1229 Tasting Notes


Today’s iced tea for work. This had the usual SBT treatment (which I’ll refrain from outlining again). I’m currently working my way through a pouch of the 52 Teas version of this one, and I’ve been impressed with the strength of the blueberry in that one. Sometimes I get cream cheese/pastry from it, but it can be a bit hit and miss.

I’m pleased to report that the SBT is similarly blueberry-centric. It’s the first flavour to develop upon taking a sip, and it’s deliciously juicy and true-to-life. Sweet, slightly tangy, blueberry amazingness. There’s also a distinctive cream cheese flavour that comes in second and offsets the fruity sweetness nicely, and, then, right at the end, a fleeting hint of buttery, flaky pastry. It’s a really nice combination, and it’s wonderful to taste all of the elements of this one — together they make a great combination! Drinking this has actually made me feel hungry, that’s how spot on danish pastry it really is. Another awesome SBT.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Second pouch. This is one of few oolongs I do genuinely enjoy. The caramel flavour is excellent — sweet, creamy luscious — perhaps no real surprise, because there are many chunks of actual caramel among the dry leaves. The oolong base is dark, and adds a slightly roasty, caramelised (burnt?) flavour which pairs well with the caramel. I did notice that the leaves in this pouch are much smaller and more broken up than the leaves in my first pouch, which came with the 12 Days of Christmas box. The taste is similar as far as I can remember, though. There is apparently orange peel in this one, but I can’t taste it at all. As caramel cream teas go, this is a flavoursome one! It’s not half bad for an oolong, either. Always an enjoyable cup.

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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I used hotter water today, and was rewarded with a slightly stronger orange flavour. The creaminess is still there, along with the sweet sugariness of a brulee! The oolong is nowhere to be found. I was hoping I’d like this one as much when brewed at proper parameters, and I do! A wonderful dessert replacement (or mid-afternoon treat, as the case may be!)

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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A sample from ashleyelizabeth. I’ve heard a lot about this one, and I’ve recently had some very positive experiences with Chinese black teas, so I was pretty excited as I brought this one out to try. The dry leaves are simply beautiful — slightly curly, golden brown with cocoa tips, darkening to almost-black. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden-brown, and the scent is sweetly malty with a hint of smoke.

The initial flavour is similar to the scent — sweetly malty with a very slight edge of bitterness. The flavour of sweet potato develops mid-sip, and I get a hint of milk chocolate. A vague smokiness swirls around in the background, adding a mildly bitter, savoury overtone to perfectly augment the sweetness of the malt. I like this as a middle of the road kind of tea. It hasn’t got the chocolate and bread of Teavivre’s Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip, nor the deeper, darker, leathery notes of their Balian Gongfu. Instead, it treads a line somewhere in the middle — the best of both worlds! It’s wonderfully delicious! I would purchase this one as a breakfast/morning tea, simply because it’s strong and tasty, and has many of the flavours I enjoy in a black tea. Truly lovely stuff! Thanks again to ashleyelizabeth for sharing this one with me.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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So, I finally worked out how to get turkish delight from this one! You ICE it. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it before, but there you go. I cold-brewed the last of my bag (about 3 tbsp), in one litre of cold water, and left it in the fridge for around 12 hours. I wasn’t expecting a lot, but it’s an okay tea so something pleasant and refreshing to sip on at work was all I was really after. Instead, I get amazingness. The kind of amazingness i was looking for all along!

The initial sip tastes just like biting into a piece of turkish delight; sweet, with rose and lemon flavours by turns. For once, the lemon isn’t first! Rose is the prominent flavour, and as that fades the lovely mellow citrus of the lemongrass takes over. It even tastes somehow gooey, and there’s a pleasing overall sweetness that really is reminiscent of icing sugar. Hot, this is useless. Cold, it’s liquid turkish delight. My only regret now is that I didn’t try cold brewing this one earlier. Somehow, it just didn’t occur to me. I have 1 tsp left for a final hot cup before we say goodbye, but I think this might be on the repurchase list after all. There’s a surprise. I’ve increased the rating, because now I feel I know what this tea is about.

Iced 8 min or more

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I have two sample pouches of this one, so I’m rather pleased that it turns out I like it. I gave 1 tsp of leaf about 2.5 minutes in cooled water, and the resulting liquor is…orange! The scent brewed is mostly of cream and caramel, which is as unlike the dry leaf as it’s possible to be. The dry leaf smells strongly of orange zest, and reminds me a little of hard boiled orange candy sweets.

To taste, the orange is a little candyish and chemical. It’s also fairly mild. The creaminess is amazing, though! Together, the two flavours do make me think of a brulee. Sweet, a little rich, creamy, a touch of caramel. All I’m missing is the crunchy caramelised sugar! I can’t taste the oolong base at all, which is always a bonus in my book.

I have a feeling I let the water cool a little too much, but I’m at work and I got distracted. Next time I’ll leave it a little hotter and see if that brings out more orange flavour. I can see myself getting along with this tea quite well, though, which is a rare thing for an oolong.

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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I haven’t had this one in a while, so I pulled it out for last night’s pre-bedtime cup. It’s an interesting one — the main flavour is lemongrass, but there’s also a strong element of hot chocolate. It’s creamy tasting, with strong hints of cocoa, a touch or rose…and lemon. I’m not really getting turkish delight, and I do find the lemon a slightly odd combination with cocoa and rose, but it’s a unique experience all the same. A bit like Narnia, I suppose!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Final tea of the day at work was this herbal from my ML Collection sampler. It’s very, very similar to the ordinary Mighty Leaf version (Chamomile Citrus), with perhaps a touch more citrus and slightly less sweetness from the chamomile. It’s a good combination, and particularly since the citrus makes me think more of orange and lime than the ubiquitous lemon.

So far I’m finding the the ML Collection teas are often just slightly refined versions of the standard Mighty Leaf bags. Some of them appear in either one range or the other, but many are held in common. It’s hard to say which I like best. They’re so similar they’re practically the identical, but with a couple of tiny distinguishing features. With this one, I think on balance i prefer the ML Collection’s slightly stronger citrus quotient. I have a few more bags left to help me make up my mind, though!

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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This has been my bedtime cup the last couple of nights. Of the Celestial Seasonings I’ve tried so far, this is probably my least favourite. That makes me sad, because it’s actually one of the ones I wanted to like most.

I tried this first plain with no additions, and it was okay, but largely almondy with an odd herbal tang. I tried my second cup with the addition of crystal sugar and milk, but found the milk made it very watery and washed out in flavour. I tried my third cup with just sugar, and found it the most palatable of the three versions. The herbal note disappears with sugar, and a little more “cookie” flavour comes out to play with the almond. Somehow, though, it’s still not quite what I hoped. Still, can’t win them all! I have three bags left to play with, even so!

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

I’m not a big fan of this either. It tasted like artificial butter flavor to me, and smelled like pina colada or something. I found it really odd.

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, 26, 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’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.


Norfolk, UK

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