963 Tasting Notes

65

I cold brewed this to take to work at the end of last week. I have a huge bag in my cupboard, and it’s not my favourite mint black, so I figured I had nothing to lose. Turns out, I enjoy it much, much more cold than I do hot! I used 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of water, and put it in the fridge overnight for about 10 hours. It’s the oddest colour when it’s done — transparent green. I kid you not. It tastes pretty nice, though. The mint is the most prominent flavour, but it’s not too in-your-face. The chocolate and the vanilla are given a chance to shine, too, and both are easily identifiable. The mint makes it refreshing, the vanilla creamy…and since when was chocolate an unwelcome addition to, well, anything?! I’ll probably use up the last of my bag this way, while people around me look puzzled and say “what is that?” It sure looks odd, so I guess they’re entitled.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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90

A sample from Memily! I’ve tried this one both black and with milk recently, and I actually like both equally. Maybe a slight leaning preference towards the black, because I get more of the “berry” notes, and it tastes somehow juicier. The milk seems to muddle things a bit — it becomes harder to define the flavours, although it is deliciously creamy. Still, no complaints about a versatile milk/no milk tea!

I gave 1 tsp of leaf about 3.5 minutes in boiling water for both cups. At first, I thought there was too much going on in the flavour for me to really be able to enjoy. Then, as it cooled, I had a “Huh? Gin?” moment. That’s when I knew there was juniper in here, even without having read the ingredients. Yay for my palate! Underneath the strong juniper is a hint of dark, berry fruitiness. I’m reminded a little of Whispering Pines’ Elder Grove. The black tea is smooth and somehow juicy, which in turn put me in mind of Butiki’s leafhopper blacks – Taiwanese Wild Mountain and Mi Xian particularly.

I think it’s safe to say I really enjoy this one! It’s got lots of flavour, and the black base is lovely. An easy winner.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Morning Red by T2
963 tasting notes

A sample from Memily. This is a bold cup if ever there was one! For some reason, I was thinking this one was going to be like MF Marco Polo…I think the “red” in the name was making me think of strawberry syrup! Perhaps fortunately, it’s nothing like that.

It’s a black tea, and it’s sweetly malty with a strong grain edge. It reminds me slightly of Butiki’s Crimson Horizon, or 52 Teas RadioactiviTEA, although this one has a more lingering taste. It’s like I can smell it just as much as I can taste it when I take a sip. There’s a lovely dark cocoa/chocolate note, maybe the tiniest hint of smoke. I can see this one being really nice with cream just to smooth the edges a little, so that’s something to try later! Surprisingly, there’s no astringency at all. It’s a little rough, but I can tolerate that. This would be a brilliant morning cup — it may have to come to work with me on Saturday to get me up and running. Boo for 6 day weeks!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

This was yesterday’s work cold brew. I didn’t get chance to log it because work is manically busy right now, but today we were sent home early after a colleague was taken ill, so I took the opportunity to catch up with my tasting notes!

This was one of the teas I picked up with my huge recent Bluebird order. I tried a sample previously and liked it, so it was one I was keen to revisit. I figured it would make a good cold brew, and I wasn’t wrong! I used three bags in just over a litre of cold water, and left it in the fridge overnight for around 10 hours.

I’m pleased to say I prefer this cold. The strawberry flavour comes out much more clearly, and although there’s hibiscus in this, I can hardly taste it at all. Completely at odds with how this one is hot, when the tartness of the hibiscus pretty much overpowers the strawberry completely. The lemon also comes through nicely at the end of the sip, adding a slightly sharp/sour tang. It really does remind me of strawberry lemonade — the only thing I think might improve it is sparkling or soda water, for the real lemonade effect! Either that, or a slice of real lemon. I’m glad I revisited this one — it could easily become a cold brew favourite!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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95
drank Alpine Punch by DAVIDsTEA
963 tasting notes

A sample from Memily. The first time I tried this one, I LOVED it. Like, give me more immediately loved it. Now I actually have some more, I find that second time around I’m not so keen. I know the sample I had previously was sealed, and I remember there being a lot of leaf for a single cup, but I was so tired after clearing I chucked it in and hoped for the best. This was back in the days when I had far too little tea experience, anyway. I remember the flavour being uber strong, and absolutely delicious.

For my last couple of cups, I’ve used 1.5tsp of leaf in 212 water for about 4 minutes. It might just be my tastes moving on, but I found it a little underwhelming. The flavour is a little muted, although I still get coconut/almond with a hint of cinnamon. It reminds me of amaretti biscuits! I think in the meantime I’ve just drank flavoured teas I like more…and unflavoured teas I love. Still, fond memories remain.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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40

jasmine tea isn’t typically my thing, although there have been one or two that have appealed to me in the past. This one is okay — the jasmine isn’t too perfumey or floral. It’s definitely there, and it’s definitely jasmine, but somehow it’s delicate enough that that’s okay. The green tea is smooth and light tasting — no bitterness or astringency which is always a good thing in my book when it comes to green tea! There’s an element of sweetness, which is welcome, and a relatively heady floral aftertaste. It’s not one I’d repurchase, but it’s a pleasant enough cup on a warm afternoon. My rating only really reflects my dislike for jasmine in general.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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25

So I was expecting strong floral from this one. Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened the pouch and got…coconut! Really strong coconut, as in coconut essence rather than the actual fruit. It actually reminds me of a body shop soap I used to use when I was younger! There’s no faulting the leaves, though. They’re rolled, and a beautiful green-brown with some yellowish stalks. No crushed or broken leaves here. Given that this is called “Orchid” oolong, and Orchid is a flower, I’m still thrown by the strong coconut scent.

I gave the bag three minutes in 180 degree water, after which the liquor is a golden yellow-brown. The scent of coconut is still strong, although there’s a fresh, mineral oolong scent also developing, and maybe a hint of light floral.

The strongest note in the flavour is initially coconut. The middle of the sip is more oolong, however, and is mildly buttery. A delicate floral comes out at the end of the sip, but it’s not nearly as potent as I expected it to be. It’s a heady floral, though, so orchid would fit. Sadly, it’s all but overwhelmed by coconut, which is really far too pungent, and quite oddly so. It really is like someone dumped half a bottle of coconut essence in the cup. Another slight issue is the astringency, which adds a dryness to the end of each sip. It’s not terrible, but paired with the coconut it’s pulling this one down in my estimation. It’s drinkable, but not really for me.

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

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80

Used all but the last teaspoon of this in today’s cold brew. I’m going to be sad when it’s gone, as it’s one of the 52 Teas reblends I’ve liked the most of the ones I’ve tried so far. It’s good hot, but on the strength of the SBT version I really wanted to give it a try cold brewed.

So I did. I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, and put it in the fridge for 10 hours overnight. It’s so good. Maybe even better than the SBT version! I was wondering whether it was going to be worthwhile sacrificing the last of my pouch to a cold brew, but it definitely was. If anything, this one comes alive cold. I can taste blueberries — fresh, sweet, juicy blueberries. I can taste the tang of cream cheese — creamy, cold, slightly savoury. More exciting than both of these, I can taste PASTRY! Buttery, flaky pastry. That’s a flavour I haven’t always been able to detect hot, but it’s here cold. Undeniably.

Am I glad I chose this as today’s cold brew? Certainly! If nothing else can cheer up a dull Friday, this will be able to. I’m saddened that my pouch is now pretty much gone, but at least I’ll have fond memories. In the meantime, I can enjoy the rest of my bottle today. I’ve increased my rating a little to reflect today’s success.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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85
drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
963 tasting notes

I’m giving this a go cold brewed today, since it struck me as something that might potentially work quite well. I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, and set it in the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. My first though is that it’s quite rooibossy — it has a distinctive woodiness that comes through quite strongly in the initial sip. To my tastes, more so than when hot. This is soon replaced with the cool, soothing, refreshing mango and yoghurt flavour that makes this such an accurate representation of the real thing. I do wish the rooibos was a little less prominent, but ultimately it makes a good cold brew. I’m pleased with the amount of mango I am able to taste, and it’s the perfect choice for a hot day like this one :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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65

After my success cold brewing MojiTEA last week, I decided to have a go with a second green. I really liked the SBT Razzleberry, so I pulled out the 52 Teas genmaicha version to try. I used 2 tbsp of leaf in just over a litre of water, and left it in the fridge for about 8 hours. The resulting liquor is a pale yellow-green, and it smells TOASTY. Seriously toasty.

Fridge cold, it also tastes seriously toasty. Almost burnt, really. Underneath the genmaicha is a light berry flavour, although it’s really struggling to compete against the toastiness of the rice. As the burnt flavour fades, the raspberry/blackberry flavour is able to emerge a little more, but not as strongly as I would have liked. The green tea base is smooth and not at all bitter or astringent, though, so I’m pleased about that.

On the whole, I think I’ll be sticking to the SBT version of when I want my iced Razzleberry fix. This is okay, but rather too toasty for me to say I really like it. I have a similar problem with it brewed hot, but somehow I prefer it that way. I’ll finish my bottle of this, but I won’t be cold brewing it again! A worthwhile experiment, though.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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Profile

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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