901 Tasting Notes

75
drank Winter Infusion by Twinings
901 tasting notes

I’m cultivating a cold at the moment, so now isn’t the best time for me to be trying new teas. There’s plenty of this to go around, though, and I know it’ll cheer me up, so I’m going to do it anyway.

I actually ordered this just before christmas, but have only just got around to trying it. On opening the caddy, I can immediately smell a warm, clementine-scented, slightly spicy aroma. I know it’s March now, but it does make me feel surprisingly christmassy. At the same time, it’s very fresh and clean smelling, probably thanks to the orange, so I’m not too sad to have missed the christmas boat and be drinking this in early spring. It’s actually snowing right now, so I guess I’m just splitting hairs really.

Dry, this tea is actually quite pretty. I don’t usually think that about rooibos, but it’s true here. There’s the reddy-brown rooibos, the pieces of orange, and the fine red strands of safflower. It looks really appealing. Brewed, it develops a deep red-brown liquor, and a scent that is earthy and orangey in equal measure. I added milk on this occasion, because I’m hoping it’ll add a slight creaminess. I often find rooibos quite harsh in flavour, so I’m hoping this will soften that aspect and let the orange and cinnamon shine.

The predominant taste here is orange, along with an earthy robustness from the rooibos. I can’t really detect any cinnamon or spice, except perhaps as a very slight warmth in the aftertaste. It seems a little flat, but the orange is very juicy and pleasant. The scent is actually almost like kia-ora, although the taste is, thankfully, closer to fresh clementine.

For a rooibos blend, this isn’t half bad. I was expecting to only really be able to taste the base tea, but the orange here is surprisingly strong. This is one I’m definietly going to enjoy having around for a while yet!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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60
drank Courtesan by Yumchaa
901 tasting notes

We’ve had a nice, verging on spring-like, couple of days this week, so I decided yesterday morning was as good a time as any for my first iced tea of the year. I say iced, but since I was at work, I didn’t have access to any actual ice. Instead, I did the best I could with our chilled water tap (which really is very cold), and pleanty of patience.

I tried this hot a few days ago, and wasn’t really struck on the flavours. It was a lot sweeter than I was expecting, and not as fruity as the scent led me to imagine. Cold, we get along much better. The darker fruit flavours come through more clearly — hello blackcurrant and elderberry! — and the sweetness, while still there, is complementary rather than overpowering. Yumchaa say this is for icing, and they’re right. I can only imagine this’ll be even better when I have some actual ice, but I’m pretty happy with how this turned out.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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75
drank Lemon and ginger by Teapigs
901 tasting notes

My dad loves this tea, so there’s been a box in the house almost constantly for a good few years now. Surprisingly, I have never tried one, or never that I recall. High time to put that right.

The dry leaves smell predominantly of root ginger, with the soft, hay-like sweetness of the lemongrass emerging in the background. There’s quite a kick of ginger — the kind that tickles your nose if you inhale too deeply. The lemongrass pieces look to be chopped — they’re a lot shorter than the leaves in Teapigs’ Pure Lemongrass — but they’re by no means dust. The ginger pieces are also indetifiable, with the overall proportion looking to be about 50:50. Probably just right, then!

I’ve been missing out. Brewed, the lemongrass comes through a lot more in the scent. To taste, it’s a lot sweeter than I was expecting, and quite complex. The lemongrass is the first thing I can detectl sweet, slightly citrusy. Then comes the tingling spiciness of the ginger, which develops into a lingering warmth in the the aftertaste.

This tea claims to be the perfect British summer drink. From what I’ve tasted, I guess it probably could be. It reminds me of lemonade and ginger beer, things I associate with summer, and that are also making me desperate to try this iced. It’s nice hot, but I can just imagine it working even better cold. Definetly one to revisit!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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25

I’ve been drinking this tea at work pretty steadily, but I brought one home so I could give it enough consideration to write a tasting note. I first tried this tea back in 2009, and I think something about it has definetly changed since then. The tea I remember was very vegetal in smell, and produced a pale, distinctly green liquor. It tasted sweet, and very much like fresh cut grass. It was love at first sip, and I’ve judged every green tea against that one since then. It’s been a while, though, since I last tried it, so I was excited to open a fresh 2013 purchased packet. Unfortunately, this isn’t the tea I remember any more.

Although the packet still makes the claim that the liquor will be green, it isn’t. It’s yellow. Definetly. If you over-brew it even slightly, it turns brown. The dry leaves still smell like I remember — very sweet and almost hay-like, but this doesn’t carry through as well to the brewed tea as I feel it used to. The taste is light and vegetal, but it’s not the summer-grass taste I remember so well. It seems to have lost some of its character. It’s still a very fresh, delicate green tea, though, and one I can enjoy drinking almost any time of the day. I’m just disappointed that it’s not as amazing as I remember it used to be. There’s no bitterness or astringency if you’re careful how you brew it, but one false move and it develops a very dry mouthfeel and aftertaste.

It’s palatable, but no longer fabulous. I guess I’ll have to look elsewhere for the Mao Feng of my memory.

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

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75
drank Chamomile Flowers by Teapigs
901 tasting notes

This is one of my favourite chamomile teas, and, also, a SIPDOWN! The first thing I notice about it on opening the packet is the strong honeyed scent. It’s almost like opening a jar of fresh honey. Sweet, slightly floral. The chamomile is whole flower, another of my favourite qualities in a chamomile tea. They rehydrate when wet, fill the bag like little golden-yellow beads, and turn the water a bright, sunny yellow.

It may be nice to smell and pretty to look at, but it’s also equally pleasing to taste. Naturally sweet, slightly floral, with an overriding hat-like flavour and a slight green-apple like sharpness to the aftertaste. I tend to leave the bag in all the while I’m drinking this tea, which is maybe slightly heretical, but I find that as it steeps the apple note becomes more predominant and defined, and this is something I can appreciate in such a naturally sweet tea. It adds a pleasing edge, and is a perfect counterpoint, to the otherwise strongly honey-like flavour.

This is a tea I always find genuinely soothing. It’s my post-interview drink of choice, which is why this post is also a sipdown. I’ve had six interviews in the last four weeks, and I’ve been drinking this almost compulsively both before and afterwards. I finally got offered a job on Thursday, so I can leave off this particular tea for a while, but it certainly helped to calm my interview fear which always seems to strike particularly badly.

Calming, uplifting, sunny. Perfect!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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65
drank Jasmine Pearls by Teapigs
901 tasting notes

I’m drinking this as I type. Thankfully, it’s one I’ve tried before, because I know I’m getting a cold at the moment and my sense of taste is starting to diminish. Anyway, it’s safe to say that I’m not the biggest fan of jasmine tea. I haven’t tried all that many as yet, but something about the perfumeyness of it just doesn’t seem to agree with me. I got a box of this for christmas, though, and it’s not so terrible that I’m not willing to drink it at all. It’ll just never be my favourite.

I may not like the taste of jasmine, but these kind of teas always fascinate me. I love the pearl shape, the colours of the leaves, and the way they unfurl and end up looking like seaweed. This tea is no exception on that front. The pearls are quite dark, brownish-black on the whole, with paler white and green leaves running through them. They’re also slightly fuzzy-looking. I’m feeling patient today, so I let the water cool before adding the bag, and leave it for just about three minutes. As the pearls unfurl, it’s easier to see the leaves are actually predominantly green. The liquor is a light yellow-green, and the scent at this point is strongly floral, very much like fresh jasmine flowers.

To taste, I’m pleased to find that the floral aspect has faded into the background a little. It’s still there, but it’s more a flavour that you taste at the back of your mouth after swallowing than one that hits you in the tastebuds as soon as you take a sip. The green tea itself is very subtle and delicate. There are no strong green flavours here, just a refreshing lightness and then the slight floral. I can imagine this being a really wonderful tea for drinking on a hot summer afternoon, simply because it’s so delicately sweet and light in flavour.

It’s actually more pleasant than I remember finding it initially, but my tastes are changing as time passes and I try more and better teas. I don’t think I’ll ever completely warm up to jasmine, but this was definetly a very pleasant surprise!

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

Jasmine is evil….I’d rather drink a cup full of bergamot lol

Scheherazade

I really don’t like very floral things, either in food or tea. You can hardly taste the jasmine in this, though, so it’s not too bad. It’s definetly more of a scent than a flavour.

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60
drank Courtesan by Yumchaa
901 tasting notes

Okay, so I have a lot of backlogging to do today. May as well start with this one!

The first thing I want to say about this tea is that it smells amazing. Like, really amazing. It’s exceptionally fruity. I think I’d say the blackcurrant, strawberry and raspberry are the dominant notes, but it also contains hibiscus, elderberry, papaya and raisin. The fruit pieces are generously sized, probably on a par with Adagio or maybe a touch larger. The colours are amazing and almost jewel like — blood red, burgandy, aubergine, and orange, with the rippled creamy-red hibiscus flowers standing out among them.

In practice, though, it doesn’t actually taste quite as I expected. It’s a lot sweeter than the ingerdients made me think it would be, and the initial sip is almost too sweet — a bit like artificial sweetner. This develops into the taste I’m usually expecting when I drink fruit tea. A slight tartness, a tangy edge of almost-bitterness, and a drying sensation on the palate. The aftertaste offers a hint of pepperiness, I’m assuming from the papaya.

The more I drink this, the more I like it. I wasn’t at all sure at first, with it being so sweet, but it’s actually quite pleasant. More so as it cools. It’s more complex in flavour than any fruit tea I’ve had before, that’s for sure. It doesn’t beat my favourite — Teapigs Superfruit — for now, but it’s a pretty good contender. Definetly one for icing in the summer!

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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95

I’m slowly learning to appreciate bergamot in Earl Grey. There was a time in my tea drinking history when I wouldn’t have been able to drink this one, because the bergamot is pretty pronounced and it was a flavour that always made me feel slightly nauseous. Neither would I have been able to drink it without milk. Now, I can do both, and happily.

This one strikes a perfect balance for me. It’s not too bitterly citrus, but I can definetly taste the bergamot. It’s just right for my current tastes, but I am going to branch out and try some more varieties now it’s a flavour I’m coming to appreciate.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85

This is still my tea of choice at work at the moment. So light and fresh tasting. I’ve done a detailed tasting note for this previously, but, needless to day, this is still ticking a lot of boxes for me. Morning or afternoon — it’s just perfect. I didn’t really like darjeeling over much before I tried first flush. I’ll definetly be seeking out some of 2013s in the coming months. Absolutely divine!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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65

Last time I drank one of these, I wasn’t in a fit state to taste anything. I opened a fresh packet today, though, so it’s time for a fresh tasting note — this time with tastebuds intact.

As soon as I open the box, I can smell the sweetness of the liquorice. I’m not sure why this surprises me every time, but it does. I breathed in a little too close to the packet — entirely by accident — and was rewarded with a mouthful of residual dust. It tastes a little like artificial sweetner. Not my favourite thing.

I can’t remember whether I’ve said it before, but I like this tea iced. It’s somehow more palatable cold — maybe because it complements the peppermint more. Hot, this is odd to say the least. The sweetness really lingers at the back of the mouth. It’s an acquired taste, I think, but one I’m in the process of acquiring. I don’t know how — I couldn’t finish my first cup of this all that time ago — but it is. Each time I drink it the extreme sweetness seems a little less repulsive, and I’m starting to taste something underneath the initial hit that I actually rather like. I’m going to need to try a few more cups before I can identify it with any certainty, but I’m kind of pleased this is no longer on my “ick” list. It’s a tea I’ve always wanted to like — despite myself — and maybe now I can finally say I’m getting there!

Preparation
Boiling 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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