914 Tasting Notes

65

Reached for this last night, and managed to get a really nice chocolate flavour from it. No raspberry to speak of, but the chocolate was awesome.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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60

A sample from KittyLovesTea. I brewed up a cup of this last night, since I fancied a change from black or rooibos teas, which are my usual go-to varieties. I think I overdid the steep a little on this, as it was faintly astringent. Not awfully so, but just a bit drying at the back of the throat. The flavour was good, though. The green tea leaves are rolled and quite dark, so I was half expecting quite a bitter tea. It wasn’t at all, though. It was light, fresh and a touch vegetal, and matched the sweetness of the blueberry really well. I won’t say I got pie from this on the whole, except during one sip when I was convinced I could taste buttery, baked pastry. I guess it all came together in that one moment! Anyway, I have enough left for a couple more cups, so I can try and improve on my experience this time. It certainly made for a nice treat!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

I’ve drank this a few times at work over the last week, and it’s become one of my go-to blacks when I’m looking for a good, strong flavour. Brewed, this smells so much like actual christmas pudding that it’s almost hard to believe. The flavour carries through well into the taste, with rich fruit notes and a hint of burnt sugar. It’s a delicious treat, and one of the Della Terra teas I’ll miss most once last year’s advent box is finally gone.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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55

I’ve had a couple of these recently, and have been reasonably impressed. The flavour is a bit variable, depending on the brew time and temparature, but it always yields a flavourful and enjoyable treat. The chocolate is the flavour that seems most susceptible to vanishing — I haven’t quite worked out what causes it yet, but I’m certain that it does. The first cup I tried tasted mostly of rooibos, and quite a brassy-tasting one at that. The second cup was altogether better, with both mint and chocolate in addition to the rooibos. When all of the flavours are identifiable, this does approach the flavour of a chocolate mint truffle — it’s something that comes together after a couple of sips, and forms an impression in the aftertaste if not the initial sip. This is another tea I’ll have to work on a little before I discover exactly what works best for me when it comes to brewing. I’m encouraged so far, though. A pleasant sweet treat when I’m trying to avoid reaching for a chocolate bar!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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60

The last of today’s work teas. I had no access to milk, so I went without. My instinct probably would have been to add some if I had any to hand, as it brewed up pretty dark, but it was drinkable without. I will try it with milk next time, as I think a creaminess would sit nicely alongside the vanilla flavouring.

And it’s strong vanilla flavouring by my standards. Really strong. Not a bad thing, but a little overpowering when approached with no additions. I couldn’t taste the black base at all, which was completely unexpected. On the plus side, there was no bitterness or astringency to be found, although after a few sips it became quite a cloying brew.

I will give this one another try at some point in the future, when I’m better equipped. There are a few more bags in my sampler box, and I think I’ll enjoy it as a vanilla tea when it’s brewed to my liking. The flavouring was beautifully natural, if just a little much when taken on alone!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec

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55

This is a bit of an odd duck, but I do like it. For starters, the description mentions rose petals and liquorice. I can neither taste, nor smell, either of these things. Secondly, while brewing, this smells really, really strong. Very fragrant spices, and the slight dankness of mate. I was surprised when I took my first sip, because I was expecting heavy spice, and a thick mate taste, and got neither. This is actually a beautifully light, refreshing tea. The pineapple is clearly detectable, and adds a welcome juicness to this cup. The mate is tasteable, although it’s by no means overpowering. It just adds a background smokiness that, while not sitting fabulously with the tropical fruitiness, is hardly objectionable. I’d have to drink this one again to really get the measure of it. For a first acquaintance, though, I’m pleased. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be — and for once that’s a very good thing!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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55

Second tea of the day here at work. I always get a bit nervous right before these things, so I chose chamomile to calm me down a bit. I think it’s the culmination of the planning and hard work, and wanting everything to go well. It turns out that chamomile and citrus make a pretty good pairing — naturally sweet, a slight hint of sharpness from the citrus, soothing and smooth tasting, yet with a distinctive edge. It maybe shouldn’t work, but it does. A true case of complementary opposites.

The chamomile here is whole flower, and the citrus is, I think, orange. It’s a little hard to pinpoint exactly, because the chamomile is definitely the primary flavour, but I’m going to say that’s what it is. It’s what I can taste, anyhow. There might be other flavours in there, but they’re too indistinct for me to really be able to identify right this minute. I quite like a good chamomile tea, and this is a nice one. Great stuff!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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65

I bought a couple of the Mighty Leaf Master Samplers just after Christmas because I knew I’d be doing a lot of events this year. However much I like my loose tea, tea bags are far more convenient when I’m running around away from my desk, and they mean I can get in my daily tea without feeling too guilty about it. As tea bags go, these are pretty good. They’re huge, for a start, and I love the way they’re sewn round the outside — it’s too cute! The tea inside is almost loose quality, too, so I’ve no real complaints.

My first choice this morning was Organic African Nectar. As rooibos goes, it’s one of the nicest I’ve tried. The tropical fruit flavours and the hint of vanilla are the standouts here, and the rooibos keeps itself to itself in the background. I can taste mango, primariy — juicy yet slightly peppery — maybe a hint of pineapple? It’s a great, tasty mid-morning treat, and it did make me feel marginally less grumpy about spending Saturday at work. So there you go. Tea really does make everything better!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95

Sipdown! Finished off the last couple of cups at work today. I wasn’t feeling great yesterday, so I took it easy on my stomach with a boring, bagged tea day. I think that helped me appreciate this all the more today, though. The caramel and the marshmallow make this a wonderful sweet treat, and the taste is equally of both. I’m not so keen on the surface oiliness, but it’s easy enough to ignore. The gold flakes left by the sprinkles add a pretty touch — and this really is a pretty tea, both dry and brewed. It’s not style over substance, though, because the taste is great. One of my favourite caramel teas, and one I’d definitely seek out again next Christmas.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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95

I brewed a cup this morning as soon as I arrived at work, and took it into our staff meeting with me. I’m glad I had it, because it went on for ages. Maybe because I ate one of the dinky marshmallows while standing in the kitchen, but this tasted a little thin and watery to me today. I used the same leaf as usual, so maybe I rushed the brew time a little. I don’t think so, though…

I’ll try again tomorrow, but I didn’t quite get the flavour I was looking for from this today. There was a generic sweetness, and a hint of marshmallow, but the caramel was largely lost except in the scent. It was oily as hell, too. Not a bad cup, but not quite what I wanted either. I’m not going to adjust my rating just yet, because the first cup of this I tried was phenomenal.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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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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