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Recent Tasting Notes

60

A sample from Roswell Strange. Quite frankly, I’m scared by the amount of chili there is in this one. It’s not chili flakes, or chili powder, it’s actual rings of chili. I like spicy things, but I just have a feeling that this one might be more than I can really handle. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it a very conservative 1.5 minutes in boiling water. The resulting liquor is a murky brown, fairly typical of mate.

I took the tiniest first sip of this one, because I was expecting to be assaulted by chili. I’m actually pleasantly surprised, though, because it tastes a lot nice than I thought it was going to. There is heat, but at the moment it’s not too strong or overpowering. You can tell it’s chili, but it reminds me more of chipotle than anything. It has a mildly smoky, rich flavour, which combines well with the earthiness of the mate. A bigger sip yields a bit of a burn at the back of the throat, but (again) nothing overwhelming. I think the short brew time helped to make this one palatable!

The last very spicy tea I tried was 52 Teas Mayan Chocolate Chai, and even with a lot of milk that was too much for me. This one is much better balanced, despite the proliferation of chili. Nothing to be scared of after all!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec 1 tsp

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85

A sample from Roswell Strange. I’ve had quite a fraught weekend when I’d hoped for a calm, relaxing one, so now it’s nearly over I figured I’d at least end on a positive note with a cup of Assam. Assam has been – and still is – my favourite variety of black tea, and I’m always happy to try a new one. As an added bonus, this is also my first McQuarries tea too! I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 3.5 minutes in boiling water. I added a splash of milk.

The first thing I noticed about this one is that the scent is nice – rather like dried fruit. It’s a good beginning. The first sip is equally nice – a touch of raisin, and quite a lot of walnut. Fruit and nut is a great combination for an assam – very rich tasting, and not too sweet. The mid-sip is moderately malty, with a little more sweetness starting to come through, and the sip ends on a slightly dry note, again recalling walnuts to mind.

This is a solid black tea with a considerable amount of strength a decent amount of body. I agree with Roswell Strange’s sentiment that it would make a good everyday kind of black tea, as it’s a flavoursome but no-nonsense blend. A good tea to end the weekend on.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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72

Sipdown (114)!

I passed along most of this tea in swaps, and then gave the last of it to Chef Darcy since he’d been asking for a recommendation for a solid everyday black tea – and I kind of specifically said that about this one, and then never seemed to get around to drinking it. So for me at least, this is a sipdown and now the remainder of my 50g has been passed along to a home where it’ll get drank more quickly.

I finished this off as a latte; it was something different to do with it. Even with the amount of milk in it, I found it had a dryness/astringency to the mouthfeel that was odd and disconcerting but I think I may have over steeped it and that’s the root cause of that whole unpleasant mouthfeel. Regardless, the taste was spot on! It was a bit of a dry cinnamon flavour mostly, with nutty and malt notes and a sweetness to the finish that reminded me of brown sugar! Mmm!

Also; something I found really cool – when I first got this tea I only had a foggy idea of what the grading meant and where the region within assam was and I’ve definiely, in those short three months, learned so much about both! It’s very cool being able to go back and see old tasting notes and track the progress I’ve made.

I’m slightly sad to see this tea go; but I learned a lot from it so I’m thankful for that.

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72

This is a queued tasting note.

Cold Brew! This one actually upset my stomach a lot, but I’m thinking that’s more because I was drinking it on an empty stomach and less so a reflection on the tea itself.

This was pretty good though; very sweet and malty with nutty walnut, cocoa and maple notes. There were also maybe some fresh baked bread notes, but less strong than the other flavors. I loved how rich the taste was, though the mouthfeel was very thin.

I had to buy a minimum 50g of this one, so I can definitely play around – I bet it’d make a great hot cup or a good latte. It’s definitely not anything overly fancy. I feel it’s more just something to drink every day or when you don’t have time to steep that precisely. Probably a good one to take in a timolino as a ‘travel companion’ when you just want black tea.

Everyday tea.

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72

Sipdown (122)!

Picked up a single bloom of this one at McQuarrie’s when I was there earlier in the month. It’s been a little while since I had a bloom tea, and when I was skimming the selection there this was the only one I noticed with a black base, so I figured I’d give it a shot since blooms with black bases don’t seem to be a super common thing.

Like I usually do with bloom/flowering teas, I made it in my 25 oz. mason jar from DT. It’s the only brewing vessel I have other than a DT Perfect Mug that’s clear/glass which is important given that I wanted to actually get to see what the bloomed tea looked like. I did take a picture of the bloom, but right now I’m at this awkward ‘in between’ feeling of tired and awake, and I don’t really feel super up for uploading it. Maybe later tonight or tomorrow? I have tomorrow off too…

This was actually pretty decent as far as bloom teas go; a lot of the lavendar in the flower didn’t seem to stay “attached” and sort of ended up as floaties in the mason jar which I then drank. But because of that, the lavender didn’t get too strong overall but still had a presence. Other strong flavours were malt, stewed fruit and raisin from the black base and then quite a bit of rose from the actual rose in the blend. It tied in together pretty well. Given most bloom teas are just a pretty aesthetic this had some solid flavour to match.

It was a bit bitter by the end; but given that it was sitting throughout all of Bridget Jone’s Diary with me just slowly sipping on it as I watched the movie I think it held up remarkably well. I mean, it was essentially “steeping” for like an hour and a half? Or however long that movie is, anyway.

Today’s word of the day is: Engross.

Engross means “to take up the whole interest or attention of; absorb”. So, you could say the only thing stopping me from getting engrossed in the movie was drinking this tea.

EDIT: Picture of the bloom… Hopefully you can all see it!

https://scontent-sea.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/11156327_10204802427154447_275498323494594361_n.jpg?oh=5b33c672864d7d8f7f741ba74596789d&oe=559CA793

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74

Tea Soda!

This one came out really sweet, but not overly. The banana notes really stood out; they ere somewhere between a natural banana flavor and a candy flavor. If I’m being honest, I picked this for a soda because I really expected to be able to be able to taste the banana; but what I didn’t expect was that, as much as the banana notes stood out, there would be an even stronger flavour – marula?!

It definitely has a very light vanilla and mildly spicy taste to it; however I’m not sure if that’s more of an “Amurula” (the popular liquor) flavour than a true marula flavour; everything I’ve read about the actual fruit describes it as sour/tart and that’s absolutely not what I’m getting. I definitely taste more of the liquor flavour.

Regardless, it really adds to the flavour of the tea and makes it taste really exotic. It’s a very interesting, and refreshing flavour of soda and I could very easily see this bottled and marketed as a quirky “alternative” hipster type soda. If we sold it in the store all the “trendy health food nuts” would see that it has tea and an exotic fruit and eat that shit up.

Maybe when I finish up my Sommelier courses I’ll look into whether it’d be feasible to do some kind of tea/soda type store…

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74

I picked this one up in person; it’s always kind of nice shopping in person because you don’t have to blindly purchase something just based on the description or other people’s reviews. I got to see and smell this before hand! The smell was definitely very banana and that certainly made me excited because it’s been a while since I’ve had a good banana tea with a black base – right now 52Tea’s Butterscotch Banana is sticking out in memory but it’s been an awfully long time since having it. The marula was very interesting too; other than knowing it’s an exotic fruit I have no experience or familiarity with it so that absolutely caught my attention.

It seemed, overall, like a very interesting find from my local store!

I cold brewed my sample – someone recently called me the ‘Queen of Cold Brew’ and that may be pretty accurate. I will cold brew just about anything, especially at this time of the year.

This had a very interesting flavour! The banana was the dominant note; it was almost sickly sweet and tread a thin line between realistic, overripe banana and banana candy. It struck up fairly vivid recollections of two things. The first was the banana liquer that I currently have in my fridge, which is very sugary and sweet. The second thing was Khao Tom Mad which is a Thai dessert made of banana, sticky rice and coconut milk served in either a banana or coconut leaf. I’ve only had it once, but it was pretty amazing – maybe even life changing. I definitely think some of the sweetness of the banana comes from the blackberry leaves; my experience with them has been that they tend to made fruit flavours really, really pop.

I don’t have a familiarity with marula, but I’m told by my roommate that it’s supposed to taste a little bit like guava. I don’t know if I necessarily got that with this blend – though I did get a little bit of tartness which the roomie says is probably from the marula. It was quite mild though and didn’t play much into the overall dynamic of the tea. I am a little bit sad the marula didn’t have more of an impact on the taste – I love when I get the chance to experience new flavours in tea.

The rest of the tea was supporting notes for the banana; both mild cinnamon and a bit of drier wood notes were present. The finish was the biggest let down for the tea though; there was a light sudsy/soapy flavour than was unpleasant and slightly lingering. I first thought that the wood was a little weird to have been coming from the rooibos in the blend, which was my initial assumption – but then I remembered that one of the listed ingredients is lapacho. Aha! I’ve had bad experiences with lapacho, including soapy notes and very dry hardly palatable wood notes. I definitely do NOT see the appeal of lapacho. Fortunately, it was quite mild here. It would certainly explain both the soapy notes and the off wood notes, though.

Overall this tea was pretty interesting, and a bit of a rollercoaster. It had an incredible beginning with some of the tastiest banana notes I’ve had in a very, very long time and the middle was pretty solid too but the weird lack of anything Marula, of which the tea is named after, and unfortunate presence of Lapacho made for a bit of a disappointing finish.

Still a worthwhile try though given how unique it is, and something I’ll continue to personally fiddle around with. I’m determined to taste some marula!

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65

Sipdown (134)!

I know I said I wanted to finish this one my own, but that’s not going to happen. I honestly just can’t handle the hot spicyness of this one; so I’m sending the last bit to someone else in a swap in the hope that they enjoy it more and, at the very least, find it an interesting tea and enjoy getting to taste something I got locally in my boring ol’ Saskatchewan city.

This last mug. Euhhggg. My mouth is one fire, basically. Even with a SUPER light infusion of less than a minute, the chili is still far too intense. I wish I wasn’t such a wimp and got handle spicy things better.

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65

I just saw Liquid Proust’s comment about wanting a Ghost Pepper though Carolina Reaper would be worse tea in this thread:

http://steepster.com/discuss/11229-to-a-tea-just-launched-a-kickstarter

I actually thought to myself “I’d totally try that”, but then I instantly remembered that I drank this one cold brewed today at work and it was so hot that it made me want to both vomit and chug a 2L of milk at the same time. I don’t do spices at all. I’m too much of a wimp. So realistically, a Carolina Reaper tea would be a nightmare for me.

But I’d still totally try it just to say I had.

Oh well, at least that’s a little less of this blend in my cupboard. I refuse to throw it out…

Liquid Proust

I may have just laughed at your misfortune… :p

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65

NO NO NO NO NO!

Made this hot in a timolino for work today; I thought I’d need the caffeine boost (I was right; it was painfully slow at work – bad weather and May long weekend = no one getting groceries) and this was the most convenient mate/guayusa blend to grab in the kitchen when I was rushed.

I thought this was bloody spicy when it was cold brewed, but it’s so much worse hot! I tasted nothing but chili pepper, and it was making me cough and my eyes water. I don’t do spicy things! The vast majority was dumped out – I fear the level of creativity that’s going to be needed to finish off the rest of this bag…

If anyone wants a sample (or all of the rest), let me know – I can probably afford to send out a few letter mail type samples to a few people or send it all off to one person right now (fuck money). You’ve been warned, though!

I bumped my rating down.

Today’s word of the day is/was… Precipice!

The definition is: “a very steep and high face of a rock or mountain : cliff”

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65

Holy mother this is a fucking spicy tea!

I mean, I shouldn’t have really expected otherwise because of the three ingredients in this is chili rings, and the last time I had a tea with those was that chocolate chili herbal one from RiverTea and it was almost too much for me. Visually, this has a hell of a lot more chili in it than that blend too. But I bought it anyway yesterday ’cause it seemed so unique and fun.

Unique, yes. Fun? Uhh…

I went with a cold brew to first try this one. Basically, the front of the sip is your regular roasted mate flavour; nothing out of the ordinary there. You kind of taste a bit of extra sweetness from the candied pineapple but it’s not adding a whole lot. But then. Man, then, BAM! Without the formality of a nice transition you’re just hit with the fires of hell all over your mouth.

It. Is. So. Damn. Hot.

But you know what? It’s bearable because it doesn’t linger much longer past when you finish your sip – and it’s certainly accurate to the name. So major points for that; I don’t know if they could get any more accurate in that department. I wont make the mistake of prepping it for something casual to sip on again; but I do think this will absolutely do the trick when it comes to being something loud, in your face, and highly caffeinated to drink for those early, early morning file maintenance shifts.

And spice lovers, you have to try this one! It’s exactly what it claims to be, and how often can you say that about a tea?

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Thank you Roswell Strange for sending me yet another new tea to try. I made this as a latte because I figured a “spice” tea may be similar to a chai which definitely excels as a latte. Unfortunately, even the milk couldn’t help this. It tasted like mud. Sweet, cinnamony mud. This got dumped. 220.

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86

mmmm I’ve had this a couple times this week but keep forgetting to write a review on it. Kittenna shared this one with me and it’s delicious! Very much mandarin as opposed to “orange.” the flavour is subtle but blends really nicely with the tea to make a blend that is super tasty. I added a tiny bit of sugar to one of my cups and it was nice because the flavour popped just a little more. Overall a really nice take on these tea in oranges :)

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84

I’ve grown somewhat bored of this tea. It tastes fine, but anything I drink too often becomes boring, and since I have 50g in a ziploc baggie (that’s how they sell it), I’ve been trying to get through it faster than usual. Still tasty, but I’d prefer a straight tea.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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84

Backlog.

Still think this is tasty, though I think I oversteeped it a touch the other day. Yummy dark coffee flavour with some toffee sweetness.

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84

And now for the current note! Brewed this up for a travel mug yesterday (and managed to keep to my 2-minute infusion) – it was really tasty. Robust base, a bit of coffee flavour, a bit of chocolate, a bit of sweetness, no bitterness or weird flavours caused by ingredients often found in “coffee substitutes” e.g. chicory… win! I really enjoyed my mug of it, and am happy to have a good bit to drink.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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84

Very backlogged note.

Picked up 50g of this while in Saskatoon, because the ingredients sounded tasty. A coffee-flavoured tea with cacao shells and no actual bitter coffee beans? Awesome! Also, it smelled good. They had a few others that I was interested in, but the 50g minimum really put a damper on trying too much (I got two other teas, one for my boyfriend’s mother and the second was 50g of the lovely mandarin white pu’erh Roswell Strange introduced me to).

Anyhow, the first time I brewed this, I accidentally left it for 9 minutes. Although it smelled DELICIOUS, the flavour was unpleasantly bitter, though I did get through one cup. I believe the resteep was also bitter (I don’t always time resteeps, though I should sometimes), which was disappointing. It seemed very promising though, so I was excited to try it again – this report continues in another tasting note for today’s tasting!

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87

Backlog.

I don’t think I steeped this long enough last night (I believe I only gave it 2 minutes at boiling), as it’s pretty mild in my travel mug this morning (still warm though! Nice considering I made it before midnight last night, and it’s currently 8:30am). The predominant flavour I’m getting is kind of a nuttiness, which is nice, but doesn’t really fit with my recollection of the tea. There’s perhaps a bit of orange, too, but it’s not overly strong. Still fairly pleasant to drink, though. Hopefully I can get a nice resteep later.

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87

Ok, these are super cute and quite delicious, thanks Roswell Strange! I hadn’t tried a mandarin pu’erh before, and so wasn’t quite sure how to proceed… so I just kind of broke the whole thing in half (it’s small, like 4 cm diameter and 1.5 cm tall) and scooped out the tea to infuse. Wasn’t sure if I should put peel in, but my mom (with whom I was sharing this with, because I was 99% sure she’d enjoy it, which she did) felt like we should, so I did. It probably amped up the orange essence a bit, but I don’t really know (since I added it to both cups).

Regarding the tea itself, I think a white was a great choice for pairing with the citrus – there was a subtle orange flavour (like mandarin orange – delicious) with a lovely, light, malty pu’erh. Great smooth, warm finish, too. I’m honestly tempted to try and pick some more of these up before I head back out east (any interest, Toronto area tea buddies who I see with some regularity?)

We got three delicious steeps out of it (so far), and I only used half the cake for two mugs. Definitely a great sample for me, Roswell!!!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
AllanK

Too much of the peel will make it too smoky but you definitely want to put in some peel.

Sil

I’d try it out

VariaTEA

I have some of this and I am too scared to try given the pu’erh

Roswell Strange

@VariaTEA, I think it’s really nice! You should try it. I’ve got another still, and I’ve been really trying to find time to sit down and make it again because it’s one I think I’d want multiple infusions of. @Kittenna, did you ever find time to pick more of this up? I can always buy more and send it out to someone in Toronto like VariaTEA to be split up for people who want to try it. I think it was about $10 for three of those cakes?

Kittenna

We actually did manage to make it to McQuarries! So I got 3 more cakes. I left the rest of the one you shared with my mom, and brought the three whole ones here – one for Sil and two for me (for now). (I also bought their Cappuccino tea, and Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos. The latter is for my bf’s mom, and the former was pretty good, but I’ll write a note later.)

Kittenna

Also, AllanK – thanks for the input! I had no idea at all what to do, but I’m glad I did the right thing. I only put a small chunk of peel into each cup; might try a bit more next time, but good to know that “too much” is a possibility.

VariaTEA

So I might sound really dumb for asking but do I use the whole cake for a cup or should I be breaking it up into multiple pieces? Also, don’t worry RS, I shall try it eventually seeing as you were kind enough to send it but first I must build up the nerve to do so.

Kittenna

Not dumb at all! What I would do is peel back the top part of the orange, and scrape/scoop out about your usual amount of tea from the cake inside. Break off a half-thumb-sized piece of the peel, and add it to your infuser. Brew as you would a white (or rinse if you desire, I suppose. I didn’t rinse.)

Kittenna

To be honest, I found it easier to break the cake/peel in half with my hands and scoop from there (it loosened things up a bit. I didn’t want to crush all the leaves!)

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50

Back to samples from my cupboard! This one was a Halloween gift from Roswell Strange. There’s definitely a lot going on here. I can see orange peel, apple pieces, flower petals, and possibly some nut pieces mixed in with the black tea. Dry scent is mildly sweet with some spice.

The steeped tea smells quite sweet, and I can pick out cinnamon, apple, and orange among other aromas. Hm, this is a strange one. For some reason it came out a bit bitter, even though I only steeped it for 3 minutes. I taste a bit of cinnamon, but definitely not pumpkin. There’s some nuttiness, and something that reminds me of chocolate? The more I drink it, the more bitter it gets in my mouth. Blahhhhh.

Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Nuts

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
carol who

Disappointing! I have a sample of it waiting for me :( I’ll try it for a shorter steep.

Roswell Strange

Aww, sorry you didn’t enjoy :(

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Huh. Cinnamon mud nutmeg tea (those flavours up top are sometimes so strange!)?!

This one is from Roswell Strange. She was super sweet and sent out a happy Halloween card with a tea treat inside!

Smelling it in the bag, it reminded me of marshmallows. Haha. Not a lot of spice. But steeped, it’s definitely spice. Not bright spice, but a bit dull. There’s definitely some cinnamon and clove in here, but I’m not really tasting nutmeg. I am a little nutmeg’d out though because I made vanilla-nutmeg sugar cookies. :D

I’m not sure I actually taste pumpkin, but there’s something lending a heaviness to the tea.

It’s pretty neat, and I’m really glad Roswell send this sample. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to get it, but it’s a fun Halloween treat. :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cameron B.

Mud…? Ick. XD

OMGsrsly

I don’t always understand how people taste some of the weird flavours in tea. :)

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The lovely Miss Roswell Strange sent me an awesome surprise Halloween card that included a sample of this tea.

I like this one. It’s a nice pumpkin spice tea. Mild pumpkin, mild spice but this seems well balanced to me. It’s a nice fall tea that I’m enjoying today.
Thanks so much Roswell for the surprise.

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70

roswell strange sent this along as a surprise halloween treat and it was awesome! Love the halloween card and the surprise, because well surprise tea is ALWAYS awesome. This tea falls a little flat for me. Maybe it’s the base, but it’s kind of like an almost pumpkin spice sort of tea but then it gets lost along the way. However, it was still a decent enough cup, and it’s tea from a friend and one i haven’t tried before so YAY! :) thanks so much RS!

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