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31 Tasting Notes

99

This is a very very very fine Darjeeling from the tea stall at London’s Borough Market, Tea2You, which is a one-man show for tea with a webstore (www.tea2you.co.uk). There are only about six to ten kinds of tea for sale at any point but they are all top-notch. He’ll ship to the US free for orders over 13 quid (hear that, Ahmad’s? Only £13!), so even though I don’t live in London anymore I can still afford one of my favorite weekend treats on a Tuesday in California.

Anyway, the tea! This Darjeeling brews up amber and smells of honey in the cup. It has a rich mouthfeel and the taste is also reminiscent of honey with wood. Very easy drinking, I never put sugar or milk in this one. Delicious. Also good for a 2nd steep, takes 8-9 mins. At £4.95 for 50g of tea, price is comparable to other luxury brands. Highly recommended!

Simon Keep

The Tea2You Oolong is excellent too. Quite similar to the darjeeling but more honeyed.

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94
drank Monsieur by Lupicia
31 tasting notes

oof, my stash of this was so gigantic I somehow managed to not notice that this one got the axe. What a shame, it’s a tea for all seasons. Better enjoy the last few cups I have left of this stuff! It was the namesake-house tea for an old barista gig and it makes me really nostalgic. I also used to make awesome tea shortbreads with this stuff baked inside. Anyway, for history: good French vanilla front with a really easy blueberry back, not tart in the least. Cornflowers for funsies (and pretty shortbread!), delicious iced with milk and just a bit of vanilla syrup. Unlike a lot of Lupicia teas, this one doesn’t hold up to a 2nd steep.

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68
drank JavaVana Mate by Teavana
31 tasting notes

This is my staple morning maté. Somehow Teavana makes my favorite maté blends, which is the only thing that keeps me buying from them.

I let this one steep while I do morning stuff; it can handle it. Great nose, smells like cocoa nibs and nutty vanilla. Visible bits of vanilla bean in the tea itself.

Brews up dark, the chocolate isn’t as strong in the cup but the vanilla is. Wish it had a richer mouthfeel. Love this, still looking for a really decadent chocolate maté.

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68
drank JavaVana Mate by Teavana
31 tasting notes

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Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec

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99
drank Turkish Apple by Teavana
31 tasting notes

So I’m catching up on old tastings today. I obviously haven’t had a cup of this in about five years…which happens to be exactly how long it’s been since I’ve gone to a Teavana (still order a few faves from the intertubes but their stores I don’t even).

This was my favorite herbal tea hands-down, and is one of my great lost tea loves. It also ranked among my best hangover cures, along with miso soup or a Bloody Mary.

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98

So it’s not the “finest” tea out there. Who cares. It has a lemur on the box, it makes a great base for homemade chai, and it tastes like Cinnabon in my cup. Great with milk. Perfect balance of c+v, want a year-round dupe. Similar to Republic of Tea’s Dream By The Fire.

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10
drank Jumpy Monkey by DAVIDsTEA
31 tasting notes

Not bad, just blah, less flavorful than plain maté. Even after crushing the coffee beans, with a long brew. I tasted none of the interesting flavors advertised, just what I imagine straw would taste like. DAVIDs sure is lucky they hit the other teas I got with my first order out of the park (Razzmatazz, Saigon Chai, and Glitter & Gold) because this one is a loser.

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91

Okay, so I love chai. All of them. I’ve had chai hand-made over a stove by people’s grandmothers. I never have high hopes for Western companies’ chai. And this is really really good chai, maybe the best I’ve had commercially. The cardamom makes this one for me, and even though I love vanilla chais I really appreciate the lack of sweetness when brewed straight. Quick hint: the pieces in DAVIDsTEAs are usually too big so I roll my rolling pin over them a few times to break them up, and it makes this tea spectacular. It is also fabulous as rec’d on the package, iced with sweetened condensed milk.

God, I love cardamom.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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99
drank Yume by Lupicia
31 tasting notes

Very mild black tea at base. The vanilla-strawberry notes are more in the nose than on the tongue but that’s exactly how I like my dainty-flavored teas. This gets a rare 100; whenever I want vanilla black tea this is what I reach for. I also like to make double-strong for sweetened milk tea. Heavenly.

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51
drank Birthday Cake by DAVIDsTEA
31 tasting notes

I like this, I don’t love it. I like a more complex vanilla flavor, and this tastes like box yellow cake…which is exactly what is promised, but I guess I expected something more sophisticated from the brand. It’s nice for something sweet for nighttime and it brews up pretty and red but it has the biggest throw of any tea I’ve ever brewed. I share a one bedroom with my better half and he can smell it brewing in the kitchen from the bedroom. It makes it a bit overwhelming and I can never quite finish a cup. The previous night’s leftovers are lovely the next morning over ice with a splash of milk but I’m still on the hunt for a perfect vanilla rooibos.

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The teacher with the teacup.

Location

Bay Area, CA

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