1553 Tasting Notes

100
drank Southern Sunrise by T2
1553 tasting notes

A sample from Memily! I LOVE this. I knew from the scent while it brewed that I would love it, and I absolutely do. It’s grapefruit! An actual accurate-tasting grapefruit tea, which is slightly sour and slightly bitter and slightly sweet all at once. I’d say white grapefruit, with a hint of lemon, and it’s a combination that works really well. The hibiscus adds a tiny tart sweetness, which takes the edge off just a little, and probably stops this one from tipping over into the realm of too sharp. As it is, it’s perfect.

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 5 minutes in boiling water, no additions. I could add a piece of crystal sugar to this one, I suppose, but it honestly doesn’t need it. It’s perfect just as it is. Very fresh tasting, juicy, and absolutely refreshing. It’s one of the nicest fruit/herbal blends I’ve tried in a long, long time. I may have to hoard the rest of my sample. Thanks again to Memily for sharing this with me! It’s an amazingly gorgeous wonder-tea!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Cathy Z

My favourite herbal ever. Also amazing iced!

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80
drank Orange Blossom by DAVIDsTEA
1553 tasting notes

A sample from Memily! I’ve been drinking this one on an evening over the past few nights, and it makes for a delicious pre-bedtime treat. I’ve been using 1.5 tsp of leaf, and giving it 4-5 minutes in boiling water before adding a splash of milk. The flavour is a rather nice candy orange — a little like an orange flavoured lolly, or orange boiled sweets. There’s a light hint of floral in the background, and a whiff of perfume. It sums up orange blossom pretty perfectly to me!

I’ll have no trouble finishing off my sample of this one. It’s a pleasant orange rooibos, easy to drink, and caffeine free to boot! A win with me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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80

A sample from ashleyelizabeth! I really enjoyed the last Stash tea I tried, which came to me courtesy of VariaTEA, so I was eager to give this one a try. I like chai in general, particularly on colder days, and vanilla chai is generally among my favourites. I gave the bag 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.

The first flavour I can detect is strong, rich, creamy vanilla. It’s almost chocolatey in its intensity, and reminds me a lot of a posh white chocolate vanilla truffle. The spicing develops after the initial hit of vanilla, and lingers in the mouth. It leaves a little powdery dryness, but otherwise it complements the vanilla well. The spicing isn’t too heavy handed, so it doesn’t overpower the whole cup, but I could probably take it a little stronger. I can pick out the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg easily — it’s a combination that’s making me think of Christmas cake! The clove and cardamom are more muted, although given that this is a very sweet, rich blend, that’s probably for the best.

I’m enjoying this cup, and on the strength of the two Stash teas I’ve tried, I’d definitely be open to sampling more in the future. A yummy chai blend for a cool autumn day.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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55

Tea of the morning, with a little crystal sugar. The sugar helps the orange and jasmine flavours a little, but it still tastes thinner than I’d really like. It’s also nowhere near as rich and heady as Mighty Leaf Orange Dulce, which makes me sad. I suppose not every day needs to be decadent dessert tea day, though, so this could be my more “down to earth” orange jasmine choice. I think I’ll be drinking it with sugar from now on. It comes to life a little more this way.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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90

I was sure I’d written a tasting note for this one, but apparently not. I know I’ve tried it at least a couple of times before. Still, better late than never! Usually, green tea is not my thing. That’s probably why I wasn’t hugely encouraged when I opened the tin and saw how dark the green tea leaves are. In my mind, dark green tea leaves equates to bitterness, although obviously this isn’t a reliable rule of thumb as I’ve proved to myself on more than one occasion. This time is no exception.

I used 1 tsp of leaf, and allowed the water to cool to around 170. I gave the leaves 2.5 minutes, and the resulting liquor is medium yellow-green. The taste is surprising. It’s so creamy, it’s hard to actually taste the green tea base at all. The main flavour is sweet, candy-like lemon, with a strong, creamy overcoat of vanilla. It’s like eating cheesecake, or some kind of delicious lemon cream dessert. It’s not often that I really, really enjoy an Adagio tea, and seemingly less often that I really, really enjoy a green tea. This one has defied all my expectations, however, and is actually very pleasant. I can see myself coming back to this one a lot in the future. I may even take some home for icing, as I suspect it would work just as well cold. A surprise hit!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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55

I have no milk at work right now, so I’m drinking this black. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 2.5 minutes in boiling water — I didn’t want to overdo things, because Adagio blacks can be a little finicky at times. This one is okay. It’s a little thin tasting, so I might be able to increase the brew time a little bit. Usually I give it between three and four minutes, and then add a healthy splash of milk (which obscures a multitude of sins, apparently). My main problem here is that I’ve tried Mighty Leaf’s Orange Dulce which is the pinnacle of an orange jasmine tea in my estimation — rich, creamy, a nice flavour, and an edge of heady jasmine. This one is also orange jasmine, but it’s nowhere near as nice in comparison. I get orange, but it’s more orange rind than orange juice, and a little “dry” and bitter tasting. The jasmine is faint, which works for me because it’s not my favourite thing, but then stuck right in the middle is chamomile. It adds a honey-like sweetness, which helps to offset the orange, but it’s just not right somehow. Overall, I’m left with the feeling that the flavours here just don’t come together very well. They’re all there separately, and it’s like drinking an oddly divided cup. There’s too much going on, and not a lot of cohesion.

This is one of the few black teas I have at work right now, so I will drink it. On the whole, though, I prefer it with milk. It brings things together a little more, adds a pleasant creaminess, and hides some of the odder notes. Not having many teas at work is a conscious decision on my part — I’m trying to get myself to finish up some old blends, some larger quantities, and some teas that have languished because they’re just not favourites. It’s working, so far, but I may have to go out and buy some milk if I’m going to get through it!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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50
drank Om by Yumchaa
1553 tasting notes

I’m still drinking this one. It’s probably one of the oldest teas I have left, and it languishes at work most of the time. It’s not that I don’t like it…most of the times I drink it, I’m reminded of how much I DO like it. I think sometimes I find it a little thick and cloying — the base is white peony, and fairly heavily floral, and the blackberry flavouring is quite tart. The nutmeg adds another layer of sweetness. There is supposed to be mint, which might help to take the edge of some of the sweetness, but it’s not really coming out in the flavour anymore. Perhaps because it’s a little on the old side now. Hopefully I’ll finish this one off relatively soon. It’s just a little too sweet for my tastes, these days, and has probably seen better days itself.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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55
drank Midsummer Night by RiverTea
1553 tasting notes

This is my second attempt at cold brewing this tea. First time, I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, and left it for around 10 hours overnight. The resulting brew was very weak, and didn’t really taste of very much at all. A disappointment. This time, I used 3 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, again for around 10 hours. I’m much happier with the result.

Looking at the dry leaf worried me a little when I spotted pieces of liquorice root. Liquorice has become my nemesis recently (it ruined Bluebird’s Aniseed Balls for me, in the end, and also their All Things Nice blend). Fortunately, I can’t taste it at all in the actual tea. Relief! What I can taste is lemon, quite sharp and fresh tasting, and a background tartness from the hibiscus and rosehip. It’s a combination that works fairly well, and I can completely see this being a wonderful drink on a hot summer evening, with plenty of ice and some slices of fresh lemon, maybe a sprig of fresh mint. The mint is what I miss here, I think. Spearmint is listed as an ingredient, but I can’t taste it at all. I think it would help to augment the sharp tartness this one has with a touch of natural sweetness, so I’m sad that it’s not really making itself known.

I’m going to try this hot next, to see whether that makes a difference to the dominant flavours. I doubt it will, somehow, but you never know. I might try adding a little honey or crystal sugar, maybe some fresh mint leaves, depending how I get on. This is the second RiverTea blend I’ve tried from my first order (other than samples) and I’m fairly encouraged so far. This is a pleasant summer blend, and I like the accuracy of the lemon flavouring. No bathroom cleaner, no artificial sweetness. I think I’m a fan!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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40

I brought this tin to work a while ago, but only opened it today. It’s not one that really screamed at me to be tried, it would seem. I’m trying to be good, though, and to drink my older teas up first, so its day finally came.

According to the tin, the ingredients are chamomile, peppermint, hibiscus, lavender and rose petals, on a blackberry leaf base. The dry leaf itself is light and fluffy, so I used 1.5 tsp when making my cup. I gave it about 4 minutes in boiling water.

The resulting liquor is medium yellow, and smells strongly of lavender. Heavily floral teas aren’t usually my thing, so it’s with trepidation that I approach this one. While brewing, the scent was more generically “herbal” by which I mean, I think, that it smelt of chamomile, mint, and vaguely “green”, like fresh hedgerow. I was actually expecting a much darker, reddish-pink, liquor given that there’s hibiscus in here. On second glance, there’s so little of it that it probably isn’t able to make much of an impression. For once, I’m a little disappointed. A touch of hibiscus might have brought this one over from being too overwhelmingly floral. But still, it is what it is.

To taste, the main flavour is lavender. It’s almost equally matched by the chamomile, though, so my overall impression is reasonably positive. I get along quite well with chamomile, and I do find it helps to calm me in moments of stress. It’s probably a good thing this one’s at work with me! I can’t taste peppermint, hibiscus or rose at all, and if it weren’t for the tin I don’t think I’d know they were even there.

This isn’t ever going to be a favourite tea. It is strongly floral, and after a few sips it becomes a little too much for me. Perhaps less leaf next time, or a shorter brew time. I’ll probably finish the tin, but it’s not one I’d look to replace. There are herbals I like a lot more than this one!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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95

I’m drinking this cold brewed at work today, and I like it. I suspect this is partly because it reminds me of my beloved Raspberry Cream, which I will never, ever forget. It’s also awesome all on its own. I used 1.5 tbsp of leaf in 1 litre of water, and put it in the fridge for approximately 10 hours overnight. The resulting liquor is a very pale yellow, and I half suspected it may have turned out too weak. I was really wrong.

It’s delicious. There are no other words for it. The raspberry is the main flavour, and it walks a line between candy raspberry and actual fruit. It’s sweet, and has none of the sharpness that fresh raspberries sometimes have, but it is undisputedly raspberry all the same. The shou mei base works well here — it’s mild, buttery, a little creamy. It’s not shortbread exactly, but it captures the right notes to give the impression of something shortbread-like. The lingering sweetness after the raspberry flavour fades away is pure confectioner’s sugar. I would actually quite like a raspberry doughnut right now. Or a hindbaersnitter, more to the point. Unless I try and make some, though, I can’t see that happening. Perhaps I’ll try and find a recipe when I get home tonight!

I would like to try this one hot in the near future, just to compare, but it works fabulously cold-brewed. I’ll be sipping on this happily for the rest of the day!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 27, and I live in Norfolk 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’m also beginning to explore pu’erh, both ripened and raw. That’s my latest challenge!

I’m still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.

In addition to Steepster, I also write for the SororiTea Sisters. My reviews there will typically be posted here also, although typically in a shorter format. Any teas I’m sent specifically for review will only appear in full on the SororiTea Sisters website, with only a short introduction and link to my review here.

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

Norfolk, UK

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