953 Tasting Notes

64

I must be crazy to be drinking this this late in the day but my work stash is dwindling and my curiosity has gotten the better of me. My one hesitation is my fear that I’ll like this better than the Kuki and then I’ll not look forward to the Kuki as much.

And guess what, I was right. But the spread isn’t really that far.

Both the green tea of the Kuki and the peppermint of this make the mate more tolerable in different ways. The green tea takes the edge off the mate. The peppermint pretty much subdues it.

I still taste the mate, but it’s really not that different from earthy peppermint tisanes I’ve had that had no mate in them at all. The Upton, as I recall, had a sort of dirt undertone which I didn’t really care for in a single note peppermint tisane. That’s what this tastes like, but it has the excuse of the mate.

It’s a relief to know that I prefer both the Kuki and the Peppermint to the plain because that’s what I’ll be drinking down at work for the next few weeks.

Meanwhile I need to start thinking about replenishing my work stock. I don’t have access to a full kitchen at work, though I do have filtered hot water and a place to rinse out cups and filters. No easy way to gauge temperature, though. I’d like to bring in lower caffeine teas if possible, so I don’t leave the office wired, but those are usually the ones that need more temp control.

Suggestions?

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

I usually have a plain peppermint tea, rooibos , one of my lapacho teas, or some Tulsi tea. I just use boiling water on them all.

Anna

Every single flavoured green, white and oolong tea from Lupicia I’ve tried (a lot) are steeped for 1.5 minutes in boiling water. Can’t really get quicker or simpler than that.

__Morgana__

Herbals and Lupicia. On the list. Thanks!

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50
drank Yerba Mate by Samovar
953 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 104 of the year 2014.

Not a lot to add to previous notes, other than it is now gone and I’ve recycled the lovely black tin for another tea.

I am glad I like the Kuki version better, since I have a lot of it left. Something tells me I’m going to like the peppermint even better though I haven’t tried it yet.

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78

Started the day with an Earl I’ve already written a lot of notes about (so no new notes on that one) and then turned to this. Another of the unopened 52teas blends from a while ago.

The scent from the packet is mostly chocolate, but I get the raisin, too. After steeping, I smell mostly the tea, though I also get a dark, grapey smell of raisin. The liquor is clear, and a cherry color.

I expected to get a lot of chocolate in the flavor, but it’s not a heavy chocolate. It’s present, but the main note I get is a fruitiness. It’s in the aftertaste that I mostly get a suggestion of chocolate covered raisins, as though I chewed a handful of them five minutes ago.

The BF says he gets more chocolate than raisin and he gets more of the Raisinette flavor throughout than I do. (But then, he didn’t drink Earl Grey this morning.)

It’s tasty and I’m not having a “food tea” issue, because again, candy doesn’t count as food. I give it about a 77 for being true to its name and a 79 for drinking enjoyment, hence the 78 rating.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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89
drank After Dark by Tavalon Tea
953 tasting notes

Tasting note 800 and the 500th tea I’ve written a note about. If only it was a milestone sipdown as well!

Once upon a time, I belonged to the Tavalon tea of the month club. I am fairly certain this was sent to me as a part of that club.

I really love the way this looks. It’s a bit like a Teavana blend in that there are large chunks of fruit in and among the flowers that make up the rest of the blend. There’s a great dark, dried fruity smell that smells like currants and dates to me more than anything that’s actually in this blend.

It looks like cranberry juice in the cup, maybe even a bit more magenta if that’s possible. I smell mostly hibiscus and chamomile coming in the aroma. I steeled myself for the hibiscus pucker, but fortunately, this has enough sweet stuff in it to counteract that, and the hibiscus is actually serving a purpose here. It keeps the mixture from being too sweet to drink.

Cranberry and cherry are the main flavors I taste along with the hibiscus, though there’s a citrus note that floats in and out which must be the blood orange. My guess is the apple is contributing sweetness more than flavor.

With blends like this, I’m never sure whether the difference from cup to cup is going to be significant enough to change my mind, because a lot of the flavor seems to depend on how much of which ingredient gets into what you steep.

But unless things change dramatically from steep to steep, this is something I’d buy again.

Despite the wildly divergent ingredients in each of these blends, it’s in the same general category as Tazo Passion, Teavana Caribbean Breeze, and The O Dor Je M’appelle Dorothee, but it has one thing none of those have. A balance of tart and sweet rather than just tart, tart, tart.

Flavors: Berries

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML
Anna

Congratulations on 800 and 500. =)

Nattie

You did it!! Haha well done (;

__Morgana__

Haha! Ta-da!

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94
drank Melon White Tea by Lupicia
953 tasting notes

Wow.

I opened up the packet and cantaloupes fell out. Or at least, that’s what it smelled like.

This is what other sweet flavored white teas aspire to and fail to achieve in my view.

I decided to steep in the gaiwan per the comment from yyz on my last white tea endeavor, however, I didn’t have the note in front of me and steeped a bit shorter. 30 seconds, then going up to 45.

The aroma is also of cantaloupe, though mellower. The liquor is pale yellow.

The flavor is pure cantaloupe, without any adjustments. There is no winy-ness to speak of, like some other melon flavored teas I’ve had. There’s no bitterness.

The tea isn’t planty or overpowering, nor is it non-existent, but I don’t get a strong flavor, more like a dark undercurrent that lets me know I’m drinking tea rather than hot cantaloupe juice.

The aftertaste is sweet and gently melon-y.

It’s the best flavored white I have had thus far that doesn’t rely on a tart citrus to cut an unpleasant mustiness, and I’ve rated it accordingly. The good news is I have a fair amount of this and I can play with the time and temp until I get it as close to perfect as possible.

Flavors: Melon

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Fjellrev

Sounds great! Makes me wonder how it compares to Butiki’s Cantaloupe and Cream.

Anna

Fjellrev – I did a melon-off last year, with this, Lupicia’s Melon Oolong and Butiki’s C&C. They were so different I felt there was a place for all of them in my cupboard, but if I had to pick a single one, it would be the oolong. (Because oolong.)

keychange

Anna, I’m with you about the magic of that oolong. It’s like, desert island worthy as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been dreaming about it ever since I tried it. It’s changed my life. I’m a better person (ok well not really-that’d require less general rage LOL) because of it.

Anna

Hahaha, keychange, you sound exactly like my top tasting note for Lupicia’s Ripe Mango Oolong.

keychange

It’s what they do to us!

__Morgana__

Oooh, now I need to try the melon oolong!

Anna

Yes, you really do. All the oolongs.

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78

Another LeafSpa that I apparently never tried and never posted a note about.

This will be a sort of a placeholder note because I can’t really see or smell the tea as it’s in my Timolino, sitting next to me while I watch kids do kung fu classes (and homework for the one not currently in class).

I’m pretty sure I bought this one because I liked the name. What’s not to like about Eagle Nest Ever Drop? I am not sure I’ve had an Indian green tea other than a darjeeling. Maybe I have? I’ll have to check my notes.

What’s interesting to me about the taste of this is that to me it tastes like a green equivalent of an Assam. It has a bold, malty flavor and a full body for a green tea. The description mentions muscatel, but I don’t get a darjeeling-y flavor from it.

Very interesting and worth spending more time with when I have some peace and quiet to do a more full review. The one thing I’m not sure about is whether it’s really what I’m looking for in a green tea. When I drink green teas, I’m usually drinking them as alternatives to blacks, and this is a very black-like green tea.

For now, it’s a great contribution to the project of hitting 800 tasting notes at the same time as hitting 500 separate teas on which I’ve posted notes.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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86

I just realized that if I do this right, my 800th tasting note will coincide with the 500th individual tea about which I’ve written notes. I just have to make sure my next several notes are all on teas I haven’t written about yet.

So to start off that process, I’ve got another tea from the now defunct LeafSpa that I believe I’ve tasted but not written a note about before.

Dragonwell is something I’ve really wanted to like and haven’t had great luck with. The person who works next to me is from China and the only tea he drinks is Dragonwell, and he brings in a container of it every day. He really likes the sweet aftertaste. I am hoping this is one I’ll be able to relate a good experience about in our daily tea conversations.

One thing Dragonwell definitely has going for it is gorgeous dry leaves. Long, with pretty color variation. The liquor is pale yellow and clear.

I’m really liking the aroma of this one after steeping. It’s less like green vegetables than a lot of the other green teas I’ve had lately (not that I don’t like the green vegetable smell and taste) and more like a sweet, buttery grass. And that’s what I get in the flavor, too. There’s just the slightest roasty note as well, though sometimes it seems to meld into a smoky note like that of gunpowder but not nearly as strong.

The aftertaste is fresh and just slightly sweet-hay-like.

I think I probably used a lot more leaf than I’ve used in the past and that may be the trick for me and Dragonwell. In any case, this time I get it. Too bad this tea won’t be available after I drink it down. I now believe there are other Dragonwells that I’ll like, though.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 8 g 25 OZ / 750 ML
Memily

I love how many other people are anal with/excited by numbers on this site.

I’ve never heard of dragonwell! I’ve got a lot of learning to do…

__Morgana__

LOL—yes it’s like playing video games, cheap sense of accomplishment. ;-)

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84

Sipdown no. 103 of the year 2014.

After reading some of the notes, I’m going to try using less water this time for the same amount of tea and see what that does. I don’t want to go hotter with the water or longer with the steep, because teaddict warned against this as a way to encourage bitterness.

Less water most definitely makes a difference. The flavor is stronger, and I’m getting an almost Darjeeling-like note, a small amount of grapey sharpness to liven up the overall smoothness. It’s not at all like a silver needle as I’d said in my first tasting note. It has none of the dewy, nectary notes I associate with silver needle. Instead, I’m getting more buttery flavor that has a little of something almost like asparagus.

I wish I had more so I could keep fine tuning. I’m putting it on the shopping list for after I come out of lockdown, if ever.

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84

This is really yummy today. There’s a thick, chewy mouth feel. There’s also a bready thing going on.

In fact, drinking this is reminding me of eating a piece of warm sour dough bread.

That’s an awesome thing for a rainy day like today.

It may not be like this next time, but for now, I gotta bump the rating.

Flavors: Baked Bread

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79

I think this is the last of my Simpson & Vail Earl Greys. It has a lot in common with the other two.

Usually I smell bergamot in Earl Grey dry leaf, sometimes eye-wateringly so, but whatever I smell usually smooths out and becomes must more mellow after steeping. I don’t smell bergamot in this dry leaf, unless it is the vaguely floral scent I’m smelling. I don’t smell citrus. I don’t really smell vanilla either. But I do smell a nice, solid, earthy black tea.

That tea also takes center stage in the aroma after steeping. It’s malty and sweet which makes me think there may be some Chinese black tea in the blend and I suspect there is some Ceylon because of the color. It has a deep red, almost garnet liquor. The description doesn’t say what sort of black tea is in the blend, but I am guessing it is similar to what is in the Earl Grey Aromatic, which contains both Ceylon and Chinese Blacks, as well as Assam and Darjeeling. I don’t get the heft of Assam here, but perhaps that’s the influence of the cream (even though I don’t smell cream).

In flavor, this is a tasty, sweet, medium-full bodied black tea with a floral note. Because I don’t really get a distinctive bergamot flavor, It doesn’t really taste like an Earl Grey to me, but then, neither did the S&V plain Earl Grey. I’m also not really tasting cream, which makes me want to do a side by side between this and the S&V non-creamy Earl.

Essentially, I have the same impression of this as an Earl Grey crème that I had of its sibling as an Earl Grey, which is to say I think the tea is lovely but it doesn’t really seem to meet the criteria for an Earl Grey, with the additional point that I don’t really get the crème either. Maybe my taster is off. I’ll try it side by side another time and see what happens. For now, rating it the same as its sibling.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 25 OZ / 750 ML

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Profile

Bio

I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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