1293 Tasting Notes

75

I love the inspiration behind this blend from Bluebird Tea Co. The dry leaf looks like something right out of Narnia, with its whole pink rosebuds, additional rose petals, plentiful cocoa shells, lemongrass pieces and the fluffy, mossy greenness of the raspberry leaves. It’s so pretty, the White Witch of Narnia might well use it to tempt Edmund away. I used a generous heaped teaspoon of leaf for my cup, and gave it 4 minutes in boiling water. No additions. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, and the scent is faintly herbal, maybe a touch floral.

To taste, this one is pure liquid turkish delight, although the variety that comes coated in chocolate rather than dusted with icing sugar. The rose is the most prominent flavour; sweet with a hint of perfume. The flavour of milk chocolate emerges in the midsip, adding a creamy, almost vanilla-like sweetness that really complements the rose. Although cocoa shells are responsible for the flavour, there’s none of the dry bittersweetness cocoa can sometimes add to a tea. This is liquid milk chocolate over rose-flavoured turkish delight; sweet, smooth, and perfectly befitting a fairy tale.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/15/enchanted-narnia-herbal-tea-bluebird-tea-co/

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

The first thing I noticed about this one is how wonderful it smells – fresh, strong, sweet spearmint, right from the get go! I prefer spearmint to peppermint in general, but spearmint teas seem relatively scarce in comparison, so I’m pleased to have found this one from Kusmi. The dry leaf is very dark green and tightly rolled. There’s no indication on the tin of the variety of green tea this is, but I would guess Gunpowder from looking at the leaves alone. I could be wrong, but that’s my educated guess. For my cup, I used 1 tsp of leaf, and gave it 2 minutes in water cooled to around 180 degrees. The resulting liquor is a golden yellow, and smells primarily of spearmint with an underlying hint of green tea.

To taste, this one reminds me a bit of chewing gum, or softmints. It has the same intense initial sweet mint flavour, which lingers decently into the aftertaste. Spearmint is pretty much all I’m getting from this one, so it comes across fairly one note, but if spearmint is what you’re looking for, then it’s certainly what you’ll get. I had thought I’d be able to taste the green tea base a little more, but it remains firmly in the background. There’s the tiniest hint of it right at the end of the sip, but in a blind tasting you could tell me this was a pure spearmint tea and I’d probably be none the wiser.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/14/vert-la-menthe-nanah-spearmint-green-tea-kusmi/

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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85

I’m feeling a little under the weather at the moment, so a straightforward breakfast-style tea is just the thing to cure what ails me. This is such a go-to kind of blend – an easy to drink, easy to brew, no fuss, crowd pleaser. I gave one teaspoon of leaf 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.

The resulting brew is a pretty solid example of an English breakfast tea. It combines an Assam, a Ceylon, and a Chinese Yunnan black, and the result is sweet and malty, with a hint of citrus brightness. The citrus, to me, is lemon, and it emerges primarily at the end of the sip. For the most part, this has a characteristic potato flavour, with an almost starchy element reminiscent of crispy, roasted white potato which emerges in the mid-sip. It’s hugely malty, with that wonderfully deep, molasses-like flavour that a really good malty black can take on. No sugar required here!

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/11/bluebirds-great-british-cuppa-bluebird-tea-co/

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100

This is my first iced tea of 2015! I tried this one for the first time last summer, and it was so good I went back straightaway for another pouch. I was a bit of a Southern Boy Teas doubter at first, because I didn’t see how tea could taste of ice cream or sherbet, jello or bubblegum. Somehow, though, they do, and this one is no exception.

I brewed this one up the way I usually do – the bag gets 2 minutes in 1/4 litre of boiling water, which is then topped up to 1.8 litres with cold water and put in the fridge overnight. I usually drink half a jug a day (so just under a litre), and as the tea bag is good for a second brewing, these teas represent great value for money. More important than that, though, is the flavour! This one is out of this world! The sherbet is creamy, fruity, and even a little effervescent tasting. I can detect flavours of raspberry, orange, lemon and lime by turns, although they’re not particularly distinct. Just tiny flashes that skip across my taste buds and are gone. Ultimately, the individual fruit flavours merge together into a generically sherbet-y taste. However it’s done, it’s truly amazing.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/11/rainbow-sherbet-iced-tea-southern-boy-teas/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100

Black tea will always be my absolute favourite, and as I discover more Chinese black teas, they rise higher in my estimation. I bought this one from Whispering Pines in an effort to try more teas from Yunnan, which (of all black teas) seem to possess the majority of characteristics I really enjoy. High praise indeed! This one impresses from the moment the bag is opened. The scent drifting up is pure chocolate – so much so that I almost had to check I’d actually picked up a bag of tea. The dry leaf itself is beautiful – little golden black curls that really do look like miniature snail shells. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown. Since this is to be my first cup of the day, I added a splash of milk.

The initial flavour is a beautiful, creamy milk chocolate. It’s pretty hard to believe that this isn’t a cup of cocoa, but I definitely made it with tea leaves! I’m reassured when a sweet maltiness emerges in the mid-sip, along with the wonderfully comforting flavour of baked break. Tea it is, and a wonderfully sweet, smooth, chocolatey thing at that! The maltiness deepens towards the end of the sip, becoming an almost treacle-like molasses flavour. It’s rich and flavourful; a real treat for the tastebuds.

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/12/golden-snail-yunnan-black-whispering-pines-tea-co/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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90

This is one of Cara McGee’s Sherlock fandom blends, inspired by the character of (who else?) Sherlock Holmes. It’s a blend of Adagio’s Lapsang Souchong, Assam Melody, and Oriental Spice, all of which are black teas. The dry leaf smells reasonably strongly of smoke, with a hint of spice underlying. Exotic and enticing! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a medium golden brown, so no additions this time.

I will freely admit to being more than a little scared of smoky teas, and particularly Lapsang Souchong. One early experience with a very strong Lapsang really, really put me off, and I’ve been very wary ever since. I’ve tried a few lightly smoked teas since and not been repelled, so I’m hoping that I can perhaps gradually build up an appreciation of smoky teas, given time. My forays into this territory are still fairly rare, though, and this will be the first in a while!

See my full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2015/06/13/sherlock-holmes-black-tea-adagio/

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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55

Today’s work cold brew. I used 2 tbsp of leaf for this batch, steeped in 1.8 litres of cold water for approximately 10 hours. This one works as well cold as it does hot. It’s very smooth to taste, with soft, delicate lemon notes. It’s more lemon myrtle than lemon juice to my mind, and nowhere near sharp enough for Lemon Sherbet. Instead, it’s almost creamy. While there is a creamy aspect to sherbet sometimes, I’m still missing a hit of sourness or sharpness that would really make me think of this specific sweet. It’s just too gentle.

That’s not to say it’s not tasty, just that it didn’t quite meet my expectations. It’s a very pleasant creamy lemon tea, and the green base hasn’t developed any bitterness or astringency during the process. I can’t really tell it’s green tea at all, to be honest. I’d have believed it to be a herbal if I didn’t know different. Not the greatest hit with me, but a refreshing cup on a warm day, all the same.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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80

This is the last of the Teavivre Spring 2014 green teas I’ve left to try. I left the two Dragonwells until last on purpose so that I could drink them together and maybe compare a little.

In terms of appearance, this one is very similar to the Premium Dragonwell. The leaves are large (about 2-4cm), folded and flat. They’re mostly a medium grass green, although with some lighter and a few darker leaves. These leaves are more mottled than the Premium leaves, I think. There are more yellow and brown patches, on more of the leaves – perhaps because they’re organic? I’m not certain on that count!

I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. Brewed, the leaves are mostly unchanged, and have not unfolded at all. The scent is quite pungent, but very fresh – green vegetables (maybe cabbage or asparagus). The brewed liquor is a light yellow-green.

The taste isn’t as strong as I thought it would be, based on the scent of the brewed liquor. I can taste asparagus, and a touch of something cabbage-like that just verges on bitterness. It’s a very smooth tea, although I wouldn’t quite describe it as buttery. The hint of bitterness at the end of the sip is interesting, in that it provides a bit of bite. I guess that’s why I don’t find it as smooth as the Premium, but it’s still pleasant nonetheless.

On balance, this isn’t my favourite Dragonwell of those I’ve tried so far. It’s interesting in terms of flavour, and I’m pleased all over again that I don’t dislike it, but I think the buttery sweetness of the Premium Dragonwell probably spoilt me for this one today. I have some leaves left, so I’ll return to this one another day. For now, though, I’m impressed with the quality of the green teas I’ve tried from Teavivre, and I’m looking forward to the arrival of the Spring 2015 sampler.

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

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95

I recently ordered a sampler of Spring 2015 green teas from Teavivre, so I’m currently working my way through the remainder of my Spring 2014 pack, in the expectation that I’ll have finished them before the new stuff arrives. That’s the plan, anyway.

The leaf here is fascinating. They’re larger than I would have expected, flat and folded in appearance, and a fairly uniform grass green with some lighter speckles and some dark (brown-ish) patches. The wet leaf isn’t much different in appearance, except that some of the leaves have unfolded a little. The scent is vegetal, rather like spinach, and also a little chestnutty. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175. The brewed liquor is a pale yellow-green.

To taste, this is another green I’ve found myself unexpectedly enjoying recently. I never would have thought I’d enjoy green teas as much as I do now. In fact, it’s probably time I stopped saying that in general I don’t like them. I’m not sure that that’s true anymore, which means that continuing to try different types has been more than worthwhile.

This is a delicious cup. It’s smooth and buttery, with a sweet, fresh vegetal flavour and an underlying nuttiness. It tastes to me like steamed green vegetables – spinach, perhaps, and green beans. There’s some sweetness that I associate typically wish freshly shelled peas. The nuttiness works really well with those flavours, and pine nuts specifically are what this one brings to mind.

This is another variety that I’ll be adding to my list of “likes”, and another one I’ll look to explore some more. I’m pretty sure Teavivre’s green teas are among the best there are; I’ve never found a run of pure green teas that I like as much, or that have such clear, fresh flavours. This would be a potential repurchase for me, and I don’t say that often about a green tea! Perhaps that’s about to change.

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

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55
drank Midsummer Night by RiverTea
1293 tasting notes

Another cup last night, this time hot with no additions. I went back to basics and followed the recommended parameters – 2 tsp of leaf in boiling water for 5 minutes. There’s still not all that much in the way of lemon – certainly nowhere near as much as I’d like – but I could taste it just slightly in the background. A mildly bitter, slightly waxy, lemon peel kind of flavour. Mostly, though, this one’s hibiscus. I’ll probably finish this one off cold brewed tomorrow. It’s not terrible, but I won’t be all that sad once it departs my cupboard.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 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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