1155 Tasting Notes

85

I had a cup of this next to my bed when I fell asleep last night. This morning, I took a sip of it cold and it was surprisingly good so I poured it into a tumbler and brought it with me on my way down to work.

Not that this matters much since SpecialTeas is no more, but cold this has a really nice, light, lemon vanilla flavor with no rooibos woodiness, at least not until the very last few sips (little fragments of rooibos made it through the Breville filter and collected at the bottom of the tumbler, resulting in more noticeable rooibos flavor right at the end).

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75

Sipdown no. 47 for the year 2014. 50 is in sight! I should definitely make it over the weekend, maybe even by the end of the day.

Under the light of my desk lamp, where I ordinarily sit when on the computer, the liquor today is redder than it looked in sunlight yesterday, closer to the way I described the liquor of the Double Bergamot. I think there must have been a steeping fluke on my first tasting that resulted in a lighter, yellower liquor.

In any case, though my Earl Grey pantheon is full, I will enjoy this while it lasts.

Flowery

You have a pantheon? Is there a single favorite or maybe a top three? I’d love to be an Earl Grey monogamist but haven’t started looking for ‘the one’ just yet.

__Morgana__

Haha. Yeah. My top EGs are Samovar’s EG and EG Lavender (which I don’t think they make anymore so I will be substituting the American Tea Room lavender) and then I have a vanilla, a rose, a chocolate, etc. and some runners up as well in those categories. Also like the ATR Lady Grey. The one thing I don’t have is a decaf but I’m not sure I need one. I don’t ever feel like drinking EG except in the morning.

keychange

what’s your favourite vanilla EG/EGC?

Flowery

Thank you! Those are vanilla, rose, and chocolate EGs? That sounds terrific too. So much for monogamy.

TheTeaFairy

I’ll jump in with a suggestion too, since I have found “the one” for me: Zen Tea Earl Grey Cream. So good. But then again, I’ve never had a pantheon of Earls in the house, so what do I know, lol!

__Morgana__

I see that my current favorite by rating is the Upton Vanilla.

__Morgana__

But now I want to try the Zen!

TheTeaFairy

But of course you do…

bluebelle

Jumping in to second the Zen Tea EGC! Two of my favorite blends are Harney & Sons’ Tower of London and Diamond Jubilee as far as fruit EGs go, but Zen’s is my favorite cream that I’ve tried. I’m still looking for “the one” myself, though, so I’m taking notes on these suggestions!

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85

Sipdown no. 46 for the year 2014, with a caveat. This is the only teabag I have of this. It’s from my work stash. But I may have some Maeda-en Sencha in loose form at home.

This is a solid sencha. It’s everything I have come to expect from sencha plus a little more. The flavor isn’t bitter, except for a bit of grassiness that seems to be a characteristic of sencha. On the contrary, I find it to have a bit of sweetness. There is some roastiness as others have said, but to my tastebuds it’s only enough to make the suggestion and not nearly as prevalent as in the genmaicha or the houijicha. It gives this a unique character. I find it quite tasty.

Preparation
1 min, 30 sec

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78
drank After 5 by Lupicia
1155 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 45 for the year 2014. Another teabag from the work stash. Despite the temperature given on the slider, I really can’t say that’s the steeping temperature because yet again I forgot the thermometer.

The teabag has a gentle minty fragrance, and the steeped tea has a hint of mint to it as well. There’s something sweet and green tea buttery underneath the mint. Tea liquor is the color of melted butter with a slight green tinge.

The mint is clearly present but not overpowering in the flavor and is a nice blend that reminds me of why I like the blend of spearmint and peppermint in Tazo Refresh. The spearmint mellows the peppermint to keep it from being too much like an Altoid. It does have something reminiscent of a Double Mint gum, which may be because there’s no mediating influence of tarragon as in the Refresh. The green tea’s flavor is not something I can easily separate out, but I do get a buttery, soft flavor to the overall tea that I attribute to the green tea.

It’s tasty enough, but for a green mint, my heart belongs to Samovar’s Moorish Mint.

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

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75

I brought this with me on the drive down to work today. It’s pretty much the same as my assessment in my initial note, with the exception of the description of the liquor. I described that as dark amber. It’s really darker than that, more like a medium maple syrup color. I’m looking at it through glass as I was in the original note but under different light, and I think it is in fact a somewhat different color than the double and single versions, which looked darker to me.

Kirkoneill1988

morgana, i would like your help :) the smell of earl grey tea, is the main aroma of it (or the most powerful smell), lavender?

__Morgana__

Not usually. There are Earl Grey Lavenders that are scented with lavender, but the basic Earl Grey is black tea plus bergamot which is an orangy citrus fruit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergamot_orange

pyarkaaloo

That’s it?? I thought earl grey’s were perfumed with potent doses of lavender after my nightmarish experience with the Earl of Tazo!

well that’s a relief..

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83

This smells like warm gingerbread after steeping, with no woodiness or cedar chippiness from the rooibos base. The flavor gives the impression of being cinnamony but I’m not sure it really is. The cardomom, ginger, and cloves keep the cinnamon from running away with the flavor and the vanilla adds a sweetness and a mellowness. I can’t taste the rooibos, at least not very much, which makes this a successful blend in my book.

I’m torn on how to rate this because it’s very good, but I’m not sure I’d stock it. It’s a little on the spicy side for a night time cup; if I’m going to be drinking something at night I’m looking for calming rather than invigorating and I really only drink decaf options at night.

I’m going to go ahead and rate it to reflect my opinion that it is a successful blend, with the caveat that I usually would put something with a rating this high on the shopping list and I am not yet sure I plan to do that here.

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec
pyarkaaloo

“no woodiness or cedar chippiness from the rooibos base”- great description! and so accurate.

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80
drank Green Chai by Adagio Teas
1155 tasting notes

Sipping this while watching the kids’ kung fu lessons. It’s a little weirder this time than last. With these chunky mixes I think a lot depends on what actually gets into your filter to steep. The spices are a little stronger at the expense of the tea flavor this time, but not enough for me to mark this down.

I may try the rooibos vanilla version tonight. I’m pushing it as it is drinking caffeine this late.

Kirkoneill1988

does it taste a little like green tea?

Kirkoneill1988

cool :) i’m not much for chai tea. only this one. http://steepster.com/teas/tim-hortons/5895-chai-tea

Kirkoneill1988

i may try green chai sometime :) (had to fix error)

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76
drank White Grapefruit by Adagio Teas
1155 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 44 for the year 2014. This concludes all the Adagio white tea samplers, unless I find the Jasmine Silver Needle that has either (1) mysteriously disappeared or, (2) been sipped down over the last couple of years without me remembering.

I made sure to measure by weight this time. I also went for a shorter steep time, but not as short as the Breville thinks white teas should have (2:30) because I’m not convinced from what I’ve read that’s the ideal time. I went for 4:30 because the highest rating this tea got on Steepster indicated a 5 minute steep time.

This turned out to work pretty well. The grapefruit tastes much better to me than the other flavored whites. Part of this is the way the flavoring works together with the tea base instead of seemingly at odds with it as some of the other flavored whites seemed to do. Something about the grapefruit flavoring cuts through the plantiness and reduces it to just a hint so the impression is a sweeter tea over all. The grapefruit is definitely apparent, unlike the tangerine in the white tangerine or the pear in the white pear, but it isn’t overwhelming and cloying like the coconut in the White Tropics.

This is definitely my favorite of all the Adagio white flavored teas I tried, and I actually prefer it to the plain whites, too.

Bumping the rating. It earns a place on the shopping list.

Yvonne

I don’t see grapefruit a lot in teas, interesting!

pyarkaaloo

i LOVE grapefruit and grapefruit juice… can’t imagine how it will translate in tea! does it have a nice tartness to it when steeped? would you say it has a ‘juicy’ quality to it (at this point)?

__Morgana__

It’s a little too subtle for me to consider it juicy. It was very evident though. Tartness… hmmm. Not in a mouth puckering sense, and there’s a bit of sweetness to it but it isn’t overly sweet.

Cavocorax

Bayswater in Vancouver has a nice Grapefruit Earl Grey that works quite nicely, and I just tried a cherry graprefruit green from RiverTea that was good as well!

Yvonne

Grapefruit Earl Grey sounds absolutely divine.

Kirkoneill1988

i don’t like grapefruit :(

__Morgana__

Yeah, it’s an interesting flavor for a tea and I’m always surprised at how well it usually works. I have a few other grapefruit teas as well.

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70
drank Snowbud by Adagio Teas
1155 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 43 for the year 2014.

This is embarrassing.

I’ve concluded that my recent Adagio white tea sampler tastings may have all been fundamentally flawed by significant underleafing. I should know better. But somehow I let the convenience of the Breville take over when my brain should have been making the decisions.

I was reading the thread about volume vs. weight and what Dinosaura said about weight in relation to white tea made me go “oh crap.”

So for this one, I got out the scale. Turns out if I’d used a spoon instead I’d still be one pot away from a sipdown. I had just under two cups worth of tea by weight so I steeped this in 500ml of water.

The good news, such that it is, is that the underleafing in this case may not have made a lot of difference. The flavor of this one is so light that using a lot more tea doesn’t seem to have much impact. (It may still have affected some of the others though. Bah!)

Lesson learned.

Kirkoneill1988

what did it taste like?

__Morgana__

Lots of info about that in my various previous notes on this—too much to summarize here!

Kirkoneill1988

could you give me a link (url)? or would it be better if i searched for it :)

__Morgana__

If you click on the link in the name of the tea of a tasting note you’re reading, you will go to the page where all the notes on that tea are posted and you can read all the other notes someone has posted about that particular tea. I’m not sure it’s possible to link more specifically than that, but perhaps someone else knows.

Kirkoneill1988

oh, ill check it out sometime :)

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88

Sipdown no. 42 for the year 2014. But it’s not forever as this is definitely on my shopping list!

keychange’s note about this earlier today put me in the mood for this. I’m working from home today and the BF wanted some as well, so I think that, in an effort to stretch this to include a cup for him I underleafed a bit.

It was definitely Red Hots I smelled in the packet, even given the age of the sample. Very cinnamony but in a sweet-hot, candy way, not the woody, herby way that cinnamon can sometimes smell.

And that’s what I taste as well. Sweet-hot cinnamon. All the other ingredients—orange, cloves, even the tea—may be there in the flavor somewhere and doing something to make the flavor what it is, but I’m not able to isolate them.

And in this case, that’s a very good thing. Because for me they aren’t the reason to drink this. The reason to drink this is for the warming, sweet-hot cinnamon flavor.

Yum.

keychange

Yup, warming cinnamon sweet flavor indeed! I’m glad my joy for this one was contagious.

__Morgana__

Thanks for being contagious :-)

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Profile

Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. 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 write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became far less appealing to me. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with 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. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

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

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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