918 Tasting Notes

60

Another sample from Angrboda I needed all the help I could get to relax last night, as I had a lot of things on my mind. This tea seemed ridiculously appropriately named, so into a cup it went!

I have this about 4 minutes, and it brewed up to a beautiful yellow-gold colour. The leaf in the bag is fairly shredded, as is typical with bagged tea, but it still tasted pretty good. Not as smooth and buttery as the whole flower chamomile teas I’ve tried recently, but not too bad either. The chamomile and mint were the ingredients that came over best in the flavour, as you might expect. I also detected a floralness that I thought was perhaps lavender, but it could equally be the rose specified in the ingredients. The rest of the ingerdients were pretty lost, at least to my palate, but chamomile, mint and rose is a reasonable combination on its own. This probably isn’t the best chamomile/mint blend I’ve tried — I’m still in love with the memory of Adagio Foxtrot, strangely enough — but it’s a decent enough evening tea. It’s bagged, so it’s hard to overlook the convenience when I’m tired, and the flavours were helpful, at least psychologically, for a tired, stressed soul like mine. I did sleep well, so it may even have halped. Either way, it’s good to have another herbal option to add to my night-time rotation, at least for a few days. I’ve another three bags left, and, again, there’ll be no problem finishing them up. I think I’m not convinced enough to seek out more Celestial Seasonings when I’m next shopping for bagged tea — I’ve been really impressed with the two I’ve tried. Thanks again to Angrboda for this sample!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I just bought another box of this the other day. I often have a cup of this before just before sleeping. Husband and I have developed a habit of going to bed about an hour earlier with a cup of herbal (he has something else) and some reading before sleeping. It’s turning into one of my favourite times of the day. :)

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75

A sample from Angrboda. Tried one of these as my pre-bedtime drink yesterday evening. For bagged tea, this isn’t half bad. Or rather, it’s actually pretty wonderful. The honey and vanilla flavouring comes out really clearly, and is sweet and comforting. The spice mix is fairly subtle, but nicely balanced, with the cinnamon and cloves coming out most clearly, and the other flavours hovering just out of reach in the background. What I mean here is that the flavour wouldn’t be the same without them, but they’re hard to pick out individually in the overall taste, unlike the cinnamon and cloves, which are readily identifiable. I didn’t read the ingredients list before trying this one, so I’m a bit surprised to learn that there’s white tea in here. I can’t say it was noticable, although I’ll pay more attention next time.

I brewed this for about 6 minutes in just over half a cup of boiling water, and then topped up with warmed milk. This works really well as a chai latte — it’s sweet, comforting, spicy amazingness. I have three more bags remaining, and I’m looking forward to drinking them as the nights get colder. I needed comforting yesterday, with the storm supposedly arriving, and the fact that HR have messed up my new contract weighing on my mind. Anyway, this is s really lovely blend — probably the most pleasant vanilla chai I’ve tried to date! I’ll definitely look out for this when I’m next shopping for tea — it’s one bagged tea I wouldn’t mind having more of in my cupboard. Thanks again to Angrboda for sharing this with me!

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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75

Had this a couple of times now, usually in the early evening, and it’s just great. I like that there are actual pieces of candy corn in the dry mix, because they really do seem to enhance the flavour. I was a bit sceptical about how well they’d “melt” at first, as some of them are pretty big, but they do seem to disintergrate fairly readily in freshly boiling water.

Otherwise, there isn’t much to say about the flavour — it’s candy corn! Perfect, liquid candy corn. I tried a small piece from the bag beforehand so I’d be able to judge accurately (candy corn is pretty hard to come by in the UK, and it’s been a while since I tasted it), and it really is spot on. I think this might have something to do with the fact that there’s actual candy corn melted into the water, but I tried my second cup without, and the taste is still there, so there must be some pretty awesome flavouring added anyway. As ever, the black base is lovely — neither too strong, nor too weak, and not a hint of astringency. No complaints here — this is just a great halloween/fall tea, and I’ll happily finish off my pouch (probably long before I really want it to be gone). Great stuff.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
JennyFur

I’m curious about this, but candy corn is something I eat once a year just because I feel like I should, so I doubt the tea would be any better. Its such a Halloween-y flavor though and thats my favorite holiday, but I don’t know if thats enough to make me purchase anything.

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80

Having better luck with this one without honey today, strangely enough. First cup of the morning had milk and honey, and I couldn’t taste any lemon at all. Possibly I overdid it slightly. It’s been one of those mornings. I was really looking forward to this, so tried a second cup with just milk and sugar. Lemon flavour is much more prominent now, and I’m a happy worker. At least while I’ve got my tea, anyway :) The St Jude storm didn’t live up to its hype, at least not where I live. That’s a good thing — one less problem to content with today! Say yay, and rhyme!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

I’m currently on my second cup of Lemon Meringue Chai this morning. The first I brewed as a latte, just with normal milk. I got lemon, and a wonderfully strong chai flavour, but nothing I’d really describe as meringue, and very little sweetness overall. For my second cup, I’ve added soya milk, and a teaspoon of honey. It’s better this way — I get a creaminess in the initial sip, then the lemon, then a strong hit of chai spices, and finally a sweetness from the honey. Taken together, the whole flavour does remind me of a lemon meringue, just about.

I would have liked this blend to have had more of its own built-in sweetness, as it were — maybe it needed a bit more marshmallow root? I don’t mind adding honey or sugar, but it’s always nice if the promised flavour is already there. Drinking this plain with just milk, I wasn’t really getting anything meringue like at all. It was just lemon chai. That’s fine, but I wanted the meringue. Badly. I do love this chai blend, though. As chai goes, it’s pretty spot on for me. I could maybe have done with a touch of pepper or chili, but that just reflects my personal taste. The assam base is pretty strong — I get the feeling it might be hiding a couple of the flavours a bit. Even so, I think I prefer that to a weak base, although it makes the addition of milk almost mandatory. Still, chai latte is fine with me.

I like this one. The flavour is there, subject to a few additions, and it’s a really enjoyable blend. Great stuff!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Om by Yumchaa
918 tasting notes

I thought this one would be weird, and it is. At first. The initial sip is just odd…the cinnamon and nutmeg mix together with the backberry and hit you all at once, and then a coolness from the mint comes in. It’s such an offbeat combination, and the flavours really don’t combine well all at once. They separate out in the aftertaste, though, which is what made me pause for a moment before saying outright that I hate it. After the initial shock, the blackberry comes right to the fore; it’s sweet, juicy, very slightly tart. The cinnamon and the nutmeg have faded by this point, so it’s really just the coolness of the mint that lingers. Blackberry and mint are a good combination, so that’s really okay. The pai mu tan is hard to pick out underneath all of the strong flavours, but it’s hard to tell whether an alternative base would have faired any better. This is an odd tea, make no mistake. I can see myself getting used to it, though, in time.

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

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80

Decided to stick with the Tea Palace greens this morning! These are the only two left in my stash, although there are a couple I’d like to try now for winter. I can feel an order coming on!

I was careful with the time and temparature here, because I’ve had a couple of disasterous experiences with Dragonwell teas. My favourite to date is probably 52 Teas Smaug (also residing in my desk drawer at the moment), but I have to be in the mood for that. Today wasn’t the day, so plain it is.

Clearly I’ve been drinking the wrong Dragonwells in the past, because the liquor here is a very pale yellow-green. It smells very savoury, putting me in mind of green vegetables, or something along those lines. The leaves are lovely — flat and broad, and a fresh-looking medium green. So far, so impressed.

The taste is very subtle and delicate. I actually think I could leave this to brew a little longer, which I’ll try next time. I like to go careful to start with, but the scent suggests these have a lot more flavour to impart than I’m currently experiencing. This is light, delicate and slightly floral. There’s a definite green vegetable taste to the initial sip, which develops into an almost orchid like flavour in the aftertaste. It’s not overpowering, though. If anything, it’s actually one of the more refreshing green teas I’ve come across. I’m in the mood for savoury things today, because yesterday was a bit of a sugar overload for me. Perhaps this just really suits how I’m feeling at the moment, but if green teas can be this good I’d genuinely consider drinking a lot more of them. Maybe my tastes have changed? I don’t know. What I do know for this minute is that this is a really wonderful tea! Yum yum!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Grey's Teas

I’ve just added our Dragonwell to our selection of teas on Steepster and would be interested in your review. We have eleven China green teas including Mao Feng Green and Yunnan Green. Richard Grey’ Grey’s Teas

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75
drank Mao Feng by Tea Palace
918 tasting notes

I wasn’t all that impressed with the last Mao Feng I tried, which was from Teapigs. A box I’d had previously was seriously nice — pale green liquor, very grassy flavour. The more recent box was yellow-brown and very bitter, without a hint of the tea I remembered so vividly. That’s why I bought this, in an attempt to rediscover a variety of tea I used to love.

First impressions with this one are much better. The dry leaf smells sweet and almost hay-like. Brewed, the liquor is a very pale yellow-green. I waited for the water to cool, and gave it a carefully watched 2 minutes. It was worth the attention, because I feel I’ve been rewarded with a palatable green tea.

The taste here is sweet, wonderfully nutty, with a vegetal note lurking in the background. It’s one of the nicer green teas I’ve tried recently, and there’s not the slightest hint of bitterness or astringency. This surprised me a little, given that the leaves are more grey-black than green, but there you go. The nuttiness becomes more prominent as the tea cools, which is nice. That’s a characteristic of green tea I can really get behind. All told, a really pleasing tea. I only have a sample tin, but that’ll be enough to be getting along with. I only really wanted to reaffirm my feelings about Mao Feng, and I’ve certainly done that!

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

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70

First tea of the morning. I was neglecting this at home, so brought it to work so that it at least gets some attention as one of only a couple of black teas in my drawer. I added a small piece of crystal sugar (which I finally remembered to bring with me…), and some soya milk. It’s good this way — creamy and sweet. The banana is pretty faint — it’s not a strong flavour by any means — but it’s there, and pleasant. I’m enjoying this one. It’s a nice morning drink!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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80
drank Red Christmas by Yumchaa
918 tasting notes

I actually bought this last year, as I knew I’d be looking for a tea like this by now, and as it’s limited edition, it’s not usually available to buy quite yet. It’s a great christmas tea, though. The ginger and cinnamon are the most prominent flavours for me. I like Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte, so it’s probably not much of a surprise that I like the flavouring here too. I can detect a hint of aniseed, which I don’t mind as a flavour, and the pepper comes out mostly as a warmth at the back of the mouth. There’s a slight nuttiness from the almond, but no chocolate to speak of. That’s fine, because there’s enough going on as it is.

I did think twice about this before buying, as so many “christmas” teas just taste completely overwhelming. I like this one, though. The ingredients combine well, and make for a well-rounded taste that really is reminiscent of christmas. Wonderful work, Yumchaa!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 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 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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