1088 Tasting Notes

95

I’m always a little bit suspicious of genmaicha. I’m not sure why, maybe because in the past green tea really hasn’t been my thing, and the first genmaicha I tried was a bitter nightmare. I needn’t have worried, though! This one is seriously yummy!

The banana scent is very strong in the packet. It’s not exactly fresh banana, though, more like those foamy banana sweets you can get in pick and mix. They probably have a name, but I can’t recall it. The brewed tea tastes much the same as it smells, which is what I was hoping. I’m rather fond of banana flavoured teas, so long as I can actually taste the banana element, and there’s problem with that here. The intial taste is banana, and it’s quite sweet and candy-like. This is followed by a deep nuttiness from the rice — I guess I can get biscuit or cheesecake base from that if I concentrate, although it’s a little bit strong for that. More toasted than baked, really. Still, though, it IS tea and not an actual cheescake. Let’s be realistic here. The green tea base supports the flavours well, and doesn’t get in the way. It’s not bitter or astringent, and earns its place by contributing a slightly savoury nuttiness to what otherwise might be a pretty overpoweringly sweet tea. As it is, though, it’s perfect!

I think this is actually one of the teas from my very first 52Teas order, so I’m glad I took the opportunity to pick up a pack while I had the chance. It makes a really nice late-afternoon dessert tea, and is pretty good cold, too, if the dregs I just drank are anything to go by. Definitely a hit with me!

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

I like this too! I also wish they would bring back the Bananas foster.

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35
drank Yerba Mate by Teapigs
1088 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking one of these every morning at work, and I do feel it helps to boost my energy levels a little over the course of the morning. I’m really not a morning person, so I need all the help I can get not to be a grouchy monster. This goes some way towards achieving that, so it’s a welcome addition to my daily tea rotation. I’m not over keen on the flavour, but I can’t fault its effect!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Raspberry Cream by 52teas
1088 tasting notes

Sipdown! This had really been one of the best 52teas blends I’ve tried so far. It’s just divinely creamy, fruity deliciousness. I’m seriously regretting only getting one bag of this, because I know I’m really going to miss it now it’s gone. Great work, Frank!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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65
drank Berry Berry Nice by Yumchaa
1088 tasting notes

I couldn’t remember whether I’d logged this as a cold brew, but it looks like I haven’t. I’ve had a pitcher of this in the fridge ever since I had my first success cold brewing Yumchaa Lemon Sherbet. That made me keen to try some of my other rooibos teas cold, and this was the one I chose. I’ve been kind of addicted to it ever since, because the berry flavouring comes out so, so well when this is cold brewed. It’s far stronger and far more clear than when it’s hot, and the rooibos doesn’t become overpowering. I had feared it might, but if anything, it seems to fade into the background more in the face of the berry flavouring. It also develops a creamy, delicately floral flavour that really isn’t there when hot. A hugely enjoyable cold brew, and one I’m certain to turn to time and again this summer.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

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70

I’m down to the last few of my samples from Sil now, and this is one of the ones I’ve really been looking forward to. I’m a big fan of both white tea and berry tea, so this should be a good fit for me.

The dry leaf smells really lovely. Sweet, with definite notes of raspberry and maybe the merest hint of champagne. There are a good proportion of silver tips among the leaves and stems, and everything looks very fresh and green . I was drinking Adagio’s white peony yesterday, which is probably why the greenness stands out here. Although I love Adagio’s version, the leaves are much darker, almost black-brown in some cases, and just don’t have the look of freshness about them that these do.

Anyway, I waited patiently for the water to cool, and gave this about 2.5 to 3 minutes. The liquor is a beautiful golden colour, rather like champagne, and the champagne scent itself is more noticeable now it’s brewed.

To taste, this is wonderfully delicate. The champagne flavour actually comes across really well. I’m not sure what gives that effect – maybe it’s a slight grapeiness I’m picking up on? The floral nature of the white tea base helps a little too, I think. It could only really be improved if it was fizzy, let’s say that! The raspberry is more subtle, but it’s definitely there in the background. In terms description accuracy, this really is like drinking a glass of champagne with a couple of raspberries in it, only in tea form. I’m enjoying this as a warm drink (I’m not going to say hot, as I was good and waited for the water to cool, such that it can’t really be described as hot any more…). I’d love to try it iced, though. I have a feeling that’s how it would really shine. As flavoured white tea goes, though, this is a triumph. Hugely enjoyable. Thanks again to Sil for sharing it with me!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Sil

so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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50
drank Monk's Blend by Tealish
1088 tasting notes

My experience with this tea sounds pretty similar to everyone else’s. I find vanilla, caramel and grenadine a slightly odd combination – it’s like there are two halves to the flavour that don’t quite come together. Dry, there wasn’t much scent to this tea. It’s vaguely sweet, but that’s about all I was able to detect. It’s similar when brewed, except the faintest notes of vanilla and strawberry are detectable upon concentration. Mostly, though, the scent is of normal black tea.

The first sip surprised me by being a lot more astringent than I expected. I don’t think I overdid the brew time on this one, although it’s possible I overleafed the tiniest bit. I’ll try and remedy that next time. I can taste the caramel and vanilla in the initial sip, although they’re not strong, and they’re kind of overtaken by the bitterness of the base tea. The grenadine only really comes out in the aftertaste, and is rather like strawberry ice cream syrup. It’s very sweet, maybe a little too sweet, and somehow it just doesn’t fit with a tea that’s otherwise quite dry and flavoured more with creamy tastes than fruity.

Overall, I’d say this tea isn’t really for me. I like the idea of it, but maybe not this exact expression. I’m looking forward to trying my Mariage Freres Marco Polo, though!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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35
drank Yerba Mate by Teapigs
1088 tasting notes

I will admit, I’m flagging this afternoon. On the hunt for an energy boost, I decided to try these Yerba Mate teabags, which I stuck in my desk drawer earlier in the week. I always approach them with trepidation for some reason, I guess unflavoured, mate is not my favourite thing in the world. Possibly that’s something to do with the faintly green tinged yellow liquor this one produces. I’m odd about colours and food sometimes. Thankfully, I had a pleasant experience with 52Teas Malted ChocoMate last week, so I’m feeling encouraged about this. Sort of.

Brewed, it has the familiar, tell-tale mate scent. I didn’t like it the first time I tried mate, but I can appreciate now that it smells a bit like coffee. It’s a sort of toasted scent. Not terribly off-putting in itself, but unusual when it comes to tea.

Unfortunately, I’m still not a fan of the taste. I’m not even sure what it is about it that I dislike. There’s just something a bit…swampy, or musty, about it. I can almost convince myself that this is an unusual kind of coffee, which is how I psych myself up to drink it plain, but it’s not something I really like. I can get behind the benefits that it has – especially if it’s going to help me to wake up – but flavoured is going to be the way forward for me here. I just need something to take the edge off its inherent oddness!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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80
drank Foxtrot by Adagio Teas
1088 tasting notes

I will confess, it was the name of this tea that made me buy it. Now it’s actually time to try it, though, I’m not so sure. For some reason, I’m having a hard time processing the combination of ingredients. I mean, rooibos and chamomile? Okay. Rooibos and peppermint? Okay. But rooibos, chamomile AND peppermint? Does not compute. It smells nice, though, like one of those butter mint hard-boiled sweets. Still, though. It even looks odd in the bag – red rooibos, green peppermint leaves, and yellow chamomile flowers. They clash!

Anyway, I’m going to stop making judgements about this, and actually try it. Into the water it goes. 5 minutes later, the water is, unsurprisingly, rooibos red. The scent is mainly of chamomile and rooibos, but the mint is also detectable. So far, not so unexpected. To taste, it’s actually better than I thought it was going to be. The chamomile takes centre stage, and it’s sweet, vaguely floral, and honey-like. Second is the peppermint, which adds a cool, menthol-like effect to the sip, and actually pairs with the chamomile better than I thought it would. I suppose they’re both quite sweet flavours, so I’m not sure why I thought they would hate each other. The rooibos remains firmly in the background, and actually does a pretty good job of bringing the two flavours together. It does taste a bit like a butter mint, which is actually a very pleasant flavour now I come to think about it. An unexpected pre-lunch treat!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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95

Sipdown! I’m on a roll with these this week, but it’s just been negated by the arrival of two swap packages. Ah well.

Drank the last of this at work today. I’m pleased I had the opportunity to try it, but I think I might have out-darjeelinged myself for a little while. Time to try something else from the cupboard!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Lemon Sherbet by Yumchaa
1088 tasting notes

Added a pitcher of this to the fridge last night to cold brew. I took the tea out this morning, but I’ve yet to try it. I will when I get home from work, if my parents haven’t raided it first. I’m hoping that the lemon flavour will come trhough still, as it does when hot. If I’ve just got a jug of rooibos, I’ll be disappointed! I have high hopes, though — I could smell lemon when I gave it a tentative sniff this morning! We’ll see!


Managed to snag a glass of this in the end. I’m glad, because it’s actually really nice. I actually think the lemon comes out more clearly cold than it does hot, although the rooibos is a farily prominent taste also. There’s maybe something very slightly medicinal in the background too, but it’s tolerable.

The main flavour is unmistakably lemon, at any rate, and it tastes much more like it smells dry this way. I’m still awed at how clearly the lemon comes through. It’s tangy, very slightly sour — amazing! This is one I’ll definetly cold brew again in the weeks ahead, and it’s inspired me to try a few of my other Yumchaa rooibos blends cold also. A worthwhile experiment!

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Fuzzy_Peachkin

This sounds so yummy for summer!

cteresa

I need to get this one – I love Yumchaa´s rooibos, I keep ordering them by mail but this one has always eluded me. I have had it, but never a whole package to try and experiment at home. My next yumchaa order for sure.

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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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