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Recent Tasting Notes
Amoda Tea Monthly Box – January 2015
Dry leaf: colorful rose pink and gold flowers. IDK what they do for this blend, but ah, well. It’s smells sweet and tangy. The Chinese sencha-esque leaf lends a light vegetal flavor.
Liquor color: Happy and healthy looking green
Leaves: Dry – thin and flat green leaves. The colors are not quite as vibrant as the photo
Wet – dark green leaves with those little pink and yellow flowers. Had an unpleasant sour smell.
Notes: I love the combination of drinking tropical or summery things whenever it snows! Funny enough, Amoda tea had the same idea. They even mentioned it in my monthly box. The pineapple was fresh and juicy, the body was light and bright. It was quite refreshing. I am sure it would taste great iced! The green base was quite complimentary, the palm tree-like leafy greens quality gave the brew a spinach like freshness. Once I got away from the oddly sour-smelling leaves, I really enjoyed sipping on this while I watched snow fall outside.
I brewed this in my French press and decanted it into my favorite travel tumbler.
Flavors: Fruity, Pineapple, Vegetal
Sipdown! Thanks to Roswell Strange for the last of her precious sample of this tea! Also, super pleased that Octavia’s samples are in small resealable pouches.
Anyhow, I found this tea kind of interesting. The initial aroma smelled quite appealing, and reminded me of a 52teas blend I enjoy – Apricot Cheesecake Shou Mei. I think that’s the one… So clearly my brain wasn’t wanting to process a difference between apricot and mango, which was a little odd. Either way, once brewed up, it tastes rather similar too, so I think the base tea must be the same and contributing something in each case, and the flavourings, both being fruity, aren’t different enough for me to distinguish. Regardless, it’s tasty, and in the aftertaste, I get a sort of tanginess that makes me think of sorbet. To be honest, though, it’s probably not mango-y enough for me, but I haven’t really ever had a mango tea that was.
This sample was in my package from Roswell Strange. I was curious as to what the “Grand” part of the title was referring to, as the ingredients list only black tea and bergamot oil. Turns out, they think their Yunnan base tea is “exceptional”. Hmm, not sure I would agree there, the leaves are small and dark. So basically it’s a plain Earl Grey, got it. The bergamot smells pretty strong in the dry leaf, which isn’t a good sign for me as I like my Earl Grey teas milder.
The steeped tea smells like bergamot, but it’s not terribly strong. Ugh, yeah this one is not for me. For some reason it came out a little bit bitter, even though I only steeped for 3 minutes. And the bergamot is very perfumey and floral, and it’s quite strong. I find that I generally don’t enjoy plain Earl Grey teas, it needs something like vanilla, cream, or other citrus/fruit flavors. So I won’t rate this since it’s not my jam. :)
Flavors: Bergamot, Bitter, Floral, Perfume
After getting home yesterday afternoon from my file maintenance shift I made myself lunch and then fell asleep, finally. I had gotten maybe two hours of sleep the night before because I just couldn’t make my body fall asleep so early in the day – and then I had to get up at 3AM to get to work on time for 5AM. Yuck.
Consequently, I ended up sleeping last night for a SOLID 13 hours. So; definitely rested now, that’s for sure. Sadly sleeping so much yesterday means I never got to tell you guys the word of the day! So I can do that now, I suppose. Yesterday’s word was Symbiosis; the living together in close association of two different organisms especially when mutually beneficial. I suppose you could say Tre and I have a symbiotic relationship of sorts.
Today’s word is another new one for me (though yesterday’s wasn’t new): Dross; the waste slag or scum that forms on the surface of molten metal ; waste or foreign matter : impurity ; something that is base, trivial or inferior. This one might be harder to use in a sentence; but the challenge to do so still stands!
But lets get back to the tea itself…
This is my last Octavia Tea blend to try (but not my last to sipdown); and I think I really only saved this one for last because it was so adorable and I liked looking at it when I opened up my sample drawer. Seriously, the little teeny tiny formed mini cakes are flippin’ precious!
I used one of the cakes for my mug of this; if I’m remembering correctly the recommended amount was one cake for 8 oz. but I used one for 12 oz. and after having doing so I can say that two would definitely have been too much tea for the water amount. And sadly, once my cutie pie little tea cake hit the water, it quickly started to come apart. Boo. I mean, I expected it to but it still would have been hella adorable if it hadn’t.
Taste wise this was surprisingly smooth with some very nice, well rounded sweet earth or, rather, loam notes to it. I drank it early in the morning on my way to work, and it just felt very appropriate to be having it as a “breakfast blend” of sorts; the way it was very bold and robust flavour wise to kind of slap me awake, but with a softness to it that kind of apologized for doing so. As for the rose, it wasn’t as present as I expected it to be but it was faintly there contributing a caress of floral flavour that likely added to the overall softness of the blend.
Surprisingly to me, I think this is a blend I would buy for myself. Partly for the taste, which was definitely better than I had anticipated and partly for how aesthetically pleasing it is to look at tiny little heart shaped Pu’Erh cakes – but a lot because of the convenience that the formed cakes provides. I can definitely imagine travelling with one or two of these cakes with me – the convenience of taking loose leaf tea on a trip, but without sacrificing the flavor or quality.
- Timolino with milk
- Bonus sample in my Octavia Tea order
- Very strong bergamot flavouring; ALMOST a bit too strong for my tastes
- Also got a lot of lavender in the dry smell of it
- But not quite so much in the taste (still present though)
- Milk made for a thick mouthfeel and extra richness
- Hardly masked the bergamot at all though
- good overall, maybe better for bergamot lovers but not exceptional
So, I had this one on Christmas and, like they did last year, my Aunt and Uncle (the ONLY family I have in the city) had me over for Christmas supper again this year. I’m honestly getting the impression that my family thinks I’m depressed or something. Every Christmas card I’ve got from them this year has said something along the lines of “We know it’s lonely up there but stay positive” or “Remember to be happy”. What makes them think I’m not?
Seriously; I’m FAR from depressed right now. Tired and overworked, yes – but not even close to depressed. I have a very full life right now between both jobs, and have made an awesome best friend (Bobbi) and still hang out with my best friend from before I moved (Robyn), a pretty good roommate (despite what I sometimes write), and am now working with some awesome coworkers who really brighten my day too. Plus you Steepster people. So seriously, just because I’m “not in school” and work at a grocery store and don’t see you constantly does not mean I’m “not ok”.
Don’t interpret that to mean I’m not grateful to be asked to go to my Aunt’s for Christmas though. Just because we aren’t close doesn’t mean I don’t like her or recognize the hospitality there and free food is always welcome.
My last Octavia Tea blend! I had a really fun time exploring their company’s blends, and I think a found a couple winners so maybe an order’ll be in my future. I know I was talking this morning about getting more of the Dark Rose Hearts in Steepster chat, and I find myself craving the Mango Sorbet; so who knows!
- Slightly more leaf this time to prevent winding up with an under leafed third cup
- Also paid much more attention taste wise
- There’s totally a yeasty/malty quality still, but also a sweet fruitiness
- Can’t quite put my finger on what fruit but I suppose in that regard it IS brandy like
- I actually really like this one, and find it to be quite smooth
- Would totally drink it again, maybe would purchase another sample size amount
First reviewer for this one and my review is gonna SUCK because I totally didn’t pay attention when I had this one.I steeped it Christmas Morning, and drank it on the car ride to my Aunt Nancy’s Christmas day but because I was in deep conversation with my Uncle Neil I just absentmindedly drank it. What I do remember was a strong yeasty flavour and some mild maltiness. Thankfully, Octavia Tea sent me lots of this one so I can totally do another cup and pay more attention next time.
Holding off on rating, for obvious reasons.
Flavors: Malt, Yeasty
I’m pretty sure this was my last white blend from Octavia Tea; and I cold brewed it because it seemed like the kind of sweet but “lighter” fruit blend that works well as a cold brew or iced tea. Ideally, I was kind of looking for something that’d work during summer or spring to sip on the walk to work, or in the backyard.
- Base was more present in this one than any other white from Octavia Tea
- Hay and grass notes with some honeysuckle
- Something about the flavourings was a bit muddled
- More pear than melon, but I guess both were present
- Good overall, but not shockingly impressive?
- The fruit just wasn’t as strong as I expected
So this wasn’t a huge “miss” but not what I was looking for/expecting, either. So overall out of just the white blends I tried, I think I’d most likely to order the Mango Sorbet or Acai Berry (I REALLY liked the Acai Berry) and, surprisingly, I kind of find myself thinking back fondly to the Ginger Peach as well so maybe a small portion of that as well.
Almost done with my Octavia Tea samples! This one I did up as a cold brew. I think I’d have been fine with a hot cup too, but cold brew was just a more convenient route.
Taste wise, I didn’t get ANY of the base for this one: the orange flavouring in it was just too strong to let any base show through. Taste wise, it was certainly a robust/powerful orange flavour but I’m entirely sure if I could name is “Blood Orange” specifically with any confidence. It certainly didn’t read as chemical/disinfectant-y to me, and I didn’t solely taste peel or rind, which is a big “no” for me, but I think it could have used a little sweetner because that aspect of the orange flavour was lacking for me. There was no juice or “sparkle” for me. It was just kind of… flat.
So overall: not a bad tasting tea, but very very monotone as far as the flavour goes. If I had more, I’d definitely be down for experimenting with it to try and get more out of this one (hot cups, tea soda…) but alas I do not, and it’s not really worth the effort to get more on a hunch I could make this one better.
One of the bonus samples from my Octavia tea order, and definitely not one I’d have picked out for myself. Not even close. To get it over and done with, I just cold brewed it.
- VERY strong/intense lemon smell, like lemon extract!
- Green base totally masked in the smell
- Taste wise, this is almost purely intense lemon
- It manages not to venture into “Pledge” or “Peel” territory
- But DAMN it’s strong
- Green base only makes its presence known in the end sip
- Which has a slight vegetal/spinach type flavour to it
- GREAT for lemon fans, but it’s too concentrated for me
Had this one in a timolino, and it was pretty good – definitely traveled a little better than I thought it would. I was pretty sure the subtle juiciness of the lychee wouldn’t translate but it did. I still echo my first impression though that this is just a relatively average lychee black. Good, for not exceptional.
Two stories today: One involves a coworker. And one involves Tre…
A couple nights ago me and another coworker were kind of playfully teasing/bantering with this 15 YO cashier named Matthew. He’s actually one of my favourite cashiers because he’s so sarcastic/witty and so am I so we both just kind of constantly play off each other, and it’s entertaining and fun.
So point is we were teasing him because his sideburns are CRAZY PUFFY and we were mocking him saying we could see his sideburns sticking out all the way from Customer Service, which is quiet a distance from the till he was working out. I THOUGHT we were being obviously sarcastic like usual but, uhh, the next day he came to work without sideburns. Welp.
So, I sorta directly influenced a 15YO who was probably super proud of his facial hair to shave it off. Even though I in no way meant to! And honestly, people who know me well know I’m the last person to persuade someone to shave; I have such a thing for facial hair. Every man should be bearded…
And now the Tre story.
I came home from work, and walked into the house – and immediately onto a whole bunch of pieces of lego. Not even getting started on how much it hurt. But, the big dork bought about $300 in Star Wars Lego battleships for himself as a Christmas present, and now there’s Lego literally everywhere in the apartment. Living room floor, kitchen floor, kitchen table…
Getting ready for work in the morning is like navigating a minefield.
This is my current tea that I brought with for my shift. For whatever reason, it feels like they gave me more leaf in this sample than in any of the others, not that I’m complaining. And yeah, I know I said not too long ago that I was done with Lychee Blacks for a while but if you guys don’t know by now how much of a hypocrite I can be then, well, shame on you? I saw it, and I had to try it.
I’m actually really enjoying it: the lychee is subtle like most lychee blacks seem to be, but it’s still present and I’d say pretty natural/realistic tasting. This is my first Octavia Tea sample with a black base as well, and I’m pretty impressed with the base. It’s obviously not something super high quality but it’s smooth and despite a longer steep time it’s not bitter or astringent.
Overall I’d call this one tasty, but relatively average as far as lychee blacks go.
Well, I’d be crazy if I didn’t cold brew at least one of my Octavia Tea samples, right? So here’s the first Octavia Tea cold brew! Dry I couldn’t smell the kiwi at all – just a whole lot of crisp, vegetalness. So, the cucumber most likely? That didn’t seem too promising to me.
But(!) after I strained this I got a whole bouquet of sweet, juicy and slightly tangy kiwi notes. It was the right level of sticky sweet with a little tang to it, and very natural tasting with a very crisp, cool vegetal background and some grassy notes too. I totally, and clearly, got both the Kiwi and the Cucumber aspects of the tea. And while this kinda seems like a weird pair up, it totally works! This is another one I was really impressed with, and would possibly order again come spring/summer!
Glad my initial impression was off.
Balls, why did I write so many jot notes for this one? I’m lazy, and my shifts almost over and I want to catch up on tasting notes so I’m just going to paste them here directly…
- Dry, smells strongly of Acai berries and is just a little tart
- Very juicy and defined Acai berry taste
- Blueberry notes are also subtly present and possibly red currants
- Kinda “jammy”
- But they’re soft
- White base is very soft and has some honeysuckle type notes
- REALLY enjoy this one
- It actually strongly reminds me of DT’s Superberry blend
- Probably a psychological transfer from the comparison of the two but I taste pine…
- Even though it’s junipers which taste like pine
- This is the first tea I’d actually restock for myself!
- I can see why it’s one of their Best Sellers
- Can’t find the hibiscus in this one at all!
Guys, there’s a scavenger hunt in the mall right now for one of the nearby elementary schools so the place is just flooded with adorable little snot babies. And one of the clues on the hunt is to find the name of the “Painter of Light” from the Calendar Club Kiosk (me!). The answer is Thomas Kinkade, but I’ve had cutie pies coming up to me all day asking for help. It’s so precious!
But the tea…
My first “miss” from Octavia Tea. And, it’s not even so much that it’s bad – it’s just really, really weird? Dry, it smells delicious – kind of like “Tropical” flavoured Fruit Rollups? Just yummy, and kinda sweet and candy like. Steeped up, however, there’s something hard to describe about it. I wanted to initially say that it was like low quality, “healthy” Fruit Roll Up equivalents that my Mom used to buy for school lunches ‘cause she couldn’t afford the name brand but that’s a little harsh, and not super accurate either.
More so, I’m picking up one the pineapple/apple really heavily but the pineapple feels a little artificial and then the apple is more of a tart apple, and then more tartness from the rosehips and that’s a whole lot of tart together. However, something is keeping it mostly in check: not the mango, I don’t think, because I don’t so much actually taste mango. I’m thinking maybe the red currants? I would have described it more like a “dull strawberry” but there’s no strawberry in this and strawberry is closer to red currant than mango.
Anyway, there’s a sort of flat sweetness (if that even makes sense) coming from the red currants that mostly counterbalances all the tartness, but just falls short. Wah wah wah. Things “missing” other than the mango: the rose petals (hooray) and the white base in general. Honestly, this felt more like a tisane than anything else. \
So conclusion: a little disappointed, but this was still drinkable overall. Just wouldn’t really drink it again unless, maybe, it was cold brewed…
And that’s it for today guys: I’m practically done my shift and this was the last tasting note I had to catch up on for now. So have a good day Steepster!
See you tomorrow :)
Well, I forgot to message my list of tasting note jot notes this morning, so before I struggle to remember what I drank and what I thought about it I’m going to write about the tea I’m currently drinking at work. Bleck; I hate out of order tasting notes, but I’d rather write accurately.
Dry, this visually has a lot of cocoa shells/husks in it as well as tiny shredded bits of what looks like strawberry, and tiny black tea leaves. It smells very much like powdered hot chocolate and maybe a little bit of fruit. Now that it’s steeped up, it’s definitely got a richer chocolate taste and a lovely fruitiness to it that reminds me of that sugary strawberry waffle topping you can get with your Belgian waffles at any kind of breakfast restaurant. Mmm! The “mocha” part isn’t super obvious to me though: I don’t really taste any sort of coffee flavour. As it’s cooled, the fruit has become more apparent.
Took the bus ride to work, but I finally realized that what this is reminding me of is the Strawberry Cacao from Herbal Infusions, but richer/higher quality. Pretty good; plus, this seems to be a much easier company to deal with than HI.
EDIT: I just looked it up and apparently this is raspberry/chocolate – but I definitely tasted strawberry.
This is one of three extra samples in my order from Octavia Tea. Honestly, I really did consider adding it to my order but Blood Orange won out in favour because of the lack of ginger in that one. Still, I was happy to see this in the box anyway!
Dry, this smells of solid ginger. Really, we’re talking so much ginger and I’m not just saying that because I’m not a lover of the stuff. And taste wise, as expected, this is heavy handed with the ginger – why wouldn’t it be? I mean, it’s a ginger peach tea with lots of ginger in it: this is not a shocking discovery. But it’s not all ginger: peach notes are present underneath that layer of ginger, especially on the back of the tongue after those first few initial seconds of ginger overload. Don’t gulp this one down. You need to go sip by sip and not rush the cup, otherwise you’ll miss the peach in it!
Worth note: I lost track of time steeping this and it got a couple extra minutes because I was focusing on my cooking and not my tea. This may have contributed some to the ginger imbalance, but not positive on that given the dry smell and generous amount of noticable ginger in the dry leaf. And, despite extra steep time this wasn’t even a bit bitter, so I’m impressed with that.
So overall; despite the fact this leans more heavily to ginger than peach I didn’t mind it no matter how my review seems to sound otherwise. I read this review to my Dad, since I’m writing on my laptop during the drive home and he said “Wow, you really hated it”. I didn’t hate it…
So far I’ve tried two Octavia Teas, and while I haven’t found one I’d reorder I definitely wouldn’t call either of them misses.
So Friday I called in sick to both workplaces; I woke up with a really terrible headache and aching all over – and my tender gum around that back wisdom tooth was the worst it’s been yet. It almost had me whimpering my my tongue just grazed over it – and it’s so hard for it not to.
At first I thought I’d just cut it eating something a little more sharp, but I think if that was true I wouldn’t be in pain at this point. I’ve done as much reading as I can; common causes are food being trapped under the gum, but I’m quite certain this is not the case, “Gumboils” – but I have no visable “boil” on the gum and “Perciconitus” (sp?) which seems most likely as it’s typically associated with the gums around the wisdom teeth and I’m displaying most of the “symptoms” except for the key one: which is pus or blood leaking from the gums around the edge of the tooth. As it is, there’s no visual indicators at all of any kind of infection: just a little puffyness around the tender areas.
I’m mostly really happy my mouth isn’t all pus filled – but part of me wishes it was because then I’d at least have that confirmed and could get the appropriate antibiotics. Ugh. I keep hoping it’ll go away but it’s Sunday now and no such luck. Painkillers and Orajel aren’t cutting it.
But you guys don’t want to hear about my crappy mouth problems: you want to hear about me trying my first Octavia Tea sample which made it to me a few days ago! I’m actually really impressed how quickly it got here: since it was coming from the States to Canada I absolutely expected a longer shipping time than this. And who knows, maybe by the time I’m back in Saskatoon my Whispering Pines order will be waiting for me! Probably not, but it’d be a lovely surprise.
So first things first: Packaging. I’m impressed. Everything that came in my order is samples since this is a totally new company to me whom I have not seen reviews for on Steepster – so no larger quantities in my purchase. But as far as sample go, this have super cute packaging with fun, broughtly coloured labels that are unique to each tea, plus they’re in tiny releasable pouches which is really cool: I hate getting samples that are big enough for more than one cup but come in those wrapper type things that can’t be resealed. Sample sizes are pretty good too: I wish there was a little more white tea since they recommend 1 tbsp. of tea for 12 oz. but there is generally enough tea in each for at least two cups. Only gripe I have is that one side of the pouch is clear so the tea is exposed to light, but for a sample it’s not a huge deal especially since I plan to drink them right away – not hoard them.
Dry, this one smells super fruity and fresh and, to me, comes off distintly mango; not some sort of muddled fruit flavour. Taste wise it was really straight forward: sweet/light and authentic mangoes on a kind of silky white base. I imagine someone pouring the juices left behind from slicing a very ripe mango into a cup of straight white tea. And, this wasn’t even the slightest bit bitter: just very light and summery overall. I’ve only had one other mango white tea, as far as I can remember, DAVIDsTEA’s Mango Madness – and this was better.
I really enjoyed it, more than I expected, but would not personally stock up just because mango is not an everyday fruit for me at all – just a really nice, out of the ordinary treat.