1158 Tasting Notes

90

This was last night’s pre-bedtime cup. I usually try and choose a herbal as my last tea of the day, but I figured I deserved a treat after the week I’ve had. Plus, this one has rooibos in it, so it’s not exactly like drinking a cup of black tea, is it? A compromise, at the very least.

I used 1tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. Of all the Sherlock blends, this was one I was looking forward to the most. The description/combination of ingredients is one that really appeals to me. Rightly so, it turns out.

While brewing, the main scent is the chai. It’s spicy, warming, very comforting. As a result, I was expecting the chai to be the main note in the flavour, but this isn’t really the case. The initial flavour is a creamy vanilla laced with chocolate, and it’s beautifully smooth. The cream aspect is almost heavy tasting, in the way of whipped cream – very distinctive! The spiciness of the chai emerges second, and I can detect notes of ginger, cinnamon and clove. It works well with the initial vanilla/chocolate/cream combination, and puts me in mind of a spiced oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips. A little unusual, but rich and decadent at the same time, and wonderfully dessert like. I’d actually consider adding this one to my cupboard once my sample is gone. It’s not like anything else I’ve got, and it makes for a wonderful-tasting treat!

As for the fandom aspect, I actually think this one sums up Mycroft pretty well. It’s smooth, rich, and strikes a diplomatic balance between the (fairly strong) competing flavours. It clearly has friends in high places.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

I think I’m attracted to weirdness in teas, and this one seemed like an ambitious flavour so I pretty much had to give it a try. I also love cherry cola, so it was pretty much a given from the moment I saw it. This one has been in my cupboard for a while, unopened. Today it finally saw the light of day! I used 1 tsp of leaf (plus a whole cherry!), and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

I hated my first sip. It made me scrunch my face up, and I’m not really sure why. The sheer oddity of the flavour combination? I’ve been fine from my second sip onwards – clearly I’m acclimatised! It has to be said, though, that this is a bit of an odd duck. The initial flavour is, I’d say, chocolate cake. The malty black tea base helps this effect, I think, and there’s some of Della Terra’s “cake” flavouring kicking around in the background. The thick, almost stodgy one (a la Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Blueberry Crumble, etc.) The cherry cola flavour emerges mid-sip, and it’s actually pretty accurate. It even tastes a little effervescent, although it’s hard to imagine how that is achieved. The cherry tastes pretty natural and juicy; not too chemical or medicinal, which is a relief, but the end of the sip is a little sugary – almost like sugar syrup. There’s some of Della Terra’s sparkly crystal sugar in this blend, so maybe it’s that now it’s sunk to the bottom of the cup. Pretty, though!

On the whole, this is a pretty odd combination of flavours. Cherry cola and chocolate cake are probably not two things I’d consume together. Having said that, I do actually really like this tea, now that I’ve gotten over the initial weirdness. Quite what that says about me, I don’t know!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Warm Cider by Tealux
1158 tasting notes

This is today’s newly opened tea. I don’t drink a lot of oolongs, but this one sounded too good to pass up! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 190 degrees. The resulting liquor is pale yellow-brown, and smells mostly of oolong (i.e. a little like wet rock, perhaps a touch vegetal).

The real surprise with this one is the flavour. I was expecting quite a strong oolong flavour at least, but actually the flavouring is very prominent. The initial sip is all about the apple – crisp, fresh, with just a touch of floury floral somewhere in the background. Summer apple, shall I say. I have a feeling the oolong base might be assisting with the flavour here, and that pleases me immensely. It’s so good! The mid-sip is somehow deliciously creamy, and reminds me of a Butiki tea (although I can’t put my finger on exactly which one at the moment…Traditional Plum Pudding, maybe?). The end of the sip brings out the spiciness – ginger, cinnamon, maybe a little nutmeg. It’s a nutty, warming flavour and really complements the apple.

By the end of the sip, this one really is putting me in mind of mulled cider. The apple and spice notes are just right; crisp and warming at the same time – a real comfort tea! The only thing that’s a little jarring is the creaminess, but I like what it adds so much that I don’t have the heart to complain about it. It doesn’t fit with the cider aspect, but it’s certainly smooth and delicious. I’m wondering whether the creaminess is a by product of the oolong base, rather than an added flavour in itself? Either way, it’s delicious!

I’m surprised no-one else has got to this one before me. It’s a great autumn/spring dessert tea, great for those who are a little leery of oolong as a gentle introduction.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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55

I haven’t tried this one in a long time, I think because I wasn’t all that taken with my first cup. I read through my note again just now, and I still feel exactly the same way about this tea. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a very pale yellow, and has virtually no scent.

The initial sips are just sweet hot water, and I had to check the bag to make sure this one really was a green. I think, as before, there’s so little green tea in the dry mix that it doesn’t really register. It’s mostly stevia and lemon verbena. That’ll be where the sweet is coming from, then. There is a very light lemon flavour; more easily detectable after a few sips in succession, but it’s not exactly what I had in mind when thinking of a lemon sherbet. That’s a much stronger, quite distinctive flavour to me!

As a light, sweet, fresh tasting cup on a hot day, I can imagine this one being pretty good. I’m going to stick with what I said last time, and try this one cold when the weather warms up a bit. Hopefully that’ll improve my experience of it!

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

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65
drank Chocolate Monkey by Tealux
1158 tasting notes

I’ve managed to drink most of this without ever having added a tasting note. I’ve always meant to, but it’s just not seemed to happen. This tea is obviously my busy tea! I use 1 tsp of leaf for this one, and give it about 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

The thing I like most about this one is the banana flavouring. I find with a lot of banana teas that the flavour just isn’t really very strong, or it gets lots among other (stronger) flavours. It’s clearly the key player here, and it’s a nice over-ripe, squashy banana. There’s a hint of chocolate to this one, although its by no means strong. It adds a nice creamy cocoa note to the background, and the combination reminds me a little of banana hot chocolate. The rooibos is a little prominent, but not terrible. I have a feeling a splash of milk would take that down, but unfortunately I don’t have any with me at the moment. Something to try before the last cup of this one is gone! The pink peppercorn adds a spicy note to the aftertaste (it tingles on my tongue), which I think is pretty unnecessary. Still, it’s a pretty good choice as far as banana teas go – not the best (that would be 52 Teas Banana Pudding!), but definitely up there. A yummy mid-morning treat.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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40

My final interview leftover. I actually drink this one quite a bit at events, purely because it makes a change from Earl Grey and English Breakfast. The selection is sadly that limited. I will say that I don’t mind this one too much. It smells deliciously fruity, and it tastes okay given that it’s a bagged, finely chopped monstrosity of the worst kind. I gave it 3 minutes in boiling water.

The resulting liquor is a pale red, although not as dark as I expected given that there’s a fair amount of hibiscus packed in here. The main taste is raspberry of sorts, but it’s fairly tart and somehow flat tasting, and lacks the sweet/sharp balance that I typically enjoy in a raspberry tea. Once the initial raspberry has faded, which doesn’t take long, this one is hibiscus all the way. The end of the sip is a little drying on the palate.

This isn’t a tea I’d actively seek out, but it’s one I don’t mind in a pinch. Its drinkable, but it doesn’t rock my socks.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75
drank The Earl Grey by Twinings
1158 tasting notes

Apparently it’s been two years since I last drank one of these. It doesn’t feel like that long. Although I don’t seek these out anymore, there’s still something I find very calming and reassuring about a freshly brewed cup of Earl Grey. I think it’s the scent of the bergamot, although not all blends strike me in the same way. There’s something perfect about this one. Even though its bagged, it’s still the best straight EG I’ve tried (bar EG Cream blends, which totally had me at hello.)

Anyway, I gave this one 2.5 minutes in boiling water, no additions. It’s a lovely brisk black tea, with a slightly sharp lemon aftertaste. There’s a tiny hint of the floral about it, but that note is fleeting at best. I know it’s blasphemy to say it, but I generally prefer this one with just a splash of milk.

Drinking this today has reminded me how much I enjoy a good cup of Earl Grey, particularly when I’m feeling anxious, stressed or under the weather. I might actually consider keeping a small box of this around for such occasions, and that’s a revelation for me after nearly three years of drinking loose tea almost exclusively. This one’s a winner.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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85

Another one that made the entire office kitchen smell like cake. This one reminds me of Della Terra’s Birthday Cupcake in scent, and I enjoyed that one so I’m feeling encouraged. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium red-brown, with a slightly oily scrim assumedly caused by the sprinkles and chocolate chips.

To taste, it’s pretty nice. It’s another tea that tastes as good as it smells, and that’s always a bonus in my book. It’s almost red velvet, although the chocolate is a little weak for my liking. There’s a light cocoa note in the initial sip, then a whole lot of Della Terra’s “cake” flavour (I still have no idea how to describe that, other than rich, vanilla and somehow baked), followed up with the fleeting sweetness cream cheese icing. Pretty delicious!

The base here is rooibos, but the flavouring is so strong it pretty much drowns that completely. Not that I’m complaining – rooibos is okay with me, but I like to avoid its woodsiness where I can.

On the whole, this is a satisfying cup. It’s another Della Terra tea that makes a great dessert replacement. Sweet, rich, and as close to liquid cake as it’s ever going to be possible to get. Om nom nom.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70
drank Forest Fruits by Lipton
1158 tasting notes

Another interview leftover. I’ve had this one before at work – it seems to be the only tea provided on event days. I usually bring my own in a couple of Timolinos anyway, but it’s always good to have refill options! Not having any milk at the moment has restricted me work tea options a little, so I broke this one out this morning.

It’s a palatable flavoured black with no additions. I gave the bag about 2.5 minutes in boiling water, and the resulting liquor is a medium brown. It certainly smells fruity! It also tastes fruity, albeit in a slightly artificial, chemically way. I somehow doubt any real fruit was harmed in the making of this tea. I can taste mainly blueberry and blackberry; one sweet, the other adding a mildly sour tang at the end of the sip. As flavour combinations go, it’s a pretty good one, and it tastes kind of juicy in the way a fruit-flavoured tea really should. Something about it reminds me a lot of hot ribena, actually.

The black base is strong without being overwhelming, and it’s also pretty smooth. Both points in its favour. I have added milk to this one in the past, but this cup proves that it doesn’t really need it.

This one was never going to be my favourite tea, but it’s a pleasant mid-morning pick-me-up, and eminently drinkable. I’d not protest if I had to drink this one again (and no doubt I will, as long as I work here.)

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec

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90

Another one rescued from languishing in my stash. I think I bought this one about a year ago, and I just never got around to pulling it out. Now’s its chance!

I think it’s fair to say that I’m in love with this one even just having opened the bag. It smells so much like cream cheese icing and rich, spiced cake, it’s ridiculous! It reminds me most at this point of Della Terra’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake – it shares the same “cakey” scent. The thing I like most about the dry mix is actually the tiny caramac chips, although pieces of carrot and orange peel are also readily visible. I think it’s going to be a good one! I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. It filled the whole kitchen with the scent of carrot cake; a blissful 3 minute break from work.

Fortunately, I’m not wrong about this being a good one. It’s not often that a flavoured tea lives up to its scent, but this is one that definitely does. The initial flavour is spiced icing, with the cinnamon and orange coming through readily, along with a rich, almost tooth-tingling, sweetness. There’s a cream cheese aspect, too, which adds an almost cool, slightly sour tang right at the end of the sip. The “carrot cake” itself resides mainly in the mid sip, with a pleasant raisin note and a lovely smack of Della Terra “cake” flavouring. It’s a beautiful thing.

This one has a rooibos base, but it’s hard to tell under all of the flavouring. This makes for a delicious dessert tea – and a real dessert replacement, rather than the inspiration for a craving. This is one sample I’ll have no trouble polishing off!

Preparation
Boiling 3 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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