205 Tasting Notes

44

After oolongs and blacks I decided on something light. So this one came out of the untried bin for the day.
The dried leaves are fuzzy and a pain in the butt to try to measure out. I think that’s just a characteristic of white teas since I had just as much trouble measuring out the whites from Butiki. Lol.

Steeped this for the 2 min minimum for starters and I’m wondering if I should’ve either let the tea steep longer, or increased the amount of tea I used (which was approx 1.5 tsp near as I can figure). This tasted very light overall. Lightly vegetal, lightly tea flavored. Though it had a nice crisp taste. Just not much other taste overall.

As this one was steeping, most of the leaves were a nice light green, but I noticed a few that were yellow-y and brown spotted. Is this a common thing in white teas? And should I try to spot them before steeping and pick them out?

The package says that this should be steeped 3 – 4 times, but I’m very doubtful since after a second steeping, this one had even less flavor than the first. It just tasted like hot water with a bit of extra something.

Maybe it’s because I’m not used to flavor of white teas that this tastes so light overall. I’ll have to try this again when I’ve been either off darker teas, or off tea altogether.

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

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75

So I open this and it smells like chocolate. Which was strange. I had to go back and take another inhale just to be sure. Lol. It’s got another layer to it, but I can’t think of the word to identify it right now. Maybe an earthy kinda of underscent? I dunno.
Brewed this for the minimum time since that’s usually how I brew all my black teas for the first time. I’d rather have it a bit weak, but still tasty than stronger, but bitter or undrinkable.
The cocoa-y taste comes through in the brew and is very nice. So does that underscent, but not in a bad way. Maybe it’s the maltyness? I’m not how to exactly identify what ‘malty’ should be, so I tend to guess. Lol. Adding a bit of truvia brings out the cocoa a bit more, but it’s still nice and smooth and woodsy/malty/etc.
Drinking this its got a fuller mouthfeel than I’m used to while drinking a tea. Almost like I’m eating something, rather than drinking it, but not like when you have soup. Kinda like, uhhh, a mouthful of a burger or something like that. Which is a really really weird thing to say in a review for a tea, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind while trying to describe this.
Hope that doesn’t put anyone off this tea because I think it’s a very nice tea. Nice enough that I’ll very likely reorder this one in the future when I run out.

Edit – Second Steep – Same Temp +1 min extra – Still kinda cocoa-y, with that malty/woodsy undersmell/taste whatever. (Yes, I lose my words the later it gets…it’s after midnight right now. Lol!)
And it’s gotten kinda sweet. Adding just a bit of truvia makes it even better, even as it sits here and cools. I’d try for a third steeping but unfortunately it’s way too late for that. It was too late for a second steeping, but I wasn’t about to let at least that go to waste. Lol.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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52

I’ve had this tea once, though apparently I never put a tasting note up about it. Lol.
I like this tea, though maybe not as much as some of the other teas I have in my cupboard. It’s a nice black tea for anytime I think. Kinda woody, has a mildly sharp bite to it, and it’s a smidge smokey with nice black tea maltyness. Stands up to sugar nicely. Not sure about milk since I don’t take my tea at way.
This is probly one of the teas I’d consider making when I want an easy, plain black tea. And I’d consider reordering it when I run out/if it comes up on sale.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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49

These leaves are so cute. Kinda like the Zhen Qu but not as twisty or as tiny of leaves. And it brews up very dark, I was surprised when I poured it into my cup.
The smell reminds me of the black dragon pearls I have. Taste wise it’s also similar to the pearls, but the taste is a a bit darker. And kinda peppery. And maybe with a bit of woody burny taste to it? And there’s hardly any astringency to this, which is very nice.
And though this is probly blasphemy to someone, but I added a smidge of sugar to it. It didn’t overpower and it helped tone the burny taste down so that it was closer to excellent as opposed to good.

I want to try a second steep on this, since I’d think a tea this dark on the 1st steep would still be good on the second, possibly the third. So I’ll edit with that later.
With the second steeping done, I’d most likely end up ordering this one again in the future. Probly with a sale or something. But it’s definitely on my list.

Edit – So I did a second steeping. Added 1 min, same temp – Very nice. The burny, kinda bitter-esque taste is gone and the tea is very sweet and kinda fruity with a nice black tea taste. A bit weak, but I may have just not steeped it long enough so next time I’ll try maybe 5 minutes instead of the 4:30. Still very little astringency, which is very nice. Gonna try one more steeping.

Edit 2 for first steeping (And to be honest this is more a note for myself where I’ll remember it, but maybe it’ll help someone else.) – Kinda got sucker punched with a spiked headache a bit after drinking it, so I’d guess this has a pretty high caffeine content in it. Normally it doesn’t bother me, but today I had to get a spinal tap and I’m thinking that and this strong tea had something to do with the headache. Drinking some water and kinda chilling out helped. But I’m gonna go lay down completely and see if it goes away.
But in case the tap wasn’t a factor in my sudden headache, just a cautionary note to myself to watch it when making it next. Lol! I’ll put another tasting note up when I make it again and make note of it I got a headache or not from it.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Terri HarpLady

I’ve known a few people who had spinal taps, & they always result in a headache! I hope everything is ok, & hope your head is feeling better! :)

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11
drank Vanilla Cream by Culinary Teas
205 tasting notes

So I wanted something mellow and different but still familiar, so I grabbed this and cut open the bag. The first smell I was hit with was an alcoholic vanilla scent. Kinda like that smell you get when you smell the vanilla in the bottles from the store, but without that sweetness to the scent. So right off I was very doubting of this. But I brewed on.
I always go with the lower suggested steeping time, so this when for 2 min in my ingenuitea before decanting.

Smell wise the brew wasn’t bad. Nice creamy vanilla scent so I took an optimistic sip….and just about spat it back into my cup. Oh! Oh EWW! It tastes like when you lick the measuring spoon after measuring out vanilla extract without really thinking about it, expecting sweet vanilla flavor and only getting a sharp alcohol taste. BLEH! I even tried adding some sugar and I’m sorry to say that I only wasted the sugar.

Maybe the batch I got was very fresh made and the alcohol fumes of whatever flavoring they used didn’t have a chance to air off. But whatever it was, I’m not up for giving this a second chance. So Out Out OUT for this!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
JustJames

oh no! okay, maybe this one will interest you: vanilla plantation by silk road teas. all natural ingredients… i grabbed some for a vanilla hound tea buddy for one of our swaps. she said it was great. (and it resteeps over and over).

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50
drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
205 tasting notes

I love how the leaves for this look. Like the leaves in Three Friends. Little curls of fuzzy golden rope.
Brews up a dark red color and smells fruity, raisiny maybe? Tasting it, well, for some reason this tastes watered down to me. I can’t understand why since I brewed it with the directions and so far haven’t been led astray. Maybe next time I’ll try a tsp and a half and see if that makes a difference.
I get a nice maltyness from this, and a sweetness which is nice. It’s a little more astringent than I would like, but then I can’t really stand much astringency sometimes. I don’t really get any chocolaty notes from it, but then, I’m horrible at picking out that kind of taste from black teas in my opinion. Added a small bit of sugar since I figure it couldn’t hurt and I get a bit more honey-esque notes (though I don’t know how much of that is just from adding sugar to it).

I’ll try it again with a heavier measuring of tea and see if I get stronger tastes from it. And while I’m glad I tried it, I’m not sure this is one I’d reorder.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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87

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80

So delayed tasting note since I actually had this over the course of the day yesterday. It was the last tea I had while out on vacation and I steeped it twice, then saved the leaves in my ingenuitea and had two more steeps when I got home that night. Lol.

I put about 4 per 8oz in my cup and have easily gotten 4 steeps out of them (I just add a minute each time). I haven’t tried a fifth steep yet, though I did put the leaves in some water and stuck them in the fridge before I went to bed last night to see what happens. Checked this morning and it’s not looking promising since the water is still very clear with only a hint of tea.

The taste is a very strong, black tea taste. Smooth and kinda rich with no astringency that I could tell, which I always love finding a tea with (without? Lol). I guess malty could be used to describe it if I’m using the word correctly, though I don’t really get the cocoa that other people seem to get. Unless that’s actually what I’m tasting, then it doesn’t really taste like what I think cocoa tastes. Lol.

It also makes a great iced tea by just brewing it normally and sticking it in the fridge to cool then adding ice later. I did this with the second and third steeps the first time I made this and it was just as good as the first two were hot.

I’m not really sure how these are supposed to compare with other companies’ black dragon pearls though. I have the black dragon pearls from Tazo, so it’ll be interesting to see how they compare. Maybe I’ll start collecting them from all the companies and have a big brew taste and compare day. Lol.

I think these are pretty good, though a bit expensive for me to potentially keep around to drink. Though I guess I have to take into account the multiple steeps I get from them. In any case, I’d definitely get these again one day.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Cavocorax

Oooh – I can’t wait to try this one. I’m looking for the perfect pearl. I like the phoenix pearl from Zen Tea Life, but more options is better! (I can send you some of that one too if you’d like to compare!)

Terri HarpLady

I also enjoy comparing the various black dragon pearls. So far I’ve had adagios, Mandala’s, Teavana (no longer available), & thepuritea (red dragon pearls).

Cavocorax

Terri – Sil sent me one from TeaVivre that I enjoyed too, so be on the lookout for that. Maybe you could get a free sample? I have one on the way after following them back and replying to their essage. Did you want me to send you some if the Zen Tea pearls? I have 50g coming tomorrow.

Terri HarpLady

I’d love that, Cavo!
I think I tried the teaVivre ones once, but I should probably get more of them to try.

Terri HarpLady

Have you tried the red dragon pearl? I can send you some :)

Cavocorax

Cool. I’ll try to send some out this week! :)
And no haven’t! I’d love to try it.

Shadowfall

Goodness gracious. I didn’t even notice all these comments on here. Lol.
I’ll have to make a list of all the different companies to start collecting them from.
So what’s the difference between the red & black dragon pearls? Do they taste drastically different? Or is it relatively the same taste?

Terri HarpLady

Thepuritea calls theirs red dragon pearls, but they are basically the same thing. As for taste differences, I’m still trying to compare them all. :)

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77

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Mostly because many of the teas I’ve gotten from this company I’ve had pretty rotten experiences with.

1st steeping – 4min @190ish- This is a greener oolong than I’m used to having, but it’s not unpleasant. Kinda green tasting but not like an in your face veggies! kind of taste or like I’m chewing on grass or something. Lol. Just fresh and bright. It also has a nice light sweetness, though I’m not getting much in the way of floral taste. Or else it’s there, just very subtle.

2nd steeping – 5min @ 190ish – A bit weaker in overall taste, but still not bad. I probably should have steeped a bit longer. Maybe next time I’ll try steeping it for 5:30 or even 6 min. Probably try both since I have enough. Still greenish and I get a slight peppery taste from it too, which is strange since I’ve never really experienced it. But it’s not that bad either.

I think it’s about all done out at the second steeping since the flavor was very weak. But it was a good tea. I’l definitely finish the rest of what I have and I might even order this one again.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I wanted to cut soda out of my life, so I started drinking more tea. Now I’m quickly becoming addicted. But that doesn’t seem like so bad of a thing considering all there is out there to try.

I started with blacks, but oolongs are quickly becoming my new favorite. Unfortunately, I haven’t really been able to find a green or white tea that I really enjoy. Eventually maybe.

Always open for swaps. If you see something in my cupboard that you’re interested in, feel free to send me a message about it. I do have alot of sample sizes in my cupboard, so there might be a few that I won’t be able to swap. But it never hurts to ask. ^^

Likes – Fruity teas (Peach, Apricot & Pineapple to be specific, but I’d likely be open to others). I’m always on the lookout for a good caramel tea too…and a vanilla one. Or any sweet, dessert teas.
Oolongs and Blacks over any others.

Indifferent/Undecided – White teas are a bit delicate for me but I’m not opposed to trying something new. I haven’t yet found a green tea I like since I dislike vegetal flavors, but there has to be something out there. Coconut can be too strong, or alright depending on the tea.

Dislikes – Spicy/chai stuff not so much since I can’t seem to get past the spice taste to anything underneath. Anything overly astringent, though I can’t imagine anyone /liking/ astringency (but I’m probly wrong. Lol). Earl Greys, heavy florals, tart/sour teas, rooibos heavy, mint of any sort, vegetal, musky/leathery, citrus, hibiscus, coffee-esque flavors, lemon.

Allergies – Mangos, some nuts especially walnuts, cherries. Rose petals/heavy rose teas make me ill though it’s not an allergy so to speak. Heavy artificial flavors also make me ill.

Brief ‘How I rate things’ scale:
(Subject to change at any time. Lol)
100-80: I’d definitely reorder this/Keeping this in my cupboard.
79-50: Possibly reorder these. Either if there’s a sale or I’d consider swapping for it’s on a list and I don’t see anything else.
49-40: It’s alright. Glad I tried it but I won’t be ordering/reordering this.
39-20: Glad I tried before buying ‘cause I’d be ticked if I bought this. Ick.
20-lower: UGH! Get it away!

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