1723 Tasting Notes

90

CHOCOLATE! MALT! RED BERRIES!

Today I love this tea.

That is all.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Sil

yes! haha

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95

It’s cold today, and I’m feeling totally grim for a variety of reasons, so I figured a warming, energy-boosting (apparently…) chai would make for a better start to the day than the one I’m currently having. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a chai quite like this one before – the base tea is yerba mate, but there’s also a lot of gurana (large, shiny brown balls…?) I used 1.5 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water.

The resulting liquor is a medium green-brown, quite swampy looking. It smells just like a regular chai – spicy, heavy on the cinnamon and ginger. It tastes more savoury than the chai I’m typically used to – more like curry powder dissolved in water than anything else. I’d been expecting a lot of cinnamon/ginger based on the scent, but it’s the cardamon, corriander, and black pepper that are most prominent. I quite like that in a chai, so it’s a happy cup so far for me.

I googled gurana, out of interest, and it appears to be a climbing plant in the maple family, native to Brazil. The “brown balls” are seeds from its fruit, and apparently contain twice the amount of caffeine as a coffee bean. It’s used a lot in energy drinks.

I was expecting the base tea to be more evident in the overall flavour, but it’s actually not. I think the level of spicing is disguising it to some extent, which, when it comes to chai, is no bad thing. One thing I absolutely can’t taste is mint, and given that it’s the third ingredient on the list I was expecting to be able to taste it. Not so, although in all honesty that might be for the best. I’m not sure minty curry powder would be a good thing…

I’m enjoying this one. It’s got a nicely savoury vibe, which is unusual among the teas I drink, and as chai goes it’s deliciously spicy. This one’s a winner with me.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

So I’m really late to this party. I bought this one on the strength of some Twinings first flush darjeeling that I really liked, but apparently I let 2 years pass and didn’t get around to trying it. Shame on me. Today, though, is finally the day!

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The liquor is a medium orange-brown, the scent lightly malty with hints of stone fruit. To taste, it’s pretty much as I expected. I hadn’t tried a Rohini before, which is one of the reasons I picked this one out, and I was intrigued by the fact that it has a flavour profile more akin to a second flush. Muscatel notes, yay! Fortunately, they’re here in spades, so I’m not disappointed. It’s a really lovely grapey flavour, deep and rich, slightly on the dry side. Underneath is the sweet, juiciness of apricots, followed by light maltiness. It’s slightly brisk, but not what I’d call astringent. All in all, everything I want from a first flush darjeeling!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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70
drank Black Dragon Pearls by Tealux
1723 tasting notes

Finally getting around to these. They’ve been in my cupboard for a while, shall we say? I used 1 tsp of pearls for my cup (6, it turned out), and gave them 4 minutes in boiling water. They’d pretty much unraveled entirely by that point.

To taste, this is a pretty decent Yunnan. It’s not the best I’ve ever tried, and nowhere near as good as Teavivre’s dragon pearls. Having said that, it’s not bad either. It’s a touch on the thin side in terms of body (especially considering the number of pearls that went into this cup…), but it’s flavourful enough . There are some delicious dark chocolate and cocoa notes, a light maltiness, and a background hint of earthiness. I think I just wanted it to be more robust, and maybe somehow thicker. Too high on expectation, maybe. It’s tea, after all (but I’ve had some good tea…)

I’m finding this one enjoyable enough, but it probably wouldn’t be a repurchase for me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Casablanca by Mariage Frères
1723 tasting notes

I’m not feeling great this dull Friday, so I wanted something clean and refreshing to drink to try and alleviate things a little. This one shouted to me from the bag by my desk. I’ve actually had it ages, I think, but I’ve never tried it before today. I like Moroccan mint, but the idea of bergamot had kind of put me off…

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. To taste, it’s milder overall than I expected, although that might be a result of both its age and my conservative brew time. If I’m honest, it could probably take a bit longer (or maybe a touch more leaf).

The mint is fresh and clean-tasting, anyway, and the bergamot (although mostly a background flavour) adds a nicely citrusy edge. The green tea base is smooth and unobtrusive, with no bitterness of astringency in sight. I feel like I could take this one a touch sweeter, but I’m not sure how sugar and bergamot would pair. Maybe something to try next time!

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

I hope you’ll be feeling better tomorrow!

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90

Finally getting to the bottom of the sample box Miss B sent me literally ages ago. I think I’ve just got a couple of tea bags left now…

Anyway, this one intrigued me because I don’t think I’ve tried a white chai before…or come across one, even. Usually I’d cool the water quite substantially for a white tea, but the parameters for this one recommend 195 degrees so that’s what I went with. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and left it approximately 2.5 minutes.

The resulting liquor is a medium yellow-orange, the scent mildly spicy. To taste, it’s definitely the most interesting chai blend I’ve tried in a while. It’s fruity, first up, and quite tropically fruity at that – pineapple, coconut, a background hint of citrus. There’s also apple, and it’s a baked apple kind of vibe that I’m getting. Sweet, mushy…paired with the spices, it’s putting me in mind of apple pie!

The spices are the other side to the coin here. On the one hand there’s fruit, and then from the mid-sip onwards it’s all about the spicing. Ginger and cinnamon are the most prominent, but there’s also a good strong hit of pepper (which I adore in a chai), plenty of cardamon, and a touch of clove.

The white tea, which is the truly unique thing here, makes for a better base than I expected, in all honesty. It’s not thin or particularly sweet – it’s more of a thick, almost slightly dusty-tasting white. It allows both the fruit and the spices to shine without being particularly obtrusive, and it works well enough with both that it’s not a jarring contrast. It doesn’t feel like a tea of two halves – it tastes like it was meant to be, and I think the choice of base helps with that in a way that’s hard to express in words. It has to be tasted to be believed.

Highly recommended for all chai fans!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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65

I had one of these left over from summer cold brews, and I’m pretty sure I said when I last logged this one that I wanted to try it hot once it was colder. Well, now it’s colder!

I gave this one 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. It’s fair to say it’s as I imagined it would be – lovely juicy mango flavour, strong and slightly peppery, followed by the almost-bitter orange/floral of bergamot. The green tea base is just a touch on the astringent side, but on the whole fairly unobtrusive.

I’m not really a bergamot fan, so this isn’t one I’d choose to buy for myself, but I do like the mango flavouring. Next summer, I’d quite like to seek out some other mango blends from Whittards, just to see whether they stack up…

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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90

I had high hopes for this one, because it smells so good, but experience tells me (at least with the old 52Teas genmaicha blends with the new rice…) that it won’t quite live up to its promise. In any case, it’s a great idea for a tea. Inspired, even.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. I’m pleased to discover that there is strawberry, although it’s quite an artificial-tasting, candy-strawberry – it reminds me of Nesquik strawberry milkshake powder! There was quite a lot of marshmallow root in my cup, and its contributed a delicious creaminess. When paired with the light toastiness of the rice, it really does replicate the “marshmallow treat” flavour pretty well.

One of my main complaints with “sweet” genmaicha blends is usually that the green tea base is too prominent and grassy, which makes the whole experience rather odd. Not the case here – the green tea is very subtle, and actually quite difficult to pick out. The genmaicha isn’t too toasty or burnt-tasting, either.

I think this means that I’ve found a 52Teas genmaicha that agrees with me, which is all the more delightful because I didn’t expect to find it here. I would have liked a more natural tasting strawberry, but I’m mostly just pleased that I can taste it and it’s there. This one’s definitely a tea that lives up to its name! I’m going to enjoy this one.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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100
drank Dragon Lychee Pearls by Tealux
1723 tasting notes

Finally getting around to trying this one. It’s been in my cupboard long enough, that’s for sure. I followed the recommended parameters, and used 1.5 tsp of pearls (which amounted to 12, some smaller than others). I gave them 3.5 minutes in boiling water, no additions.

I’d heard a lot of good things about this one, and fortunately it’s as delicious as I hoped. It has a strong, fruity, juicy lychee flavour right up front, followed by the smooth, malty chocolatey flavour of the black tea base. It’s an amazing combination! Although the lychee is strong, it’s not overpowering or cloying, which is always a bonus when it comes to flavoured teas. I wish more things were lychee flavoured, actually. I think it could only improve my life, in all honesty.

I have some of Tealux’s unflavoured Black Dragon Pearls to try next, and it’ll be interesting to see how they compare with both this blend and with the Teavivre pearls I tried a while back. I love that there are still new tea discoveries to be made, even though I’ve rated 900-odd individual teas in my two years on here. Hooray for new tea adventures (and more lychee!)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Fjellrev

This sounds fantastic, and you’ve just reminded me that I already have this on my wish list haha.

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80

A sample from Miss B. The leaves of of this one are reminding me of a Butiki green I tried a while back, but I can’t now remember which one. They’re thin and wiry, very twisted (almost curly, really…), and a very dark green. The flavour is also reminding me of something, but I’m finding it hard to pin down exactly what. Roasted chestnuts is as close as I can come, but it’s not quite right…Roasted chestnuts and grass? Mushroom? Mushroom! That’s closer.

It’s a very smooth green, not at all astringent, but with a strong and distinctive flavour. Just the kind of green tea I’ve discovered I like! Thanks again to Miss B for sharing this one with me.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, 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.

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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