969 Tasting Notes

80

A sample from KittyLovesTea. I was intrigued by this one, but completely clueless about how best to treat it. For this reason, I went with the steeping parameters indicated in the description on this page – 5 mins at about 180. I like Darjeeling, on the whole, but green tea and jasmine flavouring have always been borderline flavours for me. That’s probably why I wasn’t expecting to like this a whole lot, and so I took myself completely by surprise when it turned out that I did. Like it a lot, that it.

It’s sweet, for starters, and I wasn’t expecting anything like that. It is a little bitter at the end of the sip, but the initial sweetness is just phenomenal. It smells delicious, too. Sweet, again, and slightly floral. Juicy, somehow. It’s quite perfumey to taste, but somehow this isn’t a bad thing. Usually, heavy jasmine scents or flavours aren’t my thing at all, but this is something else. Although the jasmine is both strong and heavy, I actually don’t mind it. It works really well with the base Darjeeling, perhaps because it’s a “green” Darjeeling. In addition to the jasmine, there’s a strong grassy flavour. Again, sweet, but it cuts through the floral a little in the middle of the sip, and reminds me of some of the more delicate green teas I’ve tried recently.

Looking at the leaves, the majority are a medium green colour, with some darker leaves (approaching black) among the mix. They’re quite small, and some are broken, but the majority actually unfurl to a reasonable size once steeped. The liquor is a bright yellow, very sunny looking. I needed things to cheer me up today, and this has done the trick admirably.

Overall, a huge success! I’m going to resteep the leaves, as recommended, to try and lose some of the bitterness. I might also try my next fresh infusion with a slightly shorter brew time. I’d put off trying this one because I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I’m glad I finally took the plunge. A reward if ever there was one!


2nd steep isn’t so great. The bitterness is still there, only this time there is significantly less flavour. The jasmine is more subtle, but in this case I don’t think that’s an advantage. I much prefer this at full strength.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Red Christmas by Yumchaa
969 tasting notes

Right. Today I am endeavouring to stay calm. I will not let my job dictate how I feel.

Starting the day with a cup of Red Christmas, which will soon be a sipdown. I like it, although probably not so much that I’d seek out another bag next year. 100g over the last two has been enough of this one for the foreseeable future. It makes for a pleasant cup, but it’s not overwhelmingly different from all of the other cinnamon teas out there. Particularly at Christmas. It’s a good rooibos, though — not too woody or overpowering in its own right, and delicious with milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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So, that’s the last of my backlog caught up. I’ve had a really hard week at work, with our teamleader signed off with stress for the foreseeable future. There are no plans to replace her for the time being, meaning that all of the stuff that caused the problem in the first place now falls to me and two of my colleagues. Great.

On a different note, I’m thinking of participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next month. It might be a little crazy considering what’s happening at work at the moment, but it’s something I’ve fancied doing for a while now, and I think I should just get on and take the plunge. Otherwise I’ll procrastinate for ever, probably.

Anyway, I am here, even if my appearances are a bit sporadic, and I’m still drinking tea. Lots of it, as it happens, because it’s one of the few things keeping me sane at the moment.

Hopefully things will get back on a more even keel before too long.

TheTeaFairy

Good luck with Nanowrimo :-)
You,re so right, when we keep putting off stuff “cause we’re busy” we end up never taking the plunge in anything…go for it!!

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60

Sipdown! This one is so much better brewed strong in a small cup. The toffee flavour comes out so well, resulting in an almost honeycomb or cinder toffee flavour, beautifully augmented with a touch of smoke. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try this one, because it makes for a pretty awesome autumn/winter tea. Definitely one I’d consider restocking.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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95
drank White Winter by Della Terra
969 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finished this one off at work over the past few days. Although it’s a white tea, it has quite a substantial flavour in and of itself. Fortunately, the white chocolate and coconut notes still came over clearly, resulting in a delightfully creamy concoction. One I’d seek out again next winter.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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95

I’m making an effort to revisit some of the teas I’ve opened but not tried in a while at the moment. This one I tried first with milk, which was fine, but it shines best without which is how I drank it this evening. The baked apple taste comes through really clearly, and there’s a glutinous, starchy note that really reminds me of strudel. It’s possible to detect hints of pastry, although not in every sip, along with a delicate cinnamon flavour. It tastes almost sticky, and has to be one of the best dessert replacement teas I’ve tried in a good long while. Amazing!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100
drank Beet It by Bluebird Tea Co.
969 tasting notes

Another increased rating — opened a fresh bag of this tonight, and loved it from first sip. The citrus flavours — lemon and orange particularly — are beautifully clear, and the beetroot adds a satisfying earthiness to the overall flavour. I can see myself returning to this one often on an evening. It’s so fresh and clean tasting, and a beautiful hot pink in the cup. There’s nothing not to love here!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60

I’ve drank two cups of this tonight — one with milk, one without. With milk, I struggled to detect much favour. There was something kicking about in the background, but mostly I just got the black base. Without milk, the flavours were a little clearer. I can taste toffee, and a hint of smoke, although both are very subtle. One to try again tomorrow in a much smaller cup!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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55

Gave this a much longer brew time, and was rewarded with a much more cohesive “aniseed balls” flavour. Previously, I’ve felt that the different elements haven’t quite come together — this time, everything just worked! An almost perfect replica of a favourite childhood sweet.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 4 tsp

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65

I was reasonably impressed with my first cup of this. The raspberry/blackberry flavours are clear and well defined…juicy, slightly tart, although decidedly candy like to taste. The genmaicha is toasty with a hint of grassiness, but nicely balanced overall. My concern is that the two flavours don’t go together particularly…they seem to remain separate and don’t really complement each other. I have a feeling I’ll need to try a couple more cups before I can really work out what I think of this one, but the overall impression I gained was positive for a first cup.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

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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