1589 Tasting Notes

90
drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
1589 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finished off the last of this one at work today. I’m missing it already – it was good at any time of day, didn’t need milk, and tasted amazing to boot. A very sad departure from my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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100

It’s been a long time since I last drank this one, but it came to work with me this morning in my Timolino since I’m hosting an event away from the office until lunch time. As ever with these things, it didn’t go to plan. Tea is obviously a requirement in these situations!I added a splash of milk to my cup this morning, but it would be equally palatable without.

Initially, this comes across as quite a chocolatey tea; dark, almost bittersweet, cocoa-like chocolate. There are also some fairly prominent baked bread notes which remind me a lot of Second Breakfast – there’s an underlying saltiness that I also picked up in that one. The mid-sip is mostly malt, sweet and thick tasting, and it works perfectly with the chocolate notes. So far, so comforting. The end of the sip reveals a light fruitiness, which lingers into the aftertaste. It reminds me most of plum – juicy, a little sharp, a little tart. It’s a flavour combination that almost shouldn’t work, but somehow it does! You have to try it to see. Upon reacquaintance, this is still one of my favourite black teas. I’ve left my rating unchanged accordingly.

1.5 tsp, 3.5 mins, boiling water (212), splash of milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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95

This week’s matcha sample is – Cheesecake! I feel like I prepared the ground well enough with “normal” flavours like Strawberry and Banana, so I finally broke out one of the left-field flavours that I’ve been looking forward to forever but still slightly scared of. When I opened the pouch, all I could smell was very sweet vanilla. That had me worried for a minute, but I needn’t have doubted.

I prepared this one as a latte, which has pretty much become my go-to. I used 1/4 tsp of matcha, whisked into 1/3 cup of hot water, and then topped off with milk. The scent lost some of its vanilla as soon as I added the water, and started to smell more like baking cheesecake. To taste, it’s super delicious! It’s creamy and sweet, of course, but with a slightly salty-sour-tangy undertone that really characterises cheesecake for me. There’s still the flavour of vanilla sitting over the top, but it’s not overpowering or sickly. It also avoids tasting artificial, which is a huge bonus as far as I’m concerned. There’s nothing chemically about the flavour of this one, it’s just straight-up flavour-accurate vanilla cheesecake. The matcha is completely masked by it, which is the whole point I guess, so there’s not even a conflict of “green” and “sweet”. It’s truly delicious stuff.

I can imagine that this would combine well with other flavours to make various “cheesecake” combinations, but I’m trying not to have too many samples open at once because they’re not resealable. It’s something I’d try in the future if I manage to get hold of a larger quantity in a tin, though.

For now, I’m just really happy with this one. It’s a desserty treat on a dull work day.

1/4 tsp, boiling water. Prepared as a latte.

Preparation
Boiling

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85

Sipdown! Finished off the last of this one at work today. I like it for its orange creaminess, but I don’t really get much in the way of darjeeling from it. Honestly, any black base could probably have be substituted, and I’m not sure I’d really notice. Using less leaf might create a lighter brew, but that would feel odd given that I’m only using a scant 1 tsp to start with. It just seems to brew up very strong, to the point where I’m not entirely convinced it’s 100% darjeeling. It’s an enjoyable flavoured tea, though, and that’s what my rating reflects.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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55

It’s likely that this’ll be my matcha at work this week – I got about 5 servings from my first sample pouch, so I reckon this one’ll probably be about the same. I prepared this one as a latte, no surprises there.

It’s good, but maybe not quite as good as last week’s banana matcha. It’s sweet, with a candy strawberry flavour, and just a hint of the grassy matcha coming through. It reminds me of those strawberry haribo sweets quite a bit – it has the same “I’m not really real” strawberry flavour that ultimately leaves you thinking of chemical flavouring. I’m not sure why I feel like this about it, because it isn’t particularly strong or overpowering, just a bit meh. I’m going to say it’s pleasant enough, and drinkable, but just not my favourite.

1/4 tsp, boiling water. Prepared as a latte.

Preparation
Boiling

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80

Opened this one for breakfast, since I’ve recently finished off the other black teas I had open at home. Look! There’s me, working through my stash. Hooray!

Upon opening the pouch, I could immediately smell fruit. Strawberry, raspberry, orange. It’s a scent that lingered throughout the brewing, and I’m pleased to say that it also made it into the flavour of the finished tea. This one is SO fruity, and the flavours seem remarkably well defined. I can taste strawberry, raspberry and orange, largely in the mid-sip, plus the occasional hint of peach at the end of the sip. There’s a hefty dose of malt from the black base that makes this a pretty sweet treat, maybe just a little sweeter than I’d typically look for on a morning.

My only complaint is that I don’t get much of a “cereal” vibe from this one, which is what it was intended to be. Maybe it’s a good thing, though, because I’m not actually sure that it’s a workable concept. Drinking this does put me in mind of fruit juice, and that’s a breakfast staple, so I guess the “breakfast” element is kind of there. What this tea really reminds me of is Rainbow Sherbet, which I drink at work during the week. It’s a little creamier from the marshmallow root, and the base tea comes through more strongly (meaning that milk works well here, where it really doesn’t with Rainbow Sherbet). The flavour profiles are really kind of similar, though. Given that I like the flavours, that’s not really a problem, but this one just isn’t quite as unique as I hoped it would be.

1 tsp, 3.5 minutes, boiling water. Splash of milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
tea-sipper

I always wanted to try this one and your first paragraph made it sound like Rainbow Sherbet, then I read your second paragraph. :D

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90

This morning I brewed up the sample that came with my most recent Liquid Proust order – French Toast Dianhong. I was actually pretty interested to try a sample from a different batch than the bag I have, because I get a floral flavour from that one. While it’s not overpowering, it’s still…odd. This batch, I’m pleased to report, is much more normal. There’s no floral to be found, just chocolate, vanilla, and a lot of delicious maltiness. Total yum.

2 balls, boiling water, 3.5 minutes. Splash of milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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80

The last of my Chi Whole Leaf samples, and my second favourite so far! I used 1/4 tsp of leaf, as I have for each of the others, and stirred it into a cup of boiling water. I was expecting it to be quite sweet and cloying, but it surprised me by being quite light on the palate. The main flavour is sweet, reminiscent of hay and honey, but there’s also a mild freshness from the mint that stops it from becoming too overpowering. It’s not a combination I’ve really thought much about (with maybe one or two exceptions – Adagio’s Foxtrot, which I loved, springs immediately to mind), but it’s a surprisingly good one.

I had the same trouble with the powder here that I’ve had with all of the others, in that it settled to a sludge at the bottom of my cup, and didn’t really stay in suspension. It still tastes good, though, so I guess that’s just one of those things. This is another of the Chi Whole Leaf teas I’d consider purchasing, but not until my cupboard is well back under control. It makes for a quick, convenient pre-bedtime (or pre-nerve wracking event) tea.

1/4 tsp, boiling water. No additions.

Preparation
Boiling

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80

Second last Chi Whole Leaf sample. I’ve been so late getting to these, what with one thing and another, but at least I’m nearly there now. It’s easy to say that this is my favourite so far of the samples Will provided, and with only Chamomile to go it’s a safe bet that it’ll stay that way. The mint is clean and refreshing, but not too strong or overpowering in the way a lot of mint teas can be. The green base is smooth and sweet, not at all bitter or astringent, which is a huge plus as far as I’m concerned. It’s the eucalyptus that makes this one truly unique, though. It adds a distinctive cooling freshness towards the end of the sip that lingers beautifully in the aftertaste – this would be really wonderful on a hotter day, or maybe prepared in cold water/milk. This morning’s cup was hot, as that’s how I’ve tried all of the other samples so far, but I might use the rest of the sample for a cold cup this afternoon. I can see that working really well.

I got the same sludge at the bottom of the cup with this one that I’ve experiences with all of the Chi Whole Leaf samples so far. For some reason, they just don’t seem to stay in suspension very well, or for very long. Having said that, it doesn’t seem to impact too much on the flavour, and the texture is noticeably improved when the settling has occurred.

I enjoyed this one. I was looking for something clean and fresh tasting, and that’s what I got. The eucalyptus is a huge bonus as far as I’m concerned – I simply LOVE the stuff. I’d consider buying a tin of this one!

1/4 tsp, boiling water. No additions.

Preparation
Boiling

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90

Not the last of my unopened Whispering Pines teas, but one of the final few. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, because vanilla makes most things amazing and I kinda love it. I followed the recommended parameters for my first cup, although I added a splash of milk just because it brewed up pretty dark and that’s the way I operate (particularly when it comes to chai). I was pleased to see that the base of this one is Bi Luo Chun. I had a bag of plain Golden Snail from Whispering Pines a little while back, and it was one of my favourite black teas for a good while. It still is, but in memory alone for the time being – too much tea, too little time and all that. Anyway, it was good to see it here.

To taste, it’s pretty amazing. The Golden Snail is smooth and malty, with delicious baked bread and dark chocolate notes – it puts me in mind of a warm pain au chocolat! The spices are perfectly balanced, providing a spicy undertone without being overpowering. I can taste cinnamon and ginger primarily, with lighter notes of cardamom and just a hint of clove. The spiciness lingers well in the aftertaste, providing a tingle on my tongue and a spark of warmth at the back of my throat. The vanilla isn’t quite as prominent as I thought it might be, and in some ways that’s a good thing. It emerges mostly in the mid-sip, and adds a creamy sweetness that pairs well with the malt and chocolate notes of the base tea. It’s not too sweet or intense, though, so it remains well balanced and the proliferation of quite powerful flavours play nicely together. I’m really enjoying how smooth this one is, and how well put together. It’s truly a joy to drink.

1 tsp, 3.5 minutes, boiling water. Splash of milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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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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