243 Tasting Notes

84

This morning, when my alarm went off, I was absolutely positive it was Sunday, and furious for making myself wake up so early on a Sunday. About a half hour later, I realized, it’s Monday, and after my ten day vacation, it was time to get back to work…

So needless to say, I desperately needed a pick-me-up and it came today in the form of my new favorite caffeinated friend: Lapsang Souchong. The first pot I absolutely downed, couldn’t really even rate it based on how fast I drank it. But once I was awake, I was able to brew up some more and try and get a good sampling for a rating.

So my first infusion: 5 minutes, hot water, no additives, was downed with no rating. Sorry.

Second infusion of the same basket: 4 minutes, no additives. The smell is perfect, the liquor is spot-on, however, the flavor is a little weaker than I expected (I tend to compare all Lapsangs to Golden Moon’s). A little concerned at this moment, I decided to make a fresh pot with new leaves. This time taking careful notes as I do.

The leaves are small and dark, curled tightly, with the usual smokey aroma. Infused 5 minutes, no additives. The flavor is stronger, more what I expected, yet it is still lesser than GM and Adagio. Overall, I think this might be a good thing. When I say “lesser” I mean that the smokiness is not as strong, it is not kick-you-in-the-face smokey, it is slightly smoked, like the scent left on your clothes after a camp fire a few days ago. It is a distant smokey, an aged smokey, this gives a chance for more of the tea to shine through: a little astringent, definitely black tea, yet crisp and clean, the hint of smoke, the slight earthy natural flavor. Overall, good.

Since I got what I wanted, I decided one more infusion from this basket was worth a shot. Hot, 4 minutes, added milk (no sweetener). The milk made it creamy, and subdued the smokey flavor a little bit more, but overall it was more of the same. Cleaner tea taste, slight smoke, slight earth, a little less strong than I would have liked.

To get the stronger smokiness in the tea, I will probably aim for longer infusion times in the future, but to all those who do not like the smoke, or want a more subdued smoke, I think this tea might be more of what you are looking for.

In the end, I enjoyed this tea, I will enjoy finishing the tin of it.

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec
Ewa

Oh man, that is like the worst realization ever. Funny story of my incompetence to help you get through post-vacation slump: I once woke up convinced that I had forgotten to set my alarm and was late and had managed to shower and was part of the way dressed before I realized it was 3 am. At which point I was totally awake and could not get back to sleep ;_;

Cinoi

Ugh, that is awful…sorry :/

Ewa

well it sucked at the time, but in retrospect…kind of funny!

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84
drank Jasmine Green Tea by Ito En
243 tasting notes

I have been drinking this for the past three or four days (multiple bottles, I admit) because it was the only non-sweetened iced tea available in the area. Imagine my surprise when I came on Steepster to see a fresh review of it…

The color is light, the aroma is faint jasmine. Enjoyed cold from the bottle. Drinking straight from the bottle interferes slightly with the bouquet from the tea, but I do not think it hurts the flavor. The flavor is faint jasmine but not obtrusive, it is light and airy, green tea, no vegetal just jasmine. The unsweetened is also very enjoyable, the jasmine brings enough to the slightly floral jasmine that it is all the sweetness you need without any additives. Overall, very good.

Kathryn Ann

love this jasmine tea by them. It’s really so good! It always tastes like the hot versions of jasmine teas I’ve drank, but without the bitterness that comes with me failing to steep it correctly !

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93
drank Chocolate Puerh by Numi Organic Tea
243 tasting notes

So I’m in Florida on vaca and I have to say that I’m pretty sure security went through my checked bag like twice because of all the tea in there, haha. Honestly though, I brought a full box of these (start the day off right you know?) and I my hotel is right next to a mall. And in that mall? A Tavalon store!! So you might not here from me a lot, but I will have much to post when I get back :)

See you all soon Steepsterites!

Cofftea

I gotta try this in smart balance milk when I get more tonite. Have fun on vacation!

__Morgana__

Have fun!

Rabs

Have a wonderful time :)

LENA

awesome perk to your vacation!

S

I have a question, Chocolate Puerh fans….does this have a puerh-y taste? Like earth? Or fish? Or, erm, barnyard?

Cofftea

No, no, and, no… it does have a lot of depth and complexity though. I’m sure this is also in part due to the chocolate. I could give you a more accurate answer if this was just a chocolate flavored pu erh, but it’s got a bunch of other stuff which takes up space in the serving size which could be used for more chocolate and pu erh.

Meghann M

Have a great vacation, and enjoy the Tavalon store!

Lori

Shanti- it tastes like a spicy, chocolaty, – very good. Now I want this one when I get home..

S

It sounds amazing! My grocery store caries Numi, but never the Chocolate Puerh…cry

Cinoi

Thanks everyone – I will have fun!

Unfortunately what my brother told me was a Tavalon (he actually just kept saying yes to me after he brought me home a tin of Menage-A-Gummies is actually a Tea Largo…they CARRY Tavalon items. No worries though, I bought plenty to rate :)

@Shanti, please see my other ratings for exactly what this tastes like, it is spiced, not spicy, a little earthy in that it is not black tea, it is slightly rough and natural, not bold or strong, and it of course chocolatey. I highly suggest having it with some milk and oversteeping (sometimes I go as long as ten minutes) and you will get fantastic results. :)

TeaNerd

Where did you get: Chocolate Puerh by Numi Organic Tea? Enjoy vacation.

Cofftea

Cinoi, 10 MIN?! What’s the milk/water ratio?

TeaNerd: Not sure where Cinoi got her’s, but it can be found on their website.

Cinoi

@teanerd I get it at wholefoods. I haven’t found another grocery store that carries it, but as cofftea said, you can get it at numi organics website. And thank you!

Cofftea, it depends on how I’m feeling. I usually do ten ounces hot water to one tea bag. I like to infuse that 7-10 mins. If I’m making it in my 22oz pot, I will fill it with hot water and use two tea bags and infuse 5-7 minutes for normal 7-10 minutes for strong. Milk is always to taste, never more than an ounce. Usually a splash which is hard to define.

Cofftea

Oh ok. I don’t think that’ll work for me. I always steep mine in 6oz of water so 5min is comparable I guess. And I’ve never been a “splash of milk” type person. It took me forever to not think that even a 1:1 ratio wasn’t watery lol.

TeaNerd

Ohhh. Its boxed bags. OK, thanks…I’ll look for it at the grocery next time. I sure dig the Puerhs.

Cofftea

TeaNerd- they have both loose and bagged online. The bagged is quite impressive though.

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87

I ordered this the other day when it was on the Steepster Select deal. Not surprisingly, I received it the very next day because I live in the same state…

First, I have to say, that the tea is really packed in this tin, not that it is crushed, it is loosely in the tin and has room to move, but man, did they fill the tin, as in, I opened it up to smell it and lost some tea. Fantasticly full :)

Second, kudos to you Leafspa, you did a fantastic job advertising, you really got your name out there and then with this fantastic deal on Steepster Select (half price tea, how could I say no?) you sealed the deal.

Thirdly, the packaging is the most detailed I have ever seen. The label on the tin has everything you could possibly want to know about the tea. I was especially impressed with the infusion instructions and a warning so you do not oversteep: because as the package spelled-out “tea will become bitter”.

I brewed two scoops in my 22 ounce beehouse pot. Brewed 2 minutes, hot, no additives. This tea is very good. The leaves are definitely high quality, they are mixed gold and black curls of tea. The smell is peppery and black tea. The infusion makes a copper colored liquor. The aroma is again, peppery, black, a little earthy and distinctly Yunnan tea. The tea flavor is delicious; earthy black tea, with a peppery note coming up at the end of the mouthfull and finishing with a slight aftertaste (of pepper).

I did not get the smokiness I was hoping to get like I did with The Tiger, but I think that might be from infusion time. I will rebrew this again and see if I can get the smokey flavor I so desire. Overall, very good tea, definitely worth trying.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec
Lori

I am SOO glad I ordered this then!

Cinoi

Yay! It was very good, hope you get yours soon so I can read your review!

SoccerMom

Lori, If this is better than our “blah” Adagio Yunnan Gold experience of two days ago please let me know I’d be interested.:)

Ricky

Twenty-two ounce! That’s a lot of tea! I didn’t cave on this deal, yay for self control :) Sounds delicious, but I have too much tea.

teabird

Way jealous of your fast shipping! I can’t wait for mine to arrive, hopefully in the next day or two..

Cinoi

@Ricky Yea, I have a big tea pot, haha. I know the feeling of too much tea, but I could not pass up the price…and of course and excuse to buy some Yunnan…
@Tea Bird, I got a shipping confirmation like three hours after ordering it, so they were on top of the game regardless of my location, I’m sure you’ll get it soon… :)

Cinoi

Also, I should say I got a very successful second infusion with this tea (in my massive teapot). Same steeping parameters: hot, no additives, 1.5 minutes.

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70
drank Genmai Cha by Adagio Teas
243 tasting notes

Backlogging again. I am unsure if I am doing this correctly, I brewed the tea, hot no additives, 2.5 minutes.

I can definitely smell the puffed/toasted rice in the tea pot, but the steeped leaves now have a bitter aroma, I think I may have oversteeped. The bitterness was not found in the tea. The tea has a few layers of flavor: first the toasty rice, then a sweet green, followed by a mellow nut flavor. I drank the pot (22 ounces) over about an hour. The first cup was delicious, the second was alright, then the third I was starting to get that bitter flavor.

Maybe I need to drink this hot? Any suggestions?

Overall, it was not bad, but the bitterness is disappointing, I wish the toasty-rice flavor would remain uncompromised.

Preparation
2 min, 30 sec
Cofftea

I can’t give you a suggestion on hot/cold since I don’t like this tea at all (iced?! Blech lol!)… but I think I can help you w/ the steeping parameters. Give 2g (or a rounded teaspoon) of leaf steeped in 4oz boiling (or just below boiling if you want to preserve the health benefits), for 30 sec. They’re making improvements, but Adagio is still VERY far off on the steeping parameters of Japanese greens and pu erhs IMO.

sophistre

My understanding (though I will freely admit I haven’t scoured every available resource in search of contrary opinions) is that it’s actually best to brew this tea in the 170-180 degree range, and that the brewing time can vary all the way from a minute to four minutes.

The only genmaicha that I own (that isn’t the malted version from 52teas, which I don’t count here, because it’s flavored) is Ryokucha. I found that I preferred the tea when I used their parameters; 1 tablespoon in 16oz. for quite nearly four minutes, rather than the first few times I tried it, during which I halved the steeping time and backed off on the leaf (it was intimidating, with all of that additional matcha!).

I’ve not found it to be bitter afterward, using those guidelines. The difficulty is that I’m not certain as to whether this could be from the matcha in the blend or the parameters, of course, but I wish you luck!

Cinoi

Thanks, I will vary and play with the parameters, I appreciate the advice :)

@sophistre, where did you get the Ryokucha from?

sophistre

Samovar. :)

Cinoi

thanks!!

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86
drank Lapsang Souchong by Adagio Teas
243 tasting notes

Backlogging from yesterday. There is not a lot to say about this, I have already rated it, that did not change, but I can add how wonderfully this went with breakfast. I usually do not address what I am eating with the tea, however, in this case, the tea greatly complimented the food, so it is worth mentioning:

The brew, 4.5 minutes, hot with no additives went extremely well with breakfast: cheddar cheese grits. I feel the rich smoky aroma, with the full bodied black tea, seasoned with some unexpected sweetness and more of the smokiness definitely helped bring out the flavors in breakfast.

Preparation
4 min, 30 sec

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84
drank Strawberry Matcha by 52teas
243 tasting notes

Since everyone has been posting about this, I broke my own rule and opened this one up without finishing the appropriate teas in line and…I’m SO GLAD I DID!

I like matcha, and as we know from my previous posts, I really like to put my matcha in anything that is not water: yogurt, ice cream, protein shakes, milk, juice, so on and so forth. However, I always try it in water before experimenting.

I made this one in my new fancy matcha bowl with whisk, hot water, no additives, 1/4 teaspoon matcha, 4 ounces of hot water, whisked one minute. Did not get this one to foam up in my matcha bowl, but let’s be honest, I am probably doing it wrong. Anyway, no worries, the matcha itself smelled deliciously like strawberries and barely at all like matcha. First sip: oh there is the matcha, it tastes mostly like typical, with a kick of the usual vegetal green and bitter matcha, then there is the sweet soft flavor of strawberries. Fantastic. I usually drink these pretty fast so that they do not settle too much, but I definitely enjoyed it.

Second bowl: made with Vanilla Soy milk. I used the same amount of matcha (1/4 teaspoon, I do not have the fancy matcha spoon/scoop thing) with cold Soy Milk. This is easier with room temperature soy milk (as in just opened the box) because it does not clump as much, but with the appropriate amount of whisking, cold soy milk is not an issue. I whisked this close to two minutes, and it foamed! Yay! The vanilla in the soy milk definitely makes this a sweeter matcha, the milk also makes it thicker than when it is made with water. Overall, this is how I am going to enjoy more of this.

I am really enjoying the flavored matchas, this one is my new favorite, I found the matca to be a little too bitter and was hesitant to mix it with my dairy products, of course I found out that it was fine to do so, but I am just more comfortable mixing strawberries with creaminess from varied dairy.

I have a freezer full of frozen berries, and one cup of plain yogurt in the fridge next to my premade protein shakes (vanilla and strawberry). Will definitely be making these over the next few days and let you know! Enjoy!

Stephanie

I haven’t opened up mine either thinking I needed finish up some teas first, too! Thanks for this detailed review!

Kathryn Ann

It seems that everyone is on the strawberry matcha bandwagon! I’m almost tempted to order some myself. Everyone keeps logging great things! Really interesting that you made it with milk, it sounds even more delicious that way!

Cinoi

Stephanie – I know how you feel, but I submitted to the peer pressure that I put on myself. Haha.

Kathryn Ann – It really is better, especially the strawberry with the cream/dairy, I really do not enjoy matcha with just water, I almost always make it with something else and think it is significantly better!

Ricky

I need some soy milk! Had it with some half and half today and it was quite delicious. I had it plain, but the extra milk just makes it that much better. Though I also added a bit of sweetener =x

Cinoi

Using the flavored soy (I have vanilla at all times) negates the need for sweetener :) especially because I usually make it cold.

What sweetener do you use? I just feel like anything granulated would take too long to dissolve or interfere with the foaming so I have shied away from sweetening it. I would love to sweeten the mandarin though…

Ricky

I have some plain classic syrup from Starbucks (basically just sugar + water). It’s like $5 for a bottle. I would have used Melon syrup, but unfortunately I am out of it and I believe they’ve discontinued it. It was what they used for ice passion tea lemonade and the green tea latte. I actually wonder what they use in place of that now. Hmm, I should probably ask them. I use to use a squirt or two of it in smoothies in the summer as well. What shall I do when summer comes around!

Cinoi

I never thought of syrup! What a great idea! Now I feel sheepish for not ever having thought of syrup…silly me always trying to dissolve sugar crystals…haha

Ricky

Sugar is too much work. You need hot water and stir stir stir. Syrup works well with anything and blends very nicely. Two to three pumps of syrup and I’m done, no need to mess with opening the sugar jar and spooning out a few teaspoons and spilling some sugar over the counter.

sophistre

Agave nectar tends to sit at a better spot (lower) on the glycemic index, and is still essentially just sugar, and liquid. The downside is that it can be somewhat expensive. I tend to use honey with matcha, personally…I like the flavor it adds, but to each their own!

Janefan

you could just make simple syrup and keep onhand instead of trying to dissolve granulated sugar in your cold drink: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Simple-Syrup/Detail.aspx

Cinoi

Sophistre I have never actually had agave nectar, definitely should give it a shot.

Janefan, yea, I should just make some simple syrup, I always do for my chai. :)

Thanks for the ideas everyone, I will definitely let you know how it goes

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74
drank Honeybush Vanilla by Adagio Teas
243 tasting notes

Edited:

I bought a sample of this from Adagio because I love using it to blend teas. The tea itself is made up of the small red-brown splinters similar to that of a rooibos, with a vanilla aroma.

I brewed tea, hot, no additives for seven minutes. The tea itself is a little bitter, but plain, light, rooibos-esq, with vanilla flavor. As I said, it is unfortunately a little tart/bitter in the front. However, the vanilla flavor and creaminess makes it very good.

I like to blend this one with other teas. Mates, chais, anything spiced. Adding the honeybush vanilla just mellows out any overwhelming flavors, brightens any underlying flavors and adds an overall creaminess with a slight vanilla flavor.

Overall, pretty good, especially for blending.

Preparation
7 min, 0 sec
Kathryn Ann

I’ve noticed that if you have the right rooibos they’re great for adding in other teas. :)

Cinoi

I couldn’t agree more, and this is one example of a right rooibos

Cofftea

Cinoi, this isn’t a rooibos…

Cinoi

Yea, I should have said “like rooibos”

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90
drank Thai Tea Blend by Teavana
243 tasting notes

I’m not going to lie, I was really in the mood for coconuts for most of today. So I actually started my day with a pot of this, made it hot, with a tiny bit of half and half in each cup.

The tea is of course coconut with some nutty taste, the black and rooibos blend nicely together and then the half and half adds a smooth creaminess that it was otherwise missing.

Still one of my favorites :)

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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Profile

Bio

I am a sarcastic perfectionist, a computer nerd, a game geek, an avid reader, a gadget guru, a wine (and tea) enthusiast, and (in my spare time) a chemist.

As I mentioned, I am a chemist, research and development to be exact, so when evaluating tea, it is much like evaluating my products: I will find the flaws and do my very best to fix them because it is what I love to do. Along those lines, nothing is perfect, but can have perfect qualities, I will highlight those also.

I made a preliminary guide to my rating scale:
0-19 – Did not like anything about the tea, feel it cannot be saved without being reformulated.
20-40 – Did not like the tea, it can be saved with extreme amounts of tweaking (i.e., sugar, milk, honey and or blending with another tea)
41-60 – Neutral about the tea, it can be helped or hurt by additives or blends, varied temperatures and steep times
61-70 – Decent tea, needs a little bit of help to get it in the place I like it, but definitely not out of reach
71-80 – Quality tea, liked it, will try again
81-90 – Really enjoyed the tea, high quality, will continue to drink the tea, not looking for something better
91-100 – Loved the tea, will continue to brew and drink and spread the word about the tea to everyone

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NJ

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