Custom

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Blend Experiment by Custom
158 tasting notes

Not really an ‘experiment’ this time, per se, but a quick cup. This weekend has been an end-to-end slog of geekery of the highest order, capped off, two nights in a row, with a night out at a noisy bar with about 12 other people all conversing over the noise, and then a drunken collapse into bed (alone, not with 12 other people).

I am hoarse. I am raw. I’m exhausted. And I am about to do it for night #3.

No time to make a full chai, I steeped 1 teaspoon of Samurai Chai Mate and 1 teaspoon of Samovar’s Masala Chai (which I have mysteriously not written a tasting note for, yet?) in a quick 16oz. of water, and threw a tiny bit of milk and sugar at it. I need the caffeine from the mate if I’m going to survive.

Reminds me, as it usually does, of a holiday tea. I’m at a point where I think I really need to get some yerba mate that isn’t dressed up as a chai so that I can try it alone, prepared in a gourd and all of that good stuff. I’m not sure I’ll like it, but there’s no denying that the impact of the caffeine from mate kicks the pants off of the caffeine from almost anything else I’ve tried (though I did manage to get an interesting, refreshingly mellow mood lift from the pu-erh I’ve been drinking, after prolonged periods of sipping — something I can thank takgoti for pointing out).

Anyway…today, back to the con. One last day, one friend’s b-day dinner, and then rest…sweet, sweet rest.

Dan

Ahhh I can remember burning the candle at both ends and then trying to light it in the middle. So long ago the details escape me.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Blend Experiment by Custom
158 tasting notes

In an effort to reduce Adagio sample tins, inspired by Bethany, I decided to go ahead and start mixing stuff together. Today it was Assam Melody and Keemun Rhapsody, and the results are pretty good…one teaspoon of each for my 16oz. teacup. Raisiny-sweet without being too astringent, a smooth cup to start the day.

And yes, that’s Mr. T. Mr. TEA. …yeah, I know, it’s not that funny.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Auggy

Mr. T and his chamomile blend made me laugh. I so needed that. Thank you so much.

sophistre

Hey, anytime! Though I notice that steepster cut off the part that says ‘I PITY THE FOOL’. Probably I will have to fix that later.

I hope your day improves, Auggy!

Jillian

Bwhahaha! That pic is so much win! I’ve actually had it saved in my DevArt Favorite folder for awhile. :)

~lauren.

You know, when I read Melody & Rhapsody, my mind immediately conjured up … oh, y’know, sonatas & concertos, violas & cellos & grand pianos— it was a complete surprise to see Mr. T again! hehehe : )

teaplz

Best.

Picture.

Ever.

I am crushing on you very hard right now, sophness.

Teaman

Really liked your review. You have a way with words on this one. I tend to struggle sometime to come up with descriptions of what I’m tasting that don’t involve comparisons with other teas. But you have provides tangible objects that work well to share your epxerience! Well done!

sophistre

@Lauren: Adagio does have a way of making me want to dig into the sometimes-neglected classical parts of my musical library, I admit.

@teaplz: Not bad! Google image search ftw. I probably ought to rotate the picture out, but it’s going to be hard to top that one.

@teaman: Thanks! Sometimes I wonder if saying ‘this tea tastes like x, y, and z’ to me is really that helpful, since I’m not sure that the foods or smells or things that get referenced are experienced precisely the same way by other people, but it helps me to remember those elements when I go back to read later. I’m glad it works for someone else, too.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85
drank Earl Grey Melange by Custom
1112 tasting notes

I made dinner, dessert and this tea iced to bring to my mom for Mother’s Day. I made the big 8 cup pitcher cold brewed with some simple syrup and half a lemon. Very refreshing! The cold brewed method makes the bergamot subtle enough to be delicious with food. I still prefer this with lime, but I used all my limes for the pie!

I also gave some tea to Mama Earth today. I compost all my used tea leaves, and my garden got a nice helping :) It’s so great to see my used tea leaves, vegetable scraps, the leaves the trees shed in the winter, etc. become food for my garden, then food for me, then food for my garden, then food for me… :)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
Rabs

Thank you for thinking of Mama Earth today. That last paragraph made me feel all warm ’n fuzzy on the insides :)

LadyLondonderry

Ditto — I love your generous gesture toward Mama Earth. It’s so funny, just this morning I was looking at my spent tea leaves and wishing I had a garden so I could use them as compost instead of just tossing them out!

Rabs

It just occurred to me that one of my coworkers has a compost heap that she uses for her garden. I should ask her if she’d like my spent leaves!

SoccerMom

I’ve been throwing my spent leaves in the bed of my azalea bushes LOL.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85
drank Earl Grey Melange by Custom
1112 tasting notes

I made cold brewed iced tea with this, a little simple syrup, and a half of a lime juiced. So. Good. So refreshing! Perfect with our picnic after a long, muddy hike. I originally used the lime because I was out of lemon, but we wound up preferring it to lemon! My husband thought it was the best iced tea so far this year (I still like the Darjeeling Assam better, but this is a close second!)! Next I will try this one with some of a juiced orange.

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85
drank Earl Grey Melange by Custom
1112 tasting notes

Made some iced tea with this! 4 tablespoons of Earl Grey tea, 4 cups of water in big pitcher for 8 hours in refrigerator. When ready strain into another pitcher with 4 tablespoons simple syrup. I also juiced a lemon and added it. I found it a nice touch but too lemony. I will use a half lemon next time. I can’t wait to make it again because it was so refreshing! Earl Grey makes a fantastic iced tea! We drank all four cups with our dinner!!!

It paired so nicely with the Alsatian Onion Tart/Pizza hybrid I made for our meal!

(basically this dough:
http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2009/05/wednesday-baking-thin-crust-pizza/

combined with this topping from the Baking with Julia cookbook:
http://mollysmadeleine.blogspot.com/2008/11/tart.html

with a little bit of grated cheese sprinkled on the dough before adding the toppings and baking. I used a cheddar but next time, definitely smoked gouda!)

(I highly recommend making your own pizza. It’s so much cheaper (even a super gourmet one is literally like 3-4 dollars vs the 10-15 you can spend ordering one) and this overnight dough method makes it so easy and ultimately quicker than waiting on a pizza delivery. Think of all the time you can then spend on Steepster, and $$ you can then spend on tea! Not to mention – the iced tea costs pennies vs. the expensive, horrible for you soda most people get with pizza delivery. OK. Off my soapbox ;)

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more
LiberTEAS

yum… pizza. That sounds yummy. I was just thinking about what I should make for dinner too!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85
drank Earl Grey Melange by Custom
1112 tasting notes

My first blend is a success! The sum is truly greater than the parts on this one :) A nice synergy is going on between all the random Earls and the Assam. I’m so glad I did this! The soapy citrus from Adagio’s Earl Grey got really tamed with the additions (some of which were smoky Russian Earls), and it results in a pleasant bergamot infused tea. I can’t wait to try it iced in the summer with fresh orange slices!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
~lauren.

Can you help me clarify this a bit? Congrats — it sounds like you made up the very successful blend “Earl Grey Melange”. You gave it a score of 82. When I clicked on it, the rating came up as 75 with 1 rating. Shouldn’t it have said 82 since I am assuming you made this blend up and there was only one tasting note on it (yours)? Or shouldn’t it have said two ratings – yours & anonymous_person and the combined score would have been 75? Or have I totally messed up on what this ratings thing is about today? Wouldn’t surprise me, not having a good tea day.

JacquelineM

Here is a post that explains the rating system:

http://blog.steepster.com/post/247562587/brewing-a-better-rating-system-the-2nd-steep

in a nutshell – it’s a Bayesian Average and it takes into consideration things like average rating across all teas on Steepster, average number of times each tea has been rated, number of ratings for the tea you’re looking at, and
average rating for that specific tea. I hope I summarized that correctly because statistics are not my strong point to say the least!

~lauren.

Got it – this really helps clarify – Thanks!

Cofftea

This rating system is so dumb in my opinion.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

I’m not a big fan of the vaguely bread-like flavor of chamomile, so I put in a smidge of rooibos tropica to liven it up. And it did! The tea came out pale-pale-pale, but it had all the fullness of chamomile and a nice little zing on top from the sweet rooibos tropica. I will have to remember this for the next time I crave some chamomile. I might try adding a little sugar so that not all of the sweetness is coming from the rooibos, although that could also end up being too much.

(My girlfriend pronounced, with a tone of great surprise, that this was “Huh! Actually comforting.”)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

57

Alas, this did not work very well; there’s a really strange aftertaste along the lines of a too-sweet toothpaste. It’s still smooth, though — apparently you just can’t wreck this Fortnum & Mason Vanilla. Sadly, that’s the last of mine.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

70

I have no idea where this rooibos caramel comes from. I have an old Teavana tin with “Roo. Caram.” scrawled across the label in my handwriting, so obviously at one point I knew more about it…you know, for someone who catalogues as obsessively as I do, I’ve managed my teas rather poorly so far. Anyway, this rooibos caramel isn’t much good on its own — it’s far too sweet in a cloying sort of way — so I keep it to sweeten my other teas. Today I tossed it in with an old and rather bitter Ceylon Black that really needs the help, and the result was a nicely balanced cup of black tea. It would have been too bitter for a first cup of the morning, but as a second one the bitter was mixed with the caramel and the rooibos nicely. (I’ll refrain from any philosophical generalizations on the blending!)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89
drank Assam by Custom
159 tasting notes

Note to self: Dopn’t add too much tea. Don’t let it steep too long. Don’t try adding more hot water to the cup make it better.
And don’t expect to be cheerful when it’s 4am and you can’t sleep.
Wrong tea, at the wrong time. Tastes like Mud. But all my own fault.
Wouldn’t be fair to re-rate this tea over this.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89
drank Assam by Custom
159 tasting notes

After last night’s fiasco with appalling cardamom tea, I was enraged, so I made my own.
Made up some assam, cracked open three green cardamom pods and dropped them in the pot.
And it was a corker. It was as good as the pre-packaged garbage was bad.
Malty of course, but with a lovely overlay. Ahh, good tea with cardamom – simultaneously conjures up the hot dusty desert roads of its origin. and the decadence of the desserts it usually follows.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 45 sec
I ♥ NewYorkCiTEA

Liked the imagery in your post. Dislike bitting into a green cardamon pod at the Indian restaurant.

Robert Godden

I love cardamom, and will prove it in an hour or two by shooting a cardamom tea video. I love finding soggy whole pods in my indian food and chewing them into oblivion

Christeana

Glad I am not the only one deeply fond of these. Two pods in a cup of boring green tea make a world of difference.

Robert Godden

To me, cardamom and banana are exssential companions. Last night’s dessert was sliced dates, bananas and cashews, lightly coated with yoghurt and sprinkled with my chai sprinkle – powdered cinaamon, cardamom and sugar. Accompanied by a Blue Mountain tea

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89
drank Assam by Custom
159 tasting notes

My better half was eating Turkish delight, so I changed my mind from Darjeeling and reached for this malty assam to cut through the sweetness.
It is everything I want in a tea, great black for me or with milk for anyone else.
malty and caramelly, luscious.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

89
drank Assam by Custom
159 tasting notes

I’ve gone through about ten cups of this over the last week without ever reveiwing it. I think it’s because it’s a ‘social’ tea – I tend to drink it with others.
So, it’s dark, it’s malty, it has a delicious heady pure tea aroma.
It is the essence of tealiness .
And i love it!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

33
drank Hazelnut Chocolate Mint by Custom
1310 tasting notes

One teaspoon Hazelnut black tea (Adagio), one teaspoon Chocolate black tea (also Adagio), and a pinch of peppermint (Luka Te m. m.)

BLARGH!

Experiment fail. Wildly mediocre. That is all.

Ricky

Haha reminds me when I mixed darjeeling, assam and keemun together. Hey, a lot of companies do it! Yeah, total disaster. Worse sip ever.

Angrboda

Well, this is drinkable. But it’s certainly not particularly interesting.

Ricky

Haha, you are a better blender than I am =D

IdentiTEA

Yeah, what Ricky said. At least you have the guts to blend… I don’t!

Angrboda

It can be fun, but also a bit risky. :p I’ve also done it sometimes if I didn’t have enough of something for a full pot (my preferred pot isn’t very big, it’s just about half a liter) I can put in something else to increase the amount of leaves. It’s just a question of finding something that fits. Like for example if you have something flavoured with a type of berry, another type of fruit will usually work. If it’s strongly flavoured, even something plain. If it isn’t strongly flavoured, you can still use a plain one with it, but the flavouring might get overpowered. If you just use left-overs it doesn’t feel as much like a waste of leaves if it doesn’t work.

Suzi

I wonder if it would work better if you added a fruit, like a strawberry tea? At least, chocolate/hazelnut/strawberry crepes taste great, and strawberry/mint can be quite fun…

But add me to the list of ‘too cowardly to blend’

Angrboda

Personally I think I should have left out the mint. It works well with the chocolate alone, but together with the hazelnut something just seemed… off. Chocolate and a fruit would definitely work though.

S

Aww. I have a custom blend fail as well…I mixed Harney & Sons Chocolate Mint black with H&S Vanilla black….gag

Angrboda

Yeah, it seems to me that if one want to use mint, it can only be together with one other flavour. With chocolate alone it’s nice. With vanilla alone it was surprisingly nice also. But together, yeah, that sounds like flavour war.

Dru Bramlett

rooibos + lapsong + ginger. YUM.

shethatisnau

I like adding mint to my green teas, it’s a lovely combination that was inspired by a flavor called “Kyoto Mint” that combined matcha, sencha & mint. :}

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90
drank Jim's Caravan by Custom
159 tasting notes

The last few grams of my Jim’s Caravan.
I actually had this as a nightcap last night, and have re-steeped this morning. My tastebuds are cold-addled.
And yet, it cuts through, it’s smooth, it’s invigorating.
A good choice.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90
drank Jim's Caravan by Custom
159 tasting notes

My morning Pick-me-up. It’swas hot already at 6:30am when I had this.
Great tannin tones on an ultra-gentle smoky base.
Wobnderful start to the day.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90
drank Jim's Caravan by Custom
159 tasting notes

This is only my second tea of the day; the first day of our new found democracy in South Australia.
i decided to replace the English Breakfast in the micro-cafe with Jim’s Caravan.
So. it’s infuser and paper cup time.
Great aroma and lovely tan colour.
The smokiness is just at the right level, the brackish warmth is very heart-warming.
A little cup of happiness.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90
drank Jim's Caravan by Custom
159 tasting notes

Made up a batch of this yesterday afternoon.
For those not familar with it (and since only about 5 kilos have ever been sold at a guess, that’s pretty well everyone) it’s a Russian Caravan-like blend but with a fair amount of FTGFOP 2nd flush Darjeeling.
A good approximation is to buy a good quality RC and mix 4:! with a good 2nd flush Darjeeling. Or make your own RC.
So, I sat down in the late afternoon yesterday with a cup, and with the daughter of the “Jim” who the tea was blended in honour of (who is also my wife).
It was warm, there was a breeze, and it was paradise out on the deck.
Chattering parrots in the fruit trees added to the environment.
I guess drinking anything at that time was likely to work. However, the laptop battery was flat, and I was forced to make paper notes. (Kiddies, if you can’t remember the old technology of a pen and paper, look it up on the net. It’s ingenious!)
First note: CLEAN
I’d been shovelling mulch and moving rocks. Hot and thirsty as I was, the tea cut straight through.
Second Note: Smoky
Definitely a smokiness. There’s no lapsang in this mix, but the Keemun base seems to emit a hint of smoke.
Third Note: Vitality
Your tongue sparkles. This is what the darjeeling adds to the mix
Fourth Note: AAhhhhhhhhh
The lingering taste of an excellent cuppa.
Unpretentious in the extreme, this tea. I’ve created some really exciting teas, including custom heritage blends and a freaky chai for those who take it without milk, but I’m still proud of this one.
If anyone wants to create it at home and review it; I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec
sophistre

Heck, I would try it. It sounds delicious. Fair warning — I’ve never blended my own tea before. Disaster potential is perhaps fairly high.

Robert Godden

Just buy a good Russian Caravan, a good Darjeeling 2nd flush, and blend by weight. 80% RC.
And enjoy!
Belnding is always fun, even if you get it wrong. We had an old Latvian guy (85yo) at the tea shop, and he lost track while he was blending on of our Earl Greys. So we sold the resulting 2kgs of whatever it was as ’ Latvian Earl Grey", It was a big hit.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

Just having one of these neat – no milk, no sugar, no wineglass.
It’s silky smooth and refreshing.
Must remember to dig out the Quince version I have at home

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

Just shot a video of me making this, should be up next week. Layered in a wine glass.
I should have sweetened the milk, but nevertheless, a very rewarding ‘dessert tea’ having just consumed china jasmine, pai mu tan, assam and darjeeling whilst filming three episodes back to back.
The wild cherry is interesting, but for this, I think the plain and the quince are better flavours. The cherry is lost a bit in the milk.
I might add chocolate and make it into a black forest cake tea!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

OK, made this as one of my famous layered rooibos lattes.
Layer of hot milk
Layer of vibrant red rooibos
Layer of froth
(I’ll shoot a videe of this soon, promise)
I like to take a few sips carefully to enjoy the full Rooibos falvour, then a quick stir and enjoy the milky goodness.
Sweet and invigorating

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 30 sec
bikermonster77

where is this available?

Robert Godden

Not sure. I bought a tea shop and found 4 kilos in a cupboard. Oh, and I’m in Australia.
The origin of the tea is Germany, where they mixed German flavourings and Cherries with South African Rooibos.
If you can’t find it; have plain rooibos and a black forest cake.

bikermonster77

haha alright thanks for the input

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

61

Thought I’d finish this one off while browing steepster and appraising the hornet’s nest I (somewhat) inadvertently stirred up.
It’s strong today, and it seems to match the slightly cooler, strong wind buffetting us here.
Nice tannins, earthy, real old-fashioned tea.
Probably the last decent cup I’ll get until I arrive home in 8 hours.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

61

Went back for another serve. Slightly weaker this time. Nice colour, nice aroma, nice taste!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec
gmathis

And deserves at least 5 extra points for the name. Kerfuffle. Love it.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

61

Time for Clarence, a slightly bigger teapot, because it’s tea for two. Interesting mix of brown and black colours with a fair bit of really small stuff.
The liquor is reddish brown, the aroma quite Assamese.
I think it works better in my bertter half’s cup (white with two) than mine (black with oneish)
But pleasant. And my late Grandmother, who grew up in the Great Depression, would ne mighty impressed with the effort of recycling the last few grams of three teas to get more tea.
Basic tea, well made if I do say so myself!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 45 sec
mermaidcatch

I am not a fan of Irish Breakfast Tea. Nevertheless, I hope it was your “cup of tea.” :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.