1088 Tasting Notes

60

A sample from VariaTEA, and my final tea of the evening last night. I think maybe I’m drinking a different tea from everyone else, because I found it quite palatable. I used 1 tsp of leaf and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

To taste, I’d say it’s more caramel than maple. There is an element of maple here, but it’s like it got stirred into a thicker, sweeter caramel sauce. It’s nice, though. Caramel-maple is okay with me. I knew this one reminded me of something, and as I sat there sipping it finally came to me: 52 Teas Weeping Angel. That’s what this tea tastes like! If I remember correctly, that was a caramel tea also. I enjoyed it, though, and I’m guessing that’s at least partly why I like this one.

As a maple tea, I’d give it half marks. There’s a little something there, but it’s neither strong nor distinctive. As a pleasant-tasting tea to drink, I’d give this closer to 80. I like caramel, and it’s deliciously smooth and sweet here; almost like the filling of a caramel chocolate bar! The base tea is okay, being neither bitter nor astringent. If I’m honest, I didn’t really notice it underneath the caramel. Taking the average of my two scores, I’m going to give this one 60. It tastes nice, and I’ll happily finish up what’s left, but it’s not really maple. Maybe I was spoilt in that regard by Della Terra’s An Autumn Breakfast. Still, it’s yummy. Sometimes, that’s all I want from a tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Creamy Eggnog by Butiki Teas
1088 tasting notes

Another one I have neglected, and another one I brought to work today. It’s my second cup of the morning, and I’m sticking with a broadly “Christmas” theme. As per the recommended parameters, I used 2 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. Measuring out the wiry Mao Feng leaves was a challenge, but I was mollified by the sweet, creamy scent coming off the dry leaf. I knew it would be worth persisting, and I was right.

As with Potato Pancakes & Applesauce, the Mao Feng base is simply perfect here. It’s smooth and mild, with just a tiny bit of vegetal flavour poking through. Mostly, this one is all about the cream. Very smooth, vanilla cream, with just a tiny dusting of cinnamon. It’s slightly eggy, and in some ways it’s making me think of freshly-made custard (of the kind I’d use in an ice cream base). It’s not thick enough, of course, but it’s that kind of flavour. Cream, egg, sugar, vanilla pod.

I made this cup without any additions, but I may try a little crystal sugar in my next one just to see what that does. It’s not Christmas yet (it’s still November, for one), but this is a lovely tea to sip on a cold winter morning. Today is definitely one of those!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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95

Wow. So, this is another one I’ve neglected. Again, probably because it’s a little odd in concept. I figured it was time to stop being a baby, though, so I brought this one to work with me and made it my first proper cup of the morning.

For my first cup, I followed the recommended parameters and gave 1 tbsp of leaf 4 minutes in water cooled to around 180. It smells mildly cinnamony while brewing, with an almost soupy/brothy note. Very unique!

To taste, this is as smooth as can be. I like Mao Feng in general, and it’s the perfect choice here. Mild, buttery, with a light “green” note that works with the savoury theme of this tea. The initial flavour is apple and cinnamon. The apple has a baked flavour, sweet and a little mushy (rather than crisp and sharp), and tastes as if it were dusted with cinnamon prior to going in the oven. The cinnamon is fairly mild, but adds a warm spiciness and complements the apple perfectly. No surprise there – apple and cinnamon are long-established friends. The potato comes out in the mid-sip, and adds a thick, starchy flavour that really does remind me of pancakes. Right at the end of the sip is a smooth butteriness, very rich in the way of actual melted butter, and it does become more prominent with successive sips.

I didn’t make any additions this time, but I would like to experiment with salt and sugar, to see how that changes the flavour profile. I’m definitely looking forward to working out what tastes best to me, although to be perfectly honest I’m happy with it as is. A beautifully unique tea that brings home to me just how much I will miss Butiki once they’re gone forever.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp

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75

This was Saturday morning’s breakfast tea. It reminds me A LOT of Della Terra’s Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, which I really enjoyed earlier in the year. I think this one lacks the chocolate, but the spicing is pretty much identical, and totally yummy.

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 3.5 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. I almost did without the milk, but I find breakfast hard to face if there’s no dairy involved. If I were drinking this one during the day I probably wouldn’t bother, but it’s nice to have the option.

I don’t taste a huge amount of “pie” or pastry in this one, but the “filling” is so perfect I honestly don’t mind. The pumpkin is smooth, mildly sweet, and has that “squashy” flavour that’s exclusive to orange vegetables. The spicing is just right — not so mild that it’s lost, but not so strong that it becomes the main component. I can pick out cinnamon and clove readily enough, and something that’s reminding me a little of almond. I guess that’s where the pastry flavour would come in.

I really enjoy teas like this one during the colder months, and it’s definitely one of the nicer pumpkin teas I’ve tried so far. A potential future repurchase, should it be available.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Dolce Vita by RiverTea
1088 tasting notes

I haven’t been drinking this one as often as I thought I would, so I made an effort to pull it out on Friday night, and I’ve tried a few cups over the weekend. I think this is as close as I’m going to get to my beloved 52 Teas Raspberry Cream, barring a reblend. The raspberry flavour here is pretty spot on; fresh, fruity, a little sweet/tart. There’s a sweet creaminess that’s reminiscent of meringue at its best; cloudy, soft and sugary. My only real complaint is that the base is a little on the weak side for milk, which helps the creaminess along, although it will just about stand up to it. A tasty, sweet treat of a cup. I shouldn’t neglect it!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

I’ve had a sample pouch of this one tucked away in my stash since last autumn. It’s never been opened, so it’s still wonderfully fresh! The maple scent is sweet and distinctive, and there’s no hint of bacon at all. I have a feeling I’ve kept this one for so long out of fear of the bacon, but I wish I hadn’t now!

This was my breakfast tea on Sunday morning. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it four minutes in boiling water, after which there’s a slight oily film on the surface from the sprinkles. The rooibos brewed up pretty dark, so I added a splash of milk. The scent is still mostly maple syrup, and it’s a truly delicious thing! I’m not usually a breakfast person, but I could make an exception if it smelled like this!

To taste, this is pretty much pure maple syrup. There is a tiny, tiny smokiness that’s half reminiscent of bacon, but it’s not overpowering at all. I had feared it would be, but it’s actually a lot milder than many smoked or smoky teas. It’s also sweet, so it really is putting me in mind of bacon, waffles and maple syrup. Really delicious.

Rooibos isn’t usually the tea variety I’d choose for a morning cup, but I have to admit that it works well here. The slight woodiness fits with the sweet/smoky combo, and there’s a mild, almost spongy note at the end of the sip that appears out of nowhere and rounds this one off perfectly. I wasn’t expecting to like this one, but it’s actually pretty perfect. I feel a little sad that I only have a sample pouch now!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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65

Another one I pulled out at Halloween and then brought to work. It’s one of the older teas in my stash, and I figured it deserved an outing after it started to languish! This one has still retained a great deal of its rooibos woodiness, but the mint comes out well so that’s not too much of a complaint. A long brew time and a splash of milk help the vanilla to emerge, but it’s not a strong flavour. There’s not much in the way of chocolate to be found here, even though there are copious chocolate chips in the dry mix. Maybe a hint in the background.

On the whole, this one isn’t my favourite mint choc rooibos. It’s a little too woody for my tastes, but the mint is pleasantly fresh and there’s a touch of sweetness. It’s not all bad! I’m almost done with this one now, and it’s not one I’d look to repurchase, but I have enjoyed finding out! Again, not really a halloween tea, but the bat sprinkles are certainly cute!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
jeweledthumb

I enjoy the Teavana blend so much more than this one, even if there’s a bit of oily residue. Have you tried that one?

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75

I pulled this one out of my stash around halloween, and I’ve been drinking it fairly steadily ever since. I actually think it’s got better with age. I can taste a lot more vanilla now than I could when it was new…a good long brew time really brings out a natural, sweet, almost ice cream like flavour. I typically add a splash of milk to this one, which I used to do primarily to tone the rooibos down. There’s not so much need for that now, but it does add an extra dimension of creaminess that I’m really enjoying!

I’m going to raise my rating of this one a little. It’s a lot less brassy/woody tasting than it was, and it makes for a delicious, comforting creamy treat. I’m not sure it really qualifies as a halloween tea, except in name (the little candy spiders help as well!), but it’s lovely all the same. “Yum” just about sums things up.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This one cheered me up today, although sadly it is a sipdown. The whole office kitchen took on the fragrance of cotton candy; warm, sugary, vanilla loveliness. It’s even more of a joy to drink.

This one will be sadly missed. It was a wonderful afternoon pick-me-up, and the sprinkles are just too cute.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60

I wasn’t sure about this one when I tried my first cup, but I think now that I’ve more or less recovered from my cold, I can give this one a fairer chance. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a quite surprising yellow-orange. Unexpectedly vibrant!

To taste, it’s quite a savoury tea. I can taste an almost starchy baked apple, sharp rather than sweet, and a toasty undertone from the rice. It’s a pretty spot on recreation of baked apple, to be fair. The green tea base is sencha like, smooth and a little grassy. It complements the apple flavour well. There’s a tinge of bitterness right at the end of the sip that puts me off a little, because I usually gravitate towards sweeter teas. It’s nice to try something a little out of my normal range, though; almost a palate refresher! Another pleasing Bluebird tea.

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

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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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