1026 Tasting Notes

85

I wanted something comforting last night, and this one sprung immediately to mind. It tastes just as good as I remembered — soft and silky, with the sweet, thick flavours of banana and coconut. Pudding in a cup.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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100

First cup of the morning. I still love the creamy amazingness of this one, and the light hand with the bergamot. Yum!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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55

Brewed this one properly at home, and there’s still some bitterness to be found. It’s not terrible, but it is there. In a lot of ways, it spoils the sweet, light fruitiness of this tea for me. Nice enough, but not one I’d keep in my cupboard long term.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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70

The first time I tried a mighty leaf sampler, this was one of my favourite teas. It’s a refreshing, cleansing blend of peppermint and basil, and it really does taste that straightforward. Basil is one of my favourite flavours, anyway, especially in cooking, so it’s no surprise that I get along with this one!

The peppermint is definitely the strongest flavour here, and it has a pleasant coolness and crispness. The basil is subtle but detectable, and adds a tinge of peppery depth, making this a slightly more unusual tea than might be expected. It’s the kind of cup you don’t really have to think about — there isn’t much complexity, after all! Perfect for a busy day when a clean, fresh tasting drink is required. I think this one would also be good iced in the summer, so it’s another one I’ll have to make a note to keep back for the warmer days to come!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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55

I’m hosting interviews again today, so it’s bagged tea and a thermos for the majority of the day. I picked this one out last night as I haven’t tried it for a good long while, and my recollection of it is hazy. As my first tea of the day, it wasn’t a bad choice! The tropical flavouring here is juicy and fresh, although quite generic. I’m pretty sure there’s pineapple and mango, although on the whole it tastes tastes like Um Bongo. Not that that’s a bad thing — it was a much loved drink of my childhood, after all. There’s a slight bitterness, although that’s probably at least partly my fault given the less than perfect brewing conditions. I’ll be giving it another go and revising my note later on, anyway.

This makes for a good thirst quenching drink, and is actually very pleasant on a warm day. I’ll have to remember to try it cold brewed in the summer as well. On the whole, recommended! I’ll hold back on a rating until I’ve tried this “properly” at home, though.

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

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65

The other tea I have been drinking today. 3 or 4 cups, I think. It’s a pleasant enough chocolate-raspberry flavoured black. I won’t be too sad when it’s gone, but it’s easy enough to drink. More variety required tomorrow, though! I must stop reaching for the same teas and drink something else from my languishing shelf at work!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70

Back to work today, and this was my mid-morning cup. It’s definitely lost some of its flavour, but it’s still a good creamy peppermint tea. I’d like to say I feel refreshed and ready to work again after the easter break (6 days of quiet and calm…), but I could honestly have done with longer. Either that, or work just sucks. I did use some of my break to finish updating my steepster cupboard and getting through my backlog, though, so at least something is right with my world. I sorted out my actual cupboard, too, and was surprised to find that I’m not doing that badly in terms of older teas. My current total made my eyes water a bit, but I’m sure I’ll start getting through it soon :) A good enough day, but now I’m tired.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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95

The last of my samples from Angel at Teavivre. I have a difficult relationship with oolongs, which is why I saved this one until last. The quality of the other teas I’ve tried from Teavivre ought to have reassured me that everything would be okay, though!

Finally, finally I’ve found an oolong I enjoy. Brewing, it smells buttery, milky and sweet. I gave it about three minutes in slightly cooled water, and the resulting liquor was a pale, pale yellow-green. Sunlight on leaves. The taste is a revelation. Unsalted butter, a smooth milky creaminess, and a hint of fresh green vegetables. It’s totally unlike what I’ve come to expect from a typical oolong — it actually reminds me more of a green tea, or a milk oolong. Declicious, delicious stuff :)

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95

A sample from Angel at Teavivre. As I work my way through the samples Angel so kindly sent me, I find myself becoming ever more seduced by these teas. I’d heard a lot about this one, so I saved it until almost last. It lives up to the hype, I think.

I used 1 tsp of leaf, water about 190, maybe just under, and gave this one 2.5 minutes. The liquor is very dark brown, the darkest of the teas I’ve tried so far from Teavivre. It has a stronger, darker scent than I was expecting. I read leather in the notes below and thought “surely not”, but it’s there in the scent. Most definitely. Leather, a tiny hint of smoke, bread, and chocolate.

To taste, this is much as I expected given the flavours I detected in the scent. It’s strongly flavoured, with initial hints of baked bread (rye bread, I think) and grain. In the middle of the sip are the sweeter notes — there’s a maltiness I didn’t quite expect, a hint of cocoa, a touch of honey. The sip ends with the merest touch of smoke. Given that the flavours are quite “dark” and strong, I half expected some bitterness. There’s none. Neither is it even remotely astringent. It’s so easy to drink, and yet so complex and multi-layered. It’s difficult not to love it instantly. I drink a lot of black tea, and this one is just fabulous. One I will definitely add to a future order!

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

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75

A sample from Angel at Teavivre. The first thing that struck me about this tea was how green the leaves are. I’ve had quite a few white peony teas where the leaves have been black or close to it — these are a pale spring green, very fresh looking! There are a high proportion of downy white buds, and some leaves and twigs (some of them also slightly downy!) The scent is quite heavily floral, but sweet and delicately hay-like as well. I’m a fan of white teas in general, and I’m really looking forward to giving this one a taste!

I gave 2 tsp of leaves about 2.5 minutes in cooled water (about 170). The resulting liquor is a medium yellow-gold, and smells sweet and floral. To taste, it’s as wonderful as I’d hoped. It’s not as heavily floral as the scent would suggest, but there is a floral, almost orchid-like, note to the flavour. It’s naturally sweet, although not excessively so — it’s the sweetness of flowers on a summer day, straw, or spring grass. The sip ends on a slightly powdery note, with a hint of dryness.

As white peony teas go, this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve tried. I love how green the leaves are, and how delicate yet multi-layered and complex the overall flavour is. Fantastic!

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

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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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