1173 Tasting Notes

85

This was another Friday try, but due to a busy weekend I never did get chance to write a note. Quite a few of the Sherlock blends are chai-based, it seems, which is okay with me because I rather like chai. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

This is probably my favourite of them so far – a relatively normal masala chai blend (good notes of pepper, clove and cardamon), with a strong overtone of ginger spiciness. It wasn’t too hot, or mouth-burningly spicy, although I expect that could be ramped up with a longer brew time or a bit more leaf, or by leaving out the milk. I like it as-is, though. I think it strikes a good balance for my tastes personally.

The fandom aspect is pretty apparent here – Moriarty says he will burn Sherlock, after all, so a spicy blend is more than fitting. It’s not as devilish as it could be (clearly something could be learned from 52Teas Mayan Chocolate Chai), but it’s drinkable, which is definitely more important. And I reckon the spiciness could be increased as I’ve already said, so that’s fair enough. A great cup for a cold evening.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

I actually drank this one for the first time on Friday afternoon, but I ran out of time to write notes. Hence, we’re having a reprise this morning. The scent of the dry leaf is a little overpowering, so I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one all that much. It’s definitely molasses, though…and “cake”. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. No additions.

To taste, the apple flavour actually comes out really well. I was half expecting it to be completely drowned in all the sweetness, but it’s not like that at all. It’s a fresh, crisp apple flavour, not flowery or floral in the slightest. The molasses comes out in the mid-sip, just like a freshly opened bag of muscavodo sugar. It’s not as sweet as I anticipated, which is a good thing, but rich and treacly and almost thick tasting. The combination is actually putting me in mind of toffee apples, bonfires, and autumn. An atmospheric tea if ever there was one!

This one is definitely a welcome change from the normal run of teas I drink at work, and a pleasant, easily drinkable cup. A treat for a cold morning!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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55

This one has been at work with me for a while, but I’ve evidently neglected it for one reason or another. I think perhaps it wasn’t a favourite the last time I tried it…I remember it being a little bitter and almost floury tasting, although my tasting note is reasonably positive. Time to renew my acquaintance! I used 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright orange-yellow. The scent is primarily toasted rice, with a light undertone of almost floral apple.

To taste, this is more palatable than I recall. The apple is the main flavour, but it’s a mushy, floury, slight floral apple. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s supposed to be baked apple, and when I do I can see how spot on the flavour actually is. The rice provided the baked/toasted note, which is a significant element in the overall taste of the cup. It’s not overpowering, but it’s perhaps a little more prominent than I’d like. Still, this is a genmaicha. The green tea base (I’m pretty sure it’s sencha) is smooth and a little grassy. It doesn’t quite work with the other flavours, somehow although since it’s confined mostly to the aftertaste, it’s not a huge problem. I can’t help but think that the base would work better with a crisp, sharp apple flavour though. That could potentially be really good!

I have quite a large bag of this one, and I think it’ll take me a while to work through it. It won’t be a repurchase for me for this reason, and because it just doesn’t tick enough boxes for me personally. Good to have tried, though.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70
drank Teatoxy Morning by Teatoxy
1173 tasting notes

I loved Teatoxy’s Calm Me blend, and went through my bag of that so quickly it was unreal. Now that it’s gone, I’m starting to give this one more of a look-in. It’s such a variable tea, it’s actually quite surprising! My last cup was pale pink, with notes of hibiscus, lemongrass, apple and peppermint. This time, the liquor is a deeper red-brown, and the only flavours I can detect are hibiscus and lemongrass, in that order. Strangely, though, I’m not looking on this as a bad thing. For a morning tea, it’s tart freshness is actually quite welcome in a “blow away the cobwebs” kind of way. I guess my experience with this tea varies depending on the exact make up of each scoop of tea. The ingredients are so huge, it can be difficult to get a balanced distribution. In some ways, that just makes it all the more intriguing!

I like lemongrass, so the fresh citrussy burst of flavour here is very welcome. I’m less keen on hibiscus, but it’s not super tart or sour here, so I actually don’t mind it being a part of things. Morning is quickly becoming my second favourite Teatoxy blend. Although their range is small at the moment, I’m quickly beginning to think of their teas as being effective and of reliable quality, in addition to being fairly unique! A company I hope to see more of in future.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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60

Slowly working through these fall teas from last year. It may be March, but it’s still damn cold here, so they’re more than fitting at the moment. I used 1 tsp of leaf for this one, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a relatively pale brown, so no additions.

I’ve tried a couple of apple pie teas with various bases so far, and this is a pretty good one as far as my experience goes. The apple is forefront, and it’s a pleasantly crisp “apple” apple, with a mild baked note kicking around in the background. The spicing isn’t too strong, and really complements the apple. It’s mostly cinnamon and clove as far as I can discern, plus a slight nuttiness from the almond slivers. There’s the tiniest note of dried fruit in the background, but nothing really to comment on. Taken as a whole, the flavour really does remind me of gooey apple pie filling.

There are a couple of things that sadden me about this tea, but they’re not huge problems. Firstly, there’s no detectable pie crust/pastry flavour. To my mind, this can be a hugely complementary aspect of an apple pie tea, taking it from average to brilliant. Try as I might, I just can’t pick it out here. This is my third cup, and despite minor alterations to my brewing method, nothing I do seems to coax it out. Secondly, as this one cools it seems to take on an unaccountable bitterness, rather like biting into the core when eating an actual apple. It’s not terrible, but it distracts from what was initially a pleasant flavour.

On balance, this isn’t my favourite apple pie tea, but it’s still pretty good. It just needs to be finished up while hot, and definitely not oversteeped. Not a repurchase for me (although at this point, I’m not sure that would be an option even if I wanted it to be). Not a sample I’ll have any trouble finishing up, though.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

The weather purgatory that I’ve been still has me reaching for wintery blends too. :)

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90

This was last night’s pre-bedtime cup. I usually try and choose a herbal as my last tea of the day, but I figured I deserved a treat after the week I’ve had. Plus, this one has rooibos in it, so it’s not exactly like drinking a cup of black tea, is it? A compromise, at the very least.

I used 1tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. Of all the Sherlock blends, this was one I was looking forward to the most. The description/combination of ingredients is one that really appeals to me. Rightly so, it turns out.

While brewing, the main scent is the chai. It’s spicy, warming, very comforting. As a result, I was expecting the chai to be the main note in the flavour, but this isn’t really the case. The initial flavour is a creamy vanilla laced with chocolate, and it’s beautifully smooth. The cream aspect is almost heavy tasting, in the way of whipped cream – very distinctive! The spiciness of the chai emerges second, and I can detect notes of ginger, cinnamon and clove. It works well with the initial vanilla/chocolate/cream combination, and puts me in mind of a spiced oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips. A little unusual, but rich and decadent at the same time, and wonderfully dessert like. I’d actually consider adding this one to my cupboard once my sample is gone. It’s not like anything else I’ve got, and it makes for a wonderful-tasting treat!

As for the fandom aspect, I actually think this one sums up Mycroft pretty well. It’s smooth, rich, and strikes a diplomatic balance between the (fairly strong) competing flavours. It clearly has friends in high places.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

I think I’m attracted to weirdness in teas, and this one seemed like an ambitious flavour so I pretty much had to give it a try. I also love cherry cola, so it was pretty much a given from the moment I saw it. This one has been in my cupboard for a while, unopened. Today it finally saw the light of day! I used 1 tsp of leaf (plus a whole cherry!), and gave it 2.5 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

I hated my first sip. It made me scrunch my face up, and I’m not really sure why. The sheer oddity of the flavour combination? I’ve been fine from my second sip onwards – clearly I’m acclimatised! It has to be said, though, that this is a bit of an odd duck. The initial flavour is, I’d say, chocolate cake. The malty black tea base helps this effect, I think, and there’s some of Della Terra’s “cake” flavouring kicking around in the background. The thick, almost stodgy one (a la Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Blueberry Crumble, etc.) The cherry cola flavour emerges mid-sip, and it’s actually pretty accurate. It even tastes a little effervescent, although it’s hard to imagine how that is achieved. The cherry tastes pretty natural and juicy; not too chemical or medicinal, which is a relief, but the end of the sip is a little sugary – almost like sugar syrup. There’s some of Della Terra’s sparkly crystal sugar in this blend, so maybe it’s that now it’s sunk to the bottom of the cup. Pretty, though!

On the whole, this is a pretty odd combination of flavours. Cherry cola and chocolate cake are probably not two things I’d consume together. Having said that, I do actually really like this tea, now that I’ve gotten over the initial weirdness. Quite what that says about me, I don’t know!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Warm Cider by Tealux
1173 tasting notes

This is today’s newly opened tea. I don’t drink a lot of oolongs, but this one sounded too good to pass up! I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 190 degrees. The resulting liquor is pale yellow-brown, and smells mostly of oolong (i.e. a little like wet rock, perhaps a touch vegetal).

The real surprise with this one is the flavour. I was expecting quite a strong oolong flavour at least, but actually the flavouring is very prominent. The initial sip is all about the apple – crisp, fresh, with just a touch of floury floral somewhere in the background. Summer apple, shall I say. I have a feeling the oolong base might be assisting with the flavour here, and that pleases me immensely. It’s so good! The mid-sip is somehow deliciously creamy, and reminds me of a Butiki tea (although I can’t put my finger on exactly which one at the moment…Traditional Plum Pudding, maybe?). The end of the sip brings out the spiciness – ginger, cinnamon, maybe a little nutmeg. It’s a nutty, warming flavour and really complements the apple.

By the end of the sip, this one really is putting me in mind of mulled cider. The apple and spice notes are just right; crisp and warming at the same time – a real comfort tea! The only thing that’s a little jarring is the creaminess, but I like what it adds so much that I don’t have the heart to complain about it. It doesn’t fit with the cider aspect, but it’s certainly smooth and delicious. I’m wondering whether the creaminess is a by product of the oolong base, rather than an added flavour in itself? Either way, it’s delicious!

I’m surprised no-one else has got to this one before me. It’s a great autumn/spring dessert tea, great for those who are a little leery of oolong as a gentle introduction.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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55

I haven’t tried this one in a long time, I think because I wasn’t all that taken with my first cup. I read through my note again just now, and I still feel exactly the same way about this tea. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a very pale yellow, and has virtually no scent.

The initial sips are just sweet hot water, and I had to check the bag to make sure this one really was a green. I think, as before, there’s so little green tea in the dry mix that it doesn’t really register. It’s mostly stevia and lemon verbena. That’ll be where the sweet is coming from, then. There is a very light lemon flavour; more easily detectable after a few sips in succession, but it’s not exactly what I had in mind when thinking of a lemon sherbet. That’s a much stronger, quite distinctive flavour to me!

As a light, sweet, fresh tasting cup on a hot day, I can imagine this one being pretty good. I’m going to stick with what I said last time, and try this one cold when the weather warms up a bit. Hopefully that’ll improve my experience of it!

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

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65
drank Chocolate Monkey by Tealux
1173 tasting notes

I’ve managed to drink most of this without ever having added a tasting note. I’ve always meant to, but it’s just not seemed to happen. This tea is obviously my busy tea! I use 1 tsp of leaf for this one, and give it about 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

The thing I like most about this one is the banana flavouring. I find with a lot of banana teas that the flavour just isn’t really very strong, or it gets lots among other (stronger) flavours. It’s clearly the key player here, and it’s a nice over-ripe, squashy banana. There’s a hint of chocolate to this one, although its by no means strong. It adds a nice creamy cocoa note to the background, and the combination reminds me a little of banana hot chocolate. The rooibos is a little prominent, but not terrible. I have a feeling a splash of milk would take that down, but unfortunately I don’t have any with me at the moment. Something to try before the last cup of this one is gone! The pink peppercorn adds a spicy note to the aftertaste (it tingles on my tongue), which I think is pretty unnecessary. Still, it’s a pretty good choice as far as banana teas go – not the best (that would be 52 Teas Banana Pudding!), but definitely up there. A yummy mid-morning treat.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

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.

Location

Norfolk, UK

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