948 Tasting Notes

70

I can’t remember whether I’ve ever logged this one properly. Something tells me not. Brewing, it smells wonderfully of warm, melted chocolate. The dry mix is really pretty, and well suited to a tea called love potion — rose petals, heart candies, a touch of sparkle…

The first sip of this one reminds me of Adagio’s Ripe for Romance. The chocolate is better here, though – less artificial tasting, and more silky and natural. It actually gives this tea a slightly thick, luxurious mouthfeel, although without being oily. The strawberry is subtle, but adds a fruity, fresh, summery sweetness to the middle of the sip. The strawberry is another very natural flavour.

I tried this one with milk first off, but I imagine it would be equally palatable without. That’s probably something I’ll move towards as spring develops. I’m impressed with this one, and I can see myself drinking it happily this spring/summer.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70

Another one I’m becoming slightly “meh” about. It’s fine as a latte, but that’s the only way I really enjoy drinking this one. Brewed as a straight tea, it’s just not really ticking many boxes for me at the moment. The chilli is a bit overpowering without a lot of milk, although I can appreciate that in a tea. The chocolate probably isn’t quite dark or bitter enough, and becomes a little cloying and sickly by the end of the cup. The chai spicing is good, though. Possibly I need to put this one away and come back to it fresh next winter. I seem to have lost my appreciation for it for the moment.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Jewelled Apple by Tea Palace
948 tasting notes

I’m slowly going off this one, I think. It’s been in my daily rotation for a good long while now, and I think I’m just over-familiar with its flavour. It doesn’t stand up to milk particularly well, so I stopped trying to force it. Without, the base tea is just a little prominent and tending towards bitter for me to really be able to appreciate the apple/caramel/strawberry flavour this is supposed to have. It’s good on the caramel apple, but strawberry isn’t something I’ve ever managed to coax out of it all that successfully. Something I did notice yesterday was that this has apple pips in it. I’ve never noticed before, but I can’t imagine what they’d add. They’re a cute addition, though, and no worse than sprinkles for pointless frivolity. At least there are actual apples in here, rather than just flavouring!

I do like this as a morning cup, although it’s not quite as strong as I would wish. If I could add milk, I’d probably be a lot happier. I’m going to try adding sugar to my next cup, I think. I need to rekindle my appreciation of this one before it sputters and dies.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp
Anna

I would have loved a green version of this so much.

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60
drank Om by Yumchaa
948 tasting notes

I haven’t had a cup of Om in a long, long time. This is despite the fact that I brought it to work ages ago (before I last changed jobs) in an attempt to drink it more often. I guess it just wasn’t wintery enough for the last few months, although I’m starting to look towards spring a bit more now. Spring and white tea go together. Although the ingredients sound an odd combination at first glance, this actually makes for a lovely mid-morning cup on a warm day. I’d forgotten how pleasantly light and refreshing it could be. Today I’m getting mostly blackberry and nutmeg, with just the tiniest hint of cooling mint in the aftertaste. No cinnamon to speak of. This is definitely one I need to remember to pick out more often!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

A very sad sipdown. I packaged up the last of this to go out in a couple of swaps, and am currently enjoying my last cup. I really hope this one makes a return next year! I’m sad now, but I think it’ll be good for me to have a small break from this one. Hopefully next time I taste some (assuming there is a next time…) I’ll appreciate it all the more for not having had any in a while. My current favourite pumpkin tea. I’d recommend this to anyone.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70

I’ve been drinking this at work recently, in an attempt to get it near a sipdown. While it’s still got a lot of mint flavour to it, it’s definitely not as strong as it used to be. In my first note, I was pretty overwhelmed with the punch the mint packed. Now, it’s much, much more subtle. That does allow more of the vanilla creaminess to come out, though, so I’m not too sad that it’s starting to fade a little. It tastes more like candy cane now than it used to, that’s for sure.

I still think this is one of the prettiest teas I’ve seen, with it’s green mint, creamy green rooibos, and pretty red flowers. Probably not one I’d restock, simply because I’m a little sad about how quickly the flavours seemed to deteriorate in this and all of the other teas I picked up in my first S&V order. Their packaging needs to improve.

A nice tea, though. A must try for any candy cane fan.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

First cup of the day this morning, and my first try of this tea. It’s another one I’ve been saving a little, because I do like my breakfast teas. I’ve just packaged some up for a swap, though, and that kind of prompted me to get going on it. I don’t know why I was waiting, really, or what I was waiting for. It just seems to be something I do, and I must resist this turn toward hoarding. My cupboard is definitely substantial enough to stand some drinking.

Anyway, on to the tea. The leaves here are quite large, so I went for 1.5 tsp in my infuser. I gave it the recommended 4 minutes. The first surprise was how light this brews up — it’s a medium brown. I was expecting something much darker from a breakfast tea, but there you go. The second surprise was the amount of flavour this has, considering it looks like it doesn’t have much body. It’s rich, smooth and delicately sweet, perfect breakfast tea material, and it doesn’t need any additions. As far as I can discern, it takes the light colour and mouthfeel of the darjeeling, but the full malty chocolate flavours from the assam. The keemun adds a slight earthiness, maybe a tiny hint of smoke. It’s a surprisingly complex tea — full of flavour, but with an airiness that makes it very easy to drink in quantity. I wouldn’t choose it for a morning when I need a wake up slap, but for a slow-starting weekend morning like this, it’s perfection.

The final surprise was the amount of pale green leaves when I removed my infuser basket. I guess they’re the darjeeling, and the quantity of them explains the light colour and texture. For a tea like this, I think the name is perfect. It’s light, gentle and airy — like a lotus, but with a darker (black, I suppose) depth of flavour.

I love Butiki more and more every day.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60

This one surprises me with how different it is from its black counterpart. It occured to me that I’d never really compared them before, so I made a cup of this after finishing off my Marco Polo.

The rouge is far more floral tasting, and the fruit element is fairly muted. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what flavours there are, actually, unlike Marco Polo where it’s all pretty obvious. This is a far more subtle tea, and there’s a little too much brassy rooibos kicking about for me to really be able to say I like it.

I find this a fairly mysterious tea. The flavours flit across the tonuge just a little too quickly to be readily identifiable. I have a feeling I recognise them, but I can’t put my finger on them exactly. There’s a tiny hint of strawberry, I think, and I’d like to say jasmine although that’s somehow not quite right. Orchid? Something floral and scented. It’s nice enough, but I prefer the black version overall. I feel I’m on firmer ground with that, while this one consistently evades me. Sadly, all I’m really left with as a lasting impression is rooibos.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp

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90

First cup of the day. This is another one I tend to forget about, although I do like it. The strawberry/grenadine flavouring is thick and syrupy, maybe a touch artificial tasting. It reminds me a little of strawberry ice cream syrup. The black base also has a tendency to become bitter, so care when brewing is pretty necessary.

Even though it can be finicky, this one is worth the effort. When it’s right, it’s a really nice, sweet, easy-drinking cup. One of the first Mariage Freres teas I tried, and one I’ll remember fondly for a long time to come.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp

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55

This is one that tends to get a bit neglected in my stash, through no fault of its own. As vanilla cream rooibos blends go, it’s a pretty good one. Hot, it’s a little too woody but as it cools the thick creaminess comes out more and more, and a hint of vanilla is detectable at the edges. It has quite a weighty, decadent mouthfeel, which makes it a perfect bedtime tea on a cold night. One to try and remember more often!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 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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