1441 Tasting Notes

80
drank Kashmir Tchai by Kusmi Tea
1441 tasting notes

I’m drinking this one as a latte today – clearly that’s what I’m about this morning! I actually started my sample tin yesterday, when I was out of the office running an event. I prepared that just like I would any black tea – 1 tsp of leaf in boiling water for 4 minutes, finished off with a splash of milk. I enjoyed it – it has a pleasant spiciness that really helped to warm me up on a chilly morning. I really, really enjoy chai as a latte, though. It’s probably one of my favourite things in the world, if I’m honest. For this cup, I used 2 tsp of leaf in half a cup of boiling water, topped up with hot milk. It’s sufficiently spicy that the milk doesn’t drown it, and I can easily pick out clove, cardamon, ginger and cinnamon. The black tea base is smooth and inconspicuous, which is nice in this case because it really lets the spices shine.

I find this to be a fairly mild chai. It doesn’t have anything to give it any real heat – no pepper, chili, etc. I don’t always want that in a chai, but it adds an extra dimension. This one is moderately spicy, not too in-your-face, and the milk gentles it still further. It’s a comforting, warm hug of a cup. Just what I need right now, basically. I’m happy with this one!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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95
drank Vanilla Matcha by DAVIDsTEA
1441 tasting notes

This, I think, is my final pick from the EU TTB. I knew I wanted to try it, and as I’ve not that much experience with matcha I set it aside for a later date. It turns out today is that later date. There are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, it’s no secret that I’ve not been feeling great recently. I’m tired a lot of the time, and I never feel like I have enough energy to do all the things I need to do in a day. My doctor will only recommend vitamins and early nights, both of which I have already. I’ve lost interest in a lot of things, probably because I’m so tired, and I know something’s likely wrong by I don’t know WHAT. I’ve also had what’s becoming a permenant headache for the last week or so, but I’ve been drinking less tea so I’m sort of thinking that might partly be the reason. I do get headaches if I don’t have caffeine. That’s reason one – if I increase my tea intake so it’s near where it used to be, my headaches should clear up a bit. If they don’t, then it’s back to the doctors for me.

Reason two, specific to this tea, is that people tell me matcha has energy-giving properties, and I could seriously use some energy right now. Teapigs have a matcha challenge which I’m going to take – at least one shot of matcha every day for two weeks. I figure it can’t hurt to try, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Today is day one, and I’m starting with a matcha latte. I used 1/2 tsp of matcha whisked into boiling water, topped up with heated, frothed milk. I’m using an aerolatte whisk for now rather than the traditional kit, but if it turns out that matcha is my thing then it’s something I might look into. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m actually really enjoying it. The vanilla flavouring is pretty strong, so it doesn’t taste too much like milky green tea. It’s sweet, creamy, and mostly reminiscent of vanilla milkshake. The powder combined well, with no clumping, which is always a bonus in my book. I’d definitely drink this one again!

Preparation
Boiling 0 tsp
Rasseru

Over the last year or so I’ve been trying zero-carb or low-carb diets. I get tired when eating carbs and I feel better when I dont eat them. Not sure if this is something you have tried. Also – juicing fresh veg (& fruit when i’m allowing myself sugar) and drinking that instead actually gives me energy instead of sapping it.

rosebudmelissa

There are so many possible causes for low energy that it can be really frustrating trying to figure out what to do about it. I know Vitamins B6 and D can help. Making sure you stay hydrated and eating more protein and vegetables sometimes helps. Getting more exercise sometimes helps. I know thyroid issues or sleep disorders can cause it (you could try to see a specialist to rule those out?). I’ve heard that light therapy can sometimes help, especially in the winter. Good luck trying to figure it out.

With regard to caffeine, it is a mild drug that your body gets dependent on. If you have a particular amount of caffeine every day, your body will adjust to that amount after 17 days, and it will no longer give you any extra energy, you will need that amount to maintain your normal energy levels. Caffeine withdrawal takes 10 days. For me the first few are usually accompanied by exhaustion and a headache. I’m especially sensitive to caffeine so I’ve researched it, and mostly stick to herbals.

tigress_al

I hope you figure out what’s wrong

Scheherazade

Thanks for the suggestions. I’m up for trying anything at the moment, but one thing at a time so I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s horrible to feel so tired all the time, and I can’t ignore it any longer.

Fjellrev

I really hope the doctor figures this all out and doesn’t take it lightly. I’ve had similar symptoms for years and after getting off my butt and visiting several doctors, they finally found out that I am/was anemic (again). So you never know.

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60

I’m in a bit of a funk…not just tea-related, but life/work related (or that’s how it feels, anyway). The only thing I’m making progress with at the moment is my stitching, which is odd because usually I have to be in the right frame of mind for that kind of thing. Instead, it seems to have increased exponentially in importance in relation to pretty much everything else. I think maybe because it’s totally different to my job, and when I get home I really do just want to switch off and lose myself in something unrelated to the day.

That kind of means that at home I’m drinking mostly this one – Twinings Everyday. It’s pretty good as “normal” tea goes. It’s strong, malty, reassuring kind of stuff. I don’t have to think about it at all. I’m still drinking “proper” tea at work, but I think now I’m starting to associate it with work, and so it’s become one of the things I don’t do at home in an effort to not think about work while I’m not there.

Clearly I need to sort myself out, but other than applying for jobs I’m not really sure how to go about that right now. I want to move out of admin, but I don’t know what I’d prefer to do instead and that’s at least half the problem.

I know things will come out on an even keel sooner or later, because they have done before, but I’m just not feeling myself at the moment and that’s why I’m not really posting anything new. Basically, I await the return of my mojo.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Christina / BooksandTea

It makes sense that you’re using the stitching to get into a better headspace at home. I know that being unemployed was one of the big factors why I started going into tea a few years ago – it gave me something nice to focus on.

What if you switched to bagged tea at work and loose leaf at home? That way you have better tea to go with relaxation at home.

tigress_al

I hope you can find your mojo soon!

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65

Mao Jian has become one of my favourite green tea varieties over the last year or so, and I’m always pleased to try one that’s new to me. This Hunan Mao Jian from Harney and Sons looks pretty much as I’d expect – thin, wiry leaves that are a little curly and twisted, a fairly uniform dark green in colour, and pretty long (most around 2cm, but some more like 5-6cm). Dry, it doesn’t seem to have a great deal of scent. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 170 degrees.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/12/29/hunan-mao-jian-harney-sons/

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

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85
drank Pomegranate Detox by Tea Drift
1441 tasting notes

The first thing to say about this one is that it smells so, so good. Strong, rich, fruity pomegranate, as soon as you open the bag! The leaf itself is a pretty thing to look at, too, with whole golden chrysanthemum flowers plus a few stray petals, and tightly rolled oolong pellets. The scent, though! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/01/01/pomegranate-detox-tea-drift/

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

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80
drank Pyin Green Tea by Shan Valley
1441 tasting notes

Although I drink a lot more green tea than I used to, I still consider myself a learner when it comes to my familiarity with different types. This green tea looks like none I’ve seen before.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2016/01/05/pyin-green-tea-shan-valley/

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

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80

Well, I’m still alive. I was so sick over Christmas, with proper fully-signed-up flu. I had 10 days off work, which I’d been looking forward to all year, and I spent most of them either in bed or staggering around the house like a zombie looking for tissues and more medicine. I think I only drank one “proper” tea – this, which I took with me in my timolino on the one day I did feel well enough to venture out. It was a very sorry state of affairs. Now I’m back at work (of course I’d be well enough in time, because that’s how it works), not feeling very rested, but at least I can make up for some lost time in tea terms.

I started the morning with another cup of this one. My pouch is actually from the year before last (2014), but it hadn’t been opened before December this year so it was still fine. I’m really enjoying this one as a Christmas Cake tea. It’s got strong dried fruit flavours, a touch of nutmeg spiciness, and a good dose of vanilla to sweeten things up and add a deliciously creamy overtone. I adore the snowflake sprinkles even though they stick fast to the bottom of my infuser, and the glitter adds a little festive sparkle too. The pine needles are an inspired touch – this really is the best of Christmas in a cup. All the better for those of us who feel like they didn’t really have a Christmas this year, I guess! Maybe next year.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
teaqueen

I’m glad you’re feeling better. The flu is the worst and its timing is always impeccable… for messing up fun plans.

Christina / BooksandTea

That sounds awful. I’m glad that you’re on the mend. (Impeccable timing regarding your holiday, huh?)

tigress_al

Glad you are feeling better!

__Morgana__

Glad you’re better!

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50

Ugh, I am ILL. Not only that, I’m at work. At work and ill is a bad, bad combination. It’s also nearly Christmas, which makes it all doubly rubbish because I was hoping this might be the year when I actually managed to escape being ill on Christmas Day. Probably this will not be the case. In an effort to try and make it the case, though, I’ll be drinking this tea on repeat all day. My first choice would have been Bluebird’s Kung Flu Fighter, but I’m out of that and it’s a bit late to be ordering any now. So I have this. It actually has a reasonably high proportion of Echinacea (20%) which is better than most similar teas I looked at in the supermarket yeterday (5%, for the most part). I’m hoping it’ll do at least a little bit of good.

Taste wise, it’s not too bad. It’s mostly hibiscus, and it’s a little tart and sour in the way of most Twinings fruit infusions. There’s the tiniest hint of raspberry, but it’s mostly drowned out except in the scent. The Echinacea is a little earthy and helps to augment the tartness a bit, but I have to be honest and say that I’m not drinking this for the flavour. If I was, I wouldn’t be particularly impressed.

I think it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t drink this one if I wasn’t ill, but as something that’s currently making me feel better it deserves a reasonable rating.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
rosebudmelissa

Hope you feel better!

Veronica

I’m sorry you’re sick. :( Here’s hoping you feel better soon.

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90

I swear today is getting worse by the minute. At least I had the foresight to bring good tea with me today! I’ve had this one many times before – it’s a bit of a winter staple for me – but it’s good to be drinking it again. It really does taste exactly like gingerbread, and there’s a nice warming spiciness from the cinnamon and ginger. Great for a sore throat. It’s rich, not too sweet, and with a really nice dessert-like vibe that sets it apart from other chai/ginger teas. Always a winner with me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

Sounds absolutely scrumptious. I just hope your day turns around!

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90
drank Snowball by Bluebird Tea Co.
1441 tasting notes

It’s only mid-morning and I’m already totally harassed. I HAVE TEA THOUGH.

To cheer myself up, I went for the most temptingly delicious sounding Bluebird Christmas tea – Snowball! Anything with three kinds of chocolate, two kinds of coconut, marshmallows and pink flowers has to be a good thing, right? And it’s tea as well. This totally reminds me of those Tunnock’s marshmallow snowballs, as I expect it’s supposed to. The intial sip is mostly chocolate (quite dark, rich chocolate I might add), followed by the sweetness of coconut, and then the creamy over-the-topness of sticky marshmallow. It’s liquid deliciousness. It’s another pretty blend, too, with the pink cornflowers and white coconut – tastes like a snowball, looks like a snowball. Is this perfection in a cup?

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and left it approximately 3.5 minutes. I added a splash of milk just because, really. I figure it only helped with the creaminess. I think next time I might give this one a slightly shorter brew time, because it’s really quite sweet and borderline overpowering by the end of the cup. It’s an amazing dessert tea, though.

Really enjoying this one :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 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 ny 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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