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681 Tasting Notes

70
drank White Peony by Adagio Teas
681 tasting notes

Sent out another swap package today, and while I was going through my stash last night I took the opportunity to make a list of teas I need to finish before I’m allowed to open any new bags. I’ve also started making lists of new teas I’d like to buy again, even though I’ve got more than enough in my cupboard to be going on with. Will I ever learn? I’ve been good today, though, and finished up three of the samples I identified. This is another of the teas I’ve had open a while, though, so I’m doing my bit for this one this afternoon. I’ve said it before, but it’s a tea that’s so delicate and easy to drink that it’s always a welcome addition to my “portable handheld beverage interface” as Alan Sugar apparently has it…

I’ve got a couple of flavoured whites that I’m desperate to move on to, but I’ve got to finish up the plain stuff first. Not that that’ll be any hardship!

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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30

The third and final sample from my second Bluebird order. I’ve only had lavender earl grey once before in my life, and I wasn’t over struck. To be honest, though, it wasn’t a great brand, so my expectations for this one are much higher. It’s a pretty simple tea for Bluebird – the dry mix is composed only of black tea leaves and pieces of dried lavender. It smells, as you might expect, predominantly of lavender, with maybe a very slight hint of bergamot. Brewed, the scent is much the same.

To taste, this is very…lavendery. Teas like this usually make me think of potpourri, and that’s not something I’d ever want to drink. I just don’t know about the combination of bergamot and lavender, either. It’s a little odd. I think I usually end up feeling like this because I like earl grey quite a lot, and I’m not over keen on having it messed about with. On the other hand, I don’t like lavender at all, other than to smell or as a plant in the garden, so I guess I’m biased as well. I’m sure if you like the combination, this would come across as a great tea. It’s quite subtle, the flavours are well balanced, and the black tea base slightly malty and supports the flavours well. It’s not at all astringent, so it’s easy to drink without milk as well. To me, though, there’s something about that taste that’s just a little…off. I know it’s only because the flavour combination just isn’t one that appeals to me, though, so this is by no means a bad tea. Some you win, some you lose, and I’m afraid lavender is always going to lose with me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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50

The second of the samples from my second Bluebird order. This one smells beautifully herbal dry; sweet, floral and minty all at the same time. I can see whole chamomile flowers, pieces of liquorice root, and peppermint leaves among the dry mix, and it’s just so pretty to look at!

To taste, this isn’t quite as sweet as I feared. My last experience with a liquorice tea was Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint, which is majorly sweet. I kept a close eye on this while it was brewing, but even so, this one is much more palatable. Chamomile is the dominant taste, followed by peppermint. It’s a combination I’ve tried before, and it’s by no means a bad one. The ginger is a bit lost, though. I was hoping I’d really be able to taste it, but it’s hard to pick out at all.

Apart from being less sweet than I thought it was going to be, this one isn’t really wowing me. It’s made me reconsider liquorice tea for the future, since I know now that they’re not all hellishly sweet. Chamomile and peppermint is a combination I’ve tried before, though, and there’s nothing particularly special about it here. If only the ginger was more discernible, then I think it would be really something. This probably isn’t one I’d buy for myself, but I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try it. Thank you, Bluebird!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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75

This is the first of the samples from my second Bluebird order. I love the little packets they come in – so cute! This one actually looks a lot like the Yumchaa Enchanted Forest I’m working my way through at the moment. It’s a sencha, with quite long, flat, folded leaves and a smattering of rose petals. The difference is the addition of cherry blossom, and the fact that this one smells divinely floral and (as you might expect!) strongly of cherry.

Brewed, this smells really marvellous. It’s actually filling my reception area with the scent of cherry blossom! The cherry comes out surprisingly well in the taste as well, although it’s more floral than fruit. Given that this is supposed to be cherry blossom, though, I suppose that’s not too surprising. It’s quite delicate and pleasant, perfect for drinking on a sunny morning. I guess I picked a good day to try this one! There’s a very slight bitterness from the green tea base, although I think that might be my fault for not letting the water cool quite enough. Patience is something I’m still working on when it comes to tea! Ultimately, this is a very pleasant tasting tea. It’s sweet, delicate, and very moreish. I feel slightly disappointed now that I only had a one cup sample. This is definitely a candidate for future orders!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Mike Turner

I don’t have any patience either, so I put cold water in the mug first! I want one of those posh kettles that does it all for you…

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90
drank Weeping Angel Tea by 52teas
681 tasting notes

Approaching sipdown on this one. I’ve been drinking it most evenings, at the expense of the other teas in my stash. I really do enjoy the caramel-popcorn combination it’s got going on — it’s almost like it was made for drinking in front of the TV (Dr Who particularly, obviously), or while watching a film. I’ll be sad when it’s gone, but at least it’ll force me to start drinking something new again!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Shmiracles

i knowww! what will i drink during episodes now that my Weeping Angel is gone?! whimper..
:) heehee

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95
drank Enchanted Forest by Yumchaa
681 tasting notes

This is the other one in my desk drawer at the moment. Until fairly recently, I wasn’t a huge fan of green tea. This was one of the ones that helped to change that. I’m trying to run down my stash of Yumchaa teas a little bit, which is why I’m drinking this and Raspberry Vanilla pretty intensively at work atm. I like the sweet, creamy, rhubarb flavour this one has. It’s actually making me want to sample Bluebird’s Rhubarb and Custard, just to compare, but it’s not like I need to buy any more tea just at the moment. If anything could make me think of unicorns wandering through a magic forest on a work day, it would be this tea. I don’t know why it makes me think like that. Possibly because I’m so tired I’m almost hallucinating? It’s a pleasant thought, anyway, and now I’m going to stop rambling. This is a great flavoured green tea, one of the best I’ve tried. That’s really all there is to it.

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

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30
drank Chocolate Malt by 52teas
681 tasting notes

Another sample from the wonderful Sil! I did actually try and order this one, but a bag of Malted ChocoMate turned up instead. Still, it was just as welcome, and I’ve got to try both in the end anyway!

The dry leaves smell sweet and woodsy, and ever so slightly like maltesers. It’s only very slight at the moment, though — the main scent is undoubtedly the honeybush. That’s okay, though. Honeybush and I can get along.

Brewed, this smells rich and deep and chocolatey. Not so much like malted chocolate, more like a bar of chocolate that’s been melted. To taste, this isn’t quite what I was hoping. It is vaguely chocolatey, but I’m not really getting chocolate malt. There’s also a slightly odd chemically flavour that I know some others have picked up on too. It’s not overpowering, but it does seem to mask the flavour a little.

With my second and third cups, I tried a little more leaf and a slightly longer brew time, but that didn’t really change anything. I’m not 100% happy with this one. It’s a palatable enough honeybush, but it just doesn’t wow me like some other 52Teas blends have. I’m not missing the full bag after all!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec
Sil

well glad that worked out for you. i really didn’t like this at all, but apparently the original blend was amazing.

Scheherazade

Well…kind of, anyway. I was hoping it was going to taste more maltesery, but you can’t win them all. The original blend does sound a lot closer to what I was expecting!

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85
drank Vital Apple by Tea Palace
681 tasting notes

This is another one I’ve been drinking almost exclusively cold-brewed recently. On the whole, I prefer my tea hot, though, so it’s high time I tried this one before I run out.

The dry mix smells insanely strong — just like freshly squeezed apple juice, with a touch of pineapple swimming around in the background. It reminds me a little bit of apple fruit leather, only jucier!

Brewed, this smells completely different — a bit like freshly baked apple pie. There’s a slight hint of cinnamon and caramel about it, which is probably what’s giving me that impression. The pineapple also comes out much more clearly than I was expecting. It’s a bit of an odd combination, actually.

I needn’t have worried, though. This has got to be one of the better fruit teas I’ve tried — not least because it’s got no hibiscus in it! The natural flavours of the apple and pineapple shine through, and it really is like drinking a fruit salad. The “baked” element I detected in the scent doesn’t really translate to the taste, except slightly in the aftertaste. It’s just fruity, refreshing, tropical wonderfulness. Another hit from Tea Palace!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec

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85

I loved strawberry lemonade when I was a child (and anything pink, come to that). Now I’m all grown up, I like tea more than carbonated drinks — and fruit tea is a particularl favourite. When the two can combine, it’s a good day in my book. The dry leaves of this tea are insanely summery. Huge chunks of strawberry, lemon and orange peel, small pieces of apple, hibiscus, and sunflower petals. The scent isn’t exactly strawberry lemonade — it’s somehow more sherbet-like than that. I suppose that could be the “fizz” element. Either way, it definetly smells of strawberries, with maybe the faintest hint of lemon. Fresh, sweet, beautiful!

I tried this cold brewed a couple of weekends back, and was a tiny bit disappointed with how well the strawberry came out. It was a little flat tasting, and the hibiscus seemed to take over, so I’ll be interested to see whether it’s different brewed hot.

Brewed, this is definetly a fight between the strawberry and the hibiscus, but I think the strawberry just about wins. The same sherbetty element I picked out in the smell survives and adds a certain lemonade-esque quality to this tea. The lemon itself comes out really clearly in the aftertaste. On balance, I wish there was a little bit less hibiscus, but this is a pretty good fruit tea. I certainly get strawberry lemonade from it, and accurate taste can sometimes be a rare commodity in fruit teas. I could drink this happily all summer — it’s so juicy, naturally sweet, and nicely balanced in flavour. Great work, Bluebird!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
TeaBrat

I think Teavana also has a tea like this, have you tried it?

Scheherazade

No, I haven’t yet. Lack of a credit card is the problem at the moment, but it’s certainly one I’d like to try in the future.

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85
drank Raspberry Vanilla by Yumchaa
681 tasting notes

Drinking this at work right now. It’s sweet and comforting, as always, but I think on the whole I prefer it with milk. It seems to lend this a milkshake-like flavour that I can really get behind. Anyway, there is no milk, so black it is. I’m having a hard time staying awake today for some reason. I can’t think why I should be so majorly tired, but I am. I think I’m going to switch to something caffeinated for my next cup or two. Honestly, 5.00 can’t come quickly enough!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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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 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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