1247 Tasting Notes

55

Today’s work cold brew. I used 2 tbsp of leaf for this batch, steeped in 1.8 litres of cold water for approximately 10 hours. This one works as well cold as it does hot. It’s very smooth to taste, with soft, delicate lemon notes. It’s more lemon myrtle than lemon juice to my mind, and nowhere near sharp enough for Lemon Sherbet. Instead, it’s almost creamy. While there is a creamy aspect to sherbet sometimes, I’m still missing a hit of sourness or sharpness that would really make me think of this specific sweet. It’s just too gentle.

That’s not to say it’s not tasty, just that it didn’t quite meet my expectations. It’s a very pleasant creamy lemon tea, and the green base hasn’t developed any bitterness or astringency during the process. I can’t really tell it’s green tea at all, to be honest. I’d have believed it to be a herbal if I didn’t know different. Not the greatest hit with me, but a refreshing cup on a warm day, all the same.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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80

This is the last of the Teavivre Spring 2014 green teas I’ve left to try. I left the two Dragonwells until last on purpose so that I could drink them together and maybe compare a little.

In terms of appearance, this one is very similar to the Premium Dragonwell. The leaves are large (about 2-4cm), folded and flat. They’re mostly a medium grass green, although with some lighter and a few darker leaves. These leaves are more mottled than the Premium leaves, I think. There are more yellow and brown patches, on more of the leaves – perhaps because they’re organic? I’m not certain on that count!

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. Brewed, the leaves are mostly unchanged, and have not unfolded at all. The scent is quite pungent, but very fresh – green vegetables (maybe cabbage or asparagus). The brewed liquor is a light yellow-green.

The taste isn’t as strong as I thought it would be, based on the scent of the brewed liquor. I can taste asparagus, and a touch of something cabbage-like that just verges on bitterness. It’s a very smooth tea, although I wouldn’t quite describe it as buttery. The hint of bitterness at the end of the sip is interesting, in that it provides a bit of bite. I guess that’s why I don’t find it as smooth as the Premium, but it’s still pleasant nonetheless.

On balance, this isn’t my favourite Dragonwell of those I’ve tried so far. It’s interesting in terms of flavour, and I’m pleased all over again that I don’t dislike it, but I think the buttery sweetness of the Premium Dragonwell probably spoilt me for this one today. I have some leaves left, so I’ll return to this one another day. For now, though, I’m impressed with the quality of the green teas I’ve tried from Teavivre, and I’m looking forward to the arrival of the Spring 2015 sampler.

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

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95

I recently ordered a sampler of Spring 2015 green teas from Teavivre, so I’m currently working my way through the remainder of my Spring 2014 pack, in the expectation that I’ll have finished them before the new stuff arrives. That’s the plan, anyway.

The leaf here is fascinating. They’re larger than I would have expected, flat and folded in appearance, and a fairly uniform grass green with some lighter speckles and some dark (brown-ish) patches. The wet leaf isn’t much different in appearance, except that some of the leaves have unfolded a little. The scent is vegetal, rather like spinach, and also a little chestnutty. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175. The brewed liquor is a pale yellow-green.

To taste, this is another green I’ve found myself unexpectedly enjoying recently. I never would have thought I’d enjoy green teas as much as I do now. In fact, it’s probably time I stopped saying that in general I don’t like them. I’m not sure that that’s true anymore, which means that continuing to try different types has been more than worthwhile.

This is a delicious cup. It’s smooth and buttery, with a sweet, fresh vegetal flavour and an underlying nuttiness. It tastes to me like steamed green vegetables – spinach, perhaps, and green beans. There’s some sweetness that I associate typically wish freshly shelled peas. The nuttiness works really well with those flavours, and pine nuts specifically are what this one brings to mind.

This is another variety that I’ll be adding to my list of “likes”, and another one I’ll look to explore some more. I’m pretty sure Teavivre’s green teas are among the best there are; I’ve never found a run of pure green teas that I like as much, or that have such clear, fresh flavours. This would be a potential repurchase for me, and I don’t say that often about a green tea! Perhaps that’s about to change.

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

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55
drank Midsummer Night by RiverTea
1247 tasting notes

Another cup last night, this time hot with no additions. I went back to basics and followed the recommended parameters – 2 tsp of leaf in boiling water for 5 minutes. There’s still not all that much in the way of lemon – certainly nowhere near as much as I’d like – but I could taste it just slightly in the background. A mildly bitter, slightly waxy, lemon peel kind of flavour. Mostly, though, this one’s hibiscus. I’ll probably finish this one off cold brewed tomorrow. It’s not terrible, but I won’t be all that sad once it departs my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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70
drank Teatoxy Energize by Teatoxy
1247 tasting notes

I was initially attracted to this tea due to its reputed energy-giving properties, and I’ve been drinking it fairly regularly since first receiving it a few months ago. The first thing that stood out about this blend was the quality of the “leaf”. Although this blend is herbal so there’s no actual tea, leaf seems an appropriate term to describe this particular mixture. The pieces of lemongrass are some of the largest I’ve ever seen – minimum 1cm square, with whole rose buds, whole bluechai flowers, and large, curly pandan leaves. The lavender is the only small thing here, with a generous smattering of buds throughout. It’s a really beautiful blend to look at – pink, blue, green, yellow, and purple. A true feast for the eyes.

When brewing a cup, I’ve been following the recommended parameters and using 2 heaped teaspoons of leaf. It would be difficult to measure much less than a heaped teaspoon in any case! This can be left for up to 8 minutes in boiling water, but in this case I went for a more conservative 4.5. I’ve found that this gives the most pleasant flavour (more on that in a moment), and means that the tea hasn’t cooled too much before it’s even finished brewing.

The second thing that stands out about this blend is the colour of the liquor. It’s bright blue. This is due to the inclusion of the bluechai flowers, which give this tea its energising properties. As an added novelty, lemon juice will turn the liquor from blue to purple. Lemon has the added bonus of lifting the flavour a little, making it sharper rather than sweet, and more refreshing, which might be quite welcome depending on your personal taste.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/09/energize-herbal-tea-teatoxy/

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp

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40
drank Sweet Nothings by Adagio Teas
1247 tasting notes

This is a white tea from Adagio’s Love Petals collection. It’s a fruit-floral blend, containing sunflower petals and lavender buds on the floral side, and apricot and peach on the fruit side. The base tea is a white peony, composed mostly of brown-black stalks and leaves, but with a few downy silver buds in evidence. It’s not the best looking white peony I’ve ever seen, but appearances can be deceptive.

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 medium golden-yellow, and the scent is mildly fruity. To taste, the fruit is the primary flavour, and the floral ingredients are mostly absent. I was hoping this would be the case, as (with a few rare exceptions) fruit/floral combinations usually strike me as rather odd. The main flavour I can detect is peach, and it’s a reasonably natural tasting approximation – mildly sweet, with that pulpiness that ripe peaches have. The apricot is present a little, but it’s definitely second fiddle here. As peach and apricot are reasonably similar flavours, however, it hardly seems to matter.

See my full review here: http://steepster.com/teas/adagio-teas/25167-sweet-nothings.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 0 OZ / 0 ML

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55
drank Midsummer Night by RiverTea
1247 tasting notes

I tried a cup of this hot last night with a spoonful of honey. I think the sweetness helped to cut through some of the hibiscus tartness (which is stronger and A LOT more dominant hot than it is when cold brewed…). I still couldn’t taste much in the way of lemon, however, although it did soothe my throat fairly effectively. Mostly, it reminded me of glycerine cough syrup flavoured with lemon and honey, only less thick and sticky. It’s by no means bad, but I’m still mostly underwhelmed.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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100

This is today’s work cold brew, and it’s as enjoyable as ever. I’ve been really impressed with this one, and I’ll certainly miss it when it’s gone. I have three bags left, though, so that’s not an imminent threat. I’m not sure how this one manages to taste so much like melon juice without actually being melon juice, but there you go. I’ll definitely be looking to try more from English Tea Shop in the coming months.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp

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85

This one came to work with me this morning in the timolino. I’m working in a different office until 1.00pm, helping a short-staffed team, and I’m not familiar with the kitchen arrangements. It seems odd to other people that the thing that concerns me the most when I’m going to a different office is how I can make tea, but it’s such a huge part of my life that I can’t imagine being without it for 5 hours. I’d get a headache, anyway. Besides, everyone needs a drink! Rather than go without, I filled up my two timolinos this morning and here I am. This one I chose because I know it plays nicely in a flask, and it’s just as good as ever. Sweet and malty, with a wonderful starchy potato note. The other flask contains an Assam, so along the same lines but with slightly more of a pedigree! Enough to keep me happy until lunch, just about.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

This is another of the older Butiki teas in my cupboard, but it finally got its chance today! As with a lot of Butiki blends, it’s a beautifully pretty thing. The rose buds are a bright, vibrant pink, and very fresh-looking. They could have been picked yesterday, but I know they weren’t. The silver needle leaves are a creamy green in colour, and very downy. The scent is heavy on the rose, in a way that’s almost reminiscent of perfume. Thick and sultry, very fragrant. It’s a beautiful beginning.

I used 2 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. Even though floral teas aren’t usually my bag, I’m in love with this one from the first sip. If parma violets were rose flavoured, they’d taste like this tea. I’m going to find it fairly hard to explain that now, but it’s how I felt immediately upon taking a sip. The rose is obviously the most apparent flavour, but somehow it doesn’t dominate the blend. It’s sweet, and tastes almost sugared, with just a hint of something powdery. It’s also truly, madly creamy, as if I’d added actual cream to my cup. Smooth, with a dairy like mellowness that complements the rose so, so well. Like rose milkshake, if such a thing existed. There’s the tiniest hint of champagne in the aftertaste, which adds a heady richness to the overall cup. It lingers beautifully, as does the rose, for a good few minutes after each sip. All together, the flavour, the smoothness of the mouthfeel, and the scent combine to make this a real sensory experience. Very few teas have this sort of impact on me, so I’m doubly sad I didn’t try this one sooner. My bank account is pleased, but that’s little consolation.

I love this blend, and I’ll cherish the little bag I have. It’s completely disproved my belief that I don’t like floral teas – clearly that’s not the case. This is a beautiful, fabulously tasty tea, and I’m honoured to have had the pleasure of trying it. Butiki may be gone, but they will always live on in my memory.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 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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