1184 Tasting Notes

67

Finished up the last bags of this this evening. It’s a good one, not quite up there with the Chinese Breakfast, and not as good as the loose leaf genmaichas I’ve been trying lately, but for a bagged green tea it is pretty darn good. I’ve been drinking it a lot today and it’s a pretty consistent mild, savory taste from cup to cup. It’s almost as though there’s a little salt in there with the toasty rice, though I doubt it as otherwise it would make me thirsty and it doesn’t.

I’d buy this again if I found myself needing a bagged green tea and it was available.

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71

So my older son learned to ride a bike without training wheels today, on his very first try. I remember it taking me weeks. Maybe the human species has evolved? In any case, I was amazed. Now if he can just learn to start himself off, we’ll be cooking with gas.

To celebrate, we took the kids to Jamba Juice, where I noticed for the first time that there were Mighty Leaf teas available. And I saw this. I believed it to be Mighty Leaf from the way the menu was set up, but after reading further on the web site, I am now fairly sure it is a Jamba Juice brand.

In any case, it was pretty tasty. A good amount of chocolate, and spices strong enough to show through the chocolate. The bike rider asked to smell it and announced it smelled like gingerbread cookies.

Pretty much right on target.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 15 sec
Cofftea

I thought you were gonna say he asked to try it:) I’ve never been to Jamba Juice, is this made from a powder, concentrate, or loose leaf? Even if it’s a concentrate, I think I must try. Then cry because it has no cayenne lol.

Cofftea

Shame on you Morgana =D I did some research and found the nearest Jamba Juice is 2 hrs away from me, but there are 3 in Seattle, WA and I’m gonna be there in a week and a half and then again in Sept so I think I may need to track one down. The prickly pear tea drink is calling my name AND… they have matcha!=D Looks like I’m not the only one that likes the matcha/OJ combo:) And it also appears (from their ingredient list) that you don’t use some weird presweetened matcha “mix” like starbucks does. YAY! I may need to cut down to a 12oz Perfectly Chocolate Chai Tea Latte- their 16oz (the same volume I make at home) has 150 calories and .5g more fat than my version! I’d gain an extra lb in less than a month if I drank one daily like I do my current chai habit. Not to mention I’d probably go broke just as quick lol.

__Morgana__

Unclear how it is made. I couldn’t watch them make it because I was tending to kids who had already received their mango Jamba Juice drinks, were spinning on the stools at the counter, and needed watching. I had the smaller size too, seemed the responsible thing to do.

__Morgana__

Oh, and he did ask to try it. But his normal energy level is such that imagining him caffeinated is pretty scary.

JacquelineM

Awwwwww! :)

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78
drank 7 Parfums by Dammann Freres
1184 tasting notes

This is another tea from the Dammann Freres group tea ordering project Doulton put together. I started laughing when I read the ingredients. This is indeed the fourth tea from Dammann Freres I’ve tried with fig as an ingredient. Fig. 4!

Amazingly, the dry leaves smell like peach even though there is no peach flavored anything identified as an ingredient. I can get fig as well. I had to look up what pitanga is, and if it smells like cherry, I can find that as well. Ironically, what I’m not getting is a whole lot of citrus, which, one would think, would be the main event since there is lemon, bergamot and orange in this. It’s definitely in there, but it isn’t in-your-face.

The aroma of the tea also reminds me, inexplicably, of peach. Through some weird synergy of the ingredients, that’s what I smell. I can pick out the individual fragrances as well, even the rose.

The word that came to me when I was thinking of how to describe the taste is “French” which I realize isn’t very helpful. It’s a complex flavor; like its name, a well-blended perfume that doesn’t have one particular note sing out, but if you’re willing to spend the time putting your mind to each flavor you can find it there and, more interestingly, find how it interacts with the others. That’s what I think of when I think of French perfume.

It’s a tea I think would taste particularly fine on a fall day when the air is just starting to get a crispness in it. It’s not heavy, but it has a depth to it that may feel too heavy for spring and summer consumption.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Rabs

Now that I’ve actually sampled some French teas (hooray!) I can say that you nail it on the description. Looking at the ingredients you might think “cacophony” but it truly is a “symphony.” ::dreamy sigh::

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78

This is the fourth and last of the teas in the British Blend sampler. I have to say I really like the little tins Upton uses for its sampler sets. They’re very cute.

The darjeeling owns the smell of the dry leaves here, along with a little smokiness that must be from the Keemun. Fruity and smoky. Yum. The Ceylon seems to be coming out more in the steeped tea’s aroma. I am getting that sort of berry undercurrent I’ve found in other Ceylons.

The tea is flavorful and medium bodied bordering on full with a mouthfeel that is thicker than water but not thick enough to feel like it’s coating your throat. I didn’t try it with additives yet. It doesn’t really need it, at 3 minutes of steeping. There’s nothing harsh or bitter about it. It has some astringency.

It’s deceptively simple tasting. It seems to me sort of a Rorschach inkblot of black teas. If you want to find a chocolate note in here, I think you can. Vanilla, probably. Fruit? Definitely. Nut, I think so. Smoke? At tad. Wood? Some. Earth, probably. Name some other things you typically find in tea and if you let your mind wander during the tasting you can probably convince yourself it’s there. At least until you’re more highly caffeinated than I am this morning, as this is my first caffeine of the day.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Rabs

The leaves will look up and shout “steep us” and I’ll whisper…….no.

AmazonV

great watchmen ref’s!

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90
drank Thé du Loup by THE O DOR
1184 tasting notes

My 300th tasting note? Really? Man, they accumulate fast. Lol.

Clue No. 4 [This would have been the last clue, if Rabs hadn’t figured out my mystery with only three! Awesome!]

Surprised I’m the first to write a note on this as it appears to be the flagship tea of The O Dor.

As a fan of Harney & Sons Florence, I was particularly curious about this tea as it’s also a chocolate and hazelnut flavored black.

The leaves smell different. The Wolf smells more like what I’d expected of Florence and been pleasantly surprised not to find: Frangelico and chocolate. Florence has a true nut smell, rather than a liqueur. But the liqueur of the Wolf is marvelous smelling in its own way. There are large nut fragments visible in the tea.

Steeped, the tea produces a truer nut smell with a chocolate undercurrent.

It’s a different taste than Florence. Though I’m not doing a side by side tasting, from memory I’d say it’s subtler, with less pronounced chocolate. That is both a minus and a plus, as it is naturally sweeter prior to milk and/or sweetening additives than Florence is and makes a really delicious drink plain — but the trade off is that it is less chocolatey overall.

I’m still liking Florence in the top spot, but this is a strong contender and one I think can coexist nicely for those times a straight up chocolate/hazelnut is calling.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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80

Clue No. 3 “Full Moon” to those of you who are Francophobes.

If the title of this note means nothing to you, and you’re interested in learning about my little game, please read my tasting note at:

http://steepster.com/teas/todd-and-holland/3917-german-breakfast-tea

for an explanation of the game, and my note at

http://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/2642-the-a-lopera

for the second clue.

Now, on to the tea!

I am coming to realize that I have a weak spot, a very big weak spot indeed, for cornflowers in tea. They’re just so blue and lovely, in among the leaves. They go well with every color, but for some reason I find them particularly fetching in black tea. This has them, as well as some brown textures which I’m guessing are almond pieces and maybe some vanilla bean pieces as well. An aesthetically pleasing dry mix. It smells strongly of sweet almonds, leaning toward Amaretto rather than the nuts themselves. There’s another strong sweet smell as well, which I can’t really identify as vanilla because of the strength of the almond fragrance, but which, it stands to reason, is what I’m smelling.

It brews to a slightly cloudy chestnut color that smells much nuttier than liqueur-like. Almonds and vanilla. Yeah, I get that. Also get something that reminds me very vaguely of cinnamon and maybe even anise.

The taste is quite nice. I haven’t had a lot of almond teas so I don’t have a lot to compare this to, and the other one that comes to mind also had chocolate in it which is a definite thumb on the scale. But I’m enjoying it, and I am finding myself thinking of what it would taste like with just a tad of milk, or sweetened up just a bit. Or maybe even with some salt to bring out the nut, as LiberTEAS has suggested with other teas in the past. Almond is the predominant flavor here, and it is pretty true to the nut itself. The aftertaste is amazingly like what you get after having cracked open an almond and chewed its inner meat into oblivion. The tea supports this well, but is definitely second violin.

I’m loving Mariage Freres for the most part. They have the perfume of the dry leaves down like no one else for flavored blacks. Mariage me, freres!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Rabs

I think that I’m either gonna kick myself when someone figures this out, or I’m not gonna have a clue. :P

__Morgana__

I’m a little worried that it may be too obscure. But I’ll do what I can to leave a bread crumb trail that may at least make for good search engine fodder in the end :-).

Rabs

Did those zany Germans turn Twilight into an opera? ;)

I’ve tried the search engine (starting with clue #2) and so far nuffink. I think at this point I’m really hoping that I at least know something about your obscure geek answer ;)

Kristin

The Moon by Carl Orff ?

Rabs

The Beast Within (the Sierra game)?

__Morgana__

Ooooooh, Rabs, you’re good. Yes, it was Gabriel Knight II: The Beast Within. I don’t even have to give clue four!! (Bowing before the Queen of Geekdom)

Meghann M

Lol at the germans making a twillight opera. That’s where my thoughts were headed when I put the three tasting notes together. Congrats rabs to getting the answer before the 4th note!

AmazonV

Congrats Rabs! yea i was thinking twilight opera in german and it was a weird thought

Rabs

Mwahahaha! It’s sorta sad how very pleased I am to have gotten it :D

I had Sierra on my mind and thought I’d google it since I was a big Sierra fan back in the day. I never did get to play the Gabriel Knight games (my parents thought that they were too mature for me at the time). I almost went with Phantasmagoria.

Adham

Congrats Rabs! Have to admit i wasn’t even close in my guesses…

Ewa

Wow! Grats Rabs! Yeah, I never would have gotten this one (I am bad at point and click adventures)

Rabs

Thank you all! I really loved the Kings Quest and Space Quest games. I thought that they were the most amazing things ever. When the second Kings Quest came out, and the flags on top of the castle “waved” in the air I thought that video graphics couldn’t get more advanced ;)

Oh, and no, my parents wouldn’t let me get Phantasmagoria either :P I can’t blame them on that one, though.

Rabs

And for those who haven’t the foggiest what I’m talking about: here’s a nice montage of almost all the ways that you could die in Kings Quest 1. And yes, I pretty much died every single way possible ::shakes fist at the rock crushing::

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn4dUhX_E_k

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81

Clue No. 2

(See my tasting note for this tea:

http://steepster.com/teas/todd-and-holland/3917-german-breakfast-tea

for an explanation of the game.)

This is my first Mariage Freres green tea and I’m excited. In the can, it looks like sencha and it smells really dreamy. I can smell the greenness, but also a really delicious fruity aroma that is strong but at the same time (to me anyway) avoids the medicinal.

The tea steeps rather more yellow than I’d expected if this is in fact sencha. It smells lovely. I’m not sure what is in here, exactly, but to me it smells like cherries, raspberries, strawberries and maybe some apple. On the spice front I’m not so sure, though I could be persuaded there is a hint of vanilla in here.

I have had so many disappointing flavored greens, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of taste on this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. First, the tea is absolutely present in the taste, and it isn’t bitter in the least. It’s a somewhat buttery, somewhat vegetal, somewhat herbaceous taste. And the fruit stands up to it without taking it over entirely. It is very well balanced compared to other flavored greens I’ve had.

Maybe I’m just really excited to find a flavored green besides the Samovar Moorish Mint that I’d like to drink again, but I have to give this one a fairly high rating for being in such a (so far, anyway) limited club.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Rabs

LOL — I am so addicted to your game that I was like “hurry up and drink more tea so I can get another clue!” ;)

__Morgana__

Hehe. I’m trying to space them out a little to give you some time to consider each one rather than dumping them all on you at once, seems like it would be more interesting that way.

Rabs

I now have Orff’s Carmina Burana stuck in mah head. I’m feelin’ a bit epic…just like this game ;)

Rabs

“Look at me Damien! It’s all for you!”

__Morgana__

Good guess, AmazonV, but the answer is geekier still. :-)

Rabs

I know this isn’t the answer, but I had to post this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yxiv3CBMS4M

__Morgana__

Lol. Gotta love Elmer Fudd in full Valkyrie attire!

Kristin

Ha ha. Rabs, I was just thinking that about ‘Kill the wabbit’.

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85

Clue No. 1

Ever since Geek Pride Day came and went, I have been feeling guilty for not doing it justice. I just couldn’t get it together to do anything prior to or on the actual day. I was too busy being on vacation. But Rabs and Ewa inspired me, and so I’m going to take the position that every day ought to be Geek Pride Day and therefore, this little homage isn’t late at all.

It’s a little mystery game. Here’s how it will work.

This is the first tasting note in a series of four. The names of the teas tasted, taken together, provide clues that are intended to lead to the answer. The correct answer is something likely to be known to geeks of a particular stripe and of a particular era, i.e., it’s a little dated, but then so am I.

There is no prize. It’s just for fun and bragging rights if you guess correctly. If no one guesses the answer after the fourth note, I’ll either try to come up with additional tea names for clues, or will at that point provide further hints. Feel free to guess at any time — you don’t need to wait for subsequent notes. To start you off, in addition to the name of this tea, I will tell you that the fact that this is structured as a mystery game is no accident.

Now, for the first tea (in case you’re actually here to find out what German Breakfast is like).

In the sample packet, it smells delicious — very aromatic black teas in this. It’s roasty and earthy and has a hint of sweetness. The leaves are small and I can see some tips in there.

The aroma of the tea is sweet and malty. It smells smooth. Very inviting. It’s a medium/dark black tea colored liquor. Reddish more than orange.

Yum. It’s billed as T&H’s strongest breakfast blend, but at 3 minutes of steeping it’s very tasty without any additives. I don’t feel I’m being slapped around. More like forcefully coaxed into wakefulness. It has an interesting mouthfeel similar to what I found in the Yunan from LeafSpa. It’s thick in a similar way, but not quite as thick as the Yunan.

There’s a bright, almost bubbly note to it from the darjeeling that gives it the illusion of being less full bodied than I think it is. I’m starting to think of the word “perky” when I taste darjeeling. But the taste is mellower and without the distinctive darjeeling flavor that can tend toward the sharp. This is rounder and softer. I wouldn’t call it sweet, but it tends that way, and tends even more that way in the aftertaste. A malty, grainy sweetness.

This will get into at least a semi-final breakfast blend round. I could see it going all the way.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Adham

Yay, more fun and games! Looking forward to the other clues/tasting notes -

Rabs

Castle Wolfenstein? :D

Rabs

Oh! And most importantly: this is a brilliant idea :D

Ewa

Yeee, this is so cool! And you are totally right, every day SHOULD be geek pride day :D

__Morgana__

Thanks, I’m glad you like the idea! Hope it turns out to be fun. Rabs, good guess with Wolfenstein, however, it isn’t Wolfenstein. Try again. :)

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Surly you can’t be serious… LOL too cool “Geeks rule, nerds drool.”

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90

The unintended consequence of opening sample no. 3 from the Upton British Blend sampler today is that I now have Gerry Rafferty doing the backstroke through my brain repeatedly. At least the saxophone is awesome.

Tippy leaves ranging from dark, almost black to light, almost tan, though mostly in the chocolate brown range. Dry, it smells smoky. I’m getting salted, charbroiled meat. Nice.

The aroma of the steeped tea is not very smoky at all. It’s fruity. Kind of a stonefruit mixed with grape smell. Very nice. The liquor is dark, close to a brandy color, but redder.

If you like smoky, this is really delicious. And if you only sort of like smoky, you should give this a try because it’s a pretty mild, smooth intro to smoky tasting teas. To be clear, I like smoky, I like piney. I like drinking campfires. The part I can live without is feeling like there’s smoke coating my nose hairs so that I continue to breathe it in long after the tea is gone, but I’m willing to do that to enjoy smoky tea.

Baker Street isn’t harsh or tarry, and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to be smelling smoke for three days after drinking it. The darjeeling contributes a brightness that keeps the blend from tasting like tree resin, and there’s a fair amount of the signature darjeeling flavor in the finish. There’s a hint of pine, but it’s mild. The smoke itself isn’t even the most obvious taste. The most obvious taste to me is a fruity woodiness.

I’m liking this one a lot. It’s got ooomph, but it doesn’t hit like a ton of bricks. Despite its name, I think it would make a really good start to the morning.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Alannah

Ha ha, I love that the song automatically started playing in my brain when I saw the name of this tea too!

Rabs

What can I say? Great minds…great minds… This was my start-of-the-morning tea today, and I must commend you for a wonderful note about it :D

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59

Once upon a time, I thought it would be a good idea to try some plain rooibos samples from well-respected tea companies on the assumption that said well-respected tea companies would also, more likely than not, have finer quality exemplars of plain rooibos than I might find in my local grocery store. This was back when I was scratching my head over what rooibos truly tasted like since I’d only had it in flavored tisanes and felt it necessary for my own education to understand what rooibos tasted like on its own.

Since then several things have happened. One, my tastes have evolved. Two, I have learned what plain rooibos tastes like. Three, I have concluded that rooibos is not my favorite thing, though it has its place and I can enjoy it if it is in a blend and playing the role of the backdrop, quietly. And all of this managed to happen before I got around to trying my non-grocery store samples.

But I feel for completeness’ sake that I must follow through on my original experiment, even though I already know going into this that I’m not going to be buying a boatload of this after I dispense with my sample.

In the sample packet, the smell is actually pretty unbelievable. In a good way. It’s a richer smell than I normally associate with rooibos, and a sweeter one. It’s pretty close to spiced apple. The “needles” look like your basic red rooibos, though they’re not as fine and splintery as some I’ve seen. They’re more of a medium grain.

It brews very red, not surprisingly. The aroma is appley, with a bit of wood mixed in.

The taste is pretty much like it smells, which is what I expected. A better tasting version of bagged rooibos. It has a soft feel and a hint of vanilla.

It’s not something I’m going to be drinking straight, but it makes me appropriately curious about what H&S rooibos blends are like. I may end up trying some in my search for the quiet non-rooibos rooibos.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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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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