947 Tasting Notes

80
drank SBT: Butterbeer by 52teas
947 tasting notes

Today’s iced tea for work. This one got the usual SBT treatment (3 minutes in a quarter pint of boiling water, topped up with cold and into the fridge overnight). I’ve tried the 52 Teas version of Butterbeer previously in one of the 12 Teas of Christmas boxes, and I’ve got an unopened pouch of a reblend in my cupboard. I liked it well enough, which is why I was eager to give the SBT version a try!

This is best fridge cold, when the buttery flavour seems to come out best. It seems odd to say that about Butterbeer, which should be hot and foaming, and wonderfully warming, but there it is! The flavour actually reminds me of a Werther’s Original, or some kind of butter toffee sweet. The main flavour is an almost caramelised, buttery sweetness, with the underlying flavour of chicory. There’s something a little root beery about it, although it’s definitely more caramel and butter than vanilla ice cream.

Fandom blends are a lovely thing, and this one is a thoughtful tribute to Butterbeer. I’d like to try the Adagio version one day, but I’m happy with this one for now. What I’m also looking forward to is being able to drink my reblend pouch brewed hot again in the winter, while pretending I’m not actually at work but in the Three Broomsticks. Yup, that’ll work.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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30

Another ML Collection tea, and I’m going to say that this one is identical to the Mighty Leaf version, Hojicha Organic. I certainly couldn’t tell them apart!

This one is quite a heavy, dark, earthy flavoured green. It’s not bitter or astringent, though, just strongly flavoured. It’s almost slightly salty, which is a little unexpected — it reminds me of seawater! Potentially that’s because I can also taste seaweed. That’s the closest descriptor I have for the flavour I’m getting from this one. It’s not sweet or vegetal like some greens, it’s slightly nutty, roasty, with a definite “green” flavour — seaweed is the closest I can come.

Not a favourite of mine, but then hojicha in general never has been. I appreciated the difference between this one and some of the other greens I’m drinking at the moment — it was a bit of a palate refresher if nothing else! I’ll happily drink up the rest of my bags, but it’s not one I’d seek our again.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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70

Another from the ML Collection sampler, which I’m trying to finish off over the next week or so. This one is pretty much a dupe for Orange Dulce, although the base tea (black) seems lighter, and the jasmine less pronounced. I’ve had two cups of this today, and I’ve given both of them 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is golden brown, and probably too light to withstand milk, so I made no additions.

The orange flavouring is deliciously creamy, and it’s the primary taste. The jasmine emerges mostly in the aftertaste, or at least at the very end of the sip, and adds a rich, heady note to the sweet, juicy orange. Neither flavour is 100% natural tasting to my mind, but neither are they outrageously artificial. It’s just middle of the road flavoured tea. Pleasant, but not a repurchase.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Sunshine by Della Terra Teas
947 tasting notes

The name of this one is so apt! Just opening the bag and smelling the sweet aroma of apricot and tropical fruit made me think of holiday sunshine and happier days. I’m going for cheering teas today, since that seems to be what I need. This actually came as a free sample with a Della Terra order I placed a good while ago, so it’s about time it got an airing!

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175. It smells delightful while brewing — light, fruity notes of apricot, tinged with the deeper pepperiness of mango. The liquor is a golden sunshine yellow! The taste of this one is very similar to the scent. The initial flavours are apricot and peach, and they’re juicy and fruity. The flavour deepens with notes of mango, which adds a layer of stronger flavour and a slight peppery edge. The sip finishes on a tropical note, with, I think, guava. There might be a hint of pineapple, but I won’t swear to that. It could well be wishful thinking! The green base is pretty unobtrusive — it doesn’t stand a chance against the strong fruit flavours! I could actually be fooled into believing I was drinking a glass of fruit juice if I didn’t know better — it’s that fruity and juicy! A wonderful choice for a hot day — it’s certainly put a smile on my face!

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

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65
drank Hunny by Empress Tea House
947 tasting notes

I forgot about this one while it was steeping last night, and left it for around 7/8 minutes. When I got back to the kitchen, the whole room smelled of mead. Rich honey with a floral edge. The taste was stronger than previous cups have been, so obviously a good long brew is the key if a deeper taste is required. I’ve found this to be the case with various rooibos blends, although sometimes it just makes the rooibos more prominent. Not here; if anything, the rooibos fades into the background underneath the strength of the honey.

I can see myself drinking this either way depending on my mood. Last night I needed comforting as I’d got myself completely stressed about work, and the soothing taste of honey was just the thing to ensure I calmed down a bit and at least got a reasonable night’s sleep. I also like the lightness of flavour that can be found when this is brewed for maybe 4/5 minutes rather than 7/8.

This is a very versatile tea, excellent for those who like honey. Winnie the Pooh would be proud!

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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70

I used up the last two bags of this for today’s work cold brew. I think I’m getting a cold, probably stress induced, so I wanted to stick with a familiar flavour until I work out whether it’s going to develop into something awful again or not. There are few things as sad as trying to taste a new tea while you have a cold :(

So, anyway. I can still taste things okay today, and this makes a very pleasant drink on a hot day. I was concerned at first that spiced tea would taste too heavy and cloying, but it doesn’t at all. It’s light and refreshing, and particularly good when it’s fresh from the fridge and nice and cold. This one will ensure I survive Thursday at work.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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65

I’ve been drinking a lot of light, refreshing teas over the last few days, largely because it’s been so hot. In an office with over 60 people and computers, it’s pretty unbearable at times. That’s one reason why I picked this one out to try — we’ve also been crazy busy, and a teabag is faster and more convenient when I’m desperate for a drink but also in a hurry to get back to my desk.

I allowed the water to cool to around 180 before adding the bag. Dry, there isn’t a great deal of scent. I gave it 2 minutes 30, which is my fallback standard for white teas. Brewed, this is a mild and delicate tea. I can definitely detect notes of ginger, but there’s also the tiniest hint of lemon lurking in the background. The white tea adds a slightly floral edge. It’s an overwhelmingly clean taste, and very, very refreshing. Easy to drink quickly! I imagine it would be good cold, although I don’t have enough left to try that, sadly. This is one of the few mighty leaf blends I would consider repurchasing, particularly for the summer months.

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

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90

This was my iced tea for work yesterday and today. It got the usual SBT treatment (3 mins in a quarter pint of boiling water, topped up to two litres with cold and into the fridge overnight). The dry bag smelt like a freshly opened bag of campino sweets, which was a real flashback from my childhood. I like strawberry things, so I was looking forward to bringing it out mid-morning.

It’s another awesome SBT, especially fridge cold. It has a wonderfully accurate strawberry flavour, and the custard/creme anglaise is also spot on. It’s somehow thick tasting, and very creamy, with a beautiful vanilla sweetness. The strawberry flavouring is also sweet, but the fruitiness it provides is enough to ensure this doesn’t become overwhelming.

I have a pouch of the normal 52 Teas version of this, which I picked up last time it was reblended. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m certainly looking forward to on the strength of the SBT version. This is an SBT I’d definitely repurchase. It’s like liquid dessert! Definitely enough to cheer up a dull day at work.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Hunny by Empress Tea House
947 tasting notes

A sample from ashleyelizabeth! She was kind enough to send me three or so Empress Tea House offerings, and I’ve found them all to be quite light, delicate teas. This one is no exception. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4.5 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The liquor is a warm honey-gold, which obviously softens once the milk is added.

The main flavour is rooibos, and it’s a slightly woody, slightly sweet flavour. It actually provides a pretty good base for the honey flavouring. The honey flavouring itself is rich and almost thick tasting. It comes across very naturally, almost as if a teaspoon of honey had been added to a cup of plain rooibos. This one reminds me strongly of Bluebird’s Honey Bee Beautiful, which had a similarly accurate flavour. The Empress version isn’t as strong, but as I said right at the beginning of this note, light flavours are what I’ve come to expect from these teas.

It doesn’t knock my socks off, but it’s a pleasant caffeine-free cup with light notes of honey. No sweetener required!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Coconut Grove by DAVIDsTEA
947 tasting notes

I had a much improved cup of this tea today. It was, as I suspected, all about the patience. I let the water cool properly, and was rewarded with a much stronger creamy coconut taste. The vanilla was more in evidence, and the white base less prominent and “thick” tasting. It just goes to show what difference a few degrees can make. I liked this before; now it’s inching up into the “really likes”. A very lovely summer cup.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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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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