1694 Tasting Notes

60
drank Chai Me by T-We Tea
1694 tasting notes

A sample from Miss B! I’ve not tried very many “herbal” chai blends before today, or at least, not that I can remember. I know I’ve tried at least a couple of rooibos vanilla chai blends, but that’s been about my limit in terms of exploration. This blend appears to be made up of a mixture of green and red rooibos, with, I think, pieces of ginger root, cinnamon bark, cacao nibs, and some tiny pink flowers that are amazingly pretty. There are doubtless other things, too, but it’s quite a fine blend and the components are tricky to spot.

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. It brews up to a beautiful sunset-orange, very vibrant! Based on taste alone, I’m not sure that I would have immediately identified this as a chai. The rooibos is very prominent, particularly the green rooibos, but after that I’m getting mostly chocolate and then a good, spicy kick of ginger. If I was tasting blind, I’d probably have said ginger-chocolate rather than chai. I actually don’t mind the flavour, but as a chai it’s not ticking many boxes for me.

The description of this one is pretty unique, too. I mean, I get that it’s a Twilight thing…but what’s it got to do with this tea?

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp
Super Starling!

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve read the books. I don’t recall anything about Alice drinking chai. Just that she saw the future and was basically the only sane one in the series.

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65
drank Monster Brew by Adagio Teas
1694 tasting notes

Today’s work cold brew. This one is pretty good cold, as all the Adagio Tree House blends have been. I’m actually finding that the chocolate seems more prominent than the fruit when brewed this way, which is the complete opposite of the hot version. I am getting some fruit – primarily cherry, maybe a touch of blueberry, but it’s definitely second fiddle to the chocolate which is milky, smooth, and delicious.

I’m really enjoying this one, and I’m pleased with how well these teas have come out both cold and hot. Usually Adagio isn’t my thing, but these are pretty good summery blends. For reference, I used 4 bags in 2 litres of water, into the fridge for around 10 hours.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 4 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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80
drank Grape Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1694 tasting notes

Tried this one shaken into cold water this afternoon, but I’m not sure that I’m a fan. The last matcha I tried it with was Red Leaf’s Sangria, and I really didn’t like that. I’m feeling almost the same about this one. For some reason, it seems to bring out the floral flavour of the matcha, and there’s something about it that turns my stomach.

Matcha latte? Yes. Any other preparation? Maybe not.

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70
drank Yuzu Temple by Mariage Frères
1694 tasting notes

Farewell to the oldest tea in my cupboard! I used the last of this up for today’s work cold brew, since it burns through leaf pretty quickly and I just couldn’t see myself drinking another 10+ cups of this hot. It’s not a bad tea, especially for a green, as I’ve proved to myself many times by actually drinking it and being pleasantly surprised. Somehow, though, I was just never really feeling this one.

It’s pretty good as a cold brew. I was expecting it to be bitter, and it’s really not, although it is on the savoury side compared to most of the teas/cold brews I’ve been drinking recently. The yuzu is more prominent cold than it is hot, and it’s nice to have that citrussy, pithy flavour front and centre. The green tea base is mostly smooth, although there’s a bit of a dryness in the aftertaste that I want to call astringency, but hesitatingly because it’s really not that bad.

I’ll be happy to sip on this one for the rest of the day. It’s refreshing, and a change of pace from the other teas I’ve got with me at work right now. I’d not repurchase this one, though. It’s just not a favourite.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 8 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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85

I received this tea bag with my Pink Parcel this month. I’ve never heard of the brand before, but according to the little brochure that explains where the “for you” items come from, they can be purchased from Harrods and are hella expensive – about £30 for 20 or something fairly ridiculous like that. The packaging doesn’t give much away – no ingredients, for example. It smells lovely, though – very fresh and lemony. One thing that is highlighted is the “innovative” cotton tea bag. I probably wouldn’t say innovative, exactly – Mighty Leaf have been doing similar for a while, except that theirs are nylon, but the woven pouch idea in general isn’t new (unless these guys were doing it first and I just didn’t know. Apparently they’ve been around since 1961.)

I gave the bag the recommended 5 minutes in boiling water. The bag looks to contain whole chamomile flowers, rose petals, and lemon verbena. Brewed, it smells more “herbal” than it does dry, and just a touch floral.

To taste, I’m actually quite impressed. There’s a creamy lemon flavour at the forefront, then the sweet, honey-like almost-cloyingness of chamomile, with just a touch of rose/lavender floral at the end of the sip. I’ve had other “lemon cream” tea that are equally good, but it’s always nice to find another one (especially when you’re least expecting it.) It’s supposed to be a relaxing tisane, and I guess it would be. I’d definitely drink it on an evening as a pre-bedtime cup.

What I’d be less willing to do is pay the quoted price. Harrods is an overpriced tourist trap anyway, so I’d not buy tea from there if I had any other choice, but if I could find this from an alternative supplier (or maybe direct from La Vie del Te, who are based in Italy and have a website…) at a more reasonable price then I’d definitely consider buying more of this one (or trying some other blends…) Best not to look, though. It’s such a slippery slope :)

I’m happy to have had the opportunity to try this one; I liked it a lot more than I was expecting to, and the quality appears to be there even though it’s bagged. Unexpectedly good!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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85

I’m enjoying another cup of this one at work today. Now that I’m getting towards the bottom of the bag, I’ve noticed that the stevia (if that’s what it actually is) has become more prominent. I’m thinking it had probably just settled and now I’m getting more per tsp than was intended. It does distract from the ice cream aspect a little, just because it’s verging on over-sweet, but it’s still a pleasant cup. I definitely get root beer, and with a splash of milk there’s vanilla ice cream in there too. One word: yum!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

Sipdown! I’ve enjoyed this one – it’s minty and chocolatey with a malty black base and the creamiest vanilla I’ve come across in a while. There might be many chocolate-mint-vanilla black teas out there, but this is one of the really good ones.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp

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75

No notes for this one? I’m kind of surprised about that, because it’s been out a while – I think since last autumn? Anyway, I should probably preface this by saying that smoky teas are generally not my thing. There was a time when just the thought would make me stomach turn, but thankfully my aversion isn’t that strong anymore. I still don’t drink many smoky teas, though, and I tend not to seek them out. I’ll try the occasional one, though, because when it comes to tea I feel like continuing to challenge my preconceptions is still a valid thing to do. I wouldn’t be drinking pu’erh, oolong or green tea otherwise, and that really would be a loss.

The scent of the dry leaf is strong, reminiscent of beef jerky with hints of barbecue smoke. Based on the name, I was hoping for more of a cigarette smoke/men’s club type of scent, rather than bonfire and meat, but there you go. This blend is a mixture of Lapsang Souchong and Russian Caravan, so it contains some formosa oolong and keemun. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. It brewed up to a medium golden-brown, so no additions.

To taste, it’s actually more palatable than I was expecting. The smokiness is strong, and it lingers in the aftertaste, but I don’t have the instant urge to tip the rest of the cup that I would have had at one time. It’s smoother than I expected, with no bitterness or astringency. It’s hard to say whether there are any nuances, though, or how effective the base teas are, because the smoke/meatiness simply overpowers everything else. Not a disaster, though!

Everytime I see/drink a smoky tea, I inevitably recall the way Von Smallhausen of the Gestapo says “I prefer Lapsang Souchong” in ’Allo ’Allo. The subtext of that sentence really has to be “because it reminds me of the concentration camps”, and his tone and delivery totally nail the creepy vibe (as well as being inappropriately amusing).

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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100

Today’s work cold brew, and also a sipdown! I used 2 tbsp of leaf for 2 litres of water, and it brewed up so pale I didn’t really believe it would taste of…anything at all. This is despite the fact that I’ve tried this one cold brewed before, and know it to be amazing. Today’s cup is equally good – sweet (obviously!), and a little caramelised-tasting. It really nails the flavour of cotton candy, as difficult as that is to describe! Cold is definitely the way to go with this one – it was nice enough hot, but it didn’t shine nearly as well as it does cold.

My tea orders did arrive yesterday, so I now have some new Liquid Proust blends, a few 52 Teas that caught my eye, and my first August Uncommon teas! Late to that party, I know. I also placed my first order with White2Tea last night, because I read some amazing notes for their raw pu’erh on here yesterday. Exciting tea times!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 8 tsp 68 OZ / 2000 ML

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80
drank Grape Matcha by Red Leaf Tea
1694 tasting notes

A sample from Roswell Strange! I’d already put my 1/4 tsp of matcha in my cup and added about an inch of boiling water before I realised that the batteries in my AeroLatte had expired overnight. I’ve not quite got to the point where I understand the relationship my whisk has with batteries. It can be fine one minute, and completely dead the next. Clearly I’ll have to start keeping a spare set in my drawer, but I don’t have any kicking around this morning.

So. So. I had to whisk as vigorously as I could with a tiny spoon, which is obviously not all that vigorously. It helped that the matcha seems quite forgiving – it seemed to absorb well of its own accord, and hadn’t clumped or formed lumps despite my lack of whisking ability. And the lack of a whisk. Anyway, we seem to have got there. Somehow.

I made this up as a latte, although I’ll definitely be trying this one cold at some point because the flavour really calls out for that. It’s pretty good – there’s a half-natural, half-candy grape flavour kicking around, although it’s pretty subtle. This is the delicate flavour level, though, so I’m not surprised about that. If I had to give it a colour, I’d say that it tastes purple, which is definitely a nod to the candy-like aspect over the true-to-life. Either way, it’s good.

I’ve stirred it pretty constantly as I’ve been sipping, and there’s not too much settlement at the bottom – no more than I’d get with my electric whisk. I’m kind of pleased that what could have been a disaster turned out okay – and that grape matcha makes for a gentle, not-too-sweet start to the morning. Perfect!

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Profile

Bio

Hi :) I’m Sarah, 28, 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 my 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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