1026 Tasting Notes

95

A sample from Angel at Teavivre. First cup of the morning, and another that’s easy to adore instantly. First off, this tea is beautiful to look at. A high proportion of the leaves are golden yellow, with some darker ones scattered throughout. Some are almost variagated, beginning dark brown and ending in a glorious golden tip — hence the name! Dry, I can smell a gentle nuttiness, which develops at the tea brews. I followed the recommended parameters for my first cup and let the water cool to about 185. I added the leaves, and left them for three minutes. I returned to find a dark brown liquor, and I have to confess that I added a splash of milk at this point. Naughty maybe, but that’s how I roll!

To taste, this is another rich, flavourful cup. These Chinese blacks have really surprised me, although I think the quality of these Teavivre samples has something to do with it. In any case, I’ll no longer automatically look to India when I want a full flavoured, full bodied black. In the initial sip, I get mainly nuttiness. This is followed by a truly amazing bready sweetness, and finished up with a sweet potato note. It’s smooth and slightly creamy tasting, with not the slightest hint of astringency. I could happily drink this all day! Another amazing tea from Teavivre — and another to add to my next order.

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

I really liked this one too. I just wanted to smell it all day! Ha! I ordered some yesterday. :)

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95

The second of my samples from Angel at Teavivre. This is another win with me! I drank my last cup of Tealux’s Jin Xuan milk oolong last night, and while I found it to be nice enough, it didn’t really make much of an impression on me. That’s why I chose this one to try this morning. It’s much better, and I say that after only a couple of sips!

I used half the sample (approx 1 tsp). Although the guidelines say to use boiling water, I did allow my cup to cool a little before adding the leaves. That’s the way oolongs have worked best for me in the past. Once it reached about 180, I added the leaves and steeped for nearly 4 minutes. The liquor is a pale yellow green, and smells creamy and mildly vegetal.

To taste, this is unbelievably smooth! It has a gorgeous buttery texture and silky mouthfeel, and it tastes DIVINE! For an unflavoured oolong, I was really surprised how well the milk and cream elements came out. Obviously there’s not as much there as there would be in a flavoured oolong, but what is there is very natural tasting. In the initial sip, I get a creaminess first, which seems to “thin” into a lingering milkiness after a few seconds. Then comes the classic “oolong” flavour — a grassy, mildly vegetal flavour, with a tiny hint of mineral in the background. The sip ends on a sweet note, formed from both the remaining milkiness and the spring grass flavour of the oolong.

I went back for a second cup straight away! I’ve never been much of an oolong drinker, but it’s teas like this that make me seriously wonder why not. This is one I would definitely include in a future order — I’d love to try the flavoured version to compare, too! Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for sending me this sample!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
scribbles

I love this type of oolong, ‘tho I have yet to try Teavivre’s version. I’ll have to get it with my next order.

Tealizzy

I agree with you on this one, and I have Tealux’s version too, which I liked best until this one came around!

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Off topic, but I bought a Dolce Gusto machine yesterday, primarily for my parents who drink a lot of coffee. The machine they were using is just abysmal, it drips, it takes ages to warm up, it makes frankly crap coffee when it finally gets its ass in gear. We have a pod machine at work, and I’ve seen the standard of coffee that it produces, so I was pretty sure this was the right thing for them.

I think I was right, given that they spent most of this morning practically dancing around it. Decent coffee, at last! It was a real revelation, I think. I’ll never be a coffee person, and my parents will never be tea people. That’s just one of our differences. It makes me happy that I’ve made them happy, though. Now they can enjoy their coffee as much as I enjoy my tea, and that’s a great feeling. I’m being over sentimental, I know, but I had to share :)

Christina

Out of curiosity I did some googling: wow! That looks like a super-futuristic space-age coffee machine! Are the refills expensive for the pods?

Scheherazade

They’re about £3.60 for 16, which is 22.5p a cup. I guess that’s kind of expensive when you consider how many cups a bag of coffee beans would make for a similar price, but the consistency is far better. Compared to Starbucks, or the like, though, it’s really cheap. I suppose it depends how you look at things.

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95

So a little while ago, Angel of Teavivre invited me to taste some tea samples. This is the first I picked out to try from the selection she sent me. I was hooked from first sip. I’ve had one dragon pearl tea previously, but it wasn’t a patch on this one!

I used 4 pearls (which turned out to be exactly half the sample). The pearls themselves are really pretty — chocolate brown and cream — and the scent dry is of cocoa and hay. I added boiling water, and left them for around 4 minutes. The pearls completely unravelled in about two minutes, and I was left with a dark-ish liquor and the strong scent of chocolate.

To taste, this is really amazing. I was expecting something quite sweet, which I got, but it also has a real richness and depth of flavour. I get cocoa first, followed by a mellow nuttiness, and then an almost grapey, wine-like flavour to finish. I loved it so much I brewed the second cup straight away!

This tea has really made me reevaluate Chinese blacks, which for some reason I’ve always neglected. I’ve tried Chinese greens before, but I’ve nearly always chosen Indian teas when it comes to black. This one has made me think, though, and I’ll definitely be looking to expand my experience of Chinese black teas in the future!

Many thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for giving me the chance to try this outstanding tea!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Terri HarpLady

Although I love a bold Assam, there is always something about Chinese blacks that is alluring to me :)

Tealizzy

I love these!

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65

I was in the mood for plain tea last night, so I had a cup from this sample pouch. I enjoyed it a little more than I did my last cup, maybe because I was just in the right place for it. I reduced the brew time a little, and was rewarded with a lightly grassy, pleasingly milky cup. Very enjoyable!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp

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30

I think a much, much shorter brew time is the best way with this one. I went with my instinct last night, and removed the bag after about a minute and a quarter. The metallic taste was hugely reduced (although still there a bit), and I found myself enjoying my cup a lot more than I would have. There was more grape and stone fruit flavour to be found, which are two of the things I enjoy most about darjeeling. It’s still not my favourite, or the best I’ve tried, but it was okay. Still not a restock.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 15 sec

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55

The more cups I have of this, the more I realise that it’s probably not for me. It’s nice enough, but it’s not one I’d come back to.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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70
drank Angels Falls Mist by Tealux
1026 tasting notes

Grabbed a second cup of this before it’s all gone. Apparently my mum has taken a liking to it! I’m still amazed by how little this tastes of rosehip and hibiscus, and how clearly the lemon/strawberry flavouring comes through. It might well be sadly missed!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This was one of the first Della Terra teas I tried, and I was lucky enough to get another sample pouch free with a recent order. Drinking it today reminded me how much I love it. It smells so much like freshly baked crumble, it makes my mouth water. It tastes rich, buttery, and deeply cakey, with the fresh flavour of sweet, slightly tart blueberries running underneath. It’s also got beautiful glittery sugar crystals which add a touch of swirling sparkle to the cup.

The mixture of green and black tea in the base is one that always confuses me, so I did let the water cool a little before adding the leaves to try and avoid any bitterness. I do think the green tea helps to bring out the flavour of the blueberries by adding a grassy undertone, though, so I can appreciate its presence even though is causes brewing headaches!

I’m pleased to find that I still really like this one. It’s a sample I’m going to enjoy drinking, and a tea I’ll no doubt come back to again in the future. Wonderful!

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

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75

Another of my Bluebird samples. This one is more of an unknown to me. It looks to contain lime and lemongrass predominantly, with a green tea base. Unsurprisingly, that’s what it tastes like. It’s very mildly citrussy, mostly in the middle of the sip. The first flavour that comes out is a vegetal, slightly grassy green tea. It’s not at all bitter or astringent, which is a good point in its favour. The final taste is chilli. It develops quite slowly, leaving a lingering warmth and a good kick of spice at the back of the throat. It’s an interesting combination, and not like anything I’ve tried before. Another good spring tea, if not one I’d want to keep around all of the time.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 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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