535 Tasting Notes

100

So I made yet another trip to the mall today…and of course was baited with tea! How can I say no when I did so well on my most recent test and have been trying to cheer myself up? The workers were much more helpful today. My sister and I got to smell almost every one of the new teas. Some that I thought I would have enjoyed in theory didn’t really spark my interest in the store. This one was something that I never thought I’d actually enjoy. But here I am, sipping away happily. I’m trying to make sure I go in that money trap with a plan. :p I like to try and figure out what I’d like before I ever show up or else they’re going to have my wallet!
I was surprised to see this tea because the photos I saw of it online had rose petals. The tea that I was sold did not. This wasn’t a huge deal for me because, quite frankly, I wouldn’t want any rose/flower taste in this blend. What I was happy to smell was coconut. It was a bit more on the chemical smelling side for sure. But man, this hits the spot for some reason. The chocolate is there but I think that I can tell that this is a flavored oil as opposed to chocolate nibs. The ingredient list says there’s chocolate but the flavor profile of chocolate oil is very different than the actual item; which is why I’m a bit suspicious. Either way, the flavors blend well together. The only complaint I think some people would have is that this is something that I would expect more in a black tea. Maybe it’s simply because the flavor completely overwhelms the oolong. If I didn’t know there was oolong in this I frankly wouldn’t have known.
Overall this was a very nice tasting blend that would be able to keep the strongest of my chocolate/sweet treat temptations at bay. Well played Teavana, well played…

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

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85
drank Opus Rouge Rooibos by Teavana
535 tasting notes

My husband and I were out and decided that today would be the day that I got the tea-tumbler I had been eyeing for awhile. :) Along with this tea I also got a FREE 2o.z. of the six summits oolong (strawberry oolong). I’m pretty sure this free offer was because they are trying to get rid of the old stock.
This tea smells exactly like bubblegum. Not pink per say, but some brand I used to really enjoy. The brewed tea has very little of this in the actual liquor. It is a very dark tea when brewed and has a very interesting flavor. My initial sip didn’t taste like much, but after a few moments, BAM!!! Fruit mostly, not a lot of tea. I don’t know how well this tea would play with others because the flavor is very strong and has a lot of back flavoring of the different berry notes. I’m guessing that this tea would be much better iced than hot. So far I’d say that I enjoy this tea, but I’m not sure I would brew it on a regular basis. For some reason I think it would taste superb with oatmeal..

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Almond Biscotti by Teavana
535 tasting notes

Hopefully this one tastes as good as it smells! This was a bit of a compulsive buy but I just was in such a slump this week. This tea when dry smells exactly like these graham crackers my dad would buy for me. They were over sized and were cut to look like different dinosaurs. They were my absolute favorites. I must say that for a Teavana tea, this one is pretty low key in terms of colorful additives. It has a few multi colored who knows what leaves and some almond slices, but mostly this tea is just black tea.
Oh my gosh. I don’t know about biscotti, but this is dead on gahram crackers!!! So, so tasty. I love the cinnamon in this. It is so subtle and I am confused as to the fact that it tastes so much like the granulated sugar on top of those crunchy devils! Very tasty and I hope this is one flavor that will stick around!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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85
drank Strawberry Paraiso by Teavana
535 tasting notes

I must preface this with the fact that, I have been highly unsuccessful with white teas. I don’t really like them plain. Even this seemed like stepping out on an unstable branch! I must also say that yesterday’s experience at Teavana was much more pleasant. Except they need to teach their workers to LISTEN. If I say 2 o.z. I mean it. Not 4 o.z., not 3 o.z., not 2.5 o.z. Because I’m the customer, I’m paying, I’m kind and I’m right.
On to the tea! This has to be the “prettiest” tea I’ve ever had! Both the blend and the liquor have a kind of “pretty princess”-ness that I normally don’t indulge in. The liquor is a light pink color. The dry leaf has a very berry smell that seems to permeate my room when I open my canister. There is far more white tea in this blend than I expected. I’m guessing this would be amazing cold, but I’m opting for warm tea for now. This is so light on the palate. I love that about this tea. It’s not punching me in the face with strawberry, but it’s there and it’s beautiful.
The flavor of the first cup (last night) was very pleasant. It lacked the highly vegetal overtones of most of the white tea I’ve had; which made it much better for me! The flavor was light and not overly berry or overly tea flavored. I think it was quite nice. I don’t know if I’d purchase again because it had a higher price tag. This would be a great tea for sharing with a younger palate and would be fun for little tea parties with my pre-teen and teen siblings! I bet they’d love it.
I’m going to rate this later after I get another cup under my belt. :) 2 cups now from the same leaves and going pretty strong!
edit I’ve found the sweet spot on the time for this one! At 3 min the flavor of this changes drastically. The strawberry at lower times is nice, but at 3min it was fantastic and I think that I’ll steep at 3 min instead of the suggest 2 from now on!

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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67
drank Mint Medley by Bigelow
535 tasting notes

There’s just something about this tisane. This was my first toe dip into “tea” when I was much younger and all tea or tisane items were banned from my house (raised LDS). I used to wait until everyone else was asleep and I’d sneak downstairs and make this. The stash was hidden in various places in the small tea bags. Some inside a sock there, the pocket of a ill fitting dress jacket or most comically, under the heating grate in my floor. The lengths that I’d go to hide this stuff was insane. But well worth it. It has long been my fix for sniffles and heartburn. I love this and it always has a calming effect.
I picked up the most recent box for a steal at the Walmart. I love fancy tea but this one is just back to my roots comfort. I never really noticed the other ingredients but still enjoy the mix. If I ever had the misfortune of having to once again hide my tea habit this one would still be worth being caught for!

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15

I saw this tea at my local Sunflower Market. Since the weather has decided it’s officially winter now I figured it was a perfect day for tea. I really can’t emphasize how much I adore caramel. So I couldn’t resist the temptation of it in my tea.
The reason why this is getting such a low rating from me is because it was just too spicy. I only steeped this for 2 1/2 min and it just came out like a punch in the face. There was no caramel flavor to speak of. I also decided to wait a bit to taste it again and let it cool off. Not much changed. I think I will try this again tomorrow with milk and sugar (or honey) to see if I can tame this bad boy down a bit.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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100
drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
535 tasting notes

I’m just remembering this so a short note for now! :)
I got this for free from a member of a different board; it was almost a full bag and I’m so happy! This stuff blew my socks off. Before this tea I had never experienced sencha before or even unflavored greens. Just the smell alone is sweet and succulent. The leaves are beautiful, thin and unfurl into large pieces when steeped. This tea was an experience I won’t soon forget. A++++ flavor and a perfect tea for my first green tea experience.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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91

I almost ran in anticipation to my mailbox after my late night biological anthropology class. I knew that the chances of this being there would be pretty high. Lo and behold!!! Tea time! This is just the kind of un-winding I need after two and a half hours of learning about apes.
First off, I was trying to be very careful about the steep temperature on this one. But I think I over dosed on the amount of leaves. I thought I had grabbed my 1/2 tsp. but I had my 1 tsp spoon in hand. So the 2 scoops was probably much much more than what I needed.
The first thing I noticed was that the steeped smell when I first added the leaves was almost reminiscent of coffee. The dry smell was very much banana. The color of this first brew was very dark, most likely due to my over use of leaves. (I’m planning on steeping them for a 2nd infusion later) The flavor is very different than what I first expected while reading about Hojicha. It’s very mild on the palate. Heavier than green tea, but lighter than black. I noticed it has less of a lingering “thickness” than a black would have. The flavor is very, very exceptional. I love it. The banana is awesome. I’m missing some of the coconut but there is another layer of something almost creamy that is lurking beneath the surface in this cup. There is a slight back of the throat note of vegetal flavor that I’m getting that isn’t my favorite, but again, this may be because of my over abundance of leaves!
So until next time, this has been a very nice cup of tea. 52 teas has yet to disappointing me with a blend. This is my 3rd sampling of their selection and it makes me wish for a bigger tea allowance!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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85
drank Zingiber Ginger Coconut by Teavana
535 tasting notes

So my town now has the only Teavana in the state. Which seems to be a mixed bag. I’ll keep my store review here short, but I must comment that I’ve read plenty of Teavana horror stories. This store is no different. I went in to buy only this tea and they just won’t take no for an answer. It took 10+ min. when it should have taken 2 min to just bag it and ring me up. I don’t care about health benefits; I care about flavor and price. Yes! Price is an issue for people and when I’m buying one of the cheapest teas in the store maybe it’s safe to say I don’t want a huge tea pot I don’t need and your “special” $20 tea.
The smell of the dry leaf actually reminds me of a “Shirley Temple.” Basically a 7 up with maraschino cherries in it. The brew has a really amazing smell. It’s almost exactly like snicker-doodles. I can’t tell distinctly what the brewed flavor is like but it’s much lighter on the mouth feel than I was expecting. It’s not overtly spicy, which is very nice. The coconut in this cup kind of lingers on the back end of the sip and is just enough to compliment the rest of the flavors. I liked this because it was much less artificial tasting. I can’t imagine adding sugar to this mixture. I can’t tell if there is added sugar but it is very sweet. This my friends, is what I’d call a desert tea. It has great flavor and is easy to brew. It’s also a pretty solid cup for the price.
edit I wanted to add that I got a pretty solid 3 steeps from these leaves. Which to me, has really added to the value. Also, my tea avoiding husband was even tempted into a cup by this one!

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

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45
drank Vanilla Chai Latte by Pacific Chai
535 tasting notes

I saw this at the grocery store on sale so I decided to pick up this flavor and the “mocha” flavor. The first thing that I noticed when I opened the two canisters is there is not much smell difference between the two. I also later noticed that is is produced by the local favorite hot chocolate maker, Stephen’s hot chocolate, if anyone is familiar with it. I can say that their hot chocolate is pretty awesome. So this should be interesting.
I ignored the part about water because I wanted something a bit more substantial. I wanted to not that if you wanted this cold with milk it would have to be skimmed off the top because it didn’t mix in the best. The end product was a frothy, vanilla smelling cup of I don’t know what to call. The vanilla is there and it is very nice. But to call this chai is very, very misleading. The subtle spice is very much a background note when mixed with milk. I’ll have to see if the same holds true for this mixed with water. This would be something that I mixed once in a while and not on a very consistent basis because as far as chai goes, I wouldn’t consider this one.

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