1433 Tasting Notes

65

First Flush Darjeelings are among my favourite black teas, as I’m sure I’ve intimated several times before. This one – from the Goomtee Estate – is apparently perfect for “strong hearted first flush lovers”. Well, we shall see.

Read my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/25/goomtee-china-classic-first-flush-darjeeling-udyan-tea/

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75

This was my second cup of the morning (my first was Plum Brandy Cheesecake). I’ve written a note for it before, but I felt compelled to add another today because I experienced this one slightly differently from my first few cups. For starters, I can actually taste eggnog! Such creamy deliciousness. I can also taste praline pretty strongly in the mid-sip, and the combination is a great one. The first couple of times I brewed this, it always felt like the green base was just a little bit overpowering – like I could taste that more than I could either of the flavours. This time? Not so. I’m not quite sure what I did differently (if anything). I certainly didn’t make any changes on purpose! Perhaps I just reached an optimum point on the bag, or something? All I care about at the moment is that this cup is thoroughly delicious, and for that reason alone I HAD to log it. Noms!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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80
drank Hazelnut by Simpson & Vail
1433 tasting notes

A sample from Miss B! This was my early evening cup last night, and I was expecting a fairly mild flavour. I’ve not found a hazelnut tea that particularly struck me before, but this one was quite an eye opener. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk, because it brewed up pretty dark.

It’s quite a straightforward tea in many ways. The flavour is fairly simple and one-note, and it’s definitely not the kind of tea where there’s a lot going on and you really have to think about what you’re tasting. This tea, basically, is exactly what it promises to be; hazelnut on a smooth, mellow black base. It’s rich and nutty to taste, and it is specifically hazelnut that I can taste, rather than just generic “nut”. The hazelnut flavour emerges mostly in the mid-sip, and then there’s the slight bitterness of hazelnut skin in the aftertaste. It didn’t strike me as a particularly sweet tea, and the base wasn’t malty, so there’s nothing to conflict with the richness of the hazelnut and the slightly savoury vibe that can have. I did find that the flavour seemed to strengthen as the tea cooled, which was a pleasant surprise. Possibly this one would make a good cold brew, although I don’t have enough leaf at the moment to try that out. I enjoyed this one a lot more than I anticipated, though, and so it would be a possible future purchase for me. Maybe one day I’ll get to test my cold brew theory with this tea! In the meantime, I shall enjoy a second hot cup before I have to say goodbye. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to try this one, because I’m not sure I would have picked it out of my own accord.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90
drank Two Friends by Custom (Butiki)
1433 tasting notes

This came to work with me today in a timolino. I was pleased to find that it still tasted as strongly of chocolate and orange as it did in my cup at home – sometimes I find things taste different from a flask, but not this one! I overleafed a little to compensate for the bigger size of the flask compared to a cup, but it worked really well and I’m pleased I took it along. I’m going to miss this one when it’s gone from my cupboard, and that day is closer than I’d like it to be,

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp

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85

A sample from Miss B! I pulled out the Simpson and Vail blends first because I’ve experienced a degree of flavour loss in the past with their flavoured blends. These samples are stored in plastic ziploc bags, but they’re not really air tight and I didn’t want to leave them longer than I had to. I should have got around to starting these samples much sooner, but stuff happened and life got in the way, and somehow I just never got round to it. I’m on a more even keel now, so better late than never!

Having said that, I have had quite a day. This week I’ve worked six days, which I never enjoy because I get so tired, but which are essential during open day season and usually at least reasonably fun. I work in a University Admissions department, so my role is pretty much focused on being welcoming and answering queries on entry requirements, course content, and the like. One girl didn’t like what she was being told, and had A TANTRUM on the floor, kicking and screaming, crying and shouting. She was 18, so should have known better, but obviously used to getting her own way. Honestly, I was embarrassed for her. Also annoyed, when one of the academics came up to me later and told me that she’d wanted her to “go home happy, with a smile on her face”, and so had told her that her low grades would be acceptable after all. Helpful, right? That doesn’t make us look unprofessional at all. All I can say is, I’m glad today is over.

Now I’m home, I really wanted a comfort tea. Chai is that to me, especially during the colder months. Chocolate is good, too, obviously. Hence, this one called to me quite strongly. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it approximately 4 minutes in boiling water. I added a decent slug of milk, so it’s kind of a proper chai, without as much fuss.

It’s really delicious. The chocolate and the spices are pretty much perfectly balanced, so that both can be tasted and neither is overpowering. The chocolate comes across as a dark, cocoa-y kind of flavour, perfectly suited to the warmth of the cinnamon and ginger, slight dankness of clove, and the beauty that is cardamon. The black tea base is smooth and a little sweet and malty, and the overall combination strikes me as a really great one. I’m enjoying my cup, now that I can finally start to relax a little.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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60
drank Nilgiri Blue by The Tao of Tea
1433 tasting notes

It’s been a while since I tried a Nilgiri tea, so I’m hoping this will be a pleasant re-acquaintance.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/10/23/nilgiri-blue-black-tea-tao-tea/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85
drank Lime Deluxe by ESP Emporium
1433 tasting notes

This was a sipdown today, after all, and probably the last one I’ll manage this weekend. I’m working tomorrow, sadly, so I won’t be drinking as much tea as I usually would on a weekend. I really hate 6 day weeks, and I’m so tired – it’s totally horrible right now. This tea cheered up my Friday, though. It has creamy undertones with a strong hit of sharp lime right in the foreground. I’m sure it helped to keep me awake this afternoon!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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75

This was a sipdown today. I had the choice between two weaker cups and one stronger one, and in the end I went for the stronger option and threw in all of the remaining leaf. I’ve enjoyed this one for its caramel flavour, but I was hoping for at least some sesame maybe some of the time. I got none. Still, you can’t win them all.

This tea is actually one of three sipdowns I’ve achieved this morning. The others were River Song (also from the Adagio Doctor Who fandom tea sampler) and David’s Organic Egyptian Chamomile. I’m going to try and finish my sample of ESP Emporium’s Lime Deluxe (from the EU TTB) this afternoon as well. At least it feels like I’m making some progress on my cupboard, even though it’s grown again recently!

Yesterday’s post contained another two tea orders – one from 52 Teas (inspired by the Marshmallow Treat Genmaicha I drank last Friday) which contained 8 taster pouches, the other a David’s box set that I picked up on Ebay – so another 8 in there. I’ve got one more order en route, from Liquid Proust, which is probably the one I’m most excited about. My cupboard will explode if I go over 300 (I will not allow this – I think it’s only happened once!), but that order was inevitable. I might sneak in another Bluebird before Christmas, but I have to promise myself that I really will stop there.

I really will stop there.

I think.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

I’m super excited at the moment, because my Bluebird Tea Co. order arrived yesterday, and this tea is now officially back in my cupboard. It’s been too long! I also picked up samples of their other autumn blends (Kung Flu Fighter!, Nuts About You, and Pudina Chai). Of these, Pudina Chai is probably the one that has me most intrigued, because I’ve never tried a mint-based chai before. There’s always a first time. The other exciting thing about my Bluebird order was that they also put in a sample of this year’s Christmas Cake blend. That got me running back to their website to see if the rest of the Christmas stuff is available yet – seriously, they have the cutest hampers this year! They’re not in stock yet, which is probably a very good thing for my bank account, but I’m eyeing one up as a present to myself.

Yay tea!

Fjellrev

Sounds über tasty!

tea-sipper

Sipping this one now – sad that not many people on Steepster have tried this one. :/

Scheherazade

It’s so good, and yet so little known. Such a shame!

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90
drank Champagne Cider by Butiki Teas
1433 tasting notes

This was yesterday’s pre-bedtime cup. I nearly reached for a black tea again, and then thought the better of it. That’s probably not a habit I should get into on a week night, for the sake of my sanity. I’ve no complaints about this one though, I mean it smells totally delicious when all you do is open the bag. Last night it put me in mind of apple pie, that wonderful autumn staple. I think it was the apple/cinnamon combination that did it. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions.

Steeped, this tastes less of apple pie and more of cider. Excellent news! I think it’s the sharpness of the apple, contrasted with the mild but warming spices that differentiate it. Apple pie would be mushier, sweeter apple flavour. I didn’t get much in the way of champagne at first, but as I sipped I did start to notice a sort of heady grapey flavour that did remind me of sparkling wine. It’s not effervescent, obviously, but it’s one of those rare teas that manages to seem like it is, even if only lightly.

The overall combination is, I think, a really good one. Cider and champagne are two things I probably wouldn’t have thought to put together, but it’s a flavour combination that works. I like the warming, wintery spices, the sharpness of the apple, and the almost-bubbly sweetness of the champagne. It’s a truly great thing. I’m going to try and save a cup of this for new year – or, failing that, to drink as my last ever cup of Butiki tea. It’s a true celebratory tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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Profile

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 ny 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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