949 Tasting Notes

95

This is the first of two Doke teas I’ve brought to work this week, but it’s unlikely I’ll get chance to try Rolling Thunder today as well — that can be tomorrow’s treat! I have to say straight off, though — this is a glorious silver needle. I have absolutely no hesitation in saying it’s the best I’ve tried, and I like silver needle in general so I’ve tried a few.

I followed the recommended parameters, and gave 2 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in 170 degree water. The leaves are so very, very pale — mostly completely creamy white. A few have a tinge of pale green about them. There’s none of the greyness I’ve seen previously here! Dry, the leaves smell peppery.

The taste is like nothing else. There’s a light pepperiness in the aftertaste, but there’s a whole lot of cherry and almond, right there in the middle of the sip. It’s making me think of cherry bakewell. It’s sweet, deliciously creamy, and so, so smooth. There’s a mild floral note right at the end of the sip.

I only picked up a small 1/2 oz bag of this one, but I know I’m going to enjoy every last needle! This is the first white tea in a long time that’s made me sit up and take notice — usually it’s just sweetened water and that’s it. This one actually has an identifiable and distinctive flavour all its own. Divine!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
Christina

Interesting! I’m not a huge fan of white tea, but this definitely sounds unique.

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25

I didn’t know this was a dragonwell — my pouch says it’s a blend of organic estate green teas. It doesn’t look much like a dragonwell, either — some of the leaves are long and flat, with the “folded” appearance I’ve come to expect from dragonwell, but the majority are very small and flat, maybe broken.

It’s probably fair to say that I haven’t been all that impressed with the majority of Mighty Leaf teas I’ve tried. A few are pleasant, but mostly I’ve been pretty underwhelmed. I’m not much of a green drinker, but I’ve had better cups that this one even in my limited experience.

The liquor is a pale yellow-green, it’s grassy and slightly nutty. No astringency. It’s okay, but I don’t love it.

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

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90

This is a drink I have some experience with, so I was interested to try the SBT version. I drink more tea than alcohol now, so it’s fitting in some ways! I gave this one the usual SBT treatment (3 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, topped up to 2 litres with cold and into the fridge overnight). Dry, I could definitely smell cola.

Fridge cold, this is a nice experience on a hot day. Far more refreshing than the alcoholic alternative would be! Cola is the first flavour I can taste upon taking a sip, and it’s the usual generic brand, flat cola that 52 Teas do so well. I mean that as a compliment, because I adore Frank’s cola flavouring. The whiskey comes out second, and adds a soft, mellow note to the overall taste. Slightly grainy. It’s actually hard to describe how whiskey tastes — it tastes like whiskey, only without the warming power of the real thing.

I’m enjoying this one, and I’ll happily sip away on it for the rest of the day. This is an SBT I’d pick up again.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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70

I’ve tried this once before, as a sample with one of my past orders. My memories of it were good, so I picked up another bag as part of the “I Love Leafhoppers” sampler a little while back. It’s been a bit neglected in my cupboard, so I brought it to work with me today so that it gets some attention. To say sorry, I’ve made it my first cup of the day!

It’s as good as I remembered. I followed the recommended parameters, and gave 2 tsp of leaf 5 minutes in water cooled just slightly (about 195). The resulting liquor is golden brown, and smells lightly fruity. This fruitiness translates into a juiciness in the initial sip — that’s one of the things I’ve loved most about the leafhopper teas I’ve tried so far. It’s quite spicy, in a cinnamon kind of way, and there’s a doughnutty kind of taste lurking around in the background. Which means, I guess, that the overall taste reminds me of cinnamon dusted doughnuts. The fresh kind, that you’ve just watched being cooked at a fair. Neglecting this one has definitely been my loss, but drinking it today has reminded me how delicious it actually is. I can see this being a morning staple for the next few weeks :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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75
drank Vanilla Slice by T2
949 tasting notes

A sample from Memily! This one made my kitchen smell so gorgeous last night. If I hadn’t known it was tea, I’d have thought someone was baking some kind of vanilla pastry. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor was a fairly dark red, so I think I may have overdone the brew time a little. I have enough left to rectify this next time, though.

The initial taste is fairly tart — I’m thinking hibiscus, but elderberry could also be a culprit. At first, it’s all I can taste, but then the vanilla pastry I could smell in my kitchen starts to come through. The vanilla is so, so natural — vanilla beans rather than essence. The pastry note is light, buttery and delicious. There’s something a little shortbready, too. If it wasn’t for the initial tartness, this would be an amazing dessert tea.

I think I’ll try a shorter brew time for my next cup, to try and combat some of the tartness and bring out a little more of the vanilla-pastry-shortbread that has the potential to be so, so delicious. Thanks to *Memily" for introducing me to T2 — of the teas I’ve tried so far, I’m pretty impressed!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Memily

Glad to hear you’re liking them! Fortuitously for you, the company has spread its wings and has a store in the UK now! (London, of course, but that does at least mean local shipping for you now I think.)

Scheherazade

Do they?! I’ll have to find them ASAP. I want MOAR!

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100

A sample from Memily! I’ve been hanging on to this one, because I’ve wanted to try it for so long, and it sounds delicious. I was waiting for the perfect day, I guess. Today fits the bill — I had to work yesterday, so I think I deserve a treat today. Also, it’s raining heavily and fairly dull, so a sweet, cheering cup is just the ticket!

I gave 5g of leaf (about 2 tsp) 3 minutes in water cooled slightly. I felt I had to do that in honour of the silver needle base, although to be fair there isn’t much of it here. It’s mostly mulberry and coconut!

It’s absolutely delicious. As it cools, it’s just like drinking liquid caramel with a sprinkle of coconut. There’s the tiniest hint of silver needle in the background, which helps to round out the flavour somehow. If there was ever a dessert replacement tea, this is it! I’ve got a gruelling week ahead, so I’m glad it’s starting on a high tea note! This is one I’d definitely try again should the opportunity arise. It’s sweet, warming, caramelly wonderfulness.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp
Memily

Oh huzzah! I’m all out of mine. The silver needle was definitely quite sparse in the blend, I think that’s just part and parcel of it! I was bulking mine out in the end with some straight silver needle to try to get it to last longer.

Scheherazade

Don’t blame you for trying to stretch it. It’s delicious!

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65

I cold brewed this to take to work at the end of last week. I have a huge bag in my cupboard, and it’s not my favourite mint black, so I figured I had nothing to lose. Turns out, I enjoy it much, much more cold than I do hot! I used 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of water, and put it in the fridge overnight for about 10 hours. It’s the oddest colour when it’s done — transparent green. I kid you not. It tastes pretty nice, though. The mint is the most prominent flavour, but it’s not too in-your-face. The chocolate and the vanilla are given a chance to shine, too, and both are easily identifiable. The mint makes it refreshing, the vanilla creamy…and since when was chocolate an unwelcome addition to, well, anything?! I’ll probably use up the last of my bag this way, while people around me look puzzled and say “what is that?” It sure looks odd, so I guess they’re entitled.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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90

A sample from Memily! I’ve tried this one both black and with milk recently, and I actually like both equally. Maybe a slight leaning preference towards the black, because I get more of the “berry” notes, and it tastes somehow juicier. The milk seems to muddle things a bit — it becomes harder to define the flavours, although it is deliciously creamy. Still, no complaints about a versatile milk/no milk tea!

I gave 1 tsp of leaf about 3.5 minutes in boiling water for both cups. At first, I thought there was too much going on in the flavour for me to really be able to enjoy. Then, as it cooled, I had a “Huh? Gin?” moment. That’s when I knew there was juniper in here, even without having read the ingredients. Yay for my palate! Underneath the strong juniper is a hint of dark, berry fruitiness. I’m reminded a little of Whispering Pines’ Elder Grove. The black tea is smooth and somehow juicy, which in turn put me in mind of Butiki’s leafhopper blacks – Taiwanese Wild Mountain and Mi Xian particularly.

I think it’s safe to say I really enjoy this one! It’s got lots of flavour, and the black base is lovely. An easy winner.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Morning Red by T2
949 tasting notes

A sample from Memily. This is a bold cup if ever there was one! For some reason, I was thinking this one was going to be like MF Marco Polo…I think the “red” in the name was making me think of strawberry syrup! Perhaps fortunately, it’s nothing like that.

It’s a black tea, and it’s sweetly malty with a strong grain edge. It reminds me slightly of Butiki’s Crimson Horizon, or 52 Teas RadioactiviTEA, although this one has a more lingering taste. It’s like I can smell it just as much as I can taste it when I take a sip. There’s a lovely dark cocoa/chocolate note, maybe the tiniest hint of smoke. I can see this one being really nice with cream just to smooth the edges a little, so that’s something to try later! Surprisingly, there’s no astringency at all. It’s a little rough, but I can tolerate that. This would be a brilliant morning cup — it may have to come to work with me on Saturday to get me up and running. Boo for 6 day weeks!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

This was yesterday’s work cold brew. I didn’t get chance to log it because work is manically busy right now, but today we were sent home early after a colleague was taken ill, so I took the opportunity to catch up with my tasting notes!

This was one of the teas I picked up with my huge recent Bluebird order. I tried a sample previously and liked it, so it was one I was keen to revisit. I figured it would make a good cold brew, and I wasn’t wrong! I used three bags in just over a litre of cold water, and left it in the fridge overnight for around 10 hours.

I’m pleased to say I prefer this cold. The strawberry flavour comes out much more clearly, and although there’s hibiscus in this, I can hardly taste it at all. Completely at odds with how this one is hot, when the tartness of the hibiscus pretty much overpowers the strawberry completely. The lemon also comes through nicely at the end of the sip, adding a slightly sharp/sour tang. It really does remind me of strawberry lemonade — the only thing I think might improve it is sparkling or soda water, for the real lemonade effect! Either that, or a slice of real lemon. I’m glad I revisited this one — it could easily become a cold brew favourite!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 25, and I live in Norwich 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

Norwich, UK

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