1658 Tasting Notes

50

From the EU TTB

This is a green tea like none I’ve seen before. It’s almost powdered, the leaf is so fine! I went with a traditional western-style brew since I wasn’t really sure how to approach it – 1 tsp of leaf given 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright yellow.

To taste, this is like a rather concentrated green tea. I probably could have made do with less leaf, or a much, much shorter brew time. It’s drinkable like this, though. The flavour is very grassy, almost like a cup full of liquidised fresh cut grass, basically. It’s hard to taste anything else – if indeed there is anything to taste! It’s sweet in a hay-like way, with just the tiniest bit of underlying bitterness. I probably could have avoided that with a more accomplished brewing, though. There’s no astringency, so that’s a point in its favour for sure.

I felt wrong footed by this one, so my impression of it probably isn’t quite what it should have been. Any errors here are mine, though, and it was actually a pretty pleasant cup of green tea once I got used to the intensity of flavour. It’s probably not one I’d return to, though – at least not without some detailed brewing instructions!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

From the EU TTB

I’m not a massive oolong fan, as I’m sure I’ve detailed previously. There have been some I’ve enjoyed in my drinking experiences so far, though, so I’m continuing to explore a little in the hope I’ll find a few more. The leaf here is a pretty thing, with colours ranging from white to dark brown/almost black, and all possible hues in between – beige, reddish-brown, brown…it’s very autumnal looking. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 185 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium yellow-brown.

To taste, I initially taste mostly damp earth – kind of like a forest floor after a heavy rain shower. Not that I typically go around tasting those, but if I did, I imagine it would be something like this. What I should probably say, is this tea tastes like a damp forest floor smells. There, that’s better. There’s a lovely fruitiness in the mid sip – I’m thinking plum, primarily, or maybe a very mild black cherry. The sip rounds off with a woody, resinous note.

I’m really pleased with this one, and it’s a tea I’d happily seek out again if the opportunity arose. I might have to explore more of TeaGschwender once I’ve got my stash a little more under control!

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

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80

From the EU TTB

I think I’ve got this in the right place – what I’m drinking is described as “Autumn 2014 Premium Jin Guan Yin AA Grade Anxi Oolong”. I think I’ve probably known it for a while, but this is the tea that finally made me realise that I prefer green oolong to roasted. That struck me as odd at first, considering that black tea is such a favourite of mine, but it appears to be the case. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 185 degrees. The leaves are rolled, but they unfurl easily and it’s kind of calming to stand and watch. Just what I need, this week. The resulting liquor is a pale, clear green.

This one is quite thickly floral, and tastes primarily of orchids to me. Underlying that it a mild, buttery vegetal flavour, a little like spinach, and underlying that is a touch of something mineral, like wet rock. It’s so smooth, and so full flavoured – even though typically I shy away from floral-tasting teas, I actually kind of like it here. Oolong will never be my absolute favourite, but I definitely have less against it than I used to. It’s teas like this one that have really shown me that there are things to like about it, and I’d happily drink this one again.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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10

From the EU TTB

I’ve been wanting to try this tea for a while now, but I’ve not placed an order with Tealux in a while so it’s not happened. Thanks to the EU TTB, I now finally have the chance! The leaf here is rolled, and does have a dark black/purple appearance. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, the scent rather charcoal-like.

To taste, I can immediately tell this one’s not for me. It’s very roasty, with that underlying metallic tang that I honestly can’t stand in oolongs. It reminds me of some of my early experiences with oolong, which almost put me off for good. I had hoped I’d get some of the cinnamon/plum notes this one reputedly has, but sadly not.

Still – another one crossed off the “to try” list.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Sil

love being able to take things off that list!

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85
drank Lime Deluxe by ESP Emporium
1658 tasting notes

From the EU TTB

I’m a bit of a sucker for flavoured teas, so I had to give this one a go. I figured it for a green, but I didn’t realise it was a white/green blend at the time I was drinking it. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees.

I have to say, I really like it. There’s a tangy, not-quite-sharp but pretty flavour-accurate lime, with a mildly sweet, deliciously creamy smoothness from the coconut. They’re not strong, in-your-face flavours, but rather light and refreshing. A perfect summer cocktail – only tea! The green base is pretty perfect; it’s mildly grassy, which works really well with the coconut, and fairly unobtrusive unless you’re really looking for it. This one reminds me a little of 52Teas Lime Jello Salad. A very enjoyable cup!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Teatotaler

Sounds like my kind of tea. I really love lime flavor!

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75

From the EU TTB

I used to drink a lot of Chamomile, but not so much recently. I’m hitting up the calming teas at the moment, though – this week I’ve got nerves like never before. Anyway, the tea. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. I like watching whole flower chamomile as it brews – I think that’s at least half of the calming effect. The liquor is a bright, sunny yellow.

To taste, this is one of the nicer chamomiles I’ve tried in a while. I mean, yes – they’re all pretty similar, but whole flower ones are definitely different to bagged varieties. This one is mildly floral, with gentle notes of hay and honey. It’s not overpoweringly sweet or cloying, and it’s not at the tasteless end of the spectrum either. It’s just…right.

I might have to snag this one for copious drinking over the next few days.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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65

From the EU TTB

This was my pre-bedtime cup. I have a big interview coming up this week, which I’m already starting to stress about. For some reason, Earl Grey always helps me to calm down. I think it’s the scent of the bergamot, even though bergamot isn’t my favourite thing most of the time. It works, anyway, and that’s all I’m looking for right now. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

I quite like this one. The bergamot is a little sharper to taste than I would usually go for, but the milk helps to take that down a little. The black base is smooth and strong, with pleasant citrus notes of its own – maybe a ceylon. It’s not the most unique tea out there, and it’s not the best earl grey I’ve ever tried, but it’s a pretty solid example. I’d keep this one around for evenings when I feel a bit deranged – it certainly helped me to get off to sleep!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Christina / BooksandTea

Good luck on your interview! What will you be interviewing for?

Rosehips

Good Luck! Drink lots of calming tea.

Scheherazade

Admissions Officer, but not where I currently work. It would be a new, unknown place…plus it’s three grades above my current job. I didn’t actually believe when I applied that I’d be offered an interview, and now I’m a bit scared!

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70

From the EU TTB

I like a good chai, and as today is fairly cold and autumnal it seemed like a good fit. Even though I live in Norwich, I’ve not tried many Wilkinsons teas, which is an obvious oversight on my part. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4.5 minutes in boiling water. It brews up strong and dark, which I think is a good thing in a chai, and I added a good splash of milk.

To taste, this is a solid, traditional chai. The black tea base is malty and sweet, and the spices swirl nicely through it – cardamom and clove, a touch of cinnamon. It’s not a hugely strong blend on the spice front, but it’s a pleasant balance. A conforting, classic chai blend, and one I’d definitely look at purchasing in the future.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Dustin

I’m jealous of your autumn weather! We are still trudging through the summer heat here in Texas.

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60
drank Chocolate by English Tea Store
1658 tasting notes

From the EU TTB

I’m a bit of a sucker for a chocolate tea, so I was pleased to see this one in the box. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

To taste, it’s pretty good. There’s chocolate, all right, although it’s a little on the artificial side. The base is a little overpowering, I’d say. I can taste more ceylon, with its classic citrussy notes, than I can flavouring. It’s like a chocolate biscuit dipped in tea. The more I sip, the more I’m reminded of Adagio’s Chocolate Chip, which also has a ceylon base and a slightly artificial chocolate flavour. It’s nice, but not the best chocolate tea I’ve ever tasted.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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45

From the EU TTB

I picked this one out as my first try, largely because it’s a colder day today and I feel like something a little more autumnal. Plum says autumn to me! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

To taste, this is pretty much a standard black tea. It’s sweet and malty, with just the slightest bit of astringent bite at the end of the sip. There’s a hint of something fruity and plum like in the aftertaste, but it’s fleeting and barely there. Still, it’s nice while it lasts! I could have taken a lot more plum flavour in this one, but it’s still a pleasant, straightforward black tea for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, 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’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

In addition to Steepster, I also write for the SororiTea Sisters. My reviews there will typically be posted here also, although typically in a shorter format. Any teas I’m sent specifically for review will only appear in full on the SororiTea Sisters website, with only a short introduction and link to my review here.

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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