1623 Tasting Notes

85
drank Tuscan Sun by RiverTea
1623 tasting notes

I made this one up as a cold brew for my family, since they’re really into their iced tea these days. I managed to grab a glass after lunch before they hoovered it all up, though! I enjoyed this one hot, but it really shines when it’s cold. The strawberry is front-and-centre, sweet and spot-on flavour accurate. The mango is much less prominent, but recognisable as a faint, peppery “orangeness” in the background. I like that the strawberry really comes into its own here, though – it was the flavour I bought the tea for in the first place, if I’m honest.

White tea seems to cold brew really well, which came as a surprise to me for some reason. I guess I’m usually all about the black teas, but white might be moving into second place, particularly during the summer. I remember vividly the first white tea I ever tried, and what I did with it, but that’s another story. Maybe noteworthy, actually.

I did the usual with this – 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of water, into the fridge for 10 hours overnight.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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75

No notes for this one? I find that kind of difficult to believe, but there you go. I picked this one up a while ago, as far as I can remember? I think it was from one of last year’s collections, but I might be wrong about that. Anyway, I think my body is craving anything with a passing resemblance to vitamin C, since it’s the second orange-inflected blend I’ve picked up in the last 12 hours.

The combination of orange and mandarin really appealed to me, and it’s on a black base so that also made it a winner this morning. The Ceylon is perfect here – lightly cirtussy and brisk, and the perfect companion for the sharp, juicy orange and sweeter mandarin flavours it has going on.

There are a lot of other ingredients in this one – apple, hibiscus, blackberry leaf, lime leaf…the list goes on. None of them really seem to make an impression on the flavour, though. This is a straight-up, solid, bright, sunshine-y orange tea! Definitely one to try iced.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Rocket Fuel by Adagio Teas
1623 tasting notes

This was last night’s pre-bedtime cup. I was impressed enough with Tea Rex to want to try the rest of the sampler pretty much straight away, but I was trying to get back under 200, and then I went on holiday, and it just basically never happened. Now that I’m back, it was first on my list to try!

I never expect all that much from Adagio, but these honeybush/rooibos blends are actually really good. I didn’t get much in the way of blueberry from this one, but I did get a nice tangy orange, a little sharp and a little sweet – just perfect really! I was also pretty impressed with the green rooibos in the base. I haven’t liked it all that much previously, but it actually worked really well here, adding a slight “pithiness” that helped to enhance the orange. Impressed! I’ll definitely be trying this one cold-brewed when I’m back at work.

In other news, I gave up on my no-buy, and on staying under 200, and bought more tea. The teas I bought on holiday pushed my count back up anyway, and I basically sat down this morning and thought “in for a penny, in for a pound.” So I have orders with Liquid Proust and August Uncommon , and I’m considering a Bluebird order because I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I need new Timolinos and it would be wrong not to get some tea at the same time, obviously. I also think I might be getting a cold (in July?) because my throat is awfully scratchy, and I have a big job interview this week that I’ve managed to totally stress myself out over. I needed tea therapy, and I got it. I’ll deal with the repercussions for my cupboard…later :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Breakfast Brew by Suki Tea
1623 tasting notes

I’ve been away in Scotland this week, hence the lack of tasting notes! I didn’t take a lot of tea with me, purely because it wouldn’t have been especially practical and I was limited in terms of luggage capacity (read: one small holdall for five nights away). I did buy some tea to bring home while I was there, though, and I took every opportunity to sit down in a cafe and buy a cup, naturally.

The Waterstones Cafe in Edinburgh has the best view of the castle in the whole city, as far as I’m concerned, so I went in there often. They serve the Suki Breakfast blend by default unless you specifically request something else, and I’m writing this primarily because I was a lot more impressed with it than I expected to be.

At first I thought it was going to be a bit thin, based on the very light liquor colour. It’s not, though. It brews up to a beautifully vibrant orange-red, and it takes milk really well but is equally palatable without. I thought it made a really refreshing cup; lightly citrussy, a touch brisk, with just a hint of malt lurking in the background. Unexpectedly, a really good cup!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95
drank Toronto Nights by RiverTea
1623 tasting notes

This is really good cold, but I’m finding that with a lot of white tea blends recently. I went with my standard preparation method – 2 tbsp in 2 litres of cold water, into the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. The flavour of the orange is more prominent that it is in the hot cup, the cinnamon less so. Running right through the middle of the whole thing is the sweet, slightly thick, frangipane-esque taste of almonds. Delicious!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Someone has devoted a tea to my beloved city and the tea is a win—YAY!

VariaTEA

I miss RiverTea :(

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90

I first tried this one on Saturday in my Timolino, but it didn’t make too much of an impression for reasons I don’t quite understand. It smells amazing! Rich chocolate, mint, and vanilla. Made in a cup, it also tastes great. This is the second time I’ve said it recently, but I think I’m getting to the stage with my Timolinos where they just need to be replaced.

Anyway, the tea. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and left it for 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, just because it’s first thing and it brewed up pretty dark. I can actually see tiny black vanilla seeds on the surface of the tea, and the flavour of the vanilla is very prominent in the initial sip. It’s so creamy and rich, it’s actually reminding me of very high-end vanilla ice cream, or maybe even creme anglaise. So intense.

The chocolate is largely a flavour contributed by the Fujian black base, as far as I can discern. It’s a very cocoa-like chocolate, a little on the dry side, but not at all artificial. It’s also quite gentle, but it pairs well with the vanilla to create a very decadent, dessert-like effect. The mint is also very subtle, but it’s identifiable as a fresh, cooling sweetness in the background.

Chocolate, vanilla and mint are flavours that work well together, and I don’t think that can be disputed. Most of the debate comes down to whether the tea in question balances them well, and I think here it’s a definite yes. It’s pretty heavy on the vanilla, so it’d definitely help if you like your tea rich and creamy, but it certainly makes for a delicious cup! Another win from Liquid Proust.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

I was talking about Kenyan black teas the other day, and then I went through my stash and found that this one has a Kenyan tea as part of its base – along with Ceylon and Assam. It’s also an Earl Grey, like the tea that triggered the revelation, so obviously I had to try it next.

Much like Teapigs Earl Grey Strong, the strength of this blend is in the base rather than in the prominence of the bergamot, and in many ways that makes it a more suitable EG for me. I’m not the biggest bergamot fan, and although the dry leaf seems to suggest that it’s going to be STRONG here, it’s actually very subtle. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and it’s the base tea that I can taste most clearly. It’s deliciously, sweetly malty, with an underlying crisp citrus note attributable to the Ceylon but amped to a certain extent by the bergamot. It’s a well balanced blend, at least to my tastes.

If you like Earl Grey, but aren’t a bergamot fan, this one’s worth a try. I’d say it’s quite a delicate blend, as they go. If you like a good smack of bergamot, you might want to steer clear.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

Sipdown! Finally under 200 – now to see how long I can keep it that way :)

I finished this one off as a latte this morning. I’m feeling totally knackered at the moment, but matcha seems to improve my energy levels at least a little. More to this point, this one is delicious, and makes for a great start to any morning.

Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing this one with me!

Sil

whoohoo! grats on getting down to 200!

Super Starling!

Sipdowns are just an excuse to buy another 3 blends, right? Is that science? ;)

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75

A sample from Miss B. It’s cold and wet out again today. Did someone say summer? Anyway, cold and wet to me signals chai, and I had this blend sitting in my drawer so, serendipity? The dry leaf looked to be mostly spices – whole cardamon pods, whole red peppercorns, whole cloves, pieces of cinnamon bark and ginger root, plus a few fennel seeds. There’s very little actual black tea, so I went for a pretty generous 2 tsp of leaf, mainly because I like my chai bold and the amount of additions makes me worry for the actual “tea” aspect.

Anyway, after 4 minutes in boiling water, I’ve got a pretty robust result – enough to take a generous splash of milk without appearing thin. To taste, it’s pretty much a standard chai, although with a hearty kick of spice. The cardamon and clove are predominant, but there’s a pleasingly warming swirl of cinnamon in the mid-sip. The ginger is a bit lost, as is the pepper, although there’s a warming tingle at the back of my throat that serves as a reminder that they’re there.

All in all, not bad. It’s decently spicy, which is something I look for in a chai, and the base is more robust than I thought it might be initially. It probably wouldn’t be a restock, simply because there are other chai blends that are equally good, and more readily available in the UK. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try this one, though. Thanks again, Miss B!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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100

Cold brewing is definitely the way to go with this one! I’ve had a couple of hot cups, and I thought they were pretty good, but this is a whole new level of yum when it’s cold. I used 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of water, and left it in the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. The result is basically liquid cotton candy. It’s up-front sweet and sugary, with that slightly caramelised aftertaste that actual cotton candy has if you’re paying attention. The white base is perfect here – unobtrusive, clean, lightly refreshing. I can’t actually say that I prefer it to Cotton Candy Black because that would be sacrilege, but as a cold companion it’s right on par.

Liquid yum in a cup? This tea.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 27, 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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