953 Tasting Notes

82

I received this as a sample when I bought a Finum Teeli filter from an Amazon vendor who turned out to be Lana’s The Little House. It’s my first experience with a dessert-like flavored tea, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turned out, I quite enjoyed it. The aroma of coconut and almond is delicious and not overpowering. The coconut and almond flavors were sweet and delicate, and the tea was a nice backdrop to them. It stood up well to multiple steepings. I can see making teas into no-guilt desserts. I had this while my kids were having ice cream and I didn’t feel at all deprived!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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83

This is the second in the Introduction to Oolongs sampler and an interesting comparison to the Formosa Fine Grade. The dry leaves are very different in color and texture. Much bigger and formed into curls, whereas the Fine Grade ones are much smaller and less formed. They smell less toasty than the Fine Grade; actually the smell reminds me of champagne. The liquor, too is reminiscent of champagne; a lighter, yellowy-amber than that of the Fine Grade with a more delicate aroma that is warm and slightly fruity. The taste is more delicate, too, and I have a feeling there is a lot more to be discovered here on subsequent tastings. The flavor is pleasant and mild, and as noted by others, nutty. The leaves uncurl during steeping until they are surprisingly long and pretty. I can see myself spending quite a bit of time with this one.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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65

I prefer this to the Tazo version. As others have said, the bergamot scent is palpable but not overpowering; it doesn’t greet you with an almost eye-watering blast of perfume when you open the packet. The bergamot taste is present in the drinking, but in a much milder, even, more balanced way. On a side note, am I the only one who has trouble with Numi’s bags? Seems like they break, or the string comes off, or the tag falls off, far more often than those of other brands but perhaps that’s just bad luck on my part.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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73

A mellow, sweet, and smooth spearmint flavor for times when you feel like mint but without the intensity of peppermint. Though I prefer peppermint in general, this is a gentle, before-bed flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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80

This is the first loose tea I’ve tried since I started my tea adventure, and I’m thoroughly amazed at how much of a difference I’m seeing between this and just about anything else I’ve been drinking these past weeks, even the whole leaf bagged teas. And I realize it’s pretty basic as oolongs go, so I can only imagine what’s in store when I graduate to higher grades.

This is the first in the Introduction to Oolong (Oolongs 101?) sampler and I’ve been enjoying it yesterday and today. I would not have thought it could add so much to the experience to examine dry leaves prior to steeping, but it does. These are a dark, chocolatey brown, with flecks of lighter brown. They have a warm, toasty aroma. The liquor is a rich, dark amber/burnt orange. It smells very similar to the dry leaves, and the flavor is in turn very true to the aroma, warm and toasty, with a very subtle note I can’t put my finger on — very slightly floral, perhaps? The aftertaste is slightly sweet and pleasant. I used two teaspoons rather than one after the first try and preferred it stronger. I did not notice much change over multiple steepings (I lengthened the steeping time from 3 minutes to 4 after the first, and to five on the last).

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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70
drank Organic Darjeeling by Tazo
953 tasting notes

I was surprised — this one actually made me smile. It’s the first darjeeling I’ve tasted since I started my tea adventure and I suspect there is much better to be had, but it’s enough to make me really look forward to venturing further into finer darjeeling offerings. The liquor is not light as darjeeling’s is usually described; but it’s pretty, a medium to dark brownish-red. It smells woody, almost coffee-like, with a hint of mossy greenness. Foresty. There’s a richness and complexity to the taste that I wasn’t expecting, especially in the finish where I taste butter, sweet cream, nuts (almonds, I think, maybe a little hazelnut?). I tried it at the recommended 5 minutes steep time, but found it a tad bitter. Much better at 3 minutes.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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46
drank Earl Grey by Tazo
953 tasting notes

The perfumey note of the aroma hit me immediately, so much so that I was tempted to dab a bit on my wrists. :-) After a minute or two it settled down to a gentler citrus. Initially, I steeped for 5 minutes but the second time around after reading the comments here I limited it to 3. Three is definitely better, and I’m wondering if I should take it down from there a bit.

My experience with Earl Grey in the past has been limited to Twinings and Bigelow, and this one doesn’t seem significantly better than I remember those being. I’m detecting a twinge of the bitterness others have mentioned in the drinking, but for me it is mellowing to a pleasant, lingering citrusy finish where the underlying tea taste predominates. There’s even a bit of sweetness, right at the tip of my tongue. I’m looking forward to comparing it to other Earl Greys.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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62
drank Tazo Chai by Tazo
953 tasting notes

I am far from a chai expert, but this seems to have a well-blended flavor if you’re in the mood for something spicy. I can smell the ginger, cinnamon and cloves primarily, but none of these predominates in the taste. There’s a peppery afterburn, but the pepper flavor in this whole leaf bag version isn’t as strong as that in the decaf bagged version I tried (not whole leaf), which borders on harsh. I started my morning with this one today, and I’m moved to try another cup and see what else I can get out of this one on a second tasting.

And here’s an update after the second tasting (different bags, not a resteep)… with the after effect of the original cup still on my tongue, the new cup is very different. Even more balanced, and I can taste the mildness of the tea. The spices are more around the edges this time. Very interesting contrast to the first spicy attack and worth an additional couple of rating points.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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72

This was what got me interested in giving tea another shot after a number of failed attempts. Now that I’m branching out it isn’t quite as stellar as my first impression, but I’m still enjoying it. The vanilla is very present in the aroma, but not so much in the taste. Still, the taste is pleasant — cinnamony, sweet, full. I can’t explain it, but to me it tastes “red.”

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec
sherapop

I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the sachet version in a store (as a free refill). I was really just trying it to confirm that it was as gross as it sounded. In fact it was pretty good!

__Morgana__

Haha! I will always have a soft spot for this one because it was my gateway drug. I’ll be sipping it down later today-one sachet left-and I probably won’t run out and buy more, but I might feel moved to revisit it later. You never know. :-)

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61

Greenish-golden clear liquor; sweet, vaguely grassy aroma; mild, smooth, ever so slightly pungent flavor without being bitter; slightly sweet, vegetal finish. I expected to like this better than the Green Tips from Tazo, but I actually liked the Tazo better. In any case, both are a significant improvement on my first encounter with bagged greens (though that was probably more my fault than the tea’s)….

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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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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