101 Tasting Notes

90

OK Steepsterians, I finally found my Chai yesterday. Before I begin, I just want to say it took me forever to upload this picture of the tea-others I have uploaded were easy. The aroma from my tin was so good. I could definitely smell the cardamom, coriander, & black pepper. I couldn’t detect any ginger (maybe because of my previous experience with Yamamotoyama’a Ginger Tea), or cinnamon. *Note on cinnamon* Upon drinking another cup (08-13), I noted possible light background notes of cinnamon in the aroma of steeped leaves. Hard for me to detect, because most other cinnamon in Chai’s I’ve drank have had stronger presence in aroma and flavor.

I first brewed it hot at 4 minutes, and it was very good. It was even better at 5 minutes. The flavors of cardamom, coriander, and especially the black pepper were more intense, but the tea was not bitter at all. The Ceylon base tea was not masked by the spices, rather it was quite noticeable. This probably was because it was a very small leaf (a CTC by the looks of it), making the base tea stronger in the cup. Overall the wet leaf & spices were more aromatic, as compared to the cup aroma.

The flavor of black pepper was dominant-WOW! WHAT A KICK!. The coriander and cardamom were not shy either. I just missed having a cup of chai, the intense flavors coated my tongue….and stayed with me for quite a while, which I really like in a good Chai tea. If the cinnamon and ginger flavors were there, I didn’t notice them. This Cochin Chai was spicy and not sweet. A little sweetener could change that, but I drink it plain-only occasionally adding a drop of milk (to barely color the cup), and not diluting the flavor. Very delicious!! Rating: 92.

Iced it was very good as well, very refreshing. Same spices prevalent as in the hot tea, but just a little less so. Didn’t notice quite as much in the aromatics either. Still quite spicey and delicious! Rating: 88.

Brewing specs below are for hot and iced tea.

Cupped & rated on Fri, 08-12-11.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

May not review a new tea tonight. Been drinking alot of this tea lately. I think I’ll have some hot & iced! :) I’ll probably post a review sometime tomorrow.

Cheers………….

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83
drank Apricot by Harney & Sons
101 tasting notes

At least ten years ago, I purchased the Apricot teabags and loved them. Finally, last Fall (I think), I purchased the loose leaf version which I prefer. Why? Well, with the loose leaf you have more control over leaf quantity, and the leaves tend to be fuller, and there is better chance for leaf expansion & extraction of flavor.

My specs below are for hot tea, but I also iced this tea. The dry leaf aroma is really unique, and very smellicious! There is something really warm, nutty and comforting about this tea. There is a pronounced apricot aroma, which has a natural sweetness….like…like dark brown sugar. The color in the cup is a deep orange/brown. In the cup, I still get good aromatics of warm, nutty, sweet notes of the apricot. I can taste the base tea well enough, with less sweet notes (I drink it plain), while still savoring the warm, nutty apricot flavor. What I like about this blend is that it is straightforward and uncomplicated black tea with really good apricot flavoring. Rating: 86.

I iced this using my french press at 205 degrees, using one heaping tablespoon, steeping for ten minutes.

SIDE NOTE: As I write this the windows are open…this is the first cool night/morning in weeks, and I hear a train in the distance. I really enjoy listening to the sound of trains!

OK….back to the tea. This is a good iced tea. Since the tea is cold, I lost some of the aromas, but the nuttiness of the apricot was there. The taste of the tea and apricot was balanced well, medium in strength of flavor. A little sweetener would be fine, if you like, but I almost always drink my iced teas plain too. Rating: 80.

Cupped on 08-09 and 08-10-2011. Reviewed on Wed, 08-10-2011.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

Smellicious… love it!!!

ScottTeaMan

Had iced apricot last night……not downgrading rating, I think I just needed to use more tea in this situation

Brandice

I REALLY enjoy H&S’ Black Currant. I’m picky about my fruit-flavored black teas, but it sounds like I might enjoy this as well.

ScottTeaMan

It’s better hot…if you’re gonna ice it, use more tea. :)

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95
drank Ginger Tea by Yamamotoyama
101 tasting notes

In at least one of my past reviews, I said something like, ‘I don’t drink alot of flavored teas". Well, I REALLY like Ginger, so I decided to review this Ginger tea that I purchased from Stash. I’ve purchased this from Stash Tea a few times, and the quality is consistent. The teabags come wrapped in plastic. As soon as I opened the plastic wrap I could smell the ginger. Then after opening the foil envelope. the smell was incredible!!

In the past, I’ve kept the water temp around 190 degrees using an eight oz cup, leaving the teabag steep till the tea cools. The cup aroma is strongly full of ginger with a deep yellow color. For me, the extra long steep time adds to the character of the cup. My mouth is awash with the strong, spicey tang of ginger! Yeah!! I think the safflower adds a little smoothing sweetness to the cup.

Yesterday I used my glass Bon Jour french press (Approx 20 oz), with three teabags, leaving them in the press. In this case the ginger was VERY strong, VERY spicey (some say hot, but I just say spicey), with a deep yellow color. I absolutely loved it; although, I would only make my ginger tea this strong occasionally.

Shortly after midnight today, I brewed the tea according to time & temp below with an 8 oz cup. The ginger aroma and flavor was still delicious—quite strong and full of flavor. I still think the safflower smooths out the cup, but perhaps more so at a slightly lower temp and steep time. If you’re new to Ginger tea, perhaps a lower steep time and temp would be right for you.

This would be really great iced. As a matter of fact, I first had Iced Ginger tea at a local Thai restaurant, and loved it! This started my quest for ginger tea.

I really didn’t notice the green tea base in the Yamamotoyama Ginger Tea, but I didn’t care in this case…..the ginger refuses to be ignored! IMHO, everyone should try this tea at least once. It is a really great tea!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 5 min, 0 sec
Anna Vu

Sounds really interesting. I am unsure how much I like ginger, but it does sound as though it’d be an adventure trying. I wonder how mint would taste in the Ice Tea… ;)

ScottTeaMan

:)) Ahhh yes…mint! I think mint would make almost any tea (or anything for that matter) better. You could lower steep time and temp on the ginger tea, and I’m pretty sure that would subdue some of the gingers’ spiciness. Also, if you ice the tea & add a little sweetener, it does tame Ginger a little (and the tea too…:))). That is how they serve it at The Thai House.

You know the candied ginger they serve with sushi? I eat that plain….yes, I love ginger. Did I mention I like wasabi too?! :)

One last thing, If my tea reviews, or comments are too lengthy, please let me know. Peace………

Anna Vu

I love mint as an accent. Definitely does jazz up different teas and flavors so well! Persian tea + mint is also a popular mix as well…

Your review/comment length is fine! It just shows how much you love your tea!

ScottTeaMan

Persian Tea….Hmmm….I did follow your link and am intrigued! Upton Tea has a new Turkish blend they claim mimics TurkishTea. Well again I’m intrigued, but of course they posted that new tea AFTER I placed my recent order. {Sigh}. I’ll post a new review soon. Take care…………

Ashley Bain

It took me a long time to like ginger, but now I love it. I make ginger tea from fresh ginger all the time. Best cure for an upset tummy! Swear by it.

Ashley Bain

Oh and ginger/mint iced tea is divine! I love putting fresh mint in fresh ginger tea. Very refreshing!

Ashley Bain

and YUM candied ginger & wasabi! (okays I’m done) haha.

ScottTeaMan I know, love it all. I’ve been searching for soybean tea a friend gave me about 5 yrs ago….I told Erin I’d msg here with some links and talk with my friend about it. I’ll send the msg to you too.
ScottTeaMan

I’ll try a touch of peppermint (dried, b/c it is just an arms reach away) next time I enjoy my Ginger Tea. I know fresh is always better. :)

Ashley Bain

dried peppermint is still great! but for ginger I really like to use fresh ginger root. oh now I’m remembering how I used to make fresh mint and tarragon tea, that was really good.

ScottTeaMan

Did you get the message I sent?

Ashley Bain

yes, I replied! Thank you very much! I’m definitely going to have to check that tea out.

ScottTeaMan

Yeah, I have to remember to look at the envelope in the upper right corner….time for some Z’s…Zzzzzzzz…….

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89

I do not drink very many flavored teas, but from time to time I will indulge, and also for a nice change of pace. I believe my first flavored tea was Earl Grey, and it is a tea I could drink almost daily, but I don’t….probably because it would strain my tea budget. I bought this at the World Market during Christmas 2004. and again Summer of 2005. Earl Grey is probably my favorite flavored tea, as I just love the scent and flavor of natural oil of Bergamot.

Earl Greyer is true to its’ description, very citrusy and fresh tasting. I didn’t taste much of the base tea, but then again, I didn’t expect to. The dry aroma and cup aroma is fantastic! As the extraordinary Bergamot washed over my tongue, I savored the flavor for a few moments before swallowing the tea! As a hot tea, I use one teabag to the specifications below per 8 oz cup, with a rating of 88. I used this mostly for iced tea in Spring/Summer, as it is extremely refreshing! Same specs as hot tea except I use two tea bags; rating 90.

I did not taste bitterness with the extended steep time, but more flavor.

At the time this was my new favorite Earl Grey, but as I neared the end of the tin I realized something. Iced, Earl Greyer may be my favorite; BUT, as a hot tea, I began to miss the taste of the TEA! I missed the balance of a good base tea, and the natural Bergamot flavoring. Even as the tea cooled somewhat, the black tea base was overpowered by the extra Bergamot. I just prefer a cup of hot Earl Grey to be more balanced.

Overall, it was still delicious and a worthy contender among the competition.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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73

“Teabags” you say? Yes, I thought I’d review a tea I had a couple years ago. “How can you remember what a tea was like two years ago?”. Well, I can’t remember every subtlety, but since I have purchased this tea several times (and don’t plan to purchase it anytime soon), I’ll give it my best shot.

The aroma of blackberries—and to a lesser extent sage—fills my sniffer with wonderful sensation. Even in the cup the aroma is very apparent. It is a good, decent cup of hot tea, with the flavors more pronounced as the tea cools. To my palate, the fruitiness of the blackberry is more noticeable, while the sage never lets you forget it is there. It’s kind of like the demure lady I notice at a party… me, trying not to stare, but at times unable to avert my eyes. It is a very compelling, delicious tea. I just wish there was a stronger sense of the base tea in this blend.

For hot tea I use one teabag per 8 oz cup, at 212 degrees for five minutes. Hot tea rating: 70. I use this tea mostly as a delicious iced tea using twice the amount of tea following the preparation below. As an iced tea I give this one a 75.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
TeaBrat

I have this one at work and I like it pretty well.

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85
drank Organic Chai by Tazo
101 tasting notes

O.K. Steepster friends, it’s time to review my first Chai Tea (not first tasted, of course). After many years of drinking Chai, I felt that I needed something a little spicier. I was in the grocery store Summer 2005, I believe; and I thought I’d never find a Chai with black pepper. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found TAZO Organic Chai! Honestly, all my Chai teas I tasted were in tea bag form back then. I just grew tired of Chai tea… UNTIL I tried Tazo’s brand.

Yes the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom were all there, and well represented too; but, it was the black pepper that kicked it up a notch. BAMM!! It was just the right kick of added spice I needed, AND I’m so glad this tea lived up to my expectations! For me the black pepper was the star here, but not too overpowering. Every ingredient is tasted here…my taste buds were jumping for joy!

This is the best tea bag Chai I’ve tasted, and bought it several times. I gave it an 85 because there are a couple of loose leaf Chai’s I like better. If you feel the need for Chai tea, and tea bags are your only option, this more than satisfies.

Tea bags aside, this is a really good Chai tea, worthy of any tea cupboard. As you can tell I really enjoyed it! Steep on……………………….

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
ScottTeaMan

I’m gonna find my Chai Tea from EnjoyingTea TONIGHT! I was rereading my TAZO Chai review….I’m sssoooo in the mood for Chai, even iced! I MUST find that tea…….!!

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91

One of the many things I like about Upton Tea besides their high quality teas, is the ability on their site to see ALL of my past online orders. So, once again steepsters, I found this gem I ordered in September 2000! Sadly, it is no longer available- for nearly ten years now. :(( Upton’s often retires or reuses item numbers. Luckily, this item number was not retired, so this is the actual item number, description, and picture of the tea!

I am reviewing this tea because it is very memorable to me. It was my first Kenyan tea. Excuse me while I hit my recall button and dust off those memory cells. This tea had very large black leaves, and some white tips-a beautiful leaf! Very nice leaf aroma. A tea with a nice aroma in the cup, and a unique, smooth, full bodied flavor, that was never overpowering. A very delicious tea that was truly excellent in every respect! If I could just have one more cup {sigh}.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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77

Upon opening the bag, I was greeted with a deep spearmint aroma. I have tried this both hot and iced and while I wanted this to be for iced tea, the flavor just did not come through as well for iced tea (maybe I need to add even more tea?). As a hot tea this spearmint really comes through, full flavored, clean, and very refreshing. A truly good spearmint.

I can’t say it’s great because I haven’t tried another pure spearmint tea, so I have nothing to compare it to. Spearmint has a more subdued flavor, than say, peppermint. My mistake was drinking so much of Upton’s Peppermint tea. So when I started drinking the spearmint, it didn’t pack the punch I expected. That being said, spearmint is not supposed to be as strong as peppermint.

This is a really good spearmint tea offered by Upton Tea, from the dry leaf aroma to the flavor in the cup-on my tongue. A very round, full flavored Spearmint tea.

Any other spearmint teas out there I should try?

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more

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86

This was another sample I purchased ten plus years ago, along with the Baker Street Blend. I am reviewing this tea, based on my memory ten years ago, so please bear with me. OOPS….I almost posted “bare with me”, in which case I would have been asking you to get naked with me (while drinking tea?!). Hehehehehe…..

First let me say that I used to always use sugar in my tea, until around 1998-1999, when I first tasted a FF Darjeeling from the Pussimbing tea garden. Ever since, only on rare occasions, will I add sugar to lesser tea bags, and iced tea. So no sugar or milk was added to this tea as it would spoil the flavor. I really can’t remember enough to comment on the aroma, leaf, or cup color.

Darjeelings are my favorite black tea, so I ordered this thinking the Yunnan would pair well. I love it when my tea expectations are met, and this was the case here. I would say the Darjeeling is somewhat more prominent of the two teas-but not overly so.The Darjeeling lent a bright, crispness to the tea, perhaps slightly flowery as well. The Yunnan tea added a peppery spiciness. Together the two teas shared the stage very well, playing off of one another, neither tea stealing the the show.

Another great blend from Upton Tea Imports, and better than the Baker Street Blend. I may post another review of the Robert Fortune Blend, paying closer attention to aroma, leaf, and cup color. Until then fellow steepsters, this is my review and I am sticking to it!

CHEERS!! :)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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82

Wow, I had to go into my previous orders from Upton, and was surprised to see that the sample I ordered was placed ten years, one month ago!!! I remember being hesitant placing the order for this sample. Why? Well, because I don’t like Lapsang teas. Straight Lapsang teas are very smokey, and to me, overwheming. Maybe, ten years later my appreciation for Lapsang Souchongs would be improved.

Luckily, this blend was mainly a balance between Keemun and Darjeeling teas, with a touch of Lapsang. A really good blend with no tea overpowering the other, but nicely complimenting each other. The touch of Lapsang was noticeable, leaving the tea mildly smokey. I learned a couple things a decade ago. First of all, I like mildly smokey teas, and Lapsang can be enjoyable. Lastly, a well balaced tea such as Baker Street, can be very enjoyable. Much like a well balanced life can make living more enjoyable!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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