1293 Tasting Notes

65

This is today’s cold brew, which I decided to try in order to use up some leaf. It’s one of the older teas I still have ticking around, and as I’d had success cold brewing the black version I thought I might as well give it a try. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely successful. It’s very smooth tasting — almost too smooth, as in slimy, really. The main flavour that I’m picking up is a rather fake tasting chocolate, followed by an equally fake tasting vanilla. There’s only a very tiny hint of mint, which is a shame, as it would have added some much needed freshness.

To my mind, the odd thing is that this is a completely different tea when brewed hot. I didn’t notice the chocolate or vanilla tasting “fake” at all, and it certainly wasn’t slimy. Part of me is wondering whether the sprinkles have contributed to these problems — they’ve obviously been in water much longer than they would have been for a hot cup, so maybe that’s had an effect. There’s also more mint, and it cuts through the otherwise sweet flavours and makes this a far more palatable tea. I guess cold brewing just doesn’t work for this one, for one reason or another. The rest of my pouch will definitely be used for hot cups this coming autumn!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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70

A sample from Ysaurella. After having skimmed a few of the notes below, I allowed 1 tsp of leaf 5 minutes in water around 90 degrees. The scent is fairly generic, and it’s hard to pick up any clues about the tea from that alone.

To taste, this one is, to me at least, a fairly unusual combination. I can pick up on a light edge of citrus, but on the whole this tastes rather like the sugar shells on chocolate mini eggs . A rich vanilla flavour emerges in the aftertaste, but that’s the only point at which I would have thought “creme brulee”. The custardy vanilla mellowness is there, but I think I’m looking for a caramel/burnt sugar taste to really round out that impression.

Somehow, though, this tea does make me think of Easter. It’s sugary, spring-like in its light flavours and delicate taste…fresh, somehow. It’s not quite what I was expecting, but it grows on me with successive sips. I’ll certainly enjoy finishing up the sample, but I think I might need to experiment with brew time and the amount of leaf I’m using a little. It’s like the waters are a little muddied at the moment, and it’s hard to really pinpoint what I’m tasting.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60

A sample from ashleyelizabeth. I gave this one 5 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. I like coconut, and coconut teas in general, and I also like chai, so this one seemed a good bet on a cold morning. The scent of this one dry, and while brewing, is heavenly. The coconut scent is strong and true to life, and deliciously creamy. Fortunately, the same is true of the brewed tea. The main flavour is definitely coconut; slightly toasted coconut, with a milky-creaminess about it. The spices come out second, quite strongly and suddenly. It’s a trinity of ginger, black pepper, and liquorice in the main, with maybe a hint of cinnamon and clove around the edges. The pepper I like, oddly, perhaps because it’s a warming, spicy contrast to the creamy, milky coconut. The ginger works well too. The only thing that’s spoiling this one for me is the liquorice – while it sweetens the blend, it also leaves a fake, over sweet taste (like splenda) at the back of my throat. The tea base (which I assume is black) is also a little weak for me to really be able to get behind this as a chai blend.

I enjoyed this cup, but on the whole it’s not one I’d look to try again. There are other chai blends I like more (although the coconut in this one is so good, that’s a hard thing to say). If it had a stronger base and no liquorice, I’d probably like it a whole lot more. As it stands, though, it’s one I can live without.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Hugs and Kisses by Adagio Teas
1293 tasting notes

I went out and bought some milk this morning, and today I finally, finally had a good cup of this one. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and left it in boiling water for around five minutes, then topped it off with a generous splash of milk. It’s insanely creamy. It tastes just like I’d added cream to my cup, rather than milk, with that deliciously smooth, almost flat-tasting dairyness about it. I didn’t like Adagio’s “Cream” flavoured black last time I tried it, but I might have to give it another go next time I order from them. There’s also a hint of almond here; a touch of marzipan amongst the cream, and a tiny, tiny nip of vanilla. I’m not getting any caramel, but that might well have been one step too far anyway. Also, despite the amount of rose and cornflower petals scattered throughout this one, there is no floral note to be found. In my book, that’s a good thing. So; creamy, vanilla, almond tinged loveliness. This one needs milk, but once it’s got some, it’s just plain lovely. It’s not a flashy or overflavoured tea, but it’s pleasant and comforting to drink when something more plain is required.

In other news, this is my 1000th note. I can’t believe I’ve been here long enough to have written that many — it doesn’t feel like so long ago that I was just starting to drink loose leaf tea! May the next 1000 go as smoothly!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
scribbles

WOW! Cingrats on making 1000!

KittyLovesTea

Congrats on 1000! Wonderful milestone.

Veronica

Congrats on 1000! That’s awesome!

VariaTEA

Yay for 1000! And yay for finding a way to enjoy this tea :)

Fjellrev

w00t, congrats on 1000!

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75
drank Dolce Vita by RiverTea
1293 tasting notes

I brewed up a cup of this one on Sunday afternoon, but I clearly haven’t got it quite down pat yet. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It smells like raspberry straight out of the box, and even more so while brewing. It was suggested to me that this one could be a runner for the title of Best Raspberry Tea After 52 Teas Raspberry Cream, and because that’s what I’ll clearly be spending the rest of my life looking for, I can only imagine it’s a positive step in the right direction.

It’s good. The raspberry flavour is juicy, but very candy-like (not really fresh, tart raspberry at all). There’s an added sweetness from the meringue hats, which is enjoyable, although it doesn’t add much in terms of flavour. I wasn’t getting coconut at all. In an effort to bring out more creaminess, I added a splash of milk. That was the wrong decision; the base tea is too light to take milk without the whole thing becoming a washout. Mistake.

So, for my next cup I will leave out the milk. Probably. Unless I use a lot more leaf. I’m torn on the amount of leaf to use in order to get the best flavour. I think probably I’ll stick with 1 tsp, and maybe extend the brew time a little? If that doesn’t work, I’ll use a little more leaf. Clearly there is some experimentation to be done.

At the moment, what I can say is that I liked this one right up until I added the milk. I would like some more creaminess, and to taste the coconut, but the raspberry flavour is strong and delicious. I can see this being a tea I enjoy even if I can’t have anymore creaminess/coconut, just because a candy raspberry tea is a good thing in my book. And I like the meringue — it’s a cute touch. I’m willing to experiment a little bit yet, but for now I’m going to rate this 75, because it’s nice and I’ll guzzle it whatever happens. A positive introduction to River Tea!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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95

Drinking this as a cold brew again at work today. It was just so delicious last time, I couldn’t resist giving it another go before iced tea season is officially over. It’s cold in the mornings now, and I can’t see myself wanting a cold drink during the day as often anymore. Still, hopefully a couple more weeks to enjoy before it’s hot tea all the way!

This is as delicious as I remember, anyway. The raspberry note is strong and clear, a little candy-like. There’s also a sweet, delicate shortbreadiness. I have yet to try this hot, but I’ll get around to it over the next couple of weeks. Good raspberry tea is a wonderful, wonderful thing, and I have high hopes for my continuing relationship with this one!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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95

A sample from Cteresa. I tried Rouge Provence earlier today, and was half expecting this to be very similar, but it’s actually a completely different experience. A more complete experience, perhaps. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180. The liquor is a bright, grassy green; it’s a completely fabulous, young grass on a bright summer day, kind of colour. Very sunny! Just looking at it cheered me up.

To taste, the flavour I pick up straightaway is cherry. Black cherry, to my tastes, followed by a hint of blackberry. It’s a beautifully natural, fruity, juicy flavour – no children’s cough medicine here! In the mid-sip, I can pick out a hint of rosemary, maybe a touch of thyme. Finally, rounding out the whole thing are lavender and rose. It really is like a journey through Provence — from fruit, through herbs, into flowers. There’s a mild grassiness from the green tea base in the aftertaste, and a tiny bite of astringency. Perhaps two minutes brew time would have been enough, but it’s so slight it’s hardly worth complaining about.

It’s not often that I prefer a green tea to a red or a black, but in this case I’m happy to say that I do. This version is a far more complete experience, to my tastes — it puts me in mind of France, and Provence, far more than the Rouge did — although I really do like that one also. Many thanks to Cteresa for allowing me the opportunity to compare the two. It’s made for a very enjoyable morning’s tea tasting!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Jamaïque by Mariage Frères
1293 tasting notes

A sample from Ysaurella! This was my Sunday afternoon cup, which followed Saturday morning’s Vanille des Iles perfectly. Not that I haven’t had tea since then, but tea this good? I’m eeking out my MF samples, making sure I brew them when I can pay attention, and drink them when I have the time to really appreciate them. I’m hoping to become a bit more familiar with the brand so that I can choose wisely when I do finally make my long awaited trip to Paris, hopefully next year.

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 2 minutes in water around 90 degrees, and added a splash of milk. I chose this unconsciously, but it’s pretty much the perfect follow up to Vanille des Iles. It has a very similar light, creamy, vanilla flavouring, on top of a fairly prominent base, but this time with a delightful run twist at the end of the sip. It’s delicious, right there in the final moment when all of the flavours blend together. Sweet, delicate vanilla with a deep, almost plummy, boozy kick. It’s another one I’d be wary of brewing too long, although I have come to be careful of most MF black teas in this way. I think it could potentially tip over into bitterness, and lose its flavouring amongst the base tea. Not so with this cup, though, which delights me considerably. I don’t think I’ll need both Vanille des Iles and Jamaique in my cupboard at the same time, but I’d certainly drink either again if given the chance!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Ysaurella

I’m glad you liked Jamaïque. All assams tea base by MF should be brewed very carefully, other bases are less capricious and easier even with a 5 minutes steeping

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95

A sample from Ysaurella! This was Saturday morning’s cup. I’ve been so tired lately, I felt I needed something sweet and decadent to help me get going. A treat in tea form. This one seemed like the perfect choice! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and followed Ysaurella’s advice with regard to brewing for only 2 minutes in water around 90 degrees. The resulting liquor was fairly dark, so I added a splash of milk.

I was expecting quite a strong hit of vanilla, but this one is actually quite gentle. Creamy, delicate, soothing. It’s a completely natural vanilla taste — no artifice here. It reminds me a little of the vanilla ice cream I made myself a few months back — such a change from the vanilla-flavoured ice cream I’d been eating up until that point. Similarly with this tea.

I think the milk has aided the creaminess a little, and I’m glad I didn’t steep as long as I would have without a warning, because I fear the base may have overtaken the flavour completely had I done that. It’s quite a present base, as is. This is definitely black tea and vanilla, rather than just vanilla tea. It’s delicious for it, though, and it makes for a wonderful breakfast time treat. Enough black tea not to be overpowering, enough vanilla to be a pleasant treat and a gentle wake-up.

I like this one lots. It’s up there with the best vanilla teas I’ve tried this far, and it’s definitely one I’d like to add to my cupboard when I get the chance. Many thanks to Ysaurella for giving me the chance to try this one!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Ysaurella

you’re very welcome, I think you can push the brewing a little with this one until 3 or 4 minutes and you’ll get a less subtile vanilla.

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90

A sample from Cteresa! I’m lacking variety in my teas at work, and have got myself into a bit of a tea funk, so in an effort to dispel this I brought some samples with me this morning. This is the first of them, and I have to say it smells divine! I’m a little leery of lavender in tea, and while this brews it smells quite strongly of lavender, and a little of rose. It also smells generically sweet. I gave 1 tsp of leaves 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk, just because. I have enough sample left to try a cup without if it turns out milk was the wrong thing, but it’s what I fancied this morning.

I have to say, I enjoyed this one from the very first sip. Looking at the dry leaf, which is fairly heavily strewn with rose petals and lavender, you’d think it would be a heady, floral brew. I’ve come to half expect this from french tea, and I feel I’ve made my peace with it fairly successfully. Floral tea can be okay. It’s not floral at all, though, really. Instead of the perfumey lavender/rose taste I was expecting, I’m actually getting a very berry-like flavour. A mixture of blackberry and raspberry? It’s sweet, not at all tart, with a faint undertone of lavender that somehow helps to round things out. I agree with Cteresa that there might, just might, be a touch of juniper in here somewhere. Gin and its constituents speak to me from a considerable distance.

To sum up, this is absolutely lovely. I’d say it’s a favourite of the MF teas I’ve tried so far! I’m enjoying the berry flavour, and I’m even enjoying the light floral notes. They combine well to make a pretty unique tasting cup. The rooibos is delightful, too. It adds a very delicate woodiness, which supports the flavours well while remaining fairly unobtrusive in itself.

Thanks so much to Cteresa for sharing this one with me. It’ll definitely make my shopping list for my future pilgrimage to France!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
cteresa

Just to add, I think the berry here is black currant, cassis… Maybe not the only berry, but I think it is there very much!

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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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