1676 Tasting Notes

drank Midsummer Night by RiverTea
1676 tasting notes

This is today’s cold brew. I don’t have a great deal of leaf left now, which is probably a good thing since I’m not over fond of this one. I think when I bought it, I imagined it as a sharp, bitter lemon sort of tea – maybe reminiscent of lemonade. In actuality, it’s a lemongrass/hibiscus blend, and it’s just a little weak and not-really-lemon like for my tastes. I used 2 tbsp of leaf for today’s brew, added to 1.8 litres of cold water, and then into the fridge for about 10 hours overnight.

The result is okay, in a so-so average kind of way. I can taste a tiny edge of sour lemon, but it’s very fleeting and hardly as present as I’d like it to be. The sip ends with a flash of tart hibiscus, which is fine as far as it goes. I just find the whole thing rather tasteless.

I mention trying this one hot in one of my previous notes, maybe with some honey or crystal sugar. I had thought I’d tried this one hot already, but perhaps I haven’t. I’ll probably do that before I finish this one off for good, but I’m not convinced it’ll make much difference. River Tea did better than this, that’s for sure. I’m sad they closed, but this isn’t ultimately a blend I’ll miss.

In other news, I no longer feel like death warmed over. I’m not exactly better, but I think my cold is slowly disappearing. Other than the first two days, I haven’t actually suffered too much this time. It’s annoying when you want to drink new teas and you can’t, but hey ho! I’ll be back to it soon :)

Iced 8 min or more 6 tsp

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My no-buy failed fairly spectacularly this weekend. I placed orders with Twinings, Bluebird, and Teavivre, plus Christine Dattner in Paris. Not for huge quantities, but enough that it’ll probably push my cupboard number higher than I really wanted it to go. Still, I’m ill and I needed cheering up. Tea does that, every time.

Moving swiftly on (I was doing so well!), I’ve mostly been drinking this tea for the last couple of days. My cold is fairly awful and I can’t taste much right now, but I found out that Blackberry leaf is good for colds, so I’ve been drinking at least three or four cups of this one spread throughout the day. I think it’s helping at least a bit – I’m having less throat sweets and lemsip than I usually would be, and my throat is a lot less sore than I imagined it would be by now.

I’m not particularly sold on the taste of this one, but I can get behind it if it helps my cold!

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

I hope you’re feeling better soon!


Rest well. Your tea will comfort you!

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This was the first Mariage Freres tea I tried, and it’s still among my favourites today. It’s one of their most well-known and iconic blends, and it’s one I was initially most curious to try, having heard various opinions. I used 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it approximately 3 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium red, with little scent except a vauge sweetness. The dry leaf is similarly innocuous in this way, with its scent giving little away. I think that’s why I find it such an intriguing tea in many ways – its secrets are well hidden, and a true impression of this tea comes only through having tried it.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/06/marco-polo-rouge-mariage-freres/

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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In my opinion, Golden Monkey is a Teavivre classic – one that all tea lovers (and particularly black tea lovers) should try at some point. It’s a cupboard staple for me, perfect in any season, and at any time of the day or night. It’s a real comfort tea, for me. Reliable, versatile, and tasty to boot! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my current cup, and gave it approximately 2.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is lightly golden, the scent sweet and malty with an underlying hint of grain. I’m drinking it without additions today, hence the reasonably low steep time on this occasion, but it also works well with a 4 minute brew and a splash of milk.

One of the reasons I like this one so much is its almost intensely chocolatey initial flavour. It’s like a square of high quality dark chocolate; bittersweet, with an edge of dark, dry cacao. The malty notes emerge in the mid-sip, and make this a much sweeter prospect, which becomes a little reminiscent of molasses. It’s by no means overpowering, though – there’s just a hint of something treacley lurking in the background. Notes of baked bread, grain and a light nuttiness develop towards the end of the sip, along with a smooth caramel richness.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/05/22/golden-monkey-black-tea-teavivre/

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

I totally agree with you. Golden Monkey is one of my favourite teas from Teavivre.

Lariel of Lórien

Fantastic tea. :)

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drank Yuzu Temple by Mariage Frères
1676 tasting notes

This is one of the Mariage Freres teas that I always seem to overlook when I’m choosing a green tea to drink. There’s no reason for it; it just seems to happen. From time to time, I’ll make an effort to pull out those languishing teas and give them another try. I’m usually surprised by what I discover!

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/02/yuzu-temple-green-tea-mariage-freres/

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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So today I have another cold, which started yesterday afternoon and turned into something awful overnight. It’s totally grim. I’m mostly drinking strongly flavoured teas today, such as this one, although I can’t say I’m really able to taste them. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

Just in time for the weekend, too.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

Sad! Hope you feel better soon!


Feel better, Scheherazade!

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drank Mai Tai Green Tea by 52teas
1676 tasting notes

I first opened this pouch a few months back, and drank it hot for a while at work. I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to, and it’s sheer juiciness meant that I decided to hold the rest back for summer cold brews. I’m having the first of those today! I used 2 tbsp of leaf to two litres of cold water, and put it in the fridge for approximately 10 hours overnight. I’m a little nervous about green teas getting bitter when cold brewing, but fortunately I haven’t encountered too much of a problem with that so far.

This one is perfect – as perfect as I hoped it’d be! It’s just as good cold as it is hot, and the juicy flavour of the fruit makes it hugely refreshing. Mango is the dominant flavour at the moment, with a very light peppery edge. There’s also a touch of pineapple that rounds off each sip on a deliciously sweet note, and just a hint of white rum lurking in the background. It’s delicious!

I might be sitting in an over-warm office at the moment, but this tea could make me believe I’m somewhere much nicer – like a tropical island, maybe. I’ll be sipping and smiling all day long!

Iced 8 min or more 6 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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This one is at work with me again. I figured the best way to finish up the last 4 Sherlock teas would be to leave them on my desk, and so far I’ve been right. I’m really enjoying this one today – the cherry is really prominent, and there’s a wonderful sweet creaminess from the vanilla honeybush. The smoke is very muted, which is how I prefer it. I’m not sure why I waited so long to try this one – there was nothing to be scared of after all. Much like a meeting with The Woman herself, perhaps? Or maybe not. Either way, I’ll miss this one when it’s gone! It would be a potential repurchase, if only I had less tea. Ah, one day…

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

“She’s a killer queen, Gunpowder, gelatine, Dynamite with a laser beam, Guaranteed to blow your mind… Anytime!”

Just what your review made me think of, lol.

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This is from the Spring 2014 harvest of this tea, which I’m only just getting around to trying now. Boo for me. Every time I drink a Teavivre green, though, I’m reminded of how good green tea CAN be, and that there are even green teas out there that I can love. This is another of those rarities. I used 1 tsp of leaf for this cup, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a very pale yellow, the scent mildly vegetal with a light floral edge.

The scent of the dry leaf is absolutely, totally, 100% amazing. It’s sweet and very vegetal, like fresh green beans and asparagus. The leaves are long and thin and a little downy, predominantly very pale green but with darker tips. Once brewed, the leaves are a more obvious grass green, although a few are darker and some lighter, giving a pretty variagated effect. The scent is almost a little salty – it’s actually reminding me of beef oxo cubes, strangely enough!

To taste, though, there’s no oxo to be found. This is a good thing, I think, on balance. What I can actually taste is sweet, fresh, green vegetables. Like the scent of the dry leaf, the main flavours are green bean and asparagus, with a hint of grass towards the end of the sip. This one reminds me a little of Bi Luo Chun, although I think it’s a touch milder overall. This is a very smooth green, although I wouldn’t say it’s particularly buttery. Just very clean and refreshing, with a well balanced flavour. It’s the perfect choice for spring!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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This is today’s back to work iced tea. I’m trying to stick to my no-buy, and the choice of this tea is testament to that. I went through my bag of SBTs and picked out this one because I suspect it’s the oldest (except Maple Bacon, which, frankly, I’m terrified of). It’s always tempting to jump straight to the newer teas, but I’m trying to be more systematic about things. I’m also trying really hard not to buy any new tea until I get my cupboard down to a reasonable level (under 50, at least). There’s a long way to go yet, and it’s extremely difficult (with not a few close calls), but I’m succeeding so far.

Anyway, the tea. I’ve had this one before, and it was another SBT that gained a perfect 100 rating from me. It’s still by far the best “ice cream” tea I’ve ever tried, and today’s cup only confirms that my original opinion on this one holds even now. I know my tastes have changed over the last year, so I did wonder what I’d think of this one now, but I’m pleased that it’s something I can still enjoy.

This one got the standard SBT brewing treatment from me (2 mins in a quarter litre of boiling water, topped up to just about 2 litres with cold water, and into the fridge overnight). The main flavour I can pick out this morning is chocolate, followed by a creamy vanilla in the background. The strawberry is a little shy and fleeting, but it’s identifiable in the mid sip most of the time. I’m actually finding it hard not to gulp this one down – it’s so refreshing, and the flavour is absolutely fitting on a warm, just-about-summer day. I have enough with me for two cups, so I’ll drink one this morning and one later this afternoon. One thing I do notice with SBTs is that I get palate fatigue and can’t taste them anymore after a cup or two. Having a gap in between should help with that!

I think this one’s still available, and it comes highly recommended. It’s one I’ll look to repurchase if I allow myself to buy tea again at some point this century.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, 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.


Norfolk, UK

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