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674 Tasting Notes

79

An explanation, first. I have tried a small number of flavoured oolongs but am not overly keen on them. Nothing wrong with them, but never my go-to tea. I have never really given unflavoured oolongs a try, though I did try a sip of the beau’s at Sawadee Tea House once (brewed Western style) but I mostly found it bitter and over-steeped. Tonight I brought out my gaiwan and my tiny cute double walled glass teacups to do “Western style Gong-fu” (I am not using flash rinses, but instead a sightly lower temperature for 1 minute or so). I don’t really know what to call it, but that’s what I think of!

Also, a note for poor Mercuryhime who sent me a couple of lovely looking oolongs to try – I wanted to cut my teeth on the relatively inexpensive and very available DT Tie Kwan Yin so I can (hopefully!) better appreciate the ones you sent. I WILL be trying them soon!

Initially, the dry leaves smell delicious and appealing, lightly sweet and floral, but mild (remember that I’m a dedicated black tea drinker!) First steep got 1 min or so and yielded a light greenish liquor, with a mild floral taste. As I told the beau, it reminds me of a blooming tea but not as strong in flavour. Likely a user error, but really nice nonetheless. The leaves unfolded a lot and are HUGE at this point, lovely full leaves. Stunning to watch.

Steep 2: Similar steep time/temp (I don’t use a thermometer or timer, hah!) Flavour is similar (sweet, lightly floral) but with a bit more strength. The liquor is a bit more yellow, and this too is a satisfying cuppa. I’m definitely not catching any nuances of flavour here, but there is definitely nothing objectionable. I am used to bold flavours, but for a lighter sort of tea, I have no problem drinking this. I know I’ve said it already, but this still reminds me of blooming teas I have tried. I presume it is the floral notes that I am being reminded of here.

Steep 3: Stepped up to boiling water, to see if it would add anything to the mix, really. I’m afraid that if I don’t I will just be drinking hot water. This steep came the closes to a hint of bitterness, but was really the same smooth sweet floral taste I’ve had all along. I’m out of time for today, might try some more tomorrow or might let it rest.

I’m gonna give this a rating of high 70s for now, likely to be adjusted when I have more experience in the field. This was a beautiful tea and experience, and I’m glad I gave it a shot. I didn’t experience any bitterness from this tea like I did with my bad experience Western style attempt many moons ago – Yay for potential oolong appreciation!

Mercuryhime

Ok, I admit I’m anxious to see what you think of the oolongs I sent, but I can wait. Take your time. :)

I tend to like my black teas bold as well, so I need to be in a certain mood for them. My default cravings lean towards lighter and more refreshing flavors. Lately, I’ve been really craving minty and desserty teas though. Anyways, oolongs can be an expensive habit. Just a warning. hehe

Maxime-Daniel Friðrikson

It’s a great Oolong tea to start with the Oolong family and most of all, it’s cheaper! You can also steep it 3 times with the same leaves. I personally love this one. Great review!

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59

Having a cup of this while in switchboard today. Unfortunately, today it isn’t quite what I wanted. The chocolate is still rich and bold, but I am not in the mood for that. I think I’m really in the mood (once again) for a lovely black tea with natural cocoa notes rather than a flavoured tea. I also desperately want to try the oolongs sent to me by MercuryHime (and the two I picked up at DT last night to go with them) but first I need to have time to sit down with my gaiwan (and the beau) to try them out. I am excited because I can use my tiny double walled glasses when the time comes!

Anyway, this tea. Getting dark chocolate, with a hint of sweetness (more on the end of the sip than the flavour). I am feeling a hint of chili burn on my lips, but it isn’t overly present in the taste. I do remember that coming out more as I got deeper in the cup last time though. Solid tea, just not to my tastes at the moment. If only I could afford to go home in the middle of the day for a couple hours and have lovely tea as I want it.

Indigobloom

the wrong tea at the right time is terrible! Some of my faves have to be consumed at just the right time… *sighs

Maxime-Daniel Friðrikson

I just want to try this one…

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82
drank Santa's Secret by DAVIDsTEA
674 tasting notes

Santa Baby, Coming down my chimney tonight…

But only with this tea! Creepiness of that song aside, this tea is still going strong. Delicious, creamy and smooth, it has a richness that is surprising, considering the fairly minimal ingredients list. I wish I had ice cream that tasted like this… Though at this point, I wish everything tasted like this. Yum!!

aisling of tea

Seconded on the ice cream (even though I shouldn’t have it). The only candy cane ice cream I can find is full of chocolate, booo!

Uniquity

There was a Chapmans one at my grocery store that looked good, but I boldyl walked by. not sure if it included chocolate, though..

aisling of tea

If it was the one with a penguin on it, then yep! Choco city. Boo. But I have grown to love Chapman’s since moving up here!

Meg

I’ve had candy cane ice cream without chocolate…I think Scotsburn has it without chocolate (actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it with chocolate).

I find this tea much more satisfying (and makes me feel less guilty) than the candy cane hot chocolate from tims!

aisling of tea

Oh, I’ve had it, I just haven’t been able to find it since moving to Toronto. It’s for the best anyway, I can’t really have it.

De

God I miss Scotsburn. It doesn’t exist outside of the Maritimes.

Uniquity

Whaaaaaaaaaaat? Man, Scotsburn is a staple here. Obviously.

De

I knooooooooow. It’s so sad! Those towering scoops of ice cream is every flavour imaginable . . . I miss it so much.

CelebriTEA

Creepyiness of the song?
I loved Eartha Kitt’s version the most.
You must be too young to enjoy real music :-(

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80
drank Nepal Black by DAVIDsTEA
674 tasting notes

I’ve had this for a while but somehow never got around to trying it. I only bought 20 grams, but it is such a light tea that I got one of those little silver bags DT uses almost full. The smell of the dry leaves is fairly typical black tea, in my opinion. The steeped smell however, is a different beast. I smell honeyed notes, a natural sweetness that I LOVE to find in my black teas. Honestly I am in the mood for something with cococa notes, but I don’t think this will suit that need. Also, I’m having some almonds with this, so we’ll see what impact that has!

Almonds aside, this was surprisingly mild. I get a honeyed sweetness in the taste, but it’s not overbearing. There is no bitterness at all, and this is a very smooth tea. I don’t know that I can pick out any specific flavours, but I am loving this. It’s a nice easy drinking black tea, the kind that would make a good companion to a lazy afternoon with a great book. MMmmm…

Cattibrie

This is my favourite straight black tea.

Amariel

Sounds great! I wish I had a better sense of picking out flavour notes in straight teas.

Uniquity

I pushed this one to three steeps in my small/medium sized Gaiwan – The first two were really good but the third was a bit of a stretch, I think. Can’t fault a black tea that yields two delicious steeps, though!

@Cattibrie – I’ve had a couple plain blacks that I am crazy for, but they are largely inaccessible to me (Harney’s Golden Snail, Keemun Mao Feng). This one is a pretty good stand in though, and I do love some natural sweetness. Now I need DT to have a yummy Golden Snail-ish tea! : )

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82

Found some of this in the “far back” of my tea cupboard while digging out some favourites over the weekend. I brought the few remaining bags with me to work to use while at reception/switchboard. Had a sore throat this morning so I went for this one rather than a bagged black and was glad I did. I still quite like this one for a bagged tea, the flavour comes through as sweet mandarin, but not cloyingly so. I’ve had trouble finding nice orange teas, so this one is a treat. : )

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70

I’ve been having this one lately at work while at switchboard – When I find myself wanting something unflavoured this is the only one lying around (at work) that isn’t in bags. I find it has a tendency to become bitter if I am not careful about steeping time, but it is certainly a servicable black. I think if I could add a drop or two of milk or a few granules of sugar after a while it might improve that hint of bitterness, but when in switchboard there is none of that.

All that said, I would prefer a higher quality keemun to be the one I have on hand (something with some depth and nuances of flavour) but I should be able to use the rest of this tin with ease. When I did my large scale exploration of black teas a number of months back I made the fatal mistake of buying large volumes of tea before testing them, so I have a couple tins of servicable (but not fantastic) tea lying around that I need to use up before I can justify getting some of the good stuff. I can’t resist a bargain and the price of tea in the tin is usually far superior to the cost of samples (on a per gram basis, of course). Ah well, at least I have tea!

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85
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
674 tasting notes

Had a DELICIOUS pot of this last evening with the beau (after packaging up an ounce or two for a swap!) We used two heaping teaspoons for the pot and each got two 8 ounce cups out of it, so that’s pretty good in my book. The taste was rich decadent vanilla with a hint of caramel, just the way I like it. Adjusting the rating back up based on that perfect pot – I think the key to this one for me is a bit more leaf and only about 3 minutes to steep. I don’t like astringency, so most of my blacks get about 3 minute steeps and that’s just what I like – No additions.

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72
drank Spiced Chai by Lipton
674 tasting notes

I’m going to blaspheme here – I actually liked this bagged chai. I find chai tea to be a great equalizer – Yes, it is better as loose leaf but of all teas, it’s not so bad bagged. This is likely because the spices dominate the tea and mask the bitterness from low quality tea, but I don’t care. A coworker gave me two bags of this as she knew I love tea and I liked this. Stuck at reception with no time to prepare loose leaf this is a good stand-in and is keeping me warm. Partway through I added a few drops of milk and a miniscule amount of raw sugar as it was getting a titch bitter (and chai handles both milk and sugar well, I find) and it made it better.

Also, it’s making me think that my recent tea apathy might just be a seasonal change in tastes and I need to figure out which ones I want – Chai, mint and chocolate seem to be in vogue for me!

Janefan

I love Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai (bags) – easy, yummy, no fuss or mess!

revlisx

I might give this a try!

Uniquity

I noticed other reviews say it can get bitter, so it might be that I fluked the perfect steep time (and the water wasn’t boiling, as I’m at work) but it was definitely a decent (and easy clean-up!) bagged tea. I don’t know that I would pick any up, but I certainly wouldn’t refuse it if offered or given to me. Plus, I really do appreciate the convenience of the teabag, on occasion.

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59
drank Shamrock Tea by 52teas
674 tasting notes

Sadly, this is another one that has become less appealing to me over time. Today, I shook out a considerable deal of dust (what I believe used to be the mint in the tea) so I added a half teaspoon of Spearmint to brighten it up a bit. I’m getting a dry sensation in the aftertaste and a pretty sharp mint. The green is present, though not dominant. Not being a green fan, it is a hint more green than I would prefer, but still acceptable. I am pretty certain this cup is oversteeped though, and that is doing something unpleasant. I really am having a bit of tea failure this week, hopefully I can fix it up soon with something better. Maybe I need to get back to basics.

LiberTEAS

I don’t know for sure, but, I think the “dust” may have been vanilla bean…

Uniquity

Hmm. I hope not, as that means I shook out all the vanilla goodness. Though, that would explain this cuppa. I had dust and drudge in the bottom of my cup, so I always give the infuser a shake beforehand.

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85
drank Vanilla Comoro by Harney & Sons
674 tasting notes

Had a cup of this today and was a little disappointed. Initially it was the delicious sweet vanilla tea I love, but as it sat it became bitter and over-steeped, even though I shook out the “dust” beforehand. I’ve got to finally admit that I wish I hadn’t been so quick to purchase a whole pound of this, as it will take me FOREVER to finish. Lately I’ve been feeling very blah about all my tea – I have too much of it and the turnover just isn’t there. I hope these winter blues go away as I would prefer to be loving my tea again.

TeaBrat

I have those tea overload feelings sometimes too. Perhaps a break is in order?

Kay Kanada

I experienced that too this summer… I had to take a break from tea (which was a good thing for the wallet!) until I started having cravings again. Oddly enough, tea was SO GOOD when I plunged back into it again!

Mercuryhime

Perhaps you’d like to swap some of this for some teas more to your liking! :D I’ve been wanting to try this tea and you seem to think you have too much of it. I hope there are some teas in my cupboard that will help bring your tea appetite back. Tea is just so awesome in the colder months. PM me!

Uniquity

Tea break might be worth considering. I just happen to have so much tea that it’s horrifying to consider it all sitting there undrank! : )

@Mercury – I can send you off an ounce or so if you’d like to try it. Shoot me a PM and we’ll work out the details – Maybe you’d be interested in another tea that’s not catching my fancy as well! : )

TeaBrat

Uniquity – I’ve never tried this before so let me know if you’d like to swap for something…

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Profile

Bio

I am a lover of many things, but my passions include my records, tea and books (not necessarily in that order!) I embrace local food and good cooking as much as I can, and place great value on time with family and enjoying the bounty of nature. As of January 2014 my husband and I finally moved to the country to be closer to family and continue our journey in a family home. We have been wanting to do this for a couple years, so we are very excited to follow our hearts. We also have a wonderful kitty named Emma that is the princess of the house.

I am drawn toward good Chinese blacks, enjoy some herbals and the odd roasted oolong. Greens and whites can make me nauseous, but I will have flavoured ones on occasion. While I don’t yet adore puerh, I am giving it my best effort. Chamomile and coconut are the devil though, I wish they didn’t exist. Mint has been a particular favourite of mine since childhood, and I enjoy both flavoured and pure teas though unflavoured blacks are tops for me.

As for ratings, I try to only log teas once or twice because I drink a lot of the same ones repeatedly. My rating is based on my perception of the tea at first tasting and is adjusted if anything notable occurs in subsequent cups. I may also factor in the price and customer service but try to note that when I can.

81 – 100: WOW. This is the cream of the crop.
71 – 80: This is a solid tea. I enjoy it, and would recommend it to others, but may not repurchase.
61 – 70: Just okay. I can drink it, but it doesn’t stand out to me. May try again to improve.
41 – 60: Bleh. Might finish it, but it’s not to my taste OR just doesn’t impress me at all.
0 – 40: No thank you, please. Take it away and don’t make me finish the cup.

Location

Canada

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