1247 Tasting Notes

55
drank English Breakfast by Kusmi Tea
1247 tasting notes

I’ve had two cups of this so far today, and while I admit that I’ve been at least a little distracted while drinking them, they’ve not actually made much of an impression on me. I used 1 tsp of leaf for each of my cups, and gave it around 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk. The resulting cup is sweet and malty, but it doesn’t have much to it (and certainly no depth) besides that. Assam and Ceylon are two of my favourite black varieties, so that is a little disappointing to me. I know that they can have a lot of character of their own, and I know from other breakfast blends they usually work well together.

Sadly, I don’t think this is a tea I’d repurchase once I’ve finished my sample tin. There are much better breakfast blends out there, and this one is simply too bland and one-note for me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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100
drank Peach Cardamom by 52teas
1247 tasting notes

Today’s work cold brew. It’s not often that I try a tea for the first time cold, but I’ve made an exception for this one because it seems like a flavour combination that would work well cold, and because the weather is so warm I’m drinking a lot more cold tea than hot anyway. This is probably the second oldest 52 Teas blend in my cupboard, so it’s high time it had an outing. I used 2 tbsp of leaf, added it to 1.8 litres of cold water, and left it in the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. The resulting brew is a fairly bright yellow – very summer appropriate!

To taste, this is absolutely magnificent! The peach flavouring is strong and natural-tasting. No artificial peach here. It tastes like very ripe, juicy peach – the kind you might put in a cobbler because they’re almost too soft for eating. The cardamom really makes this, though, adding a deep earthy flavour, and a mild edge of spice. It also takes down the sweetness a notch or two, and makes this a much more fragrant blend than it otherwise would be. It’s a slightly unusual paring, but I like it a lot better than some of the more typical combinations, like ginger or cinnamon.

Based on my recent experiences, I think I’ve concluded that I prefer 52 Teas green blends to any of their blacks. As a lifelong black tea fan and a green sceptic, that comes as a huge surprise to me. The green base here adds a grassy undertone that works really well with the peach/cardamom, and there’s not a hint of bitterness or astringency. I don’t say this often, but this really is a masterful blend, capturing the best elements of each flavour while making sure they’re well balanced and complementary. I’ll be sad when this one disappears from my stash. It’s a real peach!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 1 tsp

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60
drank Coconut Cream Pie by 52teas
1247 tasting notes

I’ve finally started to work through my stash of 52 Teas, and as I know coconut isn’t the best keeper, I rooted out any coconut-based teas to try first. This was the reblend version from…about a year ago now? It’s been in my cupboard unopened since then, and when I did finally open it today, I was greeted with a strong, alcohol-like scent. I’ve noticed this before with 52 Teas though, so I’m not unduly worried. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up quite dark, so I added a decent splash of milk.

The scent is a little generic – black tea with a hint of coconut, and the taste, sadly, is rather the same. The initial sip is a fairly bold, malty black tea with an edge of sweetness. There’s a hint of coconut in the mid-sip, and it reminds me of desiccated coconut rather than fresh. I say that because it has the rather concentrated flavour and then slightly odd, dusty aftertaste that desiccated coconut can have. There’s an element of creaminess, but that might be at least partly due to the full-fat milk I’ve added, rather than anything especially inherent in the tea. Either way, it works. Coconut cream – nice. What I don’t get is PIE. Not a single crumb. There’s no pastry, buttery or otherwise, to be found here. That’s a bit of a let down, but not the end of the world.

As a coconut tea, this is good enough. The coconut maybe isn’t as strong as I’d have liked, but it’s there and you can’t argue with that. As a coconut cream tea, okay. As a coconut cream pie tea, this fails. Not badly, but at least in the sense that it doesn’t live up to its promise. I’ll finish the pouch, but this isn’t a tea I’d restock (not that that’s possible now, but even if I could). I just feel that there are better teas out there.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

Over time, this has become one of my favourite Adagio teas, and it takes a lot for me to say that. This is a green tea blend, part of the Sunlit Blooms collection, containing lemongrass, citrus peel, and lemon and vanilla flavourings. The dry leaf is primarily green tea, and the leaves are medium to dark green, fairly long and folded. No specific variety is given, but I’d say Dragonwell as an educated guess.

There’s also a generous scattering of sunflower petals, which I assume are there to carry the lemon and vanilla flavourings. Lemongrass and citrus peel are less in evidence, although it’s possible to find the occasional piece if you stir the leaf up and look hard. This hardly sounds encouraging, but as this one actually turns out to be a great tea I’m going to refrain from further comment.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a bright golden yellow, and smells mildly citrusy. To taste, it’s a different story entirely. Lemon cream, in the best bakery sense of the words! Although the green tea is a large proportion of the mixture, it’s completely unobtrusive in the finished cup, and super-smooth to boot. This means that the flavours really shine through, with lemon the first flavour to emerge, followed by a wash of vanilla and cream in the mid-sip. It’s truly wonderful, and sipping on this is putting me in mind of a huge lemon sponge coated in light, fluffy vanilla buttercream.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/16/tisket-tasket-green-tea-adagio/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75

I love the inspiration behind this blend from Bluebird Tea Co. The dry leaf looks like something right out of Narnia, with its whole pink rosebuds, additional rose petals, plentiful cocoa shells, lemongrass pieces and the fluffy, mossy greenness of the raspberry leaves. It’s so pretty, the White Witch of Narnia might well use it to tempt Edmund away. I used a generous heaped teaspoon of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, and the scent is faintly herbal, maybe a touch floral.

To taste, this one is pure liquid turkish delight, although the variety that comes coated in chocolate rather than dusted with icing sugar. The rose is the most prominent flavour; sweet with a hint of perfume. The flavour of milk chocolate emerges in the midsip, adding a creamy, almost vanilla-like sweetness that really complements the rose. Although cocoa shells are responsible for the flavour, there’s none of the dry bittersweetness cocoa can sometimes add to a tea. This is liquid milk chocolate over rose-flavoured turkish delight; sweet, smooth, and perfectly befitting a fairy tale.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/15/enchanted-narnia-herbal-tea-bluebird-tea-co/

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

The first thing I noticed about this one is how wonderful it smells – fresh, strong, sweet spearmint, right from the get go! I prefer spearmint to peppermint in general, but spearmint teas seem relatively scarce in comparison, so I’m pleased to have found this one from Kusmi. The dry leaf is very dark green and tightly rolled. There’s no indication on the tin of the variety of green tea this is, but I would guess Gunpowder from looking at the leaves alone. I could be wrong, but that’s my educated guess. For my cup, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a golden yellow, and smells primarily of spearmint with an underlying hint of green tea.

To taste, this one reminds me a bit of chewing gum, or softmints. It has the same intense initial sweet mint flavour, which lingers decently into the aftertaste. Spearmint is pretty much all I’m getting from this one, so it comes across fairly one note, but if spearmint is what you’re looking for, then it’s certainly what you’ll get. I had thought I’d be able to taste the green tea base a little more, but it remains firmly in the background. There’s the tiniest hint of it right at the end of the sip, but in a blind tasting you could tell me this was a pure spearmint tea and I’d probably be none the wiser.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/14/vert-la-menthe-nanah-spearmint-green-tea-kusmi/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

I’m feeling a little under the weather at the moment, so a straightforward breakfast-style tea is just the thing to cure what ails me. This is such a go-to kind of blend – an easy to drink, easy to brew, no fuss, crowd pleaser. I gave one teaspoon of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.

The resulting brew is a pretty solid example of an English breakfast tea. It combines an Assam, a Ceylon, and a Chinese Yunnan black, and the result is sweet and malty, with a hint of citrus brightness. The citrus, to me, is lemon, and it emerges primarily at the end of the sip. For the most part, this has a characteristic potato flavour, with an almost starchy element reminiscent of crispy, roasted white potato which emerges in the mid-sip. It’s hugely malty, with that wonderfully deep, molasses-like flavour that a really good malty black can take on. No sugar required here!

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/11/bluebirds-great-british-cuppa-bluebird-tea-co/

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

This is my first iced tea of 2015! I tried this one for the first time last summer, and it was so good I went back straightaway for another pouch. I was a bit of a Southern Boy Teas doubter at first, because I didn’t see how tea could taste of ice cream or sherbet, jello or bubblegum. Somehow, though, they do, and this one is no exception.

I brewed this one up the way I usually do – the bag gets 2 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, which is then topped up to 1.8 litres with cold water and put in the fridge overnight. I usually drink half a jug a day (so just under a litre), and as the tea bag is good for a second brewing, these teas represent great value for money. More important than that, though, is the flavour! This one is out of this world! The sherbet is creamy, fruity, and even a little effervescent tasting. I can detect flavours of raspberry, orange, lemon and lime by turns, although they’re not particularly distinct. Just tiny flashes that skip across my taste buds and are gone. Ultimately, the individual fruit flavours merge together into a generically sherbet-y taste. However it’s done, it’s truly amazing.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/11/rainbow-sherbet-iced-tea-southern-boy-teas/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100

Black tea will always be my absolute favourite, and as I discover more Chinese black teas, they rise higher in my estimation. I bought this one from Whispering Pines in an effort to try more teas from Yunnan, which (of all black teas) seem to possess the majority of characteristics I really enjoy. High praise indeed! This one impresses from the moment the bag is opened. The scent drifting up is pure chocolate – so much so that I almost had to check I’d actually picked up a bag of tea. The dry leaf itself is beautiful – little golden black curls that really do look like miniature snail shells. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. Since this is to be my first cup of the day, I added a splash of milk.

The initial flavour is a beautiful, creamy milk chocolate. It’s pretty hard to believe that this isn’t a cup of cocoa, but I definitely made it with tea leaves! I’m reassured when a sweet maltiness emerges in the mid-sip, along with the wonderfully comforting flavour of baked break. Tea it is, and a wonderfully sweet, smooth, chocolatey thing at that! The maltiness deepens towards the end of the sip, becoming an almost treacle-like molasses flavour. It’s rich and flavourful; a real treat for the tastebuds.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/12/golden-snail-yunnan-black-whispering-pines-tea-co/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This is one of Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends, inspired by the character of (who else?) Sherlock Holmes. It’s a blend of Adagio’s Lapsang Souchong, Assam Melody, and Oriental Spice, all of which are black teas. The dry leaf smells reasonably strongly of smoke, with a hint of spice underlying. Exotic and enticing! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, so no additions this time.

I will freely admit to being more than a little scared of smoky teas, and particularly Lapsang Souchong. One early experience with a very strong Lapsang really, really put me off, and I’ve been very wary ever since. I’ve tried a few lightly smoked teas since and not been repelled, so I’m hoping that I can perhaps gradually build up an appreciation of smoky teas, given time. My forays into this territory are still fairly rare, though, and this will be the first in a while!

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/13/sherlock-holmes-black-tea-adagio/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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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 ny 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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