988 Tasting Notes

75

My parents have been drinking this cold brewed for the last couple of weeks, and are apparently really enjoying it. I don’t remember inviting them to help themselves, but there you go! I decided to cold brew a litre of this for myself before it’s all gone, and I’ve also brought enough with me for a hot cup, just so I can compare.

The cold brew to start with, though. When I took this out of the fridge this morning, I was a little concerned to see it still looking so pale. Usually honeybush and rooibos brew up pretty dark, but this one is a pale reddish straw colour. I had a little sip just to make sure it actually tasted of something, and, despite appearances, it does! It’s a little on the weak side for me — possibly I need to add more leaf next time — but it tastes deliciously sweet and fruity. The honeybush contributes a lot of the sweetness, I think, although it doesn’t taste over much of honeybush, if that makes sense. I can definitely taste strawberry, with a hint of creaminess from the marshmallow. There’s a touch of pineapple in there somewhere, I think, which combines with the strawberry to make an interestingly odd flavour in the aftertaste. I guess it might as well be called pineberry — it’s certainly nothing that exists in nature! The dry leaf smelled quite strongly of bubblegum, but that’s not something that really energes in the brewed tea. It’s just sweet and fruity, light and delicate. Perfect for this time of year! I’m looking forward to trying a cup hot later!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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80
drank Malted ChocoMaté by 52teas
988 tasting notes

Finished my first pouch of this today! One more to go before it’s gone from my stash, but I think I’m going to try something else in between so that I appreciate this more when I do return to it. Lovely chocolatey morning wake-up tea, I guess I’m just a bit weary of it for now. Time for a change!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Kokomo Green by DAVIDsTEA
988 tasting notes

I like this. Which, reading some of the notes here, is perhaps a bit of a surprise. I’ve tried a couple of tropical green teas before, and I’ve mostly been underwhelmed and, on the whole, not very impressed. They always smell nice, but they taste thin, weak, and generally a bit meh. This one is what I wanted them all to taste like. Papaya and mango are the dominant flavours, and I’m not getting much in the way of pineapple at all. With flavours this juicy, though, I can’t say I’m really all that bothered. None of the petals really seem to make much impact in terms of taste, although they do make the dry mix look pretty. As do the little chunks of actual fruit, come to that.

The green tea is discernable — it’s very slightly bitter, but not at all astringent. It contrasts with the naturally sweet fruit very well, though, so I’m not terribly upset about that either. I guess I’m just pleased to have finally found a tropical flavoured tea that genuinely tastes tropical. I should probably add that I ignored the time and temparature guidelines on the front of the packet. I know what seems to work for me with green tea now, and 5-7 minutes at nearly 200 F made me scrunch up my face in anticipation of how bitter that would turn out. I gave it my usual 2.5 minutes in water that’s been standing for a good few minutes and can no longer really be called “hot”. I guess around 180/185 F. It tastes good to me this way, and it’s put the Beach Boys in my head. Added to that, the sun has just come out after what’s been a particularly dull day so far. Perfect! I wish I had enough to try this cold, but part of me is leery of cold brewing green teas anyway. Thanks to Courtney for sharing this with me!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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85
drank SBT: Pear by 52teas
988 tasting notes

The last of the SBTs currently remaining in my cupboard. I think I left this one until last because I have a bit of an odd relationship with pear. Some varieties of the actual fruit give me a migraine. I needn’t have worried about this, though, because it actually tastes more like pear drops (which I DO like) than pear itself. Rather than being soft and perfumey, it tastes sweet and candy-like. There’s pear there, but it’s much more reminiscent of a pear drop than a pear, if that makes sense.

I gave this the usual treatment — about 3 minutes in boiling water, topped up with cold, and then into the fridge overnight. The black base is perfect, as ever, and as a summer drink it’s very refreshing. I suppose the taste is less “natural” than some of the other SBTs that are based on things found in nature (like Mango Peach, or Watermelon). That doesn’t put me off, though — I’m just glad I can drink it without feeling ill afterwards. Besides, pear drops are nice anyway! Another great SBT!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Rooibos by Teapigs
988 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finished off the last of these at work today. They were nicer than I expected them to be, but that’s about all I can say for them. I generally prefer my rooibos flavoured, so I probably wouldn’t buy these again. It’s nice to have tried it again, though. I know my tastes have changed since I first started drinking “proper” tea, so it’s good to revisit some I’ve tried previously from time to time. This is by no means bad rooibos, it’s just not for me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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80

This was actually my cold brewed tea from Monday, which, again, I’ve only just got around to logging now. Courtney sent me a very generous sample, so I tried a cup hot and then used the rest to make a litre of cold brew. My first thought upon trying this was that it’s actually really sweet – sweeter than it seemed when I tried it hot. The watermelon flavour comes out really well, although the other ingredients are a bit lost. That’s not a bad thing, though, given that this is supposed to be a watermelon tea and not apple or carrot or beetroot.

I did find this sweet at first, but I also found that it grew on me as the day went on. You can’t deny that the flavour’s there, and it almost had that sweet, juicy stickiness that real watermelon has. Great stuff – very enjoyable on a hot day!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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80

Today has been HOT. That’s how I knew without really having to think about it that this would be my tea of choice this evening. It was calling to me. I could smell it. Pleasingly, because the scent of the dry leaf is beautiful. It’s sweet and slightly tropical-fruity (it’s making me think of um bongo, which I haven’t thought of in years…) I’m getting melon, although it smells more like honeydew than watermelon to me. There’s just that little extra sweetness that watermelon doesn’t really have. Still, though, let’s not split hairs.

The dry mix is interesting. There are some quite big pieces of fruit, watermelon among them, and some very fine powdery green flakes. I’m not 100% sure on the identity of any of it, except the watermelon. A sneaky peek at the ingredients list reveals apple, carrot, beetroot, watermelon, honeydew melon, and strawberry leaves. I’m rather pleased to see that there’s some honeydew in here — my senses weren’t deceiving me after all. And the fine, powdery green stuff is strawberry leaves, so there’s that mystery solved.

Brewed, the liquor is a beautiful red-orange colour. It really does look like watermelon flesh, but I suspect it’s a result of the beetroot. It smells much like it does dry, but the taste is something else! The dry leaves reminded me mostly of honeydew melon, but to taste this is definitely watermelon. It’s sweet, juicy and refreshing — perfect for a night like tonight. I think I can taste a slight hint of apple in the background, but this is mostly like drinking watermelon juice. I’d really love to try this iced — hopefully I have enough left for a small jug.

Many thanks to Courtney for sharing this with me — I’ve really, really enjoyed it!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

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80

Sipdown! Used the last of my sample sachet to make a couple of litres cold brewed, which I actually drank at work on Tuesday and Wednesday, and completely forgot to log. That’s what being manically busy helping to plan an upcoming agent visit does for my tealogging.

Anyway, I‘ve tried this hot a couple of times, and it’s pretty nice like that. It’s really nice cold, though. The creamy lime flavour comes out really well, and the honeybush remains firmly in the background. As far as a cold brewed, citrus flavoured tea goes, that’s all I could want. It’s not sweet, so I guess if I’d thought I could have added a little bit of sugar. The creaminess is nice, though, and it’s refreshing enough just as it is.

This is definitely one I’d buy again in future. It’s still one of the best honeybush blends I’ve tried so far, and it works equally well cold and hot. I can see this one becoming a cupboard staple!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Sil

Lime chiffon and orange and cream from Della terra are sooooo tasty!

Fuzzy_Peachkin

I’d almost forgotten about this one! It is quite good!

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85

This smells AM-A-ZING dry, like a posh chocolate biscuit, or hot chocolate mix. There’s something slightly “green” about it, too, which at first I assumed was the green tea. It’s not the characteristic dank small I associate with green tea, though, so I’m actually thinking it might be the green rooibos. I don’t have any previous experiences with green rooibos to compare, though, so I could be wrong. Either way, it’s a nice smell, and I like it. There’s a slight hint of cinnamon, too, and the combination is somehow slightly Christmassy.

Brewed, this smells much the same as it does dry. The taste is slightly weak, although that might be my fault for being cautious with the brew time. The initial sip is a little bland, but the flavour really develops in the aftertaste. I’m surprised how well the chocolate emerges, especially given that it’s up against two strong flavours in their own right. Mostly, this tastes just as it smells – chocolate first (if blindfolded, I’d probably be convinced this was hot chocolate), a hint of cinnamon, and then a subtle earthiness from the base teas that gives the whole thing some depth.

I’ve got enough left for a couple more cups, and this is certainly one I’m going to enjoy trying again. Maybe I’ll be brave and extend the brew time a little! This is lovely as it is, though – thank you to Courtney for another generous sample!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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50
drank Popcorn Tea by Teapigs
988 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finished off my packet of these at work today. It’s not my favourite genmaicha, but it’s okay. It tastes nice and nutty, with a slight sugary sweetness that reminds me of sugar puffs. Sadly, it just doesn’t rock my world.

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

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Profile

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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