SpecialTeas

Recent Tasting Notes

85

I had a cup of this next to my bed when I fell asleep last night. This morning, I took a sip of it cold and it was surprisingly good so I poured it into a tumbler and brought it with me on my way down to work.

Not that this matters much since SpecialTeas is no more, but cold this has a really nice, light, lemon vanilla flavor with no rooibos woodiness, at least not until the very last few sips (little fragments of rooibos made it through the Breville filter and collected at the bottom of the tumbler, resulting in more noticeable rooibos flavor right at the end).

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85

Next in the line of experiments to see what the kids might like. I was rather surprised that neither of them had any love for this, as it is a very smooth, vanilla-y lemon. However, I wasn’t really feeling the love much myself this evening so I suppose I’m not one to talk.

It may be that this hasn’t aged particularly well, so I hesitate to mark down its rating, but I think I’m putting it first in line for sipdown status among the various herbal blends we’re revisiting now.

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Age of leaf: I wish I knew; unfortunately, as I bought this over three years ago, and as SpecialTeas is out of business, and I have no record of it’s production date, I can only guess: it must have aged a few years before they put it up for sale, so my guess is this must be 6 or 7 years old, at the very least.

Brewing guidelines:
Ceramic 4 cup teapot, no sweetener, 5 gram toucha, 2 cups of water.
……….1st: Just under boiling, 2.5’
……….2nd: Boiling. 5’

Aroma of tea liquor: Smelled just like the dry leaf: strong, and for now (I am wanting for better descriptors here) I will call it ‘fishy’—in a good way, not a bad way (although my wife smelled the dry leaf, and reacted as I thought she would: “Yuck!”).

Flavor of tea liquor: Again, I am wanting for better descriptors here (I hope to increase my arsenal of more precise Pu-erh flavor and aroma descriptors over time), so for now suffice it to say: earthy, fishy.

Appearance of wet leaf: Tiny little dark bits of tea.

Overall: Good. I vaguely remember trying this about two years ago (my first Pu-erh ever), and I think it may actually be smother now (however, I may just be perceiving what I expect). There was no sign of bitterness, and it was heavy on the mouth—enjoyably so.

For comparison purposes I also decided to steep another toucha today (brewed with the same parameters) that I bought through a seller on Taobao (again, little information on its age: the rice paper wrapper had a number appended with “-2008” on it, though) to compare with the SpecialTeas toucha. The Taobao toucha was a tinge bitter, and not as full, or heavy, on the tongue, as the SpecialTeas toucha on both the first and second steepings. This was a meaningful comparison, as it at least begins to give me an idea of what I am looking for in a Pu-erh. In this case, I prefer the SpecialTeas toucha: smooth, with a heavy mouth-feel.

This is my first real foray into Pu-erh tea. I recently bought a Yixing, and I am trying out a few Pu-erh teas I have on hand (I have a number of samples) in my ceramic before I decide which one to use to season my new Yixing with. So far, I am enjoying it. I hope to have the time and energy tomorrow to try at least one more.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
boychik

thru your note I don’t know if you rinse for 15-30 sec? This step is essential.

SimpliciTEA

boychik: Very good question. I forgot about that step; silly me. : }

I did a ~5 sec. rinse on the last toucha though, and I plan to do that going forward.

Thank you for your suggestion. : – )

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67

Was a tea I made only once in a cosplay event in England, and when I did not like, but admit that it is good quality.

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Maybe this is what I am drinking? It’s labeled only “SpecialTeas Ti Quan Yin”, and I don’t even know who to thank for this sample! Pretty nice tea. That is all I have the energy to write. You know it’s been a rough day when your first cup of tea isn’t until 8 PM!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Tea Sipper

Yikes- I’m not sure I could live without tea until 8PM.

CharlotteZero

:-) Sometimes work can be just crazy!

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85
drank Vienna Winter Green by SpecialTeas
1582 tasting notes

Another blend that I’ve been drinking but never got around to logging. This tea reminds me a bit of Davids Tea’s Toasted Walnut with its rich nutty flavours. It’s sweet with hints of creamy white chocolate and the green tea base is light and refreshing enough to keep it from being too cloying. By all the rights the camomile shouldn’t really belong in a blend like this, but somehow it works.

I’m glad I bought a big bag of this tea – I’ll be able to enjoy it for awhile yet. :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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74

Deeply jasmine with the nuttiness of great white tea, and multiple steeps! It’s amazing in a tea jar with continuous hot water poured over it, for most of my afternoon pick me up. But I really have to be in the mood for a perfumed cup to drink it.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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4

not sure if this is because it’s an old tea but um no. gross.

Terri HarpLady

LOL, I hate when that happens!

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92

Flavoured teas are all very well and good, but I was craving a nice, plain black tea today. This tea comes from the now-defunct Special Teas (another casualty of Teavana). It’s a very nice-looking tea – small twists of black and gold and it has the classic malty Assam scent with a hint of smokiness. The tea is robust but not bitter and at a steeping of 3.5 mins it’s fine without milk. It has wonderful fruity notes underneath that maltiness that give the tea a layered subtly you don’t normally get with Assams.

I stocked up on this tea but I’ll have to see about finding another source for when my stash runs out.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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From the HHTTB

Very lightly scented, not much flavor. I would probably get more strawberry flavor if I sweetened it, but I didn’t.

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87

Sipdown! 831.

This is quite a tasty cream earl grey. Light bergamot, very creamy. I think it’s one of my favourites, although that means nothing since it can no longer be purchased. Oh well! Thanks LiberTEAS

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Tea Sipper

Oh no! You drank the last of this one! This is the tea I’m holding onto the most.. my little ounce pouch that is pretty old yet still has the most amazing flavor. I will be so sad when it is gone!

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48
drank Sunny Dream Organic by SpecialTeas
4840 tasting notes

stupid steepster ate my note again…i should know better. bah! bah! wasn’t impressed with this one.

Nicole

Tell me about it. I can’t even like reviews tonight. Bah.

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Another tea from Mercuryhime that I unfortunately can’t entirely recall, haha. I remember a bit of green beaniness, but not much else, as I don’t think I paid a great deal of attention while drinking it. Oh well. Again, I have enough for a second/third shot, which I will hopefully be more attentive to.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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90

SIPDOWN!

Many thanks to Mercuryhime for this sample! This is a very special tea indeed. I gave most of this cup and its subsequent infusions to my new husband. It’s so unique! He needed to try it.

He described it as, “It’s got that weird tongue thing again…like the tea is trying to get away from my tongue and escape.”

“Okay, you’re describing the mouthfeel. But what about the flavor?” I asked.

“It tastes like brown construction paper. I like it,” he replied. LOL! Who describes a tea as tasting like paper and then likes it? “I know,” he continued, “It tastes brassy! Yeah, like I’m licking a doorknob.”

I laughed at him and then he said, “I think people would really like to read my tasting notes. I’m the best at tasting notes. You’re jealous.” :) Aww, he’s so adorable! I love my hubby. Maybe he’ll join Steepster and track his own tea journey. You never know!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec
K S

If he decides to join Steepster, I want to know. His description of this tea is quite unique. :)

Mercuryhime

If that’s how he writes tasting notes then I would definitely like to read them. :D Glad the sample I sent provided some bonding time.

Sil

haha love it! that’s the thing i like about everyone’s tasting notes. they’re all different and none of them are wrong! it’s fun to read how people experience things

CHAroma

LOL! Thanks all. His response to reading your comments was, “Told you! I’m the greatest!” Hahaha! ;)

Kittenna

D’awwwww that’s cute and hilarious! :D I wish my boyfriend would do something other than tell me that it “smells like tea” and wrinkle his nose at me. Although tonight, he chided me for leaving an infuser in my cup after the timer went (it was rooibos, but he doesn’t have a clue what that means), and I said he could take it out… he did and said “that was fun! No, not really. I’m just trying to be involved in your addiction.” Le sigh.

CHAroma

Awww! Well, at least there’s no risk of him drinking your favorite teas. :P

Kittenna

That’s true. He wouldn’t even know what to do with them…

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44

Looking back to the first time I tried this – I really didn’t like it – but I just had a cup and it was toned down quite a bit – for the better – I don’t know if it’s because it’s aged OR if it’s a better batch – it’s BETTER but still not awesome. Upping rating a tad because this is better than the last time I had it!

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What wretched weather! Upper 30’s, sky like a wet gray blanket, threats of snow tomorrow, haven’t seen the sun since last Tuesday.

A copious tea day, but trying to lighten it up a bit this afternoon so I can sleep.

This is deliciously light, silky, and a little bit fruit-juicy. Is aging well; doesn’t seem to have lost any of its elegant punch after all the months I’ve had it.

K S

We have low 50’s and not a cloud in the sky :) Of course we are scheduled for 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow late. Seriously – does spring not know its late March!

gmathis

I am aching for the first Saturday I can hang rugs and bedding out on the clothesline to air.

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67

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
1 min, 0 sec

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drank Rooibos Savannah by SpecialTeas
1703 tasting notes

It has been a generally crummy week and a particularly rotten evening. I am tired and out of sorts. Do you know where one goes to find more sorts?

So I grumpily grabbed this, and knowing it’s a bit on the elderly side, goosed it with a quarter-teaspoon of bulk cacao bits. Pepped up the taste a bit; made me think of Cadbury dried fruit-and-chocolate candy bars.

Michelle

I often find my sorts in the tea cupboard and my yarn stash… :)

TheKesser

Aww I hope your week gets better! When I’m out of sorts, I tend to take some time and do something that makes me happy… biking, photographing stuff, writing, reading a good book with a cup of my favourite tea… Anything that will make me feel better. That’s where I find my sorts :)

gmathis

I think many of my sorts will return when the sun comes out…we’ve had dreary skies for more than a week. My solar battery is in need of a recharge. (It’s in the back of my neck :)

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84

THIS IS SOME GOOD FUCKING TEA. PRETTY FUCKING MELLOW AND SMOOTH, TRADITIONAL TYPICAL TEA FLAVOR ALL IN YOUR MOUTH.

DRINK IT IN THE MORNING. IN THE AFTERNOON. WHENEVER THE HELL YOU WANT TEA.

IT’S FROM MOTHEFUCKING KENYA, ISN’T THAT SWEET?

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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60

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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77

I got this in a swap from Jude. Just enough to make a 4-cup pot of it, perfect! Not so awesome that this tea seller has gone out of business?

This is a nice cup of tea, malty and sweet with a bit of caramel flavour to it. Very tasty. This tea gets a bit smokey as it cools though, not enough to turn me off, just enough to make it interesting.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Winter Blend by SpecialTeas
1582 tasting notes

I dug this tea out of the back of my cupboard while rearranging some stuff today. It’s kind of ridiculous how I’ll hoard teas if I know a blend is discontinued or the company no longer exists. But tea doesn’t keep forever so today I opened the bag and made a cuppa.

The flavour is slightly smooth and nutty mixed with fruity citrus notes and hints of spice. It isn’t so spicy that I’d call it a chai but there’s notes of cloves and ginger to give the blend some character.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec
AJ

I understand the “hoarding” tendency for discontinued teas. You just don’t want to let go.

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