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149 Tasting Notes

58
drank Lychee Oolong by Butiki Teas
149 tasting notes

So I actually drank this last night, but Steepster was still being a butt so I decided to just write down my notes and post them later. I picked up a notebook from work with this image on it, http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/hasegawa/process_wb_c1953_fuji-wave_13-1.jpg, so I can start keeping notes on tea/swaps/companies/etc (mostly of blends I want to make on Adagio. Lol!). But that’s a different tangent.

I can’t remember if I got this my last order or the order before that. But I wanted to give it a shot because I love lychee (when I can find them), so a tea with lychee sounded wonderful.
1st steep – 4min/180* – I was surprised at the color of the brew. A very bright yellow. And floral smelling. Tasting it, it was greener than I was expecting, though I knew this wasn’t a roasted oolong so it would be lighter. But it wasn’t the grassy taste of, say, a green tea or even a ti kuan yin (I think I’m spelling that right). But a nice, well, green taste. Lol. I need to work on my vocabulary I think. There was also a nice floral taste, not overpowering, but light and just overall very nice. I didn’t really get any definite lychee flavor though. The leaves were still mostly curled/unopened, so I tried another steep.

2nd steep – 5 min/180* – Darker yellow brew this time. The taste isn’t really as green as it was the first steep. It’s alot more faint and mellow. The same with the floral flavor. I think I get a vague lychee flavor on the back of each sip, but I’m not sure if I’m imagining it because I want to to be there or not. Lol. By now the leaves are mostly uncurled, though I think I still could get a third steep out of it. I opted not to because I didn’t really feel like drinking this anymore. It just didn’t really do it for me I guess.

While this was a nice tea that I might reach for if I was wanting something light, I’m not sure it’s one I’d ever want to reorder. It might just be because I’ve been drinking alot of blacks and oolongs at the moment trying to learn the palate for those that the nuances of this tea are whizzing over my head. But what I could get from it, it was nice and certainly a better experience than I’ve had with any of the greener oolongs I’ve attempted to try.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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51

Steepster is being a butt tonight. It ate this review twice before posting it. And it keeps giving me the kettle page when I click anything. _

So I grabbed this to make tonight ‘cause I just felt like making it. It smells just like what I’ve been craving the last day or so and I made a big double cup to sit with me while I go play some Diablo 3.
Unfortunately the taste was not what I was hoping or remembering. It tasted very watered down, and the few mouthfuls I had left my mouth feeling funky. I think next time I make this I’ll try two tsp per cup, or 1 + 1/2. I can’t remember what I used last time and I seem to have misplaced the little notebook that I kept all my earlier tea notations. /frowns/ It’s here….somewhere. >>
Totally unsatisfying tonight and completely killed my urge for tea at all. /sigh/

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I suspect there may be something wrong with my tastebud? I had such high hopes for this, especially after reading the description on the website and the reviews here. Chocolatey, a bit of roastiness, caramel, sweet malty black tea goodness. It sounded so good I almost bought the 1oz bag straight off. But I settled on just the sample because I’ve bought an amount of a tea thinking I’d like it and then not caring much for it.
So I’ve been saving this tea for a time when I can enjoy it/treat myself. And a crappy day at work counts in my book (of which I had a really crappy day today and I expect to have another one tomorrow, so more special occasion tea for me). Opening the sample package, I got a whiff of the rice, but also the cocoa nibs with that bittersweet chocolate smell that practically makes my mouth water. I adore bittersweet chocolate, especially in cookies….Mmmmm, cookies……/clears throat/ Anyway, I poured the package out so that I could get as even a measurement as I could since I didn’t want to scoop out all the tea and have no rice.

Into my ingenutea, boiling water, 3 min and I could hardly wait. The brew smells chocolatey, but with that rice/grainy smell from the, well, rice. Not offputting at all like I would expect since, come on, it’s rice in tea. It was nice and comforting, if that makes any sense.
Taking a sip, I expected malty cocoa rice sweetness or something to that effect, but all I got was a kind of strong burn-y roastyness. I took another sip, rolled it around and got the same thing. I went through half the cup trying to find tastes other than that one, kinda got maybe a cocoa taste now and then, before I tried a bit of sugar in it just because. Now it had a sweetened roasty, burn-y taste to it.

Alright, maybe a second steep will bring out a different flavor. Steeped same temp water for 4:30 this time. The burn-y roasty taste had toned down, but I still couldn’t find much of any other flavor.
Not to mention I got a headache about halfway through the second steeping/almost at the end. Which I wonder if it was caused by the tea or something else? I’ve only had one other tea induced/related headache (Butiki’s Hattilli Golden Lion Assam and I’m not really convinced the tea was the cause really), but this headache wan’t like that one, it was kind’ve more of a broader ache this time which has since gone mostly away with a glass of water and my medicine. But has anyone else ever gotten a headache after drinking this tea? I just wonder if it’s maybe something in this specific tea or something completely different. But I’m off on a tangent now. Sorry.

So now I wonder are my tastebuds broken? Am I doomed to forever be shunned from the wonders of the unflavored black/oolong majesty. I had this same sort of ‘Meh’ reaction from the straight Laoshan Black (and actually quite a few other unflavored Verdant/Other company teas). /hangs head/ It’s almost vaguely depressing to me actually. Lol.

I have enough for one more cup, so maybe I’ll try a lower temp. I’m hoping that the burn-y, strong roasty flavor is because I burnt the leaves or something. Though it’s a black tea. I didn’t think you could really do that? Or should I try a gaiwan? I’m open to any and all suggestions/comments about this.

Because I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t operator error, I’ve refrained from putting a rating for now. I’ll edit with a rating after my next brew.

EDIT: Holy cow. I didn’t realize this was so long and I apologize. Lol

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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75

So after the horrible luck I’ve been having with teas tonight, I decided on a tea that I’m almost positive I’d like. I mean, you can’t (very rarely) go wrong with vanilla. This was one of the teas I got in the Try-me sampler on my last order.
The smell in the bag reminds me of Love in a Cup, which is great because I love that tea too.
The flavor was very nice. Smooth vanilla taste that increased after I added a bit of sugar. I used 1 1/2 tsp of this, but next time I might try 2 tsp to see if I can get more vanilla taste.
This is one I’d definitely consider reordering next time, unless I find a better vanilla tea before that.

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

this is a fave of mine. it’s what i drink when i just can’t seem to decide what to drink. :)

Short Sorceress

It must have been something about last night, it was a horrible tea night for me as well.

Shadowfall

Shmiracles – Lol. When I can’t decide what to drink, I always end up not drinking anything. Mostly because by the time I just decide to grab something randomly, it’s too late to drink tea.

Sorceress – I blame it on the weather. Lol.

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39

So I actually picked this up at the Chicago Adagio location after the blender of this tea, Cara McGee, had a tea party there during C2E2. I wasn’t there for the party though. I ended up stopping by about a week later and Adagio still had some blends lurking around, so I grabbed this since it sounded interesting and I had been considering buying it online. I wish it had been in the Sherlock sampler set a friend of mine that was there with me ended up picking up, since I would’ve loved to try this first. Or at least smelled it. If I had, I probly wouldn’ve bought this to be honest.

The dry blend smells of cinnamon, cardamom, a hint of coconut, ginger and very faintly either caramel or vanilla. Not so sure on that since everything else is so much stronger, but it’s faintly there. It’s not unpleasant, but definitely makes you (or at least me) proceed with caution. Lol.
The taste, however, doesn’t come close to having all these great smells present. For me, the Thai Chai completely overpowers everything else in this blend. And specifically the ginger is all I taste. Well, cinnamon versus ginger, with the ginger coming out mostly on top. It’s so strong that it actually made me a little ill and I had to pour out the rest of my cup. If I want a ginger tea, I’d rather drink the Shieldmaiden blend I have instead.

It’s not really a bad blend. If you like stronger, spicy-esque flavors, especially ginger, this is the tea for you. If you were looking for something mildly spicy, or something that you can taste the tiger eye or assam melody teas, you might consider trying another blend. It’s definitely not one of my favorites. Swap bin for this one.

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

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44
drank Pineapple Tea by Culinary Teas
149 tasting notes

So this is actually the second time I’ve made this, but I was so underwhelmed by it the first time I made it that I decided to just toss it back in my untried bin and after awhile, try it again. Lol.

Great pineapple smell in the bag, in a mouthwatering way. So I was pretty excited. And the brewed tea smells pretty pineapple-y also.
But after sipping it, I don’t really get much actual pineapple taste. Maybe I’m expecting too much, but if a tea is labeled pineapple, it should at least be pretty strongly pineapple. Even with sugar added, not much pineapple.
It could also be that this tea was so astringent to me that I couldn’t drink much more than half of it before pouring it out. Even 5ish minutes later my mouth is still all wonky from the astringency.

I’d keep this and finish it out, but that astringency is just too much. Ah well. One day I’ll find a good pineapple tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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49
drank Prairie Berry by DAVIDsTEA
149 tasting notes

So this second time around I poured my whole bag into a bowl and made sure the teaspoon I got wasn’t heavy on fruit with no tea.
It’s definitely not as tart as it was when I first made it. But I didn’t really get any sort of definite oolong taste from it either. No hint of maple sweetness that I could tell, but I wasn’t really expecting much from that to be honest.
It was just a kinda fruity/berry, lightly tart-ish tea. With sugar it was a bit better, but kinda meh overall.
Going into the swap bin…which I really need to empty out soon. Lol.

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

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So I’ve been looking forward to this tea since I read about it on Verdant’s website. It sounded so good that I almost got a full ounce of this, but managed to contain myself (just in case) and just get two samples of it. I’ve been wanting to make this tea for awhile, but found that I didn’t have enough time to be able to fully appreciate all of the steepings I was bound to get from this, so I kept putting it off. Finally I decided to go for it since I have a late shift for work the next day so I could possibly stay up late if necessary to drink through this. Lol. Originally I was going to use my new gaiwan for it, but Verdant had western style brewing suggestions on the site and I felt kinda lazy.

I used the one tablespoon per cup recommendation (that’s alot of tea, yeesh), which was exactly what I had in my sample packet. Into my ingenutea it went, followed by 205* water. Then to sit and wait. The following steeping opinions I wrote as I made them over the course of a couple hours. (Yes, I was a slow tea drinker tonight.)

1st steep – 205* / 3min – I can understand the wheat bread descriptions since that’s what I first thought when I opened the sample packet. Kind’ve a grain-y, roasty smell. The steeped leaves have the same smell. For the brew, the same roasty flavor, but this is bordering on more of a burnt flavor. Actually I can’t really get past this to find any other flavors. The burnt taste really overpowers everything else for me, which makes me kinda sad. But hopefully it’ll get better in the second steeping.

2nd steep – 205* / 4.5min – Still roasty, but the burnt flavor has died down quite a bit. Don’t get much more than that roasty flavor still.

3rd steep – 205* / 6min – The roasty flavor is gone mostly, not in your face, but kinda chilling in the background. I’m not quite sure what to think of this third brew really. It’s sweet by itself, but I can’t really associate any particular flavor or impression to it. It’s not a weak tea flavored water. It’s more than that but I can’t figure out what. It’s very frustrating actually.
Originally I had done this for 5.5min, but found it watery and dumped it back in the leaves for a bit longer steep, which came out much better tasting, all things considering.

4th steep – 205* / 8min – So I think this is the last steep I can get from this. I probly should’ve stopped at the 3rd, but I couldn’t resist at least trying. After all, it’s only water I’d be using, not like money or my bottled fairies (kudos if you get the reference). This brew is just slightly roasty in an oolong-ish sort of way, but mostly just watery and getting unpleasantly astringent. I actually might just pour this one out since it’s definitely not appealing to drink at this point. If it weren’t so late I might try just dumping the brew back into the leaves and letting it sit awhile longer. But alas, I have to have a cutoff sometime and quarter past 1 in the morning seems as good of one as any. Lol.

My impressions overall are that I don’t think this one is for me just yet. I’ve decided not to leave a rating on this one since I think my dissatisfaction with this tea might be more my own taste than the tea itself, especially since there’s so many other people here that it’s such a big hit with. Normally I’d probly have rated this a 48 or 49 on my own opinion scale (which is at the higher end of my ‘good to try, won’t reorder’ area), but I feel it’d be unfair to potentially bring the rating down because my taste buds are uncooperative. Lol.

I might try my second sample packet later on down the line to see if I can find the nuances of this better. Or I might just try this with cooler, more oolong temperate water and see if that helps. We’ll see, but for now, this isn’t going on my reorder list.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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39
drank Mamma Mia by DAVIDsTEA
149 tasting notes

So I wanted something today, but I couldn’t decide which tea. I didn’t really want to drink a tea I have already, but I didn’t really have a taste for most of the new teas I do have. And the ones I did have a taste for were all multiple steep teas and it’s much too late for that.
I had made the Konami Mystery tea from Adagio, but it turned bitter because I think I used too hot of water. So I dumped it and grabbed this one to make instead.
It’s supposed to be fruity, and while I have serious doubts with anything that has so many different ingredients (especially cinnamon & hibiscus) it smelled so good in the store I figured I’d give it a shot. I had gotten a 2oz bag from a bin on the counter for $3.
The dry mix reminds me strongly of cinnamon apple pie and I don’t really get much else unfortunately except fleeting vague other fruit scents. I added about 2ish tsp, closer to 3 tsp really, to a teaball and dropped it in a cup of a little over 8oz of water. Not exactly sure since it was more than how much it’s usually filled, but not quite up to the top. Lol. Steeped for about 5 min.
The brew is a dark red and still smells like cinnamon apples. Taste wise it’s very tart and cinnamon-y. So much so it overpowers everything else. Which is really unfortunate. I had to add almost a full packet of truvia just to be able to drink it, which I’ve never had to do with a tea before. And while it tones down the tartness somewhat, it’s still very tart. Hibiscus strikes again. Really I should’ve know better I guess.
Ah well. It was still nice to try. And as it cools it’s still nice. Makes me think it could be used for a nice fruity cold drink. I might try that with some of what I have left. But this one it definitely going in the swap bin.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec
Cavocorax

I think I bought this one as part of the same deal and I hated it. It was the worst of hibiscus that I had encountered. I never did try it iced, but maybe that was the fix…

Shadowfall

It was a 2 for $5 deal bin, but since I was buying 3, one cost $3. XD
I try to stay away from hibiscus after trying one tea with it and hearing all the awful experiences people have had.
Honestly, I’m not sure if I really want to try it iced, though it might tone down the tart if it was diluted with ice…Ooh. Maybe make ice cubes out of a strong black tea and pour this over it. /ponders/ That might be tasty. I have to get over this experience first though. Lol!

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80

I wanted a good solid plain black tea and essentially had a craving for this. Sitting here sipping it, it’s not exactly the tea my mind told me I was craving, but it’s close enough that the craving is sent back to rumble in its cave.

Earthy, with an almost peppery sort of sense to it. Which is weird. Not sure if that’s what I’m getting, but it’s what springs to mind first. A bit more astringent than I remember, but not to the point where I feel like I’ve been chewing cotton.

Did two single serving brews then poured it all in one cup. Added a bit of sugar. Mmmmm. Tasty black tea nummy-ness. Lol.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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Profile

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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