1006 Tasting Notes

95

For some reason, I couldn’t think about anything but tea on the bus home from work. I think it’s because I have a headache, and I know tea (or caffiene, maybe…) will help to make it better. Anyway, I actually tried this for the first time yesterday, and only remembered just now. Safe to say, though, it’s the best chocolate tea I’ve tried so far.

Dry, it smells just like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. The black tea leaves are soft and slightly downy, and range from golden to a chocolatey brown. I can see pieces of marshamllow root, orange zest and chocolate chips interspersed generously. Brewed, the scent is similar. It’s definitely still chocolate orange, which is a relief. After the divine scent of the dry leaves, I’d have felt let down if it had been lacklustre at this point! It’s not, though. Far from it, and anything but. It tastes just as it smells, with the chocolate, orange and marshmallow each contributing equally to the taste, and harmonising with the others. This is such an aptly named tea — the flavours really are three friends here. The base tea is wonderful, too. It’s smooth, and slightly malty, and it makes for a great accord with the other flavours. When I’ve got a tea like this, I don’t really need real chocolate!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Raspberry Vanilla by Yumchaa
1006 tasting notes

Sipdown! Finished this one off last night. I don’t know whether it’s just me, but the last few cups of this took on a slightly smoky taste. I have no idea why — I don’t have any smoky teas stored near this, and I know it for a fact because I don’t think I have any smoky tea in my stash at all right now. Maybe one, in Smaug, but it’s not even in the same box. It’s been open a while and is a little old, so it might be that. Or it might just be me.

Whatever, though. This was a pleasant raspberry rooibos. With milk and a little sugar, it’s just like a raspberry milkshake. This is one I think I’ll be missing a little.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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70

I’m pleased how fresh this tea looks. It’s a lovely silvery-green, unlike some I’ve had recently, and it really is just silver needle. When brewed, the liquor is really, really pale. I didn’t think anything was actually happening at first, but obviously it was as the taste is there.

As I’ve come to expect from unflavoured whites, this is very light and delicate in taste. It’s a perfect spring/summer tea. Easy to drink and refreshing even when hot (or warm, considering I let the water cool substantially). It’s mildly grassy, maybe very slighty floral. This is one of those white teas that reminds me why I like them so much in the first place. Flavoured might be more interesting sometimes, but a plain white this good can be just as inspiring.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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95

Opened my final box of this today. Once it’s finished, I won’t be buying any more for a while. Not because it’s not a nice earl gray, because it is. Just because I’ve had far too much of it recently. 14 more cups to go…

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100
drank SBT: Cotton Candy by 52teas
1006 tasting notes

These teas are just bloody awesome really, aren’t they? I don’t know why I held off buying some last year. It was plenty hot enough in my old office to merit iced tea, although I suppose I just wasn’t up to the tea tea-buying tricks I’ve developed these days.

Anyway, back to the point. I first tried the normal version of Cotton Candy in last year’s 12 Teas of Christmas sampler. I loved it. Given my success with Neapolitan Ice Cream recently, I decided to try another of the SBTs “converted” from a normal tea. (I’m not sure what it means when you start calling such oddly flavoured teas normal, but I guess it hardly matters at this point. You know what I’m on about.)

This one is another stunner. If anything, the cotton candy flavouring comes out more clearly here than it does in its original counterpart. It’s delicious — sweet, sugary, airy cotton candy goodness. It smells strongly of cotton candy, it tastes strongly of cotton candy. Once again, the black base is detectabe, but it just seems to enhance and support the flavouring rather than mask it in any way.

I have no idea how Frank achieves these extrodinary flavouring feats. What I do know is that, as iced tea goes, these are unbeatable. Yum yum yum is about the most coherent thing I can say about this right now. Please excuse me while I go and drink some more.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Wanderlust by Yumchaa
1006 tasting notes

I somehow managed to ruin the cup of this I made earlier. It went all bitter and smoky on me. I think maybe the water was too hot when I added the leaves, or maybe they were in there for a bit too long. Fancy work getting in the way of tea! I’ll have to try again later when reception has calmed down a bit.

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

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35
drank Tung Ting Blue Tea by Teapigs
1006 tasting notes

I’m going to be brave and give this a try today. The first time I tried it, which was a good few years ago now, I could hardly finish the cup. This kind of oolong still isn’t really my thing, but it came with a gift pack (the ultimate, no less) so I feel I really ought to give it a second chance.

The dry leaves in the packet give off that typical oolong scent — kind of earthy and slightly mineral. It’s a scent that used to turn my stomach, but I understand it a bit more now. I gave it three minutes in water I’d let cool a little, and the liquor is now a pale yellow. It smells the same as it does dry, which isn’t hugely encouraging considering I’m very picky about oolongs. It’s this exact scent that I dislike, yet it’s hard to accurately describe. Adagio Wuyi Oolong was the same, and I had to ditch the rest of my sample of that as I just couldn’t face it.

I shouldn’t judge before I’ve tried, though. The first sip isn’t too bad. Maybe because I’ve gone lightly with the brew time and temparature, or maybe just because it’s a more delicate tasting tea than I was expecting. It has a faint mineral taste, and a more prominent grassiness, rather like a mild green tea. I can’t exactly claim to like it, but it’s okay. I’ll be able to finish this cup, and the rest of the box, anyway.

I think my relationship with oolong is going to be a bit hit and miss. I loved the milk oolong I tried, and I’ve got a couple more of those in my stash to try now. The idea of flavoured oolong appeals, too, and the same goes for those. I would like to determine what my preferences are when it comes to oolong, so I’m going to keep trying. While drinkable, though, this clearly isn’t it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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35
drank Cinnamon by Adagio Teas
1006 tasting notes

Sipdown! The more of this I drink, the less I like it. The cinnamon is okay, but I’m just not a fan of the base Adagio use for their flavoured black teas. I think some of the unidentified spices in this are a little overpowering, too. It’s not bad, but it’s nowhere close to being a favourite. I wouldn’t buy more, I’m afraid.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Berry Berry Nice by Yumchaa
1006 tasting notes

I’m going to call this a sipdown. I’ve got one cup’s worth left, but I’ll drink that this evening as my bedtime rooibos. Given that I’ve almost finished a full 2 litres of SBT neapolitain ice cream today, I doubt I’ll be in the mood for the honeybush version tonight. That would be overkill. Or maybe just really nice, depending on your perspective. Variety is supposed to be the spice of life, anyway.

This has been a pleasant berry rooibos. I’m over it now, as I usually am by the time I finish a 100g bag. It’s been great knowing it, though, and I might revisit in the (distant) future. It’s bound to be distant, given the number of teas in my cupboard at the moment, isn’t it? Anyway, a fond farewell to this one.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100

After my success with the honeybush version over the last couple of evenings, I decided to try the SBT version at work today. I brewed it up last night, following the instructions. 2 cups of boiling water for three minutes, and then top up with cold to make just under 2 litres. Then it went in the fridge overnight, and this morning it came to work with me!

It’s thundery and humid out, so no surprise that it’s far too hot in my reception area. I’m surprised it took me so long to work out that iced black tea is what I’ve been lacking at work every summer. It’s a lot more refreshing than my usual hot tea, and because it’s black I can get my caffeine fix in as well. I’m useless by mid-afternoon, otherwise.

This is the second of the SBTs I’ve tried, and I think I did slightly better this time. The black tea base is still something you can taste, but it seems lighter and less prominent this time. I think maybe I oversteeped my Razzleberry, although I can’t say it really bothered me at the time. By comparison, though, this is more what I was looking for. Something to remember next time I’m brewing one of these — don’t get distracted!

Anyway, as with the honeybush version, this tastes uncannily like actual neapolitan ice cream. It also has the advantage of being reasonably cold this time, so the resemblance is even stronger. I can taste chocolate first, then a creamy vanilla, and then finally strawberry. The three combine beautifully in the aftertaste, to give the full neapolitan effect. Amazing!

Both versions of this are absolute winners with me. I added milk to the honeybush, which I haven’t done here, but I didn’t add sweetner to either. It really doesn’t need it. It’s not sweet, per se, but it tastes of what it’s supposed to, and that’s enough for me. I got one of each available flavour to try with my last order, but I think I’m going to have to stock up again very soon! These are just too good to pass up!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 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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