117 Tasting Notes

drank Saveur de Paris by Della Terra Teas
117 tasting notes

Where, oh where, has my o-o-orange gone, where, oh where, can it be? ♬

Saveur de Paris, in its dry form, has such a fantastic fragrance (if you’re the black tea + citrus-loving kind): black tea, lemony bits, orangey bits… So fresh, so refreshing, one’s eyes open a fraction wider and a smile plays upon one’s lips after just one whiff. But then, then it just sort of went away. Sad panda. The tea smells like black tea. The citrus is there, but it’s not as there as, say, Golden Moon’s Tippy Earl Grey1. It’s not that every blend of the Earl Grey ilk must be so…saturated, but that is what I expected from this blend, given its fragrance.

There is the threat of bitterness in the tea’s flavour, a threat that doesn’t really materialise, but that maybe could if I let it cool.

I’m interrupting myself to say that I think I’ve got this all wrong. I think I might’ve steeped this one too long and tried to drink it too quickly. As it cools, the flavour and fragrance are both becoming more layered, more like what I expected from the beginning. There is bitterness along with the wonderful floral notes (hullo, safflower, how do you do?).

Given this discovery, I’ll scrap my rating and try again with another cup. I have a feeling that if I can actually prepare this properly, I’m going to love it.

1 http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/126970

Preparation
Boiling
Sil

Looking forward to you trying again since this is on my list to try lol

yappychappy

Definitely only needs one minute steeping time.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

100
drank Ocean of Wisdom by Samovar
117 tasting notes

Today, I chai’d this up. Did you know you could chai this up? I didn’t, but that’s never stopped me before. =)

Honestly, I’m not sure Ocean of Wisdom can do any wrong. It is such a forgiving blend, and apparently you can do whatever you want with it and it’ll remain delicious. I did my usual: boiled water, sugar and tea (since it’s rooibos, I like to maximise steep time and don’t bother waiting ‘til the water’s boiling), then added (vanilla soy) milk and let it bubble, bubble, bubble for a while.

Nummy.

Preparation
Boiling
Claire

I don’t even like rooibos, but seeing your reviews keeps making me think I should try this at samovar!

Nik

Go with someone who does like rooibos so that you can taste it (I would totally go with you if I were there—[sniff] =( ). I think that the rooibos’s own flavour complements the blend really, really well, but it’s very, very present. I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone who’s not a fan of that base.

Claire

Rayn tends to like rooibos blends, and so does my brother in law, so I can probably persuade one of them to try it with me. :)

Nik

Perfect. =)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

61
drank Gingerbread Chai by 52teas
117 tasting notes

On my second try to play nicely with 52t’s Gingerbread Chai, I used the stovetop method: I brought water to a boil and then added (vanilla soy) milk, sugar, and a little more than a tsp of tea. I let it do its thing for about three minutes, instead of five.

The resulting brew was not bitter, which is great, but it wasn’t gingerbread, either, which isn’t so great. It’s a decent enough ginger tea, but the baked, cakey sweetness I was expecting didn’t appear in the fragrance or the flavour, only in…the aftertaste. I tried it just off the stove, and I tried it after it cooled some, but I still only got ginger chai. If only I could get the taste to match the perfect aftertaste, I’d be happy. :D

I don’t _dis_like the tea and I’m happy that I have enough left to experiment with a few more cups. If you’re ever wondering about The LiberTEAS Sampler box, I have no complaints about the size of the samples! They’re really the perfect amount of tea to really play and get a feel for whether you can make a tea work for you, whether you want to pass it along to someone else or stock it permanently in your cupboard, etc. Thanks, LiberTEAS!

Tea amount: 1.25ish tsp/~6g
Water amount: About 8oz/~237mL
Additives: Vanilla soy milk and about 2 tsp Demerara sugar
Dry mouth factor: 7/10 (Even with milk, such a strange sensation!)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

I’m glad that this brewing method worked better for you. As I mentioned before, for whatever reason, the second batch of this tea just didn’t taste quite the same as the first. The first batch was very gingerbread-y. This time – the reblend – it’s more of a ginger chai, with only hints of a baked cake like taste.

Nik

I am glad to hear it’s not just my tastebuds, LiberTEAS, thanks. If it really is just more of a ginger chai this time around, then it’s spot on—but Frank should consider changing the name (or “fixing” it).

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

69
drank Earl Grey Creme by Della Terra Teas
117 tasting notes

This is another “Oh noes, I haz eated mah tea!” Della Terra Teas blend, by which I mean that you open the packet and you want to eat the tea. It smells like lemon cookies, maybe even lemon sandwich cookies, with the vanilla notes ‘n’ all. I don’t even know how I didn’t eat this one. Cookie Monster’s sitting in a corner, sulking.

[Edit] I forgot to mention that this tea is really pretty! I didn’t remember the photo, which showcases its beauty quite well, so I was surprised when I opened the packet and got a good look. Black tea with these blue highlights and flecks of gold. I rarely notice how a tea looks, so it basically has to bat its eyelashes at me and be all, hey, look at me, I’m pretty! Such a little tart, this one.

I wasn’t able to coax the flavour I wanted out of the blend, sadly. It was so frustrating, like dropping your keys in the car, between the center console and the bucket seat, and then being able to almost-but-not-quite reach them. The flavour I got out was that of a nice black tea, good but not great. The bergamot was present but really not bold enough, especially given the heady fragrance. I steeped three minutes because I recently got schooled on the dangers of over-steeping black tea, but I think maybe the DT black tea base is more forgiving than the 52T one…? Next time, I’m going to try my usual five minutes for this one and see how it works out, because I really, I really want to taste the taste that the fragrance promises.

[Edit again] Sorry, I also forgot to mention that, like 52t’s Gingerbread Chai (which I also had today), the aftertaste is perfect. Perfect lemon cookie! I would love to get the formula right for getting the taste to be just as perfect. I mean, who wants to sit there, aggressively exhaling, just to get the perfect aftertaste, ya? Even living alone I feel silly doing it.

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

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

61
drank Gingerbread Chai by 52teas
117 tasting notes

This is my first 52Teas blend! Thumper taught me not to say anything if I can’t say anything nice, so I’m having a bit of a tough time getting the words to flow, here. It’s especially tough given how beloved 52T are to the Steepster family. I’m going to go ahead and leave off the rating, for now, and take the blame for this poor first impression.

My little sample bag says to steep in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. 3-5 or 2-5, I forget which. But I always pick the longest steep time, because I always want the strongest, most robust flavour possible. This time, doing so resulted in an undrinkable brew.

The dry leaf’s fragrance is sweet in kind of a generic way. If you’d blindfolded me and waved the bag under my nose, I would’ve said “sweet,” and I probably would’ve said “black tea.” I wouldn’t have said “gingerbread” or “chai.” The brew smelled more like I expected: now I could definitely smell chai, and as the tea cooled I could smell gingerbread more and more.

My first sip of unsweetened tea caught me a little off-guard. It tasted like black tea with cardamom. Not chai, and not gingerbread. It was a little bitter, too. So I added honey, and that made it palatable, but it still tasted like black tea with cardamom. I’m sad to say that now that the tea’s cooled a bit, it’s become unbearably bitter, and I’m going to have to pour it down the drain. Really sad. (On the other hand, the Universe is probably doing me a favour: I’ve already drunk some black tea today and shouldn’t be having any more.)

I shan’t rate this until I’ve tried the stovetop method. Crossing my fingers that I can get the same great taste out of this as most of the others who’ve reviewed it!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
LiberTEAS

With 52Teas previous black tea base, you definitely do not want to brew it at the longest steep time (and just for point of reference, steeping at the longest time does not necessarily produce the strongest, most robust brew, it will produce more tannins, therefore producing a more tannic, astringent brew.) I think that with this particular tea, a 3 minute time is much better. I personally prefer 2.5 minutes with 52Teas original black tea base.

The first blending of this tea was unbelievably good, but the rescued reblend of it (which is what I sent you in your box, I believe I sent you this) just wasn’t as good as the first batch. :(

Ysaurella

sometimes find out the right steep time is really a struggle. But when we manage, we can see the more astringent tea turning so sweet and nice…Teas deserve often some experiences and patience. I’m sure you’ll find your right time

Nik

Thank you, LiberTEAS! Yes, this is the one from your sample box. I will try a 2.5- to 3-minute steep next time. Thank you, Ysaurella, I appreciate your optimism. :D

DaisyChubb

I agree! Try a shorter steep time with 52teas – sometimes a little TLC with the base goes a long way – a way that is totally worth it! Hope you find a way to enjoy :3

JasonCT

Namaste Nik – just curious, how do you make/take your Indian chai?

Nik

Hi, Jason! I don’t, actually. My mum has always made the chai, and she does so with Tetley tea bags. =) We never had the typical masala chai in our home, because she doesn’t like masala. I’m actually very new to stovetop preparation—like, a couple of days new. I made Mayan Mist yesterday (http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/137647) and it was amazing, so I’ll probably make any future tea in the same/similar way. Mayan Mist is a rooibos blend which I figured wouldn’t hurt anything by being in there from the beginning; with a black tea blend, I’d probably boil the water first, then add tea/blend, milk and sugar. I really have no idea what I’m doing and am just doing what feels right. It’s worked so far.

JasonCT

Very cool nik, ill look forward to reading about you adventures!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95
drank Mayan Mist by Della Terra Teas
117 tasting notes

No rating for this yet, because this isn’t an “out of the box” tasting note. My father, who’s visiting from Florida and underestimated how cold it’d be here and is now miserable, wanted something hot to drink. I wanted to limit his caffeine intake, but I’m reluctant to give him something I haven’t tried yet myself, so it was with a bit of trepidation that I made this tea. Meh, I thought, how bad can it be, right?

So here’s what I did: brought the tea, some sugar, and some water to a boil, then added some vanilla soy milk and grated some fresh ginger into the mix. Kept that going for “a while,” basically until I thought the colour looked good. Poured the whole thing through a strainer (which I didn’t used to own, by the way—thank you, Steepster Select! (RIP)) and divvied it up for us.

If I were to rate this concoction, I’d probably rate it somewhere in the 90s. Maybe even that elusive 100. I couldn’t taste any coconut, but the vanilla soy milk and the ginger+chili and orange and the cinnamon (and I don’t even like cinnamon)…[incoherent babbling]

Sorry, I’m back now. What I was trying to say was that the orange hit my tastebuds and made my mouth happy; the cinnamon hit my nose and gave it a pleasant little tickle and a lovely fragrance; and the ginger+chili hit the back of my throat and made me feel warm all over. So, so, so good.

Next time, I suppose I’ll try the blend on its own to see what it’s like.

Preparation
Boiling

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

62

G’morning! My blind tea grab today got me this sample, courtesy of The LiberTEAS Sample Box that I purchased a little while ago.

The dry leaf’s aroma is sort of a generic “sweet,” maybe a hint of caramel. I didn’t get any nuttiness or chocolate. Brewed, the chocolate made its appearance in the fragrance, but I still didn’t really get any nuttiness.

Chocolate is the strongest flavour I got from my unsweetened cup, followed by a bit of caramel complaining about how I couldn’t expect it to play its role well if I wouldn’t give it any sugar (it had a point). The nuts apparently called in sick, or quit or something. After sweetening my tea, I finally got the caramel I really wanted, but honestly, I think that’s more because I used dulce de leche as my sweetener than that the tea did its job.

In the end, I just had to work too hard for this, and even then it was only mediocre. After being blown away recently by some Della Terra Teas blends, I’m just not willing to put in so much effort to get a cup with lackluster flavour.

Tea amount: 1 level tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: 1 tsp dulce de leche (http://amzn.com/B000WMPGDW) (a lot cheaper in my supermarket than on Amazon)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Veronica

I wish the nuts I’m forced to deal with today would call in sick, or quit or something. :) Also, you reviews always make me smile. Thank you for that!

Ellyn

Veronica – me too! The nuts here in my office are certainly alive and well…LOVE Your reviews Nik

LiberTEAS

I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one very much. :(

Nik

Veronica and Ellyn: lol and thanks so much! LiberTEAS: Hey, no worries, are you kidding? This is awesome! I was having a look through the other tasting notes and I thought I saw someone saying that Ovation don’t offer samples, so you have to get a bunch of tea at once? This tea’s name and description are so great, that I would’ve done just that, and I would’ve regretted it. Your sample boxes are the best thing ever and, wallet permitting, you can bet I’m going to pounce as soon as you’ve got more of ’em. I can always add this to a swap list and pass it along to someone else. =)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

95

I closed my eyes and pointed and ended up with another Della Terra Teas blend. I gotta say, I’m getting really spoiled here. I also kind of feel like I’m starting to sound like a broken record with my unbridled glee. Every time I feel like a blend couldn’t be better, couldn’t be more accurate, I get one that is. This is such a blend.

For the third time in two days, I wanted to eat the tea. It just smells so much like those chocolate oranges that it’s hard to resist the temptation. I haven’t had one of those chocolate oranges in years, either, which makes it even harder! But I resisted and patiently brewed my tea. The balance was way off in the blend’s fragrance, and this worried me: where the dry tea smelled just like a chocolate orange, the brew smelled mostly (maybe entirely, now that I think about it) like chocolate. I was worried that the orange would be absent from the flavour, as well.

My experience is that DT blends don’t re-steep well. At least, the past two black tea blends that I’ve tried to steep for a second time (Oatmeal Raisin Cookie1 and Dubbele Chocolade2) were both really weak, even after steeping for 10 minutes. My experience is also that the recommended 3-minute steep time really doesn’t pack the flavourful punch I expect. Therefore, I’ve decided to steep just once for about 5 minutes and call it a day.

The chocolate-orange balance was restored in the flavour (and actually appeared in the brew’s fragrance, too, after it’d cooled a bit). It’s quite good unsweetened (my sweet tooth prevents me from thinking any tea can be “amazing” unsweetened, but this is really pretty good), but it’s delicious after being sweetened a bit. I’m going to be thinking about it until tomorrow, when I can next have more caffeinated tea.

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

1 http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/137359

2 http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/137472

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 30 sec
Sil

haha so glad you reviewed this one. Was totally looking at picking up a sample of this one to try. I LOVE chocolate orange. I steal those ones first out of the boxes of pot of gold every christmas when work has them lol

Nik

I used to hate the flavour when I was little, but now I love it! And now I really want one of those chocolate oranges. I know what people on Steepster say about DT and 52T blends, but man, no beverage is ever going to replace a proper dessert for me. I guess that’s why my scale cries when it senses my approach. :D

Alphakitty

Ooh, I have to try this! Chocolate oranges are the best thing about the holidays.

DaisyChubb

I hear ya Nik. Speaking of, I made some chocolate orange cookies last night ;0 We don’t have a scale… lol

Nik

lol, that’s the ticket, get rid of the scale! :D Mmm…chocolate orange cookies…

Babble

Hmm.. I’ll have to consider the steeping only once about DTT blends. I was thinking of resteeping the chocolate chai pu-erh from last night, but now I wonder if all the flavor is gone..

Nik

It doesn’t hurt to try. I just have so much tea that, well, it’s not that I’m rushing through them or intentionally wasting leaf, but I’m also not willing to try so hard to extract every bit of flavour. Two blends with a weak second steep are enough for me to not bother again, unless I hear otherwise. But y’know, both blends were black tea; you might have better luck with the pu-erh.

Unrelated: I now want a tea-shirt that says “Got leaf?”

Tea Sipper

Do you use a hotter temperature for your second steeps? If I remember right, I had the Dubbele the other day and the second steep was just as great as the first because I used just boiled water. With the first steep, I waited for it to cool a while before steeping. Using just boiled water on anything other than black teas might ruin the tea, but most of the time I have at least two cups of tea with the same leaves and try to get the water temp higher.

Nik

I used just-boiled water both times.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92
drank Dubbele Chocolade by Della Terra Teas
117 tasting notes

This tea’s name always gets “Creole Lady Marmalaaaaaaaaaaade ♬” stuck in my head. I’m not a connoisseur of chocolate teas. I think I may have had one, once, but I’m not sure. It’s possible that drinking a few other chocolate blends will ground me, but for now I’m blown away, flying high on cocoa clouds. Like yesterday with the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie1 blend, I again almost ate this tea. Dear, dear Della Terra, if you keep on like this, I assure you, some such accident will occur at some point. =)

Dubbele Chocolade smells so, so, so good. You know how no one laughs quite like babies? If someone doesn’t understand what I mean by “squee,” just go look at a baby laugh. They all squee. There is so much joy to express that they simply can’t contain it in their little bodies. They laugh like they will burst at the seams if they don’t. Joy is to baby as chocolate is to Dubbele Chocolade: it’s like the packet will start dancing in your hands if you don’t open it and let the chocolate out.

Here’s a surprise: I sipped my tea, unsweetened, and it was…good! (The good wasn’t the surprise, the good unsweetened was the surprise.) Not good enough for me to finish it that way, but hey, ♬ it’s my teeeeacup and I’ll brew how I waaant to… ♬ I added some sugar and sipped again, and again it was good. In a pinch, I could drink this as-is, which wins it some major points (and earns it a slightly higher rating than Oatmeal Raisin Cookie). But since I didn’t have to, I didn’t…

It’s that time of year again, when the seasonal stuff appears in supermarkets that the mean people don’t let me have year-round. One such thing is Silk’s line of specialty soy milk. Since my tea was still “just” good and not zomg-amazing, I added some mint chocolate soy milk. I really had no idea what sort of concoction would result from this experiment. I’m happy to report that it was incredible. So incredible, in fact, that I’d drunk half the cup before I sat down to write this, so now I have to turn around and go right back to try for a second steep. Thank you, Della Terra Teas! Dubbele Chocolade joins Oatmeal Raisin Cookie as a citizen of my Happy Place.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll try a cup plain or with just sugar at some point. But right now, I am having waaaay too much fun experimenting in my beverage lab. I still have a few finishing touches to put on it, but soon I’ll be able to take some photos and share my pride ‘n’ joy with you all. =)

Tea amount: 1 level tsp/~4.75g
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: A splash of mint chocolate soy milk and ½ tsp demerara sugar

1 http://steepster.com/bleepnik/posts/137359

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Sil

nice! This one has been getting some really positive reviews. I may have to look at picking it up with the oatmeal raisin heh

Nik

As someone with a massive sweet tooth, I am so glad to have been introduced to the concept of “dessert teas”! =)

Sil

heh yeah back in january i went through a 2 week process to cut out my sugar cravings and man it was hard. BUT i’ve cut waaaaay back on my candy/sugar/chocolate intake. Having dessert teas around really helps when i need that sugar/sweet/delicious fix. heh

momo

okay okay I have a gallon of almond/coconut milk in my fridge right now but is that mint chocolate soy milk already mint chocolate when you buy it, because I will now go on the prowl for it.

Nik

Heya, momo! Yes, it’s already mint chocolate when you buy it! It’s one of their seasonal flavours, along with their ’nog. :D
http://silksoymilk.com/products/silk-seasonal/mint-chocolate

If you prefer coconut, So Delicious have their own version.
http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-beverages/mint-chocolate

momo

Oh man I had no idea So Delicious had flavored ones, and pumpkin spice too!!! I hate to say it but I don’t mind this winter stuff halfway through fall anymore…off to Whole Foods!

Bonnie

I give up, I want this!

Claire

I received a sample of this with my DellaTerra order, now I will have to try it sooner rather than later!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

So, now I know what it’s like to just sort of dissolve into a big puddle of yum. My people, if you like-a the oatmeal raisin cookie, and if you like-a the tea, and if you like-a the yum, you will lub this blend.

The fun began as soon as I opened the packet. I would’ve been able to identify this tea blindfolded. It pretty much screamed, COOOOOOKIEEEEE, causing me to immediately morph into my natural Cookie Monster state. I almost upended the packet right into my mouth, but then remembered that it was tea, and that it probably wouldn’t be as good an idea as Cookie Monster was thinking. There was absolutely no mistaking the oatmeal raisin cookieness in the aroma. Steeped, the tea smelled equally good, only very slightly muted since, well, I no longer had my nose stuck right in the packet.

Sip, sip… [frown] sip, sip… [frown some more] I don’t even know why I bothered trying this unsweetened, except that it’s my habit to at least take a sip or two before I mess with it. But I mean, c’mon, cookie. So I added some milk and sweetener, and it was much better. Cookie Monster smiled. Liquid coooookieeeee! It smells better than it tastes. Not that it tastes bad, it’s just really hard, I think, to capture the in-your-faceness of the fragrance in the flavour. Maybe if I’d steeped longer? I dunno, I’ll try that next time. For now I’d say, “excellent, with some room for improvement.” I award this blend citizenship of my Happy Place.

[Edit] NOMNOMNOMNOM

Tea amount: 1 level tsp
Water amount: 6oz/~175mL
Additives: A splash of vanilla soy milk and about ½ tsp cane syrup. Cane syrup is new to me. I saw it in the supermarket the other day and thought it would be interesting to try. The jar says it’s great for baking and on pancakes and waffles, so I figured oatmeal raisin cookie tea would be perfect for it. That was a good call. =)

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

Cute review :D

canadianadia

‘Cookie Monster smiled’ – love it!

K S

I was hoping this would lead to multiple steeps so we could “Count” them ah, ah, ah.

Ysaurella

this blend is definitively something I need to try

Nik

K S, I did end up steeping it a second time, but it was pretty weak. I think that I might stick with one steep for longer than the amount of time suggested on the packet. (The Count always cracked me up.)

Terri, Nadia, thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed. :D

Claire

This made me smile today. Thanks Nik!

Nik

Happy to hear it, Claire, thanks! :D

Della Terra Teas

Thank you Nik! Great review, fun read. You’re awesome!

Nik

Oh, hey, thanks very much!

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

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer