1230 Tasting Notes

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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95
drank Alpine Punch by DAVIDsTEA
1230 tasting notes

A sample from Memily. The first time I tried this one, I LOVED it. Like, give me more immediately loved it. Now I actually have some more, I find that second time around I’m not so keen. I know the sample I had previously was sealed, and I remember there being a lot of leaf for a single cup, but I was so tired after clearing I chucked it in and hoped for the best. This was back in the days when I had far too little tea experience, anyway. I remember the flavour being uber strong, and absolutely delicious.

For my last couple of cups, I’ve used 1.5tsp of leaf in 212 water for about 4 minutes. It might just be my tastes moving on, but I found it a little underwhelming. The flavour is a little muted, although I still get coconut/almond with a hint of cinnamon. It reminds me of amaretti biscuits! I think in the meantime I’ve just drank flavoured teas I like more…and unflavoured teas I love. Still, fond memories remain.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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40

jasmine tea isn’t typically my thing, although there have been one or two that have appealed to me in the past. This one is okay — the jasmine isn’t too perfumey or floral. It’s definitely there, and it’s definitely jasmine, but somehow it’s delicate enough that that’s okay. The green tea is smooth and light tasting — no bitterness or astringency which is always a good thing in my book when it comes to green tea! There’s an element of sweetness, which is welcome, and a relatively heady floral aftertaste. It’s not one I’d repurchase, but it’s a pleasant enough cup on a warm afternoon. My rating only really reflects my dislike for jasmine in general.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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25

So I was expecting strong floral from this one. Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened the pouch and got…coconut! Really strong coconut, as in coconut essence rather than the actual fruit. It actually reminds me of a body shop soap I used to use when I was younger! There’s no faulting the leaves, though. They’re rolled, and a beautiful green-brown with some yellowish stalks. No crushed or broken leaves here. Given that this is called “Orchid” oolong, and Orchid is a flower, I’m still thrown by the strong coconut scent.

I gave the bag three minutes in 180 degree water, after which the liquor is a golden yellow-brown. The scent of coconut is still strong, although there’s a fresh, mineral oolong scent also developing, and maybe a hint of light floral.

The strongest note in the flavour is initially coconut. The middle of the sip is more oolong, however, and is mildly buttery. A delicate floral comes out at the end of the sip, but it’s not nearly as potent as I expected it to be. It’s a heady floral, though, so orchid would fit. Sadly, it’s all but overwhelmed by coconut, which is really far too pungent, and quite oddly so. It really is like someone dumped half a bottle of coconut essence in the cup. Another slight issue is the astringency, which adds a dryness to the end of each sip. It’s not terrible, but paired with the coconut it’s pulling this one down in my estimation. It’s drinkable, but not really for me.

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

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80

Used all but the last teaspoon of this in today’s cold brew. I’m going to be sad when it’s gone, as it’s one of the 52 Teas reblends I’ve liked the most of the ones I’ve tried so far. It’s good hot, but on the strength of the SBT version I really wanted to give it a try cold brewed.

So I did. I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, and put it in the fridge for 10 hours overnight. It’s so good. Maybe even better than the SBT version! I was wondering whether it was going to be worthwhile sacrificing the last of my pouch to a cold brew, but it definitely was. If anything, this one comes alive cold. I can taste blueberries — fresh, sweet, juicy blueberries. I can taste the tang of cream cheese — creamy, cold, slightly savoury. More exciting than both of these, I can taste PASTRY! Buttery, flaky pastry. That’s a flavour I haven’t always been able to detect hot, but it’s here cold. Undeniably.

Am I glad I chose this as today’s cold brew? Certainly! If nothing else can cheer up a dull Friday, this will be able to. I’m saddened that my pouch is now pretty much gone, but at least I’ll have fond memories. In the meantime, I can enjoy the rest of my bottle today. I’ve increased my rating a little to reflect today’s success.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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85
drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
1230 tasting notes

I’m giving this a go cold brewed today, since it struck me as something that might potentially work quite well. I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, and set it in the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. My first though is that it’s quite rooibossy — it has a distinctive woodiness that comes through quite strongly in the initial sip. To my tastes, more so than when hot. This is soon replaced with the cool, soothing, refreshing mango and yoghurt flavour that makes this such an accurate representation of the real thing. I do wish the rooibos was a little less prominent, but ultimately it makes a good cold brew. I’m pleased with the amount of mango I am able to taste, and it’s the perfect choice for a hot day like this one :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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65

After my success cold brewing MojiTEA last week, I decided to have a go with a second green. I really liked the SBT Razzleberry, so I pulled out the 52 Teas genmaicha version to try. I used 2 tbsp of leaf in just over a litre of water, and left it in the fridge for about 8 hours. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, and it smells TOASTY. Seriously toasty.

Fridge cold, it also tastes seriously toasty. Almost burnt, really. Underneath the genmaicha is a light berry flavour, although it’s really struggling to compete against the toastiness of the rice. As the burnt flavour fades, the raspberry/blackberry flavour is able to emerge a little more, but not as strongly as I would have liked. The green tea base is smooth and not at all bitter or astringent, though, so I’m pleased about that.

On the whole, I think I’ll be sticking to the SBT version of when I want my iced Razzleberry fix. This is okay, but rather too toasty for me to say I really like it. I have a similar problem with it brewed hot, but somehow I prefer it that way. I’ll finish my bottle of this, but I won’t be cold brewing it again! A worthwhile experiment, though.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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70

Gave this a good long brew today, and managed to make it strong enough to take milk. I love this one with milk — it tastes just like a creamsicle! Orange and cream wonderfulness, and the jasmine well toned down. When it’s like this, it’s a dreamy tea :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
1230 tasting notes

Given that I’m back to trying to get my cupboard under control, I pulled out a new tea to try last night. This one has been sitting for a little while, so it’s high time it got its chance! I followed the recommended parameters, and used 1.5tsp of leaf in boiling water. I gave it four minutes. While brewing, I can smell cream and spice, primarily.

After four minutes, the liquor was a fairly dark red-brown, so I added a splash of milk. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the taste, but it’s pretty much dead on mango lassi. There’s the slightly sharp creaminess of yoghurt, plenty of cardamom, and the sweet pepperiness of mango. It’s a beautifully natural flavour; subtle but not so much that it’s hard to pick out the flavours. They’re all definitely there.

I’d quite like to try this with a piece of crystal sugar, so that’s on tonight’s agenda. A cold brew could be interesting, too. A new favourite rooibos blend!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank MojiTEA by Bluebird Tea Co.
1230 tasting notes

This was my first attempt at a cold brewed green, which I brought to work last Friday. Steepster wasn’t working for me then, so I couldn’t log it, and it feels like I’ve never had chance until now ever since! I can still remember it, though, so all’s fair.

I bought the bagged version of this one for ease, and used three for a one litre cold brew. I made it right before I went to bed, so the bags had about 8 hours in the water, in the fridge overnight. Looking at the dry leaf, I don’t actually think there’s a huge amount of green tea in this blend; I can mostly see lemongrass. That’s why I wasn’t too nervous about trying it out as a cold brew for the very first time! I also noticed that the leaf in the bags is smaller, with less pieces of dried lime than the loose version. That’s something I’ll bear in mind in future, as I loved how oversized and pretty the loose blend was the first time I purchased a bag!

To taste, this is pretty much as I expected. I can taste a lot of citrus — both from the dried lime pieces, and the lemongrass. There’s also a hint of mint, but it’s not at all overpowering. Just a gentle coolness in the background. Paired with the citrussy flavours, it’s very refreshing. I can taste the green tea base a little — it adds a very, very slight bitterness to the flavour, which actually fits quite well with the sour/sharp lime. Both are delicate flavours, so neither are problematic in that respect. As well as a light lemony citrussiness, the lemongrass also contributes a hay-like sweetness which helps to hold the flavours together.

What I’d like to do with this one is add some rum (although maybe not at work!), or failing that some sparkling water. I think a little alcohol or fizziness would just help to bring it alive a little more. I do like this blend for the summer, though, and I’m glad I picked up a box of these with my recent Bluebird order. It’s a great flavour combination, and very refreshing on a hot day!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp
Christina

Sounds very tasty!

Mike Turner

It’s great with rum!

The blend in the bagged version actually has no lime chunks as they wouldn’t go through a bagging machine so we use smaller lime peel instead, hence the slight visual difference. Well spotted!

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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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