911 Tasting Notes

80

This has been my default morning tea of late. Making a cup of this is the first thing I do when I get to work, and it makes everything that much more bearable. I love the sturdy black base, and the deeply sweet maple flavour. I’m even starting to get a hint of pancake, so I must be getting better at brewing this. Possibly next week I’ll try some sugar, if I remember to take any with me on Monday. Wonderfully tasty, soothing stuff. Fabulous!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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55

I quite like this one. It definitely tastes of raspberry, and it’s quite a natural flavour, too. There’s a juiciness, and a fruitiness, and just the slightest tang of sharpness — much like eating a real raspberry. There’s also a whole lot of hibi. I’ve found that the key with this one is not to brew it overlong. That seems to strike the best balance between screamingly-tart-and-sour hibiscus tea with a hint of raspberry, and actually-quite pleasant raspberry tea with a hint of sourness provided by the hibiscus. It’s a crucial difference.

I’m not getting dragonfruit at all. Not that I’ve tried many real dragonfruit in my time, so I guess I can’t really comment. Maybe one, at primary school? Anyway, the raspberry is nice enough. As bagged fruit teas go, this is okay. Not earth shattering, but pleasant enough to drink when time is of the essence.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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60

I don’t drink a lot of bagged tea these days, but it does come in handy when I’m feeling as exhausted as I am at the moment. Last Friday the entirety of my new job got dumped in my lap, and I ended up working Saturday and most of last week to try and at least get things back on track. That means I’ll have to spend this week catching up on everything I should have been doing last week, with the expectation that things be in some sort of reasonable shape before the christmas break. Which I’ll be glad to have. I’ve hardly had time to drink tea, let alone keep up with my steepster notes, but still. I can only do my best.

Anyway, the tea. This really does taste remarkably like crumble, for some crushed up fruit in a bag. There’s a buttery, bakey kind of taste to it that’s quite exceptional, and tempered beautifully by the tart blackcurrant and tangy rhubarb flavours. For a supermarket bagged fruit tea, it’s not at all bad. Good strong flavour, not over hibiscussed, and blessedly caffiene and fuss free. Pretty okay, in my book.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

I’ve been drinking this on an evening for a couple of nights now. I’ve found that since I’ve been working full time, December doesn’t feel as Christmassy as it used to, at least not until I’m off work a day or so before. I guess that’s why I haven’t really looked at my Christmas teas as yet, with the exception of this one.

Anyway, the scent of the dry leaves is remarkably reminiscent of christmas cake. The strongest scent is almond — putting me very much in mind of marzipan — followed by a deeply curranty, dried fruit scent. I can see cloves and dried orange peel in the mix too, although they remain very firmly in the background in terms of scent. One of the cutest things about this tea is the little snowflake sprinkles, which are dusted with tiny particles of blueish irridescent glitter. It sparkles really prettily on the surface once brewed, almost like an icy film…

On to the tasting. Again, almond is the prominent flavour, followed by a slight sweetness. I wonder where that comes from? This is then replaced by a rich fruitiness, with the slightest of spicy aftertastes. It is rather like biting into a piece of cake, taasting the icing and the marzipan, and then encountering the fruit cake underneath. It’s a really good approximation of christmas cake, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to try it. It’s one I’d definitely keep on hand during christmasses to come!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Spiced Pear by Della Terra
911 tasting notes

On the first day of Christmas, Della Terra gave to me…Spiced Pear!

This is really christmassy. Dry, it smells strongly of cinnamon and mulling spices, and I can see pieces of pear among the black tea. Brewed, my experience is much the same. I elected to drink this without milk, and I’m glad because I think the flavours come over really well like this. The cinnamon comes through first, perhaps understandably, but there’s a definite pear taste. It’s almost perfumey, but the two flavours somehow work together really well. I’ve not had many pear teas before, and the only one that springs to mind is 52 Teas SBT Pear from back in the summer. That one tasted almost like a pear drop, sweet and very candy-like. This is jucier and a touch more natural, with the soft scentedness that an actual pear possesses. It’s the spices that are making me think of Christmas most of all, though. This might actually be a good one to drink on Christmas day, preferably by an open fire (although that’ll only happen in my dreams!) Snuggled and warm, anyway! A great start to the festive countdown!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sweet Canadian

I loved this one! I hope Della Terra will make it available for purchase in the future :)

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80
drank Smaug Tea by 52teas
911 tasting notes

On the first day of Christmas, 52 Teas gave to me…Smaug!

This isn’t a new tea to me; I have a pouch on my desk at work, and have been finding it very warming and enjoyable on cold days. I’m glad I got chance to try a different batch of this tea, though, because it’s slightly different from the bag I currently have. For starters, the liquor once brewed is much paler — a very light yellow-green. The green tea is the more prominent ingerdient, too. The cayenne and cinnamon, while present, are very much in the background in the initial sip, and only really emerge as a warmth at the back of the throat upon swallowing. The version I have at work is much stronger, and the liquor is much darker. I did notice that the dragonwell leaves are much smaller and paler than the leaves in my other bag — possibly that has something to do with it! I guess that’s tea for you, anyway! I have to say that I like both versions — and it’s always nice to have a little extra of an old favourite around. A great first tea of Christmas!

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

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60

I’m not sure whether my tastes are changing for good, or whether it’s just because I’ve been ill, but I think I might be starting to enjoy plain teas a lot more than the flavoured ones I used to adore. There’s something about flavoured tea that just seems to have stopped appealing to me. Whereas once upon a time I would have chosen a flavoured tea without hesitation, these days it’s teas like this one that are more likely to jump out at me.

As oolongs go, I could really start to like this one. I was very hesitant about trying it, because oolongs haven’t generally been my thing, but I’m glad I gave it a chance. I like the fresh, delicate flavour this tea has. I’ve one more cup left, and it’ll be sadly missed when it’s gone. I think it’s highly likely that this one will make it on to my repurchase list, though, so hopefully I won’t be bereft for too long.

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

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70
drank French Toast by 52teas
911 tasting notes

My first sip of this tea reminded me of Cinnamon Roll Honeybush. I’m not really surprised, because they do have copious amounts of cinnamon in common, but it was a little unexpected. For some reason, I was expecting French Toast to be more savoury, but there you go.

The main flavours here are cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. They all come out equally well, and create a smooth, sweet blend with absolutely no astringency. I drank this one straight after Pancake Breakfast, so while I can appreciate the similarities, what I’m mostly detecting are the contrasts. This blend seems a fair bit sweeter to me — possibly it’s the butter/brown sugar flavour combination, which is putting me in mind of cake mixture at the moment. The cinnamon helps to turn this back into French Toast, but the whole thing is far more dessert-like than I was expecting. That might just be my misconception, but I was anticipating a breakfast-type tea, and this doesn’t really fit my criteria for that. It’s nice, and it certainly smells really lovely brewing, but I think on balance I prefer Pancake Breakfast.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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80

The first time I tried this I was a tiny bit disappointed. I was expecting pancake flavour, and I wasn’t really getting it. I’m not entirely sure how I was imagining that particular flavour would manifest, but there you go. Sometimes my expectations are unrealistic. This was one of the last flavoured teas I drank before embarking on my latest bout of the flu, so I think maybe that had something to do with it. I hardly drank any tea at all last week (a combination of being ill, coupled with being manically busy in my new job), so I’ve returned to it today with a fresh palate.

This time around, I like it a lot better. It has a strong, natural maple flavour, and that in itself is making me think of pancakes. It’s such a strong and well defined flavour that I could almost believe I’d added actual maple syrup to a cup of black tea. It’s a rich and satisfying taste, anyway, and absolutely perfect as a breakfast or wake-up tea. My only niggle is that the black base is a little astringent, but that might be my fault for leaving it sitting while I switched my computer on this morning. I’ll have another cup later and report back. At the moment, though, I’m really happy with this one.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

I don’t like this without milk. I gave it a try today, but it’s just too strong. The rooibos is overpowering, and the apple/cardamon combination is almost medicinal. Definitely one to go with milk, at least as far as my own preferences go!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 15 sec

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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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