196 Tasting Notes

88

This loose leaf tea was another selection that I picked up at the local Earth Fare market. In the store, it was very loose, as it was contained in large clear cannisters from which you could scoop out as much (or as little) as you wanted into clear plastic bags.

Other reviews that I read about this tea said it was a little on the weak side. To minimize this potential characteristic, I steeped it for five minutes at 212 degrees. The golden red beverage that resulted had the conventional breakfast tea scent.

In spite of the heavy steeping, the flavor was not strong, but adequate. The taste was mildly malty with perhaps just a hint of spice. There was no bitterness and the aftertaste was pleasant. Although I wanted to crank up the volume on the flavor, I still found it to be complete and tasty.

Even if you prefer your tea on the mild side, I would recommend that you steep this blend for at least five minutes to obtain the full flavor effect. With this method, you might have a satisfying selection to add to your breakfast tea assortment.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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94
drank PG Tips Loose Leaf by PG Tips
196 tasting notes

I read many good things about PG Tips, England’s best selling tea, and I’ve wanted to try it for several months. I finally found it at our local Earth Fare market.

A lot of the reviews that I read stated that this was not a wimpy tea and quite a bit stronger than the American brands. Even though I’m a “bolder is better” black tea drinker, I decided to go easy on the steeping, just in case I had met my match.

Just three minutes of steeping at 212 degrees produced a dark reddish amber brew. A potent and familiar British tea aroma wafted from the pot.

The flavor, true to the hype, was audacious and brassy. It immediately reminded me of the great cups of tea served by my cousins during my visits to Scotland. The taste is not complex but doesn’t need to be. It is simply solid, full, and clear. I experienced no bitterness. The aftertaste also contained no astringency. Although I always drink my tea straight up, I imagine this blend would hold up very well under the cover of milk and sugar.

After months of searching for this tea, PG Tips did not disappoint me. It is everything that it was advertised to be. It is a solid hitter and a great addition to my morning black tea lineup.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83

Although China seems to be primarily known for its green teas, I think it also produces some of the best black teas in the world. I’ve enjoyed English Breakfast and Irish Breakfast teas very much in the morning. I was curious to learn how Chinese Breakfast tea stacks up against them.

I brewed this blend for five minutes at 212 degrees, the end of the range specified on the package. This produced a tea with a maple syrup color. The aroma was similar to that of European breakfast teas.

The flavor was quite strong and malty. The aftertaste was just a tad on the sweet side. Perhaps that was the influence of the cacao ingredient, although there was no discernible chocolate flavor.

World Market recommends that you use one to two teaspoons of tea leaves per cup. To compromise, I loaded six teaspoons for four cups. This made the flavor slightly astringent. I will use my normal one teaspoon per cup next time.

This is a nice tasting breakfast tea. It’s the type of tea that I enjoy most in the morning to turbo charge my slumbering senses.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Angrboda

I think it also produces some of the best black teas in the world
I totally agree! All my favourite blacks are Chinese.

ashmanra

Same here! I drink almost exclusively Chinese tea when it comes to black and green. Oolongs may be Chinese or Taiwanese, of course! A favorite tea from Teavivre was their Yun Nan Dian Hong. Wonder if this is the same tea?

Stoo

The Chinese teas are great stuff! I just sent off for an order of several Teavivre black teas. I also like Rishi’s Earl Grey, another fine Chinese tea! Thanks for checking in, Angrboda and ashmanra!

Stoo

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70
drank Ancient Pu-Erh by World Market
196 tasting notes

This is only the second Pu-Erh product that I have tried, so my realm of experience is very limited. I think it would be unfair to make comparisons until I expand the field some more. I’ll instead judge this one on its own merit.

Since I prefer strong robust teas in the morning, I brewed this tea for the full five minutes at 212 degrees. The aroma reminded me of newly tanned leather. Images of mahogany wood also came to mind. The color was a rich dark brown, like black coffee.

The flavor was not as strong as I would have liked. It had a medium-power malty, earthy, and leathery taste. No bitterness appeared, even after the maximum steeping time.

I said I wasn’t going to compare the two Pu-Erh teas that I’ve tried, but I can’t deny that I found the previous brand (Teavivre) to have a much fuller and more complex flavor. The World Market offering, though, is not bad and is reasonably priced. I will drink the 50 cups that I paid for but will continue my search for better entries in this arena.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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52
drank Chai Spice by THE BRIGHT TEA COMPANY
196 tasting notes

This is another selection from the office Flavia machine. I am starting to fall into a pattern with Flavia’s undercover brand of teas. I don’t much care for their standard tea offerings, such as English Breakfast, Earl Grey, etc., but I do find their flavored teas somewhat interesting and tolerable. The Chai Spice blend also falls into that category.

I didn’t experience any recognizable tea flavor, but the full spicy taste was rich in cinnamon and ginger. I also didn’t detect the muddy flavor attribute that I’ve encountered with several Flavia selections.

I would summarize this product by calling it a decent spicy “beverage”. I wasn’t quite fond of it enough to classify it as a tea.

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92
drank Assam by Newby Teas of London
196 tasting notes

I stumbled upon this tea the other day while my fiancee and I were strolling through the local Asian food market. It’s a fun and interesting place to visit.

The fish that you can buy there could be no fresher. They are alive and swimming around in huge tanks. When you select the one that you want, the staff bops it on the head with a mallet, wraps it up, and sends you (and it) on your merry way. I wondered if it would be a huge (and dangerous) shock to the purchaser if the fish were only knocked unconscious, and it woke up and started flopping around your car while you drove it home for dinner. But I digress…

I’m obviously still a newbie in the world of teas. I had no idea what Assam tea was and had to look it up so I would know what I was drinking.

For those as uninformed as I was, Assam is a black tea grown in India that is used for English, Scottish, and Irish Breakfast teas. The leaves are dark green in color and are glossy and fairly wide compared to those of the Chinese tea plant.

As recommended on the package, I brewed this tea at 212 degrees for five minutes. It may be due to my recent cataract surgeries, but this tea seemed to produce a unique brownish orange color.

The aroma of this tea is both nutty and malty. The flavor is bounteous and powerful without bitterness. The taste is very much like the smell, nutty and malty. The aftertaste doesn’t seem to hang around for as long as some of the Chinese morning teas that I frequent, but it is pleasant just the same.

This is an excellent blend and I enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely rotate it with the other members in my collection of morning teas.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Cheryl

As I was reading, the “oh!, what if it isn’t really dead?” thought popped into my head too.

Angrboda

Well, even if it was initially only unconscious, it would most likely die of suffocation anyway before it could have had time to wake up. Being unable to breathe air and what not.

Stoo

They bop them pretty hard, Cheryl. I’m pretty confident that they won’t revive, but great minds think alike! ;-)

Stoo

You’re right, Angrboda. Even if they were to wake up with only a headache, I doubt they could hold their breath that long to survive. :-)

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89

After being exposed again to automated bagged tea at the office, I felt an urgent need for the finer teas in life. I picked up this blend at the local Teavana store on Saturday after the salesperson waved the container’s lid in my face until I was hypnotized.

I’m very new to oolong teas so I’m still getting used to their much milder taste, compared to the robust black teas that I favor. This selection, though, has a very smooth and even flavor. The chocolate sensation is subtle but potent enough to recognize. There is also an almost creamy quality to this tea. If you didn’t know better, you might think that milk had been added to it.

All in all, this tea presents a peaceful and tasty sipping experience. The only thing I will do differently next time, is enjoy it in the early afternoon instead of the morning. I still prefer the aggressive working over that black tea gives my brain as I attempt to emerge from my nightly coma.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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52

Well, what can I say? I was back in the office which meant I was also back to bagged tea. Again I decided to have one on the company’s dime.

I popped a Lemon Herbal cartridge into the breakroom Flavia machine. I guess Flavia’s tea selections are now undercover using the “Bright Tea Company” label.

At first sip, I found this concoction to have a very sour taste. However, after my fifth or sixth sip, my tastebuds were numbed enough to ignore the sourness and focus on the lemon flavor. Lemon doesn’t just dominate the taste of this tea…it owns it!

I can’t say that the flavor is great or terrible. I will say that it would not be necessary for this selection to be on my “teas I would want to be stranded with on a deserted island” list.

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94
drank Spice of Life by Teavana
196 tasting notes

This was the second tea that the Teavana sales staff talked me into purchasing last weekend. Curiously, they didn’t try to sell it to me as a standalone tea, but instead as an added ingredient for other blends.

The staff recommended that I blend this tea with Teavana’s Honeybush Vanilla selection. I did and the combo was great! However, to give an accurate review of the Spice Of Life tea, I felt that it needed to be judged on its own merit with a solitary steeping.

After brewing this white tea for two minutes at 175 degrees, as recommended, a dark yellowish color emerged that reminded me of…well…never mind what it reminded me of. I don’t want to negatively (and unjustly) prejudice this review. I guess my upcoming annual physical caused that thought to come to my mind.

The aroma was very nice, almost like potpourri. The taste of this tea is absolutely divine! It is a complex smorgasbord of nuttiness, sweetness, fruit, and spices. The flavor is smooth and it leaves a gentle sweet aftertaste on your palate.

I am amazed that Teavana didn’t advertise this white tea as BOTH a fantastic individual blend AND a terrific supplement to spice up other varieties. I am ready to go back into the lab and splice this tea into some of my morning black tea favorites!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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93
drank Honeybush Vanilla by Teavana
196 tasting notes

I am a major sweets fan. Actually, I’m really a fan-atic. If I hear about a naturally sweet tea, I’m there! The sales person at our local Teavana store placed the huge open cannister of this tea under my nose while she waved the lid to force the incredible aroma of this blend up my nostrils. I was immediately sold!

While brewing this tea, a wonderful sweet smell filled the room. It wasn’t distinctly vanilla or honey, but a nice combination of both. After six minutes of steeping at 212 degrees, a rich dark amber color appeared.

The flavor of this tea is incredibly smooth and sweet. The vanilla is not overpowering and the taste is very natural. The honey flavor is definitely active and integrates perfectly with the honeybush and vanilla. The aftertaste is sweet and lingers with no bitterness to report.

This is a delicious sweet herbal tea. I also tried brewing it with an equal portion of Teavana’s Spice Of Life tea. That produced an AMAZING sweet, nutty, and fruity blend! This Honeybush Vanilla tea may become my go-to variety when I feel the urge to sweeten up ANY of my morning teas.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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Bio

I ventured into the world of serious tea drinking in the Summer of 2011. I started out slowly and gently with bagged tea but climbed to the incredible flavorful heights of loose leaf teas in October of that year. Once you go leaf, you never go bag (except when you get free samples)!

Location

South Carolina, USA

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