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691 Tasting Notes

75
drank Salted Caramel by DAVIDsTEA
691 tasting notes

A sample from Sil! I haven’t been drinking that many black teas of late, so this is a bit of a departure from my usual routine. It’s been warm here — summer has definitely arrived — but I’m not feeling great this weekend, so black tea it is.

The dry leaf has small pieces of toffee in it, and the scent is pretty accurate. It has the charcteristic sweet, caramelised scent, plus a bit of saltiness. Brewed, this is much the same in terms of scent. I’ve added milk, so it’s also taken on a slight creaminess, and there’s a thin film on the surface that I’m assuming is from the melted toffee pieces.

To taste, this reminds me of some homemade fudge I had with coffee in a hotel recently. It’s very sweet, definitely caramel, and wonderfully creamy. The saltiness is barely detectable unless I really focus. Overall, I’m really impressed with this one. I like caramel flavoured blacks, so I don’t expect that’s saying much, but this one has a particularly strong and clear flavour. Great stuff!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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95
drank Chilli Chai by Teapigs
691 tasting notes

I wasn’t feeling great last night, so I went for my ultimate comfort tea for a pre-bedtime drink. I’ve just recovered from a cold, but I think it might be coming back again, somehow. Anyway, I always find this tea warming and reassuring. I was too tired to make a latte, so I just brewed this as I normally would a black tea with a hefty dose of milk added. The slight heat from the chili helped to soothe my throat, and the combination of the spices and warm milk helped me to feel all warm and cosy again. For me, this really is comfort in a cup.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Wanderlust by Yumchaa
691 tasting notes

Back to this tea. I’ve neglected it a bit of late, but it seemed like just the thing this morning. As ever, it’s a lovely tea. It’s quite delicate in terms of flavour, but I definetly get apple and cinamon, and the green tea base is smooth and only very lightly grassy. Next to chai, I actually find this a very comforting tea. I suppose apple pie reminds me of home cooking and winter, and that’s what this tea smells and tastes like. Warm apple pie. Yum!

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

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95

I’m always a little bit suspicious of genmaicha. I’m not sure why, maybe because in the past green tea really hasn’t been my thing, and the first genmaicha I tried was a bitter nightmare. I needn’t have worried, though! This one is seriously yummy!

The banana scent is very strong in the packet. It’s not exactly fresh banana, though, more like those foamy banana sweets you can get in pick and mix. They probably have a name, but I can’t recall it. The brewed tea tastes much the same as it smells, which is what I was hoping. I’m rather fond of banana flavoured teas, so long as I can actually taste the banana element, and there’s problem with that here. The intial taste is banana, and it’s quite sweet and candy-like. This is followed by a deep nuttiness from the rice — I guess I can get biscuit or cheesecake base from that if I concentrate, although it’s a little bit strong for that. More toasted than baked, really. Still, though, it IS tea and not an actual cheescake. Let’s be realistic here. The green tea base supports the flavours well, and doesn’t get in the way. It’s not bitter or astringent, and earns its place by contributing a slightly savoury nuttiness to what otherwise might be a pretty overpoweringly sweet tea. As it is, though, it’s perfect!

I think this is actually one of the teas from my very first 52Teas order, so I’m glad I took the opportunity to pick up a pack while I had the chance. It makes a really nice late-afternoon dessert tea, and is pretty good cold, too, if the dregs I just drank are anything to go by. Definitely a hit with me!

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

I like this too! I also wish they would bring back the Bananas foster.

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35
drank Yerba Mate by Teapigs
691 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking one of these every morning at work, and I do feel it helps to boost my energy levels a little over the course of the morning. I’m really not a morning person, so I need all the help I can get not to be a grouchy monster. This goes some way towards achieving that, so it’s a welcome addition to my daily tea rotation. I’m not over keen on the flavour, but I can’t fault its effect!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Raspberry Cream by 52teas
691 tasting notes

Sipdown! This had really been one of the best 52teas blends I’ve tried so far. It’s just divinely creamy, fruity deliciousness. I’m seriously regretting only getting one bag of this, because I know I’m really going to miss it now it’s gone. Great work, Frank!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Berry Berry Nice by Yumchaa
691 tasting notes

I couldn’t remember whether I’d logged this as a cold brew, but it looks like I haven’t. I’ve had a pitcher of this in the fridge ever since I had my first success cold brewing Yumchaa Lemon Sherbet. That made me keen to try some of my other rooibos teas cold, and this was the one I chose. I’ve been kind of addicted to it ever since, because the berry flavouring comes out so, so well when this is cold brewed. It’s far stronger and far more clear than when it’s hot, and the rooibos doesn’t become overpowering. I had feared it might, but if anything, it seems to fade into the background more in the face of the berry flavouring. It also develops a creamy, delicately floral flavour that really isn’t there when hot. A hugely enjoyable cold brew, and one I’m certain to turn to time and again this summer.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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70

I’m down to the last few of my samples from Sil now, and this is one of the ones I’ve really been looking forward to. I’m a big fan of both white tea and berry tea, so this should be a good fit for me.

The dry leaf smells really lovely. Sweet, with definite notes of raspberry and maybe the merest hint of champagne. There are a good proportion of silver tips among the leaves and stems, and everything looks very fresh and green . I was drinking Adagio’s white peony yesterday, which is probably why the greenness stands out here. Although I love Adagio’s version, the leaves are much darker, almost black-brown in some cases, and just don’t have the look of freshness about them that these do.

Anyway, I waited patiently for the water to cool, and gave this about 2.5 to 3 minutes. The liquor is a beautiful golden colour, rather like champagne, and the champagne scent itself is more noticeable now it’s brewed.

To taste, this is wonderfully delicate. The champagne flavour actually comes across really well. I’m not sure what gives that effect – maybe it’s a slight grapeiness I’m picking up on? The floral nature of the white tea base helps a little too, I think. It could only really be improved if it was fizzy, let’s say that! The raspberry is more subtle, but it’s definitely there in the background. In terms description accuracy, this really is like drinking a glass of champagne with a couple of raspberries in it, only in tea form. I’m enjoying this as a warm drink (I’m not going to say hot, as I was good and waited for the water to cool, such that it can’t really be described as hot any more…). I’d love to try it iced, though. I have a feeling that’s how it would really shine. As flavoured white tea goes, though, this is a triumph. Hugely enjoyable. Thanks again to Sil for sharing it with me!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Sil

so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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50
drank Monk's Blend by Tealish
691 tasting notes

My experience with this tea sounds pretty similar to everyone else’s. I find vanilla, caramel and grenadine a slightly odd combination – it’s like there are two halves to the flavour that don’t quite come together. Dry, there wasn’t much scent to this tea. It’s vaguely sweet, but that’s about all I was able to detect. It’s similar when brewed, except the faintest notes of vanilla and strawberry are detectable upon concentration. Mostly, though, the scent is of normal black tea.

The first sip surprised me by being a lot more astringent than I expected. I don’t think I overdid the brew time on this one, although it’s possible I overleafed the tiniest bit. I’ll try and remedy that next time. I can taste the caramel and vanilla in the initial sip, although they’re not strong, and they’re kind of overtaken by the bitterness of the base tea. The grenadine only really comes out in the aftertaste, and is rather like strawberry ice cream syrup. It’s very sweet, maybe a little too sweet, and somehow it just doesn’t fit with a tea that’s otherwise quite dry and flavoured more with creamy tastes than fruity.

Overall, I’d say this tea isn’t really for me. I like the idea of it, but maybe not this exact expression. I’m looking forward to trying my Mariage Freres Marco Polo, though!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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35
drank Yerba Mate by Teapigs
691 tasting notes

I will admit, I’m flagging this afternoon. On the hunt for an energy boost, I decided to try these Yerba Mate teabags, which I stuck in my desk drawer earlier in the week. I always approach them with trepidation for some reason, I guess unflavoured, mate is not my favourite thing in the world. Possibly that’s something to do with the faintly green tinged yellow liquor this one produces. I’m odd about colours and food sometimes. Thankfully, I had a pleasant experience with 52Teas Malted ChocoMate last week, so I’m feeling encouraged about this. Sort of.

Brewed, it has the familiar, tell-tale mate scent. I didn’t like it the first time I tried mate, but I can appreciate now that it smells a bit like coffee. It’s a sort of toasted scent. Not terribly off-putting in itself, but unusual when it comes to tea.

Unfortunately, I’m still not a fan of the taste. I’m not even sure what it is about it that I dislike. There’s just something a bit…swampy, or musty, about it. I can almost convince myself that this is an unusual kind of coffee, which is how I psych myself up to drink it plain, but it’s not something I really like. I can get behind the benefits that it has – especially if it’s going to help me to wake up – but flavoured is going to be the way forward for me here. I just need something to take the edge off its inherent oddness!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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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 not 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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