550 Tasting Notes

45

Sipdown. I’m not sure how much this resembles “English Rose” anything—I had rose tea many times this summer when I went to England, and I can say with confidence that none of the blends contained hibiscus. Surprisingly, though, this doesn’t smell all that bad. It’s like freeze-dried raspberries or candy. Not what I expected when I read that I was getting a rose tea, but still not terrible.

I can’t help but like RoT, because they were the first real tea I drank. They’re also the only brand I can find in stores anywhere near me. I will admit, though, when they’re good they’re good and when they’re bad they’re awful. I got this with their catalog and won’t be buying any more because despite the nice smell the hibiscus in this completely takes over. I think I’ll ice it to see how it does and then rate it.

ETA: This is not bad iced—it tastes like the freeze-dried raspberries I get in the smell. Decent as an iced tea but I taste zero rose whatsoever.

Kat_Maria

I just got their catalog with a Caramel Vanilla (I think…) sample in it. I got the sample of this tea as well before but hasn’t got round to it yet. I remember having being obsessed with RoT (unfortunate abbreviation ;D) there for a while but I am glad I’ve never committed myself to a really big order from them… I have this coconut pu-erh (loose leaf) from them that I used to really cherish, now it doesn’t taste appealing to me at all. Any pu-erh blend from good ol’ Adagio seems to taste much better than that. But yeah, I guess I will always be a bit sentimental about them as well!

bluebelle

I’d say a lot of their blends are a good jumping-off point, but at least so far none of their teas really stick with me as a must-have. That said, they’re pretty popular where I am and it’s not uncommon to find their teas for sale in cafés… I don’t think I have it in me to completely give up on them as a whole.

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88

Sipdown! (227) I’m alternating high-caffeine teas with lower ones today so hopefully I won’t get the caffeine headaches I sometimes get. Although I have a headache from the weather already, so maybe it wouldn’t make much difference anyway…

I brewed this lower this time since the bag said to, and I think it’s produced a good cup. The smell is somewhere between a Ceylon and Sinharaja, which is a very good thing to smell like in my opinion. The taste is like a honeyed Ceylon—the same bright, citrusy flavor, but slightly sweeter and more mellow. I’m impressed with this one! If I didn’t already have enough of this type of tea I’d restock it.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C

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100

Another resteep. This time around it’s a little tangy and syrupy, almost like a yellow peach. It also feels a little alcoholic like a fruit liqueur. Interesting! The peach flavor is still going strong so I may even steep this again later.

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80

Brewed this a little different from the steeping instructions, because it was already getting really dark and I didn’t want it to get up and walk away! As before this smells strong. I think it might be the base. There’s a lot of black tea smell and a little apricot, and I’m getting lemon myrtle too.

This is a decent fruity black tea. There’s no bitterness to the base like I’ve noticed with other apricot teas, but it is too astringent for my taste. The lemon keeps it from being boring, and there’s a juiciness to the aftertaste. I probably wouldn’t restock but this cup is pretty good!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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96

Sipdown! About time, too. I think the first cup didn’t work out so well because of user error, so I was careful with this one. It smells intensely floral and a little green as it brews. It’s making me thing of spring, which is not likely to happen today at least with another snowpocalypse on the way (6-12 inches!). There are also some vegetal notes that remind me of fresh asparagus or green beans.

The vegetal notes are also in the flavor, but they’re sweet and mellow. I’m still getting that lilac note I noticed before, and there are some other floral tastes and a touch of honey. It’s more like light honey (e.g. Tupelo, my favorite) than the generic “honey” flavor I usually mean when I describe something that way. I like this more with every sip, so the lower rating I had with the last tasting note was definitely user error. I may have to do an In Pursuit of Tea order at some point…

Flavors: Flowers, Green Beans, Honey

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C

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85

This one is interesting—I don’t think I’ve seen a green/rooibos blend before. Thank you Jennkay for sending it to me!

When I opened up the page for this tea I realized that I was seeing things in the tea that weren’t in the description. In this case it was steepster’s fault and not the company’s, so I fixed it myself. That kind of thing puts me on edge with food! Again, blame allergies.

Hmm. This is caramel-y but the rice in it also reminds me of how a genmaicha would smell. It’s a little nutty. It also tastes a little like genmaicha, with a caramel sweetness on the end. It’s a very well-rounded cup, and one of the few I’ve had that’s managed to mix distinct savory and sweet notes.

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70

Thank you VariaTEA for sending me this! Unfortunately I’m not tasting the key lime pie you described. It is amazingly creamy—maybe even more so than the Lemon Chiffon—but I’m not getting much lime at all. The rooibos is also very noticeable in this blend, and while I usually don’t mind it I did for this cup. Maybe next time I’ll brew it lower in case the lime is hiding because of the high temperature.

Preparation
Boiling
VariaTEA

Oh no. I am sorry it was a disappointment. I guess it is good you got to sample it before listening to my advice.

bluebelle

Your advice was good! We just have very different tastes, it seems. :)

VariaTEA

That is why swaps work :). Hopefully there are other teas in the package you are enjoying.

bluebelle

So far yes! I’ll try some more out today and we’ll see how those fare.

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100

Resteep with last night’s leaves. This is milder than before, but still really delicious. There’s a balance of oolong flavor and peach flavor and the juicy feeling is still there. I might resteep this again tonight to see how it does, but so far I’m very impressed.

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83
drank Taurus by Nina's Paris
550 tasting notes

This cup came from Jennkay: thank you! I’ve really been wanting to try some Nina’s teas and this will be my first one.

As it brews this smells like…breakfast cereal? Kind of odd but it’s not a bad smell. Maybe that’s what happens when you mix rooibos and berries, because I noted something similar with the Provence Rooibos I got from MissB. The taste is like freeze-dried strawberries, and there’s a creaminess to the mouthfeel and the flavor. I’d be interested to taste the other zodiac blends! I wonder if my favorite would be mine (Cancer)? :)

ETA: This is now a sipdown as I gave the last cup to mom.

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86

My package from VariaTEA arrived! I didn’t think I’d ever say it, but: too much tea. No more. At least not until I’ve cut down by at least half. Ideally I’d like to stay under 100 teas (why does that sound so unattainable?!).

Anyway, I went for this first because of stomach trouble again. There’s ginger in it and I also remember MissB saying that pu-erhs calm her stomach, so I thought I’d try it out. I admit I have very little experience with pu-erh but this seems like a good way to try it since I know I like oolongs.

Ooh, this tastes good! I’m getting mostly orange and ginger with an earthiness in the background. It tastes sort of like an herbal, actually. I don’t know if the effect will be permanent, but it is soothing my stomach, too. Hooray!

ETA: As this cools the aftertaste is less bitter and more of a candied-ginger kind of thing. I love it so much I’m upping the rating.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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Profile

Bio

Elizabeth, college student, anthropology major, bio and history minor. I love to travel and try new foods (and teas!). I also enjoy music, books, video games as often as I can get my hands on them.

I loved tea as a kid, didn’t drink it for about ten years, and then rediscovered it a couple of years ago. Tea sometimes helps me feel better when chronic illness is making things hard. It’s also fun to experiment with!

I’m still pretty new to the types and brands of tea out there, but I’m interested in trying some of everything. My favorites are earl greys, yunnans, medium-bodied oolongs, Japanese greens, fruit, vanilla, and floral flavors (especially jasmine and rose). My least favorites are teas that are overly smoked, bitter, or contain strong hibiscus or orange peel.

Location

Indiana, U.S.

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