1088 Tasting Notes

65

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’m still a relative beginner with Pu Erh, so I figured trying this one couldn’t hurt my education. I’ll admit to being wary of it still, but I find myself less scared with every cup I drink. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in boiling water.

The resulting liquor is red-brown, and smells quite strongly of…manure. I’m coming to accept that about pu erh, although I can’t say that it makes for the most appealing introduction. Fortunately, the taste is milder than the smell. This one comes across as rich and earthy (compost, almost), with a hint of orange lurking in the aftertaste. The orange is natural and sweet tasting, and offers a juicy, refreshing counterpoint to the base pu erh. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a combination that works well.

I had hoped the orange flavour would be stronger, but I’m glad for what’s there. As I sipped away, I started to really enjoy the flavour, and to wonder what I’d felt such trepidation about. I believe I will get there with pu erh one day, and this was another positive step on the road.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

From the EU TTB – Round 3

Sweet is the key word here. It’s a little odd, because it doesn’t smell sweet while brewing. It smells of pumpkin, with a touch of spice. That’s probably why I wasn’t expecting the instant hit of sweetness I got when I took my first sip. It only took me a moment to realise that this has stevia in it.

Subsequent sips, once I was expecting the sweetness, were actually okay. The pumpkin flavour is pretty accurate, with that distinctive smooth, almost savoury “squash” flavour. The spicing is relatively mild, but well blended, and helps to connect the sweet overtone of the stevia to the savoury pumpkin. I went back to the kitchen and added a bit of milk, and that helped things along still further. NOW it’s pumpkin pie filling!

I wasn’t at all sure about this one at first, but I warmed to it as I drank it. It’s a very pleasant autumnal tea, but you’ve got to be down with sweet. Fortunately, that’s okay with me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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90
drank Caramel Spice by DAVIDsTEA
1088 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I love mulberries. It took me a while to work that out, but this is the third mulberry tea I’ve tried recently, and now I’m sure. I used 1.5 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. It smells gorgeous, as in “fill the whole kitchen” gorgeous. Rich and caramelly, a little citrussy, a touch of cinnamon. Very seasonally appropriate, although I’d drink a tea that smells this good all year round.

Fortunately, it tastes equally good. It’s almost like drinking a cup of hot liquid caramel. Perhaps because caramel is one of my favourite things, I’ve always found it hard to find teas that replicate the flavour accurately. Maybe I’m a little fussy, but no worries here. This one ticks all the boxes. Caramel is the main flavour, but I can also pick up a citrussy flavour that’s almost reminiscent of clementine, and a fairly delicate smattering of cinnamon in the background. The cinnamon here reminds me of Glitter and Gold, although that’s a completely different flavoured tea overall. The caramel here is definitely the star, and that’s how it should be. A yummy pre-bedtime treat on a cold evening!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Kittenna

Ommgggg this one’s so good, and has been discontinued for no good reason. Jealous! (I have a bit left, but not much!)

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90
drank Ye Sheng Hong Cha by Mener
1088 tasting notes

From the EU TTB – Round 3

This morning’s pick from the box. I’m on a roll with Chinese blacks at the moment, so why not continue the theme…

I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions. This one reminds me quite strongly of Butiki’s Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black. It has the same stone fruit/honey notes that I loved so much, although I would say that the flavour is a little more muted here. That might be my fault, though. Possibly some experimentation with leaf quantity and/or brew time required.

Anyway, the initial sip is gloriously sweet and malty. It’s such a smooth tea, with absolutely no bitterness or astringency, and in a way it’s almost juicy. That works well with the gentle apricot note I’m picking up, and with the light honeyed sweetness that rounds off the sip. I love teas like this, and I’m pleased that my appreciation of straight blacks seems to be developing over time. There’s no need for flavoured tea when there’s plain tea this good in the world!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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25

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’m not usually a fan of oolongs, but I’ve not much experience with Tieguanyin, so I decided to give this one a try. I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. While brewing, the scent is strongly oolong – very roasty – with no orange or spice that I could discern. There are a generous amount of orange peel pieces in the mix, so this came as a bit of a surprise.

To taste, I’m picking up mostly oolong again. The liquor is a golden yellow, and the taste is roasted and a little smoky. It’s very, very smooth, though, with no bitterness or astringency at all. There’s a tiny hint of orange, but it’s very faint, and rather waxy-tasting. I’m not picking up any spice at all.

I’m a little disappointed with this one. I’d have liked more spice/orange from the flavour, maybe a slightly milder oolong. Sadly not for me.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

From the EU TTB – Round 3

My only experience with this variety of tea previously has been a sample of Silver Buds Yabao, which I liked on the whole but wasn’t wild about, if I recall correctly. Nevertheless, I was interested to try this blend upon discovering it in the box. It’s winter, after all, and it both looks and sounds interesting…

I will admit, I was cautious with my brewing parameters. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees. Possibly I could have gone a little hotter or a little longer, but I wasn’t 100% sure how to approach it in the first instance.

Anyway, the tea. It smells like something that’s GOT to be good for you. Very herbal, a little orangey, a little piney. Like a walk through a forest after rain. The flavour is similar, although not as strong as I was expecting. The main flavour is pine, followed by juniper, and then rounded out with a mild vanilla creaminess. It’s delicately sweet, in the way I remember Silver Buds Yabao being sweet.

It’s undoubtedly an interesting blend, unlike almost anything I’ve tried before. It’s definitely wintery, and beautifully appropriate for a cold, crisp day like today. It’s not within the normal range of flavours I’d choose, but it’s good to challenge yourself sometimes! In this case, it was a pleasant surprise.

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

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95

From the EU TTB – Round 3

This is another that I’ve tried before, but I have such fond memories that it is was another I couldn’t resist trying again. As ever with 52 Teas honeybush blends, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a small splash of milk.

It’s another that’s as pleasant as I remembered. Sometimes the danger with revisiting a tea is discovering that memory doesn’t live up to reality. Not so this time, fortunately. The initial flavour is cinnamon, of course. It’s quite strong, a little spicy. I typically have cinnamon with/on sweet baked goods, so I’m already in the right frame of mind. There’s a hint of pastry in the mid-sip, and a touch of sweetness right at the end that could be icing. It’s the kind of flavoured tea that you have to think about a little, but for me the separate elements do add up to cinnamon roll by the end of the sip. That makes me happy.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I’ve tried this one before, but when I saw it in the box I knew I’d have to try another cup. It’s so seasonally appropriate! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

Fortunately, it’s as good as I remembered. The initial sip is largely vanilla and cream, with a strong, sweet undertone, and a maltiness from the black tea base. The milk helps to bring out the vanilla, and tones down the black tea base (which is quite strong). The mint develops in the aftertaste, and leaves a wonderfully cool, tingly sensation at the back of the mouth. It’s the best representation of candy cane in liquid form that I’ve ever come across, particularly when said liquid is actually hot.

Flavoured tea can be hit and miss, but this one is a definite hit!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

From the EU TTB – Round 3

I came across this one at the bottom of the box last night. I’ve had some good experiences with Chinese black tea recently, so I’m delighted to have the chance to try another. Since I’m brewing this one at work, it has to be western style, so I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water.

The scent while brewing is lovely – malty, a hint of stone fruit. To taste, it’s even better. The beginning of the sip is sweetly malty, which then deepens into a delicious, almost yeasty, baked bread flavour. There’s a light fruity note right at the end, maybe apricot, and a smooth, almost caramelly finish.

I really enjoyed this one. It has a lot of the characteristics that I enjoy in a black tea, was flavourful and deliciously smooth to boot. The more Chinese black teas I try, the more I’m encouraged to continue trying. Long may the journey continue!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

From the EU TTB – Round 3

This was my second pick from the box. I’ve heard a lot about this one, and I’ve often hoped that some day I’d have the opportunity to try it. It sounds like such an intriguing mixture of flavours! The cat sprinkles are beyond cute, too. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

The first thing I noticed about this one is the liquor colour. As with Bats in the Belfry, the black sprinkles give this one a grey-ish hue, so that it looks rather unappealingly like swampwater. It’s supposed to be a Halloween tea, though, so I guess it’s more than appropriate from that perspective! There’s a light oily scrim on the surface which I assume is from the sprinkles, but it doesn’t affect the flavour/texture at all.

To taste, this one is really wonderful. I’d say it was more of a generic tropical flavour than one or two fruits in particular, but I can detect the influence of pineapple (sweetness) and mango (pepperiness) in the overall flavour. It’s sweet, fruity, a little creamy. Drinking this one actually reminds me more than anything of sherbet!

This is another one I’m pleased to have had the chance to try. It’s a lovely, fresh and fruity tasting tea, and the black cats and unique liquor colour make it perfect as a Halloween tribute. A little incongruous, maybe, but a great tasting cup! No overwhelming rooibos flavour makes it doubly a winner in my book.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 26, 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’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

Norfolk, UK

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