1639 Tasting Notes

95
drank Toronto Nights by RiverTea
1639 tasting notes

This is really good cold, but I’m finding that with a lot of white tea blends recently. I went with my standard preparation method – 2 tbsp in 2 litres of cold water, into the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. The flavour of the orange is more prominent that it is in the hot cup, the cinnamon less so. Running right through the middle of the whole thing is the sweet, slightly thick, frangipane-esque taste of almonds. Delicious!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Someone has devoted a tea to my beloved city and the tea is a win—YAY!

VariaTEA

I miss RiverTea :(

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90

I first tried this one on Saturday in my Timolino, but it didn’t make too much of an impression for reasons I don’t quite understand. It smells amazing! Rich chocolate, mint, and vanilla. Made in a cup, it also tastes great. This is the second time I’ve said it recently, but I think I’m getting to the stage with my Timolinos where they just need to be replaced.

Anyway, the tea. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and left it for 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, just because it’s first thing and it brewed up pretty dark. I can actually see tiny black vanilla seeds on the surface of the tea, and the flavour of the vanilla is very prominent in the initial sip. It’s so creamy and rich, it’s actually reminding me of very high-end vanilla ice cream, or maybe even creme anglaise. So intense.

The chocolate is largely a flavour contributed by the Fujian black base, as far as I can discern. It’s a very cocoa-like chocolate, a little on the dry side, but not at all artificial. It’s also quite gentle, but it pairs well with the vanilla to create a very decadent, dessert-like effect. The mint is also very subtle, but it’s identifiable as a fresh, cooling sweetness in the background.

Chocolate, vanilla and mint are flavours that work well together, and I don’t think that can be disputed. Most of the debate comes down to whether the tea in question balances them well, and I think here it’s a definite yes. It’s pretty heavy on the vanilla, so it’d definitely help if you like your tea rich and creamy, but it certainly makes for a delicious cup! Another win from Liquid Proust.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75

I was talking about Kenyan black teas the other day, and then I went through my stash and found that this one has a Kenyan tea as part of its base – along with Ceylon and Assam. It’s also an Earl Grey, like the tea that triggered the revelation, so obviously I had to try it next.

Much like Teapigs Earl Grey Strong, the strength of this blend is in the base rather than in the prominence of the bergamot, and in many ways that makes it a more suitable EG for me. I’m not the biggest bergamot fan, and although the dry leaf seems to suggest that it’s going to be STRONG here, it’s actually very subtle. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and it’s the base tea that I can taste most clearly. It’s deliciously, sweetly malty, with an underlying crisp citrus note attributable to the Ceylon but amped to a certain extent by the bergamot. It’s a well balanced blend, at least to my tastes.

If you like Earl Grey, but aren’t a bergamot fan, this one’s worth a try. I’d say it’s quite a delicate blend, as they go. If you like a good smack of bergamot, you might want to steer clear.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

Sipdown! Finally under 200 – now to see how long I can keep it that way :)

I finished this one off as a latte this morning. I’m feeling totally knackered at the moment, but matcha seems to improve my energy levels at least a little. More to this point, this one is delicious, and makes for a great start to any morning.

Thanks again to Roswell Strange for sharing this one with me!

Sil

whoohoo! grats on getting down to 200!

Super Starling!

Sipdowns are just an excuse to buy another 3 blends, right? Is that science? ;)

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75

A sample from Miss B. It’s cold and wet out again today. Did someone say summer? Anyway, cold and wet to me signals chai, and I had this blend sitting in my drawer so, serendipity? The dry leaf looked to be mostly spices – whole cardamon pods, whole red peppercorns, whole cloves, pieces of cinnamon bark and ginger root, plus a few fennel seeds. There’s very little actual black tea, so I went for a pretty generous 2 tsp of leaf, mainly because I like my chai bold and the amount of additions makes me worry for the actual “tea” aspect.

Anyway, after 4 minutes in boiling water, I’ve got a pretty robust result – enough to take a generous splash of milk without appearing thin. To taste, it’s pretty much a standard chai, although with a hearty kick of spice. The cardamon and clove are predominant, but there’s a pleasingly warming swirl of cinnamon in the mid-sip. The ginger is a bit lost, as is the pepper, although there’s a warming tingle at the back of my throat that serves as a reminder that they’re there.

All in all, not bad. It’s decently spicy, which is something I look for in a chai, and the base is more robust than I thought it might be initially. It probably wouldn’t be a restock, simply because there are other chai blends that are equally good, and more readily available in the UK. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to try this one, though. Thanks again, Miss B!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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100

Cold brewing is definitely the way to go with this one! I’ve had a couple of hot cups, and I thought they were pretty good, but this is a whole new level of yum when it’s cold. I used 2 tbsp of leaf in 2 litres of water, and left it in the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. The result is basically liquid cotton candy. It’s up-front sweet and sugary, with that slightly caramelised aftertaste that actual cotton candy has if you’re paying attention. The white base is perfect here – unobtrusive, clean, lightly refreshing. I can’t actually say that I prefer it to Cotton Candy Black because that would be sacrilege, but as a cold companion it’s right on par.

Liquid yum in a cup? This tea.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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90

Sipdown! This was an easy sample to finish – it became my morning go-to for a few days, because it’s so strong and robust that it actually stands a chance of waking me up. It reminds me a lot of Butiki’s Kenya Obsidian, and of the Ajiri Black I tried once in the distant past. Clearly I need more Kenyan teas in my life!

Also: 200! I’ve resisted buying more tea so far, but it’s truly been a struggle. Hopefully this week I’ll definitely be under 200, and it’ll be a huge achievement if I can keep it that way.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Tea Rex by Adagio Teas
1639 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finished this one off at work on Saturday, in a timolino since I was hosting an event. I’m finding that the flavours of some teas aren’t as intense in a timolino as they are in a cup, but it’s something I’ve only really noticed as they’ve got older? Maybe it’s time for some new ones. Anyway, there was enough cherry/chocolate present to make this a satisfactory goodbye – and it certainly cheered up a Saturday at work!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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75
drank Tea Rex by Adagio Teas
1639 tasting notes

Today’s cold brew. I used 4 bags in two litres of water, and left it in the fridge for around 10 hours overnight. I wasn’t 100% sure that it would work, but the flavours are strong and it’s a honeybush base, so I’m actually pretty pleased with the result.

I can taste the cherry fairly prominently, which is what I was hoping for, and the chocolate is a mild background note. The honeybush adds a touch of sweetness, but is otherwise smooth and unobtrusive. There’s a creaminess to the overall flavour that I really like, slightly reminiscent of vanilla. I feel like this one has more depth cold brewed than it does hot, which is interesting as well as unexpected. A definite success!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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100

A sample from Roswell Strange, who helpfully fixed me up with some flavoured matcha. Why is it so hard to come by in the UK? The first thing I have to say about this one, though, is “oh man” – it’s SO good. I wasn’t really expecting it to taste exactly like a mixed berry pie, especially since dry the scent was mostly cinnamon and vegetal green tea. It does, though! I can definitely taste strawberry, with flashes of blueberry, raspberry, and a touch of black cherry. If you imagined those berries warm, in a thick, rich red-berry sauce, encased in buttery, cinnamon dusted pastry, then you’d have this tea. It’s that flavour accurate, and that good.

I made my cup as a latte, whisking 1/4 tsp of matcha into about an inch of boiling water, topped off with hot milk. At first, I only got the berry flavour – and I’ve no complaint about that because it’s incredibly flavour accurate. As I sipped, however, I did begin to notice the cinnamon, and then the buttery “pie crust” element came to the fore. It kind of creeps up on you, until you’re not drinking berry matcha anymore, but rich berry pie matcha. Best effect ever!

There probably aren’t words to describe exactly how much I’m enjoying this one. It’s my favourite of the Red Leaf matchas I’ve tried so far, and I’ve liked a fair few so that’s a definite compliment. For the record, my sample is of the distinctive flavouring level.

Thanks again to Roswell Strange for introducing me to this wonder :)

Roswell Strange

Stephanie originally introduced me to this one; it’s one I absolutely would have skipped over otherwise. It’s SO wonderful, though. Don’t know if you like almond/cashew milk at all but I think the nutty flavours of either really compliment this one as well :)

Fjellrev

Awesome! I had this on my list but wasn’t sure about how artificial the berry aspect would be since I find their raspberry and strawberry ones to be overly fake.

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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.

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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