117 Tasting Notes

98
drank Mango Lassi by Butiki Teas
117 tasting notes

I was born and raised in New York City, but spent enough time in India to consider both places my home. That’s one thing you should know about me. Another thing you should know about me is that mango is one of my favourite things on this planet.

So. When I was little, we used to go to India a lot during the winter, because Mum and I always had long winter holidays (she was a teacher). One year, we decided to go during the summer for whatever reason, and that was one of the most memorable visits of my life. I had never experienced a proper monsoon season before, and it was incredible! Okay, yes, it was a tad inconvenient that your clothes are never dry, no matter what, for two months; the constant dampness can feel a little icky. But the way the rain transforms the landscape, wow, it’s just beautiful. I really wanted to take some video (I was obsessed with my camcorder around that time), but there was no way for me to keep it dry, so I just have my memories.

Anyway. My uncle was really thrilled that we were there during the summer. Do you know, he exclaimed, that we have over 40 varieties of mango? And I’m going to get them for you. And he took his shopping bag and marched out of the house. He didn’t exactly return with 40 varieties, but he did find quite a few during his short expedition around our Bombay neighbourhood. There were little ones that you eat regularly, there were fibrous ones and non-fibrous ones, and there were even huge ones the size of a papaya that were so juicy that you consumed them by sticking in a straw and simply squishing the mango as you drank. And I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Yes, exactly: I ate them all.

The next morning, I was brushing my teeth and I glanced up at the mirror. I’m not given to surprised exclamations, and wasn’t even at that age, so first my eyes got wide as saucers, and then I burst out laughing, and then I ran off to find my mum. You see, I was orange. It wasn’t until years later that I learned about the science behind that in school; at the time, I was just thrilled that I was orange all over. My uncle, who has the deepest dimples you’ve ever seen and laughs like Ernie from Sesame Street, burst into his typical khee-khee-khee-khee laughter when he saw me, which only set me off again. Mum, mind you, was less than amused, and wouldn’t let me eat any more mangos.

Thus endeth my best mango story. Now I reckon we should talk about this tea, eh? =)

Monosyllabic summary: Wow.

Somehow, Butiki Teas have made a vegan rooibos blend smell and taste like mango lassi. As far as I’m concerned, Stacy is some sort of magician. The fragrance and flavour are spot-on, not just for the mango flavour, but for mango lassi. There is no chemical note to the mango, it smells and tastes like either the fruit or a candy (sometimes like one, sometimes like the other), but natural in both cases. I don’t have any complaints about this one. The only thing I want to try next time is adding a bit of milk to bring out that creaminess even more.

I only have an ounce of this, so it must have been a freebie with one of my orders, during one of Butiki Teas’ “free ounce of your choice” promotions. I must reorder it so I can guzzle this without guilt, and with the reassurance that there’s more in the cupboard.

Tea amount: 1.5 tsp/~7g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: 1 tsp/~4.75g Demerara sugar

Mum, by the way, liked the tea, but neither smelled nor tasted mango lassi. Considering she has sharp senses while I often feel like mine are quite dull, I don’t understand how that’s possible, but there y’go. So in spite of my enthusiasm and conviction, I have to add that your mileage may vary.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Claire

Loved the story, Nik. It reminded me of a story my grandpa told me once: he very much wanted to get into the air force in WW2, but his eyesite was bad. Someone told him carrots would help his eyes, so he proceeded to eat so many over the next few day that he turned orange. :)

Nik

Yes! lol! Oh, that cracks me up, such a sweet story.

Butiki Teas

Great story! Wow, what a compliment! :)

Serenity

I have been desperately wanting to try this tea since I heard about it just a few days ago! Great review, Nik!

Bonnie

Nik I LOVED your story!!! Please write more like this one!!! And I know about more mango’s just living for a short time in Puerto Rico where there are apple mango’s, pear mango’s, mango’s with all sorts of different flavors and sizes. Who knew?!

Nik

Thanks, everybody! Oh, Bonnie, I wish I had fun stories to share all the time like you do! But I will try and share more as I think of them. =)

Terri HarpLady

Great story, Nik!!
I also love mangos, plain, in salads with avocado, and also in a bowl, drizzled with coconut milk & crystallized ginger…yum. Now I wish I would have included some of the Mango Lassi tea in my latest Butiki Order!

JasonCT

Namaste Nik! You and Sita must be kindred spirits when it comes to mangoes. I love mango lassi as a treat when we eat Indian out. Nothing quite like the heat of India is there? I’ll have to pick some of this up for Sita to try.
Great review.

Nik

Serenity, I’m going to need to add that to my list of pies to try! The list now contains two: the mango pie and the one that started it all, Terri’s vegan chocolate one. Thanks for the link! =)

Terri, thanks! I’ve never had it drizzled with coconut milk and crystallized ginger, that sounds quite good. Jason, thanks for the kind words, hope Sita ends up liking this as much as I do.

Terri HarpLady

There’s an awesome dessert they serve at a local Thai restaurant called Halohalo, which is a bowl of sweet coconut milk with little cubes of coconut milk jello floating around, jackfruit, different kind of coconut & other mysterious, but delicious, things in it. I’ve made my own version that includes mango, young coconut flesh (after I drilled holes to drink the juice…I have a drill bit dedicated for coconuts), etc.

Then there’s that awesome mango sticky rice dessert…

Sil

Nik I love this tea cause I’m with you on it. T only disturbing thing for me is that its hot. However I did try cold brewing it and its uh not as awesome as the hot brew. So yeah. Lol

Nik

Terri, Halohalo sounds amazing, I’m definitely going to have to look that up!

Sil, you know what? Drinking fruity teas hot totally weirds me out. Every single time, I think to myself that it’s weird, what I’m doing, and that I want to try it cold-brewed or iced and see how it is. Even with the Blueberry Afternoon tea I tried recently, even though I realised that I actually liked it hot, I still had that moment where I was like hmm, this is weird. Except with Mango Lassi. I was so busy nomnomnom’ing after each sip (literally—I think I was starting to get on Mum’s nerves) that I actually didn’t even get a chance to think heeeey, nobody drinks mango lassi hot, this is weird! So that’s another huge point in this blend’s favour. :D

Tea Sipper

I love the story!

Nik

Thank you!

canadianadia

Great story Nik, it makes me want to go out and buy mangoes to eat. Not so many that I turn orange, but maybe one or two…at a time. The best mangoes I’ve ever tried were in Trinidad. They were so juicy that I couldn’t eat them without it running down my arms. I’ve never had the ones that you eat with a straw, but oh yum, that sounds fantastically delicious. Thanks for sharing your story.

jordanze

Mm mango and mango lassi really are some of life’s treasures…Thank you for this wonderful story!

Ysaurella

Nik, it’s a long time now we haven’t see you on steepster, hope everything is ok and to see you back soon

Terri HarpLady

I miss Nik!
I’m gonna go over to FB & tell Nik, “we miss you”

Sil

i sent a note to Nik the other day and never heard back…guess life is busy or something

Claire

Please tell him I miss him on here too!

Bonnie

MISSING NIK!

canadianadia

me too! I miss his stories

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

It’s funny how different people perceive different things in the same tea. Bonnie felt that this is pretty much a strawberry tea1. Meanwhile, I’m having trouble detecting any strawberry at all, and am smelling and tasting only chocolate. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The fragrance of the dry leaf is that of baking chocolate. Like if you went to the baking aisle, grabbed a bag of chocolate chips, opened it, and stuck your nose in. I don’t smell any tea or any strawberry, just baking chocolate. I thought okay, it kind of makes sense, I guess. If there are dried strawberry bits in here, I should steep it so they can plumpify and release their luscious fragrance and flavour. I am half right: steeping the tea does make the brew smell like chocolate and strawberries (I still don’t smell any tea).

Unsweetened, the tea tastes chocolatey, but not in a Lindt way, more like in a dolla store chocolate way, y’know? So I sweeten it. This has improved the quality of the chocolate flavour, but only slightly. I still taste nothing else, so it tastes like watery hot cocoa made with baking chocolate. It’s possible that it’s too hot to really get the full flavour. I slurp it, experimentally, and I get a tiny, tiny bit of the sourness Bonnie mentioned. Normally I’d disapprove, but at this point I’m happy to taste any strawberry at all, sour or otherwise. There’s also a very tiny bit of bitterness, although I’m unsure whether it’s from the black tea or the type you might get from dark chocolate. If I were blindfolded, I still wouldn’t guess that there’s any tea in here at all.

As I continue to slurp, the aftertaste is a little bit fruity. At this point, I may after all guess that this flavour is “chocolate-covered something,” but I still wouldn’t be able to commit to strawberry. And this brings me back to the beginning of this note, in which I wonder about how we perceive things differently. Is this because of our different experiences and palates and expectations, or because the blend wasn’t well distributed in the teaspoon I used, so I just ended up getting basically a scoop of chocolate chips? While the former is interesting conjecture, currently I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. I’m going to hold off on my rating until I’ve tried another cup or two, paying better attention to leaf/berry/chocolate distribution next time.

Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: ¾ tsp/~3.5g Demerara sugar

[Edit, the next day] The caffeine was causing trouble last night, so before I reached the point of no return (a Bad Place), I put my mug aside and finished it this morning. I was hoping that being cold would bring about some improvement in the flavour, specifically the strawberry bit. It did, but only a very little: I felt that strawberry tartness at the back of my throat, but I can’t say that I actually tasted strawberry. I hope my next infusion is better; otherwise, into the swap bin it goes.

1 http://steepster.com/bonniejohnstone/posts/140215

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

You’ve noted my review…GOLLY NIK! I have a VERY sensitive palate so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t taste strawberry. I’m weird! People like me with Fibromyalgia often have a ‘heightened’ sense of taste and smell, which I have. It’s the only ‘good’ thing about the disease.
The bad thing about this side effect is that when something tastes off, I can really taste it stronger than other people too. Blech! I often have to keep this in mind when reviewing tea.

Nik

But the odd thing is not so much that, but that you have a tough time tasting the chocolate in a lot of the Della Terra blends, while I felt like this was all chocolate and no strawberry! Weird, no? That’s why I’m thinking that maybe I just steeped a teaspoon of chocolate chips by accident. =P

Bonnie

I know what you mean. Sometimes I look at the tea before I put it in the brew basket because the tea moves around or settles and you can get all the chocolate in one scoop or all the orange peel or whatever is added to the leaves. You have to make sure to redistribute everything evenly.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

100
drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
117 tasting notes

A family elder passed away recently. Today, I drove Mum up to NY so we could attend the wake, an ordeal that was far more emotionally trying than I expected. I took two mugs of Ocean of Wisdom, one for Mum ‘n’ one for me. I so very much appreciate that I just don’t have to think about brewing this because it’s so forgiving. Rushing out and don’t have 7 minutes to spare? Need to grab it and go after just 5? That’s fine. Forgot about it and let it sit and steep for 20 minutes? That’s fine, too. I also really appreciate the quality of my mugs, which kept our tea hot from when I made it at 10:30a through when we finished drinking it on the way back down from NY at 6p.

I hope Samovar warn me if they ever decide to discontinue this blend, so I can buy mountains of it.

Tangent: I see a lot of tasting notes in my feed that say “see previous notes.” I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually gone looking for the previous notes because it’s such a pain in the butt to find them. You know how when you read a tea’s tasting notes, if a person has several, there’s a button that says “show 5 more notes” or something like that? I wish the Steepster folks would copy that code and paste it so it appears on our dashboards. That way, when I’m reading my feed and someone tells me to check out their previous tasting notes, I can actually do that because the button is right there. [/end rant] No, I haven’t suggested this to them. The last time I suggested something they basically said yeah, thanks, that’s not going to happen. They stopped just short of outright saying that they’re not interested in suggestions for improvements or new features, just critical bug reports and duplicate entry reports. So I won’t be sending them more suggestions, just sharing potentially interesting ideas with you. =)

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more
Serenity

So, so sorry for your loss. : (

gmathis

Glad you had something comforting along for your rough day. Little things really do help.

Nik

Thank you both. Yes, indeed, this is my security bankie tea. =)

Veronica

Sorry for your loss.

I think your idea for the previous tasting notes is pure genius!

Nik

Thanks on both counts, Veronica.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

71

Oops, I did it again. I opened the new packet and stuck my nose in. Really bad idea with this blend, the fragrance of which immediately reminded me of cough syrup. Yuck. Undeterred, I doled out a bit into my infuser.

The dry leaf in the infuser smells less like cough syrup than it does when you inhale the entire packet at once, but there’s still a pretty strong chemical component which I found pretty unpleasant. Thankfully, it’s mostly absent from the brew’s fragrance.

I’m pretty sure this is my first blueberry tea. Its flavour redeems it greatly, as the chemical nature of the fragrance is absent from the flavour and you’re left with a creamy tasting blueberry tea. The one thing that I learned is that I quite like this flavour, so I’m looking forward to trying other blueberry blends. But this one? Well, even if it were the only one, it still wouldn’t be my favourite, but it’s a pleasant enough introduction to the flavour profile.

My resolve to drink a full, unsweetened/unadulterated cup of any tea of which I have more than just a cup or two has already broken down and I’m back to taking just a few unsweetened sips before adding whatever I want to make it yummier. While I’ll probably still try to give it a go with straight tea, it doesn’t make sense with flavoured blends. Why fully enjoy five of six cups when I can fully enjoy six of six, amirite? =)

So. Blueberry Afternoon is fine unsweetened. Contrary to my expectations, I didn’t detect any tartness at all. I mean, I figured the “creamy” bit would offset most of the natural blueberry tartness, but I still expected a little, and I was happy to be wrong. And then I sweetened it and was even happier. =)

Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: ¾ tsp/~3.5g Demerara sugar

Preparation
Boiling 7 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

58
drank Blue Ginger by Harney & Sons
117 tasting notes

Slightly tainted tasting note, sorry. I didn’t get a chance to try the unadulterated tea as Mum was waiting for her steaming cuppa, so these are my thoughts on my remix…

I’m getting a lot better about not sticking my nose in the whole tin/packet. Still, the fragrance is off-putting. This doesn’t smell like lychee and ginger to me. At all. It smells really quite like perfume, which isn’t something I seek in my food or drink. The brew also smells perfumed, but less so, thank goodness.

Flavour-wise, the lychee-ginger combination is really nice. Overall, the tea tastes pretty good, but every once in a while that perfume sneaks in and casts a pall of artificiality over everything. (Note that I don’t know whether in fact any artificial flavour has been added. It could be that this is just a side effect of the combination of natural flavours in the tea.) It has a really nice black tea-lychee aftertaste. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, be careful with this one, it’s hitting me pretty hard.

In the end, I like this tea enough to finish it, probably not enough to buy it again. I do really love both lychee and ginger, though, so I’m looking forward to trying other blends. If I can find a flavourful, natural-tasting lychee blend, I can always grate fresh ginger into the infuser. The ginger is easy, it’s the lychee that’s hard to get right.

Tea amount: 1 sachet
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: ¾ tsp/~3.5g Demerara sugar and a few thin slices of fresh ginger

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Dinosara

This is on my list to try! I actually love Harney’s plain lychee black, so I feel like I will dig this one

Nik

If you’re not planning to pick this up for yourself, care to swap some of this for some of the plain lychee black?

Dinosara

Unfortunately I don’t have any of the plain lychee black right now, but if I had some of it I would totally swap with you.

Nik

No worries! You want some of this, anyway?

Dinosara

Sure, as long as you let me send you something back. I have some lychee blacks from Simpson & Vail and DavidsTea that I could send you some small samples of, if you’d like. PM me!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

94

When I was little, I used to get these biscuits that had fruit in the centre. I don’t remember them exactly, but they were kind of flower-shaped, like these:
http://www.123rf.com/photo_7427430_sweet-cookies-with-fruit-butter.html

But I remember them being in a tin with other butter cookies, so these might be more accurate:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/jam-filled-butter-cookies/

Anyway, that’s what this tea smells like to me. And that really surprises me, because to be honest, usually when people describe getting a kind of cakey fragrance and/or flavour from tea, I kind of roll my eyes, because I just know that my palate isn’t sophisticated enough to pick up such nuances. But I swear, it’s really here.

I’m not so sure about the brandy, but I believe it’s here, too. My only exposure to brandy was when I was really little. Parents, don’t cringe, but my father used to put a bit on a q-tip and use it to alleviate toothaches. It was weird, because that was the only reason this massive bottle of brandy was in the house, as neither one of my parents ever touched alcohol. Anyway, it’s not like I remember what it smells like or know what brandied fruit would smell like. That said, there is something here besides the smell of apricots that brought brandy to mind, but part of that could just be the power of suggestion and the process of elimination: “I smell the apricots, and I smell the cakey bits, so what’s that other thing? It must be brandy, because that’s all that’s left.”

I was really good this time. I always open a packet of tea and stick my nose in, and then wonder why the brewed fragrance/flavour isn’t as in-your-face as I’d like. Duh? This time, I actually held my breath (I’m nothing if not a study in extremes) until I’d put the tea in the infuser and closed the pouch again, making sure to only sniff the dry leaf in the infuser and then the brewed tea. I believe it really made a big difference re: my expectations and produced a happier result than usual.

The unsweetened tea is okay, but pretty unremarkable. No matter how much I try, I can’t get “dessert” from unsweetened tea. “Oh, it’s sweetened naturally by the fruit in it” just doesn’t cut it for me. So I took a few sips to be good, and then I was like okay, time to play. I decided to sweeten it with (vegan) ’nog.

Sorry. It happened again. A concoction so good, I just don’t have words. Suffice it to say that this addition didn’t overwhelm the tea; rather, it enhanced it in all the right ways and turned this into what I consider to be truly a dessert tea. My rating’s not really accurate, since I’m not always going to have ‘nog around. But since I know that works, it shouldn’t be hard to yummify the tea with other stuff, like vanilla soy milk and sugar or something.

So good. So, so good.

Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: A “splash” of vegan (Silk soy) ’nog

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

The start of your tasting note caused me to reminisce about cookies that my gramma used to make. They weren’t thumbprint cookies like the ones you have links to, but, instead, they were enclosed cookies with a homemade apricot filling inside, like little, tiny, bite-sized apricot pies. OMG they were so good. sigh I miss my gramma so much.

Sil

Hmmmm this sounds good! Stop making me reconsider not picking up franks blends!

Claire

Oh man cookie memories…my grandma on my mom’s side was from Spain, and every Christmas she would make these amazing almond flavored butter cookies. I tried making them one year and of course they didn’t live up to my Grandma’s!
This tea sounds super tasty, I may have to get some for my brother-in-law since he loves dessert tea.

Nik

Awww, LiberTEAS, I miss my grandmother, too. =( Our home is five minutes away from the beach in Bombay, and she and I used to go for sunrise and sunset walks on the beach, stopping to get water coconuts. She was used to getting what she wanted, and she wouldn’t accept anything but the best, especially when it came to me. She used to make the poor chap cut open coconuts until she found the one that had the jelly just like I liked it, and only then would she pay him. She was awesome. Your gramma’s tiny apricot pies sound amaaaazing!

Sil, no way, do you know how many teas you’ve added to my shopping list?! =)

Claire, your abuelita’s cookies sounds yummy, too! I bet even if yours didn’t turn out just like hers, they were still delicious. =)

LiberTEAS

@Sil: why would we do something like that? I subscribe to his teas, and I think that everyone should!

Sil

@ liberteas lol don’t get me wrong I do enjoy franks teas but then I get sad that I can’t have them again!

@nik so we’ll have a fun swap haha

Serenity

I love reading about people’s memories of their grandmothers!

canadianadia

That’s funny, I remember my Dad talking about using alcohol to alleviate tooth pain. Now, I’m curious if it was brandy also? I’ll have to ask him the next time I see him.

Nik

I’m sure our fathers weren’t alone, but then, a lot of things were okay back then that aren’t now. =) (Nothing too crazy, I’m just talking about stuff like being able to stand in the back seat of the car, as a toddler, with my chin on the front bench seat.)

MsWhatsit

Nik, I like your style. I’ll bet that WOULD be good with eggnog.

Sil

nik is mia (

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

88
drank Graveyard Mist by 52teas
117 tasting notes

Whoa. Like, seriously whoa, man. Of all the creatively named blends I’ve encountered thus far, this is the most aptly named. People, this is marshmallow-spearmint tea, and the one thing I’d really like you to know is that you should consider giving it a try even if you don’t like minty teas. I’m not a fan of minty teas, and I am very much impressed by this blend.

The dry leaf and steeped tea fragrance is perfectly balanced. I can actually smell marshmallow, something that took me completely by surprise. I mean, mint is such a strong thing, y’know? In my experience it’s really good at overpowering everything else. And marshmallow isn’t exactly a strong thing at all. It’s a soft squishy cute unassuming subtle thing. Here, though, it does a great job of standing next to the mint and saying oi, hullo, I’m here!

This balance carries over fabulously into the flavour, and it is here that the blend’s name does such a fantastic job of putting you in the right frame of mind for this tea. The spearmint is like a smooth track down your gullet, paving a path of coolness down the esophagus and into the tummy. On this path glides the nebulous marshmallow cloud, exactly like the tendrils of mist might reach for new ground in a cemetery.

I feel like this would be quite good iced, but as it cooled, there was the slightest, slightest hint of bitterness, so I’m not sure how to cold-brew this properly (actually, I’m not sure how to cold-brew anything properly, yet—I have to look it up). Or maybe that bitterness only appears as the brew goes from hot to cold, and not if it’s cold-brewed to begin with?

Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: About ¾ tsp Demerara sugar

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

Missed out on this one…guess I should try and keep my eye out for a reblend

Serenity

Oh, this note makes me want to drink this tea and read some Poe!

Nik

And listen to Poe, too? =) She’s got this one song that sounds kind of ethereal. I really dig it, but of course I can’t remember its name now. It might just be, “Hello.” I have to hunt it down, I haven’t heard it in years.

Ah, yes, here it is…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDy6WTOP2So

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

80
drank Pancake Breakfast Black Tea by 52teas
117 tasting notes

A Steepster regular, I’ve long been exposed to rave reviews of 52teas blends. I’m just getting to taste some of them myself. To be honest, I prefer Della Terra blends, so far, but I’m keeping an open mind and giving each new-to-me blend a blank slate. I know everyone’s tastes are different, but it’s so, so, so hard not to feel at least a little disappointed when I can’t share in everyone’s enthusiasm. This, I feel, is the curse of reading tasting notes and buying into the hype. Not that I’ll stop doing either, of course, so I’m just resigning myself to it. =)

Here, the dry leaf smells very sweet. Blindfolded, I likely would have guessed maple syrup, but not pancakes. It is instinct for me to stick my nose in the packet, and I really have to stop doing this. It creates a false notion of how the tea is supposed to smell and taste. For example, when I put a teaspoon into my infuser and smelled that, the maple fragrance was there but a lot less prominent—more modest and more realistic. Had I stuck with that, I would’ve been better prepared for what, in the end, was not a very bold flavour. The brewed tea muted the maple fragrance even further, and smelled mostly like black tea to me.

The flavour is quite accurate, just not very strong. There is a good balance of black tea, maple, and pancakes here (like others, I’ve no idea how 52teas managed to capture that, but there you have it). Perhaps I didn’t use enough leaf? I can try some more next time, I just wanted to avoid the 52teas black tea blend curse of bitterness (at which I was successful, by the way). I have also read, several times, that 52teas blends need to be left alone for a bit and are much more flavourful after some time. The only thing is that I don’t know how long I am supposed to wait. It has been about two months, is that enough?

I do love the tea, but I was expecting to be in love with it. Perhaps that’ll come, in time, but it’s okay if it doesn’t. I am looking forward to playing with the preparation in the future; maybe there’s another way that I will find yummier.

Tea amount: 1 tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: 1 tsp maple syrup

Aside: I got to use my new spill-proof, smaller-than-16oz mug! It’s this one, in case you’re interested: http://oxo.com/p-1133-single-serve-liquiseal-travel-mug.aspx. I am a little bit annoyed with myself: I was so excited to find a mug close in size to what I wanted (6-8oz) that I didn’t consider anything else, like how frustrating that lid will be to clean when the tea has milk in it. Oh well, I’ll just have to make sure I don’t get lazy and at least soak it in hot water straightaway. Other than that little niggle, it’s pretty much perfect.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

100
drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
117 tasting notes

Yesterday, I drove home to NYC to spend the day with framily. It’s a 1.5- to 2ish-hour drive (depending on traffic), so I prepared by packing two water bottles (one still, one fizzy) and two mugs of Ocean of Wisdom. I was actually in the mood to try something different, but was plagued by doubts: what if something didn’t agree with me and I was far from home? Better to play it safe, and my safety blanket tea is definitely this one.

I enjoyed half of the second-steep mug on my way up, which was mostly a strong clove-and-ginger brew. This time, I sliced some fresh ginger into my infuser, so it is from there that the strong ginger bite came. Upon reaching New York, I parked the car and went to meet my friend, leaving my beverages in the car.

I returned to the car at around midnight. By this time, my tea had been exposed to 45F/7.2C temperature for about 13-14 hours. I have never had this blend cold before, so I was a little hesitant to try it. I decided to finish my half-drunk mug, first; the tea was cool (not cold) and was actually quite good! The ginger felt especially lovely in my throat, which had experienced more talking and laughter in several hours than it generally does in a month.

The tea in the second, as yet untouched mug was tepid. Finally, I found a shortcoming (ha! if one can call this that) of this perfect tea: it’s best when hot, good when cold, but “meh” when lukewarm. This is understandable; I can’t think of many (any?) things that are actually good when lukewarm. I had a bit of it and put it away in favour of my fizzy water. I figured I’d just wait for it to get cold and then drink it.

Aside: Have I mentioned, lately, just how much I love my mug? 13 hours in perfect autumn weather, and still the coldest the tea got was “cool.”

Another aside: You know how I’ve been looking for a smaller, spill-proof mug because my 16oz/~475mL ones are just too big for tea tasting/drinking at home? I finally found one! Not on Amazon, not at Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond, but at my supermarket, of all places! I’m so thrilled, I can’t wait to make my next cup of tea. =)

Bonnie

Liked your adventure!

Nik

Thanks, Bonnie. =)

TheTeaFairy

I like tea tasting by accident, when you happen to like it in a way you didn’t intend to try in the first place! Just like your tea mug it seems, finding the right thing at the wrong place :-)

Nik

That’s true! I seem to have a bias against cold tea, for some reason, which makes me reluctant to try it more often. On the other hand, I have zero problem trying to turn every tea into chai. :D

Sil

you come over to my place and make chai out of all my tea…then i’ll come to yours and cold brew all your tea! :)

Nik

Sounds like a plan, Sil. :D

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

62
drank Peaches & Ginger by Harney & Sons
117 tasting notes

I am Jack’s indignation.

It’s not like I haven’t had this tea before. I have, and it was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. Certainly worth sharing with Mum, who likes both peachy and gingery things. The last time I had this, I noted some bitterness, and I knew it was my fault for leaving the teabag in the cup as I sipped. I was certain that wouldn’t be a problem this time, since I planned to remove the bag after the tea’d steeped. Hmph. I was wrong.

I have to learn to trust my gut. A box containing black, bagged tea recommends steeping for five minutes in boiling water, and upon reading this my gut went, no, that’s asking for trouble. But I went ahead and followed the instructions anyway, and the result was a brew not too bitter to be drunk, but too bitter to be really enjoyed. This tea really does have a lovely peach flavour (I tasted and smelled a bit of ginger last time, but it wasn’t there at all this time), which was greatly marred by the bitterness. The worst part was that Mum’s a Tetley tea drinker, and every time one of “my” “fancy” teas turns out blech, there’s this only-partly-imagined accusatory glare: “My Tetley would never do this to me.” I say again, hmph. I blame H&S for the dodgy instructions, but myself for not knowing better. Next time I’m going to try a three-minute steep, and I’m going to take the tea out of the bag, put it in an infuser, and grate some fresh ginger into it. That should do the trick. (Thank goodness I have a box of this to find the right formula…)

I’m going to have to lower my rating from 75 (my “hey, this is pretty good!” range), though, to something in my “decent, but could be better with help” range, because I think it really does need help to shine.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

Peaches and Ginger and black tea…yummmmmmmmmmmm

Nik

One would think…! =\

Serenity

Such a challenge to brew flavored teas due to this conundrum: herbal tisanes need a lengthy steeping to let all those fruity flavors shine, yet black and green teas often need a much shorter steeping time or else the flavor isn’t ideal. What to do? I wonder if this solution would ever work: brew a peachy gingery tisane in one tea pot or cup, and then brew a cup of delicious black or green tea in another pot/cup. When they are both done, combine, and enjoy. ?

Nik

That might work, but I’m entirely too lazy to try. =) I’m really hoping the three-minute steep results in a peachy enough brew that isn’t bitter. If not, into the swap bin this goes!

Serenity

lol as I was writing my idea I was like, uhhh, no, too much work, even with tea bags! I like your idea better. : )

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

2012.10.07: I hear people like to understand other people’s ratings, so here’s a loose guide:

01-29: Dear God, why.
30-49: I’ll finish this cup, I guess, but no more.
50-59: Meh.
60-69: Decent. Maybe I can blend it with something else and make it better.
70-79: Heeey, this is quite good!
80-89: I love it, but I’m not in love with it.
90-100: Permanently resident in my Happy Place.


Update: I have steeped, and it was good. =] Still a tea-ophyte, though.


This is a tea site, so I feel like “well, I’m Indian” should be enough of an introduction. Because, I mean, it’s kind of in my genes, right? But the fact of the matter is that I’m an absolute tea-ophyte.

I’ve just discovered a world beyond Celestial Seasonings. I’ve just discovered “sachets” instead of “normal” tea bags and bought my first loose tea sampler. I don’t get the whole water temperature and steep time thing yet, nor that if I want to get a yixiang tea pot, I’d need one for each type of tea. I have this infuser ball thing, but I haven’t used it yet.

Don’t cringe, but right now I’m still just boiling water and pouring it over a teabag, adding some sugar, and drinking a nice, hot cuppa. I’d like to learn more, I think, and I’d like to train my palate. I figure participating in this community is the best way to do that.

So ya. Hi!

Location

South Jersey, US

Website

http://about.me/bleepnik

Following These People