901 Tasting Notes

25

Sipdown! There were three whole blackberries in this cup, and you can taste the difference. They overpower the hibiscus completely, making this a lot more pleasant than it was last week. It actually tastes fruity now! It’s still a little tart and sour, but it’s also much improved. There’s a definite berry flavour, and it’s juicy and more refreshing. As a bonus, it’s not drying my mouth out anymore.

The flavours aren’t very well balanced. Last time, all I got was hibiscus and rosehip, with a hint of strawberry and raspberry. Today, all I’m getting is blackberry. Where the pineapple and papaya are in all this, I have no idea. It’d be better if the flavours were more even – if I could have a cup that tasted of strawberry, blackberry and raspberry I’d be happier – but I don’t think that’s going to happen. In any case, I enjoyed this tea today so I’ve increased its rating a little. I probably won’t be repurchasing, though. It’s too hit and miss for that.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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25

Backlog from Monday.

Second of the fruit teas I got with my order of samples from Jenier. I have no idea why this is aimed at children specifically, or called Fairy Princess. It’s supposed to be a strawberry, papaya, pineapple, blackberry and raspberry fruit blend, as far as I can discern. With generous amounts of apple, hibiscus and rosehip thrown in for good measure.

It smells nice – you can tell it’s a berry tea, and the strawberry is detectable. To taste, though, it’s SO TART. It’s actually making me scrunch my face up, which doesn’t happen to often. I can taste strawberry initially, and a sharpness that’s almost raspberry in the aftertaste. Everything in between is screamingly tart, mouth-drying hibiscus, unfortunately, and I can’t taste pineapple, blackberry or papaya at all. It could be nice, but it isn’t really. There’s too much sourness for that. The search continues.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60

Backlog from Monday

A sample from Queen of Tarts, and the second of tonight’s stone fruit rooibos blends. This one has a bit more going on – it’s a green rooibos base, with peach, strawberry, and citrus flavouring. I like the idea of this one, and I’ll be a happy thing indeed if I can taste both the peach and the strawberry. More so if they taste even vaguely natural. Let’s see…

I gave this one three minutes, maybe just over, in boiling water. The scent here is mostly green rooibos – I’m not really getting any fruit. To taste, though, it’s a completely different story. Peach is the predominant flavour, as might well be expected, but I can also taste a hint of strawberry in the background which develops quite well in the aftertaste. There’s a slight sharpness, too, although I’d be hard pressed to identify exactly which fruit contributed that. Lemon? Orange? Probably one of those. This is another one that’s nice and natural tasting, so I’m happy about that. The fruit flavouring comes across sweet and juicy, and melds perfectly with the green rooibos base, which adds a slightly woody taste but it otherwise unobtrusive.

Another great rooibos blend, seemingly I’m on a roll with these at the moment! Thanks again to Queen of Tarts!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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60

Backlog from Monday.

A sample from Queen of Tarts, and the first of two stone-fruit rooibos blends to round off the evening. This is the more straightforward of the two – conventional red rooibos with apricot flavouring. My problem with similar teas in the past has been that the apricot tastes so chemically and artificial. I’d love to like one, though, so we’ll see how I get on here.

I gave this one almost four minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a pretty dark brown, but the scent is lovely –sweet, slightly fruity, with not a hint of rooibos to be discerned. The taste is similar – the apricot is very subtle, very delicate, but it’s sweet and juicy, and perfectly natural tasting. The rooibos adds a bit of depth without being overpowering, and without the typical “brassy” taste it can sometimes have.

On the whole, I’d probably have preferred a slightly stronger flavour. Mild and natural is better than strong and artificial any day, though. I liked this a lot more than I thought I would – finally, an apricot rooibos I could get behind! Thanks again to Queen of Tarts for sharing this with me!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

Backlog from Monday.

I’ve never tried a grapefruit tea before, so this is one I’ve been interested in for a while. I chose it as a sample with my last Butiki order, purely because I prefer black and rooibos teas to green. In any case, if I like it, I’ll definitely buy more!

Today was a good choice for this, I feel. It might well be the last day of summer, and grapefruit green somehow feels like a summer tea. I let the water cool to about 180, and gave it about 2 and a half minutes.

Brewed, this smells really beautifully, delicately, of grapefruit. It’s augmented perfectly by a slight grassiness from the green base, which complements the sharpness of the grapefruit and seems almost sweet in comparison.

I’d never have believed tea could replicate the flavour of grapefruit to accurately, but there you go. Tasting is believing! Another great sample from Butiki!

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

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90

Backlog from Monday.

A sample from Queen of Tarts. This has got to be the nicest smelling fruit tea I’ve had in a good long time. Rather than tart hibiscus, I can actually smell sweet, fresh strawberries. This makes me hopeful that I’ll actually be able to taste strawberry…

I gave this about three minutes in boiling water. There were two foamy sugar drops in my sample, and I waited until they’d more or less dissolved. I’ve not seen this before, but it struck me as a pretty cute idea. I tried this with a little trepidation, as it smells so good. For once, though, the taste actually lives up to that. It’s like drinking strawberry Ribena, or something. It tastes beautifully of strong, juicy, strawberry, and there’s just the right amount of sweetness tempered by a slight background tartness. I can taste a slight spiciness, too (cinnamon/cardamom?), and a touch of orange.

As fruit teas go, this is definitely a great one. Love at first sip! Strawberry is the main flavour, but the other ingredients make it a little bit unique. Really, really nice.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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65

Backlog from Sunday.

While I’m tasting plain black teas, I thought I’d finish with this one. I like Darjeeling well enough, on the whole. Not as much as I like assam, but it’s definitely up there. I generally prefer first flush, but I’ve had a couple that aren’t, and they’ve been okay too. I gave this about three minutes in boiling water, and the liquor is a medium yellow-gold. The scent is quite perfumey, and a touch grassy.

To taste, this is beautifully smooth and delicate. There’s a very slight almost metallic tang, then a distinctive floral fruitiness, ending with a gentle muscatel note. No grassy notes, really, but that’s okay.

This is a tea that’s really easy to drink, and very moreish. Perfect for a warm summer evening, which is more or less what the day has turned into, despite it feeling decidedly autumnal earlier in the week. Another great tea from Butiki!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

Try it at about 180 – 190 F, you might like it better

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70

Backlog from Sunday.

I’m beginning to rather like banana teas, so I’m pleased to have another one to try. I think this is one of the last teas left from my first Bluebird order, so it’s past time I tried it, really.

Dry, this doesn’t really smell of banana. I’m getting vanilla and caramel, and a generic sweetness, but not banana. I can see pieces of dried banana in the mix, though, so hopefully they’ll become more prominent once brewed.

I gave this about four minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The base tea here is Ceylon, so has a light citrus flavour all of its own. I think this matches particularly well with the banana (which I can taste after all), while the milk pairs perfectly with the vanilla to give a really creamy finish. It’s almost like drinking a banana split! I’m pleased with how well the banana comes over, as I couldn’t discern it at all dry. It really sings in the finished brew, though, and helps to make this a pretty awesome banana tea.

It’s not as in-your-face as 52Teas Monkey Fart, and it tastes a tad more natural (less like those foam banana sweets, and more like actual banana). I adore the creaminess, and the sweet caramel note that overrides it all. One of my favourite Bluebird teas so far!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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40
drank Green Rooibos by Adagio Teas
901 tasting notes

Backlog from Sunday.

This is the first time I’ve tried green rooibos on its own. I’ve had a couple of blends which featured it, but I’ve never tried it in its neat state before. The smell, at first, was discouraging. I find rooibos disturbingly brassy, but this smells somehow…swampy. The colour of the dry leaf was interesting, though. It is actually pale green and cream. I don’t know what I was expecting, but a small part of me was pleased that its colour lived up to its name. I think I thought it was just going to look like rooibos. And rooibos is red. Habit.

Anyway, this doesn’t taste as bad as it smells. It’s not exactly lovely stuff, but it’s not bad. The taste is hard to pinpoint. I want to say woodsy, but in a piney sort of way, or maybe sawdust. There’s something quite resinous and “green” about it. I also want to say nutty, but that’s not quite right either. It tastes similar to normal red rooibos, only…greener. Unhelpful, yes, but it’s so hard to put words to what I’m tasting. I think raw wood and resin, maybe pine, are as close as I’m going to get.

The liquor is a pale gold, so I drank this as is. I normally add milk to rooibos, but it wouldn’t work here. I can’t say I find it an enjoyable cup, but I’ve got a couple of blends in my stash that feature green rooibos, and I wanted to try it solo at some point so I have the experience to draw on when tasting. Educational, if not overwhelmingly pleasant.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85

With a new Butiki order on its way, I’m trying to work through as many teas from my previous orders as possible. This is one I’ve neglected for too long, especially since I’ve been trying to identify oolongs I can get along with for a good long while now.

Dry, this smells amazing – maple and pecan in equal measure. Rich, sweet, nutty, almost syrupy. There are generous pieces of pecan in with the oolong, and the leaves are, for the most part, long and wiry, slightly twisted.

I brewed this as per packet parameters. 170 degree water for about 4 minutes. My first thought on tasting went something like “Ohh. This is lovely.” Not my normal response to an oolong, it has to be said. This is heavily flavoured and pretty rich – rather like drinking maple syrup, only not thick or sticky. The maple is the first thing I can taste – sweet, rich, almost buttery. The pecan develops second, adding an almost toasted flavour which cuts through the sweetness well. The oolong provides just the right kind of base – substantial but not too strong or overpowering. It’s perfect here, adding a faint but discernible mineral taste in the background, and brining the whole thing together really well. Another oolong I can add to my (very short) list of likes. Brilliantly done.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 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 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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