96 Tasting Notes

58

Had another pot today prepared similarly to last time, except I decanted all the liquor into cups rather than leaving the remainder stewing with the leaves. Got some harshness again (though not as bad as yesterday) which was ameliorated by adding sweetener. Drank both steepings black – will try the first with soymilk next time.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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94
drank Earl Grey by Clipper
96 tasting notes

A lovely little supermarket/HFS boxed Earl Grey. Tasty and refreshing with or without milk. I generally use one bag per mug if I want black and two if I’m adding milk (and if I do the latter, resteeping the two bags makes a perfectly good cup without milk!)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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58

Made a pot of this for breakfast with my porridge (oatmeal with raisins, chopped apple, and walnuts, if you wanted to know). I’m still a bit awkward getting my tea ready at the same time as my food even when using my usual bagged tea, but today I guess I felt up to the task of trying loose.

I’m probably not following protocol for tasting, so I won’t get too into specifics, but for all brews I found it a bit harsh yet low on flavor, if that makes any sense. Brewed more lightly it was bland, but drinkable after it cooled a bit. The stronger brew was almost shockingly bitter/astringent – it was improved with soymilk & sugar, but still pretty meh. Tried a second steep, which was much of the same, though a bit milder.

Now about half an hour after finishing, I can still taste a sort of tarry buildup on the back of my throat, as if I’d been smoking. I don’t think I’ll be buying this again.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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53
drank Vanilla Chai by Twinings
96 tasting notes

Bought this off the Twinings website (on sale, plus a one-day code for free shipping). The caddy is lovely, so even if I don’t like the tea it’s no great loss.

For some reason the website didn’t list the ingredients for this product, and I was a bit disappointed to see “Christmas spice flavouring” on the label. Upon opening the caddy, it smells a bit acrid, maybe like imitation mulled wine flavour (that seems to be a popular addition to Christmas teas around here), and hardly any hint of vanilla.

I used a heaping teaspoon of the loose tea and just enough water to cover the infuser (a bit less than 8 ounces/240 mL), steeped for 5 minutes, added 1 tsp sugar and a bit of unsweetened soya milk. It’s pretty bland – worse than I’d expected when I ordered it, but definitely better than the sickly artificial scent that wafted out of the tin. I think I can actually sort of taste the vanilla. There’s some spice in there, but chai it ain’t.

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

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83

Made a small pot (2 slightly rounded teaspoons loose tea, ~400 mL boiling water) this afternoon – one cup straight, one steeped ~30 seconds longer with unsweetened soya milk added. I usually take black tea with sugar, but I’m pleased to find out that I like this one just fine without. I had the milky cup with a blueberry brownie, which played nicely off the tea’s citrusy notes.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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83

Admittedly, I bought this tea for the tin – Beatrix Potter characters, plus it was on sale! How could I pass that up?

I’ve made this tea 4 or 5 times now, and it actually stands out from the dozen or so other bagged black teas I have in my pantry. My tea-tasting isn’t very well honed yet, but it tastes… zingier, I guess? Good with or without milk. I won’t be running out of this anytime soon, but when I do, I think I’ll be buying it again.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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Profile

Bio

I grew up in New Jersey drinking Celestial Seasonings, and now I live in England, where I developed a taste for a good builder’s brew. Sometime in 2012 I bought my first loose teas, and my collection has since spiraled out of control. Still quite a novice, due to not drinking enough tea to keep pace with the amount I keep buying.

Some things I’m pretty sure I do like:
- most florals (jasmine, orange blossom, osmanthus, etc)
- buttery, vegetal greens
- malty blacks (usually with milk & sugar)
- oolongs that aren’t too heavily roasted

Not really feeling the flavored teas lately, for whatever reason.

All tasting notes use unfiltered hard tap water, unless otherwise specified.

No real method to my numerical ratings yet, but we’ll see what develops. So far I’ve only given ratings of 90 or higher if I actually get excited while drinking the tea.

Location

Bristol, UK

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