1053 Tasting Notes

70

I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t too sure about this one on first sip. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it three minutes in water cooled to approximately 180 degrees. Looking at the dry leaf, there doesn’t appear to be a huge quantity of green tea leaves. It’s mostly lemon verbena, and stevia, as far as I can tell. Perhaps accordingly, the liquor is a pale lemon-yellow. The scent of both the dry leaf and brewed cup is deeply lemony – like lemon zest.

To taste, I was initially disappointed to find the flavour very mild. Lemon sherbets are a strong flavour, with a kick of sharp/sour alongside the boiled sweet sugariness. This tea is much, much more delicate than I was expecting. There is a distinctive lemon flavour; very much like lemon squeezed into water. It’s mildly sour, with a hint of sweetness from the stevia. There’s nothing that’s really making me think “sherbet” though. Not enough of a tang!

I like this one as a gentle, fresh lemon-tasting tea. I feel a little disappointed that it doesn’t live up to its name, but I imagine it would be good iced as well as hot. I’ll happily drink up the rest of my bag, but it’s not one I’d repurchase.

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

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85

A sample from Angel at Teavivre, and the final flavoured white I have with me to try at work today. I agree pretty much with K S’s sentiments in her note — jasmine is one of those things that I have become leery of, primarily because my experiences so far have been largely disappointing. Strong, cloying, potentially chemical flavours, usually in bagged tea. I have since tried a couple of better quality jasmine teas, and they’re starting to change my mind, but none so much as Teavivre. Their jasmine just seems…different. Milder, sweeter, more grape like and less perfumey.

I’m seeing here the same silver needle base the other two teas I’ve tried today had. Pale, creamy green buds, very downy. I’m sure I’m seeing a dried jasmine flower in the dry mix, too. The scent is lightly floral — both the headier, perfume-like floral of jasmine, and the lighter, sweet hay-like floral of the silver needle. I used 1 tsp of leaves, and gave them 2 minutes in water cooled to 175.

The taste is very mild; much milder than the scent of the dry leaves would have led me to believe. This is fine with me, though. Mild jasmine is more suited to my tastes! It also means that the flavour of the white tea base still shines through, and that’s a good thing in my book. When the base tea is this good, why would you not want to taste it?! I’m getting the same fresh, clean cucumber flavour as I have with the last couple of Teavivre whites, and a hint of sweet, hay-like floral. The jasmine flavouring floats over the base tea like a scented cloud; it’s a delicate, airy, heady floral that makes its presence known without being overwhelming. I still probably wouldn’t choose a jasmine tea if left to my own devices, but I wouldn’t say no to another cup of this one. I think I knew it already, but both white tea and jasmine are going to be synonymous with Teavivre for me from now on!

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

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90

A sample from Angel at Teavivre. After trying the plain Silver Needle this morning, I decided to move on to the two flavoured blends she sent me. The silver needle in this packet appears to be of the same quality — pale creamy green buds, very downy. In addition, there are rose buds and whole chamomile flowers scattered throughout. The scent upon opening the little pouch reminded me of peaches — sweet, slightly floral, with a lovely juicy fruitiness. Amazing! It’s the scent of summer.

I gave just over 1 tsp of leaves 2.5 minutes in water cooled to approx. 175. The resulting liquor is pale green, with a hint of yellow.

The initial flavour is rose, in a kind of sweet, sugar-dusted, turkish delight kind of fashion. I think the sweetness comes from the chamomile — it’s almost honey-like, with notes of hay and sunlight. The two flavours sit well on the silver needle base, which is itself mildly floral, a little sweet, but mild and unobtrusive on the whole. There is a slight savoury, fresh cucumber note that I picked up on in the plain Silver Needle, but it’s mostly overwhelmed by the sweeter flavours.

I like the combination of chamomile and rose here. It’s sweet, delicate, not overpowering, and tastes wonderfully of turkish delight! What’s not to love? I also found it very calming during a stressful morning at work, so that’s another point majorly in its favour! Thanks again to Angel and Teavivre for allowing me to sample this delicious, sophisticated blend!

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

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90

A sample from Angel at Teavivre. I like white tea a lot; it was one of the first varieties of tea I really tried after black, and my initial enjoyment has stayed with me ever since. The dry leaf here looks exceptionally fresh – soft, downy buds, which are white and creamy green. No dried out grey/black buds here! I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3 minutes in water cooled to 175, and the resulting liquor is a very pale green, maybe with a tinge of yellow.

It tastes delicious. Cucumber is the first flavour I picked up; refreshing, cooling, slightly savoury. Then comes a little hay, which adds a delicate sweetness, and an almost thick creaminess. There’s a light floral note right at then end of the sip. It’s a smooth, eminently drinkable cup, with none of the “powderiness” I sometimes get from white tea. I reckon it’s going to be a fabulous resteeper!

Based on this first cup, I can safely say that Teavivre will become my go-to retailer for fresh, flavourful white teas. The leaves are so fresh looking (I’m sure the foil packaging helps with this), and the taste is so much more developed than simply “sweet water”, which is sometimes my impression of white tea.

Thanks so much to Angel and Teavivre for sending me a sample of this one. I’ll definitely be back for more!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

I find it hard to believe I haven’t reviewed this one yet. I’ve certainly been drinking it for a little while! I’m sure I did write a note, but maybe steepster ate it. Or maybe I’m just mad.

I used 1 tsp of leaf, and added it to water of about 175 degrees for 2.5 minutes. I was a little taken aback by the colour of the liquor; it was quite a dark yellow-green shade, a shade I usually associate with bitterness or astringency.

Fortunately, it has none of these qualities. Instead, the sweet cherry flavor comes through first. It’s quite mild, but there, and it’s reasonably true-to-life. Not overwhelmingly candy-like, or reminiscent of cough medicine. The toasty rice is the second flavour, and, again it’s pretty perfect as far as my tastes for genmaicha go. It’s toasted without tasting burnt, or bitter, and it’s not too overpowering. I had feared that it would disguise the cherry flavour altogether, but it doesn’t. The final flavour is the mild, sweet, vegetal taste of the green tea. It’s very smooth, and the “green”, almost slightly grassy, flavour augments the fruitiness of the cherry perfectly. I catch just a hint of creamy cheesecake flavour right at the end of the sip, but nothing more than that. It’s enough, though, and it really helps to round this one off perfectly. All elements present and accounted for!

While it’s not my favourite of the cheesecake genmaichas, this makes for a very pleasant cup. Banana Cheesecake Genmaicha will probably always hold that crown for me, and I’d want the cherry here to be a fair bit more prominent if it were seriously going to challenge that. Even so, it’s one of the better balanced genmaicha blends I’ve tried, and they can be hit and miss for me sometimes. Good work, Frank!

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

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100

Tried a cup without milk today, and it’s just as delicious and easy to drink. The sugary, candy-like sweetness is just beautiful, and the black base tea is light and smooth. It’s an airy afternoon sugar rush, and a definite addition to my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

Second cup today, and this time I added a splash of milk. It’s much smoother this way, and the spices are a little more muted and a little less “dry” tasting. It still tastes like Christmas!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Balthazar by Mariage Frères
1053 tasting notes

Second cup today, for which I used 1 tsp of leaf, brewed for 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. I’m getting a strong banana flavour this morning — almost candy banana, really, and which is absolutely delicious. There’s a little almond and cinnamon kicking around in the background, and a hint of passionfruit. I got far more passionfruit in my previous cup, but I really like the banana I can taste this time. It’s a really wonderful pairing, and makes for a great mid-morning cup! Delicious. One I’d really like to add to my cupboard in the near future.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
TeaBrat

oooh. sounds yummy :)

cteresa

I think I got to try it as well with hotter water – have been neglecting this tea, must try it with a few other brewing parameters.

black green blends are such a strange idea isn´t it? But I think Mariage Freres makes it work on a couple blends – my favorite example (and staple in my cupboard) is Casablanca.

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85

A sample from Ysaurella. I enjoy Christmas in general (not as much as Halloween, though!), so it comes as a surprise to me that I’ve not tried all that many teas which attempt to capture the spirit, or essence, of Christmas. I can think of one or two, but none that spring to mind as readily as this one! Finally, thanks to Ysaurella, I have the chance to try it.

I chose a cool autumn day for my first tasting — I’m just too impatient to wait for December, or Christmas itself. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I made no additions to my first cup, but I think milk would work here. The base tea and flavouring seem robust enough to carry that.

The main flavour I can detect is clove, followed by orange/mandarin, and then cinnamon. The base tea is pleasantly malty, and adds a delicate sweetness that really seems to help enhance the almost savoury flavours. It’s quite a heavy-tasting tea, and the aftertaste lingers long on the palate like a slow-fading memory of Christmases past. There’s a very slight dryness, but I’ve come to expect that from spice teas in general.

This one does capture the scents and flavours of a traditional Christmas well enough for me. Christmas isn’t always a happy time of year for me, though, so some of that is very bittersweet. This would be the perfect cosy tea for a cold winter day, though. It’s a spot-on evocation of winter, and traditional happy family Christmases.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Jamaïque by Mariage Frères
1053 tasting notes

I also have a sample of this one from Cteresa, so this afternoon’s cup comes courtesy of her. I gave 1 tsp of leaf approximately 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The taste is a little different to the previous cup I tried. This time, I’m getting a flavour much more reminiscent of rum raisin ice cream. There’s a very clear raisin flavour, followed by a tang of rum (navy, rather than white), almost as if rum infused raisins had been added to the tea base. There’s also a sweet, silky creaminess, which I’m assuming is the vanilla, and which is so reminiscent of ice cream it’s almost unreal. At the very end of the sip, there’s a hint of dark chocolate. It’s deep, dark, decadent and delicious.

Last time I drank a cup of this, I was a little cautious with the brew time. I think the extra minute helps the flavour immensely, although I definitely need milk to cut through the tiny bit of astringency that creates. This is such a boozy, intriguing cup, it almost feels wrong to be drinking it at work! Gorgeous, through, except now I’d also like a bowl of ice cream. Ah well, I can dream sweet dreams until it’s time to go home!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Indigobloom

This sounds amazing. I love rum teas, there aren’t enough around heh

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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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