96 Tasting Notes

drank Highland Fling by Eteaket
96 tasting notes

Just received my Eteaket order today! I was going to try the Sailor of Hamburg blend, but what arrived in that caddy did not match the photo on the website (I think I got coffee leaf tea instead).

I went for my second choice, Highland Fling, a CTC blend that smells like it has quite a kick to it. The leaf bits are smaller than I was expecting and surprisingly dusty – there was a little shadow of fine particles left on the counter when I moved my filled infuser into my cup.

It’s punchy, like the description says. Straight up it’s quite similar to my usual morning black bagged tea – strong and bitter, but with a bigger astringent twang, and somewhat more drinkable, oddly enough. The drinkability improves with sugar (though the 1 tsp I added was probably a bit much). I then added soymilk, thinking a tea like this would take it very well, but it covers up a lot of the appealing flavors. When I was almost finished with the cup I was met with some more particles that had escaped the infuser and expanded to the size of coffee grounds. Blech.

It’s a pretty nice tea on the whole, but it seems a little unnecessary to keep on hand when I have bagged black tea that I like – they take milk better and don’t leave gritty sludge in the bottom of my cup. Maybe I’ll get some paper infusers for this one.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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89

Lately I just haven’t felt up to evaluating tea, so I’ve been sticking mainly to my old reliable strong bagged black + soymilk + sugar. But now we’re in the throes of a cold snap and I’m drinking cup after cup to keep warm, so I figured it was about time I tried a loose tea from my stash that I haven’t reviewed.

I still don’t have the vocabulary to describe this one, but I really like it! “Earthy” is probably a good word for it. It’s smooth and kind of sweet and savory at the same time, and it went nicely with the sourdough rye toast I had with it. I happily drank the whole cup without even considering adding milk or sweetener. I think I would prefer it a bit stronger, so I’ll just have to watch how much water I put in my cup next time.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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55

Opening the packet, it smells like ripe red fruits; steeping, it smells deliciously juicy. I can taste both the white tea and pomegranate, as well as a bitter/astringent edge that grows stronger as the tea cools. Reasonably good for what it is, but I wish it tasted more like it smells.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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drank Cloud Nine by Clipper
96 tasting notes

Feeling a little woozy this afternoon, possibly from too much caffeine. Perhaps a full pot of that English breakfast is not the best way for me to start the day. So I figure now is as good a time as any to try an herbal.

Aroma while steeping is apple-y and somewhat grassy, with a floral note. I don’t really know how to describe the taste, though… there’s the definite sweet aftertaste from the licorice root, but everything else seems to be blending together. I’m not too impressed by it, but it is helping to ground me a bit (contrary to the name, hurr hurr). Next time I’ll go for a longer steep.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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Aroma from the bag: citrusy, floral, very sweet

First steep
Scent while steeping: mostly charcoal-y
Color: medium yellow-brown
Flavor: charcoal-y with some sweetness & floral notes

I used 1 1/2 tsp loose tea and probably too much water (I was shooting for 8 oz in the tea maker but it wound up almost overfilling my mug), so no rating just yet.

ETA: 2nd and 3rd steeps were much more smooth and mellow with nice fruity-floral overtones and a mild complementary smokiness. I’ll wait until next time to rate, but it’s a good’un!

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec

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58

Another pot for breakfast! I can see why people like this (it was voted one of Whittard’s top 3 teas by customers) because it’s not bad with milk & sugar. Only 79 more grams to go…

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

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73

Well, it seems my Celestial Seasonings days might be numbered. I quite liked this one when I first started drinking it a few years ago, but now that I’ve taken up reviewing teas and am becoming a bit more discerning…

When I moved overseas in 2011 I brought the remainder of my open box with me to have as a spicy, comforting drink before bed. I took to brewing it strong (2 teabags to a cup, sometimes left to steep for 20 minutes or more – bad habit, I know) with a good dose of milk and sugar. I ran out by the end of the year and wasn’t able to acquire another box until I visited my parents this Christmas.

So tonight I decided to fix up a cup like I used to: 2 bags, but only for 4 minutes this time. Took a sip before I added anything… okay, but I wouldn’t want to drink a whole cup like this. Ended up adding a teaspoon of sugar, a squeeze of agave, and several tablespoons of soymilk to get it to my liking. Even with all the additions it made my mouth and throat tingle, which I suspect was the black pepper. I’ll play around with it some more and see if I can coax some other flavors out.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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73

Nice enough for a bagged blend from Trader Joe’s. I don’t know what [insert feminine nobility title] Grey is supposed to taste like, but this one just seems like a weaker, less astringent, slightly lemony version of the Earl. It has very little bitterness (with a squirt of agave, anyway) and it’s something I’d happily drink if it were on hand, but I’m not crazy about it.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 45 sec

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58

Definitely better with soymilk & half a teaspoon of sugar per cup. Better, but still not that great. And I have more than half of the 125g bag to get through – anyone want to help out?

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

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drank Tajiri by Lahloo Tea
96 tasting notes

With all the brown sugar and caramelized baked apple references in the flavor description, I figured this would be a great choice for a sweet-tooth like myself. Much to my dismay, I found it disappointingly unremarkable.

The scent from the tin is faintly mineral; while steeping it barely smells any different from a steaming cup of plain hot water, though some sweet notes are perceptible after a few minutes. The taste… it unfortunately doesn’t taste of much. There’s a pleasant bitter edge and a deep brown color to remind me that I did in fact put leaves in the cup, but not much else. I added sugar 1/4 tsp at a time to see if it helped bring out the flavor (it didn’t really). Toward the end of the cup I poured in a tiny dash of soymilk to see if that would help, but it only seemed to cover up whatever little flavor was there. The aftertaste is quite nice, but I really wish there were more to this tea than that.

I’ll give this tea another go, since I’m probably still not up to snuff on my tasting or loose tea making abilities. I have about 48 grams of this stuff left, so if anyone wants to try it, let me know.

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

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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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