1088 Tasting Notes

95

A sample from Cteresa. I’ve had relative success with a few orange/jasmine/vanilla blends recently, so I pulled this one out to try with interest. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. It smells beautiful — sweetly cirtussy, just like an actual mandarin, with a light floral edge.

To taste, it’s everything I’d hoped. The orange is sweetish, but with a slightly zesty edge, and the vanilla and jasmine combine into a creamy light floral, which complements the citrus flavour beautifully. The base is smooth and delicate, with no bitterness or astringency at all, and it doesn’t detract in the slightest from the flavouring. I do appreciate how well balanced many MF teas are; the more I drink, the more that stands out to me. Thy’re the quiet, unassuming geniuses of my tea cupboard. Their flavouring might not be loud and brashy, but it’s certainly subtly awesome.

This is one I’d definitely add to my cupboard if the opportunity arose. My favourite orange jasmine tea prior to trying this one was Mighty Leaf’s Orange Dulce, but I think it might just have lost its crown! Thanks so much to Cteresa for sharing this one with me.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Boléro by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

A sample from Ysaurella. This is today’s afternoon tea at work. I gave 1 tsp of leaves 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The flavour of this one is one of the strongest I’ve ever encountered from a MF tea. I can taste apricot straight away, and fortunately it’s an accurate, natural apricot and not a terrible chemical monstrosity. I can also taste the deeper, darker sweetness of fig. It adds a sweet syrupyness to the fresh, sweet top notes of the apricot. I’m not really getting peach, but that’s a small complaint when everything else is so present and correct.

I like this one, and that’s not something I usually say about apricot teas. A cupboard candidate for sure! Thanks again to Ysaurella for sharing this one with me!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Ysaurella

Maybe give it a try too without milk, it is soooo smooth…. incredible.

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90

A sample from Cteresa. This is another subtle, interesting cup, with a lot going on. I’m enjoying contemplating these teas as I drink them, picking out the flavours, considering how they work together to create the overall effect…

I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. The main flavour I can detect is cherry, underscored with a light floral (like blossom?) and just a touch of spicy cinnamon at the tail end of the sip. With successive sips, I notice a note of honey dancing somewhere in the middle — it complements the cherry/spice dynamic really well, and helps to make this a very smooth, delicately sweet cup. At times, I can also taste a very light nuttiness, perhaps hazelnut, although it’s a little overpowered by the cherry and spice. They’re definitely the main players here.

It’s not really putting me in mind of a full moon, but I am enjoying this one. Natural tasting cherry teas are a rare thing, but MF seem to pull it off better than most. A delicious mid-morning cup, and another I’d consider adding to my cupboard. I’ll be overrun at this rate!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80

A sample from Cteresa. I’ve tried this once before, and I remember liking it but not having a particularly strong memory of it going forward. Hence, I’m really pleased to have another chance to reacquaint myself with this one. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor was quite dark, so I added a splash of milk.

For me, this is a pretty perfect autumn tea. I love the chestnutty taste this one has — almost like a cross between a sweet potato and a hazelnut, to my mind. It’s not particularly strong here (nothing like Adagio’s Chestnut, for example), but that’s okay as it can be quite a rich, overbearing taste. Here, it’s fairly delicate, and rounded out with the smooth, sweet flavour of vanilla and the maltiness of the base tea.

I tend to gravitate towards pumpkin teas in autumn, but this makes a very pleasant change. It’s a sophisticated cup — light, classy, perfectly balanced flavours. As I try more MF teas, I’m realising how accomplished their blends are. Particularly when compared to other flavoured teas. They have a lightness of touch that I’m really beginning to appreciate.

Anyway, chestnut teas are clearly something I can get behind. I’m encouraged to seek out more of these in the future, and possibly to give this one a home in my cupboard when the opportunity arises.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Mandalay by Mariage Frères
1088 tasting notes

A sample from Ysaurella. This is a tea I’m already slightly familiar with, as I drank the iced tea version earlier in the summer. I liked it, and so was interested to try the black tea version that inspired it as well. I gave 1 tsp of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and (based on the colour of the resulting liquor) left it black.

I was expecting a little astringency, but there is none. It’s actually a gloriously smooth tasting blend, and the spicing is perfectly done. It’s distinctive but not harsh, and it’s still possible to taste the pleasantly malty black base underneath. An example of a spiced tea well done, in my book.

Although it’s spiced, it’s not reminiscent of chai. Rather, it tastes very eastern inspired, very exotic, reminiscent of a walk through a souk. The spices are so well blended, it’s actually quite hard to pick out individual notes. I fairly sure there’s cinnamon, but I’ll need to think on this one a little more (and try it when I’m not at work, perhaps) in order to have time to really think about what I’m tasting. A positive experience, though, and a pretty unique blend. I’ve not tried many (any?) like this before, which is actually quite refreshing! A possible for my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
Ysaurella

this a very special blend. lovely.My tin is running low and I need to consider it for a future re purchase. Glad you liked it too.

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65

This is today’s cold brew, which I decided to try in order to use up some leaf. It’s one of the older teas I still have ticking around, and as I’d had success cold brewing the black version I thought I might as well give it a try. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely successful. It’s very smooth tasting — almost too smooth, as in slimy, really. The main flavour that I’m picking up is a rather fake tasting chocolate, followed by an equally fake tasting vanilla. There’s only a very tiny hint of mint, which is a shame, as it would have added some much needed freshness.

To my mind, the odd thing is that this is a completely different tea when brewed hot. I didn’t notice the chocolate or vanilla tasting “fake” at all, and it certainly wasn’t slimy. Part of me is wondering whether the sprinkles have contributed to these problems — they’ve obviously been in water much longer than they would have been for a hot cup, so maybe that’s had an effect. There’s also more mint, and it cuts through the otherwise sweet flavours and makes this a far more palatable tea. I guess cold brewing just doesn’t work for this one, for one reason or another. The rest of my pouch will definitely be used for hot cups this coming autumn!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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70

A sample from Ysaurella. After having skimmed a few of the notes below, I allowed 1 tsp of leaf 5 minutes in water around 90 degrees. The scent is fairly generic, and it’s hard to pick up any clues about the tea from that alone.

To taste, this one is, to me at least, a fairly unusual combination. I can pick up on a light edge of citrus, but on the whole this tastes rather like the sugar shells on chocolate mini eggs . A rich vanilla flavour emerges in the aftertaste, but that’s the only point at which I would have thought “creme brulee”. The custardy vanilla mellowness is there, but I think I’m looking for a caramel/burnt sugar taste to really round out that impression.

Somehow, though, this tea does make me think of Easter. It’s sugary, spring-like in its light flavours and delicate taste…fresh, somehow. It’s not quite what I was expecting, but it grows on me with successive sips. I’ll certainly enjoy finishing up the sample, but I think I might need to experiment with brew time and the amount of leaf I’m using a little. It’s like the waters are a little muddied at the moment, and it’s hard to really pinpoint what I’m tasting.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60

A sample from ashleyelizabeth. I gave this one 5 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk. I like coconut, and coconut teas in general, and I also like chai, so this one seemed a good bet on a cold morning. The scent of this one dry, and while brewing, is heavenly. The coconut scent is strong and true to life, and deliciously creamy. Fortunately, the same is true of the brewed tea. The main flavour is definitely coconut; slightly toasted coconut, with a milky-creaminess about it. The spices come out second, quite strongly and suddenly. It’s a trinity of ginger, black pepper, and liquorice in the main, with maybe a hint of cinnamon and clove around the edges. The pepper I like, oddly, perhaps because it’s a warming, spicy contrast to the creamy, milky coconut. The ginger works well too. The only thing that’s spoiling this one for me is the liquorice – while it sweetens the blend, it also leaves a fake, over sweet taste (like splenda) at the back of my throat. The tea base (which I assume is black) is also a little weak for me to really be able to get behind this as a chai blend.

I enjoyed this cup, but on the whole it’s not one I’d look to try again. There are other chai blends I like more (although the coconut in this one is so good, that’s a hard thing to say). If it had a stronger base and no liquorice, I’d probably like it a whole lot more. As it stands, though, it’s one I can live without.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Hugs and Kisses by Adagio Teas
1088 tasting notes

I went out and bought some milk this morning, and today I finally, finally had a good cup of this one. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and left it in boiling water for around five minutes, then topped it off with a generous splash of milk. It’s insanely creamy. It tastes just like I’d added cream to my cup, rather than milk, with that deliciously smooth, almost flat-tasting dairyness about it. I didn’t like Adagio’s “Cream” flavoured black last time I tried it, but I might have to give it another go next time I order from them. There’s also a hint of almond here; a touch of marzipan amongst the cream, and a tiny, tiny nip of vanilla. I’m not getting any caramel, but that might well have been one step too far anyway. Also, despite the amount of rose and cornflower petals scattered throughout this one, there is no floral note to be found. In my book, that’s a good thing. So; creamy, vanilla, almond tinged loveliness. This one needs milk, but once it’s got some, it’s just plain lovely. It’s not a flashy or overflavoured tea, but it’s pleasant and comforting to drink when something more plain is required.

In other news, this is my 1000th note. I can’t believe I’ve been here long enough to have written that many — it doesn’t feel like so long ago that I was just starting to drink loose leaf tea! May the next 1000 go as smoothly!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp
scribbles

WOW! Cingrats on making 1000!

KittyLovesTea

Congrats on 1000! Wonderful milestone.

Veronica

Congrats on 1000! That’s awesome!

VariaTEA

Yay for 1000! And yay for finding a way to enjoy this tea :)

Fjellrev

w00t, congrats on 1000!

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75
drank Dolce Vita by RiverTea
1088 tasting notes

I brewed up a cup of this one on Sunday afternoon, but I clearly haven’t got it quite down pat yet. I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It smells like raspberry straight out of the box, and even more so while brewing. It was suggested to me that this one could be a runner for the title of Best Raspberry Tea After 52 Teas Raspberry Cream, and because that’s what I’ll clearly be spending the rest of my life looking for, I can only imagine it’s a positive step in the right direction.

It’s good. The raspberry flavour is juicy, but very candy-like (not really fresh, tart raspberry at all). There’s an added sweetness from the meringue hats, which is enjoyable, although it doesn’t add much in terms of flavour. I wasn’t getting coconut at all. In an effort to bring out more creaminess, I added a splash of milk. That was the wrong decision; the base tea is too light to take milk without the whole thing becoming a washout. Mistake.

So, for my next cup I will leave out the milk. Probably. Unless I use a lot more leaf. I’m torn on the amount of leaf to use in order to get the best flavour. I think probably I’ll stick with 1 tsp, and maybe extend the brew time a little? If that doesn’t work, I’ll use a little more leaf. Clearly there is some experimentation to be done.

At the moment, what I can say is that I liked this one right up until I added the milk. I would like some more creaminess, and to taste the coconut, but the raspberry flavour is strong and delicious. I can see this being a tea I enjoy even if I can’t have anymore creaminess/coconut, just because a candy raspberry tea is a good thing in my book. And I like the meringue — it’s a cute touch. I’m willing to experiment a little bit yet, but for now I’m going to rate this 75, because it’s nice and I’ll guzzle it whatever happens. A positive introduction to River Tea!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 26, 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’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

Norfolk, UK

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