but closer to mahogany than flat black. The scent is still earthy, although less strongly now. It wasn’t particularly strong to begin with, so there’s a marked deterioration here. To taste, I think I’m finally beginning to get the goji berry! The earthiness is no longer the dominant flavour – instead it’s a mildly spicy, almost peppery flavour with just a touch of sweetness. I find goji berry hard to describe, but if you’ve eaten one before you’ll know what I mean. There is still some earthiness, but it’s far less pronounced. It’s not really compost anymore – just leaf mulch and a touch of “damp”. It’s still a smooth, mellow cup.

Fifth Steep
Fifth steep also for 40 seconds in boiling water. The liquor is lighter again this time- a red-orange now. The scent is still earthy, although noticeably milder. There is noticeably less flavour this time around, although it’s still pleasantly earthy. The goji berry has disappeared again, but I’m a fan of compost-y shu so I don’t mind all that much. I’m probably going to stop here simply because I’m running out of time, and because the majority of flavour is all but gone anyway.

I enjoyed my day with this one, particularly the third and fourth steeps. This is an easy pu-erh to drink – not too pungent in terms of both scent and flavour, and very smooth and mellow. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try this one!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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80

Sipdown! I wasn’t going to add an additional note, but my last two cups were insanely creamy and very reminiscent of cheesecake so I felt I had to! Maybe I just get the parameters right by the end of the bag, or maybe it just needed a good shake to begin with…who knows? I’m glad I got to experience both the plum brandy and the cheesecake aspects before I finished this one off, though! Delicious.

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

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65
drank Super Fruit by Teapigs
1638 tasting notes

Found three bags of this lurking at the back of my cupboard, so I figured I’d bring them to work and finish them off. I had two yesterday afternoon. I have a really sore mouth at the moment – so bad that eating is starting to become a problem. Drinks don’t make me suffer too much, so I’m still having plenty of tea, and this one didn’t seem to bother me as much as some others have.

This one will never be my favourite fruit tea, I don’t think. It smells great, but it’s just a little too sour and tart from the hibiscus for my tastes. I like that I can sometimes taste blueberry in this one, but it’s pretty fleeting and not enough of a reason for me to keep it around. Pleasant enough, though.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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65

First Flush Darjeelings are among my favourite black teas, as I’m sure I’ve intimated several times before. This one – from the Goomtee Estate – is apparently perfect for “strong hearted first flush lovers”. Well, we shall see.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/25/goomtee-china-classic-first-flush-darjeeling-udyan-tea/

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75

This was my second cup of the morning (my first was Plum Brandy Cheesecake). I’ve written a note for it before, but I felt compelled to add another today because I experienced this one slightly differently from my first few cups. For starters, I can actually taste eggnog! Such creamy deliciousness. I can also taste praline pretty strongly in the mid-sip, and the combination is a great one. The first couple of times I brewed this, it always felt like the green base was just a little bit overpowering – like I could taste that more than I could either of the flavours. This time? Not so. I’m not quite sure what I did differently (if anything). I certainly didn’t make any changes on purpose! Perhaps I just reached an optimum point on the bag, or something? All I care about at the moment is that this cup is thoroughly delicious, and for that reason alone I HAD to log it. Noms!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Hazelnut by Simpson & Vail
1638 tasting notes

A sample from Miss B! This was my early evening cup last night, and I was expecting a fairly mild flavour. I’ve not found a hazelnut tea that particularly struck me before, but this one was quite an eye opener. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, because it brewed up pretty dark.

It’s quite a straightforward tea in many ways. The flavour is fairly simple and one-note, and it’s definitely not the kind of tea where there’s a lot going on and you really have to think about what you’re tasting. This tea, basically, is exactly what it promises to be; hazelnut on a smooth, mellow black base. It’s rich and nutty to taste, and it is specifically hazelnut that I can taste, rather than just generic “nut”. The hazelnut flavour emerges mostly in the mid-sip, and then there’s the slight bitterness of hazelnut skin in the aftertaste. It didn’t strike me as a particularly sweet tea, and the base wasn’t malty, so there’s nothing to conflict with the richness of the hazelnut and the slightly savoury vibe that can have. I did find that the flavour seemed to strengthen as the tea cooled, which was a pleasant surprise. Possibly this one would make a good cold brew, although I don’t have enough leaf at the moment to try that out. I enjoyed this one a lot more than I anticipated, though, and so it would be a possible future purchase for me. Maybe one day I’ll get to test my cold brew theory with this tea! In the meantime, I shall enjoy a second hot cup before I have to say goodbye. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to try this one, because I’m not sure I would have picked it out of my own accord.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Two Friends by Custom (Butiki)
1638 tasting notes

This came to work with me today in a timolino. I was pleased to find that it still tasted as strongly of chocolate and orange as it did in my cup at home – sometimes I find things taste different from a flask, but not this one! I overleafed a little to compensate for the bigger size of the flask compared to a cup, but it worked really well and I’m pleased I took it along. I’m going to miss this one when it’s gone from my cupboard, and that day is closer than I’d like it to be,

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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85

A sample from Miss B! I pulled out the Simpson and Vail blends first because I’ve experienced a degree of flavour loss in the past with their flavoured blends. These samples are stored in plastic ziploc bags, but they’re not really air tight and I didn’t want to leave them longer than I had to. I should have got around to starting these samples much sooner, but stuff happened and life got in the way, and somehow I just never got round to it. I’m on a more even keel now, so better late than never!

Having said that, I have had quite a day. This week I’ve worked six days, which I never enjoy because I get so tired, but which are essential during open day season and usually at least reasonably fun. I work in a University Admissions department, so my role is pretty much focused on being welcoming and answering queries on entry requirements, course content, and the like. One girl didn’t like what she was being told, and had A TANTRUM on the floor, kicking and screaming, crying and shouting. She was 18, so should have known better, but obviously used to getting her own way. Honestly, I was embarrassed for her. Also annoyed, when one of the academics came up to me later and told me that she’d wanted her to “go home happy, with a smile on her face”, and so had told her that her low grades would be acceptable after all. Helpful, right? That doesn’t make us look unprofessional at all. All I can say is, I’m glad today is over.

Now I’m home, I really wanted a comfort tea. Chai is that to me, especially during the colder months. Chocolate is good, too, obviously. Hence, this one called to me quite strongly. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a decent slug of milk, so it’s kind of a proper chai, without as much fuss.

It’s really delicious. The chocolate and the spices are pretty much perfectly balanced, so that both can be tasted and neither is overpowering. The chocolate comes across as a dark, cocoa-y kind of flavour, perfectly suited to the warmth of the cinnamon and ginger, slight dankness of clove, and the beauty that is cardamon. The black tea base is smooth and a little sweet and malty, and the overall combination strikes me as a really great one. I’m enjoying my cup, now that I can finally start to relax a little.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 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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