67 Tasting Notes

88

Sipdown!
Drank this tonight with my mom, as one of her favorite flavors is caramel. Yum!

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85
drank Black Tea by Shan Valley
67 tasting notes

I am going to try to give a fair and balanced review of this tea. I enjoyed my cup, but I think my brewing technique could be improved. The leaves are very small, and do not lend themselves to a normal filter basket or tea ball. I really need to put them in a tea bag due to the amount of dust present. I think this is due to the processing technique. Once I let this dust settle to the bottom of my cup, I got a better taste.
Initial impressions: Strong, bitter, a little acrid, and very brisk! It definitely had the classic, dark breakfast tea taste. I think the acrid taste came from the little bits of leaves finding their way out of my filter. I didn’t enjoy it plain, but with just a little soy milk it was smooth and creamy and flavorful. The milk really brought out all of the good tastes in this tea and I could taste caramel and malt and all sorts of other good, full flavors. In summary, this is definitely strong, brisk and a good kick of caffeine. I’ll use a disposable paper filter next time to reduce the tea dust and maybe it will even be good plain. But with milk it was exactly what I look for in a strong breakfast tea. Well done, Shan Valley, and you cannot beat your prices!
Edit:
Steep 2 – Just as strong as the first, and unfortunately, just as much dust making it bitter. It was a little less bitter the second time around, but still tasty with milk. You can definitely taste the tea through the milk for this one. I’ll bet it makes divine iced tea – probably perfect for Arnold Palmers since it is so strong.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92
drank Monk's Blend by Short and Stout
67 tasting notes

This tea really made my morning better! I’m still recovering from springing forward to DST, and I needed a pick-me-up and this was the perfect choice! It is tangy from the black tea base, which I think is a Ceylon, and tastes exactly like grenadine with a splash of vanilla. No sugar added! I often read about flavored black teas, try them and think huh? Where’s the taste? Not with this one – no sugar needed to bring out the smooth and syrupy nature of this tea. Be aware – if you do not like sweet teas, this is not the tea for you!
Edit – Steep 2: Still good. I just left the teaball in the cup to extract as much goodness as possible. Did not oversteep, and I could still taste the grenadine and the vanilla, but they were quieter on the rebrew.
Such a good tea!!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank Black Tea by Shan Valley
67 tasting notes

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71
drank Lung Ching by Golden Dragon
67 tasting notes

I have to admit – I was anxious to try Dragonwell, and bought this one because I liked the tin and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a tea I wasn’t sure about. I actually think it’s okay! It’s not as grassy as Japanese greens, which is a plus for me. I can definitely tell this is not high quality due to the sticks mixed in, but it tastes okay. The leaves expand nicely and look much happier after brewing. I will definitely try the more expensive Lung Ching at my Asian market next time. For now, I’ll just drink this not-so-bad-but-not-great version. The tin was definitely worth the $3 I spent on this tea. I will be able to reuse it over and over.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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73
drank Ceylon Pekoe by Tea At Sea
67 tasting notes

I am very grateful that I got to try this tea from Tea At Sea – thank you very much for the sample! I got two samples that were very different to try the range of this company. This is a basic tea, but well done. I can tell that it is high quality, and has a nice bright taste.
Steep 1: Brisk! It has the classic orange pekoe smell, color, and taste, but it is more refined than others I’ve tried. It is very drinkable and comforting. It is not greatly complex, but that’s okay. I am not looking for complexity when drinking an OP. It is a nice, solid, everyday black tea. I drank it in the evening, but I can see it being a really nice afternoon tea.
Steep 2: I don’t know if I used enough leaves for my first steep, but my second was too weak to drink.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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93

Yum! I drank this one for breakfast and it definitely had enough of a kick to get me going. I have been trying every vanilla black tea that I can get my hands on, and this one is my favorite so far. It tastes smooth, rich, and slightly nutty. I can definitely taste the almonds in it, but I’m not sure I can pick out the coconut. It just lends it a round, full taste. I will definitely buy more of this one. No bitterness, even in the rebrew. I did not need to add anything to this tea, but I might try it with some milk and/or sugar next time to see how it tastes that way. This fits my requirement of a vanilla tea that I do not need to add sugar to, but still tastes like vanilla. Well done, Short and Stout!

Flavors: Nuts, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80
drank Kickin' Earl by Short and Stout
67 tasting notes

I’m sipping on this one right now, for breakfast. It is smooth, and tastes very much like an Earl Grey. I guess I didn’t expect it to, due to the added ingredients, but the bergamont does really shine through. It’s like “Earl Grey Plus”! I did add about 1/2 tsp sugar to bring out the sweetness of the berries. I think I’m learning to really like Earl Grey mixes. I didn’t like Earl Grey for years, so I shied away from anything with bergamont, but perhaps my tastes have changed.
Anyway! With a little sugar and a splash of almond milk I taste mostly bergamont and smooth black tea with a touch of lavender and a touch of berries. A very well-rounded tea.
I made the rebrew right away in a separate pot to compare it. I taste the berries and black tea more strongly, but perhaps that is due to not adding milk. I actually think I like the rebrew better, and may leave the milk out of this one in the future.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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88

This is a lovely, nutty, slightly salty rooibos. The first thing I tasted was nutty, but as it cooled, I could taste the sweet caramel notes more strongly. I definitely overbrewed it (close to 10 minutes). I might try brewing it a little less strongly to see if I can get more caramel and less nuts. I can definitely taste the high-quality rooibos base, that is not woody at all. It has a very slight minty aftertaste, which is the sign of a good quality rooibos (not a real minty taste thankfully, as I cannot drink mint teas). It even resteeped – and I’m currently drinking the resteep as iced tea.
It is really good and I don’t know of any other local teas like it. Thankfully, I am just a 15 minute drive away from this shop. I look forward to trying two more of their teas this weekend, and many more in the future. I would definitely buy this again and drink it often. It is very reasonably priced as well, making it even more attractive.

Flavors: Caramel, Nuts

Preparation
4 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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48

Yep – still don’t like this tea! I need to get rid of this, so I’m drinking it. It is sour and only a little spicy. All I taste is tartness on the first steep. Later steeps are generally nicer, but I’m on steep 1 right now, trying not to add sugar. I’ll bet Teavana makes tea like this so that you buy their rock sugar.

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