940 Tasting Notes

85

Today’s cold-brew is a pitcher of this. It’s recommended for icing on the packet, but it’s somehow fallen a little short in my estimation. I put it in the fridge yesterday, in the early evening, so it had a good 14 hours plus to infuse. I’m getting strawberry, just about, and a slight bitter sweetness from the lemon in the aftertaste. What I can taste most is hibiscus, which I dislike in fruit tea, although it’s pretty unavoidable. It’s pleasant, but the whole thing just tastes a bit washed out. I used 4 tablespoons, so I doubt I underleafed, but I suppose it’s possible. I think next time I’ll maybe try making this in a smaller quantity, and possibly adding some actual lemonade. It was definetly refreshing, though, and pleasant to taste. I just wanted the strawberry to come out a litle more strongly. I can work on that, though, and it smells divine in any case!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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65

Another sample generously sent my way by Sil. My experiences with chamomile tea so far have been good, and orange blossom is a flavour I know I like, so I’m looking forward to this one. My new job is still stressing me a bit, so I’m hoping this will help me to relax a bit after a long and tiring week. The dry mix has generous amounts of whole chamomile flowers, lemongrass pieces, orange blossoms and orange zest. It smells primarily of chamomile — that very distinctive, honey and hay-like scent with a slightly sweet, floral undertone.

Brewed, this still smells primarily of chamomile, but with a definite edge of orange. There’s also something slightly lavender-like in there, although I don’t think lavender is actually one of the ingredients. I guess the taste will tell. One thing that did take me by surprise is the colour of the liquor — it’s bright, grassy green! As the tea cools, it seems to mellow into a more ordinary golden yellow, but it certainly made me question my vision for a few seconds. I’m assuming the purple flower petals (are they orange blossom?) were the cause. Interesting, but unexpected!

To taste, I’m not getting lavender any more, I don’t think. Instead, I’m getting mint. I saw it listed among the ingredients, but I couldn’t see any in the dry mix, and it certainly doesn’t come out in the scent. It’s very subtle and complementary, though, so I’m happy enough with the combination. The taste is mostly of chamomile and a sort of floral orange in any case, so the name is pretty accurate after all. It’s not the over-sweet chamomile I’m used to, though. It’s somehow more herbal, more floral, and more grassy in taste than those I’ve tried previously. While the orange blossom isn’t strong, it adds to the flavour delicately and pleasantly, contributing a fresh, zesty, floral aftertaste.

A very enjoyable evening drink. Thanks again to Sil for sharing it with me!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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70
drank White Peony by Adagio Teas
940 tasting notes

Opened a bag of this today. It’s so delicate and beautifully floral, just perfect for this time of year. I’ve been resteeping the same leaves all afternoon (about 4 times, I think), and they were still going strong when I chucked them just before I left at 5pm. I like white tea in general, but this one never fails to impress me. Amazing stuff.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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95

I’ve got one more cup of the loose-leaf version of this left, but it’s not a sipdown because I’ve got a box of the bagged version still to go. No worries, though, because it’s one I almost always enjoy. I say almost always because I managed to oversteep this today (I only went back to my desk to get a spoon, and ended up being buttonholed by a visitor…). Anyway, for some reason, I got a foody kind of note from it, which wasn’t 100% pleasant. That’s not my usual experience with this tea, though.

In a way, I wish this was a sipdown. I’m heartily tempted to buy more tea, and I have too much already (and more in the post…) The trials of life :)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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60

The last of the samples from my first Bluebird order. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a white/green blend before, so this is a first for me. I also fear it may be rather an odd experience, because while white tea and spearmint are two of my favourite things, green tea and jasmine are not. Frankly, I think the orange might get a bit lost. Still, assume makes an ass out of you and me, so perhaps I should get on and try this before I expand this note further with my unfounded misgivings.

The dry leaves smell mostly of spearmint, with a slighty grassy, slightly smoky undertone that I’m assuming is the green tea. It’s an interesting mix — there are quite a lot of white tea buds and a few twigs and leaves, slightly less of the green tea, a generous sprinkling of shredded spearmint, and some really quite generous orangey pieces. Some of them are undoubtedly zest, but a few look more like blossoms to me. Jasmine? Orange? I’m not sure, having never encountered either in their raw state before. Could be.

Anyway, this is definetly an interesting tasting tea. Brewed, the scent is mostly of spearmint and jasmine, which is a strange combination. It’s surprisingly delicate to taste, though, and seems to have a base that owes more to the white tea than it does to the green. There’s the initial hit of sweet spearmint, the floral and perfume-like jasmine, a slight grassiness, and then the smooth, honey-like taste and texture of white tea. It’s only the very slightest bit astringent, and that might even be my fault for being a bit impatient with the water.

I like that Bluebird are trying to do something different with their teas, like this white/green blend. It’s a deceptive tea, as the liquor is golden brown, and the scent definetly lead me to expect more of a green tea. That’s not what I got, though, and this turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It’s not 100% my kind of thing, but it is pleasant, and the spearmint is simply glorious. Another I’m glad to have had the chance to try!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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60

Backlog from Thursday.

The second of the samples that came with my first Bluebird order. This one is a herbal, with generous amounts of chamomile (whole flowers, and truly massive at that!), rose petals, lavender, and lemon verbena. The scent is mostly of chamomile with a hint of rose, so quite sweet and floral. I am tired right now, but I’m having trouble winding down, so hopefully this will help to ease me into sleep!

I gave this four minutes before calling it good. It tastes rather like it smells. Sweet, perfumey, floral, but mostly of chamomile. The lavender is quite prominent, and adds a pleasant edge to this tea. I’m not usually a fan of lavender in tea, so it too me by surprise a little. It’s actually very delicate and not at all overpowering. The rose all but disappears, but that’s perhaps not a bad thing. Lavender and chamomile are strong enough flavours in themselves without having rose to compete with also.

The thing I like most about this is that it smells just like the countryside in summer, which I’m guessing is the effect of the lavender. Lavender is a big thing in Norfolk, so it’s a smell I always asspciate with weekends out in the warmer months. It’s evocative, and I like that in a tea. The flavour is interesting, too. I probably wouldn’t have put chamomile and lavender together, but they work quite well. Especially since the lavender is sweet rather than large and reminsicent of pot pourri.

This probably isn’t one I’d drink regularly, simply because I’m not a fan of floral teas, but I’m glad to have tried it — I’m always willing to challenge my taste buds! Thank you, Bluebird!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

good to know this is a floral tea and likely not for me!

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90
drank Weeping Angel Tea by 52teas
940 tasting notes

I’m a bit of a Doctor Who geek, so admittedly it was the name of this tea that intrigued me most at first. I mean, Weeping Angel…that’s inspired. Then I read the description — buttered toffee caramel corn. Also my kind of thing. Did I have to buy this? Obviously!

The dry leaf smells a little odd. There’s a tang of something that’s almost alcoholic, then something quite floral (the marigold petals?), and then a caramel scent, buried deep. Not quite what I was expecting.

Brewed, the tea itself is, thankfully, pure joy to drink. It tastes nothing like it smells, and instead is reminding me primarily of Butterkist toffee popcorn. The toffee/caramel is rich and buttery. Werther’s originals would be another good comparison, but to me this just tastes like popcorn. My favourite type of popcorn. It even has that slightly nutty, toasted flavour about it. The black base is perfect too, and beautifully supports and complements the flavours. I do get the slight sense that the flavouring has more to give, and might be hiding a little, but not to any great extent. It’s certainly one of the more convincing caramel/toffee teas I’ve tried. I might give it a try with sugar next time just to see, but at the moment I’m pretty happy with this tea.

As far as I’m concerned, Doctor Who, toffee popcorn and tea make an amazing combination. Possibly unbeatable. Great work, Frank!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

glad it ended up being one you love :)

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100
drank Silver Needle by Adagio Teas
940 tasting notes

It feels like I’ve been absent from here for an age, but I don’t think it’s been more than a few days. I just started a new job today, and I’m completely worn out. And then, in the few days before, I was really nervous which was also wearing me out…

Anyway, sipdown (!) on this one. It’s wonderfully spring like, and I’ve been enjoying drinking this at work this week. It’s HOT in my new reception area, and I’ve got no window and only a tiny, feeble fan for company. It’s not even summer yet. On the upside, the temp who’s showing me how to do my new job also drinks loose leaf tea, so we’ve got something in common to start with!

I’ve got a few notes waiting to go on here, so I’ll try and get on that soon. I am so tired, though. Starting a new job is certainly more awful than I remembered!

Preparation
2 min, 30 sec
Sil

congratulations on the new job though! Hopefully it’ll get on to normal sooner rather than later for you

Anyanka

Good luck!

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90
drank Rainbow Sherbet by 52teas
940 tasting notes

Backlog from Saturday.

I was intrigued by the idea of this tea almost from the moment I discovered 52 Teas and found out I really, really liked Frank’s blends. I have super strong memories of Rainbow Sherbet from when I was a kid, and it’s something I always loved and enjoyed. Sweet and yet sour at the same time, slightly fizzy and tangy. Wonderful. I never thought I’d be able to try this tea, but, thanks to a sample from Sil, I’ve finally got the chance!

Dry, this smells almost exactly like its namesake. Sweet, insanely fruity, and with a slight sour tang about it. I brewed this for 3.5 minutes, after which it smells similar, although slightly more tea-like. I guess that’s to be expected, though. It is, after all, tea.

It does taste remarkably like Rainbow Sherbet, though. Immediately upon taking a sip, there’s a fruity sweet-sour flavour that lingers on the tonuge, and then a powdery taste I can only describe as sherbet-like right at the back of the mouth. I think the taste is mostly citrussy — lemon, lime, orange — although it’s difficult to discern the individual flavours. It’s like the different colours all got mixed together to create the generic “Rainbow Sherbet” taste. It’s really, really nice though, and quite different from any other tea I’ve tried — 52 Teas or otherwise. A great, novel tea that I’m glad to have been able to try at last! Thank you to Sil for making this particular dream come true!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Sil

WOOT! so glad you enjoyed it :)

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80
drank Pot O' Gold by 52teas
940 tasting notes

Backlog from Friday.

Today was another difficult day at work. Say no more. Anyway, I definetly felt like a treat tonight, so I pulled this out of the box of samples Sil so generously shared with me.

Dry, the leaves smell quite creamy and buttery, slightly sweet but not overpoweringly so. I definetly get butterscotch — it has that rich, smooth depth to it. Brewed, with a dash of milk, this is exactly what I hoped it would be. It smells so good, just like melted caramel, and it tastes just the same. The black base is exactly right, and very smooth. There’s no astringency here at all. It’s just rich, creamy, and buttery. If you could drink butterscotch, this is what it would be like. If it had a colour, I bet it would be gold. That’s how warm and cuddly this is making me feel.

I generally like teas of this ilk — caramel, toffee, and butterscotch are right up my street — so I’m glad I got to try this. Thanks again to Sil for making it happen!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Sil

Happy to share with my friends across the ocean anytime! :)

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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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