1589 Tasting Notes

75

Last night’s early evening cup, to accompany the Great British Bake-Off on TV. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up pretty dark (darker than I was expecting given that this one seems to be pretty much 50/50 assam to rooibos), so I added a splash of milk.

To taste, I’m mostly getting the sweet maltiness of the Assam followed by the even sweeter creaminess of caramel. I know there’s supposed to be sesame in this one, and that’s one of the reasons why I was excited to try it. Sadly, I didn’t even get a whiff of sesame – I guess it was overpowered by the assam/caramel, which are pretty strong flavours in their own right, or maybe the milk drowned it out. Either that, or I need to shake my tin up a bit. I think next time I’ll maybe try it without milk (maybe a shorter brew time), and see if that changes things at all.

If it doesn’t, I won’t be too sad. I mean, it’s a pretty good caramel tea as it is at the moment, and I like caramel tea. It’s not the best one I’ve ever tried, but it’s rich and creamy and sweet, with a decent base, and not at all thin tasting. That in itself is all right with me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Nattie

Proportion of leaf really does seem to change the taste of this one! For me it’s been different almost every time I’ve had it

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55
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
1589 tasting notes

Sipdown! I’ve had two cups of this today, both brewed quite strong and with a splash of milk. It’s the only way I can get creaminess and a hint of coconut from this one, however hard I try. Mostly, it’s just a cup of malty black tea with a hint of sweetness kicking around, which is fine other than when I’m expecting a FLAVOUR.

I’m not all that sad to see this one go. I never tried the original, but the reblend didn’t really impress. Ah well, one down…

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Anji Bai Cha by Nannuoshan
1589 tasting notes

I’m more open minded about green teas these days, after discovering that there are some I actually like (and some I even love!) That they’re not all bitter, astringent and brown came as a bit of a revelation to me. This one is a stunner just to look at.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/14/anji-bai-cha-green-tea-nannuoshan/

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70
drank Pure Peppermint by Ringtons
1589 tasting notes

Peppermint is a classic herbal if ever there was one. It’s hard to go wrong with something so simple, and it’s a good stomach settler to boot.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/13/pure-peppermint-herbal-tea-ringtons-premium-english-teas/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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55

Pandan seems to be becoming a more popular ingredient in herbal tea – I’ve certainly seen it more recently than I ever have before. It has quite a distinctive flavour, but one that’s also hard to describe – it’s sweet in a way reminiscent of liquorice root, with an almost thick-tasting starchiness. Pretty unique.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/10/lemongrass-pandan-herbal-tea-chiang-rai-tea-house/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

I should probably say upfront that first flush Darjeeling is one of my favourite varieties of black tea, so this one is preaching to the converted with me.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/09/12/gielle-1st-flush-darjeeling-black-tea-harney-sons/

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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40

I have the reblend version of this tea from maybe a year or so ago? I can’t recall exactly now. I bought it on the strength of some of 52 Teas other honeybush blends, which I was enjoying at the time. I think I was also on a bit of a coconut jag. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

To taste, I’m a little underwhelmed. The main flavour is coconut, and it’s quite natural and fresh tasting – I have no issue with this. I’m not getting any cheesecake, though, either in terms of cream cheese or biscuit base. What I can taste, quite strongly, is honeybush. It’s sweet and juicy, which would suit an “orange fruit” tropical tea perfectly but just strikes me as really odd here. I was looking for tangy and biscuitty and coconutty. I may try some milk next time, to see whether than tones the honeybush down a little. At the moment, though, I’m not all that overwhelmed by this one. It’s pleasant enough, but it doesn’t live up to the promise of its name.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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45

Today’s white tea of choice. It’s actually warmer today than it has been for the last couple of weeks, so this one actually seems pretty appropriate. The description says that it’s a blend of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries. There are actually pieces of dried fruit among the white tea leaves, although they look more like berries to me. Hmm. The base is clearly a bai mu dan – with broken leaves and twigs (mostly black-brown) and a few silver buds. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a pale golden-yellow.

To taste, this one seems moderately average to me. While hot, I couldn’t pick out much flavour at all beyond the light floral of the white tea base, and a sort of dustiness I associate particularly with white peony blends. As it cools, I can begin to pick out some nectarine, and maybe a touch of peach and plum, but they’re by no means strong flavours and they’re a little more fleeting than I’d have liked. Possibly I just need to use more leaf, or maybe this one would be better cold brewed or iced. I’ve got enough leaf to experiment a little, anyway, but at the moment I’m disappointed with this one. I had high hopes!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75

My second 52 Teas white blend of the day – on the strength of Blackcurrant Bai Mu Dan, I had to give this one a try! The dry leaf here is interesting – mostly downy silver needles, but with a few black-brown leaves and twigs. There are dried pomegranate seeds and some whole and some partial dried blackberries. They seem to rehydrate pretty well, judging from the brewed leaf. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium golden yellow, although with little discernable scent.

To taste, it’s pretty wonderful. The pomegranate is the clearest flavour, initially sweet but with a tartness emerging mid-sip, and a mild watermelon-like wateriness to round off. The blackberry plays second fiddle, but it’s also there, and adds a deeper, darker fruitiness and a mild sourness. Both flavours are pretty true-to-life, and they’re a good pairing.

The white tea base is fairly prominent, and adds a dusty-tasting undertone. That’s probably the only thing I’m not quite struck on, but it’s just about possible to ignore it. The fruit flavours aren’t especially strong, but fortunately the base doesn’t overpower them completely.

I think on balance I prefer Blackcurrent Bai Mu Dan to this one, but I’m still pleased with the way this one works as a late summer treat. Possibly it’d work better iced or cold brewed, so that’s probably what I’d try next. It’s a light, juicy, refreshing cup in any case.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

This is probably one of the oldest 52 Teas I still have in my cupboard. It’s even got one of the squarish-labels, from before Frank changed printer and they become rectangular. I’m not sure why it’s sat neglected for so long – it’s been summer, after all, with all its perfect white-tea weather. It might be almost over now (it’s so COLD here at the moment), but better late than never with the white tea, I suppose. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.

The dry leaf is mostly black-brown, and a mixture of twigs, broken leaves, and some downy silver buds. Fairly typical of white peony, except the leaves are shredded smaller than I’m used to. I guess that might be why it brewed up relatively quickly, and to a pretty dark yellow-gold. Still, it smells divine so I’m definitely encouraged!

To taste, this is gooooood. So good. The blackcurrant flavour is strong and clear, and reminds me of nothing more or less than hot ribena (although less sugary and chemical). Ribena as it ought to be, perhaps. The blackcurrants are very natural tasting – a little tart, initially sweet but with a sour tang towards the end of the sip. The white tea base is perfect, adding a little sweetness of its own, and a mildly floral accent. The flavour lingers beautifully, making this (to me, at least) pretty much perfection in a cup.

I have a couple of other 52 Teas white blends with me at work today, so I’m eager to try those now! I’m a lot more impressed with this one than I expected to be!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 27, 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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