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674 Tasting Notes

80

Gave this another shot in a different way today. I forgot to clean out my Perfect Tea Mug so I put 4 or 5 pearls in a T-Sac and brewed them up for 3 – 4 minutes in a mug. I got a LOT more jasmine than previous infusions, and the black tea came through pretty nicely as well, but without any astringency. I remain a little disappointed by the quality of the base tea and prefer Teavivre’s Black Pearls for price AND taste, but these are definitely a nice change from the usual. I frequently forget how I feel about jasmine but I DO like it and these are a lovely way to get a floral hit. If that base tea were just a bit better..

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66

Another from my box o tea from LiberTeas several years ago. Initially it smells as though it has been scent contaminated with all the rest, but when steeped 2.5 minutes it smells definitely like black tea with light citrus. More like cleaner than fresh fruit, but not unappealing. It looks and smells like a tea that will get bitter if over-steeped so I was careful with the time.

First sips yield a fairly typical black tea that starts out a bit sweet and then goes a bit astringent, with some light citrus in the background. Considering the age and storage of this sample, I am impressed that there are any flavours to distinguish at all. In the aftertaste I get a sense of bergamot but it is very light and not dusty at all the way bergamot can sometimes be.

This is a very pleasant (if mild) cuppa, and I will definitely be able to finish the sample. Yay!

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84

Well, I couldn’t wait until I got home to try this one. The beau is not one for chocolate teas either so I doubt he’ll be bothered. The aroma of the dry leaves makes me think of a Crunch or Krackle bar – chocolate with some puffed rice. The beany malty laoshan black sits underneath all that, holding it together.

I went a bit light on the leaf but gave it extra time to balance out. I remember Laoshan Black as being strong on flavour under most circumstances so I am confident it can handle it. The liquor is a warm sunflower sort of yellow, with strong malt aroma that is tinged with cocoa at the end. I’ve always loved the idea of a genmaicha, but being a hater of green tea I have never really enjoyed it. This could be the way for me!!

First sips yield a fairly typical laoshan flavour. Heavy on malt with some cocoa and honeyed sweetness on the end of the sip. The nibs are working with the natural cocoa flavours of the tea and bringing it out even more. I love that. So far there is nothing here that screams toasted rice for me though. I will report back in a bit to see if that changes but for now this is mostly laoshan with chocolate, and I ain’t complainin’. :)

EDIT: I have had the new batch of Laoshan Black and I must say that I prefer the unadulterated Laoshan Black to this blend. I get much more cocoa from the Laoshan Black than from this one and I prefer the intensity of flavour. I think the addition of the oolong here (while nice) detracts from what I love about the Laoshan. Still yummy though!

Fjellrev

Sounds mighty nice. :)

Tommy the Toad

I want some of this one

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83

Had some of this again last night. This is the first ‘new release’ from Davids in a few years that I have truly loved. We have used nearly 50 g in the last few months which actually is a lot for us. Typically we have different teas all the time but we return to this one frequently.

The first steep always delivers a strong strawberry taste with some earthy tartness in the background from the pu. There is no fishiness – I can barely even tell the pu is there actually. It also delivers a solid second steep though you do lose some strawberry flavour so it isn’t as good, but still worth steeping. This is the tea that has helped me to think I might be able to learn to love pu-erh.

I fully intend to go get a tin of this once our pouch is empty. Yum!

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82

Way to go, Uniquity. This is another tea that I have been hoarding/savouring since ordering it from Verdant. 1.5 years ago. I have another order dreamed up and am just waiting to see if a co-worker wants in so I am really feeling compelled to finally drink up the beautiful teas I got last time. Despite it’s age this has been stored well (score!) and maintains a lovely sweet yunnan smell. I’m thinking more hay than pepper or cocoa. I am likely in a better position now to appreciate this tea than I was when I bought it, so this is for the best, right? :)

Steeped for 3.5 minutes, the beau and I shared a pot while he finishes Silent Hill Downpour. He’s been finishing it for days, but who am I to judge? I’m the “just one more page/chapter/book” girl. After pouring the tea, I even gave a bit to my tea pet (also from Verdant way back when). Aren’t I generous? Steeped, this almost puts me in mind of chocolate cake. It smells rich, sweet and decadent. Sweet hay remains a strong aroma.

First sips are clean and sweet, not as bold as other yunnans but very tasty. I get some light cocoa, and the sweet hay continues to dominate. For now I am going to sit back and enjoy it. Then maybe steep it again. Mmmmm. I think this is one of those teas that would be impossible to over-steep. I feel confident that I could steep this the whole time I drank it and it would only get stronger without ever going bitter. Lovely!

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65
drank Maple Tea by Culinary Teas
674 tasting notes

All the talk about maple teas on the discussion boards had me wanting to try this one which I just brought to work last week. I haven’t tried it before but it does have an appetizing maple smell – it’s a bit more Aunt Jemima than maple syrup (if you’re Canadian you will probably understand) but it is definitely appealing.

Steeped, the liquor is quite brown, and has a smell that puts me in mind of boxed pancakes and Aunt Jemima. Again, yummy but not quite the real deal. There is some sweetness that comes off as maple syrup and the tea is very prominent beneath that. They are pretty well balanced with each other but the tea does have a hint of bitterness. I wonder what the base tea is, cuz I think I steeped this appropriately but the bitterness is a bit disappointing.

I would like a smidge more maple in here but it is a very old sample so I may have just lost some flavour over time. A drop of syrup or honey in here would do wonders (if I had any here at work). All in all, very nice.

EDIT to add – this reminds me of a couple Monk’s Blends that I have had. Interesting!

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67

The beau brought a silken satchet of this home from his work for me to try. While I’m not the biggest rooibos fan anymore I do love him so try it I shall. The aroma reminds me of Ruby Red from Joy’s Teaspoon – some sweetness, tropical fruit of some sort and some rooibos. Nothing objectionable, but not too snazzy either. A quick comment on the satchet though – I love it! For a rooibos, it had plenty of room for spreading out and getting fully steeped. Actual tea might have needed a bit more room, but this was great for a non-expanding tea. It was also fine enough to keep the rooibos in which is important for me. I hate small floaties.

First sips are nice enough. It echoes the smell with some undistinguishable fruit flavouring and sweetness. There is almost a hint of bubble gum but it doesn’t quite go there (luckily). Still reminds me of Ruby Red, which I have 4 or 5 ounces of at home. One of the better rooibos teas I have had lately. Generic but good. :)

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63
drank Paris by Harney & Sons
674 tasting notes

Oy. Another from SimplyJenW that I drank but did not review. I recall a lot of people saying that Paris is similar to Tower of London (which I love) but for some reason I always think of it as heavy on bergamot. At the moment, that doesn’t seem to be true. Actually, I am starting to think that Paris is the mystery tea that scent contaminated all the rest of my samples. Either that or it is fairly heavy contaminated. Can’t be sure anymore.

The smell is sweet and light, I am not getting much by way of bergamot. Actually, I do get some sweet stone fruit that DOES remind me of ToL. Perhaps I have had false memories of this tea all along. First sips are light and sweet, much like the aroma but with a bit more of a honey note. I am not picking up on any citrus or bergamot but I am really liking the honey/stone fruit notes. Why has this sat neglected for so long? This is a nice little sippable tea. I am glad to introduce it to my work stash, I’m sure it won’t last very long now. :)

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71

Wow, another I didn’t review. Whoops. SimplyJenW sent this my way probably a year and a half or two years ago. This is a prime example of why I almost never do swaps, I never seem to get around to drinking the things I get in return. I have had most of this one though, so I’m not sure how I managed to miss reviewing it.

I am not much of an English breakfast drinker as they tend to be bitter assams and other bold teas I don’t drink a lot of. They are nice for a treat though, and I will add a bit of sugar or honey if necessary. This one got the kid gloves treatment of a 3 minute steep so it should be good on it’s own. I get a lot of malt in the aroma, and it has a smell that frequently translates into bitterness. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it’s easy to recognize.

First sips are a bit lighter than I expected, and with a surprising level of sweetness. This tastes more like Chinese blacks than Indian. Wait a minute, I’ve finally read the description. This is a Keemun? Win! I get some sweetness that is almost lightly floral, not much of a smoke note like I sometimes get. This is a nice keemun and extremely affordable. I don’t see why they don’t just label it as a Kemmun, but whatever works. :)

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drank Earl Grey Cheesecake by 52teas
674 tasting notes

Another very old sample from my box of goodies from LiberTeas – thank you! This is one that made it to the bottom of the basket otherwise I would have drank it all down in the first place. I am not a huge fan of the old 52Teas base and I don’t really enjoy Earl Grey but I DO love cheesecake! I am thinking that the improper storage will have hurt this one though, I don’t get any earl or cheesecake aroma from the dry leaf. Everything in that basket of samples took on a weird aroma which I STILL haven’t identified but really don’t enjoy. Let this be a lesson to all of Steepster: store your samples properly and use them quickly!

Steeped, I get that funky smell (I think it was a mix of Pancake Breakfast and Buttered Popcorn, neither of which I really enjoyed) and a hit of something that puts me in mind of coconut. Bad sign. Da*n you Uniquity-from-the-past for your carelessness!

Unfortunately, the taste is about what I expected. Some astringency, no bergamot or cheesecake. I’ll just toss the rest of this and move on to something else. I bet it would have been wonderful if I had tried it a year ago, heh.

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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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